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You wouldn't know it from us but the Blue Jays apparently won the opener of this series. Three more games to go.

Series Schedule/Probable Starters

Tuesday at 7:07 pm ET - Blake Snell (0-6, 4.69) vs. Marco Estrada (5-7, 4.85)
Wednesday at 7:07 pm ET - Jacob Faria (5-3, 3.19) vs. Marcus Stroman (10-6, 3.00)
Thursday at 4:07 pm ET - Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84) vs. Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)
Blue Jays vs. Rays - August 14-17 | 149 comments | Create New Account
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Michael - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 03:30 AM EDT (#347071) #
With the Monday win the Jays are now 3.5 back of the wild card.

There are 5 fringe wild card contenders between 2 and 3.5 back which include Baltimore, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Toronto. All of these teams are below .500.

There are 3 teams in the wild card 2 hunt, LAA (current WC2), Minnesota (0.5 GB), and KC (0.5 GB).

The Yankees are 2 games up on LAA, in the WC1.

In contrast in the NL the closest team to the wild card is St Louis, who is 5 games back, much further than the Jays (although St. Louis is only 1.5 GB of the Cubs for the NLC slot - all of the AL division leaders have comfortable leads).

So 3.5 games back with about 45 games left (44 for the Jays, more for some others) is tough but a very doable margin. Essentially you need to win 10% more games than your opponents. This could be as simple as play the same as them against everyone else and then sweep them in a 4 game series, or it could involve an extra win every 2 weeks or so for the rest of the season. The hard part is with 6 teams between the Jays and the WC2 team, that means the Jays need to pass 7 teams, and while some of the teams the Jays "only" need to play 5% better than, other of the teams need the Jays to play 10% better than, and with this many teams at least a couple are likely to outperform average.

You'd probably expect that even if things go well for the Jays, at least one of the teams ahead of them will end the season 26-19. So that would make the Jays need to have another 28 to 30 wins (85 - 87 wins total) depending on if the teams that do the best from the group are the ones just in front of them or the ones currently in the wild card. If the Jays truly are a .500 team and they had iid 50% chances of winning each game left then they'd end up with 85 wins or better 2.5% of the time, 87 wins or better 0.5% of the time. But if somehow 83 wins would do, they'd do 83 or better 8.7% and 81 or better 22.6%. Games aren't iid and the Jays have somewhat of a favorable schedule, but also have to have a number of games not started by the top 3 starting pitchers, which greatly decrease the chances of a strong streak.

Still kind of crazy that it is still that good given the season.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 05:35 AM EDT (#347072) #
Nice game for Tepesch, beating Tampa's Ace. Keeps the win streak alive with the regular Starters up next.
85bluejay - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 05:47 AM EDT (#347073) #
2-1 score, befitting 2 teams that have trouble scoring - I hope the Jays play for early leads in this series given the Rays offensive funk - I watched the last 2 innings - Osuna not throwing hard is a concern for me.
scottt - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 07:24 AM EDT (#347075) #
The strike zone was generous. There was several balls outside called strikes. That certainly helped Old Nick.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 07:25 AM EDT (#347076) #
Shout out to Chad Bettis of the Colorado Rockies who pitched 7 strong innings and allowed no runs in his return after battling testicular cancer.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 07:27 AM EDT (#347077) #
Tepesch was not good last night. Only allowing one run was great, but it was about the flukiest start a starter could have. No strike outs, 3 walks, a home run, a ton of deep fly balls, and a FIP of 7.80. I hope he does not get another start. I'd much rather take a shot with Brett Anderson or call up Biagini than wait for Tepesch to get destroyed before cutting him, but it doesn't look like there's any way to avoid it.
Paul D - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 07:47 AM EDT (#347078) #
I had the game on without sound while cleaning . Can someone explain the weird double play late in the game? Pop up that turns into a ground ball that refsnider throws to second for the force. Then I'm not sure why happened or where the second out came from
hypobole - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 08:25 AM EDT (#347079) #
The double play wasn't. Men on 1st and 2nd, no outs, Loup induced a weak liner that dropped in from of an incoming Refsnyder, who picked it on the short hop. He threw to second for the force, but Bourjos who had been on second, returned to the bag instead of advancing. He was tagged out while standing on the bag, but overturned after a fairly lengthy delay and discussion. The force had been removed so he could go back to 2nd.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#347080) #
One-run games and luck, Exhibit Q. 

Kendrys Morales' 2017 season is almost a perfect example of typical age-related decline from his 2016- K rate up from 19.4% to 21.5%, IsoP off marginally from .204 to .200, BABIP down from .283 to .276, baserunning off significantly, GIDP rate up.  You do not want him in your lineup every day, and you certainly don't want him hitting cleanup. 

Josh Donaldson is still capable of carrying the team on his shoulders for a while.  That's basically what he has been doing, and the timing has been excellent. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#347082) #
Aaron Loup's 1.2 solid innings yesterday was very helpful.  Barnes and Tepera got the day off, Leone is returning from the bereavement list, and Estrada and Stroman start the next two games. 

Tepesch's next scheduled start would be on Saturday.  With Monday being a day off, the club could treat Saturday's game as a Charlie Wholestaff game. 
rpriske - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#347083) #
Taylor Cole released.

Tim Mayza called up.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#347084) #
It will never happen, but for the rest of this season, the best lineup might be Pearce/Bautista at DH and Carrera in the OF against righties, and then Pearce in LF and Morales at DH against lefties. It's still a pretty small sample size, but Morales has been awful against RHP in 2016 and 2017, while he has mashed lefties. No idea why that is since he never had such pronounced splits prior to '16.

Either way, the Jays need to find a way to move Morales in the winter. I was cautiously optimistic about his profile prior to the season but his base running and lack of defensive value pretty much kills his value despite being an average to above average hitter. Unless he goes all Justin Smoak on us next season, it's really not worth the defensive issues his presence causes. I have talked myself into the Kendrys for Ian Kennedy idea that was floated here. I can't think of any other team that 1) has an equally or more overpaid SP, 2) would actually value Morales and have a need for him.
92-93 - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#347085) #
I don't understand what happened with Taylor Cole. He was released by the team while on the MLB DL. I assume they are responsible to pay him an MLB salary for the rest of the season, or until he is medically cleared to play. If teams are allowed to release players while they are on the DL, why did they DFA Chris Smith to open up a 40-man roster spot for Mike Ohlman instead of just releasing Cole on Sunday?
scottt - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#347086) #
I wasn't happy with the 7th inning management last night. Sending Tepesch to put 2 runners on until a left bat comes up for Loup? Anybody could have been up for the 8-9 hitters before sending Loup. I'm perfectly fine with the 4 out save.

They botched that double play because Goins touched the base when he should have tagged the runner standing on the base who was forced to move to 3rd and hence not safe on 2nd.
scottt - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#347087) #
When you release a player you're responsible for his salary. When you're on the MLB DL you can't be optioned back to the minors. I don't know if you can DFA a player on the DL. That wouldn't really serve any purpose. It's possible Cole had already cleared the revocable waivers. Chris Smith was outrighted to Buffalo.

Cole has been too good not to be offered a minor league contract in the fall.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#347088) #
You Be The Manager question: What would be the optimal lineup and batting order be tonight, with a lefty (with typical platoon splits) throwing for the opposition and Estrada on the mound for the Blue Jays?  If you want to take into account the SSS vs. Snell, that's cool too. 
hypobole - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#347089) #
The way I saw it, the play wasn't really botched by the Jays. Goins' focus, as he ran to 2nd for the force, was (rightfully) on Refsnyder. It only made sense for Goins to assume Bourgos, who was behind him, would go to 3rd. After the force, Goins turned and Bourgos was standing on the bag.
hypobole - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#347090) #
"I don't know if you can DFA a player on the DL. That wouldn't really serve any purpose."

Opens a 40 man spot.
92-93 - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#347091) #
There's been one groundball-to-second out recorded in Estrada's last 3 starts while he's on the mound, and it came with the Jays up 3-0 in the 7th with Pearce having hit in the previous half inning. Considering that, and assuming that my player is amenable to the idea, here's what I would try:

Bautista 9
Donaldson 6
Smoak 3
Pearce 4
Carrera 7
Morales 1
Pillar 8
Barney 6
Ohlman 2

My guess at the actual lineup is Bautista-Donadson-Smoak-Morales-Pearce-Pillar-Barney-Refsnyder-Ohlman.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#347092) #
Nice, 92-93.  Personally, I'd give Bautista the day off and run with:

Carrera 9
Pillar 8
Smoak 3
Donaldson 5
Pearce 7
Morales 0
Refsnyder 4
Ohlman 2
Barney 6
92-93 - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#347093) #
I did think of resting Jose but he's hitting .196/.339/.478 in August so I want to try and keep whatever momentum he has going.

Interesting that you choose Donaldson in an RBI spot over the potential for an additional 9th inning AB.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#347094) #
My logic is that you want your best hitter in the 4 slot (narrowly over the 2 slot); Donaldson also lost a step from a few years ago and the 4 slot accommodates better his current balance of skills.  I'd have him there the rest of the season.

I realize that the lineup has a bit of a retro feel with the 1/2 guys not really great at getting on base.  It's a compromise. 

bpoz - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#347095) #
I just compared the AL standings from today to July 30. The biggest loser has been Houston and the biggest winner has been Boston.

Teams had decided if they were buyers or sellers on July 30. Things have changed over the past 15 days regarding selling or buying.

In the NL St Louis may have hopes for a playoff spot.

A fascinating year.

Estrada can help the Jays 2 ways. Pitch here like he usually does. Very well. Or get traded for something really nice.

Trading Estrada is a sure win for the Jays. The return should help the Jays in the future. Keeping Estrada is not a sure win, because we still may not make the 2nd WC.

ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#347096) #
But does trading Estrada tell the players that management has given up on them ? The team has been playing hard and with determination the last few weeks, and , while I agree it would be a good move to trade Estrada for a younger player of value, it might also make the players feel they are having the rug pulled out from under them in their attempt to make the wild card. It's a tough call in my opinion.
bpoz - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#347097) #
I missed that factor completely. Great point ISLANDBOY.
jerjapan - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#347098) #
Agreed, and I think it would be difficult to get value for Estrada at this point.  I don't fully understand how waivers work, but as far as I can tell, you only get to negotiate with the team that claims him.  It would take some real luck to line up the right match, and the get value for, what, 6 starts?  He's not likely going to be a key starter for a team in the playoffs, unless he gets hot or someone is particularly desperate. 
Four Seamer - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#347100) #
If the player is claimed, once placed on revocable waivers, you can only negotiate with the team that claimed him (your leverage being the ability to recall the waiver), but if he passes through waivers without a claim you could, in theory, negotiate with every team in the league.
jerjapan - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#347101) #
Thanks Four Seamer.  Doesn't that imply that the player has limited trade value though?  I thought the guys that passed waivers were your Justin Verlanders, or if we go back in the day, Alex Rios / Randy Myers - guys the team would give away for the salary relief.  Or do desirable players also make it through waivers? 
Four Seamer - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#347102) #
I suspect that's broadly correct, as I don't imagine there are many players with attractive medium or long-term profiles passing through waivers in August.   But given that a player only has to pass through waivers once, he could look a lot more valuable on August 31 then he did when passing through on August 1 or 2 due to improved performance, injury-related need, reduced salary remaining, movement in the standings, etc. 
Oceanbound - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#347103) #
Bryce Harper is among the players who have cleared waivers. Being placed on August waivers doesn't really mean anything.
rpriske - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#347105) #
I guess we will know within 48 hours whether Estrada is playing the rest of the year in Toronto or not.

He has been claimed, according to Jon Morosi. It isn't reported who claimed him.
Nigel - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#347106) #
I suspect that I am going to like either of Mike's of 92-93's lineup better than the actual one. However, I don't see any basis for Pillar in the 2hole. Even by this team's standards he's an out making machine.
Glevin - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#347107) #
Depends what the Jays are offered. The playoffs are a possibility still so I wouldn't want to trade him just to trade him but if they could get a meaningful prospect, I'd be for it.
Nigel - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#347108) #
No matter how you slice it, the bottom of the lineup is going to be terrible. I think I'd go

Bautista 9
Carrera 7
Smoak 3
Donaldson 5
Pearce DH
Pillar 8
Ref 4
Barney 5
Ohlman 2

Morales as the high leverage PH for anyone batting 6th or lower. Even if that opportunity occurs in the 5th or 6th.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#347109) #
nah way you cannot bump Donaldson down. best hitter has to hit right near the top. He can carry us from the 2 hole much easier than the 4 hole.

I wouldn't mess with Bautista/Donaldson/Smoak at the top.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#347110) #
With the platoon advantage, Pillar is serviceable. And he runs well enough still. Obviously he is far from an ideal 2 hitter.

The actual lineup has Bautista and Pearce in the corners. It is a pretty good offensive lineup so there is that.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#347111) #
Arden Zwelling @ArdenZwelling
Told of @jonmorosi report Marco Estrada was claimed on waivers, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons: "Nothing's going to happen. We need him."
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#347113) #
Apparently Biagini will get one more start at triple A before returning. Next week then.
hypobole - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#347116) #
Coghlan unconditionally released.
ayjackson - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#347117) #
Interesting though not surprising developments with Estrada. I would hope that if he isn't traded, he's extended on a reasonable deal. I would have to think he could return more than Liriano or Smith. I think they should use this claim as leverage to extend, ideally.
jerjapan - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#347118) #
Stoeten is citing Gideon Turk that it was the Yanks who made the claim, and they have no interest in trading for him - they just wanted to block their rivals.  Interesting that the waiver claim made it all the way to the Yanks though.

He's also got a Morosi tweet:  "am hearing jays have little interest in letting go estrada, or trading him to contender, as they figure they themselves may be a contender"
uglyone - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#347119) #
I'd think they'd have wanted to add him.
DJRob - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#347120) #
You would think that every AL East team would put in a claim for Estrada. They all have either a need or a desire to block their competitors and no real risk that the Jays would just let him go to save money.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#347121) #
Estrada is a potential 2018-19 asset if they can work out an extension. The Jays still lack SP's in the upper minors, and the free agent SP market is typically not an easy market to find good deals. Unless the team that claimed him makes a good offer, I'd hold on to him. The playoffs are a huge longshot anyway, it's more about having someone eat up innings the rest of the season and possibly leveraging their loyalty in him into a reasonable extension beyond 2017. It appears he wants to stay as well, so it might be doable.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#347122) #
Estrada must really want to stay in Toronto. Pitched awful prior to the deadline, only to rebound after July 31st, then puts up a stinker on the same day he's claimed on waivers. I see what you're doing, Marco.
92-93 - Tuesday, August 15 2017 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#347124) #
It's time to end the Refsnyder experiment, the last two losses can be directly attributed to his poor 2B defense.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 02:15 AM EDT (#347125) #
When the Jays played New York last week, puzzled Yankee fans over at River Avenue Blues were asking each other "don't the Jays know Refsnyder can't play 2b?"
jerjapan - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 04:24 AM EDT (#347126) #
the guy was playing 1B for the Yanks, and we got him for Ryan McBroom.  None of this should be surprising to Gibby. 
bpoz - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 08:15 AM EDT (#347127) #
Poor defense has cost us a few games this year. I remember C Coghlan in the OF having trouble catching the ball.

This offense cannot overcome cheap runs given up.

Urena can provide defense, maybe good defense. But probably provide very little offense.
Chuck - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#347128) #
Estrada was betrayed by terrible defense and the twilight, to be sure. But the 2 HR and 4 BB are on him. Tough to win when you give that up in 9 innings, let alone 4.
Chuck - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#347129) #
And weighing in on Refsnyder, I'm with those that want to end this. He doesn't have the glove for the infield and likely doesn't have the bat for the outfield. And he's 26. Enough already.

This off-season, some serious decisions have to be made about second base. Obviously a healthy Travis addresses the problem, but there may be no such thing as a healthy Travis. Another year of Barney/Goins getting too many at-bats in backup roles can't be the solution. I don't know what is. Pursuing a better second baseman (who?) and moving Travis to LF? Would Travis be no better an outfielder than the current lot, undoing his offense with his defense? That would be my fear.

Second base could be just one more thing for this off-season's already busy agenda (outfielders, starting pitchers, Donaldson decision, etc.). Hope Shapiro and Atkins have good Rogers cell phone plans.

whiterasta80 - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#347130) #
Agreed re- Refsnyder. People didn't tolerate Chuck Knoblauch's defense at 2B and he had 35 career bWAR when they moved him.

Refs can't even hit. There is never an excuse for punting both offense and defense at a position... never.

If we are going to punt 2B defense then we might as well do it with Pearce and if we are going to punt 2B offense then there's plenty of options in the minors who could be given a cup of coffee.
scottt - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#347131) #
Refsnyder's glove isn't that bad actually. He's just not comfortable throwing the ball to guys standing near him.
The ball that fell between 3 guys should have been the right fielder's.
The ball lost in the outfield is just bad luck.
Estrada looked defeated before he walked those 2 last runs, which were the ones that actually mattered.

Morales is gone slumping and looks lost at the plate.

Donaldson is in MVP mode though.

uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#347133) #
it is pretty amazing how bad all the waiver and league min vet pickups have been this year. i mean you don't expect greatness there but they have been hilariously awful.
PeterG - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#347134) #
Dominic Leone?
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#347135) #
yeah, that's one good one.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#347136) #
The solution would be to add better depth, but there won't be starting quality 2B available that would be willing to be bench players. I agree the Jays cannot afford another season where Goins gets 300 or more plate appearances. If the FO feels Travis has a better chance of staying healthy as a LF, then that's one option, but if he stays at 2B, then they may need to target someone like Eduardo Nunez in free agency. I don't think Nunez will sign with a team as a bench player, but maybe he can start in LF and cover 2B/SS/3B in case of need. That would mean settling for a league average bat in left, though. There is no perfect answer. Would playing in LF limit Travis' injury risk? Hard to say. There are options but warts in all of them.

Regardless, the Jays will need to target two way players with some versatility. They can't afford to go into another season with 4 1B/DH types and no depth again. If it means trading for Dee Gordon and moving Travis to LF, then so be it, but at least there would be ways to work the lineup around in that scenario (Travis can play 2B, Gordon can shift to SS on occasion, etc). Losing Travis or Tulo for extended periods next season, which is a good possibility, and having to rely on Goins playing everyday again is not something I want to see again. Find a way to avoid that.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#347137) #
My thoughts.  The "You Be The Manager" question illustrated the difficult lineup decisions in front of Gibbons last night.  The three of us who answered the question all chose defensively challenged second basemen (Refsnyder and Pearce) with the platoon advantage over Goins.  All of us were of the view that it was more important to put out a better outfield defence behind Estrada than an infield defence. 

The Jays not only felt the loss of Travis last night, but also the loss of Martin.  Estrada counts on his catcher perhaps more than other pitchers.  He seemed to have pretty good control at the start of the game and completely lost it later.  I felt that it was the kind of game where Martin would really have helped him much more than Mike Ohlman did.  Ohlman has caught 34 innings this year for the Blue Jays.  In those 34 innings, opponents are hitting .306/.406/.514 and have scored 28 runs. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#347138) #
Presumably Gurriel will be ready for 2018.  It doesn't look to me like he will be a bad option to back up Tulo and Travis, especially with Bo Bichette coming on. 
bpoz - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#347139) #
The 2017 team was never going to be fast. The FO made only a few changes because 2015 and 2016 were successful. They wanted affordable replacements. Add Smith & Howell veteran for bull pen help. Morales and Pearce for EE, Buatista and Smoak. Then Bautista resigned at the last minute.

LF was ok and affordable the way it was.

The injuries meant the rotation was weakened, the offense lacked protection for many hitters. Martin, Tulo, Donaldson and Travis were replaced by much less feared hitters, so you could pitch around the better hitters. The results showed.

uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#347140) #
Gurriel (23, A+/AA): 178pa, 3.9b%, 18.0k%, .250babip, .220avg, .101iso, 53wrc+
Glevin - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#347141) #
"This off-season, some serious decisions have to be made about second base. Obviously a healthy Travis addresses the problem, but there may be no such thing as a healthy Travis. Another year of Barney/Goins getting too many at-bats in backup roles can't be the solution. I don't know what is. Pursuing a better second baseman (who?) and moving Travis to LF? Would Travis be no better an outfielder than the current lot, undoing his offense with his defense? That would be my fear."

I would try to get a decent middle infielder because the issue is not just Travis, it's Tulowitzki. What's the over/under on total games missed by those two next year? 100? There is definitely a place for a regular player there and it's not like Tulo is particularly good even when healthy. Someone like Jed Lowrie makes a lot of sense as he should come fairly cheaply and can play.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#347142) #
Per FG, the Jays have given exactly 1300 PA's to position players with negative WAR. Another 826 PA's to players with 0 WAR. So 2126 PA's of non-or-minus production.

The last place rebuilding White Sox only have 1068 PA's of 0 or negative WAR, less than of the Jays total.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#347143) #
S/B - less than half the Jays total.
Nigel - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#347144) #
I hope that next year's backup C can play defence. Watching Montero in his limited stint has been painful. Really, the question that this front office has to answer is do they value defence at all in their position player evaluation? Maile represents the exception. Their offseason moves suggest that they don't put high value on it. Then they had a terrible defensive club and have somehow made it worse mid year with additions like Ref, Montero, Aoki etc. Maybe it's all a misguided search for offence but at some point they need to put some gloves on the field.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#347145) #
Yikes.  I hadn't been following Gurriel this past week.  He went from hitting .288 in New Hampshire to .235 during the week, with no walks and 8 strikeouts in that span.  I had given him a mulligan for his performance in Dunedin, but maybe I shouldn't have. 
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#347146) #
Urena's been around league average over his last 200pa or so, so that's good. He is probably better defensively than Gurriel too, and of course a couple years younger.

Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#347147) #
I am pretty sure that Danny Jansen is, right now, a considerably better player than Mike Ohlman.  I understand why the FO wouldn't bring him up for both development and player control reasons, but it is worth noting that if you are attempting to field a competitive team and honour the covenant with fans, sometimes you do have to spend a little more to get a back-up who can play defence.  Not a lot more, mind you. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#347148) #
I am pretty sure the time line for Urena would involve him spending at least most of 2018 in the high minors.  In light of his mediocre performance in double A so far, that would be completely understandable.  If Gurriel isn't ready (and it looks like he isn't), the club absolutely does need an above-replacement level backup middle infielder (which is exactly what Barney was in 2016 and Goins was in 2015). 
92-93 - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#347150) #
Couldn't agree more, Nigel. I'd have no problem with Maile as the backup C next year, I liked what I saw from him behind the plate and believe a big reason our starters have looked so solid the last few years has been Martin's control of the game. I'd like to see the Jays sign one (if not both) of Jarrod Dyson or Lorenzo Cain for next season, because the era of Pillar being an above average defensive CF appears to my eyes to be over. The plays he makes look difficult are routinely run down by fast CFs.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#347153) #
Needless to say, I agree too.  Defence matters quite a bit- I think that bad defence messes with a pitcher's head and that is never good.
Nigel - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#347154) #
I agree about Pillar. However, I suspect his Superman image will keep him as the everyday CF for a while yet and past his best before date.
Nigel - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#347155) #
I have wondered how much of Estrada's control problems and Happ's nibbling this year are caused by a concern about what happens with balls in play on this team. No way to tell. They may just be pitching poorly. I know if I was a pitcher on this team I'd be trying to K everyone.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#347156) #
Yeah I'd want Urena to start next year at AA again, at an age appropriate 22, to see if he can build on his last half season of solid hitting and turn that up to plus hitting again.

And as I just noted in the other thread, not only is Jansen arguably our best bet at C even right now, but McGuire is showing a very interesting power surge right now as well.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#347157) #
Honestly I'm all on board with our 4 OF next year being Alford, Pompey, Hernandez, and Pillar...and I have no idea which would play which position, or who would be the 4th OF. But it would be a great defensive OF whichever way it shakes out, with a shot at being solid offensively as well.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#347158) #
47 players have 200 innings in CF this year. Pillar's 10.6 UZR/150 ranks 13th. DRS is a counting stat, but he ranks 2nd among CF's with +14.

Pillar is not a long term solution, but there are plenty of holes to fill next year before worrying about replacing him.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#347159) #
yeah pillar's defense really has recovered from that early season slump.

But i'm more worried that he's found a new normal offensively - he's not the low-90s wrc+ guy he was in his first 2yrs, but the low-80s wrc+ guy that he's been the last 2yrs.

Even with great defense that could technically carry an 80wrc+ to being a 3war type player, I'm still not sure that's the kind of guy you want starting every day.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#347160) #
I agree uo, but as you pointed out, there are internal options on the way. This team has a lot of holes, and there will be a budget. I'd concentrate on filling those holes through FA, before worrying about CF.

One last point on Pillar is the durability thing that he seems to have that's lacking in so many of our other players.
bpoz - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#347161) #
Strange things happen in baseball. We are not out of it. If Martin, Bautista, Donaldson, Morales and Pearce are all healthy and hitting the long ball, then this offense can be feared again.

The pen is good. There will be call ups for defensive substitution in Sept. M Saunders can come up in Sept and add a big bat.

A lucky surprise for the rotation is not impossible. A new guy and the old ones getting hot.

So a playoff spot is won. We ride luck & a hot SP or SPs to the WS. All this good fortune would make it extremely unlikely that the FO would tinker drastically with the team.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#347162) #
bpoz, you're not the first to mention bringing up Saunders, but I totally disagree. He had an awful 69 wRC+ 2nd half for the Jays, an even worse 57 wRC+ for the Phillies and a mediocre 87 wRC+ in Buffalo. He has a .111 ISO down there, worse than Goins' .117 with the Jays this year.
bpoz - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#347163) #
Lightning in a bottle? Saunders has hits in his last 11 games .390 avg I think.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#347164) #
Saunders is still a bad outfielder. Much rather give playing time to Alford, Teoscar, even Smith. Plus, Saunders isn't on the 40 man. If we make a roster move, I'd much rather add Roemon Fields and his 43 stolen bases. He's hit about as well as Saunders the past 10 or so games, but also hit well before then.
jerjapan - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#347165) #
it is pretty amazing how bad all the waiver and league min vet pickups have been this year. i mean you don't expect greatness there but they have been hilariously awful.

Agreed, with the exceptional pickup of Leone aside.  The FO clearly prefers marginal major leaguers who have experienced some period of big league success.  To me, you don't want AAAA starters that don't strike anyone out - TJ House, Oberholzer, Harrel, Grube, etc.  Last year we at least had guys like Wade Leblanc and Wilmer Font who might have been able to take a few decent turns in the rotation. 

When we fish in the shallow end of the FA pool, we've been consistently poor in our choices- Howell, Morales, Latos, Salty cost us 8 million for negative value.  Joe Smith was our only major league FA that signed cheaply who actually contributed value.  None of our middle IF depth - Elmore, Gregorio Petit, etc - have played well enough to warrant a look despite our glaring need. 

Pursuing a better second baseman (who?)

Zack Cozart?  Assuming his breakout doesn't lead someone to overpay.  Still a solid defender as SS, I assume he could handle 2B / 3B, and like Glevin noted, with Tulo and Travis, it's not like we aren't going to have lots of playing time to offer - more if we can somehow move Morales and free up ABs at DH for vets like JD and Tulo, or if we try Travis in the OF.  I'd be happy to pay starter money to avoid this year's Barney / Goins fiasco. 

With our young OFers and catching depth, I don't see a need to spend on either spot - give me a Chris Ianetta type backup catcher and let one of the young guys win the job.  I hope we don't run with Maille - he's not worth the 40 man roster spot with that bat, IMO.

Like Uglyone, I think an OF of Pillar, Pompey, Hernandez and Alford could be exciting and cheap while addressing our youth / athleticism deficit.  Fields, Smith Jr. and possible Ramirez offer some potential quality depth. 
85bluejay - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#347167) #
The Orioles got a quality backup infielder in Tim Beckham for a very reasonable price at the trade deadline - maybe the Jays weren't interested because Beckham becomes arbitration eligible in the offseason, instead going for Refsynder, who really can't play any of the infield well, but will be cheap next year.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#347169) #
"When we fish in the shallow end of the FA pool, we've been consistently poor in our choices"

A few may have been poor choices, but a few were also shocking drop offs. Montero is a bad defender, but the one thing he could do was hit - until he got here. Howell was mediocre but became terrible.

Sometimes stuff just happens - Rangers acquired Lucroy because he could hit and was one of the best framers in baseball. Suddenly he couldn't hit and became one of the worst framers in baseball.

The big problem this year is almost none of the pickups did what was projected. A couple, Smith and Leone, far exceeded, but most just cratered. And with so many injuries to our average or better players, the duds have gotten far too much playing time.
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#347170) #
montero/leone activated

ohlman/howell dfa
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#347171) #
Leone and Montero are back on the roster.  The starting lineup tonight has the usual Pearce-Pillar-Bautista outfield with Barney in for Refsnyder behind Stroman.  Morales is the DH and cleanup hitter.  He has had a significant share of those below-replacement PAs, and at this point, seeing him there every night bothers me a lot more than watching Refsnyder botch a throw or Pillar get an occasional bad read on a fly ball. 
Nigel - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#347173) #
Hyperbole- I agree that a large part of the team's troubles have been unexpected declines (Tulo, Estrada, Bautista) and injury (Sanchez). However, the front office spent $37m on Pearce, Morales and Bautista in the off-season. That resulted in the team having 4 DH's and only one OF. The reality is that Pearce and Morales have hit pretty near what you could expect given history and aging. Pearce and Bautista would have had to hit something like 130-135 RC+ to be league average OFs given their terrible defence. That was a remote possibility. The offseason plan was a bad one from the start. The front office owns a good share of the blame for this season just as it deserved a good share of the credit for last year's success based on a better offseason last year. I liked the lineups much better when Morales was sick.
jerjapan - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#347174) #
True enough Hypobole, it's obviously a small sample size, and we may have just been unlucky.  I was talking about the offseason though - in season, we've made moves for the likes of Grilli and Benoit, which worked out, and for Montero, which hasn't, but I did like the move at the time.  I still think it's reasonable to predict that low K AAAA starters won't be that reliable if pressed into service though. 

I'm with Mike Greene on Morales - hopefully the org is bold enough to recognize him as a sunk cost.  If we fall entirely out of the race, there is literally no reason to play him daily whatsoever - but I don't see Gibby as that type of manager.  If we do fall out, I hope to see Aoki and Montero following Coghlan and Howell out of town.  

Hopefully Morales' full-time role is re-evaluated in the offseason. 

uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#347178) #
Honestly I think the biggest issues have been the injuries to Donaldson and Sanchez this year. (Add Travis in there too even though it's less surprising).

We would have weathered the declines in some of the old guys just fine if those prime guys hadn't gone down.

And EE instead of Morales woulda been nice.
jerjapan - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#347180) #
Oh yeah, the minor league depth hasn't cost us the year or anything, but a more successful offseason on that front might have yielded a couple of more wins given our rotten run of injuries.

Shi Davidi wrote about Gurriel's utility man profile, noting:  'During his six seasons in the Cuban National Series before coming over, Gurriel played 76 games at second base, 40 in left field, 15 at first base, 12 at shortstop and two at third base.'  He played SS in A ball and is playing 2B in AA.  If the bat catches up, and assuming his D is up to the task, he could be our best utility player since ... actually, I can't think of a good example.  Who were the best utility guys in Jays' history?  

uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#347183) #
2016 Barney?

1.5war, 297in @2B, 210.1inn @3B, 180in @SSm, 37in @OF
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#347185) #
As it turns out, Pearce and Bautista splitting the OF/DH roles, and using the $10 million spent on Morales for a corner outfielder who hit, run and catch acceptably well would probably have really helped. 
uglyone - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#347188) #
like dexter?
92-93 - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#347192) #
2008 Marco Scutaro was an amazing utility player. He always gave you a good AB, and the dude could even steal 2B on a walk.
Nigel - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#347193) #
I see that Christian Lopes has been playing 3B some in Buffalo. He may not have the defensive chops for SS but I'd like to see him in September audition for a utility role. He appears to offer a little of everything on offence (without being a standout at anything).
Nigel - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 08:06 PM EDT (#347195) #
Lopez appears a defensively capable C and can take a walk. That works for me at C with Martin out. I have low expectations. The less we see of Montero the better.
jerjapan - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 08:10 PM EDT (#347196) #
Good call 92-93, Scutaro brought a lot to the table, and was a fun underdog to pull for.  One of JPRs best moves, getting that guy.  what happened when he stole second on a walk?  I don't remember that.

Lopes was pretty well regarded when drafted - 800K bonus for a 7th rounder.  He and his brother are basically the same guy- nearly the same size, same position, drafted in the 6th and 7th rounds, and their stat lines are virtually identical ... older bro Christian has a career .264 / .337 / .375, younger bro Tim, a level behind in AA, comes in with .275 / .339 / .372 and a stolen base game that Christian doesn't have.  Heck, they even slump at the same time - both guys hitting in the .230s for their last ten games. 

Gotta be some odd conversations round the family dinner table - there's no room for two guys with the same skill set.  I'm skeptical of 2B prospects, but either one of those guys could be a serviceable role player.  I guess I prefer Tim slightly due to the speed.

Super Bluto - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#347200) #
Ugly injury with Goins, hopefully not busted. From the replay I would have thought there would have been an argument for interference.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#347203) #
If Goins is DL'd the only 2 middle infielders on the 40 man are Urena and Gurriel.

Lopes in Buffalo seems the only potential offensive contributor, but doesn't play SS. Gregorio Petit?
scottt - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#347204) #
I guess that's what one gets for asking for the end of Refsnyder at 2B.

I'm sure Dee Gordon is still available. Heck, they might even through in Stanton.

scottt - Wednesday, August 16 2017 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#347205) #
as in throw
SK in NJ - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#347206) #
"The big problem this year is almost none of the pickups did what was projected. A couple, Smith and Leone, far exceeded, but most just cratered. And with so many injuries to our average or better players, the duds have gotten far too much playing time."

That's a pretty accurate synopsis of this season. The projected decline was steeper than anticipated, and injuries to key players caused the team's lack of depth to be exposed. The roster configuration was also not ideal. With how weak the 2nd WC is this year, there was really no reason why this current roster couldn't have made the playoffs despite most that went wrong, but ultimately too much went wrong.

I think the only off-season move that I'd hold against the FO is Morales. Bautista given the circumstances at the time made sense, it just didn't work out, but Morales for three years was always questionable. I'm not going to be too hard on them for Howell, Salty, etc. Those were bit pieces at best. Some times you hit on them and some times you don't. For the most part they have done well with the deals they have made (Smoak extension, Happ, Estrada, Pearce, Smith). It is when the bigger moves go south that things become more noticeable, and Morales at a -0.7 WAR with 2/23 left to go on his deal is an eye sore.
uglyone - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#347207) #
Morales @$11m being a "big move" might be the bigger problem.
Glevin - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#347208) #
"The big problem this year is almost none of the pickups did what was projected."

The big problem is that the team isn't good enough. All teams have injuries and most teams don't have backups who are very good. The Yankees have had to suffer through hundreds of ABs for Chris Carter, Austin Romine,
Torreyes, and others. The difference is that the Yankees have a lot of guys producing. They have 7 players over 2 WAR. The Jays have 3. Marco Estrada has the fifth highest WAR on the Jays. A pitcher with a 5.09 ERA. You simply are not going to be a good team when that happens. The marginal players can help with a win or two if they perform but when you have a Pythagorean record of 52-68, you're not a bad team because your backup infielder was -0.4 WAR instead of 0.2 WAR.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#347209) #
Kendrys Morales will probably get another start today against Archer.  He has a pretty impressive B. v. P.  of .600/.615/.1.160 in 26 PAs (courtesy of 8 extra-base hits and only 3 strikeouts).  Heck, even I would give him a start.
92-93 - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#347210) #
That seemed impossible with Archer's devastating slider, so I went to look at Morales' pitch values on Fangraphs and he actually has managed a positive value vs. sliders over his career. It's changeups that he can't hit, and for the last 5 years he can't hit curveballs either. What I don't get is why it's taken so long for the league to catch up to this - he's seeing 6% less fastballs and 6% more curveballs this year, and it's killing him (and us). At this point I'd be happy with the small victory of Gibby batting him behind Pearce.
hypobole - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#347214) #
Glevin, the comment "The big problem this year is almost none of the pickups did what was projected." had nothing to do with the season as a whole, but a discussion jerjapan and I had regarding the massive underperformance of cheap off-season FA signings.

As for your "marginal players can help with a win or two" comment, 10 position player backups/callups this year have a combined -4.6 WAR. The pitching side hasn't been quite as bad, but 7 callups have totaled -1.9 WAR. That's -6.5 wins, which happens to be exactly how far back the Jays are from the 1st Wild Card spot.

uglyone - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#347217) #
then again, signing Encarnacion and Fowler instead of Morales and Bautista adds 4 wins (at this point - prob around 6 at the end of the year) for the low price of $7m.
SK in NJ - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#347224) #
Edwin and Fowler cost a combined $142.5M, and it likely would have taken significantly more than $82.5M for the Jays to sign Fowler. Morales and Bautista are at a combined $51.5M. Nearly a $100M difference is not a low price. Prior to the season, Edwin and Fowler were projected to be around 2 WAR players each, while I believe Bautista was close to 3.0 and Morales was a little under 1.0. Obviously hindsight makes the Bautista/Morales projection look bad, but it turned out to be fairly reasonable for the other two. The Jays just got the short end of it.

There's no doubt the Jays could have done things differently in the winter, but realistically, there wasn't much they could have done to make a huge difference given how much they wanted to commit (or not commit) in free agency. Even two extra wins with Edwin instead of Morales still puts the Jays on the outside looking in right now.
uglyone - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#347227) #
$7m more payroll this year. For probably 6 more wins.

and yes horror of horrors we'd be stuck having to keep them a few more years, too.

electric carrot - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#347232) #
Outside of Justin Smoak and Marcus Stroman basically nothing went well this season. It's been abysmal from nearly every angle except one run wins and two players. The miracle is that we are still in it and if the team got really hot for about 4 weeks we're probably in the playoffs.

Weird year.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#347238) #
Today's lineup courtesy of Ben Nicholson-Smith:
Aoki 9, Donaldson 5, Smoak 3, Morales 0, Pearce 7, Carrera 8, Montero 2, Goins 6, Barney 4. 

Mike Green - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#347239) #
Archer has more significant platoon splits this year than in previous years, with many more hard-hit balls by LHBs.  Hence, the appearance of both Aoki and Carrera. 
Nigel - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#347248) #
Rowley is a completely different pitcher today. In his first start he had a good SL and an inconsistent CH. Today his SL is inconsistent and his CH is good. I like that he's adaptable.
CeeBee - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#347250) #
Is there any compelling reason why Loup is in the majors?
hypobole - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#347251) #
I'm not going to complain about Pillar's hitting again this year.
CeeBee - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#347252) #
How much would Smoak be worth if he was a FA after this year?
uglyone - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#347253) #
something along the lines of Joey's or ee's prrvious contracts imo.

p.s. 3gms out
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#347255) #
The bullpen group of Leone, Barnes, Mayza, Tepera and Osuna is looking pretty good right now. I know one thing, CeeBee - if Loup was a right-hander, he'd be long gone by now.
scottt - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#347258) #
The thing with Loup  is not new. He was good his first 3 years and  somehow establish himself as a regular.
He has not been any good in the last 3 years but has has still pitched over 130 innings of sub-par relief.
He's now just reached the years of service required to refuse a minor league assignment, so he's probably here until the season is over.
The joke now is that he's used as a LOOGY but he's been worse against lefties outside of the 3 home runs to right handed batters.

85bluejay - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#347260) #
What is it that Loup has done to deserve such trust - I hope that Mayza & Dermody can surpass him soon - Our BP will be really happy when rosters expand, some are probably running on fumes.
Why was Pillar not in the game in the 8th nursing a one run lead?
Continue to be unimpressed by Montero in every aspect of the game.
The Jays have to start thinking about buying, an extra win or 2 could make all the difference - Granderson?Lowrie?
I think if healthy, Brett Anderson will be very helpful especially if Refsynder doesn't play behind him.
uglyone - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#347262) #
eh loup is a fine depth arm / 2nd lhrp that's been leaned on a bit too hard because he's the only lefty there most of the year.

100era-, 95fip-, 100xfip-, +0.2wpa, 0.1fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.3awar/65ip

perfectly fine, and by far our best lhrp this year.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#347263) #
Loup came in today and faced two batters.  He gave up two liners at 75-80 mph.  Both fell. That doesn't bother me- it's the walks that do and his control has been better.

Josh Donaldson now has 335 PAs on the season or just under one-half his average over the last four seasons.  His performance level is pretty comparable, a wRC+ of 150 this year compared with 154 and 155 the previous two.  He isn't quite the defensive player that he was, but still an MVP candidate when healthy. 

Nigel - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#347264) #
I'm also ok with Loup being in the pen but I think Gibbons has to adjust his usage. He should generally be used in low leverage situations and he's not a LOOGY (he can't really get LH hitters out). As one of the last guys in the pen, used for an inning or two against all hitters, you could do worse than Loup.
China fan - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#347265) #
Almost all of the relievers, including Loup, have been over-used and over-exposed this season, because so many of the starters have been mediocre or injured. Even some of the high-leverage relievers have been unexpectedly poor or have been traded or switched to different roles (Joe Smith, Howell, Biagini). As a result, there's been a heavy strain on the better pitchers in the bullpen, and Loup is among the relievers who have inevitably been used beyond their specialized role. Some of the relievers, such as Tepera, have thrived on the heavy usage, but it's unreasonable to expect all of them to thrive. Loup would be perfectly okay as a second LHP in the pen. With the emergence of Mayza, maybe Loup can return to his narrower role.
jerjapan - Thursday, August 17 2017 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#347267) #
I haven't seen the appeal of Loup in years, but this year has been the worst.  WHIP is a simplistic stat, but his was under 1 his first season, has increased five straight years and currently sits at 1.58.  There's a reason he spent a chunk of time in the minors last year.  We just don't have anyone better, and I don't think Dermody is the answer - he's too hittable.  Mayza at least has the big arm.  Hopefully this is the last season of Loup - out of options, final year of arb eligibility. 

3 games back is crazy, and I certainly like our team better than the rest of the crowd gunning for the second wild card. 

85bluejay - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 04:01 AM EDT (#347268) #
Teams in the AL East fighting for the WC don't have teams like the White Sox,Tigers & A's to beat up on and that is likely to be their achilles heel - Texas is currently 4-0 in a 7 games stretch against the Tigers & White Sox.
SK in NJ - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 07:44 AM EDT (#347269) #
The Rangers are the only team in the 2nd WC hunt with a positive run differential, and they have 10 games remaining against the A's, who they will face in 7 of their last 10 games of the season. I like their chances of taking the 2nd WC.

The Jays are at least going out with a fight rather than a whimper. Starting the season 6-17 pretty much killed them. An insanely weak 2nd WC is the only reason they are even in a longshot conversation about the playoffs, but making it an interesting September is better than trying to come up with off-season ideas in mid-August. I just don't see how they can keep this up with Rowley and Tepesch in the rotation. I actually don't mind Rowley as a 5th starter who might be able to keep the team in games most nights, but Tepesch is really bad. If Aaron Sanchez could come back as a SP that would be huge, but I haven't read anything about him in a while, so seems like a long shot. The sooner Biagini replaces Tepesch, the better. I'd even be fine with Anderson over him.
Chuck - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#347270) #
His performance level is pretty comparable, a wRC+ of 150 this year compared with 154 and 155 the previous two.

Aesthetically, it's nice to see his stats brought in line with recent years. He is definitely reasserting his case for a long-term contract, either with the Jays or someone else. And as good a year as Smoak is having, Donaldson seems poised to out-WAR him, even conceding 150 AB.

Mike Green - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#347271) #
Texas does have two West Coast trips in a month.  It's not as bad as coming from the Eastern time zone, but it will wear a player down coming back especially.  Their games outside of the White Sox and A's are against Houston, Seattle, the Angels and the Yankees. 

Minnesota probably has the weakest schedule remaining- 8 games against Chicago, 7 against Detroit, and 2 against San Diego (at home). 

lexomatic - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#347272) #
Going back a few days worth of discussion, you know who probably would have helped a ton but hasn't been available all year due to injury? Pompey.

I find it odd, but I'm more optimistic about the Jays' chances now that at any point since before the start of the season. I don't think the playoffs are likely, but isn't there that sports truism, "it's better to be lucky than good?". The Jays haven't been good this year, but most everyone else has also been bad.  If they can not blow any more games the rest of the way, it might make a difference. Reinforcements will come soon. And hopefully now that Donaldson is healthy/hot again, the team might score some more runs.
uglyone - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#347273) #
i still think the WC will need mid-80s wins, so i'm not sure weak competition will be enough.

the good news is that we're close enough to the rest that our chances of being the teamnthat gets on the hottest streak to make it in is as good as anyone's.

would be a huge help of travis/sanchez/martin make it back.
Mike Green - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#347274) #
It's really hard to win consistently when you are missing your starting shortstop, your starting second baseman and your starting catcher for a prolonged period. 

In May, the club was mostly healthy.  On May 30, they ran out a good lineup against the Reds.  Check out the boxscore. Every player was at this point, contributing something.  There were some problems- Morales was not a good everyday DH and Bautista was not a good everyday right-fielder- but the problems were modest and solvable. 

SK in NJ - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#347275) #
Ignoring what the other 7 teams do, the Jays would have to go 26-15 the rest of the way to get to 85 wins, assuming that's a safe number of wins to get the last playoff spot. That is a .634 winning percentage, and that is asking a lot considering they have played .652 baseball the last 23 games just to get to this point. It would take a 2015 type of run the rest of the way to make it. They are 15-8 in their last 23. If they go 26-15 to close out the season, that would be 41-23. I guess anything is possible, but I don't see this roster being capable of that, even with Donaldson in 'Baseball God' mode.

If they are within 1-2 games of the 2nd WC by next week, then they should seriously consider adding players that have passed through waivers, specifically a 2B/SS and a starter. Travis and Sanchez coming back would help, but there may not be enough time if/when they do. The roster configuration/talent level has to change in order for a real run to happen. My guess is it's probably too late anyway, but if they gain some ground between now and August 31, then see if there's an upgrade out there that won't cost anything to acquire.
uglyone - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#347276) #
well, not really - the 2015 run was a run of .700+ baseball for over a third of a season.

hypobole - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#347277) #
The Jays have lined up Biagini's starts with Rowley's, but I have no clue why it's not Tepesch he's replacing. The guy has an amazing 3.48 trifecta of K/9, BB/9 and HR/9, along with a 33.3% GB rate. I know it's a SS of 2 starts but those numbers are disastrous.
uglyone - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#347278) #
The bullpen has been largely awesome this year, especially considering the workload, but unfortunately the injury call ups have been atrocius. At the moment, the only fill-in reliever to be a positive contributor is Mayza in his 1.2ip.

(war here as always is an average of fwar and ra9war):


RH Osuna (22): 54gms, 52.0ip, 34.5k%/3.5b%, 70era-, 34fip-, 57xfip-, 2.6war/65ip
*RH Smith (33): 38gms, 35.2ip, 35.4k%/6.9b%, 74era-, 52fip-, 56xfip-, 1.6war/65
RH Leone (25): 47gms, 54.2ip, 26.9k%/9.6b%, 59era-, 70fip-, 96xfip-, 1.5war/65
RH Barnes (27): 44gms, 51.0ip, 25.9k%/7.5b%, 63era-, 86fip-, 102xfip-, 1.2war/65
RH Tepera (29): 55gms, 61.1ip, 26.0k%/9.8b%, 73era-, 77fip-, 101xfip-, 1.1war/65
RH Biagini (27): 26gms, 31.2ip, 21.4k%/9.5b%, 96era-, 90fip-, 86xfip-, 0.7war/65
LH Loup (29): 53gms, 44.1ip, 22.2k%/11.6b%, 100era-, 95fip-, 100xfip-, 0.1war/65

Decent fill-ins:

LH Mayza (25): 2gms, 1.2ip, 37.5k%/0.0b%, 0era-, -10fip-, -11xfip-, 3.9war/65
RH Valdez (32): 4gms, 10.0ip, 21.4k%/7.1b%, 61era-, 87fip-, 123xfip-, 0.0war/65

The rest....

RH Smith (28): 4gms, 5.0ip, 4.4k%/4.4b%, 122era-, 134fip-, 174xfip-, 0.0war/65
RH Campos (29): 9gms, 10.2ip, 22.9k%/12.5b%, 76era-, 124fip-, 123xfip-, -0.3war/65
RH Harrell (32): 4gms, 6.1ip, 18.2k%/12.1b%, 160era-, 117fip-, 104xfip-, -0.5war/65
LH Beliveau (30): 19gms, 15.2ip, 24.3k%/8.6b%, 169era-, 127fip-, 105xfip-, -1.2war/65
*LH Howell (34): 16gms, 11.0ip, 11.5k%/13.5b%, 166era-, 143fip-, 120xfip-, -1.5war/65
RH Bolsinger (29): 6gms, 15.2ip, 24.7k%/11.0b%, 169era-, 166fip-, 106xfip-, -1.7war/65
*RH Grilli (40): 26gms, 20.2ip, 24.2k%/9.5b%, 158era-, 178fip-, 104xfip-, -2.0war/65
LH Dermody (26): 6gms, 5.0ip, 4.0k%/12.0b%, 283era-, 351fip-, 191xfip-, -4.6war/65
*RH Cole (27): 1gms, 1.0ip, 10.0k%/10.0b%, 813era-, 162fip-, 164xfip-, -9.8war/65
*RH Sparkman (25): 2gms, 1.0ip, 8.3k%/8.3b%, 1423era-, 94fip-, 258xfip-, -13.0war/65

Hopefully Mayza can step it up and fill in for Smith, and balance out the pen with 2 lefties in the process.

Though I'm on board the Carlos Ramirez train as well. The guy is just destroying it this year.
Spifficus - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#347280) #
I wonder if Biagini is going to hit 20 days on this option before he's called back up. If so, his reacclimation to the rotation will have the side effect of another year of control.
bpoz - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#347281) #
They should recall him after his next start or just shy of 20 days. Don't burn this option. Look what happened to Hutch. 2 options burned already. Biagini may be kept as the 6th starter next year. Or 5th. If he struggles then he could be sent down to fix things. The pen may be fine without him. I no longer know which number he is in the pen.
Spifficus - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#347282) #
As for going on a run and getting to 85 wins, I can see it more than I could a month ago. If they can get an added hot hand to join Donaldson's God Mode and Smoak and Pearce's continued good performances (a return of Travis would help), get Biagini back into the rotation with Stroman, Happ, Estrada and Rowley, and maybe, just maybe, get added boost from Sanchez to fortify an underrated bullpen... It's a lot of ifs, but at least it's a visible path.
Mike Green - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#347283) #
According to Shi Davidi, Osuna has a fever today and is back at the hotel.  Barnes and Leone are not available due to workload.  It would be a terrific day for Happ to go 8 innings.
Mike Green - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#347284) #
As for going on a run and getting to 85 wins, I can see it more than I could a month ago. If they can get an added hot hand to join Donaldson's God Mode and Smoak and Pearce's continued good performances (a return of Travis would help), get Biagini back into the rotation with Stroman, Happ, Estrada and Rowley, and maybe, just maybe, get added boost from Sanchez to fortify an underrated bullpen... It's a lot of ifs, but at least it's a visible path.

That's about the way I see it.  I'd add that Ramirez might also be a significant addition to the pen on August 31 or September 1, depending on how things stand then. 
uglyone - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#347289) #

According to Smoak, it's simply a matter of not trying to hit homers anymore.
Nigel - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#347291) #
I actually think it's pretty obvious that he has been sitting on breaking balls all year unless he's in obvious FB hitting counts (2-0; 3-1). I do think there is a league adjustment to come where he gets thrown a lot of FB's early in the count. Sitting on breaking balls also seems to have assisted his strike zone recognition on breaking balls.
Chuck - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#347294) #
Osuna has a fever today and is back at the hotel

Osuna isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel.
And they sent us along, as a surrogate closer.
We're gonna find out where you fans really stand.

scottt - Friday, August 18 2017 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#347301) #
I wouldn't Morales sitting on breaking balls instead of flailing at them..
hypobole - Saturday, August 19 2017 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#347313) #
Insider ESPN ranking outfield defences. Unsurprisingly, Jays rank near the bottom, although ahead of the Pirates, A's, Rockies and Giants.

"Toronto features the defending Fielding Bible Award winner in center field, Kevin Pillar, but their corner outfielders have cost them a combined 33 runs, more than Pillar can make up for by himself."
Gerry - Saturday, August 19 2017 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#347314) #
TJ House up, Mayza reportedly down.
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