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The Blue Jays have agreed to sign Melky Cabrera to a two year $16M deal according to ESPN.  Cabrera is coming off two very good seasons and a 50 game drug suspension.  The key question is...what kind of Melky are the Jays getting?

Cabrera was born in 1984 and will play most of the 2013 season as a 28 year old, peak age for a hitter.  But Cabrera was virtually a replacement level player from 2008 to 2010.  In 2011 and 2012 he blossomed with the Giants but how much of that can you assume will continue?  Was it drug aided and will a cleaner Cabrera deliver the same value in 2013?

The other question might be why did Cabrera sign so quickly and with Toronto?  Did the Jays offer him the most money or is there a Dominican connection at work here?  Cabrera is from Santo Domingo in the DR.  Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Reyes are also from the DR.  After a reputation hit, like Cabrera had, has he reached for the comfort of some of his home boys as teammates?


Cabrera's B-Ref page.


More to come

The Melkman Cometh | 150 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Forbes - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:22 PM EST (#265714) #
I don't think I've ever been so stoked to be a Jays fan. I was only 4 and 5 during the World Series years.

I'll assume that Cabrera plays a decent LF? I remember him being a passable CF'er with KC and NYY.
AWeb - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:23 PM EST (#265717) #

I'm hoping this somehow turns out like the Bautista deal - sign him after career year, turns out to be an actual major improvement rather than a blip. The PED warning flag flies pretty high on this, but at 8 million a year for only two years, it's not a contract you can't essentially ignore if everything goes south for him.

I'm hoping Cabrera comes back like Braun did this year and just keeps going like before.

So, it looks like the OF is all set, leaving a possible upgrade at firstbase, and the catchers to sort through. Maybe those two solve each other?

electric carrot - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:23 PM EST (#265718) #
That is great news!  Go Alex!  How about Greinke?
rpriske - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:24 PM EST (#265719) #
I think the PED thing is what made him affordable.
greenfrog - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:27 PM EST (#265720) #
Nifty move. A+ off-season on the part of our intrepid GM. Looking forward to the season series with the Red Sox (hopefully involving a lot of grim, regretful walks to the mound by Farrell).
China fan - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:29 PM EST (#265721) #
The top 5 positions in the Jays lineup will be an absolute powerhouse: Reyes, Lawrie, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion.

One of the nice things about signing Cabrera is that it allows the Jays to hide some lower-hitting guys in the bottom of the lineup. For example it allows them to go with Izturis or Bonifacio at 2B, and perhaps Lind at DH (giving him one final chance), and perhaps even a d'Arnaud at catcher and a Gose in CF if they decide to trade JPA or Rasmus.
Ryan C - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:30 PM EST (#265722) #
I like it, but I find it difficult to get too excited about someone who has already been suspended for that sort of thing. I hope he does well and that he can do so cleanly.
China fan - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:34 PM EST (#265724) #
"....I'm hoping this somehow turns out like the Bautista deal - sign him after career year, turns out to be an actual major improvement rather than a blip...."

It's not clear that 2012 was merely a "blip" in the Cabrera career path. Even if Cabrera reverts to his 2011 level of performance, that's still pretty darn good. He posted an OPS of .809 in 2011. And he's still just 28, so it's possible that a lot of his improvement since 2010 is a normal career progression as he reaches his peak years.
Shaker - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:35 PM EST (#265725) #

I find it amusing that Melky's closest BBRef comp is Reed Johnson.

(Even more amusing is that Josh Johnson's closest comp is Shaun Marcum.)

Anders - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:35 PM EST (#265726) #
I am pretty excited by this. The cost is relatively minimal and at 2 years there is little risk. I don't think Anthony Gose is ready to be a full time player, and there is no point in half going for it.

I think it's legitimate to be worried that Melky is a BABIP creation, but his walk and strikeout numbers improved last year and the sample size for the last two years is over 1200 PA. I am not so worried about the PED suspension but I assume that is why Melky signed so quickly.

Dave Rutt - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:35 PM EST (#265727) #
Perfect title, Gerry.

Also, this deal is awesome.
greenfrog - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:38 PM EST (#265728) #
I think this deal also puts the pressure on Rasmus. If he doesn't perform well in the first half of the season, Gose could take over CF pretty quickly.
Nigel - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:40 PM EST (#265729) #

It's great news that the Jays want to go for it and this is great news in that vein, but otherwise I don't like this deal at all.  Melky is a terrible defender and pre-PEDS was a near replacement level player.  Unless his doctor's follow him North I think this contract will be bust - it won't be crippling at that price but the money could be better spent.


mathesond - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:41 PM EST (#265730) #
My only concern (and it may be unfounded, or immaterial), is that after the suspension, Melky never addressed his teammates to apologize, and they didn't seem to miss him. Admittedly, this is third- or fourth-hand (I remember reading it in a couple of BBTF threads). Popularity may not be that critical, and I doubt he goes all Terrell Owens in the clubhouse, but it'll be interesting to see how he fits in with the clubhouse dynamic.
Cynicalguy - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:44 PM EST (#265731) #
Cabrera comes with some questions, but this just adds to the more flexible and more dynamic roster. This would make it 4 switch hitters on the roster all with decent to pretty good base stealing skills. The bench looks pretty good with Davis, Izturis/Bonifacio.
China fan - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:44 PM EST (#265732) #
One of the most impressive numbers of Cabrera's 2012 season was his awesome OBP of .390. For a top-of-the-lineup hitter in the Jays lineup, OBP performance is obviously crucial. Now I'm not an expert on PEDs in any way, but I would have thought that PEDs are more of a contributor to power and slugging numbers, rather than walks and singles. If someone knows more about the impact of PEDs, can they please comment on this? Is it plausible that Cabrera's power numbers could decline somewhat but he could still be a high-OBP hitter even without PEDs?
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:45 PM EST (#265733) #
In other news Melky has reportedly asked for Roger Clemens' or Jose Canseco's old locker.
joeblow - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:45 PM EST (#265734) #
90% sure that Manny Acta will be introduced next week. Dominican connection.
Shaker - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:48 PM EST (#265735) #
Didn't Melky remove himself from Batting Title contention?  He also admitted right up front his error.

Besides if he shares a water bottle with Lawrie he'll have more than enough (natural) testosterone in him...

John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:51 PM EST (#265736) #
Melky reached the majors in his age 20 season - few players do that and those who do are normally extremely talented. It is clear he was rushed by the Yankees, which is odd given how rich a team they are you'd think they'd give a guy time to develop.

Lifetime he has 560 games in CF, 384 in LF, and 104 in RF. His UZR/150 though is negative in CF (-7.3) and LF (-1.4) while barely positive in RF (2.8). So he is a guy who won't embarrass you at any of them but won't win gold gloves either.

Bill James projects him at .295/.348/.432 for 2013, which is a big improvement over last year's Jays LF'ers - .245/.297/.359

FanGraphs has him at $20.6 mil last year, $19.0 in 2011, -$4.3 in 2010, $7.3 in 2009. They average him at $6 mil a season in his career over 948 games, or $7.96 per 150 - basically what the Jays committed to for 2 years in his prime.

Mix in how well he handled the drug issue last year, I don't recall denials and he asked not to be considered for the batting title which was a bit weird but showed remorse. I see a guy who should be coming out with something to prove this year.

This is a great signing imo. He easily could produce enough in one year to cover the cost for 2. Worse case, he is a better 4th outfielder than Davis.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:54 PM EST (#265737) #
CF: Power numbers will undoubtedly alter the way pitchers attack you and, as such, OBP indirectly. But I've always thought that the great benefit of steroids in baseball is not the strength gained, but the ability to stay on the field. There's no telling how much Melky benefited from roids in terms of the day to day wear and tear that baseball can have.
rtcaino - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 02:56 PM EST (#265738) #



That's all I really have to say.

John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:07 PM EST (#265739) #
So, whats next? A DH or 1B is all that is left on the shopping list for this winter and maybe another starter.

Trying to think of guys who might be undervalued but are valuable. Justin Morneau maybe? $14 mil, recovering last year from injuries had a 113 OPS+ with 3 months over 130 for sOPS+ but 2 under 90 including September. Could be a 'our headache for yours' deal sending Lind there thus saving Minny a few million. They could use a solid catcher to let Mauer get more time off at DH or something too.

Or the Jays could totally blow minds and just sign Nick Swisher for 1B/LF and Greinke to be the ace. Somehow I doubt those will happen though.
Nigel - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:11 PM EST (#265740) #
I'm not really sure how building fake websites and lying about it get you to his having dealt with the PEDs issue well.
Jevant - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:13 PM EST (#265741) #
If they landed Morneau for Lind/something, I think I'd die on the spot out of sheer excitement for the coming season.
Beyonder - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:14 PM EST (#265742) #
While all the other GM's are still in the process of limbering up getting ready to do business at the winter meetings, AA has drawn up his plan, executed it, and now sits pretty.

This is exactly what a number of posters were suggesting when they wanted AA to strike first before hyperinflation sets in as a result of the new TV dollars.

To be honest, 2 years, 16 million is right in terms of average annual value, but I'm surprised Melky signed a two-year deal at all. I thought he would want to rehabilitate his market value on a one-year deal.
grjas - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:14 PM EST (#265743) #
I like the flexibility in the offence now. Hit for power, hit for average, run the bases. Small ball and long ball. Not to mention a bench with talent, and a longer lineup that can better withstand injuries and slumps.

Been a long time since my opinion on a Toronto sports team did a complete 180 in a week. Well at least to the positive..

Mike Green - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:15 PM EST (#265744) #
I am surprised that they would sign Cabrera. 

As for his performance and the effect of PEDs, it really isn't the conventional picture.  His HR/FB rate (10.7%) was the highest of his career, but given that he was 28 years old, it was essentially consistent with his record (9.8% in 2011, 10.3% in 2009).  What essentially happened was that his BABIP went way up, and it was across the board.  His batting average on ground balls was .316 (career .260), fly balls .290 (career .195).  Line drives were up slightly.  He even was much more successful bunting (going 6-7 with 2 sacs).  You'd guess that he was just hitting the ball harder.  We don't have Hit Fx, but hittracker does provide details of speed off bat and distance for HRs.  Cabrera's results are:

2012- 104.4 mph, 393.1 ft
2011- 105, 406
2010- 106, 382
2009- 104, 390
2008- 100, 370
2007- 103, 371
2006- 102, 390

The other puzzle about him in 2012 is that he swung at more pitches than his career average, made more contact on pitches outside the zone and less contact on pitches inside the zone and still ended up with a legendary BABIP.  There is definitely room for a career and 2012 heat map study of him.  One more puzzle. His career high walk rate was in his rookie year (2006) at age 22. 

As for the suggestion that he is a terrible fielder, I don't know where that comes from.  He is pretty clearly not a centerfielder at this stage of his career, but he seems to be at least average as a corner outfielder.

My best projection for him- .284/.338/.414, precisely his career average, and league average defence and baserunning.  It's a noticeable step up from Rajai Davis. 

Next stop, one more pitcher.

Dave Till - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:21 PM EST (#265745) #
I'm not used to this. The Blue Jays, on a spending spree? Have I wandered into an alternate universe?

I guess Melky solves the left field problem. I'm not used to rooting for people who used to play for other teams.

If the team gets good enough, perhaps they won't need a manager.
grjas - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:33 PM EST (#265746) #
Also like the fact that Lawrie can move down the order. Don't think he was best suited to a top 2 role given his lack of plate well as his potential power. Can't help but wonder if his power drop off was at least partially due to a different plate approach in the lead off position (but of course, who knows..)

And if he takes a bonehead approach to the base paths again, at least he doesn't take the bat out of the hands of JB or EE

Rich - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:36 PM EST (#265747) #
If Gose has a good first half and shows he is ready mid-season it also means Rasmus, who I do not see as a long term solution for a contending club, can be dealt to fill another need.
John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:44 PM EST (#265748) #
Mike, those are interesting numbers there. Gotta love how much data is out there now.

My earlier comment about how Melky came up at 20 was to point out this is a guy who was viewed as a super talent early on but never developed until 2011 (age 26). Before that he was an 85 OPS+ hitter. Since then he is a 136.

Now, think about other guys through age 25...
Bautista: 80 OPS+ over 596 PA
Encarnacion: 105 OPS+ over 1843 PA

Jays who were 25 last year: Rasmus, Thames, Cooper.

Looking at it I see a guy who never developed properly as he was rushed to the majors and told to make it work in the pressure cooker of a WS contender in NY. Few can deal with that, and those who do tend to become legends. Then once out of NY he went to Atlanta where they were fighting for the playoffs again and he got released in the end. Then to KC where he finally had a non-pressure season and showed talent (121 OPS+), then to SF where he pounded the ball but dig PED's as well.

Melky catches me, from what I'm seeing, as a guy who never had a full shot at becoming the player he can be. Too high expectations, too much pressure, and finally a major mistake that was caught. Now in Toronto he gets a strong mentor in Bautista and a situation where he got to pick where he plays (ala his KC year). He'll be very interesting to watch this year - he could easily be another Bautista/Encarnacion type where he 'figures it out' after years in the majors and the drugs become a side note in his career.
John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:53 PM EST (#265749) #
So what is the lineup now? OPS+ for 2012...

1B: Encarnacion 152 OPS+
2B: Izturis 82 OPS+
3B: Lawrie 97 OPS+
SS: Reyes 111 OPS+
LF: Cabrera 158 OPS+
CF: Rasmus 85 OPS+
RF: Bautista 137 OPS+
DH: Lind (for now) 96 OPS+

CA: Buck 75 OPS+
IF: Bonifacio 77 OPS+
IF: McCoy (or someone else)
OF: Davis 86 OPS+

Lind likely on the way out as well and maybe JPA. Quite the change. Holes are Lind, Rasmus, JPA and Izturis. Izturis is a good backup bur I'd love to see someone else as the everyday guy at 2B. Rasmus is just keeping CF warm until Gose is ready or until he hits like he once showed he could. Lind... the less said the better.
electric carrot - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 03:55 PM EST (#265750) #
I think Adam Lind is not long for this team. He's looking more and more out of place.  Clearly the worst starter. 

grjas - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:07 PM EST (#265752) #
Agreed re lind. Hope they can package him with the low cost jpa to swing a real 1B at a price that fits what ever remains of their budget
TamRa - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:15 PM EST (#265753) #
EXACTLY the right move.


TamRa - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:17 PM EST (#265754) #
oh, and my guess is that in the new economy, "replacement level" is going to cost about $8 mil on the free agent market. don't forget how much we paid Kelly Johnson last year. look around the league and see who else makes $7-9 million
greenfrog - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:27 PM EST (#265755) #
So who, if anyone, gets added to the pitching staff in the coming weeks/months? Here are some of the "realistic" names being bandied about:


You'd have to think that Toronto is suddenly a destination of choice for many veteran free agent SPs.

Or could AA go big on a trade for a young controllable arm with a high ceiling?
TamRa - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:30 PM EST (#265756) #
90% sure that Manny Acta will be introduced next week. Dominican connection.

Alternately, they could do something like promoting Wak and hiring Acta as the 3B coach to take advantage of having him on staff without the possible issues he had in the top post.

Mike Forbes - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:33 PM EST (#265757) #
In the biggest Jays move of the past hour, they've finally signed that elusive reliever we've been dying for. Rotoworld says they've signed Neil Wagner to a minor league deal. Wagner spent last year between San Diego and Oakland.
Mike Forbes - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:36 PM EST (#265758) #
Sorry. San Diego and Oakland's AAA affiliates.
grjas - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:39 PM EST (#265759) #
I don't think they'll add another SP. Hopefully they'll deal with first base, which is the biggest remaining issue. I know an injury or two at SP is a risk, but i think the bigger hole is first, and at some point soon, i think the tap gets turned off.
John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:48 PM EST (#265760) #
Heh - poor AA must have been in withdraw, it has been days since he last signed or traded for a reliever.

I wonder if these big moves help or hurt getting good AAA players for Buffalo. One one hand everyone wants to be around an exciting team that has a shot. On the other hand, a bad team should be easier to reach the majors with and that is the goal of every AAA player. Probably helps that Buffalo and Toronto are close so a players family could stay in Buffalo should they be called up for a few games.
Mike Green - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:51 PM EST (#265761) #
A hole at first base?  I don't see it.  Encarnacion, Cooper and occasionally Davis fill the first base/DH roles OK.  As for starting pitcher, clubs on average go 8 deep during a season.  This club has five, then it's Cecil, Jenkins and (I guess) Sean Nolin.  I am perfectly OK with Cecil being in the pen and moving into the rotation if needed.  I am not at all happy about Jenkins doing that (if you can't succeed as a starter in double A, you don't want the player to be asked to do it in the major leagues). 

You just need someone to be next year's Aaron Laffey, and ideally someone a little better than that (like Jeff Francis). 

China fan - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:53 PM EST (#265762) #
Ken Rosenthal, who has good sources, has tweeted that Anthopoulos is definitely trying to acquire one more major-league pitcher. He makes the point that 5 starters is not enough; the Jays need at least 6 major-league-calibre pitchers to have sufficient depth.

But if the Jays acquire another good starting pitcher, the problem -- and it's a nice problem to have -- is what to do if they're all healthy and effective. The kind of acquisition that Rosenthal is suggesting would not be a Laffey-type pitcher who can be stashed at the AAA level without any problems. It would be a major-leaguer, who would need to play. And then what?

You can't really demote Ricky Romero to the minors, for example, unless he totally implodes. I don't think it makes sense to put J. A. Happ in the minors either -- it's a wasted resource, since he's a lot better than a Laffey-type pitcher. (Although I know that some fans have a much lower opinion of Happ than me.)

Personally I think J. A. Happ is better-suited for the rotation, rather than a swing-man role in the bullpen. So if AA acquires another starter, it should be a relatively inexpensive pitcher who can be easily demoted or switched to the bullpen without a lot of cost.
China fan - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:55 PM EST (#265763) #
"....You just need someone to be next year's Aaron Laffey, and ideally someone a little better than that (like Jeff Francis)....."

I agree. I hadn't seen Mike's comment when I posted mine, but he nicely expressed what I was trying to say.
JB21 - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 04:58 PM EST (#265764) #
I was just on and one of the headlines was:

"Blue Jays close to landing JJ, Reyes in blockbuster"

I mistakenly read it was Jo Jo Reyes the first go around. Boy have times changed, in 1 week.
Ryan Day - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:00 PM EST (#265765) #
Happ makes a fair bit of sense in the bullpen as a swingman, but he was apparently quite unhappy there during his brief stint last year. Would a stacked rotation change his mind?

Of course, this is the perfect role for Villanueva. Wonder how firm he is on his demand to be a full-time starter...
adrianveidt - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:09 PM EST (#265766) #
Well, I think Encarnacion plays first.
That leaves a DH problem which they can fill with a vet.
I do still think they need more starting pitching as insurance.
John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:17 PM EST (#265767) #
Who in the expected pen has been a starter before?

Janssen: can't imagine them moving him back to starting
Santos: a pure reliever since leaving the field so no.
Oliver: nope
Loup: 5 starts in his professional career so no.
Delabar: 2007 was his last minor league start outside of 3 in an indy league in 2009 so no
Lincoln: has had starts each year in the majors so he is a possibility but he really sucked as a starter (5.65 ERA, 5 K/9 vs 3.38 ERA in relief and a 9.6 K/9 rate)

So just Lincoln looks like a swingman there. Then you have the many starters in the minors who might earn a shot, from 'vets' Carreno and Cecil to McGuire and the rest of the prospects. Not to mention that Drabek and Hutchison might be ready by mid-season or September.

It'll be interesting to see how AA addresses this. At this pace we'll be bored out of our minds in January though as everything will be done by then.
electric carrot - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:20 PM EST (#265768) #
2012:  the year where everything went wrong
2013:  the year where everything goes ________!

Alex Obal - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:27 PM EST (#265769) #
What is going on here?!
acepinball - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:31 PM EST (#265770) #
At this point, I think the only hole is now a RH hitter to platoon with Lind. Also, this town ain't big enough for JPA and Buck.

vs. RHP it's easy: Reyes 6, Cabrera 7, Bautista 9, Encarnacion 0, Lind 3, Lawrie 5, Rasmus 8, JPA/Buck 2, Bonifacio 4

vs. LHP you have to get Lind out: Reyes 6, Cabrera 7, Bautisa 9, Encarnacion 3, ?? 0, Lawrie 5, Bonifacio 8, JPA/Buck 2, Izturis 4

So if they add a RH hitter they have a formidable platoon with Lind. Or, they can get rid of Lind and add a legit 1B/DH. It's also entirely plausible that d'Arnaud comes up part way through the season and fills this role. It's not necessarily something that needs to happen right now. AA can wait until June/July to add the piece.

Alternatively, AA may have to shed salary by finding a taker for Lind (Jays would need to be creative and include prospects), Buck (might just be able to trade him for career minor leaguer), and Rajai Davis (who is now in a similar spot to Reed Johnson, an expensive 4th OF).
Mike Green - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:34 PM EST (#265771) #
Rogers realizes that it has a (media) monopoly akin to Ted Turner's monopoly in the 1990s.  It's just a theory.

Alex Obal - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:42 PM EST (#265772) #
Better late than never?

If the Jays really do want another established starter, the Mets seem determined to trade R.A. Dickey for pennies on the dollar. And they think they need a catcher because Josh Thole hit about .100 after his concussion. I wonder...
Mike Green - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:43 PM EST (#265773) #
He'd be a helluva #7 starter.
DiscoDave - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 05:47 PM EST (#265774) #
What about Morneau as DH/1b?

I'd imagine that Minny would take Lind plus prospects for the salary relief alone. No specific suggestions, but in looking what Miami got I wouldn't expect it would be a lot.

If you weren't afraid to pull him against tough lefty relievers he would slot in nicely.
joeblow - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 06:03 PM EST (#265775) #
Alternately, they could do something like promoting Wak and hiring Acta as the 3B coach...

I'd prefer Wak as well. I don't like the way that Cleveland team blew up last year. But the signs seem to point to Acta.

Spookie Wookie - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 06:13 PM EST (#265776) #
I would hope that Lind, alone, from Morneau would do it.. not sure Morneau is much of an improvement over Lind at this point though.

There's another Twins 1B/DH with a huge contract that I wouldn't mind seeing Rogers take on...
ayjackson - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 06:21 PM EST (#265778) #
I think we'll end up with another starter and if I had to guess, it would be Holland, Ogando, Niese or Dickey.  With JPA+ going in the other direction.  Which would be too bad, because JPA is one of the good guys.
greenfrog - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 06:22 PM EST (#265779) #
You just need someone to be next year's Aaron Laffey, and ideally someone a little better than that (like Jeff Francis)

Why not aim higher? The Jays are also going to have to field a team in 2014 (i.e., after Josh Johnson likely departs). Besides, the Jays' current rotation, while promising on paper, still has question marks re health (JJ, Morrow, Romero), age/mileage (Buehrle), and possible Steve Blass syndrome (Romero). Apart from Nolin, the Jays' starting pitching prospects are at least a couple of years away.

The team might be able to make the playoffs without adding a promising young front- or mid-rotation starter, but why not aim for dominance instead of "good enough" or "competitive"? You can't have enough pitching.
Landomar - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 06:43 PM EST (#265780) #

Yay, Cabrera!  Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis were the two hitters that were at the top of my personal shopping list this offseason.  It's fun when the GM makes the same moves that I would make, it happens so rarely.  I was hoping for just a one year deal for Melky, but I'm fine with two.  He's a perfect fit for us, and our top of the lineup has the potential to be deadly next season.

Any chance that we could talk Lance Berkman into coming up north to DH for us?  More realistically, we're going to see a Lind/somebody platoon or a trade for a new first baseman or DH (Ike Davis is my target), but if we could sign Berkman for "old guy hopping on a bandwagon" dollars, that would be pretty amazing.  He would make an excellent Dave Winfield part 2.  :)

Shaker - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 06:55 PM EST (#265781) #
Alex O,

Here's a theory as to what's going on:

AA told the brass (back when he was hired) that he would gut payroll for 3 seasons and save the club ~$75M over that time frame.  The owners though would have to re-inject that $75M over the 3 seasons after that, as well as boost the payroll from the $80M level (from 2009) at the mlb inflation rate (of ~7%) each season.

Schoenfield at espn provided these Blue Jay salaries (and mlb rank in brackets):

2012: $75.5 million (23rd)
2011: $62.6 million (23rd)
2010: $62.2 million (22nd)
2009: $80.5 million (16th)
2008: $97.8 million (13th)
2007: $81.9 million (16th)

If the Jays payroll was $80M in 2009 and due to rise 7% a year (via inflation), you'd be at $105M in 2013.  It appears that AA did in fact save ~$75 from 2010-2012 (subtract the Jays actual payroll from the inflation adjusted payroll), so that allows him to add $25M each season in 2013-2015.  So the previous 2013 target of $105M goes to $130M.  In 2014 he can spend $137M if this theory is correct, and in 2015 he'd be at ~$145M.  [For the accountants on this blog, the 7% inflation excludes the $25M annual boost from 2013-2015.]

In fact, this is pretty much as Alex said all along.

(Sorry, I mistakenly posted this on the Marlins thread.)
dan gordon - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 07:08 PM EST (#265782) #

Great signing.  I've been hoping for Cabrera for quite a while, if the Giants didn't resign him.  Like Bonifacio, Cabrera came up to the majors before he was ready, and his first few seasons reflect that.  He had his breakout year in 2011 with Kansas City at age 26, the same age as Bonifacio when he had his first really good year.  I think this is one of the "market inefficiencies" that is exploitable now.  Look for guys who came up too early, and are undervalued as a result of struggling at the major league level at 21-24 years of age.  I fear the Jays may have fallen prey to that themselves when they traded Snider, but time will tell on that.

Cabrera's 2011 with Kansas City looked very good to me, at a .305 average, .339 OBP, 18 HR's, 20 SB and I was impressed the Giants were able to steal him for Jonathan Sanchez.  Looked more like a breakout than a fluke to me, as some feared.  I think he took another step ahead last year, even if you take away the steroid impact.  He was playing in a great pitchers' park that was really hurting his numbers.  His road OPS last year was 1.015.  I think we'll see some excellent numbers from Cabrera in the much better hitters' park in Toronto.  Wouldn't be surprised to see an OPS over.850.

Most switch hitters are much weaker against left handers, leaving you vulnerable against them if you have a few in your lineup, but that is not the case with the guys the Blue Jays have acquired.  Cabrera is virtually dead even righty/lefty for his career, and in fact hit much better last year vs lefties.  That may also have been something that finally started to click for him as he matured as a hitter.

Hoping for 1 more starting pitcher.  Wow, it's great to have a team that is willing to spend some significant money again.  

BlueJayWay - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 07:54 PM EST (#265783) #
Geoff - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 07:55 PM EST (#265784) #
Time for another bargain grab to bring in Manny.

No seriously, Manny Ramirez can still swing the stick. Crazier than a loon, but talented in the way of legendary. Make a one bagger out of Edwin and let Manny DH and pinch hit. So long as you feed him properly whatever it is that Mannys require and leave him space without letting him out of his big cage, he could work well.

And while we're having fun, bring in Ozzie to coach. I will live at the Rogers Yard if they make this happen. Add those two to this recipe and I'm buying season tickets that day.
DiscoDave - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 08:22 PM EST (#265785) #
I can't see Minny moving Mauer. Of course I'd love to see Mauer in blue, but, that ain't happening. Morneau is a step up from Lind.
Lylemcr - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 08:47 PM EST (#265786) #

Nice.  LF is solved.  Gose needs to be in AAA one more year.  (It also gives an option if a OF gets hurt)

One more starter is all we need.  I don't see them overspending and I sense that they really want to give Happ a chance to win the job.  I think someone like Liriano might be good experiment.  Liriano I think we be great in the bullpen if he didn't work out.

Lind, Rasmus, JPA and Bonifacio\Izturis are your bottom 4. It is better than Seattle's top 4.  I can live with it.    if they falter, it could be Cooper, Gose and D'arnard.  (AA is not one to sell low, so I see this 3 getting a chance)

I would rather have Bonificio\Izturis as util, but I am happy with that.  I would be really happy if McCoy was in AAA. 

Jevant - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 09:23 PM EST (#265787) #
Scott Feldman.
Jevant - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 09:25 PM EST (#265788) #
I'd be pretty comfortable in saying that a healthy Morneau is a massive upgrade on Lind.
Spicol - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 09:32 PM EST (#265789) #
Having Bonifacio as a super sub means carrying a short bench isn't the issue it was last season, which allows for a platoon partner for Lind. And it's not ideal, but there is one already on the roster.

Rajai Davis

Career vs LHP: 290/349/417
2012 vs LHP: 285/345/437

Adam Lind

Career vs RHP: 282/335/502
2012 vs RHP: 276/339/457

It requires Encarnacion playing 1B when Lind sits but that's minor. Moises Sierra is a second option already on the roster. He hit 298/369/507 vs LHP in his last two minor league seasons, or 100 pts of OPS better than vs RHP. Failing that, picking up a Reed Johnson or taking a flyer on Matt Diaz for the RHB part of the platoon would get just as much of a result as trying to upgrade Lind and is probably pretty easy to get done. I'm loving this roster construction. There's something to be said for flexibility.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 09:43 PM EST (#265790) #
I think the better play is to try and extend johnson and bringing in a laffey type. In fact Im fine with just bringing laffey himself back. He kind of earned it last season
Mike Green - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 10:18 PM EST (#265791) #
Gerry asks in the lede..."what kind of Melky are the Jays getting?"

At $8 million per year, he's definitely in the 1%. 
earlweaverfan - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 10:23 PM EST (#265792) #
I am quite interested in the Minnesota opportunity - both for the opportunity to move Lind plus smaller salary to Minnesota for Morneau plus bigger salary - we know Rogers is willing to spend, now, so I can't believe that that move is far-festched.  That would really help for next year, and if Morneau is a candidate to re-sign, he might like to stay in his home and native land after 2013.

Next, of course, I would love to trade for Joe Mauer, but really, he is unlikely to be available under any scenario. (It is not just because he had a big comeback last year, nor is it because even the BIG-SPENDING BLUE JAYS are unikely to pony up for him).  No, he is untouchable because he is a home town boy - hard to send him away under any circumstances.  Even if they were dumping salary left, right and catcher!

Speaking about home town favourites, too bad that Scott Diamond is now probably untouchable.  Sigh.  My sadness is not that he is Canadian, nor how good he looked against the Jays when he pitched against us this year.  No, his particular attraction as a sixth candidate for the rotation comes from the fact that he went to the world's best high school - Centennial Collegiate in Guelph.  I cannot claim that I taught him all I know about baseball, although cynics might say that such a task might have taken me five minutes.  I graduated from there a mere 32 years or so earlier than he did.  Heck, he was born 15 years after I graduated.  Though perhaps it was the aura I left behind.

Double sigh!  So, I guess, we will have to hold out for Holland or Orgando. 

My wildest dreams (above) could only come true if we had a miracle worker for our likely is that???

John Northey - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 11:50 PM EST (#265793) #
I still think Kevin Youkilis would be a good one to go after, if the Jays scouts feel he can make a comeback. The Bill James projection at FanGraphs has him at .265/.371/.465 for 2013 and that would look sweet at 1B/DH/backup 3B/backup LF. His versatility fits what AA loves, he is 34 next year so a 1 or 2 year deal is as far as I'd go though. I'd bet he'd love to be back in the AL East though with a chance to show Boston that he can come back.

This is a fun winter so far isn't it?
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 16 2012 @ 11:59 PM EST (#265794) #

With the Big Trade and the Cabrera signing becoming official soon-ish, the 40-man roster will contain 42 players - not (CBA) possible.   It just might be possible A.A. might D.F.A. two people.   It's possible a trade is in progress.

A.A. is, by all reports, after another quality Starting Pitcher, perhaps another front-of-the-rotation type.   What about Happ?  He's a precious resource in the Bullpen, a MLB-quality (#6) Starter.   What about the Bullpen?   I see Sergio Santos, Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar and Esmil Rogers as locks.   Brett Cecil, Jeremy Jeffress and Cory Wade are without options.   Brad Lincoln, Aaron Loup and Joel Carreno have options.   Darren Oliver is still deciding his future.

If A.A. is going "all in", 1B/DH (Lind), 2B, CF could use an upgrade.  

Decisions need to be made about catchers J.P. Arrencibia, John Buck and Bobby Wilson - trade J.P. or D.F.A. Wilson (Buck's not tradeable).

I don't think we can assume A.A. is done until mid-February at the earliest, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Oceanbound - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 12:04 AM EST (#265795) #
John Farrell is sitting a dark room right now, forever muttering the words "dream job.... dream job....."
btfsplk325 - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 07:54 AM EST (#265797) #
In this day of advanced metrics is there anything for managers? Intuitively, Joe Maddon for example, is a far, far better manager than John Farrell but is there anything concrete other than wins and losses to compare them by? Everything else people use to evaluate managers seems to be intangible.
soupman - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 10:23 AM EST (#265798) #
time on the job?
i mean, i know guys win a series and are basically given carte blanche - scioscia, ozzie, as recent examples from the top of my head - but some guys don't win and stick around forever too. i guess dusty baker might be the go-to example in that he's never won the big one, but who always has a job.

then you have guys that statheads love - like acta - who can't seem to hold a room for very long.

how or why that is - it's hard to say. maddon certainly isn't the most old school of baseball managers, so it's hard to suggest that you can't bring in analytic tendencies and succeed given the right circumstances.

but, i'd say that looking at stuff like championships won vs. tenure + jobs held would probably start providing a better picture (through a dark glass, dimly) than we currently have. i'm not sure this would help you find overlooked but good managers who simply had a falling out with a key player or two, but it would certainly give an idea of what type of manager is at least capable of avoiding those conflicts for whatever reasons

soupman - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 10:25 AM EST (#265799) #
i'd like to see the jays hire a manager who will wear a suit in the dugout.
bpoz - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 10:41 AM EST (#265800) #
Maybe it is just the great SPs that Maddon has. They have talent & depth in SPs and also seem to have less injuries. I cannot prove it but ML players like Hentgen & D Ward have said that if your SPs can go deep into games, and keep the game close that makes the pen look better. Maddon sure has had successful pens, even with the personnel changing each year.
damos - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 10:44 AM EST (#265801) #

The Jays are close to announcing their next manager. Two of the final names they discussed were Jim Tracy and Jim Riggleman.

Oh my.  Those names are very troubling. 

lexomatic - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:15 AM EST (#265803) #
very troubling
Oceanbound - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:43 AM EST (#265804) #
Maybe they discussed those names in this context: "There's no way we're hiring guys like Jim Tracy and Jim Riggleman"

Maybe they're going to hire one of them just to prove that actually, managers don't matter much at all
PeterG - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:49 AM EST (#265805) #

The same report also suggests that team disposed to hiring someone in tune with the running game.

BlueJayWay - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:53 AM EST (#265806) #
Rosenthal tweets that Riggleman has not been contacted about the job...
Mike T - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:54 AM EST (#265807) #
Most of the candidate names floating around probably haven't even been contacted, like Acta, and Riggleman (agent said he hasn't been contacted by Jays).
I'm guessing it'll be Sandy Alomar Jr., or maybe even Cito.
Your guess is good as mine... There is zero leaks in the Jays search for a manager and it's all speculation.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:57 AM EST (#265808) #
What is Dave Martinez's current status?
Chuck - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 12:33 PM EST (#265809) #
What is Dave Martinez's current status?

In a relationship.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 12:34 PM EST (#265810) #
I'm unfriending him if he doesn't take the job.
Thomas - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 01:08 PM EST (#265811) #
Like a few others here, I'm inclined to think it will be Acta or Wakamatsu. Neither of them particularly excites me, but if the alternative is Jim Tracy....
btfsplk325 - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 01:11 PM EST (#265812) #
Maybe the Blue Jays could trade for an experienced manager currently on another team. Does this kind of thing ever happen? :)
Mike Forbes - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 01:14 PM EST (#265813) #
My money is on Wakamatsu. He has experience in the majors and knows some of the team.
Lylemcr - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 01:33 PM EST (#265814) #
I like Wakamatsu.  I thought he did  a good job with the Mariners, considering what a poor team they had
China fan - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:01 PM EST (#265817) #
Looking further at the implications of Cabrera's arrival: does this mean that Rajai Davis could become the platoon partner for Lind at the DH slot? Based on their career splits, a Lind-Davis platoon would post an OPS of about .800. If you used their 2012 numbers instead, a Lind-Davis platoon would have a .790 OPS. Either way, it might be adequate DH production if Anthopoulos is unable to acquire a DH on the free-agent or trade markets. With Cabrera now in LF and Bonifacio also now available for OF duties, Davis will be a 4th or 5th outfielder and might not get a lot of playing time. Why not make him the platoon DH to replace Lind against LHP? It would allow greater opportunities for his speed on the base paths.

And yes, I'm aware that Johnny Gomes would be another good platoon partner for Lind, if Anthopoulos could acquire him.

One further option at DH, if the Jays want to dump Lind entirely, is a Cooper-Davis platoon. Based on their 2012 numbers, it would produce an OPS of about .770 but could do better than that if Cooper continues to improve his major-league hitting skills as he showed signs of doing in 2012.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:38 PM EST (#265819) #
In all seriousness, I would be okay with Wakamatsu. Whoever gets hired, it will be interesting to see who the coaches are.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:41 PM EST (#265820) #
For this offseason to be complete, there are things A.A. could do to make it almost perfect.

1) Hit a grand slam home run in his selection of a Manager.
2) Trade Adam Lind.
3) Acquire a top 1B, or Justin Morneau from the Twins.
4) Acquire a top 2B.
5) Trade Colby Rasmus and acquire a top CF, or trade Rajai Davis, keep Colby and still acquire a top CF.
6) Acquire a #1 Stud Pitcher.
DJRob - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 03:09 PM EST (#265825) #
I'm hoping it's Butterfield. I think he's the right guy for the job, and it would be great to pull him back from Boston.
adrianveidt - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 04:32 PM EST (#265827) #
1) Hit a grand slam home run in his selection of a Manager. 2) Trade Adam Lind.
3) Acquire a top 1B, or Justin Morneau from the Twins.
4) Acquire a top 2B.
5) Trade Colby Rasmus and acquire a top CF, or trade Rajai Davis, keep Colby and still acquire a top CF.
6) Acquire a #1 Stud Pitcher.
7) Rebuild Skydome so it isn't a piece of crap and players want to play there.
8) Force the Leafs and Raptors to bring in good players too, dammit.
katman - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 04:37 PM EST (#265828) #
"You just need someone to be next year's Aaron Laffey, and ideally someone a little better than that (like Jeff Francis). "

We had that guy. His name was Shawn Hill, and he absolutely performed to that "a little better" level when we've used him over the last 2 seasons. I say sign him and play him, if that's what we're after. Cheap, simple, local.

Or, we could kick things up 1 notch.

  • See if Carlos V. is willing to come back in a swingman role, but we'd have to wait until it's clear he won't be signed as a starter. Not sure he wants to be back, though.
  • Or sign Shaun Marcum as a Free Agent, and Happ becomes the unhappy swing guy. Between JJ, Marcum, and Romero, I bet he'd get his share of starts.

But in an ideal world...


Offer them JPA, Rajai Davis, and Drabek. Add Carreno if necessary.
Chuck - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 04:48 PM EST (#265829) #

Cheap, simple, local.

And a Tiger.


Lylemcr - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:18 PM EST (#265834) #

The problem with acquiring a # 1 starter (especially if it is long term), what do you do with the injured(Hutchinson, Drabek,etc) and some of the young studs coming up? 

I don't see the jays getting another #1.  I could see them getting an asset that is a low cost\high risk\high return player.  Then you perhaps flip one of these assets if your hand is forced.


greenfrog - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:28 PM EST (#265837) #
I get the argument for rounding things out with a #5 or 6 starter for depth. I think the Jays should look for a young controllable #1-3. Difference of opinion.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 07:33 PM EST (#265840) #
This team is now committed to the postseason for at least the next 3 year (Bautista's contract amongst others), before the kids get expensive. They are committed, at a minimum, to the $125.0MM level during that time (at least).

If you don't get a front-line Pitcher, that's controllable, you're putting all your efforts into keeping Johnson. If that fails, Buehrle, Morrow, Romero and two pitchers named Who? will be taking this team to the postseason - ya, right. Only if both of the Who?s are front- line Pitchers could it happened. Drabek and Hutchison are not front-line pitchers - and never will be. They will be solid middle-of-rotation Pitchers. Any Pitcher acquired should be a top asset, because that will give A.A. the most options. Who says Morrow and Romero will always be Blue Jays?
Lylemcr - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:51 AM EST (#265849) #

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see a number 1 starter too.  But, I can't see it. You never know, but I can't see it.  If it does happen, it might be at the trading deadline. 

TamRa - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 02:09 AM EST (#265850) #
if my math is correct, the persumptive opening day 2013 Blue Jays totaled more WAR in 2012 than the 2012 NY Yankees totaled.

And that with Johnon, Buehrle, and (especially) Romero under their career norms, only half a season of Joey Bats, time missed by Lawrie, Arencibia  and Morrow, the whole season gone for Santos, and Rasmus and (especially) Lind being disappoinying on offense

TamRa - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 02:25 AM EST (#265851) #
The Jays are close to announcing their next manager. Two of the final names they discussed were Jim Tracy and Jim Riggleman.

Inside the Blue Jays front office

Interior: the office of Generanl Manager ALEX ANTHOPOULOS, who's having a discussion with Club President PAUL BEESTON-

ALEX: Well Paul, I think I'm narrowing down my choices.

PAUL: you're still committed to a guy with major league experience, like we discussed, I hope?

ALEX: Yes of course. We've thoroughly reviewed every guy out there who meets that stipulation.

PAUL: Even guys like Jim Tracey and Jim Riggleman?

ALEX: Even them. You know i believe in being thorough.

PAUL: tell me you are not actually considering either of those guys?!"

ALEX: of course not. Did you hire a moron to run your team?



We see a SHADOWY FIGURE on a cell phone-

"Yes Buster, that's what I said. The big guys were discussing Riggleman and Tracy. Yeah, no problem. Call me anytime." As the connection is broken we zoom in on the unknown caller's shadowed face closely enough to see an EVIL GRIN

FADE to black

Forkball - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 10:27 AM EST (#265854) #
Keith Law said on Twitter that he thought that the Jays wouldn't go the direction of Jim Tracy. Given his contacts (of which LaCava is probably the most apparent) I'm guessing the Jays told him that off the record that Tracy wasn't going to be the manager.

Plus, as we know, AA likes to keep things under wraps. A huge Marlin trade came out of seemingly nowhere, and the Cabrera signing was the same way.

Given that Riggleman clearly hadn't been contacted, per his agent, I wonder if someone is intentionally feeding Olney bad information.
bpoz - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 10:35 AM EST (#265855) #
2 weeks until the winter meetings start.

I expect the outcome of the trade to be resolved & a manager named before then. Also the pre winter meeting 40 man roster to be set by then. Of course we can still add during & after the Winter Meetings. The team will look like it has taken shape somewhat by ST with just a few questions to be resolved in ST.

This is my evaluation of the team so far.

1) We are not as young as 2011 & 2012. JPA & Lawrie have some experience now. No kid in LF anymore.
2) The rotation looks capable. 4 guys can win 15 games or more with good ERA & big IP numbers.
3) Lots of arms to choose from to build a bullpen. A very good mix as well.

So I like our pitching & the veteran lineup.

But how good is the following:-
1) Defense. It should be good I hope.
2) Offense. Great speed but the power numbers are lower, maybe just a bit.

By the 40,60 & 100 game mark we should know how this team is performing in all the above categories. Well actually you Bauxites will know how the categories are doing. Then again if you argue with each other... maybe the answer is vague. Defense & errors IMO are a tricky evaluation thing.
Home runs like wins & losses are facts and not vague.

The more depth you have the better.

So what will it be. TB 2008 & Baltimore 2012..." cannot keep this up". The Phillies 2012 injuries, Boston 2011 A Gon & C Crawford or the LAA 2012 who IMO should have done better.

greenfrog - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:14 PM EST (#265857) #
A photo of Reyes in blue (he looks pretty happy actually):
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:27 PM EST (#265858) #
MLB will announce their approval by late afternoon Monday, if not earlier.
A.A. will introduce the new Blue Jays, Reyes, Johnson, Buehrle, Bonifacio and Buck at a Press Meeting. The next day, Cabrera will be introduced. The day after that, the new Manager will be introduced. After that, Coaches will be hired.

MLB Trade Rumors (Silverman? article) has Toronto shopping Buck, Arencibia and d'Arnaud, with a preference to moving Arencibia or d'Arnaud. I find that interesting. It's starting to look like another not-as-big, but-big-enough trade will occur. Texas Rangers, both New York teams, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros are all looking for Catchers. This is interesting as there are Pitchers available on some of those teams.
TamRa - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:29 PM EST (#265859) #
to me, the two concerns if one wants to be cautious about getting giddy over the coming season are:

1. health - you can only do so much to guard against a rash of injuries. particularly in the area of SP, you can have standing offers out to the best of the guys who are "fringey" (like Laffey) but you are not going to sign any of them until they are convinced they can't get a major league deal, and even then at least some of them will target teams with thinner depth. The problem is, they are "fringey" for a reason. Conversely, if you have, say, 7 "legitimate" guys, you probably are going to lose some talent at the end of March just for lack of enough rosters spots to protect them all. That means as a FA they would be possibly reluctant to sign in a place without a guaranteed starting role (Hiya Carlos!) or you had to trade assets to get a guy who might cost you assets again to keep. A thorny problem which means, ultimately, if 3 or 4 guys go down you are still effectively screwed no matter how carefully you plan. Which is why i wasn't employing hindsight to criticize last winter's moves.

2. team cohesivness - ultimately, no matter how talented the 25 guys on your roster are, they have to "jell" into a team. This is where the manager search maybe is key, though I have no idea how you'd screed for such a manager except that you hire one who has experience managing the Yankees or some such - a team which is constantly having to integrate new players from outside the organization. The landscape is not littered with such guys, so as a GM, I'm not sure how you assure yourself that your hire is going to have a deft hand at that task.

As for talent on the field, for all the worry about Lind - the roster as currently constructed has enough talent to go deep into October. So long as they have enough of the two items above.

ayjackson - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:36 PM EST (#265860) #
Buster Olney seems to have adopted the Jon Morosi approach to tweeting, whereby you say something that could be technically true, but due to wording, only serves to wind-up a fan base. The motive is to drive web traffic. Traffic is king on the internet.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:41 PM EST (#265862) #
I would add the following:

3. Romero's mojo / ability to rebound. This may be linked to his mental state (Steve Blass syndrome or lack thereof) and/or physical health. Ricky simply fell fell off a cliff last year (0.5 Fangraphs WAR, compared to 2.8, 4.1, 2.9 the three seasons prior). AA needs to slot him into the rotation, but he won't last if he keeps having meltdowns early in the game. For one thing, it will burn the bullpen in a hurry. If Romero stalls out, and one other starting pitcher has health or performance issues, the Jays are going to be in a pickle again. That's why I would trade for another good (and controllable) young SP.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:07 PM EST (#265865) #
A photo of Reyes in blue (he looks pretty happy actually):

EE is going to have give T-Bone classes during spring-training for the newbies. 
China fan - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:47 PM EST (#265868) #
" cohesivness - ultimately, no matter how talented the 25 guys on your roster are, they have to "jell" into a team...."

I'd argue that this is a lot less important on a baseball team than on a hockey team or football team. Hitting and pitching are individual skills. With multimillion-dollar contracts on the line, most players have enough motivation to play as well as they can, especially if they feel that they're a contending team with a chance at the playoffs. Even a team of egotistical self-interested players can still do pretty well in baseball. (Feel free to cite your own examples from past championship teams.)

If I was listing the reasons for caution in the 2013 Blue Jay team, I'd certainly include the health issue and the Ricky Romero issue. I'd also mention that even the best players can have a down season, so there's always the chance of a mediocre season by any of Reyes, Johnson, Bautista, Encarnacion etc. And I'd also say that we don't really have a clear idea of whether there will be any improvement by key young players like Lawrie, Rasmus, Arencibia etc. We're assuming that the young players will get better, but maybe they won't.

Anyway there's certainly lots of room for caution and question marks. But I'm more optimistic than I've been for years.
bpoz - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 06:00 PM EST (#265874) #
I finally looked at the 2013 schedule. We play our AL East opponents 19 times each, if I counted right.

My only conclusion is bloodshed. With everyone believing in themselves except Boston the rivalries will be incredible. Sellouts every where except TB.

NYY, Boston maybe Baltimore & maybe Detroit fans should come here I us go there. These teams should have many great players on the field.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 06:00 PM EST (#265875) #
Buster Olney is now saying that Manny Acta has been "strongly reviewed" by the Jays, whatever that means.

So, who are the likeliest managerial candidates at this point?

Matt Williams
Tim Wallach
Dave Martinez
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Sal Fasano

Any other mystery candidates? In the throwback dept., Jim Bowden's top three are apparently La Russa, Cox and Pinella, with Tracy as the next-best choice. I don't see any of the first three signing on for the job.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 07:01 PM EST (#265876) #
A younger Bobby Cox would be perfect for this club.  He's 71 years old, so it would be very unlikely but not impossible.
joeblow - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 07:56 PM EST (#265877) #
Any thoughts on Mike Hargrove?
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 08:25 PM EST (#265878) #
Mike Hargrove was a great Cleveland Manager but average the rest of time. Seattle was 2nd in AL West at time of his July 1 resignation in 2007. I don't know if he's still interested. If he was available I'd go after him, I just think he might be too long away from the game, but he's only 61-ish now.
ayjackson - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 08:27 PM EST (#265879) #
What did he do different in Seattle to be so bad?
melondough - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 08:48 PM EST (#265881) #
There was a report on Nov 17th by Fox Sports that AA did "reach out" to Hargrove. No word on if he is interested but I think he would be a great candidate. I imagine he could command the rooom well (from what I remember about him).

It would concern me a bit that he has not been in the game for some time but if he kept Wakamatsu as bench coach that would be an ideal combination in my mind. Not only would it serve him well to have someone with knowledge of his opponents tendancies but also with team tendancies that should be addressed (i.e. Lawrie aggressiveness, etc).
hypobole - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 09:19 PM EST (#265883) #
Earl Weaver would be my choice, but at 82, however there will be some age discrimination involved that will not even have him in consideration.

As far as any more moves, I still think (as a couple of reports stated) the Jays should continue their pursuit of Edwin Jackson. That would free up Happ for the swingman role, whether he likes it or not. As John pointed out in an earlier post, the bullpen simply doesn't have a CV replacement. With the injury concerns of Johnson (and to a lesser extent Morrow) and not knowing what the heck we'll get out of Romero, our swingman may well end up a full time starter sooner than later.

Lind, I'm fine with for one more season if used only in a platoon role. If the team is lucky, he may have a dead cat bounce. Lefty starters can give the manager a chance to rotate through guys like Bautista and especially Reyes to give them a chance to take a day off from the field without taking their bats out of the lineup.

greenfrog - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 09:19 PM EST (#265884) #
Agree that a younger Cox would be perfect. He now seems pretty adamant that he's retired (not sure he would be the right choice at this point in any case).

I'm kind of hoping for Dave Martinez, despite his inexperience.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 09:52 PM EST (#265885) #
I'm a bit curious as to why Washington wouldn't even make a qualifying offer to E-Jax. Maybe they saw something they didn't like in the second half...?
TamRa - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 03:39 AM EST (#265888) #
I'd also mention that even the best players can have a down season, so there's always the chance of a mediocre season by any of Reyes, Johnson, Bautista, Encarnacion etc. And I'd also say that we don't really have a clear idea of whether there will be any improvement by key young players like Lawrie, Rasmus, Arencibia etc. We're assuming that the young players will get better, but maybe they won't.

But the thing is, while I know WAR is not the ultimate state, it's a good rule of thumb.

Last year Romero was awful, Buehrle and johnson were down, Morrow missed time and Happ spent time in relief. McGowan had a typical season of course. Drabek and Hutch...

Santos missed virtually the whole season, Lincoln fell off after the trade, Delenbar wasn't great before the trade, Rogers was awful in Colorado, Cecil was not good overall, perez missed most of the season.

Buck was awful compared to his time here, lind was still bad, Reyes was down from his peak but still good, izturus was offhis usual game and Bonifacio was down from 2011; lawrie was well below offensive expectations and Rasums was a ghost the whole second half, while Bautista missed it almost entirely....

and yet with ALL that...the collection we would open the season with today had more collective WAR than the 2012 Yankees.

so to me the "yeah but" counter-argument is already built into the comment.

Or take OPS+ and ERA+

2012 Yanks, then 2013 Jays

Martin* - 92 :: Arencibia - 89
Texeria - 116 ::Encarnacion - 152
Cano - 149 :: Izturus - 82
Jeter - 114 ::  Reyes - 111
Rodruigez - 112 :: Lawrie - 97
Ibanez* -  104 :: Cabrera - 158
Gunderson - 116 :: Rasmus - 85
Swisher* - 126 ::Bautista - 137
Chavez* - 126 :: Lind - 96

total = 1,055 - 1,007

Sabathia - 124 :: Johnson - 104
Koruda* - 126 :: Buehrle - 106
Petitte* - 146 ::Morrow - 144
Hughes - 99 :: Romero - 74
Nova - 83 :: Happ - 92

total = 578 - 520

Soriano - 185 :: Janssen - 169
Robertson - 157 :: Oliver - 207
Logan - 112 ::  - Delenbar - 126
Epply - 126 :: Lincoln - 123
Rapada - 149 :: Loup** - 163
Phelps - 125 :: Santos

**Cecil at 75 but if he does that again he won't be up long.

total = 854 - 788

Include Rogers and his 90 in place of Santos who has so small a sample as to not matter and it's 854 - 884

Grand total = 2,487 - 2,411

Now i know that OPS/ERA+ doesn't work as a total, and that relative playing time matters...and i left off the benches on purpose because that makes it even more complex.

But the point remains that even with all the flaws i listed above, THIS 25 man roster, as it stands now, can compete (on paper) with the winningest team in the AL in 2012 on a near even basis.

And that's just referencing last years Yankees, since we don't know yet how they will replace departing free agents like Swisher.

whiterasta80 - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 08:25 AM EST (#265889) #
Hypobole, that was an interesting choice of words regarding injury concerns: "Johnson, and to a lesser extent Morrow". As far as I know only 1 of those guys threw over 180 innings last season (or for that matter ever).

I'm not terribly worried about JJ's health (more worried about his road numbers last season).

On our starting staff I'm actually most worried about Romero. He looked all kinds of wrong last season and I still wonder if he was pitching through something.
John Northey - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 08:47 AM EST (#265890) #
Worth checking last year vs this years crew...
CA/1B/DH/3B/CF/RF - same
2B: 225/303/351 654 OPS vs 267/333/360 693 OPS
SS: 255/298/349 647 OPS vs 295/352/434 786 OPS
LF: 245/297/359 656 OPS vs 295/348/432 780 OPS

Assuming Izturis, Reyes, Cabrera for the 3 positions. Using FanGraphs Bill James projection for 2013.

Improvements across the board in all 3 categories. And not small either - 39 OPS at 2B, 139 at SS, 124 in LF. Interesting that Reyes is projected to outhit Cabrera.
Gerry - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 09:04 AM EST (#265891) #

This is Thanksgiving week in the US.  Most baseball related activity will shut down midday Wednesday until next week.  The Marlins trade should be announced today or tomorrow.  If the Jays are close on a manager it will be announced in the next day or two also; if not it will be next week.

Bob Elliott suggested this morning that the Jays are doing background checks on Mike Hargrove.  There had been a previous suggestion of Hargrove a week or two ago but it was uncertain if he was interested.

John Northey - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 09:21 AM EST (#265892) #
I think the big thing with Hargrove is - is he interested in baseball again? He lost interest in his last year (2007) thus quit part way through the season. In Cleveland he did a great job dealing with headache players (Albert Bell, Manny Ramirez) and kids (Jim Thome among many). Taking a team from joke status to 5 straight division titles. Then he went to Baltimore as it shifted from professional to circus, and arrived in Seattle right after it fell apart but helped it get back to decent before it fell apart again after he left.

An energized Hargrove would be a great choice. One who feels like it is just another job would be a poor one. I suspect since he has been out for 5 years that he might have his batteries recharged, but we'll see if the Jays are going that way or not soon enough.
hypobole - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 09:29 AM EST (#265893) #
Re: Morrow and Johnson. Morrow was transitioned from reliever to starter which limited his innings and his recent injuries were an oblique in 2012 and a forearm strain in 2011, neither of which seem chronic. Johnson missed most of the 2011 season with shoulder inflammation, which is much more likely than Morrow's injuries to reoccur and cause significant downtime.

Greenfrog, it wasn't so much the 2nd half for Jackson, it was clutch time in September when he fell apart (7.92 ERA in 5 starts). I'm guessing that played a part in the Nats decision. I'm guessing also they want to spend their remaining budget on a quality CF and resign LaRoche and go with a cheaper option to replace Jackson. There may also have been a handshake agreement between Boras and the Nats that Jackson wouldn't be tied to compensation after the year (at least there should have been).

Although he may not be a $13 Million+ guy, at 29 (doesn't turn 30 till next September) he's still fairly young, he's durable w/low injury risk (30+ starts 6 years running) and despite his Sept swoon fairly consistent (ERA+ between 95 and 108 4 of the past 5 years with the only outlier a 125 with the Tigers in '09).

Not good enough to be overly expensive, but his youth, health and consistency should net him 3-5 yrs at a reasonable rate.
Mike Green - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 09:51 AM EST (#265894) #
Apparently, differences between Hargrove and Ichiro led to Hargrove's graceful departure from the Mariners club in 2007.  Hargrove had previously said in the 90s that Ichiro would be no better than a 4th outfielder in MLB. His record, in the context of the teams that he had, was pretty good.  You would want to know a little more about the disagreement with Ichiro, but he surely would be a large step up from Tracy or Riggleman. 

For those who didn't see him as a player, he was a very disciplined hitter with (of course) all those irritating behaviours in and around the batter's box that earned him his nickname.  
DiscoDave - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 10:06 AM EST (#265895) #
If Cooper could end up like Hargrove the player, I think we'd all be pretty happy with the result.
joeblow - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 10:11 AM EST (#265896) #
There is an interesting Hargrove interview on youtube where he discusses Manny Acta and Sandy Alomar. It sounded like he was high on Sandy but would have been interested in returning to Cleveland if Sandy did not get the job. This was all before Tito was hired. Cleveland may have been the only place he would consider returning to.
Jevant - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 11:49 AM EST (#265902) #

I would never fault any team for acquiring a number 1 starter, if the only impediment is injured players and young studs.

That's a bit of a vacuum, obviously, but "number 1"'s don't grow on trees, and if you have them, you keep them.

hypobole - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:10 PM EST (#265904) #
per AA: "But as I've said many times before: if you hear a rumour about us, it's almost always not true."

per Danny Knobler "they haven't spoken to Jim Fregosi, Jim Riggleman or Bobby Valentine."

So according to rumour, Jays haven't spoken to Valentine, but as AA says...
Chuck - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:27 PM EST (#265905) #
If Cooper could end up like Hargrove the player, I think we'd all be pretty happy with the result.

I'd say the likelihood of that happening would be awfully low for reasons of age and hitting profile. Hargrove was an established major league hitter at age 24 whereas Cooper will be turning 26 next season and is a presumed plan B to get major league at-bats. And while Cooper would almost certainly outslug Hargrove, Hargrove's batting eye lead to a lofty career 396 OBP. David Cooper walked just 4 times in 145 PAs in 2012 suggesting a low OBP ceiling.
China fan - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:44 PM EST (#265906) #
"....David Cooper walked just 4 times in 145 PAs in 2012 suggesting a low OBP ceiling...."

For what it's worth, his OBP at Las Vegas was .395 last season and .439 in 2011, and he collected more walks than strikeouts in both seasons. Yes, it was Las Vegas, so you could perhaps discount some of the hits, but not the walks. And it was a much bigger sample-size than the 145 PAs in the majors last season. I'm not, of course, suggesting that he'll have a career like Hargrove, but I do think he has a chance to become a high-OBP player in the majors.
hypobole - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:53 PM EST (#265907) #
"so you could perhaps discount some of the hits, but not the walks"

You can discount some of the walks, not necessarily because of Vegas, but because it's a minor league. The pitchers simply don't have the command or control MLB pitchers have.
China fan - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:55 PM EST (#265908) #
Of course. I wasn't suggesting that he will duplicate his minor-league numbers in the majors. Most players don't do that.

I was just suggesting that he had an above-average OBP in the minors, and he could produce an above-average OBP in the majors.
China fan - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 03:06 PM EST (#265912) #
In big news now: Selig has given his approval to the Marlins trade.
Noah - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 03:11 PM EST (#265913) #
A bit surprised it was Carreno DFA'd rather than someone like McCoy who's out of options and is now clearly behind Izturis and Benifacio.
vw_fan17 - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 04:01 PM EST (#265914) #
A bit surprised it was Carreno DFA'd rather than someone like McCoy who's out of options and is now clearly behind Izturis and Benifacio.

Alex already signed his "middle reliever du jour" in Korrecky to a minor league deal earlier, so he's ok with letting Carreno go.. :-)

Anyone else thinking that signing/trading/releasing/DFAing middle relievers has become AAs equivalent of a nervous twitch?
John Northey - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 04:35 PM EST (#265916) #

It seems to me that AA makes a list of relievers throughout the majors and anytime one who he feels is better than another one on the 40 man is avaialble he feels a need to grab him.  Then, once another slightly better one is out there bye bye to the last one and welcome to the new guy.

A bit surprised it was Joel Carreno who was let go though as he is fairly young (entering age 26 season) and has been around awhile.  He has good K/9 figures for a 13th reliever slot.  Still, not much need when you have 22 pitchers on your 40 man roster.

Sheesh - 22 pitchers, 4 catchers, 7 infielders (3 limited to 1B/DH), 6 outfielders and a DH.  Might explain holding onto McCoy for now as that infield is seriously shorthanded.  Just 4 guys to cover 3 positions (2B/SS/3B) - namely Brett Lawrie, Jose Reyes, Maicer Izturis and Mike McCoy.However, Emilio Bonifacio is listed in the outfield so it isn't quite as tight as it seems.  Thus McCoy is the backup if anyone gets hurt (Bonifacio would then be everyday).  Ick.  Prefer if McCoy is the 2nd or 3rd guy called up instead.

I think Lind or Cooper (or both) have to be cleared out soon.  Neither is likely to produce a 120+ OPS+ in 2013 and for DH/1B (outside of Encarnacion) we really need that level of production.  Also one of the 4 catchers.  Sadly I doubt any combo without d'Arnaud would get much of anything, and even with him would still be short of real value.

grjas - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 09:35 PM EST (#265927) #
It seems to me that AA makes a list of relievers throughout the majors and anytime one who he feels is better than another one on the 40 man is avaialble he feels a need to grab him.

Hard to fathom how AA could have picked up so many relievers without another clear swing guy..other than happ i guess. Would certainly reduce the heat to find another pitcher if he had one.

Anyway, hard to be too critical of the guy right now. Win or lose, he's got guts. Nice change from the last two.
Matthew E - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 09:37 PM EST (#265928) #
Nice change from the last two.

You don't think Ash and Ricciardi had guts? They had flaws, to be sure, but I never thought a lack of guts was one of them. For either guy.
grjas - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 10:02 PM EST (#265929) #
You don't think Ash and Ricciardi had guts.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 20 2012 @ 04:53 PM EST (#266017) #
Ash, after the flop of the Cone trade, became scared of prospects. He'd only trade ML players for ML players and undervalued his minor leaguers. This led to the Clemens for Wells/etc. trade and the Wells for Sirotka trade. Not to mention the trade for 'he who shall not be mentioned' involving Michael Young.

Ricciardi was too careful in his drafting early on, going for college only. Seemed a good idea at the time, but really wasn't since you want the highest potential in the draft, not the most likely to be a ML'er.

There are times for each GM when they will be pressured one way or the other. How they respond to it, what they do with it will determine their future. JPR I don't see as ever really chickening out, more just making a poor choice. Ash though I feel lost confidence and thus didn't do what was needed for the Jays to win long term instead being completely focused on the short term after 1 1/2 seasons of rebuilding.
grjas - Tuesday, November 20 2012 @ 08:56 PM EST (#266031) #
Well said John. Always felt Ash was out of his element, and bitten once too often. Agree JPR wasn't a "chicken" but his "low upside" drafting strategy and his lack of bold moves in the market was rather pedestrian for a guy with the ego of a riverboat gambler.

Can't say the same about AA these days, well at least when it comes to players...
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