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Yeah, its been awhile so here is a thread for all things going on in the majors. From Brett Lawrie's first game in Canada, to Uggla reaching 30 for his hitting streak.

Other topics...
  • Bautista still 22 points ahead of the pack in OBP, 75 in Slg%
  • Ricky Romero #8 in ERA, Morrow #36, team #24 out of 30
  • Casey Janssen for closer despite just 1 save in 2011?
  • Molina still hitting 303/376/445
  • Encarnacion now behind only Bautista & Escobar in OPS (Molina & Lawrie as well, but combined they are sub 150 for PA)
  • Fielder or Pujols or save the $20-$30 mil a year over 5-10 years?
  • ...
Plus, of course, the Jays are just 3 games back in the intense race for 3rd place in the AL East, 5 1/2 back of the Angels for the 2nd wild card (could be a reality next year) and just one game ahead of the White Sox in the race for 8th (ie: where the playoff cut-off would be if MLB followed NHL/NBA rules).
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92-93 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#240536) #
Cliff Lee has as many HRs vs. LHP as Ryan Howard, and more HRs on the season than Joe Mauer. What an unpredictable game.
John Northey - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#240537) #
Heck with Cliff Lee hitting 226/236/377 for a 65 OPS+ he is outhitting Aaron Hill's 61 OPS+
92-93 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#240539) #

Fielder or Pujols or save the $20-$30 mil a year over 5-10 years?

I sure as heck hope nobody thinks the answer to that question is "save the (money)". It's one thing to try and pretend like they cut back on MLB spending so they can be more active in the amateur market, but an entirely different matter when you suggest Rogers just pockets the revenue instead of putting a competitive team on the field.

Escobar/Rasmus/Bautista/Lind/Lawrie/Snider/Encarnacion/Arencibia/Hechavarria + Davis/McCoy/Thames/Teahen

Romero/Morrow/Cecil/Drabek/Alvarez + Janssen/Litsch/McGowan/Perez/Mills/Villanueva

The team the Blue Jays currently have constructed for 2012 won't even cost them 65m. If a 2nd wild card is added then you really shouldn't be looking at 2016-2018 as a reason to not be signing FAs. If the time comes and you need to get rid of them you will, just like the team dumped Rios and Wells in the face of all conventional wisdom.

Anders - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#240540) #
Jose Bautista is no longer the outright WAR leader at Fangraphs, having been tied by Dustin Pedroia. One would still give it to Bautista on balance I think given that Pedroia's massive defensive numbers may not be entirely reliable, but it still hardly seems possible given what Bautista was doing earlier. In his last 19 games Bautista is hitting 200/333/354 with 2 home runs. Hopefully he will break out of it soon.

In other arbitrary endpoints fun, Yunel Escobar is hitting 328/411/477 since May 8th, and at this point I think it's pretty reasonable to say he's having the third best year of any shortstop in baseball. If he was a free agent after this year he would easily get 2-3 times the 5 million the Jays are going to owe him for the next 4 years. Double bonus to AA I think.

92-93 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#240541) #
Bautista doesn't run out ground balls anymore so the ankle is probably hurting more than he lets on. It's tough to get a guy having his kind of season to take a break but it's probably in everyone's best interest if Bautista doesn't play through pain this year.
AWeb - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#240542) #

Brandon Morrow had the most perfect representation of his season in his last start, with 5 perfect innings, and then a complete disaster for one inning. It's been two years now that Morrow has been bad with runners on base. If I am the Jays, I think I make him work from the stretch exclusively for the rest of the year...something isn't right, whether he's tipping pitches, or losing his stuff, or just unable to locate as well once runners are on base. But it's bad when I'm hoping he'll give up a HR just to clear the bases. 36th in ERA sounds good, except that there are only 49 qualifiers. He doesn't give up many hits, or many HRs, doesn't walk a lot of people, strikes out huge numbers, almost no one has more theoretical value (which is why WAR loves him so much). But it's time to work on actual runs scored against results - leading the majors in ERA-FIP, just like last year, isn't helping anymore.

greenfrog - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#240546) #
Some good playoff competition in the AL Central last night. Cleveland beat Detroit in 14 (on a bases-loaded HBP) to pull within 3 games of the division lead. With injuries to Sizemore and Choo, Cleveland is barely hanging in there. Meanwhile, the ChiSox beat Baltimore 4-3 and are now 4 games behind Detroit. Jason Frasor and Sergio Santos pitched scoreless 1/3 innings for Ozzie Guillen's crew. Geez, if only the Jays could trade for and/or develop a closer like Santos, we'd be all set. Hey, wait a minute...
Moe - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#240550) #
I'm not sure whether this has been mentioned in another thread: apparently the Jays are looking at changing their uniforms yet again.
http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/mlb/bluejays/article/1037201--jays-making-a-uniform-change

I'm not a huge fan of the current design but I'm not hating it.  It's just generic, so I a change could be good.  However, the last thing I would want is yet another modern design with a 10 year shelf life.  I hope for something timeless, maybe a slight update of the old uniforms and logo.  But I don't have high hopes. 


Krylian19 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#240552) #
I like Janssen...but not as my closer.  I like big power arms with a knockout strikeout pitch in the closer role.  That's just my personal preference.  Has anyone every thought about Joel Carreno in the closer role?  I know he can get up to 94 just like Janssen, but the difference is Carreno has a slider that Fasano says can strike out any major league batter right now.  Hearing Fasano talk about Carreno's slider made me giddy.  With him being on the 40-man roster I think we might see him in September...and likely in the pen.  Wouldn't surprise me to see him get a handful of late game outings.
chocolatethunder - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#240553) #

sorry to change topic but more accusations about Jays stealing signs....sloppy article but strange its from espn

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/6837424/baseball-toronto-blue-jays-suspicion-again-stealing-signs-rogers-centre

 

Lylemcr - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#240554) #

The Jays need to get pitching help in the offseason or the young pitchers take one step forward.  We are not the Yankees.  20 million dollar contracts tend to limit our future moves. 

1. That being said, our biggest weakness in our lineup is 2nd base.  If big money or a big trade was to happen, that is the position I would try to fill.  I am very tired of Hill.  Unless one of our prospects takes off, we need someone servicable.

2. I would love to see Scutaro back as a utlity player next year. 

3. I also want to see Molina back.  Solid veteran backup catcher.

4. I would give Joe Nathan(or Bell or Papelbon) the money he wants and sign up a good left hander for the pen.  There are lots of other good arms available next year.  I would like to see 10-15 million spent in the off season spent on the bullpen.  It is not glamorous, but if we are going to have a young pitching staff,  we need a stronger bullpen.  If we had a decent pen this year, I think we could be in contention...

Those needs will cost up 25 million plus.  Unless there is 50 million in the budget, I am not for a big contract like Fielder

In the same breath, the most consistent hitter for the past 10 years has been Pujols.  Unlike Fielder, I don't think he will fall off too much as he gets older.  I can live with LindEE next couple years, but Pujols would be sweet and that stadium would be full.

sam - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#240556) #
When I go to Jays game I always sit behind the visitors bullpen. I've been to almost a dozen games this year, almost all different teams and I haven't once noticed a bullpen staring at centerfield or heckling Bautista.

Also, I'm just thinking about the logistics of this. A catcher gives a sign, usually the pitcher immediately goes into his wind-up. A hitter would then have to refocus his gaze on the pitcher in a split second as the pitcher would be in his full windup once the hitter received this sign from CF. This seems a little detrimental to the success of the hitter. Most hitters focus their gaze on the pitcher and don't deviate.

Furthermore, most pitchers have a hard time seeing their catcher's signals. I don't know how a guy 400+ ft. away sees whether it's one or two fingers down.

I'm going to the game tonight, I'm almost tempted to buy tickets in CF and bring a sign saying "Sign Stealer" and binoculars to test this out.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#240558) #
The fact of the matter remains that Bautista has been hit in the head by Arrietta. Maybe it was the O's who were 'the team' witnessing the man in the white. We know it wasn't the Yankees since they wouldn't have text a teammate when they could've just told him in person.

Bautista is also in a slump since then. Conspiracy theories...
Magpie - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#240560) #
Bautista has been hit in the head by Arrietta.

On the other hand, Arrieta has started three games against the Jays this year and he's held Bautista hitless each time.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#240563) #
Stories like that lack a bit of credibility when they don't even identify the player who was allegedly shouting at Bautista from the bullpen, presumably in earshot of hundreds of fans.
Alex Obal - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#240565) #
I don't think it was intentional - Arrieta has no idea where the ball is going - but Bautista has looked awful since then, and I've had enough concussion victims on my fantasy team the past few years to wonder. Bautista's K/BB is in the right place, but he's hitting with much less authority than usual. He looks out of whack.
Sister - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#240566) #
In my view, this team needs a few big pieces to contend. I'm all for going for a big bat like Fielder and pop him in the 4 spot. Lind has been on a terrible streak of late and has, essentially regressed to 2010 Lind. His OPS is down to 777, and is an awful 526 since the all-star break. I have ZERO faith in him as a reliable, heart-of-the-order bat. I would throw a big wad of cash at Fielder and pray he takes it.

We can then move Lind to a platoon DH role with EE, with occasional starts at 1st.

We need another #1/2 starting pitcher -- a veteran. We can certainly try for CJ Wilson, but someone like Mark Buehrle would be great as well.

We need a reliable back-end of the bullpen pitcher. Francisco Rodriguez would be a target.

We need a replacement level 2B, preferably someone with a bit of speed. Someone like Kelly Johnson.

Escobar
Rasmus
Bautista
Fielder
Lawrie
Lind/EE
Thames/Snider
Arencibia
Johnson

Bench: Davis, Molina, Terhan, McCoy

SP
Romero
Morrow
Buehrle
Cecil
Drabek

Bullpen
Rodriquez
Jansen
Villa
Perez
Mills
etc.


Spookie Wookie - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#240567) #
The ESPN sign-stealing article is funny. 4 unidentified witnesses and a mysterious "man in white". Then cherry-pick a stat from last year as statistical proof. Awesome work.

If they are going to use that stat (home run rate on contact), why not mention the theory from the early-90s that the Jays were using the dome's ventilation system to create a breeze out to centre field when they are up?
Anders - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#240570) #
Thoughts:

1. I get that players don't want to be identified as being "snitches" or whatever, but ESPN should write that the players wished not to be identified (they sort of touch on this) as opposed to just making it seem like random "guys." Secondly, it's not clear why the Jays stealing signs would manifest itself in hitting home runs as opposed to singles, doubles, whatever. As the article notes, they had a terrible babip.

2. I don't dislike the current uniforms per se, but I object to the colour. Grey and black? Gee, how exciting! I would love to get some blue in there. I also think it's worth nothing that, at least anecdotally, at least half of the Jays caps I see are of the old logo, which is far superior as far as I'm concerned; I'd like to see that come back.

Ishai - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#240572) #
You do what you can to win in baseball. It's only cheating once it becomes a big deal in the media. The shameful revelation of the steroid era didn't change this, it just made it imperative not to get caught. Sign stealing is slightly different than steroids because it requires active participation from team leadership, whereas performance enhancing drugs merely require the leaders to turn a blind eye. But I certainly find it easy to believe the Jays did/do it.

And logistically it would be quite easy. All it takes is a camera on the catcher, a person watching that camera and relaying the signs over a cellphone to the mysterious white man in the stands. It's true that it seems like a disadvantage for a hitter to have to take his eye off the pitcher, but that is why the guy was dressed in white and the sign was raising his arms above his head. You can pick that up in the background without having to change your focus. And the benefit of knowing what speed the next pitch is going to be is huge, especially with a hitter like Bautista for whom timing is everything.

It's true that article is kind of sloppy with the unnamed sources and the cherrypicked stats, but the scenario seems so plausible that it's hard not to believe it. Although I guess its plausibility is what tempts the journalist to publish a poorly researched story. I'll be awaiting further news on this matter before passing judgment, but I would not be surprised in the least.
China fan - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#240573) #
I don't find it plausible.  An oddly dressed man in the stands, wearing white, speaking on a cellphone, using a camera, and constantly waving his hands above his head??  And nobody noticed it except a few opposition relief pitchers??   Anyone behaving so oddly and dressed so distinctively and using technological aids would be noticed by hundreds (or thousands) of people in the stadium.  It would have been reported very quickly and would immediately have become controversial.  There's no way to maintain secrecy about something so visibly weird for so long.
Mike D - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#240574) #
17 of Bautista's 33 homers this year have been on the road.
Gerry - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#240575) #

Re: ESPN, the 4 witnesses were the same incident, in the same bullpen.  Effectively it was one incident.

If you wanted to check out this story who would you talk to....players who used to play in Toronto but don't anymore.   Why are no players who benefited talking?  Did the reporter try and verify it by talking to anyone who would know?

Someone here should put on a white shirt, sit in centrefield for tonights game and start waving their arms at random times.

 

There is one possible way this could work:

I believe that the person in centerfield is getting signals via ESP, enabled by a payoff from the Jays to the Vatican.  And if it's God's will then who are the Jays to say no to it.

China fan - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#240576) #

I do like JPA's response on Twitter:

jparencibia9 jp arencibia   Just read the dumbest article on ESPN about us getting signs? I'm hitting 200 and we get signs at home, that makes sense? #clowns
Ishai - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#240577) #
I know this is certainly extrapolating way too far, but if the Blue Jays have been successfully stealing signs for awhile, that gives incentive for players to stay on the Blue Jays. If you are used to getting a bump in your play from stolen signs, then maybe you take a little less money to stay in a system where you know you will be given every opportunity to be successful.

John Northey - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#240578) #
Heck, if I ran a team I'd be putting mini-cell devices into the helmets of players and send the info to them. Could use bluetooth or wifi or cell phone signal depending on preference. Then you have a camera in CF focused on the catchers signs transmitting a signal to a coach who is an expert in sign stealing who would then relay that info via the headset to the hitter. It wouldn't cost much, be easy to set up, and should be very effective. If some guys prefer not to use it, so be it turn it off for them. Keep track of how well the coach does and pay him based on accuracy of calls. Make sure the electronics are well hidden in the helmet (ideally molded in) so opposing teams don't see it right away [until an ex-Jay tells them].

Also, I'd have that system used for fielders - small headset in their ear, fielding coach relaying info to them from behind the plate ideally (private box if possible to minimize distractions) thus avoiding confusion. If a collision looks likely he'd yell at the one who should back off to stop.

IMO this could avoid a lot of headaches (I remember a few ugly collisions on the field) and help players get accurate info without the third base coach looking like a person with ants in their pants.
Ishai - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#240581) #
Yeah, you're definitely right. The idea of a mysterious white man in the stands doing a significant dance is ridiculous. I tried to be Devil's advocate, but that's just silly. I mean, wouldn't the catcher see the man too? Or is the positioning such that the pitcher blocks the catcher's point of view? And what about the difference in perspective for right-handed and left-handed batters?
Alex Obal - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#240582) #
It's kind of deviant to go to a baseball game dressed all in white, sit in right center, listen to an earpiece and wave your arms at seemingly random times. You'd think any people sitting behind him might complain, or at least ask him what's up. How is he supposed to respond? No hablo ingles?

Some guys on that team had actually seen the same man making the same motions in 2009. But that had been in the last series of the season against Toronto, and they let it go.


This is either shoddy writing or a horrible excuse for confidentiality.
China fan - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#240584) #
In other news -- a fantastic debut for McGowan in New Hampshire today:  4 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts.  Four groundouts vs one flyout.  And here's a comment from a Fisher Cats fan on Twitter after the 3rd inning today:   "Mechanics look major league...launches off legs, locating fastball."
Ishai - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#240585) #
In the video on ESPN's website, the journalist lady says that "some of the Blue Jays hitters" were getting signs relayed. Why only some? Is it like a special brotherhood only reserved for those with long-term contracts who swear an oath of allegiance to the Blue Jays? And then they show a clip Posada dropping multiple signs to CC who then gets Arencibia to swing and miss. That's' some solid evidence right there.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#240589) #
Oh, this man in white thing is hilarious.
Alex Obal - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#240590) #
Well, I'm definitely voting someone on Boston for MVP now.

coach who is an expert in sign stealing

OK, so as I understand it the standard signs are 1 + direction = fastball (if it wiggles, sinker); 2 = curveball; 3 = slider (or cutter); 4 = changeup (or splitter).

With a runner on second, lazy teams tend to camouflage the sign in one of two ways. They can make a certain sign in the series be the real one - say the second sign, so 41121 = fastball, 3211 = curveball, 214131 = fastball. More commonly they can use one sign as an indicator, and whichever pitch comes after that is the real one. So, say 2 is the indicator - 212 = fastball, 14311131424 = changeup, 4122 = curveball. When a catcher throws down the same off-speed pitch twice in a row, that's a pretty good hint that's the indicator. And sometimes a pitcher will start to come set halfway through the series of signs, which is good for a laugh and helps to give the system away.

Smart teams use additional signs (see: Varitek, Jason) to switch between the systems, or at least pretend to. Still, that has the drawback of confusing the pitcher. if you've forced a team to jump through these hoops you're probably better off for it.

You are now an expert.
Craig B - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#240592) #
One thing that's very noticeable about the Jays' hitters is how much uppercutting they do. The shape of the data (I've seen a bit more than what is presented in the article) is perfectly consistent with guys who are able to sit dead red and uppercut, trying to hit home runs.

But of course that is also a purely STYLISTIC preference. But the shape of the data, and the shape of the home field advantage, is very odd and somewhat outside the bounds of normal explanation. There are very many things coming together here that add up in a curious way.

Nothing in the article proves anything, nor is anyone saying it does. But it is interesting, and very much worthy of comment.

Also, is it or is it not the case that the Jays have a second video system, unconnected to the broadcast, in CF? I thought it was the case. That was not mentioned in the article.

Craig B - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#240594) #
Ishai, some hitters prefer not to know. In all cases where teams steal signs (whether through a system, or just from the runner on second), some hitters prefer to know and some do not. That's always been the case.
Craig B - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#240601) #
Looks like the mystery "man in white" may have been sitting in section 101R, row 1, seat 1

http://stealofhome.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/blue-jays-caught-stealing-signs-but-by-whom/

This is all so silly. I love it.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#240605) #
The man in white looks like he could have been on a Beatles' album cover.  How can we be sure that he is wearing shoes and socks?
92-93 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#240614) #
@NorthYorkJays @TaoofStieb Both CF sections in batter's eye are closed off with black tarp, yet @AmyKNelson says her sources "didn't even alter his gaze."
MatO - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#240615) #
If that wasn't Lennon's Abbey Road suit then was Tony Manero at the game?
smcs - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#240623) #
This whole thing gets better and better: Bautista said today that the team in question is the Chicago White Sox. Couldn't these stud reporters or these anonymous players, who claim to have seen something similar in 2009, have asked a teammate who played on the Jays in 2009 and might have bad things to say about the team? I mean, Alex Rios is just sitting there. His stats were always much better at home than on the road, but no one thought to ask him? Nebulous ESPN reporters have been on this story for a year, and this is all they could get?
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#240625) #
The man in the white suit is clearly Alex Rios.  He's been so  focused on stealing signs for his old team while wearing nouveau camo gear that he just can't hit any more.  It could happen to anyone.
China fan - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#240628) #
Here's another obvious contradiction in the ESPN report. The report claims that an opposition pitcher screamed at Bautista:  "It's not too [f------] easy to hit home runs when you don't know what's coming!"  But we now know that this occurred in a game between the White Sox and Jays on April 13, 2010.  At that point in the season, Bautista was batting a miserable .161 and had managed to hit just one HR so far (against Baltimore).  So why on earth would a White Sox pitcher be accusing Bautista of "hitting home runs" by stealing signs??
sam - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#240629) #
It's a little disappointing really. I'm going to give both Nelson and King the benefit of the doubt here. They were both probably under a deadline and both desperate to unearth the next big debate in baseball. But it's poor journalism when it boils down to it. Poorly researched and poorly cited. If anything, it's a tweet, not investigative journalism.
Alex Obal - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#240633) #
You are far more forgiving than I am. All of the substance of the article took place in 2010. It wouldn't surprise me if they had been sitting on it for a while, waiting for a slow week.
Anders - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#240634) #
You are far more forgiving than I am. All of the substance of the article took place in 2010. It wouldn't surprise me if they had been sitting on it for a while, waiting for a slow week.

Keith Law confirmed on the Fan with the Bobcat that he first heard about the article in September 2010.
braden - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#240642) #
Alvarez's first pitch was a thing of beauty. 96 and tons of movement, away from the batter.



greenfrog - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#240656) #
The legend begins.
TamRa - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#240659) #
just saw the video of Lawrie's GS - absolutely swooning over the passion/joy/exuberance on his face in the dugout!

Am I the only one who can't remember seeing anything quite like that in Toronto in a LONG time?
(admittedly I don't get to watch every game)


Jonny German - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#240661) #
Speaking of not being able to watch every game... Rogers just gave all of its Blue Jay fan customers a major bonus and it doesn't seem to have been advertised a whole lot - go to rogersondemand.com and you can watch all Jays games live. All you need is a Rogers account, be it internet or cell or cable.
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#240662) #
TamRa: that was really cool - definitely one of this season's memorable moments. Kind of reminded me of Bautista's angry HR (last year, I think) against the Yankees after being brushed back on the previous pitch. Both players were totally energized afterwards.
ayjackson - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#240665) #
Breaking off topic here, but I wonder if a Brandon Phillips - Aaron Hill trade would make some sense right now.  Both have club options for next year - Hill for $8m and Phillips for $12m.  I could see both options being denied and I could see both players clearing waivers this month.  But perhaps AA might see Phillips as a stop-gap second baseman in a weak market and be willing to pick up that option for next year.  And perhaps the Reds would love a couple of million of salary (and buyout) relief over the remainder of the season.  Just thinking aloud....gimme hell!!
TamRa - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:29 PM EDT (#240666) #
only two quibbles:

1. if such a thing were to happen, I'd think there was a decent chance the jays pick up that option given the market

2. I'd suppose that the Jays might have to send some money in the deal unless something were worked out to ensure Hill didn't accept arbitration - or maybe an amount contingent on whether he did so.

Still - if the Reds declined Phillips option, he'd jump right to the top of the list of potential replacements.

Is he a type A? If so then (a) it's something the jays should want to do even if they had to send a B prospect in the deal - just to avoid giving up the pick; (b) if he's an A the Reds should be LESS inclined because they would be deal - in essence - Phillips AND the pick.

(not that the jays would get  the pick if they picked up the option or re-signed him - but the Reds would lose the opportunity to get it)
92-93 - Wednesday, August 10 2011 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#240668) #
There's maybe 5 better all-around 2B than Phillips in baseball right now. Why would a team good enough to contend give away that asset? It's hard to go wrong on a 1 year deal for a 31 year old, so the 12m option is certainly not prohibitive. He's comfortably in Type A range too.
Original Ryan - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#240672) #
I suspect Lawrie could become a guy that fans in other cities will love to hate. He's going to annoy a lot of people, and that will make Blue Jays fans like him even more.
hypobole - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#240673) #
92-93 is right. It would make absolutely no sense for the Reds to decline his option. Phillips has been the model of consistensy the past 5 seasons with WAR's of  5.1, 3.3, 3.2, 4.3 and 3.5 so far this year. Why would they exchange that for Hill, who is basically a replacement level player?
ayjackson - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#240676) #
Well I thought I had read that they might decline that option.
Dewey - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#240687) #
I think Lawrie should have  a relief valve installed somewhere--his neck maybe.  Else hes going to explode.  Hes Dick Butkus intense.   Fun to watch; but those high-fives would put me on the DL for weeks.  The dugout scene was refreshingly exciting though.  Nice to see.

Tell ya who Im really enjoying watching lately is Rasmus.  He just glides out to deep centre, as if on a magnetic track, and glove and ball come together at the fated instant.  Its all programmed.  No sweat.  His personality seems the opposite of Lawries.  (Nice shot of him in the dugout last night, sipping his gatorade with a smile on his face as Lawrie rampaged down the dugout behind him.)  Good times are here again; stock market be damned.
John Northey - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#240689) #
Haven't been able to watch games since Rasmus came (on vacation with no TV, then too busy at home and don't get Sportsnet1). The descriptions I'm reading though remind me a bit of Devon White - viewed as a personality issue, gliding in the outfield (which makes people think he isn't trying).

It does seem like AA is trying to recreate the A's of the early 70's or Mets of the mid 80's though - tons of attitude problems, tons of talent, you just hope they feed off each other in positive (aka winning) ways. From Escobar to Rasmus and Lawrie - all viewed as attitude issues at their last stops, all productive here.
sam - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#240692) #
Swooning as well. I was at the game last night and it was a lot of fun. Alvarez looks to be a stud. Lawrie, unreal. Rasmus looks very good in CF.
braden - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#240700) #
Lawrie's teammates seem to love him. His youthful enthusiasm is probably better handled by such a young team.
hypobole - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#240705) #
The A's seemed to have a different take on Lawrie's exuberance. Escobar getting hit was a message to tone it down a bit.
Hodgie - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#240709) #
That would be an odd message seeing as it happened in Escobar's second plate appearance since the slam. If that was actually the case one would imagine the A's would have just hit Lawrie when he came up again - before the Escobar incident.
greenfrog - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#240713) #
I would like to see some payback from the Jays today. A Francisco heater in Willingham's back would do the trick. Oh, sorry Josh. That one was "unintentional" too.
John Northey - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#240735) #
On the 2B issue, there have been articles written (again) about Hanley Ramirez having a bad attitude and he is slumping overall in 2011.

His stats have taken a dive the last two years - from 3 years of 140+ OPS+ to 126 to 95 this year. Meanwhile he is owed $46.5 million over the next 3 years. Of course, he is only in his age 27 season so a comeback should occur.

I wonder if the Jays should chase him down. First Escobar, then Rasmus, now Ramirez (mix in Lawrie as people talked about his attitude as well)? If Ramirez or Escobar could move to 2B then that would be sweet. Have a talented player with attitude? Send him to Toronto. Guess it would depend on the Jays scouts opinion on Ramirez turning it around and Rogers willingness to eat that contract if needed and whatever else Florida wants (claim to be after pitching/pitching/pitching). Florida is notorious for being super-cheap, so eating payroll is a good way to get stuff from them. Wonder if they are so risk adverse they'd dump Josh Johnson as well (just 9 starts with a sub 2 ERA but DL'd since mid-May and owed over $10 mil a year for the next 2 years).

FYI: Ramirez has only played SS & DH in the majors, 11 games at 2B in the minors, and 3 at 3B. Escobar has 21 at 2B and 22 at 3B in the majors plus 24 more at 2B in the minors and 35 at 3B. Odds are either of them could play 2B in the majors (very common for SS to move to 2B - Hill is an example, Manny Lee did it as well back when before going back to SS).
92-93 - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#240737) #
I've been banging the Hanley drum since well before Dan Lebatard reported that the Blue Jays were heavily involved in Hanley trade talk at the deadline. Hopefully where there's smoke there's fire - a package starting with Drabek and Snider can probably get any conversation going.
Spifficus - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#240753) #

I liked the notion of a Hanley deal for a while as well (I think it was around the resignation of Edwin Rodriguez when rumors first started cropping up). Of course, I was thinking of him as a convert to CF at the time, but I'm sure the team could find room for him or Escobar at 2B. I wonder what the cost would be, and if the trade value of Drabek and Snider have sunk enough where it's better to hang on to them and trade others (Thames, for example). It'd be interesting to see what the Marlins would want in a package with their stadium on the verge of opening. I assume they'd want ML-ready players more than usual.

Phillips would also be an interesting alternative. The Reds can always stand to free up cash, and if the second component coming back (along with Hill) is of use (say a decent bullpen arm under control for a couple years) I can see them doing it. Of course, the time for that to happen was July, not August... too many useful parts to try to get through waivers. And, if the Reds are crazy enough to decline the option, he's definitely at the top of the Jays shopping list.

John Northey - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#240754) #
Snider could probably be part of any trade at this point. His star has fallen here, but by playing him in CF and now letting him up his stats in AAA (suggesting he is too good for that level) the Jays might rebuild some value.

Btw, the guys AA goes to get are not Snider types but rather guys who have succeeded in the majors then dropped due to whatever (Escobar, Rasmus) or super prospects made available for whatever reason (Lawrie) who haven't reached the majors yet. At least so far. Hill would've been last year (one year removed from AS level) but not this year (too far removed).
greenfrog - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#240786) #
Speaking of potential acquisitions, should the Jays claim Wandy Rodriguez if the Astros place him on waivers this month? Not entirely convinced he's good enough to hold down a rotation spot in the AL East, but he's been pretty solid for the last few years. He would be under contract for $23M for the next two years, plus a $13M player option in 2014 (an Astros club option that becomes a player option if he is traded).

Pitching depth would then look something like:

Romero
Morrow
Cecil
Rodriguez
Alvarez

Personally, I like that rotation. It would keep Litsch and Mills out of the rotation, and buy more development time for Drabek, McGuire, Molina, Jenkins, Carreno and Hutch (or Alvarez if Drabek steps up in 2012). And pitching depth is always a good thing.
grjas - Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#240809) #
Good times are here again; stock market be damned.

Market sucked in 92-93 too.  (;
smcs - Friday, August 12 2011 @ 02:11 AM EDT (#240818) #
I've been banging the Hanley drum since well before Dan Lebatard reported that the Blue Jays were heavily involved in Hanley trade talk at the deadline.

To be fair, that'd be like me saying "I've been saying for years: the Jays should go after Albert Pujols when he becomes a free agent." The Jays would be foolish not to have had a conversation about Hanley Ramirez every winter. I'm not too plugged into the Florida Marlins scene, but I have a feeling that Jeff "C.R.E.A.M." Loria would not like a signature player moved right before they enter their new stadium. This might change after 2012 when Ramirez has 2 years and $31.5MM remaining on his contract. Fredi Gonzalez was already fired in part because of his stance against Ramirez, whether it be long hair or jewelry or kicking balls into the left field corner. Anthopoulos seems to go after guys who have perceived attitude problems. Hanley Ramirez might have an actual attitude problem. There's asking for a trade away from a manager that you don't see eye to eye with, like Colby Rasmus, and there is walking around the clubhouse, making sure the media can see the sign dangling around your chest that says "I'm sick of this ****" and demanding a trade in Spring Training of year 1 of a 6 year, $70MM contract after your manager calls for haircuts and no jewelry on the field. He is no doubt a great baseball player having a down season, but Anthopoulos has said that he won't go after bad guys, and Ramirez might just be a bad guy.
China fan - Friday, August 12 2011 @ 07:34 AM EDT (#240819) #

After yesterday's bad outing by Brad Mills, it's unclear to me if the Jays will keep him in the rotation for more than another start or two.  So they might need another starter this month, before the reinforcements arrive in September.  What are the options?  Some thoughts:

Jesse Litsch -- the Jays seem to envision him as a reliever, long-term, so they might be reluctant to switch him back to the rotation this month.

Luis Perez -- was considered a possibility for Villanueva's slot in the rotation, but the job went to Alvarez and then Perez was inserted in the bullpen.  Again, the Jays may prefer to keep him there.

P. J. Walters -- the Jays are converting him back to a starter, but it's much too early to call him back to the majors.

Kyle Drabek -- seems pretty clear that the Jays want to keep him in Las Vegas until next month.

Dustin McGowan -- won't be called up until early September at the earliest.

Who does that leave?  If the Jays decide to keep Litsch and Perez in the bullpen, my suggestion would be Joel Carreno.  He's already on the 40-man roster, and the Jays need to give him a test in the majors at some point.  He's having a good year at New Hampshire, he has a 3.52 ERA, and he has 146 strikeouts (vs. 63 walks).  It might be useful to give him a start or two in the majors this month -- especially if Litsch is available in the bullpen to back him up for 3 innings if he falters.

John Northey - Friday, August 12 2011 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#240840) #
Good point that Ramirez might just be a pain in the butt who isn't worth the headaches. That is why the Jays have 1000's of scouts I guess - to figure out which headaches are personality issues and which are pure head cases.

Any other highly talented former all-stars who are slumping a bit, sub-27, and viewed as having 'attitude' issues?
Jonny German - Friday, August 12 2011 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#240843) #
No attitude problems that I've heard of, but Chad Billingsley fits the rest of the description and it seems very possible that the Dodgers would like to shed salary ($35M over the next 3 years).
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