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2014 is here and the big question for Blue Jay fans is this: Will 2014 be better than 2013? This time last year AA had made some big moves and fans were expecting great things in 2013. This year AA has done little and fans are not as enthused as they were a year ago.

There has been no news since the winter meetings. The Tanaka saga still has three weeks to run. Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez are still waiting to see where they end up. It's approx. 45 days until pitchers and catchers report, meanwhile in Ontario, we freeze.
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Mylegacy - Wednesday, January 01 2014 @ 12:54 PM EST (#281841) #
Tanaka - not gonna happen (at least for us). As for the Law Firm of: Santana, Garza and Jimenez - perhaps one might find his brief's making their way to the Rogers Center.

What I seriously want to happen is for each and every of my friends and acquaintances here at DaBox to have an especially brilliant 2014 filled with peace, love, fulfillment, prosperity and our beloved Jay's getting into at least ONE freakin' Playoff game this year!

Happy New Year all!

bpoz - Wednesday, January 01 2014 @ 06:00 PM EST (#281842) #
Happy New Year everyone. I do not know why but I think the Jays will finally win 90 games again in 2014.
electric carrot - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 10:09 AM EST (#281843) #
As currently constructed I feel like there is a giant swing with this team that tops out at around 92 wins and goes as low as 72 wins.  I'd love to see another solid starter and a someone (anyone) else at 2nd and I think this would push the top end up to 95ish wins and the low end way up to 80ish.  In general, I'm confident about the offense, optimistic about the pitching and a little concerned about the defense and I'd be shocked if we did worse than 2013.
Gerry - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 10:13 AM EST (#281844) #
For those of you who are missing baseball, Sportsnet has started showing some of MLB's top 20 games of all time.  They have already broadcast the Kirk Gibson home run game and game 4 of the Yankee - Red Sox series from 2004.  I believe they are showing the 1991 world series game 7 tonight.  The games are shown on some of the Sportsnet channels at various times so check your TV guide.
John Northey - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 10:57 AM EST (#281845) #
Don't know how closely people here are following the HOF vote but The 2013 HOF Ballot Collecting Gizmo! is regularly updated now.  With 101 ballots recorded (many writers post online) there are 4 guys over 75% (Maddux at 100%, Glavine & Frank Thomas over 90% and Biggio at 80.2%) with another over 70% (Piazza at 72.3%).  After no one getting in last year we could have a record year.  4 or more have gone in only 3 times - 1955, 1947 and the initial 5 in 1936.  1936 was the only time 5 went in at once (writer ballot that is). 

Blue Jay content....
90.0 - Frank Thomas
62.4 - Jack Morris
56.4 - Raines (OK, Expos content there)
43.6 - Clemens
15.8 - McGriff
12.9 - Kent
11.9 - L. Walker (CanCon)

For the PED crowd you have
44.6 - Bonds
43.6 - Clemens
10.9 - McGwire
  8.9 - S. Sosa
  7.9 - R. Palmeiro

A very interesting and full ballot.  Over 9 names per ballot so far, which would be astounding and necessary with so many high end players on the ballot.  To put less than 10 names on a ballot this year is just a writer being lazy or putting a higher standard for HOF than the HOF itself has.

10 without a whiff of PED's: Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Craig Biggio (although one writer said since he was friends with a steroid user he must have used), Mike Piazza (a lone loon complaining about back acne), Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff ... oops, up to 13 already and haven't hit Lee Smith or Jack Morris.  Or Jeff Bagwell for that matter as he is listed as PED curious or something.

Crazy eh?  Yet some ballots have as few as 4 guys on it (smallest so far was Maddux, Glavine, Smith and Morris I think).  FYI: need 5% to stay on for next year and Mattingly is at 5% (marginally below with 5 out of 101 potential votes).  Normally over 500 votes are counted so no one is a lock yet.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 12:10 PM EST (#281846) #
It's a bit funny that Frank Thomas has managed to avoid the whiff of PEDs, because he certainly looked like the stereotypical steroid slugger. I guess he arouses less suspicion because he always looked like that, and was lucky enough to never play with any other suspected steroid user.

Poor Jeff Bagwell, who had the misfortune to only show serious power when he was 26 - which isn't exactly unusual - and played with Ken Caminiti for a few years.
Thomas - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 12:31 PM EST (#281847) #
I think Thomas has also escaped suspicion because he was vocal about steroids during the latter part of his playing career and an early advocate of testing for PEDs.
John Northey - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 01:48 PM EST (#281848) #
The story with Thomas is his fighting for testing from a very early period (early 90's).  Very vocal but one wonders why he didn't get more questions due to his size, playing football (college football is riddled with it). An article on Bagwell is atJeff Bagwell tires of steroids talk - - and is interesting for his POV.

I figure in a decade or so (hopefully less) the steroid/PED stuff will die down and we'll see Bonds and Clemens voted in while McGwire, Sosa and others get in via vet committees.  It'll be hardest for those who were caught such as Palmeiro and Manny doing it when it was clearly not legal vs those who did it in the 90's when it was kinda/sorta allowed (or at least no penalties were there for it or testing so it might as well have been 100% legal).  With TLR in the HOF (who had the most visibly PED clubhouses) along with Torre (had Clemens, Pettitte and others) I suspect writers will weaken a lot on this once the ballot crowding cuts down.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 02:07 PM EST (#281849) #
John, presumably you distinguish "illegal doing it" from "kinda sorta not allowed" on the basis of degree of media coverage?

From 1971 it was very much prohibited even if the statute was originally for amphetamines.
Lylemcr - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 03:24 PM EST (#281850) #

Did anyone else see this article by Griffin

This is the part that I find interesting

"Ultimately, his team fell on its face and there was little, if any, sympathy within the GM fraternity. When right-hander Doug Fister was traded to the Nats in November, Anthopoulos was surprised and indicated the Tigers surely knew he was interested, that he would have liked a last chance to bid on the talented starter. Would he have been given the opportunity two years ago? Perhaps. "

This reminds me of this guy in my fantasy draft.  He emails everyone all the time trolling for information on how they feel about certain players and seeing if he can get a guy that is devalued (or trade someone overvalued).  After he has burned a couple guys on one-sided trades, they stopped answering his emails.  I am wondering if everyone has come up to speed on AA and he needs to rethink his approach to the game (or at least mature his approach)....  First, it was the one-sided trades (like Vernon Wells, etc).  ....Then it was the compensation draft. 

I really like AA and I like his style and aggressiveness.  But...  in the end, he  needs to stop looking for loopholes and advantages.  In the end, he needs to try to build a good system like everyone else. (like Pat Gillick did).  Like I said, I like AA and I think he has some good ideas.  He needs to mature this year as a GM and it will be interesting to see how he matures or if it is too late. 

I have a feeling what will happen is that he doesn't succeed and he ends up somewhere else in a couple years.  He will learn from his failures here and build something successfully somewhere else.  Unfortunately, we are part of his learning curve....

Ryan Day - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 04:17 PM EST (#281851) #
It's an interesting theory. Last offseason, we kept hearing that Anthopoulos was asking about everyone on the market, trying to get in on a lot of trades. Maybe he's regarded as too much of a window shopper now - why bother talking trades with a GM who's so reluctant to pull the trigger?

I wonder if other GMs see the same thing in AA that we saw during the Darvish sweepstakes - his complete unwillingness to indicate whether he was interested just burned a lot of people out.

Alternately, this is just Griffin making up theories in the absence of actual news, and Anthopooulos will make a couple moves in the next few weeks.
Chuck - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 04:23 PM EST (#281852) #
First, it was the one-sided trades (like Vernon Wells, etc).

If I'm Anthopoulos and I have a chance to execute this trade, I do it without thinking twice. I don't care if it's one-sided. Professional GMs hardly need to be protected from themselves the way novice GMs in a fantasy league might.

Reagins held a post he had no business occupying. His ineptitude reflected badly on the Angels, not on Anthopoulos.

Chuck - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 04:24 PM EST (#281853) #
Alternately, this is just Griffin making up theories in the absence of actual news

Occam's Razor certainly points in this direction.

John Northey - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 04:34 PM EST (#281854) #
whiterasta80...  a rule with no enforcement is not a rule.  From 1971 until 2004 there was no testing, no written penalties, and during the big 1998 home run chase no push to do anything but cheer on the dingers.  It was silly really.  If you are going to say 'no one should do xyz' you gotta have a method of testing or at least penalties that are clearly written.  Heck, the first penalties they put in place were almost identical to spit-balls and corked bats and no one has been kept out of the HOF due to those.

So that is what I mean by 'kinda sorta not allowed'.  Much like speeding at 1-10 KM/hour over the speed limit - almost no cop will stop you for it and if they did you could probably appeal it and win in court by pointing out the hundreds of others who the cop ignored before stopping you.  A rule not enforced (or at least not enforced equally) is not a rule even if it is on paper.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 04:48 PM EST (#281855) #
Besides, it's not like the Wells deal was some kind of sneak attack: He was making a ton of money, had two awful seasons, and was getting older and breaking down. There's no meaningful difference between Vernon Wells v.2009 and Vernon Wells v.2011, aside from the different uniform. He didn't turn up at Angels spring training with a previously hidden injury, or some weird contract clause the Jays had managed to bury.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 05:38 PM EST (#281856) #
I did not know this about John Gibbons' contract. That's what friends are for...
greenfrog - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 05:47 PM EST (#281857) #
Reagins held a post he had no business occupying. His ineptitude reflected badly on the Angels

According to this article, the Wells trade was made at the behest of Moreno, not Reagins. Of course, this doesn't mean Reagins was a good GM - just that he might not have been the one who dreamed up one of the all-time bad baseball trades.

When the decision was made to pursue Vernon Wells from Toronto before the 2011 season, a move Scioscia is said to have endorsed, it was Moreno, one source says, who threatened then-GM Tony Reagins with a firing if Reagins didn't consummate the deal within 24 hours. Moreno is described as being chapped at having lost free agent Adrian Beltre to the Rangers roughly two weeks earlier, and that helps explain why, in an agreement that utterly stunned almost everybody in the game, the Angels agreed to pay all but $5 million of the $86 million to a player that Toronto was so eager to offload that the Jays surely could have been persuaded to pay millions more.
John Northey - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 05:49 PM EST (#281858) #
That actually is a very team friendly option for the Jays.  There is no risk of Gibbons leaving unless the Jays want him to as he will never be a free agent unless they say 'get lost' and they would only owe him one season plus whatever is left in the year he is let go (assuming they release him before January 1st and not between Jan 1st and April 1st).
Mike Green - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 07:42 PM EST (#281859) #
That's a matter of perspective, John.  If you believed that Gibbons was a dubious hire from the outset (I'm not naming names here but the mirror never lies) and you figured that team underperformance, such as the Blue Jays 2013 season, ought to count at least partially against a manager, you would wonder why a team would voluntarily add a year of obligation rather than doing the dirty deed earlier rather than later. 

I might add that the concept of a team-friendly option for a manager is, um, not really something that I consider to be very common.  Sure, if you are the Orioles in 1970 and Earl Weaver signs a Gibbons-like contract rather than the Alston 1 year jobs, I can see it.  But, I knew Earl Weaver and John Gibbons is no Earl Weaver.

whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 08:35 PM EST (#281860) #
John, I respectfully disagree. A rule with no enforcement is still a rule, it just has no enforcement. I agree that within MLB it was "kinda sorta not allowed" but the rule was still in place. What I find interesting is that the HOF (as an entity distinct from MLB) affords an opportunity to provide such enforcement now. McGwire, Sosa etc... were in clear violation of rules set forth in 1971 even if they weren't enforced. If I were a voter then I would likely take the position of not enshrining those individuals who were proven to cheat on the basis of this. Testing will always be playing catch-up to the cheaters (witness the current adderall/ritalin situation). If the HOF/BBWA is concerned with the sanctity of the game then they might consider using rule violation as a dealbreaking criteria (personal opinion, clearly debatable but that's why there are 600 votes).

Another thing: If I hear one more time that "the same writers who were extolling the 1998 HR chase are the ones who are keeping Bonds and Clemens out of the HOF" one more time I am going to join Twitter just to complain about it. First of all a person has the right to change their mind- especially when influenced by new knowledge (i.e. the extent of performance enhancement gained, the depths to which individuals went to hide use or get out of suspensions). Second, two wrongs don't make a right: if you want to punish the writers in question then don't put them in the HOF or worse yet don't read their columns. I don't believe that you should use it as a rationalization for putting someone undeserving (again, personal opinion) into the hall.

Ditto "there's cheaters and wife-beaters and racists already in the hall" for obvious reasons.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 02 2014 @ 08:42 PM EST (#281861) #
Now if you are making the argument that players were not aware of this rule because it was hidden within the CBA (similar to people not reading software license agreements for example) then I can respect the that MLB was duty bound to enforce the rule (or at least broadcast it) for it to be legitimate. I disagree, but it is a perfectly defensible opinion.
greenfrog - Friday, January 03 2014 @ 09:10 AM EST (#281862) #
Quaere why the Jays aren't doing this this year. I guess it's because Rogers is comparatively cheap, but I like the Yankees' strategy (for the same reason I liked other teams' going big on the top IFAs just before the new CBA was implemented).

The Yankees' strategy (blowing other teams out of the water in the IFA market) seems like something AA might do if he had the resources. Basically, it's the Jays' pre-CBA strategy of chasing down players like Osuna writ large.
John Northey - Friday, January 03 2014 @ 10:42 AM EST (#281863) #
Are the Yankees doing that right now? I know I've wondered why a club hasn't gone nuts in the international free agent market yet. The penalty would basically be that you cannot participate (except to a super-small degree) the next year. So might as well go out and sign the top 10 prospects at sky high bonuses then take a year off as you'd never get that many top prospects otherwise. The first club to do this will get rewards, but the 2nd to try will probably be prevented by new rules being put in place (ala the 'trade' for a draft pick that AA did a few years ago helping lead to removal of type B free agency).
John Northey - Friday, January 03 2014 @ 10:49 AM EST (#281864) #
OK, read the first article ( and the Yankees are doing what I hoped the Jays would do first - toss out a ton of cash and get all of the top prospects in a year. Smart move as it will jump their farm system. Hopefully (for their sake) they have lots of translators and quality ex-major leaguers to take the kids under their wings and help push them towards becoming solid pros.
greenfrog - Friday, January 03 2014 @ 03:10 PM EST (#281865) #
The main point is that under the new CBA, there are no major repercussions to the Yankees' strategy. There is no international draft, so their massive overspending in the IFA market won't cost them any future draft picks.

The Jays have shown a willingness to spend money in the IFA market (Osuna) or to acquire extra draft picks (acquiring Olivo and paying $500K to decline his option, thereby garnering them a draft pick). AA obviously values the extra amateur talent. The problem is that other teams are getting in on the action and are now outspending the parameter-conscious Jays.

Despite this, the Jays still seem to be acquiring a decent amount of amateur/IFA talent. It's just that they may need to do better to prevail in the AL / AL East.
John Northey - Friday, January 03 2014 @ 08:54 PM EST (#281867) #
IIRC the big downside to the Yankees strategy would be that they'd lose almost all their cap space in the following year. The best way to prevent this gaming of the system would be to have teams lose up to 90% of their cap space per year until it was paid back ... IE: if the Yankees spent $15 mil over the (roughly) $2.5 mil cap then they get the $15 mil direct penalty plus lose $2.4 mil of cap space each year for 6 years and 25% in year 7, or if you want to be really strict it becomes 12 years and 40% in year 13 factoring in the penalty as well. Also make it so they cannot sign anyone over their cap (now a tiny one) if that occurs period. If you want it to be a cash penalty then instead of 100% of the amount over it becomes 200% then 400% then 800% and continues that sky high escalation until they have stayed under the cap and 'paid off' their going over. Now _that_ would be a disincentive. The players union probably wouldn't care as amateurs are not really members of the union anyways.
Gerry - Saturday, January 04 2014 @ 04:45 PM EST (#281868) #

Pat Hentgen has asked to be relieved of his bullpen coach responsibilities due to his father's ill health. Bob Stanley, who was the pitching coach in Buffalo, will replace him.

I hope Pat's father can make a full recovery. I have met him several times in Florida and in Lansing, he is a nice man. Pat and he appeared to be very close.

China fan - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 02:43 AM EST (#281869) #
Ken Rosenthal, who has some of the best sources in baseball, has just written the following, which might not be completely accurate but is an indication that Anthopoulos is still strongly involved in the pitching hunt:

"The Blue Jays, quiet for much of the offseason, still figure to acquire one and possibly two starting pitchers once the logjam caused by Tanaka starts to resolve. The Jays are a leading candidate to sign either Santana or Jimenez; they have two protected first-round picks, Nos. 9 and 11, and would sacrifice only a second-rounder and the accompanying pool money for one of those free-agent right-handers. The team also remains involved in trade discussions for Samardzija and other starting pitchers; a rotation of, say, Santana, Samardzija, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow would be much more formidable than they Jays had last season."
perlhack - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 10:49 AM EST (#281870) #
Mike Petriello at ESPN Insider says Edwin Encarnacion is a 2014 MVP candidate. (I don't subscribe to Insider, so I can't give details.)
John Northey - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 11:36 AM EST (#281871) #
If the Jays sign one compensation based free agent then the cost for the 2nd one (in draft picks) goes down significantly. From a 2nd round pick (#49 overall) to a third round one (#84).
To give you an idea of value...
#49: 20 of 49 have reached the majors, 9.5 WAR per player reaching, just 2 over 20 WAR (Beltran, Carney Lansford), best Jay was Derek Bell (4th best #49 pick)
#84: 17 of 49 reached, 4.0 WAR per player reaching. Best is Jeremy Guthrie (18.8 WAR). Jim Gott is the 3rd best ever (drafted by Cardinals but was a long time Jay via Rule 5 draft).

Under a 10% chance of a decent player (3 of 49 were 10+ WAR) from the 84th pick, double the chance at #49 (6 of 49) plus a shot at guys who can be all-stars.

The ML draft is a crapshoot (Piazza being a 62nd round pick for example) but generally the odds are if a guy is picked past the first round you have under a 50-50 shot at him even reaching the majors and a sub 5% shot at a star with the odds getting lower with each round. To trade a 2nd or 3rd round pick for a guy who could be a 110+ ERA+ guy in the rotation is a good trade. Doing so for a middle reliever, not so much (as teams used to do).

Ervin Santana hasn't excited me as he is a lifetime 100 ERA+ pitcher in 1686 innings. His HR/9 is over 1 always which in the dome could be troublesome. Jimenez is more tempting with his 112 lifetime ERA+, 8.3 K/9 and 0.7 HR/9 rates. Wildness is his Achilles heel (4.0 BB/9 lifetime, 4.8 the year before last).
92-93 - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 12:50 PM EST (#281872) #
The article starts by noting Encarnacion is 5th in wOBA the last 2 seasons behind Trout, Cabrera, Votto, and McCutchen. It then throws up this comparison to the NL runner-up MVP over the 2nd half of 2013:

Goldschmidt: .288/.408/.544 16.4 walk rate, .399 wOBA, 152 wRC+
Encarnacion: .286/.401/.538 16.2 walk rate, .398 wOBA, 152 wRC+

while pointing out that Encarnacion was much better because he "whiffed a mere 6.7 percent of the time in the second half and 10 percent overall, making him the rare power hitter who doesn't pile up absurd strikeout numbers, and that puts him in some other rarified company." Very few hitters combine the type of power EE has produced with the contact rates he's flashed. It's amazing how good of a hitter Edwin has become since he started keeping both hands on the bat and controlling his already powerful cuts.
SK in NJ - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 02:17 PM EST (#281873) #
Just go with Todd Redmond until Stroman/Hutchison is ready.

Paying $17M per for Ubaldo or Santana is not worth it, IMO.
electric carrot - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 02:28 PM EST (#281874) #
Just go with Todd Redmond until Stroman/Hutchison is ready.

Paying $17M per for Ubaldo or Santana is not worth it, IMO.

This may work if no one gets injured.  But on this team someone always gets injured.  I think ever if they do get one of those guys, Redmond or one of the other guys will still get significant innings.

greenfrog - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 03:17 PM EST (#281875) #
I was consistently impressed with Encarnacion last year. He has become a very disciplined, intelligent and powerful hitter - he may well be the best hitter on the team.

It's interesting to note that the Jays almost lost him a few years ago. He was claimed off waivers by the A's on November 12, 2010, but the Jays re-signed him on December 16, 2010 after the A's non-tendered him.

Without EE, the Jays would very likely be a non-contender in 2014 (they're on the fringe as it is IMO).
John Northey - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 03:55 PM EST (#281876) #
Agreed SK in NJ.  A 100 ERA+ guy just isn't worth a 3-5 year deal in the $15+ mil range.  Jimenez is tempting as he has the K and low-ish HR/9 rates to go with a 110+ ERA+ lifetime. 
So who is left who needs compensation?
Nelson Cruz: RF with a 114 OPS+ lifetime 123 last year entering age 33 season, WAR of 2.0 last year, peak was 4.3 in 2010 and just one other season over 2.
Kendrys Morales : DH/1B with a 120 OPS+ lifetime, entering age 31 season switch hitter. 
Stephen Drew, : 98 OPS+ lifetime at SS entering age 31 season, but negative rField numbers the past 3 seasons but viewed positively with the glove.
Plus the two pitchers of course.

Hrm... if Lind is traded then signing Morales or Cruz might make sense, mixed with signing Jimenez.  Drew could be tempting for 2B as he certainly would outhit any other option we have. But  he has never played 2B professionally.
smcs - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 05:08 PM EST (#281877) #
I think ever if they do get one of those guys, Redmond or one of the other guys will still get significant innings.

That is awful, if true. Todd Redmond couldn't go through a line-up twice. He averaged less than 5 innings per start last year, and went 7 innings just once, against the Yankees in September, with Soriano, Wells, Overbay, Reynolds, Ryan and Stewart hitting 4-9.

Redmond is probably a perfectly good long reliever, but penciling him in for 100 or more IPs is a recipe for 3rd place.
Hodgie - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 05:55 PM EST (#281878) #
"Redmond is probably a perfectly good long reliever, but penciling him in for 100 or more IPs is a recipe for 3rd place."

Most teams in baseball would be thrilled to get Todd Redmond's performance last season for 100+ IP out of their 5th and/or 6th starter. Granted this is a big IF, but if that was indicative of his true talent level teams could (and do) a lot worse.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 06:55 PM EST (#281879) #
Redmond was moved from the pen to the rotation and made 14 starts.  In his first two starts, he threw 5 innings and 4 innings.  He appears to have been on a lower pitch count then.

And then, there was the September 13 game against the Orioles, who were still in the wild card hunt (2.5 games behind the Rays).  Redmond had thrown a 2 hit shutout through 6 innings and the Blue Jays led 3-0.  In the top of the 7th, Adam Jones doubled and Nick Markakis grounded out.  Redmond had thrown 75 pitches.  Gibbons pulled Redmond for Dustin McGowan who promptly blew the lead and the Jays went on to lose the game.  It's hard to put up a decent innings average if your manager pulls you with a 3-0 lead after 75 pitches.  Gibbons stuck with him in his next outing against the Yankees and he went 7. 

There is every reason to believe that Redmond would be able to average about 6 innings a start if you gave him 30 starts. 

Mike Green - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 07:07 PM EST (#281880) #
And as for Jimenez, he hasn't been the same pitcher the last 3 years that he was in Colorado.  He'd likely post an ERA somewhat over 4 in the Rogers Centre with the current Blue Jay defence behind him. That is worth something, but it amazes me that management apparently believes that there is more bang for buck available in the 2nd rank starting pitcher market than in the second base (or corner outfield) market. 
smcs - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 07:15 PM EST (#281881) #
They would be perfectly happy if he was their 8th or 9th option, who could maybe start every once in a while. If he is designated the 5th best starter at the beginning of the season, it speaks more to the composition of the team. Because he can't work deep into games (partly because Gibbons always wanted to pull him an inning too early, rather than an inning too late), that's an extra inning plus per game for the bullpen to work, and an overtaxed bullpen (caused by injury and overuse) was a problem last year.

For comparison, Redmond averaged 4.9 IP/GS last year. Of 95 AL starters, who pitched at least 50 innings, Todd Redmond tied with Brandon Maurer for 93rd.

Magpie - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 07:38 PM EST (#281882) #
A rule with no enforcement is still a rule, it just has no enforcement.

I dunno. I think a rule without enforcement is effectively not a rule at all. Like the rule about blocking the plate.

Jerry Coleman, longtime Padres broadcaster, passed away today at the age of 89. He served his country in two wars, played on four World Series champs, and even made an All-Star team - but he'll always be remembered especially fondly for providing some of the most wonderful malapropisms in broadcasting history. Some favourites:

George Hendrick simply lost that sun-blown popup.

He slides into second with a stand up double.

Eric Show will be oh-for-ten if that pop fly comes down.

Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen.

Winfield goes back to the wall, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to second base. This is a terrible thing for the Padres.

And, finally, some words to live by:

You never ask why you've been fired because if you do, they're liable to tell you.

Happy trails.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 09:28 PM EST (#281883) #
" This is a terrible thing for the Padres."

Sounds like it would be a worse thing for Dave Winfield ! Ha,ha.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 10:25 PM EST (#281884) #
Interestingly, Steamer predicts the same WAR in 2014 (2.5) from each of Kazmir and Jimenez (about 30 more innings from Jimenez, but better performance from Kazmir).

Other Steamer WAR predictions: Samardzija (2.8), Santana (2.6), Garza (2.8), Maholm (1.0).

Kazmir will cost the A's 2/22. You can see why BB locked him up early in the off-season. Superficially, Kazmir might seem riskier than the other big-name FA SPs. But he arguably carries significantly less risk than the others when you factor in his contract (and the fact that the A's didn't have to relinquish a draft pick to sign him). Nice small-market move.
JB21 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 07:45 AM EST (#281885) #
Apparently the Jays had acquired Brett Anderson from the A's in the Santos three team deal which adds more fuel to the fire that the Jays will add one more starter in the off season.
Thomas - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 08:51 AM EST (#281886) #
I want no part of Nelson Cruz. I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole.
greenfrog - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 08:51 AM EST (#281887) #
85bluejay - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 09:30 AM EST (#281888) #
Santana - after pitching so poorly that the pitching poor Angels give him away, Santana had a very good walk year - aided immensely by pitching behind the best defense in baseball and in a ballpark that suppressed his homer prone tendency - moving to a homer friendly ballpark behind a mediocre defense seems a recipe for significant regression.
Jimenez - 1 good yr. in Colorado & then he wined his way off the team because he didn't get the big contract - took him almost 3 seasons to get his mojo back - he had a great 1/2 season in Cleveland - those last 10 starts when he was outstanding, against offensively challenged teams. He is talented, but seems high maintenance & has trouble with consistency.
Samardzija - Cubs price was reported to be sky high, so unless it falls substantially, seems it will be an overpay - he has so far declined to extend with his hometown team, what are the chances he extends with a team north of the border unless it's a huge overpayment?

Maybe it will all work out for the Jays - but, given those choices, I'd be inclined to hold my assets - both money & prospects - give the in-house options an opportunity & you can make moves during the season if the team play warrants it.
John Northey - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 10:14 AM EST (#281889) #
There lies the issue. The guys available right now all have question marks that are significant. If I ran the Jays I'd probably try for (based on talent first)...
1) Tanaka
2) Garza
3) Jimenez
4) Samardzija

Santana and others don't appeal as I figure in house options could be as good for a heck of a lot less and you don't want to lock into 3 years on a guy who won't be very good by year 2 possibly.
whiterasta80 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 10:32 AM EST (#281890) #
That's a hell of a case for Kazmir- but one does have to wonder why Cleveland didn't retain him. Maybe his price was significantly higher for them (non-contender)?

Garza is still my pick, but then I haven't scouted Tanaka (not that this stops most people from sharing their opinion).

I have said this before but I also still like the idea of Paul Maholm for back end stability. He should be at least somewhat reasonably priced.
Ryan Day - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 10:37 AM EST (#281891) #
You've gotta love Garza's career 1.36 ERA at the Dome. But you'd want some convincing medical reports before signing him to a lot of money or years. (I'd get nervous committing to more than three years, though some vesting options could be reasonable.)
JB21 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 11:15 AM EST (#281892) #

TheScore app reported this using the Boston Globe as their source.
JB21 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 11:16 AM EST (#281893) #
Sorry, apparently I didn't turn off italics correctly. Fixed.
JB21 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 11:19 AM EST (#281894) #
nevermind, preview is lying to me...
greenfrog - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 12:26 PM EST (#281895) #
Much of this discussion is premised on the Jays' having the payroll space to accommodate a major FA SP (say, at $15-17M+ per year for four years or so). Setting aside the issue of whether it's worth spending that kind of money on someone like Ubaldo or Santana, I'm not convinced AA actually has clearance to spend that kind of money to spend (on top of, say, salary for a cheaper second starter like Samardzija or Maholm).
whiterasta80 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 12:55 PM EST (#281896) #
I've touted Maholm as much as anyone on this board (has anyone else actually?) and even I have to admit that Samardzija and Maholm belong in different tiers.

I do think that Anthopoulos has room for another 15-20 million. I don't have a source, I just think that Rogers can see the possibility of spending money to make money. I think the Jays can comfortably spend to the tax and still make money for Rogers overall (programming etc...)

The question is, would we be better off spending that 20 on a Garza or will other opportunities present themselves.

The Brewers really stole Kyle Lohse from other teams last offseason and there is a chance that we (with 2 protected picks) can do the same.

If Stephen Drew or Reyes expressed a willingness to shift to 2B then perhaps we can take advantage of the compensation situation.

Similarly, maybe a team wants to sign Morales but their pick is unprotected: AA could sell them on Lind and then sign Morales for us and get rid of the DH platoon split in the process.

Personally I might like the signing of Maholm/Arroyo, Drew, and Morales rather than Garza.

Also, has Michael Young's defense eroded such that he can no longer play the position? He has over 400 games there in his career- I'm surprised his name doesn't come up more often as a potential solution. I still think he can be a positive contributor offensively for another year or two.
Chuck - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 01:10 PM EST (#281897) #
Garza is still my pick, but then I haven't scouted Tanaka

What would this scouting entail?

Chuck - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 01:25 PM EST (#281898) #
AA could sell them on Lind and then sign Morales for us and get rid of the DH platoon split in the process.

Morales has a career OPS of 736 vs LHP. Better than Lind's, to be sure, but is that really good enough to start against LHP?

has Michael Young's defense eroded such that he can no longer play the position?

Young appears not even capable of playing a passable third base. Asking a 37-year old to move right on the defensive spectrum is inviting disaster.

92-93 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 02:49 PM EST (#281899) #
Couple of points based on what people are saying here:

1. If you believe Mike Wilner, the Jays aren't in on Matt Garza because they don't like his medicals.

2. If you believe Bob McCown, there's room for a 150m payroll this offseason.
Parker - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 02:59 PM EST (#281900) #
I'd like to see Kawasaki get a shot starting at second base and batting second in the order. He's no slouch on D, and although he doesn't have the defensive chops of a Goins, he makes opposing pitchers earn every out he makes, and his pure on-base ability in front of Encarnacion and Bautista might cover up the fact that he's not likely to get past first base under his own power. Goins can back up the middle infield and be used as a late-inning defensive replacement - a job that I don't think should be given to Izturis as he can't hit OR field well.

Muni's intangibles and popularity with the fans are just an added bonus in this scenario; given what the Jays have right now, I think he's actually the best objective choice. If he can't get the job done, fine, give Goins a shot at learning how to hit at the major league level. Maybe Boomhauer's buddy Seitzer can teach him something.
greenfrog - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 04:17 PM EST (#281901) #
I've heard that GMs sometimes underspend for a year or more in order to "save up" for increased spending in contending years (AA may have done this early in his tenure). Understanding a GM's spending ability undoubtedly requires thinking beyond the year at hand. There isn't much point in spending to "reach your limit" (especially on mediocrity) if it just means you're going to be constrained in future years.

For example, if AA has a maximum of $420M to spend over the next three years, he might not want to go directly to a $150M+ payroll in 2014.
92-93 - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 05:56 PM EST (#281902) #
I agree on Kawasaki, and didn't like that his option wasn't picked up considering he was our best option at the time to be the everyday 2B. Goins' glove was fantastic but there's very little reason to believe he can be even a competent MLB hitter, whereas with Kawasaki the defense may not be as flashy but at least we know it's solid and that he can be a productive hitter in a lineup.

As for AA & payroll, let me say this - If AA DOESN'T have the payroll room to add another significant piece to this roster then he had no business making the trades he made last year, ones that would max him out at 130m in 2014 without one of the 3 major pieces he acquired last winter.
China fan - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 06:59 PM EST (#281903) #
It's pretty clear that Anthopoulos does have the payroll room to go to $150-million and perhaps higher. After the Marlins trade last year, the Jays must have assumed that Josh Johnson would be worth a qualifying offer for 2014, so they must have had around $14-million that was tentatively allocated for Johnson in 2014. That money is now available. (Further confirmation: they made an effort to acquire Brett Anderson, who would cost $8-million in 2014, and they've also been talking to Jimenez and Santana, who would cost probably $15 to $17 million in 2014. So the money is almost certainly there.)
greenfrog - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 07:09 PM EST (#281904) #
Just checked Anibel Sanchez's 2013 stats. He really had a tremendous year (he's still only 29). It seems that AA was on the right track in going after him last off-season. The question is, is there anyone even remotely in his league available this off-season? If not, AA might be wise to exercise restraint.

As for Lohse, who gave the Brewers 198.2 innings of 117 ERA+ in the rotation last year, this is what I wrote about him on March 21, 2013:

It would not surprise me if the Jays end up looking for more starting pitching during the season. I would love to see Rogers sign Lohse to a 1/$15M contract or some such (of course, Boras is angling for a lot more, and will probably get it). The Jays don't need someone to start in the playoffs - just someone at the back of the rotation who can give them quality innings, keep them in games and not burn the bullpen.
greenfrog - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 07:22 PM EST (#281905) #
* Lohse signed a few days later with Milwaukee for 3/$33M.
Mike Green - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 08:07 PM EST (#281906) #
I like Kawasaki as much as anybody, but he shouldn't be batting second unless you have an injury to Reyes or Lawrie (OK, that might be for 1/4 of the season, on average). 
greenfrog - Monday, January 06 2014 @ 10:16 PM EST (#281907) #
The Jays' second base situation is mentioned in this article. The author likes Nick Franklin as a potential trade target for the Jays.

I like that the Jays have Kawasaki as depth, but I still think the team needs a starting second baseman. Franklin is an interesting possibility, but might be hard to acquire, considering the M's current needs. Drew/Reyes at SS/2B (or vice versa) is another intriguing idea, but seems unlikely to happen. Phillips and Uggla don't seem particularly appealing. Kendrick is probably unavailable on favourable terms at this point.

Maybe AA can pull off a three-way trade: Franklin to the Jays, prospects to team B, quality ML pitching or offense to the M's.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 07 2014 @ 05:00 PM EST (#281908) #
Happy birthday, Edwin Encarnacion. 
Gerry - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 09:53 AM EST (#281909) #
MLB Network just announced that their shows are now available in Canada on Rogers channel 415.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 12:17 PM EST (#281910) #
Ubaldo is looking for $14M+/per according to Rosenthal. That's a little more reasonable than the $17-20M that was talked about before. Does that put him in AA's price range?

I'm still not sold on Ubaldo long-term, but if AA can sign him and find a way to trade for Nick Franklin, then he probably did about all he could do to improve.
Chuck - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 02:20 PM EST (#281911) #
Phil Niekro, Rickey Henderson, Frank Thomas... clearly Toronto is a breeding ground for Hall of Famers.
BalzacChieftain - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 02:25 PM EST (#281912) #
I would concur. If Ubaldo is really only looking for $14M AAV, I think that would be a pretty decent consolation prize to Tanaka. Considering the price of a FA win (according to FranGraphs) is estimated to be approximately $6M, and increasing with inflation each year, $14M per year seems like a pretty decent deal. All in all, I don't think anyone signs Ubaldo unless they have the expectation that he'd give you a minimum of 10 wins over 5 years anyways. You of course would have to factor in the loss of a pick, I believe, but that's would cost less for Toronto since a first-rounder is protected.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 02:34 PM EST (#281913) #
The writers as a whole did better this year than they have most years.  More players per ballot, and all three electees eminently qualified. 
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 02:52 PM EST (#281914) #
Biggio was screwed, and it only makes next years ballot worse. I can understand Morris not getting in, and Biggio not necessarily being worthy of first ballot- but there was no excuse for not electing 4 players this year with such a crowded ballot.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 03:05 PM EST (#281915) #
It's a whole lot better than electing Jim Rice or Bruce Sutter, or allowing Lou Whitaker to fall off the ballot. 
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 04:03 PM EST (#281916) #
It's silly, because you have writers saying they don't trust anyone in the steroid era, but they also showed little-to-no appreciation of "pre-steroid" players like Trammell, Raines, and Whitaker. Sure, Trammell doesn't look as impressive as A-Rod, but A-Rod represents everything wrong with baseball and humanity these days. There's lots of outrage, but no context.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 04:23 PM EST (#281917) #
Some writers say those things, but a lot of it is idiosyncratic.  You can believe that Jack Morris was a better and more valuable player than Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, or a better pitcher than Bert Blyleven or Curt Schilling or Mike Mussina.  You can also believe that the most important quality for a mayor is....
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, January 08 2014 @ 05:16 PM EST (#281918) #
I think the writers did a great job of getting it right this year. My only disagreement is Biggio not making it, but at 74.8 that's as close to right as it gets and he will almost certainly get in next year.

Palmeiro has been dropped from the ballot, Sosa and McGwire are circling the drain, and Bonds and Clemens are not only nowhere near the doorstep but also got a diminishing share of the vote. I agree with all of these outcomes.

eudaimon - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 10:43 AM EST (#281919) #
Some reason for optimism about Dickey in 2014 :
John Northey - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 11:52 AM EST (#281920) #
I do find the anger toward those who used PED's funny. Pre-testing there was no reason to avoid them. I'd be willing to bet most Jays in the late 90's were on them (Canseco was here after all) and frankly a player who didn't at least consider them was hurting his career and team given that most players would've been using.

I always wonder why the line is drawn where it is with this stuff. Steroids = bad, amphetamines = OK (all stars of the 60's and beyond would've used), cortisone shots = OK, surgery = OK (eye surgery, 'Tommy John', etc).

Anything with proper supervision by medical professionals could be OK in theory. The drug war that sports is at just seems self-defeating though as the richer and better at lying you are the more you can get away with. A-Rod taking that to a new extreme as is MLB in their war against him (the weird 211 game suspension attempt). Hockey pretty much ignores it all and I don't see too many complaining. The NFL has a joke system (even if caught no one really seems to care one bit).

As to who goes in or out, who is to say Clemens used? One trainer and Canseco is all we have plus a sorta comment from Pettitte (an admitted user...oh, but only to get healthy of course). No real question on Bonds & McGwire but Palmeiro still says he received a tainted B12 shot (oh yeah, that is legal too) and Sosa never was caught with anything beyond a corked bat (which is OK for HOF as are spitballs...see Gaylord Perry).

I just throw my hands up and say 'screw it'. If they were the best in the game at the time let them in. If not, don't.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 12:40 PM EST (#281921) #
The Star has a nice profile of D'angelo Jimenez. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year - I think he's got the tools to be a solid all-around catcher.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 12:41 PM EST (#281922) #
Doh. AJ Jimenez, of course.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 02:27 PM EST (#281923) #
I am from the nuanced school about steroid usage.  I offer the following propositions:
  • it was wrong, and those who used them knew it.  The East German swimmers and the Ben Johnson events had already happened, and the ballplayers who used after that were very careful to be secretive about their use and to deny all allegations of use.
  • MLB made a pathetic effort to do anything about it for many years
  • some ballplayers were likely great prior to any involvement with steroids and then used steroids to maintain their position
  • some ballplayers were likely not great prior to involvement with steroids and then likely became great as a consequence of usage

I would vote for the those who were great before, on the basis that I cannot attach sufficient moral wrongness on the part of the players in the face of the approach of MLB and the consequent widespread usage. Their accomplishments prior to use stand on their own merits. I would not vote for those who were great only after, on the basis that the signature aspects of their accomplishments are irrevocably tainted by wrong behaviour. 

Anger, though, does not really describe what I feel about the issue.  Our childhood heroes were and are human beings with flaws. 

China fan - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 03:30 PM EST (#281924) #
Mike nails it.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 03:49 PM EST (#281925) #
I found that Jiminez article pretty harsh on JPA even if it was time for him to move on.

Regarding Steroids: I was just getting into sports when the Ben Johnson thing happened. I remember going absolutely ballistic when he won the gold and I remember the sheer disappointment of knowing that the greatness I had just witnessed was through cheating. The first time he was caught- I was disappointed. The second time he was caught- I was mad, because he knew better and still tried to cheat.

I am, quite non-apologetically, angry at the steroid era for any number of reasons. But first among them is that, as mentioned above, every single one of them knew what they were doing was wrong and this was evident through their actions.

Someone asked where the line gets drawn is so here is mine.

I don't want any athlete to HAVE to take something that will negatively impact on their health just so that they can stay competitive in their field. That includes steroids and amphetamines (including Aderall) and if a significant portion of athletes were having eye surgery to artificially enhance sight (rather than correct vision loss) I might have a problem with that.

For the Hall of Fame, I don't really know what to do: there's certainly a lot of grey here but I don't agree that we should simply ignore the fact that they were taken. Then there won't be any deterrent from taking the next performance enhancer. One could argue that if the HOF had taken more action action on the amphetamine users then the steroid era may have never happened (or been dramatically diminished).

smcs - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 05:33 PM EST (#281926) #
I'd be willing to bet most Jays in the late 90's were on them (Canseco was here after all) and frankly a player who didn't at least consider them was hurting his career and team given that most players would've been using.

Indeed, who can forget the 1998 pool party at Jose Canseco's house where Clemens was afterwards convinced that he needed to start juicing.
ayjackson - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 06:56 PM EST (#281927) #
I think I'm more or less in the nuance school as well. I think Clements and Bonds are obviously in with or without steroids.

McGwire and Sosa are tougher ones for me. How much did they benefit? I think a lot, but how much is a lot. On the other hand, i subjectively feel that Palmiero was likely a bit part player in the steriod trade and would have the numbers without them.

I know a lot of people cannot handle that type of subjectivity in the process.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 07:02 PM EST (#281928) #
Here's a nuanced rumour, for those who are interested (or perhaps masochistic):

The Jays are among several other teams to have had multiple discussions with team Tanaka, but there was no word they had a meeting planned as of yet.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 08:13 PM EST (#281929) #
AY and Mike. I respect your opinion on this, but I personally struggle with the notion that Bonds and Clemens were "obviously in" before they were juicing and curious about your thoughts.

Do we just throw out their age 34+ seasons? (i.e. they are more like 80 WAR players than 130/160 WAR players?)
Also, do we not penalize the choice to cheat at all?

Or do you just believe that they have already been penalized seeing as they were likely first ballot HOFs without this mess.

Personally I take the same stance that I did with Pete Rose on this one. I keep them out of the HOF until they admit their guilt and show some form of contrition (ideally in the form of a signed baseball). I'd be ready to let Pete Rose in as the message has, in my opinion, been delivered and he has (at least to some extent) admitted and apologized. I haven't seen the same out of any juicer other than Pettite.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 08:31 PM EST (#281930) #
Bonds was easily the best player in the majors for the period 1989-1994.  He hit better than Ralph Kiner, ran better than Ralph Kiner and was a way, way better fielder.  Kiner is in the Hall of Fame despite ending his career at age 32.  Clemens was easily the best pitcher in the majors during the period 1986-1992 and added about the same amount of value as Sandy Koufax through age 30.  If his career had ended in 1994, he would have walked into the Hall of Fame, no questions asked. 

I am happy to remember them for the great players that they were, and to overlook the sad second chapters to their careers.  I don't consider subsequent PED use (in the context I have described above) as reason to not honour what they achieved.  I can understand if someone else has a different opinion on this. 

John Northey - Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 11:06 PM EST (#281931) #
My thought process goes like this....

Clemens & Bonds: both clearly (by even the most negative viewpoints) started after things started getting silly and MLB made it clear they didn't care as long as fannies were in the seats. I have serious problems with penalizing them for doing what they did due to it being clear that no one cared (be it media, MLB, the union, fans, whoever).

McGwire & Canseco: the bash brothers - very, very strongly linked in Oakland and both have confessed to usage. They were the canaries in the mine, the ones who should've caused drug testing to be a major issue in the 80's. The fact their manager made it in without a single vote against him screams 'double standard' as I find it hard to buy that he didn't know.

Palmeiro: caught after testing started. I read somewhere that someone claims to have proof he was framed by teammates but until it comes out he has to be viewed as the first HOF worthy guy who was caught on PED's and thus the first to be dropped from the ballot due to that.

Sosa: the least proof of the big 5, just the multiple 60 HR seasons and sources saying he was on a list of people who tested positive when that test was supposed to be anonymous.

Piazza & Bagwell: rumours spread after their careers were complete, I put very little strength on those without more than 'backne' and 'friends with a user' 'did work out a lot'.

Rose: banned for gambling, agreed to a life sentence although he didn't figure out that also meant he couldn't be a HOF'er. Lied for years about it, smearing people both dead and alive. Now says he only bet on his team to win, but I know I wouldn't trust him. Keep him out forever - he can go in 24 hours before Joe Jackson does (Jackson's case was worse, but both land in the same region). Gambling was warned against every single spring, the Black Sox were well known by players and fans alike. He knew what he was doing, he knew the penalty (more or less) and he now has to live with it for the rest of his life.

Selig: he'll get into the HOF but sure doesn't deserve to. From the strike that cost a post-season to screwing over the Expos. From ignoring steroids to claiming he didn't know about them until the 2000's or very late 90's. He belongs in a 'made rich people richer' HOF but not a baseball one.
Thomas - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 12:18 AM EST (#281932) #
John, can you distinguish your comment about LaRussa from the attitude of many writers towards Piazza and Bagwell?

I don't think there is necessarily any double standard amongst these specific individuals, as the two groups of voters are entirely different (except for maybe Bruce Jenkins?).

And my comment is not meant at all as a defence of the attitude of many members of the BBWAA towards Bagwell, Piazza and Biggio most notably.
Mike Green - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 08:52 AM EST (#281933) #
LaRussa says that he first suspected that McGwire used steroids when he heard McGwire testify in 2005 despite having managed him in the 80s and 90s.  Bill James' comment in relation to Chuck Tanner and cocaine in the Pittsburgh clubhouse seems to me to be applicable ("it is not physically possible to have one's head that far into one's rectum"). Incidentally, LaRussa's comments about McGwire's improved stroke leading to the late 90s home run binge strain credulity past the load tolerance.

I certainly wouldn't have voted for all three Managers into the Hall of Fame.  Torre would go in because his combined contributions as player and manager clearly pass the threshold.  I wouldn't vote for Cox because I just don't think that he made that much of a difference (Schuerholz on the other hand should go in easily).  I could be persuaded that LaRussa's wilful blindness is a sufficient taint to his record that he ought not to go in either.

John Northey - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 10:36 AM EST (#281934) #
Cox I felt should go in as he lead the Jays from kids to winners before leaving (we all saw what a terrible job Williams did after him). Cox also was GM of Atlanta from 1986 to mid 1990 when he went back into the managers seat to take a last place team to first place for over a decade (1994 notwithstanding of course).

Some stuff Cox did in his final few months as GM...
Charlie Leibrandt for Gerald Perry - Leibrandt a key starter for them in the 91-93 time frame
signed Vinny Castilla for cash (out of Mexico)
Drafted Chipper Jones in his final draft (everyone thought Todd Van Poppel was the best choice)

He also drafted Ryan Klesko, Steve Avery , Mark Wohlers, Turk Wendell, Derek Lilliquist , Mike Stanton, Kent Mercker. His first draft he even drafted (but didn't sign) Steve Finley, Tim Salmon, and Ben McDonald. Now that would've been amazing.

I suspect Cox would've been fine as GM long term but as manager he knew how to deal with egos and kids. He was a clear HOF'er to me.
bpoz - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 10:53 AM EST (#281935) #
Could be a race between TB & the Jays for the last available unsigned players. These would be desperate for a contract.

TB also has the possible trading chip of David Price.
Mike Green - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 11:47 AM EST (#281936) #
Measuring manager's contributions seems to me to be pretty much impossible.  Saying that Bobby Cox was a lot better than Jimy Williams doesn't really tell you much.  Cox was definitely a good manager and he had a fine overall seasonal record, but his clubs went 66-66 in the post-season.  On balance, his clubs probably had a little more talent than their post-season opponents on average and they certainly had better records.  You can definitely point to a number of cases where Cox did a poor job in the post-season. 

The more telling comparison is with someone like Cito Gaston.  You can make a pretty compelling argument that Cito was a better manager than Cox, and vice-versa.  I prefer to look at it that they were both fine managers in different ways.  On the other hand, I don't think that Cox did more to help his teams win than someone like Omar Vizquel or Julio Franco. 

ayjackson - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 01:31 PM EST (#281937) #

"AY and Mike. I respect your opinion on this, but I personally struggle with the notion that Bonds and Clemens were "obviously in" before they were juicing and curious about your thoughts."

Perhaps "obviously in" was not nuanced enough.  I believe, were there no "steriod era", Bonds and Clemens would have still had HOF careers.

vw_fan17 - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 02:40 PM EST (#281938) #
In former Jays news: Vernon Wells has been DFAed..
whiterasta80 - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 03:28 PM EST (#281939) #
Sorry AY, actually I agree with your comment without any qualification. I just feel like steroid use doesn't just negate the period where they were juicing, it affects my opinion on their pre-juicing years as well. Obviously that isn't the case with you however and that's perfectly defensible.
scottt - Friday, January 10 2014 @ 06:36 PM EST (#281940) #
Maybe AA will add a pitcher at the end of spring training if 2 of AAA pitchers don't make the team.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 11:27 AM EST (#281941) #
From Buster Olney's latest column:

By now, the ambition of the Dodgers’ ownership is apparent: They want to rule the baseball world. They want to win as many championships as possible. They want the best and most marketable team as possible, and they’re willing to pay top dollar to do it.

If this is the Dodgers' ambition, what is the Jays' ambition?
greenfrog - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 11:30 AM EST (#281942) #
Incidentally, I wonder whether the plummeting Canadian dollar is going to start constraining the Jays' payroll again (or serve as an excuse for Rogers to limit payroll).
92-93 - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 11:58 AM EST (#281943) #
It certainly didn't serve as an excuse for them to start spending more in line with other MLB clubs when the dollar made a huge recovery from its 2008-2009 levels. The 98m Ricciardi was allowed to spend in 2008 was worth more than the payroll room AA was given in 2013, even with all the salary they assumed.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 12:00 PM EST (#281944) #
The Jays' ambition is pretty clearly to be "Canada's baseball team".  Winning wouldn't hurt for that, but the lack of competition means that it is not a necessity.  People will watch and go to games simply because it is entertaining. 
Mike Green - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 12:34 PM EST (#281945) #
And the A-Rod arbitrator's decision means the Yankees have more money to spend...Isn't life just grand?
greenfrog - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 01:01 PM EST (#281946) #
Someone a bit more cynical than me might describe the Jays' ambition as follows:

They want to participate in the baseball world. They want to play meaningful games in September. The one-game wild card playoff is a reasonable goal to shoot for. They want the best and most marketable team possible, within prudent financial parameters. Ideally, they'd like to be pretty good, and they’re willing to pay a mid-range dollar to do this (but only for five years or less per contract, and then only when all the circumstances line up favourably, which tends to happen less often when players are expensive).
John Northey - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 04:42 PM EST (#281947) #
The A-Rod one year suspension is weird. Nowhere in the collective agreement is there anything that sets out a 1 year suspension.  No player has received that for PED use before, especially on a first conviction.  50 games made sense, 65 to match Braun's maybe.  Even 100 if you wanted to say his admitting to previous use should count (I think that was pushing it).  I really don't get how the arbitrator got to 162 games plus playoffs.  If A-Rod appeals to the courts he might actually have a shot using something about how evidence was used that was tampered with, how Selig didn't have to testify, how one of the 3 arbitrators actually testified against A-Rod.  Still, very hard to win in court.  I would enjoy it though if the Yankees had to pay him in 2014.  Although from a competition standpoint it is better for the Jays if he isn't playing as A-Rod almost certainly would be better than anything else the Yankees have available to them right now.
John Northey - Saturday, January 11 2014 @ 11:50 PM EST (#281948) #
Here is a good question....
If the Yankees release A-Rod post-2014 (assuming he loses his appeal) would it be worth it for the Jays to sign him?

Pluses: could DH with his lifetime 143 OPS+, 111 last year post injury with a circus going on around him. Would be at the ML minimum, although not sure how the bonus clauses for 660 HR, 714, 755, 762 and 763 HR would work though - if it forced the Yankees to pay the $6 mil each time then it would be super-tempting to sign him for the ML minimum and watch the Yankees curse. Of course, odds are the Jays (or whoever signed him) would be owing those bonus' instead... so would he be worth $6.5 million ($500k minimum plus $6 mil for hitting 6 HR, not much to worry about with the other HR marks). Another big plus is being able to cover 3B whenever Lawrie is hurt. Could move him to 1B if EE wanted to DH I'm sure as well. He also might pull a 'Clemens' and go all out to try to embarrass his old team.

Negatives: will be another year older, plus the circus that would surround him.

I'd go for it. However, I would've signed Bonds back when he was dumped by MLB (he offered to play for the minimum but no one has space for a guy with a 1000 OPS). To me you get the best players and figure the media headaches will result in more eyeballs on the game regardless (people wanting to cheer him or boo him will still want to see him).
Mike Green - Sunday, January 12 2014 @ 07:08 PM EST (#281949) #
I have a live theatre recommendation for Bauxites.  It's called "Fatherly" and it is playing every day in Toronto this week except Tuesday as part of the Next Stage Theater Festival.  A 30 minute monologue about fatherhood with baseball playing a starring role.  It costs $10 and there is a nice heated beer tent outside the theatre. 

Very funny and my better half gave it two thumbs up too. 

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