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The Toronto Blue Jays head to the Lone Star State to begin a seven-game road trip.

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Series Schedule/Probable Starters

Monday at 8:05 pm ET - Marco Estrada (4-5, 4.54) vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 3.28)
Tuesday at 8:05 pm ET - Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.36) vs. Nick Martinez (1-3, 4.67)
Wednesday at 8:05 pm ET - Joe Biagini (1-6, 4.26) vs. Tyson Ross (1-0, 3.18)
Thursday at 2:05 pm ET - Marcus Stroman (7-3, 3.15) vs. LH Martin Perez (3-6, 4.72)

The Rangers fell back to .500 with a loss to Seattle yesterday but they are 4-2 on their homestand after taking two of three from the Mariners and the Houston Astros. Texas is in second place but are 11 games back of Houston in the American League West.

The Blue Jays finally beat the White Sox but finished their five-game homestand with a 2-3 mark. They are 33-35 but are 5-1/2 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East despite being in the basement.

Burning Question - Will there be another bench-clearing brawl between these clubs?

Hot Take - The Rangers are going to start something again, aren't they? The Jays should sign draft pick and black belt in karate Riley Adams for this series.

On Deck - At Kansas City June 23-25.
Blue Jays @ Rangers - June 19-22 | 248 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Four Seamer - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#343867) #
I see Estrada is pitching like someone who wants to be here after the trade deadline.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#343868) #
while you never know if it will screw up a good thing, at this point i'd move smoak up into the 3 hole.
Petey Baseball - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#343870) #
At this point, hard not to be hitting Pearce near the top the order.
greenfrog - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#343872) #
It's a bit strange for a full-time player to have an .800 OPS and 0 WAR, but Morales meets those criteria this year.

I would leave Smoak where he is for now. Don't mess with a good thing.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#343873) #
even scarier is that estrada's woes go well back into last year. he wasn't very good for at least the 2nd half, and maybe the last 2/3rds of last year.
Petey Baseball - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#343874) #
Hot take here, but I suspect he's pitching through an injury. It's doubtful he's just command out of nowhere.
Petey Baseball - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#343875) #
*lost his command I should say.

If it's not an injury, I wonder if he'll end up in the bullpen or even a demotion to iron things out.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#343876) #
first sighting of bad Leone there this year, and it wasn't pretty.
sam - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#343879) #
Kevin Pillar just had a very Kevin Pillar at-bat. Six pitches, four swings, only one a strike. Ugh.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#343881) #
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#343882) #
that is a great play,goins. balls to the wall. (and lol @odor too).

top of the order has one more chance.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#343883) #
at one point pillar actually had a new approach and it was working. true story.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:38 PM EDT (#343884) #
come on joey FINISH THEM.
Petey Baseball - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#343885) #
Stay hot, Kendrys. Man this would be a huge win.
hypobole - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#343886) #
Nice night for much maligned. Grilli with a 3 up 3 down in a 1 run game, Goins with the clutch double and Morales with a couple of knocks including the go ahead RBI.

BTW, uglyone, your lineup is far better than Gibbons'.
uglyone - Monday, June 19 2017 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#343887) #
thank the lord. that would have been a godawful loss.

huge shout out to the bullpen, especially loup.
King Ryan - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 12:09 AM EDT (#343889) #
Pretty huge win for the Jays. Or at least, devastating loss averted. What is up with Estrada?

Can the Kevin Pillar, leadoff experience please come to a close soon? I liked it when they had Bautista there, but, like, anyone would be an improvement.
eudaimon - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#343890) #
Yeah Gibbons has a tendency to stick with things a little too long. Kevin Pillar, leadoff hitter made sense for a little while, but hasn't for at least a month now.

One run win. What's our record in one run games now?
85bluejay - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 04:38 AM EDT (#343893) #
If the Jays had an extra bench bat, they may have pinch hit for Goins in the 9th ( not that I'm a Goins fan).
I'm amazed that Tulo is not getting more grief for his offensive performance (and we have 3 more years)- I watched parts of the game and Tulo came up twice with the bases loaded and one out and couldn't deliver a run - if it had been Goins/Barney there would have been multiple post excoriating them and demanding something be done - I'll say this, with Jeff Hoffman emerging and Tulo sucking along with the money he is owed, Colorado has to be feeling good about the deal.

Although he could pull a Saunders, I feel good about being one of the few to mention that I still believed in Smoak during spring training - but as to the suggestion that he should be moved up to the #3 slot, I reticent - this is his first run of success and being put in the #3 slot may add unnecessary pressure and result in backsliding - I'd rather leave Smoak where he is and if his success continues, next year with Bautista likely gone he can slide in the #3 slot.
scottt - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 05:11 AM EDT (#343895) #
Blowing a save off Math Bush and giving him the L is very satisfying. Too bad it was getting too late for me to watch the end.

They needed to move away from Reyes at short. Urena isn't knocking on the door at this point.

China fan - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 05:57 AM EDT (#343897) #
Excellent work by the allegedly "unusable" Grilli and "unnecessary" Beliveau in high-leverage situations last night. Once again, the starting pitcher left the game early -- a very common phenomenon this season -- but Gibbons was ready for it, and the bullpen had the depth to handle it.  By using the lower half of his bullpen last night, Gibbons was able to give a day off to Tepera and Barnes, both of whom have had a heavy workload this season.  That has a definite (if intangible) impact:  it helps conserve the bullpen and give it added resilience for the long months ahead. A day off for Tepera (who had pitched in 2 of the previous 3 games) and for Barnes (who had pitched in 2 of the previous 4 games and had thrown 41 pitches in that period) was exactly what they both needed, and it will help them and the team over the coming weeks. 

I'm happy to admit that I was wrong about Steve Pearce.  Despite his poor numbers in his rehab games, he was definitely ready to return to the majors.  He'll be very useful in lengthening the lineup and bolstering the offense.   Now the Jays somehow need to get Tulo and Pillar going again.  I'm not too worried about Tulo -- he has hit very well over the past two seasons, and I don't think it's plausible that he has suddenly lost it.  I'm expecting him to improve soon.  Pillar is an enigma, but I agree that he should be lower in the lineup until he remembers what he was doing in the first six weeks of the season.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 07:26 AM EDT (#343898) #
What's worse than Tulo not hitting is that he's not fielding either. Currently has a -2.6 UZR and -1 DRS, to go along with his 68 wRC+ and no power. Just bad in every way. Maybe he is still banged up. Let's hope it's just a bad stretch. Hoffman's emergence, assuming he sustains it, is going to hurt, but with 3/58 remaining on Tulo's contract after this season, I'm more concerned about his performance.
85bluejay - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 07:30 AM EDT (#343899) #
I was never a fan of Reyes (or the florida trade) - I agree that they needed to move on from Reyes But I advocated for Didi Gregorius when Arizona was looking to dump one of their ss - smart move by the Yankees.
Chuck - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 07:54 AM EDT (#343900) #
The up-the-middle positions are a source of at least a little concern for the team.
  • Tulowitzki has regressed both offensively and defensively. I anticipate "banged up" to be his normal physical state for the balance of his career.
  • Travis had dropped off offensively (though had obviously turned it back on in May) and his replacements, Barney and Goins, have seemed to slide defensively.
  • Pillar has seemed to slip defensively, though perhaps this is confirmation bias and small sample size at play. Offensively, he is not terribly far removed from last year's effort, which warranted him batting at the bottom of the order. New Year's resolutions are easy to make but hard to keep.
  • Martin has been fine, though I'd expect he'll max out around 400 AB which means lots of playing time for offensively challenged -- if fine, defensive -- Maile.

Of course, replacement level performances from the corner outfielders aren't helping either, so they don't get a pass here.

How is this team even flirting with .500? There's not a lot going right. Below average scoring. Average run prevention. Below average defensive efficiency. And the unlikely heroes have been Smoak and the bullpen, both subjects of much off-season disparagement (by me included).

BlueJayWay - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#343901) #
What is up with Estrada?

Honestly I don't know if it's anything. Lately his command has been a bit off, and he's been victimized by a lot of bad babip luck (eg the Choo and Andrus hits in the 4th last night).

Part of me thinks he's just reverting back to the pitcher he was before the trade. He was always walking a tightrope with his pitching style and stuff.

One run win. What's our record in one run games now?

12-7. And that's with starting out 2-7 I think. Ten straight wins in one run games.
greenfrog - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#343902) #
Morales' clutch hitting has helped the team eke out at least a couple of extra wins.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#343903) #
Goins' base-running in the ninth was probably the key to the inning.  I was surprised by how poor Mazara's throw to the plate was., but even if it was a good one, I still think that Goins would have had it beat.

Since Goins has been back at second base regularly, he has been about average defensively.  The errors have become infrequent, and his turn on the DP remains good.  He has definitely lost a step on the ball in the hole.  Offensively, everything looks decent except his .248 BABIP.  It has been creeping up after a horrific start.  I can see it adding up to a passable replacement player on a platoon basis.  Darwin Barney is another story.  Everything is off- hitting, fielding.  Maybe it's an injury.  If so, a DL trip with Leblebijian replacing him seems very natural. 

Another shot at .500 tonight.  It's hard to believe that the club is in the thick of it.  One improvement is obvious.  This year so far, Luke Maile has made 24 starts.  The club is 15-9.  They were 16-21 in Josh Thole starts (mostly with Dickey) last year.  WAR describes Maile as well below replacement- that's a problem for WAR, not for Maile.  I know how WAR gets there but the team ERA when Maile is catching is 3.47.  Maile receives the ball well, fields well and throws well. And it makes a huge difference.   The club gave 72 defensive innings to Ohlman and Salty early in the season.  That did not turn out well.

PeterG - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#343904) #
I agree with everything that MIke said about Maile He is an important contributor to the club and an excellent back up. I also agree that WAR can be flawed sometimes, perhaps more so than is generally thought.
John Northey - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#343905) #
The nice thing about the Tulo situation is a replacement is working his way through the minors in Bo Bichette (lifetime 400 batting average in minors over 2 seasons). I hope the Jays push him so he could be ready for September next year and full time in 2019 or 2020 at the latest. His timeline almost perfectly fits Tulo's contract (he makes $20 per year through 2019, then $14 in 2020 and $15 or $4 mil buyout for 2021). By 2020 $14 mil will be acceptable for a backup SS (if his defense declines then he might move to 2B or 3B or be a backup everywhere). Vlad also needs pushing as 3B could be wide open as the Jays only have Donaldson's rights through 2018. So if Bichette and Vlad can both be ready for 2019 that might be perfect timing.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#343906) #
i think people aren't freaking about tulo because they've learned enough from freaking about bad starts from the likes of martin bautista encarnacion etc the last couple years.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#343907) #
Here's how the first half performances so far have impacted the jays' projections going forward...

Donaldson 141wrc+
Bautista 123
Pearce 113
Morales 112
Smoak 111
Martin 103
Tulo 102
Travis 101
Pillar 90

Coghlan 88
Carrera 86
Smith 84
Barney 66
Goins 65
Maile 55
electric carrot - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#343908) #
they've learned enough from freaking about bad starts from the likes of martin bautista encarnacion etc the last couple years.

uglyone I detect a little sarcasm here. If it's there I agree with the sentiment. It does seem like there are many on this site who do not seem to much faith in the team and what past performance might suggest about future performance. Many here had the team buried and dead in the ground on April 15th (!!)

 I understand the concern with Estrada, he's put together a pretty long streak of mediocrity.  And yes Tulo is a concern -- the defence in particular. But no, I don't think he's going to be permanently as bad as he has been for the rest of the season. This guy is good at baseball and injuries are normally not permanent.

I think the Jays have a good shot at the wildcard, and to tell you the truth, the division crown doesn't seem out of the question.

uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#343909) #
actually wasn't meant to snark - i do think that people aren't going nuts over tulo because of the recent history with these vets.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#343910) #
"How is this team even flirting with .500?"

9-0 in their last nine one run games and 28-18 in their last 46 games overall. They are somehow 8-8 in June despite being outscored by 24 runs over that span.

For once, a John Gibbons team appears to be overachieving (given the injuries, individual under-performing, etc).
Gerry - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#343911) #
With the exception of Houston there is tremendous parity in the AL this year. The A's have the worst record and they are 4.5 games out of a wild card spot. Ten teams are either in a wild card spot or within three games. Eight teams are in a wild card spot or within one game. Except for the Astros no-one is pulling away.
eudaimon - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#343912) #
I'm not too worried about Estrada, and I'm also not thinking injury (though it's possible). He's just not controlling the strike zone recently. There's always a chance he pulls a Ricky Romero I guess, but I'd still bet on him finishing with a sub-4 ERA. Perhaps this bad stretch makes it more likely that he re-signs in 2018.
92-93 - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#343913) #
"Excellent work by the..."unnecessary" Beliveau in high-leverage situations last night. Once again, the starting pitcher left the game early -- a very common phenomenon this season -- but Gibbons was ready for it, and the bullpen had the depth to handle it."

The 8 man bullpen depth had nothing to do with the bullpen's performance yesterday. Believeau is no longer the unnecessary pitcher because he isn't the 8th arm anymore. In two of the last 4 games the Jays SP hasn't made it out of the 4th and yet 7 RP has still been more than enough to handle the entire workload, and in fact they've had to give Osuna an inning in a 4 run game during the stretch. If the team was running a 7 man bullpen and felt it needed a fresh RP for today they could've sent down Leone for Campos for 10 days, or DFAd Believeau.

I wish Gibbons would manage in a manner that reflects that a 4 run lead is a lot lower leverage than being down 1 run in the 7th inning.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#343914) #
Donaldson's stolen base last night had me wondering how the club was doing in that department.  Answer: much better.  They are 27-8 so far this season; last year they were 54-24.  It's been an effective occasional weapon. 
92-93 - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#343915) #
I think part of the reason why Martin doesn't lead off is because Gibby likes consistency and doesn't want to have to find a new leadoff hitter 20-25% of the time. Also, are the hitters behind him a factor in his high BB% because pitchers are working around him to get to the bottom of the order's lesser hitters? There isn't really an ideal lineup because you have a lot of similar type hitters on the starting squad, but I would like to see Bautista leading off just to try and shake things up a bit.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#343916) #
yeah definitely. he understandably likes the top of his order to be fulltime players.
Nigel - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#343917) #
Except that that is really the problem with Gibbons and the roster this year. It's a roster that just doesn't lend itself to a simple plug and play approach. The roster is filled with players with obvious strengths and serious flaws. It needs to be handled with some flexibility. As but one example, Playing Pearce and Bautista together in the OF may or may not make sense depending on the flyball tendencies of the starter and the opposition starter. More could be squeezed from some players and situations by showing some flexibility. It only makes sense to pack Martin, Donaldson and Bautista together to give you a run of players that might pull off some long sequence scoring. It's just outside Gibbons' comfort zone.
Nigel - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#343918) #
Sorry that was even less comprehensible than most of my posts. I meant depending on the fly ball tendencies of the Jays' starter and the handedness of the opposition starter.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#343919) #
Justin Smoak, cleanup hitter?  I can't say I saw that coming, but it is where he belongs.  They don't really have a natural leadoff hitter.  Pompey or Alford might become one.
PeterG - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#343920) #
Travis is still a possible leadoff going forward if he can overcome his injury woes. As much as he might be helpful later this year, I hope for the sake of his career, he does not play again till next season. He probably came back too soon this season.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#343921) #
what's interesting is that with pillar's D not up to par so far, there's a chance that he's more replaceable by smith/pompey/alford than Bautista/pearce are.
92-93 - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#343922) #
We could be a few games away from LF taking over the leadoff spot. Of course if Pillar has a good week then all bets are off for another month.
Magpie - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#343923) #
why Martin doesn't lead off

I think it's because he's a catcher. Not because of some received notion about what catchers are supposed to be, but because the defensive demands of the position are so great that there's some reluctance to ask him to fill a key offensive role as well.

Which means, I suppose, that if you make a change at the top of the order, Bautista's pretty much the only option.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#343924) #
If not Bautista, then I'd be fine with Pearce leading off. His bat is heating up.

You can make a tweak here or there, but the biggest difference will be just getting Pillar out of the lead off spot. That change alone will help. It's just a matter of waiting for the light bulb in Gibby's head to go off.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#343925) #
yeah i buy the martin arguments.

hypobole - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#343926) #
Consistency makes perfect sense for Donaldson continuing to hit 2nd.

Consistency could be argued (ain't broke, don't fix) for Smoak continuing to hit 5th despite being one of the dozen best hitters in MLB thus far.

Consistency in the case of Pillar, who's been consistently awful for over a month, leading off, makes what sense?
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#343927) #
it's not like gibby has let pillar hit leadoff for most of his career. he put him there this year because he deserved it and it was a very smart move.

he obviously won't be there for much longer if this continues, and pearce getting legit back to form again will probably force the issue.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#343928) #
Rest of Season Projections

3B Donaldson 362pa, 141wrc+, 6.5war/650
C Martin 339pa, 103wrc+, 3.8war/650
*2B Travis 20pa, 101wrc+, 3.3war/650*
SS Tulowitzki 362pa, 102wrc+, 3.2war/650
RF Bautista 370pa, 123wrc+, 2.8war/650
CF Pillar 362pa, 90wrc+, 2.7war/650
LF Pearce 229pa, 113wrc+, 2.3war/650
1B Smoak 321pa, 111wrc+, 1.6war/650
DH Morales 362pa, 112wrc+, 1.3war/650

OF Carrera 48pa, 86wrc+, 1.4war/650
OF Coghlan 193pa, 88wrc+, 1.0war/650
OF Smith 141pa, 84wrc+, 0.5war/650
IF Barney 141pa, 66wrc+, 0.0war/650
IF Goins 281pa, 65wrc+, -0.2war/650
C Maile 37pa, 55wrc+, 0.0war/650

Stroman 18gs, 3.91era, 3.5war/32
Sanchez 13gs, 3.88era, 3.2war/32
Biagini 12gs, 4.05era, 2.9war/32
Estrada 18gs, 4.12era, 2.6war/32
Happ 13gs, 4.15era, 2.6war/32
Liriano 12gs, 4.27era, 2.3war/32

Osuna 37.0ip, 2.98era, 1.9war/65
Smith 37.0ip, 3.33era, 1.1war/65
Tepera 32.0ip, 3.79era, 0.7war/65
Loup 32.0ip, 3.73era, 0.5war/65
Barnes 20.0ip, 3.75era, 0.2war/65
Leone 17.0ip, 4.30era, 0.0war/65
Grilli 26.0ip, 4.54era, 0.0war/65
Nigel - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#343929) #
Uglyone, if Martin can't move into the top three then I think that's the best you can do.
PeterG - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#343931) #
Saunders DFA by Phlly. He was hitting .205 with an OBP of .257
Dave Till - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#343932) #
The Phillies just designated Michael Saunders for assignment. (I don't recommend that the Jays sign him - I just thought it was interesting news.)

I don't remember the last time the Jays had a better won-lost record than Pythagorean record. They have won their last 10 one-run games; their last one-run loss was on April 24.

In entirely related news: Osuna's last blown save was on April 27. He has converted 17 consecutive save opportunities. Osuna matata!
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#343933) #
Happy birthday, Kendrys Morales.  He currently owns hittrackeronline's Golden Sledgehammer Award for longest true distance average on his homers (425 feet). 

The pitch that gives Kendrys the most trouble is the curveball (especially on the outer third of the plate).  He tends to top and pull it.  He needs to either look for it and adjust his swing path and approach, or lay off it until he gets to 2 strikes.  Early in his career (before the shift was widespread and before he lost whatever semblance of speed he once had), he could pull it hard on the ground into the hole and have some success.  He has to adjust. 

Chuck - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#343934) #
The Phillies just designated Michael Saunders for assignment.

Saunders' recent OPS splits:

  • 2016, 1st half: 923
  • 2016, 2nd half: 639
  • 2017, 1st half: 617

This is reminiscent of Domonic's Brown fall from grace:

  • 2013, 1st half: 856
  • 2013, 2nd half: 723
  • 2014, season: 634

Both made the all-star game for their terrific first halves. Brown never bounced back, floundering in Buffalo last year and hitting a bunch of singles in the PCL this year.

Will someone even take Saunders for the pro-rated 500K? Someone might, but those are precious at-bats to give away hoping for a Lazarus routine.

Chuck - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#343935) #
Domonic's Brown fall from grace

Ack. Edit function. Please. I was not colour-coding his fall from grace. Just threw the possessive s on the wrong word.

scottt - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#343936) #
About a month left to the trade deadline. I don't think they'll dicker with the batting order, but if they're buyer, they should look for a 2B who can hit leadoff.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#343938) #
Nice one, Kevin.

Magpie - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#343939) #
I was not colour-coding his fall from grace.

Can we do that? Is this a thing? It sounds like fun!
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#343940) #
Red, blue, green, purple or black falls from grace I can deal with. Brown not so much.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#343941) #
pillar, man, without defense you're not an mlber.

and the $13m man on the mound continues to bemuse ans confuse.
Nigel - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#343942) #
The last three times the Jays have knocked on .500 they've been blown out early. Which highlights a problem. The Jays' record in blowouts isn't what it was in 15-16. Given that blowouts are more predictive
of team quality, in smaller samples, than one run games, I think we've reached the point where we can safely assume that the team just isn't as good as those clubs, if very good at all. Now, with the quality of the majority of the AL that isn't fatal, but it does but pressure on smaller issues like lineup construction. And, man, does Tulo look God awful. Bat speed sure seems less like baseline problem.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#343944) #
heh. I was going to start a poll question today:

Q.Are/were you happier and more confident with:

A) "underachieving" previous jays team with great pythag?
B) "overachieving" current jays with great 1 run game clutch?

after all the gripes aboit 1-run game performamce in previous years, I think we see now that (A) is clearly better.

that being said, i'm not sure our current rundiff tells us everything about what this team is ahen moatly healthy.
scottt - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#343945) #
Not all blowouts are equals. Jays starting pitching has been uneven, but then again, we've missed Sanchez and Happ.

Nigel - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#343946) #
I ask this seriously. Are there really people who think their team isn't better off by blowing team's out more often than they get blown out?
scottt - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#343947) #
Just last year, Texas made it to the playoff by winning lots of games by 1 run.

Funny that Goins was this big Rangers fan.
He's all defense, the one thing they don't seem to care about.

bpoz - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#343948) #
Winning the blowout competition at .660 but only playing at .520 just tells me that something is amiss. So No I don't think the team is better.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#343949) #
I tend to agree, Nigel. Jays are winning one run games but not winning the blowouts like they used to in previous years. Typically not a good sign. With how bad they started it's a big hole to dig out of, and they still have a ways to go. They'll need some help from outside the org, but they'll have to still be in (serious) contention a month from now for that to matter.

Unfortunately, if they decide to sell at the deadline, their four main trade pieces are either struggling (Estrada, Bautista, Liriano) or hurt (Smith). Best case is they start going on a run, but worst case if they fall out of it, then they really need to turn those impending FA's into assets for next year and beyond.
greenfrog - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#343950) #
SK, I would be surprised if other teams would be willing to part with much for the players you mentioned (maybe Estrada, if he heats up over the next month). I imagine that other GMs are inquiring about younger/better/controllable players like Donaldson, Stroman, Sanchez, Osuna, Tepera, Smoak, Happ.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#343951) #
I think Estrada (if he rights himself) and Smith could get something decent. Not top prospects or anything, but a good starter and a high leverage K reliever are pretty valuable additions late in a season. Bautista has to have a hot streak to boost his value (assuming he even waives his NTC/10-5 rights), while the ship may have sailed for Liriano.

Not exactly Chapman/Miller calibre assets that the Jays would be trading in that scenario, but hey, get whatever you can.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#343952) #
How many hanging breaking balls did Pearce get in that at-bat?
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#343953) #
Please let Donaldson get up this inning.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#343954) #
Unbelievable. Kevin Pillar, lead-off hitter everyone.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#343955) #
pillar takes 2 close balls, then swings at 3 not close balls.
Nigel - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#343956) #
Even by Pillar's questionable standards that was a God awful AB. If his defence really has permanently slipped to the extent it subjectively appears to this season, then the Jays are in need of 3 OF.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#343957) #
That Pillar AB with the bases loaded has made me root for Dalton Pompey to pan out more than ever before. I don't know if I can stomach Pillar without elite defense.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#343958) #
That was a very Pillarian at bat.
Magpie - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#343959) #
Pillar looks like he's thinking up at the plate, which is usually not a good idea ("How can I hit and think at the same time?" sayeth the Yogi.) In this case it was: "Hey, I'm ahead 2-0. He's gotta give me something to hit. Let it loose."
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#343960) #
how did morales not score there?
greenfrog - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#343962) #
It may be that Pillar needs a bit more rest than he's getting. He's had some injuries during his career, and he plays very aggressively (and on turf roughly half the time). Of course, with the injuries to Pompey, Alford, and Carrera, the Jays' outfield options are currently limited.

I think it might have been Dave Cameron who mused that in the future, as injury prevention approaches become more sophisticated, starting position players might play about 140 games a year instead of the current target of about 155-160. That might make sense, if it results in better performance, better short-term health, and better career longevity.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#343963) #
You can't prove his actions that day in Atlanta has affected his play, but you have to wonder.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#343964) #
come on gibby, shake the lineup up a bit and see what happens.
Magpie - Tuesday, June 20 2017 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#343965) #
You can't prove his actions that day in Atlanta has affected his play

I wondered the same thing, but he had two hits in his first game back and hit in each of the next three games as well.

Since then, it's .137/.196/.221
hypobole - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:00 AM EDT (#343966) #
If you were the Jays GM and the trade deadline was tomorrow, would you be buying or selling?
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:32 AM EDT (#343967) #
It might be the suspension but the reality is that this is who Pillar has always been offensively. His season line looks almost exactly like every one of his others. It's the defensive decline that's mysterious. Maybe its age related, maybe it's just a slump, maybe he's hurt, maybe he needs more rest. Who knows, but the fielding metrics match the eye test in this case.
King Ryan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:07 AM EDT (#343968) #
Remember that defense peaks earlier than offense does, and at his age it is likely that pillar is past his defensive prime. Which, yeah, makes him not a very useful ball player.

This has been such a weird season. Based on their run differential they have overachieved, but this roster should be better than its run differential shouldn't it? It feels like they are about 0-30 in games where they have a chance to get to 500.
Chuck - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 06:18 AM EDT (#343969) #
"Hey, I'm ahead 2-0. He's gotta give me something to hit. Let it loose."

I didn't see the AB, but it sounds like a "Chuckie's hacking on 2-0" kind of thing. That rarely ends well. It didn't for Carr and it usually didn't for me.

Pillar is now on the precipice of having the OBP drop below 300 and the SLG below 400. Gibbons is either very patient or very stubborn. We need a leadoff hitter like Anthony Rizzo.

Over Cleveland way, the always slow starting Encarnacion is now on fire, pushing his OPS up close to 900. I don't think there's any question that he's a much better player than Morales, but the argument of who is worth more per dollar is a separate one altogether (that I'll gladly leave for others).

So, the MLB leaders in HR are Judge 25, Bellinger 22, Morrison 21, Springer 21, Smoak 20, Thames 20, Votto 20, Ozuna 19, Bruce 19, Zimmerman 19, Schebler 19, Moustakas 19. How many of those names would you have predicted? And we haven't even hit the scorching weather yet. How many players are going to end in the 50s? Used to be the players that were juiced. Now it's the baseballs.

85bluejay - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 07:25 AM EDT (#343970) #
I would be selling including Donaldson (would look great in NY/Boston) & Osuna for the right price. I would not be giving Donaldson the 6 plus years likely required to keep him partly because I see a guy likely to spend significant time on DL as he ages.What I don't want to see is a half hearted selloff like the Reds did, I want a full throttle selloff to accelerate the rebuild - I would want to get a Devers/Torres/Robles type - Have Biagini, maybe Sparkman in rotation, give playing time to Smith,Pompey and others.Of course, the Jays will now win 10 of 11.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 07:49 AM EDT (#343971) #
"If you were the Jays GM and the trade deadline was tomorrow, would you be buying or selling?"

Right now, selling. Sub-.500 record, last place in the East, joined at the hip with multiple teams just for a 2nd WC possibility, etc. Not worth losing prospect capital, even if it's minor. They have a month to improve their record and get in a better position (at least holding down a WC spot) before the FO should move ahead with trades to help for this season. If not, then start to think about next season.

I would be OK with a rebuild, as they might be forced into one after 2018 anyway depending on what happens with Donaldson, but I doubt ownership is going to give the green light for that. I think it's more likely they will move the impending FA's for any depth/talent they can add and try again next season.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:09 AM EDT (#343972) #
Right now I would sell. Or at least not buy if it would cost a real prospect.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:25 AM EDT (#343973) #
2gms out of a playoff spot after a horrendous start and a horrendous bout of injuries? and after we've been one of the best teams in baseball the last 2 months? i'm not selling.

Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#343975) #
Buy or sell, either is defensible, just do one of them. The team isn't good enough as is and there isn't significant internal help on the horizon in the short term.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#343977) #
eh I think Sanchez and Pompey/Alford is pretty good internal help on the way for our trouble spots.

if travis is done, though, we need to do something there.
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#343978) #
It's worth noting that the Jays have a .600 winning record over the past 40 games.  So we're still really debating that terrible record in April -- was it an aberration or was it a clear warning of serious decline? 

There are definitely some warning signs -- the apparent declines by Bautista and Tulo, the poor pitching by Estrada and Liriano, the defensive problems by Pillar, the injury issues of Travis. How much weight do we place on those warning signs?  Will those players bounce back, or are they slipping permanently into decline?  I don't think anyone knows for sure, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who has a hunch that the latter might be true.  On the other hand, I don't think we can totally dismiss the .600 record over the past 40 games either.  This team still has a chance, especially if the rotation improves. 

This year, like last year, the Jays offence is not particularly great.  Last year the offense was good enough because the pitching was so strong.  If the rotation improves over the next few weeks, the lineup is probably good enough to reach the playoffs.  I wouldn't dismantle this team just yet.

bpoz - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#343980) #
I think we have to give the pen a lot of credit. Osuna has done a great job. He always has. The supporting cast of Smith, Tepera, Barnes, Loup and D Leone have done a good job.

The offense and defense have been at best. J Smoak seems to be carrying a big load.

Considering that the rotation has been a patchwork due to injuries, their overall performance has been ..... I don't really know how to rank it.

So the bad start was worse than they should have been. And the .600 record after that is probably better than it should have been.

So I just repeated what many are saying. Sorry.
Chuck - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#343981) #
I don't think we can totally dismiss the .600 record over the past 40 games either

The Pythagorean winning percentage over those game is just .508 due to the 183/180 RF/RA. The .600 record owes a great deal to the recent string of 1-run wins.

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#343983) #
I would be buying.  What constitutes buying is an interesting question.  It may involve selling duplicate assets at a position as part of a deal or series of deals. I can see three-way trades being a possibility at the deadline. 

I don't think you can count on Alford for much this season. He has had only 33 games at the double A level, and than fractured his hamate.  It things go exceptionally well for him, he might be an addition in September.  As for Pompey, who knows?

92-93 - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#343984) #
The Jays have nothing to sell unless you're moving Donaldson/Osuna, which I would have zero interest in doing at this time. I'm enjoying the meaningful baseball.

uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#343985) #
hmm, I don't think there's a piece on the roster they couldn't sell for something decent, unless Tulo can't get back to normal.

well, morales too.
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#343986) #
Last year the one-run losses were used to prove that Gibbons was bad;  this year the one-run victories are used to prove that the Jays are bad.   I'm getting confused.  Do we want the one-run wins or not?
hypobole - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#343987) #
eh I think Sanchez and Pompey/Alford is pretty good internal help on the way for our trouble spots.

OK, so Sanchez back in a few weeks if no recurrence of his blister will definitely help. But where exactly will Alford/Pompey slot in? Replace Bautista/Pillar/Pearce in some combo?

uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#343988) #
well if you think outfield is an issue, then they would help there. Smith too.

SP, OF, 2B.....not sure what the other trouble spots we need help with are.
85bluejay - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#343991) #
Well, the question was if the trade deadline was tomorrow - I don't anyone is selling 5-6 weeks out.
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#343992) #
Having made my grumbling point about one-run margins, I must say that I do agree with Chuck's essential point that the .600 record over the past 40 games is a somewhat "light" or empty version of a .600 record.  These were not impressive victories; the Jays had to struggle for everything.

By the same token, the terrible record in April was not representative of the team's true talent level either.

The bottom line is that the Jays need to improve their rotation and get stronger contributions from key hitters like Bautista and Tulo if they want any chance of making the playoffs this year.

Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#343994) #
I'd be buying too but I don't see ownership/management changing course mid season and making a significant investment in fixing the holes on the team. As someone who thinks the team needs two and possibly three OF (depending on whether Pillar's defence has gone south permanently), I'm with Mike, I don't see either Alford or Pompey as helping that problem in the short term. Pompey might help but he can't get on the field and when he does, who knows what you've got.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#343995) #
By month:

APR: .320win%, .447run%
MAY: .643win%, .554run%
JUN: .471win%, .434run%

TOT: .486win%, .483run% (.486baserun% from fangraphs)

overall seems like their record lines up with their run scoring. And by baseruns their runs line up with their underlying numbers.

so the question is whether this is what they are, or whether they can be significantly better. For me, based on the fact that almost every starting player and pitcher has either hit a serious rough patch or injuries so far, I say they can be significantly better than this.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#343996) #
The Jays have nothing to sell unless you're moving Donaldson/Osuna, which I would have zero interest in doing at this time

You could "sell" Smoak.  It would make a certain amount of sense if it allowed you to move Pearce to first base and acquire an outfielder (or two) who could field the position and contribute signficant value at the major league level.  Selling isn't exactly the right word- re-allocating resources up the defensive spectrum might be a better description. 
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#343997) #
Maybe they are better than they have shown but ask yourself this, if Pillar's defensive value has significantly diminished, which position player projects to be an above average player (ie. more than a 1.5-2 WAR player)? I think it's only Donaldson. Travis would have qualified but he's out for the year. Martin might qualify on a rate basis but probably doesn't if he can only get 400 AB's. That doesn't scream underperformance to me. I'm not sure people realize that the roster construction has largely wiped out the potential for Bautista and Pearce to add much value to this team. If they are the everyday OF then they are likely to be below average players even if they hit say 110+RC.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#343998) #
Mike's bang on. As crazy as this sounds, if you swapped out Smoak for Dyson (even with how well Smoak has been hitting) you probably improve the club because of the knock on effects of getting one of Bautista or Pearce out of the OF.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#343999) #
I think I posted the projections a couple days ago somewhere around here. Pretty sure all of Donaldson, Martin, Tulo, Bautista, Pillar, Travis projected as at least 3+ win type players. All 5 SP too iirc.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#344000) #
I was only asking about position players. Pillar's value is almost all defence. Tulo has now been in Toronto for 2 full seasons and I think it's crazy to still believe he's a still a 3 WAR player. Bautista isn't a 3 WAR player likely in any circumstances but certainly not as an everyday OF.
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#344001) #
which position player projects to be an above average player (ie. more than a 1.5-2 WAR player)?

Smoak's already at 2.1 bWAR. Doesn't he count?
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#344002) #
Tulo posted a 2.8 fWAR last season.   I don't see any objective reason for a sharp decline this season, although I admit he hasn't been good.  He could still be regaining his full health and timing after the injury.  I think he is a candidate to bounce back in the second half of the season, although it's far from certain that he can do it.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#344003) #
I'm optimistic about Tulo bouncing back too but I see someone whose defence is also declining so bouncing back to me will be a 2 WAR league average player rather than something more.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#344005) #
Today would be another good day to give Bautista a rest.  You've got a right-hander going tonight and a left-hander tomorrow afternoon.  It's better to give Smith Jr. the start tonigh against the right-handert, and there is a lot of merit to giving Bautista his first day off of the season to avoid a night game followed by a day game. 
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#344006) #
BTW, I'm in favour of buying. There are very good pieces in place. I just think the stats underlying the team performance to date are closer to its true talent than believing that it's significantly underperforming. The team needs help (restructuring as much as simply adding) rather than just relying on the current roster, as constructed, to simply turn it around.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#344007) #
Tulo as a Jay has been worth 4.0fwar and 4.5bwar in 872pa, so a 3.0-3.5war type player when playing. Last year he was a 2.8fwar and 3.3bwar player in only 544pa, which is more of a 3.5-4.0war type player. Fangraphs' rest-of-season combined projections have him worth 1.7war the rest of the year (358pa), which is again a 3war type player.

Bautista doesn't have as good a recent track record but the projections still believe in his bat, and have him at 1.6war the rest of the year, which again is a 3war type player. That does assume not-awful defense but then again his defense has arguably been not-awful this year so far.
Chuck - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#344008) #
Pretty sure all of Donaldson, Martin, Tulo, Bautista, Pillar, Travis projected as at least 3+ win type players.

According to FG, taking actual WAR thus far and adding in forecasted remaining WAR: Martin is 2-3, Travis is 2 (prorated to a full season -- I don't think he's coming back), Bautista and Pillar are 1-2, Tulowitzki and Morales are ~1. Smoak is 2-3 based on a pessimistic forecast (the remainder-of-the-year forecast is closer to his career norms than his performance thus far). Donaldson is around 5, hurt by missed playing time.

The team obviously has one star position player. A superstar, in fact. And possibly still underrated.

Some might argue that Martin deserves more credit than WAR is prepared to give him. I can't argue that. He might be worth his paycheque.

Tulowitzki, Bautista and Morales are earning a total of about 50M and are on pace for maybe 4 WAR.

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#344009) #
the start tonigh against the right-handert

I hate it when a "t" won't stay where it is supposed to- I have no idea how that happened.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#344011) #
yeah chuck but we're talking about what they'll do the rest of the season, not what they've done so far.

i.e. the fact that the likes of tulo/bautista likely will do significantly better than the replacement level they've given us so far is a reason to expect improvement.
Chuck - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#344014) #
we're talking about what they'll do the rest of the season

Ah, you've annualized their remainder-of-the-year forecasts (and ignored their performance to date). Gotcha. Tulo and Bautista can't help but look better from here on in, though some of that will be offset by a presumed regression from Smoak.

Over their first 70 games, the team has scored 4.3 R/G and allowed 4.6. What rates are people anticipating over the next 92 games? My glass half-full nature sees 4.4/4.4.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#344015) #
The key to this season is how the Jays look a month from now. If they are over .500 and either holding down a WC spot or very close to it (not behind 4-5 teams), then small talent upgrades in certain spots will definitely help (2B in particular if Travis is out for a while). Talent-wise, the Jays should be the 2nd WC team, but it comes down to how they can squeeze those extra few wins they need down the stretch. The bad April really put them in a huge hole. It won't happen with Goins/Barney at 2B. That's probably the easiest position to fix, and there is a market there with players like Howie Kendrick and Eduardo Nunez types currently on bad teams that should be available and not cost a lot.

Aside from that, the team has to hope some of their current roster simply get better (Bautista and Tulo, for starters), and things start to straighten out on the pitching side once Sanchez comes back and Biagini is moved back to the pen.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#344016) #
"Ah, you've annualized their remainder-of-the-year forecasts (and ignored their performance to date)"

small note: the rest-of-season forecasts include their performance to date.
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#344017) #
I think we can assume that the pitching will probably improve over the rest of the season, with the return of Sanchez, the improvement by Happ, the elimination of Bolsinger and other dodgy 7th starters, and the likely bounce-back by Estrada.

Estrada can't be as unlucky as he has been thus far.  His xFIP is significantly lower than his ERA this year.  The opposition is, somehow, enjoying a .343 BABIP against him, compared to a .243 BABIP last season, and that number should begin to regress at some point.

On the other hand, we really cannot assume that there will be improvements by Bautista, Tulo, Pillar, etc.  There's just no way of predicting.  And Smoak could regress too. 

So I think the rotation, once again, will be the key.

China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#344018) #
The potential playoff revenue, alone, should incentivize the front office to acquire a 2B in the next few weeks.  And then there's the cascading effect:  a post-season appearance in 2017 helps to boost revenue in 2018, etc.    And maybe the FO has smartly set aside some payroll room for the trade deadline.  They can probably cobble together an adequate LF from Pearce and Carrera for the rest of the season, but 2B is the obvious hole to fill.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#344019) #
things start to straighten out on the pitching side once Sanchez comes back and Biagini is moved back to the pen.

Biagini and the pen have not been problems.  Liriano and Estrada have been.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#344020) #
"though some of that will be offset by a presumed regression from Smoak."

well, kinda. Smoak should regress. The bullpen may too (though there are positive regression candidates in there too, as well as the likely return of Biagini). Stroman won't get much better. Neither will Morales.

but the point is that pretty much the entire rest of the roster has reason to expect to perform better going forward than they have so far, both due to underperformance and to injury.

no guarantees, of course. they might not get better at all. they might even get worse.
Gerry - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#344021) #
It looks like Cesar Valdez will be called up for Campos today. He was supposed to start for Buffalo but didn't.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#344023) #
gibby heard us!

tonight's lineup:

1.Bautista rf
2.Smith cf
3.Donaldson 3b
4.Smoak 1b
5.Morales dh
6.Pearce lf
7.goins ss
8.barney 2b
9.maile c

now i hope martin slides into that 2 hole instead of pillar tommorrow.
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#344024) #
Our pleas have been heard.  Bautista is leading off for the Jays tonight. Pillar gets the day off.  Smith batting second.  Smoak is clean-up, Morales and Pearce are 5th and 6th.  Tulo also gets a day off.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#344025) #
Bautista needs the day off much more than Pillar does.  The batting order is not as important as getting good performance out of the players out there.  I am glad that Smith Jr. gets a day in the lineup for today, and hope that Bautista will get R and R soon. 
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#344026) #
I think Bautista might have to ask for his own days off. Gibby might not want to mess with his vesting options.
hypobole - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#344027) #
The front office should have a pretty good idea where we're at by the deadline. From June 30 to July 23, Jays play the Red Sox 7 times, Astros 4, Yankees and Indians 3 each.
greenfrog - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#344028) #
Happy to see that Pillar is getting a rest day.
greenfrog - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#344029) #
The extent to which today's lineup incorporates the suggestions in this thread is uncanny: Bautista leading off, Smoak moved up, Pillar given a rest day.
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#344030) #
More of our pleas have been answered.  Arden Zwelling is reporting that the top of the lineup, on most days now, will be as follows:

Alex Obal - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#344031) #
I think Smoak's emergence has dramatically increased the team's chances of winning close games. He's made the team less righthanded and more diverse, like we all wanted.
sam - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#344032) #

Gerry is John Gibbons.
sam - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#344033) #
On this selling business... has anyone noticed this year that there have been at least a couple of articles on Sportsnet (a couple too many for team coming off back-to-back ALCS appearances) talking about trading away players, not signing people, etc.

Conspiracy theory: Rogers is prepping fans for a directed fire-sale.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#344038) #
As unlikely as it is that the Jays pick up the mutual option on Bautista, there is an incentive for Jose to play as many games as possible, and that's the 2019 vesting option on his deal (it vests with 300 games played in 2017-18, IIRC). With Gibbons being a 'player's manager', it wouldn't surprise me if he's helping Bautista there. With Smoak suddenly becoming a good hitter and Morales stuck at DH, they can't bench Smoak and move someone (Edwin previously and Morales now) to 1B to open the DH spot anymore. Jose is either going to get off days or start in RF, and Bautista himself has some incentive to play every game. Again, even though the Jays picking up the mutual option is unlikely from their end. Bautista certainly will if he's only average to above average as a hitter as opposed to what he was projected to be.

My only gripe with this lineup is moving Donaldson off the #2 spot. I would have had Bautista-Donaldson-Morales-Smoak-Martin-Pearce-Tulo-Pillar-Goins, but regardless, can't complain when Pillar is not killing rallies at the top of the lineup anymore.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#344039) #
First impressions of Dwight Smith:

What the hell is Kevin Pillar still doing on this team?
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#344040) #
This new lineup looks a lot stronger.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#344041) #
You don't say!
scottt - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#344042) #
I'm  speechless. It all looks so simple.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#344043) #
that's some good managing, bauxites!
China fan - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#344044) #
And it will be an even stronger lineup tomorrow with Martin batting second.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#344045) #
I wonder if Gibbons made this change because of Donaldson going public with it, or because he had it in mind if things kept going south, but either way, so far so good.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#344046) #
I strongly suspect that the poor lineup construction must have been beginning to hurt Gibbons' clubhouse credibility. Hitting behind Pillar must have been driving Donaldson crazy.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#344047) #
ah come on pillar was one of the only guys hitting for half the year.
hypobole - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#344050) #
Half of a third of the year
Magpie - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:11 PM EDT (#344051) #
Alina just asked if there was a guy named "Hodor" playing in this game.

No, but there's a guy we call "Stinky" and I explained why.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#344052) #
ok let's call it half a half a year.

or half this year so far.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#344054) #
Hopefully Pearce is OK and won't miss time. His 3-3 game brought his wRC+ up to 99 after the awful start he had. He is finally hitting like he is supposed to. Missing more time would be a huge blow.
greenfrog - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#344055) #
How badly was he injured? What happened?
Magpie - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#344056) #
Crashed into the wall, bruised his right knee. Stayed in for the rest of the inning. X-rays negative.
Super Bluto - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#344057) #
Has anyone commented on the fact that Pillar's troubles didn't start after he was suspended for calling that guy poop-face (or whatever he said) but a few days after when, interestingly, Josh Donaldson returned to the line-up. When you take out those first two weeks of the season when Donaldson was in there, Pillar slashed .316/.371/.539 without JD. Mmmmm.

Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#344058) #
Morales' base running leaves a lot to be desired. He is a painful contrast to EE in that respect.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#344059) #
yeah bluto it was pretty funny - as soon as donaldson/tulo/martin came back and the lineup was kinda full pillar went right back to hacking. like instantly.
greenfrog - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#344060) #
Jeff Hoffman got crushed by the DBacks tonight (albeit at Coors Field): 3.2 8 9 9 2 2 (game score 17)
92-93 - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#344061) #
You know Morales is slow, but you don't realize just how much he has to hit to have any sort of value until you see him on a daily basis.

There was a play early in yesterday's game where Morales lumbered gingerly into 3B on a grounder to SS, and I believe he got hurt on the play (or was already hurt). It was probably the reason why he didn't score on that Smoak fly off the wall that was up in the air for what seemed like forever. Hopefully he'll be able to continue to DH through it.

I'm not a fan of Martin batting in front of Donaldson, I quite like having our clear best hitter in the 2 hole. Still beats watching Pillar hacking up there.
Nigel - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:38 PM EDT (#344062) #
Fantastic bullpen work by Barnes, Tepera and Osuna again.

I hope Pearce is ok. The play demonstrates again why he shouldn't be in the OF. He's brittle to begin with. He got hurt crashing facefirst into the wall because of a terrible misread of the flyball that he was racing to correct. The Rangers broadcast crew was laughing about it until they realized that he was hurt.
hypobole - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#344063) #
Most players run the bases.

Morales Molinas the bases.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:40 PM EDT (#344064) #
technically not really a misread - he just lost the ball completely, then found it and tried to compensate.
uglyone - Wednesday, June 21 2017 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#344065) #
time for stroman to ace this team back to .500.
Petey Baseball - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 02:46 AM EDT (#344066) #
I still maintain Pearce is a decent outfielder, Nigel. I agree he certainly doesn't look elegant out there, but he made some nice grabs earlier on in the season. There's a highlight reel of him from 2014 on YouTube making some nice catches and throws from the outfield on the O's.
We have to cut him some slack; he's been out most of the season, and you can't really simulate some of the balls
he'll face hit out to left when rehabbing in Dunedin.

He's also never really been healthy long enough for a team to stick him in one position and keep him there. Again, he doesn't look particularly spry running at full tilt, but there's definitely athleticism there.

I think with consistent extended playing time in left, his defense could be a nice surprise. He certainly can hit.
85bluejay - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 04:46 AM EDT (#344067) #
The good news is that Martin Perez hasn't pitched well lately - the bad news is that he's left-handed.
Watching Morales run the bases daily is the most painful baseball experience of the year.
scottt - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 05:37 AM EDT (#344068) #
Barney said he had no opinion about the lineup and that's not something the players care about.

I liked Martin giving Biagini a hug when he came out.
AWeb - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#344070) #
Apparently the Jays are 0-8 in games that could let them reach .500 this year? I wonder if that's a record of some kind?
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#344071) #
My take on the batting order (if Pearce is healthy):  Bautista, Donaldson, Pearce, Smoak, Morales, Martin, Tulo, Pillar, Goins/Barney.

Is it me or is Morales significantly slower than Ortiz at age 40?  Ortiz hit 48 doubles last year, and I figure that would be pretty much impossible for Morales.  A ball off the Monster?  Single.

scottt - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#344072) #
The Rangers broadcast crew was laughing about it until they realized that he was hurt.

Could be, but the Rangers outfield has misplayed balls all series long.

Recently, Pearce made a throw from the outfield in which he went for a tumble as he let go of the ball.
He sure hasn't looked graceful out there.
Nigel - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#344073) #
It's not just that he's slow, his baserunning instincts and decision making are poor.
Nigel - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#344074) #
It's not that Pearce is a terrible defensive player. He's just below average. The issue is that when you combine below average defence with zero or negative contributions from his baserunning, you elimate most of his usefulness to a team if he's a full time OF. He's at 99 RC+ and he's a replacement level player (exactly 0 WAR year to date). Pearce can be an extremely useful part of a roster if used correctly, full time OF isn't it.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#344075) #
It would be nice on this club  to have a base-stealing threat on the bench to pinch-run for Morales especially, late in the game. 
China fan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#344076) #
"....Pearce can be an extremely useful part of a roster if used correctly, full time OF isn't it...."

Surely he is a full-time OF only until Carrera returns? It's difficult to judge his current role when there are so many injuries. It will also depend on how Smith does in the next few days or weeks, and it will depend on how soon Pompey gets healthy.

If everyone is healthy, we might see Pearce playing half his time in LF and the rest of his time rotating through 1B and DH and a pinch-hitting role on the bench. And we might see him routinely replaced by a better outfielder in the later innings. That doesn't entirely solve his defensive problems, but at least it ameliorates the problem to some extent.
92-93 - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#344078) #
It isn't just you, Ortiz is exactly who I was thinking of when I said Morales needs to hit a ton just to provide any value. I agree that Ortiz was a better baserunner.
hypobole - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#344082) #
Present roster past 30 days - PA - wRC+

Pearce - 18 - 285
Smith - 14 - 194
Smoak - 105 - 184
Morales - 105 - 149
Martin - 74 - 141
Donaldson - 96 - 140
Goins - 59 - 109
Bautista - 108 - 84
Tulo - 84 - 61
Barney - 25 - 37
Maile - 39 - 17
Pillar - 114 - 17

Smoak has continued being great. Morales has hit if nothing else. Goins has actually contributed. Jose and Tulo scuffling. And Pillar with the most PA's.
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#344084) #
was just looking at their "Past 1 Calendar Year" totals on fangraphs:

RF Bautista: 536pa, .351obp, 108wrc+, 1.2war/650
C Martin: 492pa, .364obp, 117wrc+, 3.7war/650
3B Donaldson: 518pa, .412obp, 155wrc+, 7.2war/650
1B Smoak: 400pa, .328obp, 121wrc+, 2.3war/650
DH Morales: 634pa, .334obp, 124wrc+, 1.6war/650
2B Travis: 542pa, .324obp, 104wrc+, 3.5war/650
SS Tulowitzki: 491pa, .324obp, 100wrc+, 2.8war/650
LF Pearce: 214pa, .322obp, 100wrc+, 0.6war/650
CF Pillar: 600pa, .309obp, 81wrc+, 2.0war/650

UT Coghlan: 198pa, .350obp, 88wrc+, 1.0war/650
OF Carrera: 384pa, .327obp, 85wrc+, 0.7war/650
IF Barney: 286pa, .283obp, 61wrc+, 0.2war/650
IF Goins: 215pa, .278obp, 62wrc+, -1.5war/650
C Maile: 214pa, .213obp, 30wrc+, -1.5war/650

SP Sanchez: 21gs, 6.0ip/gs, 67era-, 91fip-, 102xfip-, 4.6war/32
SP Stroman: 31gs, 6.3ip/gs, 78era-, 84fip-, 76xfip-, 4.4war/32
SP Happ: 25gs, 5.7ip/gs, 77era-, 83fip-, 85xfip-, 4.2war/32
SP Estrada: 31gs, 5.6ip/gs, 107era-, 93fip-, 101xfip-, 2.5war/32
SP Liriano: 19gs, 5.1ip/gs, 97era-, 99fip-, 98xfip-, 1.9war/32
SP Biagini: 9gs, 4.9ip/gs, 111era-, 78fip-, 90xfip-, 1.8war/32

RP Osuna 72.2ip, 2.26wpa, 66era-, 70fip-, 79xfip-, 1.9war/65
RP Barnes 45.0ip, 0.26wpa, 64era-, 67fip-, 93xfip-, 1.4war/65
RP Biagini 61.2ip, 2.09wpa, 74era-, 68fip-, 74xfip-, 1.3war/65
RP Tepera 52.2ip, 1.57wpa, 55era-, 69fip-, 95xfip-, 1.3war/65
RP Smith 58.1ip, 1.71wpa, 76era-, 80fip-, 65xfip-, 1.1war/65
RP Loup 37.0ip, 0.44wpa, 72era-, 79fip-, 95xfip-, 0.8war/65
RP Howell 38.0ip, -0.55wpa, 109era-, 86fip-, 93xfip-, 0.2war/65
RP Leone 56.1ip, -0.98wpa, 102era-, 105fip-, 110xfip-, 0.1war/65
RP Grilli 57.0ip, -0.85wpa, 113era-, 135fip-, 91xfip-, -0.4war/65
85bluejay - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#344086) #
I know Gibbons is unlikely to do this but in September I hope we have at least 2 of Smith/Pompey/Fields on the team to use as defensive replacements regularly.
pubster - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#344088) #
"I know Gibbons is unlikely to do this but in September I hope we have at least 2 of Smith/Pompey/Fields on the team to use as defensive replacements regularly."

Well, Smith is already here. I don't think its a reach to think that Pompey will be here in September. If he's healthy.
bpoz - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#344089) #
Combining Hypobole's comment about our opponents June 30 to July 23 and Sam's comment about a possible fire sale, could be the latest direction for the team.

uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#344090) #
A's dfa'd Vogt. I'd jump on that.
jerjapan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#344091) #
Agreed on Vogt ugly.  We are just giving runs away every time Maile bats.  I know he's got a great glove an all, but there are loads of pitchers who are better hitters than he is.  Maile has options as well - we could see if Vogt can get going as a Jay - he was worth 1.8 fWAR last year, with solid defense.  This year he's been terrible across the board, -0.4 fWAR. 

I see us adding at the trade deadline, but no big splashes.  we have plenty of interesting minor leaguers that could be packaged for improvements in the OF or at 2B without costing us our top prospects.  When the walking wounded return we should have some legit options in the OF - I really want to see Pompey get a shot.  J-Leb cooling off in Buffalo is going to slow calls for him to get the call.  If not him, hopefully the org is willing to be aggressive with upgrades over Goins and Barney - they offer pretty much the same skill set, and both are struggling.  Carrying both is redundant.  Maybe if Christian Lopes can continue his recent hot streak he might pull ahead of J-Leb on the depth chart, although he doesn't offer the same versatility. 

There aren't many legit 2B available at the moment.  I'd call about Josh Harrison in Pittsburgh - he's got the versatility that I love, but would be expensive.  Jed Lowrie might fit, as could Brandon Phillips - certainly the cheapest upgrade out there. 

hypobole - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#344092) #
Not quite sure why. He's 32, his hitting has declined and he's putrid defensively.
China fan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#344093) #
For an upgrade at 2B, is there any chance that Ian Kinsler could be available? The Tigers have lost 5 games in a row and are falling out of post-season contention. Like the Liriano trade last season, Kinsler could perhaps be acquired at a relatively low cost in prospects if the Tigers decide to dump salary. The only problem is his $5-million buyout for 2018, but maybe the Jays could get the Tigers to pick up some or all of that cost. Kinsler's bat would be a major upgrade over anything that the Jays have for 2B this year.
Magpie - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#344094) #
I don't know anything about Vogt's defense, but if it's below average I don't want him, unless he can hit like Mike Piazza. And if it's bad, forget it. Not at that position.

We still don't know nearly enough about catcher defense, but we're getting a better idea of what a huge freaking deal it is. I wish we'd had some of this information 25 years ago. Pat Borders intrigues me!
hypobole - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#344095) #
Like the Liriano trade last season, Kinsler could perhaps be acquired at a relatively low cost in prospects if the Tigers decide to dump salary

I like Kinsler also, but I also don't think he'd come cheap, because unlike Liriano last year, Kinsler is still a good player. He's on pace for 3-4 fWAR again. Liriano was negative when the Pirates dumped him on us.
jerjapan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#344096) #
I hear you on catcher D Magpie, but can you actually argue that it's significant enough to run out a backup whose wRC+ is minus 15?  an fWAR of -0.7 as a backup?  I literally cannot think of a worse offensive run by a Blue Jay than Maile is turning in this year. 

Hypobole, Vogt has lousy defensive numbers this year indeed, but he's a net positive per Fangraphs and Baseball Reference for his career prior to this year.  Statcorner has him a slight negative in framing this year, 1 run worse than our starter, who is also a slight negative.  Vogt had a terrible year framing in 2015, but is otherwise graded as slightly below average.  FWIW, so is Maile. 

Kinsler is a good fit for 2B, but his contract is affordable and he's still an above average player - the cost could be high. 

Gerry - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#344097) #
Didn't Kinsler veto a Toronto trade previously?
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#344098) #
I'd pick up Vogt because I think he can probably still hit RHP at an above average level. He can fill in at 1B/LF, and be the 3rd catcher and give us someone to pinch hit for Maile on days off.
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#344099) #
Basically Vogt would replace Coghlan in my mind.


UT Vogt
OF Carrera (Smith/Pompey/Alford)
IF Barney
C Maile
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#344100) #
Donaldson is out from today's game with calf soreness.  Pearce is also out.   Martin plays 3B, Maile catches and Dwight Smith is in left.  Net offensive loss is 1.5 runs, exactly and approximately. 

No pressure, Mr. Stroman!

jerjapan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#344101) #
3 catchers would certainly allow for pinch hitting and pinch running opportunities that could maximize Maile's utility.  Then all we would need is a replacement for one of Goins or Barney who can actually hit. 
James W - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#344102) #
KLaw tweeted this:

Stephen Vogt, first half 2015: .287/.374/.498, 329 PA
Vogt, since 2015 All-Star Break: .237/.296/.385, 888 PA
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#344103) #
Mike - I'm pretty sure it's the knee for donaldson, not the calf.
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#344104) #
James - I'm pretty sure that 2nd line is as good as anyone else on our bench's over the same time.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#344105) #
Mea culpa, uglyone.  Donaldson's day off is for left knee soreness; his prior injury was to the right calf. 
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#344106) #
not what i asked for, Stroman.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#344107) #
Bill James tweeted: "Bautista caught stealing third with two out, Smoak at the plate, team trailing 3-0. Explain that one to me."
My reply (not on twitter): "he thought wrongly that he had a 99% chance of making it."
85bluejay - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#344108) #
Nothing cheers up a LHS than seeing the Jays come to town.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#344109) #
I'm not watching but I understand that Napoli's homer was a JE and Gomez' homer was off the foul pole.  Sometimes you get the breaks (Martin's homer off the top of the centerfield wall) and sometimes you don't.  The club may at this point feel somewhat snakebit in the games they have played trying to get back to .500.  They've been killed in those games (outscored 68-20), but just about every possible thing that could go wrong has. 
SK in NJ - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#344110) #
Since the end of May, the Jays have had 6 chances to get back to .500. In those games, they've lost:

12-2 (Yankees)
7-0 (Yankees)
5-3 (A's)
8-1 (Rays)
11-4 (White Sox)
6-1 (Rangers)

Currently down 6-0 to the Rangers in the 4th.

At least we know what days Osuna will get to have a rest day.
92-93 - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#344111) #
Bautista loves being thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop.

Napoli crushed the ball oppo and Gomez ambushed a bad breaking ball. Stroman is pitching poorly today and the team as a whole is playing bad, this isn't a function of luck.

Nice play by Martin the 3B to cut off a run at home in a 3-0 game, though. They can hang their hat on that.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#344112) #
Did I mention grounding into double plays?  Yes, they can do that too, with or without Kendrys' contributions.
uglyone - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#344113) #
helluva time for stroman to have his worst start in probably a year.

big spot for cesar valdez after that rally.
James W - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#344114) #
Possibly ulgone. But is a bad defensive catcher worth more or less than a decent middle infielder? An outfielder? Or a 6th/7th/8th/9th bullpen arm?
China fan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#344115) #
An interesting statistic provided by Ben Nicholson-Smith tonight:

The Jays starting rotation last year had an ERA of 3.64.
This season so far: the rotation's ERA is 4.78.

The rotation is probably the single biggest reason for the team's problems this year. It has suffered from injuries, implosions, and the declining success of Estrada and Liriano, plus occasional meltdowns by the other pitchers, plus a lack of starting depth (aside from Biagini).

On the other hand, maybe this was inevitable. Everything went right for the rotation last year (especially after Liriano's arrival). That might have been unsustainable in the longer term.
Nigel - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#344116) #
Not all of that ERA decline is on the pitchers. Team defence has had a noticeable role as well.
China fan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#344117) #
If there's a silver lining: it appears that the Jays have a long man in the bullpen now, which is something that a few fans here had been calling for.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#344118) #
This was like the Yankee series a few weeks ago where they split the four game series despite being outscored by a lot. We're all so used to it being the other way around. This season is the bizarro Blue Jays.

The Jays starting rotation last year had an ERA of 3.64.
This season so far: the rotation's ERA is 4.78.

In the off season there was a projection by someone, fangraphs I think, that had the Jays starting staff only being the 16th best in MLB. There was a lot of disbelief over that. And yet.....

jerjapan - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#344119) #
Yeah, we are better than that ... Sanchez and Stroman at the front of the rotation alone is enough to put us in the top half.  Injuries are obviously why we have underperformed.  It has nothing to do with that 'we lack a 6th starter' nonsense that we had at the start of the season.  Biagini is our 6th starter - does anyone still think he should have started the year in Buffalo?   The longman thing is basically the same weak logic ... hasn't this idea, that we need a longman, been laid to rest by the performances of a bunch of different relievers?

scottt - Thursday, June 22 2017 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#344120) #
Had Biagini started in Buffalo, he would have been fully stretched and he would have made only 1 or 2 starts in AAA.
That means, Barnes would have started the year in Toronto, which would have been fine too.

bpoz - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#344125) #
I thought you could not predict injuries. Except this year the frequency makes it expected. Pearce, Donaldson,Tulo and Martin are limping through games. Then they need the next day off. Obviously no contribution on the day off.

Stroman is having about 1 bad game a month.
rpriske - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#344126) #
People are talking about what the Jays should be BUYING at the trade deadline? The answer is NOTHING.

We should be talking about what they should be SELLING.

Then the question comes, could they get anything for anybody?

Donaldson has been too fragile to get maximum return. Tulo, Estrada and Liriano have had their value plummet. Stroman should be untouchable.

I guess it comes back to Osuna. What kind of return COULD they get for him?

China fan - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#344127) #
"....Not all of that ERA decline is on the pitchers. Team defence has had a noticeable role as well...."

Yes.  But the Jays bullpen has improved this year, despite the same defence.  The Jays bullpen has 3.7 fWAR this season already, compared to 3.9 for the entire season last year.  So the relievers are doing fine with the same defence, and the starters shouldn't be blaming the defence for their problems.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#344128) #
yep, trade the elite 22yr old younger than many of our top prospects in order to rebuild.
bpoz - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#344129) #
I think trading Osuna would be a major trade. A biggie.

Our recent big trades have been, Donaldson and Halladay. So in 2 different deals we received an MVP and traded away a Cy Young winner.

Smaller deals were Price, Tulo, the big Marlin trade and the Dickey trade. Osuna is probably in the middle.

How much money we have to pay these players is a factor. Also years of control is a factor.

What I said above, I believe is completely accurate. Correct me if I am wrong.

So here is the uncertainty factor. The debatable factor. Are we going for it because the FO thinks that this team has a shot at contending and winning for the next 3 years. OR Are we rebuilding.

The Halladay trade was the only trade that was a rebuilding trade.
Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#344130) #
fWAR tells a very incomplete story.  There are three reasons for the much higher Blue Jay starter ERA in 2017: poorer actual performance, less defensive support and a high HR/FB rate.  Here's a chart setting out Blue Jay starter and reliever performance in 2017 and 2016 (note how close the xFIPs are for the groups):

Pitchers Innings ERA FIP
2016 starters 995 3.61 4.04 4.09 12.7%
2017 starters 386 4.90 4.74 4.22 15.5%
2016 relievers 464 4.11 3.98 3.88 13.6%
2017 relievers 259 3.75 3.78 3.97 12.5%
bpoz - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#344131) #
uglyone, I almost fell off my chair. Trade Osuna. Wow, wow, wow !!!

For those in the rebuild camp. I think we should consider if this trade will speed up the rebuild.

The Halladay trade did not help the rebuild IMO. The prospects did not work out.

I suppose we have to look at Tampa for a history of trading stars.

For the record I don't have the guts to trade Osuna. If he stays healthy, he could be better than he has shown so far.

SK in NJ - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#344132) #
Relievers are volatile. Osuna is elite now, but how long is that going to last? With three plus years of control, this will likely be the peak of his value.

I'm not saying I want to trade him, but I don't think he's untouchable by any means. He is probably not going to start another game in his career so you have to evaluate the risk/reward with keeping him vs. trading him depending on which direction the team is heading in.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#344133) #
Relievers are volatile because they usually live off of underwhelming stuff. 2 good pitches if they're lucky. Mostly just one.

Osuna has 5.

and yes, he should be starting.
Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#344134) #
Osuna has also had TJ and has indicated a preference for relieving.  I think that he's a good candidate to be the best reliever in baseball within the next few years.  If that's what he wants to shoot for, I don't know why you wouldn't let him try. 
Nigel - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#344135) #
The team is only getting good defence from one position-C. They have been a poor defensive club. The reasons for that are varied: injures to two of the above average defenders Donaldson and Travis (which impacted them when they have played and resulted in poorer defenders playing in their stead); decline (Tulo and Pillar); design (the Jays elected for poor OF defence in the corners Bautista/Pearce/Cabrera and at 1B Smoak/Morales). There's hope for some improvement if Donaldson remains healthy and both Tulo and Pillar can reverse their declines but team defence looks likely to remain a fairly big issue as the roster has been constructed.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#344136) #
It would be funny if we traded Osuna for an SP "prospect" who was older than him and had less stuff, though.
rpriske - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#344137) #
If they were to make him a starter I wouldn't' dream of trading him.

Relievers are something you should 'sell high' on.

AND I am not saying that we SHOULD trade him, just that if the team does go into sell mode, he literally may be the only player WORTH trading. Nobody else would bring back a decent return (except Stroman, and he should be untouchable.)

I would like for them to trade Donaldson but only if somebody pays for HEALTHY Donaldson... and they aren't likely to do that.

PeterG - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#344138) #
The most important variable to consider on the subject of trading Osuna should be simply what kind of offer can be generated. It seems relatively simple to me. If a team will overpay, then you do it. If not, hold on to him. A change of direction is coming soon for the Jays and the value of a closer is less to a building team than to one in serious contention for a championship. So, if and when the Jays might decide to take a step back, seeing what can be had for Osuna makes sense. Sometimes, at the deadline a team will overpay as the Cubs did for Chapman last year. If that kind of trade can be had, take it. If not, hold on until a directional decision is made.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#344139) #
chapman was a free agent.
SK in NJ - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#344140) #
Osuna's repertoire is definitely good enough to be a starter, but that ship has sailed. He won't be a SP in Toronto, and if they were to ever trade him, the team acquiring him likely wouldn't consider that an option either.

If the Jays decided to rebuild, then trading Osuna is a no brainer. Rebuilding teams do not need closers. If they decide to retool, then trading Osuna might still make sense depending on the return, but it would have to be a damn good return. If they keep him for three more years, then that's fine too.
Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#344141) #
Roberto Osuna will be a free-agent in 2021.  I wouldn't be trading him unless I was doing a complete rebuild.  I don't think that he has reached the peak of his (at least perceived) abilities yet.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#344142) #
there is no reason for that ship to have sailed, of course. and his career path so far is unprecedented, so citing lack of precedent for a switch to SP now isn't convincing.

and anyways, the repertoire makes him far too unique to dismiss as just a reliever.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#344143) #
and "rebuilding teams don't need closers" always seems funny to me.

rebuilding teams don't need anything, by that argument.
Nigel - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#344144) #
Except there is a precedent- Neftali Felix - and the Rangers management got publicly flogged for moving him to the rotation with the resultant consequences. It makes no difference that his arm might have exploded as a closer. Baseball culture being what it is, no management team is likely to make that decision again with a star closer for fear of looking dumb. Osuna will be a closer in Toronto and that's fine. There are lots of historical decisions with Osuna that I might have done differently but that's water under the bridge.
SK in NJ - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#344145) #
I remember the Red Sox talking about moving Papelbon to the rotation after elite performance out of the pen early in his career, but never did. It doesn't happen often. Osuna has one TJS and a lack of IP in the minors. He is going on three straight years as a reliever. The only chance he had of becoming a SP after 2015 was if he failed as a reliever in 2016. Clearly he didn't.

I disagreed with Osuna making the team in 2015, and even knowing how he turned out in hindsight I still would have tried to develop him as a SP in the minors, but he has put up great value as a reliever for the past three seasons. I don't think any team in baseball would change his role right now.
bpoz - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#344146) #
I think once you get to the top stage, contender stage you try to stay there as long as possible.

Of course you can stay 1 year too long.

Phillies & NY Mets. Both fairly rich teams. The Phillies are in full blown rebuild. The Mets are suffering through injuries.

So "you never know".

For the Jays this year at the trade deadline we will know where every ones record is. The jays and about 8 other teams will be in the maybe stage. To me that is good enough to stand pat and hope for better health. And also make a small move. A second baseman.

For next year I see a bounty of young pitchers being ready or close to being ready. NH could be over crowded. Zeuch, Borucki, Romano and Perdomo should open in NH.

The position players are old, Martin and Tulo. They probably need some rest. Too inexperienced in Alford, Pompey and Smith. Although Smith seems to have earned something. Donaldson is here if not traded. Travis is here. Smoak, Morales and Pearce still here. We can add another $6 mil player to fatten the lineup.
So the lineup seems decent/good enough regarding offense, but I just cannot believe that, because health will be a major issue again.
eudaimon - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#344147) #
Daniel Bard also comes to mind as a good to great reliever who sucked and fell out of the league after being converted to starter.
Nigel - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#344148) #
Joba Chamberlain is another cautionary tale but Chris Sale is a massive success story. I think you will still see the occasional move of a very successful high leverage reliever to a starter. I just don't think you will see any "star closers" making the switch any time soon. Closers being mythical unicorns and all.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#344149) #
papelbon and bard were 2-pitch fb/sl pitchers that were never good milb SP. bard was in fact an horrific milb SP.

Neither of them even made MLB until they were 2yrs older than Osuna is now.

Any use of comps to Osuna has to look at much rarer examples than those typical failed SP turned mlb RP in their mid 20s types.
uglyone - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#344150) #
And promoting Osuna when we did was genius. He's been one of the best relievers in baseball 3yrs running. He's amazing. And there was nothing stopping us from moving him into the rotation by now.

But again, even if we keep him in relief, it's no use comparing him to the typical "inconsistent voodoo RP" type because his repertoire is simply much better and deeper than pretty much any RP in baseball.
Nigel - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#344151) #
Uglyone- I agree with you completely that Osuna appears to have all of the tools to become a highly successful starter. That wasn't my point at all.
bpoz - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#344152) #
I bet on Osuna all the way. Any role.
eudaimon - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#344153) #
Osuna also has had Tommy John in the past, which I don't think Sale has dealt with. There's no guarantee starting would make it more likely that he'd need it again, but I figure it's a factor they consider when not changing his role. Don't fix what ain't broken.

I think it's also worth noting that elite relievers are very valuable, valuable to the point where Osuna would have to be a legit #1-3 starter in order for him to have more value (each run Osuna saves is much more valuable than the each run a starter saves). Same thing with Biagini, maybe he could be a starter but I think he has a lot more value right now as a near shutdown reliever than as a #4-5 starter which is what he looks like right now.

On the other hand, some starters probably wouldn't benefit from switching to relief. Liriano for instance, I'm not sure he'd be a more effective reliever than a starter.
Magpie - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#344154) #
And promoting Osuna when we did was genius.

It might have been more like desperation. I think Todd Redmond, Colt Hynes, Liam Hendriks, and Miguel Castro also made that bullpen out of spring training, along with Cecil, Loup, and ... Marco Estrada!
China fan - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#344155) #
Mike, I think your pitching statistics are also very incomplete, because they ignore the number of innings pitched.  The advantage of fWAR, which you dismissed so hastily, is that it includes some measure of innings pitched by starters and relievers -- which reflects the fact that the starters have exited the games much earlier in 2017 than they did in 2016.  The early exits are a measure of poor performance, and probably more significant than xFIP in revealing the failures of the rotation this year.  The early exits also put a heavier workload on the bullpen, which is another reason why you shouldn't be comparing the xFIP of the rotation and the bullpen while ignoring their innings.  If the starters leave a game after 4 innings and their xFIP is the same as the bullpen which pitched 5 innings in the same game, that doesn't mean the starter pitched as well as the bullpen.  The starter actually failed to do his job, while the bullpen had to pick up the slack.

This year there have been 21 games in which the Jays starters failed to go at least 5 innings.  Last year, in the entire season, that happened only 13 times.  That's a pretty revealing statistic.

Last year the Jays starters pitched 995.1 innings -- the highest number in the entire majors.  This season the Jays starters are 17th in the majors in innings pitched.  That's also a very telling number, and it shows how often they have failed to do their job.

This year the Jays bullpen is 6th in the majors in number of innings pitched.  Last year they were 16th.  They have shouldered a heavier workload this year, yet they have maintained their excellent run-prevention numbers.  So that's a major improvement by the bullpen this year.

So it's clear that the Jays bullpen has a much heavier workload this year, because of the failings of the starters.  Despite that, the bullpen has improved its ERA over last year, and its xFIP is similar.  That's pretty impressive, and it shows clearly that the problem this year is the rotation, while the bullpen has been a key source of strength for the team.

China fan - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#344156) #
Actually the Jays rotation is even worse than I said in my last post.  Last year it pitched more innings than any other team in the majors.  This year it ranks 25th in innings pitched.  (And it ranks 17th in fWAR.) 

To tumble from best in the majors (last year) to 25th in the majors (this year) in such a key measure of resilience and performance is a very telling indicator of the big drop of performance by the rotation, regardless of what you might want to glean from xFIP. 

Mike Green - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#344158) #
There is no dispute that the Jays' starters have been less resilient than last year.  That isn't really a surprise because they were uncommonly healthy last year. 

My chart was in response to the discussion about whether severe decline in the Jay rotation ERA was related completely to their own poorer performance or was multi-factorial.  In this case, it was pretty clearly multi-factorial. 
China fan - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#344159) #
Yes, but nobody said that their poor ERA was entirely due to their own poor performance.  I always acknowledged that defence was also a factor. 

My point was that defence wasn't the MAIN reason for the declining ERA, since the bullpen has done so well with the same defence. 

scottt - Friday, June 23 2017 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#344165) #
People are talking about what the Jays should be BUYING at the trade deadline? The answer is NOTHING.

I'd take Jed Lowrie. What's the price?
The A's acquired him for Brendan McCurry in 2015.
This is his last year but they have a team option for 6M.
I image the price would be fairly low.
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