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The Blue Jays return home to start a five-game homestand as they host the Tampa Bay Rays for two games.

Series Schedule/Probable Starters

Tuesday at 7:07 pm ET - Jacob Faria (1-0, 1.42) vs. Marco Estrada (4-4, 4.04)
Wednesday at 7:07 pm - Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.59) vs. Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.87)

The Rays are 34-32, which puts them third in the AL East and are 6-1/2 games back of the New York Yankees.

They are coming off a 5-2 homestand where they won two of three against the Chicago White Sox and three of four against the Oakland Athletics.

The Blue Jays - coming off a 3-3 road split against Oakland and Seattle - are 31-32, eight games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Burning Question - Can the Jays put themselves .500 after this series?

Hot Take - I'm glad the Stanley Cup and NBA finals are over. Time to focus on baseball!

On Deck - The White Sox are at the Dome June 16-18.
Rays @ Blue Jays - June 13-14 | 110 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
85bluejay - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#343469) #
If you look up the definition of injury-prone, there is a picture of Devon Travis.

I don't think the Jays can carry the offensive black hole of a Barney/Goins 2b for long especially with guys like Tulo scuffling.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#343472) #
You'd think if they were going to go with Leblijian (sp?) he'd be with the team by now. They might be rolling with Barney and Goins for a while.

Meanwhile, Brett Lawrie is looking for a job...

sam - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#343474) #
Please no on Brett Lawrie. We (thankfully) rid ourself of him and the variety of posts that followed his stay with the Jays.
scottt - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#343478) #
Kiermaier is on the DL for at least a couple of months. Can Pillar pick it up and earn his first Gold Glove? Probably not, but it would be cool.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#343484) #
pearce in LF for buffalo tonight.
Magpie - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#343488) #
Game Score of 8? That's not so good. Worst Game Score of Estrada's career, worst by any Jays starter this year.
Chuck - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#343490) #
Estrada's BABIPs:
  • 2015: .216
  • 2016: .234
  • 2017: .314 entering tonight's game, .335 now (if my math is right)

It would appear that some celestial bean counter is evening the score.

uglyone - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#343491) #
yeah the increase in babip worried me more than the increase in strikeouts encouraged me.
hypobole - Tuesday, June 13 2017 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#343493) #
Estrada giving up 4 ER's

2015 - 5 of 28 starts
2016 - 6 of 29 starts
2017 - 6 of 14 starts
bpoz - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 07:58 AM EDT (#343508) #
The AS break will provide a needed break for the Jay players. Very few invitations will be extended.

This is a team of determined players, with almost all experiencing the last 2 years of success. They have always believed in themselves, so I expect a big push from them to get into the post season.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#343516) #
I was at the game last night.  Some thoughts:

  • Tampa Bay batters were slow to get set in the box, and were trying (I felt) to disrupt Estrada's timing- it made for a long, slow game
  • Dickerson's effort to steal third base with Morrison batting in the first inning with two outs and a 3-1 count was odd- it was essentially a giant red flag in front of Russ Martin's face to say that the chance of a poor throw allowing Dickerson to score, outweighed the risk of him being thrown out.  Martin responded appropriately.
  • How many balls in the air did Tampa hit to right field, and how many were caught?  Answer 7 fly balls/line drives to right and 2 were caught.  only Rasmus' double was stung. The weak fly ball is Estrada's game, and if most of them fall in, he's not going to do well.  He wasn't particularly sharp with his control either, but he can get through that if the defence catches the balls in the air.
  • Donaldson remains a joy to watch; if anything, he's continuing to improve as a hitter.  He started late, so maybe 32 or 33 will be his peak. 

The Jays have had six position players who have performed decently or better so far this year- Donaldson, Smoak, Pillar, Carrera (!), Travis and Martin.  Morales and Tulo have been replacement level and Bautista only slightly better than that.  The club would be better with Dwight Smith Jr. in RF against RHP and Bautista/Morales sharing the DH role.  Since 2014, Morales has not performed at a level justifying a full-time job.  Sunk cost. 

BlueJayWay - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#343517) #
Yeah the Morales contract looks like a waste of money at this point.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#343518) #
Just noticed that Aaron Judge is now slugging .714.  Which has a nice kind of poetry to it.  The Babe, by the way, slugged .690 for his career. 
hypobole - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#343519) #
Wow. A few days ago I mentioned I could only find 4 seasons any Jay slugged .600.

George Bell .605 in his MVP year, Carlos Delgado the team record .664 in 2000, and Bautista in .617 and .608 in 2010 and 2011.

Johnny O topped out at .599. Josh "only" slugged .568 in his MVP season.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#343520) #
of course, zimmerman is outslugging him at .726.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#343521) #
Mike, I think it's been obvious since February that that lineup construction is what is required but there isn't any appetite to bring is another capable major league OF. Pearce and Bautista should only see the OF on occasion. I find this year's team very frustrating to watch from this perspective (ie. that it was constructed with such obvious problems and those problems are coming home to roost).
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#343524) #
morales signing was such a strange one all around. an obvious roster clogger with just a decent bat.
hypobole - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#343534) #
Even more than the signing, the term. 2 more years of Kendrys.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#343541) #
Atkins told John Lott that xwOPS is the most meaningful publicly available statistic.  xwOPS essentially predicts from exit angle and velocity what an average player would produce.    Morales has done very well on this metric for years, but it is one that is of little use in his case because of his ground ball frequency, his slowness and his inability to defeat the shift.  Hard-hit ground balls to the (pull) right side in general are reasonably productive; for Morales, they are very unproductive because of the defensive alignment he routinely faces.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#343542) #
you know, zeke should probably be hitting leadoff right now.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#343547) #
Morales is only going to be valuable if his wRC+ is around 115-120. If it's around 100, combined with his non-existent defensive value and horrid base running, then it's going to be an issue. I really wish it was a two year deal. That third year is an eye sore.
China fan - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#343558) #
Meanwhile, after a slow start, Encarnacion is producing the following slash line since the beginning of May:

Alex Obal - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#343559) #
I really wish it was a two year deal. That third year is an eye sore

Hey, if he tanks, the third year will only be a waste of money. This year has been a waste of playing time too. (This year is, of course, far from over.)
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#343562) #
One more thing that I noticed watching the game.  I felt that Bautista was positioned too far off the line and too deep with LHH batters at the plate.  Estrada is an unusual pitcher and relying on batter's patterns to position is probably unwise.  Because of Estrada's changeup and tendency to pitch up in the zone, it is possible for LHHs to steer the ball on a half-line to right-field on an emergency basis if fooled by a pitch. With Bautista having very limited range, it is a good approach for a batter to take.  The Rays did that a few times against Estrada.    If you shift Pillar and Carrera over a bit towards right, you'll get decent coverage of the field and you make hitters try to place balls between Bautista and Pillar, which is harder. 
China fan - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#343564) #
Dwight Smith recalled to the Jays again and is starting in LF tonight. Carrera apparently injured.
China fan - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#343565) #
Carrera is reported to be on crutches in the Jays clubhouse today and is on the DL, yet nobody saw him suffering any injury in last night's game. Is there no end to these weird mystery injuries that have plagued the Jays this year?
Magpie - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#343566) #
I don't remember it (I fell asleep, lucky me!) but apparently he fouled a ball off his foot last night and was hobbling afterwards.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#343567) #
It's true that Morales becomes a plus WAR player at 115-120 +RC. However, due to roster construction, in order to get Morales into the lineup you will almost certainly have pushed Pearce and Bautista into the OF more than is optimal. Morales' 115-120 +RC therefore isn't nearly as valuable as it might otherwise be. It's possible he's still a net negative WAR contributor in that scenario due to its trickle on consequences.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#343568) #
Carrera did foul a ball off his foot late in the game.  He walked it off and seemed fine afterwards.  How many late-breaking injuries have there been in the last month- Travis, Pompey and now Carrera?  I guess that it has always been this way, but the numbers so far this year are definitely high. 
China fan - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#343569) #
The Jays are now reporting that Carrera fractured his right foot. I would like to see the Statcast velocity on that foul ball, because it may have been one of his hardest-hit balls of the season.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#343570) #
We are about to see a lot of Pearce, Pillar, Bautista OFs. I'm pretty sure that the pitchers are already filing their union grievances:)
Magpie - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#343572) #
The Jays are now reporting that Carrera fractured his right foot.

That happened to Delgado near the end of the 1999 season. He fouled a ball off his shin (as I recollect) and actually cracked the bone. Finished the at bat, but came out of the game and missed the final 10 games.

It's a little surprising that it doesn't happen more often.
China fan - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#343573) #
Purely out of curiosity, I just checked on Melvin Upton Jr., whom the Jays are paying $1-million this season.

He signed a minor-league deal with San Francisco in April, then almost immediately got hit on the hand by a pitch in extended spring training and was shelved for at least 8 weeks. Still hasn't played a game this year.

Does the curse of the Jays extend to anyone who was on the roster at any point in 2017?
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#343576) #
well as happy as i am with carrera's play this year i can't now pretend his injury is killer. nice chance for smith immediately, and hopefully pearce gets his swing back soon.

scottt - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#343577) #
Carrera fouled a ball on his foot and danced around the home plate for half a minute last night.
The trainer tested his foot once he got back to the bench.

scottt - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#343578) #
Carrera's bad defense has mostly compensated for his decent hitting.
He was at his best hitting in the 2 slot. Carrera has the best OBP of anyone on the team, but has only scored 18 times.

Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#343579) #
There seems to be some insinuation that getting Pearce back somehow isn't a great thing because of OF defense. I look at him as more reliable defensively than Carerra, more likely not to have brain farts in key situations. This isn't even mentioning the impact Pearce will have on the offence. I've said before on here, he's the second best hitter on the team when he's healthy and gets going.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#343580) #
I guess I should say third; it looks like Smoak is for real.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#343581) #
Getting Pillar out of a position where he's getting the most at bats on the team seems to be a must as well. The Jays had Pearce leading off against lefties early on, I'd like to see them return to that. Against righties, Bautista's not an elite hitter anymore, but he's still an on-base machinr. Best to lead him off against RHP.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#343582) #
goins defense strikes again.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 08:03 PM EDT (#343584) #
Goins seems like a terrific guy, and I've really enjoyed watching him play second base since he came up in 2013. He's even had a few key hits during the Jays renaissance. That being said, I think he could use a fresh start somewhere else.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#343585) #
Goins is not a big leaguer. Never was except for the 2nd half of 2015, which is clearly an outlier. There is no reason for him to still be on this team when similar or better talent is out there. It's been four years now and it's obvious that he's a negative WAR talent eating up too much playing time because of the injury proneness of the starting 2B and SS.

With Barney being a free agent after this season, the Jays might hold on to Goins, if for no other reason than to irritate me. Zeke annoys me too but at least he does some things well. I can't think of a darn thing Goins provides, especially now that his defense has tailed off.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#343587) #
gibbons has used the hitnrun very effectively this year. that was an easy DP ball.
hypobole - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#343588) #
That's some nice xwOPSing Kendrys
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#343589) #
I know Pillar has given quite a bit of value to this team defensively since he became a regular, but from where I sit (I haven't looked at the numbers) both his range and his arm have significantly dropped off. Given his offensive limitations, and the ugly incident in Atlanta, doesn't bode well for his future in Toronto.

Had Alford not broken his wrist, amd continued to play, we might be having a different conversation regarding Pillar right now.
PeterG - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#343591) #
No way Alford would pay regularly in TO this season, injury or not and maybe not next year either.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#343592) #
yeah alford is the rare case where even i want to keep it slow. i'd like to see him handle AAA.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#343593) #
Not exactly a game to put in the time capsule.
greenfrog - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#343594) #
It's a thankless job, being Kendrys Morales. Before tonight's game:

2017 low leverage: 113 wrc+
2017 medium leverage: 54 wrc+
2017 high leverage: 210 wrc+
cybercavalier - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#343595) #
Jonathan Broxton was recently released. He saved 118 games during 2006 -2012.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#343596) #
sometimes baseball forces you to remember why you love it.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#343597) #
smith's first impression continues to be a good one.
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#343598) #
Smith Jr seems more athletic than I thought. I wonder if they can get him to try the 2B experiment again. It would make it easier to keep him around when Pearce comes back.
Four Seamer - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#343599) #
Hope Osuna can nail down the win for Smith here.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#343600) #
One run win.
scottt - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#343601) #
Dwight Smith looking good here again.
I wonder if he could just straight steal 2B instead of having Goings bunt every time, but his success rate hasn't been great the last few years. Still love the hustle on ground balls though.

Can't wait to lose Coghlan.  I'd rather have some young guys with tools full of adrenaline than bored vets.

John Northey - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#343602) #
Baltimore losing 5-1, Jays won so Jays could be 1/2 a game ahead of Baltimore by the end of their game. C'mon White Sox! Just 1 1/2 out of the wild card (Tampa). Cleveland, LA, and Texas are between the Jays and Rays. Boston 3 1/2 more games ahead.

I really thought the Jays were out of it this year when they started so bad, but still had that tiny glimmer of hope that 1989 put in me for life (12-24 start then won division).
scottt - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 10:59 PM EDT (#343603) #
It wouldn't take much for the Jays to go on a run. Especially when they get Sanchez back.
They just need to let go of some negative WAR players, for example.

Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#343604) #
Kendrys Morales average exit velocity is 20th in the league or 5% above average, but his launch angle is 33.8% worse than league average. Looking at his career GB% Im not sure they Jays are going to be successful in trying to get him to lift the ball more often. If they do though....he'd have more moments like he did tonight.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, June 14 2017 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#343605) #
Can't wait to lose Coghlan.  I'd rather have some young guys with tools full of adrenaline than bored vets.

Well, teams are holding onto young guys. If they are not starters, they are valuable trade chips. For example, Villar is the Brewers' starting 2B and I do not think the Jays want to give up a lot for Eric Sogard. However, if Coghlan is indeed going to be dumped, could a veteran be acquired in return? That veteran needs to still hit well; Barney and Goins cover the defense already. Former Jays 2B/3B Aaron Hill is just off the top of head. Coghlan is an outfielder but plays the infield also. The Giants lists Hill as an outfielder. The 2M contract on Hill means he is a stopgap for Travis' absence. Furthermore, Goins can handle outfield defense also. This 2017 MLB season is Hill's first in playing left field. Swapping Hill and Coghlan solve the weirdness of Hill in LF and Coghlan in IF. Or get Johnny Giavotella from the Orioles' Triple-A, who some posters here considered him in high regard. Or get J-Leb from Buffalo.
lexomatic - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#343613) #
Out of your list cc, the only one I see as a potential improvement is leblebejian..
Hill is worse than coghlan.nobody has his upside either.

One inning during last night's game, Sousa grabbed a piece of paper or something out of his back pocket to.
 look at for a while. Anybody have an idea what that could be? Positioning notes? Lineup? Something personal maybe?

Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#343615) #
Morales' major issue is rolling over on the pitch down and away.  The frustrating thing about him is that he is strong enough to hit the ball way out of the park anywhere, and that if he took the ball away to center or left-centerfield consistently (let alone occasionally slapping a ball down the left-field line), he would be a much better hitter.  Last night's blast was a classic on the pitch down and in- you don't want to pitch him there. 

Morales has nothing to do but work on his hitting.  He's still got the bat speed, but there are few signs that he is becoming a professional hitter, as the best DHs do.  It's not mechanical but just a matter of modifying his approach.  He's never done that...

James W - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#343616) #
It was indeed positioning notes. Sportsnet broadcast has shown Rays outfielders doing that quite a few times already this season.
China fan - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#343617) #
Well, since I posted on Encarnacion's hitting numbers yesterday, I need to be intellectually honest about how Morales has performed over the same period of time. They both had slow starts, but Morales now has an OPS of .855 since the beginning of May, which is almost the same as Edwin's OPS over the same period of time. Of course that is using a cherry-picked time period and we can't arbitrarily exclude his first month, but it does indicate that Morales can at least have some value over the remainder of the season if he continues to hit as he has over the past six weeks.

If we evaluate instead by wOBA and wRC+, Encarnacion remains significantly ahead of Morales this season, and Morales is barely above average.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#343618) #
With another off-day today, the third in a week, the Jays have some catching up to do.  It happens after they come out of the All-Star break on July 14.  They play 20 games in a row without a day off until August 3.  They face the Tigers, Red Sox and Indians on the road, followed by the A's and Angels at home and the White Sox on the road.  Hopefully the club will have found the elixir of good health by then.
China fan - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#343622) #
So let's review the LF situation now. We have injuries to Carrera, Pompey, Alford and Ceciliani. We have Chris Coghlan, who is sporting a horrific slash line of .200/.299/.267. We have Goins and Barney, who are really only emergency options in the outfield. And we have Steve Pearce, who will apparently be handed the job on Friday, even though he has only 2 hits in 22 plate appearances in his rehab stint. I wouldn't care too much about Pearce's rehab numbers, except that it follows his poor numbers in 90 plate appearances in the majors this season. And we know that his defence in LF isn't great either.

What's the solution? There's no obvious one, but Dwight Smith looked impressive last night. I wonder if the Jays should keep him, rather than Coghlan, when Pearce returns on Friday.

And we can hope that Pearce suddenly remembers how to be the excellent hitter that he has been in the past. But we now have 112 plate appearances (in the majors and minors) that raise some red flags. To mix a metaphor: I don't think the Jays should put all their eggs in the Pearce basket.
PeterG - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#343625) #
I would definitely keep Smith and DFA Coghlan.

One other possibility is to option Leone.

Apparently, there are whispers that Pompey could again go on the 60 day DL. If this happens, it becomes very feasible that his final option year can be preserved for 2018.

Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#343627) #
ZIPS projects Smith to hit .243/.299/.387 and to be an above-average baserunner and defensive left-fielder; that was before his good start to 2017- he might be a notch above that now.  You can give Pearce at-bats in left-field against LHP, and at-bats against RHP as DH/1B.  It's probably the best compromise. 
PeterG - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#343628) #
There is an article on Sportsnet by Jonah Keri suggesting that the Jays should trade Osuna. He gives the pros and cons but in the end comes down in favour of making the move.

China fan - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#343629) #
Smith has been in the minor-league system for so many years that we forget that he is still only 24. He had seemed to be stalled at the AA level for a couple of years, but in fact he was steadily (if slowly) improving. His speed and defence would be useful weapons on the Jays bench, even if Pearce gets most of the playing time. I would keep him, rather than Coghlan, when the decision is made tomorrow. (Yes, the Jays could option Leone instead, but Coghlan would really be surplus to all requirements if Smith is on the roster.)
Chuck - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#343630) #
Coghlan once made a little bit of sense in that he could "play" 2B and 3B, giving the team three backup infielders at a time they needed that many. And he could "play" the OF, also a nice attribute on a team without a set, predictable outfield.

But at this point, he does seem especially expendable. If the team is playing backups at 2B, SS and 3B, their season is likely done whether one of the three is Coghlan or some other generic.

bpoz - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#343633) #
The offense needs contributions from the big bats. Donaldson, Bautista, Morales, Tulo, Martin and Travis based on past experience. The new J Smoak helps a lot. Lost time to injuries hurt a lot. Travis most likely done for the year.

We cannot lose too many games to poor defense. A few now and then happens.

The pen seems V deep. The rotation has been patch work. Pitching in general is very fragile.

Now that we are 2 and a half months into the season there is a decent amount of help that the farm can provide IMO.
hypobole - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#343636) #
Jays management has a tradition of holding onto total scrubs far longer than they should, just to infuriate the fanbase.

I'll always remember the 20 starts given to Jo-Jo Reyes, who has the amazing feat of pitching in the majors in 7 different seasons without once posting a positive WAR.
Hodgie - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#343637) #
I have never really understood the thought behind "Steve Pearce, excellent hitter". The man has two half seasons of excellence with the bat, and 1200+ additional plate appearances of meh or much, much worse. Given he has almost no defensive value the bar for him to be a useful player is at a height that he just hasn't consistently cleared in his career.
Nigel - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#343638) #
I would have looked into trading Osuna for an OF in the off-season. I love Osuna but recent trades have suggested that high leverage relievers may be overvalued- if he would have netted a good young OF, then I would have gone for it.
SK in NJ - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#343639) #
From 2014-16, Pearce had a 131 wRC+ in 1010 plate appearances (125 wRC+ against RHP over that span). He is a good hitter who did not get enough playing time either because he was wrongfully platooned or because he got hurt. I wouldn't write him off due to 90 plate appearances, although at age 34, it's not unheard of for someone like him to fall off a bit.

He should not be playing LF everyday, but he won't be playing 1B (his best position) over Smoak, so put him where his bat is needed. Right now, that's LF.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#343640) #
Pearce has been a considerably better hitter than Morales over the 2013-17 period. 

The odds are better that he will continue that trend if you keep him out of the outfield (or second base for that matter).  Staying healthy is the key for him. 

uglyone - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#343642) #
trading osuna, an elite 22yr old, especially when he should be in the rotation anyways, would be infuriating.

as for the jays....they were red hot for a good while but that couldn't last forever. a little bit of a lull the last couple weeks but the good news is that the lull was .500 baseball, not anothed 2-11 streak.

that's all they have to do really....avoid the cold streaks, play mostly .500 ball, and then get a nice hot streak or two in there.
Hodgie - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#343643) #
"Pearce has been a considerably better hitter than Morales over the 2013-17 period. "

Notwithstanding the fact I wasn't comparing the two, I will grant you the fact that Pearce's 383 PA in 2014 were considerably better than anything Morales accomplished, ever. Beyond that one-half season though it is a hard argument to make.

Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#343644) #
Sorry, I don't get it.  Pearce has a 122 OPS+ over 2013-17 while Morales has a 112 OPS+ over the same period.  The OPS+ understates the difference between the two because Pearce gets on base a lot more, and he's faster and he grounds into half as many DPs.  The main thing about Pearce is that he doesn't stay healthy but when he is healthy, he is a perfectly decent DH.  Morales isn't. 
China fan - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#343645) #
Mike, do you really think there's any realistic chance that the $33-million Morales will be given a part-time role?

Like it or not, he'll be the full-time DH as long as he's healthy. Having committed that contract to him, the Jays aren't going to bench him. And as long as Smoak continues to be one of the best hitters in the league, Smoak will be the full-time 1B.

The question, then, is what to do with Pearce. Given his smaller salary and his hitting problems this year, he's better suited to be a part-time LF and very occasional DH and 1B.
hypobole - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#343646) #
that's all they have to do really....avoid the cold streaks, play mostly .500 ball, and then get a nice hot streak or two in there.

And hope none of the other teams we're contending with does the same. It's not just up the the Jays whether they make the playoffs. The AL East is going to be brutal this year.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#343647) #
The $50 million Sandoval has been given a part-time role, and may get less than that soon.  Acknowledging a mistake is a hallmark of a good organization. 

Hodgie - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#343648) #
My only point was, almost the entire difference in their offensive performance can be attributed to that half season in 2014. But for some reason, people seem to view Pearce solely as the 2014 version, despite that fact that performance was a massive outlier in an otherwise unremarkable career to date. In my opinion, neither should be starting for a club with designs on contending.
China fan - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#343649) #
"....Acknowledging a mistake is a hallmark of a good organization...."

Alternatively:  acknowledging a $50-million mistake or a $33-million mistake is a luxury that can only be indulged in by an organization with a much bigger payroll than the Jays.

And it should be noted that Sandoval as a Red Sock has never hit nearly as well as Morales has hit for the Jays this season.  Sandoval's OPS in Boston has been at least 120 points lower than Morales has posted this season.

Nigel - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#343651) #
Offensively, I don't think there will be a huge difference between Bautista, Morales, Pearce and Smoak (sorry I still haven't bought into the Smoak is now a 900 OPS guy) this year. Historically, Bautista (in a good way) and Smoak (in a bad way) were in a different place offensively than the other two. The problem is that I don't think any team is well set up to have more than two of them in the line-up at any time and you sure as hell don't want all four of them in the line-up at one time. I tend to agree that with Smoak hitting, Morales' best place is on the bench (not every day) when Pearce comes back, but which two (or maybe three) are in the line-up on any given day is much less of an issue than what will happen to this team's defence when all four are in the line-up at the same time. Team defence is beginning to be as big an overall issue for this team as its aging and declining offence.
jerjapan - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 05:51 PM EDT (#343652) #
Our payroll isn't that small - we did take someone else's sunk cost last year for prospect capital - just our luck that the prospects have done nothing and the 'sunk cost' is potentially a quality starter.  And not to beat a dead horse, but we do lead the American league in attendance - we've been promised additional funds in this exact case. 

Morales was, to me, a bad sign at the time and the roster crunch he's created, along with his failure to improve as a hitter - which was predicted by several posters, and was based on quality logic - has exacerbated this.  He's a sunk cost - perhaps not a huge one, but the sooner we identify how to maximize his value, the better. 

scottt - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#343656) #
Relievers are usually failed starters.
Osuna is not a failed starter.
Conclusion: the Jays should trade Osuna for a prospect and sign a failed starter to close for them.

Did I read that right?

uglyone - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#343659) #
remember that Panda has been handed the starting job every year with the sox - with no other options beought in - and has only failed to play due to either injury or extreme unplayability. I mean he's probably the worst player in baseball.
uglyone - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#343661) #
Osuna has 5 plus pitches. It'd be pretty funny if we traded him for an SP with lesser stuff.
SK in NJ - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#343663) #
Pearce is coming off a 136 wRC+and .374 OBP just last season (302 PA). That's not factoring what he did in 2014 (which was better than that). He did have an off 2015 but looks like a low BABIP and possibly injury could have contributed to that.

Pearce was a late bloomer and has trouble staying healthy. The latter is definitely an issue with him, but the former is pretty meaningless. His talent level since 2013 is clearly different than it was prior.

I'd rather have him at DH than Morales, especially at a much lower AAV and term. However, the Jays signed Morales for a reason (exit velocity, launch angle, hard hit rate, etc, etc), so he will get every opportunity to prove them right.
bpoz - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#343664) #
Please don't trade Osuna.
Spifficus - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#343672) #
Any Osuna trade at this stage would have to be transformative. Otherwise, given the current price of elite relievers, what's the point?
John Northey - Thursday, June 15 2017 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#343674) #
Agreed. Unless someone gave up an insane group of quality young players the Jays would be nuts to trade Osuna. Of course, if say, the White Sox wanted to give the Jays Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez and Yoan Moncada (all top 25 in MLB prospects with Yoan being #1) I'd have to expect the Jays to go for it.

Much like if either Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie came up to my door and said she wanted to date me I'd have to say yes too. I figure it is about the same odds.

Of course, the A's gave the Jays Josh Donaldson for Brett Lawrie plus others. (although Franklin Barreto may make it recover to not be a near total loss for the A's still - 273/309/439 in AAA at 21 this season).
uglyone - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 12:17 AM EDT (#343678) #
the hilarious thing is that all 3 of those prospects are older than osuna - and osuna is doing better in mlb than they are in milb.
Petey Baseball - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 01:41 AM EDT (#343680) #
Jonah Keri's article is saying what many around here and others have written; the Jays should follow what the '12 Red Sox and '16 Yankees did with an old expensive teams and made 2-3 trades to quickly restock and better position themselves.

This team is better than those two teams, IMO.
Petey Baseball - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 01:48 AM EDT (#343681) #
Morales wasn't signed to be an elite DH, so I'm not sure what the griping is about. The Jays think the combo of Pearce and Morales can provide as much offense as what they lost in Edwin.
BlueJayWay - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#343689) #
That's the issue. You probably shouldn't sign a DH-only player unless you think he can be an elite hitter. Morales doesn't provide any defensive value, or baserunning value, and his basic hitting stats are worse than they look because of all the double plays. Both fangraphs and bbref has his value at ~0 WAR. If you believe in the wins above replacement numbers the Jays are paying $10M this year for nothing.
China fan - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#343690) #
"...The Jays think the combo of Pearce and Morales can provide as much offense as what they lost in Edwin...."

Theoretically true, but you to spread them over two lineup positions, instead of one position, so it actually represents a net decline -- unless the Jays were counting on zero production from LF, which they shouldn't have done. 

I still wonder if the Jays were assuming that Pompey or Alford would be knocking on the door by mid-season, therefore reducing the need for Pearce in LF.  But it's not too late to abandon that strategy -- they could give more playing time to Dwight Smith to check out his potential instead.  LF might be the one spot in the lineup where it makes sense to experiment with prospects.  The Jays aren't committed to any high-priced contracts in LF, and the position is not as defensively crucial as the middle-infield positions.

hypobole - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#343695) #
"...The Jays think the combo of Pearce and Morales can provide as much offense as what they lost in Edwin...."

Are the Jays the baseball equivalent of the Borg - a collective with one mind? Highly doubt Atkins or Shapiro actually think that.
Mike Green - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#343697) #
C'mon...Morales' xwOPS was higher than Encarnacion's last year, and Pearce aint chopped liver!

Seriously, I have done some re-thinking of the aging curve for the DH.  The percentage of DHs who have maintained their offensive ability to age 40 is by far higher than for any other position.  It makes sense when you think about it- less wear and tear on the body, and the ability to focus on just one thing, make it much more doable to maintain performance.  Morales still has the bat speed to be a very fine hitter- all he needs to do is refine his approach.  Experience can help with this if one is amenable to learning from failure. 

It frustrates the hell out of me to watch Morales trying to pull the outside pitch and failing time after time and (this is the important part) not learning from the experience.  Centerfield in Toronto is friendly, Kendrys- all those young people in the Flight Deck waiting for a ball.  Show them some love. 

SK in NJ - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#343699) #
The Jays signed Morales because they thought his profile would lead to better performance in Toronto. They didn't sign him to be a 100-110 wRC+ player. They likely anticipated a spike in performance. That hasn't happened so far. I definitely agree that a change in approach could work for him. He should not be drilling the ball into the ground 50% of the time, especially since he is slow as dirt. He's a vet so it might be hard to change him now but a little tweak could do wonders. He has the bat speed and power to be a lot better than he's been so far.
China fan - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#343700) #
So the Jays could be in the 2nd Wild Card slot by the end of tonight, if everything breaks their way in tonight's games. (And they've gotta be heavily favoured against the White Sox, who have a 14-24 record on the road.) Amazing to realize that they're back in the thick of the playoff race, after everything that happened in April.
John Northey - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#343704) #
It is a strange year in the AL so far with no one more than 5 1/2 out of the 2nd wild card position. In the NL only one team is within 10 games of the 2nd wild card and they are 8 out (Cubs). Milwaukee is the only division leader in danger of missing the playoffs at this point. Dodgers & Nationals both over 90%, Rockies & Diamondbacks both over 80% likely to make the playoffs leaving only the NL Central title as a race. BP odds btw, have the Jays at 14.8%.

Btw, Phillies and Padres are already listed at 0.0% odds of making the playoffs. with the Giants at 0.6%.
Nigel - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#343705) #
In my view, the Jays are in exactly the same predicament that they were in in the offseason. They have a good but aging and flawed roster. The team requires some expenditure of resources to make it a truly competitive team. This is no surprise, this is where they were last October and they put bandaids over the issues. I restate what I have said for six months, a good management team would make the crucial decision to either invest those assets or sell. If they think the core is good enough then they should add, otherwise they should sell. I thought the team was good enough in the offseason to make the necessary investments and I continue to believe that. However, I can see the alternative viewpoint. What I would say is that the needle in my view has moved more towards investment because of two things: the unexpected development of some useful (and cost controlled) high leverage relievers such that one of the obvious offseason holes looks to have been largely resolved (although they may still need one more high leverage reliever); the way the AL is shaping up there is an opportunity for an 87 win team to make the playoffs. If I was running the team I would trade some prospects for a legitimate OF and a veteran stopgap 2B (with an emphasis on players who offer some OBP) and effectively eat the salary of some combination of Morales/Pearce by having them regularly ride the bench.
bpoz - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#343706) #
Boston has a decent grip on the 1st WC. The 2nd is up for grabs.

The July 31 trade deadline will IMO be influenced on the standings as of July 25. But maybe I am wrong.

If NYY and Boston are still the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the league. Then they are in good shape.

Based on all that I am quite sure NYY and Boston will add more in trades than the Jays.

I would like to see their farm teams depleted a bit.
China fan - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#343707) #
Pearce is in LF in tonight's lineup for the Jays.  And the phantom DL gets another member:  Chris Coghlan (joining JP Howell).
China fan - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#343708) #
They're calling it "left wrist contusion" for Coghlan -- which manifested itself at the exact moment when an outfielder needed to be dropped to make room for Pearce.  This is peak "asset management."  Even the marginal players are getting hoarded these days. 
Mike Green - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#343710) #
Pearce has 4 hits, including 2 doubles and a homer, in 9 PAs against Quintana.  He's also always hit lefties well.  Morales also has hit Quintana in 40 PAs.

The Jays have had 4 previous opportunities to get back to .500 and have a golden sombrero to show for it.  Enough's enough.  So far, the Jay offence has given Joe Biagini 2.47 runs per game of support.  He's had 7 starts, pitched well in 5 of them, and is 1-4 for his troubles.  This too has to stop.

jerjapan - Friday, June 16 2017 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#343720) #
Nigel, I don't think you can call the emergence of Barnes and Tepera unexpected - I've certainly been expecting it for at least a year now.  Plus the crop of wildcards riding the Buffalo shuttle (the existence of which is why Barnes and Tepera are only achieving regular status now).  It was always reasonable IMO to expect 3 or so AAA arms to emerge as legit MLB relievers this year.  Although I do agree with you that another high leverage arm would be nice. 

And I agree with you on the org making a choice to sell or buy, one way or the other.  Morales to a part time role and a trade for a legit OF option would be my choices as well.  I'd give J-Leb a shot before trading for a 2B. 

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