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This is the first of a few "you be the general manager" questions we can debate over the next few weeks.  Today's subject is Josh Johnson.  News came out today that Josh has just had surgery on his elbow to remove bone spurs.  The Jays have until just after the world series to decide whether to offer Johnson a qualifying offer.  That basically means Johnson will earn approx. $14M next season.

The Jays originally intended to have Johsnon get healthy right around now and then for them to watch him throw to evaluate whether to offer to re-sign him.  This surgery now eliminates that approach by the Jays.

The story suggests James Andrews saying that the bone spurs were the reason JJ didn't pitch well this year.  Do we believe that or is JJ's agent trying to talk up his client for more money?

Todays question for the GM is, would you make a qualifying offer to JJ?


On the positive side of the decision we have:


Johnson's past performance as a top tier pitcher. 

The escalating cost of pitching where $14M is not consider an outrageous sum for a pitcher

The Jays need for starting pitching

Johnson's need to do all he can to play well for a big payday.


On the negative side of the decision we have:


Johnson's 2013 performance

Johnson's declining fastball velocity

Johnson's injury history

The Jays somewhat tight budget

The Jays already having a list of question mark pitchers lining up for 2014 jobs


I would not give a qualifying offer to JJ.  With his diminished velocity, and with Johnson therefore needing to change his approach, I think Johnson could be worth $14M if he was fully healthy for a season.  But I don't see that.  I decline to extend the offer.


What says you?

The Josh Johnson Question | 50 comments | Create New Account
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85bluejay - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#279549) #
An Agent is always trying to talk up his client - Regardless of the Jays interest, if I'm a pitcher trying for a pillow contract - I would prefer a big ballpark/contending team, not a team with a hitter friendly ballpark &  suspect defence - I suspect even if his agent says all the right things about the Jays, Toronto is probably a fallback position.  
Beyonder - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#279550) #
I wouldn't make him a qualifying offer, but only because I think you can sign him for considerably less. I would, however, sign him to a 14 million dollar deal if he would give us a couple of options for the same amount.

This year screams fluke to me. While his velocity is down from a few years back, Fangraphs has Johnson's average fastball velocity at exactly where it was last year (92.8 mph). His K/9 numbers are higher than they have ever been. In fact, all of his batted ball numbers are remarkablly consistent but for one item: a ten percent spike in his Home Run to Fly Ball Rate (8.4 to 18.5).
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#279551) #
Also I won't make him a qualifying offer, too much money - So, it doesn't seem to work for either side
electric carrot - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#279552) #
I'm not too good on the money side of baseball but from a team perspective after a year like the one we just experienced I think the lesson is:  "Anything Can Happen!"  or if not that "You Can Never Have Enough Pitching!"  With that in mind I want as many options as possible and that includes JJ having a turn it around year.  Is he worth 14 million?  I have no idea.  Can we get him for less?  No idea.  Do I want him on the team?  You betcha!
CeeBee - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#279553) #
It's not my money so it's easy to say "I want him too" unless something much better comes along for a similar price. All pitchers are risky, some more than others but I'd be willing to bet if we let him go he will put up real nice numbers somewhere else. Maybe thats just the Blue Jay way of getting burned.
Craig B - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#279554) #
Just to add another piece to the puzzle, you can't tender a player a contract that provides for more than a 20% cut, meaning that if the Jays want to tender a contract to Johnson, it must be for $11 million or more.

The Qualifying Offer limit will be more than that, but if you want to use the non-tender window to negotiate with Johnson, you've got to offer him $11 million or more. You can still sign him to a lower deal, but I don't remember what the restrictions are. I think there are some.

James Andrews, incidentally, has a closer economic relation with the ballclubs than he will with the players. I don't think he's telling tales in order to sucker a club.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#279555) #
Would I like to have Josh Johnson signed up for 2014?  Of course.  There is a decent chance that he can pitch to an ERA under 4 for 180 innings.  Would I be happy to have him back for $14 million to see if that chance comes to light?  Of course not.  Could you make a qualifying offer and hope that someone else signs him for more?  I don't think so.  He looks to me to be a prime pillow candidate for $8-$10 million, with the surgery sealing the deal on that one.

Ergo, no qualifying offer from me.

Ryan Day - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#279556) #
I'm not sure what the value of an option is with Johnson. He may be healthy and effective in 2014, but how likely is he to be healthy in 2014 AND 2015? He's only ever had back-to-back healthy seasons once, in 09/10.
Beyonder - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#279557) #
Options are always something of value. In Johnson's case, if he has a bounceback year next year he will be a steal at 14 million in 2015. If he doesn't, well then you don't exercise the option.

So sou would be paying him slightly more than he is worth this coming season in the hope of capturing value in 2014 and 2015.
finch - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#279558) #
Lets say you sign JJ to a 1 year deal plus 1 option year, after a successful season can you decline the option but still offer arbitration gaining a comp pick in the draft? Just curious.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#279559) #
The only way to ensure Johnson is back next season is by offering him the qualifying offer.

If they don't, then I can't see any reason why Johnson would come back to the Jays. Mediocre infield defense, hitter's park, and tough division. Why would he want to pitch under those conditions if he had the choice? If he has the option to go where he wants, he will probably end up in St. Louis or some other NL/big park team that will give him a better chance to succeed before cashing in.

If the Jays want JJ back, then offer him the QO and hope for the best. If not, then move on. I don't see an in between option here.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#279560) #
Oh, and to answer the question, it depends what the payroll is. If the payroll figures to jump, then I'd probably lean towards bringing him back at $14M. However, if signing Johnson prohibits the team from spending elsewhere, then I'd probably pass.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#279561) #
The price tag seems high, given the health/performance risks. My guess is that no QO is made, and he signs elsewhere on a short-term deal, maybe with some perfornance incentives.

I would be interested in knowing why Andrews thinks the bone spurs explain the performance downturn (if in fact this is his view). Also, didn't JJ have some other health issues this year? I seem to recall his having some knee issues in the second half.
johnny was - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#279562) #
I'd rather see if I can get Dan Haren for a few million less than it would take to bring Johnson back.   Not that either outcome is particularly likely, but I'd bet more on Haren reigning in the gopher balls than Johnson getting fully healthy and effective.  The remainder of the savings should be allocated to a successful bid for Tanaka. 
China fan - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#279563) #
I wouldn't extend a QO to Johnson, and I'm also doubtful that I'd try to negotiate a cheaper multi-year deal with him either, unless it's an irresistible bargain. People are right to suggest that Johnson has the potential to perform much better in 2014, but the Jays aren't the right team to make that gamble, because it's time for them to reduce the gambling and choose more reliable pitchers. The Jays just can't afford to have a rotation full of question marks, because the "finding out" process could cost them April again.

The Jays have two reasonably reliable pitchers (Dickey and Buehrle) and a bunch of pitchers who have the potential, under the right circumstances, to do very well. They might have to take a chance on Morrow's health, so why add another gamble to the rotation? Anyone who is acquired by trade or free agency is likely to be a safer choice (even if the ceiling is not as high). And if the Jays are obliged to gamble on a starting pitcher, they should at least make it a cheap gamble -- someone like Drabek or Hutchison or Nolin or Stroman or Redmond or Rogers -- rather than a gamble that could cost $10-million to $15-million over the next year or two.
China fan - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#279564) #
By the way: just a few months ago, our primary concern about Josh Johnson was whether he really wanted to be in Toronto and whether he was seeking to be traded elsewhere and whether he would flee Toronto as soon as he was contractually able to do so. Now we're debating whether Toronto should even bother to keep him.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#279565) #
I'm with China Fan -- having both Morrow and Johnson in the rotation coming out of spring training, if they were even healthy enough to do that, would seem like a big risk to me. What are the odds that one or both would be on the injury list before a month or two had passed, and the Jays would be back to trying to fill their spots like this year. I'd rather see the 14 million go toward trying to get that Japanese pitcher, Tanaka, for that matter or at worst, a servicable innings-eater whose arm won't fall off.
Beyonder - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#279566) #
I'd love for AA to choose more reliable pitchers CF, but who might they be realistically? Part of me wonders whether re-signing JJ isn't our best chance at adding an ace-calibre starter to the rotation.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 01 2013 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#279568) #
Johnson is a weird one.  His FIP at 4.62 is endurable but hardly great, his xFIP at 3.58 though is very good.  This suggests he was unlucky to go along with being hurt. His xFIP was actually almost dead on his career rate of 3.57.  Rogers, for example, was worse in both FIP and xFIP as was Morrow.  Among Jays with 50+ IP only 4 relievers were better than Johnson in xFIP - in fact he was a half run better than Buehrle in that measure.

So, what does it mean? That he was victimized by poor defense and more fly balls leaving the park than normal.  So, what do the Jays do? If he is healthy he is a solid bet to have a $10-15 million year next year (like in 2009/10/12) but it is a risk and depends on a lot going right.

This is the type of decision that can make or break a GM.  JPR got it wrong with Carpenter, but other guys both JPR and AA got it right with we don't even think about as they are out of baseball.  So, what to do?  Here is where that legion of scouts and medical opinions are vital.  Sitting down with Johnson and trying to hammer out a 3 year deal with options and incentives is ideal but extremely unlikely.  A one and one deal is what AA should shoot for IMO - first year a lower base, second year much higher...try for a low amount but accept a $5 mil 2014 and $15 2015 option ideally with another option in the $15-20 range with buyouts that ensure you aren't in it for more than $7-8 mil guaranteed if his arm falls off.  The option is big enough that he gets a solid payday if he performs, you appeal to his competitive nature (no one likes leaving as a bum).  I doubt AA would put in an escape clause though as then the risk is all on the Jays with no reward if he does come back beyond the one year.  No idea what Johnson thinks he can get on the market though, or even what he could get.

Btw, for those wondering, Halladay's FIP was 6.14 and xFIP 5.10 which suggests he might be done. Sad.  Lets hope he finds a forgiving park (San Diego for example) and can rebound.

Mylegacy - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#279571) #
JJ has/had a magic arm. JJ is hurt - a lot. JJ had a meh year (at best). JJ is going to be expensive for next year if the Jays offer him. JJ has/had a magic arm. JJ gets hurt a lot. Rinse and repeat.

JJ is a coin toss. The good news is that a coin toss is 50/50 - heck - that's a better chance than most of the moves we've made lately. I guarantee you - whatever we do - it'll turn out to be the wrong thing. Call it the curse of Tim Hortons.

rpriske - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#279573) #

I used to be in the 'offer' camp. I think this season is the aberation. Some argue that last year was bad too, but they are wrong.


However, that was before the injury that ended his season. There have been just too many marks against him now. Now I woudl say no, but then offer him a lower cotnract... but I don't think he will sign. Someone will give him more.

92-93 - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#279574) #
Impossible question to answer without knowing what the payroll parameters are, but unless AA has 160m to spend I can't see how a QO makes any sense.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#279575) #
Another big question is who else is realistically available and what will they cost.  Is that Japanese pitcher worth $30+$30 (posting plus salary)? Is Garza worth $100 million?  What about others on the market?  What will it cost in prospects to do a trade? How close are the kids on the farm?

Those are the tough questions.  If the answers are 'no' to all of them then Johnson is probably a must sign. 

whiterasta80 - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#279576) #
I would not offer him a QO. I actually might sign him to a 1 year deal worth 14 million, but that's not what a qualifying offer amounts to because it also comes with uncertainty: at the end of the offseason after all other options are exhausted, a team could step in and offer him something more. That would leave us very little in the way of alternatives and desperate.

So as I said, I might offer him 1 year at 14 million to sign, but I'm definitely not qualifying him.

To be honest, I am more interested in adding an innings eater who can be relied upon than a top of the rotation arm- a Buerhle version 2.0 if you will. Bronson Arroyo, Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman, Jake Westbrook, jason vargas are all incredibly boring pitchers that are likely to eat significant innings and not fall off a cliff performance wise. Spend the money on Brian McCann and take fliers on Halladay, Johan Santana, and Rafeal Furcal (for 2B).
mathesond - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#279577) #
Or are the Jays better served by going the cheap route and seeing if they can find next year's Francisco (almost called him Nelson) Liriano for $1M?
China fan - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#279579) #
One interesting point about Johnson is emerging from the year-end media coverage: there are hints that Anthopoulos might be willing, for the first time, to offer incentive-laden contracts to the riskier players. This could be the solution on Johnson: offer him a low base salary with lots of incentives for innings pitched. If that was the deal, I'd be prepared to support it. The problem is that Johnson (and his talkative agent) might not accept it. There's also the potential for conflict if Johnson is pitching poorly again in 2014 and the Jays don't want to play him, even though he is healthy; he would feel cheated out of contract money if he can't build up his innings. So there's the potential for tension and friction over his playing time. Maybe the incentives could be tied to innings plus ERA or some formula like that?
bpoz - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#279580) #
Excellent question Gerry. Obviously his results in 2014 will answer the question.
Buehrle & Dickey did OK in 2013. ERA of 3.5-3.75 would go well with the 200IP. JJ & Morrow IMO cost us the season. As mentioned by Magpie something always happens to Morrow each year.
All 4 could put up great numbers, in which case they would have done what they are capable of and we would have a great season.
IMO Rogers can afford a large payroll & I believe they will spend it because this team is in a contending window in theory.
Anyone can suck while not being injured ... R Romero. We have many SP arms that are ready for an opportunity and they would be mostly considered "not being rushed".

I cannot prove it but an established pitcher will be kept in the rotation, even if he sucks for some reason. I liked it when a struggling pitcher like Steib was put in the pen to right himself. So I am pleased that Romero was pitching in the minors that seemed to be the right place for him until he got himself righted.

So my vote is not to risk a QO.
ogator - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#279581) #
I must be ignorant of something or other. I don't even understand this question. 14 million is what I might pay to a terrific young pitcher, one coming off a successful season but 14 million for a guy who was terrible and who missed much of the season and who had surgery? Why would someone pay 14 million to take a flyer? A flyer for a guy who used to be good is a one million dollar contract with incentives. For 14 million, I expect a lot more than "what if?" Maybe Johnson used to be excellent. Maybe he will be again, but 14 million for "maybe" sounds like a gambling addict to me.
92-93 - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#279582) #
Can you elaborate on these hints? AA has always said he's opposed to that.

As far as I'm aware incentives can't be tied to production at all.
Wildrose - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#279583) #
Impossible question to answer without knowing what the payroll parameters are, but unless AA has 160m to spend I can't see how a QO makes any sense.

I have to agree without knowing what the payroll is this is a very difficult question. I have much higher expectations than most. This is a large market team, in fact AA reiterated as much in his last meeting with the press. I think for most of us, Rogers has been such a frugal owner until recently, we come to expect the worse.

While the on-field product suffered this year that was not the case off the field. Attendance grew by almost 5000/game this past season. Their attendance growth since 2010 has been the highest in all of baseball, growing by almost 1 million more patrons. That's around $50 million more in revenue ( they have the fourth highest average ticket price in baseball), furthermore they expect it to grow even higher ( the team also has the most unused stadium capacity in baseball despite the growth). At his press conference AA stated 3 million is the goal in essence, for next year ( another $25 million in revenue). Remember all this growth has been while watching what has been quite a crappy team. Imagine if they were actually successful on the field?

I won't even go into the success of their other lucrative Media revenue streams ( not to mention they pay next to nothing for signage and stadium naming rights), except to say the revenue growth in Television and Radio has also been outstanding ( they are #2 in baseball behind the Yankees for instance in the average number of TV viewers/game). Also this is the year teams start drawing an additional $ 25 million each from the new national TV contract. So yup, the money is there for a large payroll.

For me, if you have the big bucks sign Johnson and pursue even other pitching and positional options. Time to big or go home. If you have the money, you can just keep doing this with Johnson, just keep qualifying him year/year if he's playing well ( at least I think you can do this?) For a large market team and Baseball's richest owner, really there is no such thing as a bad 1 year contract.


Beyonder - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#279584) #
I don't know how you come to those figures Wildrose. An increase of 5000 fans (it's actually closer to 4500) per game multiplied by an average ticket price of 25 bucks times 81 home games is just over ten million dollars. So all those extra fans paid for Jose Reyes.

The real question for me this offseason is whether AA figures he is "in for a penny, in for a pound" when it comes to trading prospects (in which case we can say goodbye to Aaron Sanchez and others), or whether this past year was such a collossal failure that AA is rethinking his earlier comments about capitalizing on the team's window to contend, and making the most of Bautista's prime.

If not for the attendance/marketing consequences, I would be seriously thinking about a strategic retreat -- or at least contemplating what that might look like if this team gets off to a slow start next season.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#279585) #
To me there are two big questions...
1) What is the budget for 2014 vs what other clubs have to spend (determines what free agents and Japanese imports will cost)
2) What are the best values for the dollar out there

Upgrading in the weakest areas tends to provide the most bang for the buck.  The absolute weakest area last year by a mile was 2B - a sOPS+ of 57 with a guy no one expected much from (Goins), a guy who is best as cheerleader (Kawasaki) and a free agent flop (Izturis) as the only realistic (sorry, no Lawrie or Reyes here) in-house options.   Goins provides decent defense it seems (historic rates of UZR but extremely unlikely to keep that up) but unlikely to hit for a 100 sOPS+ let a long a 100 OPS+.  Kawasaki is acceptable defense poor offense, Izturis is best on a different team.  Next is CA with a sOPS+ of 66 but at least here we have a hot prospect in AA/AAA (Jimenez, A.J.) for hope and odds are a 1/2 decent guy (80-90 OPS+ with decent defense) will be out there somewhere in the winter for next to nothing plus both Thole and JPA have hit far better in the past and are still in their primes.  Then comes starting pitching where we had Dickey & Buerhle then you want to hurl.  OK, not quite that bad but it sure felt like it at times.  But here we have tons of kids charging up the system (Sanchez, Nolin, Stroman, McGuire) plus a couple recovering from major injuries (Hutchison & Drabek) and a couple being paid a fortune to suck (Romero & Morrow) to go along with decent #6 guys (Happ, Redmond, Rogers). 

So spending to fill 2B is the best option, followed by CA then starting pitching.  LF is probably next (again, 3 kids ready sort of plus a guy recovering) along with RH DH.  That isn't too long a shopping list really. 

For comparison, the Yankees were sub90 for OPS+ from their regulars at CA/1B/SS/3B/LF/RF/DH with their best player (2B Cano) a free agent and their regular at 3B at the end (A-Rod) likely to miss a big portion if not all of 2014.  Now _that_ is an ugly shopping list.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#279586) #
FYI: just checked and for sOPS+ (compared to their position) the Yankees were sub-90 at all but 2B and CF.  Their best other position was LF at 88, then 78 at 1B and it gets worse from there with their DH being the bottom at 62.... well, other than pitchers who were 0-20. How the heck did they do better than the Jays?
China fan - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#279587) #
"....Can you elaborate on these hints? AA has always said he's opposed to that...."

Shi Davidi and John Lott have both mentioned the possibility.

Davidi on Sept. 11: "Unless Johnson completely blows them away, the Blue Jays are highly unlikely to go that route (QO), with an incentive-based deal probably a more realistic approach for Anthopoulos to take. To this point he hasnít signed a single contract with incentives since taking over as GM, but itís believed a free agent of merit would change that."

Lott today, re Johnson: "He is a free agent, unlikely to return unless he accepts an incentive-laden contract with a low base salary."
Wildrose - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#279589) #
Beyonder the average Blue Jay ticket price is actually $33 bucks, now most people buy a beer , a hot dog, some sort of souvenir. Joe average can easily spend $ 50 dollars per game.

Here's the source for fan/ cost index, I actually used a more conservative figure than they did.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#279590) #
If the payroll for the club is $160 million, I probably still wouldn't put in a qualifying offer for Johnson.  There are better uses for the money.  For example, with the current payroll, I wouldn't pick up Lind's option.  If the payroll is $160 million, I would have to think much harder about it and might very well pick it up.  I'd certainly be interested in the free agent catchers, second basemen, left-fielders and international pitchers.
Wildrose - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#279591) #
The Blue jays drew 5394 more fans per game in 2013 verses 2012 , this totals an increase of 436,899. They were actually well on their way to 500,000 until September. Basically my point is that for every 500,000 more fans you get roughly a 25 million revenue boost. You can probably dispute revenue up/ down by 10% per your disgression.
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, October 02 2013 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#279596) #
As far as I'm aware incentives can't be tied to production at all.

I believe the key word here is "production". AFAIK, incentives cannot be tied to production (eg. 25 HRs), but they CAN be tied to PLAYING TIME (eg. appears in 100 games, has 500 plate appearances, pitches 150 innings, etc). With the "nudge-nudge, wink-wink" understanding being that if you're getting that much playing time, you've earned it because you're playing well enough/really well. You wouldn't let a guy with an ERA of 10.xx pitch 150 innings or a guy hitting 0.194 get 500 PAs except in very unusual circumstances. Such has having the name JPA :-)
Wildrose - Thursday, October 03 2013 @ 01:24 AM EDT (#279597) #
Whoops, that should be adjust according to your own discretion.
Richard S.S. - Friday, October 04 2013 @ 07:18 AM EDT (#279600) #
Average Ticket this year was the same as last year, just under $25.00 per ticket. That just as Beeston said early last Offseason. And I'm sure all the interwebbies will be sure to find the quote.

All players after two full years establish career averages in all categories. Add together and divide by two works after a two year career. Players will then have most years around those averages. Good years are a little above average and a bad year is a little below average. The year Josh Johnson had was so very bad there is no comparisons available. A.A. would have to be desperate to even think of signing him.
jerjapan - Friday, October 04 2013 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#279601) #
How about a playoff thread?  After this disastrous season, it'd be great to talk about some good baseball!
John Northey - Friday, October 04 2013 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#279606) #
The Star had an article about catchers and how the Jays need a new one.  Doubt anyone here will argue against that.  Ones listed as free agents were McCann, A.J. Pierzynski (Rangers), Carlos Ruiz (Phils), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Red Sox), John Buck (Pirates) and Molina.

So, what if the Jays resigned Molina as backup (probably $3 million would do it) and McCann as starter (117 lifetime OPS+, entering age 30 season, can't hit LHP) for $15 a year for 3 years?  Don't know what he'll demand though as it could be a lot more (MLB trade rumors puts it at $80 mil over 5 years or $16 a year).  That'd be a net cost about what a new starting pitcher (mid-range) would be with JPA being trade bait (or released) while Thole is the 3rd catcher left in AAA yet again. 
adrianveidt - Friday, October 04 2013 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#279607) #
Romero removed from 40-man roster and sent to Buffalo.
christaylor - Friday, October 04 2013 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#279608) #
$14M just doesn't seem to go very far anymore for pitchers -- I wouldn't be surprised to see JJ qualified. I'm not sure it is the best decision, but I think it is an easy one for AA (unless, as mentioned he's going to hit a budget). For the same reason, I'm pretty certain Lind will also have his option picked up. The reason in each case is that when AA made his moves last season it was pretty clear he wasn't going all-in for one season, but at least two, with an outside shot of a third.

As much as I'd like McCann, I think he doesn't fit the plan. An upgrade at catcher (with some risk) who'll sign for two years and be better than JPA (with JPA hanging around given a shot to win the job back) seems to fit the plan. That is to say, I'm hoping for a good defensive catcher who has average offense for the position. 2B/LF are where the offense is going to have to improve and I'd love to see the rotation get a sure thing pitcher on a 2-3 year contract. Everything thing broke in the wrong direction this year, and AA should explore every avenue to improve the team, but I will be completely unsurprised (and on board despite the dysmal season) if it is "steady as she goes" for next year, including giving JJ a qualifying offer.

I've felt this way since about July and I've not really seen anything to change my mind (JJ recent surgery comes close, so if he's not qualified it would be a shock, but a mild surprise). I am a little more open to leaving the LF job open for one of the youngsters to seize and to upgrade if the Jays are in it come the end of July -- Gose/Rasmus could make up in the field more than a few shortcomings at the plate. If not, come next July the Jays hold an everything must go sale and AA has to convince the higher-ups to give him another shot to rebuild.
John Northey - Friday, October 04 2013 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#279610) #
I suspect AA will go out and try to get Molina back.  Horrid offense but his defense is wow.  He'd probably like Mathis more but he isn't a free agent for another year or 2.  Of course, Molina might want to stay in Tampa (winning team, lets him play nearly everyday) but Tampa also has that tight budget so it wouldn't be hard to beat them in a bidding war.  What other catchers have amazing defensive reps?
John Northey - Saturday, October 05 2013 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#279618) #
Just going over some attendance figures for fun and thought it was noteworthy...
Jays increase 2013 vs 2012: 436,899 or 5,394 per game
Rank all time for Jays: #4 - better years were 1989 (first 1/2 year in SkyDome plus division title), 1983 (first year Jays didn't finish last), and 1990 (first full season in SkyDome).  1985 is the only other year close in attendance gain, that was the first year the Jays made the playoffs.

What is interesting is that in the top 10 increases in attendance are 2011 and 2012 (both over 3k a year increase) while 2010 and 2009 were both in the bottom 5 (biggest drops).  1995 was by far the worst drop (over 10k a game) with 1996 second worst (another 7,657) then comes 2009, then 2000, then 2010 then 1999.  Clearly the killers were the lost WS mixed with the Jays falling apart (Gord Ash begins), and the end of the Gord Ash era (the team was a royal mess then).  This recent jump (the past 3 years) is an odd one though as it seems to be the Jays are working on marketing more than winning - the club has been poor all 3 years (last or 2nd last) while 500 or worse.  The Jays also during that time have been doing the caravans, better marketing campaigns, and lots of player (and ex-player) signings in the area.  Basically the Jays have gotten back to their roots - in the late 70's/early 80's I remember the caravans and Jays merchandise being given out to all Globe and Mail carriers (I was one) in attempts to get people thinking of the Jays.

So, what does this mean?  More marketing for sure as clearly they are doing their jobs well.  Hopefully expanded caravans and promotions throughout Canada too.  The increase in attendance alone, at $25 a seat (low estimate as the Jays owners get concessions and the like) over the past 3 years is worth at least $24.5 million a year and if they can jump it by the record (9,639) which I think a winner would do then that could add another $19.5 million.  Factor in TV ratings climbing and that bottom line expansion (as Rogers owns the TV network too) not to mention bonuses for the cell phone line Rogers owns (with Jays exclusives on it) and you can see $20+ million more there too easily.  And that isn't factoring in if the Jays make the playoffs and the revenue that automatically generates.  The reward for a winner in Toronto will be astronomical for Rogers if they can push it there.  There is a potential for justifying another $40 million in payroll without a lot of effort.  Now, will they do that?  Doubtful but then we all felt that way about last winter too. 

Now, if they had $40 mil more where would it go (assuming current level covers guys already here).  $20 mil on improving one position would make sense but which two would you go radical on - 2B, CA or SP?  That is the biggest challenge - where to spend it and how to make it work long term so the club isn't a royal mess and has to let guys go to balance the books?

Richard S.S. - Monday, October 07 2013 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#279626) #
Cano, at his $30.5 MM per year, is an excellent acquisition but more then 6 years at a maximum is too much waste.

I can see two Starting Pitchers being acquired before A.A. fills any significant non-pitching spots.

I'd like Brian McCann, but he'll sign somewhere else before being entices to sign here.

If A.A. could add two Starters, Cano and McCann, this team's in the Postseason with a $195.0 MM Team Salary.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, October 07 2013 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#279627) #
If A.A. could add two Starters, Cano and McCann, this team's in the Postseason with a $195.0 MM Team Salary.

The suggestion that Robinson Cano and Brian McCann will be playing baseball next summer in Canada made me think of this.

Jesus and Moses Play Golf
Mike Green - Monday, October 07 2013 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#279629) #
It made me think of Toots Hibbert vs. Stevie Nicks
clark - Monday, October 07 2013 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#279634) #
I see that I'm late to the discussion, but here is my line of thought on the subject.

Last offseason, the Jays wanted Johnson, and were willing to pay a steep prospect price to acquire him and his salary, which in 2013 was quite similar to what it will be in 2014 if he's given the qualifying offer.

This offseason, if we want Johnson, it only costs us the money and not the prospects.

Has one season dropped his value so far that we could have him without the prospects, just for the money, and we don't want him?

I say give him the offer!!

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