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Yes. it's time for Opening Weekend Overreactions, or as we like to call is here at Da Box, Overreaction Sunday ....

Should anyone be concerned? Or does the headline say it all?

The Boston Red Sox are, right now, the worst team in baseball, as they are 0-2 and have been outscored, 13-2 -- they're the only team in baseball with a double-digit negative run differential.

The Sox' East Coast metropolitan nemeses, The Yankees of New York, share their 0-2 misery, but have been outscored "just" 15-12. On the gloomy side, baseball's All-Time Greatest Closer (TM), Mariano Rivera, blew one of those games in the ninth inning.

Atlanta's Braves, also 0-2, join the Red Sox in offensive futility, having scored just two runs, though they have given up just five.

Other winless teams include the Padres (0-3) and five more 0-2 starters, in the Cubs, Giants, Rockies, Twins and Indians.

Should anyone be inching toward the panic button yet? (Well, no -- of course not. It's early April.) But which of these teams are actually showing a sure-to-be-continuing trend?

Nine winless teams? (Oh, shut up. It's only April!) | 42 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
TamRa - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 04:47 AM EDT (#254077) #
it doesn't matter that the Sox and Yankees are each 0-2 any more than it matters that the orioles are 2-0 - but i still enjoy it on a visceral level.

On the other hand, the Jays being 2-0 matters a very great deal.
CSHunt68 - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#254080) #
Those two losses by the Red Sox and Yankees are probably FAR more meaningful than Baltimore's two wins. Why? Because Baltimore probably isn't going to compete for the playoffs this year.

Let's play a mental exercise. Imagine we've started by playing the final games of the season, and are now moving backwards in time. The Sox and Yankees have just lost the last two games of the season. Was that meaningful? Maybe. Last year, losing the last game of the season was VERY meaningful for the Sox. We just don't know yet.

All that's a long-winded way of saying that, despite the fact that the results of the remaining 160 games will swamp the 2 we've played, that losses in April count the same as losses in September. ... And, also, na-na-na-na-boo-boo to Boston and New York. ;)

Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#254081) #
It only matters to winless teams if it continues.   I would prefer Boston's ineptitude to continue until April 12th, re-occurring whenever they play Toronto.   New York, on the other hand, may just be learning what their season might be like.
uglyone - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#254084) #
first time both the Yanks and Sox have started 0-2 since 1980, apparently.
Mike Green - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#254085) #
Sunday errata:

Boom Boom Ba-da Boom
Boom Boom Ba-da Boom
Joel Carreno
Je-Je-Je-Joel Carreno

Carreno will be telling his teammates, paraphrasing my grandmother: "Here I am slaving away on the mound.  Would it kill you to score 5 or 6 runs for me?"

And from Boston comes news.  After being shelled by Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and those powerful Tigers, Josh Beckett was sent down by the Red Sox to the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League.  At a press conference, GM Cherington pointed out that the club was very concerned by Beckett's loss of velocity and has decided that it is time for him to learn the knuckleball.  The club has signed Tim Wakefield to a minor league contract to help teach Beckett to throw the pitch.  Special assistant to the GM Bill James explained that it was more than about velocity: "One day, I was talking with Phil Niekro about the key to his success and he told me that it was pizza and beer.  Pizza and beer?  Yep, you've got to have at least two slices of pizza and two beers the day before the game or the floater just won't float. So, I did a study.  I created a new stat, the pizza/beer number, calculated in the same way as the power/speed number, and I graphed pizza/beer number from the day before the start on the x-axis to game score on the y-axis.  Let me show you the results.  For knuckleballers, you have  a clear positive slope, with a line of best fit being GS= 50 + 8 *PB (if PB is less than or equal to 5).  For other pitchers, the slope is clearly negative, although the association is weaker."  Cherington said that the club was not only going to rely on the numbers, but that the club had also sent out its best scouts to find good joints  to get wood-fired pizza and local beer near the stadiums of all other AL East clubs.  Meanwhile, Beckett joins Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, Tim Wakefield and a newly resurrected Hoyt Wilhelm in the "Spinner rotation". 

Mick Doherty - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#254090) #

Hoyt Wilhelm?  Even  knuckleballer can't overcome THAT dead of an arm!

Charlie Hough??

hypobole - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#254098) #
Need a living knuckler who isn't in Depends territory? Maybe the Mets would upset their potential 162-0 chemistry and trade Boston R. A. Dickey for Ellsbury and a couple of minor leaguers?
Thomas - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#254100) #
The only thing better than watching Toronto's first three games of the season might have been watching Boston's.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#254101) #
Yeah lookin forward to this Boston series.
hypobole - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#254104) #
Is there any realistic chance Orioles could surprise? Not playoffs, but .500?

Offence was about equal to Tampa last year, it's their pitching that really stunk. The hiring of Rick Peterson seems to have been a very underrated but positive move.

Last year, the young four of Matusz, Arrieta, Britton and Tillman threw over 380 innings for the O's and had a combined 0.1 rWAR. Each of those 4 had also twice been a BA Top 100 prospect, with the O's getting a rep of the place young arms go to die.

Tillman could be a lost cause, but Arrieta and Matusz are healthy, and Britton may not be far off. The other starters like Hammels, Hunter and import Chen may be mediocre, but probably also a lot better than the Jo-Jo Reyes/Jakubauskas/VandenHurk types they trotted out last year.
So could the AL East be 5 deep this year?
Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#254106) #
Amazing, now 0 wins and 3 losses: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins.   How bad will it get for some of these Teams?
hypobole - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#254107) #
Rockies are not 0-3, they have a win. Of the 0-3 teams the only one who's record is anywhere close to their talent level would be the Twins.
greenfrog - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#254108) #
Would have been nice to sweep the Indians - Jays were that close - but a solid start to the season nonetheless. Now let's win at least two of three against Boston. "Win series" is a good mantra.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#254109) #
Carreno to AAA, Laffey to Toronto's Bullpen.   Interesting.
hypobole - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#254111) #
There have been blowouts vs Boston. Better wasting Laffey for multiple innings if we're getting blown out than one of the better bullpen arms. Don't know how good his splits are, but can be also possibly be used as a LOOGY. Carreno won't be needed for a while with off days.
John Northey - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#254112) #
Guess it makes sense - no need for a 5th starter for awhile, but an 8th reliever, after the past 3 games, might be very useful. Laffey doesn't catch me as the best choice, but he did have (mostly) a good spring so probably deserves a brief shot.
smcs - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#254113) #
Does Joel Carreno make another start before Brett Cecil makes his 1st?
92-93 - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#254114) #
Laffey isn't all that good at getting lefties out, so I really don't want to see him used as a LOOGY in a tight spot. Frasor & Janssen are better options if you're hesitant to burn Perez/Oliver. I'd have much preferred the Jays called up a 5th bench bat (Gomes?) to an 8th reliever.

The interesting thing about Carreno's demotion is that he was sent down to Vegas, not NH. I wonder what changed.
Original Ryan - Sunday, April 08 2012 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#254115) #
Laffey's career lefty/righty splits:

vs L: .268/.338/.380 (520 PA)
vs R: .300/.371/.423 (1,135 PA)

It's also worth noting that his numbers as a reliever are identical to his numbers as a starter. To this point he hasn't been one of those guys who pitches noticeably better out of the bullpen.
TamRa - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 03:30 AM EDT (#254119) #
If Laffey gets garbage innings I won't object, but I'd much rather have taken another look at Chad Beck (for one example)

My guess is that since they made commitments to Laffey when he signed, and since he makes a good deal more money when he's in the majors given his split contract, that this is a bit of a good-will payment to him in a very very low-impact spot.

Not that this would ever be publicly stated.
greenfrog - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#254122) #
Isn't Laffey guaranteed $800K by virtue of making the big-league club? I doubt that the Jays would be sending nearly $1M his way as a goodwill gesture - that's just not how successful businesses use their scarce resources. I think they're trying to compete, and he's the best option at the moment. Plus, given the emerging depth issues in the rotation, the Jays could well be anticipating that they'll need him off and on this season.
85bluejay - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#254123) #
My guess is that the Jays want Carreno on his regular rotation spot, working on his weakness, so that he can be recalled when the need a 5th starter - Laffey is the Mike McCoy equivalent - to pitch garbage innings and be abused if necessary
John Northey - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#254125) #
Yeah, I figure the Jays will take advantage of the 5th starting slot/8th bullpen slot this year until someone claims that 5th slot via very strong performances. I wonder if AA has thought through how using the 'Vegas shuttle' could really help keep the stress off the rotation and bullpen - by doing this shuffling that 5th/8th guy can get innings in AAA, then come to the majors for a week or something to get a good paycheque and recovery time, then go back to AAA for more innings again. Use a few of the guys with options in that rotation and you can keep going for a long time.

I suspect in the future it will be hard to do that as once you have 5 solid starters (ala Tampa) you can't do the shuttle as easily. Perhaps with the 7th reliever but, again, the pen is filling up too with guys you wouldn't be sending down often. The bench hits it as well since there are no guys with options on the bench right now iirc.
Chuck - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#254129) #
I've likened Laffey to Eveland and I stand by that unflattering comparison. That said, I wonder if Laffey might be seen as a potential low leverage second lefty in the pen that would allow Perez to be given an opportunity in the rotation.
uglyone - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#254130) #
That's an interesting thought. perez has dominated all spring and impressed everyone in his first outing.

that being said, i don't think calling up lackey is anything other than insurance against kids like alvarez and drabek getting shelled early by the sox (not that i'm overly worried about thay, though).
bpoz - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#254131) #
I like TamRa's choice of C Beck over Laffey.

But about Laffey, he pitched on Thursday & threw 96 pitches 63 strikes if this info is accurate. LV can make numbers inaccurate in that a GB becomes a hit rather than an out that may even have been a double play. In his start Laffey had 5K, 7 GB & 0 Flyouts. The 3hr & 11 hits look very bad but they may not have been. Look at HRs at Coors field.

Laffey & his agent should have considered the possibility of playing in LV and the consequences to his future when he signed. They probably considered many things. I remember not thinking much of S Downs when he joined the Jays. If I am correct he did not do enough as a starter for the Jays but after not doing so well as a reliever too, he got it. Really sneaked up on me IF I remember correctly.

I give him about 3 months to pull a S Downs, because E Crawford could be charging by then.
Mike Green - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#254132) #
calling up lackey

He's no lackey.  I've seen Aaron at all the coolest demos in full zeitgeist mode.

As for the idea that Luis Perez might start, here's his minor league record.  Personally, I'd like to see him have at least half a season in the pen (and hopefully holding his own) before giving him the ball to start a game. 
Gerry - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#254136) #

I agree that Laffey did not deserve a call-up but they say they called him up to have another lefty against Boston's heavy lefty lineup. 

Carreno did look like he needs more development time.  His fastball command yesterday was not good enough to be consistently successful.  It could have been a bad start, command wise, but a starter does need fastball command more than a reliever. 

Carreno's demotion sets up a competition for the 5th starters spot.  If Laffey stays as a reliever it could rule him out of a starters role unless he gets some extended successful outings in relief.  Carreno, Cecil and Jenkins appear to be the ones in the running for the job.  Once McGowan's injury heals he will need time to build up his endurance again.  It might be tough to promote Cecil until he has established his new and improved version for a while.  As of today it's between Jenkins and Carreno for me.   They should each have a couple of starts to show what they have to offer. 

Mike Green - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#254137) #
It is the old scouting vs. performance issue.  If one looks at performance, Cecil has it all over Carreno and Jenkins, having dominated in the minors and held his own in the major leagues, while the other two have done neither.  If one looks at scouting, it's more of a mixed bag.  Carreno certainly looks like a pitcher who might be a good starter one day, but (like Luis Perez), you would really like to give him a half-season in the bullpen or starting in Las Vegas.  I don't know about Jenkins, but a ground ball pitcher who has yet to have one above-average season in the pros does not excite me at all.  Cecil has obvious issues.  Personally, I'd just hand him the ball anyways, as the club does not (in my view) have better options. 
uglyone - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#254139) #
For the record, IMO Hutch not only likely has the highest upside of the options, but also has the best current performance, as well.
greenfrog - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#254140) #
Another season, another debate about which SPs are the least unappealing for the back end of the rotation. Hopefully this one doesn't last more than a month or two.
92-93 - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#254141) #
And next year we get to see what we have in Carreno, McGuire, Jenkins, and Hutchison instead of going out and adding MLB talent.
92-93 - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#254142) #
Perez has both a season of starts in the PCL and half a season in the MLB bullpen already. He's a better option than Cecil right now.
greenfrog - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#254143) #
Looks as though the Jays will get the Red Sox without Bailey and Crawford (April 9-11) and the Rays without Upton and Farnsworth (April 17-19). Perhaps those injuries will give TO a slight advantage - although the Rays can still field a strong outfield of Joyce, Jennings and Zobrist, with Rodriguez, Keppinger and Brignac covering the middle infield.

Career stats at RC:

- Bailey 5.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
- Crawford 290/320/470 (27:4 SB:CS)
- BJ Upton 272/352/446 (14:3 SB:CS)
- Farnsworth 11 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 8 K
92-93 - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#254144) #
Both Francisco and Davis have options. Omar, as you may have guessed, does not.
Mike Green - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#254146) #
Oh, I agree about Hutchison.  I love him.  He has only made 4 double A starts though, and it is easy to understand why the club wants him to get some more work. 

None of the options are really great, and you can certainly make the case that Perez is a better choice than Cecil. Frankly, if that is what you felt, though, why wouldn't you just  move Cecil to the major league pen in the long relief role and Perez to the rotation from the outset?  It's not as though you want Cecil to go into high leverage relief work now, anyway. 
uglyone - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#254148) #
To be honest, I think Carreno is in line for the next #5 start regardless, and IMO he deserves a shot. I think he was pretty decent yesterday, even though his mistakes were costly. It was a pretty poor matchup for him - 7 lefties in that lineup against him, and lefties will always be Carreno's weakness given that his slider is his money pitch.

But I am more than happy with the talent we have fighting for the #4/#5 slots - McGowan, Drabek, Carreno, Cecil, McGuire, Jenkins, Hutch....and if Perez deserves to be in that mix as a 95mph lefty groundball machine, that's fine with me too. As long as the likes of Laffey are not in that SP mix, I'm not going to lose any sleep over the rest of the guys battling it out.

Now, whether Morrow/Alvarez can give us dependable #2/#3 starter innings is a bit more of a concern to me.
92-93 - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#254149) #
That could have been viewed as cutting bait on Cecil too early after his revamped conditioning BS. The Jays will let him fail as a starter for a bit longer and get passed over on the depth chart before officially converting him to the bullpen.
92-93 - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#254150) #
Not all ERAs are created the same : I have no problem with a back end starter who consistently gives the performance Carreno gave yesterday, even though it results in a 6.00era. You won't win many games scoring 3 runs in the AL East.

If Cecil has 2 decent starts in NH I'd go back to him for the April 21st start, assuming Farrell is set on keeping Villanueva & Perez in the bullpen.
Original Ryan - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#254153) #
Both Francisco and Davis have options.

As of this week, Davis has five years of major league service time. The Blue Jays would need his written permission in order to option him to the minors.

TamRa - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#254173) #
"Isn't Laffey guaranteed $800K by virtue of making the big-league club? I doubt that the Jays would be sending nearly $1M his way as a goodwill gesture - that's just not how successful businesses use their scarce resources."

EXACTLY the same conversation as "we promised John Buck he was the starter"

The money is buying more good-will than just Laffey's.

The minimum salary is $480,000 for the season, Laffey's contract reportedly promises him $800,000.

that's a difference of $320,000
Divided by 26 week in a season that amounts to $12,307 a week - or less than $25,000 if Laffey spends two weeks in the majors.

if you think THAT is money to worry about for a major league team then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree because we don't have a common frame of reference.

greenfrog - Monday, April 09 2012 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#254184) #
I think we need to get the math right before leaping to conclusions about the financial implications of the move.

First, I haven't read anything to suggest that Laffey's $800K salary would be prorated depending on how long he's in the majors. On the contrary, Gregor Chisholm seems to indicate that just making the big club guarantees him the entire amount. See link below:!/gregorMLB/status/156481307201896448

If this is true, breaking down Laffey's salary by week (an odd analytical move IMO) is meaningless if he's guaranteed $800K by appearing in (for example) only one ML game.

So, hypothetically let's say Carreno gets recalled and sticks with the team for the entire year, earning his $480K (the ML minimum). Laffey, on the other hand, lasts for a week or two and then gets sent down/cut, thereby earning his guaranteed $800K.

As a result, the Jays essentially get one roster spot filled for the year for $1.28M ($800K for a brief Laffey stint + $480K for a rookie year of Carreno or whoever) instead of the $480K they would be paying the latter - a not insignificant difference of $800K. In other words, the Jays would be paying this amount (about 1% of an $80M payroll) for the privilege of having Laffey on the ML roster for a week or two.

Of course, all this is based on the assumption that Laffey's salary isn't prorated and that without Laffey a rookie would hold down this roster spot. If This is just a thought experiment - if I'm wrong on these assumptions (or the above math), I'm happy to be corrected by someone knowledgeable in this area.
Nine winless teams? (Oh, shut up. It's only April!) | 42 comments | Create New Account
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