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First Peter Gammons, then John Heyman are reporting that the Jays are signing Russell Martin for Brian McCann money. Whatever the number that is a big pile of cash. The number now being reported is five years for $82M.

The Jays also announced Brook Jacoby as their new hitting coach.



Russell Martin is an excellent sign for the Blue Jays, particularly for the next few years. The last couple of years of the deal might not deliver value, ageing catchers usually do not deliver $17M of value. But Martins biggest contributions will be on defense. He is an excellent pitch framer, he works well with pitchers and manages the game very well from behind the plate. The Jays have little in the way of payroll commitments after next year so they can afford to carry some dead weight in those years.

So what becomes of Dioner Navarro? Is he now a backup catcher and part time DH? What of Josh Thole and RA Dickey? This might be the first of several dominos to fall.

Also Jason Heyward was just traded..... Heyward and Jordan Walden from the Braves to the Reds for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.

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CeeBee - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:18 PM EST (#295104) #
I love the Martin signing...... but I admit to not knowing the details money wise but..... hellya... I like it anyway.
greenfrog - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:18 PM EST (#295105) #
The deal is 5/82, apparently. Huge amount of cash, given Martin's age, but he is a nice upgrade for the team at catcher. With all the young pitching coming, this is a good thing. Hopefully he also brings a needed element of leadership to the club as well. 2015 is looking up.
85bluejay - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:22 PM EST (#295107) #
if 5/82 is correct, then I'm thumbs down - As I've mentioned before, it's not that Rogers isn't giving AA a substantial budget, it's the fact that he's spent it poorly - this is another example.
SK in NJ - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:23 PM EST (#295108) #
Wow, I remember a few weeks ago on one of these topics saying that I would go 5/75 for Martin. Never expected the Jays to go higher than that.

Great signing. The pitch framing and defense alone will make a huge difference.
jerjapan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST (#295109) #
I'll take it!   5 years / 75$ seemed fair to me on McCann, but if this is true, it's close enough to be a worthwhile overpay.  As many have noted, the Jays have a mediocre rep with FAs and a mediocre playing surface - so a catcher, who isn't as affected by the turf, makes sense.  Dave Cameron's article at Fangraphs, who called 5/75 the third best free agent bargain of the offseason, certainly makes me feel better about this, especially given that he's as skeptical of pitch framing numbers as I am. 

Martin immediately makes us a better team defensively, improves the pitching with his framing, improves the offence with his on base skills, and Navarro has some value in a trade.  We can market the heck out of another Canadian player, as long as he doesn't turn into a Corey Koskie pumpkin, and this signing might help us lure other FAs - Melky and a relief ace or two. 

John Northey - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST (#295110) #
Wow.  5 years $82 million.  $16.4 mil a year for a guy who is entering his age 32 season as a catcher.  I guess to get him the 5th year was needed as we all read the Cubs offered 4 years.  For once that 5 year limit worked.

A bit of fear though that there will be some years of eating contracts.  Now, some catchers have aged well (Carlton Fisk comes to mind) but of the group he is listed as 'most similar to by age' at B-R the BEST WAR from 32 on is 6.5 for former Blue Jay Benito Santiago.  Ouch.  Of course, of that most similar list only Bill Freehan had more WAR than Martin and next best was Butch Wynegar at just 25.9 vs Martin's 30.1 so far.

I'm betting on him playing a lot at 3B to start 2015 with Lawrie at 2B until Travis is ready thus a 3 catcher system.  Wouldn't be surprised if some pitchers like Navarro and will keep him while Dickey has Thole and maybe some kids get Martin as a way of mixing and matching the 3 of them.  I expect some DH time for both Navarro and Martin as well.
whiterasta80 - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:26 PM EST (#295111) #
Mark it down. Never again will I question ownerships commitment to victory. I now question AA's competency for not loading up last deadline- but it's tough to say much about rogers after this.

Greedily hoping for shields and ramirez.
85bluejay - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:26 PM EST (#295112) #
Looks like Atlanta is preparing to be contenders when their new stadium opens - if the Cards can extend Heyward, then it's a great deal for them & with Walden, maybe Martinez moves into the starting rotation.
Hodgie - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:27 PM EST (#295113) #
Reports were the Cubs were at 4/$64M on Martin. It looks like the Jays basically won the bidding with an extra year. I have no issue with the signing or the length. It may or may not work out but with his athleticism Martin is not your typical catcher and his discipline and framing skills are ones that seem to age well.
Gerry - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:31 PM EST (#295114) #
I am happy with this signing. It's not my money but really I think no significant free agent comes with a contract that is easy to digest, you have to be the highest bidder. I like it for two reasons. First Martin brings a lot to the club other than his numbers, he will add a lot to the defense and to the young pitchers. Second it brings talent into the organization and now if the Jays trade Navarro or some other hitter they add to the talent pool.
greenfrog - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:32 PM EST (#295115) #
Two factors (among others) at play I believe: (1) this front office needs to win in 2015 and (2) you have to overpay to entice quality free agents to Canada. Also, Martin was arguably the BPA and he's Canadian, which should help from a marketing perspective. The Jays have payroll flexibility going forward, so they can take the financial hit.

I like that a move of this significance comes without any loss of prospects.
John Northey - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:33 PM EST (#295116) #
So in 2015 at some point we could see 3 Canadians playing regularly between Martin, Lawrie, and Pompey.  Now the Jays need to trade for two of Votto or Justin Morneau or Michael Saunders to make it a majority lineup of Canadians :)
hypobole - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:34 PM EST (#295117) #
As I stated before, Martin was the big name FA that made the most sense. Yeah, he may get injured as he ages, but no more likely than any other park. I shudder to think how broken down a guy like Hanley could well become playing on the RC turf the next few years.
John Northey - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:43 PM EST (#295120) #
To compare winter signings of catchers to 5 year $80 mil range deals....
2013: Yankees sign McCann for ages 30-34, 117 OPS+ lifetime at time of deal, 118 the previous season, all previous years in NL.  First year in NY had a 94 OPS+ 1.8 WAR, just once over 1 for defensive bWAR in career (2008).
2014: Jays sign Martin for ages 32-36, 103 OPS+ lifetime, 136 the previous year, 2 of 9 years in AL (Yanks) where he had a 93 OPS+. Defensive bWAR over 2 each of past 2 years.

So McCann is mainly offense, Martin a mix of defense and offense.  Martin has a long standing desire to play at SS which I could see Gibbons letting him do in a blowout sometime to give Reyes a few innings off.  Lets hope his offensive jump last year wasn't a pure illusion.

Gerry - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:48 PM EST (#295121) #
And I forgot that the Jays lose a draft pick for this signing.

I also can't forget that AA and his team are under the gun to deliver a winner to save their jobs so this signing could be viewed in that light. I still like it though, playoff teams are usually strong behind the plate.
Dave Till - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:49 PM EST (#295122) #
Well, that was unexpected. I was assuming that the Jays would stand pat this offseason, thanks to the decline in the Canadian dollar.

Whether Martin will help will depend on whether he can stay healthy, and how much he will be able to help the pitchers with his pitch framing. The Pirates got noticeably better the year that he arrived in Pittsburgh, which is a good sign.

He probably won't hit .290 again, but I expect a power boost from the Rogers Centre. And having another Canadian on the roster can't hurt from a marketing perspective. I'm okay with this signing (but, of course, it's not my money).
Thomas - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:51 PM EST (#295123) #
The Jays probably won't be re-signing Melky in light of this news, so they'll at least receive a draft pick to compensate for the draft pick they lost signing Martin when he signs with someone.
85bluejay - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 12:57 PM EST (#295124) #
It's never our money, but it matters because it effects how the team we're supporting is put together - if the jays have a 160m budget, then I'm okay with the deal, if the budget is not going up substantially, then it's money I think is poorly spent - I think Reyes & Buehrle are good players, but their contracts are poor value
Moe - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:00 PM EST (#295126) #
Not a fan. Too many dollars at the tail end of Martin's career. This is all about 2015/2016 and the type of deal that happens when the GM is worried about his job. While I might get over the dollars (have to spend money somewhere), the loss of the 18th draft pick makes it too high of a price to pay, imo.
China fan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:01 PM EST (#295127) #
I like it a lot.  It's an upgrade in the Jays talent level, as Gerry noted, and it improves the defense and pitch framing, and it helps to replace Cabrera's bat.  I think it also helps to boost attendance and TV ratings, which generates revenue which could be plowed back into the payroll in future years. It also creates lots of options for further upgrades and acquisitions, whether AA decides to keep Navarro and Thole or not.    Anthopoulos is clearly not finished, so let's see the rest of the moves now.  He'll probably still acquire an OF and some relievers, and maybe still a 2B.

joeblow - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:01 PM EST (#295128) #
I'm a little disappointed in this signing but I can see where AA is coming from. This is definitely a new phase of the ballclub. They have a lot of young, cheap, controllable pieces, especially in the starting rotation. Now it's time to build strength on the field. The corners are in decent shape but up the middle has been a glaring weakness defensively and offensively for several seasons. At least the defense looks good now and there is upside on offense.

Two holes remaining are the closer and a big bat to protect Jose and EE.

As for Brook Jacoby, who knows. He did hit 32 HR once. Time to read up on history as I'm sure we're going to hear all kinds of stories about him and the Indians. Isn't that right Pat? http://didthetribewinlastnight.com/blog/2014/07/25/carter-and-niekro-reflect-on-indians-and-dreadful-1987-season/
whiterasta80 - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:05 PM EST (#295129) #
We could always let Melky go and sign an OF of equivalent stature (maybe Markakis)? That way we'd minimize the pick impact. Elite free agents often get signed in bunches to minimize the loss of picks (see Yankees last offseason).
John Northey - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:06 PM EST (#295130) #
I suspect Martin will be lower this year, then up for years 2-5 due to Buehrle coming off the books post 2015 (unless resigned of course).  In 2016 only Reyes & Martin are guaranteed significant dollars right now, although it is safe to assume Bautista & Encarnacion's options will be picked up as will Dickey's most likely.  Estrada & Navarro are free agents post 2015 while Izturis and Romero both come off the books ($1.6 mil to close their deals, saving $9.15 mil vs 2015's budget factoring that in). 

If Navarro is traded to free up roster/salary then that clears $5 mil.  I think Francisco is toast now 100% as Martin can cover 3B so that saves $2.2 roughly (BR estimate of his salary).  Not hard for the Jays to clear space to cover Martin this year and next if you do a bit of digging.  If the Jays at that point haven't reached the playoffs then AA doesn't have to worry about Martins year 3-5 I suspect.
Gerry - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:12 PM EST (#295131) #
One additional comment. There are no measures to value a catchers ability to call pitches and navigate a pitcher through a game or an inning. In Toronto we haven't had an above average catcher like that in many years, certainly JP Arencibia or Dioner Navarro are not that player. But in my opinion Russell Martin is and that's why I am OK giving him that big contract.
Ryan C - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:17 PM EST (#295132) #
I like Martin and don't the money or term. Good deal.

I however, don't understand the "why". Navarro was more than fine, and Martin doesn't play 2B or LF. So I'm not sure I get it.
China fan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:22 PM EST (#295133) #
Another big advantage of Martin is his ability to control the running game.  He threw out 39% of attempted stealers in 2014 (third-best in the majors).  That's a huge improvement over Navarro, who threw out 21% of runners.

Jeff Blair has tweeted that Martin has been promised solely a catching role in 2015.  He won't be playing much (if anything) at 3rd base.  This means that the Jays need a backup for just 40 to 60 games a year, which might not be enough to justify Navarro's presence, especially if Thole must be kept as Dickey's catcher.   And looking at Navarro's hitting numbers, he doesn't look quite good enough to be the DH.  He has greater trade value as a catcher.  So, trade Navarro and find a big-hitting DH to slot in behind Bautista and Encarnacion in the lineup.   (Martin seems likely to hit 2nd in the lineup, with his great OBP, replacing Cabrera.)

soupman - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:26 PM EST (#295134) #
i have mixed feelings as most appear to. but at this stage in the game, hope outweighs anything on the other side of the ledger.

one thing i would add, is that with martin, the jays now have a good receiver to mentor the young catchers when they start banging the door in couple years. that might be another reason to like this.
China fan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:36 PM EST (#295135) #
Now let's step back and look at the bigger picture of what this signifies about the Jays as an organization and Rogers as the owners.  I was one of many fans who expressed a lot of skepticism about Rogers, and frustration at their apparent unwillingness to spend.  Much of that concern was alleviated when Rogers agreed to take on big payroll commitments to Reyes and Buehrle.  But a lot of us were worried that it was a one-time fluke.  A lot of us worried about "payroll parameters" and penny-pinching moves and other possible signs that the payroll had been frozen -- especially when the players seemed to be "passing the hat" to raise money for Santana last year.  The big news from the Russell Martin signing is that Rogers is willing to spend.  The off-season has barely begun, but it's clear that Rogers has been willing to accept big new payroll obligations (and financial risks) in two of the past three years.  Let me repeat that:  two-thirds of the past three seasons have seen the owners accepting big payroll commitments.  That's a very positive sign for the future of this team.  It doesn't guarantee the playoffs, but it really helps.  It doesn't guarantee that Martin is the answer, and there's always the risk that he'll be a bust.  But the owners are willing to take that risk, and willing to spend the money, and it's a good sign.
adrianveidt - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:37 PM EST (#295136) #
Maybe they'll now get rid of some of the pricier vets on the roster and try to get more bang for the buck.
jerjapan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:51 PM EST (#295137) #
I could easily see another comp-pick FA coming to TO in light of this deal.  a guy like Liriano, who might have taken the QO, could end up here at a reasonable price - think the Cuddyer deal.  the major cost for the Mets in that was the pick, not money.  Ervin Santana or, in a stretch, Pablo Sandoval?

Headly was traded mid season, so that negates the comp pick i someone signs him, I believe?  David Cameron had him as his number 1 value free agent for this offseasion, but he won't be cheap.

Huge deal for the Cardinals. 

85bluejay - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:56 PM EST (#295138) #
with Javier Baez slated to occupy 2b, I wonder what it would take to get Arismendy Alcantara out of Chicago?
hypobole - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 01:56 PM EST (#295139) #
One more potential advantage to signing Martin, and signing him early. AA should be looking at FA relief pitching - actually I'm positive he's at least looking. You don't think having Martin in the fold isn't going to be a selling point? There are better parks to pitch in, but few receivers as good as Martin to pitch to.
Lylemcr - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:09 PM EST (#295140) #

Hardly ever do Free agent signings of this size pay off.  At least it is only 5 years.  But...  I do like it.  EE and Bautista are not getting any younger. 

Next...  When can we get Votto for 1st?  :)

Go Team Canada!

China fan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:10 PM EST (#295141) #
"....AA should be looking at FA relief pitching...."

You're right.  Latest tweets today say the Jays are "very aggressively" pursuing Andrew Miller.   He'd be a good fit.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:21 PM EST (#295142) #
This is the kind of ridiculous overpay that is unfortunately necessary to attract someone to play in Toronto. Martin was the perfect target in that regard - a guy with one shot at a big payday, exactly like BJ Ryan.
PeterG - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:31 PM EST (#295143) #
Jays said to be still in on both Miller and Lester.....from Blair and supposedly rival GM's
Mylegacy - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:47 PM EST (#295144) #
The reason I LOVE this pick-up is because of Martin's receiving and defensive play.

Here are 13 reasons over the next 5 years why this is a GREAT move: Stroman. Sanchez, Hutchison, Norris, Osuna, Graveman, Hoffman, Castro, Nolin, Labour, Reid-Foley, Smoral, etc.
rpriske - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:48 PM EST (#295145) #
Upgrade at two positions? Sounds good to me!

Now, if they could only sign Sandoval and upgrade at two positions again...

Impossibles - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:49 PM EST (#295146) #
When you've signed a free agent, you've overpaid by definition because you've paid more than anybody else would.

I love this signing mainly because I think it's going to have a positive impact on the culture of the Jays. There can't be any more questions about the team's commitment to winning.
PeterG - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:50 PM EST (#295147) #
Jacoby saying that he does not want hitters to alter swing against shift but they can bunt,
blarry - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 02:59 PM EST (#295148) #
Now that's what I'd call a master job of pitch framing.
Rich - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 03:11 PM EST (#295149) #
I love the signing.  No, he almost certainly be worth what they're paying him in years 4 and 5 but I don't care.  This is a decent ballclub that needs upgrades right now and Martin is unquestionably an improvement.  I too have been very skeptical about Rogers' commitment to more than their bottom line (despite AA's 2013 offseason spree) but this shows they are more invested in the team's success than they have shown since then.

As a fan, you really can't have it both ways.  If it's important that your team never, even overpay for any player then you're probably going to see holes remain filled by below average players for years.  Although big-ticket free agency isn't always the answer, there are times when it makes sense to take the plunge and not worry too much about the cost.  I see a good team doing this to try and move to the next level as one of the optimal times to pull the trigger.

short - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 03:13 PM EST (#295150) #
I believe the 40 man is now full. I expect more roster movement before Thursday's Rule 5 deadline.
christaylor - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 04:02 PM EST (#295152) #
This is probably an awful move. I would bet that in a couple of years some one will use the names Wells and Martin in the same sentence and not in a good way.

However if this means Rogers is opening the wallet and we see another couple of signings, there's no reason to not be ok with move. But if this is all the team is going to spend this winter... ugh.
soupman - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 04:33 PM EST (#295153) #
i disagree for a few reasons: wells was an extension, so it was looking bad before the contract even kicked in. the contract got moved, so it never really hamstrung the team, and since it facilitated the exit of the worst GM in jays (if not Toronto sports in general) history, i'm okay with it. this deal is for 5 years, and if it crashes and burns tomorrow, it's still the only contract on the books after next year, and at 16 million, it's hardly the worst out there.
hypobole - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 04:35 PM EST (#295154) #
For those who feel we should have spent our money elsewhere, what FA's besides possibly Melky would want to play here?
JB21 - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 04:48 PM EST (#295155) #
Fangraphs likes the move. I voted that I like the move. Obviously I hope there are a couple more coming but with the AL East still lighter than in years past and with Joey and EE still hitting it seems smart to make a move like this now. You have to think the players will be pretty fired up as well.


http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/blue-jays-commit-to-playoff-race-sign-russell-martin/
MatO - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 04:50 PM EST (#295156) #
Terrible contract but most free-agent signings are. I wonder if Rogers is not going to throw more money at the Blue Jays. They're bleeding subscribers and there's a feeling out there that only live sports is something that doesn't PVR well and thus draws advertisers. With the Blue Jays they have 500 hours of live prime time programming that almost perfectly fits in with their other major property, the NHL, which they threw a ton of money at to get. A winning baseball team could pay big dividends for them.
soupman - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 04:56 PM EST (#295157) #
whoa - just looked up Dustin McGowan's #s from last year. His home/road splits are scary:
Skyhome: .338/.394/.591; 35.1 IP; ERA:6.62; 1.868
Road:.173/.266/.296; 46.2 IP; ERA: 1.74;1.007

Small sample, but the trend continues back to 2013 fwiw.
Mylegacy - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:00 PM EST (#295158) #
Cable is getting close to being a thing kids will say their fathers had. As to watching sports - live... I haven't watched a live TV show - other than news - in over three years. I tape EVERYTHING including the Jay's games - and with the Jay's games I start to watch the tape at least one hour after the game has started - so, after forwarding through the commercials - I end up being more or less live when the game is in the ninth inning or so.
Landomar - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:05 PM EST (#295159) #
What an absurd overpay. We just created an even worse albatross than the current Jose Reyes contract. Back when Russel Martin was getting signed to reasonable 2 year deals, it made sense to get him (and trade Arencibia), but not now.
Saskatchewan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:13 PM EST (#295160) #
I really like this deal. I like what it does (hopefully) for the clubhouse environment; 1) he is a solid veteran presence, 2) the message to the players is that management is interested in winning. I am also liking this in part with the thought that management is not yet finished. The time is now in order to capitalize on EE and Bautista especially.

As to watching games, I don't watch anything live. Between chores on the farm and little kids needing my attention, I much prefer to set the PVR and come back when I can pay attention, and avoid the repition of commercials.
dan gordon - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:17 PM EST (#295161) #
I'm hearing that the Jays decided they weren't going to be able to resign Cabrera, so this is what they decided to do with the money instead. Now we'll see what they intend to do with Navarro - if they trade him, how much market value does he have, or are they thinking of him as a DH/backup catcher? Was relieved to hear they intend for Martin to be the regular catcher, none of this part time 3rd base nonsense. A large portion of his value is his defense as a catcher. Would make no sense to pay him this much to play 3rd base.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other on the Martin signing. If it's money that otherwise wouldn't be spent, great. If they were going to spend it anyway, and it's all they have to spend in the free agent market, could it have been better allocated? One opinion I heard today is that the team feels Martin replaces Cabrera's bat, and they are going to spend on some pitching help, while going with the kids in CF and LF. Heard Lester's name mentioned as a possible addition. So maybe the team scores a bit less, allows fewer runs.

Interesting deal between Atlanta and St.Louis. Heyward has been going nowhere with the bat since his first year, 5 seasons back. On the other hand, he was called up very young, and is only 25 next year. Miller slid back a bit after a great rookie season. Hard to evaluate that deal until we see a bit more from each of them. Gutsy move, though.

Interesting post season so far. More to come.
SK in NJ - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:22 PM EST (#295162) #
I think Martin is going to look worse to many people once his offense regresses next season, but keep in mind in 2013 he hit .226/.327/.377 and still produced a 4.1 WAR (and that was without factoring framing). His value is almost entirely on defense/framing and being a league average hitter. So as long as people don't freak out about his offense, he'll likely be worth the contract.

Martin is going to make a huge difference on the pitching staff. Having an elite framer and defensive catcher behind the plate should help everyone on the staff, including the young starters coming up.

I like the deal. It's free agency. Free agents get overpaid. The important thing is the team still has all its prospects and can still make other moves.

Great deal by AA.
scottt - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:45 PM EST (#295163) #
I like it. The cost is overblown. Russell Martin will bring extra revenues. I listen to the news in French on the radio and they used to cover the Yankees and the Pirates rather than the Blue Jays. Well, no more of that.



China fan - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:46 PM EST (#295164) #
"....We just created an even worse albatross than the current Jose Reyes contract...."

Yes, the Reyes contract is such an albatross that it completely prevented the Jays from finding $82-million for the costliest free-agent acquisition in team history.
AWeb - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 05:47 PM EST (#295166) #
Love the signing. The annual amount just isn't that much in the current environment, far short of hurting the team longterm barring a currency or MLB revenue collapse (and we'll have other concerns if that happens). Go for it in 2015 - why not?
Spifficus - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 06:34 PM EST (#295168) #
I'm also a fan of the trade, for the player acquired, what he can do for the pitching staff getting the low strike, for freeing up a good asset to trade (Navarro), and that it hopefully signals last year as merely a bit of a consolidation year budget-wise.
92-93 - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 06:52 PM EST (#295169) #
The way I feel about this signing is similar to how I felt after the trade with the Marlins - ecstatic that the Jays got better for next year, but well aware of the cost of doing so. Most of the potentially negative aspects of the contract have been discussed in this thread already, so there's no reason to dwell on them. If the Jays only paid one extra year and 500k AAV to bring Martin here then you should probably like the deal unless you think as a blanket rule your MLB team shouldn't sign top-tier FAs (especially with the Toronto premium, which would be an understandable position in a market that can't throw money at mistakes). If the alternative was a 5 year deal for Melky Cabrera I think AA made the right choice, but it will be interesting to see what Pablo Sandoval ends up getting. I wonder if AA either doesn't like Sandoval or already has a good idea that he's priced out of that market.

SK in NJ makes an interesting point about the fans freaking out about Martin's offense, and I think it's almost inevitable that it happens; Martin will not hit like fans are trained to think a 16m hitter should. From 2010 through 2013 his line reads .229/.326/.382. Normally I'd say fans understand catchers have lower offensive expectations, but it's different when he's a big ticket FA and not a Navarro type of catcher. I hope he gets off to a fast and healthy start so the fan base can be regaled with tales of the Martin's defensive prowess from the likes of Griffin and Elliott, who will be certain to jump on the Canadian bandwagon if there's anything rosy to portray early on.

I keep seeing Andrew Miller's name thrown around, but do people here really want to see the team give a reliever a 4 year deal when we are freaking out over giving Russell Martin a 5 year deal? Fungible bullpens and all that stuff.
ayjackson - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 06:57 PM EST (#295170) #
I don' know, the 2yr-$45m contract we gave to BJ Ryan worked out okay.
greenfrog - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 07:23 PM EST (#295171) #
I like the way the Martin signing sets the Jays up defensively. Assuming the team is stuck with Reyes at SS for the time being, it will have to look to other positions for defensive upgrades. With Martin behind the dish and Pompey in center (if not in April, then perhaps by June or so), the team should get a nice boost on D. And with EE potentially taking over as the DH and Melky likely gone, the team might also end up being stronger defensively at 1B and in LF.
McNulty - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 08:18 PM EST (#295172) #
Well, I guess my post 18 hours ago turned out to have some truth to it.

Here goes another one. Troy Tulowitzski and Carlos Gonzalez are reportedly being floated out there. With the Martin signing, seems the Jays are again going for broke (a la the 2012 off-season). I suspect with the young pitching the Jays have managed to stack up, that perhaps we are on the cusp of another Marlins/Jays style swap, with the Jays possibly throwing in some ML talent to make it work. Once again, it's a move that just makes too much sense. You don't overpay for Martin if you aren't prepared to make other moves for the immediate future.

PeteMoss - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 08:21 PM EST (#295173) #
A good article on Martin's defense here (this is from before last season)

http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/1/5/5270518/russell-martin-and-defending-catcher-war-wins-above-replacement
Sherrystar - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 08:59 PM EST (#295174) #
This made me smile on a cold snowy day in Toronto. The question I'm sure everyone is asking now is: what's next AA?
dan gordon - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 10:36 PM EST (#295175) #
No doubt a lot of people will label Martin a bust when he doesn't hit like he did in 2014. Over the last 3 years, Navarro actually has a better OPS than Martin, .760 vs. .747. It will be interesting to see if the fans and Toronto media will truly appreciate the defense and realize that a big part of the contract is for that aspect of Martin's game.

Last year's .832 was Martin's first OPS over .732 in the last 6 seasons. It will be interesting to see if he regresses completely, or if he can retain some of what he did last year. He's kind of had an inverse curve to his hitting, which is extremely unusual. Most players improve until about age 26, 27, when they reach a peak that they maintain for a few years before starting to decline past age 30. Martin had great offensive years at age 23, 24, 25, much weaker seasons in what would be his "prime" of 26 to 30, and then another great offensive season at age 31. Where does he go from here? Any reasonable comps for that kind of reverse performance curve?
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 17 2014 @ 11:37 PM EST (#295177) #
I love the signings, both of them. Some people complain/don't like it when A.A. does nothing, then they complain about A.A. doing something. I've yet to hear a reasonable defense to either position.

The offseason is barely 3 week old. It has another 12 or more weeks to go. A.A. needs to do the next thing within a week, because the Martin signing was a big domino falling. Things might start picking up. The Jays just announced they are players in this offseason. Lester anyone, 5 years $125.0 MM -$130.0MM plus two option years at $26.0 MM each, $10.0 MM buyout each year.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:22 AM EST (#295178) #
I have to say I'm a fan of this move. It seems every year his walk rate, k rates and ISO are fairly consistently good. He'll take walks, makes contact and will hit the ball hard. The only thing that seems to alternate him from league average hitter to star hitter is the years where his BAIP is above league average.

Seeing how BAIP involves a lot of luck I think its fair to say he'll probably have years where he's hits very pedestrian and a few years he hits like a star player, but I'm just glad his defence, pitch framing and game calling will be very consistent.

His floor is very high because of his defense and his ceiling is still there. It seems unlikely that the bottom will ever fall completely out Martins game while he is here.
China fan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:06 AM EST (#295179) #
"....the likes of Griffin and Elliott, who will be certain to jump on the Canadian bandwagon...."

It's actually a great Canadian story:  fully one-third of the starting 9 hitters will be Canadian (assuming Pompey becomes the starting CF).  I don't think those 3 players were acquired because of their nationality, but there's nothing wrong with the Jays using it as a marketing tool.  I can already see the TV spots with Martin/Lawrie/Pompey urging Canadians to support the team -- and Martin even speaking a few words of French.  If it helps to sell tickets and boost TV ratings, that's a good thing.  It improves revenue, creates media buzz, gets the fans talking....  All quite helpful for the future of the franchise and potential increases in the payroll in the future.  The Canadian connection might seem like a complete non-issue to skeptical Bauxites and hardcore baseball aficionados, but it helps with the casual fans, who are still a big part of the revenue chain.
China fan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:38 AM EST (#295180) #
Looking through the analytical reactions from Blue Jays beat reporters today, there are a couple of interesting comments.  Richard Griffin suggests that the Jays might keep 3 catchers (Martin, Navarro, Thole) on the 25-man roster, partly because Gibbons likes the flexibility of having 3 catchers -- as he did successfully for quite a few games in 2014, with Kratz on the roster.  Having 3 catchers would make it much easier to use Navarro as the DH too (due to those restrictive rules about in-game DH substitutions).  In this scenario, I guess, Navarro would be one of several players rotating through the DH slot, along with Encarnacion, Bautista, Reyes etc, so the presence of a 3rd catcher wouldn't necessarily reduce the size of the Jays bench.   The key question, in my view, is whether Navarro hits well enough to play a substantial number of games at DH.  Some people have noted that Navarro posted a .765 OPS as a DH last season, but that was a relatively small sample (just 79 plate appearances).  Overall his OPS last season was .712 (although it rises to .760 if you total his last 3 seasons together).  It's not bad -- around middle-of-the-pack for the league's DHs last season if you assume that Navarro can duplicate the .760 number in 2015 -- but it's a steep decline from Lind's numbers in 2014, so it would perhaps weaken the Jays offensive numbers next season, unless the other rotating DHs can improve the overall output.

In another analytical piece, Shi Davidi portrays the Martin acquisition as just the first in a series of moves by Anthopoulos over the next couple of months.  (I think he's right about that.)  He speculates that Navarro could possibly be traded (or packaged) to the Cubs for Luis Valbuena, who would solve the 2B/3B issue.  Interesting suggestion.  By the way, for all the fans who moan (correctly) about the loss of Yan Gomes, what about the loss of Valbuena, who was obtained by the Jays in November 2011 and then dumped onto the waiver wire in April 2012 and lost to the Cubs.  Although he was mediocre for the Cubs in 2012, he has posted a .748 OPS over the past two seasons, which would have been a major upgrade at 2B for the Jays if they'd kept him.

Jonny German - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 06:31 AM EST (#295181) #
I'm a fan of this signing. Like pretty much every one I expect it to feel expensive by the last year or three, but it's the price of doing business. Choosing to pass every time is a recipe for mediocrity.

I think it's a given that Anthopolous isn't done yet. Martin is a very nice addition, but net offence is still down a lot with the departures of Cabrera, Lind, and Rasmus.

I'm okay with trading Navarro if he's got good value on the market, and I'd also be happy to have him stick around as the backup catcher and DH vs lefties. But the idea of carrying 3 catchers is terrible, particularly for a team with so many other imperfect parts. The knuckleball is not a magical beast that only a select few can handle. R.A. Dickey does not need to occupy 2 roster spots.
China fan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 06:48 AM EST (#295182) #
But keeping 3 catchers would not be purely because of Dickey.  It would also be because of the DH rule.  If you want Navarro to be the part-time DH, he can't also be the back-up catcher in that same game.  Or he can, but it could handicap the lineup.
smcs - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:07 AM EST (#295183) #
I'm pretty sure the Jays carried 3 catchers a few times during Gibbons' first stint, with Molina, Zaun and Phillips in 2006, and some combination of Zaun, Phillips, Thigpen and Fasano in 2007, so it isn't just something to do with Dickey.
China fan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:15 AM EST (#295184) #
Gibbons likes to have 3 catchers.  And, compared to the 3-catcher arrangement last season, Navarro is a definite upgrade on Kratz.   I just wish Thole was a better hitter -- or I wish Martin could catch the knuckle-ball.  There was some commentary on Twitter yesterday that Martin had occasionally caught the knuckle-baller Charlie Haeger for the Dodgers in 2009-10 but I don't think it happened very often or very successfully.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:16 AM EST (#295185) #
Fear of losing the DH is ridiculously overblown (whether it be Gibbons who has the fear or conventional baseball wisdom or just fans talking on the internet). The worst-case scenario has a pitcher batting in 1, max 2 plate appearances. How much does that cost the team in terms of expected wins?
Thomas - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:32 AM EST (#295186) #
I think Martin only caught Haegar about four times, so I'm not at all convinced that he has the experience or skill behind the plate with the knuckleball to be Dickey's catcher.

I like this move in a lot of ways and I think the value of Martin's defence is unlikely to deteriorate the same way his (or any aging player's) offensive abilities may. It's a better use of resources than committing a fourth year to Melky to convince him to comeback (on a somewhat baseless assumption he may have got a 3-year offer from another team with a higher AAV). Of course the last couple of years of the deal may be ugly, but that's the case with basically any big name free agent signing and Martin's athleticism suggests he may not be limited to 1B/DH in the last couple of years of his deal. I'd rather Rogers spent the money than didn't spend the money and Martin seems a relatively good use of the money given the available names on the market.

I do think the Canadian angle is overblown, but on that front it's not inconceivable there could be a fourth Canadian on the team. Seattle has indicated pretty publicly they'll be dealing Saunders this year and he could help the team's outfield situation. Seattle's catcher of the future is Mike Zunino, but they didn't have a good backup and they also have a hole at DH.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:59 AM EST (#295187) #
Count me in as in favour of the signing.

The Jays are a better team right now than they were yesterday. Martin is a pretty big upgrade on the C position if you believe the defensive stats, and is not a bad hitter either. Also, if there is anything to the intangibles/leadership/experience/clubhouse dynamic thing, then Martin seems to be a win there as well.

It seems like a lot of money, but Rogers can certainly afford it. What's most encouraging is that this indicates they are willing to spend money, and the payroll, if it was frozen last off season like it seemed, is certainly unfrozen again.

It's early in the offseason and that's already three pretty signicant moves. I think more are coming. Buckle up.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 08:42 AM EST (#295188) #
Checking B-R they say the Jays payroll the past 3 years was $82.4 mil, $124.5 mil, and $136.5 mil.  So every year of the past 3 it has climbed, just not by as much as we hoped last winter.  Following that trend a $145-150 mil payroll seems to be a reasonable expectation for 2015.  If so, then the Jays currently have $128 mil covered pre-Martin (again, BR estimates including arbitration estimates), so up to $145 mil now.  So to make more improvements they need to clear out some payroll, depending on how the team factors in buyouts ($2.25 mil for Morrow/McGowan/Santos) and Romero ($7.5 mil).  Francisco will probably be cut ($2.2 mil) and Navarro traded ($5 mil) with Happ a high possibility of being traded ($6.7 mil).  Combined that opens about $14 mil from trades and likely $2.25 from buyouts counting against 2014's budget. I suspect Romero is counted against the 2015 budget still.

So bottom line?  The Jays should have between $7.25 mil and $21.25 mil to spend if they have a $150 mil budget (or as little as $2.25 mil if it is $145 mil with no trades/non-tenders) and are willing to trade/non-tender the 3 listed.  So not enough to get Lester/Scherzer/Shields/Ramirez but enough for pretty much anyone else on the market.  Of course, that doesn't factor in how Martin's contract is structured which could open up as much as $10 mil more this year.
Gerry - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 09:07 AM EST (#295189) #
I think Gibbons likes to have 3 catchers when one of them is Josh Thole and when your bench is not optimal. If Thole was off the team I think Gibbons would be OK with two catchers. In general three catchers is not a good idea when you are carrying 12 pitchers.
85bluejay - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 09:07 AM EST (#295190) #
I understand the Martin signing - desperate F.O & the closing window for the Bautista, EE, Dickey & Buehrle contracts - but for 82.5 mil plus the 18th pick, I probably would have preferred something like this - build a package around Sean Nolin for Hank Conger, a good defensive catcher & pitch framer, offer 4 yrs. to Chase Headley , 2 yrs (maybe plus an option) to Nori Aoki - would have an upgraded defense at catcher, infield & LF plus some offensive upside - of course, those players may not be interested in coming to here - my biggest fear with the Martin deal is that like the Mariners last year, the jays follow up the big splash with fringe additions.

I am thinking,that Yan Gomes trade cost the jays 82.5m plus a draft pick - I hope somebody got fired.

last year a desperate Jack Zduriencik gave Cano 10/240 and got an extension out of it & he will be long gone before that contract becomes an albatross for the next GM - AA must be taking notes.

Given the tack record of this front office with relievers - Francisco,Rauch,Cordero,Santos,lincoln,Rogers etc. - I'm going to be taking a "show me" approach to any relievers this FO acquires.

It's amazing, AA has acquired Dickey/Johnson/Buehrle/Reyes and now Martin - all on the wrong side of the age curve while paying premium prices - the "ninja" has certainly changed his stripes.



Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 09:29 AM EST (#295191) #
Prior to this trade, a big question was, if Navarro's hurt who's your Starting Catcher? Anything more than, no one, is not that accurate. Right now I like Ochinko better than Jimenez.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:11 AM EST (#295193) #
Starting the 2015/2016 Offseason, Buehrle, Happ, Izturis (option year), Navarro, Thole and Romero (option year) are Free Agents saving Toronto $42.95 MM in Salaries. In addition, Bautista, Encarnacion and Dickey have options worth another $36.0 MM in possible savings. Both sums are serious coin in potential savings.

I think what A.A. has to spend this Offseason no longer matters. As along as they don't pay Luxury Tax this year, cost is not relevant; they're going to the World Series. Both A.A. and Beeston should be one year contracts so there's assurances for management here, succeed or walk.

By not re-signing Melky, he regains an early Draft Pick (early 30's) after losing one (18th). I don't think any further acquisitions will cost that unless it really matters who is signed. That said, Lester, Markakis, Aoki are useful pieces without a Qualifying Offer. Just have to see what A.A. does next.
China fan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:35 AM EST (#295194) #
".....The worst-case scenario has a pitcher batting in 1, max 2 plate appearances. How much does that cost the team in terms of expected wins?....."

But when I suggested that Tolleson could play the outfield for one or two innings, you thought that was ridiculous too.  So Tolleson can't backup the outfield for a couple of innings, but a pitcher can hit for a few innings with no problems?  Giving away automatic outs?

Anyway the worst-case scenario is not a few outs being made by the pitcher.  The worst-case scenario is the pitcher getting a serious injury at the plate or on the bases.
jerjapan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:39 AM EST (#295195) #
85bluejay, not to pick on you because many share your POV, but I really, really don't understand this relentless AA bashing.  do you have any evidence whatsoever that this front office is 'desperate'?  revenues are up, the farm team is on the upswing, we've got a solid window of playoff contention remaining - 2 years with the Dickey, EE and Bautista options.  as Richard notes, lots of money comes off the books next year, with only the Reyes contract looking bad long-term. 

'desperation' is cited way to often as a motivating factor for unpopular managerial decisions.  we don't really get many posters talking about the value of veteran leadership or clubhouse intangibles - because they are unmeasurable.  so why play amateur psychologist as if we have any idea that the front office is desperate, or what (measurable) impact a desperate front office has on personnel decisions. 

I am thinking,that Yan Gomes trade cost the jays 82.5m plus a draft pick - I hope somebody got fired.
 

Can we agree to a moratorium on complaining about this deal?  Or at least unless the poster can go back and demonstrate that they a) knew Gomes was an underrated prospect and b) called the trade a bad deal at the time.  on the box it was considered a minor deal and Gomes was not considered a prospect - it was just unlucky that he turned from fringe talent into a big time contributor.  Kind of like Jose and EE did for us.  




soupman - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:45 AM EST (#295196) #
dan gordon is the only person here who was strongly pro-gomes at the time of the trade, at least in the thread about it. so, i'm not sure why this continues to come up. teams miss all the time. who failed to scout trout correctly? who, on other teams, failed to recognize encarnacion would become what he is now when he was freely available? misses will happen, it's life, learn from them and make sure the same thing doesn't happen in the future. that's all you can do.
Gerry - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:50 AM EST (#295197) #
The Martin deal is backloaded, annual costs are: 7M, 15M, 20M, 20M, 20M.

On one hand this gives the Jays more money to spend in 2015 to help the roster. On the other hand its a dangerous game to play, as it limits you in the future. The Jays need some of the kids to develop to help keep the salary costs down.

You can see AA is under the gun with this deal. He gives himself more room in 2015 with the bill coming later. If the Jays lose he will be gone and won't have to deal with it, if they win the goodwill and increased fan support and ticket sales will get him through.
CeeBee - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:52 AM EST (#295198) #
Seems like a good risk for AA to take IMO. Like all deals, time will tell whether it turns out great, good, bad or ugly.
eudaimon - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:59 AM EST (#295199) #
I think it's good that it's backloaded, given that the Blue Jays will be done with some bigger contracts by then (ie: Romero) and (hopefully!) there will be a lot of young, cheap players to replace them with. Also gives us more money to get another piece this year
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:01 AM EST (#295200) #
I'm happy the Jays are bringing Martin on board. I'm not happy the deal is so heavily backloaded, as it will make roster construction (or trading Martin, if necessary) that much more difficult down the road.

I guess you could look at it in a more positive light, namely, that the extra flexibility in 2015 should allow the Jays to make some further moves they would otherwise have been unable to make.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:02 AM EST (#295201) #

You have to pay to get free agents.  They are not really free.

Having a good catcher is so important.  Do I have to remind everyone of the JPA years?

I know we will regret it in the fifth year, but it is only 5 years.  The good news is that we won't be paying for Bautista or EE either at that time (Sarcasm).

China fan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:04 AM EST (#295202) #
I agree that the back-loading of the contract is a good thing.  By the final years of the Martin contract, the Jays won't be paying Reyes, Buehrle or Romero.  They'll have a lot more flexibility by then.   In the meantime, it means that the Jays have another $12-million to $20-million to play with in 2015.  So they can acquire another free agent, or trade for a player with a high salary.  Heck, if the free-agent salaries are similarly back-loaded with only $7-million in the first year, the Jays could still acquire two more free agents this year.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:12 AM EST (#295203) #
The backloading of Martin's deal is a surprise as it's seldom done to this extreme by the Jays, at least not that I remember. It's significance is could be massive. A.A. might be planning major acquisitions this offseason and needs maximum room to work. It also means there could be lot more to be done. That's interesting.
uglyone - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:16 AM EST (#295204) #
Hard to evaluate this move in isolation, but if we're reading the tea leaves it looks good.

Last year was a weird year. We had excellent offense and very good starting pitching, but had utterly crappy defense and relief pitching.

Now I've been told over and over again that defense and bullpen shouldn't be where you spend money, but it's hard to look at last year and think we should be spending money anywhere else.

And Martin sure is a massive upgrade defensively. He'd be a massive upgrade defensively even if we ignore pitch framing. If we don't ignore it, then he becomes a massively massive upgrade defensively.

Of course Martin isn't any upgrade over Navarro offensively, other than being a bit more OBP-friendly and not as much of a base clogger. They're both slightly above league average hitters for the most part, but with Martin that comes with super-elite defense at a super-important defensive position.

This deal isn't a bargain by any means, but his defense will always earn most of this salary, even if the bat declines. For a free agent signing - and a top free agent, early in free agent season no less - this is not the kind of grit-your-teeth expenditure that you'd expect.

And together with a lack of urgency to sign defense-challenged Melky, trading away Lind, and a seeming willingness to look at guys like Pompey/Pillar/Travis who would likely be nice defensive upgrades as long as they can hold their own with the bat, it seems like AA is serious about upgrading the defense.

But there has to be more coming to really make this a good signing.

Right now we're down Melky's and Lind's bat and that will hurt our offense as much as any current defensive upgrade will help.


Where AA should be looking to fiddle with his roster IMO is to try and use these guys to land cheap guys at positions of need like relievers and maybe a non-platoon LF/1B bat. Right now we have quite a bit of money (~$30m) potentially committed to depth / part time guys:

Happ $6.7
Navarro $5.0
Estrada ~$4.7
Izturis $3.0
Smoak ~$3.0
Francisco ~$2.2
Mayberry ~$1.9
Valencia ~$1.7
Dirks ~$1.6

Most of these guys are somewhat useful, and we don't have to trade all of them, but packaging some of them away for some help elsewhere is what AA should be prioritizing right now IMO.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:28 AM EST (#295205) #
Some are calling this a 'massive' backload.  The average annual value is $16.4 mil so in the last 3 years the Jays pay an extra $3.6 mil vs a perfectly balanced approach, or less than Izturis will cost this year ($3 mil plus $1 mil buyout).  That is hardly a killer or as crazy as the Mets still paying Bobby Bonilla $1.2 mil a year until 2036.

I don't see that $3.6 mil extra in 2017-2019 being any issue.  If the end year was, say, $30 mil then it would be an issue.
uglyone - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:46 AM EST (#295206) #
yeah I don't get why anyone would complain about backloading the deal - this was the obvious move this offseason.

We've built a nice advantage for ourselves with very little committed payroll longterm - using backloading to land big free agents without blowing up this year's payroll is a no-brainer.
Gerry - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:08 PM EST (#295207) #
Postponing paying for a consumable, which is what a player is, is not usually the best course. What AA is doing is like running up your credit card bill to buy something you want now.

I assume that everyone who says that backloading is OK were also OK with the contracts for Ricky Romero and Vernon Wells when their backloaded contracts didn't work out.

I see why the idea is appealing to AA, but I also see that it is not the wisest strategy, it limits you in the future. I understand it, but I don't like it.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:13 PM EST (#295208) #
Most of these guys are somewhat useful, and we don't have to trade all of them, but packaging some of them away for some help elsewhere is what AA should be prioritizing right now IMO.

If Smoak, Francisco, and Valencia are all non-tendered on the same day does it count as a package?
CeeBee - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:16 PM EST (#295209) #
Considering salary inflation is this amount of backloading actually borrowing against the future? Seems to me salaries might be increasing at at least that pace.
jerjapan - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:21 PM EST (#295210) #
(backloading) is like running up your credit card bill to buy something you want now.

Except that we keep the money at no interest.  Money in the hand is worth more than money down the road if no interest is paid.  As long as the future backloaded debt is considered - which, as previously noted, is only Reyes and Martin after 2016, this is not only the practical choice, but the wise one. 
85bluejay - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:34 PM EST (#295211) #
jerjapan, I don't mind if you pick on me, I'm a big boy - but I thing you're misguided in your criticism.

This is not CSI, it's my opinion that the FO is desperate - based on the promise of the moves 2 yrs. ago and the FO talk of making the playoffs in 3 of the next 5 yrs which was followed by 2 mediocre seasons, the increasing criticism of both the media & fanbase - I believe that if the jays have another disappointing season that AA will not get an extension - that's my definition of "desperate" - just as I felt last offseason that if Seattle & KC had disappointing seasons, those teams would have new GMs - you are free to disagree, but I don't think it's "relentless AA bashimg"

I've been a big supporter of the teams drafting & develop. strategy under AA (even when I disagreed with individual picks, such as Deck McGuire) & I've been impressed with their nimbleness under the new slot system, taking chances with injured prospects in the draft & I've even mentioned that I'm no longer angry with failure to sign top picks because I think the strategy works - when da box published their top 30 this year, I mentioned that I felt it was the most encouraging top 30 ever on da box & that the Latin emphasis had really begun to pay off - that doesn't sound like "relentless AA bashing" to me.

Even the best Gms make bad deals - Jon Daniels (Gonzalez), Beane ( Holliday), Dombrowski (Fister) - but just as they are praised for the moves that work out well, they should and are criticised for those that go badly, that's the nature of the business - when AA moved the Wells contract or after the 2012 moves when he was the recipient of countless accolades I don't remember anyone posting that we should stop with all the praise - when unpopular Gord Ash was criticised forever over the Michael Young trade, I didn't read too many saying "stop that".

I criticised the Miami & Mets trades because I felt it was a strong overpay in both prospects & money, was a poor reaction to the Farrell fiasco and that a team coming off such a poor season was not likely to contend - I have no regrets about those criticism.

Martin may well help the jays reach nirvana, but I think that money could have been spent much more wisely & I have no problems saying that

I will praise & criticism as I see fit - I don't see that as "relentless bashing of AA" - if you want someone who just genuflects to AA , well that's not me.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:43 PM EST (#295212) #
It's hard to know to what extent the backloading will be an issue without knowing what the team payroll will be over the next five years. We're missing some key information.

Sometimes it's easy to move backloaded contracts (the Marlins recently did this in their trade with the Jays). The Jays managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat in moving Wells's contract. I would argue that Dombrowski pulled off a similar feat in trading Fielder to the Rangers, even with Kinsler going the other way. At other times, teams end up eating most or all of a player's remaining years (as was the case with the Jays and Romero and Ryan). Presumably the more money a team has to work with, the less painful this is.
85bluejay - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:44 PM EST (#295213) #
The Red Sox are a most intriguing team to me - tons of financial flexibility , excess of mlb ready outfielders & a stocked farm system - I think they will be the dominant player this offseason - I could see them ending up with Lester, Hamels, Miller and Sandoval - I do hope that Lester gets an exorbitant contract out of them or tells them to stuff it..
uglyone - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 12:59 PM EST (#295214) #
See, the thing is, Martin has been worth 5.3fwar/5.5bwar and 4.1fwar/4.3bwar the last two years. If we were counting on that kind of production, then this is a guy who'd be worth $25m a year.

$16m is the going rate for a maybe a 3war player, and Martin has averaged 3.4fwar/3.4bwar per year and 3.1fwar/3.1bwar per 120gms played.

We're not paying him for career year production here, but just his typical average production.

and none of those WAR numbers even factor in his apparent pitch-framing value.
PeterG - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 01:24 PM EST (#295215) #
Jimenez is doing well in PR winter league. He is well ahead of Ochinko on depth chart. I can even envision a scenario where he is back up c in 2015 though 2016 seems much more likely.
uglyone - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 01:50 PM EST (#295216) #
"The Red Sox are a most intriguing team to me - tons of financial flexibility , excess of mlb ready outfielders & a stocked farm system - I think they will be the dominant player this offseason - I could see them ending up with Lester, Hamels, Miller and Sandoval - I do hope that Lester gets an exorbitant contract out of them or tells them to stuff it.."

I mean, I guess I don't blame anyone for giving them the benefit of the doubt, but I just can't do it.

They've already got $125m committed and they literally don't have one SP that would have cracked our rotation last year based on performance. They don't have a 3B or a C, and their bullpen is the same mess it was last year.

Their "stocked farm system" pretty much faceplanted last year as they realized that all those old AAA guys weren't actually very good, and that even their legit stud prospects weren't guaranteed short-term quality performers. Their "excess of MLB OF" is also a complete absence of even one proven above-average MLB OF.

They have a lot of work to do and they could easily run through their payroll room without addressing a bunch of their needs.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 02:56 PM EST (#295217) #
I like the deal.  There is obviously a lot of risk.  I ran a Play Index to see how catchers similar to Martin (between 3500-4500 PAs through age 31, OPS+ >95, career defensive WAR >5) have fared- the list included Tony Pena, Mike Scioscia, Carlton Fisk, A.J. Pierzynski and Manny Sanguillen. About 1/2 bombed out in their early 30s.  Despite this, I subjectively like Martin's chances of a good defensive catcher indefinitely, and a decent enough hitter. 

If anyone asks me about any other moves involving significant amounts of money, I would urge that some money be left for the deadline.  Devon Travis and Russell Martin makes for an excellent off-season.  Hats off. 

85bluejay - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 03:10 PM EST (#295218) #
the backloading of the Martin deal makes complete sense from AA perspective - it gives him more money to spend now and if the team doesn't win, years 3/4/5 wouldn't be his problem.
Parker - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 03:18 PM EST (#295219) #
I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that THIS REALLY HAPPENED - the Jays signed the one free agent whom I believe would be close to worth the cost. Martin barely has to be a league-average hitter to earn his value here, and that's not even accounting for the secondary improvements he'll bring to pitching results.

Yeah, it's going to look like a lot of money when he's 35 and hitting for an 85 OPS+, but man can he play him some defence.
Beyonder - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 03:22 PM EST (#295220) #
Didn't someone post a chart just last week showing that the Jays had almost no payroll commitments past next year? Seems to me AA has been very careful not to load up the payroll past his horizon with the team, even if he happens to have backloaded the Martin deal. I don't think he can fairly be criticized for mortgaging a future he won't be around for.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 03:31 PM EST (#295221) #
Is it possible the gain of Russell Martin is worth enough to be Wild Card favorites in 2015? If all A.A. does is acquire "League Average" to fill holes then I think the answer is yes.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 04:00 PM EST (#295222) #
Everywhere you go, it seems as if the Jays are the big movers on Lester. That makes sense as he's without a Q.O., and he's an established Ace and top LHP right now, something this team needs. I know A.A. has talked about five years, but for the right person ... it's said it might be different.

Acquiring Lester would have to be over and above Budget limits, so as to allow room to add other pieces or it wouldn't make much sense. It would however, totally change the makeup of the A.L. East.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 04:44 PM EST (#295223) #
Most teams are paying players and not getting the value that they thought. Forget the NYY, they are in a league of their own financially.
SF has not got the same results from T Linecum over the last 5 years as previously, yet I am sure, I guess, that he is getting a good buck.
TB may be the only team that is not getting soaked by big contracts, probably because they avoid them completely.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:05 PM EST (#295224) #
It seems to me that the off season is moving very fast. If that is true, I really do not see why.
NYY has been very quiet. That means fireworks are in the offing.
scottt - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:08 PM EST (#295225) #
The starting staff is probably good enough.
Izturis + Travis is probably good enough at 2B.

I don't think DH/LF are good enough.

The big hole is the closer and at this point it would make sense to overpay for Andrew Miller.
Second pickings are slim. I'd take Frasor back any day, but he's no closer.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:12 PM EST (#295226) #
Lester has a ton of press but I get nervous when I hear 'pitcher' and 'over 5 years'. 

The big 3 pitchers, Max Scherzer (rumoured to Yankees), Jon Lester (rumoured to Red Sox), and James Shields will be very expensive.  Shields might be available on a 5 year deal, thus fitting the Jays 'parameters' but also is entering his age 33 season (111 ERA+) while Scherzer is entering his age 30 season (117 ERA+) and Lester his age 31 season (121 ERA+).  All 3 are solid option, no doubt.  All have been fairly healthy (6+ years with 30+ starts a year) so in theory are lower risk than many pitchers.  Still... hrm... If the Jays want to win NOW then Lester is the one to go for with Scherzer a close 2nd and Shields the 'cheap' option.  However, the Cubs and Red Sox both have payroll room and both are able to blow the Jays out if they so choose.  It'll be interesting to see what happens.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:13 PM EST (#295227) #
When is the non tender deadline? This Thursday is the deadline to add players to the 40 man roster to protect them from the rule 5 draft.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:43 PM EST (#295228) #
December 2nd is the non-tender (11:59 PM) via http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/important_dates.jsp
December 11th is the rule 5 draft (end of winter meetings)
January 6th HOF results announced (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz big newcomers with Craig Biggio hopefully getting in at last)
April 6th Opening Day

That covers key dates I think.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 05:49 PM EST (#295229) #
Thanks John.
JB21 - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:14 PM EST (#295230) #
Rumblings on twitter that on PTS today they were talking about the new Rogers CEO and apparently they get the sense that he wants to improve the image of Rogers and one of the ways that he wants to do so is by improving the Jays and putting a winning team on the field. Apparently money is not an issue.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 07:37 PM EST (#295231) #
Everywhere you go, it seems as if the Jays are the big movers on Lester. That makes sense

There is no realistic scenario where Lester ends up in Toronto. He hasn't even come for a visit. The amount of 'Canada premium' on Lester would push it to the Kershaw stratosphere.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 09:08 PM EST (#295232) #
If the season started tomorrow, and Gibbons ran out a lineup of (let's say)- Pillar LF, Pompey CF, Bautista RF, Lawrie 3B, Reyes SS, Travis 2B, Smoak/Valencia 1B, Martin C, Encarnacion DH and a bench of Thole or Navarro, Goins or Izturis and Dirks and the same rotation as last year with Sanchez, Estrada, Cecil and Loup occupying the higher leverage roles in the bullpen, I would be satisfied.  It's a club with a nice balance of talent- ability to reach base, hit for power, speed and good defence- and a balance of experience and youth in both the lineup and the rotation. 
SK in NJ - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 09:25 PM EST (#295233) #
Signing Martin without damaging the farm system is actually making me optimistic that the team, if Bautista/Edwin remain productive, can sustain a level of playoff calibre baseball for at least the next two seasons, if not longer.

The only way to have a veteran team that can sustain a level of winning is by incorporating prospects and hoping a few of them become very good. That is why I was a fan of the Travis deal (even though I think Gose is more valuable than people give him credit for). If the Jays can incorporate young guys with upside in the lineup, while keeping their star players (and in the case of Martin adding star players), then it goes a long way in not only winning short-term but possibly being able to extend the window beyond 2016.

Hutchison, Stroman, Pompey, Travis, and Sanchez will be very important for the Jays next year, and the next round of prospects after that as well. I don't want the Jays to just make the playoffs in 2015 and/or 2016 and then have to rebuild again. I want them to be like the Cardinals where even after Bautista and Encarnacion leave (whenever that is) that the team doesn't miss a beat. Hopefully that's where we are heading, but of course, too early to tell. My hope is that subsequent deals are either free agent signings or trades involving expendable veterans.
Nigel - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:08 PM EST (#295234) #
I generally agree with Mike Green's comments above with two exceptions - you really do not want to be sending Smoak out to 1st as the lefty half of a 1B platoon he is very poor defensively (in addition to his problems hitting as a RHB, Seattle gave up on him defensively as well for good reason). Secondly the lineup will be pretty heavily RH. They could use a lefty hitting LF and/or 1B for platoon purposes.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 10:12 PM EST (#295235) #
In my view, the core is now solid for 2015. However, there are still some real question marks surrounding the roster that shouldn't be minimized (the way the team did with second base and catcher last off-season). On the positional side, the front office still has to decide what to do with LF, CF, 2B and 1B, as there are still uncertainties (whether to do with youth, inexperience, talent, or platoon issues) regarding the incumbents or heirs apparent at those positions. I don't think Anthopoulos is done with positional upgrades.
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 01:14 AM EST (#295236) #
Among the 4 position slots with question marks it would be nice to get at least somewhat reliable offensive production out of at least one or more more spot before we head to platoon/youth options.

Boston went with Middlebrooks, Bradley Jr and Bogarts last year and it might have worked out better if they didn't have to rely on all three.

However I think some creativity has to be used in the bullpen this year. I would like it if the team didn't HAVE to use Sanchez there.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:24 AM EST (#295237) #
Of Smoak, Dirks, Mayberry JR, Francisco, Valencia and Tolleson, who is out of options? Having just been obtained, I can't see Smoak and Dirks being non-tendered/not kept. I can't see A.A. not keeping everyone he can, so who can easily stay, and who must go?

Losing Cabrera, Rasmus and Lind was a large part of the Team's offense. Signing Martin fills part of the hole, but there are still two more bats to be acquired. With Martin, Pompey and Lawrie giving good defense, Reyes, Encarnacion and Bautista are important to the Team as well, if not as good defensively. Chances are A.A. goes after defense as well as a good bat for his next two acquisitions, not being pitchers.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 08:17 AM EST (#295238) #
Assuming Sanchez is no longer a Prospect, if you had to put 7 prospects on the No-Trade List, who'd you pick? It helps to know who A.A. won't trade.
Original Ryan - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 08:42 AM EST (#295239) #
Two years ago I would've put d'Arnaud on a no-trade list, particularly in light of the team's catching options at the time. I think anyone is fair game.
hypobole - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 09:15 AM EST (#295240) #
There isn't and shouldn't be a no trade list. It all depends on the return. If Stanton had been made available by the Marlins last year, not one team would have had a no trade prospect.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 09:15 AM EST (#295241) #
Nigel, Smoak hit very well in Tacoma last year after being sent down.  I am not convinced that he wouldn't be serviceable in a platoon role.  I agree though that this is not the optimal solution.  Personally, I can see a lot of merit to a complicated platoon system with Dirks in LF, Pillar in RF and Bautista at 1B against RHP and Pillar in LF, Bautista in RF and Valencia at first base against RHP.  I don't think Gibbons as the right manager for that kind of plan.  Instead, he is much more likely to platoon Smoak at first base, or to play Encarnacion at first and platoon Dirks with Valencia or Mayberry at DH.

I do agree that the lineup lists right.  They definitely need another option in case Dirks is not healthy. 

bpoz - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 09:29 AM EST (#295242) #
I am probably wrong, but I would be careful in changing positions for any established players like Bautista, EE and Reyes. I remember Bautista playing some 3B in ST a few years ago. When the season started if I remember correctly there was some uncertainty.
China fan - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 09:52 AM EST (#295243) #
Some of these lineup questions may be (partially) resolved when we hear Anthopoulos giving his comments on the Russell Martin signing.  Oddly, he hasn't had the usual conference call with the media yet, even though the Martin signing is now official (and the Jays are already selling Martin jerseys online).  When he finally comments, he might begin to hint about whether the Jays will keep three catchers or two on the 25-man roster; whether they see Navarro as a DH or not; and other key questions that will determine the dominoes to fall next.
Nigel - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 10:57 AM EST (#295244) #
Mike, Smoak's had a number of stretches where it looks like he might have figured it out. His hitting last year in Tacoma is a small sample size compared to his body of work in the majors. I do agree that you could make him the LH half of a DH platoon and not get killed with that but then you're right back to the positional inflexibility problem the team had with Lind (with considerably worse offensive production). I'd rather see the team do something different. What we don't know is whether Encarnacion is willing to DH every day. If not, then he's the every day 1B, whether there are better options or not.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 11:22 AM EST (#295245) #
There are a lot of rumblings, from McCown and others, that Rogers is willing to pour a lot of money into this team this off-season. It seems the interest in Lester is legit, and the main hold up there is the years (obviously Lester could probably get more than 5). If that's true, then who knows what the possibilities are for this off-season.

It's going to be an interesting month or two.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 11:31 AM EST (#295246) #
Can someone please explain to me why there might be a gazillion dollars available to the club in November, 2014 and hardly a shekel in July, 2014?  If it's a secret Powerball win, I demand to know why wikipedia's entry on the jackpot records has not yet been updated.
China fan - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 11:40 AM EST (#295247) #
The theory is that the new Rogers CEO, Guy Laurence, took a year to assess the corporation and figure out a new strategy, and during that year there was an unofficial payroll freeze on the Jays.  Now, according to this theory, he has gotten approval for his new strategy, and it involves the use of the company's sports franchises (including the Jays) to burnish the company's image and help to persuade customers that it won't be "the most loathed company in Canada" in the future.  Apparently this was all spelled out in a Toronto Life cover story in October, which was summarized in an Andrew Stoeten blog last night.  Anyway all of this is the theory that McCown is now propagating, and obviously we don't yet know whether it's true or not.  But if the Jays sign Lester or any other big-name free agent, I would guess that the theory has some truth to it.
85bluejay - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 11:44 AM EST (#295248) #
Listened to a bit of John Gibbons best friend Gerry Howarth
on the radio - he really was tough on R.A Dickey (who had a reputation as a clubhouse lawyer from his Mets days) - so I'm going to very surprised if Dickey and by extension Thole are with the club next year - it will be interesting to see what the jays get in return compared to what they give up.

He also suggested that EE should mostly be the DH because of wear & tear on his body - I think it's likely that Smoak who had an .839 OPS against RHP in 2013 or some other LHB plays 1b against RHP & EE plays 1b against LHB & whomever the jays want to rest - Reyes/Bautista etc. - plays DH.

Some have suggested Navarro as DH - but I want a stronger bat & if I was Navarro I would be on the phone to my agent wanting him to advocate for a trade - no way that I want to spend my walk year as a DH/backup catcher - that could cost me millions as a FA.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:07 PM EST (#295249) #
The tea leaves so far seem to be suggesting...
1) Sign one of the big 3 pitchers
2) Trade Dickey/Thole and Navarro for help at 1B/LF and wherever else (2 deals probably)
3) Sign a top reliever to be the official closer and let the rest of the guys fill in where they do best

For #1 everyone is focused on Lester but I wonder about Shields since he might be had on a 5 year deal.  I don't see Scherzer as realistic unless Beeston goes in ala with Clemens years ago and dreams up something creative that makes Boros happy (no easy feat).  Lester I see as difficult but probably the ideal option of the big 3 thus worth the 7 year risk...maybe (I still fear those types of deals).  Shields is the hard one to read the market for - is he going to sit back and wait for the other 2 to sign elsewhere then try to get a feeding frenzy or will he jump at a deal earlier if it fits what he is after (whatever that may be)?  I'm betting on the wait and see, but who knows.

Sano - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:07 PM EST (#295250) #
85bluejay - Care to share exactly what negative things Howarth said about Dickey? At work so can't listen myself I'm afraid.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:10 PM EST (#295251) #
The theory is that the new Rogers CEO, Guy Laurence, took a year to assess the corporation and figure out a new strategy, and during that year there was an unofficial payroll freeze on the Jays.  Now, according to this theory, he has gotten approval for his new strategy, and it involves the use of the company's sports franchises (including the Jays) to burnish the company's image and help to persuade customers that it won't be "the most loathed company in Canada" in the future.

A year?  Really?  Three months, I get.  Anyways, here's a Globe and Mail piece from when Laurence was appointed as CEO.

One of the advantages of a personal vs. a corporate owner is that there is less likely to be a gap when a new person arrives who does not really understand the way the baseball team interacts with the company's other business interests.  This seems to have been a factor in a couple of payroll fits and starts.  You do get a similar issue when a personal owner dies, but that happens much less often than a large company changing CEOs.
China fan - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:17 PM EST (#295252) #
Mike, thanks for the quote from the Globe article.  "Payroll fits and starts" -- that might help to explain what happened in 2014, actually.
uglyone - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:19 PM EST (#295253) #
If no changes to the roster are made (which of course won't be the case in the end), here's what our lineup looks like based on last 3yrs numbers:

Vs. RHP

SS Reyes 1299pa, 111wrc+, +2.8df
C Martin 1094pa, 111wrc+, +44.5df
RF Bautista 1252pa, 143wrc+, -3.1df
1B/DH En'cion 1398pa, 146wrc+, -31.7df
3B Lawrie 948pa, 99wrc+, +12.6df
1B/DH Navarro 626pa, 101wrc+, ---df OR Smoak 864pa, 102wrc+, -26.7df OR Francisco 787pa, 110wrc+, -14.4df
LF Dirks 659pa, 111wrc+, -1.7df
2B Izturis 535pa, 77wrc+, -3.1df OR Goins 228pa, 45wrc+, +8.7df OR Travis ---
CF Pillar 146pa, 57wrc+, +0.6df OR Pompey 27pa, 179wrc+, +0.3df

Vs. LHP

SS Reyes 491pa, 99wrc+, +2.8df
C Martin 357pa, 112wrc+, +44.5df
RF Bautista 348pa, 152wrc+, -3.1df
1B/DH En'cion 409pa, 155wrc+, -31.7df
3B Lawrie 312pa, 91wrc+, +12.6df
1B/DH Navarro 233pa, 135wrc+, ---df OR Valencia 282pa, 134wrc+, +0.5df OR Mayberry 370pa, 121wrc+, _2.5df
LF Mayberry 370pa, 121wrc+, -1.4df OR Pillar 86pa, 102wrc+, +0.8df
2B Tolleson 182pa, 113wrc+, -2.3df OR Travis ---
CF Pillar 86pa, 102wrc+, +0.6df OR Pompey 16pa, -23wrc+, +0.3df




lineup definitely needs some work.

85bluejay - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:19 PM EST (#295254) #
Sano, basically Howarth said that all Dickey did was give the team 200 innings, but was an island onto himself - not a good mentor to the young pitchers (while he praised Buehrle in this regard) & generally not a good team guy - part of this may also be that Howarth himself said he had a tough time with Dickey - Blair also mentioned that Gibbons had a few "Discussions" with Dickey.

Dave Till - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST (#295255) #

Can someone please explain to me why there might be a gazillion dollars available to the club in November, 2014 and hardly a shekel in July, 2014?

I'm wondering: were other teams demanding too much for deadline trades last summer? I can envision other teams asking for Stroman, Pompey, Norris, Sanchez, etc. etc.

R.A Dickey (who had a reputation as a clubhouse lawyer from his Mets days)

Cathal Kelly, in his article on the Russell Martin signing, hinted that Dickey wasn't popular in the clubhouse. Is there something going on that we outsiders don't know?

There is no realistic scenario where Lester ends up in Toronto. He hasn't even come for a visit.

I don't seriously think that the Jays will land Lester. (Then again, until this week, I didn't think they were going to sign anybody.) But I'm sure that the Jays would be more than happy to send AA and anybody else out to where Lester or his agents are - they're not going to expect him to come to them.

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST (#295256) #
Here's the Toronto Life article.  The article does not say anything about a payroll freeze.  It alludes to significant senior management conflicts that apparently were seemingly resolved in May, 2014.  I still don't understand why nothing happened with the Jays between May 22, 2014 and the trade deadline, given that Laurence had apparently been thinking seriously for many months about the interaction between Rogers' telecom business and sports marketing.

The theory is however consistent with Blue Jay management's inconsistent pronouncement and action in the 2013-14 free agent market between November, 2013 and February, 2014. 
Dave Till - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:28 PM EST (#295257) #

One of my own questions just got answered:

all Dickey did was give the team 200 innings, but was an island onto himself - not a good mentor to the young pitchers (while he praised Buehrle in this regard)

To be fair, it's not clear how much a knuckleballer can serve as a mentor to other pitchers, unless they wanted to learn to throw one too. Throwing the knuckler probably takes up all of one's mental energy and focus.

If the Jays sign another pitcher, they could dump Dickey and Thole, and keep Navarro as backup catcher/extra 1B/DH type.

Sano - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 12:35 PM EST (#295258) #
Thanks for the relay of info 85bluejay.

Seems to me that someone like Howarth would not say that stuff unless he was pretty sure Dickey wasn't coming back next year. Journalists and even more so play-by-play guys like Howarth (who I think is normally pretty respectful towards players) tend to covet good relationships with players.

This would also make sense of the apparent interest in Lester or a SP.
PeterG - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 01:05 PM EST (#295259) #
I have felt since last summer that Dickey was the one to trade and based what I heard from Blair and Howarth this morning, feel that it is a virtual certainty he will be gone.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 01:34 PM EST (#295260) #
I don't mind Dickey being traded, but he would have to be replaced by a virtual 200 IP lock (Shields, Lester, whoever). Maybe the Jays can do a 3-way trade where Dickey goes to one team and Hamels comes to the Jays (prospects go to the Phillies), but I'd like to hold on to the top prospects if possible and I doubt Dickey alone would be able to get enough back to send to Philly. Then again, it is Ruben Amaro Jr.
christaylor - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 01:43 PM EST (#295261) #
Blair and Howarth have to be two sources of Jays information that I'd listen to last... well maybe Bob McConn slides in behind them.

200 IP is not easy to replace. Coaches are there to mentor young pitchers anything from the staff is bonus. Given descriptions of Halladay on gameday I doubt he was a great mentor most days. If AA is trading pitchers based on intangibles the team is sunk, that said, I wouldn't be surprised if both Buehrle and Dickey wanted trades and are being professional about it like Rolen was a few years back.
Chuck - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 01:43 PM EST (#295262) #
Dickey did was give the team 200 innings, but was an island onto himself - not a good mentor to the young pitchers

Turns out this describes the much beloved Roy Halladay as well. If a player can be a mentor, that's a bonus. I wouldn't make it part of his job description.

melondough - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 01:56 PM EST (#295263) #
My thoughts which are typically driven by a macro point of view (for example how moves may effect short term v.s. long term payroll obligations, how it may impact next move, etc.) often go well beyond my friends and colleagues but not the posters on this site.

That said, I just want to say how much I thoroughly enjoy reading most everyone's posts. Being analytical, I find it very interesting to read the opinions along with the supportive analytics (the latter being the most important). My 10 year old baseball fanatic son, who I am glad to say is much like his old man, also enjoys the posts which he says prepares him better than any of his friends when defending his opinions!

Anyhow, I just read Dennis O'Donnell's column (CBS local SF) that his two sources (the infamous unmanned sources!) tell him that Sandoval was offered $90M/5 years from the Giants but that he will reject and is now down to two teams. Boston with what he says is a 90% likelihood, and.......Toronto at 10%. Interesting that he puts Toronto at only 10% but because of the higher taxes. I can't believe that but if true wow are they really one of the last two standing???
SK in NJ - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:00 PM EST (#295264) #
Just listened to a bit of the Howarth interview, and it did come off like they were bracing everyone for a Dickey trade, much like the final few weeks of Adam Lind's Jays career. Like I said, if they trade Dickey and replace him with a starter who is as good or better (and a 200 IP arm), then fine. I can see the logic in getting rid of Thole and using Navarro as a back-up (better bat and could DH occasionally), but I'm not in favor of trading Dickey and replacing him with Estrada or Sanchez. That would be insane to me. Yes, Dickey's probably league average or slightly better than that, but he's also a 220 IP arm. That's not easy to find.

Sign Lester or Shields? Fine, trade Dickey and Thole. No problem. However, don't trade him without securing a replacement first. At $12M, he's not expensive for what he provides.
85bluejay - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:15 PM EST (#295265) #
Tomorrow I believe is the last day to set 40 man rosters - it will be interesting to see whom teams expose - I'm interested in a team like Texas which had to use so many players last season - we may see some player movement.
do the jays add McFarland?
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:38 PM EST (#295266) #
RA+ is a better measure than ERA+ (forgive the "pun") in Dickey's case.  He gives up quite a few unearned runs every year because of all the passed balls. The club has given up 4.37 R/9IP attributed to Dickey over the last 2 years.  League average has been 4.25. 

Dickey was quite good last year, two times through the order and through the 6th inning.  He faded tremendously after that.  That was true but to a lesser extent in 2013.  Ace mythology (wins, 200 innings etc.) was a large part of the problem. 

PeterG - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:44 PM EST (#295267) #
McFarland is the guy we need to add the most.....He was dominant in AFL after a good season in NH
Thomas - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:46 PM EST (#295268) #
I hope the Jays explore trading Navarro, even if they deal Dickey and Thole. The team could presumably find a backup catcher elsewhere without too much difficulty. The Astros are looking to deal Jason Castro apparently, to suggest one such example. I acknowledge that this would leave the club thinner at the position than keeping Navarro would, particularly if Martin suffered an injury.

However, if there was a chance to get a reasonable return for Navarro, Martin's durability (to date) may make this a worthwhile possibility to explore, particularly if it allows for a better bat to be brought in at DH. Also, I don't think Gibbons would use Navarro very much at 1B/DH regardless, unless there was a third catcher on the 25 man roster.

Secondly, if the Jays are involved in the bidding on one of the high profile SPs, I have a strong preference for Lester over Shields, as I suspect most do (unless the money is very different). Martin may also help to mitigate Lester's weakness at holding runners and controlling the running game.
Dewey - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 02:48 PM EST (#295269) #
Hello Friends:

Oh dear, oh dear.  There must be some awful misunderstanding here.   R.A. is a good friend.  Too.  Just like Jack Morris.  Any sufficiently sanctimonious person can readily overlook R.Aís many, many failings.  Yes, he is ďan island unto himselfĒ;  but arenít we all?  (As I think some poet once said, somewhere.  Maybe back in Salt Lake City.)  Just because R.A. didnít buy into our schtick doesnít mean anything at all . . .

Heís toast.

Jerryís great friend, Dewey
Gerry - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 03:28 PM EST (#295270) #
Jaun Francisco is gone, claimed by the Red Sox.

melondough - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 03:41 PM EST (#295271) #
And the Blue Jays purging of swing and miss guys continue. Loving it! Best of luck Juan, Colby, and Anthony.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 03:43 PM EST (#295272) #
PeterG I know you are a fan but I don't see McFarland being protected. He did well in the AFL and during the season but he doesn't have any knockout tools and he will be 27 before the season starts. I think Andy Burns, Tyler Ybarra, Jon Berti and Taylor Cole rank ahead of him.
Dave Till - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 03:44 PM EST (#295273) #

One of two things is true:

  • The Red Sox don't read Baseball Reference and therefore don't know about Francisco's second-half stats
  • The Red Sox think that they can fix him.

I wish him luck, but I think that the league has figured him out.

China fan - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 03:52 PM EST (#295274) #
".....The article does not say anything about a payroll freeze...."

Nobody said that it did.  You have to read it in conjunction with the McCown comments and the Stoeten blog, which together point to the theory that Rogers imposed an unofficial payroll freeze for 2014 and lifted it after the end of the season after the decision to switch to a new strategy.  The evidence is circumstantial, not direct.  It's a theory, not proof, but it may explain what happened in 2014.  The alternative explanation is just the inertia and incompetence of the owners, which may or may not be true.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 03:55 PM EST (#295275) #
Apparently big Juan hit very well against the Red Sox this season with an OPS over 1000.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 04:06 PM EST (#295276) #
The theory is that the new Rogers CEO, Guy Laurence, took a year to assess the corporation and figure out a new strategy, and during that year there was an unofficial payroll freeze on the Jays.  Now, according to this theory, he has gotten approval for his new strategy, and it involves the use of the company's sports franchises (including the Jays) to burnish the company's image and help to persuade customers that it won't be "the most loathed company in Canada" in the future.  Apparently this was all spelled out in a Toronto Life cover story in October,

It's not a big deal, but that's what you said, CF.  All I was saying was essentially what you have now clarified the sources to be.  I don't disagree at all about the plausibility of the theory.
China fan - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 04:15 PM EST (#295277) #
Okay, I shouldn't have said it was "all spelled out" in Toronto Life, I should have said that "most of this was spelled out" in Toronto Life. 
Cracka - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 04:29 PM EST (#295278) #
I'm not sad to lose Francisco at all. From May 21st onward, he was one of the worst players in all of baseball.

First ~100 PA (until May 18): .292 / .373 / .629 = OPS>1.000

Next ~220 PA (May 21 onward): .187 / .243 / .379 = OPS of .622.

Interestingly, his strikeout rate was a consistent 36% in both of these periods.
raptorsaddict - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 05:37 PM EST (#295279) #
I wonder if the Sox think they can turn him into the next Big Papi? It would be interesting to see his spray chart overlaid on Fenway.  Nevertheless, I am not sad to see him depart.

He was the kind of guy it made sense for us to take a flyer on 2 years ago - a roll of the dice hoping to catch Dominican lightning a 3rd time. Where we're at now, he doesn't make sense on the roster, particularly when his 2.2 million puts you halfway to a pretty decent reliever.

For the record, I love the Martin signing and the Gose trade. I'm also hoping we flip Happ, Navarro and Dickey/Thole to fill in other parts of the lineup. That would allow a reallocation of 25.5 million or so, with which we could fill at least a significant part of the 2B/LF/bullpen holes.

Is there a Marlins-esque trade lurking out there with the Phillies, built around Hamels, whose contract might look like a bargain in 3 or 4 year? If there really is newfound room to absorb salary, you could see us taking on Howard or Papelbon, and toss some combination of Lee/Utley/Rollins (yes, I know about the no-trade clauses, but let's dream a bit anyways).

We send Dickey, Navarro and Happ to get whatever prospects we can to the Phillies, then top it up with a few from our farm system, and maybe even Hutch if they need a good young pitcher (no Stroman or Sanchez, too much upside).

All this assumes we don't get Lester. As for him, they could get around the 7 year policy by having years 6 and 7 vesting options that are very easy to meet. A technicality that would allow Beeston and AA to save face!

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 06:22 PM EST (#295280) #
Signing a Top Starter is necessary, but other than Scherzer, Lester or Shields no one else is significantly better than what we already. Only Lester is Qualifying-Offer-Free, so he's in big demand.

Once upon a time, A.A., when talking about limits, said "...for the right person term doesn't matter...". When he said that I don't know, but with A.A. and Beeston not being under contract beyond this season, makes this the time, who's the person?
92-93 - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 07:40 PM EST (#295281) #
"Some of these lineup questions may be (partially) resolved when we hear Anthopoulos giving his comments on the Russell Martin signing. Oddly, he hasn't had the usual conference call with the media yet, even though the Martin signing is now official (and the Jays are already selling Martin jerseys online)."

I wonder how much of this signing was AA and how much of it was Beeston. I too find it odd AA hasn't been on his usual media blitz.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 07:45 PM EST (#295282) #
Is A.A. too busy to do his usual media spiel?
Hodgie - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 08:10 PM EST (#295283) #
My assumption is AA is too busy to do his usual media scrum as he finishes signing Jon Lester and trading for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 08:24 PM EST (#295284) #
The Jays introduce Martin tomorrow at 2pm. I would expect AA to do the media rounds after the intro.
uglyone - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 10:19 PM EST (#295285) #
the red sox don't really have to "fix" francisco. his career 113wrc+ vs. RHP is useful without any fixing.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 10:44 PM EST (#295286) #
Francisco, like Lind is a one dimensional player. I prefer players who can run and play the field rather than big slow DH types. Those big slow guys limit manager options with the lineup, pinch hitting, pinch running and defensive replacements. When you have a short bench, that has a cost.
uglyone - Wednesday, November 19 2014 @ 11:23 PM EST (#295287) #
STEAMER projections:

1. SS Reyes 138gms, 108wrc+, 3.0war
2. C Martin 129gms, 111wrc+, 4.3war
3. RF Bautista 146gms, 150wrc+, 5.3war
4. DH En'cion 148gms, 142wrc+, 3.7war
5. 3B Lawrie 130gms, 115wrc+, 3.7war
6. CF Pillar 130gms, 99wrc+, 1.4war
7. 1B Smoak 97gms, 106wrc+, 0.5war
8. LF Dirks 97gms, 101wrc+, 1.0war
9. 2B Goins 89gms, 67wrc+, 0.1war

B. UT Tolleson 24gms, 86wrc+, 0.2war / Valencia 16gms, 89wrc+, 0.1war
B. OF Mayberry 49gms, 92wrc+, 0.2war / Pompey 73gms 81wrc+, 0.2war
B. IF Izturis 49gms, 85wrc+, 0.2war / Travis 1gms, 102wrc+, 0.0war
B. C Navarro 47gms, 100wrc+, 0.4war / Thole 8gms, 81wrc+, 0.1war



SP Stroman 192ip, 3.79era, 3.3war
SP Hutchison 173ip, 4.12era, 1.9war
SP Dickey 192ip, 4.29era, 1.5war
SP Buehrle 189ip, 4.51era, 1.5war
SP Happ 144ip, 4.27era, 1.2war
(SP Sanchez 113ip, 4.50era, -0.2war)

RP Cecil 55ip, 2.98era, 0.7war
RP Loup 65ip, 3.41era, 0.5war
RP Estrada 83ip, 4.08era, 0.1war
RP Norris 74ip, 3.70era, 0.3war
Rp Redmond 40ip, 3.92era, 0.0war
RP Hendriks 35ip, 3.60era, 0.2war
RP Jenkins 30ip, 4.43era, -0.1war
(RP Graveman 25ip, 4.17era, 0.0war)
(RP Nolin 20ip, 3.68era, 0.1war)
(RP Delabar 15ip, 3.90era, 0.0war)
(RP Drabek 10ip, 4.24era, 0.0war)


as usual dickey/buehrle probably get underrated a bit due to their unique pitching profiles, but overall it seems like a fair assessment.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 12:26 AM EST (#295288) #
Using those projections I have three points:

1.) The starting rotation needs an upgrade
2.) Sean Nolin should be in the bullpen this year
3.) I like Kevin Pillar in a regular role, either CF or LF.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 12:49 AM EST (#295289) #
Also if you're using Steamer projections they have Devon Travis at: 550 AB .273 AVG .319 OBP .401 SLG 102 WRC 2.3 WAR - little better then Goins
Jonny German - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 06:41 AM EST (#295290) #
As currently constituted, the Jays have the following weaknesses:

1) First base. Smoak platooning with Valencia (or Navarro if EE plays some 1B). Smoak is a bad defender, odds are very much against him hitting acceptably well, and there's no one to step in as the heavy side of the platoon.

2) Bullpen. No power righties unless you want to put Sanchez there (which the Jays have said they do not want to do). Estrada is a possibility. A resurgent Steve Delabar is not a strong possibility.

3) Second base. Izturis / Goins / Tolleson holding the fort until Travis is ready. Travis may or may not be ready in 2015.

4) Centre field. In Pillar we trust until Pompey is ready. Pompey may or may not be ready in 2015.

5) Left field. Dirks platooning with Mayberry. Dirks health questionable, Mayberry a big liability agasint righties.

For me, that's the order from most pressing to least. At a minimum I think they need to address 2 of the first 3. The last 2 are connected and don't concern me much.

The rotation is already in really good shape, so the Lester rumours only make sense if Dickey is going to be traded for a serious bat (very few relievers are worth a starter of Dickey's quality).
China fan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 07:09 AM EST (#295291) #
I agree with your ranking of the 5 priorities.  Luckily the most pressing priorities are also the easiest to fix.  Encarnacion can play 1B, so the Jays just need a power-hitting DH or platoon DH -- which should be relatively easy to find.  As for relievers, there are many good ones on the free-agent market this year, and others are available by trade.  The Jays have $12-million to $20-million in payroll room, several good trade pieces (Navarro, Happ etc), a hyperactive General Manager and lots of time available.  It's pretty easy to predict that the Jays will acquire players to solve at least the first 2 or 3 of those priorities. If they do a good job of that, they can survive 2B and CF with what they've already got if necessary.
christaylor - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 08:23 AM EST (#295292) #
1.5 WAR total from 1B/LF would be not good at all. Perhaps I missed someone but Smoak has better Steamer WAR projections than most of the 1B FA class (I'd like Morse though). OF? The Steamer WAR projections -- Melky 2.6, Aoki is at 1.5, and Markakis 1.3

I'm glad it is late November and not January. AA has some serious work to do.


Saskatchewan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 09:27 AM EST (#295293) #

So maybe AA is indeed quite busy. According to MLBTR and via Nick Cafardo: (as to Sandoval)

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (via Twitter) that while thereís been no offer to this point, within the next 24 hours, the Blue Jays are indeed expected to make a formal offer to Sandoval.

Trying to sell the Panda on not needing the 6th year? Or some creative contract wiggling?

If he bites, we have our 1st baseman and he covers third when Lawrie gets hurt?

Saskatchewan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 09:35 AM EST (#295294) #

Also, is this a thing? As in, has this been confirmed by someone else somewhere?

Nick CafardoĢ@nickcafardo11h11 hours ago

@hsukhdeo Rogers will have real grass on 2016

85bluejay - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 10:04 AM EST (#295295) #
I know that Pablo Sandoval is 2 yrs. younger, but given his chronic weight problems, apparent asking price in both length & AAV. I am surprised that there seems to be that much more desire for Sandoval over Headley especially from a team such as the Jays with their 5 yr. limit - The fact that the team that knows him best, has had such success with him & can definitely afford him have not been more aggressive in trying to retain him has me a little leery of committing so many years to Sandoval.
John Northey - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 10:19 AM EST (#295296) #
Sandoval is interesting...
Entering his age 28 season, a 6 year deal would cover ages 28-33 thus not really hitting much of the decline phase.  Lifetime 123 OPS+ with a bottom of 99 in 2010, peak of 155 in 2011 but since 2011 has dropped in OPS+ each and every year (gulp) to 111 last year.  His defensive bWAR has been hovering around 0 most of his career (-1.2 in 2009 to +1.8 in 2011, 0.6 last year, 0.9 lifetime) while FanGraphs seems to have him at a similar level. 

At 3B he'd be a solid option, moving Lawrie to 2B until Travis is ready then shifting Lawrie back to 3B and Sandoval to 1B.  At 1B he'd be mediocre - decent but not 'wow'.  At 3B he'd be a 2-4 WAR player but 1B probably a 1-3 range.  Is that worth $15-20 mil a year over 5-6 years?  I lean to 'no' but it all depends on assumptions and planned usage and who the alternative is.
jerjapan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 10:21 AM EST (#295297) #
agreed that Headley is more attractive in some ways than Sandoval, but he has no draft pick attached.  That has to drive Sandoval's value down slightly and with our first pick already gone, that might give us another reason to consider Pedro. 
John Northey - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 10:36 AM EST (#295298) #
Of course, there is also Hanley Ramirez out there.  If he'd accept playing 3B which would you rather have at the same dollars... Ramirez or Sandoval?  Both look to be 6 years $110 mil range.  Sandoval is 3 years younger but Ramirez has a 132 OPS+ lifetime (and last year) while Sandoval is 123 lifetime (just 111 last year).  Sandoval might have to move off 3B soon, but Ramirez was still at SS last year suggesting Ramirez can play at 3B longer and better (no guarantee there though).  And of course you can mix in Headley who, like Ramirez, is entering his age 31 season but has just a 113 lifetime OPS+ and is coming off a 102 season with decent but not 'wow' defense (bWAR defense lists him at 1.9 lifetime, 0.8 last year).
uglyone - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 10:49 AM EST (#295299) #
"Shoeless Joe:

Using those projections I have three points:

1.) The starting rotation needs an upgrade
2.) Sean Nolin should be in the bullpen this year
3.) I like Kevin Pillar in a regular role, either CF or LF.

Also if you're using Steamer projections they have Devon Travis at: 550 AB .273 AVG .319 OBP .401 SLG 102 WRC 2.3 WAR - little better then Goins"



1. not sure I agree. remember projection systems have a real hard time with Buehrle and Dickey because their FIP is never great, but they have built careers on significantly beating their FIP so projections will always underrate them. Sure a legit ace would be a nice add, but I'm not sure that, say, a guy like Lester is that legit ace.

2. Yeah, I agree on Nolin. Perfect guy to stick in the 'pen and maybe give him a shot at starting some time down the road. He doesn't really need more AAA innings.

3. I am hopeful on Pillar, especially since he was really pretty good after he finally seemed to "get" MLB pitching last year. He was useless before that but then he seemed to figure it out and was quite good the rest of the way. Still a question mark, though, and I'd rather have two question marks like Pillar/Pompey fighting for one spot rather than handing them both a spot.

4. Where'd you get that STEAMER projection for Travis? that's not what it says on his player page on fangraphs.
uglyone - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 10:50 AM EST (#295300) #
Count me as rather having either Hanley or Headley ahead of Panda.
85bluejay - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 11:06 AM EST (#295301) #
If not for his "attitude" problems, I easily prefer Hanley Ramirez of the 3 - I love his bat and think it will age best - but given the Jays new emphasis on "culture change", I would be surprised if they went after Hanley.
bpoz - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 11:10 AM EST (#295302) #
The following are citizens of, R Martin Canada, Y Molina DR and B Posey USA. If each got 5/85, from a US team, who pays the most Tax?
Being a Canadian R Martin would have to pay to Canada, so $85mil from Toronto is still worth more than $82mil from the Cubs because of Martin's citizenship. Is this correct?
MatO - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 11:13 AM EST (#295303) #
I've seen nothing to indicate the Blue Jays will get a grass field before 2018. The Argos have until 2017 to find a new place to play and there has been nothing new on that.
MatO - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 11:36 AM EST (#295304) #
Canada taxes based upon residence and the US is the only western industrialized country that taxes based upon citizenship. So Martin probably lives in the US in the off-season and thus would be considered by Canada as a non-resident and normally wouldn't pay any Canadian taxes. In general US taxes are lower than Canadian taxes but even in the US there is large discrepancy between high state tax states like California and no state tax states like Texas and Florida. A lot of cities have income tax in the US as well. Players playing in Canada will pay some Canadian taxes and some to the US based upon the tax treaty since they are residents of the US. I'm not an expert at this stuff so this is all quite general.
China fan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 11:36 AM EST (#295305) #
FanGraphs makes an early attempt to project WAR team-by-team for 2015, and finds a four-way tie for first place in the AL East, with the Jays among the four.  It's early, of course, and undoubtedly Boston and NY and Baltimore will be acquiring more players, but so will the Jays.  The conclusion:  "The division is weakened. Their window might be limited. Now is the time."

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/on-the-blue-jays-and-going-for-it-in-the-al-east/

Ryan Day - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 12:18 PM EST (#295306) #
This story from the spring suggested there was almost no way to have real grass before 2018, due to both the Argos and the process of researching, developing, and growing the sod.
bpoz - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 12:21 PM EST (#295307) #
Thanks MatO.
Saskatchewan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 12:40 PM EST (#295308) #
Thanks for the information on the field surface. That's in line with what I thought and heard but that tweet post made me wonder if I missed something.
Saskatchewan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 12:42 PM EST (#295309) #
MLBTR and John Heyman are suggesting that Navrro has asked to be traded, with three teams interested.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/24823146/dioner-navarro-seeks-trade-following-martin-signing-there-is-interest
Gerry - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 01:07 PM EST (#295310) #
The Jays have added Ryan Tepera to their 40 man roster.
JB21 - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 01:49 PM EST (#295311) #
Francisco, like Lind is a one dimensional player. I prefer players who can run and play the field rather than big slow DH types. Those big slow guys limit manager options with the lineup, pinch hitting, pinch running and defensive replacements. When you have a short bench, that has a cost.

The biggest issue for both of the players you mentioned is the need to be platooned. I don't think many Red Sox fans would complain about having Big Papi on the roster the last 10+ years.
PeterG - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 01:58 PM EST (#295312) #
if Tepera is the only addition, then we are both wrong Gerry.
John Northey - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 02:09 PM EST (#295313) #
No shock there.  I didn't see it as likely that the Jays would keep Navarro and Martin.  They tried once before (at least) to have 2 regulars (Benito Santiago & Darrin Fletcher for 1998) and Santiago got hurt so it didn't matter. 

Ugh...checking old Jay catchers is scary...
Fletcher: 108/115 OPS+ in 1999/2000 then 63 & 49 the next 2 years before ending (ages 34 + 35)
Myers: 125 OPS+ in 2003 (age 37), then just 14 more games (25 OPS+) and done.

For catchers the end can come very, very quickly and without warning.
Ryan Day - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 03:16 PM EST (#295314) #
Myers turned in a career-best season at 37, so he's a best-case scenario even if he blew his knee out the next season.
Magpie - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 03:25 PM EST (#295315) #
A resurgent Steve Delabar is not a strong possibility.

There are openings and it does occur to me that Delabar is exactly the kind of guy that Martin's vaunted pitch-framing skills could most benefit, as opposed to someone who already throws lots of strikes.
Gerry - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 03:30 PM EST (#295316) #
I forgot about Tepera. He is a level ahead of McFarland and did have some success in AAA last year. He would be a typical guy for a rule 5 draft pick, a long reliever who you can stick at the end of the bullpen, use him in blowouts, and whose sinker should allow him to be competitive in that role.
bpoz - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 03:52 PM EST (#295317) #
Every year I get nervous about the Rule 5 draft. And usually nothing much happens.
How many good players have we lost in this draft? I only remember Jay Gibbons. But we picked up a lot of good ones, Manny Lee, George Bell, Jim Acker, Jim Gott and Kelly Gruber.
So the above list shows that we have not gained or lost anything in a while. Except for the gain of Intl FA budget money last year, which I thought was very clever.
Jdog - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:03 PM EST (#295318) #
I remember being saddened at the loss of Brad Emaus who i was sure was going to be a starting 2B with some pop. Not so much. This year I am worried about Taylor Cole being taken.
jerjapan - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:08 PM EST (#295319) #
Agreed Jdog, I think people are sleeping on Cole.  Then again, I said that about Mr. Emaus too...

is the 40 man now set for the rule v draft?

short - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:18 PM EST (#295320) #
Deadline is midnight tonight. I think if left unprotected we may lose one of McFarland, Berti or Burns.
short - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:19 PM EST (#295321) #
Or one of Cole or Stilson.
Gerry - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:38 PM EST (#295322) #
The Jays are building up their farm system and that means it is hard to protect everyone they want to. They likely will start to lose players. But remember, more than 50% of those drafted are returned.
jester00 - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:43 PM EST (#295323) #
Question for Gerry/others.  Is there any limit to how many players a given team can lose in the rule V draft?  Are the Jays exposed to losing more than 1 player?
Ron - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 04:50 PM EST (#295324) #
The signing was a couple days ago and Iím still undecided if this was a good move by the Jays.

Frankly, signing a Catcher on the wrong side of 30 to a 5 year big money deal is generally a terrible idea when viewed as an isolated transaction. Unlike the Pirates, the Jays are signing Martin at peak value. The chance Martin stays productive for all 5 years is extremely remote. Iíll go on record and say the Jays will wish they could have a mulligan on the contract by year 3 of the deal unless the Jays win the World Series in Year 1 or Year 2.

Ignoring the 5 year contract, thereís no doubt Martin improves the Jays at the Catcher position. He was one of my favorite players that wasnít playing for the Jays. I love the pitch framing, throwing arm, and his skill of not swinging at a pitch unless itís in the strike zone.
The time to win for the Jays is clearly now. The core 4 position players are all on the wrong side of 30. The pitchers that will likely start in game 1 and 2 are also on the wrong side of 30.

I appreciate Martinís honesty at the press conference. He mentioned the 5th year from the Jays as one of the reasons why he signed with the Jays. Cash is King and despite all the chatter about how difficult it is to get free agents to come to Canada, the bottom line is %95 of free agents sign with whoever is offering the most money.

Moving on from Martin, the Jays still need a LF, 1B, 2B, and back end bullpen arm. All this talk of Andrew Miller is making me nervous. Based on the high level of interest, heís likely going to get 4 years with a vesting option for the 5th year. I hate the idea of signing a reliever for big dollars for more than 2 seasons unless itís a Mo Rivera clone. Outside of Joaquin Benoit (and perhaps soon Jonathan Papelbon), has there been a free agent reliever that signed for at least 3 seasons that stayed healthy and productive for the whole contract in the last 15 years? I canít think of anybody else. I want the Jays to go after Hochevar. The timing of his injury couldnít be worse but a team will benefit from it next season. For 2B, Luis Valbuena should be available. He can also cover for Lawrie at 3B once he hits the DL again.
John Northey - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 05:01 PM EST (#295325) #
No limit to how many you can lose in the rule 5 draft, but rarely does a team lose more than 1 or 2 iirc.  Even rarer for a player taken to be a big success, 1980's Jays were a big, big exception.  Willie Upshaw was another - that 1985 first division winner was buried in Rule 5 picks - Willie Upshaw, Lou Thornton, Manuel Lee, Kelly Gruber, George Bell and Jim Acker all played on that team and were acquired via the Rule 5.  Doubt any playoff team has ever had more.  It has also been how Roberto Clemente and Johan Santana got their first chances in the majors.
Thomas - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 05:15 PM EST (#295326) #
There is no limit. It's not like expansion drafts, where teams are usually able to protect additional players after losing each player.
jester00 - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 05:15 PM EST (#295327) #
OK, thx guys.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 06:10 PM EST (#295328) #
It is easy to put real grass in the Dome for 2016 season. It should work very well, and will be a test-bed for future changes. They need to know how well the grass performs in this Dome. PLEASE NOTE: Nowhere is it mentioned that this is a permanent installation, as I expect it will get torn out after the season.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 06:30 PM EST (#295329) #
This going to be all speculating and not much real data, mostly inference. Going into this offseason, A.A. has a list of people he was going after. It's best to assume A. was Martinez, B. was Martin and C. was ??? (was there a D?). If A.A. signs A or B or C or ???, I don't think he signs anyone else on the 'Primary list'. Once Martinez signed, I think he moved on to Martin. If he couldn't sign Martin, he'd move on to C or D or ???. I think Sandoval was C?

I think his next moves are for filling the obvious holes, the equally important 'Secondary list'. Or it was until Navarro open up his mouth. Did that alter Navarro's trade value? Or was this A.A.'s intention all along? I think A.A.'s moving as fast as he can, but the pace is something he can't always control.
JB21 - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 07:17 PM EST (#295330) #
AA stated today that Navarro has not asked for a trade.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 08:01 PM EST (#295331) #
Ike Davis seems to be on the road to being a free agent with likely a modest price tag attached.  He would make a better platoon partner than Smoak for Valencia. 
Ron - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 08:07 PM EST (#295332) #
Terrific article by Davidi breaking down how the Jays signed Martin.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/how-the-toronto-blue-jays-deal-for-russell-martin-came-together/

One club offered Martin 4yrs/74 million.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 08:08 PM EST (#295333) #
It's worth remembering that Martin probably should end up catching 100-110 games (if he's healthy). My guess is that Gibbons will aim for something like 120-130 games (shiny new toy, big contract needs to be put to use, etc.), which may or may not lead to injury problems this year or down the road.

In any event, someone is going to need to catch the remaining games. The Jays could do worse than having Navarro around. (I know, I know, Dickey/Thole, etc.)
CeeBee - Thursday, November 20 2014 @ 09:13 PM EST (#295334) #
I'd think he should catch 120-130 if healthy. Don't know why he'd need more that 30-40 games off if he's healthy
John Northey - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 12:11 AM EST (#295335) #
Great article Ron.  Makes a lot of sense, the Jays basically figured out it would be $76 over 4 or $82 over 5 and that 5th year for $6 mil could be a bargain when all is said and done if Martin is still a starter at that point.  It could be lost money too, but I think it was better that way than the other.

China fan - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 05:34 AM EST (#295336) #
It's somewhat surprising that the Jays chose to expose Stilson, Burns and McFarland when the current 40-man roster still includes marginal players such as Matt Hague, Colt Hynes and Cory Burns.   I wonder if the Jays are hoping to add a Rule 5 prospect and needed to have someone available (such as Hague or Hynes) to drop from the roster to make room for a Rule 5 pick.  It also suggests that we've been somewhat overrating Stilson and Burns because the Jays could have easily protected them, simply by dropping one of the above-mentioned marginal veterans, but chose not to do that.   Alternatively, I suppose, it could mean that the Jays think more highly of those veterans than we had realized....
China fan - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 05:38 AM EST (#295337) #
"....AA stated today that Navarro has not asked for a trade...."

Yes, but AA also made it pretty clear that he is trying to trade Navarro and will only keep him on the roster if he can't get a good return for him.  This is pretty logical and widely expected, of course, but AA's comments were fairly explicit that he will try to trade Navarro.   Given that several teams are interested in him, it shouldn't be hard to get a decent return for him.

On the other hand, there are still continuing hints that Martin might be able to handle the knuckle ball.  In which case, it could be Thole who is dumped and Navarro is kept.  Or could both of them be traded, with Jimenez becoming the back-up?
TangledUpInBlue - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 08:34 AM EST (#295338) #
Terrific article by Davidi...

Though after reading it, I still don't understand why exactly they went after Martin. (I'm glad they did, it's just not clear to me why they did.) It strikes me as strange, first of all, that the management team didn't consider Martin at all in their initial plans for the off-season. The catching position ought to have been, IMO, the biggest priority for Anthopoulos this winter ('twas a much bigger problem than 2B/3B), which would naturally make Russell interesting. The other thing is they really seem to be impressed with Russell as a leader, which is fine of course, but that's not how you want to go about choosing players (and it really seems to be a point of emphasis for Anthopoulos in the Davidi piece). It's Martin's offense and pitch-framing that makes him good.
SK in NJ - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 08:39 AM EST (#295339) #
Jose Molina was let go by the Rays. My preference would be to trade Navarro, demote Thole (no trade value), and sign Molina (no one will trade for his salary). The Jays starters would be benefitting from two of the best framers in baseball in that scenario, and I'm sure between the two of them, one would be able to catch Dickey.
PeterG - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 09:58 AM EST (#295340) #
with regard to Stilson being unprotected, I am wondering if Jays think his shoulder injury may be career threatening or at least career diminishing?
Mike Green - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 10:11 AM EST (#295341) #
The other thing is they really seem to be impressed with Russell as a leader, which is fine of course, but that's not how you want to go about choosing players (and it really seems to be a point of emphasis for Anthopoulos in the Davidi piece). It's Martin's offense and pitch-framing that makes him good.

It is not only the pitch-framing.  He does just about everything well defensively- he throws well and moves well in addition to receiving well.  In fact, it's hard to name a skill that he does not have.  Over his career, he's shown the ability to hit purely, hit for power, control the strike zone, run decently, throw very well and catch very well.  That broad base of skills is one of the reasons I am optimistic about his development pattern over the next 5 years.  I am also excited that he is likely to be on the team when Max Pentecost arrives (knocks on wood) precisely 3 and 1/2 years from now (!). 

And as for leadership, in addition to the clubhouse thing, there is the special role that catchers play in helping to create the optimal environment for pitchers.  As the catcher is the one in the relationship who is out there every day, it is natural for the catcher to take a leadership role (usually) in the battery.

I suppose I ought (as a francophile and jazz aficionado) to admit that my bias in favour of Russell Coltrane Martin is pretty strong.  He has me at bonjour.

As for Navarro, I am appreciative of what he brings, as well.  He can hit.  Many pitchers, notably Stroman and Buehrle, obviously liked working with him.  He is not physically suited to a full-time catcher's load at this stage in his career, but would be a fine player in a 50-110 game role with some of the games in a DH role perhaps.  If he would end up at the lower limit of his capacities with the 2015 Blue Jays and wishes to be traded, I can understand that completely.  If he ends up still with the club, that would be great. 


MatO - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 10:37 AM EST (#295342) #
Agree that they should be on Ike Davis to replace Smoak. Lifetime OPS of .813 against RHP.
MatO - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 10:42 AM EST (#295343) #
AA was on McCown last night and clarified the tax situation for players coming to Toronto. He said that they did a study a few years ago and found that a player playing for the Jays pays about 40% of his taxes in Canada and the rest in the US and that this put the Jays in the middle of the pack when it comes to taxes paid across MLB. I would assume that the players would live in a state like Florida in the off-season where there are no state taxes.
bpoz - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:06 AM EST (#295344) #
Thanks Ron. I enjoyed listening to Davidi. I also listened to Davidi with Tim & Sid. AA with J Campbell and his partners & AA with MacCowan.

I think it is a good policy to always say you got your man, even if he was not your 1st priority. That is just my opinion.

I think Martin is the best single player that the Jays could get because our greatest IMO current asset is the quantity and quality of young SPs in the system. That includes the prospects and Stroman & Hutch.

My opinion on if the team is more competitive now depends on how the bats of Lind and Melky are replaced and how a healthy Janssen would be replaced. Both in the off season and how the actual replacements do.
I remember that Henke was a compensation pick for a lost player. I cannot remember who. He went to the minors for almost half the season, if I remember correctly and was lights out there. He was promoted and was lights out here too. I do not think he did much Starting in his development, but then neither did A Loup.
John Northey - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:27 AM EST (#295345) #
Henke was one of the last compensation picks teams got for losing a free agent.  The Jays lost Cliff Johnson that winter, and other teams could protect 25 players and Henke was not protected by Texas so the Jays grabbed him.  1/2 a year in AAA where he was insanely good (0.88 ERA 13 H in 51 IP 18-60 BB-SO) then he was great in the majors and never looked back.
cybercavalier - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:28 AM EST (#295346) #
In another analytical piece, Shi Davidi portrays the Martin acquisition as just the first in a series of moves by Anthopoulos over the next couple of months.  (I think he's right about that.)  He speculates that Navarro could possibly be traded (or packaged) to the Cubs for Luis Valbuena, who would solve the 2B/3B issue.  Interesting suggestion.  By the way, for all the fans who moan (correctly) about the loss of Yan Gomes, what about the loss of Valbuena, who was obtained by the Jays in November 2011 and then dumped onto the waiver wire in April 2012 and lost to the Cubs.  Although he was mediocre for the Cubs in 2012, he has posted a .748 OPS over the past two seasons, which would have been a major upgrade at 2B for the Jays if they'd kept him.

As for Navarro, I am appreciative of what he brings, as well.  He can hit.  Many pitchers, notably Stroman and Buehrle, obviously liked working with him.  He is not physically suited to a full-time catcher's load at this stage in his career, but would be a fine player in a 50-110 game role with some of the games in a DH role perhaps.  If he would end up at the lower limit of his capacities with the 2015 Blue Jays and wishes to be traded, I can understand that completely.  If he ends up still with the club, that would be great.
----
Thank guys for posting Davidi's tweets.

Rays may want Navarro but the potential package trade of Navarro for Valbuena makes sense. Navarro and Welington Castillo could be an offense-defense combo for the Cubs. A win-win for both teams.

As for previous dumping Valbuena, things would be fine if he would have not performed well since his Cubs' waiver picking.
cybercavalier - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:33 AM EST (#295347) #
Jose Molina was let go by the Rays. My preference would be to trade Navarro, demote Thole (no trade value), and sign Molina (no one will trade for his salary). The Jays starters would be benefitting from two of the best framers in baseball in that scenario, and I'm sure between the two of them, one would be able to catch Dickey.
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If Navarro is a Cubs, their backup catcher John Baker who can play 1st base will be available.
MatO - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:37 AM EST (#295348) #
It's a lot harder for Rule 5 picks to have as much value as they used to since clubs now have a longer period (4 years for college players and 5 years for HS) of control before they have to put them on the 40 man roster. It was 3 and 4 just a few years ago and I believe it was 2 and 3 in the early 80's (I might be wrong on this but I think they changed the rule back then because Gillick kept stealing guys with the rule 5).
bpoz - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:44 AM EST (#295349) #
A few minor moves should come. As the Rule 5 deadline ended, some teams picked up players on the waiver wire.

Someone can still sign a lesser FA like a backup catcher, or utility IF right now. If not on a minor league deal, he gets added to the 40 man roster. The same thing happens after the non tender deadline of Dec 2nd. Thanks John N for that date. In which case a player has to be dropped off the 40 man roster and waived. These additions and subtractions could happen before the rule 5 draft on Dec 11.

Using my logic which can be completely wrong, there are a few risks involved. I like A Burns, so using him as an example, we could lose him as a rule 5 or a waiver claim. Right now if not selected in the rule 5 he is still ours and he does not take up a 40 roster spot.

I like this risk. We can add someone and then remove a player from the 40 man roster that hopefully will not hurt me as much.
John Northey - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 12:42 PM EST (#295350) #
Gillick was a master of that rule 5 probably because of his great memory (thus nicknamed Wolley Segap, or Yellow Pages backwards).  He could go into the draft pre-personal computers (and well before  most teams did any real analysis as we'd know it today) and know just by looking at teams 40 man rosters that player x, y, and z were worth taking by recalling scouting reports on them.  Crazy to think what a major asset a strong memory would be back then vs now when you could look on your phone and know everything about every player in seconds. 

Finding that edge today is many times harder than in the past.  Up until the 2000's doing any form of statistical analysis would've been a major plus.  Up until recently any defensive measures were a major plus.  Now both are used by virtually all clubs.  Next? I think improving projections so teams can better tell who is likely to fall off a cliff and who isn't will be critical - finding both the Jose Bautista/EE types before they take off and being able to tell that Ryan Howard was going to fall off of one (well, many guessed that was coming but not the Phillies GM) before it happens will be key. 

MatO - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 12:54 PM EST (#295351) #
I think I was right. George Bell had 3 years in the minors starting as an 18 year-old in the Phillies system when the Jays picked him in the rule 5 in 1980. Today he would have been ineligible for the draft for 2 more years.
jerjapan - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 01:38 PM EST (#295352) #
It's somewhat surprising that the Jays chose to expose Stilson, Burns and McFarland when the current 40-man roster still includes marginal players such as Matt Hague, Colt Hynes and Cory Burns.

Agreed ChinaFan, very odd on the surface. I can't see a team that is trying to contend next year stashing a rule fiver on the roster, especially not one that has as short a bench as the jays often do, but perhaps they are looking at a bullpen arm for an audition.  I could see some of the veteran pitchers - with loads of relief experience - in the same boat, but a guy like Matt Hague makes no sense over Stilson or McFarland to me.
John Northey - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 01:45 PM EST (#295353) #
Another item to keep in mind - the Jays might be doing a trade, non-tender, or free agent signing before December 11th (Rule 5 day) and each time you do that you can adjust the 40 man roster to some degree.  Stilson, Burns, and McFarland could still be protected if the Jays, for example, non-tender someone between now and then or do a 4 players for 1 trade or something like that.  The 'locked in roster' is extremely flexible.
metafour - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 01:49 PM EST (#295354) #
Frankly, signing a Catcher on the wrong side of 30 to a 5 year big money deal is generally a terrible idea when viewed as an isolated transaction. Unlike the Pirates, the Jays are signing Martin at peak value. The chance Martin stays productive for all 5 years is extremely remote.

Actually; analytics show that Catchers actually "age" slightly better than most position players after age 30+.  The notion that Catchers fall apart more rapidly than other players is a myth.  Whereas other positions see rapid defensive decline as players turn the wrong side of 30, the reality is that the art of Catching is only loosely dependent on athleticism.  Things like pitch-framing, receiving, pitch-calling, and blocking don't typically decline dramatically, hence why Jose Molina consistently grades as elite in those categories despite being in his late 30's.  In reality, Martin's value is defense-driven, so as long as you're managing his workload and keeping him on the field he should be productive throughout his contract.  Will he be worth his contract by year 5? Probably not, but thats baseball and there isn't a single big market team in the league that isn't juggling one of those contracts at seemingly all times.  It only becomes a problem if we start piling up others on top of Reyes/Martin in that group.
John Northey - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 02:03 PM EST (#295355) #
Just noticed a story that Cincinnati might be willing to dump a few contracts as their payroll will shoot over $120 mil easily next year if they don't and they were 10 games sub-500 and in a very small market.  Anyone there tempting?

2B: Brandon Phillips: $39 mil over 3 years entering age 34 season, OPS+ from 2011 to 2014: 118-99-94-91 lifetime 96.  Has a few gold gloves with a defensive WAR over 9 lifetime (0.9 last year which is very good).  If it was a 1 year deal then very tempting but 3 years might be a bit much if the Jays have high hopes for Travis.
3B: Todd Frazier: just in his first arbitration year so I cannot imagine they'll be dumping a guy with a 112 OPS+ lifetime entering his age 29 season with a low salary
1B: Joey Votto: would be sweet, born in Toronto, but entering age 31 season with a 154 OPS+ lifetime but just 127 last year and missed 100 games.  Signed through his age 39 season at an average of over $20 mil per.  He is what would be termed a 'super risk, high reward' guy.  He could be a Carlos Delgado level hitter for a few years and push the Jays over the top but would be a major payroll drag for years after
RF: Jay Bruce: 111 OPS+ lifetime, but just an 84 last year (ick). Entering age 28 season.  Signed for $25 over 2 years plus option for 2017 ($13 mil). 

SP: Johnny Cueto: an ace, 123 ERA+ lifetime, 160 last year, 130+ for 4 straight years but injury issues 2 of those 4 years. Signed for 2015 only at $10 mil then a free agent - would be hard to get, but Reds might be willing instead of just getting a draft pick after 2015.
SP: Mat Latos: was hurt last year 111 ERA+ in 16 starts, 113 lifetime, last year of arbitration before free agency, probably cheaper than Cueto but could produce if healthy
RP: Aroldis Chapman: AA regretted not getting him years ago, a killer closer (17.7 K/9 last year...yes, just shy of 2 K per IP) has $5 mil player option but probably going to arbitration instead, free agent post 2016.  Could be shifted to rotation.

So a few tempting guys there, mainly in the pitching area.  Votto would be a sign that Rogers and AA really, really, really want to win now and screw the future.  Chapman would be the best fit and Cueto would be hardest to get.
short - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 02:44 PM EST (#295356) #
Interesting about rule 5, John. I have not heard that. It will keep things interesting.
bpoz - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 05:20 PM EST (#295357) #
AA has a lot of work to do. I certainly do not know his budget limitations.
D Navarro's 1st MLB season with significant ABs was 2005, so he is a 10 year vet. He has had some good seasons and some that were not that good. 2014 was one of his best years, he is being shopped. I feel good that this could be a sell while the player is at his highest value deal, if it happens.
The OF depth needs addressing. The pen too. But how can you be deep in SPs and shallow in the pen? If someone like Cecil can successfully close, I like Loup, and hopefully Rasmussen & Nolin can step up as Lefties in the pen. At the moment Delabar is in a great position, as the right handed set up position was weak last year. Maybe Tepera or Jenkins takes it.
cybercavalier - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 05:38 PM EST (#295358) #
A few minor moves should come. As the Rule 5 deadline ended, some teams picked up players on the waiver wire.

The pen too. But how can you be deep in SPs and shallow in the pen?


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I don't understand the minor league signing of Jeff Francis. Would he help at all? A reclamation ? If so Scott Diamond and Chris Leroux are available.
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 21 2014 @ 07:39 PM EST (#295359) #
You'll have noticed that an expenditure like the Martin signing was discussed with Beeston; his Boss, Keith Pelley; and his Boss, Guy Laurence. The Russell Martin acquisition was obviously approved. I have no doubt that any and all expenditures A.A. wants to make will also be approved, this year. The way the actual contract was structured is to allow maximum flexibility in future signings, this year.

Go to the Main Blue Jay site, and in Also Trending: A.A. speaks on MLB Tonight. He discusses future acquisitions in a general way. He mentions possibly upgrading 1B and DH, but does not mention any other Infield position. That of course means nothing, but it's interesting in itself. This year is an outlier in expectations, as A.A.'s likely to do the unexpected.

How to Upgrade at 1B and DH? Edwin Encarnacion is a great big bat who plays adequate 1B, Dioner Navarro is not a typical DH as he's also a very good Catcher. To upgrade at 1B and DH, you need some who hits better than Navarro and plays better defense than Encarnacion. Ideally, I'd sign Lester, trade Dickey and Thole. and sign Navarro to an extension. As backup Catchers go, he's great.

Friday was a regrouping for the next task, so Saturday`s the earliest to watch for anything happening. Of course, it might take longer, as I have no idea of who or what is next.
John Northey - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 12:15 PM EST (#295360) #
Never read much into minor league signings.  1/2 of the guys signed to those contracts never even play in the minors for the team.  Clubs sign guys, give some guaranteed dollars but not much, then in spring they evaluate the clubs needs and the players condition/ability and decide if they are appropriate going forward. 

Jeff Francis is a good depth signing.  Someone who would probably be #11 or so on the starting depth and similar in relief depth if he sticks around.  If he gets his homer-itis down then he'd climb the ranks and get a shot (under 1 HR/9 he can succeed, the 1.4/1.5 the past 2 years he cannot).  He'll help Buffalo do well as the kids hop up and down depending how they develop and what the ML team needs.  He will probably jump starting/bullpen as needed and if another ML team wants him the Jays will just let him go.

You might remember a bit of chatter about Tomo Ohka signing last winter but he never threw a pitch in the Jays system outside of spring.  Instead he started 26 games in an independent league with just 2.8 K/9 vs 4.2 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9.  Like I said, don't read much into it.
Ron - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 01:53 PM EST (#295361) #
Ron - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 01:52 PM EST (#) #
"Actually; analytics show that Catchers actually "age" slightly better than most position players after age 30+. The notion that Catchers fall apart more rapidly than other players is a myth. Whereas other positions see rapid defensive decline as players turn the wrong side of 30, the reality is that the art of Catching is only loosely dependent on athleticism. Things like pitch-framing, receiving, pitch-calling, and blocking don't typically decline dramatically, hence why Jose Molina consistently grades as elite in those categories despite being in his late 30's. In reality, Martin's value is defense-driven, so as long as you're managing his workload and keeping him on the field he should be productive throughout his contract. Will he be worth his contract by year 5? Probably not, but thats baseball and there isn't a single big market team in the league that isn't juggling one of those contracts at seemingly all times. It only becomes a problem if we start piling up others on top of Reyes/Martin in that group."


While I do think Catchers age slightly better than most position players after age 30+, I only see this for defense. Players (All positions) on the wrong side of 30 are usually on the downside of their careers. While Martin appears to be in excellent physical shape, Iím skeptical of how long he will remain an excellent player. Good thing thereís no salary cap in baseball because Martinís contract could be a complete disaster down the road.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 03:38 PM EST (#295362) #
I'll go by A.A's evaluation of Martin. He compares 'body type' (perhaps new Moneyball asset) with Bautista as well as work ethic to suggest Martin being effective throughout his contract. Bautista's a mere 34 years old, (2.5 years older) and still going strong. Indications are A.A. wants to extend Bautista so he be a good indicator for Martin. If Martin averages about 2.5 WAR per year he should be worth his contract. He gets us to the World series, he's underpaid.
Alex Obal - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 05:45 PM EST (#295363) #
Buck 65 approves. That's enough for me.

All together now: Five more years of human umps! Five more years of human umps! Five more years... No, you're shameless and self-serving.
hypobole - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 06:23 PM EST (#295364) #
"Finding that edge today is many times harder than in the past. Up until the 2000's doing any form of statistical analysis would've been a major plus. Up until recently any defensive measures were a major plus. Now both are used by virtually all clubs. Next? I think improving projections so teams can better tell who is likely to fall off a cliff and who isn't will be critical - finding both the Jose Bautista/EE types before they take off and being able to tell that Ryan Howard was going to fall off of one (well, many guessed that was coming but not the Phillies GM) before it happens will be key."

I'm guessing one proprietary tool teams are using is something resembling NBA's Real Plus Minus that takes into account and normalizes the quality of both team mates and opponents. Touched on this a couple of times, last year with Loup/Carpenter and this year with Happ. Last year the Braves Carpenter had much better numbers than Loup, but he pitched a high % of his innings vs bottom feeder offences, Loup pitched a lot of his innings vs the leagues best offences. How would each have done facing identical batters?

Happ had a mediocre 93 ERA+ this year, but threw almost exclusively to a poor pitch framer, and usually had poor defenders behind him. What would he have done with a league average framer and league average defenders (as well as averaging the opposing hitters as mentioned above). These are variables that don't show up in the advanced stats we see, as far as I know.

John Northey - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 06:28 PM EST (#295365) #
Good point hypobole.  I know a few teams are using amazingly powerful computers and analysis but the low hanging fruit has been had and I'd be surprised if most of what they find now is more marginal differences - maybe 1-5 wins a season from best to worst.  In the 80's Gillick having that crazy good memory added a dozen or more wins a year to the Jays (add all those rule 5 picks together and see how big a spread it was on just that before factoring in 'throw ins' that he got like Fred McGriff).

Now, find a way to identify guys like Bautista before he takes off and you have something very valuable.  If we see some team do multiple gains like that (the Jays appeared to have a 3rd for a bit in May with Francisco but that flamed out) and then 5-10 win spreads become possible and the value is in the 10's of millions. 

hypobole - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 06:37 PM EST (#295366) #
For those concerned about Martins value, I also earlier alluded to AA using Martin as a selling point in attracting FA relievers this year. Ben Nicholson-Smith was on The Fan today, and although I couldn't catch much of what he said (my autistic son was in a chatterbox mode), I'm sure I heard him say AA has been contacted by pitchers, both starters and relievers, interested in pitching here because of Martin. Anyone else hear that interview?
christaylor - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 06:44 PM EST (#295367) #
"He compares 'body type' (perhaps new Moneyball asset) with Bautista as well as work ethic to suggest Martin being effective throughout his contract."

This, or something like it would be the next advantage, I would bet -- I doubt that stats/metrics will be where new advantages emerge. Finding new analysis and statistical tool is great but the data is limited by the way it can be collected and baseball is fast reaching that limit.

Developing scouts to add the skills of kinesiologists, physiologists, and psychologists to their toolbox will probably be a huge boon for whatever team does it. This may only be limited to development or players a team has control over as it probably is out of the question to get enough data on out-of-org players, but getting multi-year data on the physical/psychological health of a player would help in determining who to retain. Teams use heuristics/process on who to keep (the Giants being out on Sandoval seems telling) but I'm waiting to read about a team who goes beyond the eye test for "bad bodies".
hypobole - Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 06:48 PM EST (#295368) #
John, the Bautista/EE examples you used had little to do with analytics though. Both had their hitting mechanics revamped, Bautista by Gaston/Murphy/Wells and EE by Cano's personal coach. Only then did they become elite.
John Northey - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 01:49 AM EST (#295369) #
Agreed they were not analysis based. I was just saying that if someone could figure out how to tell these guys were ready for a breakthrough and all that was needed was someone to point out the issues then that would be a big breakthrough. Scouts claim to be able to tell but that needs to be measured so clubs could tell that scout X knows who is breaking out while Y cannot. Or that scout F knows power while H knows guys who can jump in avg/obp
bpoz - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 08:26 AM EST (#295370) #
Seems to me that some guys make the break through 1 or 2 years later. L Valbuana, Dan Webb & D Farquhar.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 09:48 AM EST (#295371) #
hypobole:
I heard A.A. say it on a Podcast. I think Hour One, November 20, TSN Drive with Dave Naylor is the one. Or go to the TSN site, MLB section, and click on the A.A. interview. That might be the one. Or Try the Sportsnet site, one of those issues.

From what I've heard, Martin can make a Great Pitcher better, up to half an Earned Run better. He can make a Bad Pitcher better, up to a full two Earned Runs better. Those in between are better two. This is based on studies made with Pittsburgh's Pitching Staff. That was discussed too, on a Podcasts, but should be web-accessible.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 10:11 AM EST (#295372) #
I have believed for some time that the low-hanging fruit for baseball management is the optimization of pitching roles to fit the talent spectrum.  I am sure that the five man rotation, closer, high leverage set-up men, LOOGY, middle inning and long relievers is far from optimal for most teams and organizations.  I am not sure at all what is optimal for most teams, but I do believe that there is an interaction between scouting and numerical analysis in the optimization.  As far as I am concerned, on this issue, MLB organizations are basically at the same point as they were in the 1960s with regard to leadoff hitters (the key point was speed rather than ability to reach base). 

In broad strokes, there is a significant drop-off in performance from starting pitchers on average somewhere around pitch 60.  An above-average starting pitcher can (typically) tolerate this decline and still add more value than the combined effort of the bullpen.  To take an example, suppose a club can be typically expected to have two pitchers who are good enough to sustain above-bullpen performance through roughly 7 innings (90-100 pitches) in a typical game, and others who cannot.  If you name your two best starting pitchers A and B, and your next three starting pitcher possibilities as C, D and E (who can be expected to decline on average after 60 pitches or twice through the order).  You need to pair the latter three pitchers off with a pitcher who goes on average more than an inning and up to one time through the order.  It looks like for relief pitchers, the optimal rest is 2 to 3 days and so you need two of them- who you can call F and G.  In a five day rotation, you can basically get better performance from a set-up such as A, CF, B, DG, EF, A, CG, B, DF, EG, A, CF...This still leaves room for a low leverage relief guy and a 3-4 back end. 

So, for instance, J.A. Happ is a typical C, D or E (don't get me wrong, he's a decent enough pitcher).  Over his career, opponents hit .249/.319/.417 the first time through the order, ..252/.325/.426 the second time and .272/.352/.456 the third time. On balance, if you send Todd Redmond or Chad Jenkins out there, you will do quite a bit better than .272/.352/.456.

bpoz - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 10:36 AM EST (#295373) #
Very interesting Mike Green.
As for Martin making pitchers better, Jeff Mathis was preferred to M Napoli by M Scioscia for some reason. Napoli had the better offense. Thanks Richard SS.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 02:46 PM EST (#295374) #
As I was munching breakfast, an idea came to me, and percolated through the morning. Derek Jeter never moved off Shortstop even when a far superior SS named A-Rod was acquired, so any chance Jose Reyes moves off SS is next to non-existent. Brett Lawrie, at 3B, covers a lot of Jose Reyes' territory to his right shortening Reyes' range, which makes him a better Shortstop. That's a good thing.

The Team needs either a Second Baseman or a Third Baseman more than anything else. To get a Third Baseman with Brett Lawrie's range and hits well, is next to impossible. Getting a Second Baseman that defends well and hits well is just as hard.

Jose Reyes will get hurt this offseason, that's almost a guarantee. How long he's out matters greatly, because who his replacement is matters even more. The only solution to cover both problems is to sign a Starting Shortstop who will play Second Base, for which you will pay a premium. That's the most efficient solution.

Brett Lawrie gets hurt more often than the seasons change and for longer times. Unless he change his offseason workout and in-season habits (otherwise known as his life), his injury expectancy won't change. Ideally you'd like a Starting Third Baseman with decent defense, who hits well, and can play a second position well. That one will be the hardest, and just as neccesary to find.
christaylor - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 04:32 PM EST (#295375) #
Mike, I've agree with your suggest with tandem starters for a long time here -- but I wonder, "Why has no team tried it?" Each team knows about how starter drop off the third time through the order yet even the highly analytical teams allow the managers to keep doing it.

I think there might be something that you and I both are missing. I have enough faith in the stats guys and their ability to persuade management given the times, which makes me believe it isn't something being missed.

On the line-up optimization -- I think (and have seen myself using bayesian routines) that there's too little to be gained there given that baseball players are human and psychologically need to fill a role. Change can be difficult and I believe this to be one of those cases where optimization is more than offset by making the players involved unhappy. We've all see/known people who are unhappy in their jobs and are under-performing.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 06:59 PM EST (#295376) #
You don't need tandem Starters, just a Manager with foresight. You will have Starters that pitch seven or more innings regularly. That's usually three times through the lineup. One or two Relievers can finish that up. You will have Starters that barely do six innings, which is about twice through the lineup. That when you send in your two-three inning long-men. Then there's the group of Starters that has it's issues between 6.0 and 7.0 IP. That's when you need a Fireman and then a Longman. You'd need six or seven in your Bullpen: three very good Fireman/Closer types and three or four Long-men. Of course that might not work.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 08:56 PM EST (#295378) #
but I wonder, "Why has no team tried it?" Each team knows about how starter drop off the third time through the order yet even the highly analytical teams allow the managers to keep doing it.
I think there might be something that you and I both are missing. I have enough faith in the stats guys and their ability to persuade management given the times, which makes me believe it isn't something being missed.

Thanks, Chris. Tandem starters have been associated with 4 day rotations and raise other issues.  This is more like "scheduled relief" for some of the team's 5 starters.  I'll probably post a comment on "The Book Blog" about it to see what the response is. I've never seen it discussed there, but I wander by only occasionally. 
Mike Green - Monday, November 24 2014 @ 02:54 PM EST (#295401) #
Mike Petriello writes along the same lines at fangraphs today.
cybercavalier - Sunday, November 30 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#295654) #
Francisco, like Lind is a one dimensional player.
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Is EE a one dimensional player ? Please define Francisco's one dimension-ness in comparing with EE ? Both are hitters for power but not much skills after that ?
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