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Josh Johnson (29, RHP, 1-7, 6.08) tries to show his last 3 games were flukes (13 2/3 IP 19 ER 4 BB 17 SO 6 HR) while the Angels hope Garrett Richards (25, RHP, 2-4, 4.33) is Dr. Jekyll (2 of last 4 games were 0 runs allowed) rather than Mr. Hyde (other 2 of past 4 were 5+ runs).

A tired pen today (at least for the core guys), but Segio Santos is back and ready for action, while Oliver and Perez are well rested.  I suspect Delabar is the only guy not available (pitched in each of the past 2 games, 5 of last 8 days). Cecil, Janssen and Loup pitched yesterday but should be available for up to an inning each if needed.

Jays are now 1 1/2 games ahead of the Angels - both having years much worse than expected. Angels at 48-58 with Hamilton hitting 226/283/418 (97 OPS+), Pujols 258/330/437 (117 OPS+) which is easily the 2nd worst season for Hamilton ever, and by far the worst for Pujols (140 OPS+ last year was his previous worst).  The Angels best reliever was probably Scott Downs who was just traded, leaving just 2 guys with ERA+'s over 100 in the pen in Sean Burnett* (9 2/3 IP who is on the DL) and Michael Kohn (4.1 BB/9 1.6 HR/9 so I doubt his low ERA will last).
Game Thread 8/1 in Anaheim | 75 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#277403) #
In the context of an article about the Pirates, David Cameron has an interesting chart for the home nine.  The Blue Jays have underperformed both their components of runs allowed and scored (measured by wOBA) and the runs scored and allowed.  When you take out the AL East, the club is 32-27 with a 279/262 RS/RA.  Which is why, I guess, the Blue Jays are +0.2 on BBRef's SRS meter (which adjusts for opponent strength).  The Rangers, for instance, are just a smidge ahead at 0.3.

It is, I think, easy to overlook this in the midst of a very disappointing season.
John Northey - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#277404) #
Very similar to most seasons lately it seems.  The Jays W-L never seems to be as good as the elements of it.  Their best year outside of 1998 (since the WS years) was 2008 when they finished with 86 wins, but their 'luck' (based on pythag R for R against) was -7 and they finished 9 games out of a playoff spot, so with a tiny bit of luck they could've made it that year and things would've been a lot different.  In 2008 their SRS was 1.1 which matched division winning Tampa Bay (who also had a luck of 5 - put them and the Jays at 0 for luck and the Jays finish ahead of the miracle Rays instead of 11 games back).

It is frustrating being a Jays fan isn't it?
Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#277405) #
Off the top of my head, the only Jays team in the last ten years that exceeded expectations was the 2010 team, which was supposed to lose 90 games. Serious under-achievers would be 2006, 2008, and 2013. And 2004, of course. Lest We Forget.
Sano - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#277406) #
Statistically, is there such a thing as persistent bad luck?  Don't you have to ask questions about performance (both from a players and coaching perspective) at some point?  I say this as someone who's not on the Fire Gibbons bandwagon.  I'm just trying to figure out the root of the Blue Jays' rot.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#277407) #
The club's W/L record vs. Pythagoras in 2005-08 during Gibbons' first tenure was pretty bad, -8 in 2005, +1 in 2006, -4 in 2007 and about -5 in 2008 (est.).  It's -2 this year.  Maddon is at 0 over his managerial tenure.  Girardi is at +7 over that time, but having Mariano Rivera might help a bit with that...
uglyone - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#277410) #
It's crap like going 1-8 vs the otherwise awful Yanks this year that really boggles the mind with this team. It seems every year they run away and hide in games against at least one but usually more otherwise good but not dominant AL East opponents.
Nigel - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#277413) #

My own sense of this is that this year's Jays team feels like a team that should underperform the sum of its parts.  The team was structured with a low average and low OBP (with some real sinkholes in it) offense and poor infield defense.  On offensive the team was structured to have fewer opportunities for luck (bad hops; errors; poorly timed walks; bloops; etc.) to help it (with fewer men on base).  The reverse is true on defense with the infield defense making for more men on base than should be and hence making any bad luck likely to be more painful.

As for Gibbons, I think he appears to have the same strengths and weaknesses that he has always had - strong bullpen management; uncreative defensive (i.e adverse to shifts etc.) philosophy and personnel usage (no real use of creative platoons or recognizing when a reverse platoon advantage might exist); average to poor in game strategy; and strange rumblings of clubhouse discontent (although I will acknowledge that that may be the result of a poor record rather than causal).  In sum, I don't think Gibbons is terrible or the cause of all of this, but I'm not sure he's helping much either.

Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#277414) #
about -5 in 2008 (est.).

Not quite that bad. When Gibbons got the chop, the team had a 35-39 record; they'd scored 297 and allowed 287. I'd say 38-36 would be a reasonable record for that performance. It was the performance itself that was especially wanting.
wdc - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#277415) #
I can agree generally with your analysis, Nigel.  One other positive achievement by the manager might be the coaching of Rasmus.  I have been delighted to see him gradually get stronger and more confident over this season.  I like him as a player more and more.  Someone on the blog mentioned that he thought that Gibbens was responsible for getting him to calm down, just play the game, and let the chips fall where they may.  If true, I think that it is a good contribution to the team.
Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#277416) #
Dare I hope to enjoy these games near Disneyland? on the one hand - a lousy opponent. On the other hand - Mike Trout!

Maybe not. No. Forget it, Jake.
Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#277417) #
Gibbons was responsible for getting [Rasmus] to calm down

I'd be much more impressed if Gibbons was responsible for Rasmus' .366 average on his balls in play this year. But I think we all know where this story goes, and that Regression to the Norm is a cruel mistress.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#277418) #
Rasmus' BABIP improvement is undoubtedly part luck, but he's also hitting the ball more squarely than in previous years.  Significantly more line drives and fewer pop-ups.  Oddly he has very few infield hits for a left-handed hitter with good speed.  Even hitting .250, he's a heck of a player.  He's having a pretty comparable year to his best year in St. Louis in 2010. 

On the other hand, if you are going to give Gibbons some credit for Rasmus' development, don't you have to give him blame (a debit?) for Lawrie's regression?

Nigel - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#277419) #

I think Magpie unfortunately is likely right on Rasmus, although with Rasmus' defence and baserunning skills, he's still a very useful guy to have around even if his offense regresses to something like the following .240/.300/.450.

I should also give credit where credit is due and note that Gibbons gives the All Star folksie interview in MLB - he now appears to own the good ol' boy space when it comes to his media answers and interaction.

Nigel - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#277420) #
Coke - or your beverage of choice - to Mike Green
Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#277422) #
he's still a very useful guy to have around even if his offense regresses

I agree completely. Just be ready for it.
John Northey - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#277423) #
Its funny because Gibbons strength is in the bullpen management - the pens he has always seem good despite often having a weak cast to start with. People think that would make the difference (hence the Rivera mention) but I don't think anyone has found a reason for teams to out perform (or under perform) their pyth.

The Jays traditionally avoid walks it seems - 3.38 is the highest per game walk figure in the 2000's (2009) which was followed by their 2nd lowest in the 2000's with a 2.91 in 2010.  2009 they were 9 games under the pythagorean, 2010 they were 1 game over.  Hrm, guess that isn't it.  Then they were 4th in the league for walks in 2011 and outdid it by 2 games.  FYI: 3.68 is the leader in the AL this year, 3.07 the average.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#277424) #
I was thinking about it.  I'd love to see home and road Pyths.  The Yankees have pretty consistently beaten their Pyths, and I wonder how they compare home and road.  Their catchers always do very well on pitch framing, and I have noticed a 9th inning Yankee Stadium effect in particular.  9th inning ball and strike calls are the kind of thing that could cause a team to repeatedly beat its Pyths. 
Mike Green - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#277425) #
Poor Josh Johnson.  Melky Cabrera sits for a couple of games and then is back when Johnson starts.  Now that the deadline has come and gone, I really do not understand why Pillar is not up. 
Hodgie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#277426) #
Is the suggestion really that Gibbons could be the reason for the team's underwhelming performance this season? The man may not like his defensive shifts, but I would hardly consider him to be constrained by conventional dogma and on obstacle to success. Inserting Bautista into the second spot in the order was beautiful while it lasted and seeing Janssen come into a tied road game in the 9th inning almost brought a tear to my eye. Of course, there will be the "What about Boni and Arencibia?" rumblings and in answer to those I only present this and ask what reasonable alternatives has he had?

On a side note, hands in the air for those that predicted Colby Rasmus would be the team's WAR leader heading into August. Bueller, Bueller, Bueller.....

Hodgie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#277427) #
"But I think we all know where this story goes, and that Regression to the Norm is a cruel mistress."

That could be Magpie but there is also a decent chance the regression isn't all that pronounced. A BABIP of .366 is high but not outrageously so and Colby has set a precedent as Mike alluded to, namely his 2010 season.

scottt - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#277428) #
Sierra and Gose are burning option years. Maybe they don't want to add Pillar to the list.
uglyone - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#277429) #
"The team was structured with a low average and low OBP"

this bugs me every time I see it mentioned. This team wasn;t built as a team of hackers, and hasn't played like a team of hackers.

You look up and down this roster and you see a lineup full of guys with solid career and recent BB rates and OBPs. It's simply not true that this team was structured with a low average and obp, and so far it hasn't turned out that way either.

Jays 2013:

BB%: 8.5 (6th AL)
K%: 18.4 (10th AL - i.e. lower rank is better in this case)
OBP: .320 (7th AL)
AVG: .253 (9th AL) - (BABIP: .283 (13th AL))

even with horrific BABIP luck, the Jays are still average to above average across the board in terms of AVG/OBP/BB%.

and that's with our best hitter for average (Reyes) missing for most of the season.

in fact, if I do a crude BB%-K% metric, I get this ranking for the AL teams:

1.DET: -8.5
2.TEX: -9.5
3.TBR: -9.8
4.TOR: -9.9
5.OAK: -10.0
6.LAA: -10.0
7.KCR: -10.2
8.BOS: -11.3
9.NYY: -11.8
10.BAL: -11.8
11.CLE: -11.9
12.CHX: -13.2
13.MIN: -13.3
14.SEA: -13.5
15.HOU: -18.5

Jays have one of the best BB/K ratios in the league.

I wish this meme that the Jays are a bunch of hackers would just die already. It's never been true this year.
uglyone - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#277430) #

C.Rasmus (26): 2602pa, 8.8bb%, 24.1k%, .298babip, .248/.317/.433/.750, .325woba, 102wRC+, +1.1uzr/150@CF

Regression is definitely a cruel mistress, but if he's regressing back to his career norm there, than that's an at least average hitter that plays at least average defense in CF. Good player, that. Of course, he's only 26, so there's always the chance that he's still improving.

Interesting inconsistent career for Colby so far. This isn't the first time he's had a season like this:

2010: 534pa, 11.8bb%, 27.7k%, .354babip, .276/.361/.498/.859, .369woba, 130wRC+
2013: 397pa, 8.1bb%, 29.7k%, .366babip, .277/.340/.490/.830, .360woba, 127wRC+

Of course, when he has his bad BABIP years:

2009: 520pa, 6.9bb%, 18.3k%, .282babip, .251/.307/.407/.714, .311woba, 89wRC+
2011: 526pa, 9.5bb%, 22.1k%, .267babip, .225/.298/.391/.689, .302woba, 89wRC+
2012: 625pa, 7.5bb%, 23.8k%, .259babip, .223/.289/.400/.689, .297woba, 83wRC+

Inconsistency always breeds hope, especially in a youngster, that he can figure out how to stay consistent and play at that higher level regularly.

But it could just be long swings of chance variation around that career average, a the babip swings there make that seem very likely.

The perfect situation would be us paying for that career average with this next contract, while Rasmus figures out how to stay closer to that higher level going forward.

and another player to keep on eye on...Brett Lawrie.

After rushing back from his initial pre-season injury, Brett was just finally getting hot, posting an .821ops over his last 13 games....and then he got injured again.

Coming back now from this latest injury, he struggled again, but seems to finally be getting hot again at the plate, with an .894ops over his last 9gms.....hopefully this time he can stay hot.....and stay healthy, too.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#277431) #
Lawrie's also changed his stance a bit (more upright, hands higher, less open) and seems to be making better contact since then.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#277432) #
Pillar is 24 years old.  If you are not calling him up for fear of burning an option year, you've got a unique understanding of player development...
Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#277433) #
That went well.
eudaimon - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#277434) #
I think the best way to describe Johnson's recent starts (and, to a slightly lesser extent, year so far) is "unimagineable bad"
Magpie - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#277435) #
Oh, Josh. Josh, Josh, Josh. We had such hopes. We expected so much more... hang on. What the hell - it's still 2006?
Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 10:59 PM EDT (#277436) #
A.A. must carry the blame for this season. His thought-out decisions were not the problem. Some decisions were reactive and generally bad.

Signing/acquiring Izturis, Bonifacio, and DeRosa was fine if they were competent on turf or even competent 3rd Baseman. These decisions were made 'counting pennies', rather than assuring their qualities.

Rushing Lawrie twice was criminally stupid. He needed at least 100 ABs each time to be truly effective. Lawrie's 2B fiasco was very short-sighted. Jose Reyes is signed loooooooong term and charitably is an average defender. Having Lawrie to his right makes this Team better.

Edwin Encarnacion took a while to get going this season. He was hit on the hand in the Championship WBC game. The Team either didn't notice or didn't care.

The Starters were totally not ready for the season. In fact most of the Team wasn't ready. No way should they lose four games in opening week - poor Offense, poor Starting, poor Relief and poor Defense cost the Team the Season.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#277437) #
JJ cannot start for this team again
Gerry - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#277438) #
Josh Johnson got 7 ground balls tonight. 5 of them were hits.

Not all of those pitches were in the middle of the plate, the Angels just seemed to see every pitch well.
Gerry - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#277439) #
Lets say the Jays need bullpen help after tonight's game. The only way to do it is to send Loup down because everyone else is out of options.

Lets say you want to move Johnson to the bullpen to work out his issues. The only way to do that is to send Loup down.

This is why I think AA should have traded a reliever this week.
Thomas - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#277440) #
JJ cannot start for this team again

Why not?

I hope Mike Wilner is the only person still saying the Jays might not make the playoffs.

Eephus - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#277441) #
I finally get off work early enough to catch most of a game and I have to deal with this?????? Ugh this team annoys me...

I can understand why so many people are frustrated by the Blue Jays apparent satisfaction of not making a deadline move, and rightfully so. But hey, aside from a couple of relievers (who aren't going to fetch much of anything unless they're named Larry Andersen) there really isn't a trade we can make right now that doesn't say: "Okay we've given up the next three years after 1/2 a season of bad baseball, but still come out to the ballpark, fans!" Ask Miami how that's working out at the turnstiles. Yeah, it stinks like an abandoned garbage truck but the reality is that most of the players we want to see traded are at their lowest point of value. It makes sense that AA would hold onto guys like Melky and Bonifacio and Lawrie and Arencibia and Johnson (though that must be growing more and more difficult) because these are players who with a strong finish to this dismal season will be much more appealing to other teams in a potential deal. Maybe if Melky goes on like a 20 game hitting streak/his legs improve beyond great-grandfather level or if Bonifacio can get up to .260, we might see a waiver-wire deal but otherwise I'm afraid we'll have to sit tight.

As for a reliever trade, that stuff always seems to happen in August (Randy Myers?) I think we'll see at least one.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#277442) #
How soon does Johnson get waived? Or can he get put on the D.L. for mental issues?

Should A.A. hire Johnson's pitching coach from last year?
ayjackson - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#277443) #
I blame Richard S.S.
Eephus - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:28 PM EDT (#277444) #
Also, does anyone remember that excellent article Magpie wrote a while back about the 10 worst seasons by a pitcher in Blue Jays history?

I sadly feel that we are witnessing one.

PeteMoss - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#277445) #
Could probably just put Melky back on the DL considering he can barely move.
uglyone - Thursday, August 01 2013 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#277446) #
How good is JJ going to be for the Rays next year, after they pick him up for free? he's going to dominate.
Ryan Day - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 12:53 AM EDT (#277447) #
As for a reliever trade, that stuff always seems to happen in August (Randy Myers?)

Most of the Jays relievers are fairly cheap and under control for several seasons, so I'm not sure they'd make it through waivers. Santos probably could, and if he can pitch more than 5 games between now and the end of August he could be an attractive commodity.
Mike Forbes - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#277448) #
The return of the 8 man bullpen is upon us! Melky to the 15 day DL. Neil Wagner is back up.
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 05:10 AM EDT (#277449) #
Would you trade Bautista for a quality young starter?
Magpie - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 06:45 AM EDT (#277450) #
the 10 worst seasons by a pitcher in Blue Jays history?

The Suckage Index! The formula went (80-ERA+)*IP.

Coming into last night's game, Johnson Suckage Index was only 814, mainly because he'd only pitched 74 IP. He's working on it, but he hadn't yet caught the tenth man on the list (Jeff Byrd, 1977).

But I suppose I should check to see if any other seasons since 2006 need to be added. Ricky? Yes! His 2012 comes in at 1267! Congratulations, son.

The updated Bottom 10, the worst seasons ever by a Jays pitcher!

 1. Dave Lemanczyk 1978 (4-14, 3.26 - SI 2324)  
2. Roy Halladay 2000 (4-7, 10.64 - SI 2234)
3. Josh Towers 2006 (2-10, 8.42 - SI 1488)
4. Jack Morris 1993 (7-12, 6.19 - SI 1374)
5. Jerry Garvin 1978 (4-12, 5.54 - SI 1302)
6. Ricky Romero 2012 (9-14, 5.77 - SI 1267)
7. Danny Darwin 1995 (1-8, 7.62 - SI 1170)
8. Jack Kucek 1980 (3-8, 6.75 - SI 1088)
9. Todd Stottlemyre 1988 (4-8, 5.69 - SI 1078)
10. Bill Singer 1977 (2-8, 6.79 - SI 1048)

Jeff Byrd, you stand relieved! I'm happy for you. And Bill Singer - Josh Johnson is coming for you!
Magpie - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 07:24 AM EDT (#277451) #
Typo in the preceding - Lemanczyk's ERA was 6.26, and yeah I was surprised at the time that his season scored so badly - it was the combination of being bad and pitching much more innings than bad pitchers are generally allowed to pitch.

I'm sure Johnson will have overtaken Singer after last night. But the year isn't over yet! Hope, the thing with feathers.
John Northey - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 07:37 AM EDT (#277452) #
Bautista for a few quality young starters,sure but not for just one unless you were 100% certain you had a Cy Young contender.  Bautista is a major value right now - He makes $14 mil a year through 2015 with a club option for $14 for 2016 ($1 mil buyout cost).  According to FanGraphs he was almost worth that last year when he got into just 92 games ($13.5 mil) and this year has passed that level already ($18.4).  His contract makes him extremely valuable as he provides great production at a great price and even gives flexibility at the end with the option.

So if the Jays are wanting to do a real rebuild Bautista would almost have to be traded. But if they want to contend he is a must keep as well due to that great contract as, outside of star rookies, you would have trouble matching it.

Johnson is a lost cause at this point. 4 straight horrid starts and nothing promising to look at with his being a free agent and no way the Jays would make a qualifying offer at this point unless they were 100% sure he wouldn't want to come back. A sad thing as I think he was key to the deal for the Jays, figuring they'd get a year of an ace type starter plus a draft pick if he didn't resign - instead getting a year you'd except from Ramon Ortiz for nearly $14 million.
dawgatc - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 07:51 AM EDT (#277453) #
trade Bautista? not me.Bautista is the Jays,even with his flaws and diminishing numbers. Plus, him being here will be a factor when the Jays amazingly bring Robinson Cano here in the off season.
John Northey - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#277454) #
dawgatc - that would be my current dream. To find a way to get Cano here and basically double down on the '2014/15' window.  Sadly, I don't see the Jays putting around $25-30 mil a year on the table for 7 years - and in truth that would be nutty to go that far.  5 years at $25-30 maybe but that would be my limit too.

Why?  The top 10 contracts is why.
#1/2 A-Rod - first one was expensive for Texas as they had to pay part of it to send A-Rod to the Yankees, second one is a disaster
3: Pujols - his OPS+ is below 120 now, and they have him signed through 2021. This is going to get ugly.
4: Joey Votto: it hasn't even started yet (2014-2023) and while he is productive (150+ OPS+) he is signed through his age 39 season - see #3 for why that is a bad idea
5: Prince Fielder: Many here wanted the Jays to do that deal, but his OPS+ dropped to 113 this year and next year he is 30 and signed through his age 36 season
6: Jeter 2001-2010: this worked well
7: Joe Mauer 2011-2018: his first year was his worst, but the last two have been as expected/hoped for. But 5 years, age 31-35, for a catcher at $23 m per is very risky
8: Teixeira: 09-16: first year was solid, next 2 OK, then at 32 injuries and reduced production and this year 15 games for $22.5 mil. Uh oh.
9: Justin Verlander: 13-19: first year his worst since 2008 with a 109 ERA+. Not promising.
10: Felix Hernandez 13-19: great first year, hope he keeps it up.

So for teams not regretting it you have (so far) #4, 6, 7, 10 with #9 getting nervous. For 'oh crap' you have #1,2,3 with #5 & 8 being close if not there yet.  So no better than 50-50 for teams being happy with the deals they've signed in the mega buck category.  The only Jay contract in the top 50 was Vernon Wells (no question where that lands).  Wells & Delgado hit the average annual value and both were deals the GM's wished weren't made.

Mike Green - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#277455) #
I missed last night's game unfortunately. 

It was unnecessary for Josh Johnson to give up the long home run to Mark Trumbo to left-field in Anaheim in the very first inning yesterday. Two points raised in the Box recently undoubtedly troubled him:

  • He gives up many more home runs at home than on the round
  • Putting Melky Cabrera in left-field behind him seems to be punitive.

It was still unnecessary.

Paul D - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#277456) #
I thinking signing an over 30 year old second baseman to an expensive long-term deal is a bad idea.
Magpie - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#277457) #
Cabrera to the DL with Red Face, Wagner back up.
AWeb - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#277460) #

The first A-Rod deal, if it had gone to completion, would have been a great contract for everyone (perenial MVP candidate playing SS or 3B, sounds good). The second one obviously is a disaster. I suspect the Mauer deal will work out well enough, he's hitting as well as ever, and catchers actually age pretty well to my eye, if they can make it to their 30's in the first place. Pujols/Fielder/Votto/Texiera...pretty similar. How many 1B actually maintined their value late into their careers? They don't usually have secondary skills, can't move to easier positions aside from DH. The great, long careers have rarely started at 1B - Murray, Palmeiro, Tony Perez in the top 25 games played is it, and Murray and Palmeiro were playing a lot of DH, plus Palmeiro may have other reasons for an extended late-30s peak.... I suspect there's more wear-and-tear at 1B than it gets credit for, since you have to move and run on every grounder and pay attention to baserunners too. It might be an "easy" position short term, but it's not one that grants longer careers.  So signing a 1B to a long term contract seems like an odd thing. I hope Votto bucks the trend, but I'd be stunned if he's still good in 10 years. I know these contracts are generally supposed to give a relative bargain for the early years ($25 million for an MVP year is a bargain), and then lose at the end, but sheesh.

Or another list - top position players this year over 33 years old (using bbref WAR, top 100) : Beltre, Marlon Byrd (?!?), Ortiz, Utley, Suzuki, Beltran, Werth. Ages 34, 35, 37, 34, 39, 36, 34. Positions 3B, Of, DH, 2B, OF, OF, OF. Moral: Don't sign guys past age 35, especially way in advance, especially for non-OF positions.

John Northey - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#277461) #
I think the Cabrera to the DL is more signs of how the Jays are rushing things way too much this year.  A bad trend that really needs to stop.
1) Lawrie brought back too soon, hits 125/194/156 his first 9 games team goes 3-6
2) Lawrie brought back too soon again, hits 190/286/381 his first 12 games team goes 4-8
3) Cabrera brought back too soon, hits 286/324/343 in 10 games teams goes 3-7 then DL again
4) Romero brought back way too soon, has a 12.46 ERA in 2 starts - both losses
5) McGowan seemed rushed back, 5.40 ERA his first 4 games team goes 3-1 (1.32 ERA after that before DL)

Those were the first examples off the top of my head that all seemed bad when they happened but we all hoped the Jays knew what they were doing.  In the end it looks like they were rushing things in a desperate effort to keep the season going. With Lawrie due to the nightmare that is Bonifacio, with Cabrera for I don't know why, Romero due to the nightmare rotation and McGowan not sure why they rushed him a bit at the end but might have just felt he was ready.

McGowan was the closest to a success and he did only have a week or so left before he had to be called up iirc. But the other 4 were all clearly mistakes both at the time and after.  In those first 4 cases it hurt the team as the Jays were poor during those players rushed periods. 

Josh Johnson was one they seemed to do right, as his first 7 games saw an ERA of 3.54 but the team was just 2-5 and now is on a 7 game losing streak when Johnson pitches (ugh) during which he has a 9.48 ERA averaging 4.5 innings a game thus he sucks and he wears down the pen.  Might be time to shift Johnson to the pen and bring someone else into the rotation but who? We already have Todd Redmond as a regular starter as is Esmil Rogers and no one thought that would happen in the pre-season (or at least we all prayed it wouldn't happen).
Mike Green - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#277463) #
I don't agree that Albert Pujols was a bad risk because he is a first baseman.  He was athletic and a superior all-around hitter who the Cardinals (rightly) decided was better off at first base rather than being pushed defensively.  Like Perez, he came up as a third baseman. 

The more general point that players at all positions have a tendency to fall off a cliff at about age 35 is very true.  Injuries are of course a huge factor.

rfan8 - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#277464) #


I was thinking we could move JJ to the pen as well.  Maybe the change in mindset will help him as he learns to adjust to pitching with lesser "stuff".  His fastball looks super hittable right now and he's getting hit hard.

On the rushing issue, I agree with your examples and the general lack of patience, especially Lawrie.  Reyes came back quite nicely though.

And on the brighter side, I agree with the posters that have said that Lawrie has looked much better and Rasmus has been great.  I'm wondering how much of that is related to swing changes introduced by Mottola early in the season (which may have contributed to their slow starts).  With Rasmus, while the BABIP is high, would that not be partially offset by a lower strikeeout rate going forward than what he had in the opening month or two?

In the end, it all goes back to the starting pitching though.  It's been so bad. Personally I have a hard time blaming AA for it because I liked both offseason trades and thought Dickey and JJ would be much much better than they have been. 


Mike Green - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#277465) #
Speaking of BABIP, if Rasmus' current .370 is due for some regression, equally Lawrie's current .236 is due for some regression the other way.  The result (happily) should be two valuable players to add to Reyes, Encarnacion and Bautista. 

What irritates me most about this year is the little things done wrong by management.  Take Adam Lind.  He starts off very well in a platoon role.  Well done.  He is moved into an everyday role, even though he has proved to be ineffective hitting LHPs since 2009.  He struggles.  He is left there and even continues to bat cleanup against LHP.  The only explanation that I can think of is to maximize his value at the deadline. He is not traded.  Similarly, I do not understand what the club is doing in left-field.  It is perfectly clear that they should not want Melky Cabrera to be a regular corner outfielder in 2014, and Rajai Davis does not hit enough against RHP to fit the bill.  So, what is the club doing to work on this?  1B/DH and LF are the two easiest spots to address and the club has done a poor job on both, saying nothing about the more difficult jobs of addressing catching and middle infield needs.

John Northey - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#277466) #
The starting pitching issues screams a problem with how AA has done things imo.  He brought in tons of scouts at the pro-level to try to get a leg up on other clubs, to tell which players were likely to improve and which were not. All 3 pitchers brought in have done worse than anyone though of as the worst case, with Buehrle finally getting back up to our old bottom end for him.  Johnson had injury issues, the Jays had looked at him at the deadline last year according to reports, yet somehow they didn't see this disaster coming.  That is 100% on the scouts imo and on AA for not being ready for Johnson to drop off.  We, as fans, wouldn't have seen it most likely but they should have.  Dickey is more 'knuckleballs are unpredictable', while Buehrle is old enough that a drop isn't a shock.  So really, it is Johnson who is the big failure, followed by whatever happened to Morrow and Romero. 

If one or two pitchers flopped, hey stuff happens.  But to see all 5 in the (off season) rotation have possible career worst seasons at the same time? That screams failure either at the scouting end, the coaching end, or the GM's end (if he didn't listen to negative reports).

Also, as Mike Green said, Lind playing vs LHP so often is just a disaster.  Early on they did a great job keeping him away from LHP, but now he is up to 70 PA vs them and is hitting 246/257/333 for a 590 OPS.  Lifetime vs LHP? 222/264/342 for a 606 OPS so this shouldn't be coming as a shock to the Jays.  For funny with Lind, he now has 350 PA vs last years 353 both years at 93 games played.  His OPS+ is 128 vs 96 last year, 2 more HR, 8 more doubles, 9 more hits, 17 more runs scored but, oddly enough, 5 fewer RBI's.  Go figure.
rfan8 - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#277467) #

Yes AA and the pro scouts made the wrong call but I don't remember anyone predicting Dickey or JJ would be this bad.  The concerns on JJ were from what I remember more health related.  In my mind Buerhle has been what we thought he would be - an innings eater.

eudaimon - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#277468) #
I don't think it's necessarily a scouting thing. It could just be a bad luck thing. Johnson's performance has been unbelievable, unpredictable bad. I don't think anyone saw this coming. There was risk associated with Johnson but I think most people in baseball (including the scouts) would have thought he'd be a good pitcher when healthy. I heard something about knee tendenitis, which he may never have pitched through (badly before). Who knows.

Dickey hasn't pitched too well this year. Early in the year there were some clear injury concerns. He's been a bit better in June and July as he's gotten healthier. He still hasn't been great, though, and you wonder if he's still working out the kinks from when he was forced to alter his delivery to adjust for his ailments, which he said would have landed him on the DL if he had been a conventional-style pitcher. His velocity and all is bad so I don't think age is the problem. Again, I think this was never outside the realm of possibilities but it's also on the "bad" end of the luck scale.

Morrow is an obvious injury concern but once again performed closer to the "bad" end of the luck scale, pitching much worse than expected and getting injured more than expected.

Romero is a basket case. I think most people assumed last year that the offseason would fix him. Apparently not.

Our "#6" starter Happ got hit in the head by a line drive. Definitely not AAs fault. The fact that Happ, a decent 4-5 starter, was available at all to replace the disaster that was Romero is testament to how much starting pitching depth we had. 

After a rough start Buehrle's looking like the pitcher we had hoped to acquire. As usual, he hasn't missed a start and has fielded well. He's a pro and I'm glad he's on the team, even if he's making a bit more than he should over the next few years.

In short, I think AA deserves a mulligan on this SP situation. I don't think anyone really saw this coming. I don't even know if it's the coaches can be blamed for this, it just seems like a case of it just not being our year (again).

Chuck - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#277471) #
I was thinking we could move JJ to the pen as well.  Maybe the change in mindset will help him as he learns to adjust to pitching with lesser "stuff". 

To what end? He'll be gone after this season anyway (I can't see a 14MM qualifying offer coming his way). Either use him as a starter if there is no one else to fill those innings or get rid of him. There is no reason he should bump anyone from the pen.
Beyonder - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#277474) #
It has got to the point with Johnson where I honestly wonder whether he is simply mailing it in because he doesn't want to be here anymore. His numbers are just so far out of whack with his track record, with no physical (or any) explanation at all. He simply seems to be catching much more of the plate than he ever has with his fastball.

I wonder whether he realises he has ruined his chances at a mega-deal for this year, isn't interested in a one-year qualifying offer (and the draft pick compensation that would drag down his market value), and wants to go somewhere where he can re-build his value (perhaps outside the AL East, perhaps back to a warm-weather location).

At this rate he will not get a qualifying offer from the Jays, and so will be free to go to any team that will take him on to rebuild his value.

Prior to this year I figured that the worse case-scenario for the Jays would be losing Johnson to FA and getting draft pick comp. So at least we would have recouped something from the Nicolino, Marisnick, Hech package they sent to Miami. This is far worse than what I thought the worst case scenario was. Pretty hard to fault AA on this one.
dalimon5 - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#277478) #
Morrow is done in my opinion. The only other two pitchers I could find who have had "radial nerve" related injuries are Padilla and Gagne. Even if he returns healthy, I think it's time to conclude that the Mariners were right to push him to the bullpen and not count on him as a top of the rotation starter. I think if he comes back we can rely on him as a 4 or 5 guy like Happ or else throw him in the bullpen or deal him.

-Lawrie and Rasmus-
Completely agree that these two can be added to the core of Bautista, Encarnacion and Reyes. That leaves LF, 2B and C as weaker positions, with some depth in the minors at OF.

-Bonifacio, Davis and Izturis-
These guys are key players to a championship team so long as they're used appropriately, ie. not regularly or in unfavorable situations.

-Lind, Melky, Arencibia-
We don't have any depth at catcher or 1B. Out of the three JPA easily carries the most value as a C. If I had to carry one weak player out of the three it would be JPA simply because he plays catcher and is the youngest. That is IF he isn't contributing to the SP woes this year, which I tend to believe he isn't since the BP and JPA's work with Buerhle has been phenomenal lately. S0...Melky and Lind are in similar boats as they have chronic injuries and major deficiencies for their positions (Melky has no power for a LF and Lind has no LH hitting contact for a 1B).

-What I Would Do-
I'd trade Bautista for 2 of either a LF, 2B or 1B/DH. He's getting older and while he's still amazing I would try trading him for two younger players that are above average at their positions, plus maybe a prospect coming our way. This will be difficult since the team trading for Bautista will have to have minor league ready players to call up as replacements for the departed players. Trading Bautista allows us the best chance to recoup significant players who can contribute in our window. If this won't work then I would keep Jbau and promote Pillar/Sierra/Gose over the span of the entire year in LF (whoever earns it). That still leaves a hole at 2B and 1B/DH which are major major flaws for a contending team. And we haven't even gotten to the pitching...

It's not that bad. They suck this year but the worse part is that we can't trade any of our SP assets because they all lost their trade value. Morrow has very little now, Hutchinson and Drabek have regressed as prospects due to injury and Johnson has imploded. Next year I would go with Dickey as a number 3, Buerhle as a #5 and audition McGowan, Hutchinson, Drabek, Nolin and Stroman for the 2 and 5 spots. I can see one of them emerging into a solid 2/3 while the others can fight for the 4 spot. That leaves a legitimate top of the rotation starter missing. I don't think AA can do anything about this...he gambled on Johnson and lost.

Why is our stud minor league SP Aaron Sanchez taking so long to develop? Am I impatient to want him to move up like his counterparts in BAL, NYM, MIA? That's Gausman, Bundy, Syndegaard and J Fernandez.

I'm optimistic for the SP with the kids coming in. I really think Hutchinson and Drabek will contribute solidly in 2015. I'm also optimistic that Beeston will install real grass in the next couple of years. Finally, I've been really happy with Pat Hentgen's work in the bullpen.
dalimon5 - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#277479) #

There's a great debate going on here:

Seems that most people would rather get a 2B and SP back in a trade involving Bautista rather than 2B and 1B/DH as I proposed.
uglyone - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#277482) #
IMO, trading Bautista is lunacy.

rfan8 - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#277483) #

Mostly because I can't stand watching him start games for us.  :)  Maybe he'll figure something out. Never know.



CeeBee - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#277485) #
With Melky on the DL at least one pain is gone. Heck, I'm 62 with a medical condition and I swear I could outrun him, at least for 90 feet. It hurts to watch him run a lot more that it would hurt for me to run. Now I'd like to see a trade or 2 and some young blood given a look.
Mike Green - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#277489) #
A word on Josh Johnson.  His splits with nobody on and runners on this year are wild.  .241/.294/.406 with nobody on; .396/.453/626 with runners on.  Vastly different W/K rates and other markers.  His career marks are entirely typical.

Perhaps there is an issue when he pitches from the stretch with tipping his pitches...

PeteMoss - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#277490) #
-Stud- Why is our stud minor league SP Aaron Sanchez taking so long to develop? Am I impatient to want him to move up like his counterparts in BAL, NYM, MIA? That's Gausman, Bundy, Syndegaard and J Fernandez. From Keith Law chat today -Minor non-arm issues this year, most recently a blister he tried to pitch through. He'll be fine.
Mike Green - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#277491) #
Sanchez did have a shoulder injury with loss of velocity earlier this year, and after 2 good outings, has struggled since his return.  It is great to have confidence that he'll be fine, but frankly, that is about as reliable as me guaranteeing that he will never be a starting pitcher in the major leagues.  One just does not know. 

Arm problems can, of course, strike just about any pitcher.

Richard S.S. - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#277497) #
With the "issues" of the last two, possibly three years, it may no longer possible to avoid suggesting the Core might be part/all of the problem. Going month by month and where possible game by game I have come to the conclusion, the Core is part of the problem. Is it possible the wrong people are considered Core material.

Edwin Encarnacion (30) will have another 40 HR season, with decent Defense, good average, lacking only top speed. He's not part of the Core, but he's an extremely valued asset, too cost effective to trade.

Jose Reyes (30) will be healthier, in consideration for Batting Tittle, All Star appearances every year. He has minor defensive issues, but with the right supporting cast, those will be limited. As no one else is ready in the system, he much too valuable an asset to not keep, but not part of the core.

Brett Lawrie (23) may never play more than 120 games a season. He's excellent defensively and improving in all other things. He's definitely part of the Core.

Jose Bautista (33) is an All Star, middle of the Batting Order, quality Outfielder who might be approaching his "best before" date. He's not part of the Core, but he an extremely valued asset. He might just be our best trading asset available.

Colby Rasmus (27) has always been a good defensively CF with power. This year he's adjusted he batting stroke and is becoming much more consistent in everything else. He's definitely part of the Core and as such not tradable.

Those are this Team's best hitting assets. Most are untradeable due to their value to the Team. The only exception is Jose Bautista. With so many prospects traded away, Bautista is our only trading asset capable of acquiring a young, front of the rotation, controllable MLB-ready Pitcher. So not trading Bautista is foolish.

Value for value is more important now.
Dewey - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#277504) #
Címon, guys.  Pay attention.  The manís name is Hutchison:  thereís only one ďnĒ in his name, and itís the last letter in it.   Hutchison. 
eudaimon - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#277506) #
Off topic, but does anyone else think this idea MLB has of banning A-Rod for life is insane? I guess they're trying to make an example of him, but I don't think it would ever hold up anyways. Even if it did, punishing him more than others players for basically the same offence seems wrong.

On the other hand, I might just think that because I want the Yankees to pay his over-blown salary for as long as possible.

Gerry - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#277507) #
MLB and A-Rod's advisers are negotiating through the media. Don't believe anything you hear about it until the deal is done.

Prediction: A-Rod will not get a lifetime ban.
JohnL - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#277508) #
CeeBee - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#277509) #
I imagine that Bud wants to be remembered as the guy who cleaned up baseball.... and go out in a blaze of glory as well. Time's running out.
JohnL - Friday, August 02 2013 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#277510) #

Sorry... my "defanately" was in response to Dewey's:

Címon, guys. Pay attention. The manís name is Hutchison: thereís only one ďnĒ in his name, and itís the last letter in it. Hutchison
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