Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
I've made up my mind to live in memory of the lonesome times.

My money's on a pitchers' duel today. Chris Archer has pitched 15 shutout innings in his last two starts, and the Rays can't be happy to see R.A. Dickey on the mound for Toronto.
Game Thread - 7/21 vs Tampa Bay | 64 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#276784) #
Wagner has been demoted to make room for Cabrera.

After 96 games, today is the first day when the Jays will have the entire 9-man lineup that they planned in the off-season.

The rotation, of course, is still far from what they planned.
China fan - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#276785) #
A footnote to my last post: Thole is in the lineup, rather than JPA, so it's not precisely the 9-man lineup that the Jays planned. Tomorrow, perhaps, for that. But today is the first day when the entire planned array of hitters is available to Gibbons.
Magpie - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#276791) #
The Return of the King! Needless to say, in all my time at the ball park, I saw Carlos Delgado hit far more home runs than anyone else.
Magpie - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#276792) #
Carlos did hit 2 HR in just 9 career ABs against Dickey (who hit him once in return!), but Buehrle handled him pretty well (3-17). Delgado made a point out of brutalizing Jamie Moyer, and he roughed up Ramon Ortiz, Jeff Weaver, Tim Hudson, and Livan Hernandez pretty good as well. He abused some pretty good LH pitchers along the way - Tom Glavine, Andy Pettite, Mike Hampton.

Naturally there were some pretty hilarious small-sample numbers. He batted 10 times against Dustin Hermanson and had 7 hits, 3 of them HRs and a 1.800 slugging pct. He had 28 ABs against Jorge Sosa and hit .500 with 7 HRs.

But he was helpless against Mark Hendrickson (0-14)! He was feeble against Kevin Appier and Tom Gordon, and bewildered by Mike Mussina and David Cone.
uglyone - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#276794) #
Lawrie back at 3B, saves us a run already.

Moving lawrie to 2B midseason, coming back from injury, and moving Izturis to 3B as a result, has to be one of the most mind boggling decisions I've seen the Jays make.

And it arguably cost us at least 1 game, maybe two.
Mike Green - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#276795) #
I remember in particular a Carlos Delgado/Pedro Martinez confrontation in 1999 or 2000 when Pedro was at his very best.  Carlos just wore him down over a 10 to 12 pitch at-bat and finally homered (to centerfield, if I remember right).  It didn't happen much to Pedro that year.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#276797) #
I remember Delgado's first All-Star game (in 2000, his first monster season, although his previous seasons were very good). In his one AB, he crushed a double off the wall in right. I'm sure some observers were thinking, who is this guy?
Magpie - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#276798) #
I will always remember the one off Guardado during the Season From Hell. Carlos had been out almost six weeks with a rib injury. He returned in time for a series against Seattle just before the Break. The Jays won the first two games and had a 6-5 lead in the third game until Vinnie Chulk coughed up 3 runs in the 8th. In the bottom of the ninth, Phelps struck out but Dave Berg (Dave Berg?!) hit a HR after an absolutely epic at bat (he fouled off seven two-strike pitches) to make it 8-7. Chris Gomez and Reed Johnson singled around a Hudson strikeout to bring Delgado to the plate. He instantly parked Guardado's first pitch deep into the seats for the walkoff winner.

And for one brief shining moment, we thought maybe we weren't in Hell after all.
Chuck - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#276799) #
Ouch. Reyes hit on the fly, in the fly.
Magpie - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#276800) #
As Buck knows all too well, when a catcher gets nailed the way Reyes just did, all the guys in the other dugout yell out their sympathy - "Oooh, that must have hurt" "You OK, Buck?" - in really, really high voices. Cruel, but hilarious. Wonder if the same applies on a play at first?
greenfrog - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#276801) #
I believe it was Sartre who wrote, "L'enfer, c'est les Rays de Tampa." I could be wrong.
Magpie - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#276802) #
Reyes, it turns out, doesn't wear a cup. Whereas Mark DeRosa says he wears one for the team picture.
Chuck - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#276803) #
Dickey have up 24 HR (12/12/ home/road) in 234 innings last year. He is now up to 23 (17/6 home/road) in 135 innings this year. Big difference between Citi Field and Rogers Centre.
Chuck - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#276804) #


greenfrog - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#276806) #
The AL East is going to be very tough going forward. The Rays and Red Sox in particular appear to have very bright futures, with abundant young talent, including good young pitching, competent management/coaching, contractual flexibility and (in Boston's case) financial resources to deploy. Even Baltimore has some impressive young talent to build around in Machado, Davis, Jones and Wieters (and possibly Gausman and Bundy in 2014-15).

The Rays look awfully impressive right now. Their starting six of Price/Moore/Hellickson/Archer/Cobb/Hernandez is excellent. The team's defense is outstanding. The lineup has also been very good (fourth-most RS in the AL, behind Boston, Detroit and Baltimore). They are versatile and they execute. Very, very good ballclub.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#276807) #
Until Toronto can throw out an All Star Rotation against opponents, they will have an near impossible time reaching the post season.

Right now the Rotation is barely 4th/5th Starter value. They can't seem to avoid that big inning which puts inordinate stress on the Offense.

Kasi - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#276808) #
Gotta wonder if Gibbon's job is in jeopardy.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#276809) #
Well that was painful.

I don't know what it is about Tampa but they always seem to do *juuuuuust* enough to beat us.  Or we do juuuuuuust enough to lose.  Frustrating.

John Northey - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#276810) #
I'm wondering what the heck is going on with the starters.  The pen is wonderful, the offense has been acceptable (4.54 runs per game, slightly above average), but the starters...ugly is a nice way to put it.  It seems quite often they are left in one inning too long - that the final full inning given is a horrid one. 

DIckey past 5 starts: today 3 runs in final inning, last start 3 runs in final full inning, shutout final inning, shutout entire game, 4 runs final inning.  So his last 5 games he has allowed 10 runs in his final inning (5 IP).  That is super ugly.  How does that happen?  Is the pitching coach not catching on when Dickey is losing it?  Do they not know what to do when he gets into trouble thus just leave him out there until the game is out of reach? 

That seems to be a pattern - 3 of 5 games where he allowed 3+ runs in the final inning of work.  Haven't checked others but clearly the Jays are missing something when Dickey starts.  The Jays have a deep solid pen, yet somehow the starters are allowed to lose the game before the pen is called in - using them mainly to start an inning rather than to save the game when needed.  The manager has final call on replacing starters, but one figures he is counting on his pitching coach and the catcher that game to tell him 'no more left, pull him' as well as his own instincts.  The Jays might need a dual pitching coach situation - one for the pen and one for starters who can tell Gibbons 'pull him, pull him NOW' rather than just going along waiting for 100 pitches to happen and pulling then.
hypobole - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#276811) #
The only positive to all this losing is that it's slowly but surely providing clarity to the fact the Jays should be active sellers. Keep Johnson for now, but trade anyone else who's not going to be part of next years club as well as listening to offers for even the controllable assets.

And as far as return, I disagree with those who believe we should only target positions of need or major leaguers who would be part of next years club - that limits both trading partners and cost relative to return. If the best deal nets a prospect or prospects, that's the deal to make. Then any holes that aren't filled by free agency in the offseason can be filled by trade, with the added prospects being more tradable assets.

My biggest concern is the Rogers synergy. Will they allow even a partial tank for this season? Or would they prefer to remain mediocre because their media can spin mediocre but it's much harder to put a positive spin on bad.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#276814) #
The 'pen may be wonderful, but starting pitching is usually the foundation of a winning team. You can't keep pulling starters after five innings or so, fearing a meltdown. Besides, starters are often weak early, then finish strong (as was the case with Buehrle yesterday).

Selling sounds nice in theory, but there isn't much point in selling players unless you're selling high. I don't see a lot of attractive extra parts on the Jays, apart from relief pitchers (who typically don't bring back a lot in return). Unless AA is prepared to move Reyes, Bautista, EE or maybe Dickey. But those are presumably players that AA wants around next year. Johnson is the logical player to move, but he's pitched so poorly that his market value probably isn't that high right now.
King Ryan - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#276816) #
I didn't think it could get more miserable as a Jays fan than the game yesterday, but then they went out this afternoon and did almost the exact same thing again. Bravo.

The Jays won their eleventh straight game on June 23rd. Since that time, they are 7-16 while Tampa Bay is 19-4. Can we throw in the towel now? Only San Diego and Houston have worse records over that stretch.

I disagree with the notion that you can't pull starters early. Why the heck not? I would have loved to see this team buck convention and just commit to having an ensemble cast who just throws 3 innings at a time.

Not that it matters at this point.
scottt - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#276818) #
Pulling starters early usually means after they let one or two runners on and then you bring in a guy who only pitches with runners on base. You can't just pull everybody after 5 innings.

I'd like to see the Rays win the division now.

eudaimon - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#276820) #
Agreed, you it's not like Dickey was way over a theoretical pitch count when he got hit up. Usually he's been undone by allowing a big home run, pretty much a worst case scenario really. He just seems to time a lot of the HRs he allows so that they approach the end of the game.

Personally I think the team is mildly cursed. To lose the curse AA has to give up a toy he's been obsessing too much over. Release Bonifacio already!

John Northey - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#276821) #
My big concern is that this has happened 3 out of the past 5 games he has started.  There is probably a sign of some kind that he is hitting his wall one has to think and the Jays and their coaches need to figure out what that sign is.  You cannot keep having a guy flop in his final inning like that. 
finch - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#276822) #
It's quite clear that this season is officially over. I'm not one in the camp that we must trade everyone of value but rather I believe that we must build around our core. Who is our core? I would say it's:

Bautista, Encarnacion, Reyes, Lawrie, Arencibia, Rasmus, Dickey, Cecil, McGowen, and Delabar.

Although the other players not mention, in my opinion, are trade candidates, not all can be moved for value. Who could I see being moved? Well...:

Lind - A left power bat would help a team down the stretch. I think 2 decent prospects could be had for him. Plus, he has a team-friendly option contract.

Davis - Speed player able to steal 2 bases each time he's on base. Would be a valuable bench player for a team trying to make the playoffs or adding for an attempted playoff run. Again, should be able to net a prospect in the #3-6 range of a system.

Janssen - A top closer at this point. IMO, he's playing over his head at this point and probably has reached his ceiling. They need to cash in this chip as many contenders are looking for a solid player back of the bullpen play. I think he nets a top 100 prospect.

Oliver - LHP w/ experience should net a prospect in the #8-10 within an organization's depth.

Izturis - Role player that can play multiple positions and has some speed. Attractive role player. I would take a prospect in the #12-18 range just to rid the contract. Would include a prospect in order to get a better return (prospect wise)

The other players available for trade will be difficult to move. Josh Johnson will most likely net us a comp first rounder. AA has stated he's not moving him...or maybe he's just raising the asking price. Buerhle will not be moved because of the backloaded contract. Bonifacio doesn't offer much to a contending team and Cabrera's status as the drug suspensions loom is a turn off. Loop/Rogers wouldn't net much.

I think the Jays need to take this opportunity to build around the core. They need to realize that the aforementioned players are interchangable and should be used to restock the farm a tad in order to go after some bigger name in the off season since the Jays are gunning for contention the next 2 years.

And that concludes my random thoughts.
John Northey - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#276823) #
Everyone says not to trade Bautista or Encarnacion but I wonder... Bautista is 32 now, seems to be a 130's slugger with 3 years of control at $14 mil per year left (final year a team option).  In his big 4 years he has produced (via FanGraphs) tons of extra value with this year (so far) being worth $16.5 million.  That suggests $10 mil or so extra value per year from him over his contract.  What would another club, one that is actually in the fight for a title, give up for that?  Could you rebuild the roster with kids who are close but not yet here very, very quickly that way?  At his age he could cliff dive at any time, and while he has been 'wow' for us perhaps it is time to cash in those chips before his swan turns into an ugly duckling.  Encarnacion is 30 and has value at 3B in emergencies and is reasonable at 1B/DH.  He is signed for 2 more plus a team option at $9/10/10.  Again, he is producing tons of extra value with this year being at $14.4 so far.  Might he produce a stack of quality for 2014/15/16 and beyond?

The big question is will this team contend (for real) in 2014/2015?  There was a window for 2013 but that seems pretty close to being slammed shut due to starting pitching being ugly.  They could make a miracle comeback but only a fool would bet on it and AA is no fool.  He has to know that the 'do it quick' plan has flopped and he needs to figure out how to change the page and quick.  The most drastic way is to do a trade away of Bautista as that would scream 'rebuild' even if you got the top 5 prospects in MLB.  Might it be time?  Maybe not, but it is a question worth asking.  If AA isn't at least taking calls on Bautista and Encarnacion then he isn't doing his job.

Ron - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#276824) #
Does MLB ban home teams from showing replays (or only 1 or 2 a game) or is this just a self imposed Blue Jays rule?

If you wonder why some fans choose to stay home instead of paying for a ticket, you can chalk this up to one of the reasons. I went to my first game this season and I was really frustrated by the lack of replays. When Reyes went down, I had no what happened since I was sitting on the other side of the field.
Eephus - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#276826) #
Despite the article I wrote just 4 days ago (hundreds of words wasted, blech) I'm convinced the 2013 team is now toast. It sucks like a hull breach in the USS Enterprise certainly, but it doesn't mean there won't be some interesting and entertaining baseball to watch in the final few months.

Also, I don't understand why a lot of people seem so eager to write off the 2014 team. First of all, you're placing doubt on events that we have completely no concept of yet. I mean, do you think Baltimore fans were all sitting around halfway through 2011 going "Yeah we're gonna kick some ass and win the wildcard next year!" Second, while we may lack the sexiness (for lack of a better term) of some other farm systems in the division, there are some interesting players due to arrive/return soon. The Nolins, the Stromans, the Hutchisons, the Goses, the Drabeks, the Pillars, the Jimenezs, and such.

Thirdly, and most of all, Alex Anthopolous is not the kind of GM to just sit back and let this thing go to pieces. He has his flaws (as we've all discovered and discussed this season) but one thing he is surely skilled at is pulling off a "Big" move, and I'm confident we're going to see at least one of those in the next while.

In the meantime, it's mid-July and there's baseball to watch almost everyday. We'll be pining for days like these come January.
katman - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#276828) #
John, I'd be open to trading Bautista. Just has to be the right offer, of talent that's close or recently to the bigs.

Meanwhile, Detroit needs bullpen help - and don't seem to even have the Jays on their radar. WTF?!?

Eephus - Sunday, July 21 2013 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#276829) #
One of my favourite Delgado moments also has to be that home run off "Everyday" Eddie Guardado in 2004. The four home run game was just as unbelievable as well: I remember thinking by his reaction on the fourth one that he didn't get it, but instead he crushed it a hundred feet farther than the other three.

He was the best player on the Blue Jays when I was just getting into baseball, and he still remains one of my favourite players of all time. Reliable, consistent, intelligent and determined: there was nothing more you could ask of from King Carlos.
Richard S.S. - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 12:19 AM EDT (#276832) #
If A.A. can't do a "WOW" for this trade deadline and the August one, he will disappoint a huge number of paying fans. Of course, if he does a couple "Now That's Interesting" or three it might be enough. A.A. had a deal in place for Jake Peavy before he re-signed. Is he still interested? Just a faint whiff of a rumour says Chris Sale might be available. Should we be interested?

What has happened to Josh Johnson? He's a quality front of the rotation guy for many years. That doesn't disappear. I think he's an ideal subject for the Weighted Ball Program. I believe if he starts and stays the year as the dominant Pitcher he was in Miami, we are at least 10 games better.
Richard S.S. - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 03:26 AM EDT (#276836) #
Lots of Scouts out this time of year. Some who watch/chart pitches on Buehrle and leave when he pulled. Some who follow Rasmus' and Lind's ABs and stop writing, close their books when they are not batting (courtesy of Drunk Jay Fans - NL Scouts Monitoring Buehrle, Rasmus, Lind?).
Thomas - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 07:18 AM EDT (#276839) #
You're suggesting that we can ignore one-half of the OPS metric and focus on whichever half is favorable to our argument.

Repeated studies have shown that a properly weighted OPS would not have SLG as one half of the metric.

92-93 - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#276849) #
"Moving lawrie to 2B midseason, coming back from injury, and moving Izturis to 3B as a result, has to be one of the most mind boggling decisions I've seen the Jays make."

And as usual, with everything AA does, he will be given a free pass by the media who won't begin to criticize his Canadian bacon until the writing is on the wall.
ramone - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#276850) #
Blair's article showed the media is starting to turn I think

Gerry - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#276854) #

So what is the plan for 2014?  I see 5 players/positions covered, Bautista RF, Encarnacion 1B, Rasmus CF, Reyes SS, and Lind DH.  I have previously said I would trade Lind because too many of those keepers are at the non-athletic end of the defensive spectrum.

So what to do about 2B, 3B, LF and C?

The Jays have potential replacements in the minor leagues for 2014 at one of those positions, namely Kevin Pillar. 

The Jays have to find out of Brett Lawrie can hit well enough to be a part of the future of this team.  I think he can but that is job 1 for the coaching staff for the rest of 2014.

After the trade deadline I would call up Pillar and have him get used to the major leagues and try and prove he can handle it.

Catcher and 2B have been debated here endlessly.  AA needs a plan.

The starting rotation is the next issue.  There are no shortage of candidates for 2014...Morrow, Buehrle, Dickey, Rogers, Romero, McGowan, Hutchison, Drabek, Nolin, Stroman, Happ.  Are they good enough?  If not, how can you get stronger at the starting pitching position, teams are not anxious to trade good starters.  You may have to go with this group and hope 5 get hot.


It is hard to say exactly how the Jays will get better for 2014, assuming most of the money is spent already with the contracts they took on in the offseason.  You may have to hope for a season where many players get hot. 

sam - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#276855) #
I completely agree with your comment 92-93. Some pointed criticism of upper management is needed.
Magpie - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#276856) #
If AA isn't at least taking calls on Bautista and Encarnacion then he isn't doing his job.

In principle, sure - but I think it would be a little tricky to find a way to make the team better right now that would include moving Bautista and/or Encarnacion as part of the process. And if this team isn't in contention in 2014, it's questionable whether Anthopoulos will still have a job. Which has possibly occurred to him by now.
Magpie - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#276857) #
Blair's article showed the media is starting to turn I think

Except it's Jeff Blair. I like Blair a lot (he's had Joe Strummer as his computer wallpaper, how could I not?) - but he's not all that representative of the general media groupthink.
greenfrog - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#276858) #
To supplement Gerry's comments, I would want to know what AA's plan is for improving the team's performance (as opposed to making yet another attempt at bringing in the right players).

I'm referring to things like team defense, execution, coaching and preparation. Are the Jays getting as much performance out of the talent on their major-league roster and/or prospects as, say, the Rays are getting out of theirs?
Magpie - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#276861) #
Are the Jays getting as much performance out of the talent on their major-league roster and/or prospects as, say, the Rays are getting out of theirs?

A rhetorical question, surely?

But maybe we should address the question of whether this team really is that talented. Consider this question: which major league starting pitcher has the best fastball? Well, this year, it's Jeff Locke of the Pirates. Locke's heater sits at an unimpressive 90 mph. But no one can hit the damn thing (hitters are hitting .176 against it, lowest in the majors), which is why it's been the best. After all - what is a fastball for?

It's for getting positive results in a baseball game. That's also what talent is for. Maybe there really isn't as much talent here as we so cheerfully let ourselves believe. (Props to Mark Buehrle, who basically said this very thing already.)
Parker - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#276863) #
I can't stand Blair myself, but I do admit it's refreshing to see someone finally dropping the "the talent is there, and it's not too late to turn things around" bullcrap I keep reading and hearing about this last-place team.
greenfrog - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#276865) #
My point isn't that the Jays currently have the talent to win, but are failing to elicit enough performance from that talent base to do so.

I'm talking about next year. If the Jays' roster has roughly 90 wins' worth of talent, I would like them to win at least 90 games (preferably more). I want to be confident that my team isn't turning 90 potential wins into 86-88 wins because the competition has better coaching, strategy, execution, preparation, etc.
John Northey - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#276866) #
Over on BBTF I mentioned this about the planned rotation and ERA+...
Dickey: past 3 years ERA+: 129 This year: 89 = 40 points
Buehrle: past 3 years ERA+: 109 This year: 88 = 21 points
Johnson: past 3 years ERA+: 142 This year: 82 = 60 points
Morrow: past 3 years ERA+: 102 This year: 76 = 26 points
Romero: past 3 years ERA+: 105 This year: 37 = 68 points (just 4 1/3 IP this year in majors, 5.16 ERA in minors)

#6 Happ is close: past 3 years ERA+: 84 This year: 87 = +3 points so actually a teeny tiny bit better. Then he was hit in the head.
The others are as good as one could hope, but the big 5 was what the Jays counted on in the offseason along with Happ as backup.

So basically all 5 of the key rotation guys have pitched not just a little worse but a LOT worse than they have recently.  20+ points of ERA+ is a LOT and all 5 have flopped by that much or more.  Happ has done what would be expected, but was whacked in the head
with a ball which pretty much describes how all of us here feel this year.

To paraphrase Mr. Burns - one or two injuries/ineffectiveness I could see, but 6? I'd like to see that!

Mike Green - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#276867) #
Does Brett Lawrie have talent?  Of course, he has talent.  Loads of it.  He can hit home runs to centerfield.  He has an explosive first step and very good speed.  His hand/eye co-ordination is good.  He is 23 years old and is performing poorly, but it has nothing to do with native talent. 

What management/coaching have not done is bring out the talent on the club and fill in the gaps in talent.  This was my complaint in April and it remains true. 

Magpie - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#276868) #
I suppose it would be helpful if Johnson pitches well tonight and again on Saturday. They might be able to get something useful for him. Within the next few weeks, room in the rotation needs to be cleared for Happ and Morrow. And maybe Ricky Romero, who might be closer to major-league ready than Morrow or Happ.

Romero's three months in Buffalo:
monthly ERA - 13.85, 4.24, 2.57
hits per 9 IP - 15.9, 9.0, 8.1
BB/per 9 IP - 13.8 (really!), 3.7, 2.1

Curiously, Romero finally turned things around when he decided to stop listening to all the counsel he was getting and stopped trying to remake his delivery. That could be an interesting dynamic going forward - when a player doesn't trust that his coaches know what's best for him. Because why would he?
greenfrog - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#276869) #
Dickey = simply declining with age, perhaps, as many pitchers do?

Buehrle and Johnson = these two may be a case of caveat emptor, as both were moving to the AL East and there were scouting reports indicating that both might not be the same pitcher they were prior to 2012 (Johnson's declining velocity and his increased reliance on his curveball, for example; and a scout quoted on BP to the effect that Buehrle wasn't the same guy as he'd been two years earlier)...hazards of dealing with Loria + co.?

Morrow = mostly injured this year, and has had trouble staying healthy generally

Romero = pitched poorly in 2012, exhibiting major control problems, so no real surprise this year

In summary, the extent of the pitchers' struggles is somewhere on a continuum from mildly surprising to surprising, but it's hardly a shock. The potential for a good or even great rotation was always there, but so was the risk of injury and underperformance.
Magpie - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#276870) #
Does Brett Lawrie have talent?

It's kind of a semantic issue, I suppose. I think I'm saying something to the effect that Brett Lawrie, for example, has impressive tools, all kinds of physical gifts. It's not at all clear that he's a particularly talented baseball player. It's why I was thinking of Jeff Locke. Brandon Morrow throws much, much harder than Locke, but Locke obviously has a better fastball. Locke's fastball is better for use in baseball games. So who has more talent?

Of course, I think hitting the cutoff man is a talent. I've seen it baffle enough ballplayers.
greenfrog - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#276871) #
Also, learning is a two-way street, requiring receptivity on the part of the student. I'm thinking of the ad hoc mentoring session with Longoria that the Jays arranged for Lawrie. It didn't work out, apparently because Longoria couldn't connect with Lawrie, who was talking too fast.
eudaimon - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#276872) #
I still think what's happened to the rotation is close to some form of the worst-case scenario. Just as a whole the luck has been pretty bad. I think it says something when our number 6 starter goes down with a freak injury, forcing us give 12 starts to Lackey-types and 2 to a rushed Romero (which, fortunately, doesn't seem to be hurting him too badly now. It appears the concern that management ruined him with the promotion was a bit overhyped. Still has a way to go obvious, but he's looking like a better bet to be a contributor once again). Fortunately, Esmil Rogers has performed well in is 9 starts, keeping this team from being a complete disaster. Perhaps he was acquired with the idea that he would make a good swingman / potential starter. If so, good scouting on the part of the Blue Jays.

Dickey is old and was definitely injured a bit. I'm not sure his mediocre performance is decline-related though. He seems now to have the same velocity he always has. He might still be working out the kinks from having to alter his delivery to account for the pain early in the year. I think he'll finish the year strong, maybe get his ERA down to the mid to upper 3s. We'll see though.

My main issue with management / AA is that he sees it fit to keep Bonifacio on the roster despite supposedly being in "win now" mode. He's still doing the asset hoarding that one might do if they don't expect to compete and hope to be able to trade the player for prospects at the deadline. It feels a bit like those misers who grew up in the depression era having to pinch every penny and who die without every giving away or spending a dime on themselves. A team meant to make a run this year has no place for a mediocre to bad fielding, terrible bat player who hasn't stolen any bases despite his speed. By getting rid of him you do lose a bit of an (theoretical) asset but it's something that helps the team currently on the field.

It's kind of like if you're moving and you have too much stuff. You have a yard sale and sell some excess stuff for cheaper than you might get otherwise, selling on Ebay or whatever. You lose a bit of money you could theoretically. However, you gain not having to move as much crap and you also don't have to work as hard putting stuff on Ebay, and having to package and ship it to somewhere in California. Weird analogy, maybe, but this is something I've done a lot lately and thought it applied!

Anyways, I don't know. I think AA is a good GM, great even, but this kind of stuff mystifies me. I wasn't a fan of the 8 man bullpen either, but at least all those bullpen arms were worth keeping around.

hypobole - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#276873) #
"Curiously, Romero finally turned things around when he decided to stop listening to all the counsel he was getting and stopped trying to remake his delivery. That could be an interesting dynamic going forward - when a player doesn't trust that his coaches know what's best for him. Because why would he?"

That's one way to look at it. Here's another - he's reverted back to the mechanics that made him the worst qualified starter in the major leagues last year. Some pitchers can handle mechanical changes (Chris Sale and Chris Tillman are 2 I know of). But many can't.

Walker was fully aware of this when he changed Romero's delivery, but at the point the attempt was made, there wasn't much else to do with Romero. And before we call the reversion a success, let's see if the new/old Ricky is the 2011 version or the 2012 version. We'll find out when he's promoted and starts facing guys who are much better at laying off breaking balls in the dirt than the guys who are stuck in AAA because they can't.
Mike Green - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#276874) #
I think that it is perfectly clear that Lawrie can be a very good baseball player with good management.  You can look at his defensive development with Butterfield's guidance and see.  In Lawrie's case, there are quite a number of interrelated coaching issues- maturity, Red Bull rehab, modest injury avoidance techniques, but the key (it seems to me) is getting him dedicate himself to his craft. 

Brett Lawrie, J. P. Arencibia and Emilio Bonifacio are examples of poorly performing players, but there is a world of difference in the appropriate response.

Chuck - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#276876) #

forcing us give 12 starts to Lackey-types

Were it so! Lackey has actually been very good this year.

John Northey - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#276877) #
I find it very troubling that Romero is finding his form when he finally decided to ignore all advise coming from coaches.  If that was leading to the issues he had last year and this then there is a MAJOR issue here. 

I remember back when Cito Gaston was the hitting coach.  His viewpoint was to take what the hitter had and work with it - find out what worked for that hitter and keep it fresh and working.  He would take their biggest weakness and work on that too - for Kelly Gruber, for example, he had him stand in the batters box and had pitches thrown and told him to call them balls or strikes until he finally was getting the calls right.  Seems against what the media thought of him, but Gaston did understand the value of knowing the strike zone - he just didn't care for being passive, he wanted hitters to be aggressive in the strike zone but to avoid swinging at pitches they couldn't handle (normally outside the zone unless you were George Bell for example).  What we need now is a pitching coach who views things like that - take what works for a pitcher and build on that, make sure they keep their strength and try to deal with their weakness so it doesn't kill them.

China fan - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#276880) #
".....Repeated studies have shown that a properly weighted OPS would not have SLG as one half of the metric...."

That's exactly why I mentioned, in the same comment, that OPS is far from a perfect metric. But it's better than trying to measure a player purely by OBP, which some people apparently want to do.
hypobole - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#276881) #
"I find it very troubling that Romero is finding his form when he finally decided to ignore all advise coming from coaches."

Ignoring ALL advice? Where did you hear this?
Paul D - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#276882) #
Wow.  So Braun suspended for the rest of the season and Garza traded to Texas. 
Mike Green - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#276891) #
I don't know what the club is doing with Lawrie.  You've got a player who is not playing the way he can, and you figure that shuttling him between 3B and 2B is going to help?  Really?
Parker - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#276895) #

It's very troubling.  Gibbons' defense for a lineup that sees Mark DeRosa batting cleanup is that he doesn't want to shuffle guys around; instead let them get comfortable in their spot in the order.   Evidently that notion does not extend to a player's defensive assignment.

China fan - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#276898) #
You guys are talking like a baseball player is a fragile flower whose entire balance would be dangerously disrupted by the awful burden of playing two positions. I don't think baseball players are so fragile, so easily discombobulated. You're trying to supply excuses for Lawrie, who has never tried to grasp at such excuses. If he's hitting badly, there are probably multiple reasons, but the pressure of playing a couple of different positions is likely to be one of the less important factors, and probably not much of a factor at all. There are many other reasons, starting with Lawrie's hitting mechanics, that are likely to be much bigger factors.

If playing two positions is such a terrible burden, should we assume that other players are equally handicapped? Is this why Bonifacio has been hitting so badly, because of the massive pressure of playing several positions? Nobody has ever suggested that Bonifacio would hit better if he was purely a 2B who never had to worry about other infield or outfield positions, but this is the logical corollary of your Lawrie argument.
Magpie - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#276899) #
What we need now is a pitching coach who views things like that

Pete Walker had one year as a pitching coach in AA. I know he's Gibbons' chum, but he may have needed some more experience.
Thomas - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#276905) #
That's exactly why I mentioned, in the same comment, that OPS is far from a perfect metric. But it's better than trying to measure a player purely by OBP, which some people apparently want to do.

China Fan, at no point in their comment did anyone suggest measuring a player "purely" by OBP. You pointed to Thole's terrible OPS in a small sample size and his career OPS statistics compared to JP's. You're the one who pointed to OPS and another commenter responded by noting Thole's notably superior OBP.

I read their comments as suggesting that Arencibia's OPS should be adjusted for his poor batting eye and the difference in the offensive contributions between the players is not nearly as big as a quick look at OPS would indicate. For some reason, you seem to have decided these posters were effectively saying: OBP is only statistic I want to use to measure a player.

China fan - Monday, July 22 2013 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#276911) #
Thomas, you should check out the other thread. When I compared JPA and Thole by their career OPS and their current OPS this season, one person responded with a lengthy comment that was entirely based on OBP, with no other data provided. So, yes, how else should it be interpreted, except as an attempt to use OBP as a rebuttal to OPS?

He didn't say that JPA's numbers should be "adjusted" -- that's your word, not his. You're making a different argument than he did. If you want to suggest that the gap between the two players is less than it appears from the raw OPS numbers, that's fine, I could even agree with you. My comment was simply a response to a comment that suggested that OBP is more significant than OPS, or equally significant to it. I don't think it is.
Game Thread - 7/21 vs Tampa Bay | 64 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.