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But they most likely won't.

A few day ago at Fangraphs, Paul Swydan made a convincing case why they should both stay over Ben Francisco. I'm going to add my support here.

I would waive Francisco or possibly McCoy, keep Vizquel and Davis. That would make 14 position players making the club.

At this point in his career Snider has proven himself at AAA. He's still young enough to develop into a star and sending him down would pretty much signal that the Jays have given up on him.

By contrast, Thames could productively be sent down to AAA - but why not go with the best talent right out the gate? After all, the Jays claim they are serious about contending. Thames can find enough playing time, spelling Snider and Batista and DH-ing while Edwin gets a day off against the odd right-hander.

In effect, Thames would become the 4th outfielder, while Rajai is deployed strategically for his base-running skills.There's no room for Francisco, and McCoy is expendable because of Vizquel.

Of course I fully expect the Jays to do the complete opposite: keep Francisco and McCoy, cut Vizquel and send down either Snider or Thames and go with 12 pitchers.

LInk to Fangraphs piece

Snider and Thames ought to make the team | 161 comments | Create New Account
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92-93 - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#252948) #
As this point Vizquel will be the backup infielder, not McCoy.

Encarnacion & Lind have done nothing over the last couple seasons to dictate them requiring guaranteed full-time jobs. As such, I too would be carrying Thames instead of Francisco, figuring out a playing rotation based on various matchups and streaks and whatnot.

The vote on the left side of the site makes it clear how most Bauxites think - we want Snider.
Thomas - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#252949) #
As this point Vizquel will be the backup infielder, not McCoy.

I think that's becoming clear, as well. AA has made comments the last few days about Vizquel still having the arm to handle the left side of the infield, which seems to be suggesting that the doubt they had was as to whether his arm could still handle long throws when backhanding a ball at short.

I don't know how relevant it is, but I think it's probably worth at least noting that John Farrell was Cleveland's farm director when Francisco was coming up. I think the club likes him more than the internet seems to. There probably are enough at-bats for Thames as the backup at the corners and DH, but I don't think he'll wind up in that role.

uglyone - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#252950) #
And don't look now, but along with Thames and Snider, Cooper is also having another great spring.

It's Lind that clearly doesn't deserve a starting MLB job right now, and has the utterly redundant skillset in this lineup.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#252951) #
Last 2 seasons:

DH En'cion (29): 897pa, .787ops, .342woba, 113wRC+
LF Thames (24): 394pa, .769ops, .333woba, 108wRC+
UT Francisco (30): 490pa, .731ops, .325woba, 101wRC+
1B Lind (28): 1155pa, .723ops, .311woba, 92wRC+
ML Snider (24): 521pa, .709ops, .309woba, 90wRC+

IMO, EE and Thames clearly deserve starting spots, and have earned them (both are having nice springs, too).

IF Snider has finally figured things out, it's Lind that has to lose his spot, and then it's a matter of determining whether Lind or Francisco is the more useful bench player.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#252952) #
LF/DH/1B/backup OF/backup IF are the battles I guess...

LF: Thames vs Snider - Thames has the better ML track record, Snider the greater potential. Early betting is on Snider

DH: Encarnacion has it, but any of the left handed hitters (Thames, Snider, Cooper) could be mixed in easily

1B: Lind has it, but could be forced into a platoon with Encarnacion or Francisco (where the DH goes to 1B and Francisco goes to LF or RF to give an OF a break)

Backup OF: Francisco is the #4 guy, Davis #5. I don't see Thames or Snider being left on the roster as a 4th outfielder who gets 200-300 PA at most.

Backup IF: Vizquel has the inside track here, being able to play anywhere in the infield is a big asset. McCoy and Valbuena are probably in AAA to start but if anyone gets hurt one of them will be up quickly.

Given past experience and the issues with the rotation (injury recover, ineffectiveness recovery, youth in 3 slots) I can't imagine the Jays going with fewer than 7 in the pen. So the bench becomes Francisco, Davis, Vizquel, Mathis. Seems light for the infield but Johnson & Escobar & Lawrie are expected to be out there everyday so it shouldn't be an issue.

It probably would be ideal if Encarnacion or Lind could be traded so Snider is in LF, Thames at DH, EE or Lind at 1B (whoever is left) while Francisco mixes and matches. Then a 2nd backup IF could be kept which gives a lot more flexibility in-game. I see Davis' speed being too useful to dump.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#252953) #
There are so many ways you could do it.  I'd be comfortable with Thames as an everyday DH/4th OF, with Encarnacion as the regular first baseman and Lind getting occasional work. I actually like Thames' bat a little more than Snider's, at this point, and I really want them both to be given a full shot. 
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#252954) #

Nothing an individual player can do, baring a total collapse or a super-duper whooper spring (I'm hungry), to win or lose their position on the 25-man Roster, if it's not up for competition.   To the best of my knowledge, one Bench position and one Starting position are the only competitions this Spring, Left Field Is Not.

Toronto is very dominant this Spring, 14 wins: 10 wins giving up only 2 or fewer runs, 1 giving up 3, all won by at least 2 or more runs; 4 losses: 1 run loss (3-4) in 10 Innings, two 2-run losses (2-4, 3-5) and a blowout 4th game of the spring.   You can talk about "working on stuff", "kids playing", "small sample", and more, but everyone is in the same boat.   This team must be better than 79-81 wins.

By the way: Aaron pitched a decent spring game: 5.0, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 1 HR, 3 SO, 7/1 GO/AO; against most of Boston's Statring 9.

uglyone - Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#252955) #
Spring numbers, for the record:

Snider: 37ab, .324avg, .375obp, .757slg, 1.132ops
Thames: 34ab, .353avg, .410obp, .529slg, .940ops
En'cion: 37ab, .297avg, .333obp, .568slg, .901ops
Cooper: 32ab, .313avg, .378obp, .438slg, .816ops
Lind: 25ab, .240avg, .321obp, .320slg, .641ops
raptorsaddict - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 01:08 AM EDT (#252956) #
Wow, that line sure puts Lind's general suckitude into perspective. I agree that Snider needs to be with the big club, regardless if its Lind or Francisco or Thames that gets the short end. Or, someone will get injured and things will open up.

Also, that line for Cooper is pretty much exactly what I think of him in a best-case scenario in MLB.

brent - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 05:03 AM EDT (#252957) #
No way. You send one of them down to get at bats while francisco sits on the bench. Why give up injury depth?
timpinder - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#252958) #
Snider was called up too early and has been jerked around too often. He needs to be given the LF job and allowed to run with it. It seems he's been around forever having debuted in 2008. But it's important to remember he's the same age or younger as much heralded rookies who have just arrived like Ackley, Kipnis, Goldschmidt, Jennings, Belt, etc.
Sending him down or giving up on him would be a big mistake in my opinion. If he ends up elsewhere, the Jays will regret it. I will be disappointed if anyone but Snider is the starting LF. Even if Thames' bat is slightly better, which I'm not convinced of, Snider's defensive abilities would more than make up for the difference.
rpriske - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#252959) #

I am done with Snider. I think it is time to move on. Thames is a better player.

I am rapidly approaching that point with Lind as well. Let's see Cooper play instead. (Though if Snider is to stay, let it be at the expense of Lind, not Thames.)

Ryan C - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#252960) #
If both players have already been told (and presumably the rest of the team knows) that it's an open competition for LF - winner stays and the other gets to start the year in the minors - then you have to follow through on that when the season opens. You can't say you're going to do one thing and then change the parameters when it's inconvenient, the players need to be able to trust management. Of course two weeks into the season all bets are off again.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#252961) #
Good point Ryan C.

Many of us seem to have a favorite. However the loser of the LF job should be able to contribute equally to the winner and also well enough if an injury occurs somewhere.
Jonny German - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#252962) #
With the assumption that the bullpen must be 7 pitchers deep and than Adam Lind can't be punted, here's the roster I'd start the season with:

C Arencibia
1B Lind (platoon with EE)
2B Johnson
SS Escobar
3B Lawrie
LF Snider
CF Rasmus
RF Bautista
DH Thames

OF Davis
MI Vizquel
CI Encarnacion
C Mathis

If I could punt Lind (without eating salary) I would, and then Cooper or Francisco would make the team. I'm willing to accept the risk that Lind repeats his 2009 season. I put the odds of that at 3%.
MatO - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#252963) #
According to Blair and other writers down in Dunedin, it's Thames job to lose.  The guy they continually harp on is Rasmus but Lind somehow completely gets a pass from them.
rfan8 - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#252964) #

If his swing looks good, I think Snider should get the job.  He's still young (younger than Thames) and has the potential to be a middle of the order bat.  Lots of players didn't get going until their age 24 season.  I think everything else is pretty set in Jays management's minds.

Matthew E - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#252965) #
I think the Jays should make the right decision in this situation.

Unfortunately I don't know what that is.

greenfrog - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#252966) #
I don't have the answer either, but I don't think ST stats are all that relevant. My questions about a player come down to: is he healthy? Is he having good ABs? Is he playing well defensively? What is his track record like?
Lylemcr - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#252967) #

I predict a trade is going to happen before opening day.  I don't know who or to who, but there seems to be a need (another starter) and assets in hand. 

I want to note, if the Jays do make the playoffs this year, it is NOT going to be because of the hitting.  Most likely because of the starting staff.  With all the rumors around AA and starters from other teams, I think something is going to be people we never imagined. 

The reason I say this is because I think Fransisco makes the team and I bet one of these assets or more are moved on.

hypobole - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#252968) #

If we were Tampa Bay, the better defender would get the job, and that's Snider hands down. That's also the correct decision.
And I like Thames more than most Bauxites.
Trumbo - .254/.291/.477
Thames - .262/.313/.456
Trumbo finished 2nd in ROY voting and is almost a full year older than Thames.
Finally, here is a bit of Thamesanity.

BalzacChieftain - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#252969) #

Say you aren't hindered by options, position, or contract situations. What player do you not give regular at bats to?

Snider, Thames, Encarnacion, Lind.

For me, it's Lind, and it's not even that close.

uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#252970) #
"The guy they continually harp on is Rasmus but Lind somehow completely gets a pass from them."

It's a real mystery to me how guys like Lind and Hill got such a pass from media and fans in this city, while guys like Rasmus, Johnson, and EE get nothing but hate from day one.

It's bizarre.
robertdudek - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#252971) #
It's a real mystery to me how guys like Lind and Hill got such a pass from media and fans in this city, while guys like Rasmus, Johnson, and EE get nothing but hate from day one.

Two of them were home grown and three of them weren't. I think this is a factor: consider that Lind and HIll have been coming to spring camp even before they made the big club, all the while getting to know the media. And the media shape public perception.
James W - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#252972) #
Lind and Hill had 35 and 36 home runs one year. Hopefully that solves your confusion.
robertdudek - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#252973) #
No way. You send one of them down to get at bats while francisco sits on the bench. Why give up injury depth?

Easy solution. Francisco "tweaks" a hamstring, is put on the disabled list, rehabs. By the end of that there will have been some sort of injury and you can bring him back.

My point is that both Snider and Thames can get regular ABs in the major leagues. All you need to do is take away some ABs from Lind and Rajai. There is an opportunity here to rotate a lot of guys through the DH spot.
smcs - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#252974) #
According to Blair and other writers down in Dunedin, it's Thames job to lose. The guy they continually harp on is Rasmus but Lind somehow completely gets a pass from them.

Lind is quotable and affable with the media (same with Arencibia and Hill and Wells, previously). Rasmus isn't. Sadly, many media members treat guys who make their lives easier better than guys who don't want to talk to the media. I'd bet the average fan would be shocked to discover that Escobar was the Jays 2nd best player for much of last year (until Lawrie blew in the back door).

Anyways, Thames is a mediocre offensive talent. He can't take a walk, can't run and can't field. His best case scenario is heavily dependent on a high BABIP, which would most likely be unsustainable. He's probably going to beat out Snider for the LF job, and Snider will go to Las Vegas and hit really well because it is Las Vegas, and spend another year being jerked around. Thames will get tossed into the 2-hole and generally be treated as if he is much better than he actually is (quotability and great facial hair go a long way).

I'd much rather they keep Snider and platoon him with Francisco and platoon Lind and Davis (Francisco, Rasmus, Bautista, Davis and Encarnacion cover DH, 1B and OF in some order), but I'd also like to see Snider play in the same city for an entire season for the first time since he played in Lansing in 2007.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#252975) #
Thames didn't walk much as an MLB rook, but his MILB walk rates were always solid.
Thomas - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#252976) #
quotability and great facial hair go a long way

Tell that to Brian Tallet.

I agree with you that the bashing of Rasmus is pretty evident already and probably relates to his demeanour and the fact he's not homegrown. If you listen to the FAN or read other mainstream media sources, their coverage of the Jays has been very positive the past month, but a cloud of negativity surrounds Rasmus. Now that he isn't at 3B regularly, people have even come to accept Encarnacion.

sam - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#252977) #
I watched the game last night. Some general observations:

A lot of players look in good physical shape. Thames has obviously bulked up, but Encarnacion looks to have slimmed down a bit too.

The hitting lineup is much more formidable. It's clear guys are now going up with an approach more similar to that of the Yankees and Red Sox. A walk is a positive outcome. It's a better unit as a whole.

Eric Thames is going to be a solid Major Leaguer. He has really overhauled his throwing motion and it is no longer a serious liability in left. He takes his job seriously and is a real professional. He was essentially gifted a walk his first at-bat then attacked the first pitch his second at-bat hitting the ball up the middle for a single. His third at-bat he singled off the wall in left, off lefthander Jesse Carlson. He seems to understand the sport and what pitchers are trying to do.

Colby Rasmus has really toned down his pre-swing antics. His leg kick is much more subtle, and he appears to have closed off his stance a bit. He does not seem yet comfortable with this, but he certainly is getting in the position to hit the ball more frequently.

I'm not the biggest fan of David Cooper. He doesn't have phenomenal bat speed and while he'll probably be a competent hitter at the Major League level, he probably isn't going to be a solid-plus hitter at that position.

I like Jeff Mathis a lot. He's a good defensive catcher and does a lot for the team. He's fairly athletic and can run a bit.

Travis Snider is a frustrating player. You might look at his at-bats and say well he got a couple hits and saw a fair amount of pitches, but he still swung at a fair amount of balls and of the swings he did put on strikes only maybe one or two did he really put a good swing on the ball. I don't see it coming together for him. The package is certainly there to be an integral part of the team going forward, but I'm not sure if he's going to put it all together. If the expectation for him is to hit .300 and 30 homeruns, I doubt that'll ever happen. In many respects, I see him becoming a left handed Edwin Encarnacion. Snider could hit .250 and be a 20-20 player. He can run a bit and he certainly has a bit more power than Thames, but he's prone to swinging at pitches out of the zone and getting himself out.

Edwin Encarnacion is still the player he was last year. He possesses immense power, but his swing is long and he doesn't center the ball up enough to be a real threat. If you're counting on him to hit thirty homeruns, keep dreaming. A good season for him would be 20 homeruns and a .270 average.

Didn't see much of the prospects, but Anthony Gose can really run and is cut from the Carl Crawford cloth of baseball player.
damos - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#252978) #
The hand wringing over Colby Rasmus has been quite something to behold.   The media (Blair, McCown, Zaun etc) have been hammering the guy & it's just bizarre.  Yesterday Blair was advocating trying Snider in CF on his radio show.   To hear some in the media talk, Rasmus is barely...just barely a place-holder for Gose.  And yeah, maybe Gose will improve his pitch recognition & plate discipline & be The Guy....maybe that'll happen -  but you hear some of these guys & it's a slam dunk, fait accompli.   Rasmus just got here & he constantly gets raked over the coals but Lind, Hill...all those guys get a big free pass despite continuous poor performance.
sam - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#252979) #
I've also started following Mike Wilner on twitter a bit these past couple weeks. I'm new to his assessments, but my gosh is he really out there with his projections/homerism. I believe he compared Brett Cecil to Cole Hamels with the exception that Hamels has better control than Cecil. I'd have to strongly disagree with this. Hamels has a much better fastball than Cecil and plays up because of his changeup. I don't see the comparison at all.

Or, last night, Jerolman one hops wall for double in ninth. The ball was a routine fly ball that the CF misplayed completely.

It might be nit-picking, but I don't trust Wilner with his evaluations one bit.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#252980) #
There is no reason to treat Johnson differently from Hill.  They are both average players in mid-career, who have had peaks and valleys.  Johnson has been a better hitter than Hill, Hill has been a better fielder, and Johnson has had a modest overall edge. 

Rasmus is a different situation entirely. He is obviously young and very talented, but there have been issues with previous management and his performance, both in St. Louis and Toronto, went completely downhill for 4 months.  Worry about him is entirely understandable, but it should be tempered with hope. 

China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#252984) #
"Thames will get tossed into the 2-hole and generally be treated as if he is much better than he actually is (quotability and great facial hair go a long way)."

You're suggesting that he'll get a major-league job and a high spot in the lineup because the media like him? That's rather absurd.

The media like Travis Snider too, because he's chatty on Twitter and he loves food. That doesn't guarantee him a place in the lineup.

In fact, these sweeping generalizations about the media supposedly loving some guys and hating other guys are highly exaggerated. Rasmus doesn't get a lot of lengthy sympathetic profiles in the media because he hates to talk to the media. That doesn't mean he's universally disliked by the media. I've seen lots of positive stories about him these spring -- stories saying that he's improved his mechanics, improved his attitude, etc, etc. Sure, some people are skeptical about him -- but that's mostly because he's posted some lousy numbers in his entire Toronto career, including this spring. I don't think there's any media conspiracy against him. If his numbers improve, his image will improve.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#252985) #
"The hitting lineup is much more formidable. It's clear guys are now going up with an approach more similar to that of the Yankees and Red Sox. A walk is a positive outcome. It's a better unit as a whole. "

Agreed. I'm expecting much better things in the patience, walk, and opposing pitch count categories this year. (We were actually pretty good overall as a team at this last year, but that was mostly due to Joey Bats being ridiculous).

This year features a distinct upgrade in overall team patience.

Career BB%

2011 ------------------- 2012

Bautista 13.4% ------ Bautista 13.4%
Escobar 9.6% -------- Johnson 10.7%
Encarnacion 8.8% -- Escobar 9.6%
Snider 7.5% ---------- Rasmus 9.4%
Arencibia 7.3% ------ Lawrie 9.4%
Rivera 6.8% ---------- Encarnacion 8.8%
Hill 6.6% ------------- Arencibia 7.3%
Lind 6.5% ------------ Lind 6.5%
Davis 5.6% ----------- Thames 5.8%

Nix 7.7% -------------- Vizquel 8.6%
Molina 5.0% ---------- Francisco 8.5%
Patterson 4.6% ------ Mathis 7.0%
McDonald 4.1% ------ Davis 5.6%
China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#252986) #
In other news, the Jays put Rick VandenHurk on waivers and he was claimed by Cleveland. It appears that the Jays are trying to clear a spot on the 40-man roster by waiving VandenHurk. Possibly creating a spot for Vizquel? Certainly the departure of VandenHurk is no great loss -- he's not shown very much this spring, and the Jays have great depth in pitching.
damos - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#252987) #
Escobar arrived with a fair number of slings & arrows from Atlanta.  Bobby Cox, Chipper & the press (well, at least David O'Brien)  in Atlanta didn't seem to have much time for him & as I recall, Escobar had a nice start to his Toronto career before a fairly extended slump at the end of 2010. 

Rasmus came in & hurt & may have come back too soon before slumping some more.  Now he was a bit of a mess to be sure...but that no one thinks he's worth much of anything...after 140 at bats?  

China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#252988) #
" one thinks he's worth much of anything...after 140 at bats?"

Again, I'd like to see a source for this statement. Aside from perhaps Gregg Zaun (who can't be generalized as "the media"), is anyone seriously saying that Rasmus is "not worth much of anything"? I haven't seen or heard anyone say that.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#252989) #
Yes. Every single host on the Fan 590. It's ridiculous.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#252991) #
"There is no reason to treat Johnson differently from Hill. They are both average players in mid-career, who have had peaks and valleys. Johnson has been a better hitter than Hill, Hill has been a better fielder, and Johnson has had a modest overall edge."

IMHO, I think even this statement already treats Johnson unfairly.

Johnson has been much better than Hill, and it's not really all that close I don't think. Even calling Hill "average" is a pretty large stretch, IMO.


Johnson: .717ops, .316woba, 93wRC+, 3.1uzr/150
A.Hill: .655ops, .292woba, 79wRC+, 1.0uzr/150

Last 2 years

Johnson: .794ops, .348woba, 111wRC+, 5.6uzr/150
Hill: .660ops, .291woba, 78wRC+, 2.7uzr/150


Johnson: .784ops, .343woba, 107wRC+, -0.6uzr/150
A.Hill: .737ops, .322woba, 94wRC+, 4.2uzr/150
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#252992) #
I can't seem to get too worked up about the ongoing battle of LF. Most of my off-season energy was spent pining for Darvish (who apparently looks fantastic this spring). If Darvish's potential impact on the Jays' playoff chances would have been about a 10 (with Latos's being about 7.5), the outcome of Snider versus Thames probably rates somewhere between 1 and 1.5.
damos - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#252993) #
Jeff Blair on several occasions has taken shots at Rasmus.  On his radio show yesterday he was lobbying to put Snider in CF.  Not long after Rasmus' arrival, Blair came awfully close to calling him a dumbass in a Globe column.  Bob McCown has consistently railed against him as well.  It's been more than just Gregg Zaun popping off.
China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#252995) #
A few radio hosts criticizing Rasmus for under-performing (a possibly defensible argument based on last year and this spring) is not the same as some generalized belief that he's "not worth much of anything." Who has said he is "not worth much of anything"? The vast majority of commentators -- at least the vast majority of those that I read, which admittedly doesn't include Fan 590, with good reason -- have been looking forward to seeing how Rasmus performs this season.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#252996) #
I believe Keith Law and Jim Bowden have been pretty positive about Rasmus's chances of rebounding solidly this year.
MatO - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#252998) #
I can add Bob Elliot to those panning Rasmus.  He did it on McCown's show on Monday.  The only guy I haven't seen really commenting on Rasmus is Griffin.  So that's 2 out of 3 main baseball guys from the major papers. 
Thomas - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#253000) #
I was limiting my comments to the Toronto media and not national baseball writers. Rasmus was mentioned in this week's Sports Illustrated as a potential breakout candidate, along with names like Wieters, Alvarez and LaPorta (with differing odds of probability).

However, while I don't listen to the FAN regularly, I've heard McCowan and his guests and even, I believe, Brunt talk very disparagingly about Rasmus. Aside from the one positive article at the beginning of the spring about how he worked a bit with Murphy in the offseason and admitted he probably let the issues from St. Louis carry over to his time in Toronto, everything since then has seemed to suggest Rasmus is a gamble that has all-but already failed.
smcs - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#253002) #
You're suggesting that he'll get a major-league job and a high spot in the lineup because the media like him? That's rather absurd.

Based on the assertions that Thames is in the lead for the LF job, and the fact that he spent the vast majority of his time last year hitting 2nd, I'm assuming he will get the major league job and hit 2nd, and, if he starts poorly, he will be given a pass by the media because he is quotable and has great facial hair.
Thomas - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#253003) #
On a side note, Philadelphia's infielders have conducted a conga line under a ladder and have been hit by an injury plague. Michael Martinez recently went down and he was the presumptive favourite to win the 2B job given Chase Utley's injury.

As Vizquel is going to be the backup infielder here and the Jays have enough warm bodies around in McCoy, Bocock and Jonathan Diaz to help make up Las Vegas's roster, if I was AA I'd see if the Phillies were interested in acquiring Luis Valbuena (or McCoy) for a A-ball reliever. I think Philadelphia's probably looking for a better solution, but it'd be worth the inquiry.
China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#253004) #
I've just checked everything that Jeff Blair has written about Rasmus in the Globe this year. One article mentions in passing that Rasmus has poor "body language" (possibly in encounters with the media) but says nothing about his on-field prospects. Another article has one sentence about Rasmus: "The Blue Jays already have Colby Rasmus in centre field, but if he doesn't show something this season he won't be blocking anybody." And that's it. No other comments on Rasmus. So maybe Blair is criticizing Rasmus on the radio, but he's not criticizing him in print.

I've also searched for Stephen Brunt and Bob Elliott comments on Rasmus. Again, can't find any criticism in print.

I think some of you guys are listening to too much sports-talk radio, where people are under pressure to say outrageous things just to keep an audience. Who'd pay attention to that stuff?

And you're seeing conspiracies everywhere. There's no conspiracy by "the media" to promote some players or downgrade others. If Rasmus or Snider hits strongly for a few weeks in April, everyone will be on their bandwagon. If one of them looks bad in March, people will be criticizing them. Big deal.
China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#253005) #
"....Based on the assertions that Thames is in the lead for the LF job...."

Anthopoulos and Farrell are the ones who are saying this. (Not the media.) And they're saying it because they argue, quite reasonably, that they need to pay greater attention to the entirety of the 2011 season than to the spring training of this year. And who could disagree? The 2011 season is a much bigger sample size than spring training, and it's achieved against actual big-league pitchers, not minor leaguers and marginal pitchers in spring training. Would you actually use spring-training statistics, rather than a full regular season, as the determining factor for deciding who wins a regular-season job? I fail to see any conspiracy against Snider just because AA and Farrell indicate that Thames is the favorite.
China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#253006) #
"....I'm assuming he (Thames) will get the major league job and hit 2nd, and, if he starts poorly, he will be given a pass by the media...."

Except that Kelly Johnson, not Thames, will hit 2nd this year. That's what the Jays are saying. See this Canadian Press article from yesterday:
robertdudek - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#253007) #
Would you actually use spring-training statistics, rather than a full regular season, as the determining factor for deciding who wins a regular-season job? I fail to see any conspiracy against Snider just because AA and Farrell indicate that Thames is the favorite.

I would use every piece of information. Certainly the way they are swinging the bat now as opposed to last year is a relevant factor. And I mean swinging the bat - are they making hard contact, are they having good at-bats even when they make outs, what kinds of pitches are they hitting, not hitting? This is all observational stuff and who is in a better position to evaluate that than the coaches themselves?

For me it boils down to something rather simple: Is Snider one of the best 25 players in camp? Is Thames one of the 25 best players in camp? Answers: yes and yes.

smcs - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#253008) #
Except that Kelly Johnson, not Thames, will hit 2nd this year. That's what the Jays are saying. See this Canadian Press article from yesterday:

Huh. I guess I missed that one. Regardless, Thames will probably break camp as the LF, and Snider will probably go to Vegas. I don't think there is a conspiracy, but there is a convenient narrative that Snider is the perpetual, over hyped under-achiever and Thames is the plucky underdog who works hard.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#253009) #
Damien Cox called in from his Florida trip on McCown's show today, and also said he thinks the Jays have already decided that Thames will be the LF.  And that was going to be the case unless Thames pretty much bombed.
TamRa - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#253011) #
I don't know why anyone thinks, at this stage of the administration, that AA & Co. are looking primarily at STATS in any setting. They are looking at things that we often don't see and certainly not with a professional eye.

And those things CAN be seen in spring training, and the off-season to a degree, as well as in-season.

My hypothesis all along was that the preferred outcome for the team was to break with Snider. The reasons for this include:

1. Snider has already burned more options and service time, so he's "older" in career terms

2. Snider is regarded by pretty much everyone as higher ceiling

3. Snider is approaching the "we need to settle this once and for all" point in terms of whether you keep him or let someone else figure him out

4. Snider is a better defender

5. Thames CAN do legitimate work on defense in Vegas, whereas working on your hitting approach is more problematic there (though not impossible when you are working on mechanics and such like)

For all these reasons (and possibly more) i think the team fully recognized that Snider should end up with the job BUT in terms of personnel management, they could not be obvious about that. So the publicly stated intent is to show due respect to incumbency while the privately held view is that if snider does what they want him to (approach, mechanics, etc) and Thames is anything less than outstanding on defense, then they will at the end of spring tip their hat to both of them and admit that they would like to see Thames, who has no offensive problem, spend a bit more time polishing his defense.

And go with Snider. But maybe that's just wishful thinking.

As for stats, the stat line I can't get away from is this:

(PA-AB-R-H-2B-3B-HR-RBI-BB-SO-slash lines-OPS+)

Snider, age 20-22 pro-rated to 162 games:
Thames age 24 pro-rated:

How is it that only Snider's last season counts in terms of, well, anything?

1/3 of a season's worth of games?

uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#253012) #
In terms of the spring stats, we should remember that while Snider has a better overall OPS, that's based on only one edge so far - power. Snider has hit a bunch more HR than Thames this spring.

But Thames has a big edge so far in AVG, OBP, and BB/K....things that might be better predictors of future performance.
jgadfly - Wednesday, March 21 2012 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#253015) #
I believe the consensus is that Snider has been jerked around by the Jays.  Last year, due to the previous mishandling under Cito, was he not promised by AA and Farrell that he would have a full season of playing in LeftField ?  Didn't happen . Six games in Centrefield, a position he never played in the Majors didn't help with his hitting.   Also last year did Snider not also have  three injuries ?  Initially he injured his wrist, then a concussion, and then a reinjury of his wrist . Everybody and his brother would get some slack  for having swing problems under those conditions ( please recall V Wells and L Overbay with wrist injuries, A Hill and J Morneau with concussions).  Also, what happened to the old saw about "real power doesn't develop until you're 28 ... blah blah blah " (please see A Rios) ?  This will be Snider's fifth season with the Jays at the ML level and the only player here longer is Adam Lind (and how many chances has he been given ?)  and what  some people overlook is that Snider just turned 24 and now would be the second youngest (next to Lawrie) position player on the team .  Snider has quietly and unreservedly done everything that the Jays have asked of him but the Jays haven't responded in kind . The only thing that Thames has over Snider is Swagger .   Confidence is such an elusive thing, perhaps if the Jays believed more in Snider's abilities, he would believe more in himself .
Mike Green - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#253018) #
uglyone,  the differences between Hill and Johnson may be larger than UZR suggests.  DRS has Hill as a +10/season defensive player.  If you take an average of UZR and DRS, you end up with Hill as a +7 defensive second baseman and Johnson as -1.

As for Hill as an average player over his career so far, the answer to that is a pretty clear yes.  It doesn't matter whether you take an informal approach (looking at Hill's offensive statistics, and then making positional and defence adjustments) or look at either fangraphs WAR or BB WAR.  He is coming off the worst 2 years of his career, and he posted  BB WARs of 1.1 and 1.3. 

greenfrog - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#253019) #
Subjectively, Hill's defense has been in decline over the last several seasons. He seems to have lost range and quickness.
uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#253020) #
Agreed Mike. Hill has certainly had the defensive edge over their careers. But I think the fielding numbers also correspond to what we've seen on the field - Hill's defense declining and Johnson's defense improving (or at least, Johnson looked worth his good defense ratings to my eyes as a Jay last year). I'm not convinced there's a big difference between the two defensively at the moment.

And I won't argue with Hill being an average player over his career, either. He has been I think. But the last two years he's been one of the very worst players in baseball, and it's getting hard to remember him even being average. I do still think that KJ, despite his inconsistency, is a significantly better player than Hill - and I think that applies to their careers overall (KJ 106ops+, Hill 94ops+), their peak years (KJ 127/116ops+, Hill 114/107ops+), and their down years (KJ 83/92ops+, Hill 76/78ops+).
Mike Green - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#253021) #
I agree.  He has gone from being a good-to-great defender to an average one.  If he hits at his career norms, he still is an average player, bearing in mind his position.

John Northey - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#253024) #
And there is why Hill is no longer a Jay. With a batch of 'ifs' he would be an average player. The Jays need guys who, with a bunch of 'ifs', would be star level players. Hill looked to be that at one time but now, realistically, isn't. Johnson still could be. Johnson has had oRAR's of 25+ 3 times while his dWAR has been from -0.2 to 0.8. Hill has been over 25 2 times but peaked in dWAR over 2 - his defense has always been a key part of his package and that 42 oRAR stands out like a sore thumb in his records while Johnson had 2 years at that level (38-40).

In truth, neither catches me as a potential star at this stage. Both could've been, neither built up their talents enough to be and both are 30 this year. Either would've been a placeholder until someone else is ready or available.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#253025) #
I wasn't arguing that Hill should have been kept, or that Hill is a great player.  My point is that Hill should not be slagged, nor should Johnson.  There is nothing wrong with "average".  No team has above-average players at all positions, and it really helps to have an average player instead of a replacement level player. 

To return to the point at hand, Hill was, and is, in a different position than Lind.  If Lind hits at his career norms, he is barely above replacement level. 

uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#253026) #
Johnson certainly performed as a "star" in 2010, and was one of the top-5 2B in baseball.

If you judge based on career numbers, Johnson looks to be a lower-end top-10 2B.
ColiverPhD - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#253030) #

Both Thames and Snyder are going to, at this point in their careers, have hot streaks, cold streaks, warm streaks, and cool streaks.  Both of them can (and will) add something positive to the Blue Jays on any given day.  One swing of the bat can win a game by either party.  Both players add more to the Blue Jays than Ben Fransisco.

Neither Snyder and especially Thames have anything left to prove in AAA.

If just one or the other is selected, a series of bad ABs may result in a trip to Las Vegas, and we could have a shufflling process that will burn out options (sorry, I do not know how many, if any, options each player has).

If AA is serious about having the best 25 players...keep both...and hopefully keep McCoy if there is room for him and Omar.

Davis makes a heck of a fifth outfielder and pinch runner!


China fan - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#253031) #
One-third of the Jays lineup are former stars. Johnson and Rasmus were stars in 2010. Lind was a star in 2009. If they can regain their "star" status, it will be a huge boost to the Jays this year. I'm optimistic that one or two of them will bounce back, but it's unlikely that all three of them will rebound. Still, it's nice to contemplate.
John Northey - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#253033) #
Hmm... what Jays are former All-Stars or got MVP votes...
MVP votes...
Lind 2009, Escobar 2009, Bautista 2010/2011, Vizquel 1999,

All Stars...
Bautista 2010/2011, Vizquel 98/99/02, Romero 2011

Rookie of the Year votes...
Rasmus (2009), Escobar

Cy Young votes...
Romero 2011

That seems to be it for guys getting votes for awards (not counting Silver Slugger or Gold Gloves). I figure that is an easy shorthand for guys viewed as 'star quality' - MVP, Cy Young, All-Star games, Rookie of the Year. A lot fewer than I expect to see. Might have missed someone as I only hit those I thought had a slight chance of getting anything. I serious doubt Vizquel will regain his turn of the century form, but the rest are within a few years of their big year(s) so who knows.
uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#253035) #
I think at least 5 of our position players have finished top-5 at their position within the last 3 years, 4 within the last 2 years - Bautista, Rasmus, Johnson, Escobar, Lind.

3 other slots are filled by kids with IMO AS upside - lawrie, Thames/Snider, JPA.

Romero is the only starter that's done it, though IMO both Morrow and Alvarez have that potential. The back 4 in the bullpen have all put up elite performances in recent years - Santos, Cordero, Oliver, Janssen.
China fan - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#253036) #
I wasn't including Escobar and Bautista in my list because they are not "former stars" -- they are "current stars." (Defined, yes, as "top 5 in their position.")

But you can look at the lineup this way: 5 of the 9 are former or current stars. At least one other -- Lawrie -- is surely a future star. (You can toss in Snider or Thames or JPA as theoretically potential stars too if you wish.) So the questions are: can the current stars maintain their status? Can the former stars regain their status? And can the potential stars achieve their status? A lineup with 6 or 7 stars would be very formidable indeed.
92-93 - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#253038) #
Anyone else listen to today's conference call with season tickets holders? AA has a remarkable ability to skirt the question with long winded responses that do nothing to answer the question.
John Northey - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#253040) #
Hmm... top 5 in their position... would be good to have a definition for that beyond the fuzzy 'I think it is so'...

Checking ZIPS projections and wOBA on FanGraphs (easy to check and doesn't hit the defensive issue that WAR brings in).
CA: J.P. Arencibia's 310 is well below the 347 needed for a top 5
1B: Lind's 335 is well below the 383 for a top 5 finish
2B: Johnson's 331 is 10th but a 356 is needed for top 5
3B: Lawrie's 362 is good for 3rd in the majors (!) and in eyeshot of #1's 378 (Longoria). Figures that the other guy ahead of him is Youkilis so Lawrie is 3rd in the majors and 3rd in the division.
SS: Escobar's 330 is tied for 8th, with 336 needed for top 5 but top 3 are 360+
LF: top 5 is 358 while Thames is at 323 and Snider 313
CF: Rasmus is 10th at 335, top 5 is 357
RF: Bautista is #1 by a good margin at 414 vs #2's 385 (Stanton)
DH: Encarnacion is 9th at 344 vs 355 for top 5

Not bad to have 2 guys in the top 5 and a 3rd who is super-close (6 points back). But boy are LF, CA, and 1B far back in the ZIPs.

What about in the past?
CA: Arencibia 309 vs 349 for a top 5, not close
1B: Lind 394 was #1 for DH's and would've been 3rd in LF or 9th at 1B (!)
2B: Johnson's 377 in 2010 was #3 in the majors
3B: Lawrie - not enough playing time
SS: Escobar's 357 in 2009 was #5 in the majors
LF: Thames & Snider haven't done anything worth mentioning yet
CF: Rasmus in 2010 had a 366 for #3 in the majors (well back of #1/2's over 400)
RF: Bautista's 422 in 2010, and 441 last year were easily #1 in RF and were #4 and #1 in the majors respectively
DH: Encarnacion had a 344 for 7th for DH's last year

So, taking peaks and projections (most optimistic) you get top 5 hitters potential at 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CF, RF - 2/3rds of the lineup with decent production at DH as well. LF and CA are weak almost for certain vs the rest of the majors. Sadly, I wouldn't think of counting on that production at 1B and counting on it in CF or 2B would be optimistic. So 1/3rd of the lineup has a real shot at being top 5 (RF/SS/3B) while another 3rd has shown it can do it (1B/CF/2B). Interesting.
uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#253041) #
I like wRC+ as a hitting stat.


Bautista #1 RF (181wRC+)
Escobar #5 SS (116wRC+)


Bautista #1 RF (166wRC+)
Rasmus #1/#3 CF (129wRC+) * - both Hamilton and Cargo ranked ahead of him but neither really played CF
Johnson #5 2B (128wRC+)


Lind #5 LF (139wRC+) * - would only have been 12th ranked 1B
uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#253042) #
oh and of course:


Lawrie #1 3B (163wRC+)
Lylemcr - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#253045) #

Break up the Jays! 

Man! They look good in spring this year!

John Northey - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#253046) #
Basically, if the starting pitching can switch from Romero & a gang of 90 or worse ERA+'ers to Romero & 4 100+ guys this teams should be an easy bet to make the playoffs.

Yup, it all comes down to pitching, pitching, pitching. And, as they say, there is no such thing as a pitching prospect and kids will break your heart. Still, the dream is good.
Sano - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#253049) #
This year is really make/break for Lind. I think that the solution might actually be to see what you can get for Lind, stick EE at 1B regularly (seems to have really good hands there) and have Thames/Snider rotate through LF/DH.

In other news, BA just released their annual organizational rankings. Jays are #5. See link below

greenfrog - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#253050) #
At the beginning of the off-season most people thought that in order to contend the Jays needed a frontline (#1 or 2) starter and an upgrade at 1B/DH/LF (i.e., one more strong bat). This is essentially still my view - the team still isn't quite there. But they have an outside chance at a wild card spot and it should be interesting to see how AA positions the team for contention in 2013 and beyond.
Sano - Thursday, March 22 2012 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#253051) #
I think that AA's view might be that the failure to acquire another big bat may be compensated for by the emergence/re-emergence of Lawrie, Rasmus, Johnson, Arencibia, Lind and one of Thames/Snider. I don't actually think that it's that far-fetched to expect that at least 2 of those guys will improve on their performance last year and that the rest will maintain last year's stats. If that's the case, I think the failure to acquire another big bat may not be all that important.

The pitching however is another story altogether. That's really going to be the make-or-break factor for this team.
bpoz - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#253054) #
IF a MIRACLE occurs the LEAFS could make the playoffs. IMO that is how a fan thinks.

I don't think AA has that luxury. Of course a miracle did occur for ST Louis.

I did not hear what AA said to the season ticket holders but I feel good that he is using his fine speaking abilities to reveal what he wants and not reveal what he should not.
IMO he should not have said that he needs/wants/is looking for a big bat and a front line pitcher. IMO there are only a handful of teams that probably don't want that bat or SP. IMO there are also a lot of teams that don't have the player resources to trade for that or the financial resources to go the FA route.
Also not all FA acquisitions work out or big trades. I cannot think of many examples, maybe Zito, Mulder & Hudson.
I liked Mulder best. IMO trading for an Ace IS a good strategy, CC, Lee etc... even if you do not intend to keep them long term. These guys will still get you draft picks.
uglyone - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#253056) #
The key X-Factors this year IMO are Brett Lawrie and Henderson Alvarez. These two kids both have the potential to fill those two holes we all wanted filled in free agency - the impact bat and the impact starter.

And yes, we've had good looking kids before (we even had high hopes for Snider/Drabek last year), but not a pair who have looked quite this good in a long while, I don't think.

There's a chance Lawrie can be that .850-.900ops middle of the order type bat, and the chance that Alvarez can be that 3.00-3.50era type #2 pitcher, which would dramatically change the look of this team.
Thomas - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#253057) #
I'm optimistic about Alvarez, but I think the odds of the former are much more likely than the latter.

Meanwhile, in other AL East news, Joba Chamberlain suffered a "significant" ankle injury while jumping on a trampoline and Bobby Jenks was arrested for a DUI hit-and-run. Is this a sign of continued Yankee injury issues and Red Sox discontent? We'll see.
hypobole - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#253058) #
Bobby Jenks was arrested for a DUI hit-and-run.

As was former Jay Matt Bush. Hit and then ran over the helmet of a 72 yr old motorcylist.
John Northey - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#253060) #
Just watch Bush & Jenks get slaps on the wrist too. Hate how famous people (athletes, movies stars, etc.) and the very rich normally get off easily. Helps that they can hire the best of the best in lawyers, but often judges and juries get stars in their eyes.

Also glad that AA hasn't done a crazy deal yet to try to win now ala the Leafs every year. If hockey had baseball's playoff system then the Leafs might actually do a real rebuild instead of a partial one to try to sneak into the playoffs. Remember, if MLB had hockey & the NBA's method for playoffs the Jays would be there virtually every season since 1998 (obvious exceptions like 2004 do exist).
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#253077) #
Assume you have, Right Field: Jose Bautista; Center Field: Travis Snider; Left Field: Eric Thames, who of Colby Rasmus, Rajai Davis and Ben Francisco do you not keep as 4th and 5th Outfielders? 
TamRa - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#253081) #
AA said specifically there is zero chance Snider displaces Rasmus
greenfrog - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#253082) #
Cecil throwing 86-88 early in his start tonight, per the Rays' broadcasters. Has yet to hit 89.
greenfrog - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#253083) #
He's also struggling with his control - has walked 5 of the first 12 batters he's faced.
Mike Green - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#253084) #
I wouldn't worry about that.  Walking people has never been Cecil's issue. 
greenfrog - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#253085) #
Just because the ostensible concern about a pitcher is command (as opposed to control) doesn't mean that his walking a bunch of guys (while showing declining velocity) is a non-issue. It still means he's having trouble throwing the ball where he wants to.

To me, the best spin to put on Cecil's issues is that it's spring training - we don't know yet how he's going to pitch in the regular season. Personally, I'm a skeptic when it comes to Cecil, but I would be happy to be proved wrong.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#253091) #
How about a Starting Rotation of Ricky Romero; Brandon Morrow; as advertised, or better, Henerson Alvarez; scarily good, Dustin McGowan; surprising consistent, Kyle Drabek?
Kelekin - Friday, March 23 2012 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#253093) #
Reading some of the comments - I'd say while I love Fielder and Darvish seemed like a top tier player, I would have been most interested to see Latos in a Jays uniform.  The kid has great stuff and great command, with 4 years of team control.
ogator - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 07:16 AM EDT (#253097) #
  In reference to the actual title of this thread, Francisco pulled a hammy last night.  I don't know how serious the injury is, but maybe we will see both Thames and Snider on the team, at least for a while.
bpoz - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#253100) #
IMO Romero is safe. But any of the other SPs that have an ERA much over 4.00 should look over their shoulder. The very young SPs like Alvarez will be given some ML development time. Morrow 71 ML starts & Cecil 65 ML starts IMO have used up their ML development time. For them IMO it is time to produce.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#253103) #
Listen to SN590 on Gameday Audio, Alan Ashby was talking about Daniel Bard's decision to try to start saying 29 other GM's would like that arm.   I beg to differ, A.A. would have had Bard starting years ago, not waiting until now.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#253104) #
Madson will have TJ surgery and is out for the season, per MLBTR. Tough blow for the Reds' playoff chances (not to mention $8.5M lost). Imagine if the Phillies had signed him to 4 years/$44M - as it is, they're probably just became a bit more nervous about Papelbon. Big contracts for pitchers are always risky.
Thomas - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#253109) #
I don't know how serious the injury is, but maybe we will see both Thames and Snider on the team, at least for a while.

AA on the radio a couple of days ago said he found it "hard to envision" a scenario where both made the team and stated the at-bats just weren't there for both of them. Based on his tone, even if Francisco were to begin the year on the DL, I'd think McCoy would perhaps be the leading contender for that other bench spot.

greenfrog - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#253110) #
Realistically, I think Thames makes the team and Snider goes to Vegas. If both excel at their respective levels, AA can use one or the other as trade bait later this season (or next off-season).
TamRa - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#253112) #
I am not worried about Cecil long term, but right now he his re-learning his body and how his mechanics work and i don't think it says anything real negative about him if he needs to be farmed out to continue that process. This might just be the "mid-ST blahs" that some pitchers go through, but I'm beginning to suspect that Drabek might end up with a spot at Cecil's expense.

Of course, it might also be that my minor-obsession with McGowan starting the home opener has introduced a slight bias...
Kelekin - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#253122) #
In my experience, losing 30 pounds does not require a lot of "re-learning".  The only thing Cecil needs to re-learn is how he threw 94 mph in Dunedin after being drafted.

The major problem with Cecil's velocity drop is that it renders his formerly power slider ineffective. 
Richard S.S. - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#253123) #
If I'm A.A., Romero starts the 05 April game in Cleveland, Morrow follows on the 07 April game and to complete the sweep Drabek would start the 08 April game.   In Toronto, 09 April verses Boston, I'd start Alvarez in the Home Opener, Romero returns 10 April and McGowan goes for the sweep on the 11th.   On the 12th of April, the 6-0 Jays rest. 
CeeBee - Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#253124) #
Thames is certainly doing nothing to lose his job. I feel bad for Snider but all he can do is mash the ball in Vegas if he is sent down and hope he gets traded or there's an injury.
China fan - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#253137) #
The contest is over. Snider has been optioned to Triple-A.
TamRa - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#253138) #
McGowan has a (reportedly minor) case of Plantar fictitious and left today's start after 4 pitches in the 2nd. Initial tests say no tear, alex insists it's minor

AA to update soon...

My knee-jerk first impression is that missing even one start (which seems likely) means he wont be built up in time for his first start, so he goes on the DL before opening day, Laffey (probably) gets one start against Boston and the 5th turn isn't essential again until 4/21 in KC which is long enough for McGowan to get back up to speed - IF it is indeed minor.

if it ends up being major, then IMO that opens the door for Drabek.

either way, it probably helps secure Cecil's spot since they probably don't want to farm him out while this is going on and open with both Drabek and Laffey (who was pounded today) in the rotation.

We'll see I guess.
China fan - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#253139) #
The decision about Snider had been telegraphed pretty far in advance. Unless Thames had an absolutely terrible spring, he was going to keep the job, on the basis of his good rookie season. Early reports from Wilner say that Snider is taking this decision "like a total pro." Snider knows he'll get another good long look in the majors, probably this season. He'll be back as soon as there's an injury in the Jays outfield -- or if he forces the issue with great hitting in Las Vegas. I don't see any reason for grief by Snider's fans. And I certainly wouldn't anticipate a trade this year. Maybe next year, when he runs out of options, if he still hasn't made the majors -- but that's a long way away, and a lot can happen in 12 months.
Jonny German - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#253140) #
I don't see any reason for grief by Snider's fans.

I'm aggrieved that he gets sent to Vegas while mediocrities Lind, Encarnacion, and Francisco play in Toronto. But it's entirely possible that I'm just too impatient.
China fan - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#253141) #
Francisco? You'd rather see Snider getting occasional playing time as the 4th OF in Toronto, rather than getting regular ABs in Vegas? How is that good for his development?

As for Lind and Encarnacion: you're surely not suggesting that Snider should be converted to 1B or DH when he's more valuable as an excellent LF?
Jonny German - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#253142) #
Bad assumptions. I wouldn't have Snider in Toronto as the 4th outfielder or 1B or DH. I'd have him as the mostly-regular left fielder. Thames would be the mostly-regular DH. Lind and Encarnacion would both see a good chunk of time on the bench. As befits the fact that neither Lind or Encarnacion is at all likely to be a significant offensive asset.
92-93 - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#253143) #
Yes, I'd rather see Snider get 400 PA (the minimum he'd receive) at the MLB level as the 4th OF who essentially backs up 1B, 3B, and DH as well.

If the argument is that he needs to be sent to AAA for further seasoning I don't understand why it was ever a competition in spring training, and I hope that if there's an injury to an OF that they don't change course and "rush" Snider back up.
China fan - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#253144) #
So you guys would basically ignore all of Snider's results in 2011, and reject the expert conclusions of Farrell, Gaston, Anthopoulos and all of their coaches for most of the past 18 months?

Nobody said it was a spring-training contest. Anthopoulos has made it very clear that it's a competition over the full 2012 season. If Snider hits as good as his fans expect, he'll be back, and possibly quite soon.

A year ago, we saw the perils of relying on spring statistics. Snider had a great spring-training in 2011, and his fans assumed he had made the breakthrough. He had not.

If the Jays have assessed his mechanics and concluded that he needs a few more weeks or months to work on it in Vegas, I'd trust their assessment, rather than our own dreams of his potential.
Jonny German - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#253145) #
I could swear I specifically said "It's entirely possible that I'm just too impatient". Was that just in my head?
92-93 - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#253146) #
First of all, the front office isn't infallible, as you often make them out to be.

Secondly, AA's quotes on the matter do not support the idea that Snider is being demoted because of the need for development.

"His swing is better, he's had good at-bats ... I think the changes he made to his swing really helped him, so he has to just continue doing it. And the minute we need to make a change, or we have a need, he's going to be right there waiting for us."

"They both had great springs," Anthopoulos said. "You take that and you combine what happened last year, it all adds up. If somebody had just fallen on his face in Spring Training, maybe it would have changed things a little bit, but last year was going to count."
China fan - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#253147) #
I would interpret AA's quotes as suggesting that he needs repetitions on the progress that he's recently made. Not sure if that's classified as "development" or not.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#253148) #
Plantar fasciitis can be a pesky condition. I could see it being a real pain for pitchers, who need a secure footing in order to power their frame forward (also, how do you stay in shape while on the DL if you can't plant your foot properly?). It wouldn't surprise me if McGowan is out for a while.
92-93 - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#253149) #
When I heard about the injury I assumed this meant we wouldn't see McGowan until 2-3 months into the season, but AA seemed to counter that notion.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 25 2012 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#253151) #
Thames doesn't have Snider's pedigree but who knows - he could open some eyes this year (though that attempted dive in LF today wasn't pretty). His minor-league numbers are impressive when you consider the time he missed due to injury. I wouldn't put it past him to hit 20 HR, post an 800 OPS, and hold his own in the 6th or 7th spot in the lineup.
Ryan C - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:20 AM EDT (#253154) #
I would interpret AA's quotes as suggesting that he needs repetitions on the progress that he's recently made.

I don't understand how you can make that interpretation.  When AA says that if there is an injury, he will be called right back up, then also says that if someone else had faltered in Spring Training, he would still be with the team.  Clearly then the issue isn't anything to do with Snider being ready or not.  The issue is not having an open roster spot for him and AA not wanting to give up value/depth in order to make room for him.

China fan - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 05:27 AM EDT (#253155) #
AA's comment was: "I think the changes he made to his swing really helped him, so he has to just continue doing it."

Last year, Snider also made changes, looked good for a while, and then regressed. I think it's reasonable for the Jays to want to make sure that Snider can maintain his progress consistently for a longer period of time, rather than a couple weeks of spring training or a couple of weeks in Las Vegas. Anthopoulos would never say this explicitly because it would be a criticism of one of his own players, which he doesn't do. But he does seem to hint at it, if you read between the lines.

I do think that we, the fans, have to ease up on some of our love for Snider and let him prove himself. (There are even people on this thread who think that Snider can be a back-up 3B! Has he even done a single practice at 3B over the past two years?)
Jonny German - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 08:17 AM EDT (#253157) #
Do you really think 92-93 meant Snider himself would be playing third when he said Snider "essentially backs up 1B, 3B, and DH as well"?

Let's say Lawrie is banged up and needs a couple days off. If Snider is on the roster as the nominal 4th outfielder, he plays left field while Lawrie is out. Thames goes to DH. Encarnacion goes to 3rd.

Or, Snider plays right field and Bautista fills in at 3rd.

It's not rocket surgery.
BlueJayWay - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#253158) #
Indeed, it is not rocket surgery.  Or brain science.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#253159) #
Encarnacion or Bautista as injury replacements at 3B are both extremely unlikely after the experience of last year. Bautista needed at least a week of practice before he was able to switch to 3B, so he's not exactly an immediate option at 3B. And the Jays don't want to keep distracting him from his hitting. As for Encarnacion, his defense at 3B is very dicey, as we know, and he hits much worse when he is playing 3B. It's far from the preferred option for the Jays, unless they're desperate. We've seen at spring training that Vizquel, not Encarnacion, is getting the playing time at 3B when Lawrie is unavailable. So to imagine that Snider would get ABs by "effectively backing up 3B" is really reaching.
92-93 - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#253177) #

I think it's reasonable for the Jays to want to make sure that Snider can maintain his progress consistently for a longer period of time, rather than a couple weeks of spring training or a couple of weeks in Las Vegas.

And yet AA didn't indicate this is a development move. In fact, he implied the direct opposite : And the minute we need to make a change, or we have a need, he's going to be right there waiting for us.

(There are even people on this thread who think that Snider can be a back-up 3B! Has he even done a single practice at 3B over the past two years?)

Your reading comprehension continues to astound me.

92-93 - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#253179) #

Bautista needed a week of practice because he wasn't going in for one game. Had that been the case they wouldn't have hesitated to put him there for a few days, just like they won't hesitate to do the same with Encarnacion if Lawrie is banged up.

Vizquel is getting playing time at 3B in spring training so Farrell can see his arm strength and if he can still handle the position.

Snider would get ABs by being the first man off the bench for the majority of the positions on the field. Each of the last few years we've had 4th OFs receive 300-500 PA. Stairs was a lock for 400 when he was here. Stop trying to nitpick and pretend like the 5 games of backing up 3B were a major part of the equation.

China fan - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#253183) #
Your logic astounds me. You'd rather see Snider as a back-up in the majors, praying that he'll get 400 at-bats (which he almost certainly won't), rather than getting every-day playing time in the minors? So your solution to his problem is to reduce his playing time by one-third? Yes, that's a great solution: he's 24 years old and having trouble in breaking into the majors, so let's cut his ABs by one-third. That will definitely solve the problem!

There's no way that Snider gets 400 at-bats as a back-up in the majors. People have sketched out some far-fetched scenarios, which basically assume a constant treadmill of injuries in half of the outfield and infield, but it just won't happen. Anthopoulos is not stupid enough to screw up Snider's development by putting him on the bench for half of the season.

You talk about Matt Stairs and other 4th OFs in the past, but you conveniently ignore the fact that Rajai Davis is on the team. Snider wouldn't be the 4th OF -- he would be SHARING the 4th OF job with Davis. So you can take the 300 to 500 at-bats of a Matt Stairs and cut it in half.

As for reading comprehension: you make a cryptic comment about 3B and then you expect people to read your mind. Even when you explain it, it still doesn't make sense, because being "an effective back-up 3B" would perhaps gain Snider an extra 10 or 20 at-bats if Lawrie is injured. We all know that Encarnacion or Bautista won't be playing 3B for more than a tiny handful of games in 2012, regardless of the scenario. Yet you portrayed it as way to keep Snider in the majors. (However, now you concede that it's "not part of the equation" -- so why was it mentioned in the first place?)

I'm also astonished by your claim that "AA didn't indicate this is a development move. In fact, he implied the direct opposite." In other words, you're saying that Snider's development is completely finished, he's a polished major-leaguer, who needs no work in the minors, who's just sitting and waiting for a job to be handed to him. First, you're misreading an obviously generous comment from Anthopoulos, who can't say a bad word about anyone. Second, you're implying that a 24-year-old in Las Vegas doesn't need development. Third, you're implying that someone who lost a job to Eric Thames is still good enough to jump into the majors without any further development. There's no logic behind any of those conclusions.
92-93 - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#253184) #
Maybe in your scenario Snider would lose ABs to Rajai Davis. It's pretty obvious that in mine he wouldn't.

My comment about 3B wasn't cryptic at all. You then go on to put quotations around words I never said. I certainly never portrayed the days Snider would cover 3B as a way to keep him in the majors, but again, reading comprehension.

I see no reason why AA couldn't have said Snider needs to work on the changes to his swing and when he's ready he'll be back up in the majors, just like he did last year when he sent him down. He didn't. He chose to imply that it's a numbers game keeping him down.

I didn't imply any of those 3 things you just stated, but again, reading comprehension.

Do me a favour China Fan : please don't respond to anything I write. Save us both the time.
92-93 - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#253185) #
Nothing AA says should be taken literally, unless it fits China Fan's narrative.
Mike Green - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#253186) #
Both of you may find this link helpful. 

On the other hand, Opening Day is so close you can smell it, the daffodils have been in bloom for about 10 days, and the sun is shining.  It may mean nothing that the home nine have gone 19-4 in the spring, but call me crazy, but it still feels better than 4-19.
92-93 - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#253187) #
The spring results have been encouraging, but the biggest question mark, the rotation, hasn't really found any answers. Cecil still sucks and McGowan is injured.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#253190) #
"Maybe in your scenario Snider would lose ABs to Rajai Davis. It's pretty obvious that in mine he wouldn't."

There's the entire quote, so that 92-93 has no reason to complain about being miscomprehended. How on earth would Snider never lose ABs to Davis if they are both in a back-up role as 92-93 advocates? Whether he's sharing the job with Francisco or Snider, it's pretty clear that Davis is going to get some playing time. Davis is getting a salary of $3-million in 2012. Should we believe that he's getting $3-million to be an occasional pinch-runner? The roster is not deep enough for a player who is purely a pinch-runner. Davis will get at least 150 to 200 ABs this season. There's only one logical conclusion: Snider would lose some of his ABs to Davis. There's no other way to square the circle. And if Snider is not playing full-time, at the age of 24, he will deteriorate.

"He (Anthopoulos) chose to imply that it's a numbers game keeping him down."

There's another full quote, so that he can't complain of being miscomprehended. What does a "numbers game" mean? That's just a polite way of explaining that one player is deemed inferior to another player. If Snider can't beat Thames for a job, it's clear that his talent has fully flowered yet. Thames is a decent player, but it's not exactly stellar competition. Look at the strikeout numbers that Snider continued to post in 2011 and in spring training this year, and look at his lack of walks. Look at his inability to handle LH pitchers, especially curveballs. Snider needs to improve. Calling it a "numbers game" is an unhelpful euphemism. It's a euphemism that GMs use when they are being polite. It's not helpful for any serious analysis.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#253191) #
(in my last paragraph, that sentence should read:) If Snider can't beat Thames for a job, it's clear that his talent has not fully flowered yet.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#253194) #
For anyone who believes the polite euphemisms about a "numbers game", here's a much more relevant quote from Anthopoulos about the LF situation:

"Whoever makes the team, that doesn’t mean they’ll be here the entire year,” he said. “Yes, they’re competing in spring training but they’re also competing during the year as well. It’s not like just because you make the team, you’re all set.”

So it's not a numbers game, it's a competition. The Jays are judging which one is better, month by month. So far this year, Thames has beat Snider. Hence, clearly, Snider needs to get better. He's 24 and he needs to develop and improve. He doesn't do that if he's a back-up player.
92-93 - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#253234) #
Snider wouldn't lose ABs to Davis because as the decision maker I would make that imperative. You say "it's pretty clear that Davis is going to get some playing time", but we're not talking about your scenario. We're talking about mine. And that scenario has Travis Snider sharing 3 spots with Adam Lind, Eric Thames, and Edwin Encarnacion, none of whom have ever done anything to indicate they deserve full-time MLB jobs. Rajai's role would be the backup CF and daily pinch runner, and his presence would never hinder my ability to allow Snider to develop his swing at the MLB level.

Snider wasn't sent down because he's inferior to all the other players. He was sent down because of this supposed need to get him EVERYDAY ABs in AAA, as if that's going to help at this point. Many of us don't agree with that point of view. This team is much better off with Travis Snider than Ben Francisco.
Thomas - Monday, March 26 2012 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#253247) #
92-93, so you're saying that as GM, you'd also dictate playing time decisions to John Farrell?
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 01:14 AM EDT (#253258) #
92-93, so you're saying that as GM, you'd also dictate playing time decisions to John Farrell?

Of course. Not down to the last PA, but you better believe if the GM says Thames and Snider must get regular at-bats on a weekly basis, the manager has to follow that directive. How Farrell does it is up to him, but that it gets done is a must.

Think about it logically. If it is the GM's responsibility to decide who stays and who is farmed out, doesn't the manager have to be on the same page?
Thomas - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 01:19 AM EDT (#253259) #
I don't believe most GMs dictate playing time requirements to managers. I could be wrong, but I think most managers would react quite negatively to a GM sitting down and spelling out who is to play where and to what degree.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 01:42 AM EDT (#253263) #
I don't believe most GMs dictate playing time requirements to managers. I could be wrong, but I think most managers would react quite negatively to a GM sitting down and spelling out who is to play where and to what degree.

In rough terms, playing time is agreed upon before any roster transactions are made. The GM and manager must be on the same page regarding playing time issues. Who is the "dominant" in that discussion isn't as important as the fact of agreement.

You hear rumblings in Boston about friction between Valentine and the GM about roster issues. Assuming it is true, and it continues, one of them will eventually have to go
Thomas - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 02:44 AM EDT (#253264) #
I don't disagree with any of that. However, there are several scenarios where the short-term interests suggest Davis plays and long-term interests suggest Snider take the field and Farrell and AA are influenced differently by these. Two of the most likely may be contention or potential concern about job security. I am simply skeptical that, in the above scenario, a GM could simply dictate that the fourth outfielder make every appearance when a corner outfielder has a day off (when healthy) and that the fifth outfielder solely pinch-run and play in CF and that a manager would accept his hands being tied like that.

This is a separate question from whether there would be enough at-bats for Snider as a fourth outfielder/DH and member of the MLB roster.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#253270) #
Yes, absolutely. The manager would be working in tandem with me and he'd have the job security to know he can listen and not have to worry about fielding the best possible team if its at odds with my desires (which, in this case, I don't believe it would be). And if he honestly tells me he can't bring himself to sit mediocre hitters in Lind, Encarnacion, and Davis, none of whom have done a thing in the last 2 seasons to earn them everyday ABs, I'd make the decision even easier for him - I'd trade Davis. Rajai Davis would not block me from seeing what I have in Travis Snider if I wanted to give him 400+ PA.
Thomas - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#253284) #
I don't disagree with you on Snider v. Lind. I think the odds of Snider turning into an above average MLB hitter for his position are better than Lind maintaining above average production for a full season.

My larger point was that I just think sometimes on the outside we can ignore the effects of winning and losing to those who are actually playing the games. For example, it's quite conceivable that the Jays could be a half dozen games above .500 in June given their relatively easier early schedule. If Snider was the fourth outfielder, he could be putting up very mediocre numbers. If Farrell has just watched him go 0-for-4 against CJ Wilson and the Angels, I think there'd probably be a stronger impulse than we acknowledge to run Davis out there if the team was to go into Texas and was scheduled to face Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. I just think we ignore those factors too much sometimes and that, in my opinion, it'd be hard to simply divide the reserve outfield at-bats 400 to 150 between Snider and Davis.

As to your more general point, I think the team could find enough at-bats for Snider in the majors to give him 400 for the season if they wanted to and were willing to sit EE and Lind more often, but they don't (or they view 600 at-bats at Triple-A as preferable).
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#253285) #
92-93, if you were the general manager, you wouldn't have to trade Davis, because you would have already demoted Thames and given the full-time job to Snider, wouldn't you? You feel that Snider is better than Thames, so you wouldn't need to juggle the 4th OF and DH jobs, you would simply make Snider the full-time LF, no?

I didn't realize that this exercise was about imagining oneself as the GM and projecting the lineup that you would choose if you had the power to decide. I thought we were dealing with the world as it currently exists. That's why I mentioned the Davis factor.

As for Encarnacion and Lind: it's always possible to argue that Snider will be better than either of those dudes, if we're guessing about the future. Your guess is as good as mine, and equally valid.

But if we're talking about past performance: Lind was one of the top hitters in the league in 2009, and Encarnacion was one of the top DHs in the league for several months last season. Snider hasn't performed at that level for any significant period of time in his major-league career.

Again, you're free to hold the belief that Snider will be better than those guys going forward. It's certainly conceivable. You can base it on his age, if you'd like. But it's not something that you can base on the record from 2009 to 2011.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#253293) #
Look its really simple.

You've got 6 guys for 5 spots: Bautista, Thames, Rasmus, Lind, EE, Snider. Rasmus and Bautista are going to need the occasional day off, EE could play a few games at third. Davis will get in a few games as a starter and come off the bench otherwise. Someone will get a minor injury and have to sit for 3 or 4 days and then Davis can join the 6-man rotation.

It is called using your roster to ensure everyone gets days off and stays fresh to the end of the season. It is so easy to get ALL six the at-bats they need, I don't even see this as especially difficult. In fact you will see that Rajai will get a lot of ABs replacing Snider's in this 6-man mix.

This helps both the present and future, as it helps to develop both Thames and Snider and since Lind and EE are not really much better (if at all) than Snider or Thames, it does not hurt present performance either.

Here let's look at a hypothetical 12 game stretch:

OF Bautista 11 starts, Rasmus 10, Thames 4, Snider 7 Davis 4
1b Lind 9 EE 3
DH EE 5 Snider 2 Thames 5
3b Lawrie 11 EE 1

This is with no injuries: we have Bautista 11, Lawrie 11, Rasmus 10 EE 9, Lind 9 Thames 9 Snider 9 Davis 4

Everyone except Davis gets a regular role and Davis will be used in every game anyway to pinch run and play defense so he will be involved too.

China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#253294) #
I'm sure the Jays would have a strong objection to that plan, because it puts Thames and Snider at DH for much of the time. Thames, in particular, would be playing at DH for 40% of the games. All the reports from spring training suggest that Thames has improved his defensive abilities in the off-season, and the Jays obviously believe he can develop into an adequate defensive LF. But if you put him at DH for 40% of the games, he won't have much chance to improve. You'd be cutting off his ability to become a full-time LF, which is where his talents would be maximized.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#253295) #
I'd rather that Thames and Snider got more work.   

I would suggest something like this:

1B- Lind 7, Encarnacion 5
3B- Lawrie 11 Encarnacion 1
RF- Bautista 11, Snider 1
CF- Rasmus 10, Davis 2
LF- Snider 9, Thames 1, Davis 2
DH- Thames 10, Snider 1, Encarnacion 1

Lind sees nothing but RHP and plays 7 games.  Encarnacion sees a little of both and plays 7 games.  Everyone else gets full-time work, and Davis is used as  you have suggested.  Alas, it aint happening.

92-93 - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#253297) #
No. I never remotely implied that I wanted Thames demoted and Snider given the everyday LF job. As usual, your reading comprehension sucks.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#253298) #
That's exactly how I'd play it, Mike. Minimize the amount of times Thames spends in the OF and how many lefties Lind sees.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#253302) #
92-93 yesterday: "....Adam Lind, Eric Thames, and Edwin Encarnacion, none of whom have ever done anything to indicate they deserve full-time MLB jobs..."

92-93 today: "I never remotely implied that I wanted Thames demoted."

Then he blames the reader for failing to comprehend him!

First he says Thames has never done anything to deserve a full-time MLB job. Then he denies that he wants to demote him.

So what's the conclusion of his illogical rant? Apparently Thames has never done anything to deserve a full-time job, yet he shouldn't be demoted. So -- put him on the bench? Yep, that's a great place for a 25-year-old to develop. He'll definitely gain major-league skills as a bench player!

Or, even better -- give him a couple hundred ABs as the DH! That will be great for his development! He'll learn defensive skills as the DH. And after all, a 25-year-old is a finished product, with no room to improve, and no need for full-time playing opportunities. Just toss him around from the bench to the DH to the OF, as if he was Mike McCoy, and he'll develop very nicely.

But whenever he's caught in a contradiction of his own making, 92-93 simply blames the reader.

robertdudek - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#253304) #
I don't see any contradiction there. Thames may or may not "deserve" a full-time job, but that doesn't mean it is wrong that he has one.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#253310) #
Let's try a tenth time. Maybe this time it will sink in.

Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Thames, and Travis Snider haven't done anything the last 2 seasons that warrants any of them being guaranteed full-time ABs. All 4 of them are better assets to the team than Ben Francisco. As such, I would rotate the 4 of them through the LF/1B/DH spots, with the occasional days off given to Lawrie & Bautista as well.

Eric Thames deserves to make this club, and it's always been that way.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#253311) #
The logical conclusion to anyone with a brain would be that Eric Thames deserves something in between a full-time job and a demotion to the minors.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#253313) #
Oh ya, and enough with this developing Eric Thames. His defense might improve marginally through experience, but he will always be a below average OF. That's a result of a lack of both foot & arm speed. And his ability to become a passable LFer won't be hindered if he spends some time as a DH in his mid-20s.
Thomas - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#253320) #
Mike, your plan looks good, but I'd hope the Jays don't rest either Bautista or Lawrie one out of every 12 games. They may need to, particularly in the latter case, because of little knocks or larger injuries, but I would hope that both play with a frequency where they'd reach about 158 games over the course of a full season if healthy and producing.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#253321) #
"....enough with this developing Eric Thames."

Because at the age of 25, he has failed the 92-93 test. No hope of ever improving. It has been decreed: he cannot get better.

And since his development has halted, he can never hope for a full-time job. Yet he can never be demoted. He's trapped in the limbo of 92-93 land, where half the roster are relegated to some kind of part-time rotation, doomed to be forever judged and forever found wanting.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#253325) #
Interestingly, there are many reports from spring training about how Eric Thames spent the entire off-season working on improving his arm strength.

He will be crushed when he learns that 92-93 has decreed that his efforts were wasted and his goal was impossible.

In fact, 92-93 could really help the Jays by informing them of the limits of each player. Possibly he could fly to Florida and explain to them face-to-face about their limits and their correct part-time roles, which they have no hope of ever rising above.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 11:25 PM EDT (#253329) #
OK guys, there has been some, shall we say, spirited back and forth on this issue but we have received a couple of abuse complaints.

Can we either agree to disagree or tone back the rhetoric please.
smcs - Tuesday, March 27 2012 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#253332) #
Interestingly, there are many reports from spring training about how Eric Thames spent the entire off-season working on improving his arm strength.

I don't doubt he worked hard, but having a great arm in left field is not that useful, especially if you're slow and make poor reads. Footspeed can't be helped too much, but reads are about experience. If Eric Thames has a long career, it will be in spite of his glove, which is part of the reason I'd rather have Snider up -- even if he doesn't hit as well as Thames, he's never been a butcher in the field, though nobody would mistake him for Brett Gardner out there.
China fan - Wednesday, March 28 2012 @ 04:05 AM EDT (#253333) #
The last thing that I'll say on this subject is to quote John Sickels from a few days ago:

"Buzz from Toronto Blue Jays camp is that Eric Thames has the edge over Travis Snider in the competition for the regular left field job. Both are hitting well (Thames 13-for-40, .325/.378/.500, Snider 13-for-43, .302/.375/.698) but Thames is reportedly impressing more with his defense and athleticism, which looks like the deciding factor since both are hitting."

Sounds like Thames has indeed developed since last year.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 28 2012 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#253343) #
Sorry, I totally didn't realize John Sickels (who?!) had read some positive reviews from the Toronto media about how Eric Thames did arm exercises this winter to improve his noodle.

Next you're going to tell me John Sickels thinks Brett Cecil looks great in camp.

When a guy doesn't have enough arm strength to even be his high school's BACKUP SS, his arm is a lost cause. And as has been pointed out, his arm really doesn't matter all that much in LF. It was his inability to judge balls off the bat that killed him, and that's not a skill that can only be developed when you're young.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 28 2012 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#253392) #

Eric Thames said in an article (I can't remember when) that he worked too hard (in2010/2011 offseason) building up upper-body strength before this Spring and it effected his throwing and his hitting and his defense.   I have read another athlete remarking about working too hard on lower-body strength and it restricted his running, his speed and made him more suspectible to injury.  

I guess you can still work out if your routine is better tailored to your basic needs.   Apparently Thames figured it out.

Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 28 2012 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#253394) #
Here's one article about Thames' off-season workout changes.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#253435) #
Thanks Ryan.
Paul D - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#253437) #
John Sickels is a well respected prospect guy. Runs
Sano - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#253445) #
Re: Sickels- he also is a contributor to Baseball America I believe. One of the top minor league/prospect experts out there. I wouldn't throw away his opinion too lightly.
Snider and Thames ought to make the team | 161 comments | Create New Account
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