Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Nothing too exciting right now.  This is more a thread to clear out some minor stuff and start a new thread now that the 'current news' one is over 300 posts.

  • As the year draws to the a close the Jays find themselves still looking for bullpen help and a stable 2B while having an extra catcher and no clear ace in the rotation. 
  • The Hall of Fame is going to announce who made it shortly (January 6th) with the HOF Gizmo at BBTF showing 5 guys over 75% and a 6th very close (Big Unit, Pedro, Smoltz all near locks now, Biggio & Piazza currently over the magic line, Bagwell at 73.3% with 90 ballots public and counted). 5 players named to the HOF via the writers has occurred only once - the very first vote with Cobb/Wagner/Ruth/Mathewson/Johnson.
  • Jays appear very interested in the Iron Man of Japan, Takashi Toritani, (even AA has admitted it) who has always been a SS and has played 1444 games in a row without missing an inning and a 372 OBP.
  • John Gibbons option for 2016 will be officially picked up on New Years
  • MiLB has the Jays positional All-Stars listed - a few who I never noticed are there as it lists who did the best, not who is the best prospect.
    • Catcher -- Derrick Chung, Dunedin (49 games), New Hampshire (47 games): 31st round pick, had an 833 OPS in A+ and a 240/275/275 line in AA. At 26 last year he is needing to keep impressing to keep a job. Just converted to catcher in 2013, he certainly has been impressive throwing out 40%+ of  baserunners each year.  He can play 2B & 3B & 1B as well thus making him a super-utility man potentially.  If he can hit in AA in 2015 don't be surprised to see him in the majors in September.
    • First baseman -- Dan Johnson, Buffalo (107 games), Toronto (15 games): now entering his age 35 season he has signed with the Astros hoping to get more ML time
    • Second baseman -- Tim Locastro, Vancouver (67 games): Just 21 last year, has a lifetime 302/393/373 line in Rookie and A-.  A 13th round pick in 2013 he mainly has been at 2B & DH with a few games at SS and LF. A player who needs to keep impressing to survive, has to be feeling hopeful though as the Jays have shown a willingness to promote lower draft picks quickly if they produce (see Graveman for an extreme example)
    • Third baseman -- Mitch Nay, Lansing (120 games), Dunedin (11 games): A first round pick in 2012, hit OK in Lansing (731 OPS) but had issues in Dunedin (466 OPS in 11 games). Entering his age 21 season is a serious prospect.
    • Shortstop -- Franklin Barreto, Vancouver (73 games): now an A.
    • Outfield -- Dalton Pompey, Dunedin (70 games), New Hampshire (31 games), Buffalo (12 games), Toronto (17 games) - likely starting in CF this year or in AAA and pushing hard for a ML job (see Pillar)
    • Outfield -- Kevin Pillar, Buffalo (100 games), Toronto (53 games) - could be starting in CF this year, or in AAA and pushing hard for a ML job (see Pompey)
    • Outfield -- Dwight Smith Jr., Dunedin (121 games): 1st round pick in 2011, just finished his age 21 season and saw his power increase while keeping a good OBP (284/363/453 in A+).  If he has a great year in AA could see ML time in September.
    • Utilityman -- Ryan Schimpf, New Hampshire (50 games), Buffalo (67 games): a 5th round pick in 2009, he reached AAA at last in 2014 (67 games, 648 OPS).  Entering his age 27 season his best hope is to get a chance as an injury replacement.  Being a 2B first, then 3B certainly helps his odds, as does having time in LF/RF.  A smart move for him would be to volunteer to learn how to catch as well so he could be an emergency catcher - the more positions you play the better your odds.
    • Right-handed pitcher -- Kendall Graveman, Lansing (four games), Dunedin (16 games), New Hampshire (one game), Buffalo (six games), Toronto (five games): now an A
    • Left-handed pitcher -- Daniel Norris, Dunedin (13 games), New Hampshire (eight games), Buffalo (five games), Toronto (five games): Our #1 prospect
    • Relief pitcher -- Arik Sikula, a RHP Dunedin (44 games), New Hampshire (12 games): 31 saves last year (A+/AA) with 1.9 BB/9 vs 12.3 K/9 and 0.5 HR/9... did anyone here notice?  Last year being his age 25 season and being a 36th round pick in 2011 might be why none of us really did.  If he can keep it up a ML call up could be in his future as relief pitchers can always sneak up on you.

Hopefully that all helps get some conversations going as we all recover from Christmas and prepare for the New Year.

What's Up as the Year Ends | 184 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Sunday, December 28 2014 @ 12:52 PM EST (#296826) #
Sikula has just turned 26 so he's a little old to be a prospect, but I think John is correct that he has the potential to surprise some people.  He was a college player who moved slowly through the lower levels of the Toronto system and was still in Lansing in 2013.  So last season was his first crack at the higher minors, and he posted an impressive 12 strikeouts per 9 innings at Dunedin and New Hampshire last season.  In the off-season, over the past three months, he pitched strongly in the Arizona fall league and then in the Venezuela winter league (with a 1.74 ERA in his first 12 games in Venezuela).  So he's building up a lot of momentum, thriving in every league, and could even be a sleeper bullpen candidate in 2015.
bpoz - Sunday, December 28 2014 @ 06:31 PM EST (#296827) #
I feel that there is something to our group of catchers that are flying under the radar.
Maybe someone will surprise from Chung, Ochinko and Jorge Saez.
PeterG - Sunday, December 28 2014 @ 07:12 PM EST (#296828) #
I think Chung is the most likely surprise here.......could become a very passable back up with some utility value.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 28 2014 @ 07:15 PM EST (#296829) #
Relievers were seen as having not much value, especially College/University Relievers. They don't seem to have much prospect value either. There are not any young Relievers at the higher reaches of this organization, probably by policy. I find that strange, as they are very useful pieces in a Trade. It should be noticed that good ones are expensive. Will the Team's Policy change soon? The more tradable assets the better.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, December 28 2014 @ 07:30 PM EST (#296830) #
Prospect ages are deceiving as everyone matures at a different rate. Most College/University draft picks are assigned A- and more up from there, so being 21 is normal and being 25 in AAA is normal. More faster and you're very good, while moving slower might mean it's taking longer. There's being good and there's being very good. Then there's being 19 in A+; that's being great.
John Northey - Sunday, December 28 2014 @ 10:01 PM EST (#296831) #
For relievers who does become great?  Guys with 400+ saves in descending order of saves...
Rivera: a pure starter almost until he was a setup man in the majors, then the following season was his first 30+ save/200+ ERA+ season (first of 11 such seasons), reached at 25, closer at 27
Hoffman: 2 seasons in minors, 11 starts vs 78 relief, reached at 25, closer at 26
Lee Smith: starter for first 4 years in minors, even had 6 ML starts, reached at 22, closer at 24
John Franco: starter in minors, reached at 23, closer at 25, played until 44 but only 8 saves after age 38 season
Billy Wagner: pure starter in minors (only relief games were in rehab stints).  Reached at 23, closer at 25.  Like Tom Henke retired at the top with a 37 save, 275 ERA+ season.

So all started in the minors with only Hoffman having significant relief work in the minors.  The 2 with 600+ saves didn't become closers until they were 26+ and didn't even reach the majors until they were 25.  Interesting eh?
Hodgie - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 10:52 AM EST (#296832) #
John Sickels has posted his preliminary grade breakdown of the Jays system which can be viewed here. Seems to be about what I would have expected, especially if there is some movement at the bottom of the scale as John suggests.
Mike Green - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 03:06 PM EST (#296833) #
Two A-s and two Bs.  Hmm, that means that one of Sanchez, Norris and Pompey is a B, according to Sickels.   I don't think that is close to right.  If you want to say that one of them is B+/A- (using John's own grading mechanism), I'll buy it. 
uglyone - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 05:30 PM EST (#296835) #
ach the Padres just got Shawn Kelley from the Yanks for an AA reliever.

that's exactly the kind of move we should be in on. dammit
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 06:37 PM EST (#296837) #
I agree uglyone. It's hard to watch trades, for so little cost, this team could make and doesn't.

After being so very busy early, it's hard to watch the Team go into "housekeeping mode" when so much is left to do. I understand there's a limit as to how much they can spend, and while it's fun to speculate how much, all this time passing by suggests it might not be enough.

It's well and good to acquire another Starter so Aaron Sanchez could start in the Bullpen, but without another top arm in the Bullpen, Sanchez isn't enough. Apparently Plan A is running on empty and Plan B is getting there too. In-house is a huge mistake, because while we might survive one Pitching injury, a second one crushes us, because we no longer have enough depth. And A.A. wants to make trades.

The Martin acquisition was Skill and Perseverance. The Donaldson acquisition was Perseverance and Luck. The Saunders acquisition was Skill, knowing the market. Apparently anything else will need a bit of Luck to, are you feeling lucky?...
Hodgie - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 06:51 PM EST (#296838) #
"Two A-s and two Bs. Hmm, that means that one of Sanchez, Norris and Pompey is a B, according to Sickels. I don't think that is close to right. If you want to say that one of them is B+/A- (using John's own grading mechanism), I'll buy it."

I don't think it is that far off actually and John comments that he could see movement upwards as he may be too low on some prospects. Without knowing who he has rated as a B, I am hazarding a guess it is Sanchez. If that is the case and it is done because he profiles Sanchez as a reliever I would completely understand a B/B+ rating. Doesn't mean he can't surpass that but it would not be an egregious evaluation.

Hodgie - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 07:07 PM EST (#296840) #
Of course, now that I have typed the previous, I am reminded that Sickels graded Sanchez as an A- last season and Pompey a C. Since I find it hard to believe that he would drop Sanchez two grades, it is more than likely Pompey that is the B under consideration for a B+. Perhaps I should just log off now and wait for the actual post to see the light of day....
Sal - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 07:14 PM EST (#296842) #
"that's exactly the kind of move we should be in on. dammit"

Yea, but unfortunately it was the Yankees willing to part with an interesting reliever for little. I doubt they accept a similar return from a divisional rival.
SK in NJ - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 10:07 PM EST (#296843) #
I doubt the Yankees were going to give a useful reliever to the Jays for nothing.

As far as relievers, I'm fine with AA's mindset right now. He's making some decent waiver claims and minor league signings (Lopez and Guilmet in particular). It would be nice to get an established reliever but if funds are limited, then the pen is the logical spot to "cheap out" on while trying to find a 2B instead.
John Northey - Monday, December 29 2014 @ 11:03 PM EST (#296844) #
What is funny is MLB Trade Rumors has a few writers now suggesting the Jays might be in on Scherzer.
  • Richard Justice of has the Jays as AL East favorites with, contenders without but focus on the pen right now
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports lists the Jays as the 5th most likely spot for Scherzer, higher than he has the Cubs or Yankees.  He figures the Jays might break the 5 year rule as Beeston is a 'lame duck' thus won't have much say (I'd disagree on that part).

Interesting to see.  I could imagine it.  I wrote this at BBTF...

I'd love the Jays to go for it just from the old 'I want a title now' aspect. In theory they have payroll room but 7 years for a pitcher is extremely scary (ages 30-36) at $28 mil a year ($196 mil total, could have 8th year as an option with $4 mil buyout or something to get the magic $200 figure).

Still... at age 29 Jays former ace Roy Halladay came in 3rd for Cy voting, had a previous award and although he missed time the previous 2 years he was viewed as a workhorse still. From ages 30-36 (the rest of his career as it turned out) he was in 30+ games for the first 5 years then 25 then 13 games. So a 5 year deal would've been ideal at the point Scherzer is at now. He had 33.7 WAR so if Scherzer duplicates Halladay (not an easy feat) you get a wasted year at the end and a meh year before it, but it would work out to $6 mil per WAR which is reasonable and peaks when a team would want it to (early on).

So a 7 year deal at $28 mil per can work out reasonably well even if the pitcher is pretty much worthless the last 2 years but you need a heck of a stretch to start. Scherzer only has 2 years like the 4 core ones Halladay had during that stretch so betting on that isn't a good idea. Still, Halladay only had 2 of them too at that point (6+ WAR) but on the other hand (again) Halladay peaked with an 8.1 pre-age 29 and would beat that twice post age 30 while Scherzer hasn't reached 7 WAR yet.

Basically, yeah, a 7 year deal is risky but even if you lose 2 years it might still be worthwhile if he can perform at a high level in those early years which isn't unreasonable to hope for. 6 WAR for each of 3 years, 3 for 2 years, 0 for last 2 years would be 24 WAR or $8 mil per WAR which is pricey but not insane and might be reasonable mid-way through the deal given how MLB prices are going.

FYI: projections for him from FanGraphs is 3.8 WAR.  At that pace over 7 years he'd total 26.6 WAR, if you drop 0.5 a year it would be 16.1 or $12.4 mil a WAR which is too much.  Start with the fWAR 5.6 he had last year and drop 0.5 (so 5.1 for 2015) and you get 25.2 fWAR or just shy of $8 mil a WAR.  B-R has him at 6.0 for last year, so 28 over 7 years or $7.1 mil a WAR.  FanGraphs last winter (The Cost of a Win in the 2014 Off-Season) put the cost at between $5 and $7 mil per win.  So if you start with BR 6.0 and do the quick and dirty drop of 0.5 WAR per year you get a per year value that fits last winters limits.  Most think the cost has gone up around 10% from last winter so near $8 mil makes sense, so it still fits for the FanGraphs WAR from last winter.  Nothing works though if you base it on the lower projection though for 2015 (3.8 WAR) and drop from there.

Bottom line? Signing Scherzer for 7 years $200 million isn't as insane as I thought.  High risk of course, but he could be worth the deal without going into crazy land.

christaylor - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 09:53 AM EST (#296845) #
Good post, John -- as much as I'd like to see Scherzer (who'll probably have a Halladay lite career) or Paplebon (another silly rumor) land in Toronto, we're back to the silly season in the rumor-mill. The writers need something to write about and the Jays seem to be a bit of a black box from the front office which makes them easy to throw in as a longshot team to generate traffic. I think I've accepted that, aside from a Navarro deal, the Jays are what the Jays are going to be in 2015. A good team, but not a great one, but a team where a couple of surprises (Izturus and Smoak are my bets) and repeat past performances could easily make the playoffs. For now I'm going to meditate on this counter until it hits zero.
China fan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 10:05 AM EST (#296846) #
" is more than likely Pompey that is the B under consideration for a B+....."

Absolutely correct.  The list is out now:

It's an interesting list.  Personally I think Osuna has been placed much too low on the list, and Pentecost much too high.  Otherwise pretty good.
China fan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 10:24 AM EST (#296847) #
"....we're back to the silly season in the rumor-mill...."

I don't entirely agree.  Yes, it's unlikely that Scherzer will sign with the Jays, but it's not impossible.  The Jays could afford a back-loaded deal for Scherzer as they gradually unload their other big contracts (Buehrle, then Dickey, then Reyes) over the next three years.  The acquisition of Scherzer would carry a huge amount of logic for the Jays -- bolstering the rotation, adding an ace, and allowing Sanchez to move into the bullpen, which could virtually solve the closer problem too.  It might not happen, but I believe Anthopoulos is looking at it closely, and the owners can afford it if they can be convinced that it will add significant revenue from ticket sales, television revenue and playoff revenue.

Similarly, the rumors about a middle infielder -- with the Jays reportedly looking at Stephen Drew, Asdrubal Cabrera and of course Toritani -- are probably true.  The Jays know that they need a 2B and they are looking closely at several options.  I don't see these rumors as silly.  They make too much sense to be dismissed entirely.  They might not materialize in the end, but I think the Jays are considering each of those options seriously.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 10:27 AM EST (#296848) #
Thank you John, well said. Scherzer makes this team so much better. Playoffs here we come.

2015: Scherzer; Dickey; Stroman; Buehrle; Hutchison is awesome. Sanchez in the Bullpen is huge.
2016: Scherzer; Dickey; Stroman; Hutchison; Norris continues. Sanchez as closer is huge.
2017: Scherzer; Stroman; Hutchison; Norris; Hoffman, and the list goes on.

The Team is basically one very good Starter away from being good enough. And it's basically one Starter away from having enough depth. With Scherzer, Dickey, Stroman, Buehrle and Hutchison; you add Sanchez, Norris and Estrada as your best alternates. If you get beyond this point (8), you're not making the Playoffs, unless the rest of the Team, especially the Bullpen is "World Class".

Does Aaron Sanchez pitch as a Starter in 2015? Yes, he does. Starters get hurt, so he should be the first one in. The Team must see if he can do it. As much as I want it this happen, I just don't think he can. Until he is as dominant the third and fourth time through the lineup as he can be the first two times through, he won't be who we need him to be. I can see Miguel Castro getting his chance in the Bullpen about then, he's got an electric arm.

As for the Bullpen, we need Sanchez here. Nothing A.A. will do makes it good enough without Sanchez in it. A.A. needs to take the best offer for Dioner Navarro as he can get and add it to what ever he's offering for a Reliever, just so he can add one very good arm to the 'Pen. With Sanchez and signing a K-Rod gives them three Good Arms and two new fresh faces.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 10:58 AM EST (#296849) #
Some will wonder about the 5 year limit the Jays seem to have.  AA has said it could be broken for a special case though, and a 'dance around the tulips' could be making the 6th & 7th options but with insane buyouts (ie: might as well keep them than get caught with those buyouts).

I do think the Jays should seriously look at him as the math says it could be worth it at $200 for 7 years.  Maybe offer $210 for 8 if that puts it over the top ala Martin's 5th year where year 5 dropped the annual value but allowed more space for spreading out the salary - thus letting the Jays do a deal like, say, 2015: $10 mil, 2016: $20 mil, 2017: $25, 2018: $30, 2019-2022 $31.25 per. 

How could that work out?  Lets assume a few rates of increase for ML payrolls and start the Jays at $140 mil for sake of argument.
2%: by 2022 that $140 is now $164 or $24 mil more than now
5%: by 2022 that $140 is now $206.8
10%: by 2022 that $140 is now $300.1

2% is the current rate of inflation for everyone.  MLB has almost always been higher than that.  Using the Baseball Cube I see an average annual increase from 2000 to 2014 of 5.3%.  So by the time an 8 year deal would be up the Jays payroll should be around $211.6 mil based on that rate of increase.  As an FYI the last 3 years were higher than that (8.4% each of the past 2 years, 5.5% the year before that), the 3 before that were lower (-1.2% in 2009, 2 to 2.8% in 2010/11 - I suspect the recession), while 2005-2008 were 5.8 to 8.5%.

FYI: using figures from TBC you get the Jays increasing from 1993 to 2014 at a pace of 5.36% annually.  4.5% since the peak of the Ash years (2001).  That is an attempt to hit the highest points in Jays history for payroll thus shoving down the annual increase.  So using a 5% increase is a perfectly reasonable thing for any Jays GM to do.  So a $31.25 mil contract in 2022, even if a total write off, would cost roughly 15% of the budget in 2022 or the same as a $20.5 mil one would be now - less than what the Jays wasted on Romero/Morrow/Santos/Izturis last year.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 11:08 AM EST (#296850) #
FYI: for pitchers the highest dollar value contract ever is Kershaw's $215 mil deal over 7 years, then Verlander's $180 over 7 and King Felix $175 over 7.  Given how players are an 8 year deal would be a feather in his cap and he'd have more guaranteed dollars than anyone other than Kershaw.  If it was needed then just under $1 mil per year to get him to $216 mil over 8 wouldn't be totally insane. 

The big question is do the Jays scouts feel he can last 5+ years?  As I showed, 5 effective years could make him worth it, especially if it pushed the Jays into the playoffs just once (big revenue boost to all Rogers properties if that happens).  If they don't think he can last even that long then you don't do it.  But if you think he can be a solid #1 that long then he could be worth it.  Then trade away a couple of contracts (Navarro & Romero) with a prospect to get a closer (Papelbon) and try to draw that Japanese infielder here and you're really set for 2015.

I doubt that all will happen (odds are none of it) but it can be done and fit the budget and not be insane.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 11:22 AM EST (#296851) #
Scherzer is too risky for the dollars he'll command - not going to happen for the Jays, in my opinion. There is little in the team's history to suggest that they would make such an aggressive and expensive move for a pitcher.

Probably the Jays go with internal options for the rotation and hope that Norris can step in to the rotation at some point in 2015 the way Stroman did last year.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 01:02 PM EST (#296853) #

1) Daniel Norris, LHP, Grade A-/Borderline A. Age 21
2) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Grade A-: Age 22
3) Dalton Pompey, OF, Grade B/Borderline B+: Age 22
4) Max Pentecost, C, Grade B: Age 21
5) Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Grade B: Age 21
6) Devon Travis, 2B, Grade B/Borderline B-: Age 23
7) Miguel Castro, RHP, Grade B-/Borderline B. Age 20
8) Richard Urena, SS, Grade B-: Age 18
9) Dwight Smith, OF, Grade B-: Age 22
10) Matt Smoral, LHP, Grade B-: Age 20
11) Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Grade B-/Borderline C+: Age 19
12) Jairo Labourt, LHP, Grade C+/Borderline B-: Age 20
13) Robert Osuna, RHP, Grade C+: Age 19
14) Mitch Nay, 3B, Grade C+: Age 21
15) Alberto Tirado, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20
16) Matt Boyd, LHP, Grade C+: Age 23
17) Dawel Lugo, SS, Grade C+: Age 19
18) Angel Perdomo, LHP, Grade C+: Age 20
19) A.J. Jimenez, C, Grade C+/Borderline C: Age 24
20) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Grade C+/Borderline C: Age 19

OTHERS OF INTEREST: Anthony Alford, OF; Ryan Borucki, LHP; Jake Brentz, LHP; Andy Burns, UT; Adonys Cardona, RHP; Taylor Cole, RHP; D.J. Davis, OF; Matt Dean, 1B; Chase De Jong, RHP; Clinton Hollon, RHP; Grayson Huffman, LHP; Dan "Tek" Jansen presents: Dan "Tek" Jansen’s Baseball Squad 9, Lady Nocturne, a Dan "Tek" Jansen Adventure, C; Chase Mallard, RHP; Ryan McBroom, 1B; Rob Rasmussen, LHP; Tom Robson, RHP; Evan Smith, LHP; Ryan Tepera, RHP; Lane Thomas, OF; Nick Wells, LHP.


pretty great list.

a few quibbles:

1. pompey imo should be up top, as he has the full toolset and the performance to back up elite status.
2. sanchez should be bumped down a bit. his performance just hasn't been there yet.
3. Osuna too low, imo. should be right alongside castro.
4. tellez too low. his huge second half last year imo was a legit improvement. i'd have him just outside the top ten.
5. boyd sholdn't be on this list. alford should.

love that perdomo made the cut. he was my new pet prospect last year. huge hard throwing lefty with some great numbers. two of my other faves - jansen and thomas - could be fast risers this year, too.
China fan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 01:03 PM EST (#296854) #
The Rays are reported to have signed Asdrubal Cabrera.  I'll wait to see the terms and whether it's an affordable deal or not.  But if the Jays don't sign anyone better than Cabrera for their own middle-infield vacancy, I'll be disappointed that the Jays weren't able to out-bid Tampa. 
PeterG - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 01:33 PM EST (#296855) #
reported as 8 mil. I would not have paid that for Cabrera with pitching issues still to be settled.
christaylor - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 01:43 PM EST (#296856) #
I wonder this move means that Franklin/Zobrist could move from the Rays. Rays would seem unlikely to deal with the Jays but youneverknow.

The cost seems steep but Cabrera would have been a nice signing for the Jays both at 2B and as insurance against a Reyes injury. At the moment a healthy Reyes seems a prerequisite for a 90+ win season for the Jays.
China fan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 02:00 PM EST (#296857) #
I think there's a decent chance that Toritani can produce the same .700 OPS that Cabrera has produced over the past two seasons, and for a lot less money.  But it's far from certain. And if Toritani does it, he'll achieve it largely on the basis of OBP, and he won't be as capable of backing up Reyes as Cabrera would be.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 02:03 PM EST (#296858) #
It's fine to talk about being too risky and blow it off so quickly, but let's get into more specifics.
1) With Russell Martin catching for the next five, possibly more years, he will make all his Pitchers better. I've read/heard people talk about how all his Pitching Staffs (including Pittsburgh) were Top 5 Staffs.
2) With the new emphasis on Defense to go with strong Offense that A.A. is making, Pitchers should be better/get better results.
3) Max Scherzer is a better Pitcher than both Shields and Lester, and better than most Pitchers available in 2015. Even assuming all our young Pitchers will be All Stars/Cy Young winners forever, adding top talent is never wrong.
4) Adding Scherzer to be our Ace, means no one else has to be one, making our staff better. No more R.A. Dickey as our ace!
5) A.A. can trade anyone, he has no limits, no contact is untradeable. Go Jays Go!
jerjapan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 02:40 PM EST (#296860) #
Sickels is one of the top names I trust in prospect evaluation, if not the top, so his comment that our system 'has a lot to offer' is promising.  Perhaps most encouraging for next season is his view of Devon Travis as our 6th ranked prospect, higher than I'd have him and higher than all other rankings I've seen.  He talks about his 'solid defensive work' which is a positive comment on a frequently debated topic, but most interesting to me was this quote:

the Jays are as tool-oriented as anyone and the fact that they like Travis should tell you something positive: he's not just a numbers guy.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 03:33 PM EST (#296861) #
Sickels has consistently been high on Travis for a couple of years now, so his spot in the top 20 shouldn't be surprising.

As far as Asdrubal, pass. Can't field and lately has had trouble hitting. He might end up being an OK one year deal for the Rays, but if the Jays are penny pinching the rest of the off-season, then they should be able to do better with that money than a projected 1.4 win infielder that can't play defense.
scottt - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 04:19 PM EST (#296862) #
the Jays are as tool-oriented as anyone and the fact that they like Travis should tell you something positive: he's not just a numbers guy.

What's a numbers guy?

I'm not so sure he's so tool-oriented. I've heard him described as an
adequate defender.  He's a bit small and who knows if he can play on turf and stay away from the DL.
jerjapan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 05:19 PM EST (#296863) #
Scottt, the knock I've heard on Travis for a while was that he was an overachiever, the sort of guy who can succeed at a higher level in the minors whose limitations would be exposed - which is how I think sickels is using the term 'numbers guy'.  I've read similar comments on his D, but sickel's comments do bode well for Travis' defensive potential.

Hard to say if he is injury prone-  he is coming off a serious abdominal issue, and those can be chronic.  Injuries seem to be a percieved issue for us with the turf, but I don't know the numbers around this - does anyone have any substantive evidence on the issue?  I've glanced at a few inconclusive articles and assume there is some impact, but I don't have a sense of how substantial it is. 

PeterG - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 05:26 PM EST (#296864) #
I think the turf issue is way overblown when it comes to injuries. I've played a lot of tennis on asphalt(harder than turf) and clay (softer than grass) and while I generally prefer clay, I don't think 3 hours on the harder surface with half of that on a bench (and only for half a season) should be much of an issue. If one has weak knees or back it could be...but pro athletes should not have these issues imo.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 06:02 PM EST (#296865) #
And yet lots of players (Blue Jays and visiting players) have complained about the turf - Reyes, Lawrie, Rasmus, Melky, to name a few. Ron Washington rested some of his players (Andrus? Beltre?) when the Rangers came to town specifically to avoid having the turf aggravate their injury issues. I think the issue is very real.

In the highly competitive environment that is MLB, where teams are looking for any conventional or unconventional edge they can get, the turf is a disadvantage. Even if it results in only a slight decrease in player health, performance, and/or attractiveness to FAs, the turf is a disadvantage the Jays should be eliminating as soon as possible.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 06:03 PM EST (#296866) #
I agree with PeterG.

Turf is not the bane of a Player's existence. It only causes issues when you have chronic problems, or overdo your workout so much thing everything is as tight as a bowstring. That was a lot of Lawrie's problem, not doing the right kind of strengthening exercises.

Turf of a lot less forgiven nature was a major use through most of baseball because it was cheap to install and almost maintenance free (saving big bucks). Turf-caused injuries were few, most of those attributed to the turf were basically being out of shape. Players now are too spoiled.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 06:49 PM EST (#296867) #
Let's see what the players themselves have to say about the RC playing surface:

Bidding farewell to the Blue Jays’ unforgiving turf field could be a big benefit for [Lawrie's] body moving forward, too.

“(It) treats my body kind of silly and throws it off,” he said, noting now, “It’s grass and dirt. I’m excited.”

“People know that playing on the turf every day is tough,” Reyes said. “But as a player, it is what it is. We have to play in there, so you have to find a way … so you can stay on the field and adjust to the turf. It’s not in anybody’s mind. Playing on the turf every day is going to beat up your body.”

Rasmus: "The turf has taken a little toll on me in the past couple of years. I try to tell myself that I've played hard on the turf, I've dove on that turf and played a lot of games in a row. I think in the past couple of years I've played like over 50-something games in a row on the turf without an off day and I think that might have had a little something to do with it. But, you know, just got to learn from that, keep working and hopefully I can get my body back right."

"I know this turf is pretty bad," [Elvis] Andrus said. "[Even] when I'm OK, my legs hurt after every game. I think that's why they worry in there. Washington is so worried about me going to play on this turf."

"Beltre can pinch hit, but I'm trying to keep him off this turf," [Ron] Washington said. "Hopefully, his body can settle down by the time we get to Cleveland and he can play Friday. But this turf just beat him up so bad that he's so sore. But I do have him to pinch hit for me."
92-93 - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 06:54 PM EST (#296868) #
Asdrubal Cabrera at 1/8 tells me that if the Blue Jays don't land an MLB-quality 2B they weren't seriously considering the options, either because AA may not have the $ to spend or because he doesn't think the remaining guys were worth anywhere close to their asking prices relative to what the Jays already have in Goins/Izturis/Travis.

I really hope that's not the case, though, because they only project to a 125m payroll right now and could still use at least two more pieces, an infielder (especially one who can handle SS when Reyes hits the DL) and an arm that bumps everybody's roles down. People have floated the idea that the cost of payroll will actually be increasing compared to 2014 because of the fall of the CDN dollar, but if that's what Beeston meant there's going to be a lot of ticked off ticket holders.
jerjapan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 06:56 PM EST (#296869) #
The players definitely don't like it, and the perception is clearly that it causes injury - my question is, beyond anecdotal evidence, which is relevant to be sure, what is the measurable impact of playing on turf? 

Groupthink in baseball is certainly not proof, although Pat and Buck still don't know this...

greenfrog - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 06:57 PM EST (#296870) #
italics off
christaylor - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 07:14 PM EST (#296871) #
Rasmus quote -- " I think in the past couple of years I've played like over 50-something games in a row on the turf without an off day and I think that might have had a little something to do with it."

If this quote is accurate Rasmus needs to check his game logs.

On the effect of turf, there is a nice article on turf and aging by a buddy of mine at:

PeterG - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 07:24 PM EST (#296872) #
Don't seem to hear the same complaints about the turf in Tampa. I think some just use it as an excuse while some with chronic injury problems may have an issue. It will be interesting to see what will be said about the new turf being installed for 2015.

As for Cabrera, AA is waiting for an answer from Toritani who may well perform better than Cabrera at less than half the price. I have no doubt that the remaining budget which I feel does, in fact, exist will mostly be spent on pitching. An 8 mil 2b simply does not make sense with Travis waiting in the wings.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 07:33 PM EST (#296873) #
I see things differently. These are world-class athletes (Reyes, Andrus, Beltre, Lawrie - and I just quoted from a few articles off the top of my head). They didn't make it to the majors by making excuses for themselves. For me, the fact that they are speaking up, instead of sucking it up (as pro athletes are expected to do, especially when talking to the media), suggests that there is a significant issue here.
jerjapan - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 08:19 PM EST (#296874) #
Greenfrog, the question to me is perception vs. measurable reality.  The players THINK the turf is causing their problems, but that could simply be the discounting principal.  Players used to think that wins, saves and RBIs were vital stats as well.

The article linked to by Christaylor definitely is worth a read, and indicates some measurable decline as they age in players with a history of playing on turf.  The money quote:

My hesitant conclusion from this analysis is that playing on turf a lot early in one's career can lead to a steeper aging ‘curve'. This seems to fit the conventional wisdom associated with playing on turf. I say it's a hesitant conclusion because it must be acknowledged that we are dealing with a small sample of players, and only looking at one batting statistic. Examining other batting statistics and how fielding performance ages for these different groups would help round out the picture.

I assume that playing on turf is problematic, but also that some injuries incurred by players who play on turf are falsely attributed to the playing surface. 
scottt - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 09:00 PM EST (#296875) #
I think the turf issue is way overblown when it comes to injuries. I've played a lot of tennis on asphalt(harder than turf) and clay (softer than grass) and while I generally prefer clay, I don't think 3 hours on the harder surface with half of that on a bench (and only for half a season) should be much of an issue. If one has weak knees or back it could be...but pro athletes should not have these issues imo.

The women sure don't seem too thrilled about playing the World Cup on turf.  Baseball players play almost every day for 6 months at a time. In tennis you don't dive and you're not wearing cleats.
PeterG - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 09:15 PM EST (#296876) #
I think the female soccer players concern is more with the fact that the ball moves differently on turf than natural grass. Remember, I did not say turf is not sometimes an issue....simply that it is overblown......
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 09:46 PM EST (#296877) #
Health issues in sports can take a while to come to light - just look at the revolution in pro sports re awareness of the risks associated with head injuries. For long time the attitude was, you're fine, stop complaining, get back out there, etc. These athletes are telling us something - why not take their comments seriously, instead of assuming that we (armchair position players and managers) know better?
cybercavalier - Tuesday, December 30 2014 @ 10:55 PM EST (#296878) #
Goins' weak hitting is known whereas Schimpf hit well in 2014 AA. Could Schimpf be given a shot at 2B in Toronto ?
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 08:33 AM EST (#296879) #
December 31 is an inauspicious day in Blue Jay birthdays.  Jesse Carlson, Sil Campusano and he who shall not be named share this b-day.

My New Year's resolution is to treat John Gibbons as the second coming of Sparky Anderson and to keep the faith that the club will perform well enough that managerial acumen does not matter.  92 wins and a division title in 2015.  Book it!  Happy New Year's, Bauxites.

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 10:09 AM EST (#296881) #

Speculation in what A.A. has to spend? Might be close to what's available. When you add it up, however you want, $10.0 MM - $12.0 MM is close enough to work with. Of course that's not including Navarro's $5.0 MM; he's an big asset now.
DJRob - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 10:46 AM EST (#296883) #
Funny, this morning I honestly cannot remember the actual name of "He who shall not be named". Old age and a lack of coffee are factors but as the saying goes: if this is wrong, then I don't want to be right.
jerjapan - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 10:46 AM EST (#296884) #
Health issues in sports can take a while to come to light - just look at the revolution in pro sports re awareness of the risks associated with head injuries. For long time the attitude was, you're fine, stop complaining, get back out there, etc. These athletes are telling us something - why not take their comments seriously, instead of assuming that we (armchair position players and managers) know better?

You are absolutely right about this greenfrog.  My initial comments about the injury-inducing nature of the turf possibly being overblown were a response to a post concerned about Travis' health playing on the turf - a player who has yet to make an appearance in the Dome.  We can be concerned about the players health and their perceptions while simultaneously being skeptical of a meme circulating around these parts that is worthy of closer exploration. 
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 02:49 PM EST (#296887) #
All the discussion about Turf just gives us something to talk about that's not A.A.'s inactivity. The most significant issue is seldom mentioned. As long as the Toronto Argonauts have a contract to play in the Rogers Center/Skydome, grass won't be involved. The next two, possibly three years will be Turf. That may be a problem for some, but as it is guaranteed next season, discussion is not significant (does not matter).

I've read talk on the comments to The Griffin Article about salary. A.A.'s supposed to have a 10% increase over last years salary (now $150,895,470.00). I don't know where else to back it up, but it does tie in with Beeston's saying "the payrolls going up". Even with a tentative $30.0 MM left, I can understand A.A's inactivity.

If the Jays are on Toritani, his decision is not due for up to two weeks yet. That could eat up $3.0 MM - $5.0 MM of the Reserve. Holland and Clippard are in the $8.0 MM - $9.0 MM Arby range. Chapman, Papelbon get pricier than that. Then there`s the prospect cost, which will be expensive. Even signing a Starter to fill the vacancy, while putting Sanchez in the Bullpen, isn`t cheap. To avoid last year`s debacle at the Trade Deadlines, A.A. must allot some funds for that time.

That Reserve A.A. is working with is mostly spent, just on who, I don`t know. I`m just thinking that some dominos must start to fall before anything happens. Of course this is speculative, but that what this time is for.
PeterG - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 02:59 PM EST (#296888) #
I don't think AA has any intention of paying too high a prospect cost. That is why he is seeking someone in trade that will be a FA next year. According to Bob Elliott a couple of weeks back when AA inquired about KC's Holland, he was asked for Norris and that was the end of the conversation. He has already said that Norris, Osuna and Castro are not available. I guess anyone else could be in play depending upon the return.
uglyone - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 03:40 PM EST (#296889) #
when talking trade, think of Delabar for Thames or Santos for Molina.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 04:02 PM EST (#296890) #
A.A. moved almost all his moveable assets this Offseason. Anthony Gose (MLB), Brett Lawrie (MLB), J.A. Happ (MLB), Sean Nolin (AAA/MLB), Kendall Graveman (AAA/MLB) and Franklin Barreto (Top SS Prospect) are all gone. Dioner Navarro (MLB) is his best moveable asset remaining. I don't know who are moveable assets as Prospects that will also get A.A. top value.

Papelbon is still a good closer who has experience in this division. He's expensive salary-wise ($13.0 MM), but cheap prospect-wise, so I'd be willing to take him. I just don`t know who else is available who is of that very good value.
92-93 - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 05:02 PM EST (#296891) #
Reyes & Lawrie both have reason to complain about the turf - neither has scratched the surface of their potential consistently since coming to Toronto, and a large part of that has been their injury problems. The same with Rasmus. The turf seems like an easy scapegoat for an injury prone player, or an easy target for a dissatisfied player like Melky to take a shot at. Are there similar quotes by Jose Bautista & Edwin Encarnacion, guys who have excelled on turf? I don't remember Vernon Wells or Carlos Delgado ripping the turf on the way out, and you don't hear guys like Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar lamenting how it ruined their careers.

I'll leave it to the doctors to publish studies on the effect of turf compared to natural grass, so if anyone has some good ones to share please do. The opinions of Reyes, BLawrie, and Rasmus means little to me.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 31 2014 @ 07:23 PM EST (#296892) #
Here's one quote from Bautista (July 14, 2014):

“You can tell, teams that play on turf get hurt more often than teams that play on natural grass, only Tampa Bay and us play on turf,” Bautista said. “We have guys who are here a few days and they get injured.”

But hey, feel free to push back against what Reyes, Lawrie, Rasmus, Andrus, Beltre, and Bautista are saying. As an internet blog poster, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 05:26 AM EST (#296893) #
greenfrog, that last post is both an ad hominem attack and an appeal to authority.  let's not pretend that and handful of opinions provides any sort of significant evidence.
eudaimon - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 11:35 AM EST (#296894) #
Especially since the data doesn't actually back up that opinion. The Blue Jays were among the most injured teams from 2010-2013, but still behind the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Padres. The Rays, on the other hand have been one of the best teams in the league in regards to health in that same time frame - 3rd best in the league after the Royals and White Sox.

Bautista's been injured several times in the past few years (though not really last year), so perhaps he's blaming that on the turf instead of natural aging-related stuff. I don't mean to say that he's lying, just that he's blaming the thing that makes the most sense to him. He's been here since 2008 and has played all his "decline" years on turf - before that, he was a young buck with the Pirates.

ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 12:13 PM EST (#296895) #
I think replacing the artificial turf in the Rogers Centre with real grass, if it can even be done, is the most important thing for the health of the franchise. Toronto is the only city with a remnant of the 1970's/1980's multi-purpose stadiums with a synthetic playing surface, and no reasonable hope in the near future of a proper stadium. Even Tampa has stirrings of getting a real baseball park.

Whether artificial turf counts for x% more injuries or y% more injuries is not really relevant. The players don't like playing on it and it's another black mark against playing in Canada. I've not seen a single player quoted as saying they prefer playing on artificial turf, whereas there are numerous players who have stated the opposite. Toronto doesn't need a narrative among players about how crummy the playing surface is, whether that narrative is backed up by facts or is merely a self-serving excuse. Attracting players to Canada is hard enough as it is.

And that doesn't even factor in the aesthetics for fans.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 12:43 PM EST (#296896) #
What CBDC said.

Some opposing managers feel the same way as Lawrie, Bautista, Rasmus and Reyes, and act accordingly.  Ron Washington would regularly DH Beltre in Toronto for that reason. 

electric carrot - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 12:46 PM EST (#296897) #
I know this site values stats -- and I do too.  But there are certain things that if you try to measure it with stats it just gives you noise that you are likely to misinterpret as evidence.  Injuries I think are one of those things where stats are mainly going to be noise.  There are just too many factors and random chance that will play into it.  In the turf vs. grass argument as it applies to injuries I think we must instead defer to common sense.  And I believe common sense would certainly indicate that a harder surface with less play is going to be harder on your body -- especially joints.  And given that you are banking millions on those bodies and the joints inside of them playing to optimum capacity -- ditching the turf has to be priority for this reason and the ones that CBDC mentions above.  Plus I hate turf.
Dave Till - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 07:14 PM EST (#296898) #
There are two major problems with converting the Rogers Centre into an all-grass field: grass doesn't reliably grow in Toronto in April, and the Rogers Centre is a multi-use facility, which hinders the growth of grass.

I am assuming that other northern cities, such as Milwaukee, have solved their April grass problem by installing expensive undersoil heating, which might not be practical in Toronto.

I'd be curious to see what the data shows regarding injuries and turf. My guess is that outfielders are affected the most, since they have so much ground to cover out there.

What the Lords Of Baseball would really like, if experience in other cities is a guide, is for the taxpayers of Toronto to provide a multi billion dollar state of the art stadium with a grass playing field. This, needless to say, is not going to happen.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 01 2015 @ 09:21 PM EST (#296899) #
I agree with electric carrot about the difficulties of measuring the impact of the RC turf on player health. I would also argue that this is one area where an appeal to authority makes sense. Even if you think that the players who have complained about the RC turf might be mistaken that it's especially hard on their bodies (I suspect that ML players know their bodies pretty well and are correct in this regard, but conceding the point for the sake of argument), the "authority" of those players matters, as it affects the Jays' reputation among ML players (and maybe amateur players, too). The Jays don't need another perceived disadvantage about playing north of the border to deal with, as has been noted. Word no doubt travels quickly around MLB.

I apologize for the ad hominem aspect of my last comment - that wasn't cool. I should have made my point and left it at that.
scottt - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 10:30 AM EST (#296900) #
Especially since the data doesn't actually back up that opinion.

Do you have data about defensive injuries suffered by position players? Pitching and hitting are not affected by turf.
hypobole - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 11:24 AM EST (#296901) #
Catchers are also much less impacted by turf.

The "silly" 5 year max contract rule couldn't possibly have anything to do with turf, could it?

Wells may never have complained, don't know about Barfield or Moseby, but they all seemed to decline rather abruptly once the reached their early 30's.

We may have no idea how much impact the turf has, but the Jays should, at least somewhat.
Do insurance companies charge more for Jays position player contracts than for instance similar Oriole contracts?
Also, when deciding how much to offer a FA, they must estimate what they should produce when healthy, but also estimate the chances of them not being healthy as well.

The massive cost of replacing turf with grass isn't being done simply for aesthetics.
China fan - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 12:55 PM EST (#296902) #
So the Jays have doubled the size of their hitting-coach staff, hiring Eric Owens to assist Brook Jacoby.  Sounds like a good move.  Several other teams have already gone this route, hiring an assistant for their hitting coach to provide an extra set of eyes on their hitters. 

In another move, Sal Fasano is now the minor-league pitching coordinator.  Interesting move -- appointing a catcher as the pitching coordinator....  Probably makes sense, since catchers get a closer look at a wider range of pitchers than the pitchers themselves do.  He replaces Dane Johnson, who becomes the Jays bullpen coach.

ComebyDeanChance - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 01:06 PM EST (#296903) #
There are two major problems with converting the Rogers Centre into an all-grass field: grass doesn't reliably grow in Toronto in April, and the Rogers Centre is a multi-use facility, which hinders the growth of grass.

Dave, I think that if it can be done at all, it will be a very expensive and messy undertaking. The floor is concrete, and under the floor are electrical wiring, plumbing, stairwells, rooms, parking and a host of things that were never intended to be disturbed. The outer walls of the building are higher than those of a baseball park. Even without the retrofit problems it will be difficult to make grass grow. The building was designed as you say, as a multi-purpose facility, and moreover Rogers will lose some rent were it to be somehow converted to a baseball park. It seems to me the kind of endeavor that an owner would avoid were it's feet not held to the fire. But given that the status quo, arena baseball, has a short future and given that a brand new baseball park is not on the horizon, it seems the only alternative, if indeed it's possible.

And as others have pointed out, it's not a matter of statistics. Players have been complaining about it for a while. Glaus was wary of coming here, and ended up leaving, because of the turf. His replacement Rolen, had this to say - "Playing on grass makes a huge difference," said Rolen. "The turf pounds on your joints. Grass you'll get muscle soreness, but you don't feel it in your joints as much."

Hodgie - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 02:13 PM EST (#296904) #

The appeal or deference to authority is only warranted when those in authority are sufficiently knowledgeable. Athletes are wondrous sources of knowledge on the physical and strategic nuances of their chosen profession but are (in general) notoriously misguided and/or misinformed on most other matters.

The natural grass versus artificial turf debate is (in all probability) one such example. Studies have been done for years on injury rates for runners based on running surface and the results have been inconclusive. While some athletes with repetitive impact related injuries may prefer softer surfaces, such surfaces can also increase the risk of stabilization related injuries in the Achilles tendon and knee ligaments. There is little to no scientific evidence to support a claim that artificial turf increases injury risks or leads to earlier career declines.

Put in another context, an average MLB game sees anywhere from 14-18 minutes of total game action with every pitch included in the definition of game action. The actual amount of running that an average player would do during the course of a game is embarrassingly low. Any individual infielder or outfielder that sees even 120 seconds of combined game action during the course of a normal game is likely at the very extreme end of the performance scale and has been running the bases all day long. Compared to sports like hockey, basketball, soccer, and (even) football, baseball players do relatively nothing during the course of a game.

I do understand the notion that player perception is all that matters however time was that those same player perceptions overvalued grittiness and clutch ability, undersold OBP, cherished BA and RBI, led to 300+ IP pitching seasons...... artificial turf versus grass seems like a waste of time and resources.

hypobole - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 02:15 PM EST (#296905) #
Don't think April makes much difference. Default position for the roof is closed, as opposed to the other retractable roof stadiums whose default is open.

eudaimon - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 05:15 PM EST (#296906) #
"Do you have data about defensive injuries suffered by position players? Pitching and hitting are not affected by turf."

It's hard to see exact data on that graph. It seems that pitchers get injured a bit more often than hitters in general, while also missing even more time from their injuries (especially in the case with Tommy John). Using the eyeball method, Blue Jays hitters actually seemed to miss a below league average amount of games in 2013, but at the same time required DL stints (presumably shorter ones) higher than league average. In 2013 at least, it was the Blue Jays pitchers who got the injury bug the worst. Using the eyeball test, it appears that they missed the most DL days in the league that year. Of course, one year doesn't make a trend, but it's interesting. I wish we had more year-to-year DL data.

I think turf probably is a bit worse for the players, but not the total body destroyer it's often made out to be. I think some of the complaints may be legit, but I think some amount of confirmation bias also comes into play.
Mike Green - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 08:25 PM EST (#296907) #
The stresses the body is exposed to from playing the field go way beyond running.  Hard surfaces do offer the possibility of better traction (particularly in wet weather) and perhaps more predictable hops, but the risks associated with it include greater damage from falls/jumps/dives and less pounding with associated damage to the feet, knees and low back. 

It's not an appeal to authority.  If players say that they would prefer to play on grass than on concrete with some rubber on top, that's good enough for me. 

Dewey - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 09:43 PM EST (#296908) #
Google an item by Andrew Tarantola from “Gizmodo” in October, 2013, (or an earlier article in “The Municipal” for June 15, 2012, by Marguerite Duffy) and you’ll read how Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, grows its grass, even in the depths of winter.  Apparently with considerable success.  I don’t know what Guelph has in mind, but I’m assuming they are clued in on what Lambeau Field is doing.

[From the Tarantola piece]:  “Built by Stadium Grow Lights (SGL), a Dutch firm that services a number of professional soccer pitches throughout Europe, these mobile grow lamps are designed to illuminate the sections of a field that receive little or no natural light due to the construction of the stadium.  . . . The lighting rig itself is made from a grid of retractable metal, housing hundreds of 1000 watt light bulbs.”
greenfrog - Friday, January 02 2015 @ 10:31 PM EST (#296909) #
I do understand the notion that player perception is all that matters however time was that those same player perceptions overvalued grittiness and clutch ability, undersold OBP, cherished BA and RBI, led to 300+ IP pitching seasons

The difference is that grittiness, clutch hitting, OBP, BA, RBIs, etc. are all abstractions, whereas the RC turf versus natural grass debate involves players' direct perception of physical pain (or lack thereof). It seems implausible to me that there is effectively no difference between the RC turf and natural grass, and that the various players mentioned in this thread (Reyes, Lawrie, Bautista, Rasmus, Andrus, Beltre, Glaus, Rolen) were simply imagining the pain they described, or that they've simply been mistaking correlation for causation.

Interestingly, a few years ago Rios speculated that a sore toe condition that he was dealing with as a member of the White Sox might have been caused by playing on the RC turf for 5.5 years:

As they say, where there's smoke, there's fire. Or, as noted by electric carrot, at some point common sense has to prevail.
Hodgie - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 02:02 AM EST (#296910) #
"It seems implausible to me that there is effectively no difference between the RC turf and natural grass, and that the various players mentioned in this thread (Reyes, Lawrie, Bautista, Rasmus, Andrus, Beltre, Glaus, Rolen) were simply imagining the pain they described, or that they've simply been mistaking correlation for causation. Interestingly, a few years ago Rios speculated that a sore toe condition that he was dealing with as a member of the White Sox might have been caused by playing on the RC turf for 5.5 years:"

I didn't say there was no difference, I said there was no evidence to support the notion that artificial turf leads to more injuries. If you really want to believe that turf is causing oblique injuries and arthritis due to the speculation of athletes there probably isn't much point in continuing the discussion. Honestly, it is a miracle that NFL teams are able to field any players at all given that roughly half of the stadiums use artificial turf.

Hodgie - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 02:15 AM EST (#296911) #
"The stresses the body is exposed to from playing the field go way beyond running."

Mike, I might be more inclined to agree if ball players actually did anything for more than 1 or 2 minutes per game spread out over 3 hours. To be honest, the more I look at the average activity of a ball player the more absurd I find the turf versus grass argument.

CeeBee - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 07:12 AM EST (#296912) #
You probably have to look no further than the head. ;)

BTW, I'd love to see natural grass as well.
subculture - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 08:05 AM EST (#296913) #
Not trying to be difficult, but I find it absurd that we are questioning what the actual athletes say without some contradictory quantitative evidence, like comparing the turf vs grass. Ie, how much harder, tougher, thinner, etc is the turf? 20%? 80%? If we ignore this element, why not just let them play on concrete and make it easier for ownership? Using the NFL to support an argument about player health is an interesting twist. Pain-killer addictions, short careers, violent and abusive tendencies, miserable lives after retirement ....playing on turf is a minor sacrifice in comparison for that macho warrior culture. I like the fact that my baseball heroes are in decent health post-career and can actually put words together coherently.

In addition to the actual baseball games, there is also practice and preparation on the turf. Also have you tried sitting in catching position on different surfaces? I cant believe the surface is not relevant for catchers. Its easy for us to make these judgements from our comfy lazy boys...
Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 08:42 AM EST (#296914) #
The 1992 and 1993 World Series Teams played on a 1/2" surface, called turf, over just concrete. The new stuff going in is as close to real grass as is possible, and it's the best yet. I don't know how it plays, so I can't comment on it without better knowledge.

Catchers have a different read on turf as most of their game is played on dirt, which is deep enough not to matter whether on turf or not. The ball on turf has a truer run, because the surface is uniform, something grass is not. The Jays will play 81 games on this surface for at least this year and next, while their opponent's will play a few. Advantage Jays, is it not.

It's fine to go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about turf. When you cannot change the future, why belabor the past?
John Northey - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 09:54 AM EST (#296915) #
Basically with the turf you hit a situation where perception becomes reality.  Back in the 80's many teams were on turf (off hand I recall the Jays, Royals, Expos, Pirates, Phillies, Cardinals, Twins, Mariners, Astros, Reds).  We heard lots of complaints back then but so many were on turf it didn't matter much with free agency (rare exceptions were guys like Andre Dawson whose knees were wrecked by the Expos horrible surface).  Now there are only 2 teams with it and no matter how good it might be vs the past the players now have just 2 clubs to avoid and one of them doesn't really try for any significant free agents (Tampa) while the other has an international border to deal with (Jays) as well.

So if the turf adds, say, $1 mil a year for signing a significant free agent or to resign current Jays vs having grass (and it wouldn't be too hard to find out, just ask agents and players what they feel the 'turf premium' is) then it wouldn't take many players having that issue to make it cheaper to put in grass no matter how complex.  Factor in events lost due to it as well so you can be certain on the net cost for grass and then decide if that is equal to the premium you are paying players otherwise.  It seems from Jays statements that they now feel the price of putting it in is less than the price it costs them not to have it (also factor in turf costs of course) thus the stated desire to replace fake with real in 2018.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 03 2015 @ 05:23 PM EST (#296916) #
I think what everyone forgets is Beeston said he could have grass in the Roger's Center over a thick layer of dirt spread on the concrete. It would be in by Season Start and in good enough shape to play on all season, but it would have to come out October 1. It would be very expensive to do it, so doing it once and permanently is enough.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 04 2015 @ 11:22 AM EST (#296919) #
After all this time, all anyone is expecting is someone good enough to do the job required. We don't need a "Wow" factor like a Holland or a Clippard or someone similar, we just need someone who can pitch well, where needed.

I don't know how much money is left, but A.A. isn't anywhere near "tapped out". Asset-wise, he has Dioner Navarro and whatever prospects (usually not good enough) he's willing to trade. Price-wise in dollars, prospects and both, the market was too rich for A.A's liking, and that might have been a mistake. Everything will cost more because it is Toronto, that should have been figured out earlier.

Jonathan Papelbon is good enough to do the job, but his contract is expensive. If you take Papelbon and his whole contract, the prospect cost will be small. Francisco Rodriguez is good enough to do the job and all he'll cost is money. It may take A.A. where he doesn't want to go, but it is just money.

It possible A.A. is trying to acquire a Starter so Aaron Sanchez can be in the Bullpen. I just think unless the Starter you acquire is better than anyone we have, why? Prices paid for anyone with the faintest upside are a shock. People that should have got $1.5 MM - $2.0 MM per year are getting $4.5 MM - $5.0 MM, especially the very risky. Turns out, Robertson's and Miller's deals were normal business when compared with everything else that went down.

Baseball is a lot of copy-cat reactions to Teams that do well. After watching the Postseason, anyone who paid attention would realized Relievers would be expensive. How A.A. missed this is unbelievable. How he goes on from here will be interesting.
SK in NJ - Sunday, January 04 2015 @ 09:34 PM EST (#296921) #
AA is doing the right thing. When a team is short on available funds, investing in the bullpen has a very small ROI potential. David Carpenter just got traded to the Yankees, and in his best season he had a 0.9 WAR (projected 0.4 WAR next season), and he's actually a good reliever. There is a lot of value in not spending the money now and saving it for mid-season when more meaningful improvements could be made.

The Jays have a few decent relief options on their 40-man roster (Delabar, Drabek, Guilmet, Tepera, Rasmussen, Schultz, etc) and signed guys like Lopez and Infante on minor league deals who might be able to contribute. Obviously having more established arms in the pen would be better, but if that's not affordable or available, then that's the one area any team could get away with waiver claims and minor league signings. Failed starters can make good relievers.

If the Jays spent money on the pen, and still had Lawrie, Navarro, etc, taking up spots, then I'd be more concerned. However, being able to acquire Donaldson, Martin, Saunders, and Travis plus money saved for something else? I'll take that even if it means the pen might be a little unpredictable.
bpoz - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 10:08 AM EST (#296922) #
When the season ended AA criticized the pen the most. Each lost game is only 1 loss. A 1 run loss or 10 run loss counts the same. If both those losses are the fault of the pen, sure they count, but it is just 2 losses. Everyone is going to remember a massive pen meltdown and we had one. But how about the offense going through a stretch of being very weak. That happened too. I think it did but cannot remember when.

I remember that we were in first place by a decent margin. Then something failed. What failed? The pen, offense or defense? Just one component, or all or a combination? OR maybe we just faced a string of very strong teams and that was the cause.

Also the real Janssen was lost to us because of that illness, when he lost a lot of weight, energy and strength.
John Northey - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 10:50 AM EST (#296923) #
No question August is what killed the Jays - 9-17 that month.  Without August the Jays were 74-62 or an 88 win pace the same as playoff team Oakland and 1 game behind KC.

So what happened that month?
Team offense: 239/293/354 for a 647 OPS, 60 points lower than any other month.  Just 3 guys had 100+ PA (Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista).  Kawasaki was #6 in PA and had a 593 OPS.  EE had a 581 OPS in his 58 PA, Francisco made pitchers look good in his 51 PA (392 OPS) as did Reimold (391 OPS in 41 PA).  Lind had just 43 PA (668 OPS).  Goins & Tolleson both made Francisco & Reimold look Ruthian with their sub 300 OPS each (53 PA combined).  It was an ugly offense.

Team pitching: 4.52 ERA, better than April but over 1/2 a run worse than any other month.  The 5 starters (Happ, Dickey, Hutch over 30 IP, Stroman & Buhrle at 25) had a poor month, Stroman at 6.75, Buehrle 5.76, Dickey 4.40, Happ 4.10, Hutch 3.93.  The top 2 relievers for IP did well, Sanchez 1.76 and Jansen 0.73 (1 run in 12 1/3 IP).  Loup & Cecil were solid, but Redmond & Janssen were both over 6 for ERA while McGowan was at 4.66.  Janssen blew 2 leads and went from a tie to behind in another game (Jays did come back to win one of those games). 

Overall I'd say the offense sunk the team that month more than the pitching, but for pitching it was starters more than relievers that hurt. 
bpoz - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 12:00 PM EST (#296924) #
Thanks John N. It is definitely much more complicated, I mean you have to play your big guys. They never want to be pulled from a game I think. If they are, they make an issue of it. So someone else has to compensate and do well.

On another note, I seem to remember Drabek and Morrow more often than others in the rotation needing 40 pitches to get out of a bad inning, in the recent past. Last year nobody was like that.

I hope not too many of our up coming hot shot young starters will have a serious issue with this. I think the problem was missing the strike zone.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 01:50 PM EST (#296925) #
In Davidi's latest article he says the available money is $5-7M depending on where the arbitration raises fall. Not much left to do anything significant.

It would not surprise me if Navarro stays, Martin catches Dickey, Izturis/Goins split 2B unless Travis has a great Spring, and the pen is filled by whichever minor league or waiver wire claims have the best spring. Having $5M+ available in July when good players might get dumped for nothing (Headley, McCarthy, Prado, etc) seems more appealing than spending it now on fringy relievers. I still hope they trade Navarro for a reliever to open up more cash but the longer they hold on to him the less likely a move appears.
John Northey - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 03:14 PM EST (#296927) #
Right now, yeah, it looks like Navarro hanging around to DH but I really hope something happens.  That is $5 mil spent on a guy who really isn't needed.

So, issues are...
1B or DH: Navarro (can he hit enough to be a DH, field and hit enough to be a 1B), Smoak (can he hit), Valencia (can he hit)
2B: Izturis (is he healthy), Goins (can he hit), Tolleson (is he a ML'er), Travis (is he ready)
CF: Pillar vs Pompey in the battle of the prospects
SP: Sanchez vs Norris in another battle of the prospects.  Will Stroman & Hutch move up a notch to potential #1/2's?
RP: lots of guys, can any close?  Will they be good enough to keep leads safe?

I figure RF/LF/3B/SS/DH (EE)/CA are all set as it gets right now. 
Dave Till - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 04:00 PM EST (#296929) #
Regarding Navarro: I'm assuming that AA is willing to play the waiting game. There are lots of teams that want to upgrade at catcher, and the Jays have two of them.

At some point during the late winter or spring, some GM is going to realize that their catcher is awful. The Jays will likely get better trade for Navarro at that time than they would now, when everybody is still feeling optimistic.
Sal - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 04:55 PM EST (#296930) #
"Regarding Navarro: I'm assuming that AA is willing to play the waiting game. There are lots of teams that want to upgrade at catcher, and the Jays have two of them"

The thing is, Navarro is not really a worthwhile upgrade for the vast majority of teams based on WAR. This does not factor in pitch framing which makes him not an upgrade at all for pretty much all teams. I am starting to believe that there is no market for him.
PeterG - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 04:59 PM EST (#296931) #
Davidi says 5-7 mil yet Morosi just this afternoon suggests that Jays are one of 3 teams seriously in on Shields. Hard to know what to believe. I don't think Navarro will be here by the beginning of the season.
dan gordon - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 05:00 PM EST (#296932) #
Nothing wrong with holding on to Navarro into the season, and waiting for a couple of catchers to get injured elsewhere, which would really move Navarro's value up. Also would give the Jays a chance to assess what they need the most, and address that need when trading him.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 05:21 PM EST (#296933) #
Smoak is a better option at 1B than Navarro is at DH, and at least Smoak has a minimal amount of upside. Let Edwin DH the bulk of the time with Smoak/Valencia at 1B and use the DH spot as a way to rest key players throughout the year. Navarro should be back-up catcher if he is kept at all.
greenfrog - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 05:57 PM EST (#296934) #
If the Jays have only 5-7m left, adding Zobrist would make an awful lot of sense. Not sure the Jays match up well with TB, though, even apart from the intradivisional obstacle. I think the current Jays' roster still falls a bit short. Adding Zobrist would help a lot, for reasons of depth and versatility, quite apart from improving the team's second base situation.
scottt - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 06:24 PM EST (#296935) #
Nothing wrong with holding on to Navarro. He can probably throw a few innings in the pen during blowouts.
Mike Green - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 07:32 PM EST (#296936) #
Chris Martin (the other one) was DFAed by Colorado.  He'd be a nice addition. 
SK in NJ - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 09:24 PM EST (#296937) #
Agreed about Chris Martin. Good numbers in the minors and good FIP in the Majors (bad ERA). Six years of control and cheap. Hopefully AA makes something happen there. Exactly the type of arm he should be after. Throw enough relief options out there and one or two are bound to stick.
China fan - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 10:29 AM EST (#296938) #
The Jays have reportedly agreed to spend $3.2-million to sign 16-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr. when he becomes available on July 2.  He is said to be a phenomenon.  Possibly a much better use of valuable dollars than some of the free-agent names who have been floating around in these parts.  Of course it shouldn't exclude other acquisitions, and I hope and trust that it doesn't.

Source on the Guerrero report: latest tweets from KIley McDaniel, a prospect analyst at FanGraphs. 

John Northey - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 11:11 AM EST (#296939) #
That is a great sign if the Jays ignore the international bonus rule and get Vladimir Jr.  Hopefully they keep going and sign a batch of kids this summer.  It might be expensive right now, but long term if blowing $10+ mil on prospects results in just one being a solid ML you make that $10 mil back in one year, let along the 6 you have control over them for.  I wonder if that is why the Jays held off blowing the budget last summer when the Yankees and Rays went over, they knew Vlad was coming and wanted him (the Yanks & Rays aren't allowed to pay that much this year for anyone iirc).  It also shows the Jays are thinking long term and not just about 2015 and since I intend to be around in 2020 and beyond I'm glad to see them thinking about that time frame.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 11:29 AM EST (#296940) #
Here's a report on Guerrero Jr, complete with BP, and the clubs that are interested in him.   

Flash back to 2000.  Vlad the Impaler is 25 years old and en route to his third consecutive 35+ HR, .315+ season in Montreal.  He has a 1 year old son.  Alex Anthopoulos joins the Expos as a young man in media relations that year.  He moves to the scouting department in 2001.  Imagine that one day (father and son day at the Big O perhaps?), young Alex spots even younger Vlad Jr. and thinks to himself "now there's a real prospect".
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 12:03 PM EST (#296941) #
Chris Martin is a nice story - out of pro ball after arm injuries, working retail, rediscovered by Pete Incaviglia in an indy league, can hit 95 with control (according to Pete).  I agree that he's worth a flyer.  If I'm a minor league free agent reliever, I'm signing with the Jays.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 02:21 PM EST (#296942) #
Johnson, Pedro, Smoltz, and Biggio are the 2015 HOF class.

Delgado off the ballot. That's a shame. He was a great hitter and never had any steroid suspicions. Deserved to be on the ballot a little longer, if nothing else.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 02:46 PM EST (#296944) #
How the hell did 9% of voters leave Pedro off the ballot.

Just once, I'd like to see someone be unanimous. The BBWA amazes me: they universally agree that the decision not to elect players unanimously was a mistake but their solution to this is to not vote anyone in unanimously?

Piazza, Raines and especially Trammel, were hosed.
perlhack - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 03:38 PM EST (#296945) #
How the hell did 9% of voters leave Pedro off the ballot.

Mike Berardino justified his exclusion of Johnson and Martinez
in this tweet.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 03:44 PM EST (#296946) #
In two words, strategic voting.  While I wouldn't have done it the way he did, Berardino voted for 10 meritorious candidates.  His ballot is much more defensible than some ballots with 3-5 names on it (one of which may have been about the 20th best player on the ballot-Lee Smith).
Chuck - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 04:28 PM EST (#296947) #
Why is there even a 10-player maximum in the first place? Strategic voting shouldn't even have to be an option.

I have less of an issue with strategic voting than I do with its "opposite", the honouring of players who don't stand a chance to get in but are getting a nod due to a presumably personal connection with the voter. This year it was guys like Aaron Boone and Darin Erstad.

Mike Green - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 04:52 PM EST (#296948) #
That is true, Chuck.  Some years there are 5 good candidates and 5 marginal ones; other years there are way more.  Unfortunately, the combination of limited number of votes, the reduction to 10 year eligibility  and past poor decisions means that good candidates like Raines and Trammell may have to wait for the Veterans' Committee.  Oh well.
China fan - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 05:19 PM EST (#296949) #
"....good candidates like Raines and Trammell may have to wait for the Veterans' Committee..."

Analysts are suggesting that Raines has a good chance of getting in by 2017.
JB21 - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 06:57 PM EST (#296950) #
This is fun.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 10:22 PM EST (#296951) #
The Yankees have signed Drew to a 1/5m contract with incentives that could bring the contract value to 6-7m, per MLBTR. I like what Cashman has been up to lately.

Drew would have been an interesting buy-low addition to the Jays at that price (one-year contract, LH-hitting second baseman, competent shortstop to provide depth in case of injury to Reyes, a year removed from a 3.4 fWAR season). Of course, he was terrible in 2014, so there's that.
Thomas - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 08:13 AM EST (#296952) #
I have less of an issue with a vote for a non-deserving candidate during years when there aren't 10 deserving players on the ballot. If someone wants to give Darin Erstad a vote, I don't really agree with the practice, but it's relatively harmless if the alternative is to leave the space blank.

I have much more of an objection a ballot like this year's, although presumably these votes are of the mindset that if they didn't vote for Erstad or Boone, they'd just leave it blank and candidates like Raines, Bagwell, Trammell, etc... aren't losing votes because of this.

If these voters are actually voting for Erstad or Boone over Raines or anyone such as that, that's completely indefensible.
christaylor - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 08:59 AM EST (#296953) #
That Bonds and Clemens are not in the HOF has made me lose all interest in the process. As many have pointed out it is a Hall of Fame not just a Hall of Merit. Both players get in on both counts even if some of their fame is because of the circus of PEDs. Should Mays be booted because of his use of amphetamines which are probably more performance enhancing day to day than steroids and HGH.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 09:50 AM EST (#296954) #
The January 7 birthday team has a definite Blue Jay presence:

C- Al Todd
1B- Johnny Mize
2B-Jim Lefebvre
SS- Alvin Dark
3B- Topper Rigney
LF- Kevin Mench
CF- Alfonso Soriano
RF- Tony Conigliaro
DH- Edwin Encarnacion

SP- Jon Lester
SP- Ross Grimsley
SP- Jhoulys Chacin
SP- Allan Anderson
SP- Heinie Berger

RP- Frankie Rodriguez
RP- Jeft Montgomery
RP- Eric Gagne
RP- Dixie Howell
RP- Jim Hannan
RP- Carlos Diaz

Bench- Frank Grube (C), Frank Menenchino (IF), Dick Schofield (IF), Fred Whitfield (big LH bat off bench- 1B/DH), Joe Keogh (OF)

It's a nice offence.  Topper Rigney was primarily a shortstop for the Tigers in the 20s.  He controlled the strike zone very, very well and would probably lead off on this club.  Dark or Lefebvre would follow and then the big boys (Mize and Edwin) with solid 5-8 hitters to follow.  The rotation is decent courtesy of Lester and the bullpen has three top flight relievers. 

Soriano only had 12 games in centerfield in his career (at age 31). He ought to have been moved there when he was in his mid-20s, in my view.  I think that he could have been at least passable; there was no other option I could see.

Dave Till - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 11:11 AM EST (#296955) #

The Yankees have signed Drew to a 1/5m contract with incentives that could bring the contract value to 6-7m, per MLBTR.

The Yankees have fallen a long way. Fifteen years ago, they'd be signing an established quality player to a long-term contract (such as Neil Walker or, um, Robinson Cano). Now, they're hoping that a 31-year-old with an OPS of .536 can magically turn it around. (Mind you, 31 is young in that clubhouse.)

Unless the Yankees do a whole lot of spending, I'm predicting them to finish last this year - or maybe fourth if the Rays implode.

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 11:31 AM EST (#296956) #
You'd think so.  It's funny to see the Bronx Bombers as a pitching and defence club.  I suppose that they could win if Sabathia bounces back, Pineda continues where he left off and Eovaldi develops. They outperformed their Pythagorean by 7 games last year and they are not likely to do that again.
jerjapan - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 02:46 PM EST (#296957) #
It had to happen sooner or later for the Yanks, I've been expecting an age / salary related implosion for a while.  5 guys on contracts with an annual AVG over 20 million, 4 more between 13 and 17.  Sunk costs in A-rod and Texeira with big question marks around Sabbathia, Tanaka, McCann and Beltre.

Cashman's only chance was to blow this up sooner or later and this off-season has been a great start - adding defense, which is likely still undervalued on the FA market, and decent, affordable relievers.  Starting a youth movement.  Continuing to spend large on minor league free agents in IFAs. 

They have two nearly-ready quality rookie 2b options in Pirela and Refsnyder, meaning Drew can cover either2b or SS if Gregorious continues to struggle with the bat.  Headly shores up the left side of the IF, and Garnder and Elsbury cover a lot of ground in the OF.  McCann should be solid behind the plate and likely rebounds with the bat. 

I EXPECT this team to finish 4th or 5th, but if enough of their injured starting (Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Tanaka) can bounce back, they could be a contender.  If the vets continue to regress, they will likely be waiting till 2017 / 18 when the contracts of Texeira, CC, A-rod and Beltran are off the books. 

jerjapan - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 04:59 PM EST (#296958) #
Stoeten has a post about rumours linking the Jays to Ichiro, which would make a lot of sense.  I like what AA has been up to this offseason, but our depth has been seriously depleted at AAA.  assuming Pillar and Pompey break with the big league team, we don't have an OF prospect higher than Dwight Smith, who's still a couple of years away and taking reps at 2b.  Carrera and Kalish are our top depth OFs - signing Suzuki pushes everyone down a spot, provides speed off the bench and perhaps allows us to let Pompey start at AAA to maximize his service time.  I assume signing Ichiro also improves our chances with Toritani.  Most Japanese are very respectful of their senior 'sempei' and Ichiro was a real trailblazer. 

I lived in Japan for years and the coverage given to overseas players is tremendous - I see only growth potential with japanese fans and IFAs if we sign a couple of name veterans

CeeBee - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 05:28 PM EST (#296959) #
John McDonald is retiring.
I would like to see the Jays hire him as a organizational fielding/defense type coach. I think he would have a lot to offer young players.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 05:30 PM EST (#296960) #
Rumours of the Yankees demise have been greatly exaggerated. After the Yankees sign Scherzer I suspect they are going to be the division favourites, and rightfully so.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 06:29 PM EST (#296961) #
If the Yankees signed Scherzer (big if), they wouldn't be division favourites. If they did that, and Tanaka and Pineda stayed healthy, and they were somehow were able to turn back the clock five years on Teixeira and Arod, then I would say they might be favourites.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 06:34 PM EST (#296962) #
Oh, and the Yankees demise is not a rumour. It's happened. They've posted significant -ve run differentials the last two seasons, and were lucky to post even one, let alone two, winning seasons. It's a far cry from the 95+ guaranteed behemoth they used to be for so long. The Yankees are now attempting to recover from the demise that's already occurred.
PeterG - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 06:38 PM EST (#296963) #
agree that Yankee demise is happening. They are not signing Scherzer. On another note, Tyler Pastornicky has been designated by Braves.....would offer a minor prospect in trade as I doubt he gets to Jays on waiver claim....would rather have him on 40 man than Tolleson.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 09:23 PM EST (#296964) #
Could Pastronicky still be developed if spending some time in 2015 in Triple-A while Tolleson is the placeholder ? BTW, anyway to improve Goins' batting performance, just like how Joey Bats had improved his by means including videos ?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 09:30 PM EST (#296965) #
Since A.A. is waiting for "prices" to drop, it's apparent payroll/budget won't cover as much of what he wants to do. (If he was still negotiating with anyone about anything, their side would have leaked something.) It's possible this budget is required to cover the entire year, including both trade deadline periods. (The Draft and IFA signing period should be separate monies). That's possibly the only explanation for this inactivity. When you add in A.A. wanting fair value (at his evaluation) for any Navarro trade, it starts making things difficult.

In-house options for CF as well as the other OF positions are scary. After Pompey ,Pillar and Carrera there a bunch of guys named 'who' that are just not good enough. In-house options for 2B are Travis, Goins, Izturis and Tolleson, none of which may be good enough. Beyond them are a group of guys who aren't good enough. In-house for the Bullpen is the biggest problem of all. Janssen, Santos and McGowan were let to walk away because they weren't good enough. They were good Relievers, just not good enough. A.A. wouldn't be after Relievers if he thought in-house was good enough. What happens next? That will be interesting.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 09:51 PM EST (#296966) #
They are not signing Scherzer.

I wouldn't count on that prediction. I would list NYY as the most likely destination.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 09:59 PM EST (#296967) #
rumours linking the Jays to Ichiro

If that's a prediction, it's another one I wouldn't count on. If Ichiro doesn't play in the US next year, I suspect he would either return to Japan or retire, rather than playing in Canada.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 11:12 PM EST (#296968) #
That seems like an odd statement.  Why on earth would someone from Japan care in the slightest about playing in Toronto vs in the USA?  Both are MLB, both would allow him to keep progressing to 3000 hits.  At this point in time that is all Ichiro really is after I think, to reach that milestone in MLB.  He is 156 hits away, which is basically 2 more seasons at this point for him unless someone plays him everyday which is doubtful.  The Jays have kids in CF, a poor hitting 1B in Smoak (EE could move back to 1B opening up DH AB's for Bautista thus opening RF for Ichiro more often), Saunders in LF who only once has had 500 PA in his 6 ML seasons (some partial seasons).  That means 300+ PA should be possible for a vet backup OF which could mean 100 hits for Ichiro (100 for 350 = 286 average which is certainly reasonable for him).  Ichiro lifetime is positive for UZR/150 in all 3 OF positions although last year was a down year at all 3.  Steamer sees him at a 0.3 WAR level in 97 games, which would be acceptable for a backup making around $1 mil.  Now, will he sign for that?  Hard to say but I certainly wouldn't put the Jays out of contention as Ichiro clearly has a goal in mind and wants to reach it.

FYI: in Japan he had 1278 hits.  So to reach Pete Rose for ML & Japan (yeah, I know, not really a thing but the media will make it one) he needs 134 hits to reach 4256.  I suspect he'd rather reach it in the majors than going back to Japan.  Reaching 3000 here gets him over the top easily.  So, yeah, the Jays have a shot. In the end I fully expect him to sign with whatever team he thinks will give him the most playing time, regardless of if the team is in Toronto, NY, Seattle, or on the moon as long as it is part of MLB.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 07 2015 @ 11:59 PM EST (#296969) #
When signing Free Agent Pitchers you are likely to be paying huge dollars for diminishing returns after age 31. How fast that happens, depends on who the pitchers is - some Pitchers stay in better shape, or adjust better. Mark Buehrle might be overpaid but only $3.0 MM - $4.0 MM, but that's not significant, he's still very effective.

New York has two-three more years to be totally clear of overvalued, overpriced underachievers. If anyone was paying attention, New York's minor/starting makeover didn't start until Rivera and Jeter were retired. Prior to that time, New York competed. Now, why? They need to be clear of more than $85.0 MM in bad contract. They need to acquire every young talented asset possible, keep the best, trade the rest and start again.
christaylor - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 09:35 AM EST (#296970) #
Ichiro signing with the Jays almost makes too much sense -- John presents convincing points from his perspective. But what can the Jays (or any team) expect from him for 2/$X million? The projections are ugly about as ugly as this player who provides better defensive value and whom we all dismiss. I like Ichiro and hope he gets 3000 hits, but it would a hard sell for any team to take him on, even part-time. Seattle would be his best hope to find a home, if they weren't trying to win this year.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 10:31 AM EST (#296971) #
John, I admit hadn't thought of Ichiro's career hit numbers as a factor and you may be right that this is something he is considering. You may have made a very good point. Otherwise though, I don't think that Japanese players with choices to play in the US are indifferent, as you appear to suggest, about whether an MLB team is in the US or Canada, as long as it's an MLB team. I think they likely generally view it as playing in the USA rather than playing for an MLB team without regard to which country that team is in. Koji Uehara, as a single example, a rather minor relief pitcher a few years ago, made sure he had a no-trade to Toronto when he was in Texas. I recall you saying that Tanaka, when he was signing, might prefer a non-USA team because he's a non-American and Canada isn't in the US. I didn't say anything at the time, but I think that's very much not how they generally think.
Dave Till - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 12:29 PM EST (#296972) #
At this point, there are only two reasons to sign Ichiro:

- Nostalgia.
- An increased chance of landing Toritani, who conceivably might want to play with his countryman.

Ichiro doesn't hit for power, so he isn't likely to benefit from playing in the Rogers Centre in the spring (when fly balls tend to turn into home runs in the enclosed dome). And his strikeout rate took a sharp spike upward in 2014, which does not bode well.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 12:43 PM EST (#296973) #
Why would the Blue Jays want to have Ichiro at this stage?  He has hit poorly each of the last 2 years and is 41 years old.  He was a great, great player but his time unfortunately has past.  Fun statistic.  From age 27, Pete Rose had 56 WAR while hitting .303/.381/.401 for an OPS+ of 119 (3147 hits).  From age 27, Ichiro had 59 WAR while hitting .317/.360/.411 with an OPS+ of 110 (2844 hits).  Pete was a somewhat better hitter; Ichiro was a significantly better fielder. Ichiro has conducted himself with grace throughout- I hope that he has a more graceful ending than Pete did.
dan gordon - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 02:37 PM EST (#296974) #
For the 4 years from 2011 to 2014, Suzuki has hit .275/.308/.353/.662, and his days as a top defensive outfielder are well behind him. No thanks. Kevin Pillar is probably going to hit better than that in 2015, and is a better outfielder at this stage of their respective careers. If the Jays pick up a 5th OF to go with Saunders, Bautista, Pillar and Pompey, I'd like to see a lefty with some pop.
John Northey - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 03:43 PM EST (#296975) #
I don't see Pillar and Pompey both being on the roster at the same time unless an injury occurs.  That is why I was going 'why not' to Ichiro.  However, the point about his likely having just a 300 OBP and his defense declining are good ones.  For a cheap enough deal, and if the scouts feel his defensive numbers last year were not what you could expect this year, then I'd sign him for $1 mil but that'd be about my limit.  He is projected by Steamer to be around a 0.3 WAR player, so useful but not great.  Much like Kawasaki last year and like many others - around replacement level.

In truth, what I'd like best is if someone signs him to play everyday - not the Jays - and we get to see him have a 300 average (not out of the realistic range) this year so he can get those final 156 hits and retire after a September trade to Seattle to get a final game in front of the crowd he started with.  Yeah, a Disney ending but hey I like Disney movies.
China fan - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 03:51 PM EST (#296976) #
According to Japanese reports, Toritani has decided to remain in Japan, despite the Jays interest in signing him.  Anthopoulos had confirmed that the Jays were interested in him and were talking to his agent, Boras.   But I guess in the end the Jays decided that he wasn't worth a substantial financial commitment.  Boras was reported to be seeking a two-year deal for Toritani, at least, and the Jays probably didn't want to lock themselves into a multi-year commitment.  It's too bad, because Toritani would have added some nice depth to the roster, with the upside of a potential .350 OBP.  But to be fair to the Jays, there was really no guarantee that his Japanese OBP skills could translate to the majors, or his defence, especially at the age of 33, so the gamble might not have been worth the money.

So what now?  Izturis as the starting 2B, with Travis in the minors for a final tune-up for a month or two, before his expected major-league stint?

Mike Green - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 04:33 PM EST (#296978) #
Ideally, management would take into account spring training performance/health in evaluating the second base and centerfield options.  Devon Travis will be 24 years old next month; it would be nice to gain an extra year of service time by waiting until May, but you have to balance that off against the difference between him and Izturis in April.  Pompey has just turned 22 and has only had 200 PAs above A ball; there may be more value in holding him back. 

I would be disappointed if Pompey and Travis do not have everyday jobs by May 1, subject to health (of course). 

John Northey - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 04:36 PM EST (#296979) #
A shame about Toritani but not a shock. He almost came to MLB a year or two ago but decided to stay in Japan then as well.  He wants to play every inning of every game and few ML teams could even consider making that kind of promise to him and especially not the Jays. 

I figure Izturis, Travis, and Goins will battle in spring with Tolleson and others trying to catch the clubs eye.  I expect Izturis will get the job with Goins the backup for 2B/SS/3B, then Travis taking over in June if Izturis has a sub 650 OPS (my guess at the line, sub 600 will speed it up, over 700 and he holds the job).  Valencia will be a backup for 2B but will be in a mix-match at 1B with Smoak I suspect and get more time at 1B and 3B than 2B in the end.  Tolleson is in a battle to keep a job as in May he hit 300/375/580 but after May hit just 233/279/283.  Jonathan Diaz is invited to spring but I see only at AAA and behind Goins on the depth chart (pure defense, no offense).

It'll be an interesting spring with that battle at 2B, the CF battle between Pillar and Pompey, the #5 starter with a 3 man battle (Sanchez, Norris, Estrada), and the relief death match with a cast of thousands.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 04:43 PM EST (#296980) #
Depth has always been an issue on this Team, especially good depth with talent. G.M.'s keep trading away more of it than seems necessary in their deals, something about the cost of doing business. Then what they complain about is the cost of replacing that depth, which doesn't make sense.

The three Outfielders left with this Team that have most talent: Pompey, Pillar and Carrera, are all that's left. Dalton Pompey has the most upside; he's the best defender, probably a star at CF. He's hit well at all levels and will do so up here. How well is unknown and how soon he hits is unknown as well. Kevin Pillar is a very good outfielder, but somewhat better at the corners than in Center. He's a decent hitter that will get better. How much, is unknown? If his OBP was better (it's tiny now), he might have a better chance. Ezequiel Carrera is a very good defender, who hits good enough, but has no power, not ever.

I can see being interested in upgrading the 4th OF position, but I think we should be doing better that Ichiro or anyone in-house. It's just possible, Toritani's decision to stay with Hanshin might free A.A. up to do something/anything. I just don't think CF comes first.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 05:25 PM EST (#296981) #
I miss the days when the Jays didn't have to rely on leaking who they *were* interested in as a way of keeping the faith with fans. You could field a pretty impressive team with the players the Jays have been "in on" in recent years.

On the other hand, the team has landed some pretty good players of late (Donaldson, Martin, Saunders, plus the recent news about Guerrero Jr.), so this criticism only goes so far. The fact that the Jays still have some areas that could stand to be upgraded doesn't detract from what has been a strong off-season for the team.
China fan - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 06:21 PM EST (#296982) #
".....I miss the days when the Jays didn't have to rely on leaking who they *were* interested in as a way of keeping the faith with fans...."

I'd be surprised if you have any evidence at all for this statement.  The leaks aren't coming from the Jays.  In every case -- and I've followed it closely -- the reports are coming from other sources:  media speculation, agents trying to pump up the bidding, even the Japanese media in the case of Toritani.  In fact, Toritani is a classic case of how the Jays clearly were NOT the source of the "leak."  The first reports were from the Japanese media, based on their Japanese sources. The next source was Boras, who disclosed that the Jays were in discussions with him.  Only then, after multiple reports from other sources, did Anthopoulos finally admit that the Jays were in discussions with Toritani.

Moreover, it is completely illogical to suggest that the Jays have any interest in leaking false rumors.  It certainly doesn't "keep faith" with the fans.  It only creates a constant sense of disappointment and frustration among the fans as each rumor proves false.  It doesn't help the Jays at all -- it only angers and frustrates their fans, and the Jays can recognize that anger as clearly as anyone else can.  So it's absolutely NOT in their interest to leak false rumors.  Their clear preference would be to dampen expectations, to keep everything quiet and to eliminate any rumors that would put pressure on them.
92-93 - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 06:22 PM EST (#296983) #
I liked those moves as a start to the offseason, but if the Jays try taking this roster into the season and expect to compete they are asking for trouble. There are serious holes at 2B, OF, and DH, and on the pitching side they could use at least one more starter and reliever. Upgrading positions with your limited resources instead of filling holes is certainly an interesting approach to take.
92-93 - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 06:26 PM EST (#296984) #
"Their clear preference would be to dampen expectations, to keep everything quiet and to eliminate any rumors that would put pressure on them."

Paul Beeston apparently didn't get this memo.

dan gordon - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 07:10 PM EST (#296985) #
I think the Jays roster is very competitive right now, as long as they can get one more back of the bullpen guy, which shouldn't be too hard. Sure, there are areas that can be improved, but that's true for every team. I'd like to see a better option from the left side of the 1B platoon to go along with Valencia from the right side, instead of Smoak or Navarro, but it's not a huge problem. Second base could become a problem if Travis can't make the jump from AA. I think he may need a month or more in AAA, and if you have to go with a platoon involving Goins/Izturis/Tolleson for 6 weeks or so, so be it. If Pompey needs some AAA time, they need a 4th OF, which, again, shouldn't be a big deal. The bullpen still looks like a significant issue, though. They need to get somebody else who can be relied on in the 8th/9th.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 08:08 PM EST (#296986) #
I am totally comfortable with a back end of the bullpen which includes Cecil, Sanchez, Loup and Estrada.  I am optimistic that one of Barton and Smoak will be adequate at first base most of the time.  I am fine with a competition between Hendriks and Norris (and perhaps others) for the 5th starting pitcher job in spring training.

It would be nice if the club had another OF for depth purposes.  They've got 5 now and it's a good idea to have a sixth waiting in Buffalo (or perhaps on the major league bench).  It would also be nice if the club had a better option at shortstop should Reyes be hurt. 
PeterG - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 08:11 PM EST (#296987) #
Perhaps this will open up the possibility of a Navarro-Pennington trade.....another possibility is Zeigler but the injury recovery might be an issue....supposed to be ready for ST and teams could be waiting to see if that actually happens
scottt - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 10:18 PM EST (#296988) #
I find a bullpen that depends almost solely on  Cecil, Sanchez, Loup and Estrada completely unacceptable.

Estrada should be in the mix for 5th starter. What are they odds the Jays need only 6 or 7 starters in 2015? About 0.1%. 

Loup is one of the best LOOGY in baseball, bit he's no better than replacement level against right handed bats. I don't think Cecil can handle the closer role and I'm not anxious to find out if I'm right.  This bullpen need an overconfident right hand pitcher badly. This could be painful to watch day in, day out.
Spifficus - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 10:31 PM EST (#296989) #
I don't see anything in Loup's numbers vs right-handers to say he's any worse than average against them (.311 wOBA and a 3.45 FIP in his career), though I do generally agree with your larger point that they could use another good RHP (and a second competent one - I want to give Sanchez a chance at starting).
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 10:33 PM EST (#296990) #
Between the Waiver Claims and Non-Roster Invites in the Pitching Staff, we have some interesting acquisitions. Please note, there is a difference between decent, very decent, barely good and good.

1) Scott Barnes LHP/40-man, 27: good Minor League Pitcher and a very decent MLB Reliever.
2) Cory Burns RHP/40-man, 27: very good Minor League Pitcher and a decent MLB Reliever.
3) Andrew Albers LHP/NRI, 29: very good Minor league Pitcher and a decent MLB Starter.
4) Wilton Lopez RHP/NRI, 31: poor Minor League Pitcher and a very decent MLB Reliever.

5) Liam Hendriks RHP/40-man, 25: Excellent Minor League Starter who still might be better at the MLB level.
6) Juan Pablo Oramas LHP/40-man, 24: Just might become something special.
7) Preston Guilmet RHP/40-man, 27: very good Minor League Pitcher.

Jeff Francis LHP/NRI, 34, basically signed hoping he has something good left. Colt Hynes LHP/40-man, 29 and Bo Schultz RHP/40-man, 29 can be released if necessary to add another acquisition. The other seven have better value.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 10:41 PM EST (#296991) #
Sanchez, Cecil, Loup, Delabar, Drabek, Redmond, and Estrada is my guess for the pen barring any further moves. While I'm fine with loading up on minor league relievers and waiver claims, I can't see AA going through with that when his job is/could be conceivably on the line. Sanchez is projected to be a -0.3 WAR pitcher next season by Steamer (projected 20 starts and 55 games total), and while projections like that for young players are far from a guarantee, it's still worth taking into account. Norris, Hendriks, and Estrada are all better SP options than him based on that criteria.

Of course, all that could change if AA trades Navarro for a reliever and/or acquires an established one by other means.
dan gordon - Thursday, January 08 2015 @ 11:06 PM EST (#296992) #
Mike, I don't think you can say the back end of the pen includes Cecil, Loup, Sanchez AND Estrada. From what AA and others have said, it looks like the 5th starter will be probably Sanchez or maybe Estrada. Sure, if you slide somebody else into the rotation, the bullpen looks OK, but right now, that doesn't seem to be the plan. I have no desire to see Barton at 1B, and I have doubts that Smoak is going to be good enough, but as I said, that's not a major problem. The bullpen is where they need help. If they can get it by finding a 5th starter, whether it's Norris or Hendriks or somebody else they acquire, leaving both Estrada and Sanchez in the pen, fine, but they need somebody.
John Northey - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 12:07 AM EST (#296993) #
The #5 seems to be Sanchez as default, Estrada the backup with Norris going to spring fighting to show he really is the guy the Jays want there given his tweets after Happ was traded.  A good setup actually as Estrada should be an acceptable #5 if needed, but Sanchez and Norris both have #1/2 potential.  Odds are all 3 will get 5+ starts this year at some point.

As to guys needed post #1-7, lets look at recent history using total starts as a way of deciding who was #5/6/7/8/...
2014: 4 starts by #8/9, 6 by #7, 8 by #6 - an excellent health year for the Jays
2013: 14 for #6, 10 for #7, and 17 for #8-13 (!) - a horrid year for health/productivity as only #10 in starts had a 100+ ERA+ (Jenkins over 3 starts)
2012: 13 for #6, 11 for #7, and 22 for #8-12 (Cecil was one of those guys).  Just 2 of the 12 had a 100+ ERA+. Ugh.
2011: 13 for #6, 10 for #7, and 23 for #8-12
2010: 9 for #6, 9 for #7, and 15 for #8-12
2009: 11 for #6, 9 for #7, and 15 for #8-12

Clearly from 2009-2013 there was a major, major issue keeping the big 5 healthy & effective.  15-23 starts a year for your #8 and beyond starters is too much for pretty much any team to overcome I'd think.  Lets look at the playoff years...
1993: 12 for #6, 3 for #7, 1 for #8 and that's it
1992: 14 for #6, 7 for #7, 5 for #8/9 : note, #6/7 were David Wells & David Cone with Dave Stieb as #5 with 14 starts. 
1991: 9 for #6, 7 for #7, 9 for #8-11
1989: 4 for #6, 3 for #7, 10 for #8-12
1985: 9 for #6, 5 for #7, 6 for #8-10

No question, having a starting staff that is healthy & effective is key to winning.  If you are asking for more than 10 starts from your #8 and beyond guys you are not going far unless a miracle occurs. 
Baltimore: 1 start for #7, 0 starts past that
Detroit: 6 for #7, 10 for #8-11
KC: 3 for #7, 1 for #8
LAA: 6 for #7, 3 for #8
Oakland: 11 for #7, 21 for #8-11 - also massive collapse in 2nd half (29-38)

Washington: 5 for #7, 1 for #8
St Louis: 7 for #7, 23 for #8-12... at 90 wins the lowest of any division winner
LAD: 8 for #7, 8 for #8-12
SF: 12 for #7, just 1 for the rest
Pittsburgh: 10 for #7, 6 for #8

So 2 of the 10 playoff teams used their #8 and beyonds for over 10 starts.  One had the weakest record for a division winner, the other suffered a killer collapse in the 2nd half.  The other 8 saw 3 teams with just 1 start for #8 and beyond and a 4th without a single start for #8 and beyond.

Conclusion: if you are going to your #8 and beyond guys a lot the season is close to a write off anyways.  The Jays have a clear top 4, Sanchez/Estrada/Norris fighting for #5/6/7, and endurable guys for #8/9 in Hendriks and Jenkins.  For #10 and past you hope some kids or AAAA guys will step up and earn a start if needed but hopefully they won't be needed and if they are the season probably is toast already.

China fan - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 06:48 AM EST (#296994) #
".....Paul Beeston apparently didn't get this memo...."

Beeston and others in the Jays management have been making the standard claims that they always make:  the Jays will be a contender, the Jays have a top-10 payroll, etc.  And to be fair, the spending of $82-million on Russell Martin and the trade for an MVP-calibre 3B are pretty good efforts to fulfill those promises. (Even if their promises were later partially undercut by the emergence of "footnotes" about how they define the payroll.)

Beeston's standard rhetoric is very different from what I was commenting on: the alleged use of leaks to get fans excited about rumored acquisitions, which later don't materialize.  I don't see any evidence that the Jays use such a tactic, and I think it's clear that such a tactic would be counter-productive and self-defeating, and the Jays fully realize that.  Pumping up expectations over specific players, knowing that the expectations would be dashed and frustrated and would only create disillusionment and disappointment among the fans, is clearly an illogical tactic.
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 11:29 AM EST (#296996) #

All Teams have to deal with similar issues, but it's basic bookwork. It shouldn't be the big revelation to anyone that they are making it out to be. Shame on those Media people for trying to create panic/discord.

All we know for sure is payroll is going up and our source is someone who should know. So people can speculate on a $138.0 MM - $150.0 MM Budget/Payroll for 2015. The actual number will never be known because it drives up prices with players agents.

All we know for sure is A.A. will no overpay for anyone. He has an area he will go and one he won't. It's something we've heard him say ad nauseam. It's possible however, he might have underestimated the Relief market badly.
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 12:08 PM EST (#296997) #
Once upon a time, the Jays had five solid Starters (Dickey, Buehrle, Stroman, Hutchison and Happ) of varied competence (Happ gets traded). They had two hot young guns (Sanchez and Norris) as the next in line: #6 & #7. They had two young guns of slightly lesser talent (Graveman and Nolin) to follow them: #8 & #9 (both get traded). Other of lesser varied competence (Estrada, Jenkins, Hendriks) followed: #10, #11, ##12. They had true depth.

Our biggest problem is that our #7 Starter now was our #10 just a few months ago. Our #5 & #6 Starter are still unproven and "young". Anything happens to more than one Starter and this season is over and A.A. starts talking about how injuries derailed the season again. Now we have no depth, and the closest help in the minors are AAAA types or prospects two years or more away.
dan gordon - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 02:23 PM EST (#296998) #
The Jays' deal with Ryan Kalish has fallen through, presumably due to injury issues.

The Jays are one of four teams looking at reliever John Axford, according to Jon Heyman. He had a couple of excellent years in 2010, 2011, but his WHIP in the 3 years since then - 1.442, 1.523, 1.445, doesn't inspire confidence.

Apparently, two dozen teams are going to watch Alexi Ogando throw today. I would presume the Jays would be one of them - as long as he's healthy, he'd be a really nice addition. He produced some very good results as both a starter and reliever prior to last year when he was battling injury, despite pitching in an extreme hitter's park.
John Northey - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 02:28 PM EST (#296999) #
As I showed a few comments ago, any team that loses more than 1 starter isn't likely getting to the playoffs, and if you lose 3 forget about it.  Having 2 1/2 decent backups available is smart (a #6/7) but beyond that you are not spending wisely.  It is a 'nice to have' but really if you are getting 10+ starts from your #8 guy your season is probably over as far as playoffs go.  The Jays have a #5/6/7 in Sanchez/Norris/Estrada and not horrid guys for #8/9 in Jenkins/Hendriks.  If the Jays get more than 3 or 4 starts out of a #10 and beyond then the issue is not depth but just crazy injury/ineffectiveness.

Right now AA needs to focus on the strong weaknesses - 1B, 2B, CF, and the bullpen.  1B and 2B are counting on guys who might not have a 700 OPS.  CF has 2 kids splitting it who have yet to get 50 PA (Pompey) or 130 PA (Pillar) in a ML season - combined the two have 275 PA in the majors.  The pen has a few good guys but is a big risk area but also a hard area to fix as relievers are so variable in performance with rare exceptions.

Signing a stack of quality AAAA guys for the pen is smart - someone will catch lighting and do well.  1B they have a lot of guys around for as well, as is the same at 2B.  So my thought is keep an eye out for a bargain guy at any of those spots who shows up for whatever reason, but really focus on getting a solid 4th outfielder who can play CF - someone like Rajai Davis who can give you a 1 WAR performance if playing everyday but doesn't go screaming if he is on the bench (not him as Detroit likes him, but someone like that) - just in case the 2 kids aren't ready or one of the corner guys goes down.
92-93 - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 03:08 PM EST (#297000) #
Signing Russell Martin to a heavily backloaded deal that is going to hamstring the team in 2017-2019 and trading Lawrie + prospects for Donaldson is not fulfilling a promise about raising payroll. It was a shrewd attempt by Anthopoulos to compete with what he's been given, which seems to be even less resources than he had last year when the team had to pass a hat around the clubhouse to afford talent it desperately needed.

I sincerely wish AA would have had some $ to spend this offseason, because this is a talented squad that is right there. It's too bad that everything he's doing has to be salary neutral - letting go of Lind and Melky freed up the exact amount of $ they needed for Donaldson & Martin, and that isn't coincidental.

Speaking of Lind, it's funny how the offseason played out; he seems to be the perfect complement to this roster right now, a LH bat who can DH and crush RHP.
perlhack - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 03:17 PM EST (#297001) #
Jayson Stark says Carlos Delgado deserves an apology for the Hall of Fame voting, and that he is "the best player in history to get booted off the Hall of Fame ballot after his first year".

Meanwhile, David Schoenfield asks "Has Josh Donaldson reached his peak?"
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 04:35 PM EST (#297002) #
Unless someone with knowledge to what happened with Ryan Kalish speaks, we're never going to know for sure. Are these, he can't play/play much this year, or, these are career-changing injuries, a possible reason, because he can play at the MLB level, so he's useful?

I always thought that if A.A. was interested in an Axford or an Ogando they would have been signed much, much earlier as Plan B or Plan C alternatives. Relievers like Axford don`t disappear, they just lose their way - problem with delivery; lose feel for a pitch; lose velocity; lose control. Sometimes they can be made well, then they`re useful. Alexi Ogando is an ideal acquisition (cheaper) and should have been approached earlier.
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 05:15 PM EST (#297003) #
Of the players at risk/being without options, there can be some discussion but not much.

Todd Redmond: should make the Team in the Bullpen having proven to be effective last year.
Justin Smoak: makes the Team as the Starting 1B until he proves he can't hit anymore.
Danny Valencia: is very useful at 1B and 3B so should make the Bench.

Steve Tolleson: may have lost his place on the Team to Maicer Izturis or Ryan Goins.
Kyle Drabek: might be able to pitch in the Bullpen, too early to tell otherwise.
Liam Hendriks: might make the Team, if he changes what he throws. Graveman never pitched this good until he learned a new pitch. That might work here.
Scott Barnes: might be the likeliest to go. He has the most to do to make this team and might be the first to go with a new acquisition.
greenfrog - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 05:33 PM EST (#297004) #
The Jays are going to be paying a declining Martin and Reyes a combined $42m in each of 2017 and 2018. That's going to hurt, especially with payroll around $130m. The Jays have a lot riding on 2015 and 2016.
China fan - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 06:04 PM EST (#297005) #
"....It's too bad that everything he's doing has to be salary neutral...."

That's a fair point, especially if the Jays fail to add any payroll over the remainder of the off-season.  (It's a bit too early to conclude that they won't add any more spending, but I agree that it's looking increasingly possible.)  However, you've also noted that the Jays have added a lot of payroll for 2017-19.  Doesn't this contradict your first point?  The owners aren't stupid, they know that the bills eventually come due.  They willingly accepted payroll commitments for 2017-19, so why should we assume that the owners required Anthopoulos to maintain a salary-neutral situation for 2015?  A dollar is a dollar.  (Or a slightly inflation-eroded dollar in 2017, but still basically close to a dollar.)  If the owners are willing to accept big commitments for 2017, why would they insist on freezing the payroll in 2015? Moreover, I don't think it's logical to assume that Martin and Reyes will be the only well-paid players in 2017.  That scenario would assume, for example, that Bautista and Encarnacion will both be gone within the next year or two. I think the Jays will try to keep them -- which means, almost certainly, that the payroll does rise significantly by 2017, if not sooner.
China fan - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 06:08 PM EST (#297006) #
"....Speaking of Lind, it's funny how the offseason played out; he seems to be the perfect complement to this roster right now, a LH bat who can DH and crush RHP..."

I agree.  And if the Jays fail to add another bat to replace Lind -- i.e. a big bat for 1B or DH or the OF -- I'll be disappointed, because it's a lost opportunity to strengthen the lineup.  I still think Smoak won't come anywhere close to Lind's production, even taking into account Lind's inevitable injuries.
greenfrog - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 07:45 PM EST (#297007) #
If the Jays extend Bautista and Encarnacion, it's conceivable that they could be paying close to $100m in 2017 for five declining players: Bats, EE, Reyes, Martin and JD. That doesn't seem tenable without a significantly higher payroll. It probably isn't a winning strategy, in any case.
cybercavalier - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 08:53 PM EST (#297008) #
If 2B and CF are holes, would Ryan Schimpf, Pillar split time at those position ? Tolleson backs them up from bench. Izturis backs up for 2B. Goins, Diaz, Travis plays infield for Buffalo. Pompey plays CF for Buffalo.
cybercavalier - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 09:26 PM EST (#297009) #
Would guys like Dean Anna, who seems to be hidden in depth charts, get a chance in Toronto for 2B ? Similarly, is White Sox' J. B. Shuck a good candidate for OF especially Melky has already been a Sox player?
PeterG - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 09:03 AM EST (#297011) #
Dave Stewart says Jays asking too much for Navarro...waiting for price on Navarro or Castillo to come down.o
scottt - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 09:33 AM EST (#297012) #
That scenario would assume, for example, that Bautista and Encarnacion will both be gone within the next year or two. I think the Jays will try to keep them -- which means, almost certainly, that the payroll does rise significantly by 2017, if not sooner.

I don't see the Jays paying market value for Bats and EE. GM and coach could be totally different by then, anyway.
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 11:08 AM EST (#297013) #
,And to be fair, the spending of $82-million on Russell Martin and the trade for an MVP-calibre 3B are pretty good efforts to fulfill those promises. (Even if their promises were later partially undercut by the emergence of "footnotes" about how they define the payroll.)

When did Paul Beeston "promise" that the Blue Jays' payroll would increase in 2015? 'Expecting' it to rise is one thing but 'promising' is quite another. I'm not familiar with any circumstance where a front office has 'promised' that payroll will rise. That's not to say it couldn't happen, or hasn't ever happened, but to actually 'promise' something normally requires a clear undertaking, not a statement about what one expects. I know that you intend no mischief CF, but the internet 'Paul Beeston broken promise' narrative is, put mildly, a canard.

Among MLB teams, Toronto is a lower half baseball market when measured by attendance and revenue, whether one consults Forbes or Bloomberg. Yet its owners, Rogers, provide it with a top third payroll and this despite the substantial tanking of Canadian currency. At the beginning of January 2013 the Canadian dollar was at par with the USD. At the beginning of January 2014, it was still at 94 cents. Today it's around 84 cents. In other words, it would require an increase of almost a fifth of its current value to put Canadian currency at par with the currency of competitor major league baseball teams and yet a team with lower half attendance levels and a weakened currency receives a top third payroll. Some injustice.

The Blue Jays lost money in 2013 and I suspect even more in 2014. With a very strong performance on the field, revenues will certainly rise, though the Canadian currency problem won't be resolved. Despite what appears to be a bit of an internet obsession, there is no 'payroll problem', at least from any rational point of view.

Beeston has been a great team president and I worry about when he leaves. Godfrey reminded me of the character Percy Alleyne in Tinker Tailor, the guy who turned 'the Circus' over to exactly the wrong guy who undermines it, and then gets his own sacking at the end. Godfrey of course, fled the scene before his sacking came. Beeston fired Ricciardi and replaced him with Anthopolous. Without over-estimating Anthopolous, that's a pretty good subtraction/addition. The scouting department has been restored as part of The Reconstruction after the Godfrey/Ricciardi years, attendance and payroll have risen, the farm system has been rebuilt and there are honest expectations of becoming competitive. Most important to me at least, is the possibility of natural grass in Toronto and I worry that Beeston's eventual departure might lead to a lessening of the organization's commitment in that regard.
SK in NJ - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 12:04 PM EST (#297014) #
“You know it’s going higher next year.”

That was Beeston's exact quote in October regarding payroll. I don't blame people for feeling conned if/when the payroll remains less than or around the same ballpark as last season.

Granted, the team has been allegedly looking for a new team president the last month, so maybe Beeston's words are meaningless nowadays, but it was still a quote that Toronto media aired and ran with, with only guys like Davidi now trying to downplay it. I don't think it's a coincidence that articles came out recently talking about throwing in cash in the Happ deal, accounting for buyouts with Bautista/DIckey/Edwin when neither of those three appear to be buyout candidates (barring something strange happening), and only having $5-7M to spend which is surely not going to thrust the Jays into the territory Beeston had mentioned in October.

The way Martin's contract is structured tells the whole story. I am actually a huge fan of AA's off-season, as I think adding Donaldson, Martin, and Saunders in a span of a month was brilliant, but his hands are obviously tied (again). Yes, the payroll is enough to win in general, but this current roster needs more, and they are close enough to justify that expense, IMO.
dan gordon - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 02:07 PM EST (#297016) #
Well, for those who wanted Zobrist, forget it, as the Rays have traded him to Oakland, along with Y.Escobar, for Jaso and 2 prospects, Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell (no relation to the former Oriole).
melondough - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 02:09 PM EST (#297017) #
Regarding Zobrist being dealt to Oakland I was thinking that assuming TB was willing to deal him to Toronto then a similar package would be Navarro, DJ Davis - taken 17th overall in 2012 but not ranked in top 100, and Lugo (the Jays #12 prospect and the SS TB might have been looking for, higher ranked than Powell).

Would you have done that? Not sure if TB forced Oak to take Escobar but if not then I would have prefered TB keep him and would actually call this offer better than what they got below. Thoughts?

Jaso - mediocre/average catcher due $3.5M in 2015 then a FA

Daniel Robertson - their #1 prospect taken 34th overall in 2012 with an ETA of 2016 and in A Advanced ball last year (ranked #85 on top prospect list)


Boog Powell - their #11 prospect taken 619th overall in 2012 with an ETA of 2017and also in A Advanced last year. Not in top 100 MLB prospects (not even close)

ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 02:38 PM EST (#297019) #
I don't blame people for feeling conned if/when the payroll remains less than or around the same ballpark as last season.

Here is the question and answer from the radio interview being quoted: The payroll discussion is brought up by Blair at 9:57. Blair does an intro about fans having been assured that if mid-season acquisitions are necessary Rogers will come through with the money, Rogers not having to open the books as it is publicly traded (obviously confused), Ervin Santana and the trading deadline then comes to the following question and answer.

Question. Blair: Were there moves that ended up not being made because of finances, and kind of as an aside to that would you agree that the fans, maybe even those of us in the media need a little more clarity as to the team's payroll and flexibility?

Answer. Beeston: Maybe they need clarity but you know, when you start looking at it, we are at 135 million, 137 million, we are not at the $90 million range, we're not at the $60 million range. It's been escalating, it went to 90. it went to 125, it went to 137 and you know it's going higher next year. I can say unequivocally and I have told Alex this, if you wanna go, and I will use names and i am probably in trouble using names, but you know they have been traded subsequently, but for a Jon Lester or a David Price picking up those contracts I can flat out guarantee you we will get the money from Rogers.

I could point out the difference between what Beeston said about 2015 payroll and what he said about taking on salary in a trade for Lester or Price when he used the phrases "i can say unequivocally" or, "i can flat out guarantee you" but I don't think I need to because Beeston's statement about payroll isn't that hard to understand simply on it's own. The payroll is already in a healthy range. It's not in the 90 or 60 million range. It's been going up and it's almost certain to go up next year. That would be a reasonable interpretation of Beeston's statement. Should he have been less bullish on a higher payroll, and is there always a touch of salesmanship in the role of club president? Perhaps one could say yes, but the word 'con' is a phrase which to me at least is more reflective of over-heated blog posting than of anything Paul Beeston intended. To 'con' is to attempt to knowingly deceive others to gain an advantage for yourself.

If you think that Beeston intended you to hear a "promise", which as i have previously pointed out would be an unusual undertaking for a team to make in the first place, but If you think he said something like "Listen, no matter what, no matter whether there is anyone willing to come here that is worth spending money on, no one available in a trade that is worth spending money on, no matter whether the Canadian dollar collapses, no matter what, we will spend more money next year than we did last year", then, with respect, that's in my view a somewhat creative interpretation.

I'm not suggesting this of you SK and generally enjoy your posts, but I think that the aggrieved posturing of some blog posters about payroll is a bit precious and disingenuous.
SK in NJ - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 03:17 PM EST (#297020) #
CBDC, a con is to deceive someone, and in Beeston's case, he was making that statement in direct defense of his boss(es). He made a statement that, four months later, looks completely false and misleading. People in Beeston's role do it all the time, but when he says something as clear as "payroll is going up next season", then what do you expect fans to think when it doesn't happen? Replace the word con with something else and it's still the same point. Beeston said that, then a month later they get Martin and Donaldson....and people got excited. Maybe unjustifiably, but that happens, we are all fans. However, if Beeston doesn't make that claim, then maybe fan expectation doesn't skyrocket after the initial flurry of moves. Davidi certainly wasn't helping by making articles with the assumption that payroll would be around $140-150M.

I think $135M (or whatever the Jays are spending this season) is more than enough to win in baseball, and Rogers deserves some credit for even having a payroll that high. The lack of success with a big payroll is on AA for taking the backloaded contracts that he took, but at the end of the day, this current team could use more help and a 3-4 win improvement (whether it comes in the form of one player or more) could put this team in a position to be back in the post-season for the first time in 22 years. That's probably where the frustration lies with fans. Not so much Beeston's words, but his words mixed with the team being so close and yet not going all the way with it.
scottt - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 03:24 PM EST (#297021) #
Fans shouldn't care at all about payroll. I know I don't. Fans care about fielding an acceptable player at every position and the Jays haven't been doing this for 2 decades. It's when it's time to make excuses that the payroll gets into discussions. The key here is that other teams often field a better lineup for less money, so the excuse is very weak.
MrPurple - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 03:34 PM EST (#297022) #

Guys, I sell cars for a living. I can tell you, never once has someone ever told me what they were willing to spend and been honest about it. If the right thing is there, its there and people pay for it if they really want it or it fits their needs. So really, pretty please with sugar on top. Stop worring about the 'stated' payroll. Even the Yankees are crying poor because thats how you buy things without getting your pockets cleaned out.

I'm willing to bet there is a signing suddenly and it will be "just the perfect fit' so they made room.

Go Jays.

SK in NJ - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 03:54 PM EST (#297023) #
If you guys are forgetting about last off-season and mid-season, I don't blame you. It was one of the worst off-seasons I have ever witnessed due to complete inactivity, and not doing anything in July when the team had something like a greater than 50% chance of making the playoffs at that point was a huge wasted opportunity. However, that's probably why fans are complaining about payroll. When a team adds Martin, Donaldson, Saunders, etc, and then does absolutely nothing else for two months, and media starts throwing out that the team is low on funds, again, what were you expecting the reaction to be?

I personally don't care what the payroll is as long as the talent is there. Right now, the talent is almost there, but still needs more. If payroll is the one thing preventing more talent from being added, then put two and two together. What are fans going to look at first?
Mike Green - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 04:15 PM EST (#297024) #
I had thought at the time of the Martin/Donaldson deals (and said so here) that the payroll might very well be frozen for 2014-15.  If this is indeed correct and the club is merely aiming to be competitive (i.e. with a fighting shot at 90 wins) for a number of years, rather than to be the best team in the league for a year or two, then the off-season moves have a slightly different cast to them.  Ownership would have one interest, and Anthopoulos would have a somewhat different interest (because of the desirability for him of winning now).  This is not a good situation. 

Anyways, it seems again that I have a different view of the situation than most here.  I liked very much the Travis, Martin and Saunders acquisitions, didn't care for the Donaldson acquisition, but think that the club has the talent to be the best team in the division if not the league.  My major concerns are the manager and pitching coach- but I am hopeful that a fairly straightforward delineation of roles will suffice for this club to win.

BlueJayWay - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 05:04 PM EST (#297025) #
The Blue Jays lost money in 2013 and I suspect even more in 2014.

Lol. Oh jeez. Well if that's true Rogers would probably be better off selling the team then, eh?

92-93 - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 06:19 PM EST (#297026) #
It's utter nonsense to suggest the Blue Jays are losing money. Rogers has the luxury of underpaying itself for TV rights, so anything they report with regards to the team's bottom line is irrelevant. Rogers owns the Blue Jays for a reason.

92-93 - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 06:37 PM EST (#297027) #
However, you've also noted that the Jays have added a lot of payroll for 2017-19.  Doesn't this contradict your first point?

I don't see how it would. My first point was that the acquisition of Donaldson & Martin was not an example of the Blue Jays following through on a payroll increase, and it wasn't. Half of the money being given to Martin is slated for 2018-2019, and the Jays currently have no other committments for those seasons other than a 4m Reyes buyout. Martin's contract was clearly an example of AA helping the 2015 team and figuring he will either work around Martin's contract later or it will be someone else's problem.

I'm very happy to see Zobrist traded out of the division, he has always been a thorn in the Jays' side.
christaylor - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 08:20 PM EST (#297028) #
How can any Jays fan dislike the Zobrist trade? The Jays playoff chances have probably improved...

How long until Tampa entirely gives up and adds Devil back into their team name? Or better yet, changes their name to "Expos"?
greenfrog - Saturday, January 10 2015 @ 09:05 PM EST (#297029) #
It's quite possible to envision the Jays being one of the best teams in the league in 2015. It's also quite possible to see injury/depth issues relegating them to an 80-88 win team that misses the playoffs. The Jays are a team with a very strong core that would benefit from ownership stepping up and allow its GM to make a couple of more aggressive moves to help improve its odds of ending the 21-year playoff drought.
scottt - Sunday, January 11 2015 @ 03:51 PM EST (#297042) #
What is there now is an 80-88 win team that injuries would knock down to 70-79.

Winning 88 games without a left bat in the middle of the order an a bullpen that has no real closer or setup man would be quite an accomplishment.

What's Up as the Year Ends | 184 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.