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Yup, he's gone. 3 years $55 mil with a $25 mil option ($5 mil buyout). If year 4 isn't taken then he gets a total of $60 mil. If all 4 years happen he makes $80 mil just like the Jays offered.

So here is a brief history of Encarnacion....
  • June 5, 2000: Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 9th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Player signed June 12, 2000.
  • June 15, 2001: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Ruben Mateo to the Cincinnati Reds for Rob Bell.
  • July 31, 2009: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to the Toronto Blue Jays for Scott Rolen.
  • November 12, 2010: Selected off waivers by the Oakland Athletics from the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • December 16, 2010: Signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays. (14 days after becoming a free agent when Oakland decided not to offer him a contract)
  • December 23, 2016: Signed as a Free Agent with Cleveland
We can see the Batters Box view on these easily enough...
  • Edwin comes here... comments
    • I will be disappointed if the return is Encarnacion.
    • If there's a baseball god it's Alonso coming back. If there isn't it's Encarnacion, which would be a massive mistake. I'd rather watch Bautista play 3B.
    • i too would rather have bautista than encarnacion...
    • EE is not useless, but he's not as good as rolen at anything
    • My guess would be that you have Bautista/EE share 3B for the rest of the year and pray that Ahrens turns it around.
    • RhyZa: I must be the only one who likes this trade. 2 B- prospects, and Encarnacion is a good haul to me.
    • Thomas: I'd rather just have received the two arms than Encarnacion, as well.
    • Cincinnati's beat writer Mark Sheldon writes: "Encarnacion was pretty upset when he was told."
    • I see nothing to like about EE
    • Encarnacion is terrible...I'm not sure why the Jays would want him. (another thread)
    • Sadly I didn't say anything in that thread (wonder if I wasn't on the box at that point)
    • Everyone pretty much was hoping Yonder Alonso was in the deal and were disappointed he wasn't. He has 5.9 lifetime WAR, never reaching 2 in any season
  • Encarnacion claimed off waivers
    • Sigh - I think EE could turn out to be our biggest source of regret, maybe not at the Pittsburgh level, but near enough.
    • I think Encarnacion had a reasonable shot at 30 HR's if he had stayed with Toronto next year.
    • EE could hit 30 homeruns in the Polo Grounds
    • Updating my earlier comment, EE made $4.75m in 2010 and was looking at making $6-$7m in 2011 through arbitration. At that salary he is definitely not a bargain.
    • At a soon to be 28, Encarnacion is what he is. That is a poor fielding, home run dependent hitter than no longer shows the ability to consistently get on base with any regularity.
    • I am not saying that is what they should do (sign Beltre), but just feel that when all is said and done, Encarnacion is not a part of the future of this club is ultimately one thing to the Jays - replaceable.
  • Edwin back
    • My POV at the time - I see it as much like the signing of Bautista a few times over the past years - basically you sign a guy with tons of potential that hasn't been reached, who can play 3B in a pinch but is better suited to 1B/LF/RF/DH (I suspect EE could handle LF/RF if given a shot). He is cheap, and can be released without fear if something better comes along mid-season.
FYI: Edwin's lifetime earnings: $51,790,000 - roughly $4 mil from Cincinnati the rest here. 24.4 bWAR here, 3.2 in Cincinnati. Last year was his 4th best at 3.7 (edit - earlier I had his 2015 figure there 4.7). fWAR is at 27.6 lifetime total identical to BR. Value of $166.3 million to the Jays over his time here. Yeah, I'd say he worked out a LOT better than anyone thought or expected. Hope he enjoys his retirement funds from Cleveland.
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Richard S.S. - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 01:24 AM EST (#336980) #
The Blue Jays knew exactly how much they had to spend this Offseason, which I estimate as $47.5 Million.
They made two Qualifying Offers totalling $34.4 Million. If both were accepted (unlikely but not impossible) the Jays would have $13.1 Million to fill 4-6 more positions.
When both Q.O. were rejected they offered Edwin $20.0 Million a year for 4 years and asked for a quick decision. If accepted the Jays would have $27.5 Million to fill 5-7 more positions.
When their offer was rejected, the Jays proceeded to their next alternatives. Morales and Pearce are signed for $17.25 Million. That leaves the Jays $30.25 Million to fill 4-6 more positions.

Morales has an established record for hitting in Toronto. The Jays Brass must be satisfied he will be their answer to their missing power. He won't do it all so what's the problem?
Jonny German - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 01:46 AM EST (#336981) #
This is a major failure by Shapiro-Atkins. Edwin did what every free agent does, in not jumping at the first offer. Shapiro-Atkins panicked for no reason in rushing out to sign the clearly much inferior Morales to a longer than necessary deal.

And it doesn't stop there. When it became clear that they had badly misread the market, Shapiro-Atikins stubbornly stuck with their bad plan. They could have made the same offer that Cleveland did, now, and they'd have him. Steve Pearce is not a reason to not bring Edwin back - his skill set and salary are appropriate for a good utility player. Justin Smoak is not a reason to not bring Edwin back - he's a non-asset, a sunk cost.
Richard S.S. - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 02:14 AM EST (#336983) #
It gets real difficult to real all the hate that pours out on this site. The Jays made Qualifying Offers to both. TURNED DOWN. The Jays made Edwin a 4 year $80.0 Million offer. TURNED DOWN. The Jays moved on. Time for everyone else to do the same.
Jonny German - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 02:23 AM EST (#336984) #
That's an unusual (and unhealthy) definition of hate. I was merely criticizing. I think Shapiro and Atkins are competent, even good, baseball people. And I think it's clear that they made a major mistake here.
Glevin - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:09 AM EST (#336985) #
So the Jays should have negotiated with Edwin for a year, made him a great offer and then just waited around to see if maybe he wouldn't get a better offer and he'd accept less? The fact that the Jays offered more money than he signed for shows they made a serious effort to get him back. He was asking for something like 5/125. Teams have to move on.

People in general, have ludicrous complaints about free agents retroactively pointing at the values they like and saying "why didn't we get him?".
1) Sometimes players want to play in one place. Justin Turner was not leaving L.A. He grew up there, went to school there. This matters to players too.
2) Teams have internal evaluations. Teams have much more sophisticated analytics and scouting departments and value things we don't see. They are not thinking "what is his WAR/$".
3) Teams have certain ways of working. Some like to work fast, some like character more, some want to balance their teams in specific ways, etc...
4) Teams have budgets. And what Davidi's idiotic column doesn't acknowledge is that when you have a budget of $225M, you can afford to wait because you can afford anything. When you have an actual budget, you have to be more conservative.
Richard S.S. - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:46 AM EST (#336986) #
I was commenting on the site, not this post which is fine.

Shapiro and Atkins always move fast to go after who they want, and I don't think that's going to change. The Market went strange which no one expected, so no one is at fault. Kendrys Morales has been a Blue Jays target for a long time, so I'm satisfied the Jays got who they needed. Steve Pearce hits LHP very well and hits RHP average or a bit better. The ability to play 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF means he's a valuable acquisition. Sometimes if you wait you make deals that restrict what else you can do.
Moving fast sometimes lets you control as much as possible.
85bluejay - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 04:10 AM EST (#336987) #
Missing out on EE is only a failure of the FO if they really wanted EE back, which for a variety of reasons - both length (4 plus yrs) & annual salary, age curve & lineup balance etc. - I don't think they wanted EE or Jose back.
As I mentioned way early, it's reminiscent of the Red Sox dance in the John Lester FA - make a good enough offer to a popular player to be defensible to fans/media but not good enough to win - At the time the FO made the limited time offer of 4/80 to EE, the most conservative prediction I read was 4/92 and most analysis mentioned that EE's camp was trying to get to that symbolic 100m plateau - So, I think the FO was very confident that EE would say no to 4/80 and wait to see how his market developed - The FO then quickly moved on to Morales, probably grudgingly giving a 3rd year so that they could preclude EE's return regardless of how his market developed.They like 3/33 plus LHB much better than 4/80 plus, which was what EE was expected to receive .We will see how it plays out but I'm not opposed to their strategy.
85bluejay - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 04:28 AM EST (#336988) #
And Thanks Edwin, for a wonderful run and all the excitement and joy you provided - I especially remember the class manner in which you handled your demotion several years ago - no pouting or angry comments - you went down and got the job done - GOOD LUCK!!
Dave Till - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:28 AM EST (#336989) #
I am sad to see Edwin go. I will miss him very much. But the alternatives were to see Edwin go or to see Edwin grow old in a Jays uniform. The alternative we all want - for Edwin to be unleashing the Edwing forever - is not available.

I want to wait and see what the roster looks like on Opening Day before making any judgments. If this is it, and the Jays start the season with an outfield of Upton, Pompey, and Pillar, they've done the off-season wrong.
Chuck - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:49 AM EST (#336990) #
I've read a few times how Morales has a chance to be as good as EE, but at a lower price. Of course never say never, but I'm not sure I understand the basis for this optimism.

Morales allegedly hits well in Toronto? Well, his careers OPS in Rogers Center is 769 in 105 PA.

Morales will do well to get away from KC? Well, his home/road splits his two years as a Royal were identical. Getting away from KC did not elevate his numbers.

The Morales toolkit is loaded with several strong negatives: he is slow (Bengie Molina slow), he hits into DPs, he can't really play defense at all and he'll turn 34 early next season.

Morales may match or outperform Encarnacion, random variability always entering the mix, but I see that as highly unlikely. Had the FO thought that, they wouldn't have wasted time pursuing EE in the first place (unless there is an argument to be made for the PR value of such a tactic). With Morales, the team is getting what it is paying for, a middling player on a middling contract, perfectly befitting a run at .500.

jerjapan - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 07:15 AM EST (#336992) #
Well. the posters who were certain EE wasn't coming back were right - this deal has to be about as low as could have been imagined for EE, possibility of his signing with us for less notwithstanding.  It also does add some fuel to the fire for those who think Rogers is cheaping out - rightly or wrongly. 

The fact that small-market Cleveland gets him also hurts.  Fangraphs has them projected to be the best team in the AL after this deal.  I sincerely hope this does make a deal with Bautista more likely. 

I'm saddened not because we didn't sign him to a big FA deal, but because when a reasonably priced one materialized, we weren't in on it.  I still think a creative approach could have worked even with Smoak, Pearce and Morales in the fold, but clearly that's too many eggs in one basket for this management team.

I like the Gurriel and Pearce deals, but this is otherwise an underwhelming offseason thus far with few obvious options for improving significantly available as FAs.  It will be disappointing if we have to spend prospect capital to upgrade after spending the offseason talking about rebuilding 'the right way'. 

But I do hope I'm wrong.  Maybe a Liriano-like deal presents itself.  and like Mike, I wish Edwin well in Cleveland for all the games he doesn't play against us. 

whiterasta80 - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 08:25 AM EST (#336993) #
Sad to see Edwin go. The price is right for Cleveland but not so low that I think we should have built our entire offseason around it.

Wonder what Bautista guess for eventually. Id prefer to sign him personally.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:14 AM EST (#336995) #
I think 85bluejay is right in that the FO really did not want EE back at the price he was asking. They see more value over time in the alternatives already discussed. I continue to maintain that this off season is more about philosophy than money.
King Ryan - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:28 AM EST (#336996) #
This team better have a few tricks up their sleeve or this will be the most miserable off season of all time.

What a sick joke.
SK in NJ - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:40 AM EST (#336998) #
After Edwin rejected the 4/80 offer, I think the Jays had no intention of bringing him back. They gave him what they felt was a fair offer, he turned it down, and they moved on. Turns out it was a miscalculation by both sides, but like I said in the other topic, at the end of the day I don't think the FO is upset with Morales/Pearce/pick for less money than Edwin. You can add Guirrel into that mix as well if you believe his signing meshed with the Morales deal due to having the same representation. I think the Jays are fine with how it played out.

I agree with PeterG that it was about philosophy. Limit the amount of expensive deals to vets and increase prospect capital whenever possible. Based on the moves being made, they want to try to extend AA's window as much as they can, but reasonably, and with an eye towards building a more sustainable roster down the road.
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 11:01 AM EST (#337000) #
I'm still sad.

Edwin will have little problem getting a 1yr/$10-15m deal at 37 so he doesn't lose anything here, and gets to play for a world series favorite.

Only the jays lose out here, and their argument is I guess that there was some urgent need to pounce on the kendrys morales market.

p.s. Gurriel should sue his agent if his contract was effected by his agent's other clients. that's clearly a breach.
electric carrot - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 11:38 AM EST (#337002) #
I miss Edwin already. I'm going to be bummed when I see him in a Cleveland uniform, especially at Roger's Centre. I don't think Cleveland will regret any year of that 3 year deal. Although, I do expect the homers and the slugging to go down considerably over the course of the contract. Everything being equal, I would have liked the Jays to have Edwin on this deal and Morales on another team. All the same, I do have optimism about Morales and expect him to exceed expectations. I'll feel better if with the money we saved we can get another outfielder who can field and hit.

christaylor - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 11:53 AM EST (#337003) #
I am, happily, no longer disappointed and have completely forgotten about Rolen. Despite the good memories (WC Game in particular), I hope Morales turns EE into a fleeting afterthought until the Jays seem the Clevelands in the ALCS.

I hope Bautista comes back -- but I'm ready to move on from those memories too. I don't know what to think about the Jays next year. The starters were excellent last year but then the offense was the year before. Pompey deserves a shot and good Melvin could show up. Meh. Control what we can and the strength to ignore the rest. The FO has lived up to expectations thus far and hope they'll have a WC ready team in 2017.
Thomas - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 01:01 PM EST (#337004) #
John, I'm pretty sure those contract details are incorrect. The guaranteed money is $65 million. It's either $80/4 if the option is exercised or $65/3 (a $5 million buyout on top of an average of $20 million per year for 3 years). Those are the reports I have read.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 01:09 PM EST (#337005) #
At this point it depends on report - MLBTradeRumors last item is... FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the deal is $60MM, not $65MM, over the three-year term of the contract. Encarnacion’s club option is worth $25MM and comes with a $5MM buyout, meaning his deal can max out at $80MM, per Rosenthal.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 01:18 PM EST (#337006) #
FYI: I did the BB quote as a way to show how poorly EE was viewed when he came here and you might notice some 'Bautista might be better' quotes mixed in. Neither was popular with the BB crowd early on. Now many want to jump ship if they both leave (as they probably both will in the end).

EE is listed at 3.7 WAR for last year, Bautista 1.0. So the Jays need 4.7 to replace them. Morales was at 0.9 last year, Pearce 2.3 = 3.2 so those 2 are just 1.5 wins away from matching for millions less that can be used to upgrade the pen or OF. And it isn't like last year was a great one for either.
whiterasta80 - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 01:56 PM EST (#337007) #
King Ryan,

1995 says hello
pubster - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 02:08 PM EST (#337008) #
I still expect the Jays to contend for a playoff spot.

Once you are in the playoffs anything can happen!
Mike Green - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:04 PM EST (#337009) #
Fangraphs last year had the Jays projected at 84 wins before the season.  At this point, they have the Jays at 82 wins. 

Fangraphs continues to have a problem with the Jays' pitchers BABIP and consequently runs allowed projection.  The Jays have allowed 4.14 and 4.11 runs per game the last 2 years.  They are projected to allow 4.62 runs this year even though the defence will likely be somewhat better and there have been limited losses to the pitching staff.    The easiest way to see the problem is the Marco Estrada projection.  He is projected to have an ERA of 4.67 and a BABIP of .283.  He has a career BABIP of .256 and he's been significantly lower than that in Toronto with the help of Kevin Pillar. 
Hodgie - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:09 PM EST (#337010) #
The Kendry Morales signing made little sense to me when the ink was still wet, after letting it digest for a while I still fail to see the rationale. Morales, Smoak, and Pearce combined will be lucky to match Edwin's value next season. After much initial skepticism I have come like many of the front office's moves to date, but this is certainly not one of them.

For those saying they needed to move on from Edwin and find a replacement, Morales is not that. Last 5 years, Edwin has averaged 4+ fWAR per season, which is more than what Morales has provided over that same time frame combined.

greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:28 PM EST (#337011) #
One problem with the constrained payroll is that it prevents the organization from acquiring players who are somewhat expensive (but not exorbitant) but who may be highly valuable trade assets. The Yankees used this approach with Miller, Chapman, Beltran and others to significantly add to their farm system (those three players netted New York Frazier, Sheffield, Heller, Feyereisen, Torres, Warren, McKinney, Crawford, Tate, Swanson, and Green). Torres was the best prospect in the AFL this fall.

By avoiding these types of players and sticking exclusively to a value approach, the Jays are missing out on an additional means of adding prospects to their system.
soupman - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:35 PM EST (#337012) #
there are a lot of people doing mental gymnastics to convince themselves that burning 3 roster spots on your DH for 3 players that combined give you less than edwin in terms of production. ok. maybe if they were all making league minimum. maybe if the owners weren't the richest company in the country. maybe if there was no historical proof that running a high end payroll here could be done, and done successfully....i'm sure they have some semblance of a plan, but they're not clearly going for it, they're not clearly rebuilding, it's typical toronto sports strategy: try to be everything to everyone and then wonder why fans desert the stands when the team doesn't win despite the financial resources to make it happen.

we're a big city (4th largest in north america fwiw) that accepts a small market mentality form its owners. well, at least some of us that would rather see the team contribute to paying the dividends of rogers shareholders than take some risk or incur some debts on making the team competitive with the yankees and red sox.

also, why are we in this division? why is the schedule unbalanced? well, it certainly helps a team when their organizational strategy is okay with 3rd place perennially to have 2 all star teams come in 1/4 of your home games, right?

at least more people are having their come to jesus moment with rogers' ownership as if that wasn't clear when they hired cleveland's front office over the only person to get this team within sniffing distance of the playoffs in 20 years, and the only GM to lose them money in any given year (2013).

at least being bitter isn't as bad as trying to figure out what kind of genius moves or bs economistic models the idiots in the FO are using to justify their losing bets. the other teams have smarter people that they pay more who went to better schools. oh, and they probably don't hand out million dollar contracts to their dad's clients.

Dr B - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:35 PM EST (#337013) #
The Kendry Morales signing made little sense to me when the ink was still wet, after letting it digest for a while I still fail to see the rationale. Morales, Smoak, and Pearce combined will be lucky to match Edwin's value next season.

Fair enough, and I am sure the FO would like a do-over if they could. I don't think there's much doubt that EE will be better (next year at least), but...he didn't sign. So what can you do? You need someone who can hit a ball. Should they have waited? That's a risk. Both EE and the FO gambled and both lost. That's a shame, and I'm sad about it, but I didn't predict this turn of events, and I daresay neither did anyone else.  (Which is unusual because if you take a random sample of opinions beforehand, you'll probably find someone who will guess right)

soupman - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 03:44 PM EST (#337014) #
well, i mean, we avoided the landmine FA contracts shapiro is known for (Bourn and Swisher), but now we get to deal with his stellar draft record in the first round that over 15 years has produced Francisco Lindor.

man, i'm glad they got some of the "smartest" baseball minds ever instead of AA. (!)
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 04:04 PM EST (#337016) #
Shapiro is one of the most highly regarded execs in baseball and we will have to see about Atkins. AA will never be a GM again.

Some of the comments on here lately are beyond stupid.
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 04:50 PM EST (#337017) #
I imagine a GM with AA's incredible draft record, history of unreal value signings, trade mastery, and ability to build a back to back ALCS team in the toughest division in baseball with almost no longterm payroll committments might get another shot at managing a team.

I guess we'll see.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 04:57 PM EST (#337019) #
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I think the exact opposite of AA and believe most of the baseball world does as well. They all know what he did here and it is far from exemplary.

I think that it was DeanComeByChance, if memory serves correctly that once characterized his reign as "boys playing with men". That seems a reasonably accurate assessment to me.
soupman - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 04:58 PM EST (#337020) #
lol. Shapiro is a top executive? Ok.
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:08 PM EST (#337021) #
one of the best draft records in baseball, responsible for some of the best contracts in baseball in EE and Bautista, responsible for one of the best trades in history in the Donaldson move, back to back ALCS teams with no longterm payroll and still arguably a top 10 system in baseball.

that boy whipped the mens' arses.
Parker - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:10 PM EST (#337022) #
Last year during the fallout from the Price debacle, there was a glut of mind-boggling ignorance on Batter's Box reminiscent of the level of intelligence heard on the Wilner call-in show or seen in a Sportsnet article comments section. It wasn't an issue with the number of posters; rather the sheer volume from the three or four people who authored a dozen posts a day about how the Jays were sunk before the season started.

Now I keep seeing a similar sentiment from the same posters who are predicting the Jays are sunk again before the season has started, but I haven't yet seen a single post acknowledging their erroneous doom-mongering from a year ago.

Yes, yes, Anthopouolos quit, but somehow despite the penny-pinching of the new regime (given the most offensive nickname I've ever heard coined by people who actually claim to be fans of the team) the Jays went back to the playoffs. This offseason, there's a whole new round of penny-pinching comments by the same people who knew the Jays weren't going to make the playoffs last year.

I wish those posters had as long a memory as the rest of us, because it gets so tiring listening to the same garbage two years in a row, especially when last year's garbage has been proven so stupid in retrospect.
Dr B - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:20 PM EST (#337023) #
AA will never be a GM again.

Possibly not, but he's working in the FO of the LA dodgers. (Vice President Baseball Operations) so there's a reasonable chance he will get another opportunity in the future. Bear in mind that he turned down an offer from the Jays to stay on and turned it down. He may have done it for perfectly good reasons, i.e., he didn't like the hooks attached, but it's not as if the Jays thought he was useless (and why would you? 2015 happened, it really did.)

PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:29 PM EST (#337024) #
so did 2010-14

and btw, Shapiro was recommended to Rogers by head office in MLB. Anyone who fails to recognize his contribution to the game and past performance with a poor owner simply has no clue what he is talking about. I recognize that past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

AA is far down the totem pole in LA. They have several VP's. He got the job due to friendship with Friedman and his earned reputation as a hard worker..
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:34 PM EST (#337025) #
yeah we get it, parker - anyone who dares levy any criticism against our mighty FO is a silly basement dwelling wilner talking know nothing who should go cheer for another team.

yeah we get it, parker - battersbox should be the sole preserve only of those mature and enlightened enough to realize and trust that our FO can do no wrong, and for whom everything is going exactly according to their masterly plan, and that even if there was anything wrong we couldn't possibly be knowledgeable enough to see it.

yeah, we get it, parker.

don't worry - once donaldson is traded most of us silly folk will dissappear and leave you enlightened folk to glory in the value rebuild. just bide your time - you'll be free from our idiocy soon enough.
Dr B - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:35 PM EST (#337026) #
so did 2010-14

So did 1994 to 2009. I'm not going to argue that your opinion isn't your opinion, but, man, tough crowd.
85bluejay - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:35 PM EST (#337027) #
AA recently turned down the chance to interview to be in charge of the Minnesota Twins because he just moved his kids to LA and apparently there were other organisations wanting to interview him (Arizona for one if I recall) but he's staying put in LA for now.
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:40 PM EST (#337028) #
"so did 2010-14"

how long did it take Stand Pat to make the playoffs?
CeeBee - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:54 PM EST (#337029) #
Lots of pots and kettles on here today really spreading the xmas cheer. Might be a lot of you guys either have had to much cheer or not enough.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 05:55 PM EST (#337030) #
You may be right Ugly about Donaldson being traded in the next year. I think it is a distinct possibility but not for the reasons that you postulate. It could actually be a move that would make the team better within reasonably short order. Do take into account that there would be desirable assets coming back.

FO will be willing to pay if it is reasonable but not Price style retirement contract. Josh too may be recognizing what is happening with hitters over 30 and realize that he must be reasonable in discussing an extension.

the counter offer from Kinzer on EE was laughable. A good DH is worth 12 -15 mil. Ortiz, perhaps the best DH ever , never made more than 16 mil. And yes, a good DH who averages 100 RBI his last 2 years in a pitchers park is a good deal at 11 mil. Don't anyone bring up WAR on Morales. It is basically irrelevant when applied to a DH. Besides, those of you who do know your stuff should realize that extenuating circumstances have skewed statistical analysis of this man's career.
eudaimon - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 06:44 PM EST (#337031) #
The idea that Shapiro is one of the "highest regarded" executives is laughable.

Regarded, sure. There's no doubt that he's a competent GM. He's certainly a class or three above someone like Ruben Amaro Jr, or whoever it was who traded for Vernon Wells / signed Albert Pujols.

But this is a guy who made the playoffs only twice in 14 years while running the Indians. This after a stretch where they won their division in 6 of 7 years. Sure, he ran a small market team that couldn't afford a big payroll, but Andrew Friedman (who ran the Rays) made the playoffs in 4 of 8 years, and he had to operate on a budget that was almost always significantly smaller than Cleveland's. Also, Friedman competed in the AL East, not the Central, which isn't exactly the most "highly regarded" division in baseball.

I can see MLB recommending him. But it's not because he's a genius, it's because he's competent. Rogers is a corporation, and wants someone capable who can work within payroll parameters. Speaking from one corporate entity to another, it makes sense that MLB would recommend a guy like Shapiro. He's going to do a good job, at least in the role that Rogers wants him to fulfill.

The most regarded executives in baseball are guys like Friedman and Epstein. They both have great track records, and there's no doubting their genius at this point. I'd add Beane to this list, but his star has faded in recent years (Billy Butler?).

Again, I think Shapiro is a decent GM. I'm not confident though that he's a game changer, someone we can confidently assume will bring us to the playoffs on a regular basis, and ideally the World Series on an occasional basis. His track record, previous drafts and trades included, is simply not good enough at this point.

John Northey - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 06:47 PM EST (#337032) #
Donaldson is one of those hard to get players - 4 straight years of 7+ bWAR. Just 6 hitters (pitchers are their own category) had that much last year in all of MLB. 9 the year before, 3 in 2014 (Trout, Donaldson, Beltre). 8 in 2013. So only Trout (5 straight, 4 over 9) has done that. Beltre has 4 of those years too in his entire 19 season career.

All time greats at third base? George Brett = 5 times, Wade Boggs 6 times, Mike Schmidt 9 times, Eddie Mathews = 8 times, Harmon Killebrew = never.

Yeah, I'd say Donaldson is a rare talent and extremely hard to replace. Trading him better get a killer return and I mean a LOT better than what the A's got. Think LA is insane enough for a Trout for Donaldson & Pillar deal? :)
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 07:12 PM EST (#337033) #
How many of you know that Shapiro was the first GM to use the moneyball principle? Probably many as this is generally a high caliber forum. Unfortunately, a few have no idea who he is or what he has accomplished. Didn't I just see a team built under his stewardship in the WS or was that a mirage? Didn't have a Friedman or Epstein budget either although Friedman did prove himself in Tampa and I acknowledge that. None of this makes him a genius but it does make him an innovator who also has a cautious side....good combination imo.
SK in NJ - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 07:48 PM EST (#337034) #
What baffles me is some people here think that Shapiro, a guy who has been a huge component of sabermetrics for many years, is somehow making moves without any thought behind them. While some posters here want the Jays to make moves based on previous seasons, this regime has done nothing but make moves on their own internal projections for future performance. Why did they jump so early on Happ last season? Most likely because he made adjustments to his mechanics while in Pittsburgh, and they saw him as a better pitcher than what his past history showed. They were right. They acquired Liriano, Grilli, and Benoit when each pitcher couldn't find the strike zone with their respective teams. They acquired them most likely because they were still missing bats and maintaining velocity, so their struggles may have been sample size related. It worked. And so on. They won't be right about everyone (lord knows I can't think of one reason why Smoak's extension made sense), but they are not blindly spending millions of dollars on "average" players just for the sake of spending it.

For some to suggest that "well, Edwin's WAR from 2012-16 was higher than Morales' over that span", you have to realize that Shapiro was looking at WAR and $/WAR before most of us even heard of it. He knows about it. Many current GM's or executives came from the Indians org when he was running it and they too are sabermetric types. Maybe he is wrong about Morales and Pearce, but ultimately, the moves were made with some type of analytic assessment behind it, and if nothing else, I can say that confidently about this front office. They won't sign someone because their ERA is good, or they hit for a high average, or some other narrow minded reason that doesn't factor all facets of value and cost.
Alex Obal - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 08:14 PM EST (#337036) #
How many of you know that Shapiro was the first GM to use the moneyball principle

I had no clue. I thought it was Branch Rickey. But realistically, it had to be someone way before him. History is long.
eudaimon - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 08:35 PM EST (#337037) #
The first? I'd like to see a source on that. Billy Beane became GM in 1997, while Shapiro became GM in October 2001. Either way, Ricciardi was also a Moneyball guy, so just being familiar with the principles doesn't necessarily make you a good GM.

I'd like to hear more about what he's accomplished, because I'm not seeing anything particularly spectacular. While Cleveland's run in 2016 was impressive he can't take all the credit for it. The new FO made a lot of signings and pulled off some important trades, the most important of which may have been for Andrew Miller (I don't think Shapiro would have traded away prospects like that!). Regardless, even if he were to take full credit for Cleveland's 2016 that would make him responsible for 3 playoff appearances in 15 years, which still isn't particularly noteworthy, especially when repaired to the true "geniuses" of the game.

I don't personally see the innovation. I see competence and the caution. I think he can build good teams, but I worry that he'll be too cautious to make a big splash, or too conservative to make a big play at a championship (like trading for an Andrew Miller or David Price). I think GMs of his type will produce decent teams, but are less likely to win championships because they're not willing to go all-out to win. His track record backs this up so far.

PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 08:42 PM EST (#337038) #
EUD, Did u read the book or see the movie when Billy first became aware of sabermetrics. The opening scene shows him negotiating with another GM who is referring to his sabermatrician before agreeing to any transaction. The assistant passing on the info was Paul DePodesta. The GM was Mark Shapiro.
soupman - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 08:55 PM EST (#337039) #
Shapiro is a business school grad running the team like a business. sort of. i mean he's made some sound business decisions like giving his father's washed up clients seemingly-above-market contracts when no other team would give them an invite to spring training. what is (or was) the moneyball justification for that?

how is there no oversight on that? i guess as long as the team is winning it's okay to hand your family the fans hard-earned money.

his reputation is mostly, in my estimation, based on being lucky enough to be the person who the expos traded with in their last gasps attempt at one last kick making the playoffs before relocation. other than the colon trade, what deals has he made?

look, i don't doubt that he's competent middle manager - look at cleveland, doing well with what they've got. but the al east isn't the al central, and the rogers both CAN and SHOULD do better. that's my opinion. i want the team to win championships. i'm interested in the finances, but maybe part of the reason rogers keeps those #s so tight is that, if fans started to see how much they were making, they might expect quite a bit more out of them.

i think this is a world class city and deserves a world class ball club. we don't (in my opinion) have that, and i'm certain not inclined to concede that because that is how it is now, it always has to be this way. if you accept mediocrity, then that's what you'll get.

i'm voting with my dollars, and i encourage everyone to do the same. if rogers can't afford the cost of doing business with me, then that's on them.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:10 PM EST (#337040) #
You are looking for the wrong bogeyman. Rogers does not need your money. I guess you didn't read or believe the posts about how much was being put into the organization other than player salaries. I have no desire to repeat it.
Alex Obal - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:27 PM EST (#337041) #
I don't know. Cleveland has a remarkably strong core of players for the next few years, especially by cheapskate team standards. I don't see how one can describe the end of Shapiro's tenure there as anything other than an unqualified success, at least in terms of 'asset' accumulation. This would be true even if they didn't trade for Miller and tanked in the playoffs. If you want to say his record strikes you as not especially accomplished in converting 'assets' into flags, fine. But replacing Encarnacion and Miller with all the Pearces and Blevinses in the world won't stop 2017 Cleveland from beating the Central like a bass drum. They're stacked.

That's all a results-oriented view. I still think that in the abstract Cleveland's model is a tight-passive sucker bet, one that is unlikely to yield consistent success anywhere but especially not in the AL East bloodbath that lies ahead. There are hidden costs to breaking in homegrown players. But it can work. These guys have made it work as well as it possibly can. Selling them short as individuals is not going to convince anyone they're unfit for this job. You have to take issue with the vision.
soupman - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:32 PM EST (#337042) #
much less, i'm certain, than the red sox, yankees, dodgers, and the other teams in cities with the population and wealth of toronto.

hey - don't shoot the messenger! i'm just voicing the opinion of the silent majority that only show up when the team is good. we just don't see the EFTM (enjoyment from time + money) investment on a team of this calibre to be a good value play for me and my family's dollars. i just innovated EFTM. it might seem like basic household economics, but it's actually financialized. don't worry about what that means, but just know that i have a good reputation for doing it well.

so slag off how much any single fan 'counts' - i get it, you love this team irrationally and in the face of mounting evidence that the owners think you'll accept lower payrolls and diminished product on the field. hey - remind me how rogers is investing in the 'other' stuff again?
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:47 PM EST (#337043) #
Payroll has increased every year for 5 years and is going up 20% this year even with a failing Cdn dollar. LOL
Michael - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 09:55 PM EST (#337044) #
AA was fantastic and did great things for the Jays and left the Jays in a terrific position. It isn't even close.

Shapiro is a well regarded baseball mind and at a minimum solidly above average, but likely even better than that. Agree that he's likely not in the top 3 in baseball, but is in the top 10 President/GM.

Last year the Jays moves looked questionable to many (myself included) and turned out extremely well. From the Smoak extension through this off season the moves look somewhat questionable again. But it isn't over yet, and we also don't know how it will turn out.

Regardless, the Jays are a competitive team already, and will hopefully be even better come the start of the season.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 10:05 PM EST (#337045) #
"AA was fantastic and did great things for the Jays and left the Jays in a terrific position. It isn't even close.+

AA was taking the Jays down an extremely dangerous path as has been previously discussed. The same people that wanted to elect him mayor wanted to fire him 3 months earlier. The credentials of the 2 GM's isn't even worth debating. You are correct. It isn't even close.

Merry Xmas. I'm out.

Mike Green - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 10:11 PM EST (#337046) #
A sabermetric GM before Branch Rickey? There might be, but I imagine that it would be a matter of opinion. Rickey was so innovative and creative for so long...
soupman - Friday, December 23 2016 @ 10:29 PM EST (#337047) #
2016 was the first year that blue jays payroll was higher than 2002 yankees payroll. have some perspective. it took rogers 15 years to surpass the yankees payroll when they took over the team.

you call that competing? being 15 years behind and harkening back to a guy who MAYBE had a good idea 15 years ago?

good grief. but don't let me disabuse you of your fantasies. jays payroll went up because the team was winning because people were told if they win rogers will spend. since they've never been good since rogers bought them, it seemed like a reasonable hope. nope. rogers will make sure the team turns a profit each year. AA got fired because they ran a loss in 2014 and probably would have in 2015 had they basically turned on all the cheat codes at the deadline and become unbeatable until KC series
Nigel - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 12:50 AM EST (#337048) #
Peter, you are suffering from Trumpism (an unwillingness to let facts get in your the way). You should know that the Cdn dollar is about 5-7% higher this December over last (it was 1.38 on a his date last year). Add an annual baseball inflation rate (not real inflation) of between 8-15% per year over the last decade and the Jays payroll is basically just keeping pace, in US dollars, this year. Why is this so hard to understand? If you look at the Payroll over the last 8-10 years it has been very predictable based on the US dollar exchange rate and baseball inflation. Rogers isn't cheap. Just committed to upper class mediocrity. Which I would accept if they raised (relatively) the budget when the team was in the right part of the win curve but lowered in a rebuild. But no, we get 78-84 win teams every year! Yay
Parker - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 01:00 AM EST (#337049) #
yeah we get it, parker - anyone who dares levy any criticism against our mighty FO is a silly basement dwelling wilner talking know nothing who should go cheer for another team.

There's nothing wrong with criticism, and I never said there was. What I said was wrong is writing off the season four months before the season has started. Just like you did last year.

yeah we get it, parker - battersbox should be the sole preserve only of those mature and enlightened enough to realize and trust that our FO can do no wrong, and for whom everything is going exactly according to their masterly plan, and that even if there was anything wrong we couldn't possibly be knowledgeable enough to see it.

Again, I find nothing wrong with honest criticism. And there's very little reason to believe the FO can do no wrong. But there's less reason to believe they can do no right, which is essentially the theme of every one of your posts since the season ended. You know - the season where the Jays almost made it to the World Series - the one you wrote off before it started. You couldn't have been more wrong in your doomcrying last year, so with that in mind, hasn't the front office at least earned the benefit of the doubt at this point?

Is it not possible they know more about how to run a baseball team than you do? You keep saying you get it, but everything you post indicates that it's more likely the opposite is true.
Glevin - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 03:48 AM EST (#337050) #
I think people should not think of this as the Cleveland model. It's the model that pretty much every team in baseball is using. You build from within and add via free agency or trade some of your prospects but you need a solid base and a system that is producing major league talent every year.

Dave Till - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 06:04 AM EST (#337051) #
I think a lot of the distrust of Rogers and/or the front office is because people wonder whether Rogers is prioritizing making money over trying to win pennants. MLSE did this sort of thing for years - worrying more about returns on investment than on ensuring that the Leafs/Raptors/TFC were actually doing well on the field.

One of the real problems that the Jays face is that their farm system just hasn't produced many hitters. They had oodles of pitching prospects, and were able to use those as trade chips, but Pillar is the only hitter who has made the starting lineup lately, and he doesn't actually hit much.

As a consequence, the Jays starting lineup is old, and signing free agents doesn't help, as they're all old too. EE is a huge loss, but he is turning 34 in January, and he obviously would not have made them younger. For the Jays to contend during the rest of the 2010s, they're going to need some or all of Tellez, Alford and Vlad Jr. to advance through the system quickly.

[As an aside: may I make a plea for civility here? It's okay to disagree with somebody's ideas, but please don't say negative things about the people who express them. I've been around here pretty much since our ancestors came down from the trees, and I like it here because people post intelligent comments and don't resort to name-calling. This forum would stop being fun if people were just arguing all the time. I'm not thinking of anyone in particular when typing this.]
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 09:10 AM EST (#337052) #
Per MLBTR, Bautista is apparently willing to consider a one-year contract, as long as it is for more than the value of the QO ($17.2m). Any takers for Bautista at, say, 1/$20m?

My guess is that the front office would prefer to collect the draft pick and then look elsewhere for a stopgap option (Granderson, perhaps), if the cost in cash and/or prospects isn't too high.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 09:34 AM EST (#337053) #
I arrived at the Box slightly after Dave- the meteor had just hit the Yucatan (as it now it is) and the reign of the dinosaurs was, um, over.  I echo his call for civility.

Bautista at $20 million for one year? I'd rather have had Reddick at 4 X 13, but I would probably do it provided he agrees to play left field.  Pompey/Upton in RF and Bautista in LF is something I could live with.

Chuck - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 09:41 AM EST (#337054) #
My guess is that the front office would prefer to collect the draft pick

Given Bautista's age and wobbly 2016 season, he's not likely looking at any long-term offers. So is it a possibility that no team offers him a one-year contract when it means losing a draft pick, especially if they also have to meet the QO salary threshold? Does Toronto become the only plausible destination for him?

SK in NJ - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 09:46 AM EST (#337055) #
I don't see the FO losing a comp pick for one year of Bautista, and certainly not at higher than the QO given that they apparently only have about $25M left to spend. I thought for sure they'd come to an agreement given the team's needs and Bautista's lack of market, but the Jays apparently are ready to move on.

One of the Mets OF's (Granderson over Bruce, please) continues to make sense, but it seems that the Mets will only move Granderson if they acquire a CF first, which requires another domino to fall on their end. I haven't heard Dyson's name in a while but I'm sure he's still out there. Bautista might be their distant back-up plan if everything else fails.
soupman - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 10:08 AM EST (#337057) #
hey dave, thanks for this. i don't post here mostly because i typically post to espouse contrarian opinions, and in the past have been met with rudeness. maybe some of my replies were less measured than they should have been - apologies for anything i've lobbed that might be taken as personal attacks. it's the team i want to see improved. i'm with the fans even if they're in disagreement with the analysis i'm offering.

as to your point about pitchers. i've always thought that was part of a larger strategy on AA's part. Ricciardi was such a card-carrying "moneyball" guy that i think he treated the insights from 2002 as dead dogma. he famously told scouts to avoid high school games, and never file reports on HS pitchers. whether that is exaggerated or not, i don't know but their draft history under him seems to indicate it wasn't far from the truth.

what that may have meant is that as more teams looked at HS pitchers as inherently risky, and didn't have sabr indicators to tell them where to take risks, the HS pitcher as a category may have become under valued.

IIRC, AA had said that his plan was to model the Jays on the Rangers. a team that had mostly filled gaps through trades.

my theory is that AA's draft strategy involved drafting so many pitchers, especially HS arms because either they believed that as a whole the league was drastically under valuing them, his team had a way of better assessing HS talent than other teams giving them the ability to select better in the draft, or they hired people in the org that had ways of maximizing pitchers growth and development. maybe some combination of some/all.

the end result is that the system would appear pitcher-heavy, but because his philosophy was to build from trades to begin with, it wouldn't be a major issue. Marcum became Lawrie became Donaldson. Halladay eventually became Travis...etc. Sydergaard and Hoffman became (eventually) Tulowitzki (or their starting short stop etc.).

i think that, in a game where every team is fighting to identify the next niche rather than relying on old data and analysis, it's probably difficult to specialize on developing pitchers, but if you're a team with limited resources (as the jays claim they are), then specialization on pitchers instead of being a jack of all positions might be the best option for maximizing a real or perceived inefficiency in how other teams have evaluated risk/reward.

if the rest of the market values higher level minor league talent more accurately (which sabr- people have always claimed they can), then hoarding high-ceiling arms when you, for example, knew that Syndergaard and Sanchez would both, no matter what, probably be throwing 100mph heaters and at worst be potential bullpen guys for teams, might have been better than drafting hitters that may never have hit a lick (ie. the shapiro/ricciardi/most other teams first rounders)

as a team that follows simply the received best-practices, i think the jays will go back to what they were under the last regime that did just that: a middling team with a middle of the division payroll. they might cut out other parts of the organization (scouting ...again?) to put more money to payroll, but at the end of the day they're playing against teams that do everything "the right way" and then some.

the Jays of 2015 - 2016, i think, were the product of AA selecting those risk/reward arms when others continued to under value them in 2010 and beyond. any team in the jays position needs to take risks greater than the Yanks and Red Sox if they have any chance of over coming the deficit in expenditure. i don't see Shapiro has ever having done that. i see him as being a competent money manager. i don't think that's enough to win in this division because the Yankees and Red Sox are doing the same AND THEN SOME.

if the average GM has about 5-6 years before they're expected to win, then i don't see how this team is built to win in that time frame as the Red Sox and Yankees' core will be in the midst of their primes at that point. time will tell, of course - but history - the history i'm looking at anyway - doesn't seem to favour the jays.
uglyone - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 10:21 AM EST (#337058) #
""What I said was wrong is writing off the season four months before the season has started. Just like you did last year."

which is weird since i continually argued the team was elite last year, and that it should contend for a playoff spot this year even as is.

heck, just look at my posts earlier in this thread.

if I didn't think this team was good right now, i'd be happy to see the team make moves prioritizing the future over the present.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 11:27 AM EST (#337061) #
In a recent Insider article on ESPN Buster Olney defends the Jays' approach in l'affaire Encarnacion. Some tidbits:

- Among agents and teams, the Jays' signing of Morales for 3/33 is viewed as a solid move

- Shapiro has "earned the benefit of the doubt," as over the last year and a half he has made "some really good value moves that fit the budget he is given."

- Some execs of other teams are wondering why Rogers doesn't spend more on the Jays, given that the team "commands the attention of an entire nation and has drawn an extraordinary following."
Mylegacy - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 11:28 AM EST (#337062) #
Christmas Eve.

The Parrot is in Cleveland.
The Bat-Flipper is in Limbo.
The Jay's are in discord.

Ah, Spring must be near!

Have a Very Merry Christmas Boxites! (Happy Holidays to you Bah Humbuggers)

Wherever you are, IF, at this second in time you're in Love. Remember, on the grand scale of things THAT'S what matters!

John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 11:45 AM EST (#337063) #
Heh. Love the strawmen coming out in force. Using stats from

2002 - Yankees opening day payroll was $125.9 million, next was the Red Sox at $108. The next team to reach that payroll level was the Red Sox in 2007 ($143 while Yankees were at $189). In 2008 the Mets & Tigers cracked that level. Cubs in 2009. Phillies in 2010. Angels & White Sox in 2011. Dodgers and Giants in 2013. 2014 the Nationals and Jays (at last). No one else has reached $125.9 million on opening day. Some of those teams (including the Jays) have done it multiple times.

So only 11 teams have had payrolls that high on opening day in MLB history. And some here blast the Jays for being one of the teams on that list instead of being like 19 others who haven't done it yet.

A better strawman might have been 'the Jays haven't spent as much as the Yankees did in 2005' Yankees cracked $200 million that year for the first time ever. Only the Dodgers (2013 and beyond) have also done that. C'mon Rogers, the Yankees really knew how to blow a fortune over a decade ago why don't you catch up?

Going by year end the Jays set a new record last year for themselves at $164 million. The last 4 years were all over $125 million when the Jays never cracked $100 before that. Baltimore also cracked $100 each of the last 4 years hitting a peak of $169 in a losing effort last year ($124 was their previous peak). Tampa also set a team record last year at $81 million or less than half of every other team in the division. Yeah, the Yankees & Red Sox were both over $200 in the end but the other 2 teams were not and the Jays still got further than anyone else in the AL East.
soupman - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 11:56 AM EST (#337065) #
So...all the markets the size of toronto including BOTH teams in LA, NY, Chicago and then teams in smaller markets: Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and San Fran.

And of those, the Jays were the last to join that club. despite being the 4th largest city, and the only one where there isn't a second team.

...but go on with the supercilious tone you've decided to take.
soupman - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 12:21 PM EST (#337066) #
fwiw, you forgot the rangers, mariners and cards. both cracking the 2002 yank's opening payroll a number of times. both considerably smaller populations and markets than toronto.

pushing toronto to the 15th club to spend more on opening day than the 2002 yankees.
jerjapan - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 12:59 PM EST (#337067) #
Soupman, I certainly appreciate your frustrations with feeling that contrarian views can be treated rudely around here at times.  I feel like those that express criticism of the current regime are more likely to be on the receiving end, for whatever reason, but as someone who has struggled with civil disagreement myself, I'm clearly not the most credible source on the subject.

Definitely don't see John Northey in that category - dude is one of our elder statesmen, along with the Mikes, Gerry, etc.  (implying thoughtful, long-term contributors - not age - I sort of assume we are roughly the same vintage).  Appreciate the call for civility, especially in this holiday season of love or struggle - I know not everyone finds this a joyful time of year. 

That said, once again, Merry Christmas and a peaceful 2017 to the whole crew, humbugs and all!  Hopefully we get ourselves a Bautista under the tree.   

cybercavalier - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 02:28 PM EST (#337069) #
I'm surprised that people who repeatedly post about Justin Smoak don't find it boring. I know reading it is.

Former Jays' prospects and Canadian players who are supposed still around this offseason.

C JPA, Robinzon Diaz, Kottaras
1B Charles, Cooper
SS Pastronicky
3B Ahrens
OF/IF Jackson
Corner OF Snider
OF Mastroianni

RP Janssen
RP Sergio Santos

Roster Update:
Padres sign 3B/1B/LF/RF Jamie Romak to minor league contract
Carreno retires already according to WIkipedia
Nationals sign TIm Collins to minor league contract
Nationals resign Jeroloman to minor league contract
Mariners sign lefty Marc Rzepczynski to 2-year deal worth $11M
Indians sign Colabello to minor league contract that includes an invitation to big league spring training.
Marlins resign Dustin McGowan, who is laterly named the recipient of the 2016 Hutch Award, to a 1-year contract. McGowan's salary is unclear.
Diamondback sign Asher Wojciechowski to minor league contract.
John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 03:17 PM EST (#337070) #
soupman - Price of doing this with 3 kids running around, during Christmas, as a single parent. Miracle I get anything done. No idea how I missed those.

Magic Number $125.9 - checking Cot's Contracts

Texas: 2014-2015-2016
Seattle: 2016
St Louis: 2016

Sorry, Jays still tied for 10th quickest to match the Yankees 2002 payroll (an odd year to pick, any reason for it). Now tied with Washington and Texas.

Could the Jays spend more? Oh yeah. No doubt. I've actually done articles here on that in the past and there is no doubt the Jays are the 2nd or 3rd largest market in baseball if they treat it that way (caravans cross-country in the winter, get the games on the radio in more places, make sure the games are known everywhere using their various media properties to push it, make the Jays Canada's team as much as possible - the past few years I think they've been doing this too and the results speak for themselves with TV ratings in Maple Leaf territory and beyond).

Like any for-profit enterprise the question becomes what is the 'sweet spot' for maximizing profit. Clearly where they are right now is there with league leading attendance and TV ratings. They can't grow much further from this point. Low 90's for wins puts them there, always playoff contention with a shot at winning it all. Spending an arm and leg (David Price, etc.) just shifts them from the low 90's to the high 90's for probable wins. Random odds could still cost them a playoff slot or knock them out in round one. This is the stage where it is tough to move forward from. Saw it in the 80's when the Jays had Stieb/Key fronting the rotation and Henke in the pen (plus Ward & Wells late in the 80's). The outfield of the 80's, Fernandez at SS, McGriff & Fielder 1B/DH, etc. Yet they couldn't get to the series or even to the playoffs most years. Then Gillick upped the defense and added 'proven vets' in Morris & Winfield and things clicked. Added more until the team was ready to collapse and rebuild but sadly we had very, very poor owners (Interbrew) and a terrible GM (Gord Ash) with dreams of contention even though a rebuild was needed and the parts were there for it (Delgado/Green/Stewart/etc.).

Right now the Jays are in the mid 80's mode - an excellent team but just shy of winning it all. The current front office is looking to do an Atlanta where they were in playoffs for a decade+, AA was trying to get a WS title in his last year. The question becomes what could the Jays have blown another $40 million on this winter? Chapman to close and shift Osuna to middle relief or the rotation works in fantasy ball but not real life. Keeping Cecil? Doubt many here would've been happy with $30+ over 4 years. Yoenis Cespedes? Yeah, I'd have liked him here. Encarnacion? They tried and had the high bid but were not willing to wait him out and I can't blame them on that. You never want to be the loser in winter musical chairs. Dexter Fowler? Nice, but too expensive for who he is imo.

With the new collective agreement I suspect many teams will start banging on the luxury tax level but trying to stay just under and avoiding having the bigger penalties. That should lead to more quality free agents being available as fewer teams will fight for them. Payroll flexibility is going to be very useful. If I ran the Jays I'd have looked at it much like the real ones did this winter with the exception of going hard for Cespedes depending what the teams scouts felt (if they see a flaw that could kill him in the AL East then no go).
John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 03:23 PM EST (#337071) #
Oops, tied for 11th. Yeah, they could be top 3 in theory but won't be. No value in doing that. Really dumb that the Dodgers are blowing what they are at this point to be honest.
uglyone - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 03:23 PM EST (#337072) #
It's not only about payroll, but about how a risk-averse corporate approach applies to pro sports.

Instead of paying Edwin, we gave that money to Morales, Lourdes, and Smoak. We'll see if that is a good idea or not.
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 04:39 PM EST (#337073) #
I don't see the FO losing a comp pick for one year of Bautista, and certainly not at higher than the QO

The question I have is whether Bautista will even bring a comp pick. He may be better off waiting until after the Rule 4 draft to sign, when he might be able to get a 3 year deal in the 40 million range with 2016 pro-rated. Whatever it is, it'll be a far cry from the number he gave in February when asked what it would take to get an extension done, from which he explained it would be below him to negotiate downward. I can't help but think that display poisoned the well somewhat for him, both here and elsewhere.

If the Jays think that he may not sign until then, they may enter into a short-term deal.
Parker - Saturday, December 24 2016 @ 04:57 PM EST (#337074) #
which is weird since i continually argued the team was elite last year, and that it should contend for a playoff spot this year even as is.

You argued for three months that the team was throwing away a chance to contend by not giving David Price $210M.

heck, just look at my posts earlier in this thread. if I didn't think this team was good right now, i'd be happy to see the team make moves prioritizing the future over the present.

You've spent this entire thread acting as if Josh Donaldson has already been traded.

When I call you stupid, I'm an antagonistic jerk. When I try to engage you in actual discussion, you want to rewrite history - some of which is barely even a day old.

I'm at a loss here.
uglyone - Sunday, December 25 2016 @ 12:06 PM EST (#337078) #
I know you are at a loss.

You cannot fathom how I can think the roster is good AND criticize the FO for not making it better.

I know this is beyond your ken.

But yet, it's still true, and the history is all written here in black and white.
scottt - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 08:21 AM EST (#337080) #
The facts as I understand them is that Edwin asked the Jays for 5 years/125M. The Jays offered him 4 years/80M and gave him 3 days to accept it. Twice his agent asked for an extension and twice it was granted. After a week, Edwin countered with a demand for 4 years/100M and the Jays passed on it.

The conclusion I get from that is when Edwin said he wanted to play in Toronto, what he meant is that he wanted Toronto to outbid everybody. It's no different than Bautista still not taking the qualifying offer even though there are no better offers out there.

This is the exact opposite of Jansen taking less money to return to the Dodgers.

At least Morales and Pearce want to play in Toronto.

PeterG - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 10:04 AM EST (#337081) #
Well said Scott. So what are the odds of the Jays and Bautista working out a one year deal now?
bpoz - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 10:14 AM EST (#337082) #
Just a few days until the year end. Most of the moves will be done by then or a few days later.

Let us see if the Jays do anything?
PeterG - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 10:29 AM EST (#337083) #
I think it will take a lot longer than that. Deals will happen gradually between now and early February.
PeterG - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 11:37 AM EST (#337084) #
Just tweeted this morning on MLB Network radio:

"He can suck the energy out of a clubhouse. The Blue Jays don't really want Jose Bautista back." - Steve Phillips

lexomatic - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 12:02 PM EST (#337085) #
If that Phillips quote is true, it makes me think less of mgmt/ whoever"s behind that decision. There aren't a lot of comparable bats to Bautista out there still. It's prioritizing chemistry over the best talent. Especially at this stage in the win cycle. Trading assets for a Bruce ( as example of rumors)  seems like a self-spiting move.

PeterG - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 12:06 PM EST (#337086) #
won't have to trade any worthwhile assets for Bruce. If the Mets hold out for that, there won't be a trade.
Parker - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 12:16 PM EST (#337087) #
I'm on the fence about a Bautista return. I don't like him at all for the clubhouse, and I don't want him in RF any more than I want Jay Bruce. He can still swing the bat, though.

If the Jays are willing to eat the Smoak deal (I'm not sure why they signed off on it in the first place) and Bautista can be convinced to DH and maybe cover LF, I think they should spend the money to bring him back for a year. If he shows promise in LF and 1B in Spring Training, it's almost a gimme.

It's hard to imagine anyone giving up a 1st (or even a 2nd) pick for him, so the real gamble is whether someone else signs him away from the Jays. I'd still prefer to have the draft pick, but at this point I suspect Bautista would sit out half the year to avoid the compensation attached to his signing. He (or his agent) really misread his market, and I don't think the Jays should be blamed for that.
PeterG - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 12:31 PM EST (#337088) #
Smoak is simply a place holder for Tellez. Bautista can't DH. Where would Morales play? I think the chance is minimal someone does not sign JBO but he may have to take 10-12 mil instead of what he is asking. Draft pick compensation won't be a big deal if it is a bottom 10 team- watch for interest from Rays, Phillies, Braves, Angels, A's, Snakes.
eudaimon - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 01:22 PM EST (#337089) #
I think Bautista could play at 1B (he's played a lot of 3B over his career, and also some 1B so I assume the transition wouldn't be too hard) and RF, maybe DHing on occasion (I see Morales getting maybe 15 starts in the outfield, when one of our extreme groundball pitchers is starting, and 5-10 starts at 1B when one of our flyball pitchers are starting.

Of course, between Bautista, Pearce, and Morales probably getting starts at 1B that doesn't leave much room for Smoak.

China fan - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 01:58 PM EST (#337090) #
".... I don't like him at all for the clubhouse...."

This accusation of Bautista being "bad for team chemistry" is pure speculation without any data to support it -- the kind of unsupported accusation that some fans love to toss around as a substitute for serious analysis.  There's really no concrete evidence of him being "bad for the clubhouse."  In fact the evidence is all on the other side.  Since the arrival of Bautista, the Jays have significantly improved and have become one of the top four teams in the majors (as measured by playoff results over the past two seasons anyway).  He has consistently been one of their top players since his arrival, and he's a key reason for their success.  There's lots of evidence of Bautista being an intense player with high standards, who has pushed for the Jays to improve as a team.  He's a team leader who has delivered in high-pressure clutch situations.  How can any of that possibly be bad for the clubhouse?

Some fans dislike Bautista because he's a union guy, because he argues with umpires and because he's upfront about his belief in his financial value.  Those characteristics offend the sensibilities of traditionalist fans who believe that their heroes should be humble, modest, quiet and selfless.  That's pure old-fashioned prejudice and has nothing to do with what actually works in a clubhouse today.  In the clubhouses of today, someone like Bautista is far more likely to be a positive influence than a negative influence.
China fan - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 02:20 PM EST (#337091) #
"....when Edwin said he wanted to play in Toronto, what he meant is that he wanted Toronto to outbid everybody..."

You seem to be saying that Edwin should have proved his loyalty to the Jays by accepting less money than he expected to get from another team -- otherwise he must have been lying when he said he wanted to return to the Jays.  I think that's unfair and illogical. There was every indication, before the off-season, that he would earn significantly more than $80-million in his free agent contract, so naturally he didn't accept $80-million when he was initially offered it at a very early stage of the off-season.  If everyone was telling him that he could get $100-million on the open market, why would he leave $20-million sitting on the table?  If the Jays had offered the same amount that he expected to get on the open market, why wouldn't he have returned to the Jays?  There is every indication that he loves Toronto, loves the team, enjoys the team environment and is comfortable here. 

It seems to me that there's a more likely scenario about how the situation played out, although it is difficult to prove.  I don't think Shapiro and Atkins seriously expected that Edwin would accept their offer without testing the market.  No free agent accepts the first offer that he gets -- it's generally a big financial mistake to accept the first offer, so nobody does it.  (This year was a very rare exception:  the first offer was actually better than what he ended up getting, but Edwin and his agent had absolutely no way of predicting that.)

If the Jays knew that Edwin wouldn't accept their initial offer, then it's quite possible that the offer was a public-relations gesture, intended to shield themselves from criticism when Edwin signed with another team.  It also suggests that "Plan B" (Morales) might have been their "Plan A" all along.  Shapiro and Atkins know that they are under pressure to keep their payroll to $160-million or $165-million maximum, so they decided they couldn't afford Edwin.  They gave him a pro-forma offer that they knew he would reject, and moved quickly to sign Morales.  They knew that the Morales contract would leave Edwin out in the cold, and they didn't care.

I can't prove the above scenario, but it seems to me that it's just as likely -- or more likely -- than the alternative scenario that some people have unquestioningly accepted.

Two days ago, Shi Davidi reported that Edwin's agent was negotiating with the Jays right up to the day when Pearce was signed.  They even had a negotiating session scheduled for the next day.  Only when Pearce was signed did Edwin and his agent finally realize that the Jays weren't an option any more.   To me, this suggests that the Jays were playing Edwin and had no serious intention of signing him, rather than the reverse.
cybercavalier - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 02:29 PM EST (#337092) #
I'm on the fence about a Bautista return. I don't like him at all for the clubhouse, and I don't want him in RF any more than I want Jay Bruce. He can still swing the bat, though.

Why somebodies do not like Bautista in the clubhouse? discussion, in humble opinion, is also similar to a cluhouse. If Bautista's behavior is not liked, maybe posters on this site can take clues on what not to type....
observer2010 - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 02:32 PM EST (#337093) #
The team made Edwin an offer of employment. From an HR perspective, typically these types of offers are valid for a short period. If the offer is not accepted, the organization moves on to another qualified applicant to fill the position and an organizational need.

Whether a week was the right amount of time to wait, under the circumstances, is debatable but the approach (and offer) seemed reasonable. The agent says Edwin's first choice was Toronto, and the organization made him their first choice, but the contract demands became the issue.

That said, we will definitely miss Edwin, his infectious enthusiasm, and his many amazing contributions to the team.

As for Jose, he made what appeared to be an ultimatum in spring training last year, when he said there would not be a negotiation and that his terms would be the only terms or there would be no deal. The timing of that public statement could have been destabilizing to the team.

That said, Jose did not appear to be a clubhouse distraction, and gave it his all last year, but the injuries definitely affected his play.

He appears to possibly be making another ultimatum now, demanding more than the qualifying offer or there will be no deal. Whether something can or should be worked out, with the team, and his attitude, if it is, remain to be seen. A one year deal would certainly be a major departure from what he appeared to be looking for last spring.

Like Edwin's, his many contributions to the team have also been outstanding and we will surely miss him if he doesn't return. Based on his performance last year, he would appear to be easier to replace than Edwin.

I enjoying following the many informed discussions on the board, and a happy new year to all.
Parker - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 06:00 PM EST (#337095) #
The 2016 team won a lot more games when Bautista was out of the lineup, and it actually isn't even close by winning percentage.

Nobody is suggesting that the team wouldn't have made the playoffs without Bautista's 2016, are they?

If the team doesn't make the playoffs in 2017, is the argument that it it's because of Bautista's 2016 performance? Or is it exclusively because of Encarnacion's 2016 performance?
scottt - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 06:22 PM EST (#337096) #
The fact is, there were no bidder in the monetary range Encarnation targeted. You can figure that out in a week.
He was simply trying to get the Jays to bid against themselves, just like Bautista is doing right now.
Boston, New York and the NL teams had no interest from the beginning.

It would be dishonest to blame the team. All they can do is put offers on the table. And they did. Encarnation could have signed if he wanted. What he did instead is ask for more.

Davidi compared the Blue Jays with the Dodgers, a team that is outspending its budget so badly the league has to review its level of debt.

An other interesting fact is that Encarnation was not interested in playing for a west coast team. His family is all in the Dominican Republic and he wants to limit his travel time. 

The Jays continued to negotiate with EE, probably by offering 1 year or 2 year deals.

The 2 wild cards and the luxury tax seems to be having an effect. The sport has become more competitive and the top 2 or 3 highest spending teams can no longer afford to get every player they want. 

pubster - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 06:26 PM EST (#337097) #
EE probably wanted to remain a Jay.

EE probably wanted to sign the for the most money.

I think that's pretty understandable.
scottt - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 06:40 PM EST (#337098) #
I don't see Bautista as a negative, but the real star the last couple of years has been Donaldson.

Only one player has ever waived a qualifying offer to sign a one year deal that paid him more.
Several players have refused the qualifying offers and taken one year deals that paid less.
Since this is Bautista's last QO, the team who signs him will not get another pick later, so a bottom team like the Rays could give a one year deal in the hope of trading him at the deadline, but that probably only works if they can get him for less than the QO.

SK in NJ - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 07:52 PM EST (#337100) #
You don't offer $80M to a player without having interest in him, and certainly not to a player that comes with as many red flags as Encarnacion does (DH, 34, coming off worst season since his breakout, etc). As mentioned already, Encarnacion probably wanted to remain a Blue Jay but at the same time maximize his earning potential. He thought he could get more than $80M, and that his camp could use the Jays as leverage to get more money from other teams, but once the Jays moved on that ruined their plans. The QO combined with a glut of DH/1B types in free agency hurt him.

Regardless, to suggest that the Jays would play a game of chicken while throwing 4/80 out there is absurd. You can't call the front office cheap while at the same time saying that the highest offer Encarnacion received in free agency just happened to be from the Jays because they wanted to manipulate the optics in their favor. That's ridiculous. The Jays haven't even pretended to be interested in bringing Bautista back so far, and last year didn't even make David Price an offer, and yet they'd offer $80M to a DH to appease the fanbase? Come on.

They made their best offer, gave him a time table, and then moved on when it looked like he wasn't going to take it. It happens. Just because he ended up scrambling and losing money in the end is not the Jays problem.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 10:00 PM EST (#337101) #
Sometimes things don't work out. Instead of claiming expertise in negotiating contracts, and making up rules like "the team's first offer is axiomatically pro forma", (it wasn't apparently their first offer anyway but that's beside the point), it's easier to accept that.

Sometimes things don't work out.

Earlier in the year, Shapiro said that if Edwin wanted to remain a Jay he'd be one. He did want to remain a Jay, or at least we are told so by his agent who would say that in any event, but not as much as he wanted to see if other teams would give him a more lucrative offer. He was given the team's best offer at the end of the exclusive period, and given until the end of the GM meetings, and told that the offer would be coming off the table and that the team would start looking elsewhere. If he or his agent concluded that meant "we're about to offer you more money", then he and his agent weren't very astute. Obviously they didn't think that at all.

His market cratered because Toronto pulled out. If Toronto hadn't he'd be a the same point in his demands. And all the fans who claim he should have been signed at 4/80 by Toronto, would instead be clamouring for 'Rogers' to offer him 5/125 instead. As if it were 'Rogers' who decided he wasn't worth 5/125 instead of 30 out of 30 front offices.

Personally, I'm glad things worked out the way they did. Much of this offseason was determined by the 2015 moves and the resultant need to rebuild the farm system. Three first round draft picks are a lot more important to the franchise that the difference between Edwin and Kendrys over 3 seasons, especially when Toronto would have been stuck with him for a 4th at 20 per. There is an article on mlbtr today saying that Colorado wanted Stroman for Blackmon and that other than Stroman Toronto had nothing the Rockies want. That's a rating of the Toronto farm system.
Parker - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 10:12 PM EST (#337102) #
Not that I'm disagreeing, CBDC, but Colorado also just spent $70 on Ian Desmond to fill their black hole at 1B.

That's what they said, at least. True or not, I doubt that move is going to increase season ticket sales. For the record, I wouldn't give up Stroman for Blackmon either, and I don't even think Stroman is as good as a lot of Jays fans do.

On another subject, it seems utterly inexplicable to me that anyone at all could find a way to blame the Jays' front office for "allowing" Encarnacion to sign for less money somewhere else, and that the fact that he signed somewhere else could somehow be spun into a show of bad faith on the part of the Blue Jays.

I get that you're disappointed Edwin is gone, but come on... really?
Parker - Monday, December 26 2016 @ 10:13 PM EST (#337103) #
$70M, rather. Sorry.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 12:48 AM EST (#337104) #
The Bautista clubhouse stuff is junk imo. The team did damn well with him in the clubhouse.

uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 12:53 AM EST (#337105) #
And we can quibble over the small picture of every option this offseason but the big picture still looks ugly imo.

and here's a summary of shapiro's tenure in Cleveland from a cleveland perspective for reference: best-worst-moves-mark-shapiro.html
Michael - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 02:26 AM EST (#337106) #
For the record, I'm a fan that was saying (and have been for 6+ months) that we should have signed him for 4/80, but that I wouldn't have gone above that. I didn't think 4/80 would be his best offer, I thought he'd get more, but I thought it would be competitive. If you'd ask me to guess I would have said something like 75% he signs elsewhere for more than that, 20% he signs for us or someone else for that, and 5% he signs for less than that. He ended up signing elsewhere for slightly less than that since he's 4/80 if he's good and 3/60 if he's not.
Glevin - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 03:06 AM EST (#337107) #
Don't buy the Bautista clubhouse stuff. Even if he isn't great there, it doesn't matter much unless there is a Gary Leeman/Al Iafrete situation. However, I can also see why the Jays wouldn't want to bring him back. He had a severe decline at age 36. Could he bounce back? Yes, but it's not more likely than continued decline and even if he bounces back, he's 36, he's going to seriously decline very soon anyway. I'd be perfectly happy with a one year contract but am fine if the Jays want to go a different way as well.

My view of the offseason is summerized well by Jeff Sullivan in a recent fangraphs chat.

"The right ideas and the popular ideas are not always in alignment. There’s nothing wrong, in general, with trying to avoid big multi-year commitments to aging players. Teams are frequently left on the hook for those. But when those players leave before they’ve actually turned bad, it can be a rough look. Right now the Toronto lineup feels naked"
PeterG - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 11:09 AM EST (#337108) #
Ed Coleman, radio host for NY Mets is on MLB Network today. He said Mets want to pick up an impact reliever and need to move Jay Bruce contract in order to do so. Suggested that it may happen soon.
soupman - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 11:13 AM EST (#337109) #
Hey John – happy holidays! Jays still tied for 10th quickest to match the Yankees 2002 payroll (an odd year to pick, any reason for it). Now tied with Washington and Texas. The year Rogers took over. Could have picked 100m mark that many saw as a major payroll milestone during the JPR years, even though the Twins had even gone over a number of times. Or could have picked a number over the 2016 OD/EoS payroll just to emphasize that the Jays are committed to, even now, staying in the second tier of teams in terms of payroll. Like any for-profit enterprise the question becomes what is the 'sweet spot' for maximizing profit. And that’s the crux of it. The Jays, I’ve always thought, have a niche as a third place team. Rogers has too many other things going on, and their sports empire doesn’t live or die with the Jays. The same can’t be said with YES or NESN where, my understanding at least, has always been that those networks, because they’re subscription based, have depended much more on selling the team in any given year than on selling the idea of “live sports”. To compete directly with the Red Sox and Yankees wouldn’t mean just running a $225 million dollar payroll, it would mean escalating all three organization’s payrolls to unknown levels. I’m not saying it makes any business sense to do. Which is why, in the same breath I’ll always throw in a mention of how unfair it is for the AL East to exist. I’d like to know and think better about those financial decisions, but I’ve never taken the time to even start thinking about how to even go about that. I feel like our local sports “journalists” have this huge story about how Rogers runs its team and how it figures into their corporate structure…but never dig into it, or never dig deep enough to say much more than “well, it’s a corporation and it’s vertically integrated! The left hand….etc” Combine that with MLB’s moratorium on new corporate owners, and there seems to be something there. I thought the Jays should sign Price and still think it was a mistake not to. Here’s why: Ceteris paribus, if Price is on the roster, you now might be in a better position to trade Sanchez or Stroman to fill need, or shift someone like LIriano to a high-leverage relief role, etc. Ideally, the Jays would have signed Darvish when it was in their interest to do so, or Chapman (although his off-field activities make me happy he’s not here), etc. I think the Jays always need to be thinking 4-5 years down the line. And today – I don’t see that. I see half measures that will impede or be used as the excuse to NOT sign someone like Otanei when he’s available because he doesn’t help right away. When clearly, they could have got a lot of value from Chapman, or Darvish, etc by signing them before they were ready to make a run. I’m disappointed in this off-season, but you’re right to see that they were kind of backed into a corner based on how close they have been the last 2 years, and the limited amount of great “fits” out there in free agency for their needs and timing. That said, Rogers has with rare exception taken on dead money in FA contracts, and I think the Jays either need to commit to competing directly with BOS/NYY on payroll, or to attack their division another way, which, probably means selling high on players and investing more in IFA, player development, and scouting than those other teams – or changing the game in some other way we’re yet to think of.
PeterG - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 11:25 AM EST (#337110) #
Soupman, I think that the last part of your final sentence is exactly what the Jays are doing. They are doing the AND THEN SOME that you mentioned in a previous post. When Shapiro took over, the Jays development situation was not a good one, that is in the way players were developed within the system. A lot of money was put into that system as well as high performance centre and personnel. That does not show up in major league budgets. Last year the Jays system ranking went from bottom 10 to top 10 according to John Manuel at BA. This was mainly due to good years by players already in the system. Shapiro wants to build from within. There is a long term plan. Give it some time.

I don't agree that Price should have been retained but I do agree that missing out on Darvish was a major mistake. It's water under the bridge now.
scottt - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 12:53 PM EST (#337111) #
The thing that jumps at me when comparing Toronto and Boston is that Ortiz never made more than 16M.
Some guys can land contracts that pay 30M or more, but not someone playing DH.
It seems pretty obvious that nobody was going to offer more than 20M a year to Encarnation.
Nobody in their right mind, anyway.
Maybe it's the overpay to Martin that gets all the other agents riled up?
Martin speaks French and generates interests and revenues from Quebec.
Encarnation doesn't even speak English. It's not like all the kids in the Dominican are buying his jersey either.

The one thing that upset me the most during the Ricciardi years was signing the Big Hurt to play DH.
It wasn't really that much money, but it was still a terrible allocation of what funds were available.
The drafting was pretty bad too, but you can fool yourself with prospects.

bpoz - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 01:17 PM EST (#337112) #
Maybe we can deal in positives soon.

For the 2017 team as constructed so far I would say that we can no longer get into high scoring games with the same confidence as 2015 and 16.

But IMO our rotation is good. So low scoring games are more comfortable for me.

We don't have a great pen or offense so far IMO. But our defense should be very good.

Also as usual we play the other AL East teams a lot.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 01:30 PM EST (#337113) #
The Ortiz comp doesn't really work for EE, IMO. That's much closer to a Bautista situation.

Ortiz was 35 before he reached free agency with the red sox, and had a number of iffy years in his early 30s leading up to it, both health and performance wise. Even then he signed for amounts that would be equal to $20ish mil in today's market. Heck he got a 3x$16m (plus incentives) deal at age 39.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 04:21 PM EST (#337114) #
I think the heart of the batting order, whether Josh Donaldson is our #2 Hitter or our 3# Hitter, will be Josh Donaldson - Kendrys Morales - Troy Tulowitzki. That's very, very good. Josh Donaldson is a continuous MVP candidate. Kendrys Morales is a good hitter who hit 57 HR in a Pitcher's Park the last two years. He now hits in a HR-heaven. Troy Tulowitzki is now familiar with AL Pitching/tendencies. With better balance in the lineup he could be better.

Devon Travis is likely the Lead-off Hitter that he has been in the past. That has worked fine. Now that everything's been fixed we'll see who we get, he should be better. But until the Jays acquire someone better/different, there's no one else who should leadoff.

In some order not yet determined, Russell Martin, Steve Pearce and Kevin Pillar will hit in the bottom half of the lineup. That should work fine. Neither Russell Martin nor Steve Pearce nor Kevin Pillar will fall off the cliff offensively as they are too good as athletes to do that. Defense should approve.

How good this version of the Jays gets will be a work in progress this season, but much more so now. The caliber of the addition(s) to the Bullpen will determine the Start of the Season. Significantly, 22 of the first 30 games are against AL East opponents. How healthy Russell Martin stays, depends on how good the Backup Catcher is and how well Gibbons trusts him. How good the Offense and the Defense gets relies on how good Atkins is at acquiring the right people. So I guess we wait.
observer2010 - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 05:44 PM EST (#337115) #
Given the depletion of our middle relief corps (Benoit, Cecil) this might not be the right year to convert Biagini to a starting role in Syracuse. He was usually effective as a middle reliever last year and could pitch multiple innings.

His role was particularly important, given Gibbons' usage of Happ and Estrada.
PeterG - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 07:00 PM EST (#337116) #
The call on Biagini will be made in ST with first preference being 6th starter in Buffalo to begin season. If relief options don't look good at that time, then he can be diverted to pen.
Parker - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 09:03 PM EST (#337117) #
I really have to take exception to the Ortiz mudslinging. I know he's never played for the Blue Jays, but this:

He's had one "iffy performance" season since 2002. In 2009 he only had 250 total bases and put up a pedestrian 102 OPS+.

He's had one "iffy health" season since 2002. In 2012 he only played 90 games. He put up a 173 OPS+ in those 90 games.

Jose Bautista's career OPS+ is 130. David Ortiz's career OPS+ is 141. Bautista's career BRWAR is 34.8. Ortiz - 55.4.

I really don't get the comparison. At all.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 10:01 PM EST (#337118) #
Here's how each fared in the years leading up their free agent seasons:


Ort (36): 154wrc+, 3.7war
Joey (36): 122wrc+, 1.7war
EE (34): 134wrc+, 3.9war


Ort (36): 144wrc+, 6.2war
Joey (36): 136wrc+, 5.8war
EE (34): 142wrc+, 8.2war


Ort (36): 129wrc+, 6.4war
Joey (36): 145wrc+, 12.1war
EE (34): 144wrc+, 11.9war


Ort (36): 128wrc+, 8.2war
Joey (36): 143wrc+, 16.4war
EE (34): 145wrc+, 15.9war


Ort (36): 139wrc+, 14.5war
Joey (36): 142wrc+, 19.3war
EE (34): 146wrc+, 20.2war

ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, December 27 2016 @ 10:20 PM EST (#337119) #
" I don't get the comparison. At all."

Well, Ortiz was much loved and respected in Boston and every other team in the American League and their fans wished they had him. Bautista is much loved and respected in Toronto and every other team ... uh, never mind.
soupman - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 12:40 AM EST (#337120) #
hey peter,
the jays new PLANS for Dunedin are $81 million. the red sox, built their new ST digs in 2008 and it was $143million at the time. still not announced despite it being one of shapiro's "priorities" as "president". so, the jays are willing to chip in $15million - instead of taking their savings from edwin and getting some shovels in the ground, they're going to nickel and dime the county, city, and state. fair enough - but again, rogers has the resources to make something happen quicker. so where does the buck stop? it's been over a year and no deal. the dream of grass at sky dome is basically dead. so i guess...players love the only stadium with turf all of a sudden?

to me, that's not doing everything and then some. it's struggling to catch up and hoping no one will notice the half measures and cut corners.

you also have a staff AA assembled in the scorched earth of ricciardi that scouted and drafted among the best in the league. this much is inarguable. just add up the WAR of his picks vs. other teams over the same period. with no trout, harper, or sale, they've managed to do pretty well.

so shapiro comes in, and there's a LOT of churn for an organization that was, by almost all accounts, doing pretty well on the scouting and drafting side of things.

what does that say about organizational philosophy?

now, i am not saying we draw negative conclusions from this. i tend to think baseball is a bit of an old boys club and shapiro and atkins would know whether it would be better to replace all of AA's guys in favour of their own trusted people or not. it's also good that scouting has been pruned back yet. with that said, i was surprised that a FO touted as business-minded would fire so many people that had done very well at their jobs so soon after taking over.

the farm was "gutted" according to them when they showed up, and as you say - all of a sudden by dint of the guys AA drafted, they're top 10?

it will be nice to see them spend more on scouting and player development, but as i said before and as the ST facility is emblematic of: the jays are playing catch up, and most of that stuff is so far removed from the average fan that it's probably the last thing that the media would call them out on.

if you ask me, it's far more important that they out-spend NY and BOS on player development, scouting, and IFA than anywhere else, but with the cap being more of a factor, and those teams already having spent the last CBA killing the Jays in those departments, it seems unlikely that the Jays will be able to fight them on all fronts, let alone in the 'build from within' ways.

i'd love to be wrong though.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 01:17 AM EST (#337121) #
hey peter,
the jays new PLANS for Dunedin are $81 million. the red sox, built their new ST digs in 2008 and it was $143million at the time. still not announced despite it being one of shapiro's "priorities" as "president". so, the jays are willing to chip in $15million - instead of taking their savings from edwin and getting some shovels in the ground, they're going to nickel and dime the county, city, and state. fair enough - but again, rogers has the resources to make something happen quicker.

hey soupman,
where exactly are your seats in Dunedin? I go down every year and have seats in 103 last row so I can get out over the back without disturbing those beside me? Where are yours? How many years you been going down?

Don't you just hate those Canadians who yap and yap about how 'Rogers' could be spending more money when they don't spend a cent themselves? You know the ones I mean, the ones that complain about spring training facilities that they don't spend a dime going to because their game instead is whining about Rogers?
dan gordon - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 02:02 AM EST (#337122) #
I'm not going to compare Ortiz to anybody, but I certainly do remember back about 6-7 years ago when many people, myself included, thought Ortiz was done. This was the situation - in 2007, at age 31, Ortiz hit .332/.445/.621/1.066, then he fell dramatically in 2008 at age 32, to .264/.369/.507/.877, followed in 2009 at age 33, all the way down to .238/.332/.462/.794, and many were questioning whether he was nearing the end of the line - a big, heavy guy, who had been rumoured to have perhaps had some "help" previously, now in his middle 30's, the signs were certainly there. Then, in 2010, at age 34, he started the season hitting .149/.240/.358/.598 and the vultures were circling. A lot of the Boston fans were calling him "Big Popup" instead of Big Papi, and a lot of people thought he was toast. When he turned things around, I was absolutely astonished, I thought he was finished.
Glevin - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 02:47 AM EST (#337123) #
"He's had one "iffy performance" season since 2002. In 2009 he only had 250 total bases and put up a pedestrian 102 OPS+."

Actually, it was only two horrible months. In April and May everyone thought he was done and he had OPS of under .600. After that, he didn't have a single month under .825 OPS. He also got off to an awful start the next year but it was a much shorter period. Anyway, comparing players to Ortiz is ridiculous because he's such an outlier in terms of ageing curve. It's like comparing everyone with an 86 MPH fastball to Greg Maddux.
uglyone - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 04:30 AM EST (#337124) #
I don't get ghe controversy here.

5yrs prior to FA


Edwin (34): 134 150 151 146 150
Ortiz (36): 154 134 100 124 175
Jose (36): 122 148 160 135 137


Edwin (34): 702 624 542 621 644
Ortiz (36): 605 606 627 491 667
Jose (36): 517 666 673 528 399


Edwin (34): 3.9 4.5 3.6 4.0 4.3
Ortiz (36): 3.7 2.5 0.3 1.7 6.3
Jose (36): 1.4 4.4 6.3 4.3 2.9

Isn't Jose the obvious comp for Ortiz' free agent contract that year? Is this even an argument?

scottt - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 07:07 AM EST (#337125) #
I'm  expecting the Blue Jays to sign a lefty to replace Cecil.
Sparkman should be replacing Biagini at the back of the pen.
Bolsinger is out of options and should be giving a chance as the long man.
Barnes and Tepera have done well enough last year to earn spots as middle men.
There's a bunch of guys who can ride the Buffalo shuttle all year: Campos, Dermody, Girodo, Leone, Schultz and Smith.
Is Loup out of options?
Grilli will be 40, but he's got the setup role locked to start the year.

soupman - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 09:36 AM EST (#337126) #
cool story, mark.
PeterG - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 09:51 AM EST (#337127) #
I believe Loup still has options as he was brought straight to the Jays and put on 40 man from AA. He was only sent down in 2016.
scottt - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 10:15 AM EST (#337128) #
Ortiz was 35 before he reached free agency with the red sox, and had a number of iffy years in his early 30s leading up to it, both health and performance wise. Even then he signed for amounts that would be equal to $20ish mil in today's market. Heck he got a 3x$16m (plus incentives) deal at age 39.

Ortiz signed with the Red Sox when he was 26, at the end of January so there must have been some long negotiation there. That contract brought him to age 35. He re-signed with Boston on Dec 5. It must have been pretty clear to him that nobody was going to pay him more. Also he signed for only 2 years as Boston must have been weary of the risks. Those were 2 good years, but he signed again with Boston on November 5, for basically the same money, 2013 was actually a pay cut.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 08:37 PM EST (#337129) #
Apparently the Jays have shown interest in Brandon Moss, according to an article from Heyman. He's been brought up here before and I think he makes a lot of sense. He's an average defensive player in the outfield, hits a lot of fly balls, solid hard contact profile, can hit RHP, and should net a 1-2 year deal at a reasonable AAV. Much like Morales he's spent a lot of time in non-HR parks so he might profile better at Rogers Centre.

My guess is the Jays might be waiting for the Bautista situation to clear up before doing anything. If he's still available by the time ST begins and the pick starts to look like a non-issue, then the Jays could change course.
PeterG - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 09:07 PM EST (#337130) #
Do you think they will wait that long before making a move for an OF? What about other moves, say for relievers?
SK in NJ - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 09:13 PM EST (#337131) #
No I expect them so sign someone like Moss, but if Bautista is still out there in March and the pick looks unlikely, then hopefully there's enough wiggle room to adjust.

I think they'll go cheap on the pen. I'm not expecting any significant signing unless it's really cheap. Wouldn't surprise me if Loup is the LH reliever next season.
PeterG - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 09:48 PM EST (#337132) #
Chad Girodo had better numbers against lefties and will get a look. I don't expect any of these 6 mil guys (relievers) to be signed but one or two at 2/3 mil is a possibility.
Chuck - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 10:19 PM EST (#337133) #
[re Moss]: He's an average defensive player in the outfield

What's the basis for this opinion? I see a slow guy in his 30s whom none of the defensive metrics speak well of.

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 10:53 PM EST (#337134) #
If you wait too long, decisions become harder to make as you second-guess yourself too often. Sometimes you wait too long and can't react fast enough when the floodgates open. Sometimes who you are after won't sign and it's too late to change options. Basic GM issues.

In 2015 the Jays did nothing, and lost a lot of games because they couldn't hold the lead. Thankfully the Offense was good enough so Anthopoulos could save the day. In 2016 the Jays acquired a Reliever no longer wanted by a winning Team. They still lost a lot of games because they couldn't hold the lead. Thankfully the Offense was good enough so Shapiro/Atkins could save the day. For 2017 there are questions as to whether or not the Offense is, or will be good enough to survive anything as it has been in the past two years.

Nothing can get left to chance this Season.
1) The Starting Rotation is good enough.
2) With better Defense at 1B, the Infield is good enough.
3) The Bench needs a Backup Catcher good enough to be a #1A if necessary, but other than that it's good enough.
4) The Outfield is still a huge work in progress, offensively and defensively, but there's not enough there to be everything needed.
5) No longer can the Bullpen be ignored. The Bullpen has three dependable arms. In-house is mediocre at best. Unless you are trying A+ and AA Pitchers/Starters as Relievers, there's no chance of an answer in-house. All that's left is Free Agency and Trades and since they don't want to trade anyone. There are two or three Starters I'd like to try as Relievers. There are two or three RH Relievers that could fit on the Team. There are two or three LH Relievers that should be on the Team.

With all the holes the Jays needed to fill, I would think they should have asked for a lot more money, or be willing to make one quality trade. So what are they planning?
SK in NJ - Wednesday, December 28 2016 @ 11:21 PM EST (#337135) #
Moss has plus DRS and UZR numbers as an OF, and that was the case in 2016 as well. He grades out poorly at 1B. He doesn't seem like someone who should be good defensively but the metrics point to him being at least average as a corner OF. Whether he can maintain that heading into his age 33 season remains to be seen (assuming the Jays sign him).

He had an awful September in 2016 behind a .107 BABIP. He was either hurt or just had really terrible luck. His skill set is annoying (high K's, low BA), but overall he's one of the best fits remaining on the market. As long as he's platooned with Upton, I think he'll be pretty good value with a bit of upside given his flyball tendencies.
scottt - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 07:25 AM EST (#337136) #
Votto declines to represent Canada in the Baseball Classic. Says he need to focus on spring training after hitting .213 in the first 2 months last year.
Still, he's on a long contract playing for a bottom team that has no hopes of contending this decade.
There are  rumours that the only reason he's not in Toronto is that he refuses to waive his no-trade clause.
In 2009 and 2013, he had very good years.   

ayjackson - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 08:31 AM EST (#337137) #
Are you suggesting we disown Joey Votto? Or a lynching?
scottt - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 08:58 AM EST (#337139) #
I'm suggesting we don't own Joey Votto at all.
Canadians will still feel good about him if he makes it to the Hall of Fame, but they might have to go to Cincinnati to watch his statue.

mathesond - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 10:28 AM EST (#337140) #
People watch statues?
Chuck - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 12:53 PM EST (#337142) #
People watch statues?

Sure, if there's nothing good on TV.

Dr B - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 01:21 PM EST (#337143) #
Well they won’t be putting a statue of Jose Bautista outside the Rogers Centre. They've still got space in right field.
PeterG - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 04:02 PM EST (#337144) #
FWIW, Jon Morosi has just reported that Jays are now in active contract discussions with Bautista.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 05:00 PM EST (#337145) #
Bautista did resemble a statue at times in right field last year.
SK in NJ - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 05:07 PM EST (#337146) #
Bautista on a short-term deal always made the most baseball sense for both sides, but it appeared the Jays had little interest. Maybe that has changed, but Morosi seems to hashtag BlueJays every time it's a slow news day, so who knows what's really going on.
jgadfly - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 05:52 PM EST (#337147) #
RE: 2017 Draft ... Am I correct in understanding that with the EE signing, the Jays now have picks at 22 and 28 ... when Trumbo signs the Orioles will slot in immediately ahead of the Jays (barring his resigning with the O's)... if Bautista signs elsewhere, he would be #3 on the compensation list ahead of Desmond and Fowler ???
Richard S.S. - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 05:58 PM EST (#337148) #
Isn't that when Trumbo re-signs with Baltimore?
scottt - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 05:59 PM EST (#337149) #
I think the QO offer is still there, but Bautista is asking for more money.
Because it cost a draft pick, it's a lot like a trade.
GMs don't trade prospects for expensive players unless their initials are AA.

Both EE and Edwin couldn't wait to test the free agent market.
Nevermind Saunders.
The same might happen with Donaldson because there's too much talent available that year.
Machado will be the better third baseman on the market that year.

Moss doesn't get on base and plays poor defense.
Might as well bring back Rasmus. At least he's worth one WAR defensively.

Mylegacy - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 06:00 PM EST (#337150) #
All off-season I've thought that Jose would be entirely, at least, average defensive player in LF. I would be quite happy to see him back with the team. Maybe: Travis, Donaldson, Bautista, Morales and Pierce might not be a so worse 1 through 5. In whatever order Gibby chooses to use them.

NOW - if only our top 5 starters can each stay healthy. We'd have a shot!
ayjackson - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 06:09 PM EST (#337151) #
Positioned properly, an outfield of Upton/Pompey-Pillar-Bautista can cover a lot of ground.
bpoz - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 07:15 PM EST (#337152) #
Is this correct. The new CBA states that all FAs that receive a QO and are signed by another team have no draft pick loss attached to them.

But the team that lost the player gets a pick at the end of the 1st round.

For example Bryce Harper signs with the NYY. The NYY do not lose a pick but Washington gets a pick after the 1st round as compensation for their loss.
scottt - Thursday, December 29 2016 @ 08:47 PM EST (#337153) #
There is still a lost draft pick, but it will be a 2nd round pick if the new team is over the luxury tax threshold or a 3rd round pick if not.
cybercavalier - Friday, December 30 2016 @ 02:58 AM EST (#337154) #
3) The Bench needs a Backup Catcher good enough to be a #1A if necessary, but other than that it's good enough.

C Conger or Soto could be cheap not be black holes in the case of injury. I worry that get better opportunities for playing time.
Free agents with Steamer projection
M.Wieters (31): 404pa, 88wrc+, 1.9war, 3.1war/650
C.Iannetta (34): 241pa, 93wrc+, 1.1war, 3.0war/650
S.Clevenger (31): 61pa, 86wrc+, 0.2war, 2.1war/650
G.Soto (34): 242pa, 78wrc+, 0.6war, 1.6war/650
N.Hundley (33): 302pa, 79wrc+, 0.7war, 1.5war/650
K.Suzuki (33): 332pa, 80wrc+, 0.7war, 1.4war/650
J.Salty (32): 182pa, 78wrc+, 0.4war, 1.4war/650
D.Navarro (33): 244pa, 81wrc+, 0.5war, 1.3war/650
A.Pierzynski (40): 1pa, 79wrc+, 0.0war, 0.8war/650
R.Hanigan (36): 1pa, 67wrc+, 0.0war, 0.8war/650
H.Conger (29): 1pa, 75wrc+, 0.0war, 0.7war/650
B.Wilson (34): 53pa, 56wrc+, 0.0war, -0.2war/650
W.Rosario (28): 1pa, 90wrc+, 0.0war, ???war/650
plus minor league free agents according to BA.
One way to look at it is that Meacham will prepare AAA players to make the jump by coaching them like MLB players.
Another way to to look at is that Meacham will coach the Bisons like he would coach the Jays

The above was recapping from previous posts. Using Navarro's 2016 performance as a reference point, it translates to  1.3 WAR in 2017. While the top Ianetta and Wieters are more than double better than Navarro's projections, at least a report showed that the Jays has been in discussion with Ianetta's rep with the idea that he can still provide occasional hitting for power and throwing out base-stealers in a reserve role.  One account discusses how feasible Ianetta can help the Jays while another discerns such possibility, noting that the Mariners came up disappointed in hoping a  performance rebound in 2016 after an injury-plagued 2015.

Given that backup catchers candidates are likely on the shuttle of Toronto and Buffalo, how can Buffalo coaching help develop the backup catchers? If a probable fantasy is allowed, signing former Jays and Torontonian prospects -- JPA and Kottaras -- to Buffalo for coaching them to stay in MLB?
lexomatic - Friday, December 30 2016 @ 01:49 PM EST (#337156) #
GMs don't trade prospects for expensive players unless their initials are AA.

There is a VERY long history in baseball of doing exactly this. This is simply a false statement, and comes off as a cheap-shot at AA. There's no need for it, and it detracts from your otherwise reasonable analogy as to why the team might not want to sign Jose.

I think both sides will hold out, but really the team should offer incentives. Give Jose a 1-year deal at the top of what he's earned  (14/15 Mil), give him easy incentives to 17.5 or 18. And give incentives for playing time and performance that can give him 22+ or something. He still gets a good salary, and the potential to earn way more than ever before (face-saving for Jose, but not horrible for team, because a good season from Jose is a good sign of wild-card contention). Anyway, the options aren't particularly exciting now - they're all flawed in some way.
soupman - Friday, December 30 2016 @ 02:09 PM EST (#337157) #
except...every team that signs a player tied to a comp pick is effectively 'giving up' a pick to do that. since bottom 15 teams are a) rarely in buy-mode and b)rarely the able to afford those players even when their 'window' is open
scottt - Friday, December 30 2016 @ 03:24 PM EST (#337158) #
Expensive players are a relatively new concept in  baseball.

The point remains that Bautista on a 8M contract could easily be flipped for a prospect at the trade deadline, whereas Bautista on a 18M contract would be a straight salary dump at best.

Last year, Estrada accepted the QO and then negotiated a 2 year contract with less money per year and would have gone lower for more years. (Given that he can't be offered another QO, it could be a good idea to extend him.)
This year, Baustista rejected the QO, found no taker, and is asking for more money for old times sakes.

Assuming the front office settles on bringing back Bautista, they still need a lefty and a backup catcher.
I think Jimenez could work out, but the lefty is a requirement because there's a lot of left bats in the division and Grilli is 40 and had a slow start last year.   
cybercavalier - Friday, December 30 2016 @ 07:22 PM EST (#337159) #
they still need a lefty and a backup catcher.
I think Jimenez could work out, but the lefty is a requirement because there's a lot of left bats in the division and Grilli is 40 and had a slow start last year.

1) backup catcher
I also think Jimenez could work out and he better works out: he is not as young as he previous was. It is about age that he can perform as a major leaguer; However, I recommend not to use him as how a backup catcher is used in late inning substitution. When Martin need a game off, put Jimenez as the starting catcher -- giving him starting experience. The late inning substitution and/or pinch hitting duties are left to the age early 30s backup catcher whom we are now searching for and who also could be the #1 if Martin goes to the DL.

2) lefty
If Grilli stays as a Jay, save him in Buffalo where his arm is slowly warming up to MLB performance and he provides also intangibles to wannabe MLB pitchers on that rosters. Based on 2016 Buffalo roster, the following is a list of free agent LHP who are beyond age 27, usually healthy and with their ages in 2017 season,
Josh Anderson LHP Nov.9 1988 (age 28)
Scott Diamond LHP July 30, 1986 (age 30-31)
Colt Hynes LHP June 28, 1985 (age 31-32)
Franklin Morales LHP January 24, 1986 (age 30)
Aaron Loup LHP December 19, 1987 (age 29)
Pat McCoy LHP August 3, 1988 (age 28-29)

Do we throw some LHP veterans to the fire and see who works? The free agent LHP market seems to be strong. In the end, some LHPs need to perform and we are buying or trading in statistically and financially justified future performances in LHPs in a strong market -- not a good timing. The Wade LeBlanc re-signed with the Pirates for 0.75M age 32 in 2017 and 1.25M age 33 in 2018. The Jays seems to need another Wade LeBlanc who primarily relieve and occasionally start. Out of the about list, Scott Diamond seems to be such a candidate -- he was a Twins' starter seasons ago.
Glevin - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 03:41 AM EST (#337160) #
Not sure why Jimenez gets so much love here. He's never hit at any level he's been at and he'll be 27 this year. Both steamers and zips project him with a 63 wrc+. The Jays shouldn't go out and sign Weiters or anything but there are definitely some backup catchers available who won't be expensive and can provide more than Jimenez can.
scottt - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 08:42 AM EST (#337161) #
Signing a backup catcher is the last priority behind getting a corner outfield and a lefty reliever.
There might not be any money left.
Playing second fiddle to Russell Martin is not a highly desirable job.
A veteran catcher would prefer to back up a young catcher and get more ABs.
Or signing with a team out of contention in the hope of an eventual trade.
The strength of the Jays last year was pitching, but they had problems with runners on first base.
I'd be somewhat surprised if they end up with a backup that's negative on the defense.

So, if somehow the Jays trade for an outfielder, then they'll probably sign a backup catcher, but if they have to overpay to get Bautista for a last kick at the can, than they might have nothing left to lure anyone better than the type of guys we've seen before, Jeff Mathis, Eric Kratz ... or even A.J. Jimenez.

PeterG - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 09:51 AM EST (#337162) #
Jays will sign one of the many available catchers to a minor league contract to compete with Jimenez in ST. For this position, defense is more important than offence.
China fan - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 10:11 AM EST (#337163) #
"....Signing a backup catcher is the last priority behind getting a corner outfield and a lefty reliever.  There might not be any money left....."

This is a symptom of our lowered expectations, after all the years of "payroll parameters" and the latest assumption that the payroll must be limited to $160 or $165 million in 2017, a small increase from the $153-million of last season.

Why not increase the payroll so that the Jays won't have to settle for a crappy catcher when Martin isn't playing?

Why not increase the payroll so that the Jays can afford more than just one outfielder and one reliever in the rest of the off-season?  Why should the team be forced to cut back elsewhere if they sign Bautista?

So many of us fans have brainwashed ourselves into thinking that the payroll has to be limited and the team must settle for mediocre options, as if the team's success will be judged by its level of thriftiness.

Personally I've had enough of seeing a black hole in the lineup whenever Thole was playing, and I'd hope the team can raise its sights and find a better-hitting back-up catcher, now that Dickey is gone.  Sure, let Jimenez compete for the job in spring training, but there should be some better-hitting options on the roster, even if it does cost $4-million or $5-million. 
China fan - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 10:21 AM EST (#337164) #
And a couple more points about the back-up catcher situation:

We've just endured a season where Martin's hitting was worse than usual (or worse than the previous two seasons anyway).  We see him struggling with the lingering effects of injury.  Instead of assuming that Martin should play 130 games in 2017, why not try to lure a better-hitting catcher (better than Thole anyway) so that the pressure on Martin is reduced and there's a good alternative available if Martin is slumping or has a nagging injury?  It shouldn't be impossible to attract a free-agent catcher who could see a degree of opportunity in Toronto.

Moreover, since everyone agrees on the need for pitching rotation depth, why wouldn't we seek the same depth in another key position: catcher?  The principle with pitching depth is to have a 6th starter who can step into the rotation without hurting the team too much.  The same principle should apply at catcher.  It's dangerous to be overly reliant on Martin, and that's what will happen if the only back-up catcher is a Jimenez or equivalent.  That's why it's important to invest some money in a back-up catcher, rather than settling for the scraps at the end of the off-season when the better catchers are gone.

PeterG - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 11:04 AM EST (#337165) #
Most back up catchers don't hit more than .220/.230. One who hits better would not be a back up unless poor defensively which is not what u want. Jimenez is likely capable of that kind of average with more pop than Thole and is far superior defensively. I think he deserves the opportunity. At some point, it is necessary to give young players a chance. The team is old as it is.

There are also several experienced back ups available who will have to sign minor league contracts in order to be employed..
scottt - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 11:23 AM EST (#337166) #
Limiting Martin's inning sounds nice, but the guy wants to play. He wants to play in the infield in the WBC.

Mike Ohlman is an offensive catcher that will compete with McGuire for a spot in Buffalo.

The payroll will continue to rise if the team continue to perform well, but money will always be short.
They will need some flexibility at the deadline. Who knows if they need a second baseman, a fifth starter or even a closer in 6 months?

Alex Obal - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 11:24 AM EST (#337167) #
Things I want from my catchers, more or less in order of importance:

- acuity
- framing
- bat
- blocking
- arm

I have no idea how Jimenez rates on most of those qualities, so don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other on whether Toronto should commit to him.
Glevin - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 12:34 PM EST (#337168) #
Jimenez is not young. He's 27 this year. For me, it's a little bit of prospect fetishzation and I use the term prospect loosely. Jimenez passed through waivers last year and would certainly do so again. He just isn't good and there are a ton of players out there at that talent level. If you're a team hoping to compete, you can't give away positions, If it's 50-100 abs, you can live with a crappy backup catcher but
A) why? The Jays have money and if a better backup catcher you can improve your team for cheap, why not do it?
B) what if Martin gets hurt? For a 34 yo catcher that's not a remote possibility. Jimenez getting 250 abs for the Jays would be a disaster.

PeterG - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 01:12 PM EST (#337169) #
Jimenez is much better than you think. I saw him at ST last year and was impressed. He would have made the team if it wasn't for Dickey. Ben Wagner, the Buffalo announcer, likes him also. If needed for more games than expected a another catcher has to good defensively much more than offensively. Those who say he is not good are just flat out wrong. I would much prefer him to Navarro, for example, who is a poor catcher imo. He's not going to just be handed the job though. Someone else will be brought in to compete. And 27 is not considered old in baseball. Many players don't make it till around that age, some later. Some of you just look at stats and think you know everything. Sometimes you might want to see players yourself or talk to someone who has.
uglyone - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 01:21 PM EST (#337170) #
I don't think it's fetishizing to think AJ can be a solid backup C. He's got the D and his offense projectz as typical backup C offense.

I'd want us to have another similar option in AAA as insurance but i don't think it's a pressing need to sign someone that blocks him completely.

I's bet confidentally that he'd be an upgrade over what we had last year.
PeterG - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 01:44 PM EST (#337171) #
I do agree Ugly that another similar option is desirable other than Ohlman and McGuire needs to spend a full year at least in Buffalo.

Available catchers that could be brought to ST on minor league deals include: Brayan Pena, Chris Gimenez, Geovany Soto, Nick Hundley, Steve Clevenger, Ramon Cabrera, Hank Conger (though I don't like him much). Soto might be able to get a major league deal but as time passes, these and some others will have to settle for less.
jerjapan - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 02:21 PM EST (#337172) #
China, spot on again in your analysis.  Running a thrifty, value-based organization certainly appeals to ownership and to many of us on the Box who appreciate what it takes to build an organization in the long-term, but it does feel possible that the casual fan base - who spend the bulk of the money on the team - might be getting restless.  a lot of families with kids sporting Bautista and EE jerseys are going to be scratching their heads and planning camping trips or Canada's wonderland instead. 

And at this point of the offseason, Bautista's contract will be nowhere close to an overpay, even with the 10 million or so associated with the comp pick, especially given our competitive window and strong minor league system at the lower levels. 

Jiminez is absolutely not a prospect - at 26, without a cup of coffee in the bigs but with a lengthy injury history, he is a AAAA guy, who has been freely available to anyone who wanted him for a while before getting added to the 40 man.  It's just that he's our AAAA guy, so some might still regard him as a prospect since he used to be one of our better ones.  25 HRs in nearly 2000 minor league ABs and a career .691 OPS - his D needs to be great to have a shot.

Since every big league club out there has seen him in person and passed, I'd say we could use a better option.  For every AAAA success story like Bo Schultz, there are a bunch of Ben Rowens in AAA who don't find a big league niche. 

He could be solid - heck, he could be better than Thole pretty easily - but for a FO that seems committed to cautious, lower level moves, signing a FA that could be counted on to lighten the load on Martin seems a no-brainer to me. 

I really do hope there is more to come from this offseason, but those talking about 'wait till its over' to judge our progress are running out of time.  There may be nothing more 'exciting' than Morales to come.  

cybercavalier - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 02:52 PM EST (#337173) #
Jerjapan shall be applauded for hir use of the fact that he was passed on on waivers -- using other MLB teams' FO's perspectives to judge the quality of a player. However, many reasons beside that fact that the player(s) are not highly desirable guide the FO's pass on the players. Readers please note that the Padres signed Ryan Schimpf as a free agent; he will be the Padres starting infielder despite his performance is going to regress from .869 OPS in 105KO per 335PA in 2016 season.
cybercavalier - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 02:53 PM EST (#337174) #
Jimenez passed on on waivers, not Jerjapan.
PeterG - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 03:38 PM EST (#337175) #
Many, including Siddall, Griffin, Heyman, suggesting that Jays-Bautista re-union rumour is false and that Jays would explore and eliminate every other possible option before coming back to this. It helps both sides in their other negotiations to let on that it might be a possibility.
scottt - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 04:22 PM EST (#337176) #
An article at mlbtraderumors on the top 3 needs for every AL East team lists one outfielder, a LHR and a RHR for the Blue Jays.

PeterG - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 04:52 PM EST (#337177) #
Not even sure 2 relievers are needed but it wouldn't hurt to bring 2/3 into camp. As with the catchers, there are many right handed relievers available. For sure, an OF is a need and am still thinking Moss the mist likely. I don't like his K's but he could well be a 35 HR guy in AL East ballparks.
scottt - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 09:41 PM EST (#337178) #
To clarify what happens  next year when you sign a player who a rejected a Qualified Offer:

There are 3 groups:

1. A small market team that receives revenue sharing loses its 3rd highest draft pick (not necessary 3rd round).

2. A team that's below the luxury threshold (the Jays) loses its 2nd highest draft pick and half a million of international signing money.

3. A team that pays luxury taxes loses it's 2nd highest draft pick, it's 5th highest draft pick, and 1 million of international signing money.

Players can only be offered a QO once and will have ten days instead of 7 to give an answer.

scottt - Saturday, December 31 2016 @ 10:14 PM EST (#337179) #
Also the draft picked received by a team will vary:

1. A draft pick after the first round if the player signs for more than 50M (a la Encarnation)

2. A draft pick after the competitive B round which follows the second round if the player signs for less than 50M and the team losing the player is under the luxury tax threshold (the Jays).

3. A draft pick after the 4th round if the player signs for less than 50M and the team pays some luxury taxes.

In theory a team could be tempted to trade a player before the end of the year rather than wait an offer a QO.
In practice, a team would only do this if it's out of contention, so maybe no real change there.

From what I gather--you can do your own math--a draft pick after the first round is worth about 6M, that's less than one total WAR on average. The other ones are mostly lottery tickets.

Glevin - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 04:31 AM EST (#337180) #
"I don't think it's fetishizing to think AJ can be a solid backup C. He's got the D and his offense projectz as typical backup C offense."

It's absolutely fetishization. You talk about not blocking Jimenez. You don't worry about blocking someone who is completely replaceable. Of the 55 catchers with over 150 PAs last year, only 9 had worse bats than Jimenez is projected to have. He would be a well below average backup catcher. He has a year of abs in AAA being pretty old for the level and has a career .646 OPS. What does that translate to in the majors? A .550 OPS? He doesn't hit for average, doesn't walk, and doesn't have power and has no major league experience.
scottt - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 08:03 AM EST (#337181) #
Of the 55 catchers with over 150 PAs last year, only 9 had worse bats than Jimenez is projected to have.

At least 30 of those catchers were not backup catchers, maybe more.
Thole had 136 PA last year. In fact in 4 years with the Jays Thole never had more than than 150 PA.
I think you've captured perfectly why no good hitting catcher will want to sign with Toronto.
There's a crowd at 1B and DH too. No PA for the backup catcher there.

How does Jimenez compare to the catchers with less than 150 PA?
And that projection you referred to projects him at an OPS of  .619, not .550.

cybercavalier - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 09:09 AM EST (#337182) #
One way to look at it is that Meacham will prepare AAA players to make the jump by coaching them like MLB players.
Another way to to look at is that Meacham will coach the Bisons like he would coach the Jays

I think you've captured perfectly why no good hitting catcher will want to sign with Toronto.

Do scottt think guys like Arencibia or Kottaras would come to Toronto then as they are regarded by some posters here as pretty not good catchers, even if they are locally sourced.
bpoz - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 09:10 AM EST (#337183) #
Thanks scottt for explaining what draft picks are lost by the signing team and what draft picks are gained by the team that lost the player.
PeterG - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 10:01 AM EST (#337184) #
The Jays would have no interest whatsoever in Arencibia or Kottaras as there are better options who will be available on minor league contracts due to the current glut at that position..
uglyone - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 12:20 PM EST (#337185) #
Hey I have no probs signing a legit upgrade at catcher but i would be just as happy spending the money elsewhere and picking up another guy similar to AJ as insurance.

Steamer sees 63wrc+, Zips sees 74ops+, which averages out to 69.

That's pretty much dead on average for a backup catcher - around 45th of 69 catchers with 100+ pa last year. (and far better than either thole or Navarro last year.) And by all accounts he's good defensively.

It really isn't fetishization to see him as a decent bet for the bench slot.
uglyone - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 12:23 PM EST (#337186) #
Giving some typical bench catcher a guaranteed slot probably gives us less chance at getting good production from that slot than leaving the spot open for 2-3 AJ types to battle over, imo.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 02:31 PM EST (#337187) #
Russell Martin makes the Pitching Staff great as he somehow gets the best out if his Pitchers and keeps strikes as strikes. Any offense he gives over replacement level is a bonus and should not be questioned. As long as Gibbons needs 130 games a year, he will play hurt and his offense will suffer.

An unwillingness to spend money on a Backup Catcher has always been a mystery to me. Gambling your Season on luck and more luck and still more luck is ridiculous. Yet more than a few GMs have nothing but luck to hope for. Keeping strikes as strikes; calling a good game; throwing well; blocking errant pitches; in other words being defensively responsible is a mandatory requirement. Somehow hitting better than replacement level is a necessity or the Manager won't play you. Hitting for average; getting on base well (Good OBP); generating power (SLG); one of these must stand out, if lacking elsewhere.

In-house there's not anyone, no one close enough to meet those requirements. I'm not sure there's anyone on the system that can meet those requirements yet. On the Free Agent Market/Trade Front, there are a few available, but as such, they are expensive. The choice is, as always, where do you spend the money? Defensively the Jays can be great, but Offensively they will be League Average. Spend your money/assets on the Bullpen and on Backup Catcher and the Jays will be in the Postseason again.
lexomatic - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 02:34 PM EST (#337188) #
Regarding Jimenez,

I thought one of the reasons he lost prospect-dom was his early inability to stay healthy. He hasn't yet displayed an ability to hit for average in the high minors like he did in the low minors, but that's something that he did do repeatedly early on. at least with defense and potential average there's more value for money with him than with a traditional backup. Nobody really has 1A & B unless there's a good prospect in the high minors and there's a planned transition year - as much as the minimum money is better than some people will see in a lifetime, lots of people would choose playing time opportunities over a bench role.
If the team can find an upgrade without altering plans to fill more pressing holes, that's great, but Jimenez makes it easier to drop the backup C down the priority list.

PeterG - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 02:52 PM EST (#337189) #
Richard, the type of catcher you are describing would not agree to be a back up. He would be a starter. Even Matt Wieters does not come close to meeting your description. .What you ask for is totally unrealistic not to mention, as others have, that available money is more needed elsewhere.

I think too that AJ may be as good defensively as many of those more expensive FA's. He would have been in the majors two years back but for injuries. That's why back up to the back up is needed.
scottt - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 03:23 PM EST (#337190) #
Re-writing down the QO rules helps me remember them because they've become pretty complicated.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 03:31 PM EST (#337191) #
Richard, the type of catcher you are describing would not agree to be a back up. He would be a starter.

I agree. But there is that very rare occasion when someone that good does sign, somewhere; why not here? Certain things you must have from your Backup #1 Catcher. Decide what you want; decide what each Catcher offers and go from there. But most of all don't be reluctant to meet their price.
scottt - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 03:52 PM EST (#337192) #
Truth be told, the Jays have not been great at developing catchers. Pat Borders, Greg Myers were not exactly all-stars.
The Gregg Zaun years, was basically a backup taking over the starting job.
At some point it looked like they had a surplus with Arencibia, d'Arnaud and Jimenez. Somehow they manage to totally overlook Yan Gomes. Pentecost looks done.

By contrast, the Red Sox have 3 prospects (if one can call Leon than)  fighting over the 2 spots.

PeterG - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 04:42 PM EST (#337193) #
It looks better now than it has for awhile starting with Jimenez. In the org now from top to bottom: Reese McGuire, Danny Jansen, Max Pentecost (maybe), Ryan Hissey, Javier Hernandez, Brad Ridge, Ryan Gold, Yorman Rodriguez. I left out Matt Morgan who is apparently solid behind the plate but hasn't hit anything yet. This is as deep a group as I can remember in the Jays syatem. Not sure Pentecost even needed and maybe he should be switched to another position as he could come quickly as a hitter.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 04:43 PM EST (#337194) #
The Jays are seeking Balance. An Outfield of Dalton Pompey in Right, Kevin Pillar in Center and a combination of Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton in Left will give great Defense but the Team will only generate League Average Offense. That leaves a lot of money to spend on the Bullpen (possibly 3 Relievers) and Backup #1 Catcher.

The Jays are trying to do many things so waiting for prices to come down is about their only option. But they are in competition with many other Teams are doing just that. I think the Jays should get the best Outfielder they can; the best Left-Handed Reliever they can; the best Backup #1 Catcher they can; then wait to fill any holes with what they have left. Waiting to do more or waiting to meet your price could mean settling for less than you want.
PeterG - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 04:57 PM EST (#337195) #
No way the Jays will sign 3 relievers to major league contracts. They want to look at their own guys first....Barnes, Tepera, Sparkman, GIrodo.....maybe Chris Smith. Same goes for C as already discussed. The bulk of remaining budget will be spenton OF and probably 1 reliever on major league contract and a few more on minor deals. Some younger players must be kept on the roster.
scottt - Sunday, January 01 2017 @ 07:37 PM EST (#337196) #
Jimenez might be able to stay healthy if he only plays backup. There's not guarantee, but it could happen.
It shouldn't affect his hitting, he hasn't had a complete season in years. Even if he works out OK, he probably gets passed by McGuire within a year, but having both competing and several years of options would settle everything behind the dish for the remainder of Martin's reign.

Realistically, they still need to try to develop a catcher of the future who could become than an average starter.

I think Tepera and Barnes are good enough for the middle innings and I'm curious to see what Smith can do.
I'm really hoping they get one of Blevins, Logan or Woods.

Richard S.S. - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 03:00 AM EST (#337197) #
Sometimes I wonder, do Shapiro and Atkins truly know the costs of leading the sole foreign MLB team. The one that has an entire nation as it's fan base. The saying is something-like, "Make the best offer you can, the one that make you nauseous; then add one extra year and $1.0 Million each year." I'm pretty sure they haven't gone there yet (that Dexter Fowler offer was anemic).

Younger, faster, more balance, better defense, do they actually listen to what the Manager says? Do they know what they are saying when they repeat it? Dexter Fowler checked all the boxes. Jay Bruce doesn't. Gary Sheffield doesn't. The entire Free Agent pool doesn't. Then is a trade a better way of getting the caliber of what you need? To do little but have an average draft and take a bottom 10 Farm System and make it a top 10 Farm System in so short a time. Perhaps the way of evaluating prospects has to change. I think you have to consider MLB-ready prospects, near-MLB ready prospects, prospects 1 year away as priority and forget the rest, until they advance.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 06:59 AM EST (#337198) #
I think there is still a free agent bias toward coming to Canada and I don't believe there was much chance of the Jays getting Fowler unless they made him a ridiculous offer, especially with the Cardinals also pursuing him.
BlueJayWay - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 09:34 AM EST (#337199) #
I brought this up a few threads ago. The last significant (defining this as a FA who you sign expecting to be part of your 'everyday' team - regular position player, one of five starters, or a key piece of your pen) American-born free agent the Jays have signed who didn't previously play for the Jays was......John Buck, in December 2009. Yeah. Possibly you could say Corey Patterson, you signed in December 2010, but he ended up more of a 4th outfielder that year. I don't remember if they signed him to be one of the three OFs.

Happ last winter would've counted but he'd previously been a Jay, acquired via trade. Kelly Johnson also would've counted (signed Jan 2012), but he'd been acquired via trade the previous August.

BlueJayWay - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 09:44 AM EST (#337200) #
I guess you could consider the streak broken if the Jays consider Steve Pearce an every day guy.
PeterG - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 10:08 AM EST (#337201) #
All the more reason why the Jays have to build from within. It may be that a slight step back is required in order to do it properly.
uglyone - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 10:27 AM EST (#337202) #
Yeah i've argued for a while now that the new brass don't get the difficulty of getting top FA to sign here.

But the thing is i don't tbink it even matters anymore - these guys don't ever intend to sign any top FA.
lexomatic - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 10:30 AM EST (#337203) #
All the more reason why the Jays have to build from within. It may be that a slight step back is required in order to do it properly.

I don't disagree with this in theory, I disagree that now is the time to do it. With a deep rotation, a solid defense, and some still dangerous bats, there's still a year maybe 2 of contention. Pulling the plug early so your opponents will have their young talent  under control at about the same time yours is ready doesn't make sense  from a Jay's perspective. You want to try and time being "up" with the most talent, when your opponents are in a down cycle, and not worry about winning so much when they have more talent.
The way things are going, I have to hope Pompey develops more.
scottt - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 11:41 AM EST (#337204) #
The Jays aren't exactly known for signing free agents anyway.

9 of the top 25 free agents are still unsigned, including Bautista.
There's probably some deals to be had on what remains.

In a league in which Boston spends 63M to sign Yoan Moncada and trades him, along with 3 other prospects for a guy who was drafted 15th overall, I'm not sure if that's bad or not.

The first year of the new regime was good.
The Yankees are still in flux. Baltimore will probably not duplicate their hot start of last year and be seller at the deadline.
The Rays seems to be doing nothing.

I don't miss Fowler. It's Josh Reddick that I wanted but I understand that some players don't want to move from on end of the continent to another.

scottt - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 11:48 AM EST (#337205) #
Just revisit last year's signing of Alex Gordon, Chris Davis and Justin Upton, if you need a reminder that paying 20M per year for a couple of WAR is worse than signing no top free agents.
PeterG - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 12:09 PM EST (#337206) #
Things are slow throughout MLB. It is possibly the slowest moving off season since the last work stoppage. There will be moves but who knows when. And I agree with Scott that no FA signing is better than a bad one.

For those who watched the telecasts in September, Buck was perhaps giving us a hint when he suggested on several occasions that money was better spent on player development than FA's.
eudaimon - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 12:39 PM EST (#337207) #
Buck says a lot of things, like "When he's on a hit streak, he gets some hits."
bpoz - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 03:11 PM EST (#337208) #
Yes Buck says a lot of things. Other media people also.

I remember a few years ago in an interview with Bob MaCowan during ST. McCowan suggested that J Litsch can be counted on for 10 wins. But was very excited by that statement. He responded by if your 4th or 5th starter wins 10 games then you are going to the playoffs.

Regarding the 2015 and 16 Jays teams, lets just say that their offense got them into to playoffs. Then also testing Buck's theory.

2015 Buehrle 15, Estrada 13, Dickey 11 and Hutch 13. Sanchez 7 in 11 starts but also 30 relief. Stroman 4 in 4 starts. Price 9 in 11 starts.

2016 Sanchez 15, Happ 20, Dickey 10 and 9 each for Estrada and Stroman. Close, but does it count.

It is a slow day so I am just playing around.

For 2017 in ST I should be able to evaluate our offense, defense, rotation and pen. During the year injuries or lack of to the rotation will all be factors. At the end of the season we will know how many 10 game winners we had.

PeterG - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 03:16 PM EST (#337209) #
Injuries are a huge factor in every season. That is why depth is so important.
uglyone - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 03:26 PM EST (#337210) #
Injured teams don't usually win, even if they have depth.
scottt - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 06:50 PM EST (#337211) #
Cleveland did very well for an injured team.
John Northey - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 10:20 PM EST (#337212) #
Yeah, fun as the silly season is I remember many many potential signings that didn't happen and fans went 'phew' after the season was done. While it isn't our money, the team only has so much, even if you are the Yankees or Dodgers, to spend each year and every penny wasted is one less to spend on winning.

No dead money in Toronto for the first time in awhile. Romero finally fully off the books (8 innings in rookie ball in 2015, 8 in AAA in 2016 for San Fran). Smoak is probably dead money ($4 mil each of the next 2 years) but that is about as bad as it gets. Oh yeah, Liriano (who was pretty good for us) $13,666,667.

Meanwhile the Red Sox are paying $11 mil to Allen Craig, $11.2 to Rusney Castillo - neither on the 40 man. Plus Hanley Ramirez gets $22+ mil, and Pablo Sandoval $17.6 - neither 100% dead money but neither is worth that much or close to it. A reminder of what happens when you go nuts on free agents.

For Jay fans just look back to the 2005-6 off-season - A.J. Burnett (3 years, 6.7 rWAR for $28.6 mil, still better than he did for anyone else other than Florida on a dollars/war basis), B.J. Ryan (4 years, 3.7 WAR for $35 mil, one year only 4 IP), Scott Schoeneweis (2 years, 0.4 WAR, $5.2 mil), Bengie Molina (1 year, 1.5 WAR $4.5 mil). Others were trades (Overbay, Glaus, Hillenbrand). Lots of turnover that winter but that team never came that close to the playoffs (looking forward 5 years).

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. Sometimes the best are the ones that would piss off fans - just ask Pat Gillick who had a deal of Bill Singer for Ron Guidry pre-1977 when Guidry was still in the minors overturned by ownership as Singer was a headliner (opening day starter). After 1978 they never again questioned him (Guidry was 25-3 that year). He would've been the Jays first big star if that trade happened, instead we had to wait for Dave Stieb.

So maybe losing Encarnacion and maybe Bautista will be viewed negatively by fans today but if they both hit normal age curve situations in 2017 (ie: drop by 1 to 2 WAR each) we might be happy they are gone. Especially if the Jays hit gold in the draft (Syndergaard, Sanchez, Cecil, and David Wells were all picked in the 30's).

Net WAR with picks in the 30's for the Jays 81.3 for 14 players of which 9 made the majors [lots of WAR for teams other than Toronto, most for David Wells who was over 50, but tons to come from Sanchez & Syn hopefully]. Not bad. Average of 9 WAR but very biased due to Wells (the only one over 9).
James W - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 10:55 PM EST (#337213) #
In what way is Francisco Liriano any form of "dead money"?
PeterG - Monday, January 02 2017 @ 11:25 PM EST (#337214) #
Liriano could be a real asset in 2017
John Northey - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 01:28 AM EST (#337215) #
More he _was_ viewed that way when traded for (got him as the price to get 2 prospects and hoped he would be half decent). In truth he is easily worth what he is getting paid for 2017 and if he was a free agent probably would get more given how much pitchers are in demand.

Negative WAR in Pittsburgh thanks to wildness beyond what he ever did before (5.5 BB/9 vs worst of 5.0 in 2011 & 2012 (the 2 years that shifted him from ace in Minnesota to 'so what'), next worst was a 4.5 in 2014. You know you are in good shape when you take on a contract to get prospects and that guy gets 0.7 WAR in just 49 innings and gets the win in the wildcard game.
Michael - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 06:15 AM EST (#337216) #
Yeah, Liriano is not dead money. Also, a normal aging curve is not a drop of 1-2 WAR in a year. Even for guys who are 33-36. The average player loses about 2 WAR total over fully 5 years from 30-35. If it were really 1-2 a year, most players would be out in a year or two total as most players aren't 3+ WAR players!
Parker - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 10:34 AM EST (#337217) #
Based on a smallish sample, the front office might really know what they're doing when it comes to buying low on pitchers.

The Liriano trade was supposed to be a salary dump on Pittsburgh's part in exchange for a couple of solid prospects (one with a tremendous hit tool but questionable power and outfield defence, and one who shores up depth at catcher after the previous regime disregarded Gomes and traded D'arnaud in order to acquire a flavor-of-the-year pitcher at the cost of six years of Noah Syndergaard), but even a straight-up trade of Liriano for Hutchison is almost certainly a win for the Jays. Pittsburgh will probably pay Hutch his arby award to spend 2017 in AAA, and maybe Searage can turn him around. Maybe. For the Jays, Liriano projected to 2.8 WAR over a full season, and helped the Jays make the playoffs.

Jason Grilli was acquired for a guy whose only (meager) success came in a 40-inning sample in Vancouver a year ago, and Grilli was awesome for the Jays until Gibbons overused him the way an amoral farmer would beat a rented mule.

Storen's albatross contract was traded for Joaquin Benoit, and Benoit was a monster for the Jays.

All these trades involved taking on money. And all the players the Jays acquired in these trades have provided more value to the Jays than the players they traded. None of the acquisitions have cratered. All have exceeded expectations.

The Price-vs-Estrada/Happ slam dunk has already been beaten to death so I'm not even going to repeat it here.

Maybe the Jays don't want to sign "premium" free agents, but maybe there's not a lot of reason TO sign "premium" free agents when better value can be acquired at a more reasonable cost.
92-93 - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 01:40 PM EST (#337218) #
They also committed over 10% of the 2016 opening day payroll to dead weight, locking up roster spots and giving high leverage innings to mediocre arms.

Storen 8.375m
Chavez 4m
Morales 2m
Floyd 1m

It's not a good look when you do things like that or the Justin Smoak extension, and then end up in a situation where your 2nd best hitter signs with another contender for less than you offered.
Parker - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 02:02 PM EST (#337219) #
I really don't get how the Jays screwed up or dealt in bad faith when they offered an above-market contract, and it was refused. If Encarnacion signed for more money somewhere else, you could make that argument. Encarnacion accepted LESS money to sign somewhere else. The Jays retracted their offer once Encarnacion refused it in favor of free agency, and the Jays were forced to move on. Once it was clear that the Jays offered an above-market contract and Encarnacion came crawling back, why should the Jays continue to negotiate with him?

The argument that the Jays offered more than Encarnacion was worth in order to NOT sign him is very confusing, despite how much traction it has gained in the media.

There were only two people who prevented Encarnacion from re-signing with the Jays, and neither one of them are on the Blue Jays payroll.

I can accept that a lot of fans wanted the Jays to bring Encarnacion back, but I'm really struggling to understand the argument that the Jays are somehow at fault for offering him more money than any other organization. He either didn't want to come back, or his agent gave him really awful advice.

He could've signed with the Jays if he wanted to. He didn't.
Parker - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 02:05 PM EST (#337220) #
Which organizations committed less than 10% of their payroll to retrospective dead weight?
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 02:16 PM EST (#337221) #
"They also committed over 10% of the 2016 opening day payroll to dead weight, locking up roster spots and giving high leverage innings to mediocre arms."

That's a huge reach.
92-93 - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 02:31 PM EST (#337222) #
I specifically stayed away from assigning blame or saying the Jays screwed up, because I don't believe a word that comes out of other side with regards to the situation and its timeline. I'm happy with Morales, 9m, and a draft pick instead of EE, but I can still acknowledge the horrendous optics here and understand why the casual fans are all riled up.
#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 02:36 PM EST (#337224) #
ICYMI, a tough way for 2016 to end for Anthony Alford as his family's Mississippi home burned down.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 03:16 PM EST (#337225) #
The consensus opinion in the media that I read around EE is that both parties erred - the EE camp in asking for too much at the outset, the Jays in their having moved on so quickly to secure Morales (five days after their last offer to EE).  Shi Davidi recently said this in a sportsnet interview.  I understand moving quickly to secure the guy you want, but if the Jays did want EE - and I assume they were acting in good faith - they may have shot themselves in the foot.  And it's not like Morales is a game changer worth throwing caution to the wind for - he could still be on the market had we not signed him, given how things have played out with DH types.  Nor did we get Morales at a bargain price.  It may be the right move long term, but in retrospect, it seems really clear to me that both parties misread the market.  Here's the timeline of the negotiations and the Davidi interview:

92-93 is right that the optics are pretty bad for the casual fan, and that both is and should be a consideration for the ownership and the FO (of course, not the main consideration) - they want a competitive team, and casual fans provide a lot of money.  Heck, it may even affect the morale of the team.  Certainly the easy story for the trade deadline flurry in 2015 is that it 'energized' the team. 

I don't see how it's a reach to talk about both the good and the bad moves of the organization.  Storen, Chavez and Morales were all terrible moves, even if we did end up moving Storen for some value in Benoit.  Liam Hendricks would likely be third on our bullpen depth chart if he was still here.

On the whole, Shapiro's value-oriented moves last year paid off well, despite the hiccups.  Liriano 'was' dead money when we got him, and it's not like Pittsburgh doesn't have a great track record redeeming pitchers - I expect Hutch to have a solid year next year.  But the deal clearly ended up a steal for us, even if Liriano isn't as good as his 49 IPs teased last year - he was pretty bad over his 113 IPs in Pittsburgh. 

I also don't agree that spending on FAs will interfere with spending internally on player development - would the cost of a competitive advantage in development even equal one win on the FA market?  Every team should seek to have an elite organization - the costs are much less than the rewards long-term, as AA demonstrated with his emphasis on hiring tons of scouts.  I'll absolutely laud the spending on player development and the infrastructure in Dunedin that Shapiro has in place, but I'm also very concerned that they are replacing some very successful guys like Parker with unproven young talent.  They Jays under AA had far, far better drafting than the Indians under Shapiro, and our issues with developing position players often had to do with injuries and our focus on drafting pitchers over hitters.  Off the top of my head, I guess AA drafted twice as many pitchers as position players.  Jacob Anderson had his career ruined by injuries, leaving Mitch Nay, Dwight Smith and DJ Davis as the big position busts of the AA years.   Late round gems like Pillar and Pompey certainly balance the ledger somewhat. 
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 03:43 PM EST (#337226) #
As for the catchers, I agree PeterG that our depth is stronger right now than it has been for a while.  If McGuire were closer to the bigs I'd be more comfortable with giving Jiminez a shot, but if he underperforms Thole (a real possibility) then what?  Ohlman looks worth a flier, but so did Tony Sanchez last year.  Does anyone have a read on Ohlman's D?

One more legit contender for the backup role and I'll feel much better with Jiminez - most of the guys on PeterG's list would be fine on minor league deals. 

Scottt and Parker, I agree that we have struggled to develop catchers, but I'll debate anyone about Gomes having been 'disregarded'.  He was a non-prospect.  I remain certain I was his biggest fan around here - I love versatile players in general, such as catchers that can backup first and third.  I'm sure even Cleveland was surprised when he had his breakout 2013 and followed it up with an even better 2014, but he's been worth 0.1 fWAR since.  He's signed till 2019 at a very affordable $18.5 guaranteed, so I assume he can still contribute value for Cleveland, but his loss and subsequent emergence just seems like a fluke to me.  He wasn't even a starter at any point in his minor league career, maxing out at 334 ABs in Vegas in 2012.  We gave him 111 ABs that year - enough that his 28.8% K rate and 5.4 BB% appeared meaningful.   

Perhaps the Vegas effect concealed a legit offensive emergence, but pretty much nobody saw him coming. I think it was his surprising performance with the glove that really shocked and results in his projected value for 2017.  

uglyone - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 03:50 PM EST (#337227) #
The "both sides erred" argument misses the point.

Edwin gets more money per year for 3yrs than he would have with us, with a chance to make just as much or more in the 4th year still as well. And gets to play for a world series contender. He doesn't lose anything.

Only the jays do.
Paul D - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 04:06 PM EST (#337228) #
ugly, you have a lot more faith in the ability of a 37 year old DH to get a $15 million contract than I do.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 04:19 PM EST (#337229) #
In 4yrs that'll be like $10m in today's dollars.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 05:05 PM EST (#337230) #
Ugly, I take EE seriously when he says that the Jays were his first priority.  So in that sense, he has lost - he's living in Cleveland, not Toronto, playing with new teammates rather than the friends he made while bringing back meaningful baseball to an entire nation.  and the money is pretty close.  If we had him back, we wouldn't be far off of the 'WS contender' ranking.  I agree that the Jays lost more, but I don't see what point is being missed. 

Dave Cameron on 'saving' the Jay's offseason.  How?  Jose.  I agree with him.  If we can't make Jose for one year work, this team clearly isn't concerned about the average fan at all (rightly or wrongly) - and I can't even see the conservative Shapiro-esque argument for not bringing the guy back at this point.  All he costs is one-year money, which we have saved plenty of over the winter.

cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 07:20 PM EST (#337232) #
Looking at the bright side of JoeyBats' scenario, can he play 3B when Donaldson need a day of rest or a day on the DL ?
scottt - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 07:42 PM EST (#337233) #
I don't think so. The luxury tax threshold is not rising that fast.

I don't see Bautista having any leverage to get more than  18M.
Maybe they can agree on a second year with a buy back option, but I still think they need that LHR.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 08:07 PM EST (#337234) #
Cameron suggested signing Bautista "for something like $20-$25 million on a one-year deal", and that's simply not going to happen. This front office clearly places a value on a draft pick, whether $10M or a little less, and losing that on top of spending $20-25M on a 36 year old DH/OF for one year doesn't seem like something they have any intention of doing. The only way losing that comp pick makes sense is adding more years to Jose's deal, but then again, Jose's age works against that theory. Ultimately, a two year deal (or preferably 1+1 but I doubt Bautista goes for that) makes sense, it's just a matter of getting the numbers to line up. He's clearly the best FA available, age and all.

Word on Twitter is Aaron Sanchez is now represented by Scott Boras. Luckily, Beeston is no longer in the organization, as that would have been an issue.
scottt - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 09:37 PM EST (#337235) #
Probably a bit too early to extend Sanchez. There's a lot more risk with pitchers.
There's basically no reason to do it unless you're getting a team friendly deal.
Sanchez is under team control for another 5 years and cost nothing for another 2 years.

uglyone - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 10:41 PM EST (#337236) #
imagine the haul of prospects we could get for sanchez now.
lexomatic - Tuesday, January 03 2017 @ 10:57 PM EST (#337237) #
I still say the solution is Bautista 1/15+ 10 in incentives.
I just feel there's more to it

Glevin - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 03:58 AM EST (#337239) #
"They also committed over 10% of the 2016 opening day payroll to dead weight, locking up roster spots and giving high leverage innings to mediocre arms.

Storen 8.375m
Chavez 4m
Morales 2m
Floyd 1m"

Storen didn't work out but he was coming off a season where he had 29 saves and struck out 11 batters per 9 innings. Nobody considered him a mediocre arm. It was actually a surprise when Osuna was named closer.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:50 AM EST (#337240) #
"imagine the haul of prospects we could get for sanchez now"

in 2010, Sanchez was the 34th overall pick in the draft - similar to the pick the Jays will get for Encarnacion (and similar to the pick they would receive if Bautista signs elsewhere). So Shapiro's current approach is arguably more likely to add a future Sanchez to the system than it is to subtract the actual Sanchez from the organization. And then there's the Shapiro-built Cleveland rotation, which suggests he knows a thing or two about when to acquire, retain, or trade a pitcher.
scottt - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 07:02 AM EST (#337241) #
You can only have so many prospects. They Yankees saw 4 of theirs picked in the rule V draft.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 07:45 AM EST (#337242) #
Storen was coming off two straight 1+ WAR seasons, Chavez was coming off a 2.3 WAR season (with a 2 WAR projection for 2016), and Floyd was signed on the cheap due to an excessive injury history. To suggest they were "dead weight" is ridiculous. Storen and Chavez were certainly moves that turned out badly, even if they were fixed mid-season, but using that term to describe those pitchers is a huge stretch. Morales got hurt.

Smoak is a replacement level player who could potentially block a much better player (Pearce) from getting more AB's. That's closer to dead weight than Storen/Chavez/Floyd/Morales were.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 07:50 AM EST (#337243) #
Signing Sanchez to an extension, at least a team friendly one, is likely off the table now with his switch to Boras. He has four years of control left (2017-2020), and if he maintains his 2016 level performance, then that's probably all the Jays will get out of him. I wouldn't consider trading him unless the Jays plan on rebuilding in a year or two, then he's the prime candidate to move since there would be little to no chance of extending him. Regardless, Shapiro does business with Boras. It was Beeston that had the issue with him, so it doesn't necessarily rule anything out, except a team friendly extension which Sanchez may not not have been open to regardless.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 07:58 AM EST (#337244) #
This has been a boring season courtesy of Shapiro and Atkins. When Edwin turned down 4 & $80.0, the Jays quickly signed Morales as option #1. When OF options 1 & 1A sign for 4 & $52.0 and 5 & $84.0, things went to a standstill. When LHP Relief option #1 signs elsewhere, things when to a standstill. Maybe they don't understand the Market from a Canadian perspective. I'd like to see something happen within the next week, if only to know they're still trying. From people who said they have enough money to do everything they need to, why aren't they doing something.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 09:17 AM EST (#337245) #
Or ridiculous is not understanding that my post was a direct response to Parker's "Based on a smallish sample, the front office might really know what they're doing when it comes to buying low on pitchers" comment, and that the WARs that Storen and Chavez had accumulated prior to their acquisition is completely irrelevant. Using the results of 2016, the front office wasted 15m on pitching that was not necessary, so there's some balance to the Happ/Estrada contracts and declaring management to be bargain hunting pitching gurus.

My belief is that if the Jays don't trade for Storen they don't discover Sanchez the SP, but that doesn't make the move a good one.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 09:23 AM EST (#337246) #
Is it a Beeston issue with Boras, or a Jays issue? Have they signed a Boras FA since Scott Schoeneweis?
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 09:36 AM EST (#337247) #
They can be good at buying low on pitchers and still make decisions that end up poorly. I think Happ, Estrada, Liriano, Benoit, Grilli, etc, is a pretty good first year as far as either "buying low" or recognizing underlying skill that might lead to better results (mechanical adjustment in Pitt with Happ, weak contact/spin rate with Estrada, sustained velocity/K rates with Liriano/Benoit/Grilli, etc). A few stinkers here or there is common.
Oceanbound - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 12:15 PM EST (#337248) #
F. Morales was a Boras client.
Mike D - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 01:07 PM EST (#337249) #
The Jays are now at their third decision point of the offseason, in terms of how talented a club they want to put on the field in 2017. I think we have to look at these decision points through the lens of a contender (91 Pythag wins) with a number of players hitting free agency and no obvious internal replacements from the farm.

The first decision point was whether to try and put a better, more talented team on the field for 2017 -- meaning re-sign your key players and add Cespedes and/or one of the relief aces to play an Andrew Miller role, the idea being to create a ~95 win true talent team. This was never remotely considered by the front office; they considered top-tier free agency much too expensive and the farm system is too thin to gut it for a star-level return, if it even has the assets to obtain one at all.

There are valid reasons why a healthy and wealthy organization would take this approach; I understand wanting to build the farm system and I also understand not wanting to add another two $15M+ per year players for their decline years with Tulo and Martin already on hand and other players on the way to getting paid. I mean, some teams might look at attendance and ratings and want to push beyond the ALCS level...but I get it. This decision point has come and gone; there is no path to a more talented 2017 club other than significant internal improvement or a lottery ticket flyer paying off.

The second decision point was whether to maintain a similarly talented 90-92 win team, or to accept a modestly less talented team with wild card aspirations. Maintaining the same talent level -- but only at their price -- appears to have been Plan A for this offseason. If Edwin accepted their first offer, if Jose accepted the QO, or if Fowler agreed to a lowball offer with a lower annual value that the QO he declined, or if any of the top-tier setup men would have signed below market, they would have cut the cheques. Ultimately, they chose to pass on maintaining the same talent level on account of it being too expensive. They are willingly accepting at least a modest talent downgrade, as evidenced by quickly signing Morales and Pearce to plug holes at lower prices.

Hindsight is 20/20 regarding the Edwin negotiations, and maybe they would have had to beat the Fowler offer by more than that with which they were comfortable. It's easy to see the argument against ever signing players beyond a club's preferred price point. But I think this breaks the "covenant" with the fans that Shapiro discussed at the end of the season that ownership has to do right by the fans in light of their financial support in terms of attendance and ratings. I would have at least waited out the Edwin market, made the highest bid for him (and get in on Trumbo if the Edwin offer wasn't accepted), and signed a Ziegler/Dunn level RP. Still, this ship too has sailed and they will need luck and internal improvement to put out a club of an equivalent talent level to 2016. I don't see a way for the Jays to get to "true talent" 91 wins on paper anymore.

Now, the team is at a third decision point: whether to put a modestly less talented team on the field (one with hopes of competing for a wild card), or a significantly less talented .500 team on the field. To keep their downgrade modest and to stay in wild card contention, the Jays need to add either one above-average OF (Jose or an equivalent) or two average-in-the-aggregate OFs. And they need two average big league relief arms. (I think they can plug the backup C hole on the cheap and not miss a beat without needing a knuckleball specialist.)

Unlike decisions 1 and 2, this is very much still on the table; there is a path to a high-80s "true talent" team on paper based on available trade and free agency options. Unfortunately, it appears there is a distinct possibility that the Jays will accept a substantially weaker team because they consider even a modestly weaker team to be too expensive a proposition in dollars and/or trade assets.

If the Jays back down at this final decision point, let me say in advance that it would be an utterly shameful cheap-out decision. It would be completely unbecoming of a team with back-to-back years of 11 postseason games (each one a Super Bowl-comparable Canadian ratings bonanza) and increased attendance despite rising ticket prices. It's one thing to be tone-deaf to the masses who didn't want to say goodbye to the parrot and the bat flip. It's another to completely justify the masses' anger.

I hope they plug those holes, but can't yet say with confidence that they will.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 01:31 PM EST (#337250) #
There are a lot of big questions still, but I think the management team decided this is a pitching/defense team now and not to worry too much on the offense side as proven offense has always been more expensive than pitching/defense (outside of the highest end elite pitchers like Price). As to pushing to a 95 win team there is no profit in that for the club. Random variability could still knock a 95 'real talent' team to the 80's and out of the playoffs or end up in the wild card coin toss game. In the playoffs it is a crapshoot with luck being the #1 thing as all teams there are very talented. The weakest was probably the Cardinals in 2006 with just 83 wins in the regular season, 82 pythag wins. Outside of 2007 when they dropped below 500 that was the worst regular season team the Cardinals have had in the 2000's. Yet that team got a WS crown. The rotation was Chris Carpenter and pray. Their closer walked 5.9 per 9 IP with under a K an inning. Their everyday lineup was Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen plus a lot of sub 100 OPS+ guys. The bench was good, but you don't often win thanks just to that.

For the Jays I did a small study (well, quick blog post) which showed clearly 86+ wins is where they get the big crowds (and most likely big TV numbers). That is contending status, be it pre-wildcard, post-wildcard, 2000's only, however you want to cut it. Around 1 million more fans per season. For a Jay management team to spend millions going beyond that outside of a last gasp like in 92/93 (Gillick was ready to retire and the team had been near the top for a decade without winning it all).

So expect a team that looks like a 90 win team for the next few years while they try to get internal prospects ready for a big push around 2020. The rotation right now is strong, we have a solid closer, amazing defense in a few places, and a superstar at third. Lots to like.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 01:55 PM EST (#337251) #
A belated happy new year, bauxites. 

I am not as concerned about the Encarnacion situation as others.  I do not see Morales/Pearce as a big step down from Encarnacion/Smoak. The club does badly need an outfielder.    I am also concerned about the 5th rotation slot- I am not confident that Liriano will return from his head injury and perform as he did at the end of last season. 

SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 02:37 PM EST (#337252) #
If the Jays internal projections figure that the players they have signed (Morales/Pearce) are better than what they are projected to be, then it makes sense to go the cheaper route because it allows more money to spread some of the wins around. It was the same logic they used to build the rotation last season rather than spend it all on Price or another big name. Whether Morales was the right guy to spend that money on remains to be seen (I'm a big Pearce fan so I like that move regardless), but there are reasons to think the difference between Edwin and Morales won't be as big as expected.

The scenario of bringing everyone back and then adding a high priced reliever on top of that simply wasn't realistic. The Jays got everything they could out of this '15-16 group. It was time to move on, maintain competitiveness, add a bit more depth, but ultimately focus more on internal player development. They tried to bring one of the players back, and he rejected the best offer he got all winter (likely to the Jays benefit). If the team can add 2 win calibre players in RF and LF, and then add some depth pieces around the rest of the roster, then they should be in decent shape for a WC spot.
Parker - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 03:18 PM EST (#337253) #
So if the Jays front office makes good moves, those are irrelevant based on their bad moves?

Like I asked before, which front office exclusively makes good moves? I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to regimes that have run teams for at least half a decade.

Storen wasn't any good for the Jays. Ben Revere wasn't any good for the Nats. Chavez wasn't any good for the Jays. Hendriks was replacement-level for the A's. The money spent was to acquire players BETTER than Storen/Chavez. The players acquired provided a lot more value than the players traded, and that additional money is now off the books.

If you want to argue that they should have carried Revere and Hendriks for 2016, that's fine. Or if you think the Jays should've carried Hendriks and traded Revere for Benoit for the stretch drive, I'm all ears as to how you think that trade would have happened. Or if you think the Jays should've eaten the Storen contract and still traded for an impact reliever, you're free to make your case for that, too.
Parker - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 03:31 PM EST (#337254) #
92-93, I'm also curious how Storen's and Chavez's production prior to their trades is irrelevant. In your opinion , what IS relevant in those trades?
PeterG - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 03:36 PM EST (#337255) #
Watching the talking heads on MLB network today and they were discussing Bautista at length and were unanimous in thinking that he would not be back in TO as the team has no interest. One, I think it was Bill Ripken, said he will likely have to take one year at 8-10 mil to play anywhere. It was also suggested he could wait till June to have draft pick comp removed and that Jays were prepared for that. Maybe there is more to clubhouse problems than is generally known.Just reporting what I saw and heard. Don't shoot the messenger.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 04:40 PM EST (#337256) #
"So if the Jays front office makes good moves, those are irrelevant based on their bad moves? which front office exclusively makes good moves"

Need any help tackling those straw men?

If you're going to laud the front office for their moves that worked out well, you should be able to stomach the other side. I've been impressed with Shapiro's body of work since taking over the team.
Gerry - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 04:42 PM EST (#337257) #
Marco Estrada will not start in the WBC due to ongoing back problems. Are we concerned?
85bluejay - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 04:44 PM EST (#337258) #
I've always felt that this button-downed FO would not want Bautista back - my worry now is that with all the social media chatter about the Jays being able to sign Jose to a relatively low 1 year contract plus the PR hit for EE signing elsewhere - the FO may do something intemperate, like acquiring Jay Bruce to end the talk of a Bautista reunion.Patience is what's required in this slow moving buyer's market.
85bluejay - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 04:49 PM EST (#337259) #
While Estrada's back problems will be an ongoing concern - Estrada may be playing it safe as it's also his FA year - Of course, if the Jays sign another starter to a major league contract, then that will up my concern.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:02 PM EST (#337260) #
Marco Estrada will not start in the WBC due to ongoing back problems. Are we concerned?

Modestly.  It might be mostly precautionary. 

Fangraphs had an item on Derek Dietrich for his willingness to be hit by pitches.  He would make a fine LH side of a platoon and would probably be a decent outfielder.  I'd be interested.   He is arb-eligible this year and the Marlins might be willing to move him.
Parker - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:09 PM EST (#337261) #
"If you're going to laud the front office for their moves that worked out well, you should be able to stomach the other side. I've been impressed with Shapiro's body of work since taking over the team."

I CAN stomach the other side... my only alternative is to start following a better-managed team. "Straw men" aside, I was only asking you for an example of a better-managed team.
jerjapan - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:35 PM EST (#337262) #
Great post Mike D, agreed on all fronts.

Parker, every FO does office does indeed make mistakes, and if you aren't willing to make them, you are likely in a worse position - this was one of the reasons I liked AA despite his worst move being to give up a potential Cy Young winner in Thor.  I still like his moves on the aggregate, just as I still like the moves made by Shapiro inc. last year - this year, I'm starting to worry. 

Hendricks was worth 1.3 fWAR, exclusively out of the pen for OAK last year.  He had a terrible first two months, but may have emerged as a late-inning guy in the later half of the season.  I disliked the Chavez trade at the time nearly as much as the Smoak deal - IMO, the two clear bad moves by the new FO.  Chavez earned his 2.3 fWAR in 2015 starting in OAK - an ideal spot for him to max out his WAR.  He was starter insurance here and was never going to equal his 2015 in the Dome.  It was a super-cautious trade, like signing Smoak in case EE left, and it cost us $4 million bucks and 5 sesaons of Hendricks. 

Stoeten linked to a strong piece by Jonah Keri on the Jays that encapsulates many of my thoughts - the FO wanted a rebuild but couldn't put one in place after 2015, misread the FA market missing out on both EE and some affordable players who may have been better adds than Morales - Reddick, Rodriquez, etc.  He blames "a rigid thought process for all of this"  and predicts a "supremely middle-of-the-pack" 82-80 record.  In conclusion, "a fetish for future assets, the pressure of fan expectations, the challenges of keeping money flowing and a lot of poor planning adds up to a likely season in limbo".  I hope I'm wrong and the FO is simply waiting out the market for bargains, but the refusal to ink Bautista just seems like a total disregard for fans at this point.  And if they really wanted a rebuild, they should have the guts to trade Happ, JD, etc.

Greenfrog, you wrote: "Shapiro's current approach is arguably more likely to add a future Sanchez to the system than it is to subtract the actual Sanchez from the organization".

We had 16 1st round / comp round picks under AA - Sanchez was the 2nd best of the bunch by a country mile, despite being picked in one of the lowest slots out of 16 - and AA's team had above average to strong drafts every single year.  You are dramatically overstating the value of a comp pick here. 

PeterG - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:37 PM EST (#337263) #
85bj, why are you so against trading for Bruce? Do u just not like him as a player or feel assets would have to be given up to acquire him?

As for Estrada, we will have to wait and. It could just be an excuse to avoid WBC as no doubt Jays prefer that.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:41 PM EST (#337264) #
I wouldn't know that offhand without delving deeper into their payrolls and contracts, but if that's your response to me pointing out that some of the pitchers Shapiro acquired were duds I don't see where you're going with it. I imagine most if not all teams have sunk costs on their roster they might be carrying from a previous season or some $ wasted on one year deals from the previous offseason.

The Orioles may ultimately regret the contracts they gave Davis and ODay last winter, but they didn't really waste any $ on guys they picked up in the offseason before 2016.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 05:43 PM EST (#337265) #
There has to be something going on internally between the FO and Bautista that we don't know about. It can't just be the comp pick because they offered Edwin 4/80 knowing they'd also lose a comp pick, and 4/60 to Fowler knowing they'd lose their first round pick.

I'm sure if the Jays wanted Bruce they could have acquired him by now. Looks like they are waiting out the FA market, or possibly looking for more options via trade.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 06:18 PM EST (#337266) #
There has to be something going on internally between the FO and Bautista that we don't know about. It can't just be the comp pick because they offered Edwin 4/80 knowing they'd also lose a comp pick, and 4/60 to Fowler knowing they'd lose their first round pick.

Yep. If Shatkins wanted Bautista back, he'd be signed by now you would think.
Parker - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 06:33 PM EST (#337267) #
if that's your response to me pointing out that some of the pitchers Shapiro acquired were duds I don't see where you're going with it.

Where I was going with that was that you should provide examples of all the organizations you want the Blue Jays to emulate who have never sunk costs into pitching, and to compare the WAR that those teams have never sunk costs into against all the duds on which the Shapiro regime has thrown away money.

If I need to be more clear than that, please let me know.
scottt - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 06:45 PM EST (#337268) #
Fangraphs had an item on Derek Dietrich for his willingness to be hit by pitches.

The one thing I hated the most in Little Leagues. Getting hit by a ball judged a strike because the player made no effort to avoid the ball. None of those kids wants to get hit. They want to hit the ball, not go to the hospital. They're not wearing protectors either.
scottt - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 06:50 PM EST (#337269) #
Bruce is just not very good. Michael Saunders is better than Bruce and would cost very little.
The Steamer projection for Bruce: over 138 games, wRC+ 97. 0.5 WAR.
The Mets will probably DFA him and let someone have him for the minimum salary.

jerjapan - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 07:09 PM EST (#337270) #
There has to be something going on internally between the FO and Bautista that we don't know about.

Perhaps?  Probably?  But what?

I think it speaks pretty poorly of the FO if they let some sort of ego thing interfere with a move that will both fit their conservative agenda, improve the team and please the fanbase.   
PeterG - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 07:16 PM EST (#337271) #
Heard a bit more about the Estrada interview on MLB radio. He did add that if Mexico got to the 2nd round, he might pitch. Does not sound like back is an issue at present.....but going forward, any back problem should at least be grounds for some concern.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 08:00 PM EST (#337274) #
Griffin wrote a piece yesterday on Bautista with some juicy quotes from his agent Alou. It's worth a read if you want a sense of where they're at with Jose.
scottt - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 08:06 PM EST (#337275) #
the FO wanted a rebuild but couldn't put one in place after 2015

That's ridiculous.

Shapiro didn't come to Toronto to do rebuilds. He came to Toronto to be the president of a baseball team that sells out all its home games. What could he possibly get out of a rebuild? He had decades of empty seats in Cleveland.

The first decision point was whether to try and put a better, more talented team on the field for 2017 -- meaning re-sign your key players and add Cespedes and/or one of the relief aces to play an Andrew Miller role, the idea being to create a ~95 win true talent team. This was never remotely considered by the front office; they considered top-tier free agency much too expensive and the farm system is too thin to gut it for a star-level return, if it even has the assets to obtain one at all.

There are valid reasons why a healthy and wealthy organization would take this approach; I understand wanting to build the farm system and I also understand not wanting to add another two $15M+ per year players for their decline years with Tulo and Martin already on hand and other players on the way to getting paid.

15M? Encarnation wanted 25M, Cespedes signed for 27.5M. Chapman and Fowlers signed for 17.2M and 16.5M, but they got 5 years and the Jays would have add to offer a serious premium over those numbers.

The truth is if Shapiro wanted to do a rebuild, he would have no problem signing the biggest free agents for 5 years or more. This is what actually fuels a rebuild. Look at Baltimore and Detroit. Still on the edge of contention, but with big contracts that would push them to rebuild if they are out of it by the deadline.
scottt - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 08:22 PM EST (#337276) #
Nice PR piece from Bautista's agent, but this is a bit like discussing player development with Scott Boras.

Why would Griffin not ask about money?

Does Bautista still wants 25M?

The value of the draft pick to the Jays is about 6M.

Shapiro can still get a few players for 25M without losing that pick.

Is Bautista willing to sign a low contract with incentives for games played?

jerjapan - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 08:31 PM EST (#337277) #
So Jonah Keri is ridiculous?

if Shapiro wanted to be a team that sells out all its home games, he'd be going all in - like AA - given our spot on the win curve.  He may expect that a borderline WC team will continue to sell out.  However, this is a sports market experiencing a renaissance.  The casual fan is more likely to spend on the Leafs, the Raps and TFC - all teams that seem to be aware of their competitive market advantage, their fan base, and their opportunity to win now.  I could see this Jays team totally blowing their situation,and alienating some of their fans at the same time.  We waited twenty years for a winner and we are going to retool - or whatever term you prefer - in the midst of the most exciting team we've had in decades?

Please elaborate on how Baltimore and Detroit are in the midst of rebuilding.  I think their farm systems speak otherwise.  I agree that you can rebuild with the Yankees model of signing big name FAs and then trading them.  I just don't know that the teams you mention are doing that.  Yes, Detroit is trying to reboot the franchise - but they are doing so with a tear-down, not a rebuild. 

Who cares about Cespedes and Fowler in TO?  The fan base wanted EE and wants Jose - both available for far less than projected before the offseason began, and arguably better fits than the players you mention, given the contracts involved.  This FO does not want value free agents or they would sign one (or have signed both) of the two that represent both the most value to the franchise and the best value on the market for the Jays. 

I don't buy that premium FAs require a premium to play in TO - Derozan resigned with the Raps for less than his market value, and is in the midst of his best ever season.  TFC has secured the top FAs willing to come to MLS for two straight years.  The Leafs are one year away from being a premium destination.  But multicultural TO, with an entire nation behind it, is not an attractive destination for baseball players, and baseball players only?  That's ridiculous.  You don't think that Latino players are aware of the climate in the states vs. the climate here?  Black players?  We the North is pretty appealing to young millionaires.  Ballplayers don't even have to contend with our winters - would you rather play summer ball in Texas or TO? 

What EE's team stated about their ask is irrelevant - literally, irrelevant.  Most FA sign for less than  what they state as their initial ask - only the top guys seem to command their top dollar.  Feel free to provide exceptions to this rule - I can't think of any. 

Aside from Morales - clearly not a top FA - who has to be happy as heck right now.      

Mylegacy - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 09:18 PM EST (#337278) #
I think the real sticker with Jose is the NEW Front Office does NOT want to lose the supplemental first round (SFR) pick that is tied so neatly around Jose's future. We'll have our own first rounder - our SFR pick for EdWing and the team wants one for Jose. The new team at the top wants to super size, super fast, the minors rebuilding job.

The REAL PROBLEM is that quite likely Jose will have to wait until the draft choice is no longer attached (May or June I believe) before anyone is going to sign him and lose a pick. IF - he ends up signing AFTER the pick has expired our NEW FO will be vilified as they will have lost Jose, lost the draft pick and to a considerable extent lost many of the fans.

I say SIGN Jose to a two year contract - to play LEFT FIELD (he still has the range and arm for that). Enough of this chit chat - the time to act is now. Be happy with two first rounders, don't be bounders!
uglyone - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 09:24 PM EST (#337279) #
Thanks for the link, 92-93.

This I fully believe as well:

"They should have got together with both players in the same room and said, ‘This is what we want. This is what we have (money-wise). We’re going to keep you guys, at least for the next couple of years.’ And (I believe) they would have definitely stayed.”

That would have been the correct approach, imo.
Parker - Wednesday, January 04 2017 @ 10:05 PM EST (#337280) #
That'll be the last time I read whatever Richard "Get Off My Lawn" Griffin craps out ever again...
Glevin - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 03:39 AM EST (#337281) #
"if Shapiro wanted to be a team that sells out all its home games, he'd be going all in - like AA - given our spot on the win curve."

The problem is that where the fans think the Jays are on the win curve and where they actually are are two different places. The Jays have Travis and Pillar as their only hitters under 30. There is very very little talent near the major leagues. We saw a drop of 4.7 WAR from EE, Bautista, Martin, and Tulo last year and 10 WAR from two years ago. This is not an aberration. This is what happens when players age and it will continue to happen. The same people whining that the Jays aren't going all in would be the same ones complaining that the Jays are spending $100M a year on mostly washed up players. What the front office is doing is the right thing: Trying to remain competitive while building a strong system that can enable the Jays to compete every year.

"|I don't buy that premium FAs require a premium to play in TO - Derozan resigned with the Raps for less than his market value, and is in the midst of his best ever season. TFC has secured the top FAs willing to come to MLS for two straight years. The Leafs are one year away from being a premium destination. But multicultural TO, with an entire nation behind it, is not an attractive destination for baseball players, and baseball players only? That's ridiculous. You don't think that Latino players are aware of the climate in the states vs. the climate here? Black players? We the North is pretty appealing to young millionaires. Ballplayers don't even have to contend with our winters - would you rather play summer ball in Texas or TO? "

None of this makes any sense. DeRozen was already in Toronto not a new free agent and he is the second highest paid player in the NBA despite not being anywhere near that in talent so he hardly took some amazing deal and yes, the Raptors do have a hard time attracting free agents. The Leafs never will because most NHL players are Canadian. There are a ton of factors for free agents not wanting to come to Toronto including:
1) Higher taxes
2) They want to be in the US
3) Turf field
4) Players want to be close to home and that's very rarely Toronto in baseball.
scottt - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 07:35 AM EST (#337282) #
I've never heard of Jonah Keri, but he sounds a lot like Griffins. That's just stuff he made up, not something Shapiro or anyone close to Shapiro has revealed.

Please elaborate on how Baltimore and Detroit are in the midst of rebuilding.

Baltimore's farm system is so poor, they can't even acquire a starting pitcher. Machado has 2 years remaining and could be dealt for a ransom now. Chris Davis has another 6 years left at what? 23M?

Detroit should be rebuilding, but they are the second best team in their division and just missed the wild card.
By run differential they were an 83 win team last year and they're not improving.
So they need to play one more year. J.D. Martinez will likely walk for nothing.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 08:26 AM EST (#337283) #
DeRozan is the 3rd highest paid player in the NBA despite not being a top 10 or even top 15 player in the game (he's not even the best player on his own team), and re-signed with the team that under the CBA could give him the most money. He also spent his entire career there so there was no real recruiting involved. Historically, Toronto has had major issues bringing players to play there/stay there in the NBA, and still does. DeRozan hasn't changed that. I can't speak on hockey because I don't really follow it, but I'd imagine most of the players are Canadian, or at least a decent percentage of them, so it's not as big of an issue as with American or Latin born players in other sports.

The Jays will have issues signing free agents, especially with money being equal, for the reasons GLevin mentioned. They'd have to overpay more than any other team is willing to give, and most of those types of contracts do not work out. Even Russell Martin, a Canadian, required a 5th year which no other team was willing to do. In this case, the Jays actually gave one of their free agents the highest offer he got all winter, but he wanted to see if he could get more elsewhere, and if there was a team out there willing to give him 5/100, then he would have left in about 10 seconds rather than settling for less when he realized he (and/or his agent) over-estimated his market.

That's why the Jays need to build from within. Developing your own talent and then locking up the right ones early is what will lead to a more sustainable roster. At that point you can start to look at free agency to supplement. The Jays are not in that spot yet, and probably won't be for a couple of years. Trying to remain competitive over the next two years with Donaldson while building up the farm is a far more sensible plan.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 08:51 AM EST (#337284) #
I've never heard of Jonah Keri, but he sounds a lot like Griffins. That's just stuff he made up, not something Shapiro or anyone close to Shapiro has revealed.

Jonah Keri and Richard Griffin are both from Montreal, and loved the Expos, but they certainly come from a different background on the role of analytics in baseball.  Keri wrote a bestseller on the rise of the Rays and a fine book on the Expos.  He has been a leading advocate for Tim Raines' Hall of Fame case for years, and gets bonus points from me for that too. 
uglyone - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 09:33 AM EST (#337285) #
"The Jays are not in that spot yet, and probably won't be for a couple of years."

oh for chrissakes.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 10:16 AM EST (#337286) #
All that Griffin article did was show what a difference a year could make in a player's perspective. If you read Jose's quotes from Feb 2016 and compare it to what his agent said in that article, it was night and day.
uglyone - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 12:24 PM EST (#337287) #
Jordan Bastian
Indians have sold over $1M in season tickets since news of Encarnacion deal broke. 50% increase in new sales vs. entire offseason last year.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 12:43 PM EST (#337288) #
I wonder if Edwin was even on Cleveland's radar entering the offseason. The way things worked out with him rejecting the Jays initial offer, them moving on and the big market teams like the Yankees signing cheaper alternatives, it was like Encarnacion fell in Cleveland's laps. I'll still be cheering for him, except when he plays against the Jays.
Gerry - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 01:15 PM EST (#337289) #
The Jays are bringing back some of the players from 2016....Gavin Floyd is back on a new deal.
uglyone - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 01:17 PM EST (#337290) #
Good signing. That's where good RP and/or good SP depth come from.
PeterG - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 01:17 PM EST (#337291) #
It's a minor league deal for Floyd.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 01:49 PM EST (#337292) #
Good depth signing.
92-93 - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 02:17 PM EST (#337293) #
Maybe they can bring back 2013 Colby Rasmus on a reasonable one year deal. He'd fit the description of getting younger, more left-handed, and more athletic than Bautista.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 02:28 PM EST (#337294) #
I never considered Rasmus an option, mainly because I don't think he'd want to come back, but he brings excellent defense in LF (14 DRS last season in left, 20 overall) and can platoon with Upton. Would just have to hope his bat bounces back. I wouldn't be against it. Doesn't even need to be 2013 Colby. The 2015 version would be an upgrade.
92-93 - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 02:37 PM EST (#337295) #
Even the 2016 version would be an upgrade over what the Jays are currently rolling out in the corner vs. RHP.

He's probably looking for a 2 year deal, and my guess is nobody wants to give him more than 1 at around 8m because he's fresh off a miserable offensive season followed by a couple of surgeries.
85bluejay - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 02:54 PM EST (#337296) #
I expect if he has a choice, Rasmus will sign for a team below the Mason-Dixon line so he can spend the baseball season preparing for Hunting/Fishing season. I really liked the 2/11 contract that Matt Joyce signed - a solid platoon option.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 03:03 PM EST (#337297) #
Rasmus hit better on the road than in Houston during 2015/16.  He definitely lost a few home runs to the Minute Maid CF black hole.

He'd make a pretty good platoon right fielder with Upton.
Mike D - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 03:47 PM EST (#337298) #
I can't let some of the Raptors assertions slide by, I'm afraid.

You can call DeRozan the "second highest paid player," but you'd be omitting that he is in a six-way tie for second with other max-money free agents from the Class of 2016, and further omitting that he will go way, way down the list as subsequent max-money free agent classes hit the market over the course of his contract. It's also disingenuous to imply that he only stayed in Toronto because he would be overpaid, because "max-money free agent" is a thing in the NBA and his salary for this season would be identical no matter where he went. He did get an extra guaranteed year in Toronto, but he did not insert the opt-out that many max-money free agents use by making Years 2, 3, 4 and/or 5 player options. DeRozan also took a lower (though obviously still very high) salary than max-money after year 2, giving the team about a $6 million discount plus whatever he is foregoing by not allowing himself an opt-out.

And to the narrower point of whether he is overpaid, the other five players earning his precise annual salary include Mike Conley (32nd in PER) and Al Horford (53rd in PER). DeMar is 13th. No, he is not as good as the others in his cohort (Harden, Westbrook and Durant). Few players are. But then again, Durant only agreed to be under team control for one year, and Harden/Westbrook for three.

Lastly, for better or worse, the re-signing of Kyle Lowry and the signings of DeMarre Carroll and Hedo Turkoglu were highly competitive bidding wars that few expected the Raptors to win. They have been very good at attracting and retaining free agents unless their team has been poor (which has been true for most of the franchise history until recently).

I can't even deal with the suggestion that the Jays are years away from being in a position to play the free agent market. How high does the revenue have to be, and how many playoff berths does the team have to earn, to shake a case of Blue Jays Ownership Stockholm Syndrome?
uglyone - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 04:09 PM EST (#337299) #
"Blue Jays Ownership Stockholm Syndrome"



or maybe just make the J soft like in Bjorn. yeah, that's it - Bjoss.

China fan - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 04:09 PM EST (#337300) #
The signing of Gavin Floyd is a good depth move, but he's been on the 60-day DL in each of the past four seasons.  Yes, four consecutive seasons. So any production from him in 2017 will have to be regarded as a nice (and unexpected) bonus.  The Jays will still have to fill out the bullpen with some more reliable pitchers. 

It's nice for the fans to be optimistic about players such as Floyd, Danny Barnes, Ryan Tepera, Chris Smith and the assortment of waiver claims and Rule 5 picks who will be at spring training.  Two or three of them will probably be useful to the team in 2017.  Similarly it's nice to be optimistic about AJ Jimenez and Reese McGuire and Mike Ohlman.  We always love it when one of these kinds of players unexpectedly does well.  But it's not really a strategy.  I think the Jays have to be more aggressive in bidding for players with a better track record.  The case of Drew Storen does not necessarily disprove this argument.
cybercavalier - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 04:12 PM EST (#337301) #
A question
If an batter -- outfielder in particular -- who strikes out quite a lot like Rasmus, can he be coached as a Jay this time to reduce strikeout? An example is Chris Young the outfielder who reduced strikeout as a 2016 Red Sox.
PeterG - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 04:43 PM EST (#337302) #
There is less chance the Jays would sign Rasmus than Bautista or anyone for that matter. He exhibited a poor attitude when here previously.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 04:46 PM EST (#337303) #
Glevin, I was talking more about Toronto the city than the Dome specifically, but agreed some players don't want to play on turf.

The "FAs don't want to play in Toronto" meme is certainly less significant that it used to be, although we could debate the degree of difference.  I still disagree with you that wanting 'to be in the US' is a powerful force for a large majority of players - a quarter of major-leaguers weren't even born in the US, and doubtless some who were are pretty disenchanted with things.  Multicultural, vibrant Toronto - with milder summers - is likely an attraction for many.  Not to mention an exciting contender of a team.  We may not be as attractive as the NY / LA teams, nor the Cubs / Red Sox / Giants / Cards / Texas - but I think we easily fit into the next tier of attractive cities.  Most of our northern US rivals are in states that are more heavily taxed than some of the smaller / more southern states, and yet they seem to have no problem attracting FAs. 

And unless a player is driving distance from home, they are flying - a four hour flight and a two hour flight may not be much of a difference for a lot of players.

Mike D already outlined how the Raps are an attractive destination for FAs, and Derozan's contract is going to look a lot differently next year with the new salary cap.  TFC clearly is an attractive destination and agreed that the Leafs comp isn't reasonable given their iconic status and the Canadian background of many of the players. 

I also disagree that their is 'very very little' talent near the major leagues, unless you are talking only about Spring 2017.  Guys like Tellez, Gurriel, McGuire, Ramirez and Greene could all get promotions this year and a wealth of young talent should be ready sometime in 2018.  Not to mention Pompey, who would still be an easy top ten prospect if eligible IMO. 

SK in NJ - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 05:16 PM EST (#337304) #
"I can't even deal with the suggestion that the Jays are years away from being in a position to play the free agent market. How high does the revenue have to be, and how many playoff berths does the team have to earn, to shake a case of Blue Jays Ownership Stockholm Syndrome?"

The Jays have an old roster with two position players under the age of 30 (Travis and Pillar). One of those position players can't hit (so far) and the other can't stay on the field. The team will have no pitching prospects in AAA for the 2nd consecutive season and only have one top position player prospect slated to begin in Buffalo (Tellez). The rest of their best prospects are in A-AA. Being a player in the free agent market right now means getting older and more expensive as their place on the win curve decreases. That's not what the team needs to be, so yes, I'd wait a few years to see if some of the prospects in the system can come up and become difference makers, while at the same time continuing to roll with Sanchez/Stroman in the rotation, and see how far it goes. Re-signing Edwin and Jose would have made this board and the casual fans happy, but the latter fans would have been gone the moment the roster aged out of contention. You don't make moves to appease the fans, and this FO is already 1 for 1 when it comes to not listening to fans and doing their own thing (2016).
jerjapan - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 05:38 PM EST (#337305) #
That's kind of cherry picking SK - teams need to have young, controllable talent, but it doesn't matter if there is a mix of young position players or pitchers - we have three elite young pitchers under team control for years.   That alone is a good core of young talent. 

Not to mention Pillar has legit value even if he has reached his peak offense.

AAA is not really that important for many prospects - we have loads of talent in AA that will start showing up in the bigs this year. 

I took a lot of grief last offseason for saying we didn't have a 'bottom ten' farm system, but look how quickly industry consensus changed on that front.  Our prospects are not MLB ready now, but there are a number closer than some people realize. 
jerjapan - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 05:45 PM EST (#337306) #
On a separate point, Bryan Grosnick at BP has Ryan Goins tied for 8th on the 'McEwing score', his simple metric for evaluating utility players based on the difficulty of positions they played more than once in the previous year.  In his words, "Any McEwing Score of 67 or higher is cause for some level of celebration–it means that a player qualified at five or more positions and it’s the cutoff for me to flag a guy as one of the season's true utility players."

I fear we may lose Goins in the roster crunch that comes from having platoons in the OF, a 'ride the hot AAA hand' type bullpen and a DH only DH.  Not a huge loss, but his versatility has legit value. 
scottt - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 05:56 PM EST (#337307) #
Five or more positions? Does that include pitcher?
greenfrog - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:00 PM EST (#337308) #
I don't think Rasmus liked his time in Toronto all that much, and he said playing on the RC turf made his body feel bad. I doubt he would consider returning.
scottt - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:05 PM EST (#337309) #
Jesus Montero signed a minor league deal with Baltimore.
Colabello is in the Indians system and after a year in Japan in which he had an OPS of .685, Matt Hague is playing AAA for the Twins.

Chuck - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:10 PM EST (#337310) #
An example is Chris Young the outfielder who reduced strikeout as a 2016 Red Sox.

In 2015, Young struck out in 21% of his plate appearances. In 2016, it was 22%.

PeterG - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:22 PM EST (#337311) #
Jerjapan, do you prefer Goins or Barney as a utility bench player? I prefer Goins but feel that I am in the minority. Recency bias will surely be a factor in the way many would view this. I can't see both being kept unless Ryan passes through waivers if they go with Barney.
scottt - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:22 PM EST (#337312) #
"I've been taking a beating on this body. I'm a lot older than I used to be. Playing on that turf in Toronto was pretty tough. It has a nice slab of concrete underneath and I was diving on it. I didn't baby myself and take it easy."

Pillar really is Superman.

Who know, maybe if he let Pillar do the diving?

PeterG - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:55 PM EST (#337313) #
The new turf is probably a little more forgiving but will still not appeal to some. Rasmus was a wimp in almost every sense including taking instructions from dad rather than coaches.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 06:56 PM EST (#337314) #
Five or more positions? Does that include pitcher?

No, although Grosnick does give him props for having pitched, he doesn't have it as part of the metric - which he admits is very simplistic and preliminary.  Goins played SS, 2B, 3B, LF/RF (Grosnick has this as one position) and 1B.

PeterG, I have a slight preference for Barney, but I get you preferring Goins - they are darn close IMO, and Goins seems the better defender to my eye - Fangraphs had him for a negative last year though, perhaps due to his versatile usage?  Not much to differentiate their minor league offensive profiles, but Barney has the better track record in the bigs.  If Goins can replicate 2015 with the bat, it's pretty much even to me ... was the offensive difference last year based on BABIP or were the K/BB% rates more predictive?   Did Goins actually regress defensively last year?
PeterG - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 07:17 PM EST (#337315) #
FWIW, the eye test tells me Goins is the better defender. I do agree that he has to improve with the bat to stay in the bigs. I also think there is a good chanced that Barney regresses to the norm offensively.

I know that many don't want Jays to acquire Bruce but it is a possibility. Goins or Barney could well go in return should this happen. Don't think Jays would give up a prospect unless someone below the top 30 but a useful utility player might be face saving for the Mets. I think the rationale for the Jays interest in Bruce, rightly or wrongly, is that he had success with Jacoby as his hitting coach. Apparently, he also wants to play in TO as well.
uglyone - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 07:35 PM EST (#337316) #
Bruce is literally just like lighting $13m on fire.
Parker - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 07:50 PM EST (#337317) #
Bruce is literally just like lighting $13m on fire.

So was Happ. So was Estrada. Right?

I don't love Bruce unless he's a DH/part-time OF, but I suppose you would prefer that the Jays light $100M on fire (Price) or $25M on fire (Encarnacion)?

You could at least provide two or three dozen pages of data tables to back up how the Jays have "literally" burned millions of dollars on all the decisions they've made with which you don't agree, couldn't you?
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 08:05 PM EST (#337318) #
The Bullpen has Roberto Osuna as Closer; Jason Grilli as Late Innings/Setup; Joe Biagini as Late Innings/Setup; Gavin Floyd as Long Relief/Spot Start; Aaron Loup as L.O.O.GY; New signing LHP??? and Glenn Sparkman as Rule 5 Pick, or if he fails, In-house Guy. The Jays need the best Left-handed Reliever they can acquire/sign.

The Outfield has Kevin Pillar as Center; Melvin Upton JR as Left/Center - needing a left-handed platoon partner; and a gaping hole in Right. In-house Options of Ezequiel Carrera and Dalton Pompey give the Jays four very good defenders, lacking somewhat in Offense. I think they need two good Hitters that can defend.

The Bullpen needs a Backup Catcher good enough to play 100 plus games if necessary. In-house is unlikely to do the job. Middle Infielders that defend well, can't hit and don't walk are found on every Team. Those that can hit, do walk and defend well are valuable and should never be risked on waivers. Who makes the Roster still depends on how soon Devon Travis can start playing again.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 09:10 PM EST (#337319) #
Bruce is far worse than Happ or Estrada IMO.  I'm not sure who, other than our FO apparently, even likes the guy.  At $13 million, he is clearly overpaid.  Happ and Estrada were debatable signings at best (from the critics POV, and they've clearly been proven wrong) - Bruce will not be traded for legit prospects and will likely have to come with some salary going the other way. 

Richard, penciling anyone into the pen after Biagiani seems pointless to me - we have 3 guys guaranteed to start with the big club, and a ton of wildcards.  The pen looks extraordinarily volatile right now, with few appealing names available to mitigate the volatility. 

Goins actually has flashed an ability to walk at different times in his career, but it's his versatility that most appeals to me.  I do fear that he may be lost in the roster crunch - he's definitely better than the fungible utility IF you describe, but barring a return to 2015 form, not good enough to beat Barney out of a job, assuming Travis is healthy. 

Parker, Price only has to be worth $54 million per Fangraphs to have been worth his contract over the next two years - if he is, he will opt out and be someone else's 'problem'.  I've said this before, but I'll happily bet you that he's worth the deal he signed for the Sox.  The opt-out clause has really changed the game for FA valuation, both for the player and the team that signs him.    

Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 10:17 PM EST (#337320) #

The Bullpen beyond Osuna, Grilli and Biagini is more set than you suggest.
The Jays don't sign Gavin Floyd unless they think he's healthy and if he's healthy he's better than anything else in-house. He was an important and significant piece in Gibbon's Bullpen - Late Inning Relief.
Aaron Loup as second Lefty/L.O.O.GY needs only to beat out Matt Dermody, Chad Girodo, Brett Oberholtzer, T.J. House and Jeff Beliveau for a job. If anyone of those beat out Loup for a job, then the Bullpen's better.
Right now, Toronto's Rule 5 Draft (only 2) is a big success under Shapiro and Atkins. That makes the 7th Reliever's job is Glenn Sparkman's to lose. So far I don't see any reason to think different.
scottt - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 10:35 PM EST (#337321) #
I don't agree about the pen. Barnes had an incredible run at AAA and was decent with the Jays. Even if the peripheral aren't as nice, Tepera has had better results than Hendriks. His fastball averages 95 mph, it's not like he has no tools.
The performance of relievers is hard to predict. Grilli and Benoit instantly improved on coming to Toronto. Feldman was the opposite. Same with Mark Lowe last year. Remember how Cassey Janssen was a great reliever for a few years? It looks like he's retired. 

I'm not convinced with Price at all. If he's barely worth his contract who would pay more than 32M a year for him? By acquiring Sale, the Red Sox basically slots him as their 3rd best starter. I think the valuation has shifted toward elite relievers and that works against Price. He had an ERA of 3.99 and wasn't even an All-Star. Who can afford to spend that much on a single starter who once again has been pitiful in the playoffs? 5 earned runs in 3.1 innings? Clearly Price's performance seems to be heading in the wrong direction.

That huge contract price has signed is probably one of the reason Bautista and Encarnation were so eager to hit free agency. Contrast that to Dustin Pedroia who signed a team friendly contract and will only make 15M next year. Pedroia is far more valuable to Boston than Hanley Ramirez (22M) and Sandoval (17M). 

92-93 - Thursday, January 05 2017 @ 10:47 PM EST (#337322) #
I'm not pining for Jay Bruce but the version the Mets traded for was hitting .265/.316/.559. If the choice was between a version of the Liriano trade (salary relief for a prospect) or signing two "dependable" RPs, give me the power corner OF bat + prospect.

At this point it seems like management is willing to sit back and see who is available at the price the Jays are comfortable with, as opposed to trying to identify specific talent and coming to more player-friendly terms with them like they were able to do with Morales and Pearce. You'd assume they've already inquired on those players and that the current asking price to get them here is too high.

I hope the dominoes start to fall soon league-wide, because damn is this ever boring.
cybercavalier - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 07:13 AM EST (#337323) #

Outfield: How about Ryan Kalish L/L age29 in 2017season. His 2016season salary was 0.55M. If the Jays lost out on Josh Reddick, can Kalish be the second choice of former Red Sox OFers.

Catcher: after looking at .ISO for fangraphs AAA catcher leaders and free agent catchers who are likely to be backup, some AAA catcher leaders can be had as backup. So depending on what the Jays want out of this window of opportunity on getting a backup catcher ahead of AJ Jimenez, there are some rooms of maneuver. Moreover, if the likely best possible catcher who is likely a backup catcher is signed, Geovany Soto is one option: his ISO at MLB, not AAA, is ahead of those catchers mention. So a fictitious scenario can be Martin#1, Soto#2, AJ Jimenez#3, and a good AAA catcher leader or a Thole'esque be #4, then McGuire'esque. For rosters, Martin#1 and Soto#2 on MLB, Jimenez on the shuttle, Jimenez#1, Thole'sque#2, McGuire'sque#3 on AAA.
cybercavalier - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 08:01 AM EST (#337324) #
Soto might be able to get a major league deal but as time passes, these and some others will have to settle for less.

The WhiteSox signed Geovany Soto to minor league contract. I wonder why the Jays did not do that earlier: a minor league contract with spring training invitation is not much a cost. Martin can work with Sanchez, Happ and Liriano while Soto would have worked with Estrada. With Soto gone, Hundley and Salty had spent time on injury during a regular season. Then Jimenez can be on the shuttle for starting few games to fill in.
85bluejay - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 08:27 AM EST (#337325) #
For the Jays to take on all of Jay Bruce salary, it would need to be a Liriano type deal,IMO - I would ask for Michael Conforto to be attached (unlikely) and settle for maybe something like Brandon Nimmo & Thomas Szapucki - I liked Liriano to be more productive than Bruce.

I wouldn't mind Angel Pagan on a 1 year contract to play LF and give Pillar some rest.
SK in NJ - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 08:29 AM EST (#337326) #
Bruce had a 124 wRC+ against RHP in 2016. A strict platoon with him and Upton would probably be around average. The issue with him is defense, and with Morales at DH, there would be no way to hide him in the lineup unless they shift Morales over to first (which probably isn't going to happen too often).

I would rather have Bruce than Carrera as an everyday player, but it's probably a back-up option for the FO at this point. If the Jays wanted him that badly, it would have happened by now as the Mets are likely desperate to move him. I don't know if the Jays wanted Bruce last season for his talent as much as they wanted that extra year of control that he had over Saunders, plus more health certainty. I believe Nightengale said the Reds were chipping in $8M and the Jays would have been sending $2.9M (Saunders) away in the deal, so the 2016 obligation would have been fairly small with a team option tacked on. The narrative that this FO is in love with Bruce is a bit overblown, IMO. They might still acquire him, but I don't think they are fixated on him by any stretch.
Parker - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 08:43 AM EST (#337327) #
I'd love a Liriano type of deal for Bruce, but the Mets just traded a highly-regarded 2B of the future along with a projectible lefty (the organization's #18 prospect) to acquire Bruce less than a year ago. If the best the Mets can do is to send away more assets just to dump Bruce's salary and clear a roster spot, I think they're a lot more likely just to keep him and pray that he bounces back to his Cincy 2016 numbers.
John Northey - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 08:59 AM EST (#337328) #
How can the current management team not find a cheap OF who can hit and defend {/sarcasm}.

I know we are all fans of the Jays and want them to have a future HOF'er at every position and all-stars in AAA ready to step in if an injury happens. Realistically that ain't gonna happen even for the Yankees or Dodgers.

Looking back, the Yankees were over $200 million in 2005. They won the east but lost in the first round. That was spending more money than anyone other than the Dodgers and Yankees have spent in over a decade since. Shows spending the most doesn't work even with lots of HOF'ers (A-Rod [yeah yeah, but he is HOF caliber hitter then], Jeter, Mussina, Randy Johnson, Rivera) and tons of former/future all-stars (Kevin Brown, Giambi, Sheffield, Bernie Williams, Posada, Matsui, Tino Martinez, Quantrill, Cano, Al Leiter, Tom Gordon, Chien-Ming Wang, ...).

From 2008 to present they have been over $200 mil every year and have spent more than the Jays ever have every year since 2004. Results?
Missed Playoffs: 4 times
Lost in Wild Card: 1 time
Lost in ALDS: 4 times
Lost in ALCS: 3 times
Won World Series: 1 time (2009)

That is what spending more than the Jays ever did 13 years in a row. They got further than the Jays did in each of thepast 2 years exactly once. At a year end cost of $200+ mil every one of those years. $2,652,730,320 spent to get 1 Title - or probably more than the Jays have spent in total from 1977. Doing an overestimate ($50 mil per year before 2000 as that was the payroll in 1993 [highest in the league] and they didn't go over that until 2001 I think) I get $2.58 billion to get 2 World Series and 3 losses in the ALCS and a whole lot of fun seasons (and a lot of painful ones).

Bottom line? Spending money doesn't always work. It ups the odds of getting to the playoffs but as to going deep that is more a crapshoot than anything else and blowing an extra $100 mil a year won't help improve random odds.
scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 09:01 AM EST (#337329) #
Just because the Mets overpayed for Bruce doesn't mean the Jays should do the same.

Bruce projects to replacement level, ( low on base percentage, bad defense, good power).
We can get that out of Saunders for a few millions and no prospects.

scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 09:05 AM EST (#337330) #
The Mets picked up Bruce's option as an insurance in case they couldn't resign Cespedes.
Then they offered Cespedes so much money that they need to trade Bruce to fall back within their budget.
It was an awful move because there are no shortage of fringy corner outfielders.

uglyone - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 09:46 AM EST (#337331) #
but Happ, Scottt.

but HAPP!
Parker - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 09:53 AM EST (#337332) #
Heyman's theory on the Bruce option (backed up by an anonymous source in the Mets front office) was that it put the team in a stronger place to negotiate with Cespedes, presumably because they weren't dealing from such a position of need.

That begs the question, though - how much did the Mets think they'd have to spend on Cespedes if they WEREN'T dealing from a position of strength? Seems hard to believe it'd be as much as $16M more.

Of course, there's also the theory that the Mets plan was to trade Bruce once Cespedes was locked up, but they misread the market for Bruce with so many other defensively-limited sluggers available in free agency. About the best thing you can say about Bruce in this market is that his financial commitment is a lot more reasonable than it'd be for other slugging lefty bats available.
scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 10:21 AM EST (#337333) #
I wasn't hot on Happ and everybody's expecting a regression, but Happ is just... Happy and keeps hitting his spots and riding a great defense.

Ironically, Happ was better than expected on offense as well and was a .286 hitter last year. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

uglyone - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 10:21 AM EST (#337334) #
I stole these numbers and haven't doublechecked them but i trust the source and they fit my narrative:

Cleveland Attendance

6yrs Pre-Shapiro GM: 3.332m per season
10yrs w/Shapiro GM: 2.095m per season (peak 2.616m in 1st yr)
5yrs w/Shapiro Prez: 1.568m per season
China fan - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 10:24 AM EST (#337335) #
Ken Rosenthal has a column today in which he supports what a lot of us have been saying:  Shapiro and Atkins behaved very oddly in their handling of Encarnacion and could have had him back if they wanted him.  He confirms that the Jays must have known that Edwin was likely to reject the "take it or leave it" offer that they gave him at a very early stage of the off-season.  What could save them, he says, is Morales -- if it turns out that Morales is as good as Encarnacion.  (I agree that it's possible, but it seems quite unlikely to me.  We will see.)

Some excerpts from the Rosenthal column:

If the Jays truly wanted Encarnacion, they could have kept their options open and allowed him to explore the market. Both the Dodgers’ Justin Turner and Pirates’ Ivan Nova returned to their respective clubs for less money than they sought initially in free agency.

The Blue Jays, by contrast, made Encarnacion a seemingly modest offer in spring training — a two-year extension with two option years and a reworking of his $10 million salary in 2016, according to Rogers SportsNet.

They then made him what proved to be a take-it-or-leave-it proposal before the market opened, one that he was likely to refuse so early in the process, even though it proved better than the deal he ultimately landed with the Indians.

Rarely do major free agents re-sign with their teams days before other clubs can start bidding — and rarely do teams act so abruptly when trying to retain star players. The Jays signed Morales on Nov. 18, then all but ended any chance of keeping Encarnacion by adding Steve Pearce on Dec. 5.

The Jays’ assessment of Morales vs. Encarnacion might prove correct, particularly since they landed Morales at just over half of EE’s price. But ranked Morales the 22nd best free agent, between Mike Napoli and Greg Holland. Fangraphs had Morales at No. 29, between Valbuena and Brad Ziegler. EE was in the top four on both those lists.

Even if Morales flew off the board, as the Jays apparently suspected he would, the team would have had plenty of time to adjust.

scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 10:27 AM EST (#337336) #
There is still Moss, Saunders, Rasmus, etc ... none of which will sign for much money.
China fan - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 10:39 AM EST (#337337) #
"....Barnes had an incredible run at AAA and was decent with the Jays. Even if the peripheral aren't as nice, Tepera has had better results than Hendriks. His fastball averages 95 mph, it's not like he has no tools...."

I like both of those guys, but let's admit that they haven't won a major-league job in their opportunities so far.  (A slot on a September expanded roster doesn't prove that they are good enough to win a full-time job in a regular seven-man bullpen.)  Maybe they will in 2017.  Maybe the Jays have internal evaluations that are stronger than what we can see from the numbers.  But until they prove that they are major-league relievers, I have to be a little skeptical.
scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 10:46 AM EST (#337338) #
Turner and Nova signed for the highest bidder.

The Jays gave Encarnation a week to find a highest bidder. He didn't find one, so asked for more time.
It's like an auction. You make a bid. Nobody beats it but you keep waiting because the auctioneer wants you to go higher.

They had years to negotiate, not just the one week. Encarnation would have signed with the Jays for 22M or 23M if the Jays had waited long enough. He's projected to give the Indians an increase of 1.2 WAR in 2017 over what Napoli gave them in 2016. It's really not that much.

Parker - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 11:00 AM EST (#337339) #
Rosenthal has a really epic collection of bowties, but beyond that particular qualification, I find his narrative quite flawed. Isn't the converse of his article also true? If the offer extended to Encarnacion was more than fair in retrospect, and based on all reports he wanted to return to the Jays, why would he choose to explore free agency when he wasn't going to see any better (or even similar) offers anywhere else?

I know I'm beating a dead horse here, but there are only two possible reasons that Encarnacion didn't re-up with the Jays - he either wanted to leave, or he took some really really awful advice from his agent.

Every player says they want to return to whatever team they're leaving as a free agent. No player ever says he wants to play literally ANYWHERE ELSE. Even if the Dodgers and the Blue Jays are on equal footing from a chance-of-winning standpoint (they're not - the Dodgers don't play in the AL East, and they're also the second-biggest baseball market in all of MLB) then the Dodgers still have the advantage of being located where almost everyone wants to live if they make more than a couple million a year.

Justin Turner wanted to return to the Dodgers? He grew up in Long Beach! How much more money was Turner offered to leave his home? I can't find a single item online about how Turner turned down more money to stay in SoCal, despite Rosenthal's assertions.

Ivan Nova? Really? $26M isn't anywhere near what Turner got paid or Encarnacion got offered. Nova benefits from the Ray Searage effect and getting out of the Bronx Bandbox. Good for him. Why doesn't Rosenthal use Rich Hill as a comparison instead?

In conclusion, the Jays made a mistake by offering their departing free agent more money to retain their free agent. The Dodgers and the Pirates did the right thing by offering less money to retain their free agents.

I'd actually like to see Rosenthal revisit this discussion in three years when all three players are replacement-level.
SK in NJ - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 11:08 AM EST (#337340) #
If the Jays waited for Edwin and it turned out that Morales signed somewhere else, Edwin signed somewhere else, and the Jays were left with neither their 1st or 2nd options, then what? Yes, they could have improvised based on the glut of FA's on the market, but they clearly viewed Morales higher than the others. Another factor may have been that Morales and Guirrel are repped by the same agency and signed on the same day. Maybe one deal helped facilitate the other. Who knows. Regardless, the Jays do not have the benefit of hindsight. They made their best offer, gave Edwin time, and he passed. Morales was their Plan B.

It's mind boggling to me how a team can offer more money and years than any other team was willing to offer, and yet still be accused of being cheap or insincere. Misjudged the market? Sure. Look at the amount of power hitters still out there that can't find a decent offer. I don't think too many people would have predicted that. Regardless, you don't offer 4/80 (with an option to make it 5/100 if you believe Davidi) for optics purposes. I thought 4/80 was fair for Edwin but likely a mistake for the Jays, so the fact that they offered him that much to begin with says that they liked him enough to overpay.

Ultimately, what's done is done.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 11:36 AM EST (#337341) #
Basically, the Jays can't be blamed for not retaining Edwin since they made him the offers and were turned down. At the same time, it's likely that they didn't want him back anyway. They wanted him gone without looking bad. It can work out in their favor or against, we have to wait and see. I'm optimistic, but now is the time for this regime to show us what they're made of. If we still have holes or enter a rebuild before the deadline then I would consider that a failure on management's part to maximize the resources at hand right now. If on the other hand they find a way to be competitive this year and next while avoiding expensive FA contracts then that will be a huge success...but that's gotta be the hardest thing to do as a management team. Like I said, let's see what these guys are made of over the next 6 weeks/months...picking up cast offs definitely won't get the job done, that's for sure. But you never know, maybe they grab cast offs and a couple minor league prospects step up earlier than expected and that gets the job done.

Side note: anybody else read that article about Stroman and Sanchez not liking each other anymore with implications that Stroman is sending cryptic references to Sanchez through social media?
dalimon5 - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 11:37 AM EST (#337342) #
uglyone - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 11:40 AM EST (#337343) #
"It's mind boggling to me how a team can offer more money and years than any other team was willing to offer, and yet still be accused of being cheap or insincere."

c'mon, your mind isn't boggled.
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 11:47 AM EST (#337344) #
Danny Barnes RHP
2016: 0-0; 3.95; 13.2; 14 SO; 1.39 Whip.

Chad Girodo LHP
2016: 0-0; 4.35; 10.1; 5 SO; 1.26 Whip.

Bo Schultz RHP
2016: 0-1; 5.51; 16.1; 10 SO; 1.22 Whip.

Aaron Loup LHP
2015 Postseason: 0-0; 4.50; 2.0; 0 SO; 1.50 Whip.
2016: 0-0; 5.02; 14.1; 15 SO; 1.33 Whip.

Ryan Tepera RHP
2015 Postseason: 0-0; 21.60; 1.2; 0 SO; 4.20 Whip.
2016: 0-1; 2.95; 18.1; 18 SO; 1.36 Whip.
2016 Postseason: 0-0; 0.00; 0.2; 0 SO; 0.00 Whip.

If being on the Postseason Roster in back-to-back years doesn't make you a MLB Pitcher, then you'd better tell Aaron and Marcus. Sometimes being better than everyone else is achievement in itself. Do it twice, means you deserve to be there.

PeterG - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 01:05 PM EST (#337345) #
The fall out between Sanchez and Stroman is true though I know nothing of cryptic messages. The Jays would like to move Stroman but have to be very careful due to a lack of starting pitching depth.
Parker - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 01:13 PM EST (#337346) #
It's mind boggling to me how a team can offer more money and years than any other team was willing to offer, and yet still be accused of being cheap or insincere.

So much this. What really bothers me is that a lot of people who are actually paid to write about baseball are espousing this same narrative. Of course one would expect Joe Blue Jays Fan to complain when a team loses a player to free agency - "IT'S NOT MY MONEY!" - right? The fans aren't supposed to have any idea how to run a baseball team, but I feel like professional journalists should be held to a higher standard.

From the fan's (and many journalists') perspective, the Blue Jays should've made that contract offer to Encarnacion, and left the offer on the table for as long as it took Encarnacion to figure out that he wasn't getting another offer in that range. Encarnacion's agent could use that standing offer to try to pry more money out of every other team. When Encarnacion's camp realized nobody was offering the money required to sign him away from the team he so clearly always wanted to stay with, he'd accept the crappy offer that everyone is now saying was made in bad faith, and the fans could talk about how all Encarnacion wanted to do was come back to the Jays in the first place.

I think the best-case scenario from this boondoggle is that Encarnacion fires his incompetent agent, and that's assuming he actually wanted to come back to the Jays. And I don't think anyone should assume that. I sure don't. While I'm doing a best-case-scenario thing, a lot of idiots who get paid to write about Blue Jays baseball should be standing in line for their welfare cheques next year. I don't think that's going to happen, but I'd love to revisit this argument in two or three years, assuming those professional baseball writers are still employed at that time.

The fans and professional journalists in St. Louis all but hung themselves in their closets when Albert Pujols was allowed to sign somewhere else for a ridiculous amount of money, and now he's nothing but a brutal anchor on the team's finances. And he used to be a GREAT first baseman, and one of the best hitters of all time! Perhaps more accurately, the fans in Philly were planning World Series parades the moment Ryan Howard was locked up for a stupid amount of money - and despite the team's best efforts to trade that idiotic contract, they're going to be paying Howard $10M to NOT play for them in 2017.
jerjapan - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 02:32 PM EST (#337350) #
I think it's bit of a false dichotomy to suggest that either the FO wanted to a) sign EE, as evidence by their having produced the largest contract offer or b) not, as evidenced by the speed with which they moved on to plan B.   The initial offer clearly suggests A to be true, but doesn't preclude option C - the Jays may have employed an unusual bargaining strategy to quickly resolve the DH position, or D - that the team may not have wanted EE back unless negotiations worked out exactly the way the FO wanted.  

EE's initial ask and the offer made by the FO are largely immaterial given that the process was a negotiation, not an auction.  

Their are plenty of scenarios that could illustrate how the FO bargained poorly, or in bad faith, despite having made the largest offer.  But of course, the whole thing is pure speculation - although I respect most of the author's cited and wouldn't be so quick to write them off.  Pujols and Howard don't seem like good comps either - both moved were derided at the time, especially Howard, and consensus seems to be that Cleveland getting EE was a coup. 

Richard, I wish I shared your bullpen optimism, but the guys you have listed - oustide of Loup, who was good for a couple of year - have 139 MLB games combined.  Loup is arb eligible and may not even be tendered - he was bad in 2015 and terrible last year - and rule V guys are longshots at best - I think Biagini may have warped people's expectations somewhat for Sparkman. 

We are talking about converted starters or late-round uni seniors drafted as pure relievers.  Girodo is the youngest at 25.  Most of the value these types of guys offer is having options and being pre-arb.  I think Tepera sheds the AAAA label this year, and perhaps Barnes, but it's really a crapshoot.  I wanted the Jays to promote Barnes months before they did, and I think their reluctance to do so, despite his absurdly good numbers, speaks to their low regard for him as a prospect.   

I don't even particularly like the way this FO signs AAA depth pitching - they tend to prefer the faded veteran - House, Oberholzer - Leblanc, Diamond and Hernandez last year - rather than overlooked AAAA guys like Schultz. 

I think we MIGHT cobble a solid bullpen together out of the group on hand, but we might also end up with a disaster - after Osuna or course, barring injury, that guy is money.   

eudaimon - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 02:39 PM EST (#337351) #
I can't wait until friggin March.
jerjapan - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 04:47 PM EST (#337353) #
Eudaimon, feel free to start another topic.  Floor's yours.
scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 05:35 PM EST (#337355) #
It's not a negotiation if you test the free agent market. That is an auction.

A negotiation usually indicates some sort of compromise. EE didn't compromise on anything. He simply went to the highest bidder and his negotiation strategy was simply to try get his preferred team to offer more. Apparently his contract with the Indians includes bonus of up to 1M per year based on attendance.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a GM making his best offer and moving on. At least if the scenario happens again, the player won't be able to claim he was surprised by how fast Shapiro moves.

In arbitration, both side makes their best offer and somebody rules which offer is better. There's nothing like that in free agency and offers are based on what teams are willing to pay, not what the player feels is fair.

Toronto has 20M/20M/17M/14M/13M/13M  going to Martin/Tulo/Donaldson/Estrada/Liriano/Happ.
Cleveland has 15M/13M/9M/9M/7.5/7.5 going to Encarnation/Santana/Kipnis/Miller/Brantley/Kluber

scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 05:42 PM EST (#337356) #
Looking at the Cleveland attendance, it's easy to see that it completely follows the club's performance.

Shapiro traded away Roberto Alomar, fresh form a 7 WAR season and the Cleveland team was no longer a winning team.
It's interesting to note that Alomar was basically done at that point and was never again worth even 1 WAR.

jerjapan - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 07:45 PM EST (#337357) #
Scottt, EE didn't compromise with the Jays, agreed, but I'd suggest that he would have had he been given the opportunity - my take is that his team presented an opening position and assumed the Jays would do the same, rather than the short 'take-it-or-leave-it' offer window they presented. 

But one case is irrelevant.  To suggest that it's an auction is to ignore all the players that make decisions for reasons other than the highest bid.  FA is a negotiation by definition. 

scottt - Friday, January 06 2017 @ 09:54 PM EST (#337360) #
A negotiation is between 2 parties.

The Jays assessed what EE was worth and made their best offer which was 80M over 4 years.
EE wanted 125M over 5 years and decided to try to get that from someone other than Toronto.
We see a lot of drama because nobody was in fact willing to pay for that.
There's no evidence that anybody was interested in EE on a long contract. There was no negotiation between EE and another team during that short window or during the month that followed it.
Even after the Jays signed Morales, they were the only team talking with EE.
So, in the end EE signed for 3 years.

I can't help but imagine the negotiations going like "If you don't give my client 5 years he'll sign for 3 somewhere else!".

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