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For fun, we all think about how "if only the Jays had player xyz" so lets have some fun.

If the Jays had somehow pulled Mariano Rivera from the Yankees way back when and used him as the closer what difference would've it made?  Remember, this is the only guy to get into the HOF with a 100% vote total so it should be a big difference.

First Mariano Rivera's stats as a closer (Skipping his rookie year as a starter and his first year in the pen as a setup man)...
2.02 ERA (221 ERA+), 647 saves 1109 IP 1.8 BB/9 8.1 K/9 0.5 HR/9 6.9 H/9  2.71 FIP 69-54 W/L record, plus that insane playoff stuff (8-1 0.70 ERA in 141 IP 5.5 H/9 1.3 BB/9 7.0 K/9)
Average Year: 38 saves in 65 IP
Cost: $169,441,825 over 17 years or $9.97 mil a year

Jays closers (measured as the guy who saved the most games)...
1997 Kelvim Escobar $150,000 14 31 0.3 5.5 10.5
1998 Randy Myers $4,416,667 28 42.3 0.9 4 6.8
1999 Billy Koch $200,000 31 63.7 0.7 4.2 8.1
2000 Billy Koch $333,333 33 78.7 0.7 2.1 6.9
2001 Billy Koch $733,333 36 69.3 0.9 4.3 7.1
2002 Kelvim Escobar $2,300,000 38 78 1.2 5.1 9.8
2003 Aquilino Lopez
$300,000 14 73.7 0.6 4.2 7.8
2004 Jason Frasor $330,000 17 68.3 0.5 4.7 7.1
2005 Miguel Batista $4,750,000 31 74.7 1.1 3.3 6.5
2006 B.J. Ryan $4,000,000 38 72.3 0.4 2.5 10.7
2007 Jeremy Accardo $392,200 30 67.3 0.5 3.2 7.6
2008 B.J. Ryan$12,000,000 32 58 0.6 4.3 9
2009 Jason Frasor $1,450,000 11 57.7 0.6 2.5 8.7
2010 Kevin Gregg $2,000,000 37 59 0.6 4.6 8.8
2011 Frank Francisco $4,000,000 17 50.7 1.2 3.2 9.4
2012 Casey Janssen $2,000,000 22 63.7 1 1.6 9.5
2013 Casey Janssen $3,900,000 33 51.7 0.5 2.3 8.5
Totals $43,255,533 462 1,060 0.7 3.6 8.3
Per Year $2,703,471 29 66.3 0.7 3.6 8.3

Interesting.  One more thing to add is how much the Jays blew on BJ Ryan so he could be the teams closer twice in 5 years - $47 million.  Ugh.  I know we'd all like to forget that mess.

So the Jays spent $7.2 million a year less on average for their closer (not factoring in all of BJ Ryan)  than the Yankees for 9 fewer saves a year out of the closer slot.  Of course, if the Jays had Rivera BJ Ryan never would've been signed nor would've Randy Myers, while most of those other guys would've been setup men thus making the entire staff stronger.  Still, $7.2 million seems like a lot of money for 9 saves.  But if that was 9 more wins (doubtful, but possible if you factor in improved pen strength overall) what would that have meant?  I'll just use 9 extra wins each year rather than try to get into the minutia of it.  This is just for fun, not to get a Phd after all.
  • 1997: 76 wins in real life - 85 with Rivera, 22 games out vs 13.
  • 1998: 88 vs 97, 26 games out vs 17, wild card lost by 4 vs win it by 5 PLAYOFFS!!!
  • 1999: 84 vs 93, 14 vs 5 games out, 1 game out of WC (ouch)
  • 2000: 83 vs 92, 4.5 out vs 4.5 ahead - PLAYOFFS!!!
  • 2001: 80 vs 89, 16 vs 7 out, even further from WC (102 wins for that this season)
  • 2002: 78 vs 87, 25.5 vs 16.5 - note: Rivera's only sub 30 save year (when healthy and closing)
  • 2003: 86 vs 95, 15 vs 6 out, would've tied for WC with Boston thus at least 1 one game PLAYOFF
  • 2004: 67 vs 76, 33.5 vs 24.5 - yeah, nothing would save that craptastic year.
  • 2005: 80 vs 89, 15 vs 6, WC tied with division leader
  • 2006: 87 vs 96, 10 vs 1 game out, 1 game ahead for WC PLAYOFFS!!!
  • 2007: 83 vs 92, 13 vs 4, would've been 2 out of WC
  • 2008: 86 vs 95, 11 vs 2, tied for WC with Boston thus at least 1 one game PLAYOFF
  • 2009: 75 vs 84, 28 vs 19
  • 2010: 85 vs 94, 11 vs 2, 1 out of WC (ouch)
  • 2011: 81 vs 90, 16 vs 7, 1 out of WC
  • 2012: 73 vs 82, 22 vs 13 (first year with 2 WC, Jays still far back) - note: this was the year Rivera was hurt (just 9 games)
  • 2013: 74 vs 83, 23 vs 14
So even if you figure every extra save was a bonus win (big assumption) and make it even every year when we know some years would've been bigger than others.  We still only get 1 division title and 2 WC appearances, plus 2 one game sudden death games.  Would've made those lean years a LOT better.  Of course, you also should factor in that the Yankees would've been worse those years and most of them the Yankees were one of the teams ahead of the Jays.

In the winter of 96/97 the Jays sent 6 top prospects to the Pirates for Carlos Garcia, Orlando Merced and Dan Plesac  Wonder if that would've been enough to con the Yankees out of their setup man?  Nah.  I doubt it.  The only real shot would've been to sign him as an amatuer free agent in 1990 (he was 20 then - odd for a talented kid in Panama to take that long to be signed, I'm sure there is a story there) or while George Steinbrenner was still running the show thus would force the GM to trade any prospect for a solid ML'er.  Kind of surprised Pat Gillick didn't notice him all things considered.  Ah, if only.  Then the late 90's and 00's would've been much better and odds are Halladay would've spent his whole career here.
Jays closers vs Rivera | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AWeb - Sunday, May 10 2020 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#387103) #
From 1997 to 2013, The Yankees went 1645-1105 and recorded 809 saves total, so saving 49.2% of wins. The Jays went 1366-1387, with 647 saves, saving 47.2% of games. The Yankees had 194 blown saves, the Jays had 233.  Overall the yanks put up a great rate of saves:blown saves, over 80%. All of MLB was around 75%, the Jays below average at 73.5%. Rivera certainly helped a great deal, but it's hard to see how he gets you more than 3 fewer blown saves a year, which probably ends up around 2 more wins or so. The yanks of that era average 97 wins a year (you know, more than the Jays have ever won except in '85), so Rivera got a lot more chances for saves, way over and above his own greatness in not blowing them.  I don't think the Jays were ever a closer away from the playoffs.

Also, if Rivera was worth an extra 9 wins a year to a mediocre MLB team, that makes him easily the greatest pitcher of all time. That's basically Toronto Roger Clemens impact every year.

bpoz - Monday, May 11 2020 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#387105) #
AWeb I am not challenging you but we all remember Joey MacLaughlin and his bullpen. J Mac, Roy Lee Jackson and Brian Clarke. Probably a few others in that pen.

That pen it seemed to me blew almost every lead.

Gillick also knew that they were bad. He searched hard for an established closer. I only remember Bill Caudil. He did not do well enough as a Jay IMO.

This discussion comes up now and then and I really enjoy it.

I "think" there was a 1 year wonder as a closer Doug Linton. Accardo also seemed to get the job done. But short term.
Joe - Monday, May 11 2020 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#387107) #
I never want to forget B.J. Ryan's 2006. His ERA+ was 335, with a 0.857 WHIP and an almost Halladay-esque 4.3:1 K/BB ratio. Yes, he blew out his elbow afterwards, but in my opinion, he held up his end of the deal.
John Northey - Monday, May 11 2020 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#387109) #
True enough AWeb - I was going for the most extreme example I could dream up of for how big an impact Rivera could have had over those years. The most anyone could dream of him adding is 9 wins a year and that is being very generous. Like you said 1-3 wins is more likely the limit. In 2000 that might have made the difference - Koch was 33-5 in saves, Rivera 36-5. Hrm. A lot closer than expected but if it made a difference of even 2 wins that might have been enough to force a 3 way playoff (Jays/Red Sox/Yankees if those 2 wins were taken from the Yanks, and if the Yanks lost the make up game they didn't play). A fun thing to play with, but yeah, Rivera wasn't worth 9 wins a year - bWAR maxes out at 5 wins in 1996 for him, 10 years worth 3+ wins, 6 more worth 2 wins.

Wonder what if Clemens had stayed here instead of traded for Wells - would that have changed anything? What about if the Jays kept Halladay, Delgado, Green, Olerud, or Alomar (ignoring the financials and the domino effect each move would've had). I'll dig into some of these other hypothetical cases more in depth, not just with the simplistic method I used here. Gotta do something until baseball returns after all :)
scottt - Wednesday, May 13 2020 @ 07:34 AM EDT (#387110) #
B.J. Ryan blew his arm, it happens. That never bothered me.
What annoyed me was the Jays not overbidding the Royals for Gil Meche.
They paid him something like 4/42M.

Paul D - Wednesday, May 13 2020 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#387111) #
Baseball relevant, but not on-topic to this post, but hopefully no one minds if I throw this out there...

What's the more memorable/important recent sporting moment in Toronto history: Bautista's bat flip, or Kawhi's 4-bouncer to win against the 76ers?
Michael - Wednesday, May 13 2020 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#387112) #
The 4 bouncer. I'm more a baseball/Jays fan than a basketball/Raptors fan, but I think winning the championship matters more. Both are iconic.

Also of topic but a good profile of John McDonald at
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, May 13 2020 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#387113) #
Since I had to look up what the "4 bouncer" was all about, obviously, Bautista's bat-flip for me.
bpoz - Thursday, May 14 2020 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#387118) #
No K Giles for 2021 as of now. I am kind of concerned that we may have a big problem there.

Atkins inherited Osuna, who turned into Giles.
dalimon5 - Monday, May 25 2020 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#387154) #
Neither will be "more memorable," they are both historic and classic, there is no "more than."

If you're asking which one subjectively one thinks was more enjoyable to watch or appreciate over time...that's biased and shouldn't be asked on a Blue Jays site.

Bautista's bat probably bounced 4 times as well.

What's more important health care or free speech?
bpoz - Monday, May 25 2020 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#387156) #
I cannot speak for Americans but as a Canadian I prefer Health care. Other Canadians and American can choose their own preference.
scottt - Monday, May 25 2020 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#387161) #
There's a matter of degrees in those things.

Does no free speech means your posts get deleted by Gerry or the secret police comes to take you away in the night?

bpoz - Monday, May 25 2020 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#387163) #
I don't fully understand the free speech thing. Good to have. In Canada a person sometimes loses self control and makes hurtful (generally racist) comments in public which often gets recorded and put in the media. The public then expresses ...outrage? other unhappy feelings?

In the Philippines a citizen posted a 50 million peso reward for the killing of President Duterte. I think it was 50 mil pesos. He was punished somehow but not killed. That is free speech I think.

I am quite sure it is not in my character to do any of the above. So I don't think I would do it.

I am sorry that I don't understand how complex free speech is however I "definitely" understand how insults and disrespect can hurt a persons feelings. It never bothered me because "sticks and stones ......" But I have seen the effect on less thick skinned people than me.

I don't like to see the people close to me withdraw into a shell of unhappiness.
dalimon5 - Monday, May 25 2020 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#387166) #
Free speech reference vs health care was just to show that you can't definitively say one way or the other which one is more important.

Same thing with the Bautista vs Kawhi 4 bounce argument.
John Northey - Monday, May 25 2020 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#387167) #
For the top sports moment I don't see how anything beats Carter's home run in game 6 of the World Series to change a demoralizing loss into a series win at home. Second I'd put Kawhi's 4 bouncer, then Bautista's bat flip. For the Leafs that was before I was born (and I'm 50 - the Leafs have not even made the finals in my lifetime. Yikes - I joke with my parents that it is their fault, they got married in spring '68 and the Leafs haven't won since).

The other sports leagues aren't in the same category of consideration imo, sorry CFL fans, and indoor lacrosse fans.

scottt - Tuesday, May 26 2020 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#387172) #
Bless your parents, John!
dalimon5 - Wednesday, May 27 2020 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#387176) #
It's probably safe to say that Bautista's bat flip was the most dramatic. The build up, the finish, that entire inning being one of if not the greatest in history.
mathesond - Wednesday, May 27 2020 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#387177) #
There were a couple of dramatic homers hit June 4, 1989. Jays trail Boston 10-0 at one point, but they claw back, and Ernie Whitt hits a grand slam to give the Jays an 11-10 lead in the top on the 9th. Red Sox tie it, but Junior Felix hits a 2-run shot in the 12th, and the Jays hang on to win 13-11.

Fun note: I was watching this game, but turned it off when it was 10-0 (hey, it was a Sunday afternoon and I was 19). a couple hours later, I flick the TV back on to see they had just won it. So perhaps the most dramatic hit of all was me hitting the off button on the remote control?
John Northey - Thursday, May 28 2020 @ 12:38 AM EDT (#387182) #
I remember watching that game - I was addicted to the Jays then so even down 10-0 I kept it on and saw the whole comeback live. What fun! Junior Felix looked like a superstar in the making back then, a 21 year old who had all the skills. Little did I know he was closer to 30 than 20, but at that time he was everything fans dreamed of in a rookie.
Paul D - Thursday, May 28 2020 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#387194) #
Did Junior Felix also hit an inside-the-park home run in that series?
mathesond - Thursday, May 28 2020 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#387205) #
I had to look it up, because I remember Felix hitting an inside-the-park grand slam vs. someone, and yes, it was in that same series, 2 days earlier.
Jays closers vs Rivera | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.