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How have the Jays been vs the league at each position and are things improving? This is a big question for 2012 and beyond. Is JPA's 98 OPS+ enough for a catcher? What about Encarnacion's 113 OPS+ at DH?

Using OPS+ and sOPS+ via Baseball-Reference (sOPS+ is the OPS+ vs the split you are checking for the league, so if the average shortstop had a 90 OPS+ then if the Jays SS were a 90 OPS+ they'd get a sOPS+ of 100). I know there are better measures but we are looking for the obvious issues, not fine tuning ones, but Hill sized holes in the lineup.

Individuals are listed with regular OPS+ rather than split. Listing all guys with 10+ games at a position plus Johnson in order of games played (high to low).

Overall: 96 OPS+ (sub-par offense, scoring league average runs per game of 4.6)
CA: 108 (JPA 89 mixed with Molina's 111 OPS+)
1B: 89 (Lind 98, Rivera 80, Encarnacion 113)
2B: 70 (Hill 58, McDonald 70, McCoy 80, Johnson 32)
3B: 116 (Nix 49, Encarnacion 113, Bautista 191, Lawrie 181, McDonald 70, McCoy 80)
SS: 121 (Escobar 107, McDonald 70)
LF: 78 (Patterson 78, Snider 65, Thames 106, Rivera 80)
CF: 72 (Davis 67, Patterson 78, Rasmus 68)
RF: 138 (Bautista 191, Thames 106)
DH: 108 (Encarnacion 113, Rivera 80, Thames 106, Lind 98)
P: 19 (ugly, even for pitchers - 2 for 22, both singles, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts)
PH: 29 (Encarnacion, Rivera, Teahen have 5+ AB's, 7 for 42 overall)

So clear holes (sOPS+ sub 80) are 2B, LF, CF, and PH (and pitchers). Bad spots (sub-100) adds in 1B. Wonderful (120+) is SS and RF while 3B has actually been very good despite Nix playing so much.

Of note: for split OPS+ at 3B (what they hit while playing there vs the league average OPS+) you get Bautista at 229 and Lawrie at 199 compensating for Encarnacion's 92, Nix's 64, and McDonald's 42. In LF only Thames has produced a 90+ sOPS+ (100 on the nose).

So for 2012 what are the sOPS+ for the guys who will (likely) be manning the positions?
CA: JPA 102
1B: Lind 85
2B: Johnson 38 (97 for the season as a whole)
3B: Lawrie 199
SS: Escobar 122
LF: Thames 100
CF: Rasmus 70 (98 for the season as a whole)
RF: Bautista 176
DH: Encarnacion 130

This indicates that, if Johnson is resigned, only 1B is a black hole based on how the players have hit when playing their position this year. Clearing out deadwood that played often (Nix, Patterson, Rivera, Hill) makes a major difference. If Snider learns to hit at the major league level things can improve further. A big plus would be getting a bat on the bench as well.
Jays Offense vs the League | 68 comments | Create New Account
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China fan - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#242625) #

Thanks for those calculations, John. Another way of phrasing it: the 2012 lineup would have 4 above-average hitters, 4 average hitters, and 1 below-average hitter. I know it's POSSIBLE to contend for the playoffs with a lineup like that -- especially if the pitching is excellent -- but I see it as unlikely. Moreover, I still maintain that the chances of some regression (especially by Encarnacion, but maybe also by Bautista and Lawrie whose numbers seem almost unsustainable in the long run) are greater than the admitted possibility of improvement by Rasmus, JPA, Johnson, Thames etc.

92-93 - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#242627) #
Clearing out black holes isn't enough when you play in the AL East. The Jays are 7th in MLB in runs and their offense is nowhere near good enough to compete.
92-93 - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#242628) #
Er, contend.
John Northey - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#242630) #
I think it is reasonable to assume Escobar, Bautista and Lawrie will be above average (vs position) in 2012. Not unreasonable to assume JPA, Johnson (if resigned), Thames, and Rasmus will be league average or better. That leaves DH (Encarnacion who is a wild card) and 1B (Lind) as question marks.

Dang, doing that just makes me want them to sign Fielder or Pujols even more. :P
hypobole - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#242631) #

I don't understand why so many think Encarnacion will regress. Both his OBP (.334) and SLG (.462) are more or less in line with his career numbers (.336/..465).

I also believe he would take his fielding woes to the plate. His numbers early in the year were atrocious, but when finally moved to DH have been excellent. If he's the regular DH next year,  I would suggest he will be better, not worse.

hypobole - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#242634) #
Correction -  EE's career SLG  is actually .455, not .465, although the point of this season as a whole being average for him still stands
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#242639) #
I like this post. And, like most any number crunching I do on this lineup right now, it all comes back to Lind.

Replace Lind with Fielder, and we have as good an offense as anyone.
smcs - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#242643) #
It's worse than we could have imagined: welcome back, Brian Tallet.
uglyone - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#242645) #
To add some more numbers to the picture....

Just using 2yr splits as a crude talent measurement, and I'll use wRC+ as it's pretty much the wOBA counterpart to OPS+...and because fangraphs makes finding 2yr splits very easy...


1) 2B Johnson (29): 1168pa, 110wRC+
2) 3B Lawrie (21): 82pa, 191wRC+
3) RF Bautista (30): 1212pa, 178wRC+
4) CF Rasmus (24): 1012pa, 116wRC+
5) DH Encarnacion (28): 795pa, 115wRC+
6) LF Thames (24): 272pa, 111wRC+
7) SS Escobar (28): 1110pa, 98wRC+
8) 1B Lind (27): 1066pa, 93wRC+
9) C Arencibia (25): 430pa, 87wRC+

Red Sox

1) CF Ellsbury (27): 675pa, 131wRC+
2) 2B Pedroia (27): 953pa, 137wRC+
3) 1B Gonzalez (29): 1289pa, 150wRC+
4) 3B Youkilis (32): 909pa, 147wRC+
5) DH Ortiz (35): 1091pa, 147wRC+
6) LF Crawford (29): 1098pa, 116wRC+
7) C Saltalamacchia (26): 342pa, 106wRC+
8) RF Reddick (24): 274pa, 93wRC+
9) SS Scutaro (35): 1023pa, 93wRC+


1) LF Gardner (28): 1056pa, 114wRC+
2) RF Swisher (30): 1169pa, 132wRC+
3) CF Granderson (30): 1106pa, 139wRC+
4) 2B Cano (28): 1253pa, 140wRC+
5) 1B Texeira (31): 1291pa, 129wRC+
6) 3B Rodriguez (35): 958pa, 126wRC+
7) DH Jones (34): 492pa, 128wRC+
8) SS Jeter (37): 1240pa, 99wRC+
9) C Martin (28): 796pa, 98wRC+


1) 2B Kinsler (29): 1061pa, 120wRC+
2) LF Hamilton (30): 997pa, 158wRC+
3) RF Cruz (31): 914pa, 140wRC+
4) 3B Beltre (32): 1062pa, 132wRC+
5) C Napoli (29): 849pa, 132wRC+
6) DH Young (34): 1293pa, 116wRC+
7) 1B Moreland (25): 629pa, 110wRC+
8) CF Chavez (33): 220pa, 111wRC+
9) SS Andrus (23): 1225pa, 83wRC+


1) 2B Zobrist (30): 1220pa, 118wRC+
2) LF Jennings (24): 177pa, 185wRC+
3) 3B Longoria (25): 1104pa, 131wRC+
4) RF Joyce (27): 691pa, 130wRC+
5) CF Upton (27): 1120pa, 105wRC+
6) DH Damon (37): 1148pa, 105wRC+
7) C Jaso (27): 630pa, 104wRC+
8) 1B Kotchman (29): 903pa, 100wRC+
9) SS Rodriguez (27): 721pa, 92wRC+

I trust in most all of the Jays vets to maintain that kind of performance on average, and for the bulk of the kids to improve on average....which brings us back to Lind again. We can't afford to have that kind of poor production at 1B.
John Northey - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#242650) #
Uglyone - interesting numbers there. I like comparing to position just because it makes it easier to see if improvement is probable. IE: at shortstop among teams listed none have 100 wRC+ while at 2B you have all 5 with 110+ wRC+ Thus while Escobar has a 98 vs Johnson's 110 Escobar is actually 1 point shy of being the best SS by this measure while Johnson is the worst at 2B (among these teams).

No question though that Lind either has to remember which end of the bat he is supposed to swing with or we need a replacement for him. Lind's year has been bizarre - his sOPS+ for May & June were both over 180 (ie: Bautista territory) but July was 62 while August is (brrr) a 29. He is 'hitting' 181/188/298 for August over 96 PA. That isn't a slump, that is a career ender. Obviously something very serious is wrong with Lind, and went wrong once July hit.

Lind peaked on June 17th at 339/381/638 OPS of 1.019 (194 PA). Since then he has hit 198/239/305 for a 544 OPS (259 PA). When he first came back from injury he hit for a 1.460 OPS over 13 games before this hit. I have to think another injury happened sometime around June 17th just because his stats fell apart right then (575 OPS from June 18th to 30th).
Spookie Wookie - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#242651) #
Here are current wOBAs vs rest-of-season ZiPS projections, courtesy of fangraphs:

Bautista: .455, .413
Escobar: .339, .324
Lawrie: .453, .310
Encarnacion: .348, .344
Arencibia: .307, .299
Thames: .335, .314
Lind: .319, .335
Snider: .273, .320
Johnson: .307, .329
Rasmus: .319, .337

I thought it was interesting to see that Encarnacion's current wOBA is very close to his ZiPS (which happens to be his career wOBA as well).
Glevin - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#242655) #
I think a lot of us having been worrying about Lind for a while. 1B is not a position where you can afford to have a mediocre hitter. I think the Jays probably will be looking to trade Lind. They can move Encarnacion to 1B and they do have options in the OF. If not, I can see a trade (Take a chance on Kendrys Morales? He must be cheap and the Angels have nowhere to play him. They have Bourjos, Trout, Wells, Abreu, Hunter, Morales, and Trumbo for four positions next year.)

I don't think the Jays are all that far away (especially if the extra wildcard gets added!) They need one more good starter and another middle of the order bat at 1B or OF and I think they'll be in the mix. Of course, Boston, New York, and Tampa are three of the best teams in baseball so it makes it that much harder.
John Northey - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#242696) #
It would be interesting is to use pitch Fx and video to find some fastballs down the pipe that Lind saw in early June (when he was on fire) and the same pitch/same speed in late August (when he is as cold as it gets) for comparison. Is he getting a late start, are his hands off or stance or something else?

If someone has the time, it would be worthwhile to see the pitch data for Lind in early June and compare it to August and see if he is getting a completely different mix of pitches and if his results vs those pitches is different as well. Perhaps he made an adjustment that worked great in June but as pitchers figured it out and adjusted he didn't readjust. I figure the Jays should have someone doing just this months ago (by July it was apparent something changed for Lind) but it still would be interesting.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#242712) #
Replace Lind with Fielder, and we have as good an offense as anyone.

Not quite. Lind has 55 runs created, Fielder has 106. (Teixeira has 91, Gonzalez 114). Lind's shortcomings represent about half the difference between the Jays and the Yankees (who have scored 100 more runs) and the Red Sox (who've scored 96 more runs.)

The gap between Aaron Hill and Cano or Pedroia was even larger, of course. Happily, the black hole at third base seems to have been filled..
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#242716) #
The gap between Toronto and the top of the division is much too large to be covered by adding any one or two players to the mix. We're talking about 90 runs of offense and 75 to 90 runs of pitching/defense.

The offense needs to improve, but I'm still more troubled by the fact that there's exactly one pitcher in the whole organization that I feel confident about. And there's 130 games, some 1250 innings that Ricky sits and watches.
Matthew E - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#242718) #
I'm still more troubled by the fact that there's exactly one pitcher in the whole organization that I feel confident about.

Sure... now. But they have any number of guys who could eventually, or even suddenly, turn into pitchers that you'd feel confident about. You could come up with ten such names yourself.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#242722) #
Besides Lind, what sticks out to me is:
5) C Napoli (29): 849pa, 132wRC+

Sure, he's only had 150 AB at C this year, and some at 1B, some at DH.. But - he has an OPS of 978 this year. Wow, would he look good at 1st base! In hindsight, AA made the wrong choice here.. Wonder if he could have gotten Francisco for Lind + throw-in?

That, and if we take an arbitrary cutoff point of 120 wRC+ as "really good player", then let's look at how many each team has:
Jays: 2 (and Lawrie will NOT keep up 191, but let's give him 120)
Sox: 5
Yanks: 6 (not sure if wRC+ takes into account defense, but if not, Gardner might be worth 120, which would make 7!!)
Rangers: 5 (only one under 100!)
Rays: 3 (Zobrist close at 118)

So, even if we dump Lind and sign Fielder, we end up with 3. That's Rays level, NOT Sox/Yanks/Rangers level. Not even close. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

The Rays have 50 less runs scored than us, and have given up 100 less (approx). So, they're about +60 compared to the Jays in terms of run-differential (we're +5). So, give Tampa our offense, and they jump +50 up to approx Texas level - still well behind Boston's +163 and NYY's +195.

So, take the Rays great pitching and add our offense - and we're at best 5-6 games out of a wildcard. That's what adding Fielder might do for us - bring us up to Tampa's level (5-6 games closer, still 8-10 behind the 1st place team).

Now, our pitching CAN improve quite a bit, and that can help - but.. They're not going to get to Tampa's level overnight. No way. And our offense (sadly, I just realized it) is not good enough. Again, not even close. Even with all the improvements. What AA has managed to do is to re-create a younger, cheaper version of the JP Jays: good/quite good at every position. Bautista, Escobar and maybe Lawrie could be considered All-stars. The Yankees have one at almost every position. And, their pitching has been better than ours too, by 80 RA.

Nope, IMHO, adding Fielder and a front-of-the-rotation pitcher will NOT bring us into contention. It's sad really, I kept thinking it could, because all our players are "good". Unfortunately, "good" is NOT enough. Even if we resign Johnson, we'd rank as follows (out of these 5 teams):
Pos: Rank (#wRC+ away from next best, #wRC+ away from best)
C: 5 (11, 45*, 20) *assuming Napoli's really a catcher, otherwise take next best..
1B: 5 (7, 53)
2B: 5 (8, 30)
3B: T-5 (0, 21) - I'm giving Lawrie the same value as Alex Rodriguez here, just because he's been awesome, and I have no clue how to guess better.. I would imagine he's NOT going to beat the other 3.. But, maybe..
SS: 2 (1, 1)
LF: 5 (3, 47) - ignoring Jennings current numbers here, but allowing he'll be better than Thames
CF: 3 (15, 23)
RF: 1 (-38, -85) - using distance to worst here..
DH: 4 (1, 32)

In summary: we have the best player at exactly ONE position (JBau) from these teams. We have one 2nd best (almost as good as the best), one middling player and one just barely better than the #5 guy. The other FIVE are solidly LAST at their respective positions. Most by a LARGE amount. Upgrading our catcher would require quite a bit of upgrading to get any better (12-13% improvement). 1B has the largest distance to "best" player, and yes, if we signed Fielder/Pujols, we could close that significantly. But, that still leaves us with LF. We could move up to 4 or 3 with a little improvement, but #2 and #1 are so far out of our reach it's not funny. Same with 2B, CF and DH - we're talking 20%+ improvements to get anywhere close to the best player at that position - just from these 5 teams. And that's assuming Kelly Johnson resigns. If we had Aaron Hill's 62 in there it would be a joke..

For comparison, the Yankees have the worst player at exactly one position: 3B. That's right, Alex Rodriguez is the Yankee's weak link at 126 wRC+ - and that's only because I'm crediting Brett Lawrie 126 wRC+ as well based on a strong start. Which, is quite insane, I realize. Oh, to have Brian Cashman's problems.. What about the Red Sox? 1 player at #5 (Reddick in RF). Rangers? 1 (Andrus at SS) Rays? 2 (Upton in CF and Damon at DH).

The scary thing - how DO you improve upon, say, Eric Thames or Kelly Johnson or JPA? It's not exactly obvious. And, IMHO, it's required that we add one more all-star level player, not just "above average" at 2B/C/LF, IN ADDITION to getting a power-house 1B like Fielder/Pujols. We need to get out of the basement in at least 2 positions (and close to the top) IMHO, before we have any hope of catching the Yankee's offense. Of course, signing CC away WOULD be a double-kill: improve our pitching, weaken theirs.. But, we're talking big, big $$$.. 

Wow, this is depressing - and I'm usually a "glass is 3/4 full" type of guy.. I must be having an off day :-)

(that turned into quite a ramble, sorry..)
Magpie - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#242726) #
they have any number of guys who could eventually, or even suddenly, turn into pitchers

Oh sure. But you know what has to happen first. Young pitchers will break your heart. Just like the women do.

And then they rip it out of your chest, and stomp all over it with those big spiked heels....

I don't know much, but I sure know that!
Matthew E - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#242727) #
Oh, I know. Look at the famous trio of Carpenter, Escobar, and Halladay. All three pitched for the Jays in '98, but look at how long it took before they were all established in the big leagues, and with which teams.

The current Jays have an advantage over those Jays, though: volume!


And I recognize the problem with the offense, too; this team needs a lot of superstars in the lineup, and it's basically impossible to get a lot of superstars for your lineup. They have to hope that players like Snider and Hechavarria and Rasmus and Gose and d'Arnaud put it together, and they have to make sharp trades where they can get a great guy for a couple of very good guys, and maybe sign a big free agent if they can find one who they think will actually be worth the money, and so on and so on, and in the end it probably won't work. But anything else they try certainly won't work.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#242728) #
Confidence in starting pitchers?  You must be kidding me.  It is the rare club that has 3 starting pitchers who I would feel confident about.  Sure, the Braves had them.  But, did the 2011 Yankees at this point in 2010?  Of course not.  On top of Sabathia, they've now got Garcia, Colon and Ivan Nova.  And frankly, I would not be shocked at all if each of them have an ERA over 5 next year (but the Yankees undoubtedly will have brought in two others to provide backup)

Me, I am confident with Alvarez and Janssen in medium to high-leverage relief roles.  It would be nice to have a third pitcher in the role (Nestor Molina?).  I don't mind if they bring back Frank Francisco.  I think that Morrow and Cecil have a decent chance to be as good in 2012 as Garcia, Colon or Nova. 

There is work to be done, but it (fortunately) is not a matter of keeping Romero and finding 11 other pitchers.

John Northey - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#242731) #
Many say it can't happen, you can't jump from poor to great in your staff by counting on kids.

Except, that is exactly what happened for the team we just saw leave town - the Rays in 2007 had 5 starters under 26 years old, Kazmir had a 130 ERA+ (star) Shields 117 (solid) then 3 guys with ERA+'s in the 70's. The next year they had a 5 man rotation aged 24-26 with ERA+'s of 100-127 with just 9 starts by someone else.

This year the oldest guy to start for the Jays was Villanueva at age 27. You have the ace (Romero with a 149 ERA+), Villy was decent at 100, Perez amazing at 129 (probably going to drop big time pre-end of year), 3 guys in the 90's (Litsch, Alvarez, Cecil), 2 in the 80's (Morrow & Stewart), 2 in the 70's (Jo-Jo and Drabek) and Mills (51). These guys are all at ages where a breakout could occur suddenly quite easily. They also could collapse and be dumped (see Jo-Jo, Mills) or be traded (Stewart) or shifted to the pen (Litsch).

The Jays are well set up to have a Tampa 2008 happen. We see Carreno (24) in the pen right now but could start. We have a long term deal with only Romero so anyone else can be dumped at any time for minimal cost if flopping (ie: no one blocking the way). Some top prospects are charging hard up the ladder (McGuire & Molina in AA for example, so could be up early in 2012 if they show their stuff) which helps push everyone.

Tampa shifted from a 5.53 ERA/82 ERA+ to a 3.82 ERA/116 ERA+ in one season thanks to kids developing all at once. They didn't add any amazing closers or starters, they just gave the kids and a few old vets (in the pen) a chance.

The 1985 Jays (the first playoff Jay team) did the same, 4 young starters (all under 30) plus a retread (Alexander) who was cheap mixed with a few vets in the pen plus trusting Henke as the closer (an unproven kid who, if given a shot earlier, might have pushed the Jays over 100 wins).

This can happen with this crew. Just keep giving the kids a shot, try not to blow out any arms, and we should get there sooner rather than later.

See? Glass back to 1/2 (or 3/4) full.
zeppelinkm - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#242735) #

How do you improve upon KJ, JPA, or ET? You don't improve upon them. You said there's no way to improve upon them. But.. why can't they get just get better on their own? You could probably assign 50% odds to KJ turning a corner and being way better next year then he was this year. It's reasonable to expect ET to get a bit better defensively and take another step forward offensively. Same can be said for JPA. It is not unreasonable to think they could all improve on their own. And none of them provided performances this year that would be irreplaceable if they fell off a cliff next year.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#242736) #
John Northey, when Tampa improved, a number of the changes were defensive.  They moved Upton from short to centerfield in the second half of 2007, and they traded Delmon Young for Bartlett.  Evan Longoria arrived in April, 2008, and presto, the club had changed from being a below-average defensive club to a very, very good one.  The improvement on the left side of the diamond was huge. 

The Rays' team FIP/xFIP moved from 4.70/4.43 to 4.22/4.35 between 2007 and 2008.  The pitching was better, due to development, but the biggest change was with the leather. 

Could that happen to the Jays?  Sure.  Gose and Hechavarria develop like gangbusters in the first half of 2012, and take roles by mid-season with Rasmus moving to left and Escobar moving to second.  It doesn't seem likely at all to me. 

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 10:59 PM EDT (#242753) #

A.A. will be busy this off season.  

If he thinks there is a need in LF, he will fill it.   Travis Snider will learn to hit using his whole body or he will be gone!   He will no longer be the elite player we need at this position.   Eric Thames will get better, he's learning as he plays. 

As there is a need at 2B, A.A. will "make do" this year.  Johnson or Hill will most likely fill the position next year, unless he pulls off another surprising trade.  I think Johnson is back, as he has more upside than Hill.

There is a NEED at D.H., that A.A. must fill.   Edwin Encarnacion was to be the Big Bat with 30+ HR power A.A. was hoping he'd be.   Ooops!   I would be satisfied if Prince Fielder was signed ($25.0+MM /year - 7-8 years), at least we wouldn't be wasting the productivity of Bautista like this year.   His ability to play first would be a big asset.

If he thinks there is a need at 1B, he will fill it.   Adam Lind is good enough, and cheap enough to keep, until something better arrives.

There is a need at Starter, which A.A. will fill, but not with the caliber of talent needed.    I would trade for Felix Hernandez unless going after C.C. Sabathia is better.   A.A. is likely to go after someone to pitch 7+ innings, 33+ starts for a year or two.

There is a NEED in the Bullpen with Casey Janssen and maybe Jesse Litsch as the only sure thing.   I would go after the best Closer I could sign (4 years - $50.0 if neccessary, as there are only two whose numbers and durability almost compare with Rivera's), add insurance (1 or 2) of Top Arm(s) to go with another 2 or 3 from the team.

This Team can get better quickly, without blocking anyone, by Great Trades (SP and 2B), and Quality Free Agents (DH/1B,CL, RP and Bench), yet staying under $125.0 Million for 2012.

zeppelinkm - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#242756) #
I'm sorry VW, in my post I said you said there's no way to improve upon them. This obviously incorrect. You were simply asking the question of how.  Again, I think the how with them is improvement. Hopefully JPA and Thames improve (especially on D) and KJ settles in somewhere closer to his career norms.  That would help significantly.
John Northey - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#242759) #
Interesting point on Snider. He may be young but normally once a player has a few hundred ml pa he has shown who he is. Maybe Snider can be the exception and cut his k's down and show the power we dreamed of but I doubt he will ever be the 120+ OPS+ hitter we dreamed he would be. He'll have 1 or 2 big years but not sustainable. IMO of course.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#242763) #
Many say it can't happen, you can't jump from poor to great in your staff by counting on kids.

Oh, it certainly can happen. But only a fool would feel confident that it will happen. And count on it happening. And start printing the WS tickets.

I'm sure the Yankees only feel really good about one starter. But they also have a few relief pitchers they should be feeling very good about. Is there a better bullpen in the majors?
Jonny German - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 08:35 AM EDT (#242769) #
This Team can get better quickly, without blocking anyone

After you make that trade for Felix Hernandez there won't be anyone to block. Perfect!
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#242773) #
I'm sorry VW, in my post I said you said there's no way to improve upon them. This obviously incorrect. You were simply asking the question of how.  Again, I think the how with them is improvement. Hopefully JPA and Thames improve (especially on D) and KJ settles in somewhere closer to his career norms.  That would help significantly.

Yes, JPA and Thames and COULD improve - but.. Isn't Thames ALREADY where we thought he would be/possibly over his head? I mean, how much more upside than OPS 786, OPS+ 109 does he have? Could he get to OPS+ of 140? I really doubt it. Similar with JPA - he's at OPS+ of 94. Sure, he could do 110, but could he do 125?

KJ's career norms are hard to pin down, but say OPS+ of 115 isn't out of the question. But, is he going to compete with:
Pedroia: 128/135 (last 2 years)
Cano: 142/131
Zobrist: 149/97/139 (last 3 years, since 2010 seems to be an outlier)

No. His upside is more likely to be Kinsler who is around OPS 110-115.. In other words - even the BEST KJ has done is not close to the top of the list - it's tied for bottom or 4th.

That's my argument. Not that KJ/JPA/ET can't improve or they're not good/above average. My argument is: unless they improve by, say half a Bautista (i.e. half as much as Jose improved), they'll STILL be 4th or 5th on that list. And I'm saying THAT isn't good enough. We'll only have the best or among the best players in 2 out of 9 positions even with "normal" improvements from Thames/JPA/KJ. And worse, we'll be 5th in a lot of those categories.

Look at the list again - if we assume Lawrie gets wRC+ of 125 (1 less than ARod), the Yankees have ZERO players that are the worst at their position from that list. ZERO. And the Jays have 5. We'd need 3 players at LEAST to make huge improvements/trade for major upgrades to get close to a Yankees offense. We can improve one dramatically by signing Fielder/Pujols.. Heck, sign Pujols to play 1B, Fielder to DH.. Where are the stuper-stud catchers, 2B or LF available via free agency (or trade)?? We have above-average players at those positions - NY/Boston/Texas have all-stars at almost every position.
I'm willing to concede that with some big steps by the pitching (i.e. not throwing Jo-Jo Reyes out there, etc), we can cut down 50-75 RA and be more or less equal to the yankees. But even if we signed one of Fielder/Pujols, we'd still be maybe 75-80 RS behind the Yanks. That's HUGE. That's 5-7 games behind territory.
Gerry - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#242777) #

The Ichiro watch is on.....

Ichiro has had 200 hits in every season since he came to Seattle in 2001.  This year has been a down year for Ichiro but it seems as though he now has something to play for, his 200 hit streak.

Ichiro currently has 154 hits, he needs 46 more over the Mariners last 28 games, a rate of 1.64 hits per game.

Over his last ten games Ichiro has 17 hits, a ratio of 1.7.

Can he keep it up?  This latest hot streak has brought Ichiro's average up to .275 for the season.

I wouldn't bet against him.

Jonny German - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#242778) #
Yes, JPA and Thames and COULD improve - but.. Isn't Thames ALREADY where we thought he would be/possibly over his head?

I think Thames' injury history is an important factor when considering his upside. If you take the view that he's over it, it's a good thing - he would have been drafted much higher without the injury factor. If you assume he's injury-prone, then of course you'll think less of his prospects.

I take the positive view as he's had no health issues for 2 solid seasons and has performed very well while moving through the minors and into the majors at a very fast pace. AA was the only level he spent a full season at and he's played only 242 minor league games in total. So far in the majors Thames has hit for a reasonable average, shown very good power, and has made adjustments - started slow, went down to AAA, came back red hot, went through a major slump, is currently back on an extended hot streak.

Looking at his overall season stats, the obvious weakness is his 5.3% walk rate which is leading to an unimpressive .313 OBP. For his minor league career overall his walk rate was 9.1%. If we discount that to 8.7% (his AA rate) and apply it to his major league line he'd have another 10 walks and his hypothetical OBP would be .348.

So that's the task in front of him, in my opinion. Take 1 extra walk per week. That'll play just fine alongside Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, 2011 Carl Crawford, everyone the Red Sox have played in RF this year... to name just a few.

I have similar positive thoughts about JP Arencibia but I won't take the time to go into detail. Short story is DON'T FORGET HE'S A CATCHER! The tools of ignorance have a strong tendency to slow down offensive development. Similar to how Thames just needs to take a few more walks to move from good to very good, Arencibia just needs to hit .240 rather than .220.
China fan - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#242779) #
VW, that appears to be a very compelling argument.  I'm curious to see the response from Jonny German, uglyone and others who seemed (as far as I could figure out) to feel that the Jays hitting lineup was just about as strong as it needed to be (with the exception of the 2B hole that Johnson presumably has filled) to contend in the AL East.  I hope I'm not misrepresenting them.  Perhaps there's a statistical case to be made that VW is wrong?   Gentlemen?
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#242780) #
It is common for minor league starters with great stuff (but perhaps an incomplete repertoire) to be converted to relief and immediately dominate the league in that role, because the role is much easier than starting.  Is Joba Chamberlain that much different from Henderson Alvarez?
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#242783) #
My impression is that d'Arnaud is simply a better player than Arencibia at this point.  No one was giving Arencibia awards for best defensive player in the league, and even in his best seasons, he was not being voted MVP.

My own take is that the club has a Pierzynski/Mauer type "problem", and I am hoping that they will find a solution of a similar type, even if the quality of the return does not match the Twins' and bearing in mind that d'Arnaud cannot be expected to hit as well as Mauer did. 

Jonny German - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#242784) #
As much as I'm a JP fan, I don't disagree in substance. I would argue the semantics of "d'Arnaud is better" vs. "d'Arnaud projects to be better". And I'm insulted on JP's behalf that you've forgotten his 2010 PCL MVP.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#242785) #
Thanks for the correction.  I do believe that taking into account both offence and defence, d'Arnaud is now better, rather than a player who projects to be better in 2013, but that belief is the result of fairly subjective pieces of evidence.  The other caveat is that the injury risk (for both players) remains a serious one, but if the club is going to compete in 2012 (and it ought to be attempting to do so), some risks will have to be taken.  This is one that seems worthwhile, especially with the presence of Jimenez as a long-term Plan B. 

Jonny German - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#242789) #
I'm curious to see the response from Jonny German, uglyone and others who seemed (as far as I could figure out) to feel that the Jays hitting lineup was just about as strong as it needed to be

I don't presume that Johnson has filled the 2B hole. He's started off well in Toronto, but his 2011 is still a lousy season overall. I trust Jays management to make a sensible judgement call on whether he can be expected to hit close to his career norms going forward or if a different answer is required.

IF Johnson is re-signed and IF he hits close to his career norms, then I fully expect the Jays to out-score the Devil Rays in 2012 (assuming no other changes for either team). I do not expect them to out-score either the Yankees or Red Sox, but I expect them to be close enough that it becomes a question of whether the pitching is good enough.

IF the above assumptions hold and in addition the Jays sign Pujols or Fielder, then I feel the Jays have a very good chance to outscore all 3 rivals. (I am feeling more pessimistic about Lind than I was the last time this topic was discussed).

I should perhaps note that one of my assumptions is that Teahen is cut. The difference between him and Encarnacion/Lind/Snider/Thames is huge, particularly when pressed into full time duty to cover an injury.
John Northey - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#242790) #
Something to think about also is how close are those last place for their position guys to the rest of the pack and how are they vs other potentially available options.

For example, at 2B (via ESPN) you see OPS ranging from 882 (Cano) to 607 (Hill). Johnson's 709 is a major improvement, but 11 guys are ahead of him (out of 18 regulars). NY, Boston, and Tampa's 2B are #1/2/3 in the majors so nothing the Jays do will likely catch up. The trick is to get closer. 100 OPS points helps a lot, but can they gain another 100 and move into the top 5 for 2B? Rickie Weeks would be a wonder, but Milwaukee is a playoff team and he is entering his age 29 season with a contract covering him up to 31/32 (2015) at $10-11 mil per year. Kendrick in LA is the other top 5 guy and he is a free agent after 2012 but is having a career year (131 OPS+ vs 99 over 2055 PA before) so even if he was available (and he isn't) I wouldn't touch him. Ian Kinsler in Texas isn't avaiable, and at this point you are getting to OPS+'s in the 100-110 range which Johnson could reasonably reach.

What I'm saying is we need to see stars wherever possible (Bautista, Escobar) potential stars wherever else we can put them (Rasmus, Lawrie) and decent league average or better everywhere else without blowing more than $5 mil per guy (Encarnacion, Thames, JPA) while clearing out deadwood or fixing them so they aren't deadwood anymore (Lind, Hill [now replaced]). A big question for this winter is if Johnson is a potential star or league average. If average the you can't offer him more than $5 mil per or more than 2 years + options even if others offer him $10 mil and 3+ as it would prevent the Jays from easily upgrading should an opportunity arise. Guys like Teahen cannot be kept around as they are deadwood eating roster space.

To be a potential hitting star I'd figure a guy would have to OPS 900+ in the minors (others can be stars, but that is a good sign) and be no older than 23 in AAA, 22 in AA, 21 in A+, 20 lower than that (guys in the minors at 25 rarely become stars). This would include CA d'Arnaud, LF Eric Arce (19, 1.015 OPS) and that is it. Not a lot of guys who are destroying their leagues. Lawrie and Thames did, but they are up now so I didn't list them. If you drop to 850 you get a few more, and 800 would be my bottom line for a guy who will be an offensive force in the majors. Guys like Gose I expect could be solid hitters but not 140 OPS+, more like 100-120 for a normal level at best. Lawrie could be a 140, Thames (if all breaks right) could be a 120+ guy, but the system has few like that (few systems would have a lot of them). That is what the Jays need but will be very hard to get. Especially if you want defense as well.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#242791) #
VW, that appears to be a very compelling argument. I'm curious to see the response from Jonny German, uglyone and others who seemed (as far as I could figure out) to feel that the Jays hitting lineup was just about as strong as it needed to be (with the exception of the 2B hole that Johnson presumably has filled) to contend in the AL East. I hope I'm not misrepresenting them. Perhaps there's a statistical case to be made that VW is wrong? Gentlemen?

Sure, I'll give it a shot.

I'll rephrase VW's argument as "even with Fielder, this lineup wouldn't be as good as the Yanks/Sox". I think that's what the argument is, as best i can see. Since his argument was based on position-to-position comparison, I'll try and estimate what our offense would look like next year with Fielder in the lineup. I'll use a 2yr split as a rough estimate at next year's performance, with the large caveat that the rookies on the Jays are extremely difficult to project based on their much smaller sample size. Lawrie especially screws up the numbers because he's been so damn good in such a small sample. I'll knock him down to 3rd on the list even though he should be #1. I'll list hitters from best to worst instead of position to position. I'll use wRC+ as it's my favorite league-adjusted number.

And I'll preamble by saying that VW is likely not taking enough account of the in-season changes the jays have made of Lawrie, Rasmus, Johnson, Thames over Hill, Davis, Patterson, Rivera/Nix.

2year wRC+ split, Jays --- Yanks --- Differential (age as of next season)

  • RF Bautista (31): 178 --- 2B Cano (29): 140 --- (+38)
  • 1B Fielder (28): 145 --- CF Granderson (31): 138 --- (+7)
  • 3B Lawrie (22): 194 --- RF Swisher (31): 133 --- (+61?)
  • CF Rasmus (25): 116 --- 1B Teixeira (32): 128 --- (-12)
  • LF Thames (25): 114 --- DH Jones (35): 128 --- (-14)
  • DH Encarnacion (29): 114 --- 3B Rodriguez (36): 126 --- (-12)
  • 2B Johnson (30): 112 --- LF Gardner (28): 114 --- (-2)
  • SS Escobar (29): 98 --- SS Jeter (38): 98 --- (+0)
  • C Arencibia (26): 92 --- C Martin (29): 97 --- (-5)

  • Jays are more top-heavy, and the Yanks have better depth, but overall that looks like two fairly similar offenses to me. Except that even the yanks' advantages in this comparison are based on aging vets like Tex, Jones, and ARod having solid-but-not-huge advantages over younger guys like Rasmus/Thames/EE.

    The key there to me would be that we'd legitimately have the two best hitters on either team - proven elite hitters, and would be counting on the younger talent not to match their elite hitters, but to match up with their aging depth hitters.


  • RF Bautista (31): 178 --- 1B Gonzalez (30): 149 --- (+29)
  • 1B Fielder (28): 145 --- DH Ortiz (36): 148 --- (-3)
  • 3B Lawrie (22): 194 --- 3B Youkilis (33): 147 --- (+47?)
  • CF Rasmus (25): 116 --- 2B Pedroia (28): 137 --- (-21)
  • LF Thames (25): 114 --- CF Ellsbury (28): 132 --- (-18)
  • DH Encarnacion (29): 114 --- LF Crawford (30): 117 --- (-3)
  • 2B Johnson (30): 112 --- C Saltalamacchia (27): 106 --- (+6)
  • SS Escobar (29): 98 --- SS Scutaro (36): 93 --- (+5)
  • C Arencibia (26): 92 --- RF J.Reddick (25): 92 --- (+0)

  • Again, arguably pretty close overall.
    uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#242792) #
    Not quite. Lind has 55 runs created, Fielder has 106. (Teixeira has 91, Gonzalez 114). Lind's shortcomings represent about half the difference between the Jays and the Yankees (who have scored 100 more runs) and the Red Sox (who've scored 96 more runs.)

    Just caught your post, magpie, after I posted the above.

    Basically, I'm not sure you're crediting enough to Rasmus/Lawrie/Johnson/Thames already replacing Davis/Hill/Patterson/Rivera/Nix.
    Matthew E - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#242793) #
    I find vw's argument persuasive in the broad strokes, but the team's total runs scored/allowed is more important than the positional breakdown. By which I don't mean that the Jays can afford to take the approach of settling for subpar performance at any position, but it's two things that the Jays are trying to improve here (runs scored and runs allowed) and not fifteen (runs scored because of the catcher, runs scored because of the first baseman, [...], runs scored because of the DH, runs allowed by one starting pitcher, [...], runs allowed by a fifth starting pitcher, runs allowed by the bullpen). Anyplace you can shore the team up, you do it; it's easier to improve on a bad player than it is to improve on a good player, and it's easier to improve on a good player than it is to improve on a very good player.
    China fan - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#242794) #
    Uglyone, those are good points, but one of the biggest risks in your scenario is Brett Lawrie.  He's had a phenomenal start, but is it realistic to expect him to keep going at his current pace?  Your calculations seem to assume that -- at the age of 21 -- he is already a far better hitter than Youkilis and Swisher.  That's probably a bit of a reach.  I hope that's true, but I'm not counting on it. At some point, opposition pitchers adjust to him and begin locating his weaknesses.  There's a fair chance that his sophomore season will see him hitting at a league-average pace or slightly better.  His major-league plate appearances so far are a pretty small sample size to extrapolate from.
    Jonny German - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#242796) #
    If you look closely you'll notice that uglyone's calculations had the Jays at 61 runs better than the Yankees and 42 better than the Sox, but in both cases he concluded "fairly similar offences". I believe that's a more than fair correction for the Lawrie factor.
    Gerry - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#242797) #
    Over the last few weeks I have seen many, many 2012 lineups on Da Box with Prince Fielder in them.  I haven't seen too many plan B's.  What if Fielder stays in Milwaukee or takes big money to play somewhere else?
    Paul D - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#242798) #

    This site discusses the 5 Japanese pitchers available this off season.  Notable that they conclude that the posting fee for Darvish will be $15 to $40 million.

    uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#242799) #
    I don't think any of the plan Bs are good enough.

    I guess Berkman could be a plan B, but more of a Frank Thomas type risky one.

    Aramis Ramirez might be a plan B, though he's never going to give you Fielder-level performance, and will cost a pretty penny.

    Keep hearing about that Votto trade thing too, but I don't see how that gets done without us taking a huge hit to other parts of our team.

    Maybe we poach Ortiz from the Red Sox?

    uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#242802) #
    Uglyone, those are good points, but one of the biggest risks in your scenario is Brett Lawrie. He's had a phenomenal start, but is it realistic to expect him to keep going at his current pace? Your calculations seem to assume that -- at the age of 21 -- he is already a far better hitter than Youkilis and Swisher. That's probably a bit of a reach. I hope that's true, but I'm not counting on it. At some point, opposition pitchers adjust to him and begin locating his weaknesses. There's a fair chance that his sophomore season will see him hitting at a league-average pace or slightly better. His major-league plate appearances so far are a pretty small sample size to extrapolate from.

    I think if Lawrie somehow kept up this pace, then the Jays in the scenario above would clearly be the best offense of the 3. If you adjust him down to even with his counterparts, then I think the offenses are comparable.

    Of course, Lawrie could always bomb out completely next year too, as could any/all of our kids, which would tomahawk any hopes we had next year no matter who we sign.
    greenfrog - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#242803) #
    Not saying this will happen, but if Johnson is a Type A and declines arbitration, the Jays could sign Fielder and still have two first-round draft picks next year (three if the Jays finish in the bottom 15, thereby ending up with a protected pick). Add the potential supplementary picks for the Jays' Type B players, and you could argue that if ever there was a year to splurge on a Type A player, this is it.
    vw_fan17 - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#242804) #
    uglyone - a good comparison, and closer than I expected. Thanks!

    Of course, as I argued above, I can't imagine giving lawrie anymore than 125, but, still, better than I had hoped.

    I don't know if a balanced wRC+ lineup vs. a top-heavy one would do better (I would imagine it would), plus it's easier to limit the damage around an injury. In the above comparisons, if JBau gets injured and you have to replace him with a wRC+ 100 player, the Jays are sunk. Boston/NY wouldn't be affected as much. Of course, I think that's an acceptable risk - it's the best you can do with a lower budget..

    smcs - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#242813) #
    Besides Lind, what sticks out to me is:
    5) C Napoli (29): 849pa, 132wRC+

    I still say that trade was Anthopoulos' way of saying "Maybe you can get the better of me in a trade."
    92-93 - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#242823) #
    I think it would be a good poll to see what % of us would trade Bautista for Votto. I certainly would.
    hypobole - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#242826) #

    I'd keep Bautista, then sign Votto as an FA after the 2013 season.

    Jonny German - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#242827) #
    Interesting. Are you expecting Bautista to turn into a pumpkin?
    John Northey - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#242829) #
    While I'd love Votto (who wouldn't) or Fielder or Pujols I think a smarter move (financially) for the Jays would be to get Yonder Alonso out of Cincinnati. The kid can rake but is being given the Cecil Fielder/Jimy Williams treatment. Namely he is being shuffled everywhere possible but not given a chance to really play. He has played (poorly) at 3B, LF as well as at his natural 1B. He has had just 6 starts since he was called up in late July. This is a kid who has hit 400/500/743 for a 1.243 OPS over 42 sporadic PA. He didn't tear up the IL (296/374/486) but certainly showed enough to deserve a full shot. Instead Baker keeps playing Dave Sappelt in LF (246/269/292 - 12 starts in 21 games but 313/377/458 in AAA) among others.

    In AA's shoes I'd be hunting for guys like that, ones who can hit but are seriously blocked. Now, if the budget is there for a Votto/Fielder/Pujols then go for it, but guys like Alonso catch me at a good one to grab if you can.
    92-93 - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#242831) #
    I think Votto is a younger, better hitter currently on a more team-friendly contract. The report around the trade deadline said the Reds were willing to kick in a significant prospect as well. I'm too lazy to have fun with arbitrary endpoints but I'd bet that Votto's last 3-4 months have been better than Bautista's.
    uglyone - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#242838) #
    It's pretty close at the plate (Votto was slightly better last year, Bautista's been significantly better this year..but the gap is closing as the season goes on). There's probably less risk of Votto turning into a pumpkin, but probably less of a chance he can peak as high as Bautista is this year too.

    Bautista can field a couple of positions, while Votto is stuck at 1B, but Votto is 3 years younger.

    Their annual salaries are pretty much the same, but Votto's expires 2yrs earlier than Bautista does, and Votto's going to get paid in a big way at that point. Whoever has him is going to have to pony up a Fielder/Pujols-type deal to keep him on their team in a couple of years when he's 30.

    That would be a tough call....but I'm not sure it would make much difference to our team either way.

    I'd rather just pay up for Fielder and keep Bautista, I think.
    BlueJayWay - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#242843) #
    Yeah.  Votto's great obviously, but trading Bautista for him is a bit of a sideways move. 
    Landomar - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 02:40 AM EDT (#242856) #

    I think it is interesting to look at what the best offenses in the AL have produced in recent years.

    • 2006 - NYY (930 runs, .824 OPS), CLE (870 runs, .806 OPS), CWS (868 runs, .806 OPS)
    • 2007 - NYY (968 runs, .829 OPS), DET (887 runs, .802 OPS), BOS (867 runs, .806 OPS)
    • 2008 - TEX (901 runs, .816 OPS), BOS (845 runs, .805 OPS), MIN (829 runs, .748 OPS)
    • 2009 - NYY (915 runs, .839 OPS), LAA (883 runs, .792 OPS), BOS (872 runs, .806 OPS)
    • 2010 - NYY (859 runs, .786 OPS), BOS (818 runs, .790 OPS), TAM (802 runs, .736 OPS)
    • 2011 pace - NYY (885 runs, .803 OPS), BOS (870 runs, .808 OPS), TEX (819 runs, .779 OPS)

    In general, to be awesome, we need to produce 800-900 runs next season, supported by an OPS up near .800.

    Our regular position players, in my opinion, can actually be counted on as a group to be above that .800 OPS number next season.  A full season of Lawrie, Thames, Rasmus, and Johnson (if re-signed) would make a big difference over the entire 162 game schedule.  If the bench chips in at a typical level, and we avoid having many important injuries, then I think that we already have what we need (more or less).  Other than Arencibia, who is good for a catcher (and capable of being outstanding with about .20-.30 more points of batting average), the lowest career OPS we have to work with is actually Rasmus (at .769).  It's likely that some of our hitters will disappoint, and some will be better than expected, but I think our hitting talent is already quite impressive.

    We should still look to improve where possible, of course, and if we're able to upgrade a guy like Lind to a Pujols, Votto, or Fielder level guy, then great.  I really like the bats we have right now though, and the offense is not the part of the team that I'm worried about for 2012.

    cybercavalier - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#242868) #
    A tentative three team trade (Jays, Giants, Reds)

    Jays get Votto

    Giants get Lind

    Reds get Burrell + Snider + prospect from Jays and/or Giants


    Giants get Lind to replace the aging Aubrey Huff

    Reds to put Alonso at 1B, Burrell to play LF while the team experiments young players at LF (Lewis, Sappelt, Snider)

    The Jays get Votto to cement the 1B position and give Snider a new life if the team determines his future is not in T.O..

    Just a suggestion
    cybercavalier - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#242873) #
    Or if the Jays wants to pace the way for D'Arnaud to Toronto, then put in Arencibia + Lind + Teahen. The Reds would get Arencibia and prospects from Giants and Toronto while solidifying the randomness at catcher and Alonso. Teahen could venture at 3B behind Rolen. To cut this tentative trade short, there are many ways to make it happen if the Jays intends to get Votto to T.O..
    Paul D - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#242878) #

    That package doesn't sniff Votto.   Not even close.

    Plus, the Giants don't want a 1b, they have Belt.

    I think you see if the Cubs lose out on a 1b and then see if they're interested in Lind.

    bball12 - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#242881) #

    Agree with uglyone's take on this.

    Sideways trade does nothing.

    We have alot of other things to watch, and tend to, other than trading Bautista for someone who has similar value (and there arent many)

    We have to watch the rookies and see how they do:

    Thames - Lawrie - Arencibia - (so far so good).

    We have to also watch guys like Snider and Rasmus - (potential is there but production has not been there for 3 years):

    We have to figure out 1B, 2B and DH - (not a big fan of Johnson and we can do better than Lind):

    So - why mess with Bautista (arguably the best player in the game) - for a sideways trade?

    AA has lots of other things to watch and do that would yield more incremental value in my opinion.





    Original Ryan - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#242886) #
    Alex Anthopoulos: Hi Walt, what can you give me for Mark Teahen?
    Walt Jocketty: I give you...dancing flower.
    Alex Anthopoulos: That's it? I was really hoping for Joey Votto.
    Walt Jocketty: I can also give daughter's latest CD.
    Alex Anthopoulos: Never mind. I'll see what Tony Reagins is up to. Maybe he'll give me Mike Trout.

    Chuck - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#242889) #

    then put in Arencibia + Lind + Teahen

    Teahen will make $5.5M next year. Nobody will want to pay him that. Nobody. The Jays were forced to take Teahen to get Rasmus. They'd rather Teahen were still on the White Sox.

    The next steps involving Teahen will be getting DFA'd by Toronto and ultimately being released with Toronto on the hook for either his entire salary, if no one picks him up, or all but the major league minimum if someone does pick him up.

    Chuck - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#242890) #

    Alex Anthopoulos: Hi Walt, what can you give me for Mark Teahen?
    Walt Jocketty: I give you...dancing flower.

    AA would take the dancing flower if it meant unloading Teahen's salary.


    92-93 - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#242948) #
    CIN's area of strength is catcher, with Hernandez/Hanigan at the MLB level and top prospects in Mesoraco/Grandal. They are the one team that would have pretty limited interest in Arencibia.
    hypobole - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#242953) #
    cybercavalier - your area of strength is not making trade proposals, although I have to give you credit for not including Jason Nix in this latest one.
    bpoz - Thursday, September 01 2011 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#242966) #
    I can never see AA's moves coming, except signing Bautista. When Bautista said sign me before the season starts or else I go FA. I figured it was 50/50 that AA would sign Bautista.
    I sort of saw an SP (Marcum) being traded.

    I never saw the Wells, Rasmus & Hill deals coming. I see Gose type deals as a regular event, ie trade immediate or close to ready talent for far away but big upside talent, but AA never repeated this which is a big disappointment to me.
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