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It's off to the Evil Empire for the good guys.


Monday, 7 p.m. RH Marcus Stroman (8-4, 3.41) vs. RH Masahiro Tanaka (6-7, 5.56)
Tuesday, 1 p.m. LH J.A. Happ (2-5, 3.71) vs. LH CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.46)
Wednesday, 1 p.m. RH Marco Estrada (4-6, 4.86) vs. RH Michael Pineda (8-4, 4.05)
Blue Jays @ Yankees - July 3-5 | 164 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Chuck - Monday, July 03 2017 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#344793) #
Sanchez has 9 errors in the equivalent of 41 games caught. How do you do that?
lexomatic - Monday, July 03 2017 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#344795) #
Why did stroman get pulled after 5 and only 80 pitches. The way the pen is over worked that seems idiotic.
Magpie - Monday, July 03 2017 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#344796) #
This is 2008 all over again. Gibbons knows the GIDPs are killing his team's offense. And so he's trying everything he can think of to stay out of the DP, and none of it's working. It's actually making things worse.
BlueJayWay - Monday, July 03 2017 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#344797) #
Stroman had some kind of finger issue.
Magpie - Monday, July 03 2017 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#344798) #
And post-game, Sportsnet is telling the world about the Jays acquisition of Miguel Montero. Cue the highlight... and there's Montero throwing the ball into left field.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:10 AM EDT (#344800) #
8 games under .500, and with Stroman uncertain due to this new blister issue, and it's looking ever-more-likely that we will be selling a few weeks down the line.

Who leaves? Smoak, Martin, Happ, Pearce? Donaldson?
Glevin - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 06:02 AM EDT (#344801) #
The problem with trading Donaldson is that aside from Boston and New York, the 3Bman for WS contending teams are Ramirez, Bregman, Rendon, Bryant, Turner, Lamb, and Arenedo (and Shaw if you consider the Brewers there). Aside from Bregman who is a 23 YO rookie with excellent upside, the rest of them are elite players including all the five best 3Bman in the league this year. None will want to give up anything for Donaldson. The Jays can wait for an injury or trade within the division. The difference with someone like Sale is that every single team needs a starter so the demand is every contender. Smoak is a different issue. There are more 1Bman available than there are 1Bman needed. If the Jays ask for a lot for Smoak, a team can go after Duda or Abreu, or Alonso or Adams. You could probably get a prospect but nothing great so likely not worth moving.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 06:52 AM EDT (#344802) #
Trading Donaldson in the off-season, if he's to be traded at all, makes more sense than trading him at the deadline. As was mentioned, there are not a lot of potential buyers at the moment. But in the off-season, everyone is in the playoff race so the number of buyers increases.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 06:58 AM EDT (#344803) #
I should also mention that a strong Donaldson second half would help re-establish his value as an MVP-calibre player. This slumping, recently injured version of Donaldson could make suitors nervous.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 07:25 AM EDT (#344804) #
And so he's trying everything he can think of to stay out of the DP, and none of it's working.

Morales is helping out in his way. He's traded making contact for striking out.

rpriske - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#344805) #
So, the Sparkman era is over.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 08:28 AM EDT (#344806) #
So, the Sparkman era is over.

You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire

85bluejay - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#344807) #
I don't have a problem with Donaldson going to the Yankees or Red Sox - I'm only concerned about the return. Look at the Indiana Pacers, so concerned about trading Paul George within conference, took a lesser deal to send him to the Western conference - I hope the Jays are smarter.The Jays don't have to move Donaldson now but they should listen on anybody on the active roster except Sanchez.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#344808) #
floating today that shapiro inc. has always "been prepared to do a hard turn to selling".

(cue shock)
85bluejay - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#344809) #
And only a few days ago, management lackey Jeff Blair was spinning that Shapiro & co. wouldn't sell because they wanted to avoid attendance drop-off - Can depend on rogers property to spin management's thinking.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#344811) #
They probably should be selling at this point. I just hope they don't sell low on guys like Donaldson, or trade Osuna.
hypobole - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#344812) #
The way this team's playing is pretty well going to kill attendance anyway.

There's nothing worse than watching a team tanking that's not trying to tank.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#344813) #
Shapiro knows a thing or two about tearing down a club whose window for a championship has closed; see Cleveland Indians 2001. Thome, Alomar, Bartolo Colon all got dealt. So I don't think he'll be afraid to deal anyone.
Granted he has a lot more money now.

Magpie mentioned this remided him of 2008. Gibbons was fired in June but Ricciardi resisted tearing down the team. It almost paid off; under Cito, they went on a ten game winning streak in late August early September and got within a few games of the wildcard (which was much harder to reach than it is today). This Jays team is better than that one.

Petey Baseball - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#344814) #
I guess what I'm trying to say here is I agree with Chuck and others saying it's probably smarter to stay the course the rest of the way, and start the rebuild in the offseason. This would at least give Donaldson, etc a chance to reset their value and hopefully help the team get hot in the second half and make a push.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#344815) #
Is this team really better? The only way they're better is if all the injured guys miraculously heal and then play like all-stars for the rest of the year. Not impossible of course but probably under 1% at this point. This outcome is definitely not Gibbons' fault.

Here's hoping they just do a partial rebuild. We have good young pitching, an MVP in Donaldson who it probably doesn't make sense to trade, an All-Star in Smoak that we probably can't get top dollar value for, and some other pieces we can build around. With the right free-agent signings the team could be competitive, and fun to watch next year.

I'd trade the pending free-agents (Estrada), possible sell-high candidates (Happ, who's pitching well enough but is 34), veterans if anyone wants them (Tulo, Bautista, Morales), some relievers but preferably not Osuna, and Pillar.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#344816) #
yeah there's never a rush to trade anyone other than the free agents.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#344818) #
Shaprio was always prepared for a change in direction because he knew he had an older roster with not much in the upper minors. Doubling down on that set-up would have been brutal if it lead to this exact same scenario. That's why he went for short-term value in free agency rather than trading more prospects or going with big money free agents. Eventually that bubble was going to burst. It was just a matter of how long they could keep the playoff trips going.

I agree it might be better to wait until the off-season to trade Donaldson since most contending teams have 3B already (unless the Astros don't mind giving up Bregman in a deal this month).
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#344819) #
agreed, everything shapiro has done was an obvious precursor to a blowup.
hypobole - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#344822) #
Not sure how the Morales signing was a blowup precursor.

Giving 3 years to an aging DH is about the least valuable potential flip.
Glevin - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#344824) #
"Some relievers but preferably not Osuna"

Osuna is the guy I would look to trade. On a team that is not contending, a closer is not very important and closers bring back a lot. Also, closers just fall apart way more than other players. Additionally, they are the one position that are easiest to fill for non contending teams. The turnover rate every year is enormous with new dominant closers appearing all the time. What would the Nationals give up for Osuna? Robles? A couple of top-100 prospects? Good young players? Maybe and if you have the chance to add elite prospects for someone throwing 70 innings a season, it is a move you really should make.

Fans never want to trade someone would they are doing their best but that is exactly what trading high is.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#344825) #
On Osuna, if there's a plan to transition him to the rotation, I think trading him is a poor idea; otherwise I think he ought to be available for the right deal.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#344826) #
Dismissing Osuna as a typical volatile RP is wrong, imo. This is a kid with a full starter's arsenal who is off to one of the best starts to a career of any RP in history.

It would be depressing to see us trade him for most likely lesser talents - ones that aren't even significantly younger than him, no less.
PeterG - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#344827) #
There seems no plan to transition Osune to rotation as he has repeatedly said that he wants to remain a closer.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#344829) #
do we usually let the words of 20yr old rookies dictate their roles?
bpoz - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#344830) #
uglyone is right. Someone as young and good as Osuna will be hard to get.

I am banking on the farm producing some impact players soon.
Another stud SP from the farm would make this team good for a while.
hypobole - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#344831) #
You're sure it wouldn't exacerbate his anxiety issues, if he still doesn't want to start.
PeterG - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#344832) #
Ugly, there is little to no chance of Osuna being successful as a starter if he does not want to do it.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#344833) #
Never has more been made out of 20yr old kid being publicly happy with the role that took him from A-ball to MLB in a heartbeat.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#344834) #
"You're sure it wouldn't exacerbate his anxiety issues"

are we sure his anxiety issues weren't the cause of his nervousness at changing a role he was thriving in?
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#344835) #
The specific of Osuna's anxiety haven't really been discussed. I doubt it was performance related however, it sounded a bit more like derealization-related issues which can be caused by fatigue, smoking too much reefer, and so on. Can be pretty scary especially at first.

I would leave him as a reliever. I do think the team can be competitive in 2017 if the right moves are made, and so having a quality closer would be valuable.

scottt - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#344837) #
Osuna is so young that you don't trade him for prospects, you just extend him.
Spifficus - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#344838) #
Put me camp where dealing Osuna only makes sense if it's a high calibre deal that speeds up a rebuild (ie where the return is even better than the ones NYY got last year). If it's merely a Rob Peter to Pay Paul, that doesn't make any sense.

Unlike ugly, I'm not one for pushing him to the rotation (for reasons I've discussed before ad nauseam), but I definitely agree that he's not the normal volatile reliever asset - he's been elite since reaching the majors and is someone you look to extend, not deal (again, unless the offer is just too good to refuse).
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#344839) #
get ready for the whispers. stroman on the block?
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#344841) #
I sure hope Shapiro Inc. can rebuild quick enough to capitalize on Guerrero's short time with the jays before we trade him.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#344842) #
I guess I'd trade Stroman if the return was good enough. I feel like his upside is very good, but not elite.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#344843) #
The Blue Jays have a lead? When was the last time that happened?
Glevin - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#344844) #
Extending Osuna is a terrible terrible idea. Look at the aging curve for closers, it is almost uniformly awful. There are many places you can look at this sort of stuff and it's instructive. Closers fall apart. Even the best young closers. Second, Osuna isn't a free agent until 2021. That's plenty of time. There's absolutely no need to take a risk to get a 4th and 5th contract year of a pitcher. Third, closers are just not very valuable for teams who are not competing. The best closer in baseball last year was Kenley Jansen. He had the same WAR as JA Happ. Decent inning eating starters are more valuable than most closers. Closers are not players to build around. If the Jays think he can be turned into an elite starter, then I'd say go for it because that is exceptionally valuable.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#344845) #
didn't even need a HR!
85bluejay - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#344846) #
Colorado would be a good landing spot for Stroman - a package built around Brendan Rodgers - Atlanta is also looking for a controlled TOR pitcher - package around Ozzie Albies.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#344847) #
Didn't even realize they were playing.

Alright boys this is as good a time as any to start a winning streak. Make it hard for Shapiro to trade you.
Spifficus - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#344848) #
I mean, I'd never say no before hearing someone out, but again, Stroman (and Sanchez) are like Osuna (except even moreso) - people I'd be trying to extend unless the offer is insane.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#344849) #
Time for another look back at the 1989 squad? It's always that time! After the infamous 12-24 start, they went 24-12 under the new guy to make it back to .500 - at which point they lost 9 of 11 to fall back to 38-45 on 5 July.

Yet all was not lost.
greenfrog - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#344850) #
It's too bad the Jays didn't trade Pillar while he was still perceived as a 3-4 win player with "wow" defense. Shapiro strikes me as the kind of GM who would wait too long (as opposed to not long enough) to trade a young player not yet in his peak earning years.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#344851) #
John. Gibbons. Stop. Hitting. And. Running.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#344852) #
That 1989 team was still under .500 on August 13th, and won the division with 89 wins.

PeterG - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#344853) #
"It's too bad the Jays didn't trade Pillar while he was still perceived as a 3-4 win player with "wow" defense. Shapiro strikes me as the kind of GM who would wait too long (as opposed to not long enough) to trade a young player not yet in his peak earning years."

His history is exactly the opposite.

PeterG - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#344854) #
You could argue, however, that he has waited too long to trade Donaldson.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#344855) #
Happ would likely be the best pitcher available at the deadline, and he has another year on his contract so he's more than a rental. If we're pulling the plug on the year he's a guy you want to trade.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#344856) #
And Smoak will never be as valuable as he is now, I don't think.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#344857) #
Peak Value Should Trade: Happ, Smoak, Smith

Trade for what you can get: Bautista, Estrada, Liriano

The rest I'd probably hold unless overwhelmed by an offer.

eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#344858) #
With Smoak it depends on whether you believe in him or not. Similar to Bautista in 2010 (?). If you believe in him it'd be silly to trade him for anything other than an overwhelming return, as he's signed extremely cheaply for next year and could potentially be signed to an affordable Bautista-like contract that carries him through the next few seasons.

If you don't believe in him, then get what you can I suppose.

Personally, Smoak was my least favourite player on the Jays for the past couple years. But now I believe that he's legit turned a corner and could post around a 120-130 RC+ going forward, who knows maybe more.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#344859) #
But even if you believe in him, when do you think his peak trade value will be? If he keeps hitting like this and we're rebuilding are we really going to be the ones winning the bidding war on a mid-30s 1B?
Chuck - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#344860) #
A Pat Tabler non sequitur that makes you wonder if he's being paying any attention: "Jason Grilli has been traded to the Texas Rangers so it looks like the 8th inning belongs to Ryan Tepera".
Chuck - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#344861) #
But now I believe that he's legit turned a corner and could post around a 120-130 RC+ going forward, who knows maybe more.

That may be possible. Or, he could be Michael Saunders. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#344863) #
If Osuna closes this we might actually win a game comfortable without needing even one extra base hit and that makes me weirdly happy.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#344864) #
I doubt he's Saunders. Saunders always had terrible peripherals even when he was playing well. Only question was whether or not he could get lucky the whole season like Colabello once did. Smoak has severely cut down his K-rate and at this point I think it's statistically significant.

I think there's a decent chance that Smoak would sign an extension with us after this offseason. Surely there will be lots of non-believers even after a great year (like with Bautista), and Smoak might prefer to stick with the team that stuck with him. Also, doing so would guarantee that he'll be rich for life unless he pulls an MC Hammer. Waiting the year would be a bit of a gamble.

I just don't know if you'd get enough prospect capital right now to make up for losing a potentially top-tier 1B who's willing to sign an affordable contract (thus allowing you to spend more money on other free agents).
Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#344865) #
Victory! Playoffs, kids!
uglyone - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#344866) #
Our 5-Pitch Closer (Spin Rates):

PeterG - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#344867) #
Smoak is already under control for 2 more years.
85bluejay - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#344868) #
Jays have a 2019 option on Smoak so there's no need to sign an extension- he's controllable for 2 more years, so the Jays can wait for him to repeat his success - In his previous 2 years with the Jays, Smoak showed signs of breaking out but his playing time was constantly interrupted by having to DH Bautista, Colabello big 2015 etc. If a team makes a good offer on Smoak (or almost any player), then I don't object to moving him, if not then we can enjoy a productive player with a great contract.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#344869) #
Ah, forgot about the team option. Even better, the club pretty much has all the leverage if they want to extend him.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#344871) #

Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#344872) #
So... what are Yankees fans saying? (the boys and girls at River Ave Blues)

If the sox beat us after the ASG it's officially #teamsell

Sell who and for whom? Other than Betances that is.

Gardner. Headley. Pineda. If we have to eat some money. So be it

If you are a contender why would you need Headley? Piņata is a FA after this season, that reduces his worth. Gardner is Gardner.

yankees have freed themselves from the tyranny of two-game winning streaks

I wish I could tie Headley, Ellsbury, and Carter together and throw them off a building.

Headley should impale himself on a bat shard.

Gibbons easily lights a blunt before every game

This team just isn't fun to watch. They've been playing sloppy and with no energy for over a month now.
eudaimon - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#344873) #
Yeah, actually let's forget this whole selling assets thing and ride this 1-game win streak to the World Series.
Spifficus - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#344874) #

Gibbons easily lights a blunt before every game

Maybe there's a basis for a trade... Jays get Gardner, and Girardi gets stress relief.

scottt - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#344876) #
They don't have enough pitching to trade Happ. Without the better than average starting pitching, this team would be completely unwatchable.

Of course, if someone was willing to give their top prospect for Happ, but the list of available pitchers include Quintana, Sonny Gray, David Phelps, Jaimie Garcia, Volquez, Richard, Cueto, shark, etc...

Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#344877) #
Well, here's a quick and nasty look at what the presumed Buyers should be looking for.

BOS - 3b, SP
NYY - 3b, 1B

CHC - SP, CF or 2B
ARI - 2B, SS, CF
hypobole - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#344878) #
Jays fans love their .500 baseball.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#344879) #
CHC - SP, CF or 2B
ARI - 2B, SS, CF

Do Magpie mean the Cubs need starting pitching, centerfielders and second basemen? Or they have surpluses at those fielding positions?
Jimbag - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#344880) #
quote: Jays fans love their .500 baseball.

They're .500 since July 3rd. Baby steps.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#344885) #
Shapiro hasn't made moves that were 'obvious precursors to a blowup". He made moves to help short-term that would not prohibit him for 'blowing it up' in the future. In other words, he avoided expensive long-term deals and held on to prospects while still trying to improve the team short-term with contracts that should be easy to move or dump depending on the situation. He did not go for one extreme. He carefully played both sides. It worked in 2016, and probably should have worked in 2017 with a 2nd WC spot, but the latter doesn't look likely right now.

The best way to describe Shapiro since he took over is risk averse, and he had to be due to the circumstances. If the Jays had Price and Edwin right now instead of Estrada, Happ, and Morales, then how different would 2017 be? Not much different at all in terms of wins and losses, but way, way, way more expensive and harder to move around. They had to be cautious while they built the farm system back up. Doubling down would have been problematic since this type of decline with this core was inevitable (maybe not in 2017, but eventually).

One of the things Cleveland did quite a bit was sign young position players to long-term deals early in their careers. Unless the Vlad's and Bo's are represented by Boras, it wouldn't surprise me if Shapiro throws 7-10 year deals at them early in their careers if they look like stars. That's where he'll need to be a little risky with contracts.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 04 2017 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#344888) #
I meant the Cubs need starting pitching and someone to play either 2b or CF - depends what they do with Ian Happ. Which makes no sense, because they've got Baez. Oops. But starting pitching for sure. John Lackey got old.
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 12:07 AM EDT (#344889) #
The Jays aren't going to be desperate sellers, but they will be sellers. The team needs pitching depth and middle infield depth in the minors.

Even if we can get C level relief prospects for Estrada, Liriano, Smith I take it.

Donaldson, Smoak, Tulo will almost assuredly finish out the season to try and build value through remaining healthy, continued success or finding some success.

Osuna and Stroman I think can be traded if they're blown away by offers.
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#344890) #
Would anybody take on Yasmany Tomas in a Liriano style deal from last season? Would you be interested in taking on Shelby Miller in a reclamation capacity? Throw in Joe Smith/Estrada and also get some prospects in return?
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 01:25 AM EDT (#344891) #
Bauxites have also mentioned this year reminds them of 2013.
Was 2013 the year the Jays acquired Happ and a couple prospects the first time, in that weird 3 way with Houston? I'd expect Atkins to try and make something happen along those lines.
Jimbag - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 01:34 AM EDT (#344892) #
Huge trade with Marlins (Reyes, Buehrle, etc) and the ignominious Syndergard for Dickey deal that I was actually in favor of at the time, given it was trading a solid prospect for a Cy winner - young pitchers will drive you to drink, after all. Also signed Melky that year. And finished sub-.500 for all the effort.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 03:11 AM EDT (#344893) #
Jimbag, what I mean is the trade at the deadline, not the offseason before. They were about where they are now in '13 but with only one wildcard they were a long way out of it. Jays pulled off a 3 team trade that ostensibly, just landed them Happ whom they liked for a long time. It wasn't a buyers or sellers move, just one they thought would be good in the short and the long term.

scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 07:10 AM EDT (#344894) #
Happ was acquired in 2012, and was below average his first 3 year with Toronto.
It wasn't a 3 team deal. The Jays gave up Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Joe Musgrove, Carlos Perez, David Rollins, Asher W. and Kevin Comer. They also got David Carpenter and Brandon Lyon from Houston.

David Carpenter was traded with John Farrell for Mike Aviles who was bundled with Yan Gomes for Esmil Rogers.

Brandon Lyon was a decent reliever who helped the team to a 73 win, but he was a free agent who signed with the Mets, had a bad year and quickly fell out of baseball.

Cordero was done at that point. Francisco, too. Perez wasn't MLB caliber.

Rollins was a 24th round pick.  Kevin Comer,   Asher W, and Musgrove were all 1st round picks (supplemental). 

It was a great example of a bad team buying when they should have been selling.
The good thing was that Happ had 2 more years on his contract, but he was a 4th/5th starter, no more.

85bluejay - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#344895) #
The acquisition on Montero, a veteran who's not controlled beyond this season and with a questionable reputation indicates that the FO is not in a selling mode presently.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#344896) #
Not in a selling mode yet anyway. Montero didn't cost anything, so not in a buying mode either.

Here's the latest interview from Shapiro in which he explains why the fanbase is keeping him from tearing the roster down.

scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#344897) #
Key quote for me "the defense has been far worse than we expected".
uglyone - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#344898) #
Nigel will enjoy that quote.
rpriske - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#344899) #
This line from the trade rumours version of that story - "While some of those players will hold some appeal at the deadline, none seem likely to return truly significant young talent." is the exact point I was trying (and failing) to make.

A trade that doesn't bring back something that actually makes you better going forward is not worth making (barring an 'addition by subtraction' thing, and I don't see that here).

So I go back to Donaldson or Osuna (and based on what Shapiro says here, I don't expect either will happen), or forget it unless there is another team willing to way overpay.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#344900) #
How did the Indians end up with Corey Kluber?
Glevin - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#344901) #
"So I go back to Donaldson or Osuna (and based on what Shapiro says here, I don't expect either will happen), or forget it unless there is another team willing to way overpay."

I think that's why Shapiro talked about maintaining. There simply isn't that talent to trade that is going to bring back difference making prospects. I do think with the way Happ has been pitching recently, he could bring back something of value now though. Someone mentioned the Astros being a good fit and they have prospect depth to trade someone interesting for short-term help. It would be silly not to explore these deals when they come up.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#344902) #
eh, we could get some great assets back for a guy like Happ at the deadline, given he'd probably be the best SP available, not to mention having another year of control.

imo no rush to move a controllable guy like donaldson at his current level of health and performance, unless blown away. and i'm not sure i remember an elite player like donaldson, with years of control, ever traded at the deadline tbh.

and especially no rush to trade kids with 4yrs of control in a deadline move.
bpoz - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#344903) #
Many players have a great 2nd half. Or 1st half. So some of our guys are due.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#344904) #
Gambler's fallacy is not a good plan.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#344905) #
The outfield and second base is where they can trade and improve simply by focusing on defense and athletic players.
I'm still expecting Gurriel to cover 2B next year and they've already started the clock on Alford. Nobody will take Bautista, so moving Pillar makes the most sense for me.

Trading Happ would make them significantly worse this year and next. A challenge trade involving Estrada could happen though. maybe they go for broke and get another ground ball pitcher who is signed for next year. One of Loup/Howell should be moved if possible, but there wouldn't be much coming back.

BlueJayWay - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#344906) #
Zwelling tweets that Sanchez starts Friday.
Nigel - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#344907) #
Shapiro's quote about the defence is probably partly true. Pillar's decline has been unexpected. Maybe they have advanced defensive metrics that say that Salty, Morales, Smoak, Pearce and Bautista are better defensively than we think:). Kidding aside, they key is not to listen to what the front office says too closely - its 95% marketing spin (which I take no issue with, Rogers is in the business of getting viewers to watch their product). Just watch what they do. I do not expect Happ moved at the deadline (although I agree with Uglyone that he could be moved for a good return) as he is a key component of selling the fans on the idea that the 2018 team will be competitive. Ask yourself what you would do to build a 78-84 win team for 2018 and I suspect that is what will happen at the deadline and in the offseason.
bpoz - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#344908) #
I agree Nigel, we should see what the FO does rather than say.

If I understand correctly you said a 78-84 win team in 2018 could be the goal. Not horribly bad but not good either.

If accomplished with a younger roster that looks like it can mature into something better, that is a pretty good plan.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#344909) #
Actually, Morales has not disappointed defensively. Smoak has been solid, even if his range is limited.

They need to sign a top bat to a corner outfield spot and load the rest of the outfield with the young players they have.
Then they need to fill-up the rotation, which is why they still need Happ. They don't want to have to find 3 starters over the winter.

Biagini has an ERA+ of 90. That's basically what we got out of Happ his first 3 years here. I still think he should be battling for the 5th rotation spot next spring, but I wouldn't just hand it out to him.

Btw, Hutch has an ERA of 3.26 after 14 starts in AAA and should get another chance before long.

BlueJayWay - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#344910) #
Not horribly bad but not good either.

That's Rogers' motto when it comes to the Jays.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#344911) #
i'd be dissappointed if our half-assed approach to trying to contend the past couple years turned into a half-assed attempt to rebuild going forward. though now i'm starting to fear that's what we're in for.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#344912) #
I expect them to try to contend every year that Martin is on the roster. The key this year will be to finish strong in September and hope that transfers to April next year.  You can sign a top free agent and trade him the following year and all you need to recover is a third round pick.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#344913) #
I don't agree that Shapiro had to be risk averse due to the circumstances; he chose that path. Free agency isn't the only way to work on your roster, you're allowed to make trades as well. The front office had clear goals heading into the offseason, and they failed miserably on reaching them. I mentioned multiple times on this site that I thought the Jays should be pursuing trades of Pillar and Travis to get more left-handed and change the look of the lineup. On November 12th - "I have no idea if such a player is available, but if I were trying to reshape this team I would be looking to trade Pillar and Travis for a left-handed, up-the-middle player, and then perhaps targeting Fowler if his contract demands are reasonable."
Nigel - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#344915) #
I think the entirety of Rogers' ownership can be viewed through the lens of understanding that they have zero interest in rebuilds or in going for it.

Look, the offseason was filled with the front office saying that their plan was to balance the lineup and to get younger and more athletic. They then proceeded to spend $35 million (25% of their entire payroll) on Morales, Pearce and Bautista. I think that should tell you many things about front office intent (I don't separate Rogers from Shapiro etc as I have no idea where real decision making authority rests).
SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#344916) #
I don't see the point in trying to extend a window that looks like it is closing this season. Barring a huge run in the 2nd half, this looks like an ~80 win team, give or take. Some of that is likely underachieving or injury related, but can they reasonably expect improvement next season with two starters likely leaving (with still no SP prospect in AAA) and the already-too-old roster becoming a year older?

It's possible for a quick turnaround even by trading Donaldson, Osuna, Happ, etc. Maybe not enough to win in 2018 or 2019, but depending on the type of players they get back, the development of the prospects they already have, plus whatever money they will have available, the transition period might not be as long. If they were the 87 win they were projected to be this season, and tried to keep going next year, then that's understandable. But they could conceivably be a 75-80 win team with an upper minors that still needs work and their best position player a year away from leaving.

My guess is issue with this team selling right now is not the direction, but the optics. Rogers, and by extension Shapiro, have to run this as a business, and selling big names would hurt business. For a team that doesn't draw well, that's probably not a big deal, but for a team with the type of attendance, ratings, young demo, etc, that the Jays have, they likely have to straddle the line.

I've said before, a team doesn't need to "tank" in baseball, so trying to win a few WC's during your transition period while rebuilding at the same time (i.e. the Yankees) is a solid goal to have. I just don't know if the Jays roster can do that if this current team may not even win 80 games and no help in sight from the minors for 2018.
Nigel - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#344917) #
I've argued all winter that from a baseball perspective the only choice that made no sense with this team at this time was to be risk averse and apply bandaids. Of course, being risk averse was perfect strategy for maintaining fan interest in 2017 without having to spend significant assets (cash or prospects) to do so.
Glevin - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#344918) #
"Free agency isn't the only way to work on your roster, you're allowed to make trades as well. The front office had clear goals heading into the offseason, and they failed miserably on reaching them. I mentioned multiple times on this site that I thought the Jays should be pursuing trades of Pillar and Travis to get more left-handed and change the look of the lineup."

You really think trading Pillar and Travis would have changed anything? Yes, you can trade, but you need assets and this Jays team simply does not have the tradable assets to re-set things. Seriously, what realistic moves could the Jays have made to put themselves in a good long term shape or even contend this season without killing themselves long-term? Aside from hindsight perfect moves, it's just not possible. It's baffling to me that people seem to think there is something that can be done. You can't win when your core players are just not good. Want to know why the Jays aren't winning in one simple stat? Team WRC+ last three seasons and ML ranking.

2015:117 (1st)
2016:102 (7th)
2017: 90 (24th)

Nigel - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#344922) #
Glevin, while this wasn't my offseason view, it was understandable if the view was that the window had closed and that putting more assets into the current roster made no sense. I believe that was the front office's view notwithstanding their public remarks. If that is true then they should have sold assets. Trading Estrada and Happ in the offseason would have netted the team substantial returns. That wasn't going to put viewers in front of their screens though.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#344923) #
92-93, of course you can make trades, but who are you going to trade for these upgrades? Pillar and Travis make the minimum and had a combined WAR of 5.7 last season. Even if you did trade them, what are you getting back, and is what you're getting back projected to add more wins to the roster? If the answer to the latter is no, then what's the point?

Making trades with a barren upper minors effectively rules out getting appropriate value back for your best prospects, because Vlad's value prior to 2017 was a lot less than what it will be in six months. When you trade A-ball players, that's the reality. They don't hold as much value being so young and far away. So trading prospects was pretty much out of question, unless you're talking about Tellez, Greene, etc, types, and what are you realistically going to get back for that?

The core of this team was short-term. That was evident in August of 2015. The peak was 2015, it was sustainable for 2016, and then a bit murky in 2017-18. That was always the case. If you did not agree with the risk averse approach, then the only logical approach beyond that was rebuilding. Doubling down on the 2015 approach and trying to squeeze more juice out of this core was simply not a good idea.

Just because this was inevitable doesn't mean the approach was wrong. It means they played it safe when they needed to. Like I said, replace Estrada/Happ/Morales/Pearce with Price/Edwin/Fowler, and how many more wins do the Jays have right now? Enough to be worth the much larger expense and inflexibility those contracts would cost? I'd say no.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#344925) #
They did balance the lineup. Most nights they have 3 or 4 left bats.
I still think that younger and more athletic is the plan, but that is through minor promotions.
Last year's draft is looking very good with Bichette at the top.
To me, renegading on youth would be trading top prospects and they haven't done that.

jerjapan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#344927) #
Whether or not Steve Pearce / Zeke / Jose can garner prospects of interest, trading them clears up a bit of payroll and, more importantly, provides a chance for guys like Pompey, Smith, Fields, Alford and perhaps even Ramirez (if he can get his bat going) to show what they have at the big league level.  Decisions on Fields, Smith and Ramirez in particular need to be made this offseason given their need to be protected in the rule 5 draft.  Pompey and Alford are locks to be protected. 

Is the service clock ticking for Alford?  I sort of recall that he was promoted as an emergency injury replacement - not sure how that works?

The Yanks just DFAed Chris Carter - I still think Smoak is a good trade match with them.

China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#344928) #
It would be 5-0 for the Jays right now if Bautista had made a proper slide into 2B. He had easily beaten the throw after Headley double-clutched. Not sure why he slid past the base with his front leg.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#344929) #
He probably didn't see the bobble. Just saw yet another ground ball going to the left side of the infield and hoped he could get to second quick enough to mess with the DP. Legally!
China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#344930) #
Yeah, maybe he didn't see the bobble. His behaviour afterwards seemed to suggest that he perceived it as a routine out. Instead of waiting for a potential review, he ran off the field, ignoring two of the coaches in the dugout who tried to tell him to wait. He seemed totally oblivious to the whole thing.
China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#344931) #
On the question of which players to trade: I wouldn't trade anyone except Liriano or Joe Smith (unless the Jays are blown away by an offer, which I don't think happens).

In my view, almost everyone else on the roster either has potential value in 2018 or wouldn't get enough in return. No point in selling low.

The core of the rotation next year is Stroman, Sanchez and Happ. It can potentially be an excellent rotation if they build around those three.

I'm also optimistic that Estrada can turn it around in the rest of the season. If so, it won't be hard to work out a deal to bring him back next year on a reasonable contract. He wants to be here.

So the pitching next year -- rotation and bullpen -- could be very good. Then they just need to improve the lineup in two or three spots (which shouldn't be hard) and they are a contending team next year.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#344932) #
The point of trading Travis and or Pillar would've been to get more left-handed and athletic, not to look for upgrades. I made that clear in my post, which was a response to this idea that Shapiro's only option was to be risk averse due to "circumstances". Maybe the Jays didn't need a 13m 5th SP and should've traded Liriano for some flexibility, or maybe they should've traded Estrada for a real piece that could help the offense be more balanced. There's all sorts of options when you think creatively about the roster instead of limiting yourself to buying a few old FAs as patchwork. I remember hearing Wilner say that he believes Votto would be a Blue Jay if AA was still the GM.

There's no question that injuries and the play of Donaldson, Tulowitzki, and to a lesser extent Bautista has buried this team, but that doesn't mean there weren't ways for the front office to get risky and try and shake up the look of the team.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#344933) #
Montero seems unfamiliar with both Estrada and the Yankee strike zone and he's 0 for 2 against bad pitching so far.
James W - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#344934) #
Gosh, this plate umpire is bad at his job.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#344935) #
"The point of trading Travis and or Pillar would've been to get more left-handed and athletic, not to look for upgrades. I made that clear in my post, which was a response to this idea that Shapiro's only option was to be risk averse due to "circumstances"."

The 'circumstances' the front office inherited was trying to maintain a winning team without sacrificing any more of the future to do it. Saying they could have made trades is obvious. Trades that make the present team better without hurting the future is/was the key. They lacked the type of depth necessary to replace players they could have moved (Travis/Pillar as you brought up) and lacked assets in general to make trades that would have fit their goal (improve the big league team without hurting the farm system).
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#344937) #
I didn't see the game but it seems from the box score that given Estrada's struggles this year, Gibbons stayed too long with him.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#344938) #
It's just the Yankees strike zone. Headley was furious and yelling at the ump when Barnes threw one on the corner for strike three. The Yankees pitchers walked a ton, so he's expecting the ump not to call the corners. It's easy for their hitters to be patient.  I'm starting to think that Betances would be terrible if he was pitching for any other team and not getting all those calls.

I remember this one game in Toronto in which Jesse Litsch would get everything thrown after 2 strikes called a ball.
Ah, those middle of the strike zone balls...

China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#344939) #
You could argue that Gibbons should have pulled Estrada about one or two batters earlier. I was thinking the same thing myself. But I'm sure Gibbons was trying to preserve the bullpen as much as possible, in view of the difficult four-game series that begins tomorrow. And Estrada had been quite good in the first three innings. The 4th-inning HR to Judge wasn't a big surprise; Judge has done that to a lot of good pitchers this year. The big concern on Estrada was the walks, but he was just narrowly missing on a lot of pitches and he was getting fouled off a lot. Estrada has battled out of a lot of bad situations in the past, so I can see why Gibbons might have given him a chance to complete the 5th inning. I didn't think Estrada was imploding in the 5th inning -- he was battling and narrowly missing. I think Estrada has been hurt by the juiced ball this year. He's a flyball pitcher, and those long flies are carrying further this year.
scottt - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#344941) #
I'm thinking Montero wasn't aggressive enough in his game calling. Up by 5, you gotta get ahead in the count, not nibble on the corners. Estrada never shakes a pitch, so the catcher has to know what to call.
China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#344942) #
It was Montero's first-ever game in the AL, and of course his first game with the Toronto pitchers. He doesn't know the Yankee hitters at all. He never had a chance to work with the Toronto staff in spring training. And he went out to talk to Estrada a couple times tonight because of miscommunications on pitch calls. It would be understandable if his lack of experience with Estrada contributed somewhat to Estrada's difficulties tonight.

By the way, the Jays had 28 hits against the Yankees in this series, including four HRs, so I don't think their offence is completely dead. These guys have a chance to be a lot better in the second half. And maybe their BABIP luck will finally begin to turn in their favour too.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#344943) #
On the other hand, except few brief stretches Estrada hasn't been good since last years All Star break.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#344944) #
Yeah the Estrada bubble may have burst. Hard to complain though since he was a big part of two different playoff runs, and the Jays got about a season and a half of upper end of the rotation quality pitching out of him, when in reality he's probably more of a back end guy. He was always walking a fine line, because if he doesn't have his command, he can really get hit. That and his age is why I was fine with the two year signing before 2016. At this point last year some in the fan base were wishing it was a longer deal.
China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#344945) #
I disagree on Estrada.   If you're going to mention his relative ordinariness in August-September of last year, you have to mention that he was very good in the playoffs in October and he was very good in the first two months of this season.   I see his poor record in the past five weeks as the real anomaly. 
hypobole - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#344946) #
Not just the fans. The "experts" were saying the Jays should given Estrada the 3 yrs and Happ the 2.

Just noticed on FG when Estrada was good his 1st season here, his FIP was bad. His FIP has gotten better as his ERA has gotten worse.
China fan - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#344947) #
Fangraphs also shows that Estrada has been worth 6.5 WAR since the beginning of 2015, including 1.7 WAR this season.  I wouldn't just throw that away willingly, unless he is bad for the rest of this season.

His gamelogs show that he has only had two relatively brief stints over the past two years where he pitched badly.  One stint was from Aug. 16 to Sept. 14 last year (when 5 of his 6 games were bad) -- and then he bounced back and pitched superbly for the rest of the season and the playoffs.  The other stint was from June 1 of this year until now (when 6 of his 7 games were poor).  Given his ability to bounce back successfully from a few bad games last year, I think he has a chance to do the same this year.

greenfrog - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#344948) #
Estrada said he was willing to settle for a lower AAV in exchange for a longer contract. So, let's say he would have agreed to 3/36 instead of 2/26. I think it's too early to tell which of those would have been the better contract. For one thing, it's unclear whether he will turn it around and re-assert himself as an effective SP.

Also, if in fact the juiced ball is causing his woes, it's pretty cantankerous to fault the fans who would have preferred the three-year deal. Unless, of course, you knew that a juiced ball was on the horizon for 2017...
Nigel - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#344949) #
I'm optimistic on Estrada. If you put him on the field with an actual major league defensive OF and his luck reverts to the mean, I think he's a good bet to be a solid mid rotation starter. In fact, with a decent defensive club I'd roll my luck with Liriano and Biagini.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#344950) #
"The 'circumstances' the front office inherited was trying to maintain a winning team without sacrificing any more of the future to do it. "

no, the circumstances were that they inherited an excellent team with plenty of payroll room to work with.

everything else is just your personal wishcasting.
Nigel - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#344952) #
I'm not quite where Uglyone is on this issue in that I think this front office walked into a situation with many more positives than negatives, but a couple of the negatives were significant. The upper minors were barren and the contracts of Martin and Tulo were always likely to look bad in their last year or two. However, for the life of me, I do not understand the pass that the current front office gets for the team's current situation. The current front office is responsible for over 60% of the current payroll. It spent $35m of this years' payroll on Morales, Pearce and Bautista to get negative collective WAR for that. Worse yet, that set of signings was strategically poor. I think scoring the current front office is easy. They had an above average to good offseason in their first year and a bad offseason this year.
Spifficus - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#344953) #
Well, they inherited a team coming off an excellent year that was losing 3/6ths of its rotation and 60% of its offense (per fangraphs) coming from players 30 or older (Donaldson was 29). They were a veteran team that had just used a lot of prospect capital at the deadline (pretty successfully). Things were good at the moment, but there were definitely warning signs coming up.
Spifficus - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#344954) #
I'm in the pro Estrada camp as well. He's only been bad in June +1 so far this year. He was very good over his first 11 starts before having a lot of command issues over his past 7. His post ASG 2016 problems were another rocky month or so from mid August to mid September, after which he recovered.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#344955) #
"no, the circumstances were that they inherited an excellent team with plenty of payroll room to work with. everything else is just your personal wishcasting."

Justin Smoak by himself has a higher WAR than Donaldson, Tulo, and Martin COMBINED right now. Those are the three main pieces this FO inherited beyond 2016. If your argument is the FO inherited a good team for 2016, then sure. The win curve was high for that roster, and the FO surrounded that team with enough good pieces to sustain competitiveness (Estrada, Happ, etc). After 2016, as it was stated many times even before the 2016 season started, was a different story. The win curve was not as high and the players got a year older.

This type of decline was predictable. Players get worse as they get older. They get hurt more as they get older. The Jays happened to have a roster full of old players with no one in the minors ready to help out. The main reason why this team is not better than it is (other than injuries) is the fact that their best position players are not acting like it. You can blame Morales or Pearce or whoever if that fits the narrative, but it's not the reason why the team is where it is.

I'm honestly surprised why people think this was an unexpected occurrence. Like I said before, how much better is this team with Edwin, Price, and Fowler on the roster instead of Morales, Estrada/Happ, and Pearce? Realistically, not much better, or at least not enough so to make a real difference, and in that scenario the payroll short and long-term would have exploded. If you look at the situation objectively, this was entirely predictable. People here were calling it two years ago. It's convenient to blame the FO because the previous regime did not have to deal with the consequences post-2016. If you think AA or anyone else would have magically made this a young, multi-dimensional team with the same resources, then that's pretty naive, IMO.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 05 2017 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#344956) #
I asked this question multiple times, so I figured I might as well calculate it.

Combined WAR: 2.1
2017 salary: $43.75M
Salary overall: $86M (remaining from 2017-onwards)

Combined WAR: 2.8
2017 Salary: $57.5M
Salary overall: $329.50 (remaining from 2017-onwards)

Now this is not an exact science obviously, just a quick comparison, but Pearce and Morales have a combined WAR in the negatives, and it's still fairly close. So even the big named stars were not going to save this situation. Given the level of commitment it would have taken, they would have made it worse long-term.

I wasn't a fan of the Morales signing, and by no means has this FO been perfect in free agency, but the narrative seems to have changed from "they should have signed Price, Edwin, etc, etc" to they should have made trades. Reality is, there was no easy way out of this. Despite that, they still built a team in 2017 that projections had as the first WC team, but it didn't materialize. Projections did not see this much decline, obviously.
scottt - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#344958) #
The Marlins are for sale and now that the cheap years of that long Stanton contract are over, they'll probably try to trade him.
10 years/285M for a declining outfielder?

Also, last winter might have been a good time to unload Miguel Cabrera. 6 years/184M left there and his OPS+ is down to 117.

Donaldson is 31 and might not have another  MVP season in him, but if he does, it's most likely next year.

lexomatic - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#344959) #
I think a collapse this year was totally possible, but it was unlikely for so many things to go wrong all at once. Space things out better, have at least one big bat hitting like expected and everything else is less of an issue.
The recent Jays teams have felt like slow starters. Really that brutal start has been the issue. If they muddle along they're in the same position, but not practically out if it.
There's been a lot of frustrating back and forth with absolute pronouncements about value or lack of it. Aside from expiring contracts, it was always going to be about how much value is offered. You listen on Donaldson and Happ, and you take what you can get for Estrada and Liriano. Bautista's only going if he wants, but he's also a take what you can. Does the August deadline still happen? Because I expect more trades closer to then.
I'm fine with a full rebuild but don't expect it. I expect Happ and Donaldson traded next year. Sanchez if he recovers and continues to suggest hell go when he's a free agent, and Osuna become available after that. Though it depends on the minors and how prospects develop. Pillar and Travis also becomes possibilities, though they'll be relatively cheap wake they're useful, so I'd keep them until you have better options or they are too expensive.

rpriske - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#344960) #
The Jays just traded J.D. to the Yankees!

Wait, what? Jonathan Diaz?

Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#344961) #
I got blasted on this forum last offseason for even putting forward the idea that it was very likely the pitchers would regress. No they wouldn't many said. But they did and that has hurt a lot. I made the same point on position players as well but kept being told insistently that elite players don't regress very much.

But the main thing to hurt the players is what SK said. This team as left by AA was deeply flawed. They bought a lemon in Tulo and Martin and Donaldson have had issues this year. Travis as well is also looking like a lemon. This team was not left in a good shape going forward. The legacy of AA and his moves are these players.

Stroman + Osuna (both very good, 3.3 WAR combined, which is oddly enough the same numbers that Estrada/Biagini have combined.)
Sanchez - 0.2 WAR this year
Travis - 0.7 WAR and injured for the rest of the year (and for the third time in three years you have to put doubts that he'll ever be able to stay healthy)
Pillar - 0.8 WAR and a massive drop in defense
Martin/Donaldson - 1.0 WAR each, both performing well under former levels and both lost a lot of time to injuries.
Tulo - 0.0 WAR and a shell of his former self, hitting for basically no power.

Now sure I agree the Jays could have gotten different players instead of Bautista, Morales and Pearce to supplement the above players, but even if you had two 3 win players instead of them this team would still be bad because the core above is so bad. AA's hitters he acquired or signed or traded for have a combined fWar this year of 2.6. There is no acquisitions acquired that could ever make up for the contributions that Donaldson, Martin, Tulo, Pillar and Travis have collectively failed to make.

If you want to bash Shapiro and say Morales/Pearce ruined this season you have to praise them for the excellent Smoak deal. And their pitching acquisitions have been quite good between resigning Estrada, Happ, Smith and Biagini.

But anyway some bad luck and father time has come for those players some posters here thought would age gracefully and keep performing at high levels because studs don't decline. Anyone who thinks this team was excellently setup going forward has some very rose colored glasses on and was very naive to the fact that baseball is now more than ever a young mans game.
Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#344962) #
And yeah there is no way you can spin a combined 7 WAR from Stroman/Osuna/Sanchez/Travis/Pillar/Martin/Donaldson/Tulo as an excellent team. Aaron Judge on his own has 5.5 WAR. It's just an old bad team with some young pitching talent.

Shapiro didn't make it any younger, but you never make it younger from FA signings. You do it from the draft/within or you do it by selling vets. Shapiro just didn't sell anymore to support the "core" players, and looking at how the core has performed that was a wise idea.
PeterG - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#344963) #
Very well said Kasi.
scottt - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#344964) #
Stroman + Osuna (both very good, 3.3 WAR combined, which is oddly enough the same numbers that Estrada/Biagini have combined.)

Nothing odd. FIP is terrible for WAR. A pitcher can easily throw a game away while improving his FIP.
FIP based WAR implies that Estrada and Biagini are great and that's the Jays defense that's losing all those games.

Not perfect but bWAR gives you Stroman  3.3 WAR, Osuna 1.7, Estrada 1.0 and Biagini 0.3.
Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#344965) #
Well tbh the Jays defense is awful. Bautista I think is the only Jays defender to not have undergone large regression from last year. As a flyball pitcher Estrada is dependent on good OF defense and Pillar has regressed to being average. Still I do agree that Stroman and Osuna have been better for sure. The problem though is the offense and defense, and that has regressed across the board.
jerjapan - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#344966) #
Ha, good one Rpriskie.

Kasi, I don't think anyone is saying Morales ruined the season - his deal just seems to best represent the FO at their cautious worst.  But you are spot on when you say that the Smoak deal has to be considered in judging the FO as well, and nobody has even mentioned my fave move of the offseason - snagging Gurriel (who in fairness is having a dreadful year).  And we have to include the annual awful veteran lefty signing (I did like the moves at the time).

Older players do indeed get injured more often, but it's hard to have predicted Pompey or Travis' bad luck, Sanchez's blisters, JD's struggles, Pillar's defensive decline, or the dramatic nature of Tulo's regression -a worst-case scenario in my book.  It's an aging team in need of fresh blood, but it's also been an unlucky year.  It's too easy to draw conclusions about strategy when there are so many variables in play.  It's seems that every bad run the team goes on we go through these conversations, but likely we need a few more years before we can judge this season accurately.  FWIW, Shapiro and co. felt this core was a contender as well. 

Tulo is the huge issue.  If this is the new norm, the $70 million or so remaining on his contract is going to hurt - Reyes' deal expires this year, and Hoffman looks to be a good one.  But that is the only long-term contract issue we have. 

Of course, AA's legacy also includes Zeke, Danny Barnes, pretty much every prospect in our top ten aside from Bichette, and a couple of playoff runs with the accompanying attendance / revenue spike. 

uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#344969) #
"Nothing odd. FIP is terrible for WAR. A pitcher can easily throw a game away while improving his FIP.
FIP based WAR implies that Estrada and Biagini are great and that's the Jays defense that's losing all those games."

I could swear you said this exact same thing about fip last year to say that estrada was legit better than stroman.
uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#344970) #
"I got blasted on this forum last offseason for even putting forward the idea that it was very likely the pitchers would regress"

surprisingly not really the case overall, actually.

2016: 89era-, 94fip-, 95xfip-
2017: 99era-, 93fip-, 96xfip-

a little unlucky this year compared to a little lucky last year in terms of runs allowed, though that may innfact be the defense' fault. it could also just be noise with this year's smaller sample.

but surprisingly identical underlying numbers so far.

Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#344971) #
Jerjapan that's the thing. Morales and Tulo's contracts both suck, but Tulo's hurts a lot more due to prospects given and cost/length of contract.

I don't think the FO thought the team was that strong a contender, because otherwise they would have traded prospects or gone more all in on bringing in players to support the existing players. Instead they brought in stopgaps to line up with the contracts of existing players. Basically they refused to trade any youth or to blow a lot of money (or lose a first round pick) on the really expensive FA contracts.

I'm not really a fan of most of the AA prospects other than Vlad, Alford and Jensen though. I think Tellez is a AAAA player, Urena has flaws and Harris, Green and Reid-Foley all have significant issues and have not progressed this year. As for Pompey we've been waiting years for him. We'll see when he gets his chance, provided he doesn't get injured again.

Regardless there is plenty of blame to go around on why this team is under performing, but a large chunk of it falls on those core players who were supposed to be so good going forward. Thing is they have almost all regressed. And that they regressed shouldn't be a surprise, even if how much they did regress is.
uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#344972) #
I still say the best play in the offseason was to pour money into the best bats possible for 1B/Dh, and then rely on much cheaper speed and defense to upgrade the corner OF spots over the replacemrnt level we got from those slots last year.

in theory at least.

of course, with zeke and pompey and alford's injuries and smoak's breakthrough, that wouldn't have been as clear a path either.then again, that wouldhave resulted with bautista being in rf again with the OF injuries, so smoak would have had his chance anyways.

but i'll still whinge about last year's disgusting trade deadline approach....which has lingering effects this year with us wasting $13m on liriano. hurts even more when we know that some of our better prospects may have been at peak value, given their dissappointing performances this year so far. we wouldn't be exactly crying right now if a few of tellez/urena/srf/greene/harris were doing whatt they're doing now in another system while we had had a better shot at winning last year with a key rental or two.
Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#344974) #
Part of that regression discussion was health of pitchers. I pointed out during the offseason that the Jays were exceptionally lucky with lacking pitcher injuries. Sure Sanchez has been fine statistically in his time, but the guy has missed almost all of the first half. His failure to address the blister issue has cost us dearly. Happ and Liriano missed time too.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#344975) #
Wow, uglyone, are you really bailing on all the prospects that in the off-season you thought were so underrated? Remember when you argued that Tellez should be ranked much higher on everyone's top 100 prospect lists? Now your position is that the front office should have traded him because he was overrated?

And wasn't Pillar part of your group of supposedly elite young Jays talent that compared favourably to the Red Sox' young position player talent?

This is all getting so confusing.
uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#344976) #
nothing to do with bailing.

most prospects fail. selling high on prospects, especially those with significant holes, is almost always a good play.

and i was right about them being underrated last year, as this year's prospect lists agreed.
uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#344977) #
was this the comp you meant? it's true, we still don't have a mookie. and too bad our kids keep getting injured.


Sanchez 35gs, 71era-, 4.7awar/32gs
Betts 1111pa, 130wrc+, 7.5awar/650pa

Travis: 629pa, 103wrc+, 3.5awar/650
Bradley 915pa, 119wrc+, 5.2awar/650

Stroman 49gs, 94era-, 3.5awar/32gs
Bogaerts: 1060pa, 113wrc+, 4.0awar/650

Osuna: 108.0ip, 58era-, 2.2awar/65ip
Benintendi: 455pa, 114wrc+, 3.4awar/650

Pillar: 937pa, 84wrc+, 3.2awar/650
Rodriguez: 30gs, 96era-, 2.6awar/32gs

Last Calendar Year

Stroman 32gs, 80era-, 4.3awar/32gs
Betts 720pa, 133wrc+, 7.3fwar/650

Sanchez 18gs, 73era-, 4.0awar/32gs
Rodriguez 24gs, 76era-, 4.3awar/32gs

Travis 486pa, 104wrc+, 3.4fwar/650
Bogaerts 687pa, 101wrc+, 3.8fwar/650

Pillar 597pa, 87wrc+, 2.6fwar/650
Bradley 592pa, 106wrc+, 3.8fwar/650

Osuna 70.1ip, 59era-, 2.4awar/70ip
Benintendi 455pa, 114wrc+, 3.3fwar/650
Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#344978) #
Yup the Red Sox should have traded Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley and Benintendi and the Yankees should have trade Judge, Sanchez and Severino for proven vets. That would have worked out really well. That's the big difference between the Jays and them, they actually have young cost controlled hitting talent that's performing.
Kasi - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#344979) #
Yeah rate stats aren't terribly useful when we have injury prone players like Travis. And even with the favorable rate stats Boston wins every single comparison.
uglyone - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#344980) #
the red sox wouldn't have been very good right now if they hadn't traded moncada kopech margot espinosa and a bunch more.
scottt - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#344981) #
Price and Panda are too ugly contracts though.
jerjapan - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#344982) #
It's not all or nothing guys.  Some big ticket FAs are good value (Martin).  Some aren't (Morales).  Some cheap signings are good (Smith), some aren't (Howell).  Some traded prospects come back to bite you (I won't even bother naming who).  Some you may have sold high on (Norris?  Boyd?).

I get worried about dogmatic approaches - 'don't trade prospects for vets ever', 'no expensive FA contracts'.  Sure Panda is a terrible FA deal, but the team made a similar 'go for it veteran' move with Kimbrell, and he's a monster.  And, as hugely unpopular as it is to say this, Price may still make his deal worthwhile for the Sox. 

I think teams should ignore received wisdom and maximize all outlets for value - AA had this approach and was great at signing value FA extensions, drafting aggressively and signing IFAs, but perhaps not as good at his big ticket acquisitions outside of JD (although he did dump Wells in a brilliant move).  The current FO looks to have a few good value moves on their resume, along with a few bad ones.  I like how they are pouring money into the FO and the org in general, but I'm not sure that their cautious approach to free agency, trades or drafting will maximize value long term.  2017 is their first draft class and it's off to a strong start, but that's to be expected with a college heavy approach.  It will take some promotions to age-appropriate levels before we get a real sense of things. 

Kasi, time will tell with AA's prospects still with the team, but the prospects that have graduated certainly tell the story of an expert draft approach.  I think it's easy to state that he had a top 10 / top 5 record in drafting / IFAs over his tenure, although that last draft class was clearly the worst of his tenure.  

CeeBee - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#344983) #
Thanks for some common sense, Jer. :)
scottt - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#344984) #
I  don't recall a team ever being so haunted by the phantom DL. Chris Coghlan, wrist contusion? Howell, some shoulder issue? Maile, meniscus tear?
CeeBee - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#344985) #
Not sure Maile's pending knee procedure is phantom.
hypobole - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#344986) #
Kimbrell wasn't an FA, Boston traded for him.
jerjapan - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#344987) #
yup, that's why I called it a 'go for it veteran move' in quotes.  I assume that everyone here gets that. 
Petey Baseball - Thursday, July 06 2017 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#344988) #
Shapiro was on PTS and said there would be no teardown. If anything, it sounded like he's pushing for the Jays to do something big in the other direction.
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