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The man who has played more games as a Blue Jay without playing for anyone else will be losing that particular distinction.† Adam Lind is a Milwaukee Brewer.

The new Blue Jay is Marco Estrada,† a 31 year old RH from Sonora Mexico. Estrada spent 2012 and 2013 in the Milwaukee rotation, going 12-11, 3.75 in 50 games, 44 of them starts. He spent this past season as a swingman and managed to lead the NL in HRs allowed, giving up 29 of them in just 150 IP.

Lind will presumably get most of the playing time at 1B for the Brewers, with Mark Reynolds as his platoon partner. He'll essentially be replacing Lyle Overbay on the Milwaukee roster. The Brewers lineup has a severe RH tilt, so this is a pretty decent situation for him.

Other news: the Blue Jays have extended a $15.3 million qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera. In addition to exercising their $7.5 million option on Lind prior to the trade, they also exercised their options on J.A. Happ ($6.7 million) and Josh Thole ($1.75 million.) They have declined the options on Dustin McGowan, Brandon Morrow, Sergios Santos (who can all choose free agency, and Justin Smoak (who remains under team control.)
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Mylegacy - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#294713) #
He led the NL in HR's - peachy - not just lousy but wonderfully lousy. Thank goodness the Rogers Center is such a tough place to hit a HR. Where do I go to upchuck. I am one seriously p*ssed off guy...seriously p*ssed off!
ayjackson - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#294714) #
Hope they can sign Morrow and McGowan to cheap deals, but won't hold my breath on the former.

I don't get the CHiPS deal.
TangledUpInBlue - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#294715) #
Wow. I'll wait to hear AA's take on it, but this does not look like a good trade at all.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#294716) #
China fan - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#294717) #
"....He led the NL in HRs...."

Although it's definitely a concern, I don't know if we need to be excessively upset about Estrada's home-run rate, and we shouldn't look at his 2014 raw numbers in isolation.  His HR/9 rate over the past four seasons is 1.4 which, while certainly high, is not necessarily catastrophic, especially when combined with his other numbers.  For example his BB/9 of 2.3 over the past four seasons is excellent, and his WHIP of 1.156 is also very good.   If he can keep the runners off the bases, an occasional solo home run is not a disaster.
China fan - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#294718) #
The other factor, for me, is Lind's injury history and the obvious requirement to platoon him because of his abysmal numbers against LHP.  In two of the past three seasons, he only had about 300 ABs.  In that sense, he's almost a part-time player, and a DH to boot.  And the Jays save about $3.5-million in payroll in the trade too.
Ron - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#294719) #
I haven't been this confused by a Jays trade in years. I don't get it. Perhaps there's another player coming to the Jays?
John Northey - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#294720) #
Hrm. He has 2 years of control and will be cheaper than Happ so I think that is his role. Happy now can be traded and then hopefully something will be done about 2B.
China fan - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#294721) #
Just comparing Estrada's peripherals (over the past three seasons) to the Jays team pitching average in 2014:  Estrada has a worse HR/9 than the average Jays pitcher in 2014, but he has a much better BB/9 and a better K/9 and a better WHIP.    On balance, it's the equivalent of adding another pitcher who matches the team average.  It adds valuable depth (or a swing-man in the bullpen) and makes it much easier for the Jays to trade Happ or Buehrle, especially if they are confident in Sanchez as a starter in 2015.   Considering that Lind has become almost a part-time DH (due to injuries and platooning), and considering the payroll savings, I think it's a useful trade, especially if (as John says) the Jays are able to use Happ to obtain a 2B.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#294722) #
Apparently the Jays would've declined Lind's option if a trade partner couldn't be found.
Thomas - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#294723) #
I was debating Lind's trade value with a friend a few nights ago and I thought it was significantly lower than he did. Based on this return, I think I was right. Lind has his flaws and Estrada will have a role on the 2015 club, but I'm not impressed by the deal. AA said he spent the past week talking to other clubs and clearly wanted major league talent back, so I'll assume that if a better deal was out there, he'd have taken it.

On another note, Baseball America's Independent Leagues Player of the Year Award winner signed a minor league contract with the American League champion Kansas City Royals. He spent the past year with the Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League. And who is that player you are undoubtedly now asking yourself (if you haven't stopped reading)?

Former Blue Jays prospect Balbino Fuenmayor.
PeterG - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#294724) #
Some of you are seriously mistaking the market for Lind....An often injured, poor fielding player(thus DH),who only hits well from one side of the plate making 7.5 mil and a malcontent as well, isn't worth that much in a trade. Obviously, this was the best offer available......more deals to come methinks.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#294725) #
"AA said he spent the past week talking to other clubs and clearly wanted major league talent back, so I'll assume that if a better deal was out there, he'd have taken it."

If this was the best deal available, I'd rather just keep Lind for now. But based on the info they were going to decline his option in that case, it appears payroll parameters are rearing their ugly heads again.
China fan - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#294726) #
The other point is that Lind's departure will make it easier to rotate Reyes and Bautista into the DH slot more often, reducing the wear-and-tear on those two key veterans, and this in turn will improve the team's defence.   In his comments to the media after the trade today, Anthopoulos spoke of his desire for greater flexibility in the payroll and the roster, and I think Lind's departure helps to achieve that.  A well-constructed roster should contain a number of hitters who can take the DH role from time to time, so it seems likely that Lind's 300 at-bats shouldn't be too hard to replace. 

Let's not forget that this is only Nov. 1, and there are still four more months in the off-season -- plenty of time for AA to acquire a platoon DH at a reasonable price if he decides that he needs one.  I don't think we're going to see Justin Smoak as the replacement for Lind when there are so many other options, both inside and outside the current roster.

PeterG - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#294727) #
I think it has little to do with payroll and more to do with Lind's limitations and the fact he was a malcontent. Have we forgotten the story about clubhouse dissent......well, one dissenter sent packing.
SJE - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#294728) #
I tend to agree with PeterG. A bit of addition by subtraction.
China fan - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#294729) #
Although I support the trade, I disagree with the "malcontent" label.  I think Lind is simply someone who speaks fairly candidly in answer to media questions.  He doesn't use polite euphemisms and evasive diplomacy, unlike most other players.  He tends to speak rather bluntly (and often humorously).  That doesn't mean that he was a malcontent.  It just means that he is unusually candid.   I haven't seen any serious analysis that suggests that he was a dissident or a Hillenbrand-type cancer in the clubhouse.
dan gordon - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#294730) #
I think most of you are mistaken about Estrada. Don't just look at his 2014 numbers. He had a down year last year, based solely on his first half when he says he lost the feel for his pitches. His 2012 and 2013 years were very good, with ERA's of 3.64 and 3.87. The guy throws strikes, and has excellent K:BB numbers. In the 2nd half of 2014, when he turned things around, his ERA was around 3.00, and and in September, exclusively as a reliever, he pitched 20 innings without giving up a walk or a run. His best year was in 2012, when he had an ERA+ of 113, which is better than any Jays starter last year except Buehrle, who managed a 115. Stroman was 107 and Dickey 105, for comparison. In 2013, his ERA+ was 100, still a fair bit better than Happ or Hutchison last year. I think Estrada is an excellent addition to the Jays' staff, and could be one of their better starters next year if he's in the rotation, or he could be a very good arm out of the pen.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#294731) #
What Dan Gordon said.  I am pretty sure that Estrada was picked up to be a high leverage reliever.  Milwaukee pitchers have benefited from a Grade A pitch framer in Lucroy, and as of today, Estrada won't have that going for him.  The odd part is that Estrada might end up costing not that much less than Lind.  It's a lot to pay for a pitcher in that role.

dan gordon - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#294732) #
Yes, it would be a lot to pay for a pure reliever or a swingman. I think there is a strong likelihood that a starter or two will be dealt for help at 2B and/or OF, with Estrada and/or Sanchez moving into the rotation.
eudaimon - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#294733) #
I like the trade. Lind was good in his role but always seems a back injury away from becoming a pumpkin. His presence on the roster really reduced the team's ability to cycle valuable players like Encanacion, Bautista, and Reyes through the DH spot, therby giving them well needed rest.

Estrada will likely pay a swingman role, maybe a bit like Carlos Villaneuva while he was here. I think this role is valuable, especially if he excels as a reliever and acts as a decent 4th or 5th starter when needed. He does give up the home run, but that isn't the be all end all of a pitcher. He seems good at preventing hits and walks, and as long as he keeps doing that the home runs won't hurt.

I think this move improves the Blue Jays flexibility, especially on the pitching side, and a solid arms. Lind's lefty-bashing ways will be missed, but I think the team will be better off overall with him gone.

Shoeless Joe - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#294734) #
I get the impression that Melky might play some more DH next year, and he probably should. If I had to choose Lind or Melky I'd take the guy who can hit both lefties and righties.

However the return is not inspiring.
bpoz - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#294735) #
So far, I have no complaints. If this team is going to get young/inexperienced... Stroman, Hutch, Sanchez, Norris, Gose, Pillar & Pompey then we need some veterans. M Estrada gives us that and he should be cheaper than Lind.

It is still early.The guy who said Lind would be moved quickly was right. So I will believe a lot of what he says.

Then again if you hear about it....then it will not happen.

I have a beer. Cheers!!!
Clutch - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#294736) #
My initial reaction was that the return for Lind was not enough, but admit that was more of an emotional response than a rational one. If there's truth to that, it's tied to the fact that Lind, under the right conditions (constraints) can provide a lot of value.

I agree with other posts that the team could be better off with the flexibility added by not having Lind, but don't think that should be used to justify the return in the trade, or of Lind's contract value. The fact that AA would have declined his option doesn't lessen Lind's market value. It just reflects changing needs for the team.

Estrada might be fair value in the end, betting on a return to form in 2011-2013. What strikes me as odd is that Estrada, as a 5th/6th starter or long relief, doesn't match what the Jays need. He has a 90MPH fastball and gives up lots of home runs so doesn't seem like a fit in high leverage relief spots either. All signs for me point to Estrada and Smoak providing depth moves for a starter for 2B/OF type trade in future.
Thomas - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#294737) #
In what is perhaps even less surprising news than the fact the Jays dealt Lind, which was inevitable, Shi Davidi's latest article includes quotes from AA that suggest that the Jays and Melky are far apart in their contract talks.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#294738) #
It will be somewhat surprising if either player creates more than 2 - 2.5 WAR next year, so it's probably not that significant a move. It does indicate that the Jays are still in win-now (job saving?) mode, as Estrada will be a free agent after 2015 and most likely will not receive a QO.
92-93 - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#294739) #

I guess despite Adam Lind being one of the better hitters in baseball vs. RHP, a fact we were never allowed to forget around here, other teams didn't find value in him at his salary because of the other components that make up the value of a player. I'm happy the team will finally have some flexibility this offseason, and I think Reyes, Bautista, and Encarnacion will be better off next year because of this trade.

Oh yeah, and if Estrada has some potential, even better. Happ may be the next contract shipped out for flexibility.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#294740) #
"Finally" sounds a lot like what Doug Melvin has been saying since the trade, as in, finally we have a LH middle-of-the-order bat to help us compete in our RH-pitching dominated division. I guess it just depends on your POV.

Also, fwiw, one Brewers blog described Estrada as a "strong non-tender candidate."
dan gordon - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 01:05 AM EST (#294741) #
Well, maybe I'll be wrong about Estrada, but I see a guy who in 2012 and 2013 combined, pitched 266 innings, and gave up only 238 hits, struck out 261 while walking only 58, with an ERA of 3.75, and a WHIP of 1.11. That includes 44 starts, hardly a small sample size, and those are very good numbers.
christaylor - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 06:41 AM EST (#294742) #
I am a fan of this trade both teams are swapping tarnished assets who within the context of their new team are more valuable than their old one. One or both of the Brewers or Jays could be burned or get the player back at their top form.

I have a hard time seeing what's wrong with this trade from either side.
jerjapan - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 10:33 AM EST (#294743) #
I agree this is a potentially solid move for both clubs and doubt it will be that significant.  The Brewers address a very specific need for lefty hitting, while the Jays gain much needed roster and salary flexibility. 

I do not agree that either Lind or Estrada were potential non-tenders though, although the consensus online certainly seems to be that the Jays were prepared to decline Lind's option.  This detail is what I find concerning about the move - while I assume that they knew they could get an asset in exchange for Lind and therefore were not actually looking to decline his option, the fact that they are talking about declining a reasonable option sounds like a warning sign that there isn't much money to spend this off season. 

I expect a lot of movement this winter, but most of it lateral tinkering like this deal, with no real impact moves.

John Northey - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 10:44 AM EST (#294744) #
An old question Bill James used to make was - would this trade have happened a year ago and what changed if the answer is 'no'?

Going a bit further back... (both roughly the same age born in July 1983)
2 years ago: Lind: 97 OPS+ (3rd straight OPS+ in the 90's);  Estrada: first season as a starter 113 ERA+ 1.9 BB/9 9.3 K/9 1.2 HR/9
1 year ago: Lind 132 OPS+ over 521 PA; Estrada: 100 ERA+ over 21 starts 2.0 BB/9 8.3 K/9 1.3 HR/9
Now: Lind 141 OPS+ over 318 PA; Estrada: 87 ERA+ as a swingman (18 starts, 21 relief), 2.6 BB/9 7.6 K/9 1.7 HR/9

Clearly Lind has improved his value each year while Estrada has dropped.  2 years ago the Brewers probably would've laughed at this trade offer, last winter thought about it but probably gone 'nah' before doing it this winter.  The question is can Estrada improve his big 3 numbers (all getting worse each year) and can Lind survive being in the field nearly everyday and keep his offense up.

So, going by the 'would this have been a good trade a year ago' the Jays probably win, going by 2 years ago they win easily.  Lind does have an extra year of control (at $8 mil or $500k buyout) but slow DH's tend to age badly (Ortiz an obvious exception).

I think the key for the Jays is if they can figure out why Estrada has declined in his stats each of the past 2 seasons - reverse that and he becomes a solid pitcher.  FYI: Happ also has one year of control left and his rate stats last year were 2.9 BB/9 7.6 K/9 1.3 HR/9  (4.26 FIP) vs Estrada's 4.88 FIP but lifetime Estrada is 4.11 vs Happ's 4.36 - really not a lot to call between them, with under a year of age difference as well.  If the Jays can get something for Happ (or flip Estrada) then this should work out fine.  Unless, of course, Lind goes and becomes a monster in Milwaukee.
christaylor - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 11:47 AM EST (#294745) #
Correct me if I'm wrong here but is this the first American trade where the media 'called it'? I can't remember another trade that was so telegraphed in advance. Perhaps AA is moving away from asking about every player in every call and/or demanding tight lips from his staff? Of the two, I wouldn't be surprised if it were the former and he is more willing to let other GMs know what he is after - he probably lost out of Fisher using his "ask about everyone, everytime" approach.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 12:00 PM EST (#294746) #
Dombrowski said the Tigers put together a list of players they wanted for Fister (I think the list included about 15 players, of which Robbie Ray was one). No Jays players or prospects were on the list, so it appears there was never any chance of Fister being traded to Toronto. I don't think AA was being blacklisted.
electric carrot - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 12:46 PM EST (#294748) #
I like the trade better from Milwaukee's pov but I don't think Lind was a great fit on this club because of his lack of defense and the number of older players this team has who could use time at 1B or DH on occasion.
SK in NJ - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 02:58 PM EST (#294749) #
I agree with 92-93, although I would have liked a better return than Estrada.

Toronto's best players are all in their 30's and could use some time at DH once in a while to rest up. Having Lind pretty much prevented that from happening because he was a bad fielding 1B who had to DH to stay healthy, which meant Edwin had to play 1B more than he should have, and DH wasn't open for Reyes/Bautista. Now they replaced Lind, and picked up a few depth pieces (Smoak, Dirks), and can hopefully plan a more balanced lineup/bench where Edwin can spend most of the time at DH, and then can slide over to 1B if/when they need to DH Bautista or Reyes. It's a lot more flexible. I especially look forward to having Reyes' bat in the lineup and a good defensive SS at the same time (though hope it's someone better than Goins).

As far as Estrada, meh. A 5th starter or swing man at best. Carlos Villanueva part II, with maybe a bit more upside. He did have a 1.6 WAR as a starter in 2013 (better than Happ in 2014) and an excellent 3.2 WAR in 2012, but whether he can duplicate those numbers with a normalized HR rate is debatable. I guess AA is trying to duplicate the Royals a bit since the OF is projected to have some combination of Gose/Pillar/Pompey/Dirks in it, who are all good to great fielders, so if Estrada can actually keep the ball in the park, he might get some defensive help. Unfortunately, Rogers Centre is not KC's park.

I think Lind will help Milwaukee. He won't have a DH spot though, so his defense will hurt the Brewers, but they obviously value the bat more than the glove, and if all they had to give up was Estrada, that's not too bad for them.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 03:30 PM EST (#294750) #
Would love to see the Jays obtain Loney to play 1B, if he's available for a decent prospect or two.
John Northey - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 03:38 PM EST (#294751) #
Using B-R WAR we get for best 3 years...
Estrada: 1.6 1.5 0.5
Lind: 3.9 2.3 1.9

Estrada: 3.2 1.6 0.8
Lind: 3.4 1.8 1.6

That suggests Estrada in his peak year was better than the results but overall Lind on a year-to-year comparison is better value.  However, as everyone has pointed out Lind was using a roster slot in a way that might be costing the Jays WAR from other players (Reyes, Bautista, and Encarnacion) while Estrada might cause a kid to be left in the minors longer than ideal odds are he won't be the blockage issue that Lind was.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 05:49 PM EST (#294752) #
Well said John.

I didn't expect to do this well in a Adam Lind deal. No one sees these acquisitions over the last few days as what they really are, 22nd - 25th man territory on the roster. Basically housekeeping duties, not much more.

I really like the Andy Dirk acquisition as well. Detroit slipped badly here.

This is a nice beginning for a very long offseason. Can't wait to see what happens next.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 08:43 PM EST (#294753) #
One comment regarding Lind: while he may have a really good season for the Brewers, it may end up being due to the switch: Lind has a bad back, and as far as I know, the turf at the RC is murder on the back. He may end up being healthier than ever just by playing mostly on grass, and while some pay then point the finger and say it was a bad trade, it would be hard to say Lind would have stayed healthy here, when I'm about 95% sure he would have missed time with a bad back again this year if he stayed with the Jays.

Maybe it is just a "change of scenery" trade for both players that helps both of them? I harbor no ill will towards Adam Lind.

Mike Green - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 10:33 AM EST (#294754) #
Jean-Pierre Roy, Montreal Royal and Expos broadcaster, died over the weekend. An interesting bio is here.
BlueJayWay - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 11:35 AM EST (#294755) #
Guys on MLB radio calling this trade a "heist" for the Brewers. Gack.
John Northey - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 11:50 AM EST (#294756) #
At MLB Trade Rumours they say that the Jays are 'discussing' Russell Martin.  Now, that could just be the old 'want him? yeah. Afford him? Nah'   but it is interesting.

Martin can play 3B as well as catch - that could work out very nicely as then the Jays could do a Navarro/Martin CA/DH mostly but also put Martin at 3B to give Lawrie a break (or cover while Lawrie is broken).  I know the Jays wanted to go with 3 catchers last year, maybe this would be a good way to go there this year but Martin is thought to be a possible qualifying offer candidate and at $15 mil I think the Jays would be foolish to go for it as he is entering his age 32 season and a 3+ year deal at $15 mil+ per would be a bit rich for a guy with a lifetime 103 OPS+.

Now, if you buy BR's rating of him as a 5.5 WAR player last year and 4.3 the year before he is easily a $15+ mil player.  But each of the 4 years prior they had him sub 3 WAR.  FanGraphs has him as a 5.3/4.1 the past 2 years as well (comparable) and sub 3 each of the 4 years prior.

A lot of risk with Martin.  Depends on how each team rates his defense and sees him for health going forward.  The last 6 years he has been 133 or fewer games.  If he will rotate 3B/CA/DH then it could work (keep him healthy) with Navarro alternating CA/DH so every 3rd day you'd have DH free for EE or Bautista or Reyes (Navarro catching, Martin at 3B).

Huh... if signed the Jays could have a Canadian at 3B, CA, and CF potentially.  Weird.

China fan - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 12:02 PM EST (#294757) #
BlueJayWay, you've made 4 brief comments in this thread, suggesting that you are "horrified" at how the Brewers got such a "heist" from the Jays in this trade.  But you haven't used any data or arguments to support your opinion.  Any chance we could persuade you to enter the debate fully, with an explanation of why you believe this trade was so horrible?  It's hard to assess your comments if you're just expressing one-word opinions. 
Mike Green - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 12:23 PM EST (#294758) #
Here is how Russell Martin's BBRef comparables have fared from age 32 on.  In a word, lousy.   On the other hand, there have been quite a few similar catchers who have been good from 32-34- Jason Varitek, Sherm Lollar, Terry Steinbach, John Roseboro. 

I'd be happy if the club rolled the dice...
jerjapan - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 12:53 PM EST (#294759) #
I agree that Marin would be a worthy risk and the Jays have discussed him, for whatever that's worth.  as John Northey points out, he can cover third as well.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if Francisco is not offered arbitration and could even see Valencia non-tendered if we need salary relief and had a Martin-type to cover 3B when Lawrie inevitably breaks down.

Chase Headley would be a great add as well, or Pablo Sandoval.  Reyes' D between either of these guys and Lawrie at 2B would be taxed less.

in a perfect world we get one of these guys, cabrera resigns and we add an elite reliever, but that's hoping for a lot.

Other wishcasts - 23 year old Cuban OF Yasmany Tomas would be a great replacement for Cabrera and doesn't cost a draft pick.  Nick Markakis, Nori Aoki, Tori Hunter and Chris denofrio are interesting names if we don't get Cabrera back or Asdrubal Cabrera if we don't get a 3B.  guys like Pat Neshek or Luke Gregorson would look great in the pen, or even old fave Jason Frasor if our money runs low.  lots of relief options. 

any thoughts on who the Jays should target? 

whiterasta80 - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 01:16 PM EST (#294760) #
Pie in the sky:

Re-Sign Melky, Add V-Mart and Russell Martin. Add K-Rod and Jon Lester.

Asdrubal Cabrera at 2B
Nori Aoki in LF replacing Melky (brings alot of the same things to the table with contact skills and OBP)
take a flier on Justin Masterson

85bluejay - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 01:46 PM EST (#294761) #
I have no problem with moving Lind especially if it improves roster & financial flexibility , though I'm not excited about the return - I have a quibble though - the tendency of this FO to not let the market build but select from the initial offers - in previous cases with Michael Taylor/Mike Napoli/Mike Aviles ,it seems that speed of dispatch was more important than getting the best value - now, through Shi Davidi, the Jays have leaked that Happ is likely to be moved - I hope getting value is more important than speed.

I would love if the Jays can move the contracts of Buehrle & Reyes.

Martin coming to the Jays is a pipe-dream - last year, Blair intimated that Bautista was going to be moved after speaking to his "jays sources" - I say this with no menace intended, but I pay no attention to anything that Blair or McCowan say about baseball.
John Northey - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 02:50 PM EST (#294762) #
Martins comparables are interesting.
Just 2 played in the 2000's: Ramon Hernandez retired post 2013 (1.8 WAR post age 31, lasted to 37) and  Benito Santiago who played here at one time,6.5 WAR post age 31 which is the best of the batch.

Of note though is only Bill Freehan was higher than Martin for WAR pre-age 32 (38 vs Martin's 30 - he had 6.3 WAR left in him) with  Butch Wynegar next at 25 (just 27 games post age 31).  Really, this batch isn't too similar to Martin overall as shown by the fact 3 of the 10 have scores sub 900 which indicates Martin is a rare talent.    Bautista has all 10 over 900 (barely - using by age) but guys like Pete Rose have none (Paul Molitor is his closest at 678 for career, 576 for by age for his final season vs Cap Anson).
Gerry - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 03:13 PM EST (#294763) #
This is Martin's last chance for a big payday, I see him following the money.

When the Pirates made the playoffs this year Martin received a ton of credit for his "leadership" and his handling of the pitching staff. I think this narrative gets Martin a big contract out of the range of the Jays. In my opinion I see a very small chance that Martin signs here.
Mike Green - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 03:40 PM EST (#294764) #
That is probably right, Gerry.  Jed Lowrie is a more likely target.
Chuck - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 03:46 PM EST (#294765) #
I think this narrative gets Martin a big contract out of the range of the Jays.

That and his career year at age 31.

scottt - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 04:37 PM EST (#294766) #
I doubt this is just trading Lind for pitching depth. It could open the door to trading Buehrle, which might provide the needed payroll flexibility.

Was Lind a discontent? He's never been anything but a Blue Jay, so I take that with a grain of salt.

Maybe other players could improve their WAR by cycling through the DH slot, but that's pretty irrelevant. Doing that is basically trading Lind for a defensive replacement. It would probably improve the team when playing in NL parks, but that's only a handful of games.
VictoryFaust - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 04:38 PM EST (#294767) #
I believe this trade may be more of an addition through subtraction type deal. Lind may have hit .321 this year (mostly against righties) but he hit only six home runs in achieving such a high batting average. From 2010-2012 he hit with more power but never batted higher than .255. The two years in which he put up nice power numbers reflect a full season's worth of plate appearances, not the 318 he had as a platoon player last year. It is not likely that he will put up such power numbers with limited plate appearances as a platoon player, and of course it remains to be seen that Lind will be healthy or that he will repeat his career-best batting average. He is now a part-time player in decline, with back issues and an inability to hit against lefties or field a position as well as a league average first baseman. They Jays save 4 million and have the ability to trade Happ now, who could be a valuable asset for a number of teams. I'm willing to accept that AA knows what he is doing for now. Let's wait and see what he does with the rest of the off season. Lind is the first domino to fall; let's not judge AA on one trade alone.   
Lylemcr - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 04:41 PM EST (#294768) #

I am excited about Smoak.  He is good defensively and the mariners have had the habit of getting hitters to not hit.  I am interested to see what he can do.

I don't think there is going to be a lot of big moves this offseason.  The belt is tightening.....  (as the canadian dollar falls)

Gerry - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 04:56 PM EST (#294769) #
Teams that want to trade a player often leak that many teams are interested. There was a leak about Lind a few weeks ago that said several teams were looking to trade for him. At the end of the day there were only two, per AA, but every team knew that he was available.

Now today we get a story that many teams are interested in JA Happ. My assumption here is that the Jays are interested in trading Happ and are trying to drum up interest and so they leak the story to again let other teams know he is available.

I guessed that one starting pitcher would be traded, I thought it might be Dickey or Buehrle, but it looks like Happ is the guy on the way out.
jerjapan - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 05:03 PM EST (#294770) #
Jed Lowrie's a fine plan B, versatile and solid offensively, but with Reyes not likely moving I'd prefer more D in the infield. 

Taking a flier on a Justin Masterson type, assuming we deal Happ, seems like a smart move, but I'm nervous about K-Rod types in the bullpen.  I assume that most GMs are past the days of hyper-valuing saves but someone who's never closed like Pat Neshek or Luke Gregerson might have extra value and may appreciate a shot at closing. 

reclamations like Jason Motte (we can handle that beard with Lind gone) Luke Hochevar or Kyuji Fujikawa (who was elite in Japan but a bust stateside) could turn into some real value. 

SK in NJ - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 05:36 PM EST (#294771) #
To sign free agents like Martin, a team either has to overpay in years, dollars, or both. The Jays, with their five year policy and tightening payroll, will probably not be that team.

I think trading Happ is better than trading Buehrle, even if MB makes way more. Buehrle is a 2.5-3 WAR starter who can soak up innings and only has a year left on his contract. According to Fangraphs, he has been worth his salary in each of his two seasons with Toronto. He's not the issue with the rotation and will be hard to replace if traded. Happ is more replaceable, especially now with a comparable talent in Estrada on the roster. Freeing up his salary makes far more sense.

I'm not really a big fan of any of the 2B/SS options out there. The only infielder I can see making a huge difference is Headley, but rumor is the Yankees and Red Sox are interested in signing him, and based on recent history I don't trust the Jays being willing enough to outbid one of those teams. Hopefully there is a good trade option out there, preferably at 2B, that can help both offensively and defensively (to make up for Reyes).
John Northey - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 08:38 PM EST (#294772) #
Anyone who signs a catcher who is entering his age 32 season to a 5+ year deal is going to be eating a year or more of that deal.  That would be a poor move.  Heck, I'd be nervous on 3 years unless he was moving to a different position.
greenfrog - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 08:43 PM EST (#294773) #
Yes. The last two contracts Martin signed have been very team-friendly. The next one won't be.
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 09:06 PM EST (#294774) #
MLB Trade Rumors site has posted the Qualifying Offers list: . Anyone but Scherzer and Sandoval aren't worth the price of losing a Draft Pick to sign them. I do not believe A.A. goes after anyone on that list, it would seem counter-productive to do so.
Ron - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 09:34 PM EST (#294775) #
Iíve had time to let the trade sink in and I still donít like it. Estradaís performance has been trending downwards for 3 seasons. If heís not going to be used in the rotation, heís an expensive middle reliever. There was a chance he was going to be non-tendered. While Lind has his flaws, his one good skill is really valuable. Lind can also be club controlled for a season longer than Estrada. While Lindís HR production dropped off, it might be due to a different approach. While talking to Haudricourt, Lind said Seitzer wanted him to grind out his at-bats and put more balls in play the other way. I hope the fans cheer whenever he makes his return to the Skydome.

Regarding the 2B/3B position, I would like to see the Jays target Luis Valbuena. He can start at 2B and cover for Lawrie at 3B once he gets injured again. Heís blocked by Baez and Bryant in Chicago. The Cubs donít need Happ but I wonder if a 3 team trade can be worked out where Valbuena goes to the Jays and Happ goes to the 3rd team. The Jays would save money in this trade and can be used towards a player like Hochevar.
jerjapan - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 10:52 PM EST (#294776) #
Richard, I'd add Shields to your list of players worth sacraficing a draft pick to sign.  Some of those guys are going to want to accept that qualifying offer pretty quick - david robertson?  Michael cuddyer?  Does Ervin Santana risk free agent limbo again? 

Good read on the Lind trade at Fangraphs:

Original Ryan - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 11:10 PM EST (#294777) #
Michael Cuddyer might be the first person to ever jump for joy after receiving a qualifying offer. Not many 35 year old position players get a 50% pay raise after playing just 49 games the previous year.
Parker - Monday, November 03 2014 @ 11:29 PM EST (#294778) #
Here come the relief acquisitions. Since, according to Anthopoulos, the Jays only missed the playoffs because of the bullpen he built, we can probably expect to see more relievers brought in. Happ will probably be traded for bullpen help as well. I'm guessing the Jays are going to end up preferring their internal options after pretending to have serious interest in free agency for the rest of the team's needs, though.
China fan - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 06:58 AM EST (#294779) #
"..... Since, according to Anthopoulos, the Jays only missed the playoffs because of the bullpen he built, we can probably expect to see more relievers brought in...."

I don't really get the sneering tone of this comment.  That same bullpen that Anthopoulos built was among the 10 best in the majors in 2013 (measured by ERA or WAR).  This year, there were dramatic declines by Delabar, Janssen and Santos. That's nearly half of the bullpen. There were also Janssen's multiple health problems in two different stages of the season, and the early-season woes of Aaron Loup.  I don't recall any Jays fans predicting before the season that these key relievers would perform so badly in 2014.  I don't recall anyone saying before the season that the Jays should dump all three of Janssen, Delabar and Santos and replace them with better relievers.  I do recall some people noting that relievers in general are volatile and unpredictable, but that observation doesn't answer the question of how Anthopoulos could have been expected to know that nearly half of his bullpen would implode -- or what he could have done to prepare for it, even if he could have predicted exactly WHICH relievers were going to implode.  He did find decent replacements (Sanchez, Jenkins, Redmond etc) but it would have been difficult for any GM to anticipate that his key high-leverage relievers were going to do so badly. 

Moreover, it's inaccurate to say that AA blamed "only" the bullpen.  Obviously there was a mix of factors and nobody would blame "only" the bullpen. However, a better bullpen could indeed have overcome the 5-game gap between the Jays and the final wild-card position, since the bullpen did blow a bunch of games in 2014 -- more than it blew in 2013.  So, logically enough, Anthopoulos needs to strengthen the bullpen as one of his off-season priorities -- but not his only priority.

There exists a mythology that the acquisition of relievers is some kind of cheapo tinkering on the margins.  I would argue that a good bullpen is crucial to most contending teams, and the Jays season in 2014 showed again how important the bullpen is.  So when AA acquires new relievers in the next few months -- if they are good relievers -- I would see this as a wise step, not some kind of trivial low-budget tinkering.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 08:41 AM EST (#294780) #
I suspect we'll see a few guys accept QO this year, more than we've seen so far at least after last winters disaster for a few guys.
  • Max Scherzer (Tigers) - a lock for a killer deal
  • Victor Martinez (Tigers) - a tough one, a DH who led the league in OPS at 974 but is entering his age 36 season
  • David Robertson (Yankees) - great closer, but $15 mil a year is a LOT for a closer
  • Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays) - we know this one
  • James Shields (Royals) - 30+ starts a year for 8 years, ERA+ over 100 4 straight years, 3 of those over 120. Will get killer deal.
  • Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers) - 132 lifetime OPS+, plays SS (sorta). Will get a big deal, but better deal if willing to move.
  • Pablo Sandoval (Giants) - 3B with a lifetime 123 OPS+ but 111 last year, entering age 28 season so perfect for a long term deal, 20 WAR over his 6 full time years = just over 3 per year
  • Nelson Cruz (Orioles) - big loser by not taking the QO last year ($8 mil vs $12) had a 140 OPS+ as a DH/LF/RF but 118 lifetime
  • Russell Martin (Pirates) - talked about a lot here
  • Francisco Liriano (Pirates) - talked about a lot here
  • Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) - RF with lifetime 114 OPS+ but 136/149 the past 2 years at ages 34/35...hmmm....
  • Ervin Santana (Braves) - talked about a lot here

Without the draft pick and 'payroll parameters' a few of these guys would be very tempting.  However, as is only Martin gets strongly tempting outside of holding onto Cabrera.  Sandoval would be nice though.

soupman - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 08:53 AM EST (#294781) #
what is the likelihood that rasmus would have accepted a QO had the jays tabled one? i am not a big fan of his, but if guys like cuddyer are getting QOs, and rasmus is probably one of the top OF bats out there this year and looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of reasons he'd turn it down. since when does aa not care about accruing comp draft picks? or is it a foregone conclusion that rasmus - who said he nearly quit baseball because it wasn't fun anymore and no amount of money could change that - would accept the QO sight unseen?

this has confused me all season, but maybe i haven't thought about it enough.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 08:53 AM EST (#294782) #
The best 2 relievers in Jays history were both acquired from other clubs - Henke from Texas (free agent compensation, one of the last guys to be acquired that way), Ward from Atlanta (for Doyle Alexander who Atlanta flipped a year later for John Smoltz).  So sometimes that can work quite well, but generally only if you get them pre-closing days (Caudill a good warning - cost 2 everyday players to get him).

Generally though I think moving hotshot kids to the pen works if they have issues surviving as a starter.  Current staff has Redmond, Cecil, Jenkins as ex-starters now locked into relief.  Sanchez was 'wow', I wonder if Graveman might be headed there too.  Drabek probably will be left in the pen in AAA and hopefully make a go of it.  If they resign then Morrow, McGowan, and Janssen are all ex-starters in the pen too.  Loup is one of the few pure relievers here.

I think AA would be best served in the pen by chasing down a few former top picks who flopped as starters and see if they can make it work in 1 inning stretches.  Cheaper, more likely to accept a middle role, and probably as likely to be valuable as a $4+ mil 'proven' reliever.  Heck, Scott Downs is available and probably cheap after a poor year at 38 - give him a spring invite if he'll take it.

Original Ryan - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 10:02 AM EST (#294783) #
what is the likelihood that rasmus would have accepted a QO had the jays tabled one? i am not a big fan of his, but if guys like cuddyer are getting QOs, and rasmus is probably one of the top OF bats out there this year and looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of reasons he'd turn it down. since when does aa not care about accruing comp draft picks?

The problem is that another team isn't going to give up a draft pick to sign Rasmus. He'd be this year's version of Kendrys Morales. It's risk without a reward.

I don't think it's out of the question that Rasmus would accept a qualifying offer. $15 million is more than he'd likely make on the open market, considering the year he just had and his generally up-and-down career. Accepting a one-year deal would allow him to rebuild his value and try free agency again next year.

I suspect Cuddyer is an outlier. He'd be crazy not to accept the qualifying offer from the Rockies.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 10:05 AM EST (#294784) #
Would Andrew Miller (29, LHP, 6'7" 210) be a good enough acquisition? If told he's our closer, will he come? With, or without Aaron Sanchez in the Bullpen, another power arm is very necessary.

I think Marco Estrada (new AA acquisition) makes the pen as Longman/Spot Starter. He'll join lefties Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup. I don't think anyone else should be a lock for the Bullpen unless AA acquires them this offseason. Every one else should need to be better than those already in.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 10:33 AM EST (#294785) #
When AA decides to settle our 2nd Base/3rd Base question, I think expected decisions might not work.

Assume no Jose Reyes, so who's our Shortstop? Any 2nd Base acquisition must be a primary Shortstop who can also play Second. He'll need to spend a lot of time at Short, so he'll need to be a Starter at that position to be good enough to play Second. Jose Reyes, even with his limitations, might not be healthy enough to matter. If you don't provide for this possibility now, later may not help.

Assume no Brett Lawrie, so who plays Third? Any offseason acquisition for the Bench needs to be a real starting Third Baseman. He can get a lot of ABs at DH until needed at Third. As it presently goes, he'll play a lot of 3rd Base, so he needs to be real good. When was the last time Brett Lawrie had 500 ABs, besides never?

christaylor - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 11:10 AM EST (#294786) #
I like the strategy of signing a bunch of former starters (Brad Lincoln comes to mind for some reason) but I think this strategy needs to be carefully tailored to the pitcher being targeted. The sort of starter that probably doesn't work well as a relief reclamation pro are RHPs who've lost MPH on an average fastball with fringe secondary offerings. I'd rather the scouts/coaches target pitchers with one incredible pitch and maybe one other passable secondary one.

Cecil is good to have but it'd be nice to have more LHP -- quality LH relief seems undervalued. Guy who get rid of the need for the LOOGY, but can act as one as needed. That said, I don't know if anyone knows how to build a bullpen. Bodies, the Jays need bodies. Let the spring and early season sort 'em out.
Thomas - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#294787) #
I mentioned this in an earlier thread, but if I were in AA's shoes I'd make serious inquiries to the Dodgers about Scott Van Slyke. I haven't heard anything to suggest he's available, but the Dodgers have a glut of outfielders with Kemp, Puig, Ethier and Crawford, along with Joc Pederson, and Van Slyke could give them more value in a trade than any of the others but Puig or Pederson (unless, and even if, the Dodgers were eating a substantial portion of their contract).

Unfortunately, the primary need of the Dodgers is in the bullpen and Van Slyke is also cheap, which helps LA with a little payroll relief given the number of expensive contracts they have. Maybe a three-team deal with a team that is clearly rebuilding, such as Philadelphia, San Diego or Minnesota, would be necessary to make it work.
Thomas - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 11:51 AM EST (#294788) #
Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting paying a King's ransom for him, just that the Dodgers have to move at least one outfielder, and could easily move a second, and I'd make inquiries regarding Van Slyke's availability.
jerjapan - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 02:23 PM EST (#294789) #
A good target indeed Thomas. I appreciate you taking the time to identify the actual player in your trade suggestions, lots of people talk about trading for an 'upgrade' at 2B, but if you take the time to examine MLB rosters and prospect lists, it's often a lot harder to identify a potential match. 

Fascinating read on Fangraphs about the Yanks using their financial muscle to sign minor league free agents to two- way, partially guaranteed contracts as a competitive advantage.  Kiley McDaniel identifies Yangervis Solarte as an example who was targeted by a number of teams, ended up with the Yanks and generated around 10$ million in value as a player / trade piece. The money quote:

"The profit from just the one-year Solarte signing/trade transaction is about $10 million, or roughly enough to pay for this minor league free agent strategy for another ten seasons"

This is exactly the sort of thing AA has done with his draft strategies, and hopefully we are exploring these two way contracts to get quality depth at reasonable prices. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 02:42 PM EST (#294790) #
Van Slyke had a BABIP this past year of .394 without a batted ball profile (LD, pop-up) to support anything like that.  He is best cast as a RH half of a platoon, perhaps with Dirks.  He fills a similar niche to Kevin Pillar, but does have a record of major league success.

Personally, I think that it will be easier to upgrade the second base spot than the outfield spot (even if Cabrera does not return). I would be perfectly happy if the Jays ran out an outfield of Pillar, Pompey and Bautista at the start of the year, with Dirks around as a 4th outfielder.   

China fan - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 03:54 PM EST (#294791) #
For a big 2B upgrade, a plausible target might be Howie Kendrick, who wouldn't require a costly multi-year deal.  He is owed only $9.5-million in 2015 and then becomes a free agent.  He has been a consistently good hitter throughout his career, so his 2015 performance is almost certain to be a major upgrade for the Jays lineup.  Since he's only a year away from free agency, he might be available at a reasonable trade price.  (He can block trades to 2 teams, but it's unknown if the Jays would be among them.)

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet in an article today, the Jays have made multiple calls to the Angels to check on Kendrick's availability, and the Angels are "willing to listen." The Jays appear to have a surplus of starting pitchers, so there could be a match there.  Possibly someone like Happ could be the centrepiece of a Kendrick deal?
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 04:04 PM EST (#294792) #
With Pompey in CF, Pillar in LF, Dirks as 4th OF, that's the OF set with one bench spot filled. I'm assuming Smoak as 1B/DH with Encarnacion just leaves the 2nd Base/3rd Base decision to be filled. This is all assuming A.A. doesn't make any upgrades here.

The Bench should then be Thole, Izturis and Dirks with just one empty space if A.A. goes with a seven-man Bullpen. Eligible to fill this spot are: John Mayberry Jr., Juan Francisco or Danny Valencia. Who backs up 3rd Base?
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 04:36 PM EST (#294793) #
The Angels will surely be attempting to compete and I don't see a replacement for Kendrick in their farm system.  He would be a good target if available. 

The Mets seem to backed up down the middle of the diamond.  Ruben Tejada (who may be non-tendered), Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera and Gavin Cecchini are all around.  I imagine that they see Flores and Herrera as their combination in the short to medium-term future.  I don't know that there is a match there either.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 05:32 PM EST (#294794) #
Kendrick would be my main 2B target, but what the Angels want in return is the question. Kendrick was a 4.6 WAR player last season, and that type of talent over Goins/Izturis would be a massive upgrade. I'd imagine they'd want pitching, and someone around Buehrle's talent level with a much smaller salary, but the Jays do not really have any expendable starting pitching, unless the Angels really, really like Happ.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 05:53 PM EST (#294795) #
Kendrick was one of my top trade targets last off-season (I had hoped the Jays could obtain Kendrick and Conger in a package deal). He was always an unlikely acquisition, though - even more so now, after his stellar 2014 campaign.

When I have time, I'm going to think about potential trade targets for this off-season.
China fan - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 06:04 PM EST (#294796) #
It wouldn't be Happ straight-up for Kendrick.  Would have to be a bigger package, maybe a prospect or two.  But interestingly, the Angels have just acquired a hotshot Cuban infielder for an $8-million bonus.  Although he's only 20 and probably not ready for a major-league job for a year or two, I wonder if this might make the Angels more willing to part with Kendrick.

Gerry - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 08:22 PM EST (#294797) #
Ben Nicholson Smith is reporting that Howie Kendrick has a no trade clause for 4 teams, one of which is the Jays.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 08:26 PM EST (#294798) #
Just read an article on MLBTR saying that the four teams that Kendrick can decline a trade to are the Mets, Rays, Marlins....and of course, the Blue Jays. That doesn't mean a deal can't happen, but it's a hurdle to climb if they want to make a deal.

I do like the Valbuena suggestion, too.
China fan - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 08:27 PM EST (#294799) #
Oddly enough, Baseball Reference says Kendrick can only block trades to 2 teams, not 4 teams:
Also unclear is whether the clause means that he "can block" trades to those teams, or "will block."  Presumably it's a clause that he can waive if he wants?

92-93 - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 10:33 PM EST (#294800) #
Starlin Castro has two years of control remaining and there were rumours about his possible movement considering the Cubs pipeline of talent.
cruzin - Tuesday, November 04 2014 @ 10:53 PM EST (#294801) #
After I've a few days to think about this trade, it doesn't seem nearly as bad as my initial reaction on what we got for Lind. I had previously accepted that AA might've approached it as an addition through subtraction. But now I can see as this trade have a possible domino on other possible trade front.

Many are anticipating that AA would open up a spot for one of the kids to grab (Sanchez, Norris, Graveman, Nolin etc). That would've entailed trading one of the current starters and if unable to, potentially dealing with an unhappy Happ at the end of ST, if they chose a kid over him. Perhaps getting Estrada gives AA a comfort level to trading Happ and hoping one of the kids can grab that 5th starter spot, but if not Estrada be the swing guy until someone grabs it. Easier to shuffle Estrada off to the BP and he's likely more effective than Happ in that role anyways.
dan gordon - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 12:27 AM EST (#294802) #
For possible 2nd basemen, there is also the situation with the Giants. Their regular guy, Marco Scutaro, was injured shortly into the season, and they eventually found an internal solution in Joe Panik, a kid they picked in the first round in 2011. Panik did a good job, and Scutaro may be a trading chip now. He has 1 more year to go on his contract, at $6 million, and, of course, he is a former Jay. Depending on what the Giants do with Peavy and Vogelsong, they may have a need for starting pitching to go along with Bumgarner, Cain coming back from injury, Hudson, and presumably they try Lincecum back in the rotation, given his contract. Happ for Scutaro might make sense if they don't retain either Peavy or Vogelsong. The contracts are about even, so there's no financial issue. I suppose there is also the possibility the Giants may want to use Scutaro at 3B if they lose Sandoval as a free agent.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 08:38 AM EST (#294805) #
Scutaro is 39 years old and coming off a bad back.  I doubt that he's a better solution than a Kawasaki/Tolleson platoon. Castro is interesting but you'd probably have to pay handsomely for him. 
SK in NJ - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 08:51 AM EST (#294806) #
Castro is actually signed through 2019 with a team option for 2020. He is on a very good contract for someone his age and talent. I doubt the Jays could get him without parting with some top prospects, or someone like Hutchison.

The Cubs are an interesting team as far as trading partners. They are loaded with young infielders. Bryant, Castro, Valbuena, Baez, Russell, Alcantara, etc. It would be nice to be able to get someone like Valbuena without trading a top prospect, but the Cubs are usually pretty good at extracting value in trades.
bpoz - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 09:09 AM EST (#294807) #
Many good ideas & suggestions from everyone.

What I believe is that the rules have changed, 2 WC teams, and you may get in with 88 or 89 wins. This is a lot easier than before and you still have a great shot at winning it all. We know this from recent history.

So the Jays have to take the next step and make themselves an 88-92 win team.
I do not know how that will happen but the hardest part is getting a good & deep rotation. We are in a great position to have that for a long time, with our young starters.
How to have a good, pen, offense and defense for the next 5 years. I do not know. Also payroll parameters & FA difficulties are also a factor to be over come.

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 10:03 AM EST (#294808) #
Trading a Starter to bring a kid in is problematic.

Aaron Sanchez is an excellent Reliever, who will be stretched out in Spring Training to be a Starter. Despite all our hopes and desires, that might not be a success. He came up with control issues, and nowhere have I seen or has it been heard that he's got that under control.

Daniel Norris is a surprise, he's really very, very good, but inexperienced. Daniel needs to pitch a lot of innings, to be stretched out in games before he should be up. He's ready, he can pitch up here, just not yet.

Kendall Graveman is amazing, to come so fast and to be so good. He's another one to need pitching a lot of hours and be stretched out in games before he comes up. He's ready, I think he can pitch up here, just not yet.

Sean Nolin is a good Starting Pitcher, who just needs time up here. I don't think he has anything left to learn in AAA. Either he can pitch up here or he can't. Let's give him ten Starts to find out.

I don't think anyone else is that close just yet. Anyone you bring up needs to go 7.0 IP consistently and make at least 30 starts. If they can't, the one you bring in to fill up the innings will not be as good and might not be good enough to be up.

Trading a Starter might be problematic, clearing $19.0 MM might be worth it.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 10:17 AM EST (#294809) #
Happy Freedom 55 to Lloyd Moseby.  Youngster!
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 12:03 PM EST (#294811) #
Count me as someone who is against trading Buerhle. He is just too good a role model, too consistent, and too dependable for me to want to try and replace him.

I'll deal Dickey in the right circumstances, mostly because I don't like having to accomodate him with a personal catcher etc... but I don't mind him either.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 12:11 PM EST (#294813) #
With the pitch time limits being tested in the AFL this year, I wonder whether they'll be arriving in MLB next year.  If so, you'd think that Buehrle might be a beneficiary as a rule change speeding things up would play to his strength.
christaylor - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 12:14 PM EST (#294814) #
Picking up Thole's option is a pretty strong signal that Dickey will be back and that Martin isn't going to be courted by the team, but youneverknow. I've read in a couple of places the Jays might have Navarro as the everyday DH. Ugh. It would be nice if the Jays could target Morse, the OF/1B position flexiblity would work with resting the players and he could be 2015's Nelson Cruz.

I'm puzzled why anyone wouldn't be comfortable with the SP, it is expensive, but does anyone think that either Dickey or Buehrle would have signed as FA with the Jays, even for the dollars they are paid?

If AA can find a 2B/3B solution, an OF, and a whack of bull-pen lottery tickets, then I'll be over the moon with this off-season, but I'm not confident that AA will be able to do all three.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 01:08 PM EST (#294816) #
2B/3B is the big one after seeing what happens with Cabrera.  If Cabrera resigns then the budget is gone and we'll probably have a Goins/Kawasaki/Diaz/Izturis/Tolleson/whoever is breathing mix and match.  If Cabrera goes elsewhere then things get very interesting with the budget.

2015 will be a very hard year to predict unless a few vets are picked up.  Gose/Pillar/Pompey will share CF, waiting for one to take it over entirely and hoping whoever the flop is (at least one will probably be a flop) doesn't get the first shot.  The rotation will most likely have a rookie to go with 2 other kids and that makes it a big crapshoot too.  The pen is always a wait and see.

I am very curious who will be here and who won't come spring training.

James W - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 02:00 PM EST (#294817) #
Mike, on more than one occasion, Keith Law mentioned that those limits were not being enforced very well by the umpires in the AFL, so it didn't make much difference.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 02:12 PM EST (#294818) #
I don't know, James.  I thought that the games have been quite a bit shorter. 

In the "did you know?" category.  Mark Buehrle know has 58 BBRef WAR. (the last 5 year have been 5.3, 4.0, 3.8, 3.5, 2.1 and 3.6)  He's clearly well onto a Hall of Fame path, being broadly of the same general type as Jack Morris and Andy Pettitte, but quite a bit better.  It's amazing how important things like holding runners and fielding one's position are. 

China fan - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 02:47 PM EST (#294819) #
"....Perhaps getting Estrada gives AA a comfort level to trading Happ and hoping one of the kids can grab that 5th starter spot...."

I think AA is fairly confident that one of the young pitchers (probably Sanchez) will grab a full-time rotation spot by mid-season at the latest.  That's another reason why Happ might be traded.  The Jays might need a veteran pitcher for just a half season. In that case, Estrada is cheaper and more flexible than Happ.  So the Anthopoulos plan could be: trade Happ for a 2B or OF; put Estrada into the rotation for a couple of months, then shift him to the bullpen when Sanchez is ready.  Or, even better, Estrada could go straight into the bullpen (as the 6th starter) if Sanchez has a strong spring and seems ready.  Estrada becomes the insurance for the rotation, and Happ can be traded. But because AA can't be certain about when Sanchez will be ready for a rotation slot, he needs a swingman like Estrada available for the rotation, and Happ becomes expendable.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 02:50 PM EST (#294820) #
Huh. Never thought of Buehrle as a HOF'er but at 199 wins, 200+ IP for 14 straight years he is in the discussion at least.  Never winning 20, only once getting any Cy Young votes (5th) would both hurt him big time though.  His 2-1 4.11 ERA in the playoffs is 'meh'.  Just 8 in black ink (no shock), 47 on the HOF monitor (100 is normal HOF).  He isn't there but if he gets another 3-4 years in he'll be around 250 wins and that should be enough to get him to stick around on the ballot for awhile or at least get people going 'hmm... maybe'.  Still, he seems like a 'must get 300 wins' guy with the lack of 'wow' seasons (never led in W, ERA, SO, just once in WHIP - starts, Innings, batters faced are his big thing). 
John Northey - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 02:53 PM EST (#294821) #
In the odd facts - Buehrle has won exactly 13 games 5 of the past 6 years. Only once more than 16 (19 in 2002).  I just don't see him making the HOF unless he has a Cy year or two in him at this late stage.  Voters won't go for him with that low win total and so few highlights.  Accumulators are valuable in baseball, but rarely get respect at HOF voting time.
Chuck - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 03:04 PM EST (#294822) #
Picking up Thole's option is a pretty strong signal that Dickey will be back

I think it is slightly easier to move Dickey if you can also send along his personal catcher. So Thole's option being picked up doesn't necessarily signal anything about the team's intentions.

Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 03:06 PM EST (#294823) #
If you wanted to take a "best case but still plausible" scenario, Jamie Moyer won 165 games from age 36 to the end of his career. Given his durability and pitching style, Buehrle has a decent chance of being able to pitch effectively into his 40s, which would give him the opportunity to rack up some impressive totals.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 03:23 PM EST (#294824) #
I think that at a certain point longevity becomes a skill. If Buerhle pulls a Jamie Moyer and gets to 300 wins, then I think he becomes a shoe-in based on how hard it is becoming to hit that number.

But let's be honest- he isn't a hall of famer on his peak performance.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 03:26 PM EST (#294825) #
You may be right, John, but I now see WAR on, so it may be that when Buehrle becomes eligible and ends up with a career total of 70 WAR (say), that will be enough to get him in.  It is funny that he rarely has won that many games.

Not too many pitchers have thrown 3000 innings through age 35 in the post-deadball era.  Since integration, there have been 28.  Most of them are in the Hall of Fame.  Some (Billy Pierce, Jim Kaat, Vida Blue, Jack Morris, Frank Tanana, Bob Friend and Claude Osteen) are not.  Buehrle has been sustaining his performance better than any of them so far.

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 10:16 PM EST (#294830) #
The Dodgers' recent moves are noteworthy, I think. It used to be that hiring a boy wonder (Ricciardi, Anthopoulos) was a big deal, giving the more frugal organizations a potential equalizer. Now it looks as though the rich teams may be starting to stack their front offices by poaching the best and brightest from other organizations (the Rays and the A's, in the case of the Dodgers). This doesn't bode well for the cautious Blue Jays.
jerjapan - Wednesday, November 05 2014 @ 11:39 PM EST (#294831) #
It doesn't bode well, except that we have one of the best and brightest GMs in AA.
Jonny German - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 01:51 AM EST (#294833) #
Theo Epstein says Hello. From 2002.
Also Paul DePodesta. From 2004.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 06:22 AM EST (#294834) #
Exactly - the boy wonder thing used to be a novelty. Now teams like the Dodgers and Cubs are going hard on multiple fronts: GM, front office bench strength, IFAs like Puig and Soler, top-flight managers like Maddon, ML roster, etc. The Jays run the risk of being left behind.
85bluejay - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 08:05 AM EST (#294835) #
Heard AA on TSN radio last evening - from his tap dancing - there's going to be no payroll increase - that money from players leaving, will likely go to trying to resign Melky - I think Melky is back only if his market is more around 3/40 than the 5/70 predicted by various sites - goodbye Melky - Actually, I'm okay with Dirks/Mayberry LF because it will allow some spending in other areas. In lieu of more payroll, I wonder how many prospects get sacrificed - I hope it's not like the slaughter of 2 years ago.

I don't think the Jays go for Howie Kendrick (or the Angels move him) - AA is looking for a player with more control.

Some posters have mentioned a rebound guy like Justin Masterson/Brett Anderson - I can see a quality rebound hitter coming to rogers centre, but why would a pitcher who has choices - hitter friendly park, below avg. defence and a pitching coach not known as a "fixer" - the jays are more likely to entice the more desperate Felipe Paulino type.

John Northey - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 10:51 AM EST (#294837) #
No shock on payroll with the Canadian dollar going south faster than seniors at the sight of snow.  Sub 90 cents now, so it is around the point it was in 92/93 but unless oil starts climbing it will keep dropping.

Melky going isn't a bad thing in a lot of respects - if he signs a 5 year deal it is for ages 30-34, so late peak/early decline years.  His lifetime OPS+ is 103, with just 3 years over 100 (all 3 over 120) with two of them very likely PED tainted, one definitely so.  I'd be very nervous committing tons of cash to him ($15+ a year for 5 years for example) especially with his defense dropping too.  It isn't hard to picture him as a 100 OPS+ DH which really isn't that useful.

With limited funds the Jays need to maximize bang for the buck.  With 3 kid outfielders it makes sense to open one slot (CF) and maybe 2.  Going with 5 OF next year might make sense if there is no pure DH - so Gose/Pillar in CF, Bautista RF, Mayberry & Smoak in LF, rotate DH with all of them plus EE with Bautista/Mayberry playing at 1B.  Pompey fighting to steal a job from one of them whenever possible.  Savings in the rotation by trading Dickey/Thole ($16 mil) or Buehrle ($19 mil) or Happ ($6.7 mil) and giving kids a slot or two.

There are ways to save money without the team going in the tank.  Take advantage of depth and spend where there is no depth (2B/SS/3B).  Maybe by trading Dickey/Thole you can bring up Jimenez to backup and save over $1 mil.  Lots of ways to save, the Jays just have to decide which way to maximize the bang for the buck now.
SK in NJ - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 11:33 AM EST (#294839) #
I don't see payroll increasing either, which is why I'm not expecting top prospects to be traded. The Jays are far more likely to maximize their return on investment with cheap young players (like Stroman last season). I think they will trade Happ to fix a hole, put Sanchez in the rotation (Estrada will serve as the swing man/back-up plan) and either they re-sign Melky or stick with what they have. The real key is what they do with 2B. They really need a 2-3 win improvement there.

If Alex's job is safe (remains to be seen) then I think we will slowly start to see what he was hyping up when he was hired, and that is depending on internal growth for sustained winning. Whether it's too late to do it with this core is the question.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 12:19 PM EST (#294841) #
FWIW, the expected difference between Melky and Pillar is 1 win at the most.  If the club is in a fixed budget position, they are far better to spend that $15m per annum in some other way.  I imagine that the QO is all about the draft pick, and the club has no real intention to be competitive on a long-term deal.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 12:36 PM EST (#294842) #
Probably the Jays are hoping that Melky's market is somewhat affected by the QO, and they get him back on a reasonable contract. No doubt the team realizes that they may well lose him. Since signing quality free agents is unlikely, a trade or two seems a more likely path to upgrading the team.

Looks like the Jays will be relying heavily on their rookies and young players (plus waiver-wire pickups) in 2015.

I think the current ML roster and the farm system are in decent shape. I just wish ownership and/or the front office was demonstrating a greater commitment to excellence (as opposed to frugality) across the organization. It seems to me we're getting a bit too comfortable with having a non-championship mindset.
SK in NJ - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 12:45 PM EST (#294844) #
The Jays need to focus on the area that has the greatest level of improvement potential, and that's 2B. Going from Goins/Kawasaki/Tolleson to a 2-3 win player would be a bigger difference than going from Melky to Pillar/Dirks or going from Happ to Sanchez/Estrada. So you save money on SP and LF by trading Happ and letting Melky go, while going all out in trying to find a 2B/3B. Heck, whatever they are offering Melky, offer it to Headley instead. If he says no, so be it, but go where the upgrade has the potential to be greatest.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 02:10 PM EST (#294846) #
Jim Callis on Pompey. But you knew that already!
jerjapan - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 03:30 PM EST (#294847) #

Parker - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 03:38 PM EST (#294848) #
I'm with SK in NJ. 2B is the biggest single upgrade the team could make. While there are outfield prospects waiting in the wings who have a reasonable chance of providing enough value to not be a total cliff-dive from the production they got from Cabrera and Rasmus combined, there isn't really any middle (or corner) infield help immediately on the way, unless Andy Burns surprises everyone with a huge breakout season.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 04:15 PM EST (#294849) #
With Lind gone, the club has to figure out what is happening at 1B/DH.  Hopefully, Encarnacion is a full-time DH.  You could theoretically pencil in Bautista at first base and Pompey/Pillar/Gose//Dirks/Mayberry for the outfield.  Or you could try to acquire a first baseman.  There is a lot of merit to the first approach; I concur that focusing on the second base situation is probably a better use of resources.

It does seem likely that the fly ball defence will be better in 2015 than in 2014.  If last year's FB/GB tendencies continue, the prime beneficiaries ought to be Drew Hutchison, Todd Redmond and Marco Estrada. 

Ron - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#294850) #
With the trade for Conger, the Astros now have 3 catchers (Conger, Castro, Stassi). The 2013 version of Castro would be a big upgrade on Navarro. Fowler is another guy the Astros might be willing to move and would look good in a Jays uniform.
Thomas - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 04:35 PM EST (#294851) #
Tropeano is a better prospect than Nolin, but is similarly limited in his upside. I wonder what an equivalent package from the Jays would have been?

Although presumably precluded by the limitations of having a personal catcher for Dickey, there would have been benefit to acquiring Conger given his strong defensive skills. I can't seen the Jays being serious contenders for Martin.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 04:39 PM EST (#294852) #
Why would you anticipate that you would get the 2013 version of Castro rather than the 2012 or 2014 versions? Isn't a mid-point more likely? 

With Navarro's age, there is use for a second catcher who starts more often than once in every 5 games.  But you've got Dickey and a manager who (rightly or wrongly) doesn't have sufficient confidence in Thole to use him more often.  And the manager, so far at least, isn't going anywhere.
Paul D - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 05:11 PM EST (#294853) #
I fear that the Jays have already solved their 1b issue, and it's with Smoak.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 05:25 PM EST (#294854) #
Surely the club has noticed that Smoak now has 2200 career major league PA with a negative fWAR and 1 bWAR.  That's hard to do. 

For what it's worth, I ran a BBRef Play Index asking for players who had accumulated 2000 or more PAs and had played more than 50% of their games at first base and had bWAR of 2 or less.  I had one result- Justin Smoak.  Usually players who have been that bad, don't get more chances.  When I increased the number to 4 WAR, I did get some good players like Mickey Vernon. Adam LaRoche and Eric Karros.  Smoak has been nowhere near as good with the bat than any of them.

Eephus - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 05:43 PM EST (#294855) #
I fear that the Jays have already solved their 1b issue, and it's with Smoak.

I suppose that's fitting, seeing as what this organization says compared with what it actually does is smoke and mirrors anyhow.

Best of luck to Adam Lind in Milwaukee. With the Cubs treasure chest of young talent, the Brewers improving their biggest weakness (LH power bat), the Pirates being strong and the Cardinals being the Cardinals, it's gonna be awful tough for my Reds to break through again in the NL Central. How about Jose Reyes for Brandon Phillips? Tell Cincinnati to throw in Ryan Ludwick and it just might work, wink wink.

Ron - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 06:18 PM EST (#294857) #
Mike, I'm not sure what to expect from Castro next season. He has a solid track record in the minors but his performance in the majors has bounced up and down. Castro has 2 years of control left and is younger than Navarro. I think he's worth looking into. It's going to be tough to watch another season of Navarro's poor pitch framing skills behind the plate.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 06 2014 @ 10:54 PM EST (#294859) #
Blue Jays have their 1st Baseman and it is Edwin Encarnacion, while Justin Smoak is his primary backup. Dalton Pompey is most probably the Jay's Starting CF this season. He's already way beyond Gose and Pillar and that's never changing.

Melky's the primary issue for Toronto, but 2nd/3rd Base and Bullpen are just as important because there's no duplication of effort. CF, Bench and Starter are a very distant 4,5 and 6, and just might not happen.

Toronto offered basically $45.6 MM over 3 years and were turned down. If the Melky decision goes beyond the GM Meetings, A.A. should move on to someone else. I fully expect something to happen by then, because A.A. must strike first and fast to even have a sniff of a chance of success.
christaylor - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 05:45 AM EST (#294860) #
Arm pain in young pitchers is common and preventable -- here's hoping that someone in the Jays front office takes note.
Thomas - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 07:14 AM EST (#294861) #
The Dodgers have continued their trend of hiring every nearly available forward-thinking person who is well-regarded in the industry by announcing Gabe Kapler will be their new farm director, joining an impressive front office team that now includes Andrew Friedman, Josh Byrnes and Farhan Zahidi.
ogator - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 03:15 PM EST (#294863) #
Maybe there should be an Arizona Fall League thread. Yesterday, Sean Nolin pitched four innings allowing three hits and one run, while striking out three. But what about Blake McFarland and/or Arik Sikula who never get much love on the Box. Mcfarland is a 26 year old 6'5" right handed pitcher who between Dunedin and New Hampshire struck out 73 batters in 62 innings. The Blue Jays noticed. They sent him to AFL. And Sikula had 31 saves at New Hampshire. He will turn 26 in December. Now it is hard to see 26 year olds in AA as serious prospects but the Blue Jays seem to be taking these guys seriously. They are looking for bullpen guys. Maybe some answers are in house.
vw_fan17 - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 03:40 PM EST (#294864) #
While they certainly illustrate the "common" part, they don't really do much to address the "preventable" part, other than to say you can't use a one-size-fits-all approach for pitch counts at age X. For an example they use X=14. That just seems like common sense - each player is different...

Or did I miss something in there? I skipped a few sentences here and there..
dan gordon - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 03:46 PM EST (#294865) #
They're both in just their 4th pro season. McFarland was undrafted, and was unimpressive in his first 2 seasons, but in 2013, he started to put up some good numbers in Dunedin, and then in 2014, he was even better, and was excellent after being promoted to New Hampshire. Sikula was picked in the 36th round in 2011, and has consistently produced good results. Gave up more hits than you'd like after the promotion to AA last year, but still had excellent K:BB numbers. Wouldn't be surprising to see at least 1 of them in Buffalo next year. Not top drawer prospects, but, hey, youneverknow. Throw enough stuff at the wall, and some of it will stick. Sometimes things click in for pitchers a bit later than for hitters. A new pitch, a change to the delivery that improves control, finally getting the feel for that slider - look what happened with Graveman this year.
jerjapan - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 03:55 PM EST (#294866) #
Every winter there's a new relief prospect (if that's a thing) in Jaysland.  In the last few years we've had Danny Barnes, Evan Crawford, Ryan Tepaera  - along with Aaron Loup.  I'd say McFarland and Sikula could go either way, but I've been a fan of Sikula as a sleeper for a while. 
vw_fan17 - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 04:14 PM EST (#294867) #
Now Hanley Ramirez says he'll play 3rd..

Of course, him and Jose Reyes on the left side would be somewhat.. sub-optimal defensively. But, it would let us move Lawrie to 2nd.

SK in NJ - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 05:14 PM EST (#294868) #
If only Reyes would change positions. Adding an elite defender like Drew at short while moving Reyes either to 2B or 3B (whichever he prefers) would really improve the defense and team as a whole.
PeterG - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 05:21 PM EST (#294869) #
saw the AFL game on tv Last night and McFarland looked very impressive striking out 5 in 2 innings....good fastball and assorted other nasty stuff....looked like slider breaking down with authority..
Gerry - Friday, November 07 2014 @ 08:09 PM EST (#294870) #
McFarland has an unusual, very over the top, delivery. That gets a lot of downhill plane from that 6'5" frame. He seemed to be a two pitch pitcher and that can work if you hit your spots.

Sikula's 31 saves were at Dunedin, not NH. Sikula has been compared to Casey Janssen, he throws four pitches including a cutter. His pitches did show some good movement last night but his command was not up to Janssen's level. If he can tighten that he has a shot.
bpoz - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 11:55 AM EST (#294871) #
Good point. Danny Farquhar makes the list. I am not sure about Brandon League.
bpoz - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 01:06 PM EST (#294872) #
That was in reply to jerjapan regarding relievers.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 02:48 PM EST (#294873) #
I don't know what A.A. will do this offseason but so far we have:
Worst Case Scenario:

Outfield: Jose Bautista, RF; Dalton Pompey, CF; Kevin Pillar, LF.

Infield: Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH; Maicer Izturis, 2B; Jose Reyes, SS; Brett Lawrie, 3B; Dioner Navarro, C; Justin Smoak, DH/1B.

Bench: Josh Thole, C; Andy Dirks, OF; Danny Valencia, INF; John Mayberry Jr, INF/OF.

Starters: R.A. Dickey (KNB); Mark Buehrle (LHP); Drew Hutchison (RHP); Marcus Stroman (RHP); J.A. Happ (LHP).

Bullpen: Aaron Sanchez (RHP); Brett Cecil (LHP); Aaron Loup (LHP); Marco Estrada (RHP); Steve Delabar (RHP); Chad Jenkins (RHP); Todd Redman (RHP).

Surprisingly enough, I think this Team is better than last year's Team, by 3-5 games.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 03:46 PM EST (#294874) #
They would keep a back-up middle infielder, likely Goins, on the bench in place of one of the outfielders.

I doubt that they are 3-5 games better, but I do like the chances that Pompey and Pillar produce more than Cabrera and Rasmus (with bat, legs and glove) did last year.  It'll be great to inject some youthful energy into the club.

PeterG - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 03:56 PM EST (#294875) #
doubt that we will see 2 rookies starting in OF at beginning of season though 2 may be on roster. If Melky requires more term than is sensible, how about Aoki on a 2 year deal at 8 mil(as forecast on MLBTR) per which would give some immediate production while allowing prospects to further develop at their own speed.
Dave Till - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 04:32 PM EST (#294876) #
I suspect that the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar will make Rogers reluctant to spend money on free agents. Unless AA can swing a trade for a cost-controlled player, I'm expecting that the Jays will open the season with an outfield of Pompey, Gose, and Bautista. However, I have been wrong many times before. :-)

When looking at the list of MLB owners on Wikipedia, I noticed that most teams are owned by a single person (assuming that this person is not the front man for a corporation). Rogers, like all corporations, considers its primary responsibility to maximize returns for its investors and shareholders; Joe Q. Billionaire, who has bought a baseball team as a plaything after having made his money, is not bound by any such restriction.
SK in NJ - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 04:32 PM EST (#294877) #
I wouldn't mind the "standing pat" lineup (Pillar in LF, Pompey in CF, Gose as 4th OF, Izturis at 2B, etc), if the Jays went out and signed Russell Martin. I've stated this before, the difference in value between Martin and Navarro when factoring pitch framing is likely a greater difference than anything the Jays could possibly add this off-season, outside of maybe adding Headley to replace Goins/Kawasaki, but I'd imagine Headley will go to the Giants if they lose Panda. Martin seems like he'll go to the highest bidder, which probably won't be the Jays, but at least that would give them a chance if they do decide to bid high.

I'm not falling for the rumors about the Jays being a serious contender to sign him, as we've seen in the past, but that's really the only way I'd be content with standing pat elsewhere. I said previously that I'd go as high as 5/75 for Martin, and I know that's very, very high, but to convince him to pick the Jays over the Cubs, it will probably take something like that.
92-93 - Saturday, November 08 2014 @ 08:25 PM EST (#294878) #
"FWIW, the expected difference between Melky and Pillar is 1 win at the most...I doubt that they are 3-5 games better, but I do like the chances that Pompey and Pillar produce more than Cabrera and Rasmus (with bat, legs and glove) did last year. It'll be great to inject some youthful energy into the club."

Leaving my overall issues with WAR aside, I think you are drastically understating the dropoff from Melky to Pillar over the course of a full season, and that you are putting the cart way in front of the horse with Pompey.

I was all for letting Lind go to free up the DH spot and some cash, but it's imperative that either his or Melky's bat is replaced by a legitimate hitter and not just youthful energy in an attempt to get better.
dan gordon - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 01:15 AM EST (#294879) #
I know there is disagreement about the merits of Kevin Pillar. I'm one of the ones who think he has a reasonable chance of being a decent mlb player. As long as the team acquires a guy who can play 2B and actually hit - call him Ben Zobrist, or Howie Kendrick, or whomever you like, I'd be content with a lineup of Navarro catching, Encarnacion, the new guy, Reyes and Lawrie in the infield, a DH platoon of Valencia and Dirks, and an OF of Bautista and 2 of Gose/Pillar/Pompey. I would expect that as the season progressed you'd find Pompey and Pillar would be the guys who would assert themselves for the OF positions, as I think Gose is unlikely to ever be a decent mlb hitter. This would hopefully leave some money to help out with the pitching staff.

I mean, I'd like to see Melky back, but I'm beginning to think that the team is not going to come up with the necessary cash. I suspect one of the big buck teams is going to make him an offer he can't refuse. If Melky is gone, and Dirks isn't healthy, or can't hit closer to what he did in 2012 than what he did in 2013, then they would need a better LH bat to platoon with Valencia. I highly doubt Smoak is the guy, so somebody would have to be brought in.
bpoz - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 09:52 AM EST (#294880) #
Reyes, EE, Bautista & Navarro had big years in 2014. Will they do it again in 2015? If Lawrie can stay healthy, the offense & defense is much better.
AA singled out the pen for improvement and quickly added M Estrada. A healthy & productive Lind and Melky make the offense quite powerful. At the moment there is no replacement in place.
The off season is young. We have an extra veteran SP that can be dealt. I also think that either Loup or Cecil have good value in a trade. You have to give up value to receive value.
Dave Till - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 10:04 AM EST (#294881) #

I know there is disagreement about the merits of Kevin Pillar. I'm one of the ones who think he has a reasonable chance of being a decent mlb player.

I don't hold out much hope for him, since he virtually never walks. In 232 major league plate appearances, he has 8 walks. He didn't walk much in the minors either.

He's reasonably fast and can play the outfield, but otherwise he's the new Robert Perez.

Mike Green - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 10:44 AM EST (#294882) #
There's a pretty big difference in speed and contact ability.  In double A, Robert Perez went  .260/.277/.378 with a 13/87 W/K; Pillar went .313/.361/.441 with a 19/31 W/K.  In his second go-round in triple A at age 25, Perez went .343/.359/.496 with a 13/60 W/K.  In Pillar's second go-round in triple A at age 25, he went .323/.359/.509 with a 21/48 W/K.  Pillar went 27-6 stealing bases last year.  Perez went 4-7 one year, 7-5 another.   Perez had medium range pop, not much speed and poor plate discipline, and that does not add up to enough for a corner OF.  Pillar has a good enough glove to play centerfield, medium range pop, good speed,  and so-so plate discipline.   That's a whole other story.  Steamer has Pillar projected at .275/.310/.407, good for a 98 wRC+.  I think he'll do a little better than that; another person might think he'll do a  little worse.  The difference between those two determines whether he will be an every day player.   Steamer projects Cabrera at .292/.341/.441, good for a 118 wRC+.  I think that's about right, but for a below average defender  with poor speed as a corner outfielder, it's pretty comparable to what Pillar would give you overall.  You don't need to buy into the precise mechanics of WAR to accept that defence and baserunning matter.

I'll get to Pompey later.

greenfrog - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 11:39 AM EST (#294883) #
"Leaving my overall issues with WAR aside"

What are your overall issues with WAR?
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 02:27 PM EST (#294884) #
All of A.A.'s offseason moves will be Plan 'A'; Plan 'B' or Plan 'C'.

I think Plan 'A' involves acquiring "Bautista- caliber" talent or moves close to that level of talent. I think trading Adam Lind for as much as possible was a Plan 'A' move. I just don't think he could do better from what was offered. I'm pretty sure to offer Melky Cabrera a QO was Plan 'A'. There will be much disagreement but Marco Estrada is Plan 'A' because of the value of the player he was acquired for.

I think Plan 'B' is the alternative to Plan 'A', when you can't get someone that good. Justin Smoak and Andy Dirks are Plan 'B', as well as in-house solutions.

Plan 'C' is acquiring the best possible depth to as useful as possible. That's why Liam Hendricks and Jeff Francis were acquired.

I don't know what the Russell Martin and Pablo Sandoval talks are about. A.A. needs to go BIG or stay home to get theses guys.

Incidentally, are we doing a GM's Meeting Post?
whiterasta80 - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 03:07 PM EST (#294885) #
Martin and Sandoval are about the same thing those types of discussions have always been about with this regime: being able to say "we were in on him" but not having to spend the money.

I hope I'm wrong, but history says otherwise.

John Northey - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 03:13 PM EST (#294886) #
When debating the choices it is worthwhile to see what some projection systems say.  FanGraphs has 'Steamer' projections up.  Those predictions are...
Melky: 81 games, 1.2 WAR (2.4 if 162 games) via a 292/341/441 line but -7.9 on defence (-15.8 over 162 which is in eyeshot of the past 2 years)
Gose: 113 games, 1.1 WAR (1.6 over 162) via a 235/302/347 line but +3.9 on defense (5.6 over 162)
Pillar: 73 games, 0.9 WAR (2.0 if 162 games) via a 275/310/407 line , -0.9 on defense (-2 over 162)
Pompey: 16 games, 0.1 WAR (1.0 if 162 games) via a 239/296/359 line, -0.4 on defense (-4 over 162)
Mayberry: 16 games, 0.1 WAR (1.0 if 162) via a 233/298/396 line, -0.9 on defense (-9 over 162)
Dirks: 32 games, 0.3 WAR (1.5 if 162) via a 258/318/400 line, -1.7 on defense (-8.6 over 162)
and for reference...
Rasmus: 138 games 1.7 WAR (2.0 if 162 games) via a 233/300/417 line, -3.4 on defense (-4 over 162)

So Steamer doesn't like Pompey but that isn't a shock as he was in A+ ball for 70 games last year with just 12 in AAA and 17 in the majors. Counting on Pompey is a major risk. 

However, over 162 we see Melky at 2.4, Pompey 2.0, Gose 1.6, Dirks 1.5, Pompey & Mayberry 1.0, and Rasmus is 1.7  This suggests the spread between Pompey & Melky is not even 1/2 a win, 0.8 between Melky & Gose, and still under 1 full win between Melky & Dirks. 

So, is it worth $15+ mil a year to keep Melky?  Steamer suggests it isn't worth it.

SK in NJ - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 04:00 PM EST (#294887) #
If Pillar can produce an average offensive season (~100 wRC+) with great defense in LF, then I think it's fair to say his value won't be too far off Melky's. However, can Pillar hit that well in the Majors with full-time AB's? He profiles very similarly to Reed Johnson (~5% BB%, good minor league career, can play all OF positions, noticeable platoon splits), which is a fine for a 4th OF, but 600+ PA's would expose his flaws with the bat.

He has hit at every level though, so there's not much else for him to prove. Either he's a MLB'er or not, and we'll only know that if he gets a chance. That might explain his tryout last September, and he hit .289-.333-.447 the rest of the way when he returned to the Majors in August (albeit with a .351 BABIP). If the Jays want to roll the dice with Pillar in LF full-time, then they better upgrade another spot significantly (specifically 2B).
jerjapan - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 06:41 PM EST (#294888) #
anyone know what happened to the DJF blog?  That'd be two of my daily reads down after Tamra's southpaw blog shut down last summer. 
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 07:47 PM EST (#294889) #
DJF blog might be done due to contract issues between Andrew Stoeten and The Score. Since Rogers bought The Score Media Division and let the Web part continue it's been different. If you tweet, @ Stoeten , is something similar to what he uses. That's all I know.
92-93 - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 08:22 PM EST (#294890) #
"What are your overall issues with WAR?"

Well first of all, the way people go to it as more than just a reference point, but rather a definitive picture of a player's value. Also, while I appreciate its components, I don't think we can ever properly quantify and weight the value of each one. That's just my opinion, and I guess I believe in the intangibles of the game that can't be quantified by taking the overall season's numbers and spitting them into a formula.

I find WAR helpful when glancing at other teams/players that you don't really watch and you just want to get a quick snapshot of their "value". With the Jays, I feel like watching most of the games allows me to come to my own conclusions about the players, erroneous or not. Pillar is clearly the better defender and will be a better runner over the course of the season, but Melky is very clearly the superior hitter who fits at the top of a lineup and can be substituted for later in games when you have the lead. I saw plenty of Pillar this season and I would be very surprised if the difference between having him for 162 instead of Melky is only one win. It may be 1.0 WAR, but to me it doesn't feel like only one win on the schedule.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 08:31 PM EST (#294891) #
As for Pompey, I am pretty sure that he will play great defence in centerfield (the minus no. in the steamer projection makes me laugh).  I have no idea how he will hit, but I imagine that Gary Pettis would be a low for him.  Pettis hit .227/.332/.300 with a wRC+ of 84 in his first season and was an average player because of his defence. 

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the club holds him back in April for service time reasons.  Depending on what happens the rest of the off-season, this may or may not be defensible.

Mike Green - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 08:42 PM EST (#294892) #
I saw plenty of Pillar this season and I would be very surprised if the difference between having him for 162 instead of Melky is only one win. It may be 1.0 WAR, but to me it doesn't feel like only one win on the schedule.

I actually think that it will be less than a win.  Cabrera was healthy last year, and his odds of being healthy are somewhat lower than Pillar's because of age and mileage.  I'd be a lot happier about bring Cabrera back if the club did not have Encarnacion as its' everyday DH and Reyes and Bautista needing the occasional day off.  Cabrera is ideally suited to being mostly a DH at this stage. 
dan gordon - Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 10:53 PM EST (#294893) #
Another thing about Pillar is that he really has underperformed in his 2 short stints in mlb compared to his minor league numbers. I believe he has accumulated sufficient AB's in his 4 minor league seasons to have a fairly reliable projection of how he is likely to perform in the big leagues. I'm giving more weight to his 1,700 minor league plate appearances with an OPS of .841 than his 200 mlb plate appearances. Plus, the fact that he has continued to improve steadily in the minors, and has hit very well at every level. Compare to a guy like Gose, who has basically gone nowhere the last 3 years.

On another front, I see on Rotoworld that Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Sandoval's agent has plans to meet with 4 teams this week - the Giants, Red Sox, White Sox and Blue Jays. Sandoval's numbers look a little soft in 2014, but he got off to a terrible start, with potential contract negotiations being a possible reason, but from May 11 on, in 498 plate appearances, he hit .308/.345/.453/.799.

Also, the Dodgers are apparently looking to move one of their OF's soon. Kemp, Crawford or Ethier, not Puig.
jerjapan - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 11:03 AM EST (#294902) #
thanks Richard!
Gerry - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 11:33 AM EST (#294903) #
I agree with Mike that Pompey will be ticketed for Buffalo for at least a month to get that extra year of control. Outside of a trade I think a Gose/Pillar platoon gets a month to show they should keep the job.
Mike Green - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 11:45 AM EST (#294904) #
To be clear, it's not what I would do if I were a general manager.  I would be attempting to negotiate this off-season a 7 year contract with Pompey (with 1 or 2 option years) and a 5 year contract with Lawrie (with 1 or 2 option years).  If the contract negotiations are successful, you can open the season with Pompey as your every day centerfielder.  I understand the reluctance to do so because of the uncertainty with each player (for different reasons) but I feel better about both of them than I did about Vernon Wells and Eric Hinske (strange that both are CF/3B combinations).  I doubt that Anthopoulos is moving in that direction...
Hodgie - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 12:52 PM EST (#294909) #
I take the other view on Pompey and believe that the Jays want him to seize the CF job next season. If this were not the case, why send him to the AFL after already seeing playing time in A+, AA, AAA and MLB last season? I could be very wrong of course, but to me it appears they are giving him every opportunity to be in CF opening day. After all, if they were really concerned about service time why bring him up at all in 2014? It is not like he hadn't already far exceeded his expectations for the season by reaching Buffalo.
Mike Green - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 01:05 PM EST (#294910) #
After all, if they were really concerned about service time why bring him up at all in 2014? It is not like he hadn't already far exceeded his expectations for the season by reaching Buffalo.

The service time clock is not started by a September call-up because it is not necessary to add the player to the 25 man.  The club  wanted to give Pompey a taste of major league ball without any service time consequences.  This benefits the club and Pompey whether he is called to the Show on April 1 or on May 1 (by which time the club will have gained a year of protection). 
Hodgie - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 02:14 PM EST (#294914) #
Thanks Mike, I brain-cramped on the 25 man roster.
vw_fan17 - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 03:42 PM EST (#294920) #
I would be attempting to negotiate this off-season a 7 year contract with Pompey (with 1 or 2 option years) and a 5 year contract with Lawrie (with 1 or 2 option years).

I have a feeling that due to contracts like Wells, Romero, Hinske and others, the Jays will be very, VERY reluctant to do this without some kind of actual demonstration of skills. We've seen enough AAA phenoms flame out at the MLB level. Look no further than Justin Smoak..

I would be surprised if Lawrie played more than ONE "full" season (say, 140 games or more) in the next five.. And it's not like his bat is SO good that he'd be a great DH, outside of those first few months. Since then, he's been ok, but not outstanding. Half his value is his defence - but part of the value comes from playing so aggressively that he gets hurt a lot. I have a feeling that if he played less aggressively, he would get hurt less, but he also wouldn't be as valuable.
Mike Green - Monday, November 10 2014 @ 04:22 PM EST (#294922) #
The record on early contracts is mixed.  It's a judgment call.  In the particular case of Pompey, the club in 2015 has an interest in him being on the major league roster from day one to maximize chances of winning but an interest in keeping him down to gain the service time advantage.  If the club and player are fair, they can price in the service time issue in the negotiations.  To wit,  all figures for purposes of discussion, let's say the club and player agree that the anticipated salaries are (with discounts for contingencies) .5m, .5m, .5m, 3m, 5.5m, 7m, 14m.  The player has an interest in shuffling some of the $14m in the first year of free agent eligibility to the first three years of eligibility and the club can do so in exchange for a favourable option. 

Brett Lawrie is a very interesting discussion.  His BBRef comps are completely useless in describing him- players whose strengths and weaknesses aren't  really his (Gary Gaetti, Joe Foy, Edwin Encarnacion and Jim Presley).  The only player with some similarity on the list is Alex Gordon.  At this point, It's easy to imagine him being out of baseball in 5 years or being an MVP candidate like Gordon.  Will he sign for what an average player gets when entering free agency?  I have no idea, but it would make sense from a player's perspective.

Jonny German - Tuesday, November 11 2014 @ 02:34 AM EST (#294929) #
I understand the reluctance to do so because of the uncertainty with each player (for different reasons) but I feel better about both of them than I did about Vernon Wells and Eric Hinske.

Pompey's 2014 season was a lot like Wells' 1999 season. Both went from A ball to the Majors, great CF defence, speed, power. (You'll likely argue about Pompey's defence being better. I don't know much about that, but I do know that Vernon went on to win three gold gloves).

The biggest differences are that Wells was already a top prospect before the breakout season as opposed to Pompey being an afterthought, and that Wells was a full year younger.

Seems to me that in a parallel universe looking at the 2 of them side-by-side on the same time scale, placing your bet with a multi-year contract... Wells would be the safer pick.

Of course, it wasn't afer the '99 season that Wells signed his 5-year deal, it was after 2002, his first full year in the majors. And what he did in 2000 and 2001 is a cautionary tale for us in regards to our excitement about Pompey. Wells played just 33 games in the majors those 2 years and was merely "good" at AAA. Pompey may also need some time to consolidate his gains.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 11 2014 @ 02:36 AM EST (#294930) #
One more comment on Wells - Let the record show that his intial 5-year contract (January 2003) worked out very nicely. He hit .283 / .336 / .488 over the 5 years for a 112 OPS+, won 3 gold gloves and averaged 151 games per season. It was the December 2006 extension that was brutal.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 11 2014 @ 08:53 AM EST (#294931) #
I agree that Vernon Wells was a significantly better offensive prospect than Pompey at the time of the deal, and that the first Wells deal worked out well.  My only complaint about the deal is that you would have thought that management could have bought out at least 1 year of free agency at a discount in trade for putting some of the salary upfront when the risk is greatest for the player.

Pompey is a better defender, and will age much, much better in the field in my opinion.  I'll agree though that Wells would be the safer early extension candidate.  It is a judgment call; my judgment is that players with skill sets, performance markers and body types that Pompey and Lawrie possess on average do players with skill set, performance markers and body type that Wells and Hinske possessed (and those two deals ended up being essentially a wash).

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 11 2014 @ 08:58 AM EST (#294932) #
my judgment is that players with skill sets, performance markers and body types that Pompey and Lawrie possess on average do players with skill set, performance markers and body type that Wells and Hinske possessed (and those two deals ended up being essentially a wash).

Ack. There are important missing words there; it should be "my judgment is that players with skill sets, performance markers and body types that Pompey and Lawrie possess on average do better than players with skill set, performance markers and body type that Wells and Hinske possessed (and those two deals ended up being essentially a wash).

One more thing about Pompey.  I noticed him coming alive at the end of last year- he hit 6 home runs in August in Lansing and won the Gold Glove award as the best defensive centerfielder in all of minor league baseball. 
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