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The Blue Jays need a manager but if they are conducting a search you would never know it.  There have been many names mentioned as potential managers.  There have been suggestions that the Jays have asked permission to talk to coaches from other teams.  But there has been no confirmation that the Jays have actually interviewed anyone.

John Farrell left the Jays employ a few weeks ago, and it would have been obvious that he was going at least a few weeks prior to that.  The Jays therefore have had a lot of time to consider how and where to find a new manager.  So what explains the inactivity?

On one hand Alex Anthopoulos doesn't believe that it is important to hire a manager immediately.  There is now only one other opening in MLB so prospective managers have just that one place to disappear from the Jays list.  AA also doesn't believe that a manager is critical to immediate free agent activity.

Shi Davidi waded into the manager search yesterday.  From the story:

"Weíll pick it back up after the GM meetings," Anthopoulos says of his manager search. "You canít force the process or rush the process."

Maybe you can't rush the process but hiring a manager when you have at least four weeks notice doesn't come under the rushing category for me.

The GM meetings run Wednesday-Friday in Indian Wells, Calif., and the priority for Anthopoulos in the weeks ahead is on finding ways to bolster his starting rotation. One of the reasons he was ready to bring Farrell and the entire coaching staff back at seasonís end was because he didnít want a manager search to hamper his pursuit of roster help.  Yet now that heís saddled with it, Anthopoulos insists one isnít coming at the expense of the other.


So what is happening?  AA gives some hints:

"Iím doing (the manager search) differently this time," he explains. "Last time we really cast a wide net, it was very open Ė itís much more specific this year. My biggest concern is that it would take away from what weíre trying to do with the big-league team, but the fact that we could be more specific and donít have to cast nearly as wide a net, it hasnít so far, knock on wood."

To me, this means that AA has just one, two or three potential managers in mind.  AA did say last week that he should have gone with his gut last time and that suggested his gut told him to pick someone other than John Farrell.  As Dividi notes:

Itís become apparent since the split that while they didnít quarrel constantly, their relationship wasnít as open and communicative as it should have been.

So AA is looking for someone he is comfortable with, someone who his gut tells him is the right person.  Last time his gut told him to hire a specific person.  Is that person still available?  If they are available why hasn't AA offered to hire them?

There could be a logistical explanation.  Maybe that person is out of country or getting married and isn't available to finalize the deal and be introduced.  It could also be that that person is no longer available or interested.  Or that while AA's gut told him that that person was the right one last time, his gut has changed its mind.

So how does AA find his comfort zone with this person?  (maybe the interviews will take place in the TD comfort zone at the RC, in those big green seats.)

AA would not give any hints about who is looking for but he did say this, in a couple of different ways, in the story:

"To simplify things, itís more who is the right fit for this organization, this city, this country, this front office, this ownership group, these players. "Thatís really what it comes down to, rather than some of the other things that we like to check off all the boxes that you look for."

What kind of manager is right for the Blue Jays now?  It doesn't appear to be related to check off boxes, it appears to be someone who AA is comfortable with and who is comfortable being here.  That would suggest that it could be someone with ties to Toronto, perhaps a former player or coach here. 

I have one theory that could explain the delay.  I have no knowledge that this is true but let's say that Paul Beeston and AA disagree over which direction to go in the manager search.  This disagrement would halt the process until it could be resolved.


It is a guessing game and I have no answers.

Bob Elliott had an interview in the Sun with Art Howe today wherein Howe declared his interest in the job.  There was no suggestion that the Jays had an interest in Howe.

Getting Comfortable with the Manager Search | 73 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
mathesond - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 12:43 PM EST (#265208) #
Art Howe is interested!
ogator - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 01:55 PM EST (#265209) #
Maybe it is not by accident that the search is taking so long. Maybe it is a choice. Let's say your manager wants to play Travis Snider and you want him to play Anthony Gose. Well, you have a conflict but what if you hire the manager after you make your personnel decisions. You don't have a manager around for input, because you don't want that input. You hire a manager to do what he is told. You don't have a manager begging for pitching help at the trade deadline because he has been shown that what he wants is not necessarily relevant to what you intend to do. I don't think you are ever going to have trouble finding someone who wants to manage in the Major Leagues. You might have trouble finding a manager who accepts that his role is to play the players he has been given rather than a manager who tells you what players he would like to have.
MatO - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 02:39 PM EST (#265210) #

Art Howe is interested!

I'd prefer Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 02:54 PM EST (#265211) #
I suspect AA is viewing managers much like Beane does - as someone to do what he says to do, not as an equal partner or as a person critical to making player decisions. Thus when he hires one isn't critical as the new manager will not have any say on who is signed/traded/etc. anyways.

An alternate view is the new manager will be someone here already and they are being consulted as is, thus no rush to make it official.
92-93 - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 02:56 PM EST (#265212) #
What's the advantage to the process involved in that alternate view? It doesn't seem very likely.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 03:13 PM EST (#265213) #
Favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman role, MatO?

Mine would probably be the nurse in Magnolia, but there are so many good ones.

92-93 - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 03:15 PM EST (#265214) #
Capote is the obvious one, but Almost Famous.
electric carrot - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 03:25 PM EST (#265215) #
I agree 92-93 with Hoffman in Almost Famous but I'm going to have to also go with the butler in The Big Lebowski as my 2 faves.
China fan - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 03:28 PM EST (#265216) #
I agree with all of those, but I'd also vote for The Ides of March and Synecdoche New York.
MatO - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 03:39 PM EST (#265217) #
He's one of those who's good in anything.  A lesser known movie of his worth seeing is Owning Mahowny which has a Canadian storyline. 
Helpmates - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 03:40 PM EST (#265218) #
Shhhhhh...Art...go back to sleep...
Ryan Day - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 04:02 PM EST (#265219) #
I'd say The Master is at or near the top of Hoffman's best, though perhaps that's just because I've seen it most recently.
TamRa - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 04:41 PM EST (#265221) #
Bring back Gibby! ;)
joeblow - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 06:59 PM EST (#265223) #
The right fit for this organization, city, country, universe and beyond! Leave no box unchecked!
soupman - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 07:53 PM EST (#265224) #
PSH only plays jerks and losers...and instead of being an obscure character actor, thanks to PTA he now has a career beyond his films and bit parts.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 07:57 PM EST (#265225) #
I understand what you are saying ogator. In 2012 AA made moves to help the Major league team, ie he did not give away 2011 ML assets to help the farm.
The 2010 team did not have Halladay, not AA's fault. But Eveland was AA's man.
The 2011 team had players that contributed to the 2010 team traded by AA or lost to FA. Wells & Marcum traded, Downs FA loss. Their replacements contributed less. The Rasmus trade hurt the Major league team in 2011. JoJo was AA's man.
The 2012 was not hurt by AA's trades or FA losses. Also no Eveland or JOJo. Injuries killed this team. A lot of young players could have grown in 2012, they had displayed high talent levels. Lawrie, Rasmus, Thames, Snider, Alvarez & Hutchison. So no chance of winning with that amount of injuries, 93 wins for a WC spot.

For 2013, I do not think AA should give away 2012 producers without reasonably equivalent replacements. You want a decent 2013 record to provide hope for 2014 & onward.
There are very few positives to say for 2013 at the moment. It does no good to say that losing Farrell is a good thing. But it could be.
Hech 2B, Davis/Gose/Sierra in LF is probably OK & Lind/Cooper etc.. at DH may be OK. But that looks very thin. The young players quite likely will struggle a bit which could hurt their development & harm the chances of a decent 2013 record to sooth the fans.
But we will still see young players break in. It should not be hard to get mediocre players to fill 2B, LF & DH. Those players have to be better than Cory Patterson & Jason Nix who are below mediocre but are probably OK for the bench. This is the worst scenario I can think of. So now the "deserving" young can make a case for a promotion. Hech, Gose, Sierra, Cooper, d'Arnaud & McDade.

The rotation needs to get better. Maybe Romero finds it again & Morrow stays healthy & pitches well. Alvarez may regress but I hope not & if he does he will be in Buffalo. If healthy Happ should do OK. 2 SPs can hopefully be brought in somehow. On the cheap, if all else fails you get some non tender candidates. There is still the scrap heap. Then at some point there should be openings, there always are, for any deserving young. Jenkins, McGuire, Stilson, Nolin and any bullpen guy that looks like a good possibility.

This is bare bones. AA can definitely do better. If somehow we are in contention, 90+ win pace, then AA MUST improve the team, because something is going right.

ayjackson - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 08:12 PM EST (#265226) #
Kinda liked him most in Charlie Wilson's War.
timpinder - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 09:11 PM EST (#265227) #
"Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged to Shi Davidi of that his priorities this winter are pitching, second base, and left field. "Thereís no question the priority is definitely in the rotation, with the dollars we have available, we have to be creative," he said. "Our payroll is going to be up from what it was last year but it doesnít mean itís a bottomless pit, there is a limit and there is an area we can go to."

This is really irking me. Jays have the richest owners in baseball. "Creative"!? I will wait until March to see the end product, but if this is another middling offseason with penny pinching corporate owners looking at nothing but the bottom line, I will be switching all of our Rogers services on general principal. Sox and Yanks are in shambles, Orioles were smoke and mirrors, now is the time.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 09:27 PM EST (#265228) #
The front office's reservoir of excuses, on the other hand, is bottomless.
raptorsaddict - Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 09:40 PM EST (#265229) #
If this is anything other than a BS smokescreen by AA, I am going to be PISSED. Not at him, but at Rogers. The Jays are a cash cow for them - there is just no two ways about it.

And it's not like he needs to go wild or crazy - one free agent SP like Sanchez, and another one via trade based on one of the big 3 Lansing arms + whatever else it takes to get it done.

If we have a good year, perhaps we'll be able to convince Doc to come back when he hits FA....

dan gordon - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 02:49 AM EST (#265232) #

I hope the new manager isn't a "small ball" guy.  Be nice to have somebody who's a shrewd field manager - The Blue Jays haven't had one of those very often.

They need to acquire 4 good players >> 2 starting pitchers, a 2B and a LF or a DH/1B if they want to be a serious contender next year.  Would be nice to sign Lyon or Frasor, and coax Oliver to play another year.

Favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman movie by a wide margin is Before The Devil Knows You're Dead.  Second would be The Talented Mr. Ripley.

TamRa - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 05:47 AM EST (#265233) #
I was perusing the BA list of minor league free agents and, just for fun, i speculated about what would be the best way to fill out the largely empty Bisons roster.

I start with assuming the following players will be on that roster:

Chad Jenkins - bullpen is too crowded lest there be injuries
John Stilson - total speculation
Kyle Drabek - on the GL of course for the first few months
Drew Hutchison - ditto

Aaron Loup - assumes Oliver doesn't retire
Evan Crawford - seems obvious
Corey Wade - unless lost on waivers at some point
Scott Maine - ditto
Tyson Brumett - already successfully outrighted.
Trystan Magnuson - if not lost in Rule 5
Sam Dyson - total speculation
Joel Carreno??

the thing is - of these guys, only Crawford, Wade, Maine, and Brummett could be considered "officially" on the Buffalo roster at present. The team needs to add 3 or more SP they expect to have in AAA at least.

Catchers - d'Arnaud and Wilson...seems obvious

1B/DH - Cooper and McDade...seems obvious

LF - Keenen Bailli - 27 or 28 next year, finished the season in AAA.

That's it for the hold overs. maybe Sobolewski, Goins, and Tolisano would make logical promotions. Also, you assume Gose and Hech start the year in AAA.

So catcher and 1B/DH are filled, Goins is your 2B, Hech your SS. gose your CF. Tolisano is basically a utility guy and you try Sobo at 3B but he's going to be weak.

so far:
C- d'Arnaud
1B - McDade
2B - Goins
SS - Hech
3B - Sobo
LF - Bailli/Tolisano
CF - Gose
RF - ??
DH - Cooper

The thesis is that you want to try to impress the Bison ownership you are trying to win, so here's the guys I'd add from the free agent list, if I could.

1. Josh Fields - screw Sobo, this guy would be likely the best hitter on the team among the imports. Plan B - Dallas MacPhearson

2. Ryan Spillborghs - good AAA hitter, not completely lost if you need a stopgap recall. Presumably your RF. Plan B - Brandon Boggs

Also, for old time sake, i'd try to add Emaus and Loewen to the bench. They are system vets, played in Buffalo last year, and i dn't think can possibly be as bad as the stats suggested last season.


Add Robert Ray - who pitched well last year
Add JoJo Reyes - again, good work in AAA
Bring back Shawn Hill and Sean O'Sullivan (the latter mostly on account of his age)
Try to get John Maine to accept an invite.

Also, I'd be ready to jump on jeremy Bonderman if he looked good in tryouts but if you get him you hope he's a candidate forthe major league rotation and not just filler.

If you want to supplement the bullpen, there's Will Ohman (who'd be a nice stash in case the majors needed a veteran guy), Drew Carpenter (who did fine for us last year in Vegas),  and heck, David Purcey is out there too! ;)

Speaking of bringing guys back, it wouldn't hurt if they tried to re-up Jon Diaz and Danny Perales. (Am I the only one who thinks it's insane that the Jays AAA team has TWENTY FOUR minor league free agents - including those the team has already cut loose since the end of the season?)

One other thing: while he's not ready (and may never be) for AAA, Johermyn Chavz is free, and i wouldn't be averse to repatreating him for RF in NH or Dunedin - he's still pretty young (24 next year) and he might eventualy figure it out.

BalzacChieftain - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 08:56 AM EST (#265234) #

AA quote from the same Davidi piece mentioned above:

"Whatís changed is in the past I wouldnít have made the phone call knowing that with certain players the numbers are going to be at a certain level," says Anthopoulos. "Itís not fair to the agent or the player and I donít want to waste anyoneís time.

"If weíre not sincere and we donít think we legitimately have a chance, Iím not going to make the phone call. Now we have a little bit more flexibility."

I guess we can take this as confirmation that the Jays were never seriously in on Fielder last year, and never posted a competitive bid for Darvish.

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 09:03 AM EST (#265235) #
BA just did its AL East prospects podcasts (with Jim Callis, John Manuel and JJ Cooper). Some interesting comments: "Neither of us think the Toronto Blue Jays farm system is as good as we thought it would be...the Blue Jays farm system is a good farm did not blow me away." One of them said the system is top-ten but "not elite."
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 10:55 AM EST (#265238) #
Favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman movie by a wide margin is Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. Second would be The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, agreed. But The Talented Mr. Ripley? That's not got much Spam in it. I'd go with Capote and the Savages to round out my top 3 PSH vehicles. If it's just movies that I liked the most that had PSH in them, I'd have to have The Big Lebowski, but it's another that's not really a PSH movie. Same with Boogie Nights
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 11:09 AM EST (#265239) #

...the Blue Jays farm system is a good farm did not blow me away." One of them said the system is top-ten but "not elite."

Unfortunately, I believe they are right.  This Teams strengths are in RK, RK+, A-, A, most of the high upside prospects are here.    The Team has less in A+, with only a handful of high upside prospects in AA. And this year, much less in AAA.   Even the good to very good prospects, without the high upside, are distributed the same way.

As for high upside, Henderson Alvarez, Drew Hutchison and Anthony Gose graduated (did Hechavvaria by BA standards?).   As for good to very good Prospects, Moises Sierra, David Cooper graduated, a few were traded away, and some like Jenkins and McGuire lost status.   Even MLB -ready-ish, quasi-prospects are gone, Snider, Drabek, Gomes and others are graduated or gone.  I'm sure I missed some prospects, but I'm also sure some posters disagree.

rpriske - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 12:26 PM EST (#265245) #

What is that Hoffman movie where he plays a man whose wife has committed suicide? He takes up huffing glue.

I don't remember it as a great movie, but it had a great performance my Hoffman.

FranklyScarlet - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 12:43 PM EST (#265247) #

Reporting on who has actually been interviewed.

Bid - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 01:41 PM EST (#265248) #

I'm a little surprised no one mentioned Owning Mahowny or Punch Drunk Love, but I admire all the performances people named.


The Master is a splendid test for a neo-method actor like Hoffman, sharing the frame with a representative of the Charles Laughton/Larry Olivier physically-keyed, this-is-happening-to-me-right-bloody-now-so-watch-out! school of acting. Holding your spot with a primitive force like Phoenix is pretty good work.

rpriske - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 03:03 PM EST (#265251) #

Found it: Love Liza 

Worth checking out.

Owning Mahowney is also great.

Gerry - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 08:23 PM EST (#265268) #

From Ken Rosenthal tonight...

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal

#BlueJays remain focused on hiring a manager with prior major-league experience - and now believe they will succeed in that quest.

Also from Shi Davidi (originally reported by Bob Elliott this morning):

Shi Davidi ‏@ShiDavidi One interesting thing I've heard. Sounds like #Jays may soon sign a 2B (don't know who yet). Probably in next few days if it goes down

Gerry - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 08:25 PM EST (#265269) #

One more:

Mike Wilner ‏@Wilnerness590

Anthopoulos confirmed that he'll have a manager in place before next month's Winter Meetings. Said 2nd chance guys often work out.

hypobole - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 10:25 PM EST (#265270) #
Our ex-manager is considering something that has been bandied out here before - 2 hitting coaches.

Might he be thinking of Chad Mottola? Which got me wondering, the remaining Jays coaches are free agents now, but how about the minor league coaching staffs? Do any/some/most remain under contract with the Jays org?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 07 2012 @ 10:37 PM EST (#265271) #

Anthopoulos confirmed that he'll have a manager in place before next month's Winter Meetings. Said 2nd chance guys often work out.

John Gibbons, Carlos Tosca, Buck Martinez, Cookie Rojas, Jim Fregosi and Tim Johnson might qualify as 2nd chance guys. 

John Northey - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:03 AM EST (#265272) #
So, who are the most recently fired managers ignoring those who were fired in 2012 as most of them have already been rumoured.

2011: Bob Geren, Jack McKeon, John McLaren, Mike Quade, Jim Riggleman, Edwin Rodriguez - McLaren is an interesting name from that group.

2010: Trey Hillman, A.J. Hinch, Jerry Manuel, John Russell, Juan Samuel, Dave Trembley, Don Wakamatsu - Wakamatsu is here

2009: Cecil Cooper

2008: John Gibbons, Willie Randolph - Randolph won the NL East with the Mets his 2nd year, over 500 until he was fired part way through 2008, his replacement (Manuel) did well that year but the team hasn't finished above 500 since. He was viewed as a great manager candidate for years before getting the job.

2007: Buddy Bell, Phil Garner, Mike Hargrove, Grady Little, Pete Mackanin, Jerry Narron, Sam Perlozzo - Hargrove had a lot of good years in Cleveland, finished 4th every full season he managed after that (6 years in Baltimore/Seattle) before quitting when the team in Seattle was in 2nd place and on a big winning streak (rumoured issues between him and Ichiro).

The two names that catch me the most are McLaren, as he was well thought of here before leaving iirc, and Randolph. Both had just one shot as a ML manager after being rumoured as candidates for years. Makes one wonder if either might be ready for another chance. Hargrove, if his passion has returned, could be a good 'old vet' choice.
Mike Forbes - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 12:07 PM EST (#265279) #
Rosenthanl, Davidi and Heyman are all saying that the Jays are close to signing Maicer Izturis. Hopefully to be a utility guy.
Chuck - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 12:41 PM EST (#265280) #
I'd be surprised if Izturis were not being signed to be the team's starting second baseman.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:10 PM EST (#265281) #
As I said earlier, Izturis would be my choice of the second basemen available in this year's free-agent class.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:13 PM EST (#265282) #
Sounds like 3 yrs/ $10M with a club option.  Okay with this.  
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:19 PM EST (#265283) #
If it's done and it is 3 yrs/$10 million with a club option,  AA will have done well.  The market for second basemen is usually depressed relative to their value.
ogator - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:20 PM EST (#265284) #
Three years seems very strange to me. Is there something about Maicer Izturis that I am missing? The Blue Jays think three years of Maicer Izturis is the best they can do? I wouldn't have signed him for one year but three years makes me believe there is something important that is going completely over my head.
melondough - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:33 PM EST (#265285) #
Really? Is he our go to guy at 2B for the next 3 or 4 years (club option in year 4) or super Utility? Last year he started 20 games at 2B, 20 at SS, and 30 at 3B. So he better be our super U guy in which case I am ok with it. I am not ok with him starting everyday which he has never done.

At the end of the 2009 season he signed a 3 year $9.5 million deal after hitting .300 in 437 Plate appearances. That year he had 8HR/65RBI/12SB so maybe he earned that contract. During his 3 year deal that just ended he started in less than half those games (230 out of 486). Of those he played 91 games at 3B, 87 at 2B, 40 at SS, and 12 at DH.

He then went on to give the Angles the following:

2010: 61G/238PA/.250/3HR/27RBI/7SB/27K/21BB
2011: 122G/494PA/.276/5/38/9/65K/33BB
2012: 100G/319PA/.256/2/20/17/38K/25BB

I like the fact he stole 17 bags and got caught twice last year but does a team win a WS with him starting every day? Is he really going to be the Jays starting 2B. I canít imagine he hold Hechevirria back.
I hope not and like I said before he better be our super Utility guy. I think he is worth closer to 3 years $6M as a depth player. On the plus side for some he played for the Expos!

Maybe the Jays are planning on dealing Lawrie for a top starter. Hope not.
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:34 PM EST (#265286) #
I wouldn't want to commit to Izturis as the starting 2b for the next 3 years, but he's certainly a good guy to have on the bench, and who can start if necessary.

(In a perfect world, Escobar bounces back, Hechavarria shows he's MLB-ready, and Izturis moves to the bench. Alas, this is not a perfect world.)
BlueJayWay - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:35 PM EST (#265287) #
Picked up a relief pitcher too, apparently.  Didn't have enough of those.
Gerry - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:35 PM EST (#265288) #

The Jays have another reliever.  According to MLBTR the Jays have acquired Jeremy Jeffress from the Royals.  Jeffress is another hard throwing reliever but he has had some drug problems in the past. 

Maybe the Jays are going with non-starter, tandem reliever, days in their rotation. 

rpriske - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:49 PM EST (#265290) #

I do think Izturis will be the Jays 2B. Not that he is blockign Hechevarria, but that Hech will be playing short and Escobar will be flipped for pitching help.


As long as THAT is a decent deal, I am perfectly okay with a Hech/Maicer middle infield.

hypobole - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:51 PM EST (#265291) #
Nothing wrong with getting a power arm like Jeffress for cash.
eudaimon - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:53 PM EST (#265292) #
I suspect he will be the starting 2b until it's deemed that Hechavarria is ready (which may be sooner than later). After that he's be a super utility guy, which is his ideal role. Good deal.

I don't think Escobar is going anywhere.
Gerry - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 01:53 PM EST (#265293) #
Izturis is a much better LHB.  If the Jays could sign another RHB infielder they could have an effective platoon.
Mike Forbes - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 02:08 PM EST (#265294) #
3 years, 9 million isn't bad at all.
Shaker - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 02:40 PM EST (#265296) #
I like his .340 OBP vs RHP (for 2012 and career).

Also like his road OPS of .792 (.368/.424) over the last 3 seasons.  (Huge Home/Road splits!)

Could be a good #2 hitter vs RHP.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 02:40 PM EST (#265297) #
Maicer Izturis is a quality super utility guy (at a good price, in this market for 2B guys) who can be our starting 2B next year if needed. Considering who was out there, this is a very good acquisition.

As for the Jeremy Jeffress pickup, I don't know if A.A. is planning on trading a reliever, but this could be an AAA pickup or the Bullpen's gain. I just don't know enough about him to know his potential.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 02:52 PM EST (#265299) #
Izturis' career splits are pretty much even.  He has been an above-average defender at second base.  The only question in my mind is whether his body will hold up to 550-600 PAs per year; I think that he has a better chance of doing this at age 32 than he did at age 24 because of the broader frame and the relatively low mileage on him. 

Two thumbs up on this one.  With (a lot of) luck, Christian Lopes will be ready by the time Izturis is ready to slip into a utility role.

eldarion - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 03:39 PM EST (#265301) #
It's an upgrade on Kelly Johnson. That's enough for me. Two thumbs up.
Gerry - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 03:46 PM EST (#265302) #

From Fangraphs for 2012:

Kelly Johson 0.7 WAR

Maicer Izturis 0.7 WAR


Kelly Johnson did have almost twice as many PA's.

92-93 - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 03:53 PM EST (#265303) #

Izturis is a much better LHB.  If the Jays could sign another RHB infielder they could have an effective platoon.

Let's not put too much stock into 78 sporadic at bats vs. LHP off the bench. Izturis hit lefties better than righties in both 2011 and 2010, significantly enough to maintain that advantage in the 3 year splits despite having such a poor 2012.

The thing I like most about Izturis is that he profiles as the exact type of player the Jays need; a middle infielder that can hit from the left side who doesn't swing and miss much and a player who is comfortable in a super utility role should Hechavarria ever prove himself worthy of an everyday MLB job.

dan gordon - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:18 PM EST (#265305) #

Izturis has a career OPS of .718 and is 32 years old.  Mike Aviles, who was just dumped for a minor component, has a career OPS of .715 and is 31 years old.  Aviles made $1.2 million last year, and is arb eligible.  I presume Izturis is a bit better fielder, but I don't really see that this signing is much better than just keeping Aviles, who would have been cheaper, and wouldn't require a 3-year contract.  One thing that may be significant  is that Izturis has played in a pitchers' park, and does have a career OPS of .736  on the road.  If he can do that, then I would say he's worth the contract.

My biggest memory of Izturis is that Rance Mullinicks absolutely couldn't pronounce his last name.  Always called him Iz-it-uris (4 syllables instead of 3), and sounded really uncomfortable doing so.

bpoz - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:21 PM EST (#265306) #
I agree with 92-93 on the Hech evaluation. Hech will need ML time to mature through his struggles/adjustments.Also Lawrie has a playing style that leads to injuries and Escobar can use a day off now & then. So Izturis is quality backup. In case of an injury McCoy is the back up.

If I remember correctly AA had JPA in mind all the time for 2011. He let both J Buck & M Olivo walk and then went sink or swim with JPA. But 2011 was a building year.

If Bobby Jenks can take off the way he did as a waiver claim then anything is possible. I assume J Jeffress has a very high upside to offset the baggage he brings with him.
Magpie - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:23 PM EST (#265307) #
I'm immediately reminded of the Marco Scutaro signing, who came here at the same age. Scutaro was very much a utility player before coming to Toronto. He just wasn't as good as Izturis at that stage of his career.
China fan - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:25 PM EST (#265308) #
".... don't really see that this signing is much better than just keeping Aviles, who would have been cheaper, and wouldn't require a 3-year contract...."

It's better than just keeping Aviles because the Jays also got Esmil Rogers, a pretty good relief pitcher. Izturis plus Rogers is better than Aviles.

A better question might be: why didn't the Indians simply sign Izturis instead of giving up a pretty good relief pitcher for a very similar infielder?
92-93 - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:30 PM EST (#265309) #
It's much more valuable to have a guy in Arb-2 than signed to a 3 year deal.
China fan - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:33 PM EST (#265310) #
Jeffress is an interesting acquisition. Normally you'd want someone with those control issues to get it solved in Buffalo. But apparently Jeffress is out of options. So, if the Jays want to keep him, they have to keep him on the 25-man major-league roster (or put him on waivers and probably lose him). So he's like a Rule 5 acquisition -- you're taking a chance that you can keep him on the major-league roster for the whole season. That seems rather risky. No matter how great his stuff and his velocity, he won't last long in the majors with a BB rate of 4 or 5 per 9 innings. I suppose if the Jays go with an 8-man bullpen to start the season, they could sneak him into the roster for a while, using him in low-leverage situations and hoping that he figures out the control issue in the majors. But in a 7-man bullpen? Only if Santos implodes, Frasor and Lyon depart and Oliver retires. What does AA know?

By the way, Brett Cecil is also out of options and has to be kept on the 25-man or lost on waivers.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:35 PM EST (#265311) #
Izturis is a much better choice than Aviles to be an everyday second baseman.  Aside from being better defensively, he is a better hitter.  OPS doesn't capture it because Aviles has more pop and gets on base (much) less.  Aviles wRC+ 2009-12: 12 (127 PAs), 103, 86 and 74; Izturis' wRC+ 2009-12: 109, 92, 102 and 82. 
China fan - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:38 PM EST (#265312) #
Here is Shi Davidi's take on the Izturis-vs-Aviles debate:

While Izturis will likely end up costing about $1 million more than Aviles, who is expected to make around $2 million as a second-year arbitration player, Anthopoulos managed to shave that difference off his payroll last week when he picked up Darren Oliverís option (saving $500,000 whether or not he plays) while declining that of Rajai Davis, who got a $500,000 buyout and then re-signed for $2.5 million.
Davis still ends up with $3 million, which is what his option would have paid him, but $500,000 was transferred off the 2013 payroll to the í12 books in a nifty accounting trick.
In the process, the Blue Jays end up with a better defender and arguably a more rounded offensive player than Aviles in Izturis, while essentially turning Gomes into an affordable and controllable reliever who throws in the mid-90s in Rogers, a commodity thatís becoming tougher and tougher to get.
bpoz - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:43 PM EST (#265313) #
We have 41 players on the 40 man roster.

I find the Litsch decision interesting. Because his health is more of a risk this off season compared to last, he could not take up a 40 man spot. We are using enough spots for our current injured players.
I categorize him as a non tender player if he qualified for Arb. That list of players will present itself soon I believe. I liked Litsch when healthy. I remember EE was non tendered to reduce his cost. That one worked out quite well.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:46 PM EST (#265314) #
I guess someone has to ask the obvious question, which is: what happened to Izturis in 2012? His BRef WAR goes like this:

2006 / 1.6
2007 / 1.4
2008 / 1.5
2009 / 3.5
2010 / 1.2
2011 / 1.4
2012 / 0.1

Maybe 2012 was just a blip and Izturis will rebound to his previous form, but lots of middle infielders start to decline in their early 30s (like Kelly Johnson, perhaps?). Izturis has been a nice player in the past, but the Jays may be getting him as he enters his decline years. I hope the signing is based on a thorough evaluation of his present ability, not simply the hope that he's a brand name player who will automatically revert to past performance.

Fwiw, Aviles was 2.0 BRef WAR in 2012, based on his defense at SS.
bpoz - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:53 PM EST (#265315) #
The accounting trick is OK. No harm done. The only thing I can think of is a higher 2012 tax deduction expense.

There cannot be some kind of baseball CBA? benefit to this accounting trick. Can there?
dan gordon - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 04:56 PM EST (#265316) #
Mike Green, thanks for the numbers on Aviles and Izturis, but I can't help but notice that you carefully omitted the 2008 season, when Aviles had a much better year with the bat than Izturis.  Since 2008, in roughly the same number of plate appearances, There is less than 1 point of batting WAR difference in them per Baseball Reference, 6.8 vs 7.7.  I just don't see that the difference between the 2 players justifies the higher salary and the 3-year, as opposed to 1-year, contract, for a 32 year old 2nd baseman.  2B is a position that typically does not age well, although Izturis has not been a regular, and has played elsewhere, but presumably is going to play 2B with the Jays.  Sure they got a pitcher for Aviles, and if they had unlimited budget, great, but they don't, and this signing reduces the amount they have available for doing something meaningful, like addressing the starting rotation, and adding a meaningful bat.  I'd really hate to miss out on a significant player because they spent $1.5 million more on Izturis for next year, than they would have for Aviles, or because they have approx $7.5 million more in committed salary.
China fan - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 05:11 PM EST (#265317) #
The contract for Izturis, on a per-year basis, is not a huge amount higher than the inflation-adjusted equivalent of what the Jays were paying John McDonald annually a few years ago.... It's also the exact same as what the Jays are paying Rajai Davis to be a 4th outfielder..... The point is that the salary for Izturis can be justified even if he is a utility player. And if he turns out to be an adequate 2B for half a season, it's a bargain.

It also gives the Jays a lot of flexibility in working Hechavarria into the everyday lineup, which might be the plan for the second half of 2013.

greenfrog - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 05:31 PM EST (#265318) #
China Fan, that's all fine, but remember (as Dave Cameron recently noted on fangraphs) that a legit contender needs 40+, and ideally closer to 50+ WAR from its roster. If you have too many players dribbling around 0 - 1.5 WAR (as Rasmus, Davis, Izturis, Arencibia were in 2012), you have to find those WAR elsewhere.

I hope the signing works out, but I would feel a lot better if Izturis were several years younger.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 08:12 PM EST (#265321) #
Dan Gordon, I wasn't trying to select out years; I just chose the past 4 years rather than the past 3 or 5.  Aviles' 2008 isn't of much relevance to how he is likely to hit going forward.  His performance that year (at age 27) featured a BABIP of .357 at a time when he was faster.  More importantly, he has had a strangely bifurcated defensive record, playing well at shortstop over his career and poorly at second and third base, whereas Izturis has been very good defensively at second base and particularly on the double play. 

As for the money side of things, it's a no-brainer.  They need a second baseman.  Izturis comes cheap, and the $/win is surely going to be much less for Izturis than the pitching talent that they will hunting for. 

dan gordon - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 09:50 PM EST (#265324) #

Well, they need a 2nd baseman because they traded Aviles.  The benefit in wins if they can sign a top flight starter or 2 is going to be much greater than the incremental difference between Aviles and Izturis.  Again, if it doesn't matter in terms of the budget, fine, but if upgrading from Aviles to Izturis, a marginal improvement, costs them the ability to sign a good starter, then they've made a mistake.

That's interesting about Aviles' fielding - I didn't know that he has actually handled SS better than 2nd - maybe because he's got more experience at SS.  He's only started a game at 2B more than 20 times in a season in the majors once, in 2010.  I imagine he would get better there with some more exposure at the position.

Mike Green - Thursday, November 08 2012 @ 10:06 PM EST (#265325) #
FWIW, there would have been nothing wrong with having both Aviles and Izturis.  Escobar, Aviles and Izturis would cost them about $10 million to cover the middle infield and back-up 2B/SS/3B positions pretty well. That would have been money well spent.

I didn't care for the Aviles trade, but I do like this signing and I do think that it is a net positive. 
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