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This year we have what looks to be our strongest opening day rotation, but is that just hype or is it real?

Lets go through the rotations...

YearPitcherPitcherPitcherPitcherPitcherNeeded #6PitcherNotes
1977 B.Singer D.Lemanczyk J.Garvin J.Jefferson S.Hargan May 23rd P.Vuckovich  
1978 D.Lemanczyk J.Garvin T.Underwood J.Jefferson J.Clancy June 13th B.Moore  
1979 T.Underwood J.Clancy M.Lemongello P.Huffman D.Lemanczyk May 1st J.Jefferson  
1980 D.Lemanczyk D.Stieb P.Mirabella J.Clancy J.Jefferson May 25th L.Leal  
1981 J.Clancy D.Stieb L.Leal J.Todd M.Bomback April 29th J.Garvin  
1982 M.Bomback D.Stieb J.Clancy L.Leal J.Gott June 1st J.Garvin May 16th first use of #5 starter
1983 D.Stieb L.Leal J.Gott J.Clancy M.Morgan June 21st J.Acker  
1984 J.Clancy L.Leal D.Alexander D.Stieb J.Acker April 21st J.Gott  
1985 D.Stieb D.Alexander L.Leal J.Key J.Clancy June 22nd R.Musselman April 30th first use of #5 starter, Game 20
1986 D.Stieb D.Alexander J.Key J.Clancy J.Acker May 20th J.Cerutti  
1987 J.Key J.Clancy J Johnson D.Stieb D.Ward May 12th J.Cerutti  
1988 J.Key M.Flanagan J.Clancy D.Stieb T.Stottlemyre April 23rd J.Cerutti #5 starter needed in game #6, #6 in game 16
1989 J.Key D.Stieb M.Flanagan J.Musselman J.Cerutti April 23rd T.Stottlemyre  
1990 T.Stottlemyre D.Stieb J.Cerutti M.Flanagan J.Key May 9th S.Cummings  
1991 D.Stieb J.Key T.Stottlemyre D.Wells D.Boucher May 21st J.Acker  
1992 J.Morris T.Stottlemyre J.Guzman J.Key D.Wells April 22nd D.Stieb #6 in game 16
1993 J.Morris A.Leiter J.Guzman T.Stottlemyre P.Hentgen April 28th S.Brow  
1994 J.Guzman D.Stewart P.Hentgen A.Leiter P.Spoljaric April 26th T.Stottlemyre  
1995 D.Cone P.Hentgen J.Guzman A.Leiter D.Darwin May 23rd P.Menhart #5 in game #5 for the first time
1996 E.Hanson P.Hentgen J.Guzman P.Quantrill J.Ware April 28th F.Viola  
1997 P.Hentgen R.Clemens J.Guzman W.Williams R.Person April 17th E.Hanson Game 11 was #5, game 12 #6
1998 R.Clemens P.Hentgen J.Guzman W.Williams C.Carpenter April 12th E.Hanson #5 in game #5, #6 in game #11
1999 P.Hentgen D.Wells J.Hamilton K.Escobar C.Carpenter April 18th R.Halladay  
2000 D.Wells R.Halladay C.Carpenter K.Escobar F.Castillo May 10th L.Painter  
2001 E.Loaiza S.Parris J.Hamilton C.Carpenter C.Michalak July 7th R.Halladay Game 87 - proof stability in rotation does not equal winning
2002 C.Carpenter R.Halladay B.Lyon S.Eyre B.Cooper April 8th L.Prokopec Game #6 saw starter #6 (wow) quite the shift from 2001
2003 R.Halladay C.Lidle M.Hendrickson T.Sturtze P.Walker May 3rd D.Davis  
2004 R.Halladay M.Batista P.Hentgen T.Lilly J.Towers April 28th J.Miller  
2005 R.Halladay G.Chacin J.Towers D.Bush T.Lilly May 31st C.Gaudin  
2006 R.Halladay J.Towers G.Chacin S.Downs T.Lilly April 15th A.Burnett  
2007 R.Halladay A.Burnett G.Chacin T.Ohka J.Towers May 2nd V.Zambrano #7 was May 3rd (McGowan), game #28
2008 R.Halladay A.Burnett D.McGowan S.Marcum J.Litsch April 18th D.Purcey  
2009 R.Halladay D.Purcey J.Litsch R.Romero S.Richmond April 18th B.Tallet  
2010 S.Marcum B.Tallet R.Romero B.Morrow D.Eveland April 23rd B.Cecil  
2011 R.Romero K.Drabek B.Cecil J.Reyes J.Litsch May 23rd C.Villanueva  
2012 R.Romero B.Morrow J.Carreno H.Alvarez K.Drabek April 21st D.Hutchison  
2013 R.Dickey B.Morrow M.Buehrle J.Johnson R.Romero -- J.Happ Projected rotation/#6

Phew, lots of guys there.  21 different opening day starters, 26 #2's, 27 #3's, 28 #4's, 31 #5's, and 30 #6's.  Combine the #1-5 slots and you get 82 different pitchers.  Add in #6 and you get 98 different pitchers.  Quite a few. 
Who has been in the #1-5 slots the most?  Dave Stieb 12 times, Jim Clancy 11 times, Roy Halladay 9 times, Jimmy Key and Pat Hentgen 8 times each. 
Who has been in the #1-6 slots the most?  Stieb 13 times, Clancy & Halladay 11 times, Key & Hentgen 8 times, and Todd Stottlemyre and Juan Guzman 7 times share the #6 slot.  This years rotation #1 for times in a Jays opening day rotation is Romero at 4 times followed by Morrow's 2 times. So at least 3 more years until someone cracks the top 6 opening day rotations again.

So, when figuring which rotation is the best we can check when there was a Cy Young winner in the #1 slot - 2013, 2003, 1998 and 1997.  Note: Stieb led in bWAR for pitchers in 1982/1983/1984 and was 2nd in 1981 and 1985 - in 1982 he won the TSN AL pitcher of the year but came in 4th for Cy Young, came in 7th in 84 and 85, and 5th in 1990 (geez were voters poor back then).  Jimmy Key won the TSN pitchers award in 1987 but was 4th in bWAR for pitchers.  So given that I think we should consider the 1982/1983/1984/1985/1986/1988 staffs as each easily could've had a Cy Young winner in them had voters been a bit more forward thinking (ie: not addicted to pitcher wins and saves).  Also of note: Halladay only got awards as a Jay that one season, but also led in pitchers WAR in 2002, was 2nd in 2009 and 3rd in 2008 and 2005.  So the year following those years should also be considered as it wouldn't have taken much for him to have gotten a Cy in those years too with the exception of 2010 (following 2009) as Halladay was no longer here then much like in 1999 the reigning Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens, was no longer here.  Also of note: in 1986 we had the #3 guy for WAR for pitcher, but he was a reliever (!) Mark Eichhorn (157 innings made it possible - he could've had 162 but he and Jimy Williams forgot how to do basic math as Eichhorn didn't want to steal the triple crown from Clemens that year - he didn't notice that Clemens had no shot at the K title as Mark Langston took a significant lead in K's on Saturday and the Jays had a double header on Sunday when Eichhorn might've got those last 5 IP in addition to the 4 2/3 he threw that day - there was talk of it).

So we are down to 13 staffs to dig into.  Lets see for those 13 what the pitchers did the season leading up to the year in question (as we are seeing which was the best coming into the season, not how they actually did).  Bold indicates the best the Jays had for that slot, italics the worst over these 13 years where a real #1 (top 3 in league or Cy Young winner) was here.
#1#2#3#4#5#6Top 5
All 6
1982 1.0: M.Bomback 4.3: D.Stieb -0.4: J.Clancy 1.1: L.Leal --: J.Gott 1.1: J.Garvin 6.0 7.1
1983 7.3: D.Stieb 4.8: L.Leal 1.2: J.Gott 4.7: J.Clancy 1.8: M.Morgan --: J.Acker 19.8 19.8
1984 1.5: J.Clancy 1.5: L.Leal 0.8: D.Alexander 6.7: D.Stieb 0.1: J.Acker 0.2: J.Gott 10.6 10.8
1985 7.6: D.Stieb 5.8: D.Alexander 2.6: L.Leal -1.0: J.Key -0.4: J.Clancy 0.5: R.Musselman 14.6 15.1
1986 6.5: D.Stieb 4.5: D.Alexander 4.7: J.Key 1.8: J.Clancy 1.0: J.Acker -0.3: J.Cerutti 18.5 18.2
1988 7.1: J.Key 1: M.Flanagan 4.7: J.Clancy 2.1: D.Stieb --: T.Stottlemyre 1.5: J.Cerutti 14.9 16.4
1997 8.2: P.Hentgen 7.4: R.Clemens 6.5: J.Guzman 0.8: W.Williams -0.3: R.Person 1.2: E.Hanson 22.6 23.8
1998 11.6: R.Clemens 5.4: P.Hentgen -0.2: J.Guzman 2.8: W.Williams -0.2: C.Carpenter -0.2: E.Hanson 19.4 19.2
2003 6.9: R.Halladay 3.3: C.Lidle 1.2: M.Hendrickson 0.6: T.Sturtze 1.7: P.Walker 0.5: D.Davis 13.7 14.2
2004 7.7: R.Halladay 4.1: M.Batista 3.3: P.Hentgen 2.0: T.Lilly 0.9: J.Towers --: J.Miller 18.0 18.0
2006 5.3: R.Halladay 2.2: J.Towers 3.0: G.Chacin 0.8: S.Downs 0.1: T.Lilly 3.2: A.Burnett 11.4 14.6
2009 5.9: R.Halladay -0.2: D.Purcey 2.3: J.Litsch --: R.Romero 0.3: S.Richmond 0.9: B.Tallet 8.3 9.2
2013 5.6: R.Dickey 3.2: B.Morrow 3.2: M.Buehrle 3.1: J.Johnson -1.7: R.Romero 0.6: J.Happ 13.4 14.0
 Wow, that 1997 rotation top 3 sure had a good '96 didn't they?  3 guys who were legit Cy Young contenders, then 3 who, well, just weren't.  As we can see the Jays in the 80's did a lot of odd things with the rotation - Stieb was clearly the best virtually every year yet they held him back until game 4 in 1984 and did the same in other seasons - sometimes to let him start opening day at home instead of the road.  Amazing to see that Clemens on his own in 1997 had a better WAR than the whole staff for opening day in '82, 84, and 2009 despite all 3 staffs having a guy who was coming off a near Cy quality season.  Also sobering to see how Guzman collapsed in 1997 (a drop almost as big as Romero's last year).

So which is the best all around rotation?  1998 clearly wins for #1 (Clemens had the 28th highest single season WAR ever, with only 2 better in the live ball era - Gooden 85 and Carlton 72, both within 0.3 of Clemens year)  and if you resort by WAR the best #2 would be 1997's Clemens (no wonder he got such a big contract eh?).  #3 is that 1997 rotation again with Juan Guzman, #4 is this years with Josh Johnson's 3.1, then comes #5 from 1983 with Jim Gott (bit of a surprise there given they did 4 man rotations often then) at 1.2 and the best 6th best WAR comes from 2003's Doug Davis and his 0.5.  In fact, only 3 times in these 13 years I checked did the #6 guy for WAR have a positive one - 1984 (Acker 0.1), 2003 (Davis 0.5), and 2006 (Ted Lilly).  None of those cracked 15 WAR for the total for the 6 though.  In 82, 83, 88, 04, and 09 there was a guy in the rotation who had not pitched the season before thus taking them out of the 'best 6' but only removing 82/88/09 from the best top 5 (if you have a guy who didn't pitch the year before as one of your starting 5 I have trouble counting you). 

Now, going by best 5 WAR out of the 6 (assuming if a good guy is #6 odds are he was hurt for the first week or two of the season) you get a peak in '97 still (24.1) followed by 83 (19.8) then 98 (19.4), 1986 (18.5), and 2004 (18.0).  Lets call those 5 the final contenders (no one else over 16.5 for their best 5).   I have trouble saying anyone is better than 1997 as it is so crazy strong with that top 3 but then it drops drastically to 1.2 for #4 (Hanson) and 0.8 for #5 (Williams).  1983 was in good shape with 5 guys over 1 WAR, thus no major obvious holes going in (especially given they skipped the 5th man as much as they could for a big part of that year it seems).  So for balance 1983 is your choice, for raw 'wow factor' it is 1997 (Cy Young winner from 96, eventual winner for 97, and a guy who was over 6 WAR as your 3rd starter).  This year is a lot weaker than these peaks but has the best 1-4 stability we've ever seen with 4 guys over 3 heading in.  If only Romero was coming off his 2011 season (6.2 WAR) or 2010 (2.9) then it would've been so close to #1 that the balance vs 1997's 3 man rotation could've made it arguably #1.

Thus 2013's is a fantastic staff but doesn't have the star power we've seen at times in the past - like 1997/98 and 1983/1986.  Its biggest plus is the great depth with 4 really good starters and a #5 who is a year removed from a star quality season (but what a removal).
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grjas - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#269218) #
Great post, John. Thanks for taking the time to compile.

It's interesting to see how little the starting staff changed year to year from the early 80's to late 90's- with a few exceptions. Certainly a stark contrast to the last 10 years. For example, I had forgotten Guzman ans Stottlemyre pitched here for as many as 7 years.

Not sure the current staff will match 1997- or even 83 to 86 for that matter- but I think there is a reasonable chance of upside from Morrow, Johnson and Romero, so hopefully it comes in top 3 to 5 by year's end.

rtcaino - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#269220) #
Interesting read. Thanks, John.

I found the brackets more sobering:

Also sobering to see how Guzman collapsed in 1997 (a drop almost as big as Romero's last year).

If for no other reason than current implications.
bpoz - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#269221) #
Thanks John. J Guzman is interesting. Looks to me like he had some incredible years. 91,92,96 and maybe 93. Bad years in 94 &95.
In 97 he he only pitched in 13 games all starts. Most likely an injury.
He came back in 98 and was traded to Baltimore probably at the July 31 deadline for a top prospect or package to a contender which makes sense. The same in 99 to the Reds by Baltimore. 200 IP each year.

In 2000, TB probably tried to make him a reclamation project but it failed. An excellent gamble for a former very good pitcher.
John Northey - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#269226) #
Guzman drove us all nuts back then.  In 1991 he looked like the next Roger Clemens or Dwight Gooden.  Of course, back then we didn't pay as much attention to the difference between a 19 year old and a 24 year old :P  In 1992 he was great again, then he dropped off in 93 and in 94 looked washed up already and worse in 1995.  Then an ERA title in 96 got hopes up but he crashed back down the next year and was traded mid-season the year after that (when he led the league in losses).  At 32 he had a 125 ERA+ and the Devil Rays signed him to a 2 year $12 million deal.  He pitched in one game for them and was done.  He had 16 minor league games for the Rays but in 2000 gave up lots of HR and in 2001 gave up lots of walks without the K's to balance it out and that was the end.  Just 91 wins and a 112 ERA+ for a guy who at one time looked like someone who'd be a big time ace. 

Something I forgot was how good he was in the post season.  8 starts, 2.44 ERA, giving up just 1 HR over those 8 starts (51 2/3 IP).  5-1 record.  Why Gaston didn't set him up to be the ace for the 1991 playoff no one knows, as Candiotti lost his 2 games (and clearly he was at fault, not throwing his knuckleball as often as he normally did).  If Guzman won those 2 then who knows, maybe Morris wouldn't have had the shot at game 7 in the WS that year and a lot of legends never would've happened.  Ah well.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#269227) #

I am the proud owner of a Juan Guzman Rookie Card by Upper Deck.   Since I watched him pitch, it's priceless to me.   Juan was dominant, very effective and maddening to watch.  1994 was about lost confidence more that anything else.   He lived and died with every pitch in the offseason.  

1992 Game 3 ALCS: Win (1-0), 6.0, 7 hits, 2 R&ER, 3BB, 3SO;

        Game 6 ALCS: Win (2-0), 7.0, 5 hits, 1 R&ER, 2BB, 8SO.  

1992 WS: Game 3: NDW (2-0-1-0), 8.0, 8 hits, 2R, 1 ER, 1BB, 7SO. 

1993 Game 1 ALCS: Win (3-0-1-0) 6.0, 5 hits, 3R, 2ER, 8BB, 3SO;

        Game 5 ALCS: Win (4-0-1-0), 7.0, 3 hits, 1R&ER, 1BB, 6SO.  

1993 WS: Game 1: NDW (4-0-2-0), 5.0 5 hits, 4R&ER, 4BB, 6SO;

               Game 5: Loss (4-1-2-0), 7.0, 5 hits, 2R, 1ER, 4BB, 6SO.

I believe something happened in the 1992 World Series, but mostly in the 1993 World Series, because in 1994 he wasn't Juan Guzman anymore.   And I have no idea why I think this.

mathesond - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#269229) #
I remember going to what I correctly guessed was Guzman's last home game started as a Jay. Not only did I see his last Jays game, it was the first 1-0 game I had ever seen, dating back to 1977
Magpie - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 12:29 AM EDT (#269231) #
TB probably tried to make him a reclamation project but it failed. An excellent gamble for a former very good pitcher.

Not exactly. The Rays gave Guzman a big free agent contract and his arm immediately fell off and his career was over.

Guzman wasn't a very big guy at all, but he threw much, much harder than any starting pitcher the Blue Jays had ever had. He threw as hard as Henke and Ward, as hard as Clemens, all of whom were much bigger men. Guzman was notorious for working very slowly - it was as if he needed the time to recover his strength for the next pitch.
katman - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 12:30 AM EDT (#269232) #
At this point, I simply don't see Romero coming bad as a major league caliber pitcher, even a #5.

He has had a major physical change (knees) that will never go away, so something has genuinely changed his equation. His peripherals remain terrible. He's not just missing with stuff he's working on, his core pitches aren't good and he isn't throwing them for consistent strikes. Finally, his post-game comments indicate that basic stuff which should be second-nature to established major leaguers (don't get too excited when you get 2 strikes, for instance) is still a battle.

I know he'll try. I know he'll battle. But right now, I see the exact same guy we saw late last year, who doesn't know how to fix it. And I don't see him finding an answer before he loses us too many games for the team to afford in 2013.

All of which is to say: I think we have a big problem in the #5 slot, and much less margin for injury elsewhere. I hope I'm wrong.

Magpie - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#269233) #
There have been four Toronto rotations that were the best in the league at preventing the other fellow from scoring:

The 1985 starters allowed 3.65 runs per game (RPG), comfortably ahead of Kansas City (3.94.) League average for starters was 4.56.

The 1987 starters allowed 4.04 RPG; again Kansas City was next (4.27) and the league average was 4.90

The 1991 starters allowed 3.84 RPG; the Angels were next (4.01) and the league average was 4.49

The 2008 starters allowed 3.77 RPG; Tampa Bay was next (4.14) and the league average was 4.68

It's hard not to go with 1985. The only Jays starter who has ever clearly pitched better than Stieb did that year was Clemens in 1997. Stieb's work in 1985 is comparable to Clemens' 1998, and probably a little better than any of Halladay's years here. And the 1985 supporting cast decisively betters the rest of the 1997 rotation, which was the third best in the league (and in the division!) that season.
John Northey - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 01:08 AM EDT (#269234) #
Interesting blog from Hayhurst on Romero. Basically he feels Romero is a fighter who is doing everything he can but that he is stuck.  Romero cannot get better due to the pressures and non-stop advise he is getting.  He doesn't think the Jays will send Romero down right away but that it might be needed.

I think we might be getting close to the time to look at the Halladay method - send him down to be rebuilt with a personal pitching coach.  Lose 1/2 a season or so, but probably get a much better pitcher at the end of the process.  Given he is signed 2015 for certain, option for 2016 it might be a good idea for the Jays to do.  We have a reasonable option for #5 in Happ and if the Jays wanted to stick to a 5 day rotation for the rest...
vs Cleveland: Dickey, Morrow, Buehrle
vs Red Sox: Johnson, #5, Dickey
day off
vs Tigers: Morrow, Buehrle, Johnson
vs Royals: Dickey, #5, Morrow
vs White Sox: Buehrle, Johnson, Dickey
vs Yankees: #5, Morrow, Buehrle
vs Orioles: Johnson, Dickey, #5
vs Yankees: Morrow, Buehrle, Johnson, Dickey
day off (skip #5)
vs Red Sox: Morrow, Buehrle, Johnson
vs Mariners: Dickey, #5, Morrow
vs Rays: Buehrle, Johnson, Dickey, #5
vs Red Sox: Morrow, Buehrle, Johnson
day off
vs Giants: Dickey, Morrow (was able to skip #5)
day off
vs Yankees: Buehrle, Johnson, Dickey
vs Rays: Morrow, #5, Buehrle, Johnson
and so on... (2 off days early June, another mid-June).

That would allow us to skip 2 #5 starts and mainly keep everyone else on a stable 5 day rotation.  I think the Jays should look at doing that regardless of #5 being Romero or Happ as neither is as good as the top 4 right now.  That gives 10 starts each to the top 4, 8 to the #5 through the first 48 games.  Seems like a good idea to me.  Might also help #5 to be after Dickey for awhile there.
John Northey - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 01:18 AM EDT (#269235) #
Magpie - based on WAR 1985 wasn't as good a year for Stieb as 1984 was - surprised?  I was.  But if you check runs allowed Stieb was better in 1984.  His 1982 and 1983 both get higher WAR's too in large part due to the massive inning totals he was doing then (288 and 278 respectively).  Plus you can factor in how much worse the team defense was in those earlier years (no Fernandez or Barfield pre-1985, at least not on an everyday basis).  Dang he was good.

Another study would be to figure out which rotation actually was the best rather than which was best going in.  That 1997 team sure looked good with the current Cy Young winner, the current ERA champ and probably the best pitcher of that generation to start the year.  1985 wasn't as impressive going in with Stieb (Mr. All-Star), a first year starter in the majors (Key), a guy who was release just a bit over a year earlier (Alexander), and two guys generally viewed as being decent #3 guys (Clancy, Leal).  Alexander did have a great 1984 here but his 1983 was so poor overall that I doubt anyone was counting on him repeating it.

Hmm... which rotation most out-did its past.  Yeah, that'd be a fun one and could steal from this study for opening day rotation but right now I really don't have the time.  Also would want to see which flopped the worst.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#269237) #
Hayhurst's commentary about Romero is in the same vein as the discussion that began on this site about a week ago.
John Northey - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#269238) #
Difference is that Hayhurst is a former MLB pitcher who has worked with and knows Romero well.  I don't think any of us can claim the same.  In truth, Hayhurst has been saying that since late last season - that Romero needs to go down and rebuild away from the MLB glare. 

I'm hoping if the Jays do start the season with Romero as #5 that they re-evaluate that decision after 4 starts as the 5th #5 start can easily be skipped which would be the ideal time for a shift.  4 starts isn't much but if he cannot last 5 innings in any of them, or has walked over 5 per 9 IP (which would probably lead to no more than 5 or 6 innings in any game and a lot of runs allowed) then the Jays really need to make a choice if they want to win in 2013.  Heck, you could even look at doing a trade for yet another starting pitcher although the cabinet is nearly bare when it comes to cash from what AA has been saying.

grjas - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#269239) #
4 starts isn't much but if he cannot last 5 innings in any of them, or has walked over 5 per 9 IP.

I agree with this. While i think they should take him North in April, it has to be on a short leash. If he continues to falter, not only would the losses mount, but it will be too much of a distraction for the team.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#269240) #

Pitching can be so easy once you know how.   Pitching well is much harder.   If a Catcher holds his glove still, most pitchers can put the pitch in the still glove.   Some pitches thrown are relatively straight and rely on good control to be effective.   Most pitches thrown have movement on them, whether up, down, left, right, some of these or all of these, the pitches will move and control doesn't matter as much (as long as you throw at the glove).   The movement is what makes the pitch effective.

Solving Ricky's issues should be easy.   He keeps the three pitches that move the best (not the most) and throws at the glove.

Thomas - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#269241) #
Off-topic, but there was an article yesterday by Bob Elliott that revealed that Josh Johnson's father was born in Calgary and lived there until he was 15. Therefore, Johnson would be eligible to pitch for Canada at the World Baseball Classic (leaving aside the issue of whether the Jays would have let him pitch).

Elliott's article suggests that Johnson and Baseball Canada only discovered this after the tournament. Does this strike anyone else as a pretty significant oversight/failure on the part of Baseball Canada to have not looked into this before the tournament or at any point during Johnson's career? It seems this fact only came to light because of Johnson's trade to the Jays and through Elliott's journalism (I assume) and it raises the connection of which other players may have Canadian eligibility that no one has discovered?
92-93 - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#269242) #
I haven't looked for a source yet, but I'm positive we were told about Johnson's Calgary connections after The Trade.
John Northey - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#269243) #
Guillermo Moscoso (RHP) was added to the 40 man - acquired via good ol' waivers.  Not a great addition by any stretch - more depth in AAA yet again.  He had a 79 ERA+ in Colorado last year and a 6.13 ERA in AAA (at one of the few places that makes Vegas look like a nice place to pitch).  His HR/9 lifetime is 1.1, BB/9 3.0 and K/9 6.3 so nothing horrible, especially given the Colorado time. Mainly used as a starter, I suspect he'll be #9/10 range in depth there but more likely looked at in the pen for the majors. 
John Northey - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#269244) #
92-93 - you are right - - this forum mentions that it is mentioned in a radio interview on the Fan590.  Sadly the link for the interview was just to the generic Fan site, not a specific file.
Wildrose - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#269245) #
Thomas as you well know, don't believe everything you read in the newspaper. I have on very good authority that Baseball Canada certainly knew about Johnson's lineage.

My guess is that they are just being diplomatic. I imagine with impending free agency, and if he has a good year, he'll certainly garner a massive contract. There would have been know way this kids agent would've let him play ( and personally I think this is the correct decision). I just think Elliott and Baseball Canada didn't want Johnson facing un- due media pressure to the degree that Russell Martin faced ( although some of the negative press around Martin was certainly justified ).

Honestly, I'm not sure what is the best way to un- cover these so called " found Canadians ". Certainly a tool like the Internet helps.

Another guy you'll hear about in the future is Freddie Freeman of the Braves , who also has Canadian parents.
Thomas - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#269246) #
Wildrose, that's a good point, particularly in light of the evidence that 92-93 and John uncovered. I noted my hesitance to assume he'd even have pitched for Canada had the Canadian lineage been more widely known and I think you're reading is probably correct in that it was decided to keep it quiet as everyone recognized he'd not have pitched in the tournament.

As you noted, while it'd have been perfectly understandable why someone with Johnson's injury history and pending free agency wouldn't want to pitch in the Classic, he'd still have faced a bunch of media scrutiny over the decision.

I don't know what the easiest way to find out a ballplayer's heritage is, but with the internet and connections in the industry, one would think it wouldn't be too hard to keep track of this information in this day and age. As for Freeman, I didn't know that, and that's certainly something to consider for 2017.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 17 2013 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#269248) #

 Why don't "Canadians" have an "opportunity" to play for Canada, just like "Italians" have an opportunity to play for Italy.   Some "Canadians" actually have Canadian parents as opposed to "Grandparents/Uncles/Nephews" of other nations participants.  

People ashamed of being Canadians always find ways to ignore being Canadians.   Professionals and professional atheletes usually make enough money to live where they want.   How many Canadians no longer live in Canada (if I had a choice - no show would be a preference)?   When was the last time they voted?

Russell Martin is sometimes a smart and good person, while other times the Village Idioit.   Martin wanting to be a Shortstop because he'd work to hard as a Catcher?   And he's doing what now?  And Ryan Who?    

Some Canadians do not forget insult, ever.    

John Northey - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 06:20 AM EDT (#269249) #
I'm sure Team Canada checks all of that and tries to avoid embarrassing players.  I suspect they avoid the guys who aren't citizens of the country as much as possible though, as most of them would say 'no' anyways.  I see the parents rule as a bizarre one that is there to help European countries more than anything.
rotorose - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#269250) #
Off topic, but I watched  Casey Janssen pitch yesterday in a Triple A spring training game. He subbed in for Deck McGuire and pitched the first inning (plus one batter because he retired the first three too quickly), striking out the first batter. It looks like he could be ready to close on opening day if he suffers no after effects from the outing.
92-93 - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#269252) #
Barry Davis told us about the Calgary connection in December.
hypobole - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#269253) #
rotorose thanks for the update. Out of curiosity, any others in the game stand out for you?
John Northey - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#269254) #
rotorose just brought up what makes spring training a headache when it comes to guessing who is doing well and not.  Some ML'ers will work with the AAA team for whatever reason, while AAA guys are with the major team.  We don't always get reports on the guys in the AAA games thus it is guesswork. 

Checking the Bison's site I see Deck McGuire threw 4 innings allowing one unearned run 1 hit and 1 strikeout.  No other details were given but decent news there.  More K's would be nice but 4 innings and 1 unearned run always looks good.  Also saw their games are televised but on Time Warner Cable only thus not available to Canadian viewers.  Ah well.

Looking at their site I also noticed how cheap tickets are.  $6 and you can be behind home plate (if available).  Sweet.  Being in Thunder Bay I figured I'd go to a Twins game and their prices are sky high - $14 for nose bleeds in the outfield, $25 for nose bleed 5th deck behind home plate near the very top of the park.  Ouch. 

Richard S.S. - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#269256) #
Another problem with Spring Training occurs frequently.  How do you know if and/or what a Pitcher's working on?  When does it stop?   Having the MLB At Bat App helps, as you can listen to Blue Jay games and maybe pick up something new.   Sometime you have to go to non-favorite sites to pick up imformation.
China fan - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#269257) #
Richard Griffin just revealed this fascinating nugget about Jose Bautista in a live chat on the Star website. Can't understand why this hasn't become a bigger story. Here's what he said:

"With reporters in the clubhouse at the Yankees, Bats came in and tore up a couple of lockers with his bat in anger. Apparently he had been called out on strikes in his final at-bat. But to me the most encouraging thing was the next day after hearing about it, manager John Gibbons apparently called Jose in and delivered his own message. It wasn't Shea or Lilly, but it shows the way Gibby likes to deal with problems."

Not sure how to interpret this. Is it a negative sign that Bautista is still losing his temper so easily? In a spring fake game, of all things? Or is it a positive sign because it shows that Gibbons won't tolerate it?
rotorose - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#269258) #
Spring training at the Jays  minor league complex (where I watched Janssen and McGuire pitch yesterday) is always fascinating. Best of all, it is completely free. You can watch drills in the morning, or sit on the bleachers for the afternoon games (2 sets of bleachers for the AAA field, 1 for the lower levels. Lower level pitchers seem to be expected to stand behind home plate in the first inning to observe what the starters are throwing. I spied Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Strohman watching Sean Nolin's start earlier in the week, for example. The Bison team in the spring clubhouse, I think, will bear little resemblance to the final product that shows up in Buffalo. They have their own set of non-roster invitees. For example, yesterday's centre fielder was named Wilson.

Re Griffin's comments about Bautista, I watched Joey Bats in both the Yankees (Thursday) and Orioles (Saturday) games. In the Yankees game he threw his equipment after striking out, and acted childish. In the Baltimore game, his demeanour was totally professional. We were speculating in the stands that someone had talked to him. This year we simply can't have a repeat of last year's behaviour with umpires.

John Northey - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#269259) #
Y'know, these comments might explain why Gibbons was hired... an ability to deal with players who have an attitude issue and have been all-stars.  His surviving the incidents in the past showed he can stand up, and the fact Hillenbrand seemed happy that Gibbons got the job suggests it was done more professionally than we ever knew.
JohnL - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#269260) #
Re: Bautista & Gibbons.

Not sure what game or what Bautista incident Griffin is referring to. As I understand it in the last Yankees game, the blowout on 14th, Bautista made two outs in the 9-run 1st (pop out and swinging strike to end the inning with Jays up 9-1), and he slammed his bat on the ground.

Sometime in the last couple of weeks, I heard Jerry Howarth briefly on Jeff Blair's show, and Howarth reported that Gibbons had had a talk with Bautista. He had showed how unhappy he was with a called 2nd strike, and then on a fly ball, "walked" to first.

Jerry said that in fact HE had talked to Bautista last year once "as a friend", that his public temper re: ump calls was not good for the team. "I wonder if it affected out friendship", Jerry said.

Also heard someone else talk similarly sometime in the last week on PTS (maybe Hayhurst), saying that when the new guys (veterans or otherwise) come in and see Bautista's behaviour ("the leader"), it says that this is OK on this team.
jjdynomite - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#269261) #
Sheesh. Maybe R.A. can take Bats to India to show him that there are a lot more serious issues to get enraged about, especially considering Jose has a guaranteed $56 million coming to him over the next 4 years.

I say the above in jest, but perhaps R.A. could be the calming clubhouse influence that from an outsider's perspective went off the rails post-Doc with hotheads like Bats, Lawrie and Escobar coming to the fore.
Eephus - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#269262) #
Off Topic alert, but I just noticed the starting pitcher for the Netherlands is Diegomar Markwell, who if memory serves was a Blue Jays farmhand/prospect some time ago.
John Northey - Monday, March 18 2013 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#269263) #
Good memory Eephus.  Markwell was a Jays farmhand back in 1997 to 2003.  Signed at 16 he made it to AA in the end but with a 7.04 ERA in AA at age 22 that was the end.  He went to the Dutch Major League from age 24 to 31 (last year). 
bpoz - Tuesday, March 19 2013 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#269264) #
Moises Sierra player well for the DR last night.
China fan - Tuesday, March 19 2013 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#269265) #
So, the latest on Romero, according to Gibbons today, is that Pete Walker is working with Romero on a "mechanical change to his delivery to make him straighter to the plate."

It's another indication that Romero's troubles are more than mere speculation by the media and fans. He's in some difficulty, and the Jays are trying to fix him.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 19 2013 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#269266) #
I have been listening to the Game and the Fan 590 of both Apps at work. Romero is moving over to the 3B side of Rubber. They are trying to fix a landing spot for him so that he no longer throws across his body. Good luck with that.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 19 2013 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#269267) #
If you have access to Podcasts (via iTunes or Podcast App to name a few), you can listen to Drabek, Hutchison, Sanchez and Gibbons on PTS 18th of March. Interesting stuff.
hypobole - Wednesday, March 20 2013 @ 12:56 AM EDT (#269268) #
Don't know if the move on the rubber will work for Romero, but it certainly worked for this guy last year.

BTW the move on the rubber was suggested by Drew Fairservice last week.
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