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The Cubs have spent the last four years in the tank. They're loaded with promising offensive prospects now, and they've even found a few decent pitchers by accident. This figures to be their last meaningless September for a while.


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All three of the Cubs' starting pitchers in this series were acquired in late-season trades. First up is righty Jacob Turner, recently added from the Marlins in arguably the first pure buyer's trade of the Theo Epstein era. Turner, a highly regarded prospect, pitched ineffectively at each end of the Detroit-Miami Axis of One-Sided Trades, and when the Marlins sent him through waivers a month ago, the Cubs claimed him in exchange for two pitching prospects. (Maybe they were buying low, but they were still buying...) Turner's been hurt by a .360 BABIP this year, though his strikeout and walk numbers have finally started to move in the right direction. That was exactly how it went in 2013 for the Tuesday starterÖ

Ö one Jake Arrieta, who has pitched to a 2.81 ERA in 2014. He'll get some Cy Young votes, and deservedly so. The 6'4 righty is finally paying off the Orioles' faith in him - enough faith to let him start 63 games in Baltimore with a 5.46 lifetime ERA, but not enough to resist trading Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Cubs last summer in exchange for a half-season of Scott Feldman. That deal's looking pretty good for the north siders now. Arrieta still throws hard - sits at 93 and can crank it up higher if necessary. More importantly, he's ditched his slider in favour of a hard cutter, which has improved his command and helped to neutralize lefty batters. Current Jays are a combined 10/67 against Arrieta, and Jose Bautista, in particular, is 0/10 with 4 walks and a fastball off the skull. Only Adam Lind (4/9, a homer, 3 walks) has had any success against Arrieta.

Wednesday starter Kyle Hendricks actually has better numbers than Arrieta, though in only 10 starts. The Cubs took a flyer on Hendricks in exchange for Ryan Dempster, who proceeded to post a sweet 5.09 ERA for the 2012 Rangers in 12 starts. Another deadline heist for the Cubs? Baseball unfairly discriminates against velocity-challenged righties who know how to pitch, and it's always heartening to see one succeed. This one's a ninth-round pick out of Dartmouth who throws around 88 with a soft cutter, a changeup and a curveball. Hendricks has a very good minor-league track record, and his performance with the Cubs has been even better: he hasn't allowed more than two runs since his debut.

The Cubs' lineup is exciting. Young, talented, very raw. They'll guess, they'll chase, they'll hit 460-foot homers. It's missing its two key hitters in Anthony Rizzo (back strain) and Starlin Castro (ankle sprain), both of whom may be out for the season, which has opened up even more playing time for the kids they've called up. They have indeed called up all of their prospects from the high minors, with the exception of Kris Bryant.

In this lineup full of all-or-nothing hitters, the most extreme all-or-nothing hitter is shortstop Javier Baez, whose ridiculous bat speed draws comparisons to Gary Sheffield, but unfortunately has been insufficient to keep his strikeout rate below 42%. Where most unproven hitters get challenged with fastballs until they prove can hit them, Baez arrived in the majors with his scouting report already written: "do not pitch to this guy!" He currently has the fifth lowest Strike Zone Percentage of anyone in the majors. Only four guys have seen more pitches outside the rulebook strike zone than has Baez: Avisail Garcia, Pedro Alvarez, Juan Francisco and Pablo Sandoval. (You might not think of Sandoval as a hacker in light of his high batting average, but he's actually swinging at more of his out-of-zone pitches than anyone else in the majors except Reed Johnson. Who knew? At the other end of the spectrum, naturally, is Mookie Betts.)

Baez is not the only guy in the lineup with this profile, of course. Mike Olt's starting at first base tonight. He was a late-blooming power hitting prospect for the Rangers who at age 24 was the best hitter in all of AA in 2012. Like Baez, Olt has big power and a bigger hole in his bat; unlike Baez, Olt's four years older and doesn't play shortstop. He may be the new Wily Mo Pena - a menacing righty platoon hitter. He had three hits yesterday, raising his batting average to a robust .154.

The (usual) leadoff hitter is the man with the best name in baseball, switch-hitting 2B/CF Arismendy Alcantara (it rhymes with 'mantra,' and I'll bet you anything Tim Langton butchers it at least once this week). He's speedy and has some pop; his K/BB ratio in the majors isn't so great. He'll guess a lot. Righty-hitting outfielder Junior Lake had the good fortune of starting his career with seven games in Denver and Phoenix last year, and seven games into his carer he was hitting .484/.500/.774. It's been pretty rough for him since then. He'll probably start against Buehrle tomorrow night. My Cubs friends are less optimistic about Lake starting to control the strike zone than they are about Alcantara, for some reason. First baseman Chris Valaika (really a utilityman) and catcher Welington Castillo are also strikeout-prone and moderately powerful.

Castillo is an interesting fielder. He's a terrific pitch blocker and, if you believe the numbers, a godawful pitch framer (dead last in RAA, according to StatCorner). His backup is John Baker, a patient hitter with no power who's simply getting run over like Josh Thole was last year. Third catcher Rafael Lopez, a rookie who's been called up simply because it would be stupid not to call up a third catcher, has given ample evidence that he can draw a ton of walks in the minors. He only has two plate appearances in the majors. When he plays, he will probably be put on the Baker/Thole diet of fastballs and more fastballs.

The Cubs actually do have a few players who can control the strike zone, sort of. Top prospect Jorge Soler, a 22-year-old Havana native who plays right field, had excellent K/BB numbers as he blitzed AA and AAA and forced his way to the majors. Third baseman Luis Valbuena, who briefly passed through Toronto, is probably your best bet. He's patient - he has always walked and struck out a lot - but this year he's hitting far more flyballs than ever before, and more of his flyballs are leaving the yard. He'll probably bat third in Rizzo's absence. Leftfielder Chris Coghlan's a pretty tough out as well. His fielding stats are abysmal, though I suspect the numbers might be unduly harsh on corner outfielders in Wrigley since they have an incentive to guard the lines extra-carefully.

The Cubs have taken full advantage of the September roster rules by expanding to a 13-man bullpen. Hey, why not? You're probably snickering, but they managed to use all 13 pitchers while getting swept by the Pirates last weekend. The closer is 26-year-old Venezuelan fireballer Hector Rondon. The setup man is Pedro Strop, whose command comes and goes, but whose slider is so good that it often doesn't matter. Backing him up are righties Neil Ramirez (a flyball-prone strikeout machine), Brian Schlitter (can't miss bats, can kill worms) and Justin Grimm (a converted starter who's throwing harder and with more focus). DeQuam LaWesley Wright's the lefty specialist. Legendary NPB closer Kyuji Fujikawa is working his way back from injury. Old friend Carlos Villanueva had a nightmarish April as a starter, but has held opponents to .230/.291/.373 as a reliever. Dan Straily, Arodys Vizcaino, Zac Rosscup and Eric Jokisch will also be present. I'm not sure the bullpens at the SkyDome have enough seating to accommodate 13 pitchers plus catchers and coaches. We'll find out soon.

On balance, I think the Jays match up reasonably well against this team. If Stroman and Hutchison have their good breaking balls working, the Cubs' hitters are screwed, and I think there's a fair chance someone literally falls down in the batter's box against Buehrle. That's the good news. The bad news is that these guys are feisty and motivated, since the majors are novel and exciting and they're all competing against each other anyway, and they have some hitters who will absolutely pulverize mistakes. The other bad news is Turner-Arrieta-Hendricks is just about the worst possible draw from the Cubs' six-man rotation. Then again, the Jays' bats have been pretty productive recently. It should be a good series.

Song to Advance Scout to: Dancing in September?


Advance Scout: Cubs, September 8-10 | 184 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#293298) #
Well put, Alex.

It is such a treat to have Marcus Stroman starting every 5th day.

JB21 - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#293299) #
Bravo for all the work putting this together. Love it.
Magpie - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#293302) #
Stroman with an excellent chance for a Maddux tonight - a CG shutout with less than 100 pitches.
soupman - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#293303) #
bautista is having a septempber to remember; hopefully it is not all for naught
BlueJayWay - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#293304) #
Stroman pretty good. Granted he's facing the Cubs without Castro or Rizzo but still.
uglyone - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#293305) #
If it wasn't for the two fake rooke international free agent veterans, stroman would be honing in on the rookie of the year award right about now.

Either way he might be putting up one of the better jays rookie campaign i can remember.
Magpie - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 10:31 PM EDT (#293306) #
Stroman with the Maddux!

We only have pitch count data back through 1988, so here are the others we know about:

Dave Stieb       31 May 1988 vs MIL - 1H  5K 0W 99p
Jimmy Key        28 Sep 1988 at BOS - 2H  3K 1W 99p
Dave Stieb       30 Sep 1988 vs BAL - 1H  4K 1W 90p

John Cerutti      2 Aug 1989 vs KCR - 2H  3K 2W 98p

Todd Stottlemyre 26 Aug 1992 at CHW - 1H  5K 1W 96p

David Wells       8 Apr 2000 at TEX - 9H  5K 1W 89p

Roy Halladay      5 Oct 2001 vs CLE - 2H  8K 0W 83p

Mark Hendrickson 21 Jul 2003 at NYY - 5H  2K 2W 94p
Roy Halladay      3 Sep 2003 vs DET - 3H  5K 1W 99p

Roy Halladay     29 May 2005 vs MIN - 2H 10K 0W 99p
Josh Towers      12 Aug 2005 at BAL - 9H  2K 0W 98p

A.J. Burnett     27 Jun 2006 vs WSN - 6H  7K 0W 92p

Roy Halladay      7 Jun 2009 vs KCR - 5H  6K 0W 97p

Henderson Alvarez 4 May 2012 at LAA - 6H  3K 1W 97p

R.A. Dickey      26 Jun 2013 at TBR - 2H  6K 1W 93p

Marcus Stroman    8 Sep 2014 vs CHC - 3H  8K 0W 93p 
While Halladay leads the way here with 4, it's almost a certainty that Dave Stieb is the all-time leader. We only have the pitch count for 6 of Stieb's 30 shutouts, and he was able to get 2 of them done in less than 100 pitches. We're also missing 3 of Key's 10 Jays shutouts (but Key tended to throw a lot of pitches in his CGs), as well as all 11 of Jim Clancy's shutouts.
Magpie - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#293307) #
Three of the above games came tantalizingly close to being no-hitters: Stieb's two one-hitters, and Halladay's two-hitter against the Twins in 2005.

In the first game, against Milwaukee, B.J. Surhoff singled past Gruber in the 4th inning; Gruber tried to claim he had a play and it should have been an error, but no one was buying it (this was early 1988, and Stieb had already lost two no-hitters in the 9th. There was lots more to come.)

Later that year came Stieb's famous back-to-back almost no-hitters; this was the second game, where Jim Traber fisted a single over McGriff's glove with two out in the ninth.

I was at the Halladay game in 2005, and he was as good I ever saw him. Punto bunted for a base hit in the first inning; Stewart singled to 3b - essentially a swinging bunt - in the 6th. A more accomplished third baseman than Shea Hillebrand (Gruber, Rolen, Lawrie) might have made both plays. The Twins didn't get a ball out of the infield until the ninth inning.
John Northey - Monday, September 08 2014 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#293308) #
There are some old pitch counts for non-Jays.  Thought I'd check Sandy Koufax for fun...
1965: 9 inning perfect game 14 K's, 113 pitches (79 strikes, 44 balls) - amazing a perfect game would have that many pitches, but those K's do help push it
1964: 6 H 1 BB 5 SO shutout 90 pitches
1963: 4 H 0 BB 4 SO shutout 86 pitches
One of his WS shutouts has a pitch count, but it is 132 for a 3 H 3BB 10 SO game

Fun to check.  I'm sure many of the 1980's games will get pitch counts someday via old video and the like.  The data exists, just need someone to get it.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#293312) #
The Blue Jay playoff odds are now back up to 3%, according to fangraphs.  How?  Well, the Royals and the A's losing last night means that the Jays can make the playoffs by passing 2 out of the Mariners/A's and Royals/Tigers.  If they get white hot, they'll probably make it.  The Royals do have 5 games left with the Tigers.
85bluejay - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#293313) #
Good for you Mike Green, but for me, those 2 losses to Boston on the Wknd. were the final nail.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#293315) #
I have three Ryan Goins questions for today, after some pretty spectacular defense yesterday. Is he more valuable to a club as a shortstop or as a second baseman?  At either position, what would he have to hit to be a useful player?  Can he do it?

My answers: second base (his strongest point being his instincts and footwork and his weakest being speed and arm), .250/.300/.350, maybe.  It is impressive that he has sustained his fabulous defensive play from last year.  When I saw him in Lansing and New Hampshire years ago, he was nowhere near as good defensively. 

uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#293318) #
Mike:

1) OAK is the one to keep an eye on, IMO. They are 2-9 in their last 11, 8-19 in their last 27, 14-23 in their last 37, and 21-27 in the second half. They have completely fallen apart, and everyone who wondered how the hell they were so good in the first half was right to be skeptical. Their starting pitching has remained good, thanks to the new additions, but their surprise offense has plummeted back to earth with some key injuries and a bunch of unsurprising regressions. They're still 6gms up on us, and that'll be tough to make up, but i expect them to keep losing and give us a chance to catch them with a legit hot streak.

And what may be starting to loom large is the 2nd last series of the season - a four game set vs the mariners. We're five games back of them now, and it wouldn't take too much to make that series a legit battle for the last wc spot, even if it requires us to sweep them. The Ms do have five more games v. Houston but they also have seven againt LA, three against OAK, and four against us.

These two west teams i have some hope of us being able to catch, even though its a longshot.

I'm less optimistic about the central teams. The royals are still in a legit groove, while imo detroit still has the best roster in baseball on paper, and they're starting to win again lately.

I'm not ready to give up on the year when we're five games back and have a four game set with that team on the sked still.



2) in the old run environment i used to believe that an all-glove defensive wizard still had to be able to challenge .700ops mark to be a legit starting player. Looking back, that may have been tainted by always having to compare to the yanks and red sox loaded starting lineups, and maybe a good glove player could be a legit starter if he posted a .675ops back then. In the new run environment, that'll be lower, but even then i'd have a real hard time believing that a .650ops or so has to be a bare minimum to be a decent starter when yiu have an elite glove. Looking closely at the numbers this year i'd say an 80wrc+ would be the bare minimum, though much under 90 and you're probably still looking for an upgrade, no matter how good the defense is.

The double whammy on goins is that he has such a low-obp approach. If he was able to post a .300obp it would be much easier to live with a bare minimum ops. Goins is basicall francisco with warning track power, which is pretty awful.

I think Goins' max upside is John MacDonald, on both sides of the ball. Which isn't a starter imo.

uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#293319) #

MLB (25-26): 271pa, 2.6bb%, 22.1k%, .085iso, .282babip, .225avg, .245obp, .245woba, 47wrc+
AAA (25-26): 820pa, 6.9bb%, 18.2k%, .090iso, .329babip, .270avg, .324obp, .314woba, 91wrc+

There's a tiny bit of hope there in his decent AAA bb/k rates and overall line. If he could come even close to his AAA line in the bigs he might be a useful starter with his glove.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#293320) #
When Toronto returned home June 22nd, for a 9-Game set, they had 35 games remaining and needed to win, win, win. The Offense was not up to the job. Losing 2-1 to Tampa is ridiculous. The score should never have be that low for the Jays, against a Team that bad. Needing a minimum of 6-3 or 7-2 to stay close, going 4-5 basically reduced Toronto's chances to negligible. They basically need to be unbeaten in September to have a chance.

That said, it will be very interesting to see what everyone does, as decisions must be made for next year.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#293321) #
John McDonald didn't get more than 25 at-bats in a season until he was 27 years old.   He was a second baseman that year, and put up a +21/150 by UZR.  He hit .250/.288/.326 that year, in the offensive environment of 2002, good for a wRC+ of 62.  He was 0.4 WAR player in half a season.  So far, Goins is +27/150 over his career according to UZR and even better according to DRS.  All of the metrics have him as easily the best defensive second baseman in the majors over the last 2 years (subject to sample size issues, of course).  Goins, I think, has to be a little better hitter than McDonald to be a useful everyday player. 

I'd really like to see Encarnacion as a DH next year, with a first baseman who can field the position well. 

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#293322) #
OAK is the one to keep an eye on, IMO... their surprise offense has plummeted back to earth with some key injuries and a bunch of unsurprising regressions.

The highly questionable trading of their clean-up hitter for two months of a starting pitcher may have had something to do with it. This may go down as one of the worst GM moves of the (albeit brief) century, if Oakland fails to make the playoffs.
Dewey - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#293323) #
Aw, címon, ugly.  Thatís a fluff Jerry Howarth used to make years ago: 
itís ďhomingĒ, not ďhoningĒ.  Words donít mean the same thing at all. 
Thatís legit.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#293324) #
CBDC, at least Lester has been good.  Samardzija and Hammel have been below average.  Both trades were done primarily with an eye to the post-season.  Hubris.

I suspect that the As have only lost a small amount (this year) as a result of Cespedes/Lester, but there will be a price to pay next year.  And as for Samardzija/Hammell/Addison Russell deal, there is the real possibility of a Larry Anderson/Jeff Bagwell kind of outcome even if the trade was not as bad from the start.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#293325) #
Yeah, goins might be better defensively but its hard to tell. Reputation wise, everyone certainly though Mac was super elite defensively, at least. I do think the bats are very similar at the same age, both mlb and aaa...though one caveat there is that Mac may have been getting the majority of his at bats vs LHP, and goins' leftiness might open him up to more playing time than mac could have earned because of the matchups.


I can see why we'd want to uograde the D at 1B, but i live with one of EE or Lind at 1B, because i'm not sure people realize just how good lind is vs RHP. I'm really not sure we can afford to lose him.

Last 2yrs, all mlb v RHP, min.100pa:

1. M.Trout 1000pa, 169wrc+
2. Mi.Cabrera 931pa, 163wrc+
3. J.Abreu 411pa, 157wrc+
4. F.Freeman 883pa, 157wrc+
5. A.Lind 653pa, 156wrc+
6. R.Cano 791pa, 156wrc+
7. D.Ortiz 767pa, 156wrc+
8. C.Davis 788pa, 155wrc+
9. Y.Puig 744pa, 155wrc+
10. J.Votto 693pa, 154wrc+

One thing to note is that UZR much prefers Lind's D at 1B (-4.0/150 career) over EE's (-11.6). Like not even close.

And then there's Valencia, who while i don't love his D at 3B has to me looked really good defensively at 1B, and can mash LHP.

Moving EE to DH and platooning Lind/Valencia at 1B might be an easy eay to upgrade the defense significantly.

Of course, then we have to worry about Lind's back.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#293326) #
Sorry Dewey! Felt wrong whe i wrote but wasn't sure why.

Googling the etymology....seems like we can blame the great George Plimpton for this bastardization, so i'm at least in good company.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#293327) #
"The highly questionable trading of their clean-up hitter for two months of a starting pitcher may have had something to do with it. This may go down as one of the worst GM moves of the (albeit brief) century, if Oakland fails to make the playoffs."

i don't even hink all that much of cespedes and he was far from their best hitter in the first half but i still agree with you......no doubt whatsoever that BillyB got cocky on his offense's overachievement in the first half, leading to him trading at least what was probably his most proven dependable and consistent hitter in Yoenis.

But it's a stark contrast of halves:

Pos Player: 1st half wrc+ ------ 2nd half wrc+

CF C.Crisp: 301pa, 141wrc+ ----- 150pa, 59wrc+
DH J.Jaso: 255pa, 130wrc+ ------ 89pa, 92wrc+ (Dunn: 23pa, 165wrc+)
3B J.Donaldson: 410pa, 118wrc+ - 202pa, 144wrc+
1B B.Moss: 364pa, 147wrc+ ------ 165pa, 64wrc+
LF Y.Cespedes: 384pa, 108wrc+ -- 48pa, 170wrc+ (Fuld: 108pa, 64wrc+)
RF J.Reddick: 196pa, 88wrc+ ---- 147pa, 145wrc+
C D.Norris: 235pa, 154wrc+ ----- 153pa, 85wrc+
SS J.Lowrie: 384pa, 91wrc+ ----- 109pa, 108wrc+
2B A.Callaspo: 318pa, 79wrc+ --- 114pa, 47wrc+

UT N.Punto: 194pa, 76wrc+ ------ 22pa, 34wrc+ (Parrino: 40pa, -1wrc+)
OF C.Gentry: 201pa, 86wrc+ ----- 55pa, 22wrc+ (Gomes: 49pa, 63wrc+)
IF E.Sogard: 173pa, 39wrc+ ----- 113pa, 116wrc+
C S.Vogt: 116pa, 163wrc+ ------- 140pa, 105wrc+


Did BillyB really start believing that the likes of crisp/moss/jaso/norris had turned into great hitters all of a sudden? Did he think bounceback second halves from the likes of reddick and callaspo could make up the difference from both those guys regressing and from trying to replace cespedes with a fuld/gomes platoon?

And the weird thing is that the Lester trade was the better trade he made. Giving Addison Russel up for shark/hammel was nothing short of idiotic.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#293328) #
So, after yesterday's gem by Stroman, if by some quirk of luck the Jays get a wild card spot: who would you want as our 1-game-play-in-to-win-or-go-home starter? Assume the schedule works out that your choice will have 4 days rest, as usual.

I think you would have to eliminate Happ and Hutchison as too hit or miss - if they have a bad day, no way do you recover. Plus, neither one is considered the "ace" of the staff. That leaves 3 candidates (in alphabetical order): Buehrle, Dickey, Stroman.

Have at it.

Paul D - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#293329) #
vw, someone here suggested having Dickey go 4 innings, and then 4 innings from Stroman. I like that idea.  Yes, it messes with the rest of your schedule, but the only thing you can do is win today's game.   It also means that they can both come back on short rest.  Some of this might depend on location - I might be a bit more inclined to have Dickey start in Oakland than to have him start in Toronto against Baltimore.  For the one game play-in game though, Toronto's almost certainly going to be on the road in Oakland, Detroit, Seattle, or Kansas City, which are all teams/parks I'd be comfortable going against with Dickey.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#293330) #
Stroman, no question.  He's the best pitcher on the club, in my view.  In a series with no rest issues, Stroman would pitch Game 1 and Buehrle Game 2.  I am not sure whether I'd go Hutchison, Dickey or vice versa.  Probably Hutchison,Dickey because I'd feel more comfortable bringing back Dickey on short rest (if necessary) for Game 7. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#293331) #
Lind at first base is -7.5 runs over the last two seasons (890 innings) according to UZR, and -10 runs over the same time span according to DRS.  He has noticeably slowed in the last couple of years (did you see the pop-up behind first last night?).  The only thing he does decently well is scoop.  Edwin moves better but cannot scoop. 

I know that Lind hits very well against RHP, and it would be fine for him to get 350 PAs filling in occasionally for Edwin and another first baseman and as a pinch-hitter.  As for a larger role, it's not really ideal because of the defensive and roster implications. 

uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#293332) #
I agree - stroman is the ace, and should be treated as such.

I'd use dickey as my #2 at this point, He's been pretty darn good since another awful start to the year. Dickey's first five games: 5.8ip/gs, 5.90era. Dickey's last 25gms: 6.4ip/gs, 3.47era. In the second half his era and all the fips are well under 4.

Though i wouldn't have much fear of putting Buerle in there either - especialy against a patient less aggressive offensive team.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#293333) #
Well mike, i coukld make a pretty good argument that if there's any player in baseball that's worthy of being a platoon starter on a good team, it's Lind, because he's on the big side of the platoon, and is a flat out elite hitter on that side.

Unless we're arguing that platoons are never a good thing, i can't see why we wouldn't use him in the same way next year.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#293334) #
In cold conditions, I might be inclined to go Buehrle. Maybe not against Detroit since they're so strong from the right side, but for a night game in Oakland, sure. If you do win behind Buehrle, you get Stroman twice for the ALDS.

All very fanciful at this point, of course - I'll be shocked if the Jays are able to line up their rotation for the playoffs in advance. If the play-in game falls on Happ's turn, so be it.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#293336) #
Well mike, i coukld make a pretty good argument that if there's any player in baseball that's worthy of being a platoon starter on a good team, it's Lind, because he's on the big side of the platoon, and is a flat out elite hitter on that side.

I don't disagree with that.  Lind is a pretty good platoon DH and occasional first baseman.  The problem is that Encarnacion is a helluva everyday DH and occasional first baseman.  If you are going to have Jose Reyes as your everyday shortstop, I think that you're better off having a first baseman who can play the position well. 
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#293337) #
Our last scheduled offday is this thursday.

That also happens to be Happ's day to start.

Do you skip him?

It would give us one more Stroman start and one less Happ start the rest of the way. That could be a critical one game difference. (thinking wwy down the line it would also line up our front four for the potentially critical four game set against the mariners).

It would also probably ensure that buehrle would pitch any potential one game playoff, as dickey and stroman would be pitching the last 2 scheduled games of the year.

I say skip him.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#293338) #
Skip him, but give him a couple of innings on Wednesday (if possible).  You need him sharp for the rest of the season.
92-93 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#293339) #
"because i'm not sure people realize just how good lind is vs RHP. I'm really not sure we can afford to lose him."

I think every person who argues here that Lind's option should not be picked up is perfectly aware of Lind's platoon splits over the years, just like we recognize that he can't stay healthy, run, or provide defensive value.
92-93 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#293340) #
The biggest issue with Lind's option is that the core of this team can't be trusted to play full seasons, so you need the DH spot to be able to best attempt at keeping them healthy all season.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#293341) #
I'm sure everyone knows that Lind is good vRHP, i'm not sure everyone was aware just how good, though. I know i wasn't aware until i checked it myself a couple days ago. That's some ridiculous company he's keeping there.
92-93 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#293342) #
And every time Lind's virtues are espoused, all I think is "Even better, he has good trade value then" and we can improve the roster by trading him.
MatO - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#293343) #
In bizarro world that the Blue Jays always seem to occupy, the healthiest position on the team this year has been catcher.
PeterG - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#293344) #
Yes on Stroman
Ditto for Lind.

uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#293345) #
You can always improve your roster by trading your players for better players.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#293346) #
It is not necessarily about getting a "better player" in a trade.  Maybe one can trade Anthony Gose and Adam Lind for an everyday first baseman who hits reasonably well and fields reasonably well. A trade like that would not necessarily involve doing better in a value sense, but would allow you to integrate a player like Pompey and improve the composition of the roster overall without adding to payroll. 
Gerry - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#293347) #
I'm with 92-93, I would trade Lind to get more athletic and more versatile.

That, of course, is conditional on what value he has. DH/1B types might not bring back a significant return.
greenfrog - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#293349) #
I'm not opposed to the Jays moving Lind in the right deal, but I don't see him having a ton of trade value. Every year, the suggestion is made that he be traded to fill some need, but it's not apparent to me that other teams are beating down the Jays' door to acquire him.

These days I think teams are valuing athletic, versatile two-way players a lot more than they're valuing platoon DHs - even quality ones, like Lind.

Also, in retrospect, picking up Lind's option for 2014 looks to have been the right move. He has raked this year and would have more than earned the salary on his one-year contract, but for the fluke foot injury that sidelined him for a prolonged period.
92-93 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#293350) #
Lind's production has not been worth 7m + the opportunity cost involved with bringing him back.

That roster spot and DH flexibility has quite a bit of value, as does the $ itself. Martin Prado was added at the trade deadline for bubkes and has provided nearly as much value to the Yankees in a month as Lind has all season.
92-93 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#293351) #
In an ideal world, the Jays can keep a guy who hits RHP like Lind does, but not in one where they can't add talent the GM admits is needed because management refuses to spend more $.

It's going to be interesting to see what sort of resources AA has at his disposal this offseason and how he chooses to use them.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#293352) #
Prado has negative oWAR the past two yrs, so its all about the defense, and the defensive metrics think he sucks at 2B and the OF, but plays a solid 3B. Guess its about how much faith you have in the defense - he hasn't seemed to have much impact on the teams he plays. He does stay healthy at least.

Even if you have faith in that dwar, B/R has prado at 40% more war than lind the last two yrs (5.4 to 3.8), for 50% more salary ($18 to $12). Fangraphs has him at 60% more war than lind the last two yrs (4.4 to 2.9). Prado is guaranteed 50% more salary next year ($11 to $7.5), with another year guaranteed after that.

So even if you give face value to dwar, the value is very similar for the two. But even then, we know that defense comes cheaper than offense, so lind is probably still a better value.

Lind is a solid bet to pass even melky in owar by the end of the year, in a little over half the plate appearances.

Lind at $7m for one year is a no brainer.
greenfrog - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#293353) #
I guess when you advocate not picking up a player's 1/7 option and he goes on to post a 139 wRC+, it's time for the "he can't stay healthy" argument -- even if the reason he missed time was a fluke injury that no one could have predicted (fractured foot from a foul ball).
Magpie - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#293354) #
Lind also missed more than a month early in the season with a back problem, and he doesn't have a great health record in recent years.

Zaun was talking quite authoritatively there about how to hit 3-0, and I immediately wondered - did any of his managers in his long career actually allow Zaun to hit 3-0? Well, yeah. In his 16 seasons, Zaun went 1-4 swinging at the 3-0 pitch.
Magpie - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#293355) #
The Jays have now scored 1 run during the last 21 innings Buehrle's been on the mound. You're on your own, pal.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#293356) #
There you go. Nice time for Sanchez.
AWeb - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#293357) #
If the unlikely happens (and it's fun to speculate about unlikely good things sometimes), does Bautista have an MVP shot? Assuming he hits like this for the rest of the month (it's happened before...See Edwin in May) of course. And the Jays would have to make the playoffs (or at least a tiebreaker game).

Buehrle up to 182 IP, Sanchez in. I hope this game is close enough to justify using him ;)

Chuck - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#293358) #
Nice time for Sanchez.

Presume he'll go 2 innings here, unless the Jays add runs.

electric carrot - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#293359) #
You know things are going your way when Adam Lind hits a triple.
PeteMoss - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#293361) #
This is quite the comedy of errors by the Cubs here defensively this inning.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#293362) #
Fun, fun, fun.  Norris coming in probably.
PeteMoss - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#293364) #
Well... moved ahead of Cleveland and the Yankees with their losses. Still extremely long odds... but passing two teams is better than a kick in the teeth.
92-93 - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#293365) #
Great game. It's nice playing a weaker squad where you feel like just staying close is enough because the other team is bound to blow it at some point. A nice battle from Buehrle, who must have that 200 inning target fresh in his sights.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, September 09 2014 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#293366) #
Before we get too involved with faint possibilities, perhaps we should be concerned with getting 10 games over.500. Once there, with enough time left, something might be done. Until then, we wait
dan gordon - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#293367) #
"Lind is a solid bet to pass even melky in owar by the end of the year, in a little over half the plate appearances"

This sounded extremely unlikely, so I checked BR. They have Lind at 1.8 oWAR and Melky at 3.5 oWAR for the year. Lind isn't going to come close to passing him.
PeteMoss - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 01:18 AM EDT (#293368) #
Perhaps we should petition to move to the NL. Pittsburgh has an identical record to the Jays and they currently hold down the second wild card over there.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#293369) #
Dan - fangraphs' offensive component has melky at 15.2 and lind at 12. Lind would need about 70 more PA to catch him at this pace, which will be close with 18gms left.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#293370) #
Super simple wild card standings:

2nd wild card

DET ---
SEA 0.5
TOR 4.5
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:07 AM EDT (#293371) #
Detroit and Kansas City are in a virtual tie for first in the Central, but KC has a loss pending upon completion of that suspended game (down 4-2 in the 10th). Assuming that, the 2nd wildcard is a tied between Seattle and Kansas City, both 4 games ahead of the Jays...
John Northey - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#293372) #
So does this mean the Jays have meaningful games in September?  How close do they need to be to 'count'?  Does anyone know the TV ratings or a good source for them online so we can see how that is trending (shows how excited the general public is, more so than attendance).

Recent attendance...
ChiCubs series so far: 17k per game avg (weekday)
Yankee series (weekend): 43-45k per game
Red Sox series (weekday): 26-30k
Tampa series (weekend): 28/37/38k

All 4 series had the Jays 9+ behind Baltimore and over 5 out of the 2nd wild card - the collapse of August had already hit but fans still came out until this Cubs series.  Of course, the Red Sox and Yankees always pack the place but Tampa doesn't (May series when the Jays were super hot was under 18k for all 3 games).  Hopefully the fans can fill the park and make it more exciting (and profitable) and convince Rogers to shell out whatever AA wants for next year to push the team over the top.
92-93 - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#293373) #
Fangraphs' offensive component is not called oWAR, and nobody in this thread said Lind wasn't worth his option in 2014 because of his injury problems; it's only one of many issues. If you don't agree with someone's opinion that's fine; repeatedly misrepresenting it isn't.
92-93 - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#293374) #
I don't think there's any question the team has been playing meaningful games in September. It would be nice if they rolled their best lineup out there, one which clearly includes Rasmus. The Rasmus situation has an interesting story that I'm sure will filter out over time.
James W - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#293375) #
Yahoo's "Eh Game" blog is the only source for TV ratings that I know of. Here's their weekend report:

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/the-great-canadian-ratings-report-193422068.html

Friday's game was at 821K, Saturday's was 528K, and Sunday's was 346K.

Attendance is nice, and brings in real dollars, but the biggest item of value the team has is its broadcast rights. The Dodgers bring in between $8.35B and $8.8B over 25 years. The Mariners bring in $2B over 17 years. The Blue Jays probably don't even bother tossing $5 from their television department to their baseball operations department. Then the baseball operations (supposedly!) cries poor.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#293376) #
"Detroit and Kansas City are in a virtual tie for first in the Central, but KC has a loss pending upon completion of that suspended game (down 4-2 in the 10th). Assuming that, the 2nd wildcard is a tied between Seattle and Kansas City, both 4 games ahead of the Jays..."

Nice.

So the teams we need to catch are the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals.

The Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals.

The Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals.

Not exactly powerhouses.
85bluejay - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#293377) #
You have to hope the Royals go into a tailspin - the key may be Alex Gordon's bat - hopefully the Tigers win all 4 remaining games against them - Seattle has a tougher schedule & you can always hang your hat on the possibilities of the Marniers 4 game visit to Rogers Centre - the Orioles clinching early may be helpful to the Jays on that final wknd. if it still matters.

It's too bad Jonathan Diaz isn't on the 40 man roster, I'd like his defence in the game late & to give Reyes some rest.
AWeb - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#293378) #

Given the lack of even good defensive players most of the year, I'm not sure if Rasmus being on the bench is a problem. He seems to have done well with the pinch-hitting role so far, but he's a big downgrade in CF (he's been below average this year, maybe even bad). I'd rather have 7-8 innings from Gose/Pillar in the field with Rasmus getting one late AB. With the bullpen posting higher K rates anyway, it might make more sense these days to downgrade the defense late in games (rather than conventional upgrade the defense late strategy). And Rasmus doesn't even have to see the field given the bench right now. Given the team has done well lately, there's not much chance of changing it now anyway. Maybe focusing on 1 AB a game is helping Rasmus somehow, he certainly had a great PA last night.

 

85bluejay - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#293379) #
Yes, both the Royals & Mariners are not powerhouses - neither are the Jays - the thing is, both the Royals & Mariners have superior Starting pitching & BP than the Jays - so, it's the Jays offence against their pitching & defence - too bad Lawrie is done.
PeterG - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#293380) #
I agree that Rasmus is a downgrade in CF. Defence has been beyond horrible.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#293381) #
Didn't say they sucked.

(And sure, their pitchers are having great years collectively (in pitchers' parks) , but i'm not sure that necessarily means they have flat out better pitchers. Rotations featuring names like vargas, guthrie, young, and elias aren't exactly stacked.)
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#293382) #
The Blue Jays have 20 games left.  I figure that they'll probably need to win at least 15 of them.  The chance of a .550 club winning at least 15 out of 20 is 5.5%.  The chance of a .570 club winning at least 15 out of 20 is 7.8%.  It is obviously not as simple as that.  Fangraphs has them at 4%, but I can't take that too seriously because they still have Lawrie and Kratz contributing to the club. What we do know is that aside from Lawrie, the club is healthy now and when healthy this season, they have been very good.

Pillar went up to Bautista after striking out in his last at-bat on a pitch inside, and they were mimicking getting hands inside the ball.  My initial reaction to that was: "no, no".  Bautista's approach at the plate (hanging over it) allows him to turn on pitches inside very effectively.  Pillar stands a long way off the plate and strides in (OK, he's not Roberto Clemente but his approach is in that vicinity).  He has to lay off the pitch that starts on the inside corner and moves inside.  It's a pitch recognition issue not a hands issue for him.  I am sure that Seitzer will speak to him about it, but I'll know the message has gotten through when he takes a few of those pitches rather than swinging through them. Other than pitches in that location, Pillar looks much much better at the plate than the last time he was in Toronto.



MatO - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#293384) #
Actually Mike, Cabrera is hurt as well, though with Pillar in there the defence has been upgraded.
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#293385) #
Thanks, MatO.  I think I'll get that second cup of coffee.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#293386) #
Make it a third cup, mike -jays have only 18gms left.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#293387) #
Pillar

1st Half: 41pa, 0.0bb%, 26.8k%, .300babip, .225/.220/..300/.520, .224woba, 34wrc+
2nd Half: 41pa, 0.0bb%, 12.2k%, .371babip, .325/.341/.425/.766, .338woba, 113wrc+

Yup, nice improvememt.

But man, take a walk already, kid.
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#293388) #
Thank you, uglyone.  All right, running the numbers again with at least 14 out of 18, you get 5.8% for a team that an expected winning pct. of .57 and 4.1% for a team with an expected winning pct. of .55. The numbers aren't particularly meaningful- anyone call tell that making the playoffs could plausibly happen but that it is a longshot.  That's why they play the games.


electric carrot - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#293389) #
Here's a simple and more optimistic stance on the remaining games.  In the last 10 games they've won 8.  If they continue winning 80% of their games they're nearly for sure going to get to play at least one playoff game this year.
Eephus - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#293390) #
Subjectively, Pillar looks better at the plate. He doesn't seem to be chasing that low and away breaking ball as much, which to me last year really screamed out: "this guy is in awe of major league pitching". I'd like to see him maybe draw a walk this decade, but at the very least he looks more confident this season, for whatever that's worth. As a wise man once said, ninety percent of this game is half mental.
electric carrot - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#293391) #
Also, if Oakland continues to fall out of the sky -- they may only need to beat one of Kansas/Detroit or Seattle (and let's just for the moment pretend Cleveland and Yankees are non-factors.)
Nigel - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#293392) #

This is obviously not going to happen, but I have thought for some time now that a Rasmus/Pillar platoon in LF with a Gose or Pompey CF solution would be the best offense/defense/cost outcome (from the currently known candidates) for the Jays' outfield for the next few years.  I think Rasmus/Pillar would outperform Melky (hitting/defense/base running) in LF for a few million a year less than Melky.  Rasmus' defense in CF has fallen off a cliff this year but he's been a slightly better than average defender over his career in CF and I think would be considerably above average in LF.  This combo would also have the benefit of being able to adequately cover CF for days off and injuries. 

uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#293393) #
Agreed, nigel.

Would be nice to take a look at colby in LF this final stretch.
hypobole - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#293394) #
It may be just me, but Colby seems to be 2 different defenders. For the most part, he's actually pretty good covering the outfield.

But when he hits the warning track, he seems absolutely brutal. It's like he has "wall-fear". To make matters worse those are the misplays and clanks that become base-clearing doubles and triples.

Pillar, on the other hand, seems fearless on those types of plays.
92-93 - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#293399) #
I don't think SEA should be too much of a stumbling block, considering the Jays need to take 3/4 from them anyway just to have a chance. You're making up 2 games right there.
Sano - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#293400) #
Does anyone know which starters we're likely to see in the SEA series?
Alex Obal - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#293401) #
Best thing about last night's game:

Top 6, Cubs lead 2-1, Baez up, runners on first and second, two out, Soler on deck, Buehrle on the ropes. Baez swings out of his shoes at a 1-0 changeup, and he's about five miles in front of it, but his swing's so thunderous it gets a collective gasp from the crowd. Buehrle and Navarro are so impressed they freeze him with two straight fastballs on the inside corner.

(Worst thing was probably Jose Reyes swinging a Sliderbatô against the Cubs' power pitchers. He was just trying to go the other way, he's not finished or anything... right?)
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#293402) #
Sano - the way it lines up now the matchups would be:

Paxton - Happ
Hernandez - Dickey
Young - Stroman
Elias - Buehrle

So we'd miss Iwakuma and they'd miss hutch.

But both teams have their last offday of the year tommorrow, so that could change.
JB21 - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#293403) #
Pillar, on the other hand, seems fearless on those types of plays.

While this may be true, I don't know if this is a good thing. I have only been to one Bison's game in my life and Pillar played CF. He literally knocked himself out running full blast after a ball that he may have caught but unfortunately somebody installed a wall in his path. 1 game is a pretty small sample size but after seeing that I didn't think he was going to be a legit MLB CF anytime soon.
PeteMoss - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#293404) #
This game is going to be done in about 2 hours at this rate.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#293405) #
it's sad how bad goins is at hitting. it feels like he's stealing the chance to enjoy his D for us with each at bat.

and come on, gibber, enough with this valencia vRHP nonsense. it's not like he's a defensive wizard out there.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#293406) #
i missed that - did they just announce happ was being skipped tommorrow?

all i heard was "buehrle will pitch on regular rest".
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#293407) #
Gose is a fine defender, but the play in front of him and directly over his head is tough for him.  On Coghlan's double, he froze, took a while to get going, ran like the wind but didn't take a good route to the ball.  That's a play Pompey would probably make. 
CeeBee - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#293408) #
Got to love his speed on the basepaths though!
James W - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#293409) #
The team may swap Buehrle and Stroman's next starts. Buehrle would start on Sunday on normal rest against Tampa, while Stroman would get extra rest and start Monday against Baltimore.

source: bluejays.com
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#293410) #
Terrifc at-bat against the left-hander from Gose. 
PeteMoss - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#293411) #
Pretty confident most AA teams play better defense than the Cubs.
PeteMoss - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#293413) #
Seems like a good time for Redmond and Graveman to get an inning.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#293414) #
Gibbons bringing Redmond and Graveman in on a blow-up? You must be joking about doing the right thing.
TangledUpInBlue - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#293416) #
Redmond I couldn't care less about, but I'd like to see Graveman. Stoeten himself hasn't highlighted it so I'm going to excerpt a conversation in the DJF comments from earlier in the week:

RandyKnorr: Itís obviously only one batter, but brooksbaseball had Gravemanís sinker sinking real nice. Eye test showed that as well, to me at least.

Lawrie's RedBull: In the brief one batter appearance against the BoSox, I donít think I saw him throw a sinker. First pitch looked like a biting 2-seam that just missed the low insider corner on a RHB (canít remember who was up), and it seemed decent to me at least.

RandyKnorr: BB had him throwing 2 sinkers in that at-bat and 2 cutters . I thought the first pitch was a sinker. I recall it running down more than in (with that horizontal movement being good too)

Lawrie's RedBull: Thatís my point though, I feel like his sinker moves horizontally too much to be a true sinker, it looks like a 2-seamer

RandyKnorr: Using Tim Hudson as the benchmark of sinkers, he gets -26 inches of vertical movement + gravity and -8 inches of horizontal movement. Gravemanís ďsinkerĒ was -24 inches of vertical movement and -9 inches of horizontal movement. So SSS aside, very similar movement profile to the prolific sinker in the game. Charlie Morton for another example gets -25 to -27 vertical and -9ish horizontal. Basically Gravemanís sinker had too much vertical movement to not be a sinker, I would say.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#293417) #
well that was one helluva series.

sweat - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#293419) #
The regular RP need to keep sharp and with the day off tomorrow I'm sure Gibby wanted to give the guys who need to keep sharp a few batters.
PeteMoss - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#293420) #
Just flipped to the Astros/Ms. Astros score 3 including one on a slide at home that was about as ugly as it gets. The guy came up about two feet short but he had time to crawl home.
Hodgie - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#293421) #
Oakland is in trouble, losing again to the White Sox tonight 2-1 and the free fall continues. Worst case scenario the Jays are 4 games out of the second wildcard and 5 games out of the first wildcard after tonight. All I can think is, well this.
85bluejay - Wednesday, September 10 2014 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#293422) #
I'm starting to believe that those 2 losses in Boston last wknd. will drive me bananas this winter
PeteMoss - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#293423) #
The As go against Chris Sale tomorrow as well.
uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 01:17 AM EDT (#293424) #
Simple Standings

DET ---
SEA 0.5
TOR 3.5
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#293425) #
Uglyone, I suspect Detroit will finish ahead of Oakland. Oakland continues its tumble out of the playoffs.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#293426) #
The relevant wild card standings for the Blue Jays go from Oakland +1.5 to Cleveland/NYY at -4.5. The upshot remains the same.  If they continue to be white hot, they are likely to make the playoffs.

I too am interested in seeing more of Graveman, but with the starters being so efficient there hasn't really been a good opportunity.  Bringing in Loup in the rout was a smart move by Gibbons.  He hadn't thrown since 5 days previous when he had a tough outing, and today is an off-day.  Last night was a good time to get back on the horse. Todd Redmond hasn't thrown since Sept 2 and the club is likely to need him before the end of the year; I would have sent him out for the ninth rather than Morrow.   I suppose he could have brought in Graveman. 


James W - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#293427) #
They could always have Redmond throw a simulated inning or two today on the off-day. If the Cubs volunteer to stick around for it, he'd only need 9 or 10 pitches to get through an inning.
AWeb - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#293428) #

I am guessing that Morrow was auditioning for the McGowan role - McGowan hasn't been very good most of the year, and Morrow would seem to be an upgrade. If the Jays need power arms in the bullpen, well, Morrow (still) has the best arm on the team. Sitting at 98-99, hitting 100, striking out the side, a manager will fall in love with that quick, tiny sample size or not.

The lack of work for the callups means the team is still in it and is trying to arrange usage for winning, rather than scouting their players (is Graveman likely to provide anything more useful than the already known pieces in the BP?). It might not last through the weekend, but it's still fun for now.

John Northey - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#293429) #
That was my feel too - that Morrow/Cecil/Loup all needed work so get them a bit of a confidence boost/live game and go from there. 

For the next series the Jays have...
1 day off: Morrow/Cecil/Loup
2 days off: Norris, Sanchez
4 days off: Janssen
5+ days off, aka falling asleep: McGowan, Redmond, Graveman, Nolin (yet to be used)
Ron - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#293430) #
Even the Rays are trying to help the Jays get closer to a playoffs spot. Drew Smyly was suppose to pitch on Friday vs Toronto but they shut him down the rest of the season due to innings already pitched. Nate Karns will now face the Jays.
TangledUpInBlue - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#293431) #
Morrow has the chance to be a lights-out reliever down the stretch. Redmond, meanwhile, would be lucky to be league-average. So if Gibbons has to keep one of them fresh, it has to be Morrow.
John Northey - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#293432) #
Thinking about it, who do you trust in the pen in a pressure situation right now?

I'd probably go Cecil, Sanchez, Loup, Janssen, Norris, McGowan, Morrow, Redmond, Graveman, Nolin. 

Redmond is ranked low as he has had issues in pressure.  His WPA (win percentage added) in games of 0.75 or greater pressure (at least some impact on the game) is negative 5 times, positive twice.  One of those positives was coming in the 4th inning and going 2 innings, the other was going 3 1/3 from the 9th to the end and getting a loss.  When losing a game in extras is a 'highlight' you know you don't want him in high pressure games.  Shift to 0.50 as your base and you add 2 positive and 2 negative outings.  Checking his overall numbers you get an OPS against of 1.164 in high leverage, 613 in medium, 640 in low.   He is great as a long man, as he'll eat innings and keep you in the game but as soon as it is close you pull him and let someone else do the job.

Hmm... why not check the Jays leaderboard by OPS against for guys on the club with 10+ PA against.
High Leverage
  • OPS of 500-599: Sanchez, Morrow, McGowan
  • 600-699: Cecil, Stroman, Loup, Buehrle, Hutchison
  • 700-799: Happ, Janssen,
  • 1000+: Dickey, Redmond
  • FYI: Norris K'd his only high leverage batter

Low Leverage

  • Under 400: Sanchez
  • 500-599: Loup, Stroman
  • 600-699: Dickey, Redmond, Cecil (Norris here too)
  • 700-799: Janssen, Happ, McGowan, Morrow, Hutchison
  • 800-899: Buehrle

So clearly Dickey & Redmond are effective without pressure but you don't want them on the mound once the game pressure rises.  Sanchez is just 'wow'. 


Mike Green - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#293433) #
Morrow has a chance to be very good, but he also has a chance to be very bad (much like Sergio Santos).  In his career as a reliever (121 innings), he struck out 10/9IP, walked  almost 6/9IP and pitched to a 4.19 FIP and a 4.49 xFIP.  Coming back after months off from an injury, I don't think that it is reasonable to stick him into high leverage situations and expect him to perform better than he has over his career.

I do think that Morrow has a chance to be a good chance to be very good reliever in 2015, but he's unlikely to be worth $10 million.
uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#293437) #
Deano - yep, you could include oak. and kc. and ny. and cle. like the regular standings do.

but these Simple Standingsô are an attempt to cut through all the noise of playoff odds and ifs and buts and just focus on the only thing that really matters - the straightest line between us and a playoff spot.
uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#293438) #
interesting stuff, John Northey.

my opinion is nothing groundbreaking but this is how i would look at it...mostly status quo..

we may have stumbled into a decent situation - where the closer isn't actually our best reliever to use in high lev situations, but just the guy who gets the ball in the 9th. we keep Janssen in that role, which keeps the rest of the rp in appropriate roles, and hopefully at least janssen can avoid blowing up much more often, and maybe even put the "cold streak" entirely behind him.

which makes Cecil and Sanchez our highest leverage L/R duo firemen. I'm still worried that Sanchez might blow up but he's been so good and so unrattled that i don't think we have any other choice. Cecil has been our best rp all year and only some bad babip luck earlier in the year made him look unreliable.

the secondary L/R duo would obviously include Loup, but the RH part is even more questionable than Sanchez in the first pair. I've pretty much given up on mcgowan, so hopefully Morrow can step up into this role....though as Mike points out, there's not a lot of reason to have a ton of faith in him, either. still, maybe he can harness that 100mph with finally some vet experience and get effective command of two of his pitches at least.

That leaves redmond and mcgowan as the mop up and long guys, which they should be able to handle well. if we make the playoffs, happ could join them as a lefty longman or even rellace one of them.



overall, i have a lot of confidence in cecil, loup, and redmond in those roles. its all about janssen, sanchez, morrow, mcgowan. we need at least two of these guys to be reliable down the stretch.
hypobole - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#293440) #
"Morrow has a chance to be very good, but he also has a chance to be very bad (much like Sergio Santos). In his career as a reliever (121 innings)"

Mike, I don't disagree with the first part, but I also fail to see the relevance of using those career numbers when the last time he relieved was in 2009 and over half those 121 innings were in 2007, the year after he was drafted. He's a different pitcher now.
uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#293441) #
Fangraphs (well, rotographs) came out with a fawning article on young marcus stroman yesteray. and today baseball prospectus got in the act with an even more glowing analysis.

both great reads.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#293442) #
Well, hypobole, he did walk 5 per 9IP in 2014 as a starter.  More to the point, his fastball in 2007 and now both had a couple of extra ticks on it compared with his fastball as a starter.  In his career as a starter, he sacrificed some velocity for control.  That doesn't seem to be his m.o. right now.  I think that the assumption that he can throw 97-98 with good control straight out of the box after being off from injury for months is just that, an assumption. 
AWeb - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#293444) #

I think that the assumption that he can throw 97-98 with good control straight out of the box after being off from injury for months is just that, an assumption. 

I agree with this, but I think the Jays need to take all the upside risks available to them right now. Morrow, with his raw "stuff", is right alongside Sanchez in terms of appearing capable of mowing down opposing hitters for a few weeks. Sure, it's not the most likely outcome, but it's more likely for him than Redmond or McGowan (who are similarly more likely to be average than Morrow). The Jays don't have time for the long game right now, they need great results immediately.

Also, having him face the Cubs, who seemed to swing a lot (it was 10-1 in the 9th, not exactly high concentration time for hitters), is perfect for Morrow, but might not translate well to a more patient team.

My memories of 100mph relievers for Toronto are pretty scarred - Koch brought that sort of heat, and so did League sometimes. My memory says neither ever figured how to make a hitter swing and miss much, though. Who is the hardest thrower in Jays history?

uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#293446) #
only thing is that mcgowan's raw stuff is pretty comparable to morrow's, and its not working.
hypobole - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#293447) #
Mike I did not disagree with your premise. Morrow could go either way. He had poor control prior to injury this year. That has relevance. He had much better control the few years prior. That has relevance.

He had horrible control in 2007, after 16 career minor league innings. That has almost zero relevance. I don't understand why you're defending using his 2007 numbers as a basis for projecting anything that will happen in September 2014.
Gerry - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#293448) #
I looked at Aaron Sanchez' stats at brooks baseball.

Sanchez has thrown 86% fastballs, 13% curves and 1% change-ups.

In his first appearance on July 23rd Sanchez threw 3 change-ups. Since that game he has thrown one.

In his last three appearances Sanchez has not thrown a curve-ball. Other than one change-up, he has thrown all sinkers over that stretch.

Sanchez can get-by with 98 mph velocity and good movement as a reliever. But while his bullpen outings have him getting used to being in the big leagues, he is not using the pitches that he will need as a starter next year.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#293449) #
That's true, Gerry.

I personally think that the club is better off slotting Sanchez in as an ace reliever for 2015, and giving Norris more starts in Buffalo at the outset of the year.  Strangely, Graveman may be the one who is best suited to start the season in the rotation.  I would never have guessed that. It would be nice if he had a longer outing soon, but winning takes precedence now.

jerjapan - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#293450) #
Agreed on Sanchez Mike.  What's his inning limit?  He could make the transition to the rotation after a few months in the pen.

Is it safe to assume, with AA using option years on several young pitchers, that a couple of bullpen slots for next year could be taken by the likes of Nolin and Graveman?

Magpie - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#293452) #
we may have stumbled into a decent situation - where the closer isn't actually our best reliever to use in high lev situations, but just the guy who gets the ball in the 9th

They stumbled into that a year ago. It's exactly how the 2013 bullpen functioned. Janssen had a fine year closing the games, but there were always at least two other guys in the pen who were actually pitching better: Delabar and Cecil in the first half, Santos and McGowan in the second half.

It seems extremely unlikely that the Jays will pick up Morrow's option. So if he's on the market, I would think at least one of the other 29 teams will offer him a chance to make a starting rotation. And he'll go for it. Can't imagine why he wouldn't.
Sano - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#293453) #
Scoreboard watching: OAK down 1-0 in the top of the 9th on the road against the CWS, 2 out.
Sano - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#293454) #
I think AA will pick up Morrow's option to be honest. I think he's learned his lessons - a) Morrow, when healthy, can be dominant; b) You can never have enough starting pitching depth; c) You can't rely too much on young starters if you want to contend. I think he'll say to Morrow, we'll give you a fair shot for a rotation spot next year, but if you don't get it, you'll be in the mix for it throughout the year. Just wait and you'll get another chance to start. Morrow sounds like a guy who appreciates the loyalty and patience the Jays have shown him.  
uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#293456) #
disagree, Magpie - IMO Janssen was the best reliever last year, even though cecil and delabar were really good too.

Janssen: 52.2ip 2.56era, 2.74fip, 3.09xfip, 2.81siera
Cecil: 60.2ip, 2.82era, 2.88fip, 2.99xfip, 2.72siera
Delabar; 58.2ip, 3.22era, 2.72fip, 3.34xfip, 2.75siera

i don't think i ever felt more confident in cecil/delabar last year than i did with janssen.



as for Morrow's option, i don't see how we can afford to pick that up. I'm not sure that Morrow has ever been worth $10m in any year of his career. even fangraphs which imo overvalues his fip has him barely over $10m in his healthiest years.

we can't keep dreaming on upside in a 30yr old, imo.

which of these years has he been worth $10m?

2014: 30.0ip, 74era+
2013: 54.1ip, 74era+
2012: 124.2ip, 143era+
2011: 179.1ip, 90era+
2010: 146.1ip, 93era+
2009: 69.2ip, 97era+
2008: 64.2ip, 127era+
2007: 63.1ip, 107era+

MAYBE that half season in 2012 was worth $10m. maybe just.

John Northey - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#293457) #
Morrow ... the Jays might try to get to sign a 2 or 3 year deal for reliever money (ie: 3 years for $10 mil) but no way I see them picking up that $10 mil option.  Odds are Morrow won't go for it as he still thinks of himself as a starter so he'll be gone this winter.
Magpie - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#293459) #
IMO Janssen was the best reliever last year

Sure, but that's not what I was saying. While Janssen was good all year long, both Cecil and Delabar were better than Janssen in the first half; in the second half, both Santos and McGowan were better. So at any given moment during the season, the closer was the third best guy in the pen.
Sano - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#293460) #

I think Morrow would take a 2 year deal for $14-16 million with an option or something. There's some value to staying in a place where the org knows you and still believes in your stuff.

Not to mention the fact that if the Jays somehow, magically, make the playoffs this year, there'll be a great deal of positive energy about the place. That might attract Morrow, Melky and others to re-sign just to stick around and see what happens.

Magpie - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#293461) #
When losing a game in extras is a 'highlight' you know you don't want him in high pressure games.

On the other hand, three scoreless innings late in a tie game is three times as impressive as one!
ogator - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#293462) #
I assume that the people who want to sign Morrow are the same people who wanted to make a QO to Josh Johnson. I don't say that as an insult or a kind of "I told you so" but I see the same logic at work--give money to a guy with terrific potential, someone who has had success in the past (albeit Johnson's was more impressive than Morrow's). But I don't see 10 million as a salary for someone who MAY be successful. 10 million dollars pays serious past success. Why would the Jays pay so much of their budget for starting pitching when they seem to have a surplus in starting pitching and so many other serious issues?
jerjapan - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#293463) #
The only way I could see the Jays picking up Morrow's option is if that's the only way they get funds to spend from Rogers - a highly unlikely scenario.  I see Melky back, and the rest of our guys as gone, with perhaps money to spend on one or two mid-tier free agents.  I could actually see AA targeting a high-impact reliever - assuming Melky resigns.
Alex Obal - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#293464) #
In his career as a starter, [Morrow] sacrificed some velocity for control.

I wonder if it wasn't velocity for stamina, while the control was something he was going to improve either way. I would guess he'd do a good job of controlling the strike zone as a reliever. Probably not good enough to justify paying him $10 million, though, as everyone else has said. Then again, you could pick up the option and try to trade him for value, correct? Worst case, nobody bites and Morrow is your closer, absorbing saves and keeping everyone else's arbitration awards down.

I would not be shy about using Graveman, Norris, Morrow or Redmond in moderate-to-high-leverage spots the rest of the way. (McGowan a bit less.) It's September, I trust them all, and I'd like to see everyone stay rested.
uglyone - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#293465) #
"Sure, but that's not what I was saying. While Janssen was good all year long, both Cecil and Delabar were better than Janssen in the first half; in the second half, both Santos and McGowan were better. So at any given moment during the season, the closer was the third best guy in the pen."

i see what you mean, but to me that's still janssen being the best and most reliable reliever in the 'pen, with the other guys just having hot and cold streaks.

i guess my point is that this year, even janssen struggling and not being our most reliable reliever doesn't mean he can't be useful still in the closer role, and our best option there.

of course, he can't be as bad as he was in august. that will kill us.
Magpie - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#293466) #
Sure. And that kind of bullpen works. A large problem this season is that even while Janssen was lights out until the ASB, the guys who get the ball to the closer were... not. The most consistent relievers on the team this season have Redmond, the long man, and Loup, who Gibbons has always seen as a kind of middle inning guy, and long man if necessary. (And Jenkins, when they're not sending him back to Buffalo.) The short inning guys, who take the game to the closer, have all been average at best. Cecil has certainly been very good since the break, but he was pretty mediocre over the first half.
McNulty - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#293467) #
Watching the Royals-Red Sox at the moment. Man, the Royals are scuffling; three errors in the first four innings. Old friend Liam Hendricks unable to make it out of the third. Not out of the realm of possibility these guys drop out of the sky and open up a playoff spot.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, September 11 2014 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#293468) #
Sometimes, I swear, teams just let the yankees win on purpose.
John Northey - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 01:47 AM EDT (#293469) #
Well, checking who has been eliminated...
From all playoffs: Boston (yay!), Minnesota, Texas
Under 10 for 'tragic number': Houston, ChiSox, Tampa Bay
Contenders: 14+ tragic number: Jays, Yankees, Cleveland (all 14), Seattle (17)
In Wild Card: Detroit, Oakland.  KC only 1/2 a game up on Detroit to currently hold the AL Central lead

christaylor - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 06:14 AM EDT (#293470) #
Ubaldo Jimenez is worth 4/50 on the open market. Surely 1/10 isn't too steep for Morrow. 1/10 doesn't get much on the open market and this team can't have too much depth pitching-wise. Young pitchers will break your heart.

"But I don't see 10 million as a salary for someone who MAY be successful. 10 million dollars pays serious past success."

This seems backwards, I'd much rather see the Jays pay for potential than past success -- this is how you get into albatross contracts that reward performance long since past.

That said, I don't particularly like Morrow, but would get close to or even more than 1/10 on the open market, probably.

Jonny German - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 06:32 AM EDT (#293471) #
If Morrow was injury prone or highly inconsistent, he might be worth a $10M one-year gamble. The problem is that he's not one of those, he's both. Adios.
Thomas - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#293472) #
There will definitely be some out-of-town scoreboard watching this weekend, with Cleveland facing Detroit and Oakland visiting Seattle.
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#293473) #
Hopefully not too much scoreboard watching- with the Yankees and Indians winning and the Royals losing last night, it's way too complicated.  If the Jays stay white-hot, they'll probably make it.  If they merely play good baseball, the odds are severely against them.

And as for Morrow for $10 million, I thought that was an easy one.  Of course not.  The club is certainly not going to QO Rasmus and if you aren't doing that, you absolutely don't have the money for a $10 million lark.

uglyone - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#293474) #
whenever you get tempted by Morrow's raw stuff, just remind yourself that over the last two full seasons, he's thrown 84.1ip and posted a 5.55era.

if he played for any other team, nobody here would even think of handing him $10m or even close to it. more like a minor league invite.

morrow is 30yrs old and has started 108gms. in those games he's averaged a paltry 5.6ip per start, with a 4.40era.

we can't keep dreaming on that arm.

hypobole - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#293475) #
Not that it makes much difference, but Morrow has a $1 million buyout, so the commitment next year would be $9 million.
Ryan Day - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#293476) #
Worst case, nobody bites and Morrow is your closer, absorbing saves and keeping everyone else's arbitration awards down.

Worst case would be that nobody bites, Morrow hurts himself again in April, and makes $10 million sitting on the DL for most of the year.

While you can argue that Morrow would be less prone to injury in the pen, I'm not sure that's true - he hasn't suffered traditional pitcher injuries, but a string of various unrelated ailments. He's only managed 84 innings over the past 2 years - that's not even impressive as a reliever's workload.
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#293477) #
Happ has been killed by the current Ray lineup over his career.  It's mostly the pesky patience that does it.  Who's the first right-hander out of the pen tonight, if necessary, in the 4th or 5th inning?  Graveman?  Redmond? It's a really good game for a de facto tandem start.
92-93 - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#293478) #
Probably, but I want it to be McGowan or Morrow early. Just keep this offense in the game and they will prevail. With such a large bullpen there really isn't too much risk in going to your most trustworthy guys as early as you need to just to keep the game tight. Gibbons needs to treat every single game like it's a must win playoff game right now.
John Northey - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#293479) #
Redmond would be first out unless it has shifted to blowout I suspect.  If the game appears in reach Redmond, if not then Graveman.  I'd expect a general 2-3 inning limit for all relievers now with the 10 man pen, even if the starter is knocked out in the first inning.
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#293480) #
I don't think that Gibbons can quite treat it as a playoff game.  The club has 17 games without a day off.  Even with the longer bullpen, you don't want to go through 5 relievers a night.  On the other hand, I don't really have huge preferences about which right-hander goes out for 2 innings or so following Happ.  McGowan hasn't been very good this season.  Morrow looked threw 19 pitches on Wednesday, and I'd be reluctant to put him out for 2 innings today coming off an injury.  I guess game situation would dictate the choice.
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#293481) #
Chris Davis suspended for amphetamine use. A '50s drug for a '50s body type.  Cue Elvis.
uglyone - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#293482) #
why happ is starting this game is beyond me. we've rested our starters extremely well over the last month or so, and now the baseball gods give us an off day on our #5SP's day, giving us an easy opportunity to get an extra start out of our #1 pitcher and one less from our #5 without having to move anyone around, and we're not taking advantage.

not that there's much excuse with Karns on the mound opppsite him, but imo this is a needless gamble that lowers our playoff odds for no benefit.
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#293483) #
Here are Happ's career splits.  If you keep him in for 3-4 innings, you are not losing much on average. 
Alex Obal - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#293484) #
Worst case would be that nobody bites, Morrow hurts himself again in April, and makes $10 million sitting on the DL for most of the year.

Yeah, this is true. Or even worse, he pitches like Santos and gets designated before Victoria Day. I meant worst case as of spring training...
PeteMoss - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#293485) #
Just need to have the quick hook on him. His last start he gave up a run in each of the first four innings. If he's scuffling, get him out early. You've got a billion guys in the bullpen, you don't need to let him work through it.
Thomas - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#293486) #

The Rays and Neil Wagner reached a creative two-year minor league deal with an invite to spring training in 2016. That's a nice move by the Rays with presumably little downside.

I guess there was no chance he'd return to Toronto after the events of last offseason.

christaylor - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#293487) #
Perhaps Rogers has already budgeted the 10 million for Morrow and declining means the money goes down the corporate sinkhole?

Who knows - I just donít think we've seen any reason to believe the money that could go to Rasmus via QO or Morrow's option would go into the 2015 team.

I am hopeful but other than the young pitching stepping up I have a hard time seeing how this team goes from good to great... Young pitching breaks hearts. Repeatedly.
vw_fan17 - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#293488) #
So, Orioles/Yankees tied 0-0 in the 7th. Unsure of who to root for: Orioles to win, to keep the Yanks (further) behind the Jays, or Yanks to have the Orioles collapse? If the Orioles get swept by the Yanks and then the Jays (I know, unlikely - but given Davis' suspension, injuries catching up, panic setting in, etc.. ), suddenly that 10-game lead is not so safe anymore..

Just teasing - of COURSE I root for the Orioles to (further) bury the Yanks :-)

Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#293489) #
Perhaps Rogers has already budgeted the 10 million for Morrow and declining means the money goes down the corporate sinkhole?

I am pretty sure that Rogers hasn't budgeting anything for particular players who have options.  Obviously, there are some (looser or tighter) overall payroll parameters, and the suits are happiest if the payroll number comes in under whatever the payroll parameter is.  I just can't imagine that any financial person at Rogers had any position on whether any particular option ought to be picked up or whether any particular QO ought to be made at the beginning of the 2014 season, and I imagine that a re-evaluation process about overall budgets may happen after the season.  It does appear that Anthopoulos was given little financial leeway at the deadline.

I can't imagine that anyone would be stupid enough to tell Anthopoulos that the budget for the team in 2015 is (say) $139 million with Morrow and $130 million without him.
Ryan Day - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#293490) #
"You can have that $9 million, but only if you spend it on that guy who gets hurt a lot and doesn't pitch very well."
uglyone - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#293491) #
"Who knows - I just donít think we've seen any reason to believe the money that could go to Rasmus via QO or Morrow's option would go into the 2015 team."

why? have you seen a reason to believe they'll cut payroll?

"I am hopeful but other than the young pitching stepping up I have a hard time seeing how this team goes from good to great... Young pitching breaks hearts. Repeatedly."

jays sunk about $30m this year into players they barely got replacement value from - morrow, rasmus, happ, janssen, santos, mcgowan - and luckily, they don't have that money locked into them next year. that's free money.

if they reinvest that $30m even semi-intelligently, that should be a big boost to next year's squad.
China fan - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#293492) #
"....I guess there was no chance he'd return to Toronto after the events of last offseason...."

I'm a little curious about this -- can you explain how the Jays offended Neil Wagner's feelings and consequently lost all hope of retaining his services?  Also, do you think Wagner's unavailability to the Jays in 2016 is a significant concern, especially given the pipeline of excellent pitching prospects in the Jays system, and the fact that Wagner will be 32 years old in 2016 with only one small stretch of half-decent innings (38 innings in 2013) in his major-league career?
finch - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#293493) #
Chinafan,
I believe there was some issues with his contract this past offseason. Because he was under club control, they didn't give him a raise or gave him less money than in the previous season. If I was Wagner I would be pissed off as well.
vw_fan17 - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#293494) #
can you explain how the Jays offended Neil Wagner's feelings and consequently lost all hope of retaining his services?

I think it went like this (based on mlbtr's summary and what I read before): Jays signed Wagner as a (minor league?) free agent or something for $525k in 2013. He goes out and pitches quite well (ERA around 3.8, IIRC). Time to sign for 2014, they gave/offered him the "standard" $506k for pre-arb players with his experience level (i.e. the same as they would offer anyone other pre-arb player with 1 or 2 or whatever years of experience). So, the "reward" for a good year was a $20k pay cut. Wagner (and/or his agent) said no, that's not acceptable, and the Jays said "ok, since the mlb minimum for players at your level is $500k, BAM, you're at $500k for 2014". Something like that. If they hadn't cut him, he would have had to stay here until he was FA, but it sounds like he soured on the organization, and it was probably a good thing to cut him loose.. No one really liked them trying to save $50k at the time for a "good" player, IIRC, but I guess what's done is done..
Thomas - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#293495) #

The events I was referring to were the fact the Jays renewed Wagner's contract in 2014 for a lower rate than the salary that was provided in Wagner's 2013 minor league deal with the club. His agent was upset at that (and presumably Wagner was, as well). This was done in compliance with Toronto's pre-arbitration pay scale, but it seemed cheap at the time, especially considering that we were talking about tens of thousands of dollars. If I was in his shoes, if the Jays and Rays offered similar contracts (and we have no evidence Toronto did), I'd have signed in Tampa, too.

And no, I never said, nor do I think, it is of "significant" concern. But I would have liked to retain Wagner on a minor league deal, all else being equal.

christaylor - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#293496) #
Not to be flippant, but have you seen any evidence that the money would be reinvested and not pocketed by Rogers?
uglyone - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#293497) #
after criticizing the jays not skipping happ, i have to give them credit for swapping buehrle and stroman in the rotation.


Vs. TB

Buehrle: 5gms, 34.2ip, 1.13whip, 2.08era
Stroman: 2gms, 11.0ip, 1.90whip, 5.73era

Vs. BAL

Buehrle: 3gms, 17.1ip, 1.56era, 4.67era
Stroman: 0gms


the flip makes plenty of sense, so at least the jays aren't being lazy.
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#293498) #
Gibbons says that they are flipping Buehrle and Stroman in the rotation to give Stroman a 6th day of rest.  He doesn't need that.  The alternative explanations: Buehrle doesn't pitch well in Baltimore (career ERA 4.24) and trying to give Buehrle a better chance at 200 innings.  I don't care for any of the explanations.
uglyone - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#293499) #
"Not to be flippant, but have you seen any evidence that the money would be reinvested and not pocketed by Rogers?"

well, to be flippant, one piece of evidence that they will spend this much money next year would be that they spent this much money this year.

Alex Obal - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#293500) #
Probable pitching matchups (obviously becoming less probable as you go down the list, though the Mariners don't have any more off days either, barring rainouts). As uglyone's already pointed out, the Buehrle/Stroman flip probably won't affect the number of starts Buehrle and Stroman each get, though skipping Happ would have. You also get Happ in there against Seattle rather than Hutchison. The Mariners do lean left and are hitting .247/.299/.351 against lefties, and even worse against lefty starters...

9/12 Tampa Bay - Happ v. Nate Karns
9/13 Tampa Bay - Dickey v. Hellickson
9/14 Tampa Bay - Buehrle v. Archer
9/15 @Baltimore - Stroman v. Chen
9/16 @Baltimore - Hutchison v. ??? probably a September callup, Gausman/Norris could pitch on three days' rest but I'd be surprised
9/17 @Baltimore - Happ v. Gausman or Norris
9/18 @Yankees - Dickey v. Greene
9/19 @Yankees - Buehrle v. Kuroda
9/20 @Yankees - Stroman v. Capuano
9/21 @Yankees - Hutchison v. Pineda
9/22 Seattle - Happ v. Paxton
9/23 Seattle - Dickey v. Hernandez
9/24 Seattle - Buehrle v. Young
9/25 Seattle - Stroman v. Elias
9/26 Baltimore - Hutchison
9/27 Baltimore - Happ
9/28 Baltimore - Dickey
9/29 off
9/30 Oakland - Buehrle? Stroman? both?
Mike Green - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#293501) #
It sure would be fun to see Stroman face King Felix in late September with a playoff berth potentially on the line.  Oh well.  Next time.
China fan - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#293502) #
".....If I was in his shoes, if the Jays and Rays offered similar contracts (and we have no evidence Toronto did), I'd have signed in Tampa, too...."

It's possible that the Jays offended Wagner and his agent.  None of us really know, so your guess is as good as mine.  But I'd say it's equally possible that Wagner and his agent were realistic enough to understand the "business is business" realities of major-league baseball, especially for fringe players, and so they wouldn't have taken it personally.  Also, I'd say it's fairly likely that the Jays weren't overly enthusiastic about courting Wagner on a two-year deal, especially given these factors:  his age (32 by the time he recovers from surgery); his injury history (TJ surgery); his track record (minor leagues for most of his career, even recently); and his somewhat ordinary performance in even the best of his brief major-league stints.   Some fans were wowed by his velocity, but his MLB career numbers (FIP of 4.46 and WHIP of 1.453) weren't particularly impressive.  Given the large number of promising pitchers in the Jays system now, I suspect that the Jays didn't make a big effort to sign Wagner.

But it was still a nice human story when he did reach the majors at age 29 and pitched well in a few early appearances for the Jays.
China fan - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#293503) #
Looking further into the Wagner story:  I was wrong about one aspect of it, there is indeed some evidence that his agent was claiming to be offended by what the Jays did.  Here's a report about it, quoting the agent as saying that he was "disappointed" by the pay cut:  http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/blue-jays-wagner-faces-disappointing-pay-cut/

On the other hand, it is the agent's job to lobby for as high of a salary as possible, so I'm not really convinced that his "disappointment" is proof of Wagner being treated shabbily or badly.   And I'm really not convinced that the Jays necessarily wanted him to return.  Fringe players such as Wagner are routinely dropped from rosters, especially as they get older.   Clubs want to make room for their emerging prospects. And as mentioned in the other post, Wager's career record and recent surgery are further reasons why the Jays might not have been keen to sign him for 2016.
PeteMoss - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#293504) #
Only concern i have is having a potential tiebreaker game where you can't start Stroman.
Thomas - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#293505) #
I suppose it's possible that when a club unilaterally renews a player's salary at a lower level than the previous year, despite him pitching 38 effective major league innings on a minor league contract, he wasn't offended.
China fan - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#293506) #
David Cooper was probably offended when the Jays released him while he was injured.  He, too, had enjoyed some effective at-bats for the Jays.  I don't think MLB teams worry too much about the sensitivities of fringe players.
China fan - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#293507) #
I also suspect that Colby Rasmus and Casey Janssen are very offended by the Jays these days.  It happens.
Magpie - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#293508) #
I don't think MLB teams worry too much about the sensitivities of fringe players.

They surely don't. And if Wagner's agent doesn't represent any other players, they won't have to worry about said agent describing the Blue Jays as penny-pinching cheapskates - because that's what this episode says, loud and clear - to anyone they might actually be interested in.
christaylor - Friday, September 12 2014 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#293517) #
Well that's something to hang your hat onto... Because all signs point to Rogers spending 30 saved from Morrow/Colby and the increases owed to Reyes/Beehive?

This team's players tried to save a few pennies with deferred salary. Not exactly a good sign that the current budget is sustainable.
uglyone - Saturday, September 13 2014 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#293527) #
they've had plenty of opportunity to unload payroll, both before the season and during....but they haven't. not even once. (in fact they added a bit with navarro, francisco, and mayberry.)

so what's your evidence that they will?
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