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The Jays have completed their trade with the Mets. The Jays acquire RA Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas in exchange for Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck and Wuilmer Becerra. My contention is that AA lost his Ninja status with this trade.

AA earned his Ninja status by operating under the radar, by acquiring players that were undervalued, and by trading for players that some of his competitors did not know were available.

This trade was not under the radar, Dickey was not undervalued and everyone knew he was available.

Once the Marlins trade was done the Jays had substantially re-loaded and were ready to go for it. They had a strong team with a few areas of concern. They needed pitching depth, they could strengthen the DH spot and they could strengthen the catching spot. Among the regulars JP Arencibia was adequate but not a strength. The Jays had options. One of the options not on the table was to sign a significant free agent pitcher. AA said today his budget was at its limit, that is why Buck had to be in the deal to offset Dickey's salary.

They could sign starting depth to either compete with JA Happ or to stash in Buffalo until needed. The Jays just needed backup until mid-season. Reinforcements will arrive then through Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison. They could leave d'Arnaud in Buffalo for a few months and he then could help either at catcher or as a DH. The other option was to pursue a trade for a starter. This is the route AA chose. As a side note I should point out that this trade implies that AA was not satisfied to start 2013 with Happ in the rotation. This is the Happ that AA traded several prospects for at the deadline in July. This lack of confidence in Happ makes that July trade non-Ninja too.

So AA wanted another starter via a trade. He set Dickey as his target and he set a value on Dickey. On the Fan this afternoon AA called Dickey a #1 starter and compared Dickey to Halladay and Sabbathia. Once you have convinced yourself that Dickey is a #1 starter, you will be willing to pay a #1 starter price.

On the Fan AA described how he approached the Mets about Dickey back in November but it was only after the December meetings that the Mets made him available. The Jays put Travis d'Arnaud on the table but the Mets didn't bite. In this case you can sit tight and take your chances or you can double down. A Ninja would sit tight and wait for the market to come to him. There were no rumours that any other deal was imminent. The Jays had catching, a premium position, and had the top catching prospect in the minor leagues, a very rare and valuable commodity. There were many stories in the media that the Mets and Jays were best set to do a deal.

The Mets waited and waited and AA blinked. He put Syndergaard into the deal and then Becerra. Who was he bidding against? Was it himself? Does a Ninja bid against himself? Does a Ninja have such a desire for his precious that he blinks? I think AA did.

This trade was all over the media from last week, a non Ninja move. AA overpaid, there is much agreement on this point although many say the overpayment was justified given the Jays position. Is it Ninja to overpay to get to the playoffs or does a Ninja play for the long haul?

To be clear I am not saying that AA's deal is indefensible. It can be considered a good deal under certain conditions, but those conditions are not Ninja conditions. I say that this deal has cost AA his Ninja status.

Let me finish by quoting from Buster Olney's column today:

"I can't believe [Anthopoulos is] thinking about doing this," one AL official said Saturday, before the Jays and Mets finished the structure of the deal. "He's out of his mind," said another.

Does that sound like a Ninja to you?

p.s. The system ate the first, more eloquent and less rushed version of this. I hope my message carries through this version.

AA Loses Ninja Status | 264 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
grjas - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 10:36 PM EST (#267098) #
Some times you need Ninjas. Some times Marines. Don't think he lost the status; he simply adjusted his techique for the need.
rotorose - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 10:49 PM EST (#267099) #
Better to be the shogun than the ninja. Here's a quote from Joe Sheehan, in Sports Illustrated on August 15, 2011, in an article on the Jays subtitled "There's a new beast of the AL East on the way - not this year, but in the not too distant future"
The story ends  with the following: "Anthopoulos is moving rapidly up the lists of the best GM's in the game, the architect of baseball's next IT franchise".

PeteMoss - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 10:55 PM EST (#267102) #
The door is open in the AL East right now. You can try to win every trade and potentially miss out on getting Dickey or you can bit the bullet and go for it. The Jays haven't been really relevant in ages... you bite the bullet and go for it.

Being called a ninja may be cool... but actually winning something is more important.
jerjapan - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:00 PM EST (#267103) #
Interesting read Gerry, but let's not panic here. 

I would argue that Dickey IS an undervalued asset which is why we could get him at 3 years, 30 million.  The unpredictability of his career - late bloomer when he perfects the knuckleball - means that he's hard to project.  People are reluctant to anoint him a number one starter - despite three straight excellent seasons, including this years Cy Young - precisely because of this unconventionality.  AA's fearlessness to go against the grain makes him a ninja in my books.   

Clearly, AA is rolling the dice by going against the prevailing wisdom of the day and trading two top prospects for a 38 year old pitcher - but he's been ahead of the curve for a while now, and I trust him to remain there.  People were decrying the Bautista extension as well. 

The media leaks pretty clearly seem to be from the NY end ... hard to fault AA for those, and a leak is only problematic if it affects the price paid ... have these leak negatively affected the deal from our end?

Becerra seems a minimal loss - touted IFA signing who missed the year after getting beaned.  We've seen AA cut bait fast on prospects that he's soured on - Comer, for example - and consensus seems to be that he's a faded prospect.  I can't feel too much of a loss here. 

Happ hasn't been given a vote of non-confidence - he's been replaced by a better pitcher, meaning we have a real swingman (no more Brett Cecil / Aaron Laffey starts) and more options for the pen from the left with the uncertainty around Oliver, Cecil, Perez, etc. 

I would also strongly disagree that Drabeck and Hutchison will be reinforcements for a contender by mid season.  If they pitch in the bigs this year, it will be strictly based on merit - neither of them has forced their way onto a talented staff thus far. 

Finally, I would consider the unnamed AL 'officials' - whatever that means - to be pretty irrelevant sources.  Could be anybody. 

earlweaverfan - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:11 PM EST (#267106) #
I was feeling the overpayment, for sure, and had been hoping that he could somehow land Ike Davis out of this.  However, given what it will cost to attract and retain a front of the rotation pitcher in the coming market, and given that he picked up a Cy Young for three years at $30MM, and then got an additional year of option at $12MM, I still see a surprising gain in this deal.

I am particularly keen to see what will happen when he tries to sit down with Johnson and get him extended.  If he can pull that off without paying the moon (while also bringing Rogers to the table for yet another major big swallow) then I would say he could still hang on to the Ninja status for a little while  longer.

The other aspect of this is AA's ability to find the arbitrage opportunities in the market, make the most of them, and then move on to the next one, without being emotionally trapped into hanging on to the last big idea.  He built up a great farm system when young prospects became a potentially-overvalued asset, but then was ready to cash in on that market imperfection the moment when the time was right.

Anyway, I still remember what it was like when JPR would duck and bob and weave around this time of year, and I was dying for a GM with courage.  Now we have one, indeed, we have a GM who is willing to play for keeps, and keep on making improvements throughout the year. 

I don't feel I can reasonably complain.

John Northey - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:11 PM EST (#267107) #
I think we'll see how ninja when the chips land this year.  If d'Arnaud ends up slowing down or having to move from behind the plate then I'd say a bit of ninja status comes back as d'Arnaud is not anywhere near as valuable as a 1B as he is behind the plate.

Lets do a check on d'Arnaud's numbers when a MLE is applied (via
2012: Real: 333/380/595 (AAA)  MLE: 267/307/457
2011: Real: 311/371/542 (AA)  MLE: 264/310/434
2010: Real: 259/315/411 (A+)  MLE: 194/239/296

Solid numbers for a catcher - makes me think of Ernie Whitt (249/324/410 lifetime) or JPA with more average (222/275/433).  Those MLE's are adjusted for both park and league from what I can tell btw.  So if d'Arnaud improves he would be an excellent hitter for a catcher, if he regresses he'll be JPA, if he stays as is he is Ernie Whitt (99 OPS+ lifetime btw).  Of note: Whitt didn't hit for a 99 or better OPS+ until age 30 and didn't play regularly until age 28.  I doubt d'Arnaud will wait that long, but Whitt did break in at age 24 and didn't stick till years later despite going to an expansion team at age 25.  The few projection systems that are free that I could find pretty much say the same thing, d'Arnaud will out hit JPA slightly due to higher OBP and Avg but a lower Slg thus more valuable with the bat but not significantly so.

If that is where d'Arnaud ends up he'll be solid, like JPA, but not spectacular unless his defense is at a high level.  If he moves to 1B though he becomes Adam Lind unless the offense jumps significantly.

Richard S.S. - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:19 PM EST (#267109) #
Listen to PTS on Fan 590 (accessible for listening on the website) and A.A.'s interview. Also check MLB Trade Rumors for the same. The R.A. Dickey deal was done, except for exchange of paperwork and medical s, by Thursday night. Nothing leaked until Friday, and it all came from NY. A.A. solidifies his Ninja Stance. No one saw this coming, just the aftermath.

A.A. acquires Dickey and his personal catcher Thole and Thole's personal backup for Dickey in Nickeas. That was smooth operations. He loses d'Arnaud and Syndergaard, but that's the price of doing business. In trading John Buck, he gets them to absorb his entire salary. That is smooth. Moving Becerra also solves a RK / RK+ backlog in OF types.

When Baseball People say Dickey will want $15 - $17 MM a year over two years, A.A. get Dickey for $12 MM a year for three years. That's special.

A.A. is not only GM Of The Year, he's Ninja Unleashed.
Squiggy - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:23 PM EST (#267110) #
I disagree. In fact, the ninja status remains intact. In the age of interwebs, scouting reports and advanced metrics are available to all of us. As a result we have all fallen so in love with the notion of keeping and hoarding prospects and dreaming of the awesomeness that will be the 2015 rotation. So it is in fact ninja-esque to say dammit i am going for it, trading some prospects for proven commodities - 90's style! Many teams are dramatically overvaluing cost certainty without needing to (i.e. the rich teams). So the pendulum has to eventually swing back to some riskier behaviors, and I would rather my GM be an early adopter. Do what nobody else is doing and once in a while you will hit big. And that is what it is time for.

We have forgotten how fragile prospects are and how very, very many of them do not pan out, and instead people act as if it is a given that these guys will not only reach the majors, but be productive. Dickey is productive now. Syndergaard is what, 19? He might be awesome someday, but we won't likely see him in MLB for 800 days or so. I don't even see this as an overpayment. You don't get Cy Young winners for a bunch of shmoes and Alderson is no slouch as a talent evaluator either.

One more thing: It's been 20 years! It's time. There was a legit core on the MLB team when the season ended. AA has maximized the chances of wringing a playoff appearance or three out of that core. And even after all this, the minor-league cupboard is far from bare. I say that is not only ninja, but ninja-Xtreme.
uglyone - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:36 PM EST (#267111) #
NinjAA has put together one of the best rosters in baseball, with an affordable payroll, almost all signed through the next 4-5 years, and has kept a solid average farm system intact at the same time.

NinjAA is NinjAA
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 17 2012 @ 11:40 PM EST (#267113) #
This site eats the written word, it not our systems as I've lost hours of posting on this site - the words just vanish.

Too many people oppose A.A.'s trades, even though he gets huge value for each trade. Why, because sometimes the dominos just fall. This offseason started with A.A. going hard after two free agents and a couple of trade options. He just happened to ask about Josh Johnson first, and like dominos falling, the rest is history.

Don't evaluate prospects as how they relate to other prospects. From now on, evaluate them as to their value in trades. More practical with less heartache. Signing Free Agents only works if they want to come to your Team. Sanchez turned down more money from another team. I think A.A. might have made that offer first, before the Johnson inquiry, but I have no proof.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:01 AM EST (#267114) #
Something of significant value is the money saved by getting Dickey over any other pitcher.  The Jays are committed to $30 million over 3 years with a 4th year option at $11 million more ($12 mil for the year or $1 mil buyout factored into the $30 mentioned earlier via Cot's).  That means Dickey will make LESS than Romero, Morrow, Buerle, and  Johnson in 2013, in fact what Johnson gets in 2013 is more than Dickey will get in any single year of his deal covering the next 4 years (potentially)! 

Look at deals signed this winter - $80 mil for 5 years for Anibal Sanchez for crying out loud - a guy who cracked 120 just once in his career for ERA+ and that was back in 2006.  Think about that - a guy who has never had a Cy Young vote, or really come close to one, gets $80 mil over 5 years while the Jays pay the NL Cy winner $30 over 3 or $41 over 4.  I think if the Jays want to keep Dickey for year 5 it'll cost less than $39 million.  Which is the better deal?  Yes, Sanchez didn't cost prospects but geez what a difference.  Boston is almost paying as much for 2 years of Dempster as the Jays will for 3 of Dickey ($26.5). 

I am shocked that AA got such a nice deal out of Dickey for the extension.  I was certain he'd be paying $15+ mil a year for 2 more guaranteed at least.  Plus he got the Mets to eat Buck's $6 mil salary (another guy making more than Dickey). 

Basically what happened is he traded 3 prospects (2 great ones) to get a Cy Young winner at 1/2 market price or less.  $10+ mil a year over the next 3 years is a lot of money to pocket, $5-6 mil if he signed a basic free agent starter (such as Sanchez) who might have needed more years. 

Now the big challenge is to upgrade one or more of CF/2B/DH as those are the weakest links now with DH the most obvious one.  CF the least likely to change I suspect, DH the most likely.  Plus, of course, he'll have to sign another reliever or AAA starter in the next few days just to get back to feeling normal :)

Mylegacy - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:22 AM EST (#267117) #
The Ninja had a plan - a few trade targets and a few modest free agents. He snapped up Izturis and was eying a repentant Melky when an opportunity arose in the Miami Heat. Stealthily he stocked his Johnson soon realizing he could expand his targets and capture a school of Marlin. He struck. He struck again and signed Melky. Success.

Then reality. He realized he was close, so close - but yet so far. To truly seriously contend he needed one more precious, one more shiny bit of undervalued assets - and he turned his gaze to a Dickey. His new target. The rest is history.

The Ninja said today on Sportsnet that the bank was now truly empty. Every last dollar he can get - he's got. Wuilmer Becerra was probably the non cash payment AA had to make to get rid of Buck's 6 million dollar contract. Wuilmer was the rabbit the Ninja pulled out of his hat to avoid going over budget on the Dickey Drama.

Once a Ninja always a Ninja. Back in Iga Province in the village of Koga our little Ninja can now enjoy a few hot sake with his clan. After all his spending he could not afford the good stuff - the sake you should drink chilled. Poor boy, if he ever gets to my part of the woods I must introduce him to Scotch - single malt of course. I think he deserves a double.

Maybe if I leave the liquor cabinet unlocked tonight he'll find it by himself - after all he is The Ninja.

Thomas - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:32 AM EST (#267118) #
Given all these comments about AA's interview on the Fan, it's worth also noting what he said about paying $20 million a year to a starter, which was something to the effect of that the team can't afford to do that.

It doesn't look like Johnson is long for Toronto, given his agent's comments about wanting to be paid his market value.
Waveburner - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:46 AM EST (#267120) #

While I doubt I'll ever be talked into liking the trade I'm already past it and excited about the season.

As for the Happ trade I think a lot of people would have had different opinions on the trade at the time with more up to date scouting reports on Musgrove/Comer, who both lost velocity this season and the secondaries took steps backwards. To me the Happ trade is more a reflection of the poor performance of much of the 2011 draft class. Anthopoulos tried to salvage some value from those two before it was lost.

Also, should we all thank Farrell for rousing Anthopoulos up to go out and try to put together the best rotation in baseball? I mean all Farrell wanted was one more decent vet pitcher. A couple months after Farrell bolts the Jays have two new aces and proven 200 inning guy. What a turnaround. In Your Face, John! :)

Waveburner - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:48 AM EST (#267121) #
Are they not paying Buehrle pretty much $20 million after this season? Reyes same thing? Does not compute.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:58 AM EST (#267122) #
The future after 2013 is interesting for the rotation...
1) Dickey, Morrow, Romero all signed through 2015
2) Johnson a free agent after 2013
3) Buerle becomes very expensive in 2014/2015 ($18/$19 mil)
4) Various prospects and kids with some experience but who are hurt all start pounding on the door in 2014

So what does that all mean?  If Dickey/Morrow/Romero have strong 2013's then the Jays have a strong base for 2014/2015.  If Johnson has a good year he can be safely let go for a draft pick (make a qualifying offer of course).  Then the kids (Drabek, Hutchison, Jenkins, Stilson, Sean Nolin, Deck McGuire, Casey Lawrence, whoever else) will fight it out for that last slot with Happ.  If one of that gang gets a shot this year and does well then the Jays can look at trading Buerle and saving more cash to use elsewhere (or to handle raises to various players).  Given AA was able to dump Wells I never fear his ability to dump crazy salary on someone.  Not a bad situation at all I'd say.
hypobole - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:07 AM EST (#267123) #
Toronto was a contender before the Dickey trade, now they are the favorite to win the AL East. If AA was honest about being tapped out, and reports suggesting the Buck salary absorption by the Mets was evidence of that, where else could he have gotten as much bang for the few remaining bucks he had left?

As the elite FA pitchers get snapped up, teams needing said pitching who've been left out in the cold (Rangers and Angels off the top of my head) would have seen Dickey as an increasing palatable alternative, despite the Mets demands. Why wait to get into a bidding war with them? And if Texas would have relented and won the bidding, what would AA have been able to buy with the $5-10 million budget he'd still have left?

So even though this may not have been a "ninja" move a la the Rasmus deal (BTW how has that turned out?), it was a sound business decision.

My final thought is a confession - I've actually come to hate the ninja term being applied to AA.

Michael - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:36 AM EST (#267124) #
I don't love the deal because of the cost, but like others I'm very excited for 2013 and like the off season where the Jays became major players (and not for signing a lefty closer to a big $47M 5 year contract!).

My wish casting is if we don't resign JJ, maybe doc wants to win a WS in Toronto, as we might be a better location than Philadelphia. He was terrible last year, but I'd expect a rebound.
China fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 02:49 AM EST (#267125) #
"...This trade was not under the radar....."

Actually it was. The trade was completed on Thursday, and the two sides signed their agreement on Thursday. The leaks didn't begin until Friday. So the leaks had no impact on the trade, and AA kept it under the radar until it was done.

"....Dickey was not undervalued...."

In terms of dollars, he certainly was undervalued. And that's a crucial part of the trade business these days. If AA had tried to acquire a top pitcher on the free agent market, it would have cost several times more. Only by trading was he able to acquire 3 top pitchers -- 60 per cent of a great rotation.

"....this trade implies that AA was not satisfied to start 2013 with Happ in the rotation.... This lack of confidence in Happ makes that July trade non-Ninja too...."

The Dickey trade implies that Dickey is a much better pitcher than Happ or Romero, but it doesn't imply that Anthopoulos has a lack of confidence in Happ. He saw a chance to make a major upgrade in his rotation, and he took it, knowing that 2013 is a great opportunity for the Jays to contend. And in my view, it actually implies a lack of confidence in Ricky Romero. The Jays can't possibly be confident in Romero's likelihood of rebounding. Maybe he will rebound, but it's a big risk at this point. They really don't know why Romero nosedived so badly in 2012, and they don't know if the nosedive will continue in 2013. After spending so much (in money and prospects) to acquire top-calibre pitchers and hitters this off-season, the Jays can't afford to take a huge gamble on Romero. They have to have a back-up plan, in case Romero is still terrible (or in case of injuries to Morrow or others). Happ is the back-up plan, and it's a crucial job, and AA has confidence that Happ can perform that key role.

"....The Jays just needed backup until mid-season. Reinforcements will arrive then through Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison...."

I'm amazed at the optimism about Drabek and Hutchison. I've never seen any prediction that Drabek and Hutchison will be ready to step into the Jays rotation in mid-season. My understanding is that they'll be ready for a rehab stint in the minor leagues in mid-season. Hutchison had his TJ surgery in August, and reports at the time said he would be unable to play for 12 to 18 months. They will need several weeks in the minors, at least, before they can be considered for the major-league rotation. Even after their injury rehab, counting on them to step into the major-league rotation is amazingly optimistic -- keeping in mind that Drabek has never established himself as a major-league pitcher even when he is healthy, and Hutchison is just 22 years old, with only 11 major-league games under his belt.

Anthopoulos knew that there weren't any reinforcements that he could count on in 2013. Hutchison, Drabek, McGowan, Jenkins, McGuire, Nolin -- you can be optimistic about any of them, but hoping for them to contribute much to the Jays in 2013 is over-optimistic. AA knew that he had to acquire more pitching from outside the system if he wants the Jays to contend in 2013, and that's what he did.

I understand that the fans love the prospects, but it's still rather odd that people would rather wait for 2015 instead of trying to contend in 2013. After 19 years of waiting, where do people get their patience from?
TamRa - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 03:57 AM EST (#267128) #

LOVE that!

I was pushing "Ninja GM" on twitter last year when "The silent Asassin" (far too long and wordy for a good nickname IMO) was all the rage.

But yours is even better.

I've been convinced by the arguments made for seizing the moment even if d'Arnaud turns out to be a yearly all-star (I was never worried about dealing Syndergaard in this deal - I love him but obviously trading a guy who MIGHT be an ace 5 or more years hence for one who's an ace now is a no-brainer). I'm fully on board here.

Looking ahead, as i am wont to do, here's a look at the depth currently in the system, assuming health and such like (assumed 25 man roster pitchers on each list bolded, others are minor league depth as long as they have options) :

Opening Day 2013:


Nolin - would not really be ready
Stilson - ditto

Pen -

Rogers (out of options)
Jefress ( IS out of Options, included only for throughness)

by late in the year, you could suppose the possibility that Hutch,Drabek, and Perez might be options to one degree or another

Also, one might project Stroman being available by August/September if used in relief

Opening Day 2014:

McGuire (?)

Barnes (ready?)

OD 2015:

Sanchez (not ready?)
Osuna (not ready)


Not ready to quibble the details, the point is that the guys we once counted on (Drabek et al) are now the guys who are the reserves to be called upon in emergency (until they run out of options) and that's better than having to use a Laffey type (not to disrespect what Laffey did in 2012)

Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 05:56 AM EST (#267130) #
I agree Gerry. I understand the need to trade prospects for MLB talent at times, but the payment here is not worth the return. The Jays gave up a major league catcher, a near major league catcher and a top arm (d'Arnaud and Syndergaard are both top 100 prospects). It just seems the return could be greater especially with rumors that the Mariners may be looking to move Felix Hernandez.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 07:54 AM EST (#267131) #
Everything I've read said the Mariners wouldn't trade Felix or even listen to offers.  Also of note: Felix is signed for just 2 more years at $19.5 + $20 mil.  So $39.5 mil for 2 years of Felix or $30 for 3 years of Dickey with an option for a 4th year at another $11 mil ($12 mil minus the $1 mil buyout that wouldn't happen).  Hernandez will probably want $25-$30 mil a year for 7 years from anyone who signs him.

Now, I've advocated going for Felix for years (and still do) but Dickey was a bargain compared to him.  Hernandez would cost at least as much in prospects plus far more cash.  If the Jays are hitting the budget limits (for now) then signing Hernandez would've been outside that limit.

Magpie - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:11 AM EST (#267132) #
Dickey was not undervalued

I'm not exactly sure what that means. Here's what I'm sure of = he's been better than Grienke for the last three years and he's going to make half as much money.
jerjapan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:15 AM EST (#267133) #
Rogers is out of options?  That makes three arms for the 2013 pen out of options in Cecil, Jefress and Rogers.  Seems likely to assume that we won't be adding any more arms to the pen, AA is more likely to try and extract value from these guys on the bubble. 

Does Lincoln have options left? 

Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:47 AM EST (#267134) #

I agree John that the Dickey deal is a bargain compared to say a Felix Hernandez.  I had heard on the MLB network that the Mariners may be kicking the tires to move him for fear that he won't resign with them (probably a valid fear).  I also agree they Jays most likely wouldn't resign Hernandez either, but two years of Hernandez (granted for more money) or three years of Dickey.  If I'm going all in, I'm kicking the tires on Hernandez, but that is just my opinion.

I guess I'm just wondering if the value was maximized for the prospects that were given up.  I think AA could have sold those guys higher.

Moe - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:47 AM EST (#267135) #
If the price for a 38 year old #1 with one year of control is 2 top prospects and one wild card, what is the price for a young ace with 2 years of control? This is a lot more than what AA did not want to pay last off season for Latos et al. I would say AA not pulling the trigger last year was as much of mistake as bidding against himself this year.

Does it not concern you that the Mets (who know RAD better than anyone else) would not give him a two year extension at what many call a cheap rate?

I have to think that this is an over payment and I don't like it. I have to believe that part of the reason why they had to throw in this much is that the Jays unloaded Buck's contract. Instead of paying some of it, they gave away more talent. Iirc, the Marlins pay part of Buck's salary to the Jays and now they Jays get to keep it. So in two trades in a row, the Jays gave up a little something extra for salary relief.

As for RAD, I expect him to regress a fair bit in the AL East, give up a bunch HR and only be valuable as an innings eater. That would mean he is worth his salary, but not the prospects.
Moe - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:56 AM EST (#267137) #
"I guess I'm just wondering if the value was maximized for the prospects that were given up. I think AA could have sold those guys higher."

This is pretty much my thinking. I believe RAD will be worth his contract but considering that the Jays gave up their No 1 and No 2/3 guy and wild card, you have to think that with some more but maybe not too much more someone else (Hernandez) might have been an option.

However, my guess is the Jays are maxed out on salary and that's why they couldn't do that and that's why they overpaid to also unload Buck's full salary.

Gerry - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:58 AM EST (#267139) #

There have been reports that the trade was done on Thursday and even AA has said that.  But something doesn't add up.

If you believe the trade was done on Thursday, then it appears that ereryone involved decided to take two days off to relax before the Jays discussed extension with Dickey on Sunday and did his physical on Monday.

If you believe the trade was done on Thursday can you explain what was happening on Friday and Saturday?

John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:14 AM EST (#267140) #
Good question on the value of those prospects, but I'm thinking about long term what prospects did it take to get top quality.  Back in '89 the Expos gave up Randy Johnson and 2 others (one of whom won 15 games the following season iirc) for a #1 guy in Mark Langston.  In 1992 the Jays gave up Jeff Kent to get David Cone, and in 1994/5 offseason they gave up 3 minor leaguers for Cone again (after his Cy season) including Chris Stynes [not in BA's top 100] who would be the best of the 3 given up (the other 2 never reached the majors - David Sinnes, Tony Medrano - again not in BA's top 100) then proceeded to trade Cone away again for the Yankees top prospect at the time in Marty Janzen (at least perceived to be, he wasn't on BA's top 100 though) - sadly Ash hadn't heard of Mariano Rivera (still a starter then and also not on the top 100).  Sigh, what could've been.

The Expos a few years later traded Cy winner Pedro Martinez and got what seemed to be a prospect haul at the time in Carl Pavano (#9 prospect via BA) and Tony Armas (not a top 100 at the time but peaked at #40 2 years later), but that didn't work out.  Roger Clemens brought in Homer Bush (not a top 100), Graeme Lloyd and David Wells and for a year Wells actually did better than the Rocket and Bush hit 300 but that more more a blind squirrel finding  a few nuts. 

The Jays 1994/5 winter package for Cone is surprisingly weak, and I recall at the time not thinking it was much to give up.  Sadly Ash could've hit a home run in '95 but was fixated on the wrong NY Yankee prospect (I remember it being Janzen or no trade).  Pedro got a package like what the Jays gave up in 2 top prospects (Armas was viewed very highly at the time even though he wasn't a top 100 to BA) while Clemens, the most comparable in age, got a replacement 20 game winner type, a reliever, and a 2B prospect.  So looking back, as far as BA is concerned the Jays overpaid.  But also remember that the key guy in each trade failed outside of David Wells (2 very good years here before being traded for a bag of magic beans named Mike Sirotka).
China fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:26 AM EST (#267142) #
"....If you believe the trade was done on Thursday can you explain what was happening on Friday and Saturday?...."

I'm just guessing, but maybe Dickey wasn't available until Sunday? It's been a common issue for the off-season acquisitions. These guys are often on vacation, or on fishing trips, or whatever. They're not necessarily available at a moment's notice. (One of the former Marlins was in Dubai when he was traded to the Jays, if I recall rightly.) And the Jays needed more than 5 minutes of Dickey's time. It was a full-court press by Anthopoulos, Gibbons and the director of pro scouting. They all flew down to Nashville on Sunday for long meetings with Dickey and his agent. They had to persuade him that the trade was a good idea. They probably had to explain the Jays vision for the future. They certainly had to conduct lengthy negotiations with Dickey and his agent. And then they had to fly Dickey to Florida for his physical on Monday morning. Basically it was a 48-hour commitment by Anthopoulos, Gibbons, the pro scouting director, Dickey, and Dickey's agent. Not easy to gather all of those people at a moment's notice. That's my guess, anyway.
Hodgie - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:29 AM EST (#267143) #
For those worried that the prospects given up in the Dickey deal should have netted more, here is a quick thought or two by Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs. While I am sad to see d'Arnaud and Syndergaard go, I have a hard time believing this was an overpay rather than just the cost of doing business. As noted by several people, it is not that the Mets didn't want Dickey back, but given their window of contention is further away at the moment, they prudently decided to cash in on what was a successful reclamation project.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:01 AM EST (#267145) #
It certainly wasn't a typical AA ninja deal, but maybe we can blame that on Ricciardi blabbing to the media.

In any case, I think it's a fair deal.  We get one of the best pitchers in baseball, under a very cheap contract, for the next three years.  It cost a couple of our top prospects.  That seems like a typical deal.

The Jays are really going for it.  Sitting back and "letting the market come to him" is not necessarily the best strategy now.  Can't be a little bit pregnant.  The Marlins trade flipped the switch.

Mike Green - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:15 AM EST (#267146) #
Sullivan's article isn't very thoughtful, Hodgie.  Halladay, 2009 and Dickey, 2012 are both "aces", but their reasonable projections going forward bore no resemblance.  Halladay was 32 years old, coming off 4 seasons with ERA+ of 143, 121, 152 and 159, with more than 220 innings pitched each seasons.  He was the best pitcher in baseball at the time.  Dickey is nothing like that.  Halladay gave the Phils two great years (220 IP per season and ERA+ over 160) and one poor one; that was a reasonable expectation for him at the time.  Dickey's reasonable expectation is nothing like that.  The other thing is that the Phillies did not give up a major league ready player at all.  Drabek was the closest to the majors, and had spent 1/2 a season in double A with fair results and was shipped back to double A in 2010.  The Phillies had absolutely no risk of being a poorer club in 2010 because of the trade. 

That is not remotely close to true for the Blue Jays in 2012; if JPA or Dickey sustains an injury and d'Arnaud is healthy, it's likely that the trade will end up hurting.  Treating d'Arnaud 2012 as being equivalent to Drabek, 2009 is a mistake.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:17 AM EST (#267147) #
Ack.  I meant 2013. 
Beyonder - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:33 AM EST (#267153) #
I like that analysis Mike, but isn't the confounding variable Dickey's cut-rate salary? Halladay immediately signed with Philly for what was then top fo the market price (3 yrs, 60 million). Dickey is signed for half that, and he gave the Jays a team option in 2016!

To me, the best thing that happened to to Mets this off season was when Dickey floated his own salary demands to the media. It was only when teams realized he could be re-signed for so very little that interest really picked up. If Dickey had been insisting on his true market value, I don't think this deal happens.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:35 AM EST (#267155) #
The Roy trade is only a bad comparison simply because we all know AA never got good value for him in that trade. Roy was worth more than that package.

Of course, looking back, if he had got the deserved package, with Dominic Brown included in that still wouldn't have made a difference, because Brown looks like a bust.

Which tells us even more about the actual value of prospects in trades.
Matthew E - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:45 AM EST (#267157) #
The Roy trade is only a bad comparison simply because we all know AA never got good value for him in that trade. Roy was worth more than that package.

Oh, I don't know. The Jays have on their roster now, as a result of that trade, Kyle Drabek, R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Anthony Gose. I think it's a little more likely than not that those guys are going to contribute more to the Jays this year than Halladay will to the Phillies.
adrianveidt - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:48 AM EST (#267158) #
AA may or may not have been a "ninja" gm, but since he hadn't built a playoff team, who cares?
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:50 AM EST (#267160) #
So true uglyone.  d'Arnaud is the #11 prospect in MLB right now based on's rankings.  How has the #11 done from Baseball America (a more respected list...they haven't released the latest top 100 I think).
2012: Manny  Machado ss, Orioles
2011: Jameson Taillon, rhp, Pirates
2010: Dustin Ackley, of/1b/2b, Mariners
2009: Trevor Cahill, rhp, Athletics
2008: Travis Snider of, Blue Jays
2007: Tim Lincecum, rhp, Giants
2006: Prince Fielder, 1b, Brewers
2005: Lastings Milledge, of, Mets
2004: Andy Marte 3b, Braves
2003: Scott Kazmir, lhp, Mets
2002: Austin Kearns, of, Reds

A lot of greats there, a few who had a couple of very good seasons then collapsed, Snider, some too soon to know.  Gives you an idea of what quality d'Arnaud could be.

China fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:10 AM EST (#267163) #
"...if JPA or Dickey sustains an injury and d'Arnaud is healthy, it's likely that the trade will end up hurting...."

Is the cherry-picking of injury scenarios the new version of arbitrary end points? You can always find a negative scenario for any trade if one side is injured and the other is not. How about this scenario: the trade with the Marlins will end up hurting the Jays if there are injuries to Johnson, Reyes, Buehrle and Bonifacio, while Hechavarria and Alvarez are healthy?
jerjapan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:14 AM EST (#267165) #
"AA may or may not have been a "ninja" gm, but since he hadn't built a playoff team, who cares?"
So by this logic AA should have had a Jays team in the playoffs already?  How, exactly?  It seems to me that his timetable for contention has been nearly perfect - rebuild the farm, cash in your prospects for talent once the giants of the AL East take a step back, and make your move. 
Wildrose - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:15 AM EST (#267168) #
Quite a good study was done several years ago looking at the success rates of the Baseball America top 100 list from years 1990 - 2003.

Basically it found a players of TDA's caliber succeeded about 60% of the time.

Pitchers like Snygaard had a much higher failure rate in the 60-80% range.

Prospects are like lottery tickets, when your ticket comes in you can win big, they can also turn out to be like a useless scraps of paper.

Given the window of competition which seems to be opening in the A.L. East do you take a chance on the lottery or do you go with the much more sure thing of established players?



Mike Green - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:20 AM EST (#267169) #
Beyonder,  that is a fair point (as is Jonny German's point that Buck's salary is going the other way too).  It may be that the current financial side allows the Jays to upgrade significantly in other ways. We shall see.

As for the extension, it is of benefit and modestly diminishes the long-term negatives to the trade.  It should be said that it is a bit of an unknown because of the state of Dickey's arm and how hard he throws; the risk is probably greater than for other knuckleballers.  It's not exactly a Niekro/Wakefield/Hough situation. 

whiterasta80 - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:24 AM EST (#267170) #
Wildrose, I'd love to see a comparison of those percentages with the rate of success/failure of free agent signings.
Otherwise we aren't really comparing apples to apples. Yes D'Arnaud only has a 60% chance of succeeding, but what would that number be for a random free agent signing, or a proven player acquired in a trade?

I guess I'm saying that there is a Frank Thomas for every Paul Molitor. So we're not talking about 100% vs. 60%, but more like, say 75% vs. 60%.

I'd still make the deal mind you.
Wildrose - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:26 AM EST (#267171) #
By far the best commentary by anybody I've read so far is by Rany Jazerli over at Grantland on the Dickey trade.

The knuckleball is the victory of results over form, of statistics over scouting. The pitch is almost impossible to scout — scouts themselves will tell you that the only way they can tell the quality of a knuckleball is by how awkward the batters' swings are. The knuckleball thumbs its nose at everything a baseball organization is taught to value in pitchers — velocity, command, predictable movement. The only thing a knuckleball does is get results.

China fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:34 AM EST (#267172) #
Further to Gerry's question about what happened on Friday and Saturday after the trade was essentially completed: here's a quote from Anthopoulos in today's Star that appears to explain it.

“We had to call doctors and agents and exchange (medical) records. Things slowly started to leak out, once we had agreed to the trade."
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:41 AM EST (#267175) #
Wildrose, the study suggests that 60% of BA position player prospects ranked 1-20 succeed and 40% are "superior".  It does not break down by prospect developmental level at the time of ranking, and it actually appears that the rate is getting a little bit higher for success over time as methods improve.  BA weights heavily by upside, and sometimes the rankings are just bizarre (Drew Henson, Brandon Wood). 

Anyways, the 40% superior figure is probably about right for d'Arnaud and the 60% success rate is probably a little low.  It is likely not far off, though, in light of the injury records of catchers and d'Arnaud's injury history in particular.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:45 AM EST (#267176) #
Looking back, I'm not sure, but it seems to me that there were just as many jays fans upset we traded Marcum for Lawrie, as there are upset that we traded D'Arnaud and Syndergaard for Dickey.
Beyonder - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:46 AM EST (#267177) #
I doubt any upgrades requiring an increase in salary are in the cards until we get closer to the trade deadline. AA made it pretty clear that he has maxed out his budget. I think Dickey's low salary was a precondition to getting the deal done at all.

I think the sample size of knuckleballers in the last 40 years is so small that it is very difficult to make any useful predictions about injury risk. This is part of the problem with Dickey: he's pretty much sui generis.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:49 AM EST (#267178) #

Comparing the Halladay trade with any other trade is of no value, like comparing Pacific Salmon to NBA basketballs.   When Roy Halladay was being traded, A.A. had no choice in who to trade him to and was extremely lucky to get back what he did.   Doc wanted Philly, so any other offer was just noise.   Philly had a great Children's Hospital, played Spring training so close to Dunedin, the Halladays could still live in their Florida home then - and - they were a really very good Team.   A.A. took d'Arnaud, Drabek and a trade piece.  He wanted Happ - guess what.  He wanted Gose - bye-bye trade piece.  A.A. always gets what he really wants.

Brad Lincoln has an option left.

A.A. officially has no more money, but has Happ (2nd), Thole (super-two 1st), Rasmus (2nd) and Bonifacio (2nd) as Arby cases.  That could take $13.25 MM - $15.5 MM more to sign.   A.A. has said he's looking for another arm for the Bullpen (can't or doesn't want to wait for Oliver's decision) and is examining options for the 25th man opening (his way of saying someone to platoon with Lind) - plus more AAA and AA additions.   A.A.'s still fielding calls from Agents want him to sign their Clients.  If he publicly states he's out of money, most/some of those calls stop.   If you really believe A.A. has no more money, more fool you.

There are whispers out there, not enough to grasp but not just nothing.  Team(s) are interested in Rasmus.   Houston asked about Lind.  They are not totally without substance, but they're not quite there.   It's likes reading an article, then catching something of interest in a side-bar, then another side-bar and another until you say what the F., what am I doing here (MSN can be bad for that).   I like rumors with more substance.

A.A's still a Ninja, but now he's also a full-blown Wizard.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:59 AM EST (#267179) #
Give a roughly 60% shot at d'Arnaud being a success and 20% for Synd plus probably no better than a 5% for the 3rd prospect I'd say odds are the Mets get one ML player out of it and a bit of frustration from the other 2 before they disappear.  Of course, that doesn't factor in how long it will take for the one who works out to actually work out.  If he goes like, say, Rios did then it means 2 years of sub-standard then solid right when the price of solid starts to jump (arbitration). 

Interesting to see that hitters in the top 10 have a failure rate of 37.4%.  Ouch, more than 1 in 3 fail and to get one of those prospects costs an arm and a leg.  Pitchers are higher.  Catchers though are the 2nd most successful with 43% success, after first base (50-50 odds of success overall for top 100).  It'd be interesting to see the same study done on draft classes just to see how similar the results would be for the top 100 draft picks vs top 100 prospects - should be lower for draft picks as the top 100 prospects have already filtered out a lot of the quick flops and has players from multiple seasons mixed together.

uglyone - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:02 PM EST (#267180) #
"So true uglyone. d'Arnaud is the #11 prospect in MLB right now based on's rankings. How has the #11 done from Baseball America (a more respected list...they haven't released the latest top 100 I think).
2012: Manny Machado ss, Orioles
2011: Jameson Taillon, rhp, Pirates
2010: Dustin Ackley, of/1b/2b, Mariners
2009: Trevor Cahill, rhp, Athletics
2008: Travis Snider of, Blue Jays
2007: Tim Lincecum, rhp, Giants
2006: Prince Fielder, 1b, Brewers
2005: Lastings Milledge, of, Mets
2004: Andy Marte 3b, Braves
2003: Scott Kazmir, lhp, Mets
2002: Austin Kearns, of, Reds

A lot of greats there, a few who had a couple of very good seasons then collapsed, Snider, some too soon to know. Gives you an idea of what quality d'Arnaud could be."

For what it's worth, I don't think D'Arnaud's MILB track record measures up to most of the good ones on that list. And without checking I'd assume the good ones on that list made #11 at a younger age than Travis.

actually let me check....

D'Arnaud 23

Machado 18
Taillon 18
Ackley 21
Cahill 20
Snider 19
Lincecum 22 (1st year after being drafted)
Fielder 21 (ranked #10 at age 19)
Milledge 19
Marte 19
Kazmir 18
Kearns 21

yep, D'Arnaud's the oldest of the bunch. by a few years vs. most of them.

Chuck - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:09 PM EST (#267181) #

Dickey's personal story is now well known to baseball enthusiasts if less so to mainstream fans, or at least mainstream Blue Jays fans. For any bauxites interested in learning more about his back story, here is an interesting interview that I heard on NPR earlier this year. His sincerity and humility are sure to make him a fan favourite.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:11 PM EST (#267183) #
I could easily see AA trading Lind and Rasmus to get a solid DH/1B type and put Gose in CF.  Gose's defense is strong enough that he should provide at least as much value as Rasmus has averaged in his career, thus easy to see AA decide to trade Rasmus while his 'still young' appeal is there.  If someone offers anything for Lind I'd want to take it but after AA got some quality from the Angels for Wells (hehehe) I won't be shocked to see him sell that cow and get real magic beans again (lets just hope he doesn't dump those for a mule again).

Trying to think of sneaky moves that AA could pull off... could Houston be dumb enough to trade Jose Altuve ?  He is a 2B who is entering his age 23 season with a lifetime 96 OPS+ but hit for over a 1000 OPS in AA/A+ in 2011 before being called up.  Just thinking back to the Alomar trade Gillick pulled off - I remember thinking ahead of time how nice it'd be to have him and was super-excited when the Jays got him even at the price of my favorite player (Fernandez).  Altuve isn't Alomar, but he would be an upgrade at 2B I think and would allow the Jays bench to be extremely strong without jumping payroll.  Of course, Houston in rebuild mode shouldn't trade young players but they haven't exactly been run well lately anyways.  It would be funny if AA traded Lind there and got Brett Wallace back.

As to Rasmus... who knows who'd be after him?  Any contenders with a weak CF out there who might be interested in gambling on the kid with talent but few results?
Wildrose - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:14 PM EST (#267184) #
Wildrose, the study suggests that 60% of BA position player prospects ranked 1-20 succeed and 40% are "superior".  It does not break down by prospect developmental level at the time of ranking, and it actually appears that the rate is getting a little bit higher for success over time as methods improve.  BA weights heavily by upside, and sometimes the rankings are just bizarre (Drew Henson, Brandon Wood). 

It also doesn't mention when the player becomes " superior " or having a WAR over 2.5. Usually prospects take time to develop at the MLB level. I don't think that there is much doubt over the course of the next 6 years, the prospects in this trade will have accumulated  similar to more value than the established players coming back.

That is not the purpose of this trade. This trade is to go all in and win during the next 2-3 years. I'm confident that the Dickey/Thole combination will have more value over that  period than that of the prospects.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:44 PM EST (#267188) #
"I don't think that there is much doubt over the course of the next 6 years, the prospects in this trade will have accumulated similar to more value than the established players coming back."

I would be extraordinarily surprised if that were the case.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 12:54 PM EST (#267189) #
Actually, looking at the track record of top prospects it is not a guarantee at all that d'Arnaud & Syndergaard & Becerra will ever total more than a few WAR over their collective careers.  We all feel confident that d'Arnaud's floor is where JPA is now, but don't forget past 'can't miss' catchers Matt Stark, Guillermo Quiroz, Jeff Hearron, and Jeff DeWillis (defensive specialist).  Not to mention catchers who moved like Ed Sprague and Carlos Delgado.  Quiroz was the last great hope here, peaking at #35 on the top 100 list from BA.  282 PA later his career is still going but he turns 31 this year and I doubt his 42 OPS+ lifetime will draw major offers although his 846 OPS in AAA last year should get him a job in AAA again if he wants it.

Btw, Stark was a power hitter who torn apart spring training then got hurt out the gate, Hearron was called up in 1985 during the 99 win season to replace Buck Martinez when his leg was broken and DeWillis had a cannon of an arm but played the wrong position (should've been a pitcher with his 'hitting' ability).
Wildrose - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:08 PM EST (#267190) #
Well Ugly, I perhaps was being too kind , but remember value also includes financial aspects as well.

I do think chances are TDA becomes a reasonable catcher with a reasonable salary before his final arbitration year, although as with any prospect there is a substantial chance of failure.

As for Dickey , Fangraphs has a new article up about how knuckle ball pitchers under perform their WAR relative to FIP. Basically they turn Dips theory on to it's head because of the poor contact they induce. His value is much higher than others have quoted.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:12 PM EST (#267193) #
New info - seems AA traded Syndergaard just in time to avoid more bad headlines as he tweeted an anti-gay slur.  Bet the Jays are glad about the timing being post-trade and not pre-trade as the mess around Escobar's eye black was a big enough pain last year for them.  I think the Jays might be smart to have someone go around the minors and major league players and point out that saying stupid stuff (provide a list of examples) is a good way to drive your team nuts so please don't do it.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:19 PM EST (#267194) #

Just another example of information that AA is privy to that we are not (or at least usually are not). When it comes time to decide who to trade, he should have a better idea of who is Mike Trout and who is Milton Bradley from a makeup standpoint.

TamRa - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:29 PM EST (#267197) #
even though I've seen it for years and should expect it, I'm stunned at the level of negativity here. I loved the idea of d'Arnaud becoming an all-star for the Jays  It really seems to me that the prospect-love  has gone past romance and into stalker-territory.

One TINY example: Whether or not Dickey will suffer or thrive in the AL East. First, the NL East featured two teams with very good records and neither of those were the Phillies who had issues but were not offensive weaklings. Second, the Red Sox and Rays both have significant offensive issues going forward and Baltimore could be listed there too. That leaves the Yankees who, outside of Cano don't have a monster in the lineup and have, as they stand right now, three gaping holes and two spots filled by aging guys.
Third, none of these people have more than one game's experience with trying to hit Dickey. Look at what happened in the two games he played against AL East teams in 2012.

We just ASSUME the ALE will eat Dickey for breakfast because...

I just don't get it.

ayjackson - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:38 PM EST (#267199) #

The Mets waited and waited and AA blinked. He put Syndergaard into the deal and then Becerra. Who was he bidding against? Was it himself? Does a Ninja bid against himself? Does a Ninja have such a desire for his precious that he blinks? I think AA did.

I agree with this sentiment. At the end of the day, I know the team is better and am looking forward to the season.  Whether there were other ways to improve. Maybe, but this was a payroll neutral move for 2013. 

I did a quick top ten list this morning.  It is raw, but there is still plenty of ceiling on it.  Which is nice.

(hmmm, not sure about this shading....think its from copying a quote in Chrome and pasting it in IE)

raptorsaddict - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:41 PM EST (#267200) #
Just putting my two cents down for future reference: I LOVE this trade. The prospect love has gotten out of hand, and while I love the idea of having d'Arnaud turn into Matt Wieters for us, I also know there is a chance he turns into Quiroz, as others have mentioned. Basically it boils down to that old saying about a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush....

ayjackson - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:54 PM EST (#267205) #

Oh, I don't know. The Jays have on their roster now, as a result of that trade, Kyle Drabek, R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Anthony Gose.

Didn't Scutaro give us half a Dickey?

Beyonder - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 01:56 PM EST (#267206) #
I'm with you Tamra. Hard to believe that just three days ago some lunatic posted this about a proposed Dickey deal: "I'd grit my teeth and accept dealing Gose - I'm foresquare against including d'Arnaud. "
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 02:45 PM EST (#267209) #
Wildrose, BBRef WAR works off runs allowed rather than FIP.  They have Dickey at 3.4, 3.1 and 5.6 the last 3 years.  I used those 3 numbers and then allowed for a modest decrease for age/injury risk.  Frankly, I probably did not account enough for age/injury risk.
Ishai - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 02:49 PM EST (#267210) #
This deal is amazing!

I am so excited to get to watch the most dominant knuckleballer since Phil Niekro pitch for the Blue Jays!

One way to think about this: the Blue Jays deposit Roy Halladay and his Cy Young in a trust fund. Later, they withdraw R.A. Dickey and his Cy Young, 10 million dollars a year, and trade Noah Syndergaard for Kyle Drabek and Anthony Gose. Maybe you don't make the second trade, but in a vacuum this reasonable value.

When you consider the context (paucity of free agents, influx of TV money, relative weakness of AL East, age of key contributors), this whole offseason in general and the Dickey deal in particular = awesome!

Geoff - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 03:27 PM EST (#267213) #
Didn't Scutaro give us half a Dickey?

A.J. Burnett gave us a little bit of Dickey by way of James Paxton, who didn't sign as compensation pick for "losing" A.J. to the Yanks.

I propose that if we are to abandon the ninja nickname, we may consider Conquistador Alex, reconquering the American League and MLB in the name of the Blue Jay.

Spelling 'Conquistador Alex' may be a bit of a challenge, but I assure you it sounds cool.

Geoff - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 03:34 PM EST (#267215) #
and we may thank Scutaro for Aaron Sanchez.

...but thank A.J. and Paxton for Syndergaard and some Dickey.
CeeBee - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 03:36 PM EST (#267216) #
One nice little side effect of the Dickey deal. After years of watching Jays hitters mostly have fun waving at Wakefields knuckler we can now watch Red Sox hitters do likewise when Dickey is pitching.... Revenge will be sweet! :)
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 04:18 PM EST (#267221) #
As to how Dickey will do vs the AL East we can check his career vs the east teams.

NYY: 3.13 ERA over 37 1/3 IP 12 BB vs 24 K
Sox: 4.09 ERA over 33 IP 12 BB vs 19 K
Tampa: 5.60 ERA over 27 1/3 IP 10 BB vs 28 K
Baltimore: 2.97 ERA over 33 1/3 IP 6 BB vs 32 K
Jays: 5.45 ERA over 33 IP 12 BB vs 23 K

Thing is most of those numbers were pre-knuckleball, IE: when he had a career ERA of 5.43 vs the 2.95 he's had with the Mets. 

Last year he allowed 5 runs in 6 IP vs the Yankees, had a 1 hit shutout vs the O's, another 1 hit shutout vs the Rays and didn't face the Jays or Red Sox.  Y'know, I could live with that this year, 2 shutouts for every bad game.  :)

uglyone - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 04:51 PM EST (#267223) #
Just to add his 3yr splits for those teams:

NYY: 17.0ip, 3.71era
BAL: 16.0ip, 0.56era
TBR: 9.0ip, 0.00era
BOS: ---
TOR: ---
Magpie - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 04:54 PM EST (#267224) #
Incidentally, I don't think any of the young pitchers that have come up through the Toronto system these last few years, and in some cases been moved on to other teams, have been as highly regarded as Steve Karsay was in his time. Gillick regarded him as almost - but not quite - untouchable. TINSTAAPP.
Magpie - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 04:59 PM EST (#267226) #
Anthopoulos' moves this off-season may work, they may not. But I think they have a better chance of working than his moves last off-season did. Which is all you can do. I understand and support this process, as opposed to last year's. Certainly, counting on R.A. Dickey seems more plausible than counting on Dustin McGowan.
Matthew E - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 05:13 PM EST (#267228) #
don't forget past 'can't miss' catchers Matt Stark, Guillermo Quiroz, Jeff Hearron, and Jeff DeWillis

Revisionist history. None of those were "can't miss" guys. (Although Quiroz was well-regarded.) Hearron and DeWillis in particular were never thought of as anything more than defensive backups right from the start.
Chuck - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 05:33 PM EST (#267229) #

Although Quiroz was well-regarded

Yes indeed. There was breathless anticipation after his age-21 season at AA: 282/372/518. His season ended with a collapsed lung and he was never the same again.

Super Bluto - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 05:50 PM EST (#267230) #
The guy reads Murakami. And not just the easy ones like Norwegian Wood.
dan gordon - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 06:46 PM EST (#267233) #

I see the Jays have signed a couple of veterans for AAA depth - RHP Ramon Ortiz and OF Ryan Langerhans.

What's going on with Frasor, Lyon and Oliver?  I think they need one of those guys to have proper depth in the 'pen.  Since they didn't get Grilli, maybe Frasor or Lyon would be a fallback position now.  Still hoping Oliver returns for 2013 - maybe the much improved team will entice him. 

China fan - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 07:25 PM EST (#267234) #
Frasor or Lyon would cost $3-million or $4-million, and I'm not sure if they're superior to any of the current members of the Jays bullpen. Here's the current likely bullpen:


Aside from Cecil, none of the above relievers would be clearly inferior to Frasor or Lyon, in my view. Or if one or two of these relievers is slightly inferior to Frasor or Lyon, the difference isn't really worth the $4-million price. Cecil is out of options, so the Jays will probably keep him in the bullpen to start the season, at least. They need to know if he's a potentially strong reliever, and the only way to find out is to put him in the bullpen for a few weeks, if only in the 7th spot in the bullpen.

The only real question mark is Santos, who might need some weeks or months in the minors to get his groove back. But recent comments by the Jays suggest that Santos is genuinely healthy, so I don't think they're planning to replace him at this point anyway.

Some fans might argue that Lincoln had some bad games in 2012 and is inferior to Lyon at least, but I think the Jays genuinely believe in his stuff and are convinced that he's the real thing, even if his 2012 numbers didn't show it.
Chuck - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 07:47 PM EST (#267237) #

The guy reads Murakami.

+1 on Murakami, though 1Q84 was disappointing.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:35 PM EST (#267238) #
Well, more those were the only guys who ever had any buzz as catchers in Toronto might have been a better way to put it.  Hearron many said would be something special in 1985 but that might have been the excitement over having a winner at last.  Stark was always viewed as a good bat but questionable defense yet he never really had a shot with that bat (30 PA career) - remember, Stark hit 295/364/465 in AA at 21 after a 290/408/424 campaign in A+/AA at 20.  At 22 he tore the cover off the ball in spring training and appeared to force the Jays to keep him but he got hurt early and, since it was the Jimy Williams era, he never had another shot despite a 299/396/488 stretch in AA (why not AAA?) that year.  In 1988 he was left in AA again (geez, did he run over Gillicks dog or something) and missed all of 1989 before another brief ML shot in Chicago (18 PA after a 876 OPS in, you got it, AA).  He tore apart AAA the following year with the White Sox again (284/406/419) but didn't get a call up, and played just 16 more minor league games before going off to the Mexican league until he was 34.  Quiroz, as I mentioned, was ranked the 35th best prospect in baseball at one point (pre-2004) - not as high as d'Arnaud but high none the less and didn't succeed.

Prospects are a crapshoot.  An educated one, but still more will fail than succeed even in the top 10 category.

TamRa - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:40 PM EST (#267239) #
I'm with you Tamra. Hard to believe that just three days ago some lunatic posted this about a proposed Dickey deal: "I'd grit my teeth and accept dealing Gose - I'm foresquare against including d'Arnaud. "

I was and am. But the deal doesn't get done without him and the deal needed to get done. The context of my comment was that If i was going to cling to one of those two, it would have been d'Arnaud. Plus, I harbored hope that if you included others (such as Syndergaard) the Mets could be pursuaded to take Arencibia instead.

There's no inconsistancy between wanting to keep d'Arnaud if possible and supporting the trade.

you don't see my crying bitter tears that d'Arnaud''s gone do you? Context is important.
Waveburner - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 08:56 PM EST (#267242) #

I think I'd be a little surprised if the Jays didn't sign one more arm for the bullpen with how committed they are to contending. Especially if Oliver retires, but even if he comes back they could use another.

Santos should not really be counted on. Hopefully he gets healthy at some point, but it is no guarantee. Which leaves the proven guys as Janssen, Delabar, Rogers+Lincoln (both of whom are not fully proven as relievers-just one season each) and Oliver if he comes back. Loup has just two months of success, Cecil less than that as a reliever. Happ seemed uncomfortable in the pen last season and not all starters can adjust to the difference in preperation.

Bullpens are volatile at the best of times. Given all that's on the line in 2013, one more solid vet reliever for a relatively paltry $4 million or so seems a no-brainer to me. My ideal choice would be Villaneuva if he is not getting many good offers elsewhere. I'm guessing most teams want him for a role similar to what he did in Toronto-swingman. I doubt he'll get a rotation guarantee anywhere.

bpoz - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:21 PM EST (#267243) #
2 things. There is so much info on baseball. Second I am superstitious.

I believe that through luck or fate certain teams produce certain types of players. I admit this is not logical.

The Jays produce good/great OFs and SPs. I look at the history and see a number of successes. I ignore all the failures as that is expected in baseball.

We also produce great 1B. IMO.

But Catcher, 2B & SS are not our speciality as far as home grown.

Catchers;- Boarders, Myers & JPA. That is all I got.
2B/SS:- T Fernandez, J Kent, M Young, A Gon #1. I am sure I missed out on a few. Kent & Young became very much better than we expected.
3B:- E Sprague. IMO our worst position for development.

I really expect failure with those positions when we draft there. I cannot believe Zosky failed so Tulo was lucky to be passed on by the Jays. Again IMO.
I believe T Snider will have some success & so should Thames. Then add in Sierra. Gose as a successful Philly connection, George Bell. D White & J Bautista were rejects that succeeded here. We have enough OF candidates currently to have strength there.

1B is also a huge strength for us. J Mayberry was our 1st superstar.
grjas - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:36 PM EST (#267244) #
Speaking of the challenge predicting the true value of prospects, it's interesting reflecting on the Halladay deal. D'arnaud, drabek, taylor who then begat wallace who then begat gose.

Of the 5, 4 have had at least partial seasons in the majors, 3 of which have spread over 2 seasons. To date - and sure it's early- none of them have shone. Now that dickey is the newest "begatten", I'll bet by this time next year, he will be the only one of the 6 that has shone.
grjas - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:47 PM EST (#267245) #
Love this stat. "Last season, the Mets were 14-6 when playing a team that faced Dickey the previous day." Add that to his 20-6 record when he factored in the decision and the mets were 34-12. The rest of the season they were 40-76.

Think he can make a difference?
Matthew E - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 09:58 PM EST (#267247) #
taylor who then begat wallace who then begat gose.

One point of interest: of the three players here, Michael Taylor, Brett Wallace, and Anthony Gose, it's Gose who now looks like he has the most promise, after his really quite decent September and all.
Thomas - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:05 PM EST (#267248) #
An educated one, but still more will fail than succeed even in the top 10 category.

If you read the study Wildrose quoted earlier in the thread, you'll see that's not the case. And there's a world of difference between a marginal prospect who is the subject of some fluff articles from the local media and a top 10 prospect in baseball.

Super Bluto - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 10:28 PM EST (#267249) #
With respect to the pen, I think we can hope that they will have to work fewer innings this year and have more rest between outings. Might this not change who you go with in April, depending on their performance with multiple days of rest?

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:10 PM EST (#267251) #

Seven Bullpen position need filling, so A.A. needs 9-11 MLB quality Relievers.

J.A. Happ (LHP - 30) occupies a spot (1) in the Bullpen as 6th Starter / Long Man.   Casey Janssen (RHP - 31) occupies a spot (2) because he is very effective in late innings.   Steve Delabar (RHP - 29) occupies a spot (3) with his big power arm and effectiveness in late innings.   As I have no idea how long it takes a Reliever to get ready for Spring Training, Sergio Santos (RHP - 29) gets a spot (4).   He was acquired to be our long time Closer.   Until he can't start the season, or can't be effective in late innings he gets a spot.   That makes four spots filled.

Esmil Rogers (RHP - 27) is another (pre-arb) effective power arm, acquired for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, so there goes another spot (5).   Aaron Loup (LHP - 25) and Brad Lincoln (RHP - 27) are effective Relievers who still have an option or two left.  Unless it's really neccessary, A.A. really needs them filling two spots (8,9) in Buffalo.   Brett Cecil (LHP - 26) pitches decent Relief and should get a spot (6) as 7th Starter / Long Man.

Jeremy Jeffress (RHP) is a big power arm with noticeable control issues, who's out of options.   He's unlikely to earn a spot (10) on the Roster unless injuries strike and he can't and won't go to the Minors.   The legend that is Darren Oliver (LHP - 42) continues.  I must assume that if he hasn't called, after all we've done, and it hasn't interest in returning by now, he won't.  So I assume this is why A.A. is after another effective reliever.    If choosing between Brandon Lyon (RHP - 33) or Jason Frasor (RHP - 35), Lyon pitched much better here but likely wants more than one year.

It's possible we need one or two relievers, but could do without, so I can see why A.A. might be looking. 

adrianveidt - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:43 PM EST (#267252) #
The definition of "success" in that study was becoming at least average. For special players the numbers are much lower. Every year, there are average players that can be signed as free agents for not much money. Proven MLB stars are worth a million times more to me than a prospect.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:51 PM EST (#267253) #
Thomas - checking the data it depends what one lists as 'success'.  The author puts it as an average of 1.50 WAR per year as a success which for top 10 position players happens 62.6% of the time or a failure rate of more than 1 in 3, but less than 1 in 2.  If d'Arnaud is a 1.5 WAR on average guy over 6 years that equals 9 WAR total, or what Dickey could easily do in 3 (assuming health) which would be far more helpful towards a playoff appearance.  I'd say for what was given up an average of 2.50 would be needed to make it a success for the Mets, which lands under 'superior' by that scale.  The odds of a top 10 doing that (d'Arnaud is #11) is 40% or slightly worse than 50-50 odds.

For Syndergaard, if he is a 11-20 in the top 100 (doubtful, but could be I guess) then the odds of a 'bust' (ie: under 1.5 WAR per year while under team control) is 62.7%, and of being a superior player is 18.7%.  If ranked 31st or worse then his odds (as a pitcher, since hitters have better odds) drop to under 1 in 10 of being a 'superior' level player, with failure rates of 3 in 4.

So like I said, for d'Arnaud to do it on his own (make it a steal for the Mets) the odds are roughly 40%.  For Syndergaard to do it is under 20% and might be under 10%.  The odds of both being total flops (sub 1.5 WAR per year) is (best case) .37.4% x 62.7% = 23.4% or just shy of 1 in 4.  Odds of both being 'woohoo' for NYM is 39.6% x 18.7% = 7.4% or less than 1 in 10.  That explains why a smart GM like AA was willing to give up 2 lottery tickets for a guy who is likely to produce 6-9 WAR over the next 3 years for the team and might go as high as 12 as odds are low (7.4% or less) that it'll be a disaster looking back 10 years from now.
Thomas - Tuesday, December 18 2012 @ 11:58 PM EST (#267254) #
The definition of "success" in that study was becoming at least average.

And that's a perfectly reasonable definition of success for a player who has not played in the majors. My point wasn't whether d'Arnaud plus is worth Dickey. It was whether it's reasonable to expect d'Arnaud to have a productive major league career, which I think it is. He may not, but equating him to a prospects who are crapshoots (or players who were never prospects to begin with) is not an honest appraisal of the situation.

Speaking of not looking at the situation honestly, if you listened to the radio yesterday you heard Mike Wilner's dismissal of Matt Wieters as a player "who hasn't even hit 25 homers yet" (instead of making the far more reasonable point that it took Wieters a couple of years to develop into one of the best catchers in baseball).

John Northey - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 12:05 AM EST (#267255) #
Good question on innings and pitchers in the pen.

Last year...
Jay starters: 916 IP   Relievers: 528 IP

New starters in 2012 threw...
Johnson 191 1/3 IP 31 s, Buerle: 202 1/3 IP 31 s, Romero: 181 IP 32 g, Morrow 124 2/3 IP 21 g, Dickey 232 2/3 IP 33 g, Happ 33 1/3 IP 6 s (as a Jay) + 104 1/3 IP 18 g as Astro.
Total: big 5 = 148 games 932 IP, leaving 14 for Happ and other starters - give all 14 to Happ and his average IP per start works out to a total of 80 1/3 IP = total for team over 162 games of 1012 1/3 IP for starters thus saving nearly 100 IP for the pen, or pretty much how many innings the 6 + 7 guy would've got.  If the big 6 can do what they did last year, even factoring in Morrow's injury and Romero's issues and Johnson being limited due to past injuries, you could easily cut back to a 6 man pen with #6 being Happ who slots in whenever someone is hurt (ala Morrow last year) or needs a day off.

That means we should see a lot more effectiveness from the pen as they get to go into good slots, namely can stay focused on their strengths rather than having to cover up the nightmares in the rotation.  I suspect the Jays will go with a 7 man pen anyways but that means the 7 will be far more rested and matchup based than otherwise needed if the rotation could only cover what it did in 2012. 

Thomas - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 12:15 AM EST (#267257) #
John, first I don't know why your measure of what would be success for the Mets is more valid than setting a far less arbitrary figure of an average major leaguer. That seems like a very reasonable way to measure success for a player who hasn't played in the majors. Given when the Mets expect to contend, the difficulty in getting good production at catcher, the risk of injury of pitchers, the risk of age, the difference in price, etc... it's very reasonable to think they would prefer 1.5 WAR over 6 years and than 3 WAR over 3.

However, more fundamentally, that wasn't the point I was responding to. I was never talking about whether the price paid was worth it or not for the Jays or the Mets. Your original comment was: "We all feel confident that d'Arnaud's floor is where JPA is now" and then you proceeded to list a bunch of catching "prospects" who failed.

JP Arencibia is a below average major league catcher, both offensively and defensively. The point that several people have been making this thread is that it is very reasonable to assume that the odds are good that d'Arnaud will be a noticeable better player than Arencibia, which the study validates by saying that there's a greater than 60% chance he'll be at least average and 40% he'll be significantly better (with a not insignificant caveat about development time, for a cautionary note on that point see Mesoraco in Cincy). That is why many of us feel that it is likely that d'Arnaud's reasonable floor is JP's production the last two years (which would probably involve even worse offence and better defence) and that point to the fact that Hearron and Quiroz never panned out doesn't meaningfully suggest those expectations should be reevaluated.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 12:45 AM EST (#267259) #
J.P. Arencibia is a below average Catcher both offensively and defensively - since (deleted) when?
Intricated - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 12:58 AM EST (#267260) #
I wonder how things could be different (or remain exactly the same) if d'Arnaud was healthy in 2012:

1) Would he have been called up when Arencibia got injured in late-July?  And stayed up the 6 weeks J.P. was out?  I suppose so.
1b) How would he have performed?  Below major-league average, but did not embarrass himself?  Average, but flashes of brilliance-to-come?  Be a Debut-Dandy, J.P-style, and actually kept it going past his MLB Season Game #1?  Let's go with Average with the bat, and respectable on the other side of the ball (not even him could have saved his tandem partners from "I Know What the Jays' Pitchers Did Last Summer... and It Sucked."
2) Would he have gotten a September call-up?  Likely.  Would he have done as well (if not better) than his first ML stint?  I say Average, but more "mature".
3) Would d'Arnaud playing those 6 mid-summer weeks + September have made a difference to the Jays' 2012 record?  How many "win differences" would he have made: 0, 1, 2, 5, more?!  I guess the Jays would have won more than 73 games, but certainly still less than 81, and still end up 4th in the division.  So (almost meaninglessly) less mediocre, and a draft pick slot 1-4 picks worse.
4) With the above performance and impact, would he have changed his expected value to the organization as i) a solid/outstanding contributor to the Big Team for years to come, and ii) as a piece in a trade to obtain a different/better contributor?  I figure as long as he wasn't a total slug, he didn't need to be a total slugger to have kept/improved his stature as a "can't miss" prospect... and at best, would be considered in a "healthy competition" with J.P. for the starting spot in 2013.
5) Would Mathis still have been offered/signed an extension?  Probably not.
6) What would AA have thought about his team after 2012?  Still would have wanted to improve starting pitching, bullpen (the new market inefficiency/fetish... really?), LF, 2B, and maybe 1B/DH platoon?  Given the team's better-than-73-wins performance (but lower draft pick for 2013), would he still have "not-as-many payroll parameters" heading into the post-season?  I don't think d'Arnaud changes any of this, given the new TV contract.
7) Would the Marlins trade happen?  Would Uncle Rogers still have opened up the coin purse to make it happen?  Would the lack of Mathis as The Key to Miami's (Financial) Desires really dissolved the trade?  I don't think it would have happened as-in-reality, maybe only Buehrle for Escobar + prospect.
8) Would the Mets trade happen?  d'Arnaud would have been worth as much (if not more) to the Mets after his non-embarrassing ML cup-of-coffees, but would AA have thought his prized catcher was The Real Thing?  If the Marlins trade didn't go down, I'm 99% sure d'Arnaud would still be a Jay/51er/Bison.

So, in my hypothetical 2012 world of d'Arnaud the Armored, the Jays today would still be looking for 1-2 starting pitchers that would sign for <20M/yr for no more than 3 years ("Take our colourful money, please!"), figuring out if Hech is ready at SS, and the fanbase would be bracing for another 3rd/4th place finish... "but at least we have prospect porn!"

Ironically, the injury to the organization's top prospect may have very well led to the best chance for AA and Co. to win... that and Jeff Mathis.... I now am 100% convinced losing Bobby Wilson will be AA's Apocalypse... WTB any Angels' catchers out there, will guarantee you'll help us win (just don't expect to be part of it)!
Lylemcr - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:44 AM EST (#267261) #

I do want to point out that DArnard has knee issues already.  This is going to limit his time as catcher.

I like JPA as a catcher.  (There is not a camera he never liked).  There are not many catchers better than him.  He won't hurt us.  To me Lind and Rasmus are a bigger concern and I think it is not a coincidence that we still have Cooper and Gose (and not D'Arnard).

The Jays have not missed the playoffs the past 2 years because of thier offense and the offense next year is better than the last two years.  They could have 2 hitters in the top 5 for HR and 3 players in the top 5 in SB.  The offense is going to be exciting.


BTW, I love the stat grjas stated. "Last season, the Mets were 14-6 when playing a team that faced Dickey the previous day." Can you imagine facing Morrow the day after facing Dickey?  I would take the day off...

Here is another question..... Who is the opening day starter?  Personally, I would like Romero.  It would give a vote of confidence to him.  I think he is going to come back strong next year and he is the only player who is an original Jay.

Michael - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 02:16 AM EST (#267263) #
If you look at his WAR at fangraphs you get that his last three years he's put up -0.2 (short cup of coffee); 0.8; 1.3.  The study mentioned about percentages who become success had success drawn at average which is 1.5 war, 1.3 doesn't make it to average. And you see the fielding is negative and the studies on pitch framing say he's one of the worse at that.

JPA has poor OBP skills, so his OPS over states his value.  Still, counting that, and ranking catchers last year by OPS JPA would have been worse than 9 of the 10 catchers who qualified for the batting title (few catchers do because of all the days off).  If you look over the full major league catch population than JPA's OPS is 41st best.  If you eliminate anyone who caught less than 50 games, JPA's OPS was 30th best.  And that is again overstating JPA's value because he has low OBP.

If you don't think JPA's performance to date is below average for a catcher both offensively and defensively than you have a homer bias or you don't realize what good catching performance looks like.

Now JPA is young, and may well project better than his first couple of years, but just because he's tied for 10th most HR amongst catchers doesn't mean he's above average.

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 04:09 AM EST (#267264) #

J.P. Arencibia generally got his catching instruction (in his words) from nice people.   Nice people usually dislike being negative about anything (my words).   So there's that.

Greg Zaun was a Major League Catcher over a reasonable career that spanned 16 years.   He said J.P. was getting much better at his job.   He was opposed to trading him to make room for d'Arnaud.   Thinks J.P. will have a breakout year.  So there's that.

When MLB Catchers talk about MLB Catchers, I listen because they know what they're talking about.  When MLB non-Catchers talk about MLB Catchers, I listen because it's interesting.    When non MLB talk about MLB Catchers, I listen because I'm polite, but usually it's just wind.   So there's that.

When people extole the virtures of prospects over established Major League players, that's prospect porn.  When I get called a homer because I have a difference of opinion about a MLB player, that's more rude.  But when I get called a homer because I don't think like someone else does, that's more than rude.   So someone - you're wind.   So there's that.                                                                                                                                                        

John Northey - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 07:58 AM EST (#267265) #
Another interesting question is budget.  According to B-R the Jays payroll for 2013 is projected to be $112 million, $138 in 2014, and $143 in 2015/2016.  That is assuming all options are picked up (unlikely Lind's will be) and no one else is added.  That is without Josh Johnson in 2014 btw. 

Free agents? Johnson & Oliver in 2014, Cabrera, Rasmus, Happ, Janssen and Bonifacio in 2015, Buehrle, Morrow, McGowan in 2016 (assuming options are picked up).

Looks like next winter will be busy with either extensions or debates about trading away guys who might be key pieces in 2013 before they leave after 2014.

Dave Till - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 08:07 AM EST (#267266) #
JPA seems to be a close comp for Pat Borders: okay defense, low OBP, some power, generally well liked.

Magpie - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 08:18 AM EST (#267267) #
JPA seems to be a close comp for Pat Borders: okay defense, low OBP, some power, generally well liked.

A little more power, a little less defense. Miguel Olivo is a pretty good comp, and a little below average seems about right to me. It's hard to much more than that with a .275 OnBase. But I don't think he's a bad player.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 08:37 AM EST (#267268) #
Arencibia has had two seasons in the majors and is currently 26. There might be room for some more improvement in 2013 and 2014, even if this involves only incremental gains. It's a small sample, but he was on a nice run last year when he got hurt (1.081 OPS in July).
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:09 AM EST (#267270) #

I don't see how B-R gets $112.0 MM for 2013.  I have $111.4 MM (Guarenteed Contracts plus Pre-arbs) including McGowan, Lind and Buyout, Oliver.   It doesn't include Drabek, Hutchison, Perez who are getting MLB monies since injury $1.5 MM.  It doesn't include arby monies for Happ (2nd), Thole (Super-Two: 1st), Rasmus (2nd), Bonifacio (2nd) $12.5 -$15.5 MM.

If 2013 isn't close to being accurate, how close are their 2014, 2015 and 2016 figures.   Chances are they $15.0 MM to $20.0 MM to low.   Chances are good Johnson gets re-signed, because there too few Pitchers of his caliber available next year.

Chuck - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:21 AM EST (#267271) #

Chances are good Johnson gets re-signed, because there too few Pitchers of his caliber available next year.

I'd say that's the very reason Johnson won't get re-signed. He might prefer to make himself available for a bidding war this time next year.

John Northey - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:41 AM EST (#267272) #
To me JPA is a solid, decent catcher. Going through Jays history. for all starters and key backups (Buck Martinez)...

JPA: 222/275/433 88 OPS+ so far.

Better by 10+ OPS+ points than: Rick Cerone (229/285/328 68 OPS+), Lance Parrish (202/265/320 53 OPS+), Benito Santiago (249/284/395 76 OPS+), Ken Huckaby (235/262/294 46 OPS+), Rod Barajas (237/275/406 78 OPS+), Sandy Martinez (232/280/332 57 OPS+)

Very similar to: Darrin Fletcher (276/318/434 92 OPS+ - steroid era), Greg Myers (258/314/400 91 OPS+ also steroid era), Pat Borders (256/290/388 83 OPS+), Buck Martinez (222/297/378 81 OPS+), Alan Ashby (227/304/320 81 OPS+), Charlie O'Brien (230/322/384 81 OPS+), Jose Molina (263/323/396 94 OPS+ - far better than his career 68 OPS+), Randy Knorr (233/294/398 80 OPS+)

Worse than: Ernie Whitt (253/327/420 102 OPS+), Greg Zaun (255/354/399 98 OPS+), Bengie Molina (284/319/467 100 OPS+), John Buck (281/314/489 114 OPS+)

So offensively he is bested by just 4 guys (factoring in era played in).  Interesting that John Buck has the best OPS+ of any Jays catcher who was a regular or semi-regular.  There were 8 who were similar for OPS+ but none are as extreme with OBP vs Slg.  6 who were clearly worse.  A few other catchers probably qualify in the 100+ game category but these seem to be the main ones.

So from that it seems JPA is very middle of the pack for Jay catchers.  If he can figure out how to take a walk he can move into the elite category, but I wouldn't bet on it happening.  Funny how catchers, who have the best view of the strike zone thus should know it very well don't seem to take walks at too high a pace.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:45 AM EST (#267273) #
I doubt Johnson is resigned.  He'll cost $20+ million if he has a good year on a 5-7 year deal ala Greinke. 

Think about it - Johnson will be entering his age 30 season with a lifetime ERA+ in the 130 range (133 right now).  Greinke was at 114 entering his age 29 season. 

Johnson will be viewed as Grienke level if he has 200 IP this year with an ERA+ in the 120 range.  That will mean a contract way out of AA's comfort zone.

uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:49 AM EST (#267274) #
I think JP made large strides defensively last year in terms of pitch framing, still remains below average in pitch blocking, but is above average in throwing out runners....overall while he's not the prettiest back there I think he's pretty average defensively.

Offensively he's been moderately below average the last 2 years with his 91wRC+. A cut below average offensive starting catchers like Pierzynski (105wRC+), McCann (104wRC+), Martin (98wRC+), but solidly above the dregs like Buck (81), Soto (81), Toreealba (79), Suzuki (78).

Thing is he's very streaky offensively, and IMO he got hurt just in the middle of a hot streak when his numbers were starting to look above average offensively.....and then upon his return he struggled badly (only 1 or 2 hits in his first 2 weeks back from injury), before picking it up again the last couple of weeks.

I think he's been slightly below average offensively the past 2yrs, but those are his first 2yrs in the bigs, and he was injured in both seasons. I'd guess a healthy season would see him as at least an average bat amongst starting catchers to go along with his average defense.
uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:51 AM EST (#267275) #
Also, JPA showed a marked improvement in patience at the plate in both his final AAA season (8.3bb%) and his rookie MLB season (7.4bb%), before plummeting back down in his 2nd MLB season to his previous MILB numbers (4.8bb%). I think he has it in him to walk at a decent rate, as he did it for the two years prior to this past season.
uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 09:54 AM EST (#267277) #
From B/R I get these payroll numbers:


Bautista $14.0
Johnson $13.75
Buehrle $11.0
Reyes $10.0
Encarnacion $8.0
Morrow $8.0
Cabrera $8.0
Romero $7.5
Dickey $5.0
Lind $5.0
Rasmus ~$4.5
Janssen $3.9
Happ ~$3.8
Izturis $3.0
Oliver $3.0
Santos $2.75
Davis $2.5
Bonifacio ~$2.5
McGowan $1.5
Thole ~$1.2
Rogers ~$0.6
Arencibia ~$0.6
Lincoln ~$0.6
Lawrie ~$0.6
Delabar ~$0.6
Cooper ~$0.6

Total: ~$122.5


SP Buehrle $18.0
SS Reyes $16.0
SP Bautista $14.0
SP Dickey $12.0
DH Encarnacion $9.0
SP Morrow $8.0
LF Cabrera $8.0
SP Romero $7.5
RP Janssen $4.0
RP Santos $3.75
IF Izturis $3.0
-- Lind $2.0*
-- McGowan $1.5*
CF Rasmus ~$5.0
SP Happ ~$4.5
2B Bonifacio ~$3.0
BC Thole ~$1.5
3B Lawrie ~$0.6
C Arencibia ~$0.6
RP Lincoln ~$0.6
RP Delabar ~$0.6
RP Hutchison ~$0.6
UT Cooper ~$0.6
RP Loup ~$0.6
OF Gose ~$0.6
RP Perez/Drabek ~$0.6

Total ~$126.75

Key Loss: J.Johnson
Still Need: First Baseman
Ryan Day - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 10:12 AM EST (#267278) #
Johnson's better than Greinke when he's healthy, but he's had a tough time staying healthy. Greinke's pitched 200+ innings in 4 of the 5 past seasons, with 171 being his low in that span. Johnson's pitched 200 innings once in his career; the 191 innings he pitched in 2012 is the 2nd-highest total of his career.

Are teams going to offer Johnson a 5-6 year contract, even if he's healthy & effective this year? If you offered him a 4-year deal in spring training for $70-80 million, would he consider it a safe bet?
Gerry - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 10:16 AM EST (#267280) #

I'd say that's the very reason Johnson won't get re-signed. He might prefer to make himself available for a bidding war this time next year.


A lot of players see the fragility in the game and will take $100M guaranteed today versus the chance at $110M next year.  Not all, but a lot.  The pecking order of annual salary is a big deal for high priced players too.  As in "I see myself as a top ten player at my position I want to be paid like that".  The sooner they sign that deal, the sooner they can get the ego boost.

Also never underestimate the power of agents.  Agents don't know if they will be a players agent tomorrow so they prefer to do the deal while they know they are the agent.  Other agents know Josh Johnson is due a $100M payday soon and will be all over him like white on rice to see if they can get him to switch.  A pre-emptive, early, deal shuts down that risk for the agent. 


uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 10:48 AM EST (#267281) #
Johnson being re-signed has everything to do with what happens this year, IMO. Totally up in the air at this point.

1) How good are the Jays this year, and how much will Johnson want to play for this team going forward?
2) How good (and healthy) is Johnson this year - is he the true ace of earlier years or more the good #2 he was last year - and will he be deserving of an Ace payday?
3) How big is the Jays attendance and TV ratings this year, and how much more money does Rogers earn off them this year than in previous years?

bpoz - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 10:49 AM EST (#267282) #
I was excited to have JPA join the team in 2010. He did not disappoint me in 2011 & 12.

I accept all the numbers & evaluations for JPA being discussed because they are accurate. There is much I do not understand or know.

So I was optimistically thinking that by the All Star decision making time JPA could produce his usual good power numbers if healthy. With luck & "being zoned in" he could have 15+Hr maybe 19 and 60 RBI. If so then he may get selected.
Sure he has to beat out his tough competitors & fan voting. The AS manager would not pick him because his catching abilities are weak.

With a monster year 30Hr & 90RBI AA can unload him for some elite useful parts. Probably as part of a package.
uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 10:56 AM EST (#267283) #
that's one thing worth mentioning....people keep saying JPA has "20hr power", but really he has 30hr power and has hit at around that kind of pace his first two years in the league, and just hasn't played enough games.

and yes, of course, catchers rarely approach 162 games played, but that's still the kind of power he's shown his first 2yrs.
Wildrose - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 10:58 AM EST (#267284) #
I just wonder how much JPA will actually play? Josh Thole is a left handed hitter who is much better than he showed last season.

Thole suffered a concussion in May and subsequently tanked. He had a .726 OBP pre injury and a .536 post. I would suggest his pre - injury status is much closer to his true talent level that he showed in the upper minors and in his early MLB career.

He has a reputation as being a good catch/ throw guy defensive player. His defensive statistics are somewhat un-even given the small sample size.

Thole is the anti-JPA as a hitter , as he's more of a high average, draw a lot of base on balls, with little power type of guy.

I imagine they will platoon to a degree at catcher to take advantage of the platoon differential. I think Thole is capable of a 95-100 WOBA in such a scenario, which would be above league average for catcher.

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 11:14 AM EST (#267285) #
Good point, Wildrose. Thole has been used pretty much as a platoon player over his career.  He's .275/.345/.347 against RHP (861 PAs) and .187/.265/.260 against LHP (165 PAs).  It is very true that he makes a good catching partner for JPA.  However, his career OPS+ and wRC+ are both 85, and I don't think you can expect better than that.  That is still a useful player, and worthy of 60-70 starts per year (if Dickey is your #1 starter say, you give him Dickey's starts and the start for the #3 or #4 starter if the opposing pitcher is RH). He made 90 starts last year.  The result should be having both Thole and JPA reasonably well rested at all times.
uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 11:28 AM EST (#267287) #
I actually like Thole too, especially if last year proves to be an outlier. First time we have a lefty complement to JPA, which seems like a no-brainer.

Thole had always been at least decent or better (with elite BB/K numbers) before last year's tank job:

Age 20 (A): 458pa, 13.3bb%, 12.4k%, .267/.372/.311/.683, .330woba, 97wRC+
Age 21 (A+): 402pa, 11.2bb%, 9.5k%, .300/.382/.427/.809, .371woba, 130wRC+
Age 22 (AA): 442pa, 9.5bb%, 7.7k%, .328/.395/.422/.817, .372woba, 129wRC+
Age 23 (AAA): 191pa, 11.5bb%, 13.1k%, .267/.353/.430/.783, .348woba, 113wRC+

Age 22 (MLB): 59pa, 6.8bb%, 8.5k%, .321/.356/.396/.752, .330woba, 101wRC+
Age 23 (MLB): 227pa, 10.6bb%, 11.0k%, .277/.357/.366/.723, .327woba, 103wRC+
Age 24 (MLB): 386pa, 9.8bb%, 12.2k%, .268/.345/.344/.689, .307woba, 94wRC+
Age 25 (MLB): 354pa, 7.6bb%, 14.1k%, .234/.294/.290/.584, .257woba, 60wRC+

Last year he was horrific, but that's the first time since rookie ball that he's been anything other than a solid average to above average bat for his league.

Before last year's disaster year, his offensive numbers were actually better than JP's.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 11:44 AM EST (#267288) #
I just have to say that this is the most excited I've been about an upcoming Jays season in a long, long time (since 1993, probably).

I still think the team is likely to need upgrades at a couple of positions at some point, but this is a talented group, and it's particularly exciting to have such a deep and potentially dominant rotation. I also love that the core looks to be intact for a few years, and that there are still some exciting prospects on the horizon. It really is a great time to be a Jays fan (particularly long-suffering ones like many on this site).

AA deserves a ton of credit for the many moves, large and small, that have brought the organization this far.
Wildrose - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 12:06 PM EST (#267289) #
However, his career OPS+ and wRC+ are both 85, and I don't think you can expect better than that.

Normally I'd go by a persons career wRC + in terms of a projection , but in this case his career MLB numbers are heavily skewed by his numbers post concussion given his relatively short MLB career. Uglyone has shown last year to be somewhat of an outlier hitting wise so a higher wRC + , especially seeing mainly right handed pitchers is warranted in my opinion.

As a note of caution however, Thole has suffered several prior concussions so who knows how this all plays out?
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 12:52 PM EST (#267290) #
Sometimes I think I am either seeing things that others aren't or missing things that others are seeing. My optimism for David Cooper comes to mind as an example, but I think it is really typified by the sentiment regarding JPA.

Personally I have been quite happy with JPA thus far. I don't think he is anywhere near the black hole in the lineup that people are making him out to be. In fact, I see him as a plus. I have seen continual improvement defensively and I do value his attitude. He's streaky without doubt, but I think part of that has to do with his (minor) injury history. And regardless, when he is on, he is on! Like Pat Borders in October 1992 on! I am particularly looking forward to opening day because of this.

I honestly think it will be difficult for TDA to ever match JPA's ceiling, which I think we will start to see this year. I'm expecting a .250, .310, .450 line this season with improved defense. I am betting that he is in the conversation for silver slugger at the C position.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:02 PM EST (#267291) #
Also, regarding Josh Thole:

First, I think Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie have shown us that we should temper expectations of a player post-concussion. Who knows what we have here.

Also, we can't very well platoon Thole if he's going to be Dickey's personal catcher. In fact, I suspect managers will move their lefties around to specifically take advantage of this. Besides, he doesn't even hit righties as well as JPA.

The only reason to start Thole (beyond the Dickey starts) would be if JP was absolutely costing us games behind the plate. I've seen no evidence of him doing that yet and he's only going to improve.
VanFan - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:07 PM EST (#267292) #
Long time reader, first time poster. I was intrigued by what grjas said about the Mets being 14-6 when playing a team Dickey had faced the previous day. So I decided to dig a little deeper.
These are the IP and ER totals for the starters pitching the day after Dickey, facing the same team:
IP: 128.1, ER: 33, ERA: 2.31
And the IP and ER for those pitchers in all other situations in 2012:
IP: 685, ER: 309, ERA 4.06
Or another way of looking at it is these pitchers had an ERA of 2.31 when pitching directly after Dickey, and an ERA of 4.46 when not pitching after Dickey. Not to state the obvious, but the combined post Dickey ERA is almost HALF of what those pitchers were allowing otherwise.
It is interesting to note that in 2011, the ‘post Dickey’ and ‘non-post Dickey’ numbers were a wash, with ERA’s of 4.62 and 4.53 respectively. So either 2012 was an anomaly, or Dickeys ‘harder’ knuckleball has some lingering effects. With a strikeout rate that jumped 53% from 2011 to 2012, with his walk rate lowering slightly, I’m siding with the latter.
It a tantalizing thought to perhaps have Josh Johnson, in a contract year, enjoying the effects of Dickeys lingering knuckle ball. I can’t wait for next year!!!
Chuck - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:11 PM EST (#267293) #

Besides, he doesn't even hit righties as well as JPA.

Career vs RHP: Thole 275/346/347, Arencibia 216/273/415.

I'd take Thole's numbers.

If Arencibia is not hitting homeruns, he's doing nothing at all to help you win. His defense isn't great (at least subjectively). And he has an awful problem getting on base.

Thomas - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:22 PM EST (#267294) #

"It a tantalizing thought to perhaps have Josh Johnson, in a contract year, enjoying the effects of Dickeys lingering knuckle ball. I can’t wait for next year!!!"

Thanks for those numbers. Interesting stuff. However, if you believe that there is some lingering effect of the knuckleball, to my mind that's a good argument to slot Buehrle after Dickey.

hypobole - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:23 PM EST (#267295) #
"Also, we can't very well platoon Thole if he's going to be Dickey's personal catcher. In fact, I suspect managers will move their lefties around to specifically take advantage of this."

Am I the only one who thinks an opposing manager changing their starting rotation specifically because of Josh Thole a bit mind boggling?
uglyone - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:29 PM EST (#267296) #
speak of the devil, nice article on thole here....
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:30 PM EST (#267297) #
People make decisions based on razor-thin logic in baseball all the time. The "Ortiz" shift, matchups out of the bullpen, going with a closer despite the setup guy looking untouchable. We've seen managers move a pitcher out of the 9 spot in the lineup or walk a guy with the bases loaded. I don't think it is inconceivable that a manager might try and take advantage of a predictable lineup. I'm not suggesting that managers are going to be starting lefties on 4 days rest just to exploit Thole. But I don think that they may be more inclined to pick a lefty in a callup situation or to choose the lefty when they've had a midweek day off.

Dave Rutt - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:38 PM EST (#267298) #
But I don think that they may be more inclined to pick a lefty

Against a team with Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, and Edwin Encarnacion?

I'm with hypobole on this one, teams are not going to make decisions based on Josh Thole.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:39 PM EST (#267299) #
Agreed Thomas - if I knew there was a potential effect the day after Dickey changing a mediocre pitcher into a great one I'd put a guy we have signed for a few years after him instead of the potential free agent.  Buehrle makes a lot of sense to do that with as he will be making a lot in 2014/2015 so you could either up his perceived value for a trade (clearing a big salary off the books) or make it so it is easier to justify that salary to the Rogers bigwigs.

Also worth checking into if having certain types of pitchers go before Dickey makes a difference for how he does - ie: does having a hard thrower go first make Dickey more effective (bigger speed difference) or would a control pitcher be more useful before him (similar speed but completely different movement).  If I ran the Jays I'd have someone digging into that (and how it works with other knuckleball pitchers) as quick as possible. 

92-93 - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:40 PM EST (#267300) #

Before I read through this thread, let me make a quick point about that headline. Over the last 3 seasons, Zack Greinke has thrown 604ip with a 3.83era, 1.22whip, and a 106 ERA+. RA Dickey has thrown 616.2ip with a 2.95era, 1.15whip, and a 129 ERA+. One guy signs a 6/150m deal, and the other signs a 2/24 extension with an option year. If you can't see how incredibly valuable that is in today's market you don't understand the business behind the game.
MatO - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 01:41 PM EST (#267301) #
What's really cool is all the switch-hitters that have been added to the lineup.  What's even cooler is that there doesn't appear to be any major drop-off from either side of the plate for any of the players which is a big help in these days of shrinking benches.
CeeBee - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 02:06 PM EST (#267302) #

If there was only some way AA could trade Lind and come up with Morales. I know it would take a lot more than Lind and would probably have to be a three way deal of sorts. hmmmmmmm
Ryan Day - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 02:15 PM EST (#267303) #
Dickey and Buehrle don't seem that dissimilar - Buehrle's "fastball" is only slightly harder than Dickey's knuckleball. I'd guess that something like Dickey-Morrow-Buehrle-Johnson-Romero has the highest potential to mess with batters (where Morrow & Johnson are interchangeable for this purpose).
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 02:16 PM EST (#267304) #
Ceebee, I saw that too and wondered about Buerhle. Obviously we'd be back to the drawing board a little on our starting pitching, but there's still the likes of Marcum and Jackson out there.
Mike Forbes - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 02:28 PM EST (#267305) #
For Morales, I was actually thinking of Happ as a better fit in terms of age and salary for LAA. I still think the Jays will just stick with Lind since they can't find anyone to take his salary.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 02:51 PM EST (#267306) #
A midseason trade might be more likely, as there should be 1B/DH options available and Lind's remaining contract would presumably be easier to move (or dump).
hypobole - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 03:05 PM EST (#267307) #
Not a prediction, but also not outside the realm of possibility this could be a dead cat bounce season for Mr. Lind. I just hope if that happens, AA doesn't do what Sabean did with Aubrey Huff after the 2010 season.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 03:09 PM EST (#267308) #
Yes, a stricter platoon, more rest, and (perhaps) a stronger surrounding cast could help Lind's cause in 2013. My expectations are low, though.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 03:31 PM EST (#267309) #
Hmm... I wonder... given we know Happ won't be happy as a swing man I wonder if he'd be more valuable to the Angels.  The Angels would have 0 interest in Lind, and one would think a 1B/RF who can hit for a 119 OPS+ lifetime would be worth more than our 6th starter but still can't hurt for AA to ask :)
CeeBee - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 04:11 PM EST (#267310) #
lost in the rumours....
AA has claimed another relief pitcher.
Jonny German - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 04:12 PM EST (#267311) #
"So either 2012 was an anomaly, or Dickeys ‘harder’ knuckleball has some lingering effects."

It's an interesting thing to consider. Another angle is, what type of throwers followed Dickey in 2011 vs 2012? Is there a certain type that benefits more than another?

At a glance I see that in 2011 Dickey was followed mostly by Capuano, with some Niese. In 2012 it looks like more of a mix, 2 parts each for Niese and Santana and 1 part each for Hefner and Harvey.
MatO - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 04:26 PM EST (#267312) #

I didn't hear this myself but McCown apparently said last night on his show that he's been told that the Jays are seriously talking about putting grass into the Dome for the baseball season likely starting in 2015 but maybe 2014.  The Argos have been told to find another place to play.  I think their lease is up after this past season.  McCown knows the higher-ups at Rogers so there might be some credence to this.

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 04:31 PM EST (#267313) #
Next up: purchase the Gardiner and rename it the Blue Jay Expressway.  No tolls on gameday with your tickets!
hypobole - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 05:09 PM EST (#267314) #
No need to purchase the Gardiner. Just park dumpsters underneath and let it come to you.
Magpie - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 05:13 PM EST (#267315) #
I noticed some of you were wondering in one of the other threads if this could be the best Jays rotation ever.

It certainly could be, but lots of rotations have had that same chance, before they start actually playing the games.

Anyway, four times in their history the Blue Jays have had the best rotation in the AL (defined here as "giving up fewer runs per game than the other teams starters do.") I'm not telling you which ones because... hey! Trivia!

Anyway, three of those four rotations opened the season with a ne'er-do-well who would actually have to be replaced before the All Star Break. Oftentimes fairly desperate measure were employed to fill out the back end of the starting staff - and these were the best starting staffs in the league that year. So yeah - this year's crew is certainly looking pretty good now...
Geoff - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 05:24 PM EST (#267316) #
Seattle has picked up Kendry Morales for Jason Vargas. Any thoughts as to if Seattle may flip Morales again? They seem to have enough DH types and surprised they may abandon the Smoak project now. Morales isn't outfield ready, I would imagine.

Storey looks like he could be a good story for cheap effective reliever. At least add him to the mix of "see what shakes out in spring training".
Geoff - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 05:30 PM EST (#267317) #
Wonder if Seattle could be tempted by Rasmus for Morales, give them a wild card like Jenkins or McGuire as add-in?
perlhack - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 06:12 PM EST (#267319) #
A Flickr user superimposed Kaufmann Stadium's grass field over Skydome's/ Roger's Centre field.

Have a look.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, December 19 2012 @ 11:19 PM EST (#267325) #
As the Joker would say, "Riddle me this."

OK, we've got our Ace: Dickey Bird, our 2nd: Morrow (on talent alone), our 3rd: Johnson (still VERY good BUT not the great pitcher he was before his injury), our 4th: Buehrle (a mid-rotation horse) and...

And - two lefties: Romero a former Ace who's basically lost the plot and Happ a wanna be journeyman.

The "Riddle" is this: IF - Happ outplays Romero in the spring do we give our "then best" 5th guy the job or stick with the former heart and soul of the staff. REMEMBER - every win gets us that most closer to glory...

I say... if Romero is worse than Happ in the spring we don't have a choice Happ has options and Romero - at that time - will have near zero trade value SO we'd pretty much have to keep running Romero out every 5th day 'till the blood running down our legs just got too unbearable.

TamRa - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 03:15 AM EST (#267329) #
As the Joker would say, "Riddle me this."

For shame.

It's the RIDDLER who says "Riddle me this"

AWeb - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 07:48 AM EST (#267331) #

Anyway, four times in their history the Blue Jays have had the best rotation in the AL (defined here as "giving up fewer runs per game than the other teams starters do.") I'm not telling you which ones because... hey! Trivia!

I'll take a few stabs at it - 1985 seems the most likely, the 1992 team might have been that good. 1991 and 1987 are my next two guesses. It's possible one of the Halladay led staffs is there...2005 perhaps (I think that was Towers' good year)?

John Northey - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 08:05 AM EST (#267333) #
If not all of those then 1983 or 94 would be possible too as the Stieb/Clancy/Leal front 3 were killer at one time - all 3 had 37+ starts one of those years.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 08:46 AM EST (#267336) #
The Jays could have signed Anibal Sanchez for 5/$80M or Edwin Jackson for somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4/$52M. Instead they've added R.A. Dickey for 3/$30M with a fourth year team option for $12M. Of course, the prospects make the latter transaction very different, but contractually, it's a pretty nifty deal for Toronto.
Magpie - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 09:50 AM EST (#267338) #
I'll take a few stabs at it - 1985 seems the most likely, the 1992 team might have been that good. 1991 and 1987 are my next two guesses. It's possible one of the Halladay led staffs is there

Not bad. You nailed three of the four: 1985, 1987, and 1991. And you're on the right track for the last one, but it wasn't 2005.

Just got a phone call five minutes ago from Rogers - they were reminding me that a technician was showing up to install some equipment (he was handing me a new modem, I was handing him an old one. I hook these things up my own self.)

The technician came and went an hour ago. But I guess it was good to know.
Chuck - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 09:53 AM EST (#267339) #
Villanueva signed for 2/10.... much less than I would have thought. Maybe just too many pitchers in the market this off-season. And maybe nobody really sees him as capable of much more than 120 innings.
Jeremy - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 10:13 AM EST (#267340) #
2008, Magpie?
bpoz - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 10:28 AM EST (#267342) #
IMO it is hard for a swing man to have the arm strength to start mid year.

I just looked at Carlos V's game by game 2012 stats. As a starter later in the year (July), he built up to throwing 95-105 pitches per game. Before that he had many 1.0IP games with 22 pitches thrown, 40+ pitches for 2.0IP per game and 60+ pitches for 4IP in a game. These games as a reliever were mixed up in #IP.
Also he had the benefit of more long man opportunities from the 2011 & 12 rotations.

Happ as the 6th SP will face this problem. Someone goes on the DL and Happ may have to start. # pitches thrown will be limited. But what is the proper way, # pitches.
Magpie - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 11:04 AM EST (#267343) #
Jeremy has it.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 11:07 AM EST (#267344) #
Villanueva signed for 2/10.... much less than I would have thought. Maybe just too many pitchers in the market this off-season. And maybe nobody really sees him as capable of much more than 120 innings.

I guess the theory that goes "discount contract year performance" has a corollary- "watch carefully the contract month".  With free agency ahead, Villanueva got tattered in Sep/Oct to the tune of .314/.357/.686.  Probably cost himself $5 million in the process.  Ouch. 
John Northey - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 11:07 AM EST (#267345) #
Interesting for Villanueva.  No shock though that he'd go for less to get a lock on getting his 30+ starts.  If he gets that for 2 years then his next deal could be for a heck of a lot more ($10-15 per over 3-5 years depending).  I'm sure if the Jays offered $7 mil a year (which they wouldn't have) he wouldn't have signed as he'd know he'd be in the pen and never have a shot at the really big bucks a starting gig can get.
hypobole - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 12:10 PM EST (#267352) #
ESPN Insider Dan Szymborski has an article entitled: "How to catch the Blue Jays".

I chuckled, as for the past too many years that statement had a totally different meaning, with the answer something like "buy tickets or Rogers Sportsnet".
greenfrog - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 01:19 PM EST (#267353) #
Teams like the Cubs and Red Sox are loading up on veterans on short-term deals. I think a big part of the motivation is to have extra tradeable assets at the deadline. That's the advantage of being a rich team with money to spend during a "rebuilding phase." If the acquired player (for example, Ryan Dempster) does well, you can flip him for prospects or young controllable talent. If he doesn't do well, no big deal - the team can afford to take the hit.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 02:45 PM EST (#267354) #
Peter Gammons waxes poetic on the Jays' off-season:

"Ownership has given its GM the wherewithal to try to restore the franchise to where Gillick once took it, he has followed through, and from the Fortress of Louisbourg on the Isle of Cape Breton to Vancouver's Stanley Park, Canada's team can again be relevant, and then some."

This team was made for you and me...

China fan - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 03:19 PM EST (#267355) #
What about the good people of Newfoundland and Vancouver Island? They don't get a chance to support "Canada's Team"?
CeeBee - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 03:36 PM EST (#267356) #
Mylegacy won't be happy!
Mylegacy - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 07:42 PM EST (#267362) #
Don't worry about Mylegacy - I always have my precious - single malt of course.
grjas - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 09:14 PM EST (#267366) #
Me 2. I've moved from Lagavulin to Laphroaig tonight. What are you toasting the Jays with in BC?
CeeBee - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 10:07 PM EST (#267368) #
in the spirit(s) of the season..... a rumnog :)
MatO - Thursday, December 20 2012 @ 10:28 PM EST (#267370) #

I've moved from Lagavulin to Laphroaig tonight.

Both lovely though Lagavulin has gotten very pricey (I remember it costing $45 at one time).

Richard S.S. - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 08:24 AM EST (#267376) #
My Rotation is: R.A. Dickey; Josh Johnson; Mark Buehrle; Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. A.A. said R.A. is his Ace. I fully expect 16-20 wins by him. You put Johnson next and even an average Pitcher here should win 16-20 games. Mark Buehrle could easily win 13-16. Put Morrow next, especially after Buehrle, and he should win 16-20. Depending on which Romero shows up he could win 13-17 games. Going Kn,R,L,R,L, will confuses even the best lineups. But whoever follows R.A. will have a big year.
whiterasta80 - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 08:39 AM EST (#267377) #
Josh Johnson being the only pitcher not signed through next season makes me hesitant to put him behind Dickey, if for no other reason than to keep his price down.

There's only three situations where I consider putting JJ after Dickey.

1. He is clearly, demonstrably better than Morrow (I don't see this happening.
2. Morrow gets injured.
3. He signs an extension.
John Northey - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 08:45 AM EST (#267378) #
Given we expect whoever follows RA to have a big year I'd rather put the guy who will be here in 2014 there rather than the guy who is playing for a contract.  Thus Dickey, Morrow, Buehrle, Johnson, Romero.  Heck, if you're being very creative then Dickey - Romero - Johnson - Buehrle - Morrow would make sense too.  Games #4/5/6 are the important ones on the early schedule (vs Red Sox) but 7/8/9 are against the Tigers thus will be tough too.  The #4 starter gets two of those 6 starts so the first one I list or Richards probably makes the most sense as his has Morrow doing 2 of those games and mine has Johnson doing 2 of them.  Games 17/18/19 are against the Yankees as are 23/24/25/26 so the starters would be #2/3/4 in series one and 3/4/5/1 in series two.  That suggests putting Romero second might be a good idea so he avoids the Yankees in the second series.  Starters 3/4 get 2 of those starts thus Buerle no matter what and either Johnson or Morrow.

Fun to play with, but of course injuries and the like could drastically change everything.  Hopefully not as I figure the Jays had their injury allotment last year for a few years.

greenfrog - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 08:51 AM EST (#267379) #
I don't care whether Johnson wins 8, 12, 16 or 20 games, as long as the Jays make the playoffs. Individual pitcher win totals are irrelevant. Last year Lincecum won 10 games and the Giants won the WS. Jered Weaver won 20 games and the Angels missed the postseason.

I guess the high win totals look pretty, which is why some fans (and Buck Martinez) keep getting excited about them.
bpoz - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 10:07 AM EST (#267380) #
You can set your rotation in ST, at the AS break and when the playoffs start. There may be other ways to do it as well.
whiterasta80 - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 10:35 AM EST (#267381) #
I only care about win totals because, unless your name is Matt Cain, they correlate well with Innings Pitched.

That will be the real determinant of our success this season, if we have 3 guys over 180 innings pitched, I think we have a good shot at the post-season. If we have 4 (unlikely but possible) then I think we are all but certain of a birth.
Mike Green - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 11:16 AM EST (#267384) #
If we have 4 (unlikely but possible) then I think we are all but certain of a birth

Go forth and be fertile!  In 1998, the club got 235 great innings from Roger Clemens, 210 good innings from Woody Williams, 175 good innings from Chris Carpenter and 177 palatable innings from Pat Hentgen and 145 good innings from Juan Guzman.  It wasn't enough.  I guess it was the missing 8 innings that did them in. 
whiterasta80 - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 11:50 AM EST (#267386) #
That 1998 club is an enigma. I still don't know how they managed to not make the playoffs.

I guess you could quibble and say that Hentgen's innings were a little less than palatable, and that our bullpen was hardly excellent, and that we fielded black holes up the middle. But even with all of that still we should have been better than the Sox!

Incidentally, that team would have still won the second wild-card had it existed.
hypobole - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 11:54 AM EST (#267387) #
"I only care about win totals because, unless your name is Matt Cain, they correlate well with Innings Pitched."

Only sometimes, although too many BBWAA HOF voters seem to agree with you. Great pitchers on generally bad teams are the usual exceptions.

Dave Stieb in the 6 years from 1980-1985 averaged 254 IP, 3.07 ERA, and 14 wins. In fact the 1985 team was our best ever record-wise with 99 wins. Stieb pitched 265 innings of 2.48 ERA. He ended up with 14 wins.

Pitchers don't win games, teams win games.
bpoz - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 12:33 PM EST (#267388) #
I have full faith in Mike Greens facts. My memory is not that good but I wonder.

I had to look up results. In 1998 NYY won 114 games, Boston 92, Jays 88. With no 2nd WC it did not matter. Cleveland 89 & Texas 88 made the playoffs. LAA 85 & CWS 80. Everyone else was sub 80 wins.

My conclusions:-

Obviously the Jays were very good. Or pretty good.

Clemens probably won the CY. Hentgen & Guzman were pitchers with a good track record. And Carpenter was a prized young pitcher.

That leaves Woody Williams.

The next 2 years 1999 & 2000, the Jays won 84 & 83 games which IMO is middle of the pack territory.

I do not know what if anything was wrong with the 1998 team. But carrying on, S Green, C Delgado & A Gon1 were on that team. But probably still developing. S Stewart should be arriving soon too.

Our GM must have made some trade deadline acquisitions. That must have been a true pennant race, probably our last.

I do not remember Woody Williams being very good with us but he did quite well for the rest of his career. I must reevaluate him, see why almost everyone, if I remember correctly did not think highly of him. He was traded for Joey Hamilton, considered a prize acquisition at the time. We definitely lost that trade, probably because Williams stayed healthy and improved, while Hamilton battled injuries.

On paper that was considered a good trade for us.

whiterasta80 - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 12:39 PM EST (#267389) #

I should have said decisions correlate with innings pitched rather than wins, my mistake.
Original Ryan - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 01:10 PM EST (#267391) #
I do not remember Woody Williams being very good with us but he did quite well for the rest of his career. I must reevaluate him, see why almost everyone, if I remember correctly did not think highly of him. He was traded for Joey Hamilton, considered a prize acquisition at the time.

The main knock on Williams as a Blue Jay was that he was a "six inning pitcher" who would hit a wall once he reached the 7th inning. I never really understood the criticism because he was a pretty good pitcher for those six innings.

Dave Stewart was really high on Hamilton, but I don't remember anyone else doing cartwheels over the acquisition. The trade was basically a swap of two relatively unimpressive starters. I think "Meh" would have been the general reaction to the trade at the time.

vw_fan17 - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 01:50 PM EST (#267393) #
Dave Stewart was really high on Hamilton, but I don't remember anyone else doing cartwheels over the acquisition. The trade was basically a swap of two relatively unimpressive starters. I think "Meh" would have been the general reaction to the trade at the time.

Obviously, it's been a while so my memory is probably completely off. My recollection is that most people (on or something in those days) didn't understand the trade at the time and didn't like it in general. The feeling was that it was a case of Dave Stewart trying to leave his mark as an assistant GM and/or a bit of a challenge trade. I think most people felt that Hamilton (age 28 at the time) had a slight possibility of being better than Woody Williams (age 32), but not great odds, and a lot of warning flags - ERA+ had peaked in his rookie year at 139. It declined or stayed the same 4 years in a row until it was at ERA+ 92 before he was traded to Toronto.. His first full year with the Jays he had an ERA+ of 75. And except for a brief 33 inning stint to start the next year (injury, I think), he never got above ERA+ of 81 again. At age 32 (2003), he pitched 10 innings for the Reds, and was never again back in the bigs, although he had stopped being a GOOD pitcher in 1996, and a decent pitcher in 1997 - before he was ever traded to the Jays. When traded, he was serviceable at best.

W.W. continued to be mostly dependable (ERA+ > 100, less than 115) until he had a bad season at age 38 (ERA+ 80), a bounce-back ERA+ of 111 at age 39 and an 84 ERA+ at age 40. He also had one outstanding year of ERA+ 159 at age 35, albeit with only around 100 IP. He retired after the 2007 season, having only once been below the best post-trade season Joey Hamilton managed.

I guess I agree that, given that neither pitcher was a frontline pitcher at the time, the reaction was somewhat "Meh". However, the results were anything but "Meh" - "Blech" was more like it - WW continued to pitch decently for years while we didn't even get one decent year out of JH. I believe that only one or two Jays starting pitchers in the 90s/00s have been more disliked/villified than Joey "The Load" Hamilton: Erik Hanson and he who shall not be named. Keep in mind the timeline:

-sign Erik Hanson to start the 1996 season. ERA+ 1997-1999: 93, 59, 75
-trade Woody Williams in the 1998 offseason (just after we got Hanson out of there): ERA+ 1999-2001: 75, 144 (33 innings), 78 (traded midseason to the Reds in 2001).
-after Joey Hamilton's 2000 injury, trade for HWSNBN in 2000.

After that kind of track record, anyone could sour on the front office..
John Northey - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 01:51 PM EST (#267394) #
1998 was viewed as a disaster at mid-season and Ash started dumping players.  Then the team started to play well. 

On July 31st the Jays were 54-56 in 4th place, 10 1/2 behind the Red Sox and 25 1/2 behind the Yankees.  After that date they played at a 654 clip, 1/2 a game worse than the Yankees but gaining 6 1/2 on the Sox. 

In the 1st half Ed Sprague was at 3B (89 sOPS+), Stewart in LF (90 sOPS+) and Cruz in CF (60 sOPS+)
In the 1st half Tony Fernandez was at 3B (132 sOPS+), Stewart in LF (132 sOPS+) and Cruz in CF (135 sOPS+)

Those 3 moves (well, one move and 2 guys figuring out which end of the bat to use) made a big difference.  Team ERA 1st half 4.50, 2nd half 4.03.  Another big difference.

Funny thing is at mid-season the lies Johnson was telling players about his Vietnam time had come out and instead of knocking the team down they seem to have picked it up.  Go figure.

cybercavalier - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 04:25 PM EST (#267396) #
This team was made for you and me...


Twins sign Rich Harden to a minor league contract with ST invitation; Also, the Jays claimed Russ Canzler. Will the Jays sign more Canadian ballplayer ? Mike Nickeas arrived in the R.A.D. trade.
Richard S.S. - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 07:01 PM EST (#267401) #

Win totals of Starters are usually dismissed as not being relevant, then reams of data in support follow.   Fascinating - not.   Pitcher win totals and loss totals have immense value.   They are Team wins and losses, and those matter.  

Another matter that seems to not get much consideration is something called a No Decision (ND).   Usually Starts - Starter wins+Starter losses = ND, but I could be wrong - not.   No Decisions have a direct bearing on how good a Teams is, as wins and losses matter.   Lack of offense, late offense, poor defense, crappy relief all affect the non-Starter W-L records and those matter.    A good average-ish number of ND the Bullpen usually deals with is about 40-45, occasionally more or less.

Relievers, being the creatures of habit that they are, usually win half the non-Starter decisions.  A total of 20-22 wins is a normal rate for Relievers.   Good Teams win more, bad Teams win less.   A rule of thumb says 4+ Relief wins a month means a winning team, less means problems.   If you catch the problems early enough, changes can be made.

That being said, I believe we have big problems with our Bullpen.   (1) Sergio Santos, by all reports - his, will be ready to start the Season?   (2) Casey Janssen is still a question mark, but should be close?   (3) Power-arm Steve Delabar is back.   (4) J.A. Happ (a lefty, not happy relieving) is thankfully our 6th Starter / Long Man.   After that, it get interesting, with depth in the minors being questionable.   (5a) Esmil Rogers is supposed to be a power arm, but I believe he's out of options.   (5b) Brett Cecil (another lefty - maybe effective) is out of options.   (5c) Jeremy Jeffress is another power arm, but with control issues.   He is out of options and will not go back down, which is why A.A. got him cheap.  (8) Aaron Loup (another lefty) has options.   (9) Brad Lincoln has an option left.   (5d) Darren Oliver will not be back, or with all that's happened, he would have said something by now.   After (4) Happ, there are a lot of questions and not many answers.

greenfrog - Friday, December 21 2012 @ 10:39 PM EST (#267405) #
Win totals of Starters are usually dismissed as not being relevant

On the contrary, over much of baseball history, starter win totals (along with ERA) were pretty much the be-all, end-all. Only very recently have mainstream commentators started paying attention to other methods of evaluating performance. You could argue that a sea change occurred in 2010, when King Felix finished 13-12 but won the Cy Young based on his superlative performance that year. Of course, he was at or near the top of the charts in innings, ERA, ERA+, K/BB stats, etc., so he wasn't exactly easy to overlook.

Let's not turn back the clock.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 12:48 AM EST (#267406) #

Ignoring a Pitcher's win/loss record to glory in Era+, K/9, BB/9, FIP, etc. misses the point.   A Pitcher's Win/Loss record matters.   Why?   Aren't they Team Win/Losses too?   Someone must pitch, and that record matters, because a Team's record is an accumulation of Pitching Wins and Losses.  

An average Starter will make 30-35 starts (5 Starters x 32.4 starts = 162 games).   Total number of a Pitcher's starts minus (wins plus losses) = No Decisions.   33 starts - (18 wins + 9 losses) = 6 No Decisions.   No Decisions are decided by Relievers and Era+, K/9, BB/9, FIP, etc does not matter.   Each Starter has 6-10 No Decisions (ND), the Bullpen must deal with.    The Bullpen usually has 40-45 ND to deal with, sometimes less, sometimes more (average 7/month).

The Bullpen will win 50% of No Decisions (for those using Era+, K/9, BB/9, FIP, etc., just divide by two).   To win more than 50% of non-Starter decisions usually is good news for a team, winning less indicates a problem.   In other words, it can be tracked monthly and changes made if necessary.

As my earlier post said I have doubts about the Bullpen.

Magpie - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 01:39 AM EST (#267407) #
1998 was viewed as a disaster at mid-season and Ash started dumping players. Then the team started to play well.

One of the reasons that happened - and it probably wasn't planned or anticipated, Ash was pulling the plug and dumping players - was the team's defense was upgraded enormously. In the period just before the deadline, the Jays were playing the worst defensive outfield I have ever seen in my life: Phillips LF, Green CF, Canseco RF. You really had to see that crew in action to believe how bad they were. With Mike Stanley gone, Canseco became a DH. This had the additional effect of getting Shawn Green out of CF and over into RF, allowing Cruz to play every day in CF. Two positions upgraded. Meanwhile, Tony Fernandez had been playing second base, and it was a shock and a surprise to see him play so badly in the field. But with Sprague gone, Fernandez moved to 3b, which was a spot he could still handle, with Craig Grebeck taking over at second base. Two more positions upgraded.

And with Guzman gone, Kelvim Escobar (who was supposed to be the setup guy for Randy Myers but got hurt early) came off the DL, stepped straight into Guzman's rotation spot and pitched better than Guzman. They were also able to dump Myers, and farm out closing duties among the staff (until the great Robert Person as Closer experiment commenced.)
BlueJayWay - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 09:28 AM EST (#267408) #
Are we really having this win-loss debate again?  Wins and losses are a team stat.  Not necessarily a good way to evaluate individual pitchers.

A pitcher could go 21-7 pitching on team A, and go 14-13 on team B pitching the exact the same.

PeterG - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 10:01 AM EST (#267409) #

Dave Bush is back with the Jays org after a year in Koreas as per MLBTR


Right-hander Dave Bush will return from pitching in Korea to sign with the Blue Jays, Eddy reports. Toronto originally drafted him in the second-round in 2002

hypobole - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 10:12 AM EST (#267410) #
A bit surprised no one posted this (or maybe I just missed it) but Kiley McDaniel continues his excellent series of Jays prospects at instructs with a look at million dollar bonus babies Franklin Barreto and Dawel Lugo.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 10:44 AM EST (#267411) #
I've been enjoying Kiley's articles. Who is he, and why is he focusing (at least on fangraphs) almost exclusively on Jays prospects? (Not that I'm complaining.)
Magpie - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 12:09 PM EST (#267412) #
A Pitcher's Win/Loss record matters.

Especially at contract time. Here are three pitching lines I assume everyone will recognize.
            ERA    G  GS   CG   SHO    IP    H     R     ER    HR    BB   IBB    SO   HBP   BK   WP    BF    ERA+    WHIP    
Pitcher A   2.48  36  36    8    2   265.0  206    89    73    22    96    3    167    9    1    4    1087    171    1.140   
Pitcher B   4.04  34  34    6    1   240.2  222   114   108    18    80    2    132   10    2    9    1005    101    1.255  
Pitcher C   3.30  34  34   15    2   250.2  217   108    92    19   128    4    152    2    0   10    1075    131    1.376  

One of these men went 13-16, another went 14-13, and another went 21-6.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 12:21 PM EST (#267413) #
A Pitcher's Win/Loss record matters.

Sure, if you're talking about wins leading to a bigger contract. But the discussion you're referring to is about the intrinsic value of a pitcher's W-L record. Barry Zito's 2013 salary is 20 times Matt Moore's. Does this mean that Zito is 20 times better (or even better straight up)? Also, Zito won 15 games in 2012, while Moore won 11. Which SP had a better year? Which one would you prefer to have in your rotation in '13?
Oceanbound - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 12:47 PM EST (#267414) #
I think the point is that sure, pitcher wins can't be used to evaluate how good a pitcher is, but if you want to be a playoff team and your good pitchers aren't getting wins, that's bad news. Those wins have to come from somewhere. If Josh Johnson doesn't get them, something's gone wrong.

I don't really see why Lincecum and Weaver were compared, The former had only 10 wins because he was terrible. The latter had 20 as he was great.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 01:04 PM EST (#267415) #

Are we really having this win-loss debate again? Wins and losses are a team stat. Not necessarily a good way to evaluate individual pitchers.

YES, we are.   Because the purpose I'm advocating using W-L for doesn't care who's pitching - that's immaterial.   I'm not using the stats for one Pitcher, but for seven, at once. 

162 starts in a season, with roughly 27 occuring in each month.   Starters will Win some games and Lose some games, but not all.   The non-Starter decisions, called No Decisions, are the Bullpen's responsiblity to decide.   Approximately 40-45 Bullpen decisions occur yearly (approximately 7 per month), sometimes more, sometimes less.   Bullpens are usually around 50% when all is said and done, 20-22 wins yearly, 3-4 wins monthly.  

If you are having a successful season, the Starters should be doing well, but that's not important.   You can easily tell if they are not,beause everyone is watching.   Harder to tell is how the Bullpen is doing, other than the Closer, but they should also be doing well.   Generally 4 or more wins (50%+) by the bullpen in a month, indicates few problems.   Fewer than 4 wins (less than 50%) indicates a problem, and it's not that small a sample.   Maybe the problem could be solved fast enough, if you are paying attention to better indicaters - Win/Loss record is a rough-and-dirty indicator that works fine.   50% - more is good, less is bad.

That's my way of saying I have doubts about the Bullpen and how to tell what's wrong in season.

hypobole - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 04:51 PM EST (#267417) #
greenfrog, the first I heard of Kiley McDaniel was when he was Keith Laws scouting partner on ESPN. Prior to that he and Frankie Piliere (now of co-founded SaberScouting. Kiley then wrote for Baseball Prospectus before joining the Oriole's front office.

I enjoy his work as well, even if he doesn't seem to be able to hold down a steady job :)
vw_fan17 - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 06:54 PM EST (#267418) #

Dave Bush is back with the Jays org after a year in Koreas as per MLBTR

Was this a rumor that was denied and subsequently removed? The Twitter link definitely goes to something by someone named Matt Eddy (haven't heard of him before, but that's probably just me) that seems to be the source, but the MLBTR link doesn't go to anything related to the Jays or Dave Bush (I couldn't find anything on MLBTR related to Jays/Dave Bush).
hypobole - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 07:18 PM EST (#267419) #

Not exactly a big move. so doesn't merit a story on its own, but it is buried in here. And the Matt Eddy link (Matt Eddy, editor of Baseball America) does go to the appropriate tweet.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 07:38 PM EST (#267420) #
My main concern for 2013 is not the bullpen but the 5-9 spots in the lineup. I think we can all agree that 1-4 looks excellent with Reyes / Cabrera / Bautista / EE. I think that quartet can cover a lot of overall lineup weaknesses. But while the rest (Lind / Lawrie / Rasmus / Arencibia / Izturis) could be OK, even solid, it could also be a bit of an OBP / plate discipline sinkhole. At least two or three of those players have the potential to be terrible.
Original Ryan - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 08:43 PM EST (#267421) #
I always liked Dave Bush. I saw him pitch for New Haven in 2003, a team that had quite a few future Blue Jays on it. He pitched fairly well for Lehigh Valley last year before heading to Korea, so I'm sure Buffalo will be happy with this signing.

With the help of Google Translate, it looks like Bush posted an ERA of 4.43 in 81.1 innings for the SK Wyverns. My best guess is that he gave up 80 hits, walked 39 and struck out 45. I don't know if that's good or bad relative to the league.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 09:04 PM EST (#267422) #

After Switch Hitter (#1), Switch Hitter (#2), Bats Right (#3), Bats Right (#4), you need to use a Switch Hitter or a Bats Left (#5), and (#7) and (#9), with Bats Right in (#6) and (#8) to take best advantage of opposing Pitchers.    Lind and Rasmus Bats Left, Izturis and Bonifacio Switch Hit, Arencibia and Lawrie Bat Right.   Complain about 5-9 all you want, just figure it out.

Using Lind, Lawrie, Arencibia, Rasmus and one of Izturis or Bonifacio and create another (#1), (#2), (#3), (#4) for the (#5),(#6), (#7), (#8), or the (#6), (#7), (#8), (#9).   I would go 6-9, putting Lind/platoon partner at (#5).  Then I would go with Lawrie, Rasmus, Arencibia, and Izturis or Bonifacio.

McNulty - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 09:13 PM EST (#267423) #
I live in Seoul and saw five KBO games this season, but did not see Bush pitch for SK.

The Korean league is perfect for someone like Bush, who struggled with giving the up home run.  The KBO is a very pitcher friendly league (all stadiums are outdoors), with most parks being major league sized  and a good portion of the season played in chilly weather (Seoul, and the more central part of the country has a similar climate to Southern Ontario). That being said there just isn't the power amongst most Korean players that there is in North and Latin America (even Japan), and that lends itself to the size of the players and the talent pool, etc.  For Bush, some of those high bombs he gave up at the RC would have been caught in the cavernous right centre field alley at Jamsil Stadium hit by players with less strength.

Original Ryan - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 10:00 PM EST (#267424) #
Some very sad news, but former Jays infielder Ryan Freel apparently committed suicide.
John Northey - Saturday, December 22 2012 @ 10:55 PM EST (#267425) #
Bush catches me as a decent #8 or 9 guy in the depth chart.  His last ERA+ over 100 in the majors was in 2008 - he did it 3 times.  Since he was first called up in 2004 he has had ML service time each year other than last year (split between Korea and Phillies AAA team).  Lifetime a 93 ERA+, his last full season was 2010 with 174 1/3 IP and an 89 ERA+.  In truth he is a decent #6 option but here he'd be no better than 7th and maybe 8th or 9th.  A bit surprised he signed here as you'd think a more desperate team for starting pitching might have taken him.  Still, works out nicely to have a guy who isn't horrid in the majors as one of your AAA starters.

Does anyone have an up-to-date list of guys who will be in the AAA staff?  Assuming Bush is invited to spring there are now 8 pitchers invited plus the 22 pitchers on the 40 man roster.  That is 30 pitchers or enough to fill the majors, AAA, and a chunk of the AA staff (4 or so depending on how many pitchers they carry in AAA).  Mix in non-roster/non-invite guys like McGuire too.  Lots of pitching depth this year it seems.

Magpie - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 08:03 AM EST (#267428) #
Those of you wondering why Grilli would stay with Pittsburgh: as everyone knows, the Pirates been shopping Hanrahan all winter. Now they've found a taker, and Grilli is going to be a closer.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 02:27 PM EST (#267431) #
I'm almost watching the Hanrahan Trade on various sites (it's cold and snowy outside), and this thing is worse the R.A.'s trade.   They haven't decided on who goes where yet., and speculation is rife.   Gives a person a greater appreciation into how A.A. does his business.   I understand the Closer lure that Grilli sought.   I just look at the players "moving" in the Hanrahan Trade, Boston's aren't that good.
Magpie - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 02:33 PM EST (#267432) #
The point for Pittsburgh, since the season ended, has been getting rid of Hanrahan because of the $$ he's going to command. But I do think it's a terrible trade strategy to focus on what you're trying to get rid of, rather than what you're trying to get.
hypobole - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 02:49 PM EST (#267433) #
It was pointed out on a BBB thread Hanrahan's 2012 #'s (ERA, FIP, xFIP) were similar to, and actually worse, than Francisco Cordero's 2011 #'s. Both trademark "Proven Closers" who have/had reputation, but very much regressed results.

Although he may bounce back, Hanrahan's salary and declined peripherals makes this seem the right move by the Pirates.
John Northey - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 04:20 PM EST (#267434) #
I'm wondering what is going on in Boston.  Hanrahan's numbers are not that good - 5.4 BB/9 last year, 4.3 lifetime, with a freakish 2.1 in 2011.  His next best is 3.4, then 4.5 (!).  This is a pitcher who has very poor control.  He may K a lot but those walks will be a disaster in Fenway as the fans will get on him hard and fast not to mention the danger of the wall there.  Plus he is on the wrong side of 30, made over $4 mil last year thus will be over 5 this (arbitrators love the save and he had 36 of them). 

If I was a sox fan I'd be very worried about the direction that team is going.  As a Jays fan I love it.  They are signing tons of middle of the road players, going for a 'proven closer', these moves are very poor return for the dollar.  Plus, of course, giving up anything for a non-elite closer seems plain old dumb (I didn't care for AA trading Napoli for Fransciso iirc).  Looking back at that thread I never said clearly one way or the other, just that you cannot predict what AA will do (still true).  Others mention how it seemed a cost cutting measure, it might also have been a move to guarantee an extra draft pick in the next draft.    He turned into Matt Smoral so maybe that will work out in the end.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 05:11 PM EST (#267435) #
I think Boston has had a good off-season. Here are my reasons, in a nutshell:

- They haven't dented their very good farm system

- The free agent signings could keep them in the playoff picture (before writing off Boston, it might help to recall Baltimore's unexpected success, and that Boston dealt with a lot of injuries last year )

- They've added Butter and Lovullo to the coaching staff

- While you could quibble with a couple of their FA signings (Victorino, Napoli), it's hard to find fault with value / pillow signings like Ross, Gomes, Dempster, Uehara, Drew

- Even if they fall off the pace in the divisional or wild card races, their moves potentially give them some useful tradeable assets at midseason or in the off-season - remember AA doing this a couple of years ago, back in the old days?

- The FAs will allow the organization to bring its prospects along at the optimal pace. In any case, they all come off the books within 1-3 years - unlike Upton, Swisher, Hamilton, Sanchez, Jackson, and potentially Greinke - so the team should be pretty lean and mean (with a massive budget) in a couple of years
greenfrog - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 05:14 PM EST (#267436) #
Fwiw, one of the ESPN commentators (Bowden?) recently ranked MLB teams' off-seasons and listed the Red Sox at #2 behind the Jays. Bowden may get a bit effusive at times but he's no fool.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 06:07 PM EST (#267437) #

Let me change my opinion slightly on how soon Toronto's competition challenges them again.   It's very unlikely Free Agency will ever again be a bountiful resource that it has been at times in the past.   T.V., and it insatiable desire for content, will always throw immense amounts of money at Baseball, giving Teams opportunity to keep it's players longer.   Trades are getting more costly as G.M.'s grossly overvalue prospects and players beyond their value.   Money almost doesn't matter.

New York needs almost everything to go right, because any chance to get better vanishes before 2016.   I don't think they'll be relevant before then.   If they blew it all up this year, they'd be a force to be reckoned with by 2016, not only just competitive.   I just don't believe New York's G.M. can do it, he's just not as smart as A.A. is.

Boston's G.M. isn't that good, chances are it's a while before he's better, if ever.   Boston's Manager isn't that good, chances are it's a while before he's better, if ever.  That being said, this team isn't that good.  At one time it was better and still wasn't that good.   Boston might not be relevant for a long time, 2017 and beyond.

Tampa Bay has always had an option when handing out long term contracts to go with Hitters or with Pitchers.   They chose Hitters as more stable an investment.   Because of their success, they no longer draft in the 1-10 range.   Every once and a while they need an upgrade to their system, so some one is traded.   This offseason was James Shield`s and Wade Davis` (barely average, Starter/Reliever, road-block) turn to replenish the system.   Tampa will always get a "Wil Meyers-type" in trade, some one will meet their price.   Next offseason David Price goes, because Tampa can't pay him more than Greinke.   Tampa Bay will be good, just not good enough the next two years.

Baltimore will never ever finish better than Toronto again, as that was an embrassment.   I know so little about Balitimore - G.M. not as good as A.A.; lots of good young pitchers; good Manager - that's about it. 

greenfrog - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 06:44 PM EST (#267438) #
I just don't believe New York's G.M. can do it, he's just not as smart as A.A. is

Cashman became the Yankees' GM since February 1998. Here are the team's regular season records (and finish in the AL East standings) since then:

1998 / 114-48 (1st)
1999 / 98-64 (1st)
2000 / 87-74 (1st)
2001 / 95-65 (1st)
2002 / 103-58 (1st)
2003 / 101-61 (1st)
2004 / 101-61 (1st)
2005 / 95-67 (1st)
2006 / 97-65 (1st)
2007 / 94-68 (2nd)
2008 / 89-73 (3rd)
2009 / 103-59 (1st)
2010 / 95-67 (2nd)
2011 / 97-65 (1st)
2012 / 95-67 (1st)

Yankees WS championships: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009
greenfrog - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 06:46 PM EST (#267439) #
*in* February 1998
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 07:59 PM EST (#267440) #
When you have unlimited resources, no worries about bad deals, prospects everyone thinks are 10 times better than they are, a willingness to trade anyone anywhere, an untrained chimp could be a G.M.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 23 2012 @ 08:37 PM EST (#267441) #
The Yankees are typically at or near the top of the payroll rankings, but during the 1990s the margin of difference was often less than you might think, including during Cashman's WS run from 1998-2000. The Jays ruled the roost in 1993 and 1995. Check out this link:

Interestingly, all three big-payroll teams besides the Yankees in 2012 missed the playoffs: Philly ($175M), Boston ($173M), LA Angels ($154M). Perhaps their front offices could use some assistance from the animal kingdom.
Magpie - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 01:50 AM EST (#267442) #
Saying Anthopoulos is smarter than Cashman seems very much like saying Brett Lawrie is better than George Brett. It might turn out to be true one day. But one guy already has a Hall of Fame resume, and the other guy sill has a lot to prove.
John Northey - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 07:41 AM EST (#267443) #
People keep saying how easy a job Cashman has but the Yankees still needed to get the right players.  I remember how the Jays were viewed as strong favorites and had cash to burn in the 80's early 90's and into the mid-90's but still had 2 titles and 4 playoff appearances mixed in with many lesser finishes.  Even with double the cash of anyone else you have to find the right players.  It helped Cashman a lot that Jeter/Rivera were there from the start and were resigned over and over again but he still had to have the guts to get ARod, to let Williams go when he was beyond playability, to be creative with Clemens to get him to pitch 1/2 seasons (not to mention getting him in the first place) and so on.
Mike Green - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 08:41 AM EST (#267444) #
The Yankees were already a great team when Cashman took over. They had a young Rivera, Jeter, Bernie Williams, Posada and Andy Pettitte.  That's two obvious Hall of Famers and three (likely) near-misses.  Plus there has been all that cash.

He's had all the advantages and has put them to full use for 15 years, like a supercharged version of Sparky Anderson.  I wonder which Hall of Fame ballplayer had the greatest home field advantage.  I was thinking "Mel Ott", but actually his home/road splits are pretty even.  Bobby Doerr would be a good candidate; I wonder if he would have been a Hall of Famer if he had spent his career in Cleveland. 

bpoz - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 09:21 AM EST (#267445) #
Anyone care to compare the young talent of NYY Jeter, Mo ... with TB Price, Longoria...
These are no longer prospects, but proven high level players. That is a great base.

So NYY cashed in with great success adding Clemens, Wells, Randy Johnson & Mike Musina among a long list of top available FAs. This all helped. Only they had the money & the attraction to the FAs.

TB is doing quite well. They have to use trades. So far their success has been home grown.

Good health is crucial to TB. Especially the rotation. NYY has the depth & $ resources to combat poor health.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 09:24 AM EST (#267446) #

If you are comparing Spartan apples with Spartan apples and not granny Smith apples you might have a case - not here.

Let's see, A.A. in his three years (plus a day of 2009) as G.M. the Blue Jays has not won the World Series spending $200,291,000.00.   The last time Toronto was relevant in October was 1993.   The last time this organization has had a responsive Ownership and a top quality G.M., prior to A.A. was Pat Gillick. 

In his last the years as G.M., Cashman has not won a World Series, spending $606,984,707.00, last winning a World Series 2009.   In the 12 years since back-to-back-to-back World Series, Cashman has spent $2,158,283,903 Billion to win ONE World Series.   I won't discuss who had what when they took over - how many Hall of Famers did A.A. have.

Give A.A. the type of Roster Cashman started with, as much money as Cashman ever had, and I truly believe A.A. is better.

AWeb - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 09:41 AM EST (#267447) #
I wonder which Hall of Fame ballplayer had the greatest home field advantage.
Chuck Klein is my first guess (Baker Bowl for his best years) - 1.028 OPS at Home, .813 away.

Cashman has done a good job - if you want to see how spending the most money, by far, can leave you with a questionable team, look at L.A. right now - they could be good this year, but they might also have a half dozen disaster contracts all at once.
greenfrog - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 09:56 AM EST (#267448) #
I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Cashman has had a huge cash advantage (ouch), but he has also delivered the goods. It's absurd to say, well, a GM isn't really that good because, in his last 12 years, he has only won one WS after winning back-to-back-to-back titles in his first three.

And we all know that advancing in the playoffs is somewhat of a crapshoot. Under Cashman's watch, the Yankees have made the playoffs a remarkable 14 out of 15 years (in a competitive division no less), which is probably a better gauge of long-term success. The Blue Jays? They've tallied the same number of playoff appearances as Blutarsky's GPA in Animal House: "Zero point zero."
bpoz - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 10:44 AM EST (#267450) #
Good point greenfrog. SF 2 WS, v good, but not making the playoffs every year. Jon Daniels, excellent recent success, even without a WS ring. IMO.
Magpie - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 11:08 AM EST (#267451) #
I wonder which Hall of Fame ballplayer had the greatest home field advantage.

Another candidate would surely be Sandy Koufax. Career numbers at Dodger Stadium: 57-15, 1.37 (yup, 1.37); career at other parks: 108-72, 3.38.
Magpie - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 11:14 AM EST (#267452) #
Cashman has done a good job

This shouldn't even be in dispute. Lots and lots of GMs have tried to win by throwing money around and lots and lots of them have failed. Cashman's done much more than that, of course. I've complained about this often enough, but I especially wish that Anthopoulos had responded to an obvious shortage of major league starting pitching in 2012 the same way Cashman had done just the year before.
greenfrog - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 12:31 PM EST (#267453) #
I generally agree, but how many GMs have had the amount of cash Cashman has had to work with? It seems to me there is a tremendous advantage to having by far the biggest payroll (sometimes almost double that of the #2 team), not only in any given year, but *every* year (as has been the case since 1998).

Cashman is smart. Having a lot more money than everyone else year-in, year-out is a major advantage that has undoubtedly worked in his favour.
grjas - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 12:47 PM EST (#267454) #
Salary range shows what a joke the yankees are. The spread between their salary and the 5th place team is about the same as between the 5th and the lowest cost team (30th). What a surprise they've been first or second for 15 years. Sure they haven't won the WS for a few years but in a game of inches, it's all about making the playoffs and taking your chances.

Few leagues allow a team to buy a championship at this level for so long.
hypobole - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 12:52 PM EST (#267455) #
For anyone interested, Bullpen Banter has posted their Jays Top 15 prospects, along with a summary from each of the voters and some video.

CeeBee - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 12:53 PM EST (#267456) #
But whats good for the Yankees is good for baseball, right?
grjas - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 12:57 PM EST (#267457) #
Yeah no kidding. Imagine how excited the league will be if we make the playoffs. All the more reason...Go Jays
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 02:46 PM EST (#267459) #
The NFL, CFL, NHL, NBA, MLS just to mention a few organizations, all have a Salary Cap.   MLB labor peace comes from no cap.   The NFL TV deal gives each Team approximately $90.0 MM per year with a cap of $100.0 MM.   The NBA deal let's Teams survive in bad markets - with a flexible hard cap.   The new Network TV deal(s) MLB has, pays each Team $50. - $60 MM.   Individual TV deals for each Team range from $16.0 MM to an estimated $300+ deal Dodgers might get.   All for the pursuit of Content.
scottt - Monday, December 24 2012 @ 09:06 PM EST (#267463) #
I don't think any GM has made as many bad deals as Cashman has.

Pavano, Igawa, etc. It's like playing poker and getting an extra round of discards.
TamRa - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 03:10 AM EST (#267467) #
True, plus, how many important Yankees during the last dozen years were drafted and developed by the team under his watch? in fact, how many important major leaguers?

Here's the drafted and signed guys from every Yankees draft since 98 who are worth mentioning (IMO)

Phil Hughes - 2004
Brett Gardner - 2005
Austin Jackson - 2005
Ian Kennedy - 2006
Joba Chamberlain - 2006
Mark Melancon - 2006
David Phelps - 2008

That's one reasonably impressive guy every 4 years? Plus a few relievers

JP did better than THAT. and most folks consider him a poor example of drafting talent.

I'll give Cashman credit for seeming to have a good instinct for making the peices fit - it is certainly possible to spend a lot of money and not build an actual TEAM. But in the things a GM is typically judged on, beyond the "counting stats" - i'm not impressed.

Magpie - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 09:30 AM EST (#267469) #
Plus a few relievers

Yeah, David Robertson's not too bad.

Has anyone done better than the Yankees with undrafted free agents? They found Robinson Cano and Ivan Nova on Cashman's watch, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams before that.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 10:19 AM EST (#267470) #
Merry Christmas.

Everyone says that TB has a v good pen because their starters are so good. NYY's pen was good because of M Rivera people said. But it was good last year without him. $ will buy you a v good supporting cast.

I am impressed with how Janssen took the closer role. He was great. There is something to be said about "if it ain't broke don't fix it". So we are entering a window of contention hopefully. I do not see any glaring weakness any where. Rotation, offense, defense & team speed look good to elite. The pen can work well I think. I feel Janssen can handle pressure very well and so I believe he will have success as our closer. I am hoping that other pitchers will rise to the opportunities presented. These opportunities always seem to occur.
I have seen a weak pen hurt the Jays & also the Expos in the past. I hate to say that the responsibility is Gibbon's, but I really wonder. Some times it seems that the fans can make better choices. I also know that that is subjective thinking and probably unfair to the manager.
hypobole - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 01:37 PM EST (#267473) #
"Has anyone done better than the Yankees with undrafted free agents?"

How about the Gillick/Epy connection? Tony Fernandez, Carlos Delgado, Kelvim Escobar, and a lot of other major leaguers. Ash did manage to dry up that pipeline though. Still upset over the Pedro Martinez debacle.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 03:23 PM EST (#267476) #
The Gord Ash years are a period of Jays history we'd all like to forget happened with the exception of the great first round draft picks...however that also is sad because of how it never resulted in a team winning more than 88 games. Also it isn't as impressive when you go through Jays history.

Guys with 10+ WAR drafted by Jays...
1977: Jesse Barfield
1978: Dave Stieb & Lloyd Moseby
1979 & 1980 & 1981: 0 with 1980 actually having 0 reach the majors.
1982: David Wells, Jimmy Key
1983/1984: none
1985: Jim Abbott (unsigned)
1986: Pat Hentgen
1987: Mike Timlin, Derek Bell
1988: Woody Williams, Scott Erickson (unsigned)
1989: John Olerud, Jeff Kent
1990: Steve Karsay
1991: Shawn Green, Ryan Franklin (unsigned)
1992: Shannon Stewart (compensation for Free Agent Tom Candiotti), Doug Mientkiewicz (unsigned)
1993: Chris Carpenter (compensation for Free Agent Tom Henke)
1994: none, end of Gillick era

1995: Halladay, Ted Lilly (unsigned)
1996: Orlando Hudson (unsigned), Casey Blake
1997: Orlando Hudson, Vernon Wells, Michael Young
1998: none
1999: Alex Rios, Reed Johnson is 1/2 a WAR away
2000: none
2001: none, end of Ash era

2002: none
2003: Aaron Hill, Shaun Marcum
2004: none
2005: Romero is less than 1 away
2006-present: none, with 2011 being the next year with none reaching (yet).

So Gillick had 19 reach 10+ WAR, with 4 of those being unsigned thus 15 who were useful to the Jays over 18 drafts. Ash had 7 reach over 7 years (counting Hudson just once) with one unsigned and one more who could reach. Thus 6 useful, maybe 7. JPR had just 2 reach but another is on edge and more could reach - won't know for a few years. Same with AA's 0 having reached as if any of his did it'd be super-impressive given none during his drafts have reached, even #1 picks - although the leader is Chris Sale at 9.0 who was picked 2 choices after the Jays took Deck McGuire (sigh).

Overall I'd say Gillick's record is in eyeshot of Ash's for the draft, especially with the near HOF careers from Stieb, Wells, Olerud, and maybe HOF from Jeff Kent. For Ash's time Halladay is likely HOF and Young is the closest after that with no others have any shot. JPR's era won't have any most likely, and AA's is much too soon to tell.
hypobole - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 04:58 PM EST (#267477) #
Everyone talks as if GM's draft guys. They rarely do. They are heavily involved in the first pick or few picks (such as JPR reportedly overruling his people in taking Adams and Romero), then, in almost all cases, it's the scouting director making the decisions. GM's are heavily involved in signing the players drafted.
robertdudek - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 08:21 PM EST (#267479) #
Good comp for Arencibia is John Buck.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 25 2012 @ 08:58 PM EST (#267480) #
Also, because they Yankees had such stellar records from 1998-2012, they typically drafted late in the first round, so it would have been somewhat tougher to find star-level players.

It should also be noted that AA inherited some decent major-league talent from Ricciardi. For example, it's hard to imagine this off-season's moves without Bautista and EE being in the fold, and Anthopoulos was able to acquire some pretty useful talent for Doc and Marcum. Hill has belatedly blossomed (for the second time) into a star second baseman. I say all this as a strong supporter of AA.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 26 2012 @ 11:53 AM EST (#267485) #
If A.A. drafts a Hall of Famer, they will likely start their MLB career within a year. If it takes approximately 14 years to amass enough mumbers and still finish by Age 34/5 , you need to start very young.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 26 2012 @ 02:05 PM EST (#267486) #
Boston gets Joel Hanrahan and a very useful piece for the next best thing to litter box filler. And everyone thinks it's a fair deal!
uglyone - Wednesday, December 26 2012 @ 02:12 PM EST (#267487) #
JPA has considerably more power than Buck.

There's only a small, small handful of catchers in the last 20-odd years who have displayed more power than JP has in his career so far.

Catchers' ISO with minimum 500pa since 1987 (last 25yrs):

1) M.Napoli .248
2) M.Piazza .237
3) B.Estalella .225
4) M.Tettleton .223
5) J.Arencibia .211

and at 26 JP's just coming into his power years.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 26 2012 @ 02:14 PM EST (#267488) #
Hmm... how long does it take for a HOF or near HOF'er to go through the minors?  Just checking Jays/ex-Jays...

Year drafted: Player: Debut in majors/stayed: games in minors
1978: Dave Stieb: 1979: 19 starts (plus 110 PA in a failed attempt to be an OF) - can't get much shorter
1982: David Wells: 1987/1988: 123 games, 76 starts - lost a year to injury (85) - without injury he might have been a full time starter from the beginning and been in the rotation in '87, if so then a lot
1982: Jimmy Key: 1984: 44 games, 43 starts - 2 seasons in minors, one as reliever in majors
1988: Carlos Delgado (free agent): 1993/1995: 680 games: 1989 was his first pro season at 17, stayed nearly full time in minors until 23 - very, very odd for a player who was hyped like he was from day one - 4 years in A+ or less was crazy as was 2 years in AAA but the Jays had Olerud & Molitor thus no where to put him (LF was tried and was ugly). If he was born a year or two later (thus avoided Molly/Olerud logjam) he might have had those 500 HR.
1989: John Olerud: 1989: no minors until his final season (3 rehab games)
1989: Jeff Kent: 1992: 344 games over 3 seasons.
1995: Halladay: 1998/2001: 118 games, 104 starts but just 87 games before his first callup/full season in majors then the crash.
1997: Michael Young: 2000/2001: 524 games over 5 years - moved a level a year, very slow for a guy who has had a career like his.

None are HOF locks, but Halladay has the best shot, followed by Kent (most HR by a secondbaseman).  Delgado and Young have slim shots while Stieb made the Hall of Merit (BBTF's version of the HOF), Wells was well over 200 wins and Key was just a really, really good pitcher.

By games in minors...
Hitters: Delgado: 680 games, Young 524, Kent 344, Olerud 0
Pitchers: Wells 123, Halladay 118, Key 44, Stieb 19

Delgado wasting time as a catcher then stuck behind Olerud/Molitor was the worst (very painful for fans then too).  Young was moved slowly too.  Kent was fairly quick, especially considering he debuted in '92 for a team that would win the World Series.  Same with Olerud in '89 with a division winner.  Shows that if a team really wants a kid to get a shot they make it happen.  Molitor should've been traded after 1994 to make room but Ash wasn't up to trading a popular player - part of why Gillick, JPR and AA are better than Ash - all 3 did trade popular players or let them go to allow the team to mix in kids when needed while Ash had trouble doing so.  Guarantee Ash would've resigned Winfield instead of going for Molitor for example.  Wells was hurt by injuries while Halladay was slowed by forgetting how to pitch. 

This also shows that extended minor league time is not needed for really talented guys - see Key & Stieb who both were All-Stars in year 2 in the majors despite very little prep time in the minors.

FYI: Current Jay Brett Lawrie had just 3 seasons in the minors, 166 games (2 game rehab last year also).  Jose Reyes had 343 in the minors (started at 17), Josh Johnson 70 games, RA Dickey though had significant time in minors up until 2010 (8 starts) while 2007 was his last full season in the minors (age 32) - 238 games 139 starts - very much a jouneymans career before he perfected the knuckleball.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 26 2012 @ 02:25 PM EST (#267489) #
Uglyone, Buck has played in tough HR parks almost his entire career.  His career away/home HR spilt is 70/48.  His career IsoP on the road is .182.  Arencibia's is .179. 
Magpie - Thursday, December 27 2012 @ 11:39 AM EST (#267506) #
extended minor league time is not needed for really talented guys - see Key & Stieb who both were All-Stars in year 2 in the majors despite very little prep time in the minors.

Key and Stieb were both college guys of course, and you would expect college guys - Olerud was another - to get to the show quicker. (Not that Stieb's unique path is relevant to anyone else anyway.) Key was 24 years old during his first year as a ML starter - he was actually the same age Delgado and Young were in their first seasons as regulars. One of the reasons the last two had so many minor league games is because they started playing them at age 18. That's only one of the reasons, of course.
Magpie - Thursday, December 27 2012 @ 11:49 AM EST (#267507) #
And everyone thinks it's a fair deal!

Melancon could quite easily be as good or better than Hanrahan now that he's out of Fenway and back in the NL. If anybody gets anything out of the other bodies, beyond a serviceable major leaguer, it would be something of a surprise. Holt, Sands and de Jesus are all getting a little long in the tooth to be really good prospects at this stage. The Pirates were doing the old Billy Beane move - create a closer, pump up his value with nifty Save numbers, and have someone else pick up the bill.
Alex Obal - Thursday, December 27 2012 @ 12:41 PM EST (#267508) #
And we all look forward to watching the Red Sox pick up the exact same bill next winter, too.
uglyone - Thursday, December 27 2012 @ 02:41 PM EST (#267518) #
It was heartwarming to hear, in a schadenfreudy type way, Farrell announcing right away that Hanrahan was his closer going into the season.

Farrell loves his "proven closers". The guys at SOSH won't be too happy with his bullpen usage this year, I'm guessing.
TamRa - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 01:33 AM EST (#267527) #
Yeah, David Robertson's not too bad.

Overlooked him. Scroll-down fail. Yeah,he's pretty good. :)

Has anyone done better than the Yankees with undrafted free agents? They found Robinson Cano and Ivan Nova on Cashman's watch, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams before that.

"Before that" applies not at all to Cashman. Ifit did, the easy answer to your question would be "Certainly!"

Since it doesn't, since it doesn't a direct comparison to AA isn't possible since his international signings have not come to furition yet. But I can beat Cano/Nova with Delgado//Escobar without even trying hard.

It all depends on the paramaters of the comparison.

Everyone talks as if GM's draft guys. They rarely do. They are heavily involved in the first pick or few picks (such as JPR reportedly overruling his people in taking Adams and Romero), then, in almost all cases, it's the scouting director making the decisions. GM's are heavily involved in signing the players drafted.

Who's responsible for hiring those folks who DO make the picks?

hypobole - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 02:55 AM EST (#267528) #
"Who's responsible for hiring those folks who DO make the picks?"

Not always the current GM. Jeff Luhnow for instance was Scouting Director under Cards GM Walt Jocketty, but remained in the position after Jocketty left for Cinci and John Mozeliak took over as GM.
hypobole - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 03:03 AM EST (#267529) #
One small correction, although the basic point remains - Jocketty didn't "leave for Cinci" - the Cards canned him.
greenfrog - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 09:48 AM EST (#267533) #
"Before that" applies not at all to Cashman. Ifit did, the easy answer to your question would be "Certainly!"

Since it doesn't, since it doesn't a direct comparison to AA isn't possible since his international signings have not come to furition yet. But I can beat Cano/Nova with Delgado//Escobar without even trying hard.

I agree that when it's all said and done, Delgado/Escobar probably beats Cano/Nova, but this is not a sure thing. Cano/Nova is hardly chopped liver. Note that Cano, a two-way player, just turned 30 and had a higher WAR total in 2012 (7.8 fangraphs / 8.2 BRef) than Delgado did in 2000, his best year (7.5 fangraphs / 6.9 BRef). There is a very real possibility that he surpasses Delgado's career WAR total and ends up in the HOF.

As for Escobar, he certainly had more electric stuff than does Nova, but he also flamed out after his age-31 season. During his 12-year career, he pitched 1507 innings with a 112 ERA+. Good, but not great. Nova hasn't been particularly impressive to date, but he is only 25, so he could accrue some value yet, though he will be hard-pressed to match Escobar's career.
TamRa - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 12:03 PM EST (#267536) #
Not always the current GM. Jeff Luhnow for instance was Scouting Director under Cards GM Walt Jocketty, but remained in the position after Jocketty left for Cinci and John Mozeliak took over as GM.

Still serves at the pleasure of the current guy.

EVERY carry-over employee serving under a given GM was essentially "hired" on the day that the GM took office and decided to retain that employee.

Magpie - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 12:31 PM EST (#267538) #
But I can beat Cano/Nova with Delgado//Escobar without even trying hard.

But if you're going back as far as Delgado and Escobar (both signed by Gillick), Rivera and Williams are certainly part of the equation.
hypobole - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 02:28 PM EST (#267543) #
"Still serves at the pleasure of the current guy.

EVERY carry-over employee serving under a given GM was essentially "hired" on the day that the GM took office and decided to retain that employee"

Of course, but you seem to be either missing the point or making a straw man. GM's have much less to do than most people believe as to how well or how poorly their teams draft. Scouts and Scouting Directors have the most impact.

If the Luhnow drafts under Mozeliak turn out well, should Mozeliak be called an excellent drafter because he didn't get rid of the arguably best scouting director in the game when he took the GM job?

greenfrog - Friday, December 28 2012 @ 02:42 PM EST (#267544) #
Perhaps the Yankees didn't draft all that well under Cashman because (a) they generally did not have high overall draft picks; and (b) they didn't perceive an aggressive draft strategy to be all that important to their on-field success.
TamRa - Sunday, December 30 2012 @ 04:24 AM EST (#267551) #
If the Luhnow drafts under Mozeliak turn out well, should Mozeliak be called an excellent drafter because he didn't get rid of the arguably best scouting director in the game when he took the GM job?


BUT he gets credit for retaining good talent, and conversely if he'd replaced Luhnow and subsequent drafts sucked while Luhnow went on to draft great elsewhere, then that counts against Mozoliack's record.

Or don't we remember the scorn heaped upon Riccardi for letting certain well respected scouts and assistants go?

Look carefully - i didn't say "Cashman is a bad drafter" I said "the Yankees didn't draft much quality talent under Cashman"

Are we now NOT giving AA credit that the Jays scored Sanchez, Syndergaard, Nicolino, Smoral, Stilson...whoever? Even though we all know perfectly well he did not personally author those pics in all likelihood?

scottt - Sunday, December 30 2012 @ 07:08 AM EST (#267552) #
Mike Trout was drafted with a Yankees pick (24th).

Also, they could have abused the "hard to sign" picks that fell to them, but never seem to bother.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 30 2012 @ 07:52 AM EST (#267553) #
I think it's true that a GM's performance should be judged on the basis of all aspects of his or her job (including drafting) -- the total package. However, the ultimate benchmark is winning: W-L records, playoff appearances, WS titles. I don't think AA would dispute this. The amateur draft is one means to this end.
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