Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
The Toronto Blue Jays begin their 2017 home schedule with their first interleague opponent of the season. Might as well, they've had little success against the American League so far.

Former Blue Jay Eric Thames returns to Toronto where he began his major league career in 2011.

Series Schedule/Probable Starters

Tuesday at 7:07 pm ET - Wily Peralta (1-0, 0.00) vs. J.A. Happ (0-1, 3.86)
Wednesday at 7:07 pm ET - Chase Anderson (0-0, 1.50) vs. Marcus Stroman (1-0, 1.42)

It's a real clash of the titans as the 1-5 Blue Jays take on the 2-5 Milwaukee Brewers. Former Jay Eric Thames is off to a nice start with a slash line of .333/.429/.611 with two doubles, a home run and three runs batted in.

Burning Questions - Will Josh Donaldson be back in the lineup after injuring his calf in Sunday's loss in Tampa? Will Roberto Osuna return with his usual effectiveness? Will the Jays actually win a home opener for the first time since the great uniform change of 2012?

Hot Takes - Is it too early to start thinking about the 2018 draft?

Fun/Not So Fun Fact - The Jays have played the Brewers twice in home openers back at Exhibition Stadium. The 1980 game went well but the 1982 game as the Brew Crew bombed Mark Bomback.

Up next - Baltimore is in town April 13-16.
Brewers @ Blue Jays - April 11-12 | 89 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#340523) #
I suppose we could revive our fierce debates from 2011 and 2012 about whether Thames or Snider was a better choice for the Jays LF position. Five years later, Thames may have finally won the argument. Thames has a nifty OPS of 1.040 in his 21 plate appearances for the Brewers this year, while Snider is entering his second year in the minors in the Texas system. (Which doesn't necessarily mean that Thames would have been a better choice in 2011 or 2012, of course. And he might easily fade away this year too, but we will see.)
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#340526) #
I am happy for Eric Thames.  He was an old favourite of mine, going back to the day he was drafted. 

He is certainly hitting the ball harder now.  He's also got a bigger beard.  One out of two isn't bad. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#340528) #
Donaldson sits for Goins tonight.  Osuna activated, Lawrence sent down.
dan gordon - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#340530) #
Thames has been platooning so far, which may be the best use for him. The Brewers home park is a great park for left handed power.

Did anybody see the 60 Minutes story on Sunday about the Japanese star player Ohtani? He's one of the best hitters in Japan and also one of the best pitchers. Fastball over 100 mph. Last year he hit .322 with 22 HR's in just 382 plate appearances, and had a 1.86 ERA with 174 K's in 140 IP. He plays OF or DH when he's not the starting pitcher. Only 22 years old. Wants to come to mlb next season, and the Ham Fighters are OK with him going. He wants to pitch and DH, and any team interested in him would have to be OK with that.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#340532) #
Ohtani can be better than Ruth, Al.  He throws the right way. 
China fan - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#340533) #
Forbes has released its annual data on MLB team value. The Jays are estimated to be worth $1.3-billion (US) -- an increase of 44% over the past year. That's the biggest increase of any team in baseball. They're also a profitable team, according to Forbes, although I haven't yet found the exact profit numbers in their analysis today.

I'm not a business owner, but I believe there is a rule among successful businesses: reinvest your profits if you want future success. Don't just pocket the profits. Invest the profits in a better product. That's why I believe the Jays payroll should have increased by more than it did this year.

China fan - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#340534) #
Okay, so here's the profit numbers. The Jays had an "operating income" (essentially profit, before taxes) of $22.9-million (US) last year, according to Forbes. That's in addition, of course, to the substantial benefit that the Jays provided to the various media and broadcast arms of Rogers.
China fan - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#340535) #
".... Walking him in three times in a game should be a pitching offence...."

Or maybe a capital offense.  Of all the many frustrating and annoying things that happened in the Tampa series, I think the multiple walks to Mallex Smith were probably the single most irritating thing.  He promptly stole 2B twice, of course.  And here's the thing: he can't hit.  So just throw strikes to him and let him hit.
scottt - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#340536) #
Upton has a career OPS of 1.045 against Peralta.

Let's see how Goins'handedess plays.
rpriske - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#340538) #
Three nice atbats in a row... and then Martin and Smoak put an end to that.
Gerry - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#340539) #
First time I have seen a chef introduced in the pre-game.
rpriske - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 08:03 PM EDT (#340540) #
No pre game on What was the context?
Gerry - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#340541) #
Lets rise or rise up was the theme, can't remember which.

There were a couple of the usual video's trying to pump up the crowd.

Donaldson..silver slugger award.

Raines, hall of fame congrats..Raines first pitch to Alomar

Player and coach intro's.

I think that was it.
rpriske - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#340542) #
J.A. pitches out of a jam.

Just a little more run support please.
rpriske - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#340543) #
Just a week ago they were talking about Pillar's new patience at the plate. Tonight they are facing a guy who they SHOULD by patient with and he is swatting at anything.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#340544) #
bad time for the-happ-i-thought-we-signed to show up.
Chuck - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#340545) #
Peralta has thrown Tulo two 0-2 meatballs, both resulting in extra-base hits. Gotta be frustrating to be his manager.

Where does Morales fall on the continuum of slowness? Molina, Olerud, Lind...
greenfrog - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#340546) #
Word association time. Blue Jays, April, Gibbons, one-run loss. Maybe it's time for a new script?
Gerry - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#340547) #
Jays are 0-4 in one run games. Sometimes your luck turns around but sometimes you under perform your runs for and against. The longer this continues the more likely the Jays are to under perform.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#340548) #
They're not 0-4 in one run games yet. That'll have to wait until after the next one they play presumably.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#340549) #
1-6 for the first time in franchise history. Was not expecting that before the season started. I don't think these losses are flukes. The offense just isn't performing while the pitching collectively is good enough to hold the opposition down. Very similar to September 2016. Watching one month of that was bad enough, so hopefully they are not picking up where they left off.

I wonder how long they stick with Smoak at 1B. At age 30, he is what he is and it's a bit frustrating that they haven't just considered him sunk cost and cut bait. Moving Pearce to 1B and calling up Coghlan couldn't hurt. Or putting Donaldson at DH while he heals, Morales at 1B, Pearce in LF, and calling up Ty Kelly to play 3B instead of Goins.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#340550) #
Osuna was showing his normal velocity. That's good...
eudaimon - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#340551) #
Crappy start obviously. But the offense shouldn't be this bad all year. They're currently batting around 200 collectively which will not continue.

The pitching needs to pick it up as well. Our poor bullpen is pretty taxed already. It'd be nice to get a complete game out of someone.

Osuna looked good tonight, so that's something.

Agreed on Smoak. I've actually thought that he looks better than I expected so far. But that's still not particularly good, and I'd rather see his ABs go to someone who offers something a little different, ie: isn't slow and doesn't strike out much. Like Carrera, though he strikes out at an above average pace it's still a lot better than Smoak's done the last couple of years.
eudaimon - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#340552) #
Also, if someone could compile a list, or even find an example of a playoff / World Series team with a 1-6 stretch at some point (any point) in the season I'd appreciate it.
James W - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#340553) #
The 2016 Chicago Cubs went 1-9 from June 30 to July 9.

The 2015 Kansas City Royals went 1-6 from May 24 to June 2, and went 1-6 from Sept. 4 to Sept. 11.

The 2014 San Francisco Giants had two separate 6 game losing streaks, so there's 4 more 1-6 stretches.

The 2013 Boston Red Sox went 1-6 from May 3 to May 9.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 03:15 AM EDT (#340554) #
If the Jays turn it around and play at a 90-win pace (.555 ball) the rest of the way, they'll win 87 games in 2017. That may or may not be good enough for a playoff spot.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 04:38 AM EDT (#340555) #
It won't be long before the lineup is shaken up, I hope. Moving Bautista to the leadoff spot in May seemed to spark things for both he and the team. It might even be smart to play the hot hand right now, and stick Morales second in front of Donaldson or Pearce second against lefties.

It is great to see Tulo off to a good start at the plate, as his exit velocity shows he's scorching the ball.
scottt - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 06:10 AM EDT (#340556) #
It was what should have been expected with the 2 hottest hitters sitting.

Hopefully, that's enough to show everyone that Goins is an automatic out and they'll test if he clears waivers.

I missed the first 4 innings. Looks like Happ couldn't command his fastball.
It's still a lot better than Liriano not finding his groove.
That was a winnable game.

I saw Pearce almost getting picked off at 2 because he had to take an huge lead to counteract the outfield playing shallow against Goins. Then I saw Morales score from first on a Tulo double. There's the gap between Goins and Tulo offensively. It's a huge gap.

I saw Pillar getting caught stealing with 2 outs and Goins at the plate. That was a terrible time to steal.
What was the point there? Trying to get Goins another RBI shot?

Then on the next inning the pitcher walked Goins and the top of the lineup couldn't make them pay.

I'm not sure Pearce should start against right handed pitching.
Bautista's swing for the fence on every swing approach would play better down the lineup.
He's still walking, but the OBP is bad.
Martin is off to another terrible start.

That high performance department might have been a good idea, but the results are not showing it.

On the positives, Osuna looks fine. Morales has looked good and so has Smith.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#340557) #
Also, if someone could compile a list, or even find an example of a playoff / World Series team with a 1-6 stretch at some point (any point) in the season I'd appreciate it.

Oh, there are many of those. Just last September these Blue Jays had a 1-6 stretch from the 2nd to the 9th.
85bluejay - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#340558) #
Where is Shea Hillenbrand when you need him.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#340559) #
Glancing at the condensed game, Tulo's double to center and Morales' double both missed being home runs by perhaps five feet combined. I really like Kendrys' chances of putting up a monster year, especially at home.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#340560) #
During a 162-game season there are 156 opportunities to lose 6 of 7. Any .500 or .600 team will lose 'x' number of games in a row if given infinite opportunities. However the Blue Jays have lost 6 of 7 in their only opportunity. That is a different matter. These differences were canvassed if I recall at the beginning of the 2004 season.

Since 1977 only 3 of the teams that have made the postseasons in that 40 year period opened the season 1-6 or worse.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#340561) #
I saw Pillar getting caught stealing with 2 outs and Goins at the plate. That was a terrible time to steal.

That was a perfect time to steal. Two outs. Singles hitter at the plate.

Smaj - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#340562) #
I agree that Morales has a chance for a big season now that he plays in the AL East ball parks instead of the cavernous parks he has called home previously. Offensively, the song remains the same with the Jays. If I heard this correctly, the Jays are the 4th lowest scoring AL team since the All Star break which consists of August, September (abysmal offensive performance), October & early April of 2017. Some justifications can be made for each of these months, but it is a disturbing trend. I'm not a big proponent of the roster composition of this Jays team (K rates, double plays & bullpen's lack of velocity overall are my main gripes) however they are not going to continue at this rate of ineptitude, it has to improve, the key question is how much better will they be?
Other key stat of the day: only 4 teams have made the playoffs after a 1-6 start.
christaylor - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#340563) #
I am not sure that this team is a playoff team but whatever was done in 2004 seems off:

1. There were 4 playoff spots until the WC era, now there are 10. The beginning of the WC era or 2 WC era seems a more reasonable (but still arbitrary starting point, but less arbitrary than the Jays 1st season).

2. The jays have lost 6/7 in their first opportunity but what's special about the first opportunity? It seems another way of saying, "For the Jays to reach 90 wins have to play .574 ball from this point forward."

Mike Green - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#340564) #
Losing 6 of the first 7 is never good, but the question always is "what does it tell you about a club?".  In this case, there have been a couple of weaknesses that have been laid bare, but nothing earth-shattering as far as I can see.  The most worrisome thing has been the pitching of Happ, Estrada and Liriano.  If starting pitching is not a strength of this club, they are in trouble.  I do think that they will be all right, but youneverknow.

Fangraphs has the club's chances of making the playoffs at 30% (using season-to-date) and 35% (using projections). Either of these might be a little high, but not outrageously so.  The biggest single thing is that the 1-6 record is in the books. 

Jimbag - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#340565) #
Not wanting to single anyone out for blame, but Pillar is making me extra nervous defensively these days. I've seen a couple of balls go over his head for extra bases already (in 7 games) and last night's was pretty much directly responsible for a run being scored. Which makes me wonder if he shouldn't be playing a step or two deeper to make it easier to get to the wall - I know he makes an awful lot of spectacular looking catches up against the wall, but having a shorter run might take some of the drama out of them.

Also, in the 8th inning he made the diving catch in shallow center. You could rightly say he wouldn't get to that one if he had been playing a little deeper, but I'd be perfectly fine with that. As it was, I thought the situation (1 run game, 1 out IIRC, 8th inning) kind of called for the "safer play" - if he missed that it was going to the wall, too, and would have had a runner at second for sure with still 1 out in the 8th inning of a one run game. Even while he was making the catch I was shaking my head at the decision, because it would have seemed less risky to give up a single and not get that out rather than stretch and make the miracle catch.

I thought the attempted steal was fine, though - the situation called for it, it was a good attempt and took a very solid throw & tag to get him.
uglyone - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#340566) #
forgot how much I hated baseball.
bpoz - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#340567) #
TB and Milwaukee have always given the Jays trouble. The Baltimore games were close.

3 more games with Milwaukee. 2 next month. We finish with TB in August.

So I see a favorable schedule for a strong stretch run. I still like our rotation. I believe we will be in the post season.
Alex Obal - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#340568) #
Happ sucked last April, too, I thought at least, but had horseshoes in sensitive places that kept the angry mob off his case until he found his command and launched his Cy Young candidacy. He's the least of my worries, well below "they still aren't playing Carrera everyday" and "Tepera is the third-best arm in this bullpen of way too many specialists."
bpoz - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#340569) #
The D'Backs have started this season 6-1. The Reds came close.

Also the early results indicate that some players are going to have a monster good year. Others a monstrous year.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#340570) #
Having a 1-6 stretch last September when the team was hovering around 20 games over .500 is not the same as starting the season 1-6 and not really knowing the talent level of the team. They could certainly bounce back and win 90 games and we could all look back on this as a minor setback. However, a true talent 85+ win team that digs itself in an early hole could find it too tough to climb out of it. They can't afford a less-than-typical John Gibbons April (a typical Gibby April is something like 12-14).
Chuck - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#340571) #
Russell Martin has drawn 6 more walks than I have, but we remain tied in hits.
China fan - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#340573) #
As long as we're all citing stats today, I found this one to be an intriguing data point on the slow start of most hitters in this league:

April AL 2016 slash line: .245/.312/.399 (.289 BAbip)
AL 2017 slash line: .232/.311/.379 (.275 BAbip)
China fan - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#340574) #
Also, the Jays have a 65 wRC+ so far this season, which is the second-lowest in the majors. (The Pirates are the only worse team.)
John Northey - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#340575) #
Hey, like I pointed out the 1998 Yankees started 1-4 and actually debated firing their manager (this was typical for the Yankees in the 80's through the 90's). The 1992 Jays (first WS team) had a 5 game losing streak in May and also went 1-5 from April 26 to May 2nd. A 6 game winning streak to start the season kept the wolves at bay though and only had 6 days out of first place (never more than 1/2 a game out). 1993 had a 6 game losing streak in September to go from up 2 games to tied with the Yankees (huh forgot about that) but promptly went 17-4 to slam the door on the Yankees (9 game winning streak, one loss, 3 game winning streak, loss, 4 game winning streak).

So yeah, great teams do go on bad stretches but to start off bad looks really bad. The good news is it is primarily 1 run losses (0-3 in those) with 2 2 run losses and that ugly Tampa game. So they are right there and with a few bounces it could've been 4-3 quite easily (if we had Baltimore's luck who are 3-0 in 1 run games). One year the Jays will get lucky on 1 run games again. Hopefully not in a year where they suck overall.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#340583) #
Travis 4, Donaldson 0, Bautista 9, Morales 3, Tulo 6, Martin 2, Pearce 7, Pillar 8, Barney 5  is your lineup for today. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#340584) #
One of the downsides to a losing streak and offensive drought to start the season is that it makes it tougher to rest key players who may be dealing with nagging injuries (like Donaldson, perhaps). If you're 6-1, maybe you give those players an extra couple of days of rest.
85bluejay - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#340586) #
Bautista looks like time has passed him by - Travis looks tentative and Martin looks like a contract that will be an anchor.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#340588) #
Bautista looks like time has passed him by

I haven't watched very much this year, but the little I have seen Bautista has been serving to confirm my worst fears from last year: his declining reaction time is forcing him to have to cheat and swing early. He can still draw walks but the team is going to need more than that for 18MM.

Of course, he's not deserving of being singled out on a team of somnolent sluggers.

scottt - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#340589) #

That was a perfect time to steal. Two outs. Singles hitter at the plate.

In some alternate reality Goins is a .300 slap hitter.

Last year, Goins hit for .186 and over 40% of his hits were for extra bases. 

In the NL, you never want to make the 3rd out on the base paths with the pitcher at the plate, which is basically what happened.  Also, having power hitters behind you is not a valid reason for not stealing. Nobody else watched those horrible games in Tampa Bay?

scottt - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#340590) #
Morales .286.355.464.819
Encarnation .185.267.333.600

I take comfort where I find it.
scottt - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#340591) #
I wonder who would get the call if Donaldson was to go on the DL.

I mean, they'd probably keep using Barney and Goins at 3B, so would they call an extra pitcher or just some extra infielder to sit on the bench?

The Bison are 5-1 btw.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#340593) #
I have the same concerns with Bautista. He relies so much on bat speed that any dip in that area will hurt his performance significantly. The old man skills means he will still draw walks and hit some dingers, but as mentioned the Jays will need more than that from him if they want to compete. I'm interested to see how he performs as the season goes on. At age 36, he's not a lock to hit his projections. Thankfully the Jays waited long enough to get him for one year rather than anything more than that. Hopefully get one more good year out of him and move on now that the QO is no longer in play.
eudaimon - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#340595) #
I'm not worried about Bautista. He looked locked-in during spring training, which was enough for me to think that he's still got it. His arm also looks much better this year, which makes it more likely that he's healthier.

That being said, watching this team is horrible right now.
Smaj - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#340597) #
Does Buck have a vote for the AL Cy Young award? If yes, he will have an extremely difficult decision as he makes every opposing pitcher sound like he has incrediible stuff versus the Jays every night. Agonizing.
scottt - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#340598) #
It's Pat's "not trying to do too much" that kills me.
eudaimon - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#340599) #
Prior to tonight's game the Jays had a team BABIP of .243, which is 4th lowest in the league. So that should rebound a bit. Last year they were also forth last, but at .283.

The main problem though is that most of these guys, save for Donaldson and Tulo (who might be hitting well but has a .160 BABIP) look like they've gone blind over the offseason.

The more I think about it the less worried I am. But they've still dug themselves a hell of a hole regardless, and it might be hard to dig out.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#340600) #
They're starting to dig a bit of a hole. It would be sure nice to start winning soon.

I'm dumbfounded at how bad the offense is.

85bluejay - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#340601) #
Toronto & KC are off to the type of starts that could make them big players in the July trade market.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#340602) #
It's a vicious circle. The more the loses pile up, the more the players over-try, leading to more loses. What the Jays need is for someone to have a great game or two, leading to a few wins and everybody loosening up a bit. They're in a hole ,for sure, though.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#340603) #
Nice to see Stroman get a complete game this early. Maybe he is ready to be the ace the Jays need. Stroman and Sanchez give the Jays a great 1-2 punch with kids. The trick is 3-4-5, while Happ, Estrada, and Liriano should be good this year the question becomes 2018 and beyond. Casey Lawrence gave 3 shutout innings as a starter for Buffalo today, Francisco Rios is off to a good start in AA at just 22 years old he should be fighting for a starting slot next year as should 21 year old Sean Reid-Foley and 22 year old Conner Greene. Others could get into the mix with a strong 2017 but (with obvious exceptions like Osuna) you rarely go to the majors without time in AA or AAA.

The 'if only' stuff still hangs around over Noah Syndergaard with his sub 1 ERA so far this year (2 starts). Of course, the other guys asked for were Stroman and Sanchez - both of whom would've been in that same category had they been traded instead.
rpriske - Wednesday, April 12 2017 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#340604) #
What good things did we see tonight?

Stroman was pretty darned sharp.

Morales can still play first.

Bautista, while clearly struggling at the plate, is denying his defensive slide pretty well.

Barney proved that there is absolutely zero reason to keep Goins around.

Bad things?

Well, they made Buck and Pat act like Chase Anderson was Greg Maddux.
SK in NJ - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#340605) #
"Toronto & KC are off to the type of starts that could make them big players in the July trade market."

Not being a competitive team in 2017 could really hurt the Jays short-term. They have an older roster with nothing in the upper minors ready to contribute in 2018 except Tellez (and first base prospects in general are hit or miss due to so much value being tied to their bats). If the Jays are not good in 2017, then chances are they won't be in 2018 either if you subtract 2/5 of the rotation with no internal replacements available, and have to find LF/RF for the 2nd consecutive year.

I've said before, the Jays window was 2016. The fact that they were projected to be a WC team prior to the start of 2017 to me was a pleasant surprise, but if this season turns out badly for whatever reason, then it's going to be hard to turn it into a winner in 2018.

Winning in 2017-18 was important to give the farm a bit more time to start developing talent. While 1-7 does not mean the season is over, it's a tough hole to climb out of for a team that was projected to be around 85-87 wins to begin with. This isn't the 2015 August/September roster we are looking at.
PeterG - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#340606) #
Casey Lawrence and Joe Biagini could be options to be starting pitchers in 2018. At some point, the Jaya will have to take a step back and become younger. I would expect to see a few in house options in the pen next year as well regardless what happens this year.
uglyone - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#340607) #
this is equivalent to about a 1-4 start in hockey or basketball.
pubster - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#340608) #
"this is equivalent to about a 1-4 start in hockey or basketball."

In the NHL/NBA more than half the league makes the playoffs.

Taking that into account I'd equate it to about 0-6.
pubster - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#340609) #
Maybe 0-5.
uglyone - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#340610) #
let's say 0-4-1.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#340611) #
Good article here by Dave Cameron on the Jays
Four Seamer - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#340612) #
Well here in Calgary the Flames did start the season 5-11-1 (and looked every bit as bad doing it), and they still made the playoffs...
jerjapan - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#340613) #
There are plenty of prospects whose projected ETA is 2018. If you use MLB's prospect list, SRF, Alford, Urena and Harris fit the bill from the top ten, with Tellez and Greene predicted as being ready this season.

Outside of the top ten, McGuire, Ramirez, Borucki, Jansen, Barnes, Rios, Jackson, Barnes, Romano, Kelly, Jonathan Davis and McBroom are all 2017-18.

AA is stacked with prospects, and while these ETA's are best-case scenarios for a lot of the players listed, a significant number of these guys should be able to help soon.

Not to mention that if we continue to stumble badly, there are numerous trade chips that could bring back prospects close to the bigs - Morales, both our FA relievers, all the veteran starters, even Jose. Tulo and Martin would potentially have value if they turn things around ....

I don't buy Cameron's argument that an extension for Donaldson is out the window with a rebuild - pull a Yankees from last year (I know we don't have the same assets, but same idea), consider Biagini / Osuna in the rotation, sign some vets in the offseason and try to win again in 2018.
PeterG - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#340614) #
what makes anyone think Donaldson would be interested in an extension if there is to be a pivot?
pubster - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#340615) #
Maybe he wants to cash in his lottery ticket ASAP?
Glevin - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#340616) #
"There are plenty of prospects whose projected ETA is 2018. If you use MLB's prospect list, SRF, Alford, Urena and Harris fit the bill from the top ten, with Tellez and Greene predicted as being ready this season."

The Jays will be lucky It is super important to have a strong system, but most prospects, especially prospects that are not particularly highly rated, are not going to make it. If the Jays can't turn things around, they are not looking to try to compete in 2018, they're looking at maybe 2019 but more likely 2020. It is much better for franchises to accept being bad, take risks on some guys, get high draft picks and build a strong core than to keep trying to stay competitive every year when the talent isn't there. Hopefully, they will start winning and make this whole conversation pointless.
SK in NJ - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#340617) #
jerjapan, other than Tellez (and maybe Guirrel depending on how he does), the rest of those names are extremely unlikely to reach the bigs in 2018, much less succeed by then. I recall Shapiro was on the radio prior to the season and when asked if any young SP prospects would be used in relief in the bigs, he said (paraphrasing) that it would be unfair to their development to do that. So while Greene and others might be better off in relief long-term, they will likely be given a bit of a leash in the minors as SP's. I wouldn't expect them to fill big league holes in 2018, even in the pen.

The Jays have to win with this 2017 core to keep the direction as it is. You can always try again in 2018, and that's what I suspect they will do even if things go sour the rest of the season, but that's my guess due to ownership more than anything else. If Rogers gives the green light to take a step back, then that's what we might see if the 2017 team does not make a real run.

Regardless, based on the way the roster and system currently shape up, the best thing to happen for the Jays would be to win in 2017 and 2018. Some teams can afford a misstep one season and bounce back the following year, but the Jays are not built for that at this point. Let's hope the bats shape up and soon.
Dave Till - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#340618) #
Wow, this has been ugly so far. The odd part is that the Jays haven't really been out of too many games - they've only had one loss that was by more than two runs (though it would have been a 4-0 loss yesterday if Bautista hadn't flagged down that fly ball in the second inning). It's been an endless stream of "maybe the bats will come around this inning", day after day after day.

Runs scored totals so far, by game: 2, 1, 5, 8, 2, 2, 3, 0. Ugh.

Fun fact: the Jays have the unique distinction of being tied for last in home runs (4) and dead last in stolen bases (0). Their only SB attempt so far was when Kevin Pillar was caught in the sixth inning of Tuesday's game; there were two out, and Ryan Goins was up, so it was a defensible move.

They won't be this bad forever, of course - their team batting average is only .190. That's 51 points below the MLB average, which includes the NL, where pitchers bat. But we may be witnessing a sad but inevitable truth: old players get worse.
85bluejay - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#340620) #
The Jays and Jay Bruce are tied in home runs - not to mention his 1.051 OPS and 6/4 BB:K ratio - sweet
scottt - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#340621) #
Way too early to panic. That's not even 2 weeks out of 6 months.
I'm finding those games very entertaining.
I would care a lot less if Goins was to be the regular at 3B instead of Donaldson.

Why would Donaldson want an extension?
He would need to really like Toronto and I have no idea if that's the case at all. Is the turf a factor for him?
He would have to be concerned about his calves.
The Jays would have to be very generous.

I don't agree with everything in the fangraph article.

Does Donaldson have a higher value at trade deadline than next winter?
It depends for whom. Anyone trading for him in the winter would have 3rd base open or the flexibility to put him there. It's not that easy during the year. In that case it's probably a swap of 3rd baseman with prospects coming back. Also if he's battling injuries, I doubt the prospect haul will be that great.

I don't see the Jays trading notable prospects at the deadline for bullpen help this year.
They do have options in the minors for the pen.

Anybody already on the 40 roster could play in Toronto next year if they look half ready.
They're already burning options anyway and it's not like they're blocked by regulars.
Except maybe 1B where the Jays don't need to spend any more money.
LF is not an expensive position to fill.

At any rate, they can't trade underperforming players at the deadline for prospects.
If there's a quandary next year it will be where to spend and where to look for value.
They seem to have done reasonably well with that approach this year.

jerjapan - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#340622) #
My gut tells me that the FO isn't prepared to sign Donaldson to the massive deal he will likely command, for better or for worse.  We extended him recently for only two years, which I took as evidence that we weren't going to be spending huge money on him long-term.  But I don't think the Jays punting at midseason would be the determining factor if they intend to contend next year, which I think they should - a core of Donaldson, Stro, Sanchez, Osuna with support from Gurriel, Travis, Pillar, Biagini and Goins (just kidding Scottt) is totally viable, although I'm banking on health with that statement. 

The MLB prospect projects are indeed optimistic and I agree that we should be developing starters at this point, but some of those guys - Greene comes to mind - may not be right for the role.  Other starters may benefit from being brought up to the pen before making the transition to the rotation - which is not the same as the Osuna / Castro treatment.  But if I'm being realistic, it's Tellez, McGuire, Ramirez and the guys already on the 40 man, as Scott noted, that are most likely to make a contribution this year and next.  

We don't have the elite prospects of some orgs, other than Vlad, but there is plenty of value in controllable, minimum salary guys filling out the roster.  My sense is that our farm is fairly deep, if lacking a bit of high-end talent.  Many guys will flame out indeed, but some will stick - I'm still keen on Danny Barnes - and some will doubtless surprise - hello Casey Lawrence. 

But darn it, I want to be talking about how good this team is, not how good they could be - let's get going boys!
PeterG - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#340625) #
A Donaldson trade, if it should happen, is not necessarily bad for the Jays. An astute deal could set them up for years. The O's are still benefiting from the Bedard trade.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#340627) #
If the Jays are planning on making the playoffs, they've already burned through about 10% of their allotment of losses for the season. It's actually quite remarkable.
SK in NJ - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#340630) #
A Donaldson trade would kill the team short-term, but it might set the team up nicely for the post-JD era with hopefully guys like Guerrero, Bichette, etc, in a few years. If the FO feels that 2017 is a bust by July, then they are really going to have to think about whether winning with Donaldson in 2018 is realistic enough to risk losing him for nothing after that season. Let's face it, if Donaldson is not extended and he ends up testing the market, then chances are he's a goner. This FO is not going to get in a bidding war at the prices someone like JD is going to command. It's either extension, trade, or risk losing him for nothing. It's not an easy decision either way, but it was inevitable with the way the team was built.
greenfrog - Thursday, April 13 2017 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#340640) #
The Jays would likely net a couple of good prospects for Donaldson, but I wouldn't expect a Chris Sale-like package for him (three years of control for Sale versus a year and a half for JD).
dan gordon - Friday, April 14 2017 @ 03:35 AM EDT (#340645) #
Was at the game today - nice seats, right behind home plate. Pretty boring watching a team that is hitting so poorly. Liriano looked very good, which was great to see after that fiasco in his first start. I still think he's going to have a big year. Donaldson was really limping - I'd be shocked if he isn't DL'd. After he and Barney were both out of the game, I looked up at the scoreboard, and the Jays' batting order included 7 guys with batting averages at .200 or lower. Reminds me of 1981, before the strike, that team was futile with the bat. Going to be tough to get it turned around without Donaldson. They need a few guys to get going.
jerjapan - Friday, April 14 2017 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#340658) #
Josh Donaldson would yield a tremendous return.  'A couple of good prospects' is way off.  Sale has more years of control, but isn't close to as great as Donaldson is.  Look at the packages for rental players Chapman and Price the past two deadlines, and go way up from there. 

Of course, this is health dependent. 

greenfrog - Friday, April 14 2017 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#340670) #
I don't know, jerjapan. Sale is a 28-year-old workhorse ace with three years of control at an average annual cost of $12.5M. If Donaldson is traded in July, the receiving team will have the 31-year-old for about a year and a half at a significantly higher AAV (he might make $20-25M next year). Plus, Donaldson's injury issues in the early going this season may lower his trade value somewhat. He'll likely be a very good trade chip, but I don't see him returning anything close to Moncada/Kopech/Alexander/Diaz.
jerjapan - Saturday, April 15 2017 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#340702) #
Sale is a great starter no doubt, and on an excellent, team-friendly contract.  But I think you might be underestimating just how fantastic Donaldson has been the past two seasons ... 16.3 fWAR vs. 11.4 for Sale, 16.2 bWAR vs. 8.2 for Sale.

But I acknowledge that I may have underestimated the value of that  Sale contract somewhat.  Fangraphs had Sale in 15th and Donaldson 14th in their 2016 trade value series back last July, and that ranking might be flipped at this point given the years of control left. 

Both guys have been reliably healthy, so obviously Donaldson's calf is a wildcard.  But I think what might tip the scale in favour of Sale is the positional depth - which contender needs a 3B?  The Indians or Astros if you don't believe in their incumbent's breakout 2016? 

The Yanks or the Red Sox?  (shudder)

Fringe teams like the Tigers or Angels aren't going to sacrifice whatever mediocre prospects they have left.  

The Giants (although Nunez is off to a good start) or the Mets make the most sense, unless St Louis thinks they can contend.

After giving it more thought, I don't think we could score the same package given the lack of suitable trade partners.  If the Mets are interested, that could be interesting, and I still think we'll get well more than '2 good prospects' if a deal happens.  His value is super-high, but you've got to have someone willing to pay it ....

greenfrog - Saturday, April 15 2017 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#340709) #
Yes, it's all about supply and demand. That's why the Yankees' free agent acquisitions of Chapman and Miller were so brilliant. They netted a huge haul for those pitchers at the trade deadline last year because the demand for versatile elite relievers is now so high.

But sometimes those vaunted prospects don't work out (remember the Sabathia-for-Marte deadline trade?).

I think a reasonable return for Donaldson this summer might be something akin to what the Jays gave up for him in the first place (minus Lawrie, but plus another prospect like Graveman or Nolin).
Brewers @ Blue Jays - April 11-12 | 89 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.