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Big news in Jay land - Adam Lind has been sent down to AAA

Normally a guy hitting as poorly as he has wouldn't make news this way, but given the managers addiction to batting Lind 4th it is big news.

Called up is Yan Gomes - the first player from Brazil to reach the major leagues. He was hitting 359/391/565 for a 956 OPS in Vegas. In his age 24 season he has been climbing the ladder quickly - rookie & low A his first season, A/A+ second season, AA/AAA his third and now AAA/Majors his 4th. Lifetime in the minors he has hit 284/338/471 - 809. He has been a catcher all his career before playing 20 games at 1B last year and splitting time between 1B/3B/CA this year (9/10/12 games respectively).
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Gerry - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#256516) #

I had wondered about sending Lind down but somehow I thought you couldn't send down a guy on a multi-year contract.  I guess you can.

I was at the game last night and Lind didn't look comfortable at the plate.  They have probably told him to go down and get back into form, without the pressure, which is probably a good idea.  It was going to be tough on Lind to fix himself at the major league level.

A couple of other points:

Omar Vizquel is just a slap hitter at this stage, he is basically trying to slash/bloop one over the infield.  I am not sure how long the Vizquel experiment will last.

Lawrie looked like he was swinging for the fences last night.  Hopefully he tones it down today.

Beyonder - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#256517) #
...and Lawrie drops his appeal. Suspension to start tonight.
China fan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#256518) #
So who plays 3B tonight? I hope it's Gomes rather than Vizquel, but unfortunately I suspect it will be Vizquel.
Gerry - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#256519) #
And congratulations to the first Brazilian MLB player.  I chatted with Gomes last season, he is a friendly guy.  IIRC he moved to the States in his teens, he still is a soccer fan and can speak Portuguese.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#256520) #
Yan Gomes' numbers in Las Vegas are so-so, once you let the air out.  I understand that you might want him to fill in for Lawrie, and I imagine that we might see a Guerrero for Gomes move in a couple of weeks.  Not that I think Guerrero (or Francisco) is a good option for an everyday DH. 
greenfrog - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#256521) #
Anyone know where AA's press conference can be viewed?
soupman - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#256522) #
Rasmus also has options left, correct?
Beyonder - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#256523) #
Greenfrog. Apparently it is press-only.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#256524) #
Lawrie was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying that the only thing he regrets is that the helmet hit the umpire.  In response:

Dear Brett,

At some point in your career, you will hopefully be a role model and spokesperson for the Jays in their efforts to promote amateur baseball in Canada.  At that point, you will realize that throwing your helmet on the field because you are unhappy about a balls and strike call is not something that you want kids to emulate.  It's OK to be angry, but there are times to head up the tunnel and express your anger in such a way that the umpire is not shown up.


PS  Wait for the call.  Take it from a lawyer- no judge likes to be told what he has decided before he has decided. 

AWeb - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#256525) #

You probably give Gomes a night to sit on the bench - I don't know when he was told of the move, but it's possible he's not even on the plane to Toronto yet. Start him the next game please - they probably know what they have in terms of defense, but I'd like to see it myself.

A C/1B/3B sounds useful to this team, especially since he could potentially replace either Mathis or Vizquel. Or both of them, finally allowing the ultimate goal of 21st century roster management to be that much closer- a 15 man pitching staff!

China fan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#256526) #
Good news: it's Gomes who will play at 3B tonight, not Vizquel, according to Anthopoulos. I'm glad to see that they're going with the better hitter. But nothing like a little pressure for Gomes in his major-league debut! He's in the starting lineup, he's playing at 3B (not at catcher where he spent most of his minor-league career), he's facing the Yankees, and it's a home game! Don't screw up, kid....
jester00 - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#256527) #
Super small sample size alert, but Yan Gomes fielding % at third so far this year in Vegas:  .870 with 3 errors in 23 chances.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#256528) #
"no judge likes to be told what he has decided before he has decided"

True enough, but in theory at least, the ump doesn't "decide" whether the pitch is a strike or a ball. His job is to correctly identify whether the pitch falls within the rectangle in space that constitutes the strike zone. Lawrie walked to first because the ball was out of the zone and he assumed the ump would do his job.

It reminds me of the saying, "you're entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts."

Of course, in our human-based system, pitches are often a judgement call, and human emotions come into play, so showing respect to the umpire probably helps some calls go your way.
John Northey - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#256529) #
It'll be interesting to see the lineups for the next few days while Lawrie is away and Lind is in AAA. Hopefully Gomes gets a full shot and does well. Not sure who will DH as I'll assume Encarnacion plays 1B for the time being. Probably Ben Francisco until Lawrie is back, then Gomes to 1B and EE back to DH with Francisco mix and matched in depending on how Gomes hits.
Dave Rutt - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#256530) #
First Brazilian ever? That's pretty cool. Hopefully Gomes finds a place to stay around College and Ossington.
Original Ryan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#256531) #
Apparently Anthopoulos mentioned that there could be another roster move once Lawrie gets back. That might mean that Gomes and David Cooper swap places next week.
92-93 - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#256532) #
Not that Lind was playing particularly well in the field either, but I really worry about the team's defense with Gomes & Encarnacion at the infield corners.
Dave Rutt - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#256533) #
Cooper makes sense, Ryan. The 25th man doesn't really need defensive flexibility as the team is pretty strong defensively already, so it should be a bat, and a lefty one at that. That pretty much leaves Cooper or Snider.
TamRa - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#256534) #
"I had wondered about sending Lind down but somehow I thought you couldn't send down a guy on a multi-year contract. I guess you can."

I might be wrong - and perhaps Marc or someone can conform (or someone ask KLaw?) - but my understanding is that a player like Lind on a guaranteed contract can, if sent down, choose to opt out of his contract and refuse the assignment. He has the right to refuse but if he refuses he is walking away from his contract.

So I've understood ever since the days when Mondesi was here

Also - other teams have the right to claim him ala Tony Bautista...
Thomas - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#256535) #
I had thought a team could add a player to the 25-man roster if another player is suspended, but it doesn't seem like that's the case, otherwise the Jays would presumably have called someone up for four days. Given that, I agree with Ryan that you might see Cooper and Gomes swapped once Lawrie's suspension is over, as it would give the Jays a left-handed bat and Gomes' versatility is less necessary with Lawrie around.
TamRa - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#256536) #
"Apparently Anthopoulos mentioned that there could be another roster move once Lawrie gets back. That might mean that Gomes and David Cooper swap places next week."

I'd hoped that might be the case - does this not imply that a non-injury absence like Lawrie's also give them a valid reason to get around the usual 10 day rule?

China fan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#256537) #
The 10-day rule, I believe, applies to demotions, rather than promotions. I don't believe there is any rule that requires Gomes to stay with the major-league club for 10 days. He can be sent down after 4 games (as relief pitchers often are).

I believe the 10-day rule says that a demoted player must stay in the minors for at least 10 days, unless he is recalled as an injury replacement. So that wouldn't affect Gomes or Cooper in the current situation.

If I'm mistaken about this, I'm sure someone will correct me.
China fan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#256538) #
.....He can be sent down after 4 games....

Here I'm referring to the length of the Lawrie suspension, of course. In theory, Gomes could even be sent down after 1 game, I believe.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#256539) #
Greenfrog, on the 3-2 pitch to Lawrie, the complaint was not so much that the pitch was much outside the technical box (it was by a smidge, but umpires miss calls in this sense a lot), but that it was outside what is usually called a strike by a lot.  The umpire is, in fact, a judge, and a player is best to treat him as one while letting the manager do the heavy lifting.  There are rulebooks, interpretations, advocates (although kicking dirt on the shoes of the judge might generate a harsher penalty than being ejected from a game)...
James W - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#256540) #
I agree wholeheartedly with this Keith Law quote:

"The delayed call is another thing that MLB needs to stamp out. The sequence of non-call/player assumes ball four/ump calls him back for strike/vengeance call should never happen. Zero tolerance."
dan gordon - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#256541) #

Pleasantly surprised to see Lind sent down to AAA.  Also great to see Gomes getting the call.  I think he might be here for a while.  My general rule of thumb for Vegas hitting stats is to knock about 80-90 points off the batting average to see what they might be doing in the majors, which would put Gomes at about .275 or thereabouts.  Worried about his defense at 3B, but it will just be for 4 games.  I'd like to see him DH or play 1B for a while after that and see what he can do.  No idea if he or Encarnacion would be the better defender at 1B.

Gerry - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#256542) #

Gomes is somewhat a free-swinger.  As such he could have some early success before the league adjusts.  If Gomes gets some games behind the plate I would assume he is being showcased for a trade.  Catchers who can hit are valuable.


Craig B - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#256543) #
Mike Green's letter says all that needs to be said to Brett Lawrie. Although one might want to mention to him that the time to run up and scream in the ump's face is probably not right after you just accidentally hit him with your helmet.

I guess someone also needs to tell him to lay off the Red Bulls.
John Northey - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#256544) #
If Gomes stats this year are a true reflection then he is a very valuable player. However, his OPS before this year was 809-780-770 over his 3 seasons in the minors. Good, but not great. Of course, for that time he was a catcher for 137 games and at 1B for 20 vs this year which is a mix and match of 1B/3B/CA. As a 1B/3B/CA a 750 or greater OPS would be extremely useful off the bench. If he gets it up to 800 in the majors then he'd be a regular or at least in a platoon.

I love the idea of a 3rd catcher who also plays 3B/1B as that is really a slot that is needed here. Then running for a catcher can be done more often (making better use of Davis) and bringing in Mathis for defense late could be done with less fear as well.
uglyone - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#256545) #
Praise the Lord.

As a poster on scout described it, "finally the last sacred cow has been slaughtered, and hopefully from now on out we'll see every player having to earn his playing time".

And that's exactly how I feel about it, too.

As for Gomes - poor plate discipline numbers in the minor make me doubt he's got too much to offer, but he has a good hit tool and he's been red hot since spring training, so there's every chance he could continue his hot streak up here for a while. What's more interesting to me is what happens if Gomes struggles - which one of Lind, Snider, Cooper gets the next shot?
truefan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#256546) #

"other teams have a right to claim him ala Tony Bautista..."

A risk we may be willing to take....



Beyonder - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#256547) #
A small point about the Lawrie thing. When you spike your helmet at about 60 mph on the ground two feet away from the ump, and it hits him, I don't think you can call it "accidental" or "unintentional".
China fan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#256548) #
Stray thought: who would have predicted in early 2010 that Lind, Snider and Cecil would all be in the minors by 2012? (And that Wells and Hill would be gone too.)
Mike Green - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#256549) #
First Brazilian ever? That's pretty cool. the esthetician says.  Since 1995, there have been 8 Colombians and 200 Venezuelans in major league baseball, and it wouldn't be a shock if baseball spread a little south.  Interestingly, the Nippon Blue Jays won the Brazilian baseball under 20 tournament this year.  The Blue Jays were the only club with an MLB nickname, apparently. 
Thomas - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#256550) #
I was initially a bit disappointed to hear Lawrie appealed what was a relatively light punishment, but it seems as if it may have been a tactical move to allow the team to get Gomes to Toronto for tonight's game, which wouldn't have happened if he had begun serving the suspension last night.

This is unrelated to Lind, Gomes and Lawrie, but in a nice story former Toronto Blue Jays draft pick Rich Thompson made a pinch-running appearance for Tampa Bay yesterday, the day after the team acquired him from Philadelphia, where he was playing in Triple-A. Thompson was a 6th round draft pick in 2000 and was used to acquire John Wasdin way back (reference intended) in 2003. Sorry for the painful memories.

What's notable about Thompson's appearance is that it's his first big league appearance since 2004, when he got his first and only major league at-bat with K.C. while appearing in six games for the Royals. Thompson is going to get his first major league start tonight, at 33.
Chuck - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#256551) #
On the subject of ex-Jays, the Padres released both Brian Tallett and Orlando Hudson today.
JB21 - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#256552) #
I was initially a bit disappointed to hear Lawrie appealed what was a relatively light punishment, but it seems as if it may have been a tactical move to allow the team to get Gomes to Toronto for tonight's game, which wouldn't have happened if he had begun serving the suspension last night.

Tactical for the Jays, but sucks if you're going to the game on Sunday, like I am, haha.
Ryan Day - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#256553) #
I stumbled across this great Mr T PSA and couldn't help thinking of Brett Lawrie.
Lugnut Fan - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#256554) #
AA in the house in Lansing again tonight.
Craig B - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#256555) #
Yan Gomes was born in Brazil, but I understand he grew up in Florida and went to the University of Tennessee.

Where they moved him off catcher. Because he was blocked. By JP Arencibia.

That, is kinda funny.
JB21 - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#256557) #
Joey Bats continues his hot May. 7th bomb of the month, slugging up to 600 and OPS getting close to 1000 for the month.
greenfrog - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#256558) #
I would like to know the Jays' success rate under Farrell at bringing home the runner using the squeeze play. I bet it's pretty low.
JB21 - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#256559) #
Another small sample size but after an 1 HR month JP has 4 in May and is slugging over 650 with an OPS over 1000 for the month of May.
Thomas - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#256560) #
Craig, I think he moved to Florida when he was about 12 or so. It's not analogous to Alex Liddi, but he was probably noticeably behind most early teens in his baseball development and it's a credit to Gomes that he was able to make up for a little bit of lost time.
cybercavalier - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#256561) #
Talking about former Jays. In 2009 here at battersbox, quite a few batters talked about an OF David Smith not resigned to Syracuse AAA. It seems David has given up Baseball while Rich just keeps chipping every bit of effort until today.

Luck, Chances, Personal efforts ?
Chuck - Thursday, May 17 2012 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#256562) #
I saw Gomes' first AB and had to miss the rest of the game, and am just now reading the boxscore. I am surprised to see the 2-for-3. He looked totally rattled in AB #1, where he saw one pitch in the strike zone (which he took) and three out of the strike zone (of which he swung at two). Nice to see that he must have settled down a bit thereafter.

The whole Brazilian thing reminds me of an untrue anecdote about George Bush.

Mr. President, the Brazilian diplomats have arrived.
Remind me again, how many is a brazillion?
katman - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:58 AM EDT (#256566) #
The next target for the fans seems to be Rasmus, but Gose's weak .239 BA/ .318 OBP/ .352 SLG, in Las Vegas no less, says Rasmus has nothing to fear. Not unless the defense fairy suddenly grants Rajai Davis a wish.

That's fine, really. I'll grant Rasmus the full season, but it had been longer than that for Lind. All the demotion was, is an unexpected burst of sanity when all other avenues had been exhausted. I suppose it's possible for Lind to turn things around, but if I was pressed to bet on whether he'd appear in the majors again, I'd have to take the "no" side.

Will be interesting to see if Snider gets called up after Lawrie's suspension is done. Meanwhile, glad to see Gomes doing well in his MLB debut.
sam - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:13 AM EDT (#256567) #
I was at the game tonight and have a couple first hand impressions for what it's worth.

I was really impressed with Casey Jansen. I remember last year a report that a scout was saying the Jays should try Jansen out at closer because he's "fearless" out there. I think he's probably right. Jansen went right after the hitters. It was impressive, and I think the hitters were caught a little off-guard. On the face of it, the stuff is fairly average but it plays up with the tempo and the way he attacks hitters. I think he's going to be just fine in the role and will be a good set-up guy. He seems to really like the challenge and situation.

Hutchison seems afraid of hitters. It's the only way I seem to be able to make sense of the high walk rate, considering the numbers in the minors. The stuff is fairly average and on several occasions he got himself into situations where a good breaking ball or off speed pitch would have induced a swing and miss, but Hutchison couldn't pull the string. He always seemed to be playing with fire, or teetering on the edge of the big inning. It was uncomfortable to say the least. He's going to be one of those pitchers who is going to rely heavily on setting hitters up. I don't think he has the stuff to induce early, poor contact the way Alvarez does. Nor does he have the pure swing and miss stuff, so I don't know. But there's some funk to the delivery and it's a good little fastball. I worry for him the next time through the league, and I think his numbers as he works through lineups indicate he's going to experience difficulties the next time he faces teams he's already pitched to.

I liked Yan Gomes' at bats tonight. He saw fastballs and took good swings. Discounting the first at-bat, which he looked overly aggressive and nervous, he showed a really good hit tool. On one occasion with two strikes he was clearly looking curveball and got fastball and flicked his hands at it to foul it off to the right side. It was one of those small things that Derek Jeter has done throughout his career to extend at-bats. I believe it was the same at-bat that Gomes singled for his first career major league hit. Gomes didn't see much of the ball at third, and when he did he made the play.

Bautista looks like he's more in sync at the plate, however, I have a general criticism about the hitting approach of a couple players on the team. I was thinking about this during the game that if there's a further slip up with the team, I think Dwayne Murphy is next to go.

In the first inning, Johnson led off with a walk and Escobar singled. Bautista went down swinging, I believe Encarnacion did as well, and then Arencibia popped up. It's a tricky spot there for Bautista and Encarnacion, it's the first inning and you want to see pitches, but there are runners on board and you want to be aggressive and drive them in. In both at-bats though, Bautista and Encarnacion were way too passive. The approach in my opinion needs to be improved. If runners are on-base especially if they are in scoring position. You're likely to see more fastballs and have a more aggressive pitcher. As a hitter you want to drive that guy(s) in, and attack the pitcher. Both seemed to passively approach the at-bat waiting to two strikes before they decided to partake in the at-bat. I think it's a flawed approach in that situation. You see a fastball in that situation and you let it go. To Bautista's credit, on his homerun he was really thinking along with the pitcher and wasn't fooled on anything.

Arencibia hit a bomb tonight on a ball down in the zone. It was legit. Again I do question his approach at the plate. Arencibia is not a good two strike hitter and does not draw walks. As he works counts, he seems to open himself up to more breaking stuff and different options and flails at a lot of stuff out of the zone. He's just not that good of hitter once you get him thinking and swinging at different stuff. At what point do you say, OK maybe we need to accept who he is and just have him go up there hacking and hope he runs into a few homers here and there. If I were management I'd tell JP here are your numbers with two strikes and deep into counts. Here is video of you swinging with two strikes or in 2-2 or 3-2 counts and here is you swinging in 1-0 or 0-0 counts. Go up there and the first fastball or pitch you think you can hit, let it go! In fairness to JP, I think he's aware of this, and takes healthy swings up there but doesn't really center the ball up that often. Anyways, this is entirely subjective and I just had a look at some of the stats and they don't really say much this season.

Arencibia also made an error tonight on a foul ball. It was a tough play and those pop-ups are difficult sometimes with the dome open. Yet, he should have come down with it and luckily it didn't prove costly. On the play, and on an earlier play in the game Encarnacion perhaps should have also been there to help him out. Corner infielders should really bust on those plays irregardless, it's an easier play in most cases for them than the catcher. I was little dismayed to see Encarnacion saunter over and not really "want the ball." I was watching the dugout that half inning and it didn't seem that management was talking to him so I could just be seeing things. Similarly, on Granderson's double in the third I thought Davis might have had a play at second if he fields and throws with a little more urgency, but it seemed like he too casually played the ball. Maybe I just miss Brett Lawrie already.

Colby Rasmus is frustrating guy because it doesn't look like he's struggling. I mean he's not swinging at bad pitches (that often), nor does it look like he's out of rhythm or struggling with his swing, yet he just doesn't get hits. He doesn't seem to show his frustration either, which I would kindof like to see at this point. It looks like he puts good swings on the ball and is just missing his pitch, but that happens way to often. So I don't know what to say. I think with the swing right now he seems to want to be that guy who uses the whole field, but hasn't yet worked out. I wonder if, like Arencibia, it's about accepting him for his worts and telling him go out there and try to yank everything he sees? I mean he's predisposed to right field and it is something pretty when he gets a hold of one to right field so I don't know. Something has to give though because you cannot hit .200 and expect to be a major league regular on a good baseball club in my mind.
sam - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:20 AM EDT (#256568) #
Sorry, I don't mean to sound overly harsh on Hutchison. He did get himself out of those scenarios and that should not be discounted. In fact, he's done that a few times in his brief ML career so far and that knack is a huge plus and something you really can't project. The ability to battle like that in the mid-innings especially is impressive and should win him his share of games in his career.
TamRa - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:35 AM EDT (#256570) #
"If I'm mistaken about this, I'm sure someone will correct me."

No, now that you mention it out loud (so to speak) i think that is in fact correct. in fact, I believe the Blue jays already did that this year with Crawford.

"other teams have a right to claim him ala Tony Bautista..."

"A risk we may be willing to take...."

and according to Wilner, for whatever reason (options remaining I assume?) Lind did NOT in fact pass through waivers.
TamRa - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 03:35 AM EDT (#256571) #
" I was thinking about this during the game that if there's a further slip up with the team, I think Dwayne Murphy is next to go. "

I mentioned that on the blog the other night - I'm getting the sense that, 1/4 of the way into the season with most of your starting hitters well under-preforming reasonable expectations...that's the sort of circumstances that typically lead to a batting coach getting fired.

and with Mottola sitting down in Vegas making a name for himself...

Ryan C - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#256573) #
the Nippon Blue Jays won the Brazilian baseball under 20 tournament this year. The Blue Jays were the only club with an MLB nickname, apparently.

Interestingly, according to wikipedia the Nippon Blue Jays are not affiliated with the Toronto team, but were founded by former Toronto Blue Jays farm hand, Brazilian Jose Pett.
Mike Green - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#256577) #
Anthopoulos has taken a more active role in the last couple of weeks, in both the Lind and Lawrie situations.  I have no idea whether Guerrero, McDade, Snider, Cooper or someone else will be taking most of the at-bats that Lind was getting, but the demotion was the right move.  Similarly, I agreed with the decision to drop the Lawrie appeal.  I thought that Anthopolous handled his role this week very well, and I take it as a sign of growth for him. 

Last night, the batters cut out the nonsense with the home plate umpire, and the focus seemed improved.  One of the things that a GM does is lead by example; Anthopoulos is young but disciplined and this was a positive match for the club this week.  I thought this week about Moneyball.  One of the striking things, of course, was that while the emphasis was placed on the use of metrics to analyze the game, the under-appreciated part was the handling of players, and in particular, how well Beane dealt with player issues which had nothing to do with the value of their individual performance. 

Hodgie - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#256580) #
Nothing against Cooper or McDade, but I can't help but wonder what it would take for Anthopoulos to pry Rizzo away from Chicago. As crazy as it sounds, it actually appears that he may be legitimately blocked by LaHair despite making a mockery of the PCL again. Given the relatively small price the Cubbies paid to acquire him and their current situation, I can't imagine Chicago would be looking for someone that is major league ready in return.
bpoz - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#256582) #
Thanks Sam for the report.

As far as pitchers ...pitching out of trouble...Here is my opinion.
Hutch:- I think he will be good, but we need more time to see what he can do.
Alvarez:- I think he is very good.
Romero:- He may be OK, but I don't really know.
Morrow:- Bad.
Drabek:- Bad.

I am probably being too hard on Romero, Morrow & Drabek. Also I could be completely wrong and they are doing quite well in those situations.

In a tough situation you can get lucky, pop up, double play. Or unlucky, bloop hit, error.

But then there are situations where the pitcher seems to not find the strike zone and then grooves one. Also Drabek & Morrow are power pitchers, they sometimes have trouble with walks, which creates the problem..

uglyone - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#256584) #
Sam -

I think it's a little easy to forget that Hutchison is only 21 years old. 21. He certainly doesn't look or act like he's 21 out there. I thought for a 21 year old's first start against the legendary yanks he was very impressive - cool, confident, and never rattled, even when he got into trouble. I'm continually impressed by his ability to get swinging strikes with his low-90s fastball, and I think it's a combination of funky (but still very simple) delivery, great tail action, and great location. And a couple of times last night he also showed a sinking 2-seamer, especially on the strikeout to Jones. His slider looks like it has the potential to be a plus pitch as well. He had a tough time finding that outside corner early on in the game, hence the walks, but when he did find it he made life very tough for the Yanks. He also occasionally missed over the middle when he was trying to go inside, and they hit him hard when that happened. What I liked about him was that even when he got himself in trouble by missing the strikezone, he still didn't give in to hitters like granderson and serve up meatballs - he still tried to work that outside edge in hitters' counts and for the most part was able to. In general, it's hard not to be impressed by what Hutch has done so far at a very young age, even if his stuff isn't overpowering.

As for JPA, since his horrific first couple of weeks (an unfathomable 35ab, .063/.118/156/.274ops line over the first 10gms of the year), he's actually been pretty excellent at the plate (75ab, .320/.350/.560/.910ops over the last 29gms). He's not walking enough this year, but he walked at a good rate both last year as a rookie and his last year in AAA the year before, so he can draw walks and likely will. Along with his IMO clearly improved blocking and framing behind the plate, and his always good throwing arm, I think he might be turning into a very valuable player for us here in his 2nd year in the league. He's already earned 0.5fwar, which puts him just about dead average amongst MLB starting catchers so far, and that's even with his horrific start to the season.
Hodgie - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#256585) #
You can take it one step further. Hutchison is the youngest pitcher in MLB and before his recall he had thrown all of 31.2 innings above A+ ball. What he is doing is nothing short of remarkable given the context.
fozzy - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#256588) #
Nothing against Cooper or McDade, but I can't help but wonder what it would take for Anthopoulos to pry Rizzo away from Chicago.

I think it's more likely the Cubs trade LaHair for future pitching prospects, as it seems to fit better with their timeline. At 29.5, LaHair's best years seem more likely to be right now.

I could see something like McGuire and a rookie level prospect for LaHair. I think the Cubs are going to hang on to Rizzo and build around him and Castro and maybe Garza, but it's the Cubs, so who knows. That entire team outside of those three has blue cheese stink to it.

Hodgie - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#256590) #
A couple of other interesting notes about the pitching staff. According to Baseball Reference, in addition to Hutchison being the youngest pitcher in MLB Alvarez is the third youngest. So, two thirds of the Jays rotation spots occupied by two of the three youngest pitchers in the majors. On the whole, the Jays have the fifth youngest pitching staff (27.5) while still employing the third oldest pitcher in Darren Oliver (only Rivera and Moyer are older). Despite this, the Jays have the third best ERA+ in MLB (122), trailing only Texas and Washington. Lastly, for those annoyed by Farrell's use of the IBB this season, Toronto has only given out 6 on the year, the eighth lowest total in MLB. For all of his warts, Ron Washington apparently doesn't believe in giving away free bases as Texas is the only team to not surrender an IBB this season.
wacker - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#256591) #
Off topic a little, my son works with a guy whose brother is an insider with the brewers and he said blue jays were putting feelers out about a package deal involving Cory Hart. If this subject has already been spoken for please disregard. Yeah I know, rumors!
sam - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#256593) #
Uglyone, I agree with you on Hutchison. I tried to evaluate the performance at face value. I think you're right that once you factor in age and (hopeful) future perfection of pitches he looks to be a solid major league pitcher. I wouldn't go so far to categorize his slider as future plus, but that's just me. His ability to get swing and miss with the fastball is the most impressive thing about him, along with the ability to wiggle out of trouble so often. I think he's going to run into issues the second time through the league (as most young players do), and at that point we'll get a better handle on his career path and future success. I saw a lot of Yankee hitters going up to plate without a real feel of what Hutchison was going to do and then adapted later in the game, taking good swings.

I like Hutchison and think he's going to be a good rotation pitcher. I much rather see him pitching than Brett Cecil.

Arencibia has really come on of late and is hitting closer to what we expected him to. Defensively, however, in my honest opinion, he's a liability back there. I don't see the marked improvement, or at least people independent of the Blue Jays saying such. Martinez and Tabler ride the plane with the guy and take him out to dinner. I can't recall Farrell saying anything in the media since game one. He lacks feel for the position in terms of his receiving, he's slow with his feet and too often doesn't properly square to balls in the dirt. He just doesn't have the extra qualities catchers need to have. The other night he dropped a foul ball pop-up in a pretty crucial point in the game. Two nights before he failed to block a ball in the dirt with runners in scoring position... this is routine stuff for the guy. In fairness he has a strong arm and does well throwing out runners, but catching defense is about so much more than that. I mean I watch him play and he's good for a "doh" each night.
92-93 - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#256594) #

Corey Hart happens to make a fair bit of sense. Hart has hit .280/.344/.519 since the start of 2010, and makes 10m next year. If the Brewers deem themselves out of a race a month from now it may be in their best interests to move him for a youth package, something like Thames + some arms.

Here's the thread from the day Lind received his contract extension.

zeppelinkm - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#256595) #

Hat's off to StephenT.

John Northey - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#256596) #
92-93 thanks for the link back to the old thread. Looks like my gut feel at the time was, sadly, correct. "My first thought on this deal was 'Josh Phelps' and hoping it wasn't an accurate thought.

At age 24 Phelps hit 309/362/562 for an OPS+ of 138 over 287 PA's. Baseball Prospectus put him on their cover and he looked to have a bright future. In 2003 he had an OPS+ of 113 over 453 PA's. That was his peak for playing time and his OPS+ wouldn't be north of 100 until 2007 (age 29) when he had a 135 over 183 PA. In 2008 he got just 36 PA's and spent 2009 in the minors (60 PA) and probably is retired now.

Lind at 24 had just 349 PA's in the majors hitting 282/316/439 OPS+ of 100, followed by 305/370/562 OPS+ of 144 at 25. However, at 25 he had 654 PA's which is about 200 more than Phelps ever got in a season. Unlike Phelps Lind has improved in his 2nd full (more or less) season in the majors. Will he keep this upward trend? Obviously AA feels so, I'm just glad JP didn't sign Phelps long term way back when."

Seems I overestimated Lind...
Phelps career: 273/343/472 - 815 - 110 OPS+
Lind career: 263/314/459 - 773 - 103 OPS+

Phelps played in Italy last year it seems, hasn't signed on anywhere yet from what I can tell.
China fan - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#256598) #
Lots of now-embarrassing words about Jose Bautista in that 2010 thread...
Gerry - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#256599) #

Thanks sam.  I watched last nights game on TV.  I think what you can't really pickup on Hutchison is how well he hides the ball.  I am not sure if you saw this at the park but when Hutchison pitched inside to Cano, it was though Cano couldn't see the ball.  He looked nervous.  So Hutchison's stuff does play up.  I agree that he needs to mix his pitches more, I made that comment after his last start, but why change what's working?  Hopefully they will change their patterns if they see the hitters adjusting.  as of now Hutchison throws 60% fastballs to the outside corner.  That will have to change.

Rasmus is a puzzle.  When you watch him play you can see the talent and athleticism.  But the results aren't there.  I think he has some issues with his swing timing.  He fouls back too many hittable fastballs and is early on the off-speed stuff.  I am not advoacting doing anything in particular but I assume the Jays are trying to work on his timing.  I know he lowered his leg kick this off season but his timing still appears off to me.

Mike Green - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#256601) #
I agree, Gerry.  It seems to me that Rasmus' bat is somewhat slow through the zone this year, perhaps because of the adjustment. 
China fan - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#256602) #
Speaking of Bautista, it's interesting that he has dramatically improved his numbers in the past couple weeks. After a horrific start, he has boosted his season OPS to a respectable .772. He's back in the league leaders in home runs, and his OPS is an awesome 1.268 over the past seven games. I think it's safe to say that Bautista is back.

Looking over the rest of the lineup as measured by OPS: Escobar and Rasmus are the worst, at .608 and .610 respectively. Then there's an underachieving trio in the low 700s: Thames, Lawrie and Arencibia. (But JPA has been excellent in recent weeks, after a terrible start.) Then the three at the top: Encarnacion, Johnson and Bautista.
greenfrog - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#256620) #
Hindsight is always 20/20, but it is kind of amusing to read those comments. Lind's contract as "an excellent, excellent deal," "an insanely good deal," "an excellent deal," etc. Although in early April 2010 who would have predicted Lind would go from a 932 OPS (2009) to a 710 OPS in one season? Probably no one.

On the other hand: disbelieving in "a bum like Bautista"? Ouch!
robertdudek - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#256627) #
Speaking of Bautista, it's interesting that he has dramatically improved his numbers in the past couple weeks. After a horrific start, he has boosted his season OPS to a respectable .772.

Honestly, how interesting is this really. Numbers go up and down and people seem  to love to make judgments based on very small samples.  OMG Rasmus's OPS is SO LOW!!!

The season is not even close to half over. Everyone should just take a step back.
greenfrog - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 09:19 PM EDT (#256629) #
Two points:

1. It's natural to ride the rollercoaster a bit - it's called being a fan.

2. Rasmus's performance is starting to look like it could be more than a statistical blip. Like Lind, he's had one good year (an 859 OPS in 2010). In his other two-plus seasons (2009, 2011 and 2012), totalling 1194 PA, his OPS has been 714, 688, and 610. So it's not just a case of "OMG"...more like, where's the beef?
Mike Green - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#256632) #
Rasmus is not like Lind. in a couple of important ways.  At this point, his career wRC+ is 99.  That would not be OK for a slow, poor-fielding first baseman, but Rasmus runs well and fields well and plays centerfield.  If he hits his career average, he is a pretty good player.  We all hope that he is better than that, but he doesn't have to be.  Best of all, there is no question at all about his dedication this year.

greenfrog - Friday, May 18 2012 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#256634) #
Mike, you make good points about Rasmus's athleticism and potential at a premium position, but I think it's worth noting that his offensive stats are heavily weighted by his 2010 performance. Moreover, his 2011 stats were heavily weighted by his April and May numbers that year. Since then, his monthly performance is as follows:

June 2011 / 684 OPS
July 2011 / 544 OPS
Aug 2011 / 698 OPS
Sept 2011 / 283 OPS
April 2012 / 708 OPS
May 2012 / 455 OPS

Yes, he might still blossom into a valuable player, but he has been struggling for quite some time. As for his running skills, consider that during the above stretch (almost a full year), he has exactly 2 SB (and 1 CS). And he's going to be 26 in August - it's not like he's some 23-year-old who is just getting acclimatized to the majors. He's at the age when position players are generally starting to hit their peak.

I'm not writing him off - I still hope he turns it around - but there are some legitimate red flags surrounding Rasmus.
TamRa - Saturday, May 19 2012 @ 03:27 AM EDT (#256643) #
"Hindsight is always 20/20, but it is kind of amusing to read those comments."

"On the other hand: disbelieving in "a bum like Bautista"? Ouch!"

That was me. specifically these comments:

It's hard to speak athoritatively to what his arb total would be but it seems to me that if a bum like Bautista can score $2.4 in his first go round then you wouldn't be far off to guess that Lind's three would go something like 4-6-9 or some such. and having the chance to pick up FA years at less than 10 makes it that much better.

I would(n't) say it's a STEAL but it is definately a fine bit of work by AA. Unles he inexplicably goes off a cliff like Hafner, it should be hard to not get great value for this signing.

In this particular context, Bautista got the $2.4 million arb-eligible contract LONG BEFORE he recent professed adjustment - so "bum like Bautista" in the context of discussing contracts isn't the guy who got hot last September, but the guy who was on the fringes of even being in the majors for his whole previous career.

Now, beyond that, do I disbelieve in JB?


Because he has been simply HORRID against RHP pretty much his whole major league career. As the lest busy half of a platoon - say with Overbay, L love me some Bautista. but not as a full-timer. Now, is it POSSIBLE he suddenly solved that problem at this late date last September? Yeah.

Is it POSSIBLE that he just really really likes leading off and that helps him do better? Yeah. But likely? Nah, it's far more likely he happened to get a hot streak at just the time of year when a hitter is likely to see the weakest pitching of the season. That happens a lot more often than a guy suddenly turning his career completely around after over 1900 major league plate appearances.

Bautista had 100 at bats at the end of last year in which he posted an OPS of 1.020 Even those who believe he might have figured something out clearly don't think he can sustain that. [ouch! lol]

But consider this for comparison - in 2009, rod Barajas, between April 12 and may 19, had 101 at bats, during which he had an OPS of .923 This sort of streak happens all the time, I'm going to have to see a lot more before I join the BAS.

Again, to be clear, I LIKE Baustista in the proper role - I think he's a useful little guy to have on the bench. But as an everyday starter and lead-off hitter? Oh hell no.


Beyond the obvious caveat about hindsight, I stand behind the logic of both those posts and believe that most of it was widely shared.

Regarding Lind, specifically note this: "Unles he inexplicably goes off a cliff like Hafner"

So i said it was a good deal "unless" and, as it turns out, "unless" is exactly what happened.

EVERY contract carries risk. It just does. sign enough of them and some will make you look bad. Based on what the team could have been expected to know and anticipate at the time, it was an excellent deal. Remember, if they jut him today they would be on the hook for less than 1/5 of what the Angels would eat to let Vernon go today. "bad" deals are not created equal.

As for Bautista, again, there's nothing there which was untrue in any way. He was in fact signed to 2.4 mil for the 2009 season when speculation was widespread that he might well be non-tendered.

Every comment was solid at the time. obviously no one saw THIS coming.

which just goes to show that for all our high-minded pontification on this site, it remains true: nobody knows nuthin'
China fan - Saturday, May 19 2012 @ 04:04 AM EDT (#256644) #
...Honestly, how interesting is this really. Numbers go up and down and people seem to love to make judgments based on very small samples....

I never made any judgments about Bautista (or even Rasmus) based on their early numbers this season. Check all the threads, I never judged any of them on their numbers from a quarter-season. But sure, there was a niggling anxiety of a question about Bautista and his slow start. He's by far the most valuable hitter on the team. Of course it's natural to be concerned when he has a terrible start. If he has a poor season -- which does sometimes happen to players -- it would affect the entire team. So yeah, I breathed a sigh of relief when Bautista began to hit better. Sue me!
greenfrog - Saturday, May 19 2012 @ 06:00 AM EDT (#256645) #
"Every comment was solid at the time. obviously no one saw THIS coming"

Sure, but not all of us went out of our way to expressly state that we "disbelieve" in Bautista and to call him a "bum" just as his 54 HR / 995 OPS season was getting going :)
BlueJayWay - Saturday, May 19 2012 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#256679) #
So now it's coming out from Danny Knobler that Friday Lind was put on waivers, outright. 
Ryan C - Saturday, May 19 2012 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#256687) #
which just goes to show that for all our high-minded pontification on this site, it remains true: nobody knows nuthin'

In which case we could all probably use a little more patience and humbleness to go with our opinions.
Gerry - Saturday, May 19 2012 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#256688) #
Lind's being placed on waivers tells you that the team doesn't have faith that Lind can be easily or quickly fixed. They would prefer to take the money they have pledged to Lind and have it to spend on someone else.

scottt - Monday, May 21 2012 @ 06:26 AM EDT (#256743) #
Would make sense to switch Gomes for a left bat, but I would wait for Gomes to stop hitting first.

Matt Moore has an obscene reverse split.
jgadfly - Monday, May 21 2012 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#256754) #
When it comes time for Gomes to be sent down it probably makes sense to send him to New Hampshire to catch everyday and promote Jeroloman to Vegas since Jiminez'  injury . 
Hodgie - Monday, May 21 2012 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#256755) #
Does anyone have a good idea of the recovery timetable for a catcher from Tommy John surgery? It is obviously a significant injury and unfortunate given the promise that Jiminez had displayed these last two seasons but I would have to think that the implications would be far less dire than it would be for a pitcher.
Hodgie - Monday, May 21 2012 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#256756) #
Of course, whatever promise Jiminez may have shown in whatever vocation he pursues, it has little bearing on Jimenez's recovery or long term prospects. Good morning Starbucks....
92-93 - Monday, May 21 2012 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#256760) #
I don't see why the rehab would be any different; Jimenez should be out until next spring.
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