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It's a boring time of year for baseball. Joey Bats is back with the Jays, Mark Trumbo is back with the Orioles. Not a whole lot else going on.




Have at it.
Generic Late January Thread | 431 comments | Create New Account
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Richard S.S. - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 02:19 AM EST (#337973) #
Thank You Eephus.

Thus far the Jays have invited non-Roster Players to Spring Training:
2B: Jon Berti;
RHP: Wil Browning;
RHP: Connor Greene;
LHP: Tim Mayza;
C: Reese McGuire;
LF: Dwight Smith Jr.;
1B: Rowdy Tellez.
Aside from filling holes, this is a look to see who's ready.
scottt - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 06:47 AM EST (#337975) #
Technically Tellez is on the roster.
I thought McGuire was too, but it says no on mlb.com.

Floyd is a non roster invitee that you missed.

Eephus - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 08:49 AM EST (#337979) #
This is what happens when you have an idea for a thread and then forget to write anything for a month. My bad!


PeterG - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 09:23 AM EST (#337981) #
There are several more minor league signings with ST invites and a couple more will likely be inked. McGuire does not have to be put on the 40 till after this season.
PeterG - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 09:25 AM EST (#337982) #
Surprised that Ramirez and Alford are not on that list. Maybe they will be added.
PeterG - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 09:33 AM EST (#337983) #
To correct my own post, Alford and Ramirez will attend as they are on the 40. The original list was just for players not on the 40 or who were not signed to minor league contracts during the off season.
Mike Green - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 09:36 AM EST (#337984) #
The New Yorker republished a short note from E. B. White from 1943 today on the meaning of democracy.  The money quote for us: "democracy is a letter to the editor.  democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth."
#2JBrumfield - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 12:12 PM EST (#337990) #
The Blue Jays have unveiled a fourth jersey for 2017. It's a Canada Day version that will be worn for every Sunday home game.
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 07:01 PM EST (#337994) #
It looks like Rowdy Tellez, Connor Greene, Reese McGuire. Tim Mayza and Wil Browning are the most likely to impact the Jays' Roster in 2017. I guess we'll find out more in Spring Training.
PeterG - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 08:06 PM EST (#337995) #
Don't see any of those playing in TO during 2017
uglyone - Friday, January 20 2017 @ 08:58 PM EST (#337998) #
anyone who starts the year in AA has a chance to contribute this year. and a bunch of those guys will be starting in AAA.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 03:27 AM EST (#337999) #
Is it possible that re-signing Jose Bautista changes the focus of the Offseason? Could the Jays actually be going for it? Does Ross Atkins get aggressive in his dealings? The next week should tell us what to expect.
bpoz - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 09:25 AM EST (#338000) #
Richard SS, that is a good question.... are the Jays going for it.

If IT is the WS, then probably not. Only very strong teams that stay strong in the off season like the Cubs qualify IMO. They have good talent and Joe Maddon and $. LAD Talent and $. Probably 2 more NL teams.

The AL Cleveland looks solid and balanced. Tito is there to guide them and they have the prospects to use as trade chips. Their prospects will offset their lack of $. Boston and NYY are in a position to compete for a playoff spot. If they look like they are contending then they have the $ and prospects.

Of course the Luxury tax parameters will have an effect on the big spending teams.

The LAD for example may want Madbum if SF is out of it but they are in the same division so SF probably would like to send him elsewhere. Don't give LAD an edge in negotiations with Madbum.
Similarly Donaldson to Boston or NYY.

But if you are going to trade Donaldson out of the AL east. Send him and $ to LAD ($ amount has to be acceptable to the commissioner and his people). Overcome the $ hold back by accepting a big contract even if the player is on the 60 day DL. JD and $10 mil to LAD should bring back a big load of talent.

Be creative and play by the rules to avoid penalties.

PeterG - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 09:56 AM EST (#338001) #
The focus of the off season will not change.
uglyone - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 10:14 AM EST (#338002) #
which focus is that?
PeterG - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 11:05 AM EST (#338003) #
That the team will attempt to build for sustainable contention while trying to win in 2017. The former takes precedence. That has been made very clear .
scottt - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 11:14 AM EST (#338004) #
Trading Donaldson wouldn't bring back much unless he's wiling to accept an extension.
If he's willing to accept an extension, wouldn't the Jays just extend him?

He's not scheduled to hit the market until age 33. It's not like Machado who will be 26.
Cano hit the market at age 31 and got 24M until age 40.
You think Donaldson gets more than 30M times 8 years?

uglyone - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 12:04 PM EST (#338005) #
"That the team will attempt to build for sustainable contention while trying to win in 2017. The former takes precedence. That has been made very clear ."

and what moves - proposed here or not - does that rule oit, exactly?
jerjapan - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 12:48 PM EST (#338006) #
I certainly wouldn't trade Donaldson, but it's nut to suggest that he wouldn't bring back much.  He'd bring back a farm system changing package, some MLB ready. 

Looks like I'm not the only one who things the Jays haven't been active enough on the minor league FA market.  We've signed fewer than in any of the past 10 offseasons.  Not to mention that many of the signings are filler types, even by minor league FA standards - although I do think Murphy Smith might be a viable darkhorse bullpen candidate.  

http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2017/1/20/14073094/its-been-a-quiet-winter-for-minor-league-free-agent-signings-too

Any thoughts on Keith Law ranking our farm system 21st?  Law is historically down on us, and while he raised our system four positions from his ranking last year, I see us in the mid-teens this time, and continuing to rise.

He does see Vlad as a potential superstar though.  Given one more season, barring catastrophe, Vlad alone could see us significantly rise in the rankings. 

Law did note that we had "a sudden shift toward a conservative draft approach in 2016" - which he sees as a negative.  With Parker at the helm for the last time in 2016, I had written off some of the older players picked (I believe this is what Law is referring to by 'conservative', although he may be talking about a decreased emphasis on athleticism in favour of results) as best player available at that slot, but perhaps there is a greater significance to the increased emphasis on college players.   Certainly, the FO's philosophy will be more clear after the next draft. 

Anyone have a preference between Conger, Navarro and Hannigan for backup catcher?  Or someone else? 

PeterG - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 12:58 PM EST (#338007) #
"and what moves - proposed here or not - does that rule oit, exactly?"



trading significant prospects for players with less than 4 years of control although I do know of one player they are trying to move that some would place in this category...no names for now...you will know if it happens

taking on onerous long term contracts

has this not already been discussed?
pooks137 - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 02:19 PM EST (#338008) #

Anyone have a preference between Conger, Navarro and Hannigan for backup catcher? Or someone else?

Before checking their stats, I favoured Conger. Younger, maybe some small potential left, possibly good framing results in the past.

After checking their stats, we might as well give Jimenez a shot

jerjapan - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 02:51 PM EST (#338009) #
Fair points Pooks.  Hanigan is likely too old to hope for a return of his OBP skills, Navarro constantly ranks as a very poor framer and seems to have lost his one skill - a solid offense, but Conger has been a good to excellent framer three of the past four years.  He was a negative last year though - how does framing age as a skill set? 

Conger has generally been an moderately above average defensive player per Fangraphs, runs like most catchers and has struggled with the bat.  He'd be my choice, although if we signed another AAAA catcher or two I'd feel okay running with Jiminez until McGuire is ready or Jiminez finally shows he can stick.  I have a hunch we may get a Navarro reunion though. 

As per my post above, I really hope we do start adding some legit AAAA talent soon. 

mendocino - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 03:06 PM EST (#338010) #
Just a comment on the draft, IN 2016 the Jays drafted 2 more college players (8) in the top 10 rounds than the previous two drafts (6 in 2015,6 in 2014). In rounds 11-40 they did draft 15 HS (signed 5). In 2015 and 2014 combined they drafted 15 HS while signing 1.

Also the Jays have signed 44 IFA's since July 2 almost double of previous year
jerjapan - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 03:25 PM EST (#338011) #
Thanks for that Mendocino.

I really didn't see a significant shit towards conservatism in the 2016 draft till I read Law's take.  Do you have an impression of the most recent draft?  I actually was fairly happy with it. 
China fan - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 04:12 PM EST (#338012) #
"....trading significant prospects for players with less than 4 years of control...."

The claim is being made that the Jays, under Shapiro and Atkins, will never trade significant prospects for players with less than 4 years of control.  Yet it has been widely reported that the Jays recently offered significant prospects to the Pirates in exchange for Andrew McCutcheon and Tony Watson, both of whom are under team control for just one year.

I think the notion that Shapiro and Atkins will never trade prospects -- because of the supposed "sustainability" principle -- is simply wrong.  If the right deal comes along, like any baseball executives, they will trade prospects.
85bluejay - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 04:32 PM EST (#338013) #
I wonder if this "Buy American, Hire American " policy of the new administration may seep into baseball, which has a significant percentage of non-american players - especially if teams decide not to go to the White House - the government can begin to severely limit the # of visa's they allocate to MLB & this new guy seems to have a vindictive streak - that would be a terrible shame but I won't be surprised. Apologies to anyone who I may have politically offended.
PeterG - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 05:50 PM EST (#338014) #
No-one has said never...not now...not until sustainable contention is on the horizon

the Pirates rumour was bogus...Bucs asked for Guerrero and that was the end of it. If you don't believe what the FO says and does, there is nothing more to say.

You can argue that you don't agree with it or like it, but not that it is what is happening.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:00 PM EST (#338015) #
It's interesting to me that while most people are focused on the Red Sox as the Jays' main competition in the AL East, Cashman has stealthily restocked the Yankees' farm system, to the point that it's now one of the very best in baseball. Don't be surprised if the Yankees emerge as the team to beat in the division, perhaps starting in 2018 or 2019.
bpoz - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:08 PM EST (#338016) #
Ok. Lets look at this again.

If we are in the playoff hunt then trading Donaldson or any significant piece, takes us out of the playoff hunt. Therefore don't do it IMO.

But if we are out of it... Why? Because Cleveland and BoSox are way ahead in snagging their division. We cannot win the AL West. NYY has a strong hold on the 1st WC but are hoping for the division. Also we are in last place for the 2nd WC among 3 contestants.

IMO now is the time to consider the future. I mean for the FO to consider the future. It is not my job, my ambitions or my future that is involved. So the FO has to decide.
92-93 - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:13 PM EST (#338017) #
I hope the front office is waiting out the RP market, I really don't want to see any multi-year deals given to the type of talent that remains unsigned.

The arb raises/salaries for 2018 of Donaldson, Stroman, Sanchez, Osuna, Pillar, and Travis will be equal to the money coming off the books from Liriano and Estrada.
bpoz - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:16 PM EST (#338018) #
Thanks for the responses. All respectful and polite to/by Bauxites.

I really enjoy the discussions.

cybercavalier - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:20 PM EST (#338019) #
Hanigan is likely too old to hope for a return of his OBP skills, Navarro constantly ranks as a very poor framer and seems to have lost his one skill - a solid offense, but Conger has been a good to excellent framer three of the past four years.  He was a negative last year though - how does framing age as a skill set?  Conger has generally been an moderately above average defensive player per Fangraphs, runs like most catchers and has struggled with the bat.  He'd be my choice, although if we signed another AAAA catcher or two I'd feel okay running with Jiminez until McGuire is ready or Jiminez finally shows he can stick.  I have a hunch we may get a Navarro reunion though.  As per my post above, I really hope we do start adding some legit AAAA talent soon. 

Let us check each possible free agent catcher, would we? Major League free agent catcher list bases on MLB.com; minor league free agent catcher bases on BA.com

MLB.com -- major league free agent catcher
Hundley, Nick age33
Pierzynski, AJ age40
Saltalamacchia, Jarrod age32
Suzuki, Kurt age33
Thole, Josh age30
Wieters, Matt age31

BA.com -- minor league free agent
Abreu, Adrain age25 lowA
Acosta, Mayo age29 SS
Anderson, Bryan age30 AAA
Ashley, Nevin age 32 AAA
Astudilo, Willians age25 AA
Berset, Chris age28 AAA
Blair, Carson age27 AAA
Booker, Zach age31 AAA
Clevenger, Steve age30 AAA
Conger, Hank age28 AAA
Del Castillo, Miguel age25 lowA
Dominguez, Wilmer age25 lowA
Glenn, Jeff age25 AAA
Gomez, Raywilly age26 AA
Hagerty, Jason age29 AAA
Hayes, Brett age32 AAA
Hurtado, Luis age28 AAA
Jones, PJ age23 AAA
Lopez, Rafael age29 AAA
Moore, Adam age32 AAA
Rodriguez, Jairo age28 AA
Santos, Omir age35 SS
Skipworth, Kyle age26 AAA
Thomas, Mark age28 AAA

Theses 2 lists are coming from one of my previous posts. The rosters may not be as updated as of now but pick one AAAA catcher, would you guys? Or trade Melvin Upton for Victor Martinez and cash. LHB Victor Martinez has 2017 and 2018 left in his contract. As Martinez or whoever backup catcher is signed to help Russell Martin, that backup catcher is not expected to have lots of PAs. Take V-mart as example. V-Mart shall land on the DL frequently, giving AJ Jimenez chances to showcase his ability in Toronto. If V-Mart will be a Jay, AJ Jimenez should have enough chance to prove himself when V-Mart's contract is going to expire at the end of 2018 season.
John Northey - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:20 PM EST (#338020) #
I suspect the FO is always considering the future, unless they are total idiots. 2017 looks to be the last year the Yankees won't be favorites for awhile depending on how their prospects pan out. In 2018 and beyond we should see some prospects showing up (Tellez for example) and the lineup changing quickly. By 2020 the lineup could be unrecognizable vs today.

Do you trade away ML players now, when you have maybe one more year without the giant Yankees as a dominate force, or do you go for it one more time hoping they don't grow too fast. Don't dump the future but recognize the division could be a LOT tougher in 2018 and beyond. Dumping potential stars like Vlad Jr. would be a major mistake.
cybercavalier - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:27 PM EST (#338021) #
erratum: Trade Smoak and Melvin Upton for Victor Martinez and cash. Goins and Gose would be icing on the cake.
John Northey - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:40 PM EST (#338022) #
My main point disappeared when hearing my daughter yelling (2 year olds are annoying).

Basically the Jays front office, knowing the Yankees and Red Sox are probably back to crazy strong in 2018 and beyond need to swing for the fences with prospects. Giving up high end ones now for a shot at winning in 2017 (last year before the Yankees start being THE Yankees again) would be tempting but the smart move is to hold onto them as 6 years of Vlad could be critical in 2019-2024 if the Jays want to be contenders, and the same with others. The Jays will need to penny pinch and not get big 7 year deals that could be albatrosses or they are royally screwed (see 2000-2014 for an example).

Stars and scrubs won't work, stars and more stars are needed. Not easy, but needed.
cybercavalier - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:42 PM EST (#338023) #
Northey,

Do you mean signing a bunch of AAAA players this offseason, and also looking out on how other teams NRIs panning out in spring training? Off my catcher lists posted in my last post, RHB Adam Moore seems to hovering around for many MLB and MiLB seasons....after first appearing in Seattle.
----
I wonder if this "Buy American, Hire American " policy of the new administration may seep into baseball.

Will there by any "Buy Canadian, Hire Canadian" inclination?
bpoz - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 07:57 PM EST (#338024) #
Good discussion.

Lets agree or disagree with J Nothery's point that NYY and the BoSox are going to become the Beasts of the East in 2018 and beyond.

My opinion only.They will become beasts. How are we going to compete? Keep prospects?

Marlow - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 09:40 PM EST (#338025) #
I was reading on another forum, that Clinton Hollon has been released by the Blue Jays (Source is from twitter https://twitter.com/CharlieCaskey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw). It is rather surprising development. I wonder if it was some off-field issues that led to this.

If so, it would not mark the first time the Jays have released someone with drug issues. When you look at Tyler Gonzales' minor league profile on milb.com, he was suspended by MLB for using substance of abuse back in 2014.



scottt - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 10:26 PM EST (#338026) #
The arb raises/salaries for 2018 of Donaldson, Stroman, Sanchez, Osuna, Pillar, and Travis will be equal to the money coming off the books from Liriano and Estrada.

The first year of arbitration is around 2-3M. Liriano and Estrada make 28M.
Of course, players getting high raises because of high performances is not really a problem.

The low number of minor leagues free agents signing is the results of having prospects at AAA.

Catcher:
Reese McGuire, Alex Monsalve, Mike Ohlman. A. J. Jimenez.

Outfield:
Cecillani, Pompey, Ramirez, Dwight Smith Jr.

Infield: Tellez, Opitz?, Goins?



scottt - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 10:34 PM EST (#338027) #
With respect to catchers, there's also Brayan Pena who seems to be missing from the lists above.

John Northey - Saturday, January 21 2017 @ 10:41 PM EST (#338028) #
No question the Jays should be very thankful the players union is now run very weakly. The new harder cap (not a cap but penalties getting so high it will be harder and harder to justify going over it) should help a lot. First draft pick being dropped 10 slots will hurt the Yankees and Dodgers long term.

Should be interesting next winter to see how it all falls out.
cybercavalier - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:09 AM EST (#338029) #
More from fangraphs from age 28 upwards,
Pena, Brayan age35(S), AAA
Kottaras, George age33-34(L), AAA
Easley, Ed age31(R) AAA
Cruz, Tony age30-31(R) AAA

statuses unknown
Difazio, Vinny age30-31(R) AAA
LF/RF/C/1B/3B Berg, Alex age29-30(R) AAA
Schlehuber, Braeden age29 (R) AAA

Interesting Berg, maybe a minor contract if available but his AAA hitting is in .600-.700 OPS....
Otherwise, not much useful to add to previous lists; or if you like Canadian....
cybercavalier - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:10 AM EST (#338030) #
Blair, Carson age27 AAA is gone. WhiteSox signed him days ago.
Glevin - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 03:48 AM EST (#338031) #
"It's interesting to me that while most people are focused on the Red Sox as the Jays' main competition in the AL East, Cashman has stealthily restocked the Yankees' farm system, to the point that it's now one of the very best in baseball. Don't be surprised if the Yankees emerge as the team to beat in the division, perhaps starting in 2018 or 2019."

Possible but I will take young major league talent over prospects and the Red Sox have incredible talent in their prime or before their primes. The Red Sox are set up to be a great team for the next three years. After that, they could be in trouble because they gutted their system for this window. Barring some surprising developments, I don't see the Yankees or the Jays passing the Red Sox until 2020. (Sale, Porcello, Hanley, Bogaerts all free agents).
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 09:45 AM EST (#338032) #
There is a Q&A on Sportsnet.ca with JP Arencibia. He mentions catching Mark Buehrle one time and Buehrle, of course, was throwing his usual 85 MPH fastballs. All of a sudden Buehrle called JP out to the mound and told him, " Dude, I think I'm in trouble! I threw that last pitch as hard as I could and it only went 84 MPH !" Arencibia said we both laughed and went back to work.
Mark Buehrle was a beauty. I miss him on the team.
uglyone - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 10:00 AM EST (#338033) #
the red sox have one great young talent they drafted and handful of other good ones. the rest they bought.
Glevin - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 10:19 AM EST (#338034) #
"the red sox have one great young talent they drafted and handful of other good ones. the rest they bought."

The Red Sox have hardly bought any players. 8/9 of their top WAR hitters were drafted. Only Ortiz was a free agent and he was hardly a huge signing at the time. They traded for Sale, Porcello, Pomeranz, and Kimbrel using drafted talent. Going into this season, their key players who they acquired as free agents are Price and Hanley (and Sandoval maybe). Their success comes from building a strong system that has brought major league talent into the system every year to either keep or trade for talent. The era of "buying" teams is over. Extra money will help a lot. It allows teams to make more mistakes, to live with flops, to lock up key players, and so on, but no team builds a core through free agency anymore.
scottt - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 10:35 AM EST (#338035) #
They drafted Beninendi, Betts, Bradley, Brentz, Pedroia, vazquez.

They just traded Shaw whom they drafted for a bullpen pitcher.

Bogaerts is an international signing, but they don't have that many of those on the roster.

uglyone - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 10:56 AM EST (#338036) #
correct.
uglyone - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 10:59 AM EST (#338037) #
pedroia has little to do with how they project going forward.

betts is awesome.

bogaerts/bradley/Benintendi are good.

any other projected future dominance from the sox is due to players they went out and got.
scottt - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:14 PM EST (#338038) #
Pedroia is signed for another 5 years. He could be in Boston after all the current Jays are gone from Toronto.

Last year, he was their second best player after Betts, ahead of Bradley and Ortiz.

scottt - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:26 PM EST (#338039) #
25 year old Royal pitcher Yordano Ventura just died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic.

RIP.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:29 PM EST (#338040) #
And Andy Marte died in a separate car accident. Terrible.
uglyone - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:49 PM EST (#338041) #
Pedroia is 33 years old. If he was a Jay everyone would be complaining we were stuck with 5 years of decline.
China fan - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 12:59 PM EST (#338043) #
".....the Pirates rumour was bogus...Bucs asked for Guerrero and that was the end of it....."

In fact, it wasn't a bogus rumour at all.   It was widely assessed as credible.  It's probably true that the Jays were unwilling to include Guerrero, but they certainly offered prospects.  In fact the Jays themselves have confirmed that they have been involved in trade negotiations during this off-season, and there is virtually no way for the Jays to make a trade without including prospects.  There have been many credible reports that the Jays tried to get McCutcheon and Watson, and it is just inconceivable that the Jays could acquire that kind of talent without including any prospects.

Or I could just quote your own words: "trading significant prospects for players with less than 4 years of control although I do know of one player they are trying to move that some would place in this category...no names for now...you will know if it happens"

I doubt that you actually do have insider access to the Jays brain-trust, but by your own admission in the above quote the Jays are willing to trade a significant prospect. Which is only logical.  To trade for a significant piece, you usually have to give up a significant piece.

China fan - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:10 PM EST (#338044) #
Here is Stoeten's assessment of the Pirates rumour, published Jan. 16:

If a fascinating rumour from well-connected Pirates blog Rum Bunter is to be believed (and I think it should be, at least if you read it carefully), they perhaps were genuinely trying to find an alternative to renewing their vows with Bautista right to the very end.

Quoting their source directly, Rum Bunter gives us this: The "Blue Jays have tried to talk a mega-deal with Pirates about Cutch and [lefty reliever Tony] Watson. Names coming back would have been Guerrero, Reid-Foley, Biagini, Tollez [sic], Harold Ramirez. These were the main names involved obviously nothing has gotten done. With the Jays close to signing Bautista that likely ends talks for now."

Now that's some wild stuff right there, and some fans will have a hard time believing it, given that this is a front office that reportedly scolded Alex Anthopoulos for trading away prospects, and that seemed so hung up this winter on getting draft picks.

But it doesn't quite say that the Jays went all in with all these names at once. It simply says that they "tried to talk" about a McCutchen-Watson deal, and that these were the names involved in the discussion. Talking is a long way from actually getting something done, and so maybe the Jays were simply exploring how far they'd have to go to really get the Pirates' attention. 

Or maybe, after a year with the previous regime's farm system, they've made their own evaluations, and feel that these are the guys at the top of their system who they see as being overvalued by the industry. Or maybe some are and some would have been the cost of doing business.


jerjapan - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:19 PM EST (#338046) #
I have a hard time getting sad over young millionaires getting high and killing themselves and others, tbh.

My brother died of a drug overdose, his own doing, and it was a devastating experience for his friends and family.  Let's not forget these players are human beings with people who love them, not just baseball cards. 
eudaimon - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:42 PM EST (#338047) #
I have a hard time getting sad over young millionaires getting high and killing themselves and others, tbh.

Sometimes when you have nothing good to say it's better to say nothing at all. Yordana was just a kid. RIP
Dr B - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:50 PM EST (#338048) #
Sorry to hear that Jerjapan. I am confident that that one person's insensitive comments do not represent the general feelings on the box.
jerjapan - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:51 PM EST (#338049) #
The low number of minor leagues free agents signing is the results of having prospects at AAA.

Catcher:
Reese McGuire, Alex Monsalve, Mike Ohlman. A. J. Jimenez.

Outfield:
Cecillani, Pompey, Ramirez, Dwight Smith Jr.

Infield: Tellez, Opitz?, Goins?


I hope so Scottt, although calling the likes of Monsalve, Ohlman, Smith and Opitz prospects is certainly generous.  I could see Berti in AAA, but the IF is wide open other than Tellez - unless Goins goes unclaimed.  We still need SP, catching, SS and 3B depth at AA and AAA , and possibly OF depth.  Are McGuire, Ramirez and Smith AAA ready?  Monsalve? 

Perhaps I'm sleeping on Ohlman or Monsalve as AAA players? 

jerjapan - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:54 PM EST (#338050) #
Thanks Dr. B.  I'm sure no disrespect intended, but I feel compelled to speak on behalf of people who've suffered similar losses. 
scottt - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 01:59 PM EST (#338051) #
Ventura signed for a 28K bonus and spent 5 years in the minors before he saw any real money.
He signed a team friendly 23M extension in the spring of 2015, but had only earned 2M so far.

His fastball topped at 102mph and he likely had a decent career ahead of him.
It's a loss anyway I look at it.

scottt - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 02:21 PM EST (#338052) #
Smith has spent 2 full years at AA now.  He should be competing for a spot at AAA.

The current Bisons rotation could look like:

Biagini, Jarrett Grube, Case Lawrence, Brett Oberholtzer, TJ House. 
Yeah, probably need a couple more.

Connor Greene, Aaron Sanchez's new training partner, should be moving to Buffalo at some point.

And by prospects, I just meant guys in their 20s.
Gerry - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 03:08 PM EST (#338053) #
uglyone, we have received a number of complaints regarding your insensitive post. I have un-featured that comment.

In political terms your comments do not appear to represent the majority of batters box posters. In less political terms it brings to mind Mark Twain's comment about keeping your mouth shut.
uglyone - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 05:34 PM EST (#338054) #
fair enough. sorry for your loss, jer. thankfully your bro didn't put others' lives at risk.
uglyone - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 05:49 PM EST (#338055) #
i apologize to everyone else too, and it would have been better to shut up, but drunk driving is something i feel compelled to condemn.
pubster - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 06:18 PM EST (#338056) #
UO what kind of things do you do to condemn and/or raise awareness about drunk driving. The issue seems important to you.
scottt - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 06:19 PM EST (#338057) #
Dombroski commented that they haven't been able to sign minor free agents with training camp invites as most players are still trying to find Major Leagues jobs.
jerjapan - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 06:26 PM EST (#338058) #
Thanks Ugly, it's appreciated. 

Scottt, that Dombrowsiki comment is interesting ... i'm hopeful there is more to come to this offseason for us and hadn't considered the impact of the slow market in MLB on the minor league FA market.

cybercavalier - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 08:02 PM EST (#338059) #
I could see Berti in AAA, but the IF is wide open other than Tellez - unless Goins goes unclaimed.  We still need SP, catching, SS and 3B depth at AA and AAA , and possibly OF depth.

"Train Canadians, Hire Canadians"
C Mike Reese age26 (L) has not hit beyond Dunedin
C Jorge Saez age26 (R) has played 2016New Hamsphire
CF/OF Mike Crouse age26 (R) in 2016independent league
RF/LF Marcus Knecht age26-27 (R) in 2016independent league

So it is possible to fill Buffalo and New Hamsphire roster with all Jays current and recent prospects.
Catcher
Buffalo: Ohlman, Jimenez, Monslave on shuttle, Saez? on shuttle
New Hamsphire: McGuire, Reese?, Monslave on shuttle, Saez? on shuttle
OF
Buffalo: Ceciliani, Pompey, Dwight Smith Jr., Crouse?, Knecht?
New Hampire: Ramirez
lexomatic - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 08:12 PM EST (#338060) #
There is a Q&A on Sportsnet.ca with JP Arencibia. He mentions catching Mark Buehrle one time and Buehrle, of course, was throwing his usual 85 MPH fastballs. All of a sudden Buehrle called JP out to the mound and told him, " Dude, I think I'm in trouble! I threw that last pitch as hard as I could and it only went 84 MPH !" Arencibia said we both laughed and went back to work.
Mark Buehrle was a beauty. I miss him on the team.

I love this anecdote. The funny thing is, I could totally see Buehrle deciding to do that because he thought JPA was looking too tense receiving.
PeterG - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 08:49 PM EST (#338061) #
Regarding the starting rotation in Buffalo, I expect a couple more minor league signings. I also think Shane Dawson or Taylor Cole could surprise in ST but more likely graduate to the Bisons during the season, I would like to see Cole tried as a reliever.
PeterG - Sunday, January 22 2017 @ 09:05 PM EST (#338062) #
"Also the Jays have signed 44 IFA's since July 2 almost double of previous year"

Mendocino, is there a list of these 44 anywhere as I don't recall that many being announced. Media misses most of these anyway.

mendocino - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 12:01 AM EST (#338063) #
My own list. went through the Jays transactions (mlb site) and Baseball America's weekly transactions. BA is usually first to announce and in time will show up on Jays mlb site.
Richard S.S. - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 03:43 AM EST (#338064) #
With the signing of Jose Bautista, the Jays' priority is a good defensive left-handed/Switch LF who hits well. In-house Carrera doesn't fill the need, while Pompey might. Free Agency might fill the position , but I think a Trade is more likely. Blue Jays need to get this one right.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 07:00 AM EST (#338065) #
No alcohol was found at the scene of Yordano Ventura's crash. Speeding on a dangerous road is believed to be the cause of the accident.
cybercavalier - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 09:23 AM EST (#338066) #
With the signing of Jose Bautista, the Jays' priority is a good defensive left-handed/Switch LF who hits well. In-house Carrera doesn't fill the need, while Pompey might. Free Agency might fill the position , but I think a Trade is more likely. Blue Jays need to get this one right.

If my fantasizing is allowed, I mentioned trading Smoak and Melvin Upton to Detroit for Victor Martinez and cash. This trade solves
for detroit:
1) salary dump
2) an RHB OF in Upton to help LHB OF
3) Smoak can help Cabrera at 1B or DH when the latter needs a rest. Cabrera was a converted 1B whereas Smoak started off as an 1B.

for Toronto
1) a switch batting potent bat in V-Martinez
2) Expected backup catching contribution as V-Mart is expected to land in DL. Can he still catch some games?
3) Expected missing time from V-Mart allows AJ Jimenez some PAs in Toronto. Then Jimenez can perform and be evaluated at real time.
4) Detroit pays some amount for V-Martinez' salary.
cybercavalier - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 09:26 AM EST (#338067) #
More
4) Smoak's payroll is converted to a payroll that contribute to the backup catching contribution
5) Jimenez, and Gose for that matter, shall have enough chance in 2017 and 2018 to showcase their skills. If they failed, well they would have their chances.

Chuck - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 12:12 PM EST (#338068) #
Expected backup catching contribution as V-Mart

Martinez caught 5 games total in 2013 and 2014 and has not caught since. I think it's fair to say his catching career is over.

Cracka - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 01:34 PM EST (#338069) #
Speeding on a dangerous road is believed to be the cause of the accident.Dominican Republic has five times the number of road fatalities per capita as compared to Canada (WHO data). It has the highest rate of road deaths in the Western Hemisphere and it's the largest cause of accidental death overall in DR. Players who "make it" from D.R. (and other poor countries) literally change the lives of their extended families and even their communities - their impact is wide & profound. These incidents are a tragic loss for so many people.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 02:34 PM EST (#338070) #
The Jays have signed Gregorio Petit to a minor league deal, and claimed Juan Graterol (catcher) off waivers.

I'd rather they go cheap with the back-up catcher than spend millions on a replacement level player (Salty's name was mentioned).
Jevant - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 03:27 PM EST (#338071) #
Agreed, in the hopes they invest that money elsewhere.  Like LF.

Getting Melky Cabrera back would be really nice, and I can't imagine the White Sox would be averse to dealing him.

rpriske - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 03:30 PM EST (#338072) #
I heard the Salty rumours and if that is the best still available I woudl rather they gave Graterol a chance.
PeterG - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 04:43 PM EST (#338073) #
I have heard the Salty rumours too but have also heard he is presently asking more than Jays wish to pay. We will see. I can add that team is trying to work out a deal with Boone Logan.
jerjapan - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 04:44 PM EST (#338074) #
I think we can do better than Salty, but Graterol looks like someone signed to back up in AA or AAA, not somebody who could hopefully be an adequate backup in the bigs if the stars align.  Petit provides a bit of sorely needed IF depth / versatility in AAA with Burns gone.   
SK in NJ - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 05:09 PM EST (#338075) #
One catcher I'd take a chance on if he came cheap is Hank Conger. He was rated very highly in pitch framing in 2014-15, but regressed in 2016. Probably hits as well as a typical back-up, more or less. Coming off a poor season.

Other than that, I'd avoid the Navarro's and Salty's of the world who might require deals in the millions yet provide limited defensive/framing value and aren't good enough with their bats to compensate.
Parker - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 05:41 PM EST (#338076) #
Yeah, I'm with SK. Jimenez might be as good defensively as anyone else available, but I wouldn't want the team to have to rely on him... he hasn't hit at AAA, or even at AA. He's about to get passed on the depth chart by Reese McGuire, and McGuire hasn't even dominated AA yet.

If the buzz on Ohlman is that he's a part-time C at best, there isn't another actual catcher in the system anywhere near ML-level. If Martin were to get injured, the current options look very bleak - McGuire looks to be on his way, but he's an actual prospect - he shouldn't be thrown to the wolves or relegated to the bench at this point, in my opinion.

Conger would be a very decent placeholder.
Richard S.S. - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 05:44 PM EST (#338077) #
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/01/blue-jays-claim-juan-graterol-designate-leonel-campos.html

I occasionally like a measured valuation of a Player rather than a "knee-jerk" reaction. Defensively he sounds like a valued acquisition. Very small sample-size says he can hit at the MLB level, and that says he's a good option for the Jays.
Parker - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 05:54 PM EST (#338078) #
I occasionally like a measured valuation of a Player rather than a "knee-jerk" reaction. Defensively he sounds like a valued acquisition. Very small sample-size says he can hit at the MLB level, and that says he's a good option for the Jays.

The same sample size would indicate that there are about 40 good defensive catchers who can hit at the MLB level who are available to the Blue Jays.
Richard S.S. - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 05:54 PM EST (#338079) #
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/01/blue-jays-sign-gregorio-petit-to-minor-league-deal.html

You need as many options for the Middle Infield job as possible. Does Goins hit better than he does?
scottt - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 06:09 PM EST (#338080) #
I don't see much difference between the Steamer projection for Jimenez and Graterol.
They both seems to offer decent defense which is what matters.

The projection for Melky is wrc+ 107 and 0.9 WAR over 600 PA.
Pompey is  wrc+86 and 0.5 WAR over 220 PA.

So, Melky is likely to contribute more with the bat, but Pompey is a better player who is likely to help the team more.
Also, going with Pompey would leave the door open to acquire someone else  along the way.

jerjapan - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 06:13 PM EST (#338081) #
Agreed on Conger, he's had strong framing numbers until this season and has real buy-low potential.  I asked this up thread - does anyone have a sense how framing skills change as a catcher ages? 

As for Graterol, from Richard's link: 

a career .274/.306/.338 hitter in parts of three seasons (95 games) at the Triple-A level and has halted stolen base attempts at a very strong 38 percent clip in the minors. Baseball Prospectus gives him average pitch-framing grades in the minors as well.

The D sounds promising, but the batting numbers don't look like he can 'hit at the MLB level' to me.

I also agree with Scottt on Pompey over Cabrera, unless the Sox are willing to pay most of his salary. 

jerjapan - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 06:24 PM EST (#338082) #
Anyone else interested in Joe Blanton for the pen?  His age and late-career emergence as a quality reliever might lead to a decent gamble.  Fernando Salas and Greg Holland could also be good signings ... any other relievers of interest out there? 
PeterG - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 06:42 PM EST (#338083) #
I think the FO must like Graterol as he takes a spot on 40 man when there are several still available that can likely be signed to a minor league deal. I would expect another to be signed in such a fashion.
scottt - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 06:45 PM EST (#338084) #
Blanton, Segio Romo, and Fernando Salas are interesting guys, if the price is right, but the Jays need a lefty first.
PeterG - Monday, January 23 2017 @ 08:28 PM EST (#338085) #
Does anyone know if Graterol has remaining option years? He was optioned in 2016 but it is not clear if he was on any 40 man previously to that as he was signed to a minor league contract in 2015. He has been a pro for 11 years so it is conceivable he could have used options prior to 2015 though he was never in majors. It has occurred to me that having remaining options could have been a reason he was claimed. He is said to be a very good receiver.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 12:02 AM EST (#338086) #
framing numbers

Where to check for framing stats? and how did you read them?
mendocino - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 02:49 AM EST (#338087) #
my list of 2016 IFA's
X- played DSL '16/released
*- played DSL '16
Name Pos B T Ht Wt DOB
XFelix Cornelius P R R 6'1 197 10-29-1997
XPedro Loficial P R R 6'2 190 05-21-1995
*Danilo Manzueta P R R 6'3 188 01-18-1997
*Anderson Nunez P R R 6'1 190 12-23-1997
Alvery De Los Santos P R R 6'4 180 07-18-1999
Ronald Magdaniel P R R 6'1 170 11-15-1996
Felipe Castaneda P R R 6'1 194 01-04-2000
Jol Concepcion P R R 6'5 195 09-17-1998
Yunior Hinojosa P R R 6'2 190 12-21-1999
Geremy Jimenez P R R 6'2 185 09-09-1999
Yohandy Martir P R R 6'4 200 10-27-1999
Brayan Mejia P R R 6'2 165 06-01-2000
Gaudy Ramirez P R R 6'2 175 09-11-1997
Jhon Victorino P R R 6'3 200 10-01-1998
Moises De La Cruz P R R 6'1 175 07-23-1999
Emanuel Vizcaino P R R 6'5 180 08-24-1999
Elieser Medrano P R R 6'2 180 08-17-1998
Roither Hernandez P R R 6'4 185 03-05-1998
Nathanael Perez P R R 6'1 160 06-05-1998
Juan Jimenez P R R 6'2 180 08-12-1997
Adolfo Molina P R R 6'4 200 04-26-1998
Elixon Caballero P R R 5'9 160 07-09-2000
Luis Alvarez P R R 6'0 170 02-08-2000
Alexander Molina P R R 6'1 155 02-17-2000

Juan Diaz P L L 6'0 175 06-19-1998
Rafael Monsion P L L 6'3 185 08-16-1999
Nicolas Medina P L L 5'10 160 01-15-2000
Naswell Paulino P L L 5'11 160 04-17-2000

Jeison Contreras P - - - - 01-07-2000

William Saavedra C R R 6'1 190 02-12-1998
Gabriel Moreno C R R 5'11 160 02-14-2000
Alejandro Kirk C R R - - 11-06-1998

*Jose Theran 2B R R 5'10 155 06-02-1998
Hector Guerrero SS L R 6'0 155 09-11-1997
Otto Lopez SS R R 5'10 160 10-01-1998
Yhon Perez IF R R 5'9 150 05-05-2000
Hugo Cardona SS R R 5'11 145 09-05-1999
Kenny Maurici SS - - - 03-16-2000
Steward Berroa IF S R 5'10 178 06-05-1999
Joseph Reyes IF L R 6'3 195 01-24-1998
Rafael Lantigua IF R R 5'8 153 04-28-1998

Andres Martinez RF R R 6'1 165 09-15-1997
Raiber Gutierrez CF R R 5'10 165 12-10-1999
Warnel Valdez OF L L 5'10 150 03-16-1999
bpoz - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 07:40 AM EST (#338088) #
Thanks for the list mendocino.
PeterG - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 09:31 AM EST (#338089) #
Thank you for the list. I am sure that many do not realize the commitment to development of the new FO. The high performance personnel and facility is being praised throughout the industry, especially by players who have actually see or experienced it.
PeterG - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 09:58 AM EST (#338090) #
Jim Callis talking about Vlad Guerrero jr. on MLB network. He called him an absolute stud who could be one of the top 3 prospects in the game sometime next year.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 03:02 PM EST (#338091) #
John Lott and Jonah Keri will be writing on the Blue Jays for the Athletic this year.

I am making it a policy of subscribing to online services with great writing.  I now mostly borrow books from the library (because I don't really want a gazillion books in my house), and I am using the money saved on books that I used to purchase, for online services.  I still buy a few books each year. 

mathesond - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 03:30 PM EST (#338092) #
Is it just me, or did the Rays get a pretty good return on Logan Forsythe?
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:00 PM EST (#338093) #
It depends on the health of De Leon's arm.  He's 24 and has never pitched more than 115 innings in a season, and has missed time with shoulder soreness.   Maybe the Dodgers or the Rays think that they have a leg up in understanding who stays healthy and who doesn't.  Or maybe the Rays intend to move De Leon to the pen and are very comfortable with his ability to deliver 70-80 great high leverage innings from there. 

Forsythe is a pretty good player, and I am reasonable comfortable that he will remain so for the next 2 years.  That said, I'm not crazy about the Dodgers' end of the deal.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:07 PM EST (#338094) #
Davidi just Tweeted that the Jays are close to signing Saltalamacchia.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:24 PM EST (#338095) #
Rosenthal confirms it now. It's a minor league deal. If Salty makes the team he gets $1.25M with $250k in incentives.
PeterG - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:28 PM EST (#338096) #
so 3 catchers will fight for the job at ST. If Graterol has options he is most likely headed to Buffalo unless he really outplays the other 2. They may start McGuire at New Hampshire.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:41 PM EST (#338097) #
Not crazy about Salty ... but those terms make a lot of sense.  I was surprised by his career defensive runs above average of 18.3, 1.0 last year, and an equally-surprisingly adequate 1.0 baserunning runs last year, per Fangraphs.

He's been close to -10 RAA (runs above average) per StatCorner's framing metric for the last four years though.

http://www.statcorner.com/CatcherReport.php

PeterG, I do think McGuire is best off starting in AA and with the recently added depth at C assume that's the plan.  Also, why are you so optimistic about Graterol?  He seems like an org soldier to me, although perhaps I'm missing something.  

How do the season's tickets holders among us feel about the cancellation of the 'State of the Franchise" event? 





#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:45 PM EST (#338098) #
The Jays continue to be fan-friendly. Not really!
92-93 - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 05:47 PM EST (#338099) #
Gotta cut corners somewhere for all this $ they're supposedly pumping into development!
PeterG - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 06:03 PM EST (#338100) #
I am not overly optimistic about Graterol but not pessimistic either. He had a good offensive year at AAA last season and is reported he is a fine receiver. He should be an ok back up to the back up. It does now look like McGuire will start at AA but may not finish there.

Money is much better spent on development (and at Shapiro's behest the Jays have spent a ton) than on over priced FA's.

Have a feeling, Logan is next up.
scottt - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 06:21 PM EST (#338101) #
Is it just me, or did the Rays get a pretty good return on Logan Forsythe?

I think it's a fair return, at best.
De Leon has great secondary stats at the minor levels, but he throws around 91mph and his best pitch is a changeup.
Could be a lot of growing pains, especially if you include his questionable health.

The Rays just gave up the guy who was their second best hitter after Longoria--who said he was upset by the move.
Over time, it might make the Rays better or it could be a complete bust.
This year, they obviously don't see themselves as contenders and are loading up where they can.
85bluejay - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 06:30 PM EST (#338102) #
This often repeated mantra by some posters that the Jays have spent a ton on development recently - where's the evidence? I know that teams like the Yankees,Dodgers,Rangers,Red Sox have spent a ton - maybe the jays have but some evidence would be helpful or maybe the High Performance Guy they hired is making 50m.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 06:51 PM EST (#338103) #
I'm happy with the attempt to find Russell's Backup Catcher. Atkins has done very well providing fine talent and good value at little cost. I fully expect Saltalamacchia to win the job so will update my numbers on Jays' spending's to reflect that. One to three Bullpen, Left Fielder and additional depth are still to come. How long it takes, no one knows, but it shouldn't be too much longer.
scottt - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 07:09 PM EST (#338104) #
The Mets have told Bruce that they have given up on trying to trade him. Picking his option was one of the worse move of the winter.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 07:16 PM EST (#338105) #
Career vRHP:

Salty (32): 2299pa, 103wrc+
Smoak (30): 2010pa, 100wrc+

scottt - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 07:42 PM EST (#338106) #
Salty could work if they keep him away from lefties. His defense isn't great, though.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 07:49 PM EST (#338107) #
His framing and arm aren't good, but his D rates out a positive at Fangraphs.  I don't believe either of those elements are included in that rating?  I was surprised to see him as a generally positive defender. 
dan gordon - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 07:55 PM EST (#338108) #
Saltalamacchia has a career OPS of .762 vs righties. If they put him in against righties only, I think he's a nice addition as the backup catcher.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 08:10 PM EST (#338109) #
Very poor framer but at the end of the day it's a back-up catcher who at best will make $1.5M so in the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal. It's non guaranteed and reasonably cheap, so it shouldn't prohibit them from getting a more critical piece if someone's price drops in the OF or RP market. I wouldn't have cared if they went cheap with someone like Jimenez, but don't blame them for wanting someone more established.
Parker - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 08:24 PM EST (#338110) #
It's very difficult to imagine a scenario where Saltalamacchia provides less value than Josh Thole.

And for similar money.

Nice to see that the Jays are done with throwing away entire roster spots on players who, based on their merits, would probably get cut from an independent league team.

Finally.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 24 2017 @ 10:39 PM EST (#338111) #
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/01/hector-mendoza-free-agent-cuba-mlb.html

Would Shapiro/Atkins have interest? He's not available until March 5, but can they afford him? He only costs cash so will they have enough left?
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 09:07 AM EST (#338112) #
The question with Salty is whether his precipitous batting decline over the last 2 years means that he is done.  I don't think so.  He has struck out at an alarming rate, but he is not swinging and missing any more than he used to.  I think that the back-up catcher role (with 150-250 PAs in a season) is perfect for him, and will allow him to refine his batting approach a bit and to take fewer strikes. 

He has not been a good defensive catcher, no matter how you look at it- SB/CS, framing, ERA, whatever.  He needs to have a pretty good bat to make up for that.

It's a good depth signing.

jerjapan - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 09:36 AM EST (#338113) #
Mike, why does he rate a net positive in Def - defensive runs above average at Fangraphs?  That stat considers blocking and uses DRS' stolen base component but he's obviously poor as catching basestealers.

also, where is a good source for catcher ERA?  or is their a superior stat for measuring a catcher's impact on pitching?

jerjapan - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 09:40 AM EST (#338114) #
Richard, I assume the FO would have interest in Mendoza and his situation is a lot like Gurriel's.  If the price is right and our scouts like the guy, I hope we are in on him, but that does limit our budget further and the report you linked suggested that he'll need time in the minors.  Unless management thinks he can have relief success this season for the big league club, we might be too financially strapped to make a move.

I'd still like to see  a couple of reliever signings like the Salty move - low or no guaranteed contracts with a lot of incentives.  the LHP market seems too overpriced for a value signing.  And Greg Holland continues to interest me if the price is right, another high risk, high reward type move. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:28 AM EST (#338115) #
To answer your questions, jerjapan:
- Salty has a positive "defence" number on the fangraphs "dashboard" because his negative fielding number is outweighed by the positive adjustment for his position; you can see it in the value section at the bottom of his fangraphs page
- you can see catcher ERA on BBRef in the advanced tab for fielding for catchers

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:34 AM EST (#338116) #
John Lott has an interesting piece in the Athletic today (subscriber only).  I did not know that Connor Greene is learning from (veteran!) Aaron Sanchez on pitching downhill. 
uglyone - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:39 AM EST (#338117) #
fangraphs pretty much just gives up on catcher defense and just gives the catcher credit for playing the position (with maybe passed balls / caught stealings factored in not sure).
Parker - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:41 AM EST (#338118) #
Base-stealing success is almost exclusively the fault of the the pitcher, not the catcher.

...unless you're J.P. Arencibia and you throw the ball into CF every time you try to throw out a runner at second.

Although, I suppose in Arencibia's defence, the majority of those stealing attempts would still have been successful SB's even if he just held onto the ball.

Anyway, framing and blocking are much more important concerns... Thole is awful in that regard, but then again, so is Salty. I guess Thole gets the benefit of the doubt because the only job he's ever had in the Majors was to catch the strangest and most difficult pitch, so his numbers are likely never going to be great in that regard.

But at least Salty can hit a little. Jimenez provides defence, but he's never been able to stay healthy, and he's never been able to hit above Advanced A. Ohlman can hit a little, but all reports say he's a terrible receiver.

If Reese McGuire doesn't take a huge step forward very quickly, Salty currently has a commanding lead on the rest of the pack when it comes to the second catcher in the Blue Jays system.
uglyone - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:41 AM EST (#338119) #
As for pitch framing imo BP has the only worthwhile number - which factors in catcher, pitcher, and umpire - but it's behind a paywall now.
Parker - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:50 AM EST (#338120) #
Well hopefully the Jays analytics department also has access to the $55/yr it takes to purchase a BP subscription.
uglyone - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:53 AM EST (#338121) #
Are you attacking them for the signing or me for liking it?
China fan - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 11:28 AM EST (#338122) #
I'm surprised that some people are wondering whether the Jays might use Saltalamacchia mostly against RHP.   Of course they will.  They will be able to choose whom he faces, and his splits will be a huge factor.  Martin will face the LHP plus most of the RHP, while Salty will face exclusively RHP.  About 75% of starting pitchers in MLB are righties, so it will be easy to do this. 

Oddly enough, Martin hit better against RHP than LHP last season, but his career splits are clear enough: he hits better against LHP, while Salty hits RHP better, so Martin will face all the lefties plus most of the righties.

The net result is a good pairing of two catchers who can be used in the strongest way, and this should be a big upgrade over last season.  Even in his poor 2016 season, Saltalamacchia hit much better against RHP than Josh Thole did in the past three seasons, and the career numbers favor Salty even more. I really don't see any chance of anyone except Saltalamacchia getting the back-up job.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 11:29 AM EST (#338123) #
FWIW, Steamer projects McGuire to hit .234/.285/.308;.  In other words, like a generic back-up catcher.  With his above-average defensive skill, that would probably make him the best actual option for the role if development were not a concern. 

It is important for his development to play every day.  If he takes a small step forward in the first half, there would be nothing wrong with the club promoting him at some point in the second half of the season. 
uglyone - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 11:31 AM EST (#338124) #
Either way, we have all the flexibility in the world not to have to forcefeed him playing time if he isn't performing.

That's the way to build a bench imo.

not guaranteed contracts to replacememt players like Smoak and carrera (both of whom salty is a better bet to be more valuable than).
John Northey - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 11:44 AM EST (#338125) #
Funny how many see basestealing as mainly the pitcher but we still saw Mike Piazza wait years to get into the HOF while I-Rod got in instantly thanks to ability to throw out baserunners. Piazza was known for his spending tons of time working with his pitchers and studying opposing teams hitters to be a better help to his staff and had mainly top 5 ERA teams in his career. I-Rod, on the other hand, was known early in his career to skip those meetings and to call more fastballs so he could throw out more baserunners as he took tons of pride in his 50%+ CS rate. I really wanted I-Rod to wait a few years to get in as I felt he was drastically overrated in his career.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 12:00 PM EST (#338126) #
Pitch-Framing is basically keeping strikes a strike. It's something a Catcher usually learns, but needs a conscious effort and steady use. It's not something you forget, It's something you decide not to do. Jarrold Saltalamacchia wasn't always a poor defender, he has been better. Somewhere he just stopped being better. Russell Martin will have words with him about this, of that I am sure.

The point I am making is that Salty can catch Number One Catcher minutes because he has the experience to do so if it is necessary. Between Russell Martin, Brook Jacoby and other Staff, Salty could be better defensively and offensively because they don't need him to be such. Most Catchers, not named Thole, get somewhat better when they come to Toronto, why not him?
PeterG - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 12:08 PM EST (#338127) #
I am surprised that many are simply assuming that Salty will be the major league back up. He very well may be but as he is on a minor league contract, he will have to win the job in ST. There will be several competitions in ST this season. It should be interesting.
Glevin - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 01:03 PM EST (#338128) #
"I am surprised that many are simply assuming that Salty will be the major league back up. He very well may be but as he is on a minor league contract, he will have to win the job in ST. There will be several competitions in ST this season. It should be interesting."

He would have to be completely awful to not win the job. He has lots of major league experience, can hit major league pitching and the competition is weak.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 01:42 PM EST (#338129) #
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/01/dodgers-designate-carlos-frias-for-assignment.html
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/f/friasca01.shtml?utm_campaign=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-

If he gets this far, I think the Jays should be interested. Ideal replacement for the 2015 Marco Estrada swingman role.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 01:47 PM EST (#338130) #
RIP Butch Trucks, the Allman Brothers Band drummer.  I did not know that he was the nephew of great MLB pitcher Virgil Trucks. 
PeterG - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 02:00 PM EST (#338131) #
He was completely awful last season. The competition is much better than him defensively and that is more important for the back up C. If he was seen as a slam dunk, he would have been signed sooner to a major league contract.

Experience means nothing if you can't play. He will have every opportunity to win the job in ST but it is not a given.
Chuck - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 02:14 PM EST (#338132) #
The competition is much better than him defensively and that is more important for the back up C.

Why?

PeterG - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 02:23 PM EST (#338133) #
Because it affects the pitching staff and the defense if the catcher is a poor receiver. loses strikes for the pitcher and is helpless against the running game. Most back up C's are good field, no hit for a reason. In order for to make up for his poor receiving, Salty will have to hit much better. Maybe he will but if he does not, someone else will win the job. With Martin in the WBC, they will get a good look at the other C's. I am not writing him off at this point but I do want whoever get's the job to have won it by showing he is the best candidate. Hopefully that will be decided in ST.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 02:29 PM EST (#338134) #
Russell Martin catches a lot of games and plays hurt frequently. Why? John Gibbons didn't trust his Backup Catcher (Thole) enough to regularly play him more, possibly due to lack of offense. That won't be an issue with Saltalamacchia, he will hit enough in Spring Training (Martin at WBC) to give John Gibbons enough confidence to use him more if needed. Of that I am sure.
Chuck - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 02:56 PM EST (#338135) #
Most back up C's are good field, no hit for a reason.

Yeah, but is that reason the fact that they were specifically targeted for being strong defensively? Or because that profile of player is basically all that's available in the pool of backup catcher candidates?

You may well be right that this is by design. But I don't know that I agree that a backup catcher who provides more offense than defense is by definition a bad thing. Just having a backup catcher who does anything useful is a nice bonus. For all we know, Saltalamacchia works well with pitchers, even if he's a lousy thrower. As John mentioned, Piazza's pitchers always had good things to say about him despite what the world thought of his defense.

PeterG - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 03:06 PM EST (#338136) #
I agree that there is a grey area here and we don't know which Salty will show up.....the one pre 2015 or what he has been lately. I do have confidence in AJ defensively but am less confident he will stay healthy or will hit. He will be better than Salty's offence of 2016.

All I am now arguing is that ST will give us a much better idea than we have now and the job should be up for grabs depending on who looks better.
Chuck - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 03:17 PM EST (#338137) #
All I am now arguing is that ST will give us a much better idea

Yes, except now you're subjecting yourself to the perils of small samples, further aggravated by the quality of opposition pitching being all over the map.

Unless one of the minor leaguers dazzles (and I don't know what that threshold even looks like), I think Saltalamacchia will get the benefit of the doubt given all his MLB experience.

jerjapan - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 03:25 PM EST (#338138) #
Thanks for the feedback on Fangraphs D numbers. 

Ugly, what do you think about the framing numbers at StatCorner?

http://www.statcorner.com/CatcherReport.php

On a different topic, today being Bell's "Let's Talk" initiative to raise money and awareness for mental health - to anyone out there going through mental health issues, or supporting a loved one who does, as a sufferer myself I say, thank you and stay strong!

Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 03:34 PM EST (#338139) #
Don't forget, the Roster is John Gibbon's decision. He might give a little on Glenn Sparkman if it's close, but he decides.
PeterG - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 05:47 PM EST (#338140) #
No Richard, those decisions are made by the GM. Roster decisions are a big part of his job. Gibbons only makes playing time decisions with the roster he is given though he will have input into roster construction.

In this case, should Atkins want to give AJ an opportunity at the start of the season, that's what will happen. If Gibbons disagreeshis input will be taken into consideration but Atkins decides and Salty would go to Buffalo or become a FA. It could just as easily go the other way, with Atkins preferring to see Salty in regular season games and try and get Jimenez through waivers. That will be his call. There will be other catchers in the mix but unless another is brought in it will be between these 2 with Atkins deciding and Gibbons with input. As Graterol appears to have options, it would appear that he is slated for Buffalo to begin the season.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 06:26 PM EST (#338141) #
[Hank Conger's] had strong framing numbers until this season and has real buy-low potential.  I asked this up thread - does anyone have a sense how framing skills change as a catcher ages? 
Previous posts above by other posters represent me these: given that the switch hitter Saltalamacchia is signed, he and AJ Jimenez formed an offense and defense privilege respectively, Further, Salty hit right handed pitching better than left so Jimenez, in my thought, can be used for left handed pitching. Meanwhile, both catchers are secondary choices behind Martin.
Given the Eric Thames' success in the KBO, would Conger go to South Korea to play catch? Thames prospered at age 28-30 and Conger will be 29 in 2017 regular season. Conger is a Korean American, maybe another advantage that he can connect with Korean pitchers.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 07:36 PM EST (#338142) #
McCown on his show today said that, as far as he knows, it was Rogers ownership that made the push to sign Bautista.

http://bluejaysnation.com/2017/1/25/mccown-ownership-insisted-on-the-bautista-signing



scottt - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 07:52 PM EST (#338143) #
Either way, it's mostly been Rogers who has limited the free agent signings over the year by simply keeping the payroll low.

Bautista was the best outfielder left on the market and they were able to sign him on a 1 year contract.

The catching situation looks set. We just need to replace Cecil and we're good to go.

bpoz - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 07:58 PM EST (#338144) #
Our offense has a lot of power this year again. However we will probably have stretches when it struggles.

We should contend.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 08:58 PM EST (#338145) #
The only potential positive to Rogers meddling is if they pony up for a Donaldson extension, or make a competitive offer when he's a free agent. I'm not a fan of having older players on big money deals in their 30's, but players like Donaldson are an exception. Outside of that, the less Ed Rogers' name is brought up when it comes to roster decisions, the better.

Regardless, Bautista's deal might have been a case of Rogers stepping in, or could have been a case of the FO seeing the value of bringing him back on a low risk deal (one year + options that are not likely to be exercised) when all of their other options presumably failed. I have no doubt that the FO valued the comp pick, and probably would have been fine if Jose signed elsewhere in December, but when he was unsigned in mid-January and the Jays still needed help in the OF, it made too much sense not to come to a short-term agreement.
pubster - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 09:35 PM EST (#338146) #
"No Richard, those decisions are made by the GM. Roster decisions are a big part of his job. Gibbons only makes playing time decisions with the roster he is given though he will have input into roster construction."

Lol. Unless you're on the inside you cant KNOW in this. However, it might be a good guess.

"The only potential positive to Rogers meddling..."

When you own the team it's not meddling.
PeterG - Wednesday, January 25 2017 @ 10:55 PM EST (#338147) #
The GM , or whomever is filling that role, makes the roster decisions on all teams. Field managers have input, some maybe more than others.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 07:42 AM EST (#338148) #
When ownership interferes with baseball decisions, then yes, it is meddling. Just set the payroll and let Shapiro/Atkins work within those parameters. Ownership obviously has to sign off on any payroll related issues, but baseball moves? No. I'd rather they stay far away, especially Ed Rogers. That's the whole point of having a baseball guy as team president.
Chuck - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 08:26 AM EST (#338149) #
MLB is not done yet with Brandon Morrow. He just signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers, baseball's version of an upstate New York farm where all sore-armed pitchers go to spend the balance of their days.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 09:05 AM EST (#338151) #
upstate New York farm

So, that's what they meant when they said the "Dodgers had the best farm system". 

By the way, the Dodgers have farms in Cooperstown, Attica, and Saratoga Springs- the right place for the right sore-armed pitcher.
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 09:17 AM EST (#338153) #
keep an eye on Craig Breslow.
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 09:53 AM EST (#338154) #
in a healthy org the manager is usually given free reign to make roster and playing time decisions, especially for teams that are contending, though of course there's collaboration.
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:13 AM EST (#338155) #
The field manager does not make roster decisions as he often is unaware of some of the possible implications of player movement. The field manager determines line ups and playing time from game to game. This is elementary . The field manager may ask for a particular call up or whatever but the GNM makes the decision.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:13 AM EST (#338156) #
Trevor Hoffman looks like he is headed for the Hall of Fame.  Here's my question- how many ace relievers who were as good or better than him are not in the Hall? It looks to me like my answer is 5: Hiller, Lee Smith, Wagner, Nathan and Quiz. 

Hoffman is about as good a pick as Bruce Sutter; well, actually not as good.  Sutter has the pitch; Hoffman has the saves record.  The pitch is of more significance. Ugh. 

Mike Green - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:18 AM EST (#338157) #
free reign

Some managers do think that they are kings, instead of jockeys.  Fortunately, Gibbons doesn't.  He often talks about his horses. 
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:31 AM EST (#338158) #
"The field manager does not make roster decisions as he often is unaware of some of the possible implications of player movement."

Saying this over and over again doesn't make it true.
eudaimon - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:45 AM EST (#338162) #
The manager certainly can give input and ask for roster changes. Maybe he doesn't personally sign the paperwork, but the manager definitely has a bit of power.
Chuck - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:45 AM EST (#338163) #
free reign

The manager of the KC Royals has free reign. As did the manager of the KC Monarchs. What's with all the blue blood in Missouri? Is it the state's French origins?

PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:50 AM EST (#338165) #
stunned disbelief !
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:53 AM EST (#338166) #
http://news.nationalpost.com/sports/mlb/toronto-blue-jays-manager-john-gibbons-doing-things-his-way

"DUNEDIN ó On the last day of spring training in Florida, John Gibbons stands strong, confident and yet somehow alone in a position he didnít expect to find himself in, the winner and suddenly new champion of almost all the important baseball decisions.

There is no lame duck beside his name. Gibbons may be nobodyís man on this Blue Jays team, having not been hired by general manager Ross Atkins or team president Mark Shapiro, but more than ever before it seems he is clearly his own man. And on Wednesday morning, when he announced that Roberto Osuna would again close games for the Jays, he could have said something else that wasnít included.

He could have said ó this is my team and if Iím going down (which he isnít) Iím going down doing things my way.

His team. His time. His decisions. A manager on an island winning thus far in the Blue Jays board room.

Alex Anthopoulos, who he was beholden to, is gone. Anthopoulos was the only reason Gibbons was managing the Jays. Paul Beeston, who had to sign off on his surprising return years back, is happily in retirement. Gibbons came to this spring training truly unsure of what anyone thought of him, with a new contract and a little less security in hand, not knowing the way of his new bosses. But in a private moment Wednesday, he must have cracked open a cold one and appreciated that his word isnít just being considered around here. Itís being respected and more than considered.

The two big roster decisions of the spring ó who would be the final starting pitcher named and who would end up closing games ó are done, as is the final roster, and both went Gibbonsí way."



If there is strong disagreement on personnel decisions between a GM and the manager, then that's when somebody usually gets fired.
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:01 AM EST (#338167) #
I did say that the Manager has varying degrees of input. The GM makes all final roster decisions. That is his job. If a Manager ask for something that makes sense, he usually gets it, but he is not normally aware of organizational implications. If roster construction is not the job of the GM, what is?

Some people are posting blatantly false information on here and need to be called out. A trade is a roster decision. Who is making trades for KC-the GM of the field manager?

Again, this is elementary and should not even be a discussion.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:07 AM EST (#338168) #
The manager of the KC Royals has free reign

Just as long as there's no Grey Goose in the dugout.

I hate to wade into a really silly dispute, but it seems to me that this business of GM/AGM/Manager role in roster composition is nuanced but at the same time pretty clear.  Managers pretty clearly have a lot of input in the structure of a team- does the team go with 8 or 7 or 6 relievers? how much platooning/bench use will take place and what are the roster needs associated with that?.  Managers also may have a lot of input on a particular player or three (particularly from a negative perspective)- I don't think so and so is ready, or I think that John Doe is such a miserable sob that he takes away more than he adds and I don't ever want to see his face again. On the other hand, if Manager says "I really need hot prospect at shortstop rather than mediocre vet out of spring training" and GM/AGM says "I'm sorry but we don't want to blow a year of service time", the GM/AGM will have the last word and the Managers simply has to suck it up. 

No one believes that all these organizations are hiring General Managers and (multiple) Assistant General Managers with no authority for roster decisions, do they?  It seems like it would be an ungodly waste of money if that were true.
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:07 AM EST (#338169) #
The GM's job is to assemble talent.

The manager's job is to apportion playing time.

If the GM doesn't like the way the manager does his job, the manager gets fired.
Gerry - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:09 AM EST (#338170) #
I agree with Peter G on this. The GM puts together the roster. The manager can lobby for players he wants but its the GM's decision who gets on there.

We see this most often on opening day. The manager wants the hot shot prospect on his team but the GM wants to keep him in the minors for a month or two to give the team another year of service time and to, in some cases, stop the prospect from becoming a super two. The manager wants the player but he doesn't get him.

The manager usually has a short term focus, this season. The GM usually has a multi-year view.

***The exception to the above is Mike Scioscia who has special rules for the Angels.
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:12 AM EST (#338171) #
Now you are saying exactly what I posted. I said that the Manager is in charge of playing time. The GM not only assembles talent .but changes it as needed. In other words, his job is to make roster decisions .Roster decision and playing time are 2 different things. Some apparently don't know the difference. That is all.
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:24 AM EST (#338172) #
the GM can do anything he wants. he's the boss.

in a healthy organization, however, the manager gets free reign to decide which players fill out the bottom of the roster, especially if the goal of the team is to contend.

a GM prioritizing asset management while the team is trying to contend is usually a bad situation.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:54 AM EST (#338173) #
A person will have his own opinion about "something". It may be right or it may be wrong, but that does not matter. It is that person's opinion. The opinion is his/her opinion and will be defended harshly against all challengers. Opinions can change, but a personal decision does this, not outside infulence. Attacking an opinion is unwise as it shows a lack of maturity. Disagreeing with an opinion is common and can be a lot of fun or it can be down and dirty. I enjoy the fun on this site, not the other, it unnecessary because opinions seldom agree.
92-93 - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 12:02 PM EST (#338174) #
"And on Wednesday morning, when he announced that Roberto Osuna would again close games for the Jays"

It's a quote from 2016 and it may be referring to Gibby choosing Osuna over Storen as closer, but it wasn't too long ago that we were still discussing Roberto Osuna the starter. I've been hearing that they plan on bringing Biagini to camp as the 6th SP, and I wish that Osuna wanted to be a starter as well. One can hardly blame him, though, for relishing his success as a dominant MLB reliever and being happy with staying in the big leagues and earning 6m+ in arbitration next year. If the team spends its remaining shekels on a few relievers, maybe Gibby will feel he has the bullpen depth to use Osuna less frequently but for longer stints in high leverage situations.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 12:16 PM EST (#338175) #
John Gibbons started 2016 with a raw rookie GM named Ross Atkins. While there might have been discussion, that Roster decision was his. This year that might change but I doubt it. I think the relationship has developed trust in each other that they agree on most things.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 12:35 PM EST (#338176) #
Totally agree with you on Osuna's usage 92-93.  I love the idea of a relief ace pitching more innings than a typical closer, especially given Osuna's preference to stay in the pen. 

I wonder if the FO is simply honouring his preference or if they actually feel that Osuna as a reliever is the best deployment of resources given our place on the win curve and team needs? 

I get the logic of Biagini as 6th starter, but man, who is going to relieve?  If Biagini has to start, one could argue that Danny Barnes is third on our reliever depth chart. 

Stoeten has written some good stuff on Edward Rogers, who appears to have simply been flexible with the budget so the FO could sign a valuable player who otherwise may not fit.  If corporate thought is not the exclusive bottom line for the org, I can't see a drawback.  This isn't Arte Moreno insisting that the Angels trade for Vernon. 

PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 12:46 PM EST (#338177) #
I think that the idea of Biagini starting in Buffalo is the preference of the FO. However, if he is needed in the pen, there will be an adjustment. Biagini will be stretched in ST so it can go either way.

This is a perfect example of what was being previously discussed. Gibbons will have input on which way it goes, but Atkins will make the final call based on what is best for the organization now and in the future.
John Northey - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 01:31 PM EST (#338178) #
When it comes to GM vs manager for roster choices there are a few major factors...

a) who has had the most success? If a manager has multiple WS titles they tend to be allowed to take who they want, if the manager is a rookie then the manager is told who is on the roster. All points inbetween exist as well.

b) Who makes more? If the manager is a hired gun ala Lou Pinella back when he gets tons of leaway to pick a roster regardless of success. If the GM is a hired gun like our current president is then he has all the power.

c) How co-operative is the team - is it a consensus team or a 'my way or the highway' one? That can determine everything.

The Jays seem to be a consensus team traditionally and currently. Our team president is a hired gun but our GM isn't and the manager has some success with 2 ALCS appearances but not a ton. I suspect if it is a battle between AAAA players for the last roster slot then it is purely in Gibbons hands. If kids are involved then the GM steps in and says 'not yet' or 'get his feet wet'.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 01:36 PM EST (#338179) #
In the latter part of the Winter Meetings Mark Shapiro had a media availability thingy that should still be accessible on the webby. He said, when asked that Joe Biagini would start the Season in the Bullpen because Cecil signed elsewhere. Now I would like see Biagini stretched out in Spring, but unless he's needed to Start he goes into the Bullpen. I would like the Jays to sign Travis Wood to do the same thing.

In-house options are, at best, lacking. So replacing Biagini, who's very cheap, so he can start in AAA will cost another $5.0-$7.0 Million the Jays do not have or rather need on LHP. Roberto Osuna has a proven track record as a Closer. Jason Grilli has a proven track record as a good Reliever. Joe Biagini is the only effective Reliever without questions. Gavin Floyd (Minor League Contract) has durability/health questions.
92-93 - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 02:40 PM EST (#338180) #
At this point, it's likely a combination of Osuna's preference to relieve and the best deployment of resources. It could be a very fluid situation, though. Maybe if things don't go well in 2017 the team will look to fill the holes created by the departing Liriano & Estrada with Osuna & Biagini, even if they spend the year in the bullpen.

The bullpen losing Osuna right now would be a tremendous blow, but I don't think the same can be said for Biagini, especially once the front office is done prudently waiting out the RP market and adding 2-3 arms. The results were certainly great last year but I felt like he was a bit more lucky than dominant at times; he was very fortunate with his HR rate. If the development team thinks that Biagini's sinker is enough for him to be stretched out, it makes sense to have him working on being an SP in Buffalo for the first half of the season considering the Jays SP depth issues.
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:04 PM EST (#338181) #
Personally, I just don't see why anyone has a realistic hope that Biagini can become a good mlb SP at age 27.
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:37 PM EST (#338183) #
"I mean, when have your personal opinions been RIGHT in the last three years?"

You mean like saying Biagini was a smart pickup who might easily be a good reliever for us, and saying he was a favorite to win a spot in ST?

that kind of opinion?





pubster - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:38 PM EST (#338184) #
"the GM can do anything he wants. he's the boss. "

Oh really? lol. AA didn't seem like the boss, especially when he departed.

The owners are at the top of the ladder. And even they can't do whatever they want, because there are rules they have to follow.
pubster - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:41 PM EST (#338185) #
"I agree with Peter G on this. The GM puts together the roster."

Isn't the entire reason AA left, because he felt that he didn't have enough freedom to put together the roster?

Shapiro is NOT the gm, but he seems to have a big role in the roster.
pubster - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:45 PM EST (#338186) #
"The GM makes all final roster decisions."

If this was the case wouldn't AA still be here?
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:47 PM EST (#338187) #
I think, and this is just an opinion, that Shapiro has more of a role in terms of direction with Atkins being in charge of specifics. I have heard that Shapiro is spending more and more time on other issues such as the remodeling of Rogers Centre.
Gerry - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:48 PM EST (#338188) #
The reason AA left is because he wouldnt be the GM as we know it. He might have had that title but he would be reporting to Shapiro who would make all the final decisions. AA left because he was going from having final say (within his budget) to not having it.

All you guys who think Gibby decides on the roster you are welcome to your alternative facts.
pubster - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 03:57 PM EST (#338189) #
"When ownership interferes with baseball decisions, then yes, it is meddling"

Nope its not. Here's the definiition of meddle:

1. interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one's concern
2. touch or handle (something) without permission.

Ownership owns the baseball team (obviously). So everything that happens to the team is really their concern.

Now I'm not saying that I want ownership to be hands on, but if I fork over a billion dollars for a sports franchise I'll do whatever I want with it.

Is Mark Cuban meddling if he is involved with basketball decisions?
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:00 PM EST (#338190) #
What exactly is the manager's job, if not to make bottom roster playing time decisions?
pubster - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:03 PM EST (#338191) #
"The reason AA left is because he wouldnt be the GM as we know it. He might have had that title but he would be reporting to Shapiro who would make all the final decisions."

Yes I agree completely!

My point is that the decision making process is a very involved process and it seems as if more and more people have input in it now. It is evolving.

So none of us should act like we know who has how much say (unless you have some inside information). You shouldn't present your opinion as fact. That's really it.
Parker - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:08 PM EST (#338192) #
You mean like saying Biagini was a smart pickup who might easily be a good reliever for us, and saying he was a favorite to win a spot in ST?

that kind of opinion?

"Personally, I just don't see why anyone has a realistic hope that Biagini can become a good mlb SP at age 27."


...

Yes, precisely that.

Your personal opinions seem to change almost daily.

Biagini WAS a smart pickup. Today, you don't personally see how anyone could have a realistic hope that Biagini could become a good MLB starter at age-27.

Your defense of that personal opinion from a year ago is, based on your own self-quote, that he was a favorite to join the rotation out of 2016 Spring Training?

After a very successful stint in the 2016 bullpen, he's now LESS likely to be an MLB starter?

Feel free to disagree, but it seems like you're trying to use your own quotes to prove yourself wrong. Maybe what you're saying is that you don't think Biagini is any good as a starter despite what you said about him being a favorite to join the rotation a year ago? Did you think the team was wrong in considering him for a rotation spot a year ago? It's puzzling that you try to use that self-quote as an argument, since you didn't make any mention of how you felt the organization was mistaken in that regard.

Until today.

Perhaps you could elaborate. I'm sure that you will.
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:18 PM EST (#338193) #
Is it possible that Salty and AJ could both be kept at the expense of Smoak. Has Salty not played 1b in the past? I don't think is a likely scenario but one of several possibilities. ST will be very interesting this year.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:23 PM EST (#338194) #
I'm with Ugly on Biagini's chances of being an MLB starter ... that's why he was available in the rule v draft last year, exposed by an org that doesn't have much in the way of prospect depth after his one good minor league season.  A late round draft pick, old for his age throughout his minors career, with poor KO rates as a starter - he's a longshot in the rotation, 68 solid relief IPs last year aside.  He wasn't as good as Liam Hendricks last year - does anyone think Liam Hendricks should be starting? 

Biagini could be a Mike Bolsinger, decent at times 5th starter - or a very good middle reliever.  Sign quality AAA starting depth and pitch Biagini where his talents work best, in the pen. 
uglyone - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:24 PM EST (#338195) #
Yes, Parkie, I thought Biagini was a very nice pickup, the kind that makes a great bullpen candidate, like hendriks before him and the guy this year (dirkman?). Lots and lots of middling milb starters with interesting stuff turn into good mlb relievers. I love these kinds of pickups.

But there's barely any precedent for these guys turning into good mlb SP, and i don't see why we'd hope biagini could. in fact, we should consider ourselves lucky for him to matchblast year's RP performance, let alone make the giant leap to starting.

I'm not even sure why you have your back up again, other than habit - i wouldn't worry about defending your beloved FO on this because i'm sure they'll be keeping him in the bullpen this year.
PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:26 PM EST (#338196) #
and the idea that Morales cannot play any 1b does not make sense either though I would not expect to see it that often, The reason he did not play 1b for KC was the everyday presence of Hosmer, and previously to that he had a shortened season and a broken ankle. When signed, Morales said that he could and wanted to play some 1b. I think it is more likely he plays a few games there than Bautista who I believe was signed to be an OF and that most of his defensive woes last season were injury related.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:41 PM EST (#338197) #
It's a slow time in baseball, and there are a few pieces for the club to add.  It is possible that:

  • Morales plays more first base this year than in previous years, and Bautista gets more games at DH than he did last year (26)
  • Biagini remains in the same role as last year, or conversely that the club decides to stretch him out in Buffalo
  • Osuna get more multi-inning outings in 2017.
Whether any of these things comes to pass depends on large part on which pieces, if any, are added before the bell rings.

In the wake of Mary Tyler Moore's passing, I found out that Husker Du many years ago did a nice version of the theme song from her show.  I like Minnesotans...

PeterG - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 04:50 PM EST (#338198) #
Anyone hear anything new on Zeke. He posted an instagram video thanking the Jays and team mates leaving some to think he has been moved.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 06:22 PM EST (#338200) #
Can't see Zeke being traded, guy is replacement level.  If we want him gone after ST, cut him for a fraction of his arb contract. 

I think he's just happy to have at least something of a commitment from the club.  Good for him!  battling for a roster spot - when the difference in earning is 500-1000% - has to be difficult. 

bpoz - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 06:40 PM EST (#338201) #
Joe Biagini as a good MLB SP.

I am sincerely asking what Bauxites consider "Good" regarding a MLB SP.

Sanchez, Happ and Estrada definitely IMO, (I hope) qualify as much, much better than "Good".I cannot be wrong about this sentence.

That leaves Stroman, Dickey and Liriano as "Good or not good in 2016".

Stroman 204 IP in 2016 makes him better than good IMO.

Dickey 169.2 IP with 4.46 ERA makes him good. I would be happy with that from Biagini in 2017. That qualifies him as good and I would definitely be very pleased with that. However there are 2 things to consider:- 1) To get 29 starts he has to be in the Opening day rotation or prorated. 2) I cannot remember. I am old and forgetful. Sorry!!!
What else... he must go through the lineup 3 times and still fool them.

Liriano 163 IP. The Toronto version was better than "Good". The Pittsburgh version does not qualify as good.
bpoz - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 06:56 PM EST (#338202) #
Is it too early to discuss our hot shot prospects? Where will they play?


I am unreasonably thinking that Vlad Jr may start the season in Lansing.

Bo Bichette...No. Short season for him.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 07:03 PM EST (#338203) #
Joe Biagini was 24 when he had his first ever winning Season as a Starter in AA. The Jays were excited to have that much talent available when they picked. Gibbons liked him/saw something and spoon-fed him his innings until he gained his confidence. Once he was good enough he became one of Gibbon's trusted Relievers. I think the Jays will keep him as a Reliever long term rather than moving him back to Starting at age 27. They will stretch him out in Spring, just in case.
scottt - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 08:15 PM EST (#338204) #
I like the Biagini/Hendriks comparison.

Hendriks has thrown 171 innings as a starter and 147 as a reliever.
The Twins had him as a starter 3 years. The Royals had him for 3 starts and 3 relief appearances. The Jays used him exclusively as a starter in 2014. Took 4 years to accept he couldn't start.

Hendriks threw 90 innings in AA with an ERA of 2.70, but couldn't do better than 4.73 in 50 innings at AAA.

Biagini has thrown 0 innings as a starter and 67 as a reliever.
He threw 130 innings in AA with an ERA of 2.42.

Hendriks' starts at AAA were a good predictor of his MLB performance.
Given than it cost nothing to stretch Biagini, the Jays actually cut his service time, why not give him 2 or 3 months to show if he can adapt what he's learned in The Show to starting in Buffalo?
Incredibly low risks, high return and they have a solid arm stashed in AAA while they try out guys that are out of options.


scottt - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 08:30 PM EST (#338205) #
It's a quote from 2016 and it may be referring to Gibby choosing Osuna over Storen as closer, but it wasn't too long ago that we were still discussing Roberto Osuna the starter. I've been hearing that they plan on bringing Biagini to camp as the 6th SP, and I wish that Osuna wanted to be a starter as well. One can hardly blame him, though, for relishing his success as a dominant MLB reliever and being happy with staying in the big leagues and earning 6m+ in arbitration next year. If the team spends its remaining shekels on a few relievers, maybe Gibby will feel he has the bullpen depth to use Osuna less frequently but for longer stints in high leverage situations.

We don't have access to Osuna's medical file. We just know that he's never piled up a lot stressful innings, that his elbow has already been surgically repaired once and that his shoulder made a funny noise when he was pitching in the ALCS last fall.

With all the money going to relievers these days, the conversion back to starter makes no sense.
How many innings could he possibly throw this year as a starter? And then they would have to shut him down for the remainder of the season.

I'd be very happy if he can be the Jays closer for another 4 years, but he's probably one their best trade chip if they wanted to rebuild.

SK in NJ - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 10:52 PM EST (#338206) #
I don't think Osuna will ever start another game. Already has one TJS, career high 42.1 innings as a starter, two straight years of coming out of the pen, team need, etc, etc. I would have liked to have seen him develop as a SP in the minors, but that ship has sailed. He's a reliever now, a damn good one, and there are probably questions about his arm/durability long-term, so just let it be.

Biagini, on the other hand, is someone I'd stretch out in AAA. The Jays have a shortage of SP depth, and expecting all five SP's to stay healthy all season again is a lot to ask for.
John Northey - Thursday, January 26 2017 @ 11:53 PM EST (#338207) #
scottt - makes a ton of sense there to stretch Biagini in spring and see if he has anything as a starter and if there is any real hope and the pen looks decent without then send him to AAA for April and May and see if he can cut it as a starter. If not, back to the pen and call him up after a couple more weeks as someone will have flopped/been hurt in the pen by then. Jays gain an extra year of control and if it takes long enough another year of paying ML minimum wage.

Osuna, on the other hand, is the teams closer and that is not going to change for 4 more years. At that point things might have to shift as paying $20 mil a year to a closer (which might be the cost for a decent one by then) probably won't make any sense to the Jays. Heck, I know I have enough trouble with $10 to $15 mil (which soon will be for middle men).

I expect the Jays to keep working on developing pitchers but to also spend more on hitters in the minors (trying to be top notch in both). Lets hope they succeed as that would be tons of fun. More kids in the pen and rotation to go with the new hitters coming soon (Tellez, Vlad).
uglyone - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 01:27 AM EST (#338208) #
what does "already had one TJS" have to do with osuna starting? many (most?) starters have had one TJS.
scottt - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 06:56 AM EST (#338209) #
It just means you'd have to be very conservative in increasing the innings. That's not happening.

If the Jays were to go into rebuild mode and didn't need an elite closer for a year or two, they would just trade him rather than convert him to a starter.

What pitchers on the Blue Jays staff have had one TJS?
Biagini when he was in college, before he was drafted.
Liriano in 2006, as a rookie, missed a year and a half. Note that Liriano has never thrown 200 innings.
Sparkman in 2015, probably one of the reasons he was unprotected.

Then there was Hutchison and Drabek.
Marcaum, 2009, missed a year, recovered well.
McGowan in 2004, not a happy story.

If it happens early in the pitcher's development or after a pitcher has already established himself, it's not so bad.

As you said, relievers don't usually convert into starters.
From college to minors, yes, but not once you've developed into a major league reliever and make several million.

bpoz - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 07:50 AM EST (#338210) #
If Osuna and Castro were not called up in 2015 to help the pen both would have been starting in the minors working their way up to the majors.

Osuna has proven that he is a great ML reliever. But he has not proven that he can be a SP. Not a single full season as a SP anywhere.

But that does not mean that he cannot be successful.

He should probably wait until after his first big payday. In his 1st Arb year he should get a good raise.
codyla - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 10:27 AM EST (#338212) #
Hey guys, I've read some not too great things about Saltalamavhia's defence. I must admit I don't understand defensive metrics all too much. Can anyone who understands them possibly tell me how he compares to say Arencibia?... someone I've been able to observe with my eyes.
Mike Green - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 10:46 AM EST (#338213) #
Arencibia had a stronger arm.  They are probably similar in ability to receive pitches (both not great).  I wasn't impressed with Arencibia's handling of pitchers, and I haven't seen enough of Salty to have a good sense of it. 
uglyone - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 11:33 AM EST (#338214) #
"As you said, relievers don't usually convert into starters."

no that's not what I was saying.

I said that these guys in their mid-20s who are ok milb SP can often turn into good MLB RP, but rarely (never?) in to good MLB SP.

But there are plenty exampels of very good young MLB RP turning into very good MLB SP.
92-93 - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 11:35 AM EST (#338215) #
"We just know that he's never piled up a lot stressful innings"

I'd be surprised if Gibby's usage of Osuna is better on his arm than ramping him up every 5 days over a few months in the minors. His innings are high leverage and he was often used 3 days in a row, or thrice in 4 days.

Osuna could break Papelbon's first year arbitration record for a reliever of 6.25m with a strong 2017 and 40+ saves.

uglyone - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 12:48 PM EST (#338216) #
http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/red_sox/2017/01/ex_red_sox_reliever_craig_breslow_crunches_data_emerges_with_new_pitch

found this pretty cool.

I wonder if he can make it work.
jerjapan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 04:41 PM EST (#338217) #
That is a cool story Ugly.  Hey, we need relievers, let's sign the guy and see if it works.

A nice tidbit from Jeff Sullivan's latest chat.  I'll take a less-perfect version of Doc! 

Ryan: What do you think the upsides for Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are? Are they close to their peak pitching abilities or is there still room to grow?

Jeff Sullivan
: At Stromanís peak, he does almost everything: strikes, whiffs, groundballs. A less-perfect version of Roy Halladay. I think Sanchez has the slightly lower realistic ceiling, just because I donít think he would compete with Stromanís peak command..... Stroman has more ways to conceivably miss bats.
SK in NJ - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 05:07 PM EST (#338218) #
http://www.minorleagueball.com/2017/1/27/14404856/toronto-blue-jays-top-20-prospects-for-2017

Jays top 20 prospects per Sickels.
jerjapan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 05:13 PM EST (#338219) #
Sickels has his preliminary list of 45 prospects up for his analysis in the coming days - certainly an annual highlight for me in terms of prospect rankings.  Potentially surprising names on the list including reliever Dusty Isaacs - an 18th round pick in 2014 who, at age 25, had his first great year out of the pen.  Personal sleeper fave Jason Leblelejian is listed despite being at 25 year old utility IF who finally cracked AA this year.  He had a nice offensive season and has an outstanding defensive rep.  Dwight Smith and DJ Davis are still on the list as well, presumably at the bottom.  This year's 20th rounder Angel Alicea also makes the list, a strong debut for a 22 year old reliever. 

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2017/1/26/14404128/toronto-blue-jays-preliminary-prospect-list

any sleepers on the list you guys are following?

jerjapan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 05:21 PM EST (#338220) #
You beat me to it SK.  interesting list, he's high on Perdomo and Josh Palacios, and has Gurriel 4th, which is promising IMO, and at least 5 spots higher than I had him. 

No A prospects on his list, although some guys at the top of the list, primarily Vlad Jr., could be A calibre by the end of the season.  Worth noting that he's stingy with the A rating. 

PeterG - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 06:06 PM EST (#338221) #
most over rated prospect: Angel Perdomo. I like Borucki and Rios more

not a sleeper but player who could surprise on upside: Josh Palacios

many sleepers imo - ones I like best: Javier Hernandez, Bryan Lizardo, Chavez Young - all 3 are very young and Shane Dawson
jerjapan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 06:08 PM EST (#338222) #
Care to add any detail on your three sleepers other than Dawson - the one name that is somewhat familiar?
PeterG - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 06:09 PM EST (#338223) #
add Josh Almonte to my sleeper list
scottt - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 07:09 PM EST (#338224) #
But there are plenty exampels of very good young MLB RP turning into very good MLB SP.

I googled.

There is Chris Sale.

I mostly found guys like Naftali Feliz, who blew his elbow after a mere 7 starts and Danny Bard who went from dominant setup guy with the Red Sox to minor leagues starter after only 10 starts.

Many guys who converted successfully were older guys like Shark (or Biagini), who had pitched seasons of 130+ innings  in the minors before a year or two in the pen.

I can't wait to see your list of young guys who converted from relievers to starters who were not starters placed in the pen for less than 2 full years.


jerjapan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 07:15 PM EST (#338225) #
Bard was a career reliever in the minors, but Feliz and Sale were either starters (Feliz) or guys who profiled as starters but got promoted fast as relievers (Sale, pioneering the Osuna path). 

I think those names actually support the argument that guys who profile as relievers seldom make it as starters. 

scottt - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 07:23 PM EST (#338226) #
I find it awkward that Sickels write tweener instead of 4th outfielder.
PeterG - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 08:00 PM EST (#338227) #
Saw Mike Wilner on tv today with Hazel Mae. He suggested that AJ MIGHT start season in TO with Salty at Buffalo. Apparently, I am not the only one who sees this as a possibility.
China fan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 09:16 PM EST (#338228) #
Just took a quick look at the Wilner TV clip.  He actually said he "doubted" Salty would start the season in the minors.  He said the option is "available" to the Jays -- which of course is true.  Theoretically it's an option.  But it's very unlikely.

Wilner also predicted that Salty would play 40 or 50 games in the majors for the Jays this year.  Which is basically a full season as a back-up.

PeterG - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 09:34 PM EST (#338229) #
Just watched the clip again. What he said about Salty signing is that this allows them to start Jimenez in TO with Salty at Buffalo if they want to. Yes, he did also suggest Salty was the more likely option and I have previously acknowledged that. Just saying it is not a done deal and it isn't. Pretty lame criticism CF if that was your intention.
China fan - Friday, January 27 2017 @ 10:02 PM EST (#338230) #
"....Pretty lame criticism...."

If we are required to discuss lameness, I'd have to say that the most lame attempt, by far, was the twisting of Wilner's words to distort his meaning and to pretend that he agreed with you.  You said Wilner "suggested" that Jimenez might start in the majors.  He didn't suggest any such thing.  He said it was an "available" option, which of course technically it is.

Everyone in the world agrees that, technically, Salty could start in the minors.  It would be pointless of anyone to deny it, since his contract is actually called a "minor-league contract." The very name of his contract implies that, technically, he could start in the minors. So yes, it is a possibility.   If this is a debating point for you, you're welcome to it.  But the reality of the situation, which is what Wilner and I have both said, is that it is very unlikely that Salty would start in the minors. 

Here are a few scenarios in which Salty could, technically, start in the minors:  a spring injury; a spectacular decline in his playing ability; a dramatic and unexpected improvement in Jimenez's hitting ability; a complete loss of evaluation skills by the entire Jays front office.  But barring any of these unexpected developments, Salty will start in the majors.

I'm baffled by why you're so keen to tout Jimenez as a good option for the Jays this year.  A year ago, the Jays put him on waivers.  He was nearly 26, he had spent eight years in the minors, and the Jays didn't feel that he was worth protecting.  Not a single major-league team bothered to put in a claim for him.  Has anything happened since then to change the Jays opinion of him?  Very unlikely, since his hitting in 2016 was only marginally above his career .646 OPS at the AAA level.  The Jays have also acquired five (5) other catchers since their decision to waive Jimenez, which doesn't exactly suggest that they have a lot of confidence in Jimenez as their main back-up at the position.

If you think Jimenez has a significant chance to make a sudden improvement in 2016 and have a plausible chance to relegate a proven major-league catcher to the minors, you're welcome to your opinion.  But please don't try to tell us that Wilner or any baseball analysts are calling it a plausible scenario.  That's certainly not what Wilner said.

Glevin - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:34 AM EST (#338231) #
Some thoughts on Sickeles' list.

The only reason Vlad isn't an A is how low in the system he is. He'll be there next year. In fact, he could easily be a top-5 prospect next year. There are a lot of interesting prospects but what holds the system back is the lack of players close to major leagues. I think the system will likely be rated around 15-20 this year but I'd be surprised if it weren't a top-5 system next year. They will likely have only one player off the the list in the majors at a maximum, will have players prove themselves at higher levels, and have 2 top-30 picks to add to the system. By 2019, the Jays should have that good yearly flow of prospects they need.
scottt - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 05:11 AM EST (#338232) #
Vlad's output is a super short sample. For now.
scottt - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 07:58 AM EST (#338233) #
Bard was a career reliever in the minors, but Feliz and Sale were either starters (Feliz) or guys who profiled as starters but got promoted fast as relievers (Sale, pioneering the Osuna path). 

Sale was a starter in University. That doesn't count. He threw 10 innings as a reliever in A+ and AAA. Not a single minor league start. David Price rose quickly through the minors, but he made 27 starts on the way.

Feliz alternated between starting and relieving.
2006, Rookie ball, 6 starts, 7 relief appearances.
2007, 7 starts, 1 relief appearance in rookie ball followed by 1 start and 7 relief appearance in A-
2008, 27 starts (A+, AA) but only 127 innings.
2009, 13 starts, 12 relief appearances in AAA and 20 relief appearances with Texas.

Sale is an exception (I think it helps that he's a lefty) and Osuna wasn't on that path until he impressed in spring training. He wasn't even picked to be the closer initially, that was Miguel Castro. Castro was a promising starter in the minors but he's turned into a disappointing reliever with Colorado which highlights the perils of rushing prospects.

I think those names actually support the argument that guys who profile as relievers seldom make it as starters.

"profiles as a reliever" means the same thing as "probably doesn't make it as starter".

I was looking for historical data on the performance of guys who did not throw enough innings to develop as starters in the minors, being converted from reliever to starter at the major level. I don't think there's a lot of those.

Some say that Conner Greene profiles as a reliever and could start in the pen and potentially make the conversion later, if he's pitching well enough, but he's already had seasons of 132 and 146 innings in the minors. That scenario is very common.


uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 08:14 AM EST (#338234) #
"guys who did not throw enough innings to develop as starters"

This is a made up criteria, though, that has nothing to do with what I said.

Osuna had been a starter his entire life before becoming a big leaguer. At every level and tourney he ever played at. The innings listed on his profile are not the only innings he has ever pitched in his life. MLB is the first level he's ever been a reliever at.

And there are plenty examples of starters who began their mlb careers as RP.

jerjapan - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 09:55 AM EST (#338235) #
Agreed that Vlad's B+ is actually a great rank given his age - all 3 of our B+ prospects on Sickels list - including SRF and Urena - could move up with a good year, although Vlad is the one with top ten potential given his outstanding year at 17.  Kids a potential stud.  One of AA's best moves, although the main prospect we gave up to get the slot money was Chase Dejong, who is a legit prospect himself. 

Ramirez and McGuire, our haul from the Liriano deal, are 16th and 17th with C+ rankings which sounds right - a great trade for us still, but perhaps a bit more about organizational depth in the high minors than high-ceiling talent. 

No mention of Lane Thomas or Christian Lopes on his top 45, two guys who have gotten some love on prospects lists here on the Box.  I definitely have those 2 in our top 45 - any of our resident prospect listers have an opinion on these guys or the rest of the list?

I'm with China that Jiminez is not valued much throughout the industry.  He was added to the 40 man simply because of a dearth of catching alternatives - the FO appears to have read this market correctly and waited till they could get a decent option in Salty for cheap.  All the other details on his resume speak to a AAAA player.



 



Mike Green - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 11:28 AM EST (#338236) #
As usual, I am more in agreement with Sickels than with other analysts.

I am higher even than Sickels on Tellez.  Sickels doesn't really describe him as a high-upside player.  I think he is.  I can easily see him as a Thome-style triple A offensive threat in his mid 20s- hitting .290-.300 with 30+ homers and 80-90 walks, and if everything breaks right, one-half of a nasty one-two punch with Guerrero Jr.  Obviously, upside does not reflect what any particular player is likely to do.

On the other side, I am not as high as Sickels on Jon Harris.

Funny typo from Sickels: T.J. Zeuch: ERA 2019...I guess his manager let him face about 76 batters after he got that first out-  you gotta show confidence in your top prospects.

uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 12:35 PM EST (#338237) #
Yeah Mike as usual I agree. Sickels seems to want to rank Rowdy higher but doesn't. Not that I mind the caution with prospects.

Myself I'd have both Alford and Tellez as B+ guys too. Harris also sticks out to me as far too high (still a guy I'd be wanting to sell high on, if his rep in baseball management circles is anything like his online rep).

Gurriel based on his mlb equivalencies and scouting reports I'm thinking probably doesn't deserve this high a ranking but that's really hard to know. Still I think it's a stretch to put him ahead of Alford and Tellez at this point, given what they've done.

Maese sticks out as low to me, as does Jansen. And as much as I hate on the Ramirez/McGuire trade I actually think they've become underrated now. These guys have very high floors imo and are more than just depth prospects.

I do think our system is very hard to rank at the moment with a lot of depth, though. I have a very hard time doing anything but grouping them something like this:

(names in alphabetical order)

Top-5 (B+?): Alford, Guerrero, Reid-Foley, Tellez, Urena
6-10 (B/B-?): Bichette, Greene, Gurriel, Maese, Zeuch
11-15 (B-/C+?): Jansen, McGuire, Pentecost, Ramirez, Rios
16-20 (C+/C?): Borucki, Harris, Palacios, Perdomo, Woodman


With all of those B+ guys having a tinge of A- on them i think.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 12:41 PM EST (#338238) #
What exactly would tellez have to do to be an A prospect?

To me theres the whole package: great eye, good swing with not alot of miss, developing but already good power. Maybe he isnt delgado but hes the best corner IF prospect we have seen in years...years...
jerjapan - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 12:47 PM EST (#338239) #
I think he'd have to be a not-big-bodied 1B only guy.  The industry seems pretty low on them in general.  Tellez certainly looks great to me.
uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 12:49 PM EST (#338240) #
"What exactly would tellez have to do to be an A prospect? "

get traded to the red sox.
prospect - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 01:06 PM EST (#338241) #
Whole package offensively, yes. Unfortunately, baseball has a defensive side as well.
jerjapan - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 01:28 PM EST (#338242) #
Sickels says Tellez "lacks range at first but not a butcher and catches what he gets to".  At his age and level, his physical decline might be further off than other 1b slugger types - he could be really valuable in his cost-controlled years.  He may not need to swich to DH-only until his late 20s. 

I just wonder if big slugging 1b are being overly punished in rankings as a mild over-correction?  Ryan McBroom, a much lower ranked prospect, fits into the same category.  

Anyone have a clearer picture of Tellez's D?
85bluejay - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 02:16 PM EST (#338243) #
Interesting, now that Batter's Box posters favourite John Sickels Jays list is out, if judging from the grades, the Jays end up pretty much in a similar spot as where the much reviled Keith Law ranked them - Of course, we can all comfort ourselves that the guy doing the Jays list for Baseball America said that perhaps the Jays system MAY be good enough to be a top ten system.
SK in NJ - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:03 PM EST (#338244) #
The Jays system won't rank highly for two reasons: 1) the better prospects are in lower levels and therefore very young/inexperienced, and 2) the depth is greater than the quality at the moment. By this time next year, all existing prospects will have another season of development, and the team will have another draft (w/ two 1st round picks) under their belts. Not to mention that almost the entirety of that top 20 list will probably still be classified as prospects by this time next year. Tellez and possibly Guirrel might get called up in 2017 depending on how they perform, but I'd be shocked if anyone else did.

The system is still a couple of years away. I agree with the 2019 comment. By then I think we'll start to see the FO's plan of churning out prospects consistently starting to happen (barring any setbacks, of course).

Sickels is also my favorite prospect guy so I take his lists far more credibly than anyone else. Keith Law isn't even part of the conversation to me.
rafael - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:21 PM EST (#338245) #
Another article linking Jays and Breslow at TSN.
I say No to Breslow.
The whole story sounds like my Golf history where each off season I will have scientifically formulated the right body positions and in simulations at golf range confirm that I have truly and finally figured it out. Now did anyone invest in me even though my previous season my golf game was the equivalent to being DFA'd? No of course not and neither should the Jays invest in Breslow.
uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:24 PM EST (#338246) #
"Interesting, now that Batter's Box posters favourite John Sickels Jays list is out, if judging from the grades, the Jays end up pretty much in a similar spot as where the much reviled Keith Law ranked them "

Looking at sickels' 2015 list, before the Great AA System Gutting, the grade distribution is nearly identical as this year's list.

Keith Law's list also ranks the jays system this year near identically as he did the pre-Great Gutting 2015 list.
jerjapan - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:29 PM EST (#338247) #
85, you might be underestimating how stingy sickels is with his grades.  Just look at the Dodgers list, one of the top farms over the past 5 years.  with DeLeon gone, they have just two prospects with higher rankings than Vlad - Bollinger's A-, and Alvarez's B+/A-.  Next highest rankings between the two systems is our trio of B+s, although interestingly the Dodgers seem to have a lot more depth in his opinion, based on the number of extra guys past the top 20 he lists at C+. 

Chase Dejong is B-/C+, which would put him about 10th in our system with Bichette, Greene and Maese. 

Who was it that said we might be top ten?  I recall being stoked when I read that, but also thinking it seemed high - about as high as Law's ranking seems low.  And I could easily see us as a top ten system next year - near the bottom, but top ten. 

I'm interested in Breslow, but your post made me laugh Rafael.


uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:35 PM EST (#338248) #
Sickels' 2015 - 2017

1. Norris A-/A --- Guerrero B+
2. Sanchez A- -- Reid-Foley B+
3. Pompey B+/B --- Urena B+
4. Pentecost B - Gurriel B
5. Hoffman B --- Alford B
6. Travis B/B- - Tellez B
7. Castro B-/B - Harris B-/B
8. Urena B- ---- Zeuch B-
9. Smith B- ---- Greene B-
10.Smoral B- --- Maese B-/C+
11.Reid-Foley B-/C+ - Bichette B-/C+
12.Labourt C+/B- - Perdomo C+/B-
13.Osuna C+ ---- Woodman C+
14.Nay C+ ------ Pentecost C+
15.Tirado C+ --- Palacios C+
16.Boyd C+ ----- McGuire C+
17.Lugo C+ ----- Ramirez C+
18.Perdomo C+ -- Bourcki C+/C-
19.Jimenez C+/C- - Rios C+/C-
20.Tellez C+/C - Jackson C+/C

jerjapan - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:40 PM EST (#338249) #
Osuna at a C+ shows the impact of being so far from the upper minors eh?  Although to be fair, his is a unique career path. 
PeterG - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:50 PM EST (#338250) #
http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/blue-jays-top-10-prospects-chat/#o04DWE3jvuKVKsyo.97

this was before Gurriel acquisition
PeterG - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 03:53 PM EST (#338251) #
For those too lazy to follow the link, it is from a BA Jays prospect chat on October 27, 2016 in which Manuel states that Jays have in his opinion 6 in top 100, maybe 8. The average would be 3.3 (approx.)
whiterasta80 - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 04:08 PM EST (#338252) #
I cant see a single argument for ranking bellinger higher than tellez. Aside from the red sox/dodgers bias referenced above.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 04:10 PM EST (#338253) #
Mind you i also cant see an argument for anyone other than vlad jr ranking better within our own system.
85bluejay - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 04:27 PM EST (#338254) #
Jerjapan, I'm not underestimating anything - I'm just pointing out that both Law & Sickels have the jays system rated in the same range but posters were quick to criticise Law because they dislike him, while being more accepting of Sickels ratings. This is not a criticism/praise of the Jays system, which I think is middle of the pack.
PeterG - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 04:38 PM EST (#338255) #
Sickels is a hard marker but fair. Anything said by Law should be ignored as he has an axe to grind where Jays concerned as he was once fired by a Jays FO.

Jays have players not even listed in Sickels 45 player discussion list who I believe have legit major league potential. I listed 5 of them in a previous post on sleepers. In addition to those, Jerjepan mentioned Lane Thomas and Christian Lopes whom I like as well, particularly Thomas.
uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 04:58 PM EST (#338256) #
"Osuna at a C+ shows the impact of being so far from the upper minors eh? Although to be fair, his is a unique career path."

honestly looking at sickels' 2015 list just reinforces my belief in trusting the numbers over the interweb scouts, even good ones like sickels.
uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 05:01 PM EST (#338257) #
85jays - where do you see sickels ranking the systems? i can't find it.
jerjapan - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 06:11 PM EST (#338258) #
Thanks for the link PeterG, I had only read the comments on the system ranking, so I enjoyed reading that chat. 

Highly recommend reading the chat for prospect nerds.  Interesting to hear Manuel say that Biggio has the best K zone discipline in the org.  and love the 'EE but gets to his peak sooner' comp for Vlad!  Other interesting nuggets- Greene with a higher ceiling than SRF, and a robust defense of Zeuch as having 3rd starter upside.  And even a Jason Leblejian comment. 

I actually had forgotten it was John Manuel who said that we might be a top ten farm system - he's a pretty legit guy - no Sickels, but also no Law.  I don't even necessarily buy that Law has an axe to grind with the Jays - I just don't think he's that good of a prospect evaluator.  Maybe it is Box-based bias, but I genuinely think we prefer Sickels because he's better. 




Gerry - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 06:44 PM EST (#338259) #
Tellez and Vlad Jr have the same issue....they are first basemen at best and DH's at worst. As we know you have to hit a LOT to make it in those positions and so the risk goes up. Tellez may be a better hitter than Alford but the bar is lower.

Its like that old joke about two guys being chased by some form of wild animal (bear/lion). The one guy just has to outrun the other.

Alford has to be better than Pillar; Tellez has to be better than Edwin last year and Morales or some combination in 2017. Its a different standard.
prospect - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 08:25 PM EST (#338260) #
"I cant see a single argument for ranking bellinger higher than tellez. Aside from the red sox/dodgers bias referenced above."

They have comparable hit tool. I'm one of those people who thinks Bellinger is a bit overrated (#6 per Klaw) but he definitely has more power, speed and a better arm than Tellez. Also, he's also an excellent defender at 1B and he can even play adequate corner OF. Tellez is average defensive 1B at best.
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 09:05 PM EST (#338261) #
The prospect list that I pay the most attention to, especially now that Kevin Goldstein is with a club, is Jim Callis' Top 100 for MLB Pipeline. Callis previously ran BA before MLB scooped up him and Jonathon Mayo.

Callis released the Top 100 list tonight. As I've written previously, i'll be more interested in next year's ranking than this year's, but it's worth noting that he gave VladJr. a #34 ranking which is very high for a 17 year old. It will be much more interesting to see where he ranks next year, presumably after a year in Lansing. Callis' also tweeted that VJ is a stud and may be ranked nearer the top next year

Not sure which other Jay prospects made the Top 100 list.

scottt - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 09:10 PM EST (#338262) #
Well, Morales is mostly the DH. Tellez has to be better than Smoak.

Now, if we want to rest Donaldson or Bautista in the DH slot, the equation changes, but assuming everyone is healthy, that should be the issue.  It's still not clear how they will play Pearce, but Tellez will start the season in Bufallo and might come up if someone goes on the DL.

Guerrero is currently playing 3rd base. If Panda can play third base, is there a chance Guerrero can too?

uglyone - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 09:39 PM EST (#338263) #
jays get 4 in the mlb top 100.

SRF and Alford were in the 50-70range iirc and urena snuck in near the end.


Tellez once again gets the shaft. Ah well, like I've said - he will be another great test of stats vs. prospect lists.
PeterG - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 09:56 PM EST (#338264) #
The MLB Pipeline and BA lists often differ, sometimes dramatically, because they emphasize different criteria. The main difference is that Pipeline regards proximity to the majors as an important criteria while BA pays little attention to it and emphasizes upside potential.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 09:59 PM EST (#338265) #
As somebody who has seen it live, bellinger is an outfielder like michael saunders. Thus rendering the arm strength useless.

We will have to agree to disagree about power- i think that tellez has more myself.
PeterG - Saturday, January 28 2017 @ 10:20 PM EST (#338266) #
Pipeline also has prospect rankings by position. The new rakings were introduced on MLB Network this week and one that caught my eye was the catchers where Reese McGuire was ranked 5th best overall catching prospect
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 09:47 AM EST (#338267) #
The MLB Pipeline list shows just how stacked the Red Sox were in prospects before Dombrowski traded some of them for major-league players. The current top 50 includes:

#1: Benintendi
#2: Moncada
#16: Kopech
#17: Devers
#23: Margot
#25: Espinoza
#41: Groome

Even after trading prospects for Kimbrel, Sale, Pomeranz, and Thornburg, the Red Sox still have three top-50 prospects, including the #1 overall prospect.

Also notable is the extent to which the Yankees have bolstered their system through recent trades of veterans, netting prospects Reyes (#3), Frazier (#24), and Sheffield (#79). And as a bonus, the Yankees ended up re-signing the player (Chapman) they traded for Reyes.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 09:48 AM EST (#338268) #
Torres (#3), I mean - not Reyes.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 11:25 AM EST (#338269) #
For what its' worth, I agree with uglyone that MLB Pipeline has overrated the present and past Red Sox prospects.  Betts was a great prospect.  Bogaerts and Benintendi were/are very good prospects.  Yoan Moncada is a good prospect, but there's no way that he is a better prospect than Gleyber Torres at this point. 

Moncada as a hitter is about even with Rowdy Tellez.  Personally, I'd prefer Tellez for his better control of the strike zone.  Moncada, of course, has some defensive potential, but nowhere near that of Betts.  If he's the #2 prospect in baseball, it would be an extremely weak time for young baseball talent.

On a similar note, Rafael Devers is apparently the #17 prospect and Guerrero Jr. is the #34- that is not really a credible rating.  Devers was 20 in A ball and held his own with the bat and little more than that.  The distance between what Devers achieved at age 20 in A ball and what Guerrero Jr. achieved at (just turned) 17 in the Appy League is galaxies wide.  I understand not wanting to rank players who are a long way from the majors too highly, but Devers and Guerrero have about the same amount of work to do and Guerrero is 3 years younger.  I am not suggesting that Guerrero Jr. is ranked too low, but rather that Devers is too high. 
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 11:44 AM EST (#338270) #
Here are Sickels' top 100 prospects as of the end of the 2016 season (that is, before the playoffs and AFL).

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/9/24/12932956/top-100-prospects-end-of-2016

Moncada is #1 and Devers is #10. Tellez was on his "incomplete list of others considered."

I think it's fair to say that some analysts overrate based on tools, and do not adequately take into account minor-league performance (Gose versus Travis is a good example, one that taught me a lot). But there can be bias in the other direction, too, leading to an overrating of prospects like Nestor Molina, Kendall Graveman, and Justin Nicolino. Each prospect should be evaluated on his own merits, ideally with an openness to different statistical or scouting perspectives, but without tunnel vision or ideological bias.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 12:03 PM EST (#338271) #
Devers is a lesser prospect than Guerrero Jr. from both a scouting and a statistics perspective.  I think that the difficulty is that Devers checks off a few boxes- plays third base, has reached high A ball at age 20 and has hit decently well and could hit better.
Glevin - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 12:07 PM EST (#338272) #
I have never understood the "they overrate their prospects", or "they underrate ours" because what benefit would there be for them to do that? They all want to be as accurate as possible. Besides, almost all fans overrate their own prospects.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 01:00 PM EST (#338273) #
Arguably, one of the most overrated prospects in recent years was Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie.
jerjapan - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 01:32 PM EST (#338274) #
Were guys like Nicolino, Molina and Lawrie overrated, or did they just fail to realize their potential?  Perhaps Lawrie simply because of his outstanding debut with the Jays ...  Nicolino was a stats vs. tools question all along - fabulous results in the minors when we dealt him, but not enough stuff for the bigs thus far.  Molina was a classic sell-high prospect and illustrates the volatility of guys that far from the bigs - he had all of five (dazzling) starts in AA when we dealt him.  But then again ...

Graveman though ... what a crazy career - a punted pick back when AA when saving slot money, he got $5,000 to sign.  All the other guys in this category washed out fast, as expected, but Graveman accidentally discovers a cutter, rockets through the system in one season, and then gets dealt in the Donaldson trade.  How was he overrated?   How do you even rate a prospect like that?  

He's definitely the A's best piece of the deal after Barreto despite being the fourth of four at the time, was arguably the A's pitcher of the year this year (a season in which he took a perfect game into the seventh inning and was the first starting pitcher since Babe Ruth to bat cleanup). 
Spifficus - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 01:38 PM EST (#338275) #
This has been a truly weird experience reading everyone's opinions on various prospects, comparisons, evaluators and so on. I've built up some random thoughts over the past day or two that are just yearning to escape.

So, first, the 1B-only prospect, otherwise known as Tellez vs Bellinger (or moreso Tellez vs The World). From every report I've read, Tellez is still looking up at adequacy with the glove. There's a real chance he could get there now, which is a good thing, but he's not there yet. Bellinger just played 34 games in the OF, including 13 games in CF (and 26 the year before). Everything I've read says he could handle the position switch, too, but his glove is so damned good at 1B as well that it's a tough choice. Understanding this difference is key to understanding one of the reasons why they're viewed differently. It's not just a positional plus-minus on the WAR ledger, though. It's also about athleticism and how it helps a player make adjustments. I'd say scouts have more confidence in Bellinger at this stage.

As for Tellez' placement in the Jays' system, he's not a SS or CF, so he already has a hand tied behind his back against Urena and Alford. He's not a pitcher that projects to a mid-rotation starter or so, so I'd have him behind SRF's stache, as well as Harris and maybe Zeuch. And definitely Vlad Jr - when prospect people start throwing caution to the wind with a 17 year old, I take notice. Tellez has to mash to make it. If he misses on that and the bat is more ordinary, a 750 OPS adequate 1B isn't really all that exciting. I hope he doesn't, but I can see why his ranking is like it is relative to others.

Devers is what Vlad Jr is next year if he holds his own at A or A+ and mostly solidifies himself at 3B. Vlad Jr has opened eyes in that regard, but he still has some way to go before scouts forget their previous doubts (like they had to do with Devers). When reading "electric bat speed", "impressive strength", "great hand-eye coordination" and realizing that he held his own at High-A as a 19 year old, Devers is right where he belongs.

And for the love of god, can we drop the Keith Law Hates Us crap? He doesn't seem to like what Urena has to offer (though we'll find out more when his Team Top 10 comes out), but really, the Jays are in the mushy middle where it doesn't take much to move up or down 5 slots. Given what his natural biases are (I'm thinking proximity and reduced risk in particular) and where the system is today, I can entirely see how he gets to his conclusions. I don't happen to agree, but hey, that doesn't mean he has a visceral hate for all things Blue Jays.
jerjapan - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 01:39 PM EST (#338276) #
McGuire is currently ranked as the fourth best catcher according to MLB, but that speaks more to the weakness of the position than the talents of McGuire.  I think the Jeff Mathis comp I read recently is a reasonable outcome for the guy. 

But I can't take their rankings seriously at all - McGuire is our 4th best prospect, ahead of Vlad?  Ramirez 5th, and DJ Davis 23rd?  I guess some people still view Dwight Smith, ranked 26th, as a prospect, but on my list he's merely the 4th best Smith in our system, behind Murphy.

Chuck - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 01:51 PM EST (#338277) #
Brandon Moss is a Royal. Seems like an odd fit.
uglyone - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 01:53 PM EST (#338278) #
for me it's more of a bias than a conscious over or underrating. a willingness to give or not give the benefit of the doubt for question marks on a prospect based on an organization's perceived track record or simply from more exposure thanks to being part of major orgs.

it's actually getting a bit more frustrating in the last few years though as the jays' system has become very productive but still can't seem to earn that same benefit of the doubt.

the red sox are interesting - way back in the mid 00's they had an underrated system that exploded into an elite core - Pedroia ellsbury lester buchholz papelbon (buchholz reddick lowrie moss bard) etc. But then for a good 5+ years after their system seemed to just live off that reputation while an enormous amount of "top 100" prospects completely flopped - Anderson Bowden Kalish Kelly Westmoreland Britton Ranaudo Middlebrooks Swihart Owens Webster Barnes Ball Cecchini Johnson - most of whom were actually top-50 prospects - despite many of these guys not having either outstanding stats OR tools).

but obviously they hit a rich vein recently. Bogaerts was a legit elite prospect imo (though at the mlb level the numbers seem to say he's not going to be a legit elite player), and Betts was actually tremendously underrated (chalk another one up for stats > interweb scouts) while guys like bradley and rodriguez look good enough to justify a top prospdct rating even though imo they're just good not great going forward. But that rich vein has again been a rising tide that's lifted all boats I think - for me there's question marks on benintendi and moncada that would have stopped them from being called the best prospects in the game in some other orgs. Kopech just threw a 110mph pitch so i get the hype. I also like margot quite a bit as a pompey type.

Meanwhile the rankings of Devers and Espinoza i think are nothing less than ridiculous - these are pure upside grades despite these guys having massive question marks both in terms of upside and floor while having extremely unimpressive stats. These are the kinds of prospects that sneak into the backend of top 100 lists, imo, and in other organizations imo wouldn't be getting a sniff of top 50 consideration, let alone top 20. Groome seems to be a stretch as a 17yr old who dropped on draft day to 12th (i know not just on baseball reasons) but that's a pure projection pick that is hard to argue over.

In general i think the latter group is where the bias comes into play the most - the very young guys who get the benefit of the doubt for all their upside and none of the question marks, despite not performing at an elite level.

Of course that still doesn't explain the bizarre infatuation with Blake Swihart, imo.
uglyone - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:00 PM EST (#338279) #
Lawrie is an interesting case. His milb stats were very good, though Vegas may have inflated that a bit (like with D'Arnaud and JPA).

And in mlb at age 26 he's been a solid league average hitter able to play premium defensive positions and contribute on the basepaths. A solid 2-3war type player so far. Even that is a solid result for a top ranked prospect.

I lean more towards Lawrie being a case of a lack of development (likely mostly his fault) than overhype as a prospect.
uglyone - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:03 PM EST (#338280) #
"Devers is what Vlad Jr is next year if he holds his own at A or A+ and mostly solidifies himself at 3B."

to be honest, imo Vlad matching what Devers did in his 18yr old first full season level would actually be a step down in performance for Vlad, not an improvement.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:08 PM EST (#338281) #
Isn't solid-average somewhere in the +2 WAR range? That's not Lawrie has fallen well short of that mark the last couple of seasons, and hasn't been able to stay on the field, either. A far cry from the Mike Schmidt comps that were mentioned on this site before his stock fell dramatically.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:18 PM EST (#338282) #
The funny thing is that I loved Pedroia as a prospect. The evaluators all said that he didn't have enough power and had Jody Reed as his upside.

Anyways, this doesn't matter. Moncada and Tellez will both be in the IL in a few months. We shall see how they hit.

And Guerrero Jr. will be in the Midwest League at age 18 and we'll see how he does there compared with other 18 year olds-like Alex Rodriguez.

jerjapan - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:21 PM EST (#338283) #
No offense to whoever said it, but anyone comparing any prospect to Mike Schmidt is nuts. 
Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:30 PM EST (#338284) #
It's hard to talk about Vladimir Guerrero Jr's future progress when he's just 17. Can he stick at 3B? If he can control his weight, that should be possible - he works very hard at being better. How soon can he be here? 2019 might be pushing it, but not if his rate of progress remains unlimited. That kind of progress is still possible for him.

Rowdy Tellez need AB's and playing time at 1B in Buffalo, as many as possible, before he's called up. While he might be ready in 2017, there is no room for him before 2019. Around $10.5 untradeable Millions has been invested at 1B until then, and I think it's going nowhere.

Richard Urena will stay at Short Stop, he's good enough. His progress will depend on his health - the more ABs he gets, the better. He might be ready in 2018 on an emergency basis, but more likely he might be ready by 2019. If not 2020 arrival time is just fine, Tulowitzki is going nowhere.

Connor Greene has had a few struggles lately. It's possible he could be an Aaron Sanchez, he has that much upside. He needs to be in the Jays' Bullpen in 2017, he has good enough stuff, he needs to see why he needs more. He should then be pitching in AAA on 2018, working on what he's learned. He could then be back as a Starter at the Front of the Rotation in 2019.

Sean Reid-Foley needs to stay healthy - the more he pitches the better. He needs to keep making steady progress to advance rapidly. He's still a year away of any decisions being made. Earliest arrival is 2020.

Marcus Stroman was tried as a Reliever, and struggled. Returned to Starting, he was a big success.
Aaron Sanchez had an exceptional run in the Bullpen and became a great success as a Starter.
Joe Biagini became a successful Reliever. Despite a dire need for him to be a Reliever again, he could be a successful Starter.

Starters in AAA, AA, and A+ can be tried in the Bullpen depending on their stage of development. Not everyone should be tried. Not everyone will succeed. Successes in the Bullpen do not always help Starters be successful, but sometimes you get a good, cheap, effective Reliever.
uglyone - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:36 PM EST (#338285) #
for the record, Lawrie's highest prospect rank ever was #40 by BA.
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:54 PM EST (#338286) #
The MLB Pipeline and BA lists often differ, sometimes dramatically, because they emphasize different criteria. The main difference is that Pipeline regards proximity to the majors as an important criteria while BA pays little attention to it and emphasizes upside potential.

The apparent logical frailty of this argument of course, is that it assumes that "proximity to the majors as an important criteria" and "upside potential" are in some way exclusive. Far from it. Andrew Benintendi was drafted in 2015 and so far has only 1.5 years in the minors. The reason that he is close to the majors is pretty simple. He's a stud. He's rated by MLB as first overall in the outfield and first overall as a prospect. He's rated as having the best bat, being the best "pure hitter", having speed, and possessing centrefield calibre defence. That's as 'upside' as it gets. In fact, I don't know how you could say "upside" more clearly. Jon Harris was drafted by the Blue Jays in the same round in 2015. He's not a stud, which comes as no surprise given that he was the 31 pick and Benintendi was drafted 7 overall (though it's hard not to notice that the Blue Jays from 2002 through 2015 appear to have drafted exactly two position players who became major leaguers at all, no matter where they were drafted, in Hill and Pillar). The reason that Benintendi has rocketed through the minors, unlike Harris, is not unrelated to the fact that Benintendi has far more "upside potential".
Parker - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 02:55 PM EST (#338287) #
Lawrie turned into an approximate league-average hitter and has settled into a 2-WAR role. He has 15 WAR at age-26. You know how many players on the current Jays roster had 15 WAR by age 26?

Two. Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin.

Lawrie was never overrated. If anything, he was underrated, because he was considered a good bat without a position to play. He actually figured out how to field two different positions at the ML level. And he brought a good bat. Not a superstar bat, but a good one.

A lot of people struggle with the fact that not every Top-100 prospect actually turns into a superstar. If that was the case, there'd be 750 superstars at MLB-level and another 200 at AAA.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:14 PM EST (#338288) #
"Lawrie was never overrated"

This John Sickels headline and poll from September 2011 begs to differ:

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/9/13/2423308/can-god-create-a-prospect-he-cant-get-out-brett-lawrie-vs-mike-trout

Readers were asked, "if you could have Brett Lawrie or Mike Trout for the rest of his career, who would you pick and why?" 1421 people voted; 47% chose Brett Lawrie.
prospect - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:16 PM EST (#338289) #
@jerjapan you were looking at the 2016 mlb list. Their 2017 list for the Jays is not out yet. But McGuire was 6th among C this year behind Cisco who was the #99 overall prospect. I think the gap between the two is huge.
scottt - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:24 PM EST (#338290) #
I looks like the Royals have signed Brandon Moss to replace Morales at DH.

It seems weird, but I guess Moss ran out of option and it's almost February.

Teams still like having a left bat at 1B/DH, which is why Tellez could  still have a decent career.

greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:24 PM EST (#338291) #
"Lawrie turned into an approximate league-average hitter and has settled into a 2-WAR role"

Lawrie has two 2 WAR seasons, and none since 2012. The last three seasons his WAR totals have been 1.8, 0.7, 0.9 WAR.
uglyone - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:29 PM EST (#338292) #
Lawrie has earned approx 10fwar-15bwar by age 26, even including all the injuries. That's much better than average for a 40th ranked prospect i think.
uglyone - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:42 PM EST (#338293) #
With Benintendi i think it's actually the classic raw athletic tools that are the question marks. He's small and not super fast. This limits his projection going forward I think. He can definitely hit and his power keeps coming despite him being tiny, so like Pedroia and betts the power is probably legit. He seems to have a great pure hit tool but everything else is more "good" than "great".

Guy is a very good prospect but personally I think he's a big step down from what a guy like Mookie (who had his hit and power but also better patience and speed) was as a prospect.
Chuck - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 03:47 PM EST (#338294) #
Lawrie was never overrated.

I recall talk around here after his very short rookie season to be insanely enthusiastic, reminiscent of the talk after Josh Phelps hit the scene.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 04:16 PM EST (#338295) #
OK, after reading what Spifficus said, I'll split the difference on Devers.  I had missed that he is now 20 but turned 20 in October.  He is 2 and 1/2 years older than Guerrero Jr., not 3.  That 6 months at Devers' young age does matter, and helps explain the high rating.  Evaluators looked at his stat line and said "look what he did in high A at age 19", which might be consistent with some of the more florid scouting descriptions.  I disagree with the rating, but the six months difference changes it from one that I think is pretty much off the wall to something much more understandable. 
92-93 - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 06:38 PM EST (#338296) #
Brandon Moss did pretty well for himself getting 2/12m guaranteed considering how late it is in the offseason. The Jays should stay away from the RPs that are asking for a 2nd (and 3rd?) year.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 07:16 PM EST (#338297) #
for the record, Lawrie's highest prospect rank ever was #40 by BA

Also for the record, Jim Callis (who was with BA at the time) said in Feb. 2012 that had he qualified for the top 100 in 2012 -- he didn't because of his 171 PA in the majors in late 2011 -- Lawrie would have been Callis's #4 overall prospect for 2012. Which gives some idea of how Lawrie was viewed as a prospect / first-year player at the time.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2012/2613016.html
greenfrog - Sunday, January 29 2017 @ 07:22 PM EST (#338298) #
In other words, how Lawrie was viewed in Feb. 2012 is extremely close to the way Benintendi, Moncada, and Torres are being viewed in late Jan. 2017. Had Lawrie qualified for the 2012 list, this is how Callis's top 5 prospects would have looked:

Harper
Moore
Trout
Lawrie
Darvish
Michael - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 01:01 AM EST (#338299) #
Lawrie is clearly a draft/prospect hit. Most picks, even top 100 picks aren't as valuable. He clearly isn't a top 5 quality looking back, however, he was rarely if ever considered top 5, and even some top 5 picks don't make it.
scottt - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 06:34 AM EST (#338300) #
Moss is signed to 4/8. If the Royals are not in it, he likely goes on the block for a pitching prospect.

That 13M option for Jay Bruce looks even worse.

They Jays need one solid reliever. They already have lots of options for the back of the pen. 2/12 shouldn't be a problem.
Relievers are easy to trade if they don't completely collapse or break down.

Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 08:42 AM EST (#338301) #
Lawrie has two 2 WAR seasons, and none since 2012. The last three seasons his WAR totals have been 1.8, 0.7, 0.9 WAR.

I was going by bWAR, and making some allowances for time missed. From 2011 to 2013 he was worth between 2.3 and 4.5 bWAR, despite never playing a full season. In 2014 he was worth 1.7 bWAR in 70 games. In 2015, 1.9 in 149 games and in 2016, 1.3 in 94 games. Granted, with those numbers extrapolated to full seasons, he still falls a little short of a 2 bWAR average, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt due to having to learn to play 2B, where he doesn't look great.

I figured Lawrie was close enough to a 2 bWAR average to not split hairs over it.
Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 08:53 AM EST (#338302) #
Readers were asked, "if you could have Brett Lawrie or Mike Trout for the rest of his career, who would you pick and why?" 1421 people voted; 47% chose Brett Lawrie.

Well, given how Trout has turned out, I'd say that's more a case of Trout being massively UNDER-rated. Even so, more than half the voters picked him over Lawrie, despite the fact that Lawrie was in the middle of a 153 OPS+ third of a season and Trout was hitting at an 89 OPS+ clip. Even with Lawrie's huge small-sample MLB numbers (and plus defence) the voters still liked Trout better.
Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 08:58 AM EST (#338303) #
Also for the record, Jim Callis (who was with BA at the time) said in Feb. 2012 that had he qualified for the top 100 in 2012 -- he didn't because of his 171 PA in the majors in late 2011 -- Lawrie would have been Callis's #4 overall prospect for 2012. Which gives some idea of how Lawrie was viewed as a prospect / first-year player at the time.

Well sure, but he put up insane numbers in those 171 PA. That'd jump anyone way up the list. Going into 2012, Lawrie really DID look like Mike Schmidt. If he'd continued to hit like that, he'd be giving Trout a run for his money as the top position player in baseball.
uglyone - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 09:06 AM EST (#338304) #
It wasn't just idiocy that made Beane trade Donaldson for Lawrie. Lawrie's profile was legit. He's just a wee bit of a headcase.
Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 09:14 AM EST (#338305) #
It wasn't just idiocy that made Beane trade Donaldson for Lawrie. Lawrie's profile was legit. He's just a wee bit of a headcase.

Yeah, the talent was definitely there. Sometimes those guys benefit from a change of scenery and a change of coaching staffs.

Don't forget about Franklin Barreto, though - for the A's I'd bet he was more the centrepiece to that trade than Lawrie.
jerjapan - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 09:46 AM EST (#338306) #
It was a bad trade when Beane made it, but it looks worse than it was given how it turned out - Nolin couldn't stay healthy and Lawrie fell apart.  I thought he was going to do great in Oakland - all that space in foul territory, nothing for the guy to crash into, less pressure.  At least Graveman is giving them innings while they wait for Barreto. 
SK in NJ - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 10:00 AM EST (#338307) #
Lawrie fell off the moment his defense did. He had a 35 DRS in 2011-14. Since being traded, he's had a -10 DRS at 3B and 2B. He's no longer a good defensive player, or even an average one. Whether that is due to injury or something else, I'm not sure, but that zapped pretty much all of his value as a player.

It was still a bad trade when it happened for the A's, as Donaldson had one extra year of control over Lawrie, and the pitching prospects were fringy types. Also, Barreto was so far away that it was a small price to pay considering what the Jays got in return. You won't see many trades like that ever. Complete fleecing by AA. It's not like Donaldson broke out after the trade. He was an MVP candidate before being traded.
Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 11:09 AM EST (#338308) #
It was still a bad trade when it happened for the A's, as Donaldson had one extra year of control over Lawrie, and the pitching prospects were fringy types. Also, Barreto was so far away that it was a small price to pay considering what the Jays got in return. You won't see many trades like that ever. Complete fleecing by AA. It's not like Donaldson broke out after the trade. He was an MVP candidate before being traded.

I dunno. Barreto is plowing through the minors at a really young age. He could be Oakland's starting SS at age-21. AA made a monster trade, but Oakland could still end up on the winning end. AA got massive value on that trade so far, but Barreto could provide more value than Tulo next year. It's all about whether you want to win now, or win later. Oakland is really good at the "win-later" trades. If Barreto keeps moving up and Semien can play a decent 2B, the only difference is the money spent. Donaldson is a monster but the Jays will need to spend a ton to keep him. I love the concept of the "best player acquired" theory of trades, but Barreto has a legitimate chance to be the best player in the deal. He isn't yet, but he might be in a couple years. We'll see.

It's a great trade for the Jays, but I'd hold off for a couple years before calling it a fleecing.
pubster - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 11:21 AM EST (#338309) #
"Barreto has a legitimate chance to be the best player in the deal"

Barreto could be a great player, but I think the chances of him being an MVP level player are pretty low, just because the chances of any player being an MVP player are pretty low.
Mike Green - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 11:38 AM EST (#338310) #
Branch Rickey is rolling over in his grave. Leo Durocher was one thing, but this is a whole other kettle of fish.
Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 11:42 AM EST (#338311) #
Barreto could be a great player, but I think the chances of him being an MVP level player are pretty low, just because the chances of any player being an MVP player are pretty low.

Very good point. Oakland could still get more total value out of Barreto, though, if the Jays can't extend Donaldson. But yeah, you're right, trading for an MVP is a coup d'etat no matter how the future assets play out.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 12:24 PM EST (#338312) #
The Jays have gotten a 16.3 WAR in two seasons out of Donaldson, and will probably get between 25-30 WAR over the full four seasons assuming he doesn't fall off a cliff in the next two years. Barreto may turn into a star, but he would have to average a 4-5 WAR over six years to reach Donaldson's projected four seasons in Toronto. It's certainly possible, but not something I'd bank on. Even if it does happen, I'd be fine with it.

I wasn't a fan of AA trading prospects but this deal was a no brainer at the time, IMO. Not comparable to the deals where he was getting players in their 30's on free agent contracts. Players like JD with four years of arb left do not get traded very often.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 12:34 PM EST (#338313) #
Jays have signed Lucas Harrell to a minor league deal according to BNS. Looks like Buffalo rotation depth.
Parker - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 01:03 PM EST (#338314) #
The Jays have gotten a 16.3 WAR in two seasons out of Donaldson, and will probably get between 25-30 WAR over the full four seasons assuming he doesn't fall off a cliff in the next two years. Barreto may turn into a star, but he would have to average a 4-5 WAR over six years to reach Donaldson's projected four seasons in Toronto. It's certainly possible, but not something I'd bank on. Even if it does happen, I'd be fine with it.

Huh. I missed how Donaldson was under team control through 2018. I thought he was a free agent after 2017 for some reason. So at worst, the Jays go to arbitration with him for the 2018 season? Damn. My bad. That was a GREAT trade. Kudos to AA.
Glevin - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 01:54 PM EST (#338315) #
The Donaldson trade was great. In evaluating trades, I care much more about value at the time than how it turns out. I can't give the Jays credit for trading for Bautista or Encarnacion because their developing that way was such a fluke. Similarly, I don't fault the Jays for letting go of Gomes or Schimpf because it wasn't reasonable to project their breakouts. Even if Barreto becomes a star, getting an MVP caliber player with a great contract for 4 years without trading away all their top prospects (Sanchez, Norris, etc...) was a coup.
eudaimon - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 03:01 PM EST (#338316) #
Indeed. The Jays probably don't compete these past two years if not for the Donaldson trade. Meanwhile, the A's paid Billy Butler about the same amount as they would have paid Donaldson for producing 8 less WAR (Butler was actually worth negative WAR). If Barretto becomes a solid all-star for his six cheap years then maybe we can call this a win / win, but until then it looks like a Jays coup. The A's probably could have gotten better prospect capital in the trade regardless, and they would have been within spitting distance of a wild card spot if they had kept Donaldson's 8ish WAR on the team.
uglyone - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 03:11 PM EST (#338317) #
I was looking at the yanks' roster, since the projections have them a tick ahead of us....and I just don't see it. I can't really understand how the projections see them as better than the jays' roster, other than some weirdly optimistic dreaming on some not-so-young "kids".
Glevin - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 03:54 PM EST (#338318) #
Ya, I see the Jays ahead of the Yanks too. New York's rotation is way too worrisome and they lack elite hitters. 2018 might be a different story but they have a ways to go.
PeterG - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 04:00 PM EST (#338319) #
I don't see the Yanks as much better than a .500 team either.
Mike Green - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 04:12 PM EST (#338320) #
Fangraphs has the Blue Jays at 84-78 and the Yankees at 82-80.  FWIW, I disagree again with fangraphs' runs allowed projection for Toronto (4.66 runs per game) and the underlying BABIP projection of .297.  It's the same issue as I had last year; I was wrong about the offence but right about this point.  The issue is that Steamer seems to heavily regress BABIP even if there is a multi-year pattern and defensive ability that might support a low BABIP.  To take an example, Marco Estrada is projected to have a BABIP of .283.  His BABIP the last four years has been .262, .257, .213 and .234.  The last two years have been with Toronto and Kevin Pillar.  This year, Steamer projects that Saunders' defensive innings will be eaten up by primarily Upton Jr. and Pompey, and if anything the fly ball defense ought to be at least as good (allowing for some decline from Pillar and Bautista). 

The runs scored figure looks fine, by the way, and if anything, a little bit on the high side maybe.  However, it calls for 469 PAs to be given to Justin Smoak with a projected line of .225/.313/.407.  It's not exactly a high hurdle for a first baseman to pass.
jerjapan - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 04:43 PM EST (#338321) #
Harrel is an arm, but I really do think we could be doing better with our AAA depth.

I hadn't realized that the guy behind the hacking scandal got a nearly four year sentence - seems like he's paying the bulk of the price for the Cards.

Stoeten has comments from Pete Walker on the Jay's LH reliever options, but no mention of Girodo?  Dude must not be liked by the new org if Tim Mayza, Oberholzer and Dermody are ahead of him on the list.  I'd rather some reclamation righties with incentives than a Boone Logan at the prices being talked about for lefty relievers.  Even that rumour about trading for David Robertson sounds okay at this point.

scottt - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 06:33 PM EST (#338323) #
So, basically, fangraphs projects the Blue Jays to share the wild cards with the Angels.

Could be worse.
scottt - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 06:47 PM EST (#338324) #
Why would it matter how much they pay for Boone Logan?
Robertson makes 12M.  That's too expensive to lose prospects over.
Grilli makes 3M and the cost was  Sean Ratcliffe.

jerjapan - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 07:28 PM EST (#338325) #
It depends on the prospects, of course.  But it does seem to me that the back end of a FA contract is increasingly likely to come at a discount, and the Sox are certainly in a rebuilding phase, having sold high on two of their big three chips (Robertson being a clear 4th).  Pay the full $12 and $13 million for Robertson before he's a FA and the prospects required to make the deal would likely be marginal - a quantity not quality package of C+ prospects and we pay the full sticker price?  I'm game, and that's only twice the money Boone Logan is asking for.  And he is Boone Logan after all. 
scottt - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 07:44 PM EST (#338326) #
At this point the White Sox don't care about reducing payroll and are holding on for the largest prospect package they can get, which likely comes at the trade deadline.
jerjapan - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 07:56 PM EST (#338327) #
Likely.  But worth exploring.
uglyone - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 07:58 PM EST (#338328) #
ah that's right Mike their projected standings cannbe different than the projected war - NYY projected for a tick more war on their dpeth charts.

but yeah i agree about the pitching....though i stillnhave niggling doubts that estrada and sanchez can keep bewting their fips by such a large margin indefinitely.

but even without that I don't see the yanks' SP matching the jays, and the lineup doesn't even look comparable to me, really. they do have that pen though.
scottt - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 08:20 PM EST (#338329) #
They asked the Mets for Comforto in exchange for Robertson.
scottt - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 08:31 PM EST (#338330) #
FIP is not a predictor of ERA.
Estrada's FIP has been trending downward, how is that a problem?

What about Sanchez's FIP? I don't see anything special about it. The low HR/9 help balance the pedestrian strike out rate.

jerjapan - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 10:28 PM EST (#338331) #
Ask away.
cybercavalier - Monday, January 30 2017 @ 10:46 PM EST (#338332) #
Jays have signed Lucas Harrell to a minor league deal according to BNS. Looks like Buffalo rotation depth. Harrel is an arm, but I really do think we could be doing better with our AAA depth.

Season ago when Houston was still a NL team and about to be moved to the AL, Harrell was a #4-#5 pitcher on their rotation. Now, is he a older version of Mike Boslinger? For himself, I think he shall start a game but pitches like a reliever; that means he shall be substituted after 2 to 3 innings. For Buffalo's depth, do we really need a rotation management like that in Toronto? I think it is possible to have 2 or 3 veteran pitchers who can start but pitch like relievers.

My ideas are that Buffalo pitching staff holds 3 pitch clusters. Jays pitching prospects and youth, such as Biagini and Osuna. Then SP veterans such as Wade LeBlanc, Scott Diamond and Harrell. Then RP veterans, this last group just comprises of closers and setups. My question. is there truly a concept of developing middle relievers from prospects?
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 02:01 AM EST (#338333) #
Every single Starter in the Jays' Rotation is at least a #3 Starter on almost every other team. Actual #4 and #5 Starters out-number every other Starter. Keep as Starters, every #1, #2 and Mid-Rotation Starter in the Minors, let them develop. Bring up the others (#4 and #5 Starters) and try them out as Relievers. Cheap source of quality Bullpen help, which are now worth $4.0 or more Millions on the Free Market or worth a lot in Trades.
scottt - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 06:50 AM EST (#338334) #
Looking back at those Fangraphs predictions...

They see the Angels going from 4.49 to 4.41 runs allowed per game. That seems like a small improvement, but that's the team that signed Jesse Chavez as a starter. They see the Jays going from 4.11 to 4.66. with Stroman completely recovered from his leg injury and Liriano replacing Dickie and with better defense in left field.

Meanwhile we still wait for that reliever. Catchers and pitchers are due on February 14.

Mike Green - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 10:03 AM EST (#338335) #
Here's a story from John Thorn. No spoiler from me.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 10:15 AM EST (#338336) #
And this is an excellent article on Rich Hill and analytics.
85bluejay - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 11:01 AM EST (#338337) #
Except for the 3rd year, I was ok with the Morales deal - but combined 2/15 for Valbuena & 2/12 for Moss is intriguing - guys who can play to varying degrees 1b/2b/3b/corner outfield , not the base clogger that Morales is - I also like that with LHS, you could play Barney in the infield and DH the infielder (kind of 1/2 day off) and have Moss,Valbuena on bench - Also no 3rd year to worry about. Note: This is not a criticism of the FO.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 12:57 PM EST (#338338) #
"Harrel is an arm, but I really do think we could be doing better with our AAA depth."

Kershaw wasn't available. Seriously, AAA depth is always going to be just arms. Any starter with any upside will be signed to a major league deal and get millions. Scott Feldman got $2.3M. Dickey got $8M. There aren't secret guys with upside available. Teams that have good AAA depth have good AAA depth because they have prospects close to the majors leagues.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 02:04 PM EST (#338339) #
And if the prospects are good enough to be effective MLB SP, then they shouldn't be in AAA.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 02:11 PM EST (#338340) #
Unless you have prospects in the upper minors, the AAA depth is always going to be very fringe MLB types, old guys past their primes, or pitchers with massive injury risk/history. Pitchers that fall in none of those categories are likely getting big league deals for millions and don't have to spend time in the minors.

Unfortunately, the best way to add AAA depth and SP depth in general this season is to subtract from the big league pen (Biagini). The Jays don't have a pitching prospect ready to start in AAA yet, and they don't have a Chavez type to put in the swing man role. That's definitely an area of concern.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 02:16 PM EST (#338341) #
I know you think I'm being naive Glevin, but I still disagree with you on this, and think AA did a much better job with the AAA / fringe major league depth.  Again, Schultz, Cola, Zeke, Darwin Barney (acquired for PTBN Jack Murphy), Smoak (claimed off waivers, non-tendered,1 million), Liam Hendricks (waiver claim, traded and then traded back to us for Santiago Nessy).  The only decent depth pieces the new FO has acquired thus far are Leone and Ceciliani, and possibly Beliveau, although Walker didn't mention him as a lefty relief candidate in a recent interview.  Some AAAA guys still have upside and it looks like the new regime is happy to just sign guys with big league experience on the downside of their careers.

It's certainly not a big deal, but this regime isn't as creative at trying to maximize value from minor league FAs as the last one.  They are willing to make rule v picks, and I like that approach.  But why not sign international players, indie leaguers, career minor leaguers who may have been overlooked?   As many have noted, our prospect depth is AA and lower, so it's not like they'd be blocking anyone. 

The Bisons' pen looks good, but we could use depth in both the OF and the IF in Buffalo.  Just look at the roster. 

I posted this before, but it's worth a look, especially if you are going to keep calling me out ...

http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2017/1/20/14073094/its-been-a-quiet-winter-for-minor-league-free-agent-signings-too

I think high risk high reward is the way to go for depth so pitchers with massive injury risks over old guys past their primes, guys with no pedigree but interesting numbers ... that sort of thing.

John Northey - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 02:27 PM EST (#338342) #
Very true. Ideally you have 3 or 4 guys who would be 0-0.5 WAR guys if given a full shot in the majors (IE: nothing special but not disasters). Perfect world a few top prospects who need grooming and could handle a 2 week callup and do well hopefully would be there too.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 02:41 PM EST (#338343) #
Honest question - who are the teams with good starting pitching prospects in AAA that they'd be happy to call up in a pinch?
PeterG - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 03:01 PM EST (#338344) #
IF and OF at Buffalo looks ok to me....

OF - Pompey, Smith, Ramirez, Ceciliani, maybe Fields
INF - Tellez, Lopes, (possibly both Christian and Tim) Berti, Petit, maybe Leblebijian
uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 03:02 PM EST (#338345) #
I mean aren't prospects the wrong kind of AAA depth to have - prospects you have to worry about development path, and can't just call up and down willy nilly.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 03:09 PM EST (#338346) #
jerjapan, the only player you mentioned that was a minor league FA signing was Carrera. The other players you mentioned were either waivers claims or trades, which are a different animal entirely.

The 2015 minor league free agent signings by AA were: Scott Copeland, Greg Burke, Ezequiel Carrera, Jake Fox, Caleb Gindl, Wilton Lopez, Daric Barton, Andrew Albers, Andy Dirks, Munenori Kawasaki, Luis Perez, Ramon Santiago, Chris Dickerson, Johan Santana, Dayan Viciedo, Randy Wolf. You get the idea.

That's a pretty typical set of minor league signings. It's very rare that a team gets a difference maker with one of those deals unless it's a heavily incentive based deal for a good player with massive injury risks (like Floyd, for example).

You are expecting way too much out of minor league signings. The majority of them are simply to put bodies in Buffalo. Maybe you get lucky and get replacement level or better performance from someone (Zeke) but regardless you won't be getting good players to sign minor league deals.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 03:37 PM EST (#338347) #
But SK, it doesn't have to be minor league signings.  This FO is missing the boat a bit on minor league depth aside from the rule v draft - that's my point, there are many avenues to acquire this kind of talent, you exploit them all, sign some guys with upside and hope that one sticks.  I know, getting a Zeke out of the deal isn't a game changer, but it is a win. 

In terms of AAA starters, I sincerely hope Pompey is with the big club and don't want us to sign a LF because of that.  Smith, Fields and arguably Ramirez haven't earned the call but some will be there because of the lack of depth.  You can just cut the sort of guys I'm talking about, so if Ramirez IS ready in AA (taking more walks, showing some power, playing some D) - then you cut the lowest performing guy that you have stashed in AAA. 

INF - Tellez, Lopes, (possibly both Christian and Tim) Berti, Petit, maybe Leblebijian

Tellez aside, that is an unimpressive group.  And I'm a big Leblebjian fan. 

We could easily add a middle IF, a 3B and an OF, preferably someone who can play CF.   And I like the thought of forming a strong relationship with Buffalo, the proximity is a huge asset for us and the fans there are close enough to come up to TO and contribute to the Jays revenue.  And Buffalo is a fun road trip for us in southern Ontario.  Why not make them a winner?

I'm certainly not expecting 'way too much' from these guys ... like John said, guys who are "nothing special but not disasters", and you hope one turns into Liam Hendricks.  Who is this years Hendricks?  Don't just say Sparkman - we need half a dozen Sparkman's to get  a Hendricks. 
PeterG - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 03:56 PM EST (#338348) #
Got to let your own guys play...most if not all of those will be in Buffalo. That's why few minor league signings. They are not needed. This is a sign of strength, not weakness. Prospects are usually promoted unless they struggle at previous level and none of these have except possibly for Fields.

As Pompey has a remaining option, I would expect Jays to take advantage of it unless he absolutely rakes in ST.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:00 PM EST (#338349) #
Jonathan Diaz is back to shore up the middle infield in Buffalo.

Dave Cameron points out that many decent teams are "punting" first base, with the Blue Jays the most egregious offender. I continue to hope that Pearce, Morales and Tellez will get the lion's share of the work.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:23 PM EST (#338350) #
"Honest question - who are the teams with good starting pitching prospects in AAA that they'd be happy to call up in a pinch?"

For example, Nationals had Giolito, Ross, AJ Cole, and Reynaldo Lopez in AAA last year. Red Sox had Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson, Mets have Gsellman, etc.... Pirates had Glasnow and Kuhl, etc...Many many teams have prospects (both top and decent) in AAA ready to step in.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:25 PM EST (#338351) #
Erod was in the minors due to injury only. Owens and Johnson aren't good pitching depth, no matter their age.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:31 PM EST (#338352) #
For the nats, Ross was their #5 SP, and a good one, while giolito cole and lopez provided terrible emergency depth.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:35 PM EST (#338353) #
For the pirates, glassnow a d kuhl should have been in the majors ahead of a whole whack of bad vets, not wasting way in AAA as depth.

The Mets I'll give you - one of the rare examples of a very good starting staff with a good prospect in AAA likely ready to contrbute but with no clear spot to upgrade.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:38 PM EST (#338354) #
" This FO is missing the boat a bit on minor league depth aside from the rule v draft - that's my point, there are many avenues to acquire this kind of talent, you exploit them all, sign some guys with upside and hope that one sticks. "

There aren't guys with upside out there. That's the point. There are a few guys who could hit at 1B or DH or be a 5th OFer a team could take a chance on but the idea that there is this group of unsigned players with upside is just nonsense. Look at BA's minor league free agent tracker. There are hundreds of free agents and pretty much no quality at all.

Glevin - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 04:42 PM EST (#338355) #
Ugly, it doesn't matter. Almost every team has these prospects in AAA. The Astros had Musgrove, this year they'll have Martes the Cards had Reyes, etc...You're just trying to argue that the Jays' lack of prospects in AAA is not a detriment to the team. It very clearly is.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 05:51 PM EST (#338356) #
Per MLBTR, pending physical, JP Howell will be a Jay..
PeterG - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 06:34 PM EST (#338357) #
one year, approx. 3 mil for Howell
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 06:38 PM EST (#338358) #
Howell for 1 year at $3m. Thumbs up.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 07:04 PM EST (#338359) #
OF - Pompey, Smith, Ramirez, Ceciliani, maybe Fields
INF - Tellez, Lopes, (possibly both Christian and Tim) Berti, Petit, maybe Leblebijian

So far three approaches on stocking up AAA talents or prosepcts:
1) from prospects
1.1) Jays' lack of prospects in AAA is very clearly a detriment to the team.
1.2) There aren't guys with upside out there. That's the point. There are a few guys who could hit at 1B or DH or be a 5th OFer a team could take a chance on but the idea that there is this group of unsigned players with upside is just nonsense. Look at BA's minor league free agent tracker. There are hundreds of free agents and pretty much no quality at all.
1.3) For the pirates, glassnow a d kuhl should have been in the majors ahead of a whole whack of bad vets, not wasting way in AAA as depth.
1.4) The Mets I'll give you - one of the rare examples of a very good starting staff with a good prospect in AAA likely ready to contrbute but with no clear spot to upgrade.
1.5) For the nats, Ross was their #5 SP, and a good one, while giolito cole and lopez provided terrible emergency depth.
1.6) Got to let your own guys play...most if not all of those will be in Buffalo. That's why few minor league signings. They are not needed. This is a sign of strength, not weakness. Prospects are usually promoted unless they struggle at previous level and none of these have except possibly for Fields.
2.1) Per MLBTR, pending physical, JP Howell will be a Jay. Howell for 1 year at $3m. Thumbs up.
2.2) Jonathan Diaz is back to shore up the middle infield in Buffalo.
3.1) minor league depth aside from the rule v draft - that's my point, there are many avenues to acquire this kind of talent, you exploit them all, sign some guys with upside and hope that one sticks.
3.2) You can just cut the sort of guys I'm talking about, so if [prospect] IS ready in AA (taking more walks, showing some power, playing some D) - then you cut the lowest performing guy that you have stashed in AAA.
3.3) typical set of minor league signings. It's very rare that a team gets a difference maker with one of those deals unless it's a heavily incentive based deal for a good player with massive injury risks (like Floyd, for example).
3.4) You are expecting way too much out of minor league signings. The majority of them are simply to put bodies in Buffalo. Maybe you get lucky and get replacement level or better performance from someone.
3.5)  It's certainly not a big deal, but this regime isn't as creative at trying to maximize value from minor league FAs as the last one.  They are willing to make rule v picks, and I like that approach.  But why not sign international players, indie leaguers, career minor leaguers who may have been overlooked?   As many have noted, our prospect depth is AA and lower, so it's not like they'd be blocking anyone.

Route 1) prospect
Route 2) MLB veterans
Roue 3) indie, international, career minor leaguers

Route 1) is pretty much covered in the media in reports, social media, networking et cetera.
Route 2) by coaching. JoeyBats is one prominent example from an average 18 HR per season guy to an allstar
Route 3) The Jays seasons ago tried Scott Richmond. The RedSox tried Daniel Nava, The Reds in 2016offseason sign Art Charles who dominated his indie league. The Brewers signed Eric Thames back from Korea.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 07:39 PM EST (#338360) #
Reading from history, if jerjapan wants the Jays FO to be more creative in minor league staff signing which I also mentioned already. BA.com published annually indie prospects. From  this 2016 season list:

1 Dalton Wheat, OF, Age: 22. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. --signed by Marlins
2 Art Charles, 1B, Age: 25. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 260. -- Reds, former Jays' prospect
4. Chad Nading, rhp, Wichita (American Association) Age: 29. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-6. Wt.:235 -- Brewers
5. Jesse Beal -- Phillies
6. Danny Reynolds -- Braves
7. Lindsey Caughel -- Mariners
8. Austin Crutcher -- WhiteSox
9. Andrew Potter -- Pirates
10. Jordan Mills -- Nationals
11. Trevor Richards -- Marlins
12. Nik Turley -- Twins

Given the above, jerjapan's statement about the Jays not being creative enough to sign indie prospects appears valid. For indie prospects themselves, they cover both route 1) prospects and route 3) indie.

BA.com on #3) Jose Nivar, a converted OF to a flamethrower reliever. He reminds me of a younger Adam Loewen or Sergio Santos.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 07:46 PM EST (#338361) #
Jonathan Diaz is back to shore up the middle infield in Buffalo.

Diaz, as we fans know, is an all defense no hit guy... or was he? Anyway, there is a Canadian Sean Jamieson with the D-backs's Triple-A. The idea is to break why Canadians are not producing MLB middle infielders.
China fan - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 07:57 PM EST (#338362) #
JP Howell looks like a good bounce-back candidate, after a mediocre 2016 season.  His previous three seasons were excellent, and he's a groundball pitcher, especially against LHB, which should play well with Toronto's infield.  His peripherals were still decent in 2016, and his ERA was inflated by a .338 BABIP, so he could return to form in 2017.  His velocity has always been slow, he's the Mark Buehrle of relievers, but he has good control and he finds ways to get hitters out.

The best news, however, is that the Jays are still hunting for another reliever, perhaps a RHP at around the same $3-million price, according to Rosenthal.  They're not yet content with what they've got, and that's the right approach.  There are lots of marginal relievers who can fight for a spot in spring training, but the Jays should still be aiming to acquire another veteran who is likely to be more reliable than the younger guys on the fringes.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 08:05 PM EST (#338363) #
Howell for 1/3 is a solid deal.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 08:14 PM EST (#338364) #
Howell is a great move, and better value than I thought we could get for a lefty reliever.  Certainly better than what Boone Logan was asking for.  I have very publicly complained about the lack of activity this offseason, but the FO is finall finding value with this slow burn approach to the offseason.

Glevin, disagree away, but please stop calling what I write 'nonsense'.  I've gone into a fair amount of detail with specific examples of how AA found AAA value, and you aren't engaging with my ideas, you are just resorting to invective. 

Are you actually suggesting that there is no difference in an organizations ability to build minor league depth outside of drafts and trades?  That all teams have equal AAAA talent? 

scottt - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 08:21 PM EST (#338365) #
I really don't think the price matter at this point.

A soft tossing lefty with a sinker, knuckle curve and changeup.
He just had an off year, but the peripherals remained strong.
Usually only 10 to 25% of inherited runners scored, but allowed 40% last year.
Good candidate for a bounce back even if Streamer thinks he actually gets worse.
(Those projections are often hard to figure out.)

Has good numbers against right handed hitters.
Exactly the type of lefty Gibby likes.



scottt - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 08:45 PM EST (#338366) #
Osuna,
Grilli,
Howell,
Floyd,
Sparkman,
Bolsinger.

That only leaves one spot for the Buffalo shuttle and that's assuming they ship out Goins.
Bolsinger probably clears weavers if he's not released. No big loss.



uglyone - Tuesday, January 31 2017 @ 11:57 PM EST (#338367) #
""Ugly, it doesn't matter. Almost every team has these prospects in AAA. The Astros had Musgrove, this year they'll have Martes the Cards had Reyes, etc...You're just trying to argue that the Jays' lack of prospects in AAA is not a detriment to the team. It very clearly is."

I'm being honest actually - and my response was fact based. It's not a coincidence or luck that the names you mentioned were very poor fill ins last year.

It's not an excuse - If you have an SP prospect in AAA that's good enough to be good depth it's a rare case when he shouldn't already be part of the rotation.

and if you have a kid in AAA that is there because he's not ready, then he's likely not going to be good rotation depth.

if you look around the league it's the fungible AAAA vet arms that give better depth support than unready prospects.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 12:05 AM EST (#338368) #
nice howell signing I think. that's about the max price i wanted to see for a non-elite reliever. his peripherals are super consistent from year to year in the solid range. zips expects that to continue with a 3.60era/3.75fip again this year, which makes sense.

don't love the fact that his fastball is 85mph though. doesn't leave much room for error. but at least he keeps the ball on the ground.
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 01:39 AM EST (#338369) #
Howell's a nice addition. On the surface, it looks like he had a down year last year, but really, almost all of his stats in 2016 were very close to what he did in 2015, Hits per IP, BB's per IP, K's per IP, FIP, HR's per IP, all basically the same. The outlier is his ERA going from 1.43 to 4.09 despite the fact his pitching was the same. Shows you how misleading ERA for a relief pitcher can be. He had 4 rough outings last year in which he gave up 12 earned runs in a total of 2 IP. Two of those were in the first week of the season. Another was in Colorado. Aside from those 4 appearances, his ERA was similar to 2015, at 2.03. Those were the only 4 games he allowed more than 1 run. Curiously, last year lefties hit him much better than righties, 40 points higher BA, and 58 points higher OPS. For his career, he has held lefties to an OPS of .624, allowing considerably fewer HR's per AB.

If they add a decent righty, the bullpen looks pretty good, with Osuna, Grilli, Biagini, Howell, righty, and 2 of Floyd, Sparkman, Barnes, Tepera, Schultz, Leone, Bolsinger and the other candidates.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 04:00 AM EST (#338370) #
There is a sniff of something going on. Jays are negotiating with a NL Team for an Outfielder not previously mentioned? A friend mentioned he heard sometime like that in the winds the last few days. I'm not trusting that much.

J.P. Howell is the closest LHP that the Jays could get to replace Brett Cecil. He can pitch complete innings if needed. He might even be better than Cecil.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 07:58 AM EST (#338371) #
"Curiously, last year lefties hit him much better than righties, 40 points higher BA, and 58 points higher OPS. For his career, he has held lefties to an OPS of .624, allowing considerably fewer HR's per AB."

Lefties had a .375 babip against Howell last year. Probably a lot of bad luck there.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 09:26 AM EST (#338372) #
Last 2yrs Stats as RP (awar = avg of fipwar and ra9war)

RP Osuna (22): 140gms, 143.2ip, 63era-, 3.8awar, 1.7war/65ip
RP Biagini (27): 60gms, 67.2ip, 72era-, 1.0awar, 1.0war/65ip
RP Howell (34): 129gms, 94.2ip, 73era-, 1.1awar, 0.8war/65ip
RP Grilli (40): 103gms, 92.2ip, 89era-, 1.1awar, 0.8war/65ip
RP Floyd (34): 35gms, 44.1ip, 86era-, 0.5awar, 0.7war/65ip
RP Tepera (28): 52gms, 51.1ip, 76era-, 0.1awar, 0.1war/65ip
RP Loup (29): 81gms, 56.2ip, 111era-, 0.1awar, 0.1war/65ip
RP Barnes (27): 12gms, 13.2ip, 92era-, 0.3awar, 1.2war/65ip


Looking pretty solid now with Osuna-Biagini as the one-two punch at the backend, Howell-Grilli as the high lev matchup guys, and a bunch of decent options for the middle innings.

SPs like Bolsinger, Harrell, Oberholtzer, House in the mix for middle relief innings too.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 09:40 AM EST (#338373) #
Lefties had a .375 babip against Howell last year.

His career OPS split is 624/728, with normal BABIP splits of 289/298.

I don't imagine Gibbons will be pushing much to get complete innings out of Howell, so 50 innings in 65 outings, as he has done over the past few years, may be what we are in store for.

Jevant - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 09:41 AM EST (#338374) #
I'm pretty happy with Howell.  I wouldn't mind another veteran RP, I guess, since they are apparently still looking for one, but would probably prefer even more that that look at Angel Pagan (although I'm giving up on that dream since they seem to be committed to what they have in the OF now).  That said, I think a BP of Osuna-Biagini-Grilli-Howell as your core 4 is a good start, and there are interesting enough names behind them that it's good enough to start the season with and figure it out from there (I really hope Tepera gets a solid look this year).
uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 09:43 AM EST (#338375) #
"dreaming of Angel Pagan"

just doesn't look right to me :)
China fan - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:31 AM EST (#338376) #
An interesting tidbit from Richard Griffin in the Star today.  (Apologies to those who think he is always wrong. My view: he sometimes has useful information, even if his analysis is often flawed.)  Griffin predicts that Lourdes Gurriel will be in the majors by June, probably in LF.   If this is correct or even partially correct, it might explain why the Jays haven't gone after another LF so far in the off-season.  They might figure that they can muddle through the early months with some combination of Upton, Pompey, Pearce etc, and then give the job to Gurriel by mid-season.  To me it still seems like too much of a gamble, but I'm willing to accept that the Jays know a lot more about Gurriel than I do...

uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:37 AM EST (#338377) #
what is the gamble, though?

Moss and Pagan aren't good.

having pompey upton carrera (gurriel, ramirez) fighting over the one "weak" starting spot is not a bad situation at all.

China fan - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:40 AM EST (#338378) #
"....I think a BP of Osuna-Biagini-Grilli-Howell as your core 4 is a good start...."

I agree.  But if Howell is replacing Cecil, who is replacing Joaquin Benoit?  Benoit allowed only 1 earned run in 23.2 innings with the Jays.  Is there anyone on the roster who can be expected to perform anywhere near that level?  I'd say it is unlikely, even if we can dream about big improvements from the younger guys.  So I think the Jays need to acquire another good reliever.

And that's assuming Biagini remains in the bullpen (which I think is very likely), rather than being stretched out in Buffalo.   I think the Jays will stretch Biagini out a little in spring training, but keep him on the Toronto roster, so that he can go 2 or 3 innings on occasion in the regular season, and so that he can be potentially used as an emergency starter in the rotation in case a starter is injured.  (He would pitch just for 4 or 5 innings at first, of course, and then could conceivably get stretched out over the course of several starts if it is absolutely necessary).  Personally I think he's too valuable in the bullpen to be sent to Buffalo.  But if they do decide to send him to Buffalo, they will need to acquire two more relievers, not one.
Jevant - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:40 AM EST (#338379) #
Sure, although 1B & LF both look fairly "weak" to me (unless Pearce ends up playing the vast majority of time at 1B).
uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:41 AM EST (#338380) #
It's always useful to compare to teams people say are "stacked", like the red sox. The red sox have a good 3 weak spots - 3B,1B, C - comparable to the Jays' 1 weak spot. (And that's assuming Benintendi is an automatic quality starting mlber this year in LF.)
China fan - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:46 AM EST (#338381) #
"....what is the gamble, though?...."

I don't want to rehash our longstanding disagreement about Pompey -- I respect your view on him, even though I disagree.  But the gamble is that, in my view, there's a definite risk that none of those guys (Upton, Carrera, Pompey, Gurriel) will hit very well in the majors in 2017.  And then you've got a potential sinkhole in the lineup, alongside Pillar and whomever else happens to be slumping.  It's okay to have a light-hitting centre-fielder in the lineup, but LF is a position where the Jays should be able to produce some offense. To give it away to a weak-hitting player is giving up a lineup spot unnecessarily.  I think it shouldn't be difficult for the Jays to upgrade at that position, where you don't need an elite defender.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:49 AM EST (#338382) #
"dreaming of Angel Pagan"

The Squirrel Nut Zippers sang about dreaming of a blue Angel.

Teenage boys have other things in mind when alluding to blue angels.

Would this Angel in blue make fans blue?

Do pagans believe in angels?

So many questions.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:51 AM EST (#338383) #
If Pagan is too pricey, then Chris Coghlan might be a good option. I can't imagine he'd get a big league deal given how the market has played out so far. He was a good player in 2014-15, and after a horrible start with Oakland in 2016 (-1.5 WAR and 31 wRC+ in 172 PA), he had a nice bounce back when traded to the Cubs in June (1.0 WAR and 113 wRC+ in 128 PA).

He's a much better option than Carrera, especially if he can be signed to something like a minor league deal with a low base salary if he makes the team.
China fan - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 11:10 AM EST (#338384) #
"....Chris Coghlan might be a good option....."

I agree.  And he's a perfect platoon partner for Upton, since Coghlan has a career .766 OPS against RHP.   This is the kind of guy that the Jays should be targeting now. 

By the way, here's the latest payroll count:  after the Howell acquisition, the Jays have $154-million in 2017 commitments (if Salty makes the roster), according to Ben Nicholson-Smith.  So there's plenty of room for another acquisition -- even if we accept the "payroll parameters" (which we shouldn't have to do), and even if the Jays are keeping some money aside for the trade deadline (which is a smart idea).  Reminder: even with the payroll parameters, the 2017 payroll was expected to be $160 to $165 million.  So there's potentially another $11-million available.  Coghlan cost $4.8-million last year.

Let's put our faith in the new "interest" that Edward Rogers is taking in the Jays, let's acquire a LF and a reliever now, and let's trust Rogers to cough up some additional money at the trade deadline.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 11:54 AM EST (#338385) #
zips ops+ / steamer wrc+

Coghlan 92 / 91
Pagan 87 / 91

I mean if they're dirt cheap it doesn't hurt to have them in the mix I guess.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 11:54 AM EST (#338386) #
LF will be interesting as will RF this year. Safe to bet that Bautista will miss time and/or spend significant time at DH this year. Lets assume 30 starts in RF for a 4th OF minimum. Odds are the Jays will want to give Pillar more rest this year to try to keep him fresh all year.

So what now?
Pillar - CF probably gets 10 games off all year. At most.

Bautista - RF probably gets 20-30 games sorta off (DH/1B time)

Upton - LF will platoon but get the bulk of PA

Carrera - OF will mix and match to fill in holes as he is loved by Gibbons

Pompey - OF should get some time if someone gets hurt or sucks, but this is his last shot at grabbing a full time job

Gurriel - LF will be trying to impress the brass in spring but is in line for a full-time job by 2018 it seems.

Pearce - LF will get a few games, but probably only mid-game fill ins unless his defense gets a lot better

Harold Ramirez - OF will get a shot but odds are won't make it unless he really impresses in spring. Still wouldn't be shocked if he gets into 50+ games if Pompey and Carrera don't perform.
Parker - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 12:00 PM EST (#338387) #
I guess the most important questions are whether Pompey continues to develop, and whether Upton can bounce back to a plus-D, league average hitter.

I'd be okay with no more OF signings and letting a bunch of guys fight it out for LF - the Jays have a good mix of guys who could be good, and guys who have already been good and could return to being good.

It's not like the team has nothing but a bunch of career 85 OPS+ veterans to throw into the LF mix. Carrera is really the only one of those guys. There's a decent mix of prospects and bounce-back candidates. And there's always a chance the FO is right about Smoak and he hits well enough to take over full-time at 1B, which adds another option into the LF mix in Steve Pearce - assuming he can stay healthy on the turf.

There are a bunch of question marks, but at least it's not an utterly obvious sinkhole in left. If Gibbons doesn't wait too long to decide who's clearly a waste of time in LF, it doesn't have to be a disaster out there. On the other hand, in a worst-case scenario, Smoak keeps sucking, Pompey keeps not being able to hit ML pitching, and Upton is done like dinner. If that ends up being the case, I guess it doesn't matter what Gibbons does with the lineup.

We'll see.
92-93 - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 12:38 PM EST (#338388) #
There's still some time to make a somewhat significant acquistion but the closer we get to spring training the more ridiculous that whole Edward Rogers stepped up story sounds. I would love to be wrong and see the Jays make more than a marginal improvement, but right now it seems pathetic that the talking heads were kissing up because the Jays brought back Bautista and brought their projected payroll up to the range in which it finished last season.

Their current roster should cost them around 156m. My guess is 1 more guaranteed contract for a RHP and then minor league invites from there, but hopefully Travis Wood falls into their lap.

C Martin 20
1B Smoak 4.125
2B Travis 0.52
3B Donaldson 17
SS Tulo 20
LF Carrera 1.1625
CF Pillar 0.53
RF Bautista 18
DH Morales 10
IF Barney 2.8875
OF Upton 1
C2 Saltalamacchia 1.25
UT Pearce 6.25

SP Estrada 14
SP Liriano 13
SP Happ 13
SP Stroman 3.1
SP Sanchez 0.52
RP Howell 3
RP Grilli 3
RP Loup 1.125
RP Floyd 1
RP Osuna 0.52
RP Biagini 0.51
RP Tepera 0.51

156.01
Chuck - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 12:46 PM EST (#338389) #
whether Upton can bounce back to a plus-D, league average hitter

Upton left TB a highly useful player. Then:

  • 900 AB: Stink city in his 2 years in Atlanta.
  • 550 AB: 103 OPS+ in 1.5 years in SD.
  • 150 AB: Stink city in Toronto.

SD Upton is not so long ago, so I can see the hope of a return to this not-so-distant form. But those decent 550 AB are sandwiched by 1000 really, truly, horribly crappy AB.

If magic happens, he is SD Upton once again. If it doesn't, he is at best a short-side platooner and defensive replacement (worth the money he is getting from Toronto, but not worthy of playing against RHP).

uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 12:51 PM EST (#338390) #
I read somewhere that there's still near 100 free agents that haven't signed.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 02:50 PM EST (#338391) #
If Upton and Carrera are the two left field options, then they would have to start Upton everyday and hope he performs like he did with the Padres. Unfortunately, I think Gibbons will likely platoon them due to one being LH and the other being RH, which would be setting Zeke up to fail and hurt the team. If both are not going to hit righties very well, then I'd rather have the guy who brings better D and baserunning value, and that's going to be Upton in all likelihood.
Parker - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 03:15 PM EST (#338392) #
Pompey might still be an option.
China fan - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 03:49 PM EST (#338393) #
In addition to our debates over whether Pompey is qualified to win the LF job, there's also a strategic dimension to the question.  Pompey still has an option year.  In the roster crunch at the end of spring training, it will be very tempting for the Jays to send him to the minors, in order to allow the team to retain a player who is out of options.  If they want to slip a player through waivers, it's easier to do that a couple weeks after the season has begun, when rosters are more set.  So Pompey is likely to be a victim of the numbers game.  I've seen a number of baseball writers suggesting that Pompey is likely to start the season in Buffalo, and I think his options status is one reason.  In addition, he could simply benefit from having another month in Buffalo, before he is called up.  He might not be playing every day in Toronto, and it could be better to give him a month of steady daily play in Buffalo. Let him crush the ball in Buffalo and force his way onto the roster.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 03:56 PM EST (#338394) #
Let him crush the ball in Buffalo and force his way onto the roster.

I agree that this is a very possible scenario. Gibbons has Carrera and Upton sharing the load against RHP, hoping that one of them magically does the job. When they don't, Pompey gets his shot at those at-bats if he is hitting well enough in AAA and gives the organization no choice but to make the move.

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 04:00 PM EST (#338395) #
I have a question.  Let's suppose Liriano hasn't recovered from his head injury when spring training closes and one other pitcher is injured in the spring.  Bolsinger takes one spot, but who are the contestants for the other?  I guess Travis Wood might be a good buy-low addition in the 7th reliever/7th starter role.
Parker - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 04:00 PM EST (#338396) #
True enough. When he crushes the ball in Buffalo, he should be called up, regardless of option years.

He hasn't ever crushed the ball in Buffalo. Since 2014. Based on 56 at-bats.

At this point, he's never going to be who Baseball America thought he was when they ranked him the #30 prospect in baseball, unless he learns how to consistently hit ML pitching. Or even AAA pitching. But if Upton continues to fall apart, and if Carrera continues to provide bunting as his only Major-League plus, Pompey should probably at least get a chance.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 04:26 PM EST (#338397) #
After the starting five, my guess is the SP depth chart is:

Biagini
Bolsinger
Floyd (if healthy)
Harrell
Oberholtzer
House

In that order, the last three being interchangeable. Maybe throw Sparkman in there if he impresses in ST, but that's more of a long shot.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 04:35 PM EST (#338398) #
Biagini was better than I thought in the Eastern League in a starting role in 2015.  Maybe it would be all right to have him as your 6th or 7th starter even without a minor league apprenticeship. 
PeterG - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 05:02 PM EST (#338399) #
I would put Harrell higher on that depth list. I see no reason to believe there is anything wrong with Liriano.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 05:05 PM EST (#338400) #
Carrera and Upton should crush the ball in buffalo to earn a callup.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 05:08 PM EST (#338401) #
Liriano had a mild traumatic brain injury in the playoffs and did not pitch again.  These things often can take more than 6 months to heal (see Hill, A).  If Liriano is throwing 3 or 4 innings without symptoms in spring training, it's a different story. 

We have learned that "concussions" are more serious than previously thought. 
Chuck - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 05:18 PM EST (#338402) #
Liriano had a mild traumatic brain injury in the playoffs

Have I missed it or is no one in the Toronto media even talking about this as a threat to his health and performance this year?

92-93 - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 05:32 PM EST (#338403) #
Liriano didn't pitch again after the injury, but he was rostered in the ALCS; they just didn't need anything more than the 12+ scoreless innings from Biagini, Cecil, Grilli, and Osuna. They played Game 1 short a player to include Liriano on the ALCS roster, and I certainly hope he was actually available to pitch.
PeterG - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 05:32 PM EST (#338404) #
I do recall him warming up in pen after that incident or is my memory faulty. I think we would have heard something if there was any problem. Although further difficulty is possible, it is not likely imo.
scottt - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 06:31 PM EST (#338405) #
Happ was knocked around harder than Liriano in May 7, 2013 and was back with the team on August 5.

It doubt there's any issue.

Four Seamer - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 07:20 PM EST (#338406) #
While caution around injuries (head injuries in particular) is always warranted, I conclude from the fact that the front office has not made any moves to date to secure an obvious 6th starter candidate (or failing that, a body of live arms that could conceivably compete for the role), that they are not particularly concerned about Liriano's ability to start the season.  Setbacks are always possible, but their actions certainly suggest that the medical reports they've been getting on Liriano have not raised any concerns.  Granted, those that believe the front office would like to move Stroman in the right deal, however, might be of the view that they would have pulled the trigger on such a trade but for concern over Liriano.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 07:39 PM EST (#338407) #
I don't think that the front office is necessarily done for the off-season yet.

There have been oblique references to starting pitcher depth in the media. I would not anticipate hearing anything more until pitchers and catchers report, at the earliest.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 09:10 PM EST (#338408) #
At this time of year my wharped mind sees 800 pound gorillas.

Last year my mind was fixated on a one legged LFer who spent the first half of the year playing like an MVP and the last half of the year playing like an 800 pound gorilla on one leg.

This year the 800 pound gorilla I keep seeing, at 4 AM when my mind turns to the Blue Jays, is Estrada's back. I seriously don't expect him to survive the year with his balky back. Hopefully, at least, like Saunders, he gets half the year in before he gets a few clusters of banana stems and sits in a corner of the dressing room eating like only an 800 pound gorilla can.

Just sayin'...
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, February 01 2017 @ 10:34 PM EST (#338409) #
It's possible the Jays may go after a quality Right-Handed Reliever. They lost Cecil and Benoit. They've only replaced Cecil.
It's possible the Jays may go after another quality Left- Handed Reliever - maybe Craig Breslow or even someone better.
It's possible the Jays may go after a quality Left Fielder. I'm not that happy with the in-house Options, so they might also agree.
I can guaranteed the Jays will go after more depth everywhere. There's too many decent unsigned players as well as quality Pitching options unsigned.

Nigel - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 01:15 AM EST (#338410) #
I say the following as someone who watched 4or5 of Bolsinger's starts in Chavez Ravine pretty closely (we get Dodgers and Giants games on Sportnet Pacific here in Vancouver). I watched his starts because he represents my favourite baseball story (someone trying to succeed on effort and moxy without major league talent). So I'm a big fan but if he's really the Jays sixth starter they're in trouble. He goes to the mound literally with no weapons. He's not a soft tosser in the Marcum mould where one of his off speed pitches is an elite pitch. All of Bolsinger's pitches are below average. His one trick is to throw his curve at 2 or 3 speeds and on a couple of different planes. After hitters see that a little though it ceases to fool them. In AAA as an emergency starter - great; 6th starter likely to see 20ish starts a year - major problems; pencilling him into the pen - crazy. He's a legit health risk to the outfield bleacher patrons in the Rogers Centre.
PeterG - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 09:14 AM EST (#338411) #
I don't see Bolsinger as the 6th starter nor do the Jays imo. He makes it in the bullpen or not at all. In my view, the 6th and 7th starters are Harrell and Biagini. If an 8th needed, maybe Olberholtzer. By mid season other candidates may emerge.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 09:27 AM EST (#338412) #
I would be rushing guys like greene or harris before turning to biagini (needed in bullpen) or olberholtzer.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 09:51 AM EST (#338413) #
Oberholtzer allowed 18 homers in 70 innings last year.  Ouch.

I guess Bolsinger, Biagini, Oberholtzer and Harrell are your candidates, if the need arises. It wouldn't hurt to have Travis Wood around; I like him better than Bolsinger, Oberholtzer and Harrell..

jerjapan - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 10:02 AM EST (#338414) #
Wood would be a nice fit at the right price.  I would definitely like at least one more reliever - anyone like Joe Blanton?  He hasn't had the starting success of Wood but he's been great out of the pen and could likely be stretched out for some emergency starts. 

BP's Transaction Analysis is free content today and they have harsh words on Salty:  "Heís posted of one of the worst defensive seasons in the history of BPís metrics, a -38.9 FRAA year in which he absolutely (fish)tanked the Marlins with a historic ability to give away borderline strikes to opposing hitters.... The only real question you have to ask here is this: do you believe in BP's pitch-framing metrics? Because if you do, then Salty is a true rarity in todayís game: a player whose established talent level is considerably lower than replacement, but often played as if he were greater than that."

I don't know a lot about framing, but I certainly didn't realize BP viewed Salty that poorly.
PeterG - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 10:11 AM EST (#338415) #
As I have suggested previously, the job of back up C is up for grabs.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 10:14 AM EST (#338416) #
It depends on what you think of Bolsinger's ability to prevent home runs and induce GB going forward.

He had an oblique injury that caused him to miss the first month of the 2016 season and then got roughed up in 6 MLB starts. He was giving up more hard contact and more fly balls in 2016 but that was only in a span of 27 innings. He was better in 2014-15.

HR/9
2016: 2.28
2015: 0.91
2014: 1.20
Minors: 0.6

GB%
2016: 33.7% (27.2 IP)
2015: 53.1% (109.1 IP)
2014: 52.4% (52.1 IP)

He doesn't throw hard and the stuff isn't great so he won't be at the top of anyone's rotation, and long-term he might be a bullpen piece, but as a depth starter in case of injury/emergency, he's a fine option. He'll need to bring the GB rate back up and HR rate back down for that, though. Whether 2016 was due to injury or something else remains to be seen.
China fan - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 11:43 AM EST (#338417) #
"....as a depth starter in case of injury/emergency, he's a fine option....."

Bolsinger is out of options.  He might or might not pass through waivers.  It could be argued that he'd probably get through waivers unclaimed, but the point is that the Jays cannot count on that scenario, so they can't depend on his availability as a depth piece.  When you're building a depth chart, especially for the rotation, you can't fill it with people who need to get through waivers.  Or, put it this way:  you need to acquire additional players for the depth chart if some of them are out of options.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 11:48 AM EST (#338418) #
CF, I think Bolsinger should (and will) make the team. I meant he's a depth starter in the same way Chavez was last season (swing man role). I have no idea whether he'd clear waivers or not, but I wouldn't take that chance given the lack of depth the Jays already have.
China fan - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 11:54 AM EST (#338419) #
Bolsinger would have to make the team as a reliever, and the chances will diminish if (as expected) they sign another reliever.  So far they have Osuna, Grilli, Biagini and Howell as locks.  Loup has a good chance of making the team too.  And reports suggest that they'll probably acquire another veteran reliever.  That leaves only 1 or 2 openings, and Bolsinger would have to compete with a long list of others: Tepera, Barnes, Floyd, Schultz, Sparkman, Leone, Dermody, Smith, Girodo, etc.  I suppose it's conceivable that he could win a bullpen job, but the competition will be strong. 
Glevin - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 12:55 PM EST (#338421) #
"So far they have Osuna, Grilli, Biagini and Howell as locks."

Biagini isn't a lock. He could be in AAA as a starter.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 01:44 PM EST (#338424) #
Biagini isn't a lock. He could be in AAA as a starter.

No, until the Jays actually say he is a Starter, he's in the Bullpen. The official "narrative" hasn't changed yet.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 03:35 PM EST (#338426) #
Bolsinger is a starter without options. The Jays have limited resources in the minors as far as SP depth and currently don't have a big league sixth starter. I don't see them letting him go in favor of a reliever with options remaining (Tepera, Barnes, Loup, etc). They need him.

Even if the Jays sign another reliever, I think Bolsinger and Sparkman are safe assuming they are both healthy. I don't think Biagini's role really changes Bolsinger's fate. If Biagini is a SP in AAA, then they'll still need a big league swing man. If Biagini is in the pen, then it makes Bolsinger more important to keep around since he can be the spot starter.

I wonder if Floyd's minor league deal includes an opt out. It probably does, but if he could start in AAA (as a SP), then that would certainly help the Jays.
jerjapan - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 04:29 PM EST (#338427) #
I don't think Floyd to any rotation is going to happen with his injury history.

SK, why are you certain re: Sparkman making the club? Most rule v guys don't stick, and he wasn't especially hyped - a given, with our record meaning we select towards the end.

I would be surprised if he does make the team - although I was surprised by Biagini last year.
scottt - Thursday, February 02 2017 @ 06:09 PM EST (#338432) #
Biagini is on record for 9 innings in spring training last year. I don't think he did anything to change anybody's mind there one way or another and I don' t think Sparkman will either.

Sparkman was rated as the Royals's 17th prospect in 2015 after an amazing year in which he started 18 times and had an ERA of 1.56 in A+ with very good walk and strikeout rates. Then he blew his elbow and came back last year. His ERA at AA wasn't as good, but his peripherals were still solid.

Sparkman was part of the Buffalo prospect showcase, so I'd be very surprised if he's returned without pitching for Toronto.

He's supposed to have good fastball command, 2 solid off-speed pitches and deception in his delivery.

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