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The Blue Jays play four in Beantown.

Monday - 7:10 pm ET - RH Marcus Stroman (9-5, 3.28) vs. LH Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.54)
TUESDAY, 7:10 pm ET - LH J.A. Happ (3-6, 3.54) vs. RH Doug Fister (3, 6.75) WEDNESDAY, 7:10 p.m. ET - RH Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.94) vs. LH Drew Pomeranz (9-4, 3.75)
THURSDAY, 1:30 p.m. ET - TBA vs. LH Chris Sale (11-4, 2.59)
Blue Jays @ Red Sox - July 16-19 | 146 comments | Create New Account
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Nigel - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#345409) #
The difference in team defence between these two teams is stark, particularly in the OF. I'm not sure that anything drives me as crazy as Buck repeatedly trying to tell the viewers that Smoak is a great defender when he so obviously is not.
sam - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#345410) #
Nigel, I disagree with your opinion re: Smoak. Smoak has a positive UZR this year and I think he's a solid defender at first base that shows above average instincts.

Certainly Smoak is not a "great" defender at first base, but I don't think that's where you look when noting issues with the team's defence. Clearly, as you note, the issue is most prominent in the outfield.
Nigel - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#345411) #
Smoak has seven seasons of data of below average defence. Varying from a little below average to very below.
Nigel - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#345412) #
Sam, I should have added that I do agree that in the grand scheme of the team's defensive problems, Smoak isn't at the top of the list. It is however more frustrating when you think that the two corner OFs who are at the top of the list are likely better defensive 1B than Smoak.
sam - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#345413) #
I'm not sure I agree with that statement as well--do you have specific data to support that?
sam - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#345414) #
My apologies--the below average statistical defence of Smoak.
scottt - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#345415) #
The lack of offense at 2B is a huge problem too.  OPS+ of 57/50 makes a rancid platoon.
Gerry - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#345416) #

JP Howell gave upfour runs without getting an out in Buffalo tonight.

Bold off.
hypobole - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#345417) #
Why is Jose likely better? He wasn't good when he did play 1st and has played all of 3 innings since 2014.
Nigel - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#345418) #
Both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference show Smoak with negative defensive runs saved (and negative defensive WAR) in every year other than his partial 2015 season with the Jays and there is some split on his current year to date splits.
Nigel - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#345419) #
Hyperbole, you are right, I have no data to support my statement on Bautista. As a former 3B and significantly more althletic than Smoak, I believe that Bautista could be a good defender at 1B but that is only my belief.
sam - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#345420) #
Nigel, I think you're being very selective in your data. You fail to note his 2015 season and his positive UZR.

With that being said, defending first base, much like the catcher position, can be in the eye of the beholder. There is a certain nuance and subtlety to the position that from what I gather advanced stats perhaps don't catch (and may arguably have no bearing on preventing runs). So while I disagree with you, I do acknowledge that your viewing may be different than mine.

I will note that dWAR presumptively has little persuasive value to the adjudicators of the Gold Glove award as Eric Hosmer won the award three years in a row with a negative dWAR in each of those seasons.
Nigel - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#345421) #
Sam, you are absolutely correct, I should have said 6 of 7 years.
85bluejay - Monday, July 17 2017 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#345422) #
Happy the jays won - if they can sweep (not facing Sale & Price helps) would put some fun in the Al east - haven't watched the jays much this year - watched some of this game intermittently and boy do the jays look & play old!
jerjapan - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 12:47 AM EDT (#345425) #
Nigel, I'm with Sam here ... we all know defensive metrics are flawed, that there are particular flaws with 1B defense, and that many within the industry view Smoak as good.  'Within the industry' may include Buck and Pat, but the industry, on the whole, has a better understanding than those of us on the internet.  "Not a great defender" but 'not where you look' when talking about the teams D is hardly a controversial stance to take. 

Saying that the corner OFs are better 1B than Smoak sounds crazy though.  With Bautista, I believe you are suggesting that no real experience is required to play 1B - the better athlete will be the superior defender? 
scottt - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 06:14 AM EDT (#345427) #
It would have been interesting to see Bautista play 1B against Texas.
First basemen are usually laid back guys that like to chat with the other players.
That's no exactly Bautista.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#345428) #
Joey Votto, aside from 2016, has rated positively in DRS and UZR in practically every season, but his defensive WAR is always in the negative. I do think defensive WAR is valuable, but with first basemen, it can be misleading.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:06 AM EDT (#345429) #
By observation, Pearce is a somewhat better defender at first base than Smoak- and what do you know, UZR and DRS agree!  All that said, it doesn't matter that much whether you play Pearce at 1B or DH, just as long as you don't stick him in the OF for anything more than occasional use.  He's a much better offensive player than Morales, and their playing time should reflect that. 

Speaking of which, the mlb.com headline was "Blue Jays give Pearce a chance and he delivers".  It made me think that it might be fun if the fans at the RC greeted him upon his return with "all we are saying is give Pearce a chance".  The song does lend itself to the maxi-choir.  

scottt - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:10 AM EDT (#345430) #
If only he could play 2B.
scottt - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:20 AM EDT (#345431) #
Smoak keeps hitting and Morales has an OPS of 1.222 in his last 7 games.
They have an abundance of 1B/DH types because they didn't know Smoak was going to break out.
They don't have enough backup at 2B because they figured Barney and Goins was going to  be enough.


SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#345432) #
Pearce's wRC+ is up to 115 now. He is really underrated as a hitter and never deserved the platoon/part-time label he has been given. Injury-prone, yes, but that's the only knock on him. The issue is he will keep playing LF as long as he is with the Jays, which means his defensive value will drop, and his chances for injury might increase. If he stays healthy and hits like he's capable of, then he'll still have value even as a LF, but he is definitely a 1B. If there was any way to trade Morales, it should be explored.

On another note, the Dee Gordon rumors won't go away. If the FO is going to try again in 2018, then absorbing contracts is their best avenue to acquire talent without giving up top prospects. I just don't see the logic in Gordon for 2018-beyond unless they plan on moving Travis to a different position. Maybe they are willing to take all of Gordon's salary in order to get a prospect or two out of it (ala the Liriano deal).
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#345433) #
Morales' hot streak shouldn't fool anyone.  He continues to chase bad pitches and when he hits the ball on the ground with a runner on first and less than two outs, it is almost invariably a double play.  Last night's GIDP was a slowly hit ball to third base- the great majority of batters would have beaten the throw.  Morales leads the league in GIDP. 

Bautista last night continue with his struggles against LHP  His K rate vs. lefties over the last 7 years- 15.7%, 13.3%, 10.7%, 13.8%, 14.8%, 15.2% and 27.3%.  His IsoP vs. lefties over the last 7 years- .336, .212, .293, .284, .221, .209 and .088.  He has only had 96 PAs against LHP this year, but he has looked awful and the numbers reflect that.  When he hasn't been striking out, he's hit 48% of balls on the ground and less than 10% line drives.  It has led to 8 GIDPs in those 96 PAs- that is a horrific rate.  I don't think that it is a sample size fluke, given the breadth of the problem.  It could be a mechanical issue with his swing, a vision problem or something else. 

Chuck - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#345434) #
In 148 at-bats, the Jays' backup catchers are hitting .101 with a .135 OBP. Josh Thole's .169 AVG/.254 OBP from last year suddenly look Herculean.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#345435) #
It should be possible to trade Morales- you absorb $20-$23 million in salary and receive a D Grade prospect in return.  Morales does have use as a bat off the bench.  

Personally I have a lot of problem with the notion that Morales has to be played every day.  His contract reflects a 1 WAR player, and he's played like less than that.  Why is a 1 WAR player (who is 34 years old) entitled to a full-time gig as of right? 
Cracka - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#345436) #
The Dee Gordon rumours make sense if you are worried about the long-term health of Travis, which the Jays absolutely should be, as his knee condition appears to be chronic. He just doesn't seem like someone that can be counted on the play an entire season...

Not sure if anyone noticed or even cares, but Tepera was "awarded" the win last night even though he entered with the lead. Boston's official scorer correctly decided that Leone's one-pitch (a double) wasn't sufficient enough for the win, even though he was the pitcher of record. Can't remember the last time I've seen that happen... it's a rarity for sure.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#345437) #
It's too bad that Leone didn't get the win. It would serve as another data point to illustrate the silliness of the stat.
85bluejay - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#345438) #
If the Jays insist on pursuing Dee Gordon, then they should inquire on Christian Yelich whom I've always liked - If the Marlins goal is to lower payroll, then taking Gordon & Yelich would save the Marlins a lot of money.
PeterG - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#345439) #
I highly doubt the Jays are pursuing Gordon. He makes little sense imo. I think they inquired about him some time ago and that was it.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#345440) #
Being uncertain about Travis is reasonable, but there will be an issue with who plays where in 2018 if Gordon were acquired. Of course if Travis' knee is messed up beyond repair, or they have doubts about his ability to be an everyday player because of his health, then that's a different story.

If they are really looking to acquire Gordon, then I hope it's part of a larger deal where they also get prospects back. Yelich would be great too, but I doubt the Marlins would lump him with Gordon when they could trade him individually and get a good return.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#345441) #
I think smoak is fine with the glove. He probably is a good receiver on throws too. He has no range, though.
Hodgie - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#345444) #
"Pearce's wRC+ is up to 115 now. He is really underrated as a hitter and never deserved the platoon/part-time label he has been given. Injury-prone, yes, but that's the only knock on him. "

I don't understand this sentiment. I look at Pearce and see a decent hitter that needs to hit a tonne to provide value, something that he has really only accomplished twice in his career. The player is 34 years old, has played parts of 11 seasons in MLB, has a career 111 wRC+ and no defensive value - I don't think a lack of opportunity to establish himself has been the issue.

Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#345448) #
Between 2013 and 2017, Pearce has put up a .268/.347/.484 slash line, good for a 125 OPS+.  Morales has put up a .265/.325/.447 slash line, good for a 111 OPS+.  Pearce is also a better defender (by far) at first base, a better baserunner (by far) and hits into many fewer double plays.  Obviously Pearce has not been durable, and if you stick him in left-field, you are increasing the risk of injury.  But, if both players are healthy, the choice seems to me to be very clear. 
hypobole - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#345450) #
But Morales is a switch hitter.

As Monty Burns explained as he subbed in Homer for Darryl Strawberry, "It's called playing the percentages."
Hodgie - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#345453) #
We've been down this road before Mike, I am not comparing Pearce to Morales - I completely agree with you there. What I find hard to fathom is the narrative where Pearce is purely a victim of unfair circumstance, never given the opportunity to succeed at the MLB level. For a statistically inclined community, there is a curious willingness to make definitive statements about a player whose career is the very embodiment of small sample sizes, both good and bad. I see a useful player if used properly, but one that doesn't offer much value to this team given its current construction. Others see much, much more.
85bluejay - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#345454) #
I never understood signing both Morales & Pearce with a 7 man pen, unless no confidence in Smoak - and Morales for 3 years already seems like an albatross.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#345456) #
What Pearce did prior to 2013 is irrelevant as he has displayed a different talent level since then. Since 2013, he has a 127 wRC+ in 1311 plate appearances. Against righties, he is at 121 over that same span (139 against lefties). He's not a platoon bat, he's a good bat period. He is also historically a good defensive 1B, and was actually a very good defensive OF in 2014 (+9 DRS, 6.3 UZR). Obviously he's not that level of defender in the outfield anymore, likely due to injury, but he has been a very good player for a few years now regardless. Not getting playing time because he was hurt or because a certain manager used him in a platoon should not be used against him. Now that he is playing everyday and is healthy, the bat is coming around.

If the Jays did not sign Morales, and instead put Pearce at 1B and Smoak or DH (or vice versa), we'd be seeing a much better lineup configuration and likely a higher WAR output from Pearce (as is, being a LF will hurt his value).
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#345458) #
But Morales is a switch hitter.

As Monty Burns explained as he subbed in Homer for Darryl Strawberry, "It's called playing the percentages."

D'oh.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#345460) #
test
Hodgie - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#345461) #
"What Pearce did prior to 2013 is irrelevant as he has displayed a different talent level since then."

Except when he hasn't, which speaks to arbitrary endpoints compounded by small sample sizes. What makes a 92 wRC+ in 2012 any different than the same in 2015 - besides making his line look a little better by excluding it? Would his 161 wRC+ in 2014 be considered irrelevant since it was clearly an outlier for his career? Clearly, he is performing better than earlier in his career, but to what extent is clouded by the sample sizes available to evaluate him and his wildly inconsistent performances. Even if you want to only include his 2013-2017 stats, that would make him what, a 2.5-3 win 1B best case scenario, assuming he could stay healthy for a full season? Again, a useful player but not what I at least consider a special player.

Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#345463) #
In Pearce's case, the end-points don't seem arbitrary at all to me.  From 2007-2012 (age 24-29), Pearce got less than 200 PAs per year and totalled 624 PAs for the entire period.  He had an OPS+ of 82.  For the period 2013-17, he has almost twice as many PAs (and will likely get there before the end of 2017) and has posted an OPS+ of 125. 

When we were thinking about how Jose Bautista might do at age 34, did we worry about how he did from age 23-28?  Hopefully not.  Pearce is like a lower case version of Bautista. 
uglyone - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#345464) #
Historically pearce and Morales have been near identical level hitters, with pearce's defense/basrunning making him almost exactly twice as valuable as a player, but with his injuries cutting that value almost exactly in half, making them almost identical value wise. And it holds up on the 3yr split as well - near identical hitters, Pearce having twice the value but half the plate appearances, just like the career split. It's a pretty funny comp when you look at it actually.

Personally i prefer gambling on the health as my x factor, especially since pearce's superior athleticism not only helps the team's versatility but also makes his aging curve potentially better.


But wait.......actually after writing that and looking at the numbers closer, I see what Mike is saying. Since Pearce's breakout he's been a significantly better hitter and that's being hidden by the one down year he's had since then, which may have been due mostly to just babbip luck.

2017: 115wrc+ (308babip)
2016: 136wrc+ (318babip)
2015: 92wrc+ (232babip)
2014: 161wrc+ (322babip)
2013: 115wrc+ (300babip)

And that one down year could be unfairly making their 3yr splits make them look like similar hitters when they're not really anymore.

Maybe it is best to look at the 5yr split in this case:

Pearce 1311pa, 127wrc+, 8.1war, 4.0war/650
Kendrys 2672pa, 110wrc+, 1.9war, 0.5war/650

then it doesn't look close. and this holds up even more recently, like the last 2yrs:

Pearce 465pa, 129wrc+, 2.0war, 2.8war/650
Kendrys 975pa, 107wrc+, 0.5war, 0.3war/650

still not close.

Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#345465) #
I do appreciate that UO and others are using wRC+ rather than OPS+.  I have been using BBRef's metrics because I am lazy.  In this case, wRC+ accentuates the point rather than detracting from it (Pearce's most substantial advantage is in OBP which is more accurately weighted in wRC+ than in OPS+). 
Dr B - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#345466) #
If the Jays did not sign Morales, and instead put Pearce at 1B and Smoak or DH (or vice versa), we'd be seeing a much better lineup configuration and likely a higher WAR output from Pearce (as is, being a LF will hurt his value).

That is a true statement, but it is made in hindsight. To not sign Morales would required predicting Smoak's breakout. And who predicted that? A pretty round number of people. If Smoak turns back into a pumpkin, then Morales becomes more useful.

CeeBee - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#345468) #
The longer Smoak goes without turning back into a pumpkin, the more we can squash that notion. :)
PeterG - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#345469) #
Smoak is a different player. It is for real. Pearce is now somewhat redundant and probably will be traded as long as the offer is acceptable.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#345470) #
Pearce is not redundant.  Morales is.  Pearce may be traded because he has value and Morales doesn't, but that is a whole other kettle of fish. It would similarly be reasonable to trade Smoak if the offer was good. 
PeterG - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#345471) #
I don't agree with the assessment of Morales by many on this board. Pearce may have more trade value because of his versatility but moving him will open up a spot for a younger player.
85bluejay - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#345472) #
Smoak - if he continues to hit, then his cheap contract is very valuable and unless the Jays receive a very good offer (other teams may not yet be sold on Smoak to give up much),then it's probably best to keep him.
Morales - because this FO just signed him, they will probably be unlikely to admit defeat and eat the amount of money required to move him.
Pearce - good production,reasonably contract - could see a team like the Yankees interested enough to cough up a decent prospect - open up LF for Fields/Smith/Pompey.
China fan - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#345473) #
"....open up LF for Fields/Smith/Pompey...."

The latest news on Pompey is not good.  He hasn't played in 10 days and is reported to be injured again.  (Yet again.)  At this point, with his recurring health issues, it might be somewhat fool-hardy to count on Pompey as a future major-leaguer.  It might happen, and I hope it does, but I think it would be a pleasant surprise.  Not something we should rely upon.

Smith, meanwhile, has slumped badly in the past 10 games or so.  As for Fields:  I love his Buffalo hitting stats and his speed, but why is he still hitting at the bottom of the Buffalo lineup?  It seems to be a hint that the organization doesn't see him as a leading prospect.  If he was seen as potentially a Blue Jay, they would surely be putting him at the top of the lineup, to give him lots of reps and to take advantage of his speed. His recurring position at the bottom of the lineup can only suggest that the organization sees his recent success as a mirage.

In other words:  Alford still seems like the best bet for the future Jays outfield.
greenfrog - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 07:49 PM EDT (#345475) #
If health is a skill, I'm not convinced either Pompey or Alford has what it takes to be a full-time outfielder in the majors. Among other things, crashing into outfield fences in pursuit of baseballs isn't exactly recommended when you have a history of concussions. And that's just one type of injury risk.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Alford have some success in the majors. I would be surprised to see him play 150+ games a year.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#345476) #
Pearce is still the best LF option on the team, which says a lot about the other options available (or unavailable in the case of Pompey and Alford). When thinking of teams that would be a great fit for Pearce, my first thought was the Yankees as well. They need a 1B, are just as value conscious as Shapiro is (so the contract/term makes sense), and it would be a huge upgrade for them. The issue is Cashman is also stingy when it comes to trading prospects like Shapiro is, so the return probably wouldn't be worth it.

Might as well keep the Pearce in LF configuration going if Morales is staying put (and he probably is). Not like there are better options available internally right now.
Spifficus - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#345477) #
Am I forgetting Alford injuries? I can only really remember 2 - the knee issue suffered on a slide into home last year, and the broken hamate on a HBP this year.

... *checks Rotoworld*... Apparently there was a collision-caused concussion last year that I forgot about. Still, though, it's not like he's popping hammies when he walks.
Hodgie - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#345480) #
Lowercase indeed Mike. Starting with his breakout (165 wRC+) Bautista authored some 3500+ elite level PA over the course of 6 straight seasons. Since Pearce's apparent breakout (115 wRC+), he has almost 700 elite level PA and another 500+ PA that are much less than that over 5 seasons. Not sure where the parallels are, regardless of the case.
scottt - Tuesday, July 18 2017 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#345485) #
The Tigers trade JD Martinez a week too late.

The one good thing about today's rain delay was watching the Orioles crush the Rangers in the first innings.
I love watching the Rangers lose.

The Angels get Trout back but lose Maybin.

Jed Lowrie is probably a better fit for this team, but would probably cost a prospect.
I guess it's okay if you can get an equivalent prospect back for Joe Smith.
Might be hoping for too much as the entire Baltimore bullpen is now on the block...

Cracka - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 12:46 AM EDT (#345487) #
If you're still awake, then you just saw Mike Bolsinger become the 2nd AL pitcher EVER to strike out 4 batters in an extra inning game. If you're a habitual night owl like me, you'll remember that Steve Delebar was the first to do it a few years ago. Sleep is over-rated and events like this prove it.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:32 AM EDT (#345488) #
with the Yankees moves and the Rays coming, the Red Sox better wake up and go get Donaldson and Smith.
Glevin - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 03:13 AM EDT (#345490) #
Many people are now making the point that it doesn't make much sense to rebuild because of the way the Jays' roster is constructed. There are four players who would bring you back something meaningful (Donaldson, Osuna, Sanchez, and Stroman) and you could probably get a decent prospect for Happ. Other than that, you would be talking about pretty meager returns. If Smoak played a different position, he'd have a fair bit of value but he doesn't and the league is filled with available 1Bmen so the price will never be high.

So the Jays are faced with a problem. They either have to trade Donaldson and a pitcher or two and start the rebuild and anger the fan base or they have to kind of tread water and wait. The Jays could make the playoffs this year or next but lots of teams could and trying to build a team around "maybe has an outside chance of a wildcard" is like going all in on an inside straight. If you start looking at the Jays down the road and say, how are they going to get better, it's almost impossible to envision short-term barring unrealistic scenarios (complete health from all key players, declining players all returning to glory years, etc...). They have no good young hitters, their upper minors is still pretty bare, they don't have a lot of movable assets, and the division is improving (except Baltimore) . What's good for the Jays as a team would be a tear-down IMO, but I don't think the fanbase would be able to take it. Fans are usually the last ones to face up to reality.
Dr B - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 04:34 AM EDT (#345491) #
The longer Smoak goes without turning back into a pumpkin, the more we can squash that notion. :)

And would it matter if he did?  Pumpkins are good in October.

85bluejay - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#345492) #
The causal fan may not support a teardown but I think the core fanbase will and I think the Jays can return to the wildcard picture in 2019/20 with an aggressive approach - the worse is indecision as the Phillies/Reds are finding out. The FO must step up and gain the support of ownership for such a plan. Gerry mentioning that John lott twitted that the Jays think they have a window until 2020 is IMO worrying - I think 2020 is when their window can start again if they move aggressively now.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:02 AM EDT (#345493) #
To predict what Rogers/Jays will do, just think of what is needed to build an 80-85 win team.
Chuck - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#345494) #
The FO must step up and gain the support of ownership for such a plan.

Ownership: "I hear you, I do, but we're filling the stadium and TV viewership is through the roof. And we're not even a .500 team! Shouldn't we see how far we can push this? The Leafs and the Cubs got away with this for decades."

Thomas - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#345495) #
Perhaps I'm just talking to different casual fans than you 85BlueJay, but a number of colleagues/casual friends who I would consider "casual fans" (will go to a couple of games a year, will watch parts of a couple of games a week on TV and will have a good sense of how the team is doing by following checking each night's score, but do not seem to follow the team as closely as most people on here do) are fully supportive of a rebuild. I hear them expressing a desire to trade Donaldson now, while his value is the highest in terms of amount of time of team control remaining; trading Smoak, Pearce and Happ, eating Tulo's contract and basically getting anything you can for the pending free agents. Some even suggest moving Stroman for prospects.

Leaving aside the debates about the pros and cons of these ideas, I have found many people are more supportive of a rebuild than I'd have expected, given that the team is coming off two appearances in the ALCS after an extended playoff drought.

(I'm not sure if this is reflective of the attitude on talk radio, but I don't listen to that regularly, if at all.)

I'm not sure what to attribute this attitude to. I think a large part of it may be influenced by the recent success of the Cubs and Astros this year and a notion that a rebuild would inevitably allow the Jays to restock their system with a number of quality prospects who would likely pan out. I think the Cubs and Astros may have led casual fans to believe a strong team positioned for a number of playoff appearances is the inevitable result of a rebuild. I believe this is also helped by the emergence of Vlad Jr. and Bichette, as even casual fans know these are two of the better prospects in baseball and seem like they could be central pieces for a Jays team that contended in 2020.

I also think it may be a result of natural pessimism about the Jays, particularly in the context of this front office. Most casual fans that I know don't like Shapiro and Atkins (although they don't insult them like some internet commentators nor use derogatory phrases like Shatkins) and I think that they don't have confidence in their ability to keep this team competitive in the short term. They also see that they came from Cleveland, which is succeeding largely on the basis of players they developed or traded for when they were not particularly heralded prospects.

Finally, because they are casual fans, I think many of them don't appreciate how strong New York's farm system is and how long Boston will likely be able to maintain most of its core of young players, including Devers. I think they also don't recognize how strong the 2018 free agent class is and how likely it is that in 2019 you might see Harper and Keuchel on the Yankees, for example.

I'm not saying that the Yankees or Red Sox are going to become juggernauts in 3 years, because so much can happen in 18 months. And I'm also not saying that rebuilding may not be the best way to try to get a competitive team in the near-medium future.

However, I've not spoken to many casual fans who want to see the team do a small rebuild and reload for 2018. I see many more in support of a full teardown and rebuilding for 3-4 years down the road. But maybe i'm not dealing with a representative set of casual fans.

soupman - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#345496) #
CHC, LAD, NYY, BOS FOs: "We're going to win multiple WS"
TOR FO: "we're going to make sound decisions and limit our exposure to risk"

SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#345497) #
The issue with a tear down is that the only players that will get the type of value needed for an accelerated rebuild are Sanchez, Stroman, and Osuna. The veterans on the team are likely not going to fetch that much aside from Donaldson, whose value is only going to shrink as he gets closer to becoming a free agent. He has not exactly had an MVP calibre season and he's battled injury this year as well.

That's what it comes down to. When the Jays are ready to trade the young pitching, that's when they can rebuild. Otherwise, they'll get a top 25-50 prospect for Donaldson, maybe two, but that's not going to be a huge difference in terms of how quickly the rebuilding phase can go. The White Sox rebuilt quickly because the players they traded were all young and cheap with many years of control left (Sale, Quintana, Eaton). The Jays simply do not have that aside from the pitchers they probably won't be trading any time soon.

It's really a tough spot to be in. A quick retool may have been possible if all the vets were performing well, but the impending free agents have basically gutted their own value, the expensive older vets will probably never have much value in a trade (Martin, Tulo, Morales), and Donaldson is having his worst season since his breakout. Getting appropriate value back is going to be tough. Happ is the one pitcher they really have to move at this point. He likely has value with an additional year of control and strong performance post-Searage.
scottt - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#345498) #
The core fanbase doesn't fill up the RC.

Before you tear it down, you have to bulk it and they haven't done that, so there's nothing to tear down.
Martin and Tulo are expensive and barely above average players that can't be traded.
So they are going to keep trying until those contracts expire.
The main concern is the pitching. They still can cobble a good rotation next year.
After 2020? It could be really ugly.

It's alright. Financially, the team is doing great. When the attendance drop, then it will be the time to tear it down.



Chuck - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#345499) #
Mommy, daddy, please stop yelling. Every time I turn the bolding off, it gets automatically turned back on with the next post.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#345500) #
Rogers cares about profit and perception. If Shapiro can convince them that ratings and attendance can remain high during a rebuild, then I'm sure they'd do it, but more likely ownership will have to swallow short term pain for hopefully long term growth. I don't think they are going to do that. They probably would have done that after 2015 when Shapiro was first hired but then they made the playoffs and the FO had to pivot their strategy. As great as those two playoff runs were, that might be what is holding back a logical rebuilding effort now. Would have been better if the Jays got a ring in one of the last two years.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#345501) #
my favorite part of the rebuild talk is the idea that we should trade Stroman/osuna, not because they will be too old to be part of a future core, but simply due to the assumption that we will be too cheap to pay them for any of their free agent years.

That speaks volumes to me, at least.
mathesond - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#345502) #
Huh, I hadn't seen anyone say anything about Stroman or Osuna eventually getting too expensive, only that they are the rare Blue Jays that could potentially bring back players that would kickstart a rebuild. Guess my reading perception isn't what it once was.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#345503) #
Would have been better if the Jays got a ring in one of the last two years

What's wrong with people here?  No opposition to this mushy talk??  Sad!  You gotta stay hungry or you wilt.
/3 a.m. tweet

I have said it before, but I will repeat.  It is a good idea for the organization to commit long-term to (at least) one of its younger players now, regardless whether it is going for it in 2017, retooling for 2018-19 or imagining a longer-term rebuild with an aim to compete in 2020 and later.  Stroman seems to me to be the ideal candidate for a long-term contract.  If the financial terms are right, Osuna would also be a good candidate.  Clubs have to assume some risk, and it is best if a good portion of that risk is invested in young players who the organization knows well, rather than free-agents in their 30s.


uglyone - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#345504) #
"only that they are the rare Blue Jays that could potentially bring back players that would kickstart a rebuild."

What are the chances they bring back players who end up being better than they are already?
mathesond - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#345505) #
"What are the chances they bring back players who end up being better than they are already?"

I wouldn't know, then again, I haven't been pushing for trading them either.
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#345511) #
Just wanted to say, in Monday's game (haven't watched Tuesday yet), I really enjoyed Buck's analysis about RH batters leaning more out over plate than in the past, and how LHP who come inside (with several examples from his career) can have success.

Which might explain Jose's struggles against LHP the last 2 years..

soupman - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#345512) #
there's a classic victor wang article. SSS, but basically - chances are the prospect will bust. stars are rare.
http://www.philbirnbaum.com/btn2007-08.pdf

it's far more likely, i think, that tulo has another 5+ win season or two left in him than any top 10 prospect produces 5 wins in their entire career, for example. that said, if you get a 'star' out of the prospect, then obviously that blows the transaction out of the water. it's just that the likelihood isn't high.
jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#345513) #
Mike, you've mentioned an extension before and I've agreed with you every time ... I think some of the concerns around these parts stem from the fact that the org hasn't shown any willingness to invest significantly in anything long term - we had a chance to extend JD when we signed him to a two year contract, we could and should discuss Stro, Sanchez and Osuna - one of Shapiro's most lauded accomplishments prior to coming here was locking up young talent in Cleveland long term.  We do seem to be stuck in something of a mediocre safe zone, and nothing the FO says or does seems to counter that.  Our first offseason with these guys showed the value of that approach, but last offseason was a clear fail.  Right now, Shapiro says we aren't buyers or sellers - safe zone.  Atkins says ... uhh, has he said anything since coming here? 

It seems they are playing the long game, and the most promising moves I've seen from Shapiro and co. have been the behind the scenes investments in a strong FO and system - investments that are pretty hard to value at this point in time. 

Dawel Lugo was the centerpiece in the JD Martinez trade - a guy we traded for Cliff Pennington.  Good for Lugo breaking out in another system, but unfortunately it looks like the market value for Pearce and Bautista is pretty darn low.  If the Yanks are playing Frazier at 1B, there goes the most logical destination for Smoak. 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the move we should make is trading Donaldson over the next few weeks.  Prior to this season, dude missed all of 19 games in four years, and last year was his best offensive season in the bigs.  Clubs like Boston or STL aren't going to overreact to one injury.

Glevin - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#345514) #
I have no idea why you'd extend a pitcher with three and a half years left on a deal. Hitters are very different. What are the chances Mookie betts or Correa or Lindor is a great player in five years? 90%? What are the chances Osuna is a dominant pitcher in five years? 25%? 50% The rate of closers failing is higher than that. pitchers in general are extremely risky which is why teams don't generally want to sign pitchers for more than two or three years at a time. Besides, extending players is easy to talk about but the player has to agree to a deal that's worth it.
jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#345515) #
Yeah, those extensions Cleveland gave to Kluber and Carrasco are terrible.  Oh wait, they are the primary reason that Cleveland is a contender.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#345516) #
Don't quite understand the methodology.

"These four subgroups I called "bust," "contributor" (a back of the rotation starter or middle reliever for pitchers), "everyday player" (a middle of the rotation starter for pitchers), and "star" (an ace for pitchers). A bust was defined as a player who had 12 WARP or less (2 or less
WARP per year). A contributor was defined as a player who had between 12 and 24 WARP (2 to 4 WARP per year). An everyday player was defined as a player who had between 24 and 36 WARP (4 to 6 WARP per year). A star was defined as a player who had 36 or more WARP (6 WARP or more per year)."

Not a BP subscriber, but from what I can see, Happ was worth 1.78 WARP and Osuna 1.13 last year. That's both busts?
soupman - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#345519) #
three big reasons to extend pitchers are 1) they're rarer to develop from top prospects and 2) they seem to age faster and their declines not even necessarily related to acute injury, and 3) they cost about as much in the market as players making them more risky, and relatively more costly.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#345520) #
Kluber and Carrasco would still be in arbitration. Their extensions have very little to do with why Cleveland is a contender.

Stroman has 3 years of arbitration left, so he'll make approximately 30m there. How many years beyond that are you willing to guarantee, and what's the price that makes sense for both the team and for Marcus to forego free agency? The team might be fine with a 4/45m deal with some options + buyouts tacked on, but would Stroman accept that? The Jays would have to be getting a significant discount on his FA years if they're going to guarantee him that money this far ahead in advance.

jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#345522) #
Of course 92-93, my bad.  I should have written "are and will be a contender for years to come".  I think Carrasco would have been a FA after this season, but Kluber was under team control for the next few years. 

My point stands though - excellent value extensions that have real value to the club.  I think Stro fits that mold.

soupman - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#345523) #
osuna is a reliever. and BR had had at like 4.5 wins. i have no idea if BP changed the formula for WARP in the last 10 years, my guess is they have.

if you want, you could repeat the study with buckets and a value system you prefer. in broad strokes, the outcome is clear: you don't trade donaldson and get back a younger donaldson. you get back a pillar IF YOU"RE LUCKY.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#345525) #
I too prefer extensions for position players to extensions for pitchers.  How much is Stroman likely to earn in arbitration in 2018-20, assuming that he puts up seasons comparable to his career line in 2018-19 (180 innings a season with an ERA of 3.6-3.7).  He received $3.4 million in 2017 and has performed better in 2017 than previously.  I'm guessing that he averages at least $12 million in arbitration.  Does that make sense?  If so, 4/45 seems very light.
jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#345529) #
With that big trade, do the Yanks have the best bullpen of the decade?  Chapman / Betances / Robertson / Kahnle / Warren / Green, with legit MLB relievers like Holder and Shreve in the minors?

Just looking at Russ Martin's stats.  He's worth 1.4 fWAR so far, 1.2 bWAR, with all sorts of intangibles (although also with fairly poor offensive stats for the postseason) - how exactly is this guy untradeable? 



Chuck - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#345530) #
With that big trade, do the Yanks have the best bullpen of the decade?

They had all of Chapman, Betances and Andrew Miller for a period last year. That trio has to trump this year's collection.

PeterG - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#345531) #
Chapman and Betances have not been that effective of late. That's a big reason why the trade was made. Yankees still have a serious problem with starting pitching.
jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#345533) #
Tough crowd.  Of course, a bullpen is more than 2-3 guys.  If you take the 6 I mentioned:  211.3 IP /  128 H /  77 BB / 303 Ks / 12 HRs. 

Better question.  Is there a top 6 better than that?

scottt - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#345534) #
For teams with big pockets, it's easier to load up on position players and sign pitchers on the FA markets.
If the pockets aren't so deep, you end up looking like Baltimore. Not a team I would like to watch regularly.

The Yankees'worst starter has been Tanaka who should probably not opt out of his contract.
I'm not not a big fan of the Red Sox rotation. Too many lefties.

scottt - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#345535) #
The problem of Bautista and Morales is that pitchers are now willing to go entire at-bats without throwing a fastball in the strike zone. Bautista still wants to pull everything, so lefties throw him soft stuff on the outside of the plate. Against Morales they spray it more and they throw the fastball when it looks like he's sitting on the breaking stuff.  The Yankees starting rotation barely averages 40% fastballs. 

In this environment, it's probably better to send hitting prospects to AAA where there's a lot more junk being thrown.

Pearce looks very good at times, but he still have the tendency to hammer balls violently into the ground.
Those are not normal ground balls, they're batted bunts and bouncing balls that are perfect for grounding into double plays.
Morales has 15 GDP in 337 AB. Pearce has 6 in 153. That's not massively better. Smoak has 8 in 318. That's much better than Pearce.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#345537) #
The thing about signing pitchers to extensions is that not only does it have to make sense for the team, but the player also has to be willing to accept risk on his end. Prior to this season, Sanchez switched agents to Boras. The Jays are not going to be able to sign him. With Stroman, he has four years of arbitration (one already in the books) so chances are he'll be making real money over the next three years anyway. Do the Jays want to risk having him at big money in 2021-beyond, and is Stroman willing to accept possibly less to buy out his FA years? It's a gamble on both sides, moreso for the team since SP's can go down at any moment.

Out of the three, Osuna is probably most likely to sign an extension, but he's a reliever, so it makes no sense for the Jays to do it when he has three more years of control left anyway.

If I were to guess, I'd say the first big extension a young player gets with the Shapiro regime will be Vlad and/or Bichette, and it will be long (7-10 years). Of course, same rules apply (the player has to be open to it), but if they look like stars at age 21-ish, around the time both could be in the bigs, then it's certainly possible as long as Boras is not around either of them. That type of security for a player at that age is hard to turn down.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#345539) #
Sanchez with another blister, per Chisholm.
jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#345540) #
We all know the volatility of pitchers - as do the pitchers, the agents, the GMs.  Signing extensions for pitchers shouldn't be taboo, it's just that the extension needs to make sense to both parties.  Frankly, the more something is considered contrary to received wisdom, the more I think it should be explored.  Kluber, Carrasco - clearly one of Shaprio's greatest achievements is his success extending players.  

Everyone seems so averse to long term commitments ... does anyone think the Nats regret signing Scherzer for $210 million? 




jerjapan - Wednesday, July 19 2017 @ 11:56 PM EDT (#345541) #
I'm not the only one:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-yankees-bullpen-could-be-something-unbelievable/

Money quote:  "When you combine and average the current Yankees relievers, it comes out looking like a bullpen full of Max Scherzers"
Dr B - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 01:46 AM EDT (#345542) #
Pearce looks very good at times, but he still have the tendency to hammer balls violently into the ground.
Those are not normal ground balls, they're batted bunts and bouncing balls that are perfect for grounding into double plays.
Morales has 15 GDP in 337 AB. Pearce has 6 in 153. That's not massively better. Smoak has 8 in 318. That's much better than Pearce.

It's an interesting idea that Pearce is prone to double plays, but remember if he beats out just two double plays or two balls bounce just bit further away from the fielder then he looks statistically the same as Smoak. In other words, the sample size is a bit small to draw conclusions. So, let's increase the sample size.  6 in 153 is a double play every 26 plate appearance; that's his line in 2017. In his career he is 1 every 40 PA, and his 5 years in Baltimore it's been 1 in 59. For his career he is about the same as Smoak in 2017.

So, I don't think one can draw too many conclusions yet about Pearce version 2017, though I'd be pretty confident his numbers are going to end up better than a certain fleet-footed DH who plays for our favourite team...
Glevin - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 03:33 AM EDT (#345544) #
"Everyone seems so averse to long term commitments ... does anyone think the Nats regret signing Scherzer for $210 million?"

Because the vast vast vast majority of big long-term contracts turn out horribly (even to hitters). Look at Verlander and Felix who were both elite pitchers for years. Both now have terrible contracts.

Extensions for pitchers can make sense in certain scenarios (i.e. you can get a big discount.) Kluber, for example would have been a free agent in his 33 YO season so was willing to risk making a lot less money for much more security. So, yeah, if Stroman is willing to sell out his free agent years for super cheap, go for it but the odds of that happening are extremely slim. Why would Stroman sell out his age 30 and 31 Years for well below market value? If it isn't well below market value, there's no point for the Jays do it. If Osuna, I wouldn't even try with. I'd trade him for a haul of prospects or move him to starter and move someone else to closer. You can rebuild your system very quickly by creating and trading closers and closers just have so little value on rebuilding teams.
Chuck - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 06:57 AM EDT (#345545) #
So... the Jays start the day with only two AL teams in their rear view mirror, both of whom are now selling off their assets.

And with three more GIDPs last night, they are now at 102, easily leading the majors where the average team is at around 75 (that's a full game's worth of outs they have conceded by doubleplays compared to the norm). Kendrys Morales is working hard to chase down Jim Rice's record of 36, but he'll fall short unless he can turn in more performances like last night.

A run is possible, sure. Never say never and all that. But man, this team is looking desultory. Please, optimists, say something to inspire me to keep paying attention.

scottt - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 07:10 AM EDT (#345546) #
The Yankees drop another series.

Boras won't be able to get that huge contract for Sanchez if he can't start 30 games.
The year is starting to look like a complete write off for him.
A surge in the second half is not possible if Sanchez can't win 10 games.

The Royals are apparently interested in Estrada. Could work for them with that big park and good outfield defense.
I sure hope we're talking more than just getting Sparkman back.

Chuck - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 08:01 AM EDT (#345547) #
Boras won't be able to get that huge contract for Sanchez if he can't start 30 games.

It's not like Sanchez is entering his free agency this off-season. He has a few years yet to establish his value in advance of a big payday.

hypobole - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#345548) #
"Please, optimists, say something to inspire me to keep paying attention."

Once you hit the 5th stage of grief like I have with this team, all will seem better.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#345550) #
Please, optimists, say something to inspire me to keep paying attention.

Sorry for the delay in answering your call!  Fangraphs still has the Blue Jays with a 16.4% chance of making the playoffs.  That seems high even to me.  Anyways, I have no desire to watch Kendrys Morales ground into more double plays.  He has now grounded into 61 between ages 32 and 34.  I thought that would be right up there, but the age record is 82.  Rice hit into 76 during that period, but it wasn't his high water mark.  Rice led the league in GIDP four years running from ages 29-32 and grounded into 102 between ages 30 and 32- but he did inspire fear...I have a feeling we are going to be seeing Dwight Smith Jr., (again), Roemon Fields and Jonathan Davis and Lourdes Gurriel before the end of the year.  The nice thing is that there is no pressure on any of them, as the players they will take time from have not been adding any significant value. 

Donaldson has not been himself, and the chances of him being traded at the deadline have diminished quite a bit.  The only player that I can see them trading is Happ.  I don't know how much value he has.  It's quite possible that the club does nothing at the deadline and gives it another go in 2018. 
Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#345551) #
And guitarists/Bauxites have reason to celebrate.  It's Carlos Santana's 70th birthday.
SK in NJ - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#345553) #
"It's quite possible that the club does nothing at the deadline and gives it another go in 2018."


Honestly, I am starting to see the logic in going that direction now. My first suspicion was that Rogers was behind wanting to compete in 2018, and maybe they are the ones pushing for it, but it could also be the FO realizing that their vets have no value and the ones that do are either under performing (Donaldson) or only have 3 months of success on their resume (Smoak). What can they possibly trade that's going to accelerate a rebuilding effort aside from Stroman, Sanchez, and Osuna? Filling the system with more Harold Ramirez's and Reese McGuire's will certainly help in terms of depth, but it won't make a huge difference overall, and those are the types of prospects the Jays would be looking at in return for Bautista, Estrada, Liriano, etc (and even that might be pushing it given how bad the vets have played). Smith is a bit of a wild card since relievers can be overvalued around this time, but he has to be healthy first.

Short of trading Stroman/Sanchez/Osuna, the Jays might be better off trying to piece together a WC team next season, and if that fails, head into next year's trade deadline with hopefully Donaldson as an MVP calibre trade chip, Smoak without the stench of being a fluke (assuming he keeps being this good moving forward), etc.

Happ is the one guy who should absolutely be traded in the next 11 days. Outside of that, get what you can for Jose, Estrada, Liriano, and Smith, and then retool. Trading Donaldson is an off-season thing if he bounces back in the second half, or next year's deadline if he doesn't.

What a disaster of a season. The team isn't good nor are their vets going to fetch any significant value, barring some great work by Atkins.
soupman - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#345554) #
long term contracts mostly look bad from the POV of fans who expect the players to be exploited for then entire life of the contract. if they weren't reasonable, then the teams that sign them would be out of business.
James W - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#345555) #
It's Carlos Santana's 70th birthday.

I can't believe Cleveland still runs him out there every day.
85bluejay - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#345556) #
I don't see Happ being traded - if the team is going to give it a go in 2018 (all indications is that they are), then they will need starting pitching (Happ) & it's expensive in FA - Joe Smith, an expiring contract, if he comes back and is effective is the most likely guy to be moved IMO - I would really like to see some minor league relievers get a September audition with an eye to building a 2018 pen - give a break to overworked guys like Barnes & Tepera.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#345557) #
I can't believe Cleveland still runs him out there every day.

He can still pick 'em better than some guys 40 years younger.


PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#345559) #
I would also like to see a few starts for Valdez. It is possible that he has discovered the elixir at age 32 and could be a dark horse candidate for a starting role in 2018. I do not favour signing any FA starting pitchers to long term contracts although a stop gap for one year is ok. Happ will not be dealt anytime before July deasdline 2018.
SK in NJ - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#345561) #
Trading Happ would hurt the 2018 team, but I was speaking more about value. The Jays could probably trade him this week and get pretty good value. From a pure selling standpoint, it's the right time to move him. But yes, if they plan on trying again in 2018, then trading him is probably not happening.
Chuck - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#345562) #
He can still pick 'em better than some guys 40 years younger.

Pick 'em indeed. Saw both Santana and Gilmour last year. Hell of a year for old man guitarists. Amazing that they still have the manual dexterity to play their instruments and have not succumbed to injury like Liona Boyd did.

Nigel - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#345563) #
From Rogers' perspective, Happ is integral to the optics associated with next season.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#345564) #
Even if the Jays take a step back in 2018 (which I favour) someone has to pitch that will not be embarrassing. So, I would hold on to Happ. I think the trading priority should be to move JD in the off season.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#345565) #
Chuck, I'm not sure if ska/reggae is your thing but here's an 82 year old Ernest Ranglin still picking pretty well.  Blue Jay backup catchers haven't hit a lick (ahem), so there may be an opening there...
bpoz - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#345566) #
You have good, bad and Ok regarding fan perception. But it is different for each team. NYY and Boston fans would have higher valuations than the Jays and still lower from TB.

This affects how ownership and their FO build, sustain and rebuild their teams. We all understand the concepts of full blown rebuild, a not full blown rebuild, retool, sustaining a window with bandaids and finally going for it.

Last year NYY only traded A Chapman and A Miller because they thought that they were out of it. Chapman being a FA they believed that they could resign him.

This year they upgraded their pen so far. Improving their rotation is something they will try to do IMO. Hopefully for them at only the cost of money.

This is only an example of a team that we fully understand regarding fan expectations and how the FO will most likely react.

I put this out because I am still uncertain about 2018 regarding the Jays.
soupman - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#345567) #
why would the jays punt 2018? it's donaldson's last year here and he's about the only elite player they have now. once he's gone it's a bleak...i know a lot of people think bo and vlad are already 7+ win players, but i'll believe they're more than everyday players when i see it. in the meantime, i'd rather the jays go after Otani and/or Yamada both of whom should be ready to help today.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#345568) #
It would be much better to trade JD and concentrate on 2019 as the chance of being strongly competitive in 2018 is not worth the risk in not taking a step back. They can either bring in youth gradually or suffer the consequences of having to do it all at once......if you don't want a Philly style rebuild, you need to start taking immediate steps to avoid it.
soupman - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#345570) #
they can still make the playoffs this year - a year where almost everything has gone wrong. sanchez, donaldson, tulo, travis have all been injured - but all under contract for next year.

adding otani and yamada gives you a front-line rotation piece that they need, and a second baseman that can hit (and stay on the field).

imo, it makes way more sense to 'go for it' in 2018, especially since the japanese players will still be in their prime years at the end of a 5-7 year deal.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#345571) #
I don't think it is realistic to think the Jays could or would sign Otani. It will take a monster contract. These kind of contracts don't usually work and are best avoided.

I don't see any reason why Otani would want to come to TO as Japanese stars usually prefer the spotlight of NY or LA.

As for JD, I think it is better to get a good return than no return (other than a 2018 season) at all.
soupman - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#345572) #
why is it not "realistic"? it's the cost of doing business, where 'business' is trying to win championships.
CeeBee - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#345573) #
When 9 guys are out on the field with gloves on their hand is it not supposed to be called defence? sure fooling me.
SK in NJ - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#345574) #
Otani will probably go to a National League team where he can hit too (we all know he is going to the Dodgers but I'll just pretend that it is a mystery).

A more likely 'retool for 2018' scenario is Dee Gordon or some equivalent talent that another team wants to get rid of where the Jays can absorb the salary in place of trading top prospects. Beyond that, look at the FA market for players in their 30's who will not require a huge contract in length or dollars but can provide value (Jarrod Dyson seems like a fit). I think improving the defense will be pretty hard not to do, but fixing the SP is going to be a tough one.
rpriske - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#345575) #
I just turned on Gameday... what happened to Liriano?

Pulled in the 2nd after giving up 3? Injury?
CeeBee - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#345576) #
over 40 pitches in the 2nd alone probably had something to do with it.
hypobole - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#345578) #
It's not realistic because Jays have never done it. Someone will offer more, they always have.
Chuck - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#345579) #
what happened to Liriano?

Liriano has averaged 4.5 innings in his 16 starts this season. Mike's tandem starter plan might be covertly underway.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#345580) #
I see that they've completed 6 innings.  Another snappy game.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#345582) #
Can somebody explain to me why Bautista has started every game except the 2nd game of a doubeleheader in April and DHed only 5 times?  It's a rhetorical question.  It is obviously essential to get the bats of both Morales and Bautista in the lineup every day.

Presumably that streak will end shortly.

Chuck - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#345583) #
Pillar and Tulowitzki got a rest today. Bautista must surely be due a day off at this point. I recognize it would jeopardize their 16% (hah!) playoff probability.
China fan - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#345586) #
So the Jays have split their two latest series against Houston and Boston. Every time they do well against good teams, I think they actually have the talent to be contenders, and it is mostly the injuries that have hurt them this year. I may be deluding myself, but I don't think their talent level is as bad as some of us seem to assume.

Meanwhile, another good game from Dominic Leone today, salvaging the team's chances after Liriano's poor start. I still can't understand why Leone was optioned to the minors earlier this month in order to keep Lucas Harrell on the team. Harrell is clearly an inferior pitcher to Leone, but he was out of options, so was the decision to option Leone purely a case of "asset management" to avoid losing Harrell? If so, it backfired badly when the Jays lost to Detroit in extra innings, with Harrell walking the final two hitters for the loss. I'm pretty confident that Leone would have saved that game for the Jays. So, in essence, the Jays lost the Detroit game because of "asset management" -- and then they had to DFA Harrell anyway. At this stage of the season, the Jays should be putting their best team together, rather than hoarding assets of dubious value.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#345587) #
Leone could be sent down again tomorrow as someone has to make way for Joe Smith. Normally, it would be Cesar Valdez but he may have to make a start if Sanchez can't.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#345591) #
BP Toronto reports that a source within the Jays organization acknowledges that Estrada to KC is a possibility. IF it happens Jays would receive a prospect at AA or advanced A. Four names are mentioned, one of whom is Glenn Sparkman.
Nigel - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#345592) #
Leone is currently their 4th best reliever (5th assuming Smith is healthy). If he goes down to make room for Smith there is a real problem in the team's assessment of the talent in their pen.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#345593) #
What move would you make Nigel? The only other relievers with options are Osuna Biagini, Barnes, Loup and Valdez. They could DFA Beliveau but if so, he well be lost to a waiver claim. Loup can refuse his (due to service time) and become a FA. It's a bit of a conundrum.
jerjapan - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#345594) #
I was frustrated with that same thing China, but the Lucas Harrell's of the world are going to get innings in extras.   I don't see any evidence that the decision was asset management - the org has DFAed Boslinger, Latos, Lawrence and Sparkman already this year - I'd guess they just liked Harrell at that moment for some reason. 

Glevin, the Verlander contract is often cited as an example of a bad long term deal for a pitcher ... and yet if you check Fangraphs value stat, he's been worth over $125 million already of his $180 million dollar deal, with 2 and 1/2 years left to go.  It's entirely possible that he reaches that total going forward, and unless he suffers a significant injury, he will be close.  That deal is hardly an albatross, and is arguably fair market value.

SK in NJ - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#345595) #
Nigel, do you really think they'd be sending Leone down because of their perception of his talent/his performance? Moves like this are almost entirely done with options in mind. It sucks for Leone if he is the one optioned, but that's how you work a 25-man roster over the course of a season. Plus, chances are Smith is going to pitch for a week or so, and then promptly traded (hopefully), so Leone will be back up pretty soon.

As far as Estrada, when I heard about him being linked to KC, my first thought was getting Sparkman back. I hope it would be more than that, though. They obviously like Sparkman, but they already had him and gave him exactly one bad appearance before cutting bait, which made the entire process pointless. Sparkman plus another prospect, and that would look a bit better. I'm not expecting much regardless.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#345596) #
That bad appearance does not mean that Sparkman does not have potential, only that he is not ready for the majors at this time. He pitched well in rehab both in AA and AAA. The return probably revolves around how much salary is being eaten. I would expect 2 prospects if Jays are eating the entire contract but maybe one is fair if they are not. It should also be mentioned that KC was reportedly looking at acquiring one or two pitchers one of whom was Garcia. With him off the board now, they may accelerate any possible move for Estrada.
scottt - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#345597) #
They were a blown Osuna save from taking 3 in Boston.
#stayinthefight

Boston was actually not impressive. Take Pedroia out and this team would be in a huge slump.
They have athletic outfielders, but there's isn't a ton of power there.
They punted first and third base. Their DH isn't Ortiz.
Their catchers are pretty average too.

Smoak with 2 more HRs? This is starting to look good.
Bautista might as well rest on the bench.

Bolsinger was a huge drop from Sanchez, Liriano and Estrada.
Now? He's just another undependable starter.

SK in NJ - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#345598) #
I didn't mean that Sparkman doesn't have big league potential. I meant they gave him one opportunity before ditching him, which made carrying him on the roster essentially pointless. Trading Estrada for someone they simply could have hidden in the pen a bit longer, rather than ditch him the first sign of struggling, would be a bit disappointing even with Estrada's depleted trade value.
jerjapan - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#345599) #
Sparkman was about our 13th best relief option.   Most of that low ranking is tied up in the fact that he can't be optioned.  Barnes, Leone and Tepera are all far more valuable than Sparkman, and those guys had to / have to ride the shuttle.  If we make a trade with KC, I hope it's for guys that don't have to be added to the 40 man - Ramirez and McGuire from Pittsburgh were bubble 40 man guys, and that diminishes their value quite a bit.  TBH, I think, in retrospect, that Pittsburgh 'won' that deal .... as much as I thought it was a great deal and the time, and would hope the club makes those sorts of deals again. 

China noted upthread how having Harrell out in extra innings potentially cost us a game.  There is nowhere to 'hide' anyone in the pen, or on the 25 man roster, IMO.
Nigel - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#345600) #
Why would anyone worry about DFA'ing Bolsinger or Belliveau? They are the very definition of freely available talent. If you are focused on hording marginal assets, send down Leone, by all means.
hypobole - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#345601) #
"Boston was actually not impressive."

Yeah, Red Sox hitters aren't much better than ours.

One big difference between the 2 teams' position players is that they've only given about 450 PA's to negative WAR guys, we've given over 1200.
Nigel - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#345602) #
Sorry, my response was too flippant. I see zero difference in value between Belliveau and Bolsinger versus Chris Smith and Rowley. In my view, Leone has now established some performance value over the riffraff. He deserves to stay. Keeping any one of Harrell, Loup, Bolsinger or Belliveau over him makes zero sense given that I don't think any of those four are better than freely available talent.
SK in NJ - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#345603) #
"Why would anyone worry about DFA'ing Bolsinger or Belliveau? They are the very definition of freely available talent. If you are focused on hording marginal assets, send down Leone, by all means."


If sending Leone down is "hoarding marginal assets", then every team in the league is guilty of it. That's the way managers can get fresh arms for the next series, or any number of reasons beyond trying to hoard a mediocre asset. They might DFA Bolsinger and Beliveau at some point. They don't have to right now because they can use Leone's options to make a roster move, and then bring him back up when a subsequent move is made in 10 days or whatever the time has to be. On a team that is contending you might have a point, but on a bad team that is trying to piece a roster together for a week (and that's pretty much how long Smith will be a Jay as long as he stays healthy), I'm not sure what the big deal is.

They may even decide to keep Leone and DFA someone else. Who the heck knows at this point. It's really not a big deal either way.
Nigel - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#345604) #
Ok SK. You are right.
PeterG - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#345605) #
We will see what the decision turns out to be. I only said that it could be Leone. If Jays are going to trade a couple of pitchers, they may prefer not to lose anyone at the moment.

Why is Rowley being considered as a replaceable asset? I think he has a good chance of sticking in the majors next year As he will have options and Leone won't, he may be more valuable than Dominic. Remember that Leone will have less value next year when he is out of options. It is possible he does not make team or stay on 40 man in off season though at this point it seems more likely that he will.I don't think Chris Smith , Loup or Beliveau are safe either. The latter is another possibility to be gone tomorrow or maybe he will strain his back on the plane and be placed on the 10 day DL.
Gerry - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#345606) #
Darrell Ceciliani in the Dunedin lineup tonight.
jerjapan - Thursday, July 20 2017 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#345607) #
The team is certainly using the phantom DL more than I've ever seen, but good on them for that.

One of Beliveau or Loup have to stay as a LOOGY.  I prefer Beliveau, but I doubt it's him over Loup, the org doesn't seem to want to cut ties with vets. Leone is officially off the Buffalo shuttle next year, like Barnes and Tepera this year.  He's proven his value and he is not a freely available talent at this point.

But Bolsinger and Harrell ARE freely available talent. 

The bullpen has some borderline assets for sure, but these guys aren't equally valuable. 

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