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It's another song in this key yeah, but this one's about me

In the last game before the All-Star break, the 45-48 Blue Jays send unpredictable Josh Johnson (1-4, 4.62) to the mound against Baltimore slinger Scott Feldman (7-7, 3.87 or 0-1, 7.15 as an Oriole)

For some semi-useless context, on this date last season the Blue Jays were 43-44, having just lost to Cleveland in the first game after the break. The team would then win only 12 of the next 38 games. Here's hoping the 2013 Jays can go from one chord to another and improve on that.

Game Thread - 7/14 at Baltimore | 63 comments | Create New Account
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John Northey - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#276481) #
As always the final game before the break is an 'all hands on deck' but who really is available from the pen?
Most rested: Oliver 2 days off, Perez & Wagner 1 day off each
Used yesterday but not too hard: Janssen (9 pitches, 2 days off before that), McGowan (17 pitches, 2 days off before that), Delabar (17 pitches, 2 days off before that, 1 pitch the game before that)
Used yesterday, might be tired: Cecil (23 pitches, 2 days off before it), Loup (17 pitches, just one day off before)
Bonus starters available in emergency 17 inning game situation: Rogers has 3 days since his last start, Dickey 2 days off and is a knuckleballer.

So not too deep on the surface (Oliver, Perez, Wagner) but Janssen, McGowan and Delabar should be 'no hesitation' calls giving Gibbons a 6 man pen.  Cecil and Loup should be saved for extras or one batter situations while Rogers and Dickey should be moved down to the pen if the game goes to extras.

So post break, 4 days off, what should the rotation order be?  If Johnson does well should he get the next start?  Or do we go Dickey-Johnson-Buehrle-Rogers-whoever?  The Jays have 20 games in 20 days coming up so that 5th starter will be needed 4 times during that stretch (August 8th next day off) which also means the next 10 game stretch will need the 5th starter twice.  Then a day off and, again, you don't get to skip the 5th and even have to deal with a double header on the 20th vs the Yankees (good timing as that could be the #1/2 guys in that game).  In fact, the 5th guy cannot really be skipped until the September 5th offday and then only for a tiny bit.

Will Happ be back?  Will Romero at some point?  What about Morrow or one of the kids (be it injured Drabek, Hutchinson or Nolin or someone else)?  Redmond did a decent job overall but I sure wouldn't count on him for a 3rd start as he clearly was having major issues this time now that ML video of him exists and teams are figuring him out fast (2.2 HR per 9 IP is scary).  I suspect some roster moves will happen during the break and hopefully a trade or two.

What is odd is MLB Trade Rumours keeps saying the Jays are after Matt Garza which seems odd as he is a free agent and if traded for he would not get the Jays any compensation this winter.  Any deal would have to be requiring an extension one would think.  He always has killed the Jays (2.13 ERA over 13 starts with a 1.36 ERA in Skydome) but what would he cost? 
greenfrog - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#276482) #
Garza seems unlikely, especially since the Jays wouldn't be able to garner a draft pick for him after 2013 if he departed as a free agent. It might be a different story if the Jays were playing .570 or .580 (instead of .484) ball.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#276483) #
Garza would make sense if the Jays can acquire him for prospects they don't see as greatly important to their future (as with Nestor Molina in December 2011). While the Jays might have more pitching depth next year (Happ, Hutchison, Nolin, Stroman, maybe even Romero), another strong starting pitcher could help in 2013 - assuming that they can scrape back into contention (obviously a big assumption at this point).
Mike Green - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#276484) #
With the All-Star break coming, what is the point of having Johnson continue now?
John Northey - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#276486) #
Very weird.  7 baserunners allowed, 6 score.  I swear the Jays are cursed at times.  Johnson should've been a solid, safe guy to have this year instead he has been a disaster.  Pre-DL he had a 6.86 ERA in 4 starts.  Post a 3.54 ERA but a 4.87 RA (runs allowed per 9 IP).  Pre-2013 he had a 133 ERA+ lifetime and is just 29 so shouldn't be washed up yet but his HR/9 rate has doubled this year vs his career and isn't getting better.  Sigh.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#276487) #
Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara in 2011. That has been a stupendous, franchise-changing trade for Baltimore.

Davis was 4.8 fWAR in 2013 *entering* today's game. Today he's 2-2 (2B, HR). So, basically, 5 WAR at the All-Star break.
Eephus - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#276488) #
The seeing-eye single: favours the hot hitting, turns blindly from the cold.
scottt - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#276490) #
I'm pretty sure JJ will have no value at the thread deadline, but I still think he'll finish the year strongly.
Mylegacy - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#276492) #
JJ has been a waste of space - and many mucho dollars.

However, I'm thinking maybe we don't trade him for a basket of balls (his present worth) - let DAG (Delebar's Arm Guru) do his voodoo on JJ over the winter and offer JJ a "qualifying" (one year) contract for 2014 - IF - magic has been worked we've a keeper (or at least a trader) and IF NOT - then we're out a few million - HOWEVER - if the reports over the winter are good on his progress maybe some other stilffs will offer him a multi-year deal and that will net us a supplemental pick in the 2014 draft. We'd have two first round and one supplemental pick - nice, eh?
Gerry - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#276493) #
Jays are 45-49 at the break. They have played 94 games and they have 68 games left.

If they play at a 97 win pace (.600) in the second half they will finish at 86-76. That record is very unlikely to make the playoffs.

If they play at a 104 win pace (.642), they will finish at 90-72.

As of yesterday Baseball Prospectus gives the Jays a 3% chance of making the playoffs.

The thing that scares me is that AA has convinced himself that this is a playoff team and he trades prospects in a faint hope scenario for this year. I say its time to cut bait and focus on getting better for 2014.
Mike Green - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#276494) #
It all depends which prospects.  If he is talking about prospects who can help the club next year (Pillar, Jimenez, Stroman, Nolin), I don't understand.  If he is talking about prospects who will be ready in 2015 at the earliest (Sanchez), I am all in favour.  This is a club with a fairly narrow competitive window. 
Gerry - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#276495) #
So Mike, would you trade Sanchez for Garza? I wouldn't.
Parker - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#276496) #

Before your 2013 Toronto Blue Jays came along, has there ever been a last-place MLB team that considered itself a buyer at the trade deadline?

BlueJayWay - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#276497) #
The thing that scares me is that AA has convinced himself that this is a playoff team and he trades prospects in a faint hope scenario for this year. I say its time to cut bait and focus on getting better for 2014.

THAT would be scary.  Hence I don't see how or why the Jays trade for Garza.  OTOH, keeping this core together and trying to add to it - being a "buyer" in a sense - would be a viable strategy, and probably the one AA pretty has to do.  He's not going to tear it down just months after the big push, and even if he wanted to Rogers might not let him, what with attendance and interest in the Jays being higher than it has in years. 
JB21 - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#276498) #
Yes, the KC Royals. Last in the AL east is a lot different than last in any other division.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#276499) #
The Jays will need to address the team's needs for 2014-15. These include:

- Second base or third base (depending where you slot Lawrie in, and assuming Lawrie hasn't forgotten how to hit)

- Front of the rotation

- Catcher

- DH

- Team defence generally (this year it's been somewhat flat)
John Northey - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#276501) #
I think Garza would be a scary trade, but could work if conditional on an extension being signed (not unusual to be required in trades of that type). 

Second base/third base: this is the ugly one - Izturis is not an answer as more than a backup, Bonifacio is not an answer to anything beyond 'who to use to pinch run', and Kawasaki is fun but no more than a minor league callup here and there when injuries occur.  No one is close in the minors and I don't see the Jays being buyers for anyone of note in free agency (Robinson Cano, Chase Utley are the only two who jump out at me on the list and no way the Jays pay that kind of money this winter I'd think).  The Jays need to find a young kid who is almost ready who is blocked by his current team long term, a team that is on the playoff edge but needs something to push them over that the Jays have (bullpen arms, rotation vet like Johnson if they can buy into him or Buehrle, maybe a CF such as Rasmus if the Jays want to take a risk on Pillar/Gose).

Catcher: not as ugly as many think - JPA is probably overall a league average catcher who too many get too frustrated with (myself included) and we have a kid or two coming through the system again

DH: Lind I don't trust either, but the Jays should be able to find 1/2 decent sluggers who cannot field to fill it if they look around

Team defense: hard to address...need a new 2B or 3B who is slick fielding with a decent bat and then remove Cabrera and replace with Gose/Pillar/Sierra and you've done a drastic upgrade overall.  Just keeping Bonifacio off the field would help a lot.

Starting pitching: seems to be snakebit this year, Garza would be a big plus if signed long term potentially.  Dickey should be a solid inning eater well worth $10 mil just not a Cy Young candidate again.  Buehrle is similar.  Johnson...hrm...he sure has been frustrating.  Happ is a so-so 4/5/6 guy.  Romero who knows?  Morrow is also a who knows at this point.  Then we get the kiddie core of injured (Drabek, Hutchinson) and little experience (Nolin, McGuire, Stroman, Sanchez with longer term guys like Osuna around too) who will fight it out for a slot next year too.  If a few things go right the rotation could do what the pen did this year, shift from a negative to a big positive.  It would be nice to add another ace but I sure wouldn't trade for another Happ type at this point unless it was super-cheap (D level prospect, cheap contract).

In the end, I'd say only 2B/3B is the real disaster.  Everything else could be address in-house with any luck.  I'd love to see all-stars at every position and a 5 man rotation of Cy Young contenders but realistically the money has to be focused on the big holes and 2B/3B is it right now and into the foreseeable future.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#276502) #
Agree totally with those on the buyer side. Nobody currently in the system is off limits, IMO. This team needs an impact third basemen/second baseman and another front end starter.

It's the second year in a row the big league team has not had nearly enough pitching to contend, and people still want to hang onto pie in the sky prospects like they are a sure thing.

greenfrog - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#276503) #
a 5 man rotation of Cy Young contenders

How about just a solid, respectable rotation? Here is this year's April rotation with current ERA+

Dickey 91
Morrow 76
JJ 92
Buehrle 87
Happ 87

One or more of these guys will likely be somewhat better next year (perhaps sub in Rogers for JJ), but does that look like a competitive rotation to you?
John Northey - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#276504) #
Well, lets see the rotation with last 3 years ERA+ most recent first...
Dickey: 139/112/138
Morrow: 144/90/93
JJ: 106/239/180
Buehrle: 108/121/100
Happ: 86/71/118
Romero: 74/146/112

So, Dickey, JJ, and Buehrle were very reasonable to assume 100+ ERA+'s out of coming in, and hoping for a 120 out of at least one wasn't unreasonable.  Morrow appeared to turn a corner at last in 2012, while Romero we all hoped was just having a year where everything went wrong (little did we know how much worse it could get).  Happ is who he is, a 5th/6th man in the rotation.

My point?  To assume that going out and chasing another shiny object won't guarantee results anymore than going after Dickey/Buehrle/Johnson did this year.  It should've been a competitive rotation but instead has been a disaster.  Add 10 points to all but Happ in ERA+ and you would still be lower than most would've assumed coming into the year.

Thus why I say go for elite or don't bother.  If elite has an off year you get ERA+'s in the 90's (Dickey & Johnson).  If average has an off-year you get 70's like Romero last year and Morrow this.  Tampa has done extremely well building up their own and mixing them in as soon as they are ready.  The Jays in the glory years of 1983-1993 did the same with only a few expensive additions (Morris, Cone, Stewart, Candiotti) and many cheap 'lets hope' guys (Alexander, Flanagan for example who worked and many others who didn't who we've forgotten) mixed with in-house guys who were key to winning (added in glory years were Key, Hentgen, Guzman, Stottlemyre, Wells).  The current Jays need the same.  Only 6 games this year have been started by guys coming through the system I think (Romero, Jenkins, Nolin).  We need in-house guys to step up and grab slots in the rotation, not fumble and lose them. 

Gerry - Sunday, July 14 2013 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#276505) #
And just to repeat what I said above. I think this team needs to focus on getting better for 2014. I don;t think it should focus on trading parts for 2013.

So I would not trade prospects for Matt Garza who is a free agent at the end of this year.

I would trade prospects for a player who would be under team control for 2014 or 2015.
John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 01:02 AM EDT (#276506) #
Gerry I agree doing a rental would be a mistake but make it conditional on an extension and there could be a match. Ideally you would get a 2nd baseman (or 3B) but Garza could be nice if he'd sign a 3 to 5 year deal.

I do worry though about too much emphasis on pitching as long as that big hole in the lineup exists.
Richard S.S. - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 05:09 AM EDT (#276507) #
Reading elsewhere, it has been reported Chris Sale of White Sox might be available. That's one Pitcher I would give up a lot for.
1) An OF, Rasmus or Gose or Sierra or Pillar.
2) A Reliever, Cecil or Delabar or Janssen.
3) Any prospect(s).
4) A Pitcher, Drabek or Romero or Hutchison.
Any of these can be used in Trades.
cybercavalier - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 06:10 AM EDT (#276508) #
For second base and third base:

Shortstop Jake Elmore of the Houston Astros fits the bill on, "The Jays need to find a young kid who is almost ready who is blocked by his current team long term.". Second base is his comfortable position which has been occupied by in-house farm product and all-star Jose Altuve. Shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar could be pushing for MLB playing time mid-next season. Jake has roughly a window of this season or early next season if no more infielder would be brought to Houston.

His skills to shine is his plate discipline, a candy for saber-heads, but not enough outside of it. However, he is still 25 and has been playing as a shortstop for the Astros in Houston and AAA this season. So maybe a straight-up Elmore-Boni trade is workable until a more long term solution is found.
cybercavalier - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 06:18 AM EDT (#276509) #
Or Elmore for Kawasaki, FWIW.
John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 06:26 AM EDT (#276510) #
Given where the Astros are in the success cycle (pure rebuild) they'd be after prospects not Kawasaki or Bonifacio.  Jake Elmore has a 51 OPS+ over 2 seasons/132 PA.  He appears good in AAA hitting 327/420/453 over 820 PA but that is in the PCL.  He has 920 PA in AA hitting 274/368/347.  He doesn't catch me as anything much, just a younger Jim Negrych who, btw, has cooled off considerable (312/380/441 overall, but a 456 OPS in July after a 741 in June). 

Nah.  IMO the Jays need to find either a) a hidden gem that a team hasn't noticed for some reason or b) a high end prospect who is blocked and Elmore isn't either. 
Paul D - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 07:40 AM EDT (#276511) #
Matt Garza would be crazy to sign a new deal after being traded.  He's the number one FA pitcher this offseaon - I suspect he'll use that to his advantage. 
John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#276513) #
It all depends on his goals.  From what I've read he had a figure in mind that the Cubs didn't match on a per year basis, but raw number of years was matched at least that was my read.  Suggests he is more after per year dollars not a crazy 7/8 year deal.
Richard S.S. - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#276514) #
If a Pitchers gives up a run or two it's usually bad luck or shit happens. When this Team loses it's mostly because of a big (3+ runs) inning more than anything else. That's when the Starter falls apart. These Starters should be too good to let that happen. Just win 1 in 5 of those games and this season is very different.
Mike Green - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#276515) #
Not interested in Garza.  He's likely to be very expensive and not very good. 

I'd try to improve the defence.  My catchers next year are Thole and Jimenez.  Lawrie is a third baseman.  Encarnacion is a DH.  Pillar, Rasmus and Bautista are the outfield.  Melky is a part-time DH/PH.  I want to find either a fine-fielding shortstop (and move Reyes to second) or a fine-fielding second baseman, and a decent defensive first baseman who hits some too.  The players I would be after are the Tampa specials- Bartlett, Escobar, Carlos Pena, Loney...Kawasaki is a fine bench player, and so it's really only two position players you need.  In a pinch, you could get a LHH first baseman to platoon with Encarnacion (Cabrera DH's against LH pitching). 

CeeBee - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#276516) #
So Mikes idea involves trading Lind, Arencibia, Maybe Izturis and Bonifacio, if the latter can be traded. I guess otherwise release him or park him in Buffalo. Seems like a good plan IF you can make decent trades for the above mentioned players.
Mike Green - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#276518) #
I like Izturis, and don't think that you'd get much for him anyway.  Izturis and Kawasaki back up third base, second base and shortstop.  With Lawrie's propensity for injury, Izturis is likely to get in 40-50 games anyways. 

I don't ever want to see an 8 man pen again...

John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#276520) #
Garza is an interesting one. He always has killed the Jays, especially here in Toronto.  But he is at the most expensive point of his career - going into his age 30 season reaching free agency with a good but not 'wow' record (109 ERA+ lifetime, 124 this year his best but with a NL warning on it).  I just don't see the Jays committing $20 mil a year over 5+ years to him and that is what he'd probably be asking for pre-free agency.

The Jays really need to prioritize this summer/winter as to where they have the biggest holes and put any budget they have into that area.  Pitchers are always a crapshoot and this winter will have lots of lottery ticket pitchers out there in Garza, Johnson, AJ Burnett, Halladay, Lincecum among others (Hughes, Ervin Santana, etc).  All have potential to be front of the rotation guys, all have big question marks. 

This year the Jays thought they had a few sure things...or at least sure to be over 100 for ERA in Johnson, Dickey, and Buehrle with Morrow and Romero being reasonable bets.  Instead all of them collapsed.  I just don't see AA blowing the wad on another pitcher this winter.  If I was going to blow the wad it'd be on Robinson Cano as you'd hurt a key rival and fix the worst position on the field.  But that would take $25+ per year over 5-7 years.  Would Rogers pony up the cash for that on top of the rest (pushing payroll to $150 million in 2014 potentially)?  I doubt it.

CeeBee - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#276522) #
Now if they could find a suc...ahem, taker for Buehrle they could use that money for Cano...... gotta dream big!
John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#276523) #
Now is the time to find Buehrle a new home - teams are fighting for playoff slots and Buehrle is a 'proven winner' with a 4.04 ERA since June started despite that horrid 8 run game last time, he also eats innings going 6+ 14 times this year and only once failing to finish 5.  One never knows - some desperate team might bite ala the Angels and Wells way back when.
greenfrog - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#276524) #
In my view, TB is succeeding not simply by acquiring a certain type of undervalued player (Escobar, Loney, Pena, Johnson, Keppinger, Molina, etc). It's because of the way the organization is run -- and the team is managed and coached -- from top to bottom. They have an advanced, integrated approach that has produced very competitive teams. The question is, how much of the team's recent success is due to the acquired players, and how much is due to other systemic or organizational factors? My guess is that acquiring a couple of these types of players, while not necessarily a bad idea, might not work as well for the Jays.
Mike Green - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#276525) #
I am not suggesting that every aspect of Tampa Bay's success ought to be, or can be, imported here.  Tampa has however scored more runs that Toronto so far this year and had a better defence while spending less money on position players.  Toronto has a power core that the Rays envy, but has failed dismally at ensuring that there are useful complementary players. 

On the other hand, if Joe Maddon wants to move to a place where fans come out to see a team with great potential even if it flounders....

John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#276526) #
Agreed Greenfrog - the Tampa model is finding anything they can anywhere that can help and that includes a top to bottom organizational 'groupthink' which is pull together and find ways to make it work.  Funny how years ago there was the Dodger way, the Orioles way and the Yankee way (and the messy 25 cab for 25 player Red Sox way) but now that has gone away mostly.  Now teams are transitional and temporary homes but Tampa, despite being a low budget club, actually seems to think long term more.  6 players via amateur draft including core Longoria, Moore, Price, Jenkins.  Their staff is Hellickson (4th year only played with TB), Moore (3rd year, only TB), Cobb (same), Price (6th year only Tampa), Archer (2nd year only Tampa), and Roberto Hernandez (7 years in Cleveland, first year in TB).  Talk about the opposite of Toronto - 5 guys who have only been in Tampa and a 6th who was signed off injury.  Two others have started (3 games each) one reaching majors for the first time this year and the other had 2 games in KC before this season (he was part of that big trade).

That really reminds me of the Jays of the 80's/early 90's.  Build from within and avoid expensive parts unless needed and then only one or two at a time.  Current Jays did the opposite, going nuts with trades last winter to have a full rotation of guys who never saw the Jays minors.  A much smarter, cheaper way to do it.  As exciting as those trades were this winter the results speak for themselves I'd say.

eudaimon - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#276527) #
I don't think you can truly judge the trade by the results. I think you have to take into account the full spectrum of possibilities that emerged as a result. For example, when the trade was made the vast majority of people thought they were pretty good trades to the point where the Blue Jays became the AL East favorites. Things haven't really gone as planned, but is always a possibility when making a big splash with multiple players. All the players simply aren't performing anywhere close to the level expected of them (other than maybe Buerhle). Reyes has been great... when he's been on the field. Johnson has been mediocre... when he's been on the field. Dickey's battled injuries, which probably explains the most of his mediocre results. Morrow's been injured and mediocre when on the field. Happ was supposed to be our "6th starter," Romero sucked beyond imagination and then he got hurt - on a line drive to the head, no less. Bonifacio's been a disaster even if you think his ~80 careers OPS+ is more what you should expect as opposed to his one big year. Meanwhile, Lawrie has sucked as well, which people seem to have forgotten as a result of the rest of the teams suckage. Izturis has also been pretty disappointing, but he looks to getting his game figured out. Oh, and Melky has sucked, perhaps because he was hurt. It's still hard to tell how good he will be the next year and a half, but it's too early to knock the signing which many saw as a steal in the offseason.

The only unexpected good things have been Lind and Rasmus.

You can expect a few bad things to happen, but I do think that this result is much closer to the trade's "worst case scenario" than it is to the expected results. I still think it was a good trade. I know everything is doom and gloom right now, but the talent does exist on this team to make a good run. We just need our pitching to get back on track, Lawrie to hit closer to an 800 OPS, Bautista/Encarnacion/Reyes/Rasmus/Lind to keep doing what they're doing. The bullpen to stay elite. All the tools are there, we just need some production and maybe a little bit of luck. I'd also support a trade, depending on the guy. It could help energize the team. I would prefer through that it not be someone like Garza who'll be gone at the end of the year (and who might not make it too well in the AL East)

electric carrot - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#276530) #
In general I agree with eudaimon.  Adding to his comment, I haven't completely ruled out a miracle finish with this team just because I think if any Jays team of the last 10 years could do it this one would be it because there is so much latent talent here.  But I admit it would fall into the "miracle" category (unless, of course, Mike Green has some more bargains he can make with the devil.) Aside from below the radar roster moves, not really enthused about the prospect of many more deals in the short term. Let's play this stretch out -- we already made our big bet -- and see if our perspective on the players we have changes after # 162 is in the bank.
John Northey - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#276531) #
Melky actually is about where he was pre-PED's.  85 OPS+ lifetime pre-2011, then a 121/155 in 2011/2012, now a 86 this year.  He basically reverted back to 4th outfielder/marginal ML'er status.  Not good for $8 mil a year, but at least it was just this year and next.  Morrow not a 100% shock as his ERA+ in 2011 was just 90, then a 144, now a 76 - OK worse than we ever expected but the 144 wasn't likely to happen again.  Interesting that it seems to all be HR and BABIP related.

Yeah, lots of stuff gone as wrong as possible.  But I'd say Melky was in the range of possible - worst case, but not complete shock.
China fan - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#276532) #
Here's a very good story on Ricky Romero and his demons:
ayjackson - Monday, July 15 2013 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#276537) #
Our starters ranked by SIERA:

Esmil Rogers 3.68
Josh Johnson 3.68
Mark Beurhle 4.31
R A Dickey 4.52

Todd Redmond 4.48

Josh looks like a candidate for some ERA regression in the second half. That will help the decision to make him a qualifying offer in the offseason. I don't think you can move Beurhle without eating a bunch of salary, so next year's rotation (assuming a similar and healthy second half from Esmil, which is no certainty) should start with


Romero and Morrow would be the leading candidates to complete the rotation as it stands today, with Drabek, Hutchison, Stroman, Nolin and maybe even McGowan making cases for a spot.

The back end looks as deep as it has for a long time and the front end looks as weak as it has for a long time.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#276539) #
Regarding the second base/third base issue,

I happen to read a website explaining the hitting problem of Tyler Greene, a 2B/SS/3B and former 1st rounder of the Cardinals. Does his hitting problem resemble Jose Bautista's ? In other words, is there a pre-Jays Joey Bats somewhere in baseball world whom the Jays coaching and turn around ?

John Northey - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 06:45 AM EDT (#276540) #
Finding another Bautista (or Encarnacion for that matter) is a tough thing.  More dumb luck than anything as one never knows which players will suddenly 'get it'.  Something to remember is Bautista was a lifetime 89 OPS+ pre Jays, 91 pre-WOW.  Greene is a 75. That's a big difference right there as Bautista was a useful backup while Greene right now isn't.  Makes it a lot easier to hold onto a guy when he isn't hurting the club much in part time play.  Still, who knows, Greene might be cheap and it never hurts to check out guys like that but other than Bonifacio who would you dump to keep him on the roster?
Paul D - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#276541) #
I think that the problem with looking at FIPS or SIERA is that the Jays defence is not good, meaning that you'd expect that the pitchers will have worse ERAs than predicted by advanced stats.  (Although I suppose that doesn't explain the bullpen)
Magpie - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 08:59 AM EDT (#276542) #
whom the Jays coaching and turn around ?

The coaches currently employed by the Jays, Murphy included, had almost nothing to do with Bautista.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#276545) #
Melky's mediocrity is still somewhat of a surprise. It's important to remember that he's still just 28 years old, meaning that his last two years can also be viewed as part of the maturation of a good hitter. I'm not saying that PEDs didn't have any impact but I don't think they're an absolute explanation for his increased production.This is a guy who made it to the majors at age 20 and who's just now entering the "peak years" of a hitter.

I think the jury is still out on this signing. We all saw how hobbled he looked out in the field, it's quite possible injuries affected him at the plate. Hopefully the home run he hit today is a sign of things to come.

ayjackson - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#276550) #
I thought our defense has been very good since April.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#276553) #

The coaches currently employed by the Jays, Murphy included, had almost nothing to do with Bautista.

May you explain more on it, briefly ? On swinging issue, a piece was written on Colby Rasmus on his Cardinals' days.
John Northey - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#276554) #
It was Cito Gaston and Dwayne Murphy - mainly Murphy - who got Bautista's swing in shape by explaining the issues to him in a way that was different from every other coach who told him he had an issue.  You can see it all here.
ayjackson - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#276555) #
I thought it was Vernon Wells.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#276557) #
Ryan Day - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#276558) #
Based on this story, everyone was telling Bautista the same thing - start your swing earlier. Wells apparently was the one to put it to him in a way that really clicked:
"You know what you should do," Wells said. "Think about starting as early as you can possibly imagine, so early that it seems ridiculous. And then start even earlier than that. What do you have to lose? If you look like a fool, you look like a fool. It's just one game."
ayjackson - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#276563) #
For the record, I think that's exactly what Lawrie should do too.
John Northey - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#276574) #
I get a feeling for Bautista is was a mix.  Wells gave him the 'wow' moment, the coaches worked to keep him there after telling him the same thing over and over again.  Takes a lot to shift a ML players habits but sometimes it sure does pay off big.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, July 16 2013 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#276577) #
So if Lawrie (and other hitters for that matter) has similar issue, can he shift habits in Buffalo, not Toronto? So his weak performance during maintenance will not affect the record.
bpoz - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#276596) #
I believe George Bell also helped in the off season.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#276625) #
With Desmond and Rendon playing well, Danny Espinosa might be available.  I'd kick the tires.
CeeBee - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#276626) #
Any idea what Espinosa's defence is like? Hitting doesn't look so great so I'd hope for good D at least.
Gerry - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#276627) #
Whats the difference between Espinosa and Bonifacio?
JB21 - Wednesday, July 17 2013 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#276628) #
Whats the difference between Espinosa and Bonifacio?

3.2 WAR in 2012

Any idea what Espinosa's defence is like?

UZR/150 of 15.3, 9.9, & 11.5 in 2010, 2012, & 2013.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 18 2013 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#276633) #
Espinosa is a natural shortstop, and would actually probably play the position significantly better than Reyes.  Strangely, he might even be better than Desmond but the Nationals don't think so. Regardless whether Espinosa plays shortstop or second base, he's a much, much better ballplayer than Bonifacio.  The Nationals apparently see him as a utility infielder, and so you might be able to get him for not much at all. 

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