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The minor league season is just over two weeks away. On April 4th and 5th the rosters for the minor league teams will become available. Today I wanted to review some of the areas with uncertainty, where the Jays may have too many players for the positions available.



But first I wanted to discuss Vlad Jr and Bo Bichette. Most people seem to be convinced that Vlad Jr. will start the year in New Hampshire. I am not so sure he will. Its not that he shouldn't start there but there could be reasons why he won't. The fans are always eager to promote prospects, teams are usually much more cautious. In previous springs where the fans were sure prospect X would be promoted, more than half the time he was not. The team could say that Vlad needs to improve his defense before he gets promoted. They could say they want him to elevate the ball more. They could say they want him to play in warmer weather. I have no knowledge of this but I wouldn't bet the farm on Vlad starting the season in New Hampshire.

There is one other consideration. When do the Jays want to see Vlad in Toronto? They likely don't want him there this season. If the Jays are not in the playoff hunt, why start the clock on Vlad? They might want to have him reach the majors after April of next season. That would let them have him under control from 2019 through 2025. If he gets to the majors this year, and sticks, he would be a free agent a year earlier. This might not concern the Jays, there has been some talk that it could be best if the top prospects, Vlad and Bo, did not reach free agency at the same time. But I just wanted to point out that teams play with the timing of players introduction to the majors to extend their time under contract. This has to be a consideration of the Jays. If Vlad starts this season in AA, then hits AAA for the second half, he would likely be called up this year.

Similarly I am 50/50 on where Bo will start the year between Dunedin and New Hampshire. Bo has just 182 at-bats in Dunedin and he could do with more time there.


When planning rosters, the front offices have to consider injuries. Injuries seem to have taken care of some logjams. The injury to Troy Tulowitzki has possibly taken one jam out of the system. Richard Urena, Lourdes Gurriel and Gift Ngoepe were all ticketed for Buffalo. The Jays have said that Urena and Gurriel could alternate between second and short. Where does that leave Ngoepe? It looked like he could have been in the majors leagues before the Jays signed Danny Espinosa. Now where does he go to get playing time? Will he be in AA or a bench player in AAA?

Buffalo also has too many outfielders. The Jays have suggested that Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey and Dwight Smith will play outfield with one DH'ing. The injury histories of Alford and Pompey suggest that there could be room for three outfielders with one on the DL. Alford's injury takes care of one jam. Jonathan Davis and Roemen Fields have received a lot of playing time with the Jays this spring. Are they destined for AA, even though they have spent plenty of time there? The Jays have six potential AAA outfielders. If they are all healthy who plays where? Finally health is a skill. Alford and Pompey don't seem to have it.

If Fields and Davis go to AA they will have to mix in with Conor Panas, Ian Parmley, Harold Ramirez and possibly DJ Davis. Some players could get released or go on the phantom DL.

Buffalo has another jam at catcher. How do you get the most playing time for Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire? What about Max Pentecost, where does he fit? The Jays will likely pick Jansen to play in AAA, send McGuire back to AA and have Pentecost catch a couple of times per week. McGuire has 126 games in AA over the last two seasons, should he go back for another year? The assignments of Jansen and McGuire could be reversed but I believe the Jays rate Jansen more highly.

There is another middle infield issue at the lower levels. The following infielders could play second or short in Dunedin and Lansing: Bo Bichette; Brad Jones; Yeltsin Gudino; Kevin Vicuna; Samad Taylor; Logan Warmoth; Kevin Smith; Luis De Los Santos and Cullen Large. That is nine names for four to six spots. More of these players should be in Lansing, some may have to go to Dunedin to leave room for others. Warmoth, Taylor, Smith, Vicuna, Large and De Los Santos should be in Lansing. They all won't be. If Bichette goes to New Hampshire could the Jays push Warmoth to Dunedin?

The Lansing outfield will be another interesting selection dilemma. Will the speedy trio of Reggie Pruitt, Mc Gregory Contreras and Chavez Young all make the roster? What is Ryan Noda's position? He played some outfield last year because of Kacy Clemens. They should both be in Lansing this year too, so Noda needs playing time somewhere. Rodrigo Orozco played 70 games in Lansing last season, he should return. College players like Brock Lundquist and Brandon Polizzi will also be looking for playing time.

Catcher is also an issue in Lansing. Riley Adams could get the most at-bats. However Ryan Gold and Yorman Rodriguez both played well for Bluefield last season and they are both now 20 years old. They too need to play.

It is usually easier to allocate starting pitchers and the Jays do not have too many of those. The New Hampshire starting rotation could be competitive. Jon Harris, Sean Reid-Foley, TJ Zeuch, Jordan Romano, Francisco Rios, Shane Dawson and Josh DeGraaf are looking to start. Some might get bumped to AA with Harris being the most likely. Dawson might get bumped to the bullpen or to the phantom DL. Pannone's suspension took him out of the lists here.

The Jays have improved their system over the last two years and that makes for lots of competition for playing time. The front office has some decisions to make over the next two weeks.

Minor League Position Battles | 306 comments | Create New Account
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85bluejay - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#354766) #
I expect Vlad & Bo to start in Dunedin and ideally finish in Buffalo, in preparation for debut in early 2019 assuming they continue to perform well - I could see an early debut - the 2017 Devers model, the Jays seriously contending and there's an obvious opening that Vlad/Bo could fill or a repeat of 2017 with the Jays selling Donaldson etc in July & FO needing a storyline to keep fan interest (think Moseby in 1980). Very impressed that FO tried to dampen the hype by not inviting Vlad/Bo to ML camp.
I think Urena needs to start in AA - which he has not mastered - hopefully, ready for AAA when Bo is ready for AA. I think Urena eventually gets traded, so success at AA should improve his prospect status.
Jansen/McGuire is interesting - Jansen seems to have the better bat & the Jays may see him as a future regular and McGuire as more of a glove first backup. I would start McGuire in AAA - played more games,few months older,ahead defensively,LHB - a potential midseason replacement for Luke Maile - Jansen in AA with Pentecost his backup/DH/1B.
bpoz - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#354767) #
Thanks Gerry. These assignments will be tricky especially IF and C in A ball.
Mike Green - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#354768) #
I think that the club might separate Warmoth and Taylor because of the difference in age and the differing needs of the big club at short and second.  Warmoth to Dunedin and Taylor to Lansing makes sense to me.   That would likely mean Bichette (and likely Guerrero Jr.) to double A.  Mike Trout's path is the likely one for Guerrero Jr.- double A for the age 19 season with a late season callup to the Show followed by 20 games in April in triple A at age 20 and then up for good.  Health permitting, of course. 
85bluejay - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#354769) #
Given Warmoth's underwhelming start last year, I'd want him to at least show me in Lansing before moving to Dunedin - I also think that Warmoth & Taylor are too far away to start thinking about their place on the big club, assuming they make it that far.
China fan - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#354770) #
For what it's worth, the Jays TV broadcasters on the weekend were absolutely convinced that Guerrero and Bichette would both start the season in New Hampshire. I assumed they were picking that up from clubhouse gossip. But maybe they were misinformed.
uglyone - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#354771) #
I'd be surprised if they held Vlad down in Dunedin. He's already had near as many pa in A+ as he did in his previous 2 stops - I don't see why they'd hold him longer at this stop than they did his other 2, given he crushed this level even more than the previous 2.

Vlad

Rk: 276pa, 12.0b%/12.7k%, 16.2swst%, 122wrc+
A: 318pa, 12.6b%/10.7k%, 9.2swst%, 151wrc+
A+: 209pa, 17.2b%/13.4k%, 7.3swst%, 179wrc+

They haven't been especially conservative with his promotions so far and I don't see any reason why they'd slow him down now.

I'd say the same about Bo but with the caveat that he did see a significant drop in performance in A+ and I could see some argument that they might want to see more from him there....but then again, he still crushed A+, and it just looks bad compared to the ridiculousness of his first 2 stops:

Bo

Rk 91pa, 6.6b%/18.7k%, 24.5swst%, 238wrc+
A 317pa, 8.8b%/17.4k%, 10.0swst%, 201wrc+
A+ 182pa, 7.7b%/14.3k%, 10.3swst%, 145wrc+

but really, looking at those numbers again and I'd still be surprised if they slowed him down and kept him in A+.
85bluejay - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#354773) #
MG, you are probably correct as to the path of Vlad/Bo - a September call-up seems likely, I just tend to be conservative with prospects and I don't rule out struggles higher up especially with regards to Bo.
bpoz - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#354775) #
Vlad, Bo, Jansen and McGuire need to play everyday. We know this and also that injuries are a very real factor.
McGuire had injuries in 2017. I am not sure but Bo may have missed a few weeks in 2017.

The bb to k ratios for Vlad, Jansen and McGuire were 50/50 or better. This always impresses me. They all hit for good Avg. McGuire .278 in 115ABs at AA.

Bo was not close to the 50/50 bb to K ratio. But still V good numbers. Bo produced great power , rbi and SB numbers. Vlad and Bo have to now do this in AA and AAA.
Nigel - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#354776) #
I have to think that its the SS placement at Dunedin and below that is causing the most conversation. There's a good argument for Bichette to start in Dunedin. If he goes there then that might mean all of Vicuna, Warmoth and Smith are in Lansing. I don't think the Jays want to have Vicuna and Warmoth at the same level too often - I'm not sure that having Warmoth play SS while Vicuna moves to 2nd or sits is a good clubhouse look (Vicuna is just so much better defensively). If Bichette goes to Dunedin then I wonder if Vicuna may go there as well as his caddy with Warmoth and Smith in Lansing. If Bichette goes to NH then I think there's a chance that Warmoth goes to Dunedin (due to age and draft position) with Vicuna and Smith in Lansing. It's an interesting puzzle.
PeterG - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#354777) #
Underwhelming start? This is at odds from every report I have heard about him from Jays farm diector, his manager, Vancouver announcers, independent prospect raters, BA.....just about everyone other than a couple of fans.

From ALL reports, Jays seem very happy with Warmoth. He's the type of player you need to see regularly to fully appreciate.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#354779) #
" Finally health is a skill. Pompey and Alford do not seem to have it."

That is a great comment. Pompey seems to be made of glass but I thought Alford's injuries were more unfortunate than anything. I was hoping he would have a good year and was disappointed to see him hurt yet again after a scorching spring training. He may come back strong but, man, he needs to get some playing time under his belt.
85bluejay - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#354780) #
Can you point out to me, a 1st round pick from last year, regardless of performance, whose organisation - FO,farm director,manager etc. isn't saying great things about that prospect- Warmoth may turn out great (I'm hoping) and his 1st full season will give us a better glimpse of his potential but I certainly was underwhelmed by his start and the organisation giving him a glowing review is par for the course and means zilch.
uglyone - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#354781) #
well, health is a skill...until it's not.
bpoz - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#354782) #
Perfectly said 85bluejay. Mel Queen said "well you have to say something good about every kid".

AA and his staff all saw Deck McGuire multiple times. I suppose the projection did not occur. C Sale on the other hand was described as having a great fb pre draft by the by the writers who write those lists. I cannot remember how high they ranked either of them.

I only mention McGuire, because like Warmoth, I am waiting for more proof.
James W - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#354785) #
Chris Sale was also described as having terrible arm slot (still does) that would doom him to the bullpen.
John Northey - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#354787) #
I see Vlad & Bo in AA - there is an old rule that you need to push kids until they fail. Hope they get their first struggle before they reach the majors so they can work their way out of it (Travis Snider could've used that). Half a season per level is quick but not lightning quick and makes sense. AA until the break, AAA after that and both are ready for 2019 when Donaldson might be gone. Ideally the Jays work out a long term 10 year deal with both that is signed minutes after they reach the majors.

As to health as a skill - most would've said Paul Molitor was glass - 4 seasons with 141+ games played from age 21 to age 33 (5 seasons under 120 games). Then from 34 to 39 he played 150+ 4 times and led the league in games played the strike year of 1994 (115) and played 130 out of 144 in 1995. Crazy shift eh? Becoming a DH did a lot of the work but still.
PeterG - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#354788) #
September call ups for Vlad and Bo would be foolish imo, taking up 2 40 man spots that aren't necessary. If either one or both is ripping apart AAA in August, then maybe it can be considered but as it stands now, it is not the right move to make.
dan gordon - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#354789) #
I mentioned the SS logjam last week, and it certainly is an interesting situation. I doubt Bichette starts at Dunedin, I think he warrants a move to AA based on his play and rapid progress, but there is also the relatively less important consideration of not backing up the other SS's in the organization. Guerrero? No way is he starting in Dunedin. I expect Jansen will be in Buffalo, as the Jays see him as Martin's replacement in case of injury. McGuire is interesting. He should really be in AAA, but if he's there he doesn't play enough, although he could DH a bit in addition to some catching now that the OF logjam has been alleviated by the injuries to Pompey and Alford.

Speaking of which, I wouldn't call staying healthy a skill, as a skill is something you can learn. I would say that some players' bodies are just not able to stand up to the rigors of playing professional sports without breaking down. The strength and elasticity of tendons, ligaments, bones, etc. varies from person to person. As well, as far as pitchers are concerned, the degree of abuse their arms get as kids has a lot to do with how well they remain healthy as pitchers in their 20's and 30's.
85bluejay - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#354790) #
Wonder why Oh's visa is taking so long - had one in St.Louis - If Donald Trump decides that those well paying baseball jobs should go to americans, that would really throw baseball a curveball.
vw_fan17 - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#354791) #
Speaking of which, I wouldn't call staying healthy a skill, as a skill is something you can learn.

I understand your point, dan, but also - players CAN learn not to go all out 100% of the time. For example: if Pillar dives a little less, like when there's only a 10% of making the catch anyway, then he might not get injured as often as he would have otherwise. Donaldson not running every ground ball 100% when his calf is a little wonky, etc..
CeeBee - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#354792) #
is that a skill or just good sense?
uglyone - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#354793) #
I guess those saying health is a skill should probably be wanting to say health is a TALENT.
Cracka - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#354794) #
John Lott reported this weekend that Oh has a meeting at the US consulate in Toronto this afternoon and they are hoping for an quick approval that would allow him to start "work" tomorrow.

Just speculation, but Oh had some legal issues in 2016 in Korea and received a large fine for gambling abroad (in Macau) and was ultimately released by his Japanese team after reports that "a Korean crime organization" was involved in the scandal. Perhaps this incident is receiving additional scrutiny this time around... or perhaps it's just a delay in processing/interview scheduling time due to overall increased scrutiny of Visa applications.
mathesond - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#354795) #
Maybe health should be considered a talent, rather than a skill?
uglyone - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#354801) #
RH Osuna: 6.0ip, 6k/0bb, 1.50era
RH Oh: ---
RH Biagini: 13.2ip, 17k/3bb, 6.59era
RH Tepera: 5.2ip, 4k/3bb, 9.53era
RH Barnes: 7.0ip, 11k/2bb, 6.43era
LH Loup: 5.2ip, 9k/0bb, 1.59era
RH Clippard: 4.0ip, 5k/0bb, 2.25era

RH Axford: 5.2ip, 8k/2bb, 1.59era
RH Albuquerque: 6.0ip, 10k/1bb, 4.50era
RH Guerreri: 6.1ip, 4k/1bb, 1.42era
RH Santos: 8.1ip, 7k/1bb, 2.16era
LH Mayza: 7.1ip, 8k/0bb, 2.45era
LH Breslow: 6.2ip, 5k/4bb, 6.75era
LH Dermody: 6.0ip, 5k/1bb, 9.00era


some pretty stiff competition for the bullpen so far.

Tepera better watch out or he might lose his spot.
vw_fan17 - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#354803) #
Don't look now, but the Rangers just released Darwin Barney..
bpoz - Monday, March 19 2018 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#354804) #
Tepera is the #1 set up option to get tp Osuna. He will be fine. Bank on it.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 20 2018 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#354809) #
never bank on relievers.

especially 30yr old relievers with one full season on their resume.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 20 2018 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#354811) #
I'm not very confident in Tepera, especially as a high leverage reliever. Relievers in general are hard to bank on year to year, and someone with his profile (coming out of no where at age 30) is one to keep an eye on. If he does struggle early on in 2018, then hopefully the leash isn't too long. I'm actually more comfortable with him being a long reliever who eats up 2-3 innings at a time, and it appears he actually wants a role like that based on his quotes (he wants to start).

If Oh is healthy, he would be my choice for the 8th inning, but he has to bounce back from 2017, obviously.
China fan - Tuesday, March 20 2018 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#354816) #
"....never bank on relievers...."

I agree. And this is one of the main reasons why the pre-season games are important: the Jays should be carefully assessing all of their relievers and using their spring performances to cobble together the best possible bullpen. In previous years, it has often taken until mid-season to figure out the best configuration for the Jays bullpen. If they can shorten that learning curve, there could be fewer of the blown saves in April and May that have plagued the Jays in the past.

Of course it's easier said than done. If you have a reliever who was excellent in 2017 and has a poor spring, it's difficult to ditch him. You tend to assume that the spring is not as significant as the entire 2017 season. It can be a difficult call to make. But it's probably wise to retain as much flexibility as possible and not to hand a guaranteed job to anyone, except Osuna.
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, March 20 2018 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#354817) #
Tepera will make the team out of Spring Training unless there's a red flag with his velocity or mechanics. But while he's had pretty good ERAs, I'd expect a more solid-average reliever than setup guy.

I'd add Deck McGuire's line to those given by ugly above -

RH McGuire: 8.0ip, 10k/1bb, 0.00era

Judging purely on Spring Training results, we have enviable depth in the bullpen. Axford and Clippard all have both earned a chance with the MLB team, and Albuquerque has some great peripherals, hopefully he stays with the organization in Buffalo. Santos, Mayza and McGuire provide good depth in Buffalo. I would be surprised if Dermody isn't one of the guys moved off the 40-man to make room for Clippard and Axford, so we might lose him.
China fan - Tuesday, March 20 2018 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#354821) #
Oh my god. In the Jays-Phillies game just now, watch the video replay of Russell Martin catching a foul ball, hitting the dugout fence, crashing to the ground, and then getting HIT in the FACE by the FENCE and the FENCE POLE as they fall on top of him as he's lying on the ground....

He jumps up smiling and goes right back into the game. He's a tough guy.


China fan - Tuesday, March 20 2018 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#354822) #
Most of the fence, I guess, was mesh material, rather than steel. But still. I was very worried as he saw him crashing around, hitting the ground, and then getting hit in the face by the fence.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#354841) #
I'm going to say that we should have paid Cobb that money.

I'm also going to go "out on a limb" and say that he won't earn that contract in Baltimore. Horrible stadium, horrible division, and poor medium-term defensive future.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#354847) #
Last Year Value by Position vs. This Year's Average Projection

3B 681pa, 4.9war, 4.7war650 --- 700pa, 6.3war, 5.9war650 --- +1.4war, +1.2war650
1B 698pa, 3.1war, 2.9war650 ---- 700pa, 2.3war, 2.1war650 --- -0.8war, -0.8war650
CF 690pa, 2.0war, 1.9war650 --- 700pa, 3.0war, 2.8war650 --- +1.0war, +0.9war650
2B 609pa, 0.3war, 0.3war650 --- 700pa, 2.4war, 2.2war650 --- +2.1war, +1.9war650
C 648pa, 0.3war, 0.3war650 ---- 640pa, 2.7war, 2.7war650 ---- +2.4war, +2.4war650
LF 660pa, 0.3war, 0.3war650 --- 700pa, 1.5war, 1.4war650 ---- +1.2war, +1.1war650
RF 723pa, 0.2war, 0.2war650 --- 700pa, 1.9war, 1.7war650 ---- +1.7war, +1.5war650
SS 647pa, -0.4war, -0.4war650 -- 700pa, 2.6war, 2.4war650 -- +3.0war, +2.8war650
DH 650pa, -0.6war, -0.6war650 - 700pa, 0.9war, 0.8war650 --- +1.5war, +1.4war650

Hitters: +13.5war, +12.4war650

SP1 33gs, 4.3war, 4.2war32 ------ 31gs, 4.1war, 4.2war650 ---- -0.2war, +0.0war32
SP2 32gs, 3.5war, 3.5war32 ------ 31gs, 3.0war, 3.1war650 ---- -0.5war, -0.4war32
SP3 33gs, 2.2war, 2.1war32 ------ 31gs, 1.7war, 1.7war32 ------ -0.4war, -0.4war32
SP4 32gs, 0.5war, 0.5war32 ----- 32gs, 2.4war, 2.4war32 ------- +1.9war, +1.9war32
SP5 32gs, -0.4war, -0.4war32 --- 38gs, 2.6war, 2.2war32 ------ +3.0war, +2.6war32

Starters: +3.8war, +3.7war32

RP1 64.0ip, 2.2war, 2.2war65 --- 65ip, 1.7war, 1.7war65 -------- -0.5war, -0.5war65
RP2 70.1ip, 1.7war, 1.6war65 ---- 65ip, 0.7war, 0.7war65 ------- -1.0war, -0.9war65
RP3 67.1ip, 1.3war, 1.2war65 ----- 55ip, 0.5war, 0.5war65 ------- -0.8war, -0.7war65
RP4 77.2ip, 1.0war, 0.8war65 ---- 55ip, 0.3war, 0.3war65 ------ -0.7war, -0.5war65
RP5 66.0ip, 0.7war, 0.7war65 --- 75ip, 0.4war, 0.3war65 ------- -0.3war, -0.4war65
RP6 57.2ip, 0.6war, 0.6war65 ----75ip, 0.1war, 0.1war65 ------- -0.5war, -0.5war65
RP7 69.1ip, -1.7war, -1.6war65 --- 60ip, 0.0war, 0.0war65 ------ +1.7war, +1.7war65
RP8 124.1ip, -0.3war, -0.2war65 - 58ip, 0.0war, 0.0war65 ------ +0.3war, +0.2war65

Relievers -1.8war, -1.6war65
uglyone - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#354848) #
quick, clean inning for Oh in his debut.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#354849) #
I said it previously but Iíd rather have Garcia at his contract than Cobb at his. Baltimore apparently added a NTC in addition to losing a pick. I donít think the projected difference between the two is big enough to justify the difference in term/dollars/lost asset.

Glad to see Oh finally pitching. If heís healthy and looking closer to the 2016 version, then it shouldnít be long for him to take the 8th inning role.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#354851) #
The thing to keep in mind about Cobb is that he's pitched his whole career in a fantastic pitchers' park, so he's not as good as his overall numbers look. His career road numbers are decent, but nothing that stands out: ERA of 3.91, WHIP 1.305, just 6.6 K/9, 40 HR's allowed in 343 IP (just 25 HR's allowed at home), and now he's in his 30's and post-surgery. His road ERA and WHIP last year were 4.72 and 1.448.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#354853) #
Another factor is that the pitcher is better with a healthy R Martin or Y Molina. The pitcher is also better with L Maile catching, but of course the offense is worse. Someday someone will find a stat to measure this.

G Sanchez's catching hurts the NYY pitching I have heard but the offense is much better. The fans probably love him. He should command a big salary one day soon.

Gerry - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#354854) #
Heyman says Breslow has been told he won't make the team. He can opt out tomorrow, I assume he will.
PeterG - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#354855) #
#BlueJays acquire right-hander Sam Gaviglio from #Royals for cash considerations. Lefty Matt Dermody designated for assignment to make room on the 40
PeterG - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#354856) #
Gaviglio is a right handed starting pitcher DFA from KC.
PeterG - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#354857) #
Gaviglio has 2 remaining options He is obviously going to be starting in Buffalo.
China fan - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#354858) #
Even with Pannone suspended, and even if we assume Guerreri is a reliever now, the Buffalo rotation is getting crowded: Borucki, Gaviglio, Biagini, Tepesch, Rowley, Santos, McGuire. Perhaps the latter two will be relievers too.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 08:05 PM EDT (#354859) #
Since itís not a waiver claim but a trade after clearing waivers Sam Gaviglio isnít on the 40-Man. With Matt Dermody being on waivers, whether being claimed or not, a 40-Man spot opens up. That covers Axford.
PeterG - Wednesday, March 21 2018 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#354860) #
Gaviglio is listed on the 40 man roster.
dan gordon - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#354861) #
Yes, Gaviglio is on the 40 man roster. He was traded after being DFA'd, not after passing through waivers. They dropped Dermody to make room for him. Frankly, I don't get why they would drop Dermody instead of Moll. Dermody was one of the team's best relievers the last 2 months of 2017. Gaviglio seems like an uninspiring addition as well. I certainly hope they don't intend to keep him and Moll on the 40 man when they add 2 or 3 of Clippard, Espinosa, Axford and Alburquerque. Moll seems like the first drop to me, and Gaviglio would be right there with D.Smith as the next.
Glevin - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 03:36 AM EDT (#354862) #
People are way too worried about the edges of the 40-man roster. I don't get the Gaviglio thing either. Seems like a nothing pitcher but maybe the Jays like something about him and want a closer look for a week and it's not like Dermody was anything interesting. Axford and Clippard both look very likely to make the team so that means 2 players cut and I am sure Gaviglio and Moll are among the most likely contenders there.
uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#354864) #
yeah it's probably best to view any top that isn't on the 25 man roster as an absolutely fungible part, regardless of whether they need a 40 man spot. And Dermott putting up a handful of innings with a nice era but poor peripherals and nothing in his mlb record to get excited about is especially so, Imo. and the first time we heard about moll and gigliano is probably the last.

for me I'll still be annoyed if they send biagini down to AAA most of the year, when he's likely our 2nd best RP, due to the questionable idea that he'll be a significantly better emergency starter if he's sitting down in the minors rather than relieving in the majors.

greenfrog - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#354866) #
Not sure if this has been posted, but Sickels has released his overall farm system rankings. He has the Jays system at #6.
PeterG - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#354867) #
I think some room on the 40 man may be made by placing Carlos Ramirez and Tulo on the 60 day DL. Maybe we deal someone for a prospect who does not need to be on the 40.
PeterG - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#354868) #
Perhaps they like the potential of Moll more than Dermody.
uglyone - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#354870) #
well let's break it down.

17 pitchers on the 40 man

Stroman
Sanchez
Happ
Estrada
Garcia

Osuna
Biagini
Tepera
Barnes
Loup
Oh

11 locks.

Borucki
Guerreri

these 2 aren't losing a spot imo.

Mayza
Ramirez

these 2 are interesting borderline cases that they'll try to keep.

Gaviglio
Moll

these 2 probably back on waivers before the season starts.

Then there's 2 non-rosters that look to be near locks to make the team:

Clippard
Axford

So, the easiest thing to do is add Clippard/Axford and drop Gaviglia/Moll to start the year. This would also mean pushing Biagini down to AAA to start.

I don't think there are any other arms interesting enough to put any stress on our 40-man situation. Even though they've said nice things about guys like Santos.
John Northey - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#354877) #
Hopefully the Jays will find someone interested in some of the back end guys to fill in their pen in exchange for a C level prospect who doesn't need to be on the 40 man yet.
China fan - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#354878) #
Espinosa is now 6-for-14 as a Jay, including a HR today. His defence seems fine too. That settles another roster question, if there was any lingering uncertainty. There can't be much doubt that he'll be on the opening-day roster.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#354879) #
I love spring training.  At the end of the 4th inning, Ngoepe, who was playing third, trades places with (former) second baseman Espinosa.

Teoscar Hernandez has hit his 4th homer, and drawn his 3rd walk, of the spring.  He looks like the same hitter as he was in September.  It doesn't mean that much, but it is an additional piece of evidence that the power spike might be sustainable, at least to a significant degree.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#354882) #
Dalton Pompey is a possible 60-Day D.L. candidate. Reports of a separated bone in his injured hand has the potential to delay recovery. Enough to warrant an extended D.L. stint, I donít know?
Carlos Ramirez hasnít pitched in a long time and might be a 60-Day D.L. candidate. Possible shoulder issue? That could keep him out long enough to go on the 60- Day D.L.
Troy Tulowitzki is the biggest question mark. Could he be closer to being ready than we think? I donít think heíll take more than three to four weeks to be game ready, but Iíd let him develop at his pace rather than slowing it more.
SK in NJ - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#354883) #
Prior to today's game Hernandez had 2 walks and 16 strike outs in 47 PA so far. That's a little too similar to September 2017 for my liking. That's probably the type of hitter he is going to be, so either they are ok with that or not. The power has to be legit if those are his BB/K numbers.
China fan - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#354884) #
For those who subscribe to MLB TV, there's another chance to see Vlad Guerrero and Bo Bichette facing major-league pitching today, at 6 pm, in the split-squad game against the Pirates. They're both in the starting lineup and in the field.
China fan - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#354886) #
"....for me I'll still be annoyed if they send biagini down to AAA most of the year, when he's likely our 2nd best RP, due to the questionable idea that he'll be a significantly better emergency starter if he's sitting down in the minors rather than relieving in the majors...."

Personally I disagree with the "2nd best RP" assessment, but I can certainly see the argument that he might be more valuable as an excellent reliever than a mediocre starter or minor-leaguer. However, I think it's inaccurate to suggest that Biagini's role is merely "emergency starter." That's not the main reason why he'll start in Buffalo. It's because the Jays want him to develop all of the skills that could make him a good starting pitcher, and he has a better chance of doing that as a starter in Buffalo, rather than a reliever in Toronto. The Jays think he has the potential to become a good starter, and they think the best way to develop those skills is to let him be a starter. As a reliever, he would be restricting his arsenal and using fewer of those skills, which would foreclose the starter option.
China fan - Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#354888) #
Guerrero Jr. has speed as well as power. After clubbing a double in the 2nd inning, he has now beaten out an infield hit on what seemed to be a routine grounder. Bichette followed with a no-doubt homer. These guys are a great duo.
uglyone - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 01:07 AM EDT (#354889) #
"It's because the Jays want him to develop all of the skills that could make him a good starting pitcher, "

he's 28yrs old with hundreds of pro innings under his belt.

the idea that a few more months of AAA will develop some untapped skill seems...optimistic.
uglyone - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 01:11 AM EDT (#354890) #
pompey has "Carpal Boss" which is a bone growth at the wrist. painful but probably playable. eventually surgery to shave down or remove the bone bump.
Glevin - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 05:42 AM EDT (#354891) #
2017 numbers as starters

Pitcher A
XFIP 4.24, K/9 6.4, fastball velocity 91.3

Pitcher B
XFIP 4.23, K/9 7.16, fastball velocity 95.

Pitcher A is Alex Cobb and pitcher B is Biagini as a starter. Of course, I would never claim that Biagini is as good as Cobb just that there is a legitimate reason the Jays are trying Biagini as a starter. Starters are just so much more valuable than relievers. In fact, Biagini had a HIGHER WAR last year than he did 2 years ago.
China fan - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 07:01 AM EDT (#354892) #
"....he's 28yrs old with hundreds of pro innings under his belt...."

In his entire career, Biagini has had only 105 innings as a starting pitcher above the AA level.
scottt - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#354893) #
And they both delivered yet again.



Mike Green - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#354894) #
If you want a pick-me-up on Friday, check out the video for Guerrero Jr.'s double last night on mlb.com.  La puissance.
James W - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#354895) #
Wow, I think Vladdy left a dent in the wall on that one. I wish we had a statcast on that exit velocity.
bpoz - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#354896) #
Depth is a big deal for this FO. IMO Goins and Barney performed ok considering too much was demanded of them. They are bench not regulars. Latos, C Lawrence and M Bolsinger were gambles that looked mostly weak as ST ended.

For 2018 We can compare the results of A Diaz and Y Solarte to 2017 Goins, Barney, Tulo and Travis.

There are still key injuries that can occur. Donaldson, Martin, Osuna, Stroman, Sanchez and Happ. Their replacements will not produce as much. For any success they cannot all get injured. They may survive 2 injuries. The worst combo IMO would be Donaldson and Stroman IMO. But then every team will have injuries.

Biagini at AAA gives us a possible ok starter if he can become the best AAA starter on the team. As a reliever he has proven to be good. As a reliever he is probably equal but not better than Oh, Tepera and Barnes IMO at this point in time.
BlueJayWay - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#354897) #
If you want a pick-me-up on Friday, check out the video for Guerrero Jr.'s double last night on mlb.com.  La puissance.

Just did. Hooo boy.
cybercavalier - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#354898) #
Question in general: how do one assess the effect of a veteran player signing to a minor league contract or almost minimum MLB contract? Is a player of that kind best assessed one player at a time or individually? At the moment, Danny Espinosa was signed and he played in the spring training. On the other hand, Chris Heisey, Melvin Upton were recently released...
uglyone - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#354899) #
Bichette assigned to New Hampshire (AA).
Mike Green - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#354900) #
Happy birthday, Mark Buehrle.
bpoz - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#354901) #
Thanks UO. How about Vlad? Please keep telling us whenever you hear anything about anyone.
mendocino - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#354902) #
https://www.tsn.ca/jays-guerrero-bichette-to-open-in-double-a-1.1035812

Vlady to AA and Pearson to Dunedin
jerjapan - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#354903) #
In his entire career, Biagini has had only 105 innings as a starting pitcher above the AA level.

Which, to me, means Biagini's not that viable a candidate for a starting role.   Dude was a 26th round pick, was left exposed in the rule v draft by a smart org without a ton of prospect depth, and he didn't even make AA until he was 24 - his only good year as a starter in his career.  He's shown very little to me to indicate his role is in the rotation.  I always worry about these bullpen to rotation projects, my memory tells me that too often these things end with a struggling starter who then struggles to regain their form in the pen.  Biagini-the-reliever was a great find.  If it ain't broke ...

how do one assess the effect of a veteran player signing to a minor league contract or almost minimum MLB contract?

Cyber, to me the maxim "there is no such thing as a bad minor league contract" is mostly true, with the major caveat being availability of playing time.  Buffalo has too many legit prospects in the OF already - AA, Pompey and Hernandez are all theoretically ready for the bigs, where there is also a logjam.  Not to mention Smith Jr., Fields and Davis, all viable reserve OF candidates.  Signing a vet would simply block the development of a prospect, although there might be a spot for a veteran pitcher. 
uglyone - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#354904) #
"In his entire career, Biagini has had only 105 innings as a starting pitcher above the AA level."

I don't understand the relevance of this factoid.
uglyone - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#354905) #
fangraphs positional power rankings.

3B 1st
C 9th
2B 11th
AS 11th
CF 12th
1B 12th
RF 13th
LF 15th
DH 9th (of 15)

One stud position, surrounded by a bunch of average to good.

DH the weakest spot but more just below average than bad.
Mike Green - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#354906) #
Pearson to Dunedin is interesting. He threw 101 innings (in his first year in the rotation) last year total, and has a screw in his elbow from his high school days.  I wonder what the target for innings pitched is for him in 2018. Maybe 125?
dan gordon - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#354907) #
Given how good he looked last year, I like the having Pearson skip Lansing. He doesn't have to pitch in the cold weather, and he should be able to handle the jump. He averaged fewer than 3 IP per start in Vancouver last year, so they will probably still be keeping his starts short, maybe 4 IP to start the season, and up to 5 later on. He could stay in the rotation for the full minor league season at that pace and end up around 110 - 125 IP.

uglyone - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#354908) #
yeah at 21 (and an old 21 at that), i'm glad to see him skip Lansing and head to more age appropriate Dunedin.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 23 2018 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#354909) #
Anthony Alford should be ready for Call-up by mid- to late May and will lose his prospect status over the following two to three weeks.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Nate Pearson will drive the Prospectís list for the next year as some of the very, very best.
Ryan Borucki, Danny Jansen, Thomas Pannone and Reese McGuire are a success for the Jays, but could easily lose their prospect status sometime this year.
Sean Reid-Foley, Justin Maese and Jon Harris failed last year, and looked ugly doing it. Without a huge year next year, most upward mobility is gone and staying on the list problematic. Attrition could easily drop the Jays to middle of the Pack. Who getting assigned where should indicate the value the Jays place on their guys. But does this change the Draft strategy in June?
bpoz - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#354913) #
I think you are right Richard. Incredible prospects like Vlad and Bo most likely got the Jays into the top 10 prospect list. When they graduate the system will be ranked lower. Unless ........

We have sent a few V good players to the Majors. I think they fooled the prospect evaluators. Stroman, Sanchez, Thor and Osuna all sort of achieved their potential. But slightly undetected.

How high were they ranked on the top 100 lists? They easily out performed players higher on the list.
bpoz - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#354914) #
All teams will start finalizing their 40 man rosters over the next few days. Therefore many transactions. Nothing spectacular I suspect.

All teams are having injuries. Unpredictable .... Madbum and Shark in SF is the main example of crippling injuries.
scottt - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#354915) #
I'm expecting guys like Gaviglio and Moll to be outrighted when every team have to put their cut players through waivers. Ramirez should go on the 60. If they load the pen with vets, Barnes could end up on the Buffalo shuttle, the same thing happened to Tepera on 2015. That would leave Mayza and Guierrieri as shuttle candidates.

This is going to be a huge year for Diaz, Grichuk and Morales.
If these guys don't produce this year, they will likely see less playing time next year.

Can't wait to watch Guerrero and Bichette play in Montreal.
I imagine they'll honor Vlad in Montreal even if he's going to the Hall as an Angel.

cybercavalier - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#354916) #
Espinosa seems to outperform Ngoepe after the former was signed. However, after skimming the mlb.com spring training hitters' OPS>=1.000, there are quite a few shortstop available as other teams' NRIs.

S Irving Falu, aged 34 veteran, Nationals' NRI
R Ryan Court, aged 29-30, more of a 3B man than a SS, Cubs' NRI, Illinois local
L Mike Freeman, aged 30, Cubs' NRI
S Nick Franklin, aged 27, Brewers' NRI.

Worth mentioning is that Torontonian 3B Eric Wood is hitting well in this spring.

So there shall be no worry sending Ngoepe to Buffalo if that is the decision on player performance alone. Some NRI shortstops are available. Will all those four players land on the active roster when the regular season starts? Nope...
Gerry - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#354917) #
Ramirez wont be going on the 60 day DL. He just gave up a 2 run home run to Stanton.
Gerry - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#354918) #
Breslow released. Dermody unclaimed and assigned to Buffalo. Neither of those is a surprise.
Gerry - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#354919) #
Gaviglio and Moll are both giving up runs today, are working their way to being outrighted next week.

The start of the season is the easiest time to outright players. Most teams are cutting their own players to get down to their 25 and 40 man rosters. They usually want to give a chance to their own players first.
uglyone - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#354920) #
heh. moll and gaviglio might turn in the impressive feat of being 40man adds that are outrighted after 1 spring training outing.
mendocino - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#354921) #
A couple minor moves, C's Plus Baseball reporting Nick Sinay and Mattingly Romanin have been released.

https://csplusbaseball.ca/2018/03/23/cs-alumni-update-blue-jays-say-goodbye-to-three-former-cs/
greenfrog - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#354922) #
Grichuk is currently hitting .286/.323/.500. I'm sure the Jays would love to see a comparable slash line from him this season. It's not out of the realm of possibility.
jerjapan - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#354923) #
Sinay was no prospect, but that career .229/.412/.282 line sure was interesting.  The MWL record-holder for HBPs in a season certainly was willing to give up his body to get on base. 
SK in NJ - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#354924) #
Grichuk will be interesting to watch this season. He's an athletic player who will likely be a plus defender in right with good base running and legit power. Even with his K% issues and lack of OBP, he could realistically be a 2-3 WAR player. Any improvement in those areas and he will obviously look better.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#354925) #
Randal Grichuk is showing good pitch recognition this spring, better than expected. This should carryover into the Season, but how well I donít know.
The Jays will face a lot of League-average Starters and inconsistent young I arms. Beating these Pitchers are the deciding point of the Season - as many as 80-90 games are up for grabs. The Jays will face some real dogs too, and should win them all - another 15-20 games are winnable. The Jays will face Pitchers who can not be beat that day, no matter what - a guaranteed 15-20 losses. Pitcher who can usually win most starts will throw 30-50 games. How well the Jays do here determines the PostSeason.
What do the Jays really need? A consistent effort made on every pitch and every play to do their best, their very best.
Gerry - Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#354926) #
Reports say Craig Breslow will sign a minor league deal with the Jays and head to Buffalo.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 04:30 AM EDT (#354927) #
Good experienced LHP are hard to find. Heís still a competent Reliever with (small sample size) an unsuccessful Spring behind him. Interesting to see if heís better without the pressure to make the team.
cybercavalier - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#354928) #
Richard,

Creslow was dubbed "the smartest person in baseball". Interesting to see if he can be a pitcher/coach duel identity in Buffalo. Maybe he could be looking at the operational level of baseball.

cybercavalier - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#354929) #
The following is a list of recently released MLB vets that are yet to be signed to another team, according to mlb.com player transaction page.
RF Michael Saunders the Condor
P Ricky Nolasco
SS Alexi Amarista
SS Reid Brignac
2B Gordon Beckham
LF Chris Heisey
OF Melvin Upton Jr.
RF Willy Garcia
OF Ryan Raburn
1B/OF Brandon Moss
C Josh Thole
1B Adam Lind
RHP Bartolo Colon (may re-sign with the Rangers)
RHP Jason Motte
LHP Antonio Bastardo\
LHP Jairo Labourt
RHP Mark Lowe
RHP Tony Zych
RHP K-Rod
RHP Scott Kazmir
LHP Wade LeBlanc
cybercavalier - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#354930) #
Good experienced LHP are hard to find.

The Mariners signed Wade LeBlanc yesterday.
bpoz - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#354931) #
J Labourt has been picked up by Cincy or Oakland.
bpoz - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#354932) #
Jay's 2018 rotation is ranked 10th in the league. Houston is #1. The other 9 are not really much better than each other IMO.
scottt - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#354933) #
I'd be surprised if Breslow becomes a coach. He majored in molecular biophysics  and biochemistry.  He's still accepted in the New York School of Medicine.
scottt - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#354934) #
I think the Nationals have a better rotation than Houston. Some Astros pitchers were really good in the playoffs, but that's not necessarily going to impact their 2018 regular season play. In particular, throwing too many off-speed pitches is not sustainable.

Health is the big wild card here. The Jays just need to be better than the Red Sox and the Yankees. Cleveland and Houston don't really matter.

Ohtani has looked bad all spring, on both side of the ball. The Angels might not be a wild card threat after all.

grjas - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#354936) #
I think the Jays have a reasonable chance of having a top 3 starting staff. Their top two can be very strong, and 3-5 can be better than the average pitcher for their pecking order.

And they really need to be top 3 or so to have a reasonable shot as their lineup is likely to be average at best (which in itself would be a big improvement from last year).
scottt - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#354937) #
Last year the Jays were bad in every offensive category except home runs  in which they finished 10th.
The 2018 Jays project to be over average in every category except hitting average at .255.
That comes down to about 400 more hits, 40 more doubles, 20 more home runs which should make them comparable to the teams that made the  post season last year.

scottt - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#354938) #
Should have been 100 more hits.
cybercavalier - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#354939) #
erratum Scott Kazmir is a LHP
uglyone - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#354940) #
So Pearce is a better hitter than Morales historically, recently, and is crushing Morales this spring.

there's no legitimate reason to not have Pearce DHing opening day, Imo.
scottt - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#354941) #
I wouldn't say crushing. Last year, at the end of spring training, Morales was hitting
.354.392.563 
Thomas - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#354942) #
The Phillies have signed Scott Kingery to a 6-year contract with three option years prior to Kingery making his major league debut this year. The contract guarantees Kingery $24 million during his first three years and could top out at $66 million in total if all three options are exercised.

This is a far preferable approach to service time manipulation by the team. While Kingery could turn out to be underpaid at this price if he lives up to his potential, I'm sure Jon Singleton doesn't regret signing his extension before his first major league at-bat.
scottt - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#354943) #
6 year is a bit of a wash. The team assumes all the risk and doesn't get much of a deal. I wouldn't bother unless there's at least an option for the 7th year. In this case, it's basically a front loaded contract to give the team payroll flexibility when they expect to be contending.
Thomas - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#354944) #
There was a typo in my original post, as it is $24 million over the first 6 years, with three option years thereafter.

To be clear, the Phillies have options for what would otherwise be Kingery's first three years of free agency eligiblity.
uglyone - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#354945) #
Last 2yrs

Morales 85wrc+ vRHP, 155wrc+ vLHP
Pearce 109wrc+ vRHP, 133wrc+ vLHP

Pearce should play every day, at DH vRHP and LF vLHP.

Morales should only play at DH vLHP.
dalimon5 - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#354946) #
Morales crushes lefties and DHing against them only would be the best use of his skills.
John Northey - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#354947) #
$24 over 6 years... if Bo & Vlad would each take that the Jays would be nuts not to offer especially if they add in 3 options years for $42 mil each as well. If either reaches their potential (all-star regular) or even close (regular everyday player) they could earn that in one or two years. Especially by year 5 & 6. No idea how good Kingery is but he is a 2B who is #31-35 on prospect lists this year who played extremely well in AA and solid in AAA last year. In spring he is hitting 392/415/725 in 53 PA vs mostly minor league pitching (7.1 opponent quality). Not anywhere near as good as Bo & Vlad but also is in the majors in April it looks like.

This does seem odd for the Phillies given they have a solid guy at 2B right now so no pressure yet but maybe they have a deal coming or something. As to the Jays - if Bo & Vlad look at this and push for a similar deal (more cash) I'd think the Jays would be nuts not to go for it. 9 years of control is very appealing at a bargain price. You'd need to be certain before doing it, but geez does it sound tempting. Doubt the players would go for it though as both had ML dad's who know the potential bucks, but both could still hit free agency just as they reach 30 so a mega payday would still be out there for them.
Cracka - Sunday, March 25 2018 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#354948) #
Bo also has a older brother (Dante Jr.) who was a highly touted 1st round pick and tore up rookie ball as an 18-year old... but 7 years later is still playing for peanuts in AA (and maybe only because of his last name). So maybe Bo WOULD consider a guarantee of $24 million at this point...
dan gordon - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:14 AM EDT (#354949) #
Guerrero and Bichette would get better deals than Kingery, they're better prospects, but it would be interesting to see the Jays try to arrange something along those lines. Kingery's deal pays him a $1.5 M signing bonus, then in his pre-arb years he gets $750 K, $1.25 M, and $1.5 M. In his arb years, he gets $4 M, $6 M, and $8 M, with the option years being for $13 M, $14 M and $15 M, with a buyout of $1 M. If he becomes a star, the club benefits greatly, if he's a good player it's about a wash, and if he bombs, he benefits hugely. If all the options are picked up, he'll be 32, almost 33, for the start of his 1st free agency season, so he has really capped his earnings potential if the free agent market continues as it has this offseason, but has guaranteed himself a very nice lifestyle, financially speaking, forever.
dan gordon - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:29 AM EDT (#354950) #
I think the guy who should platoon with Morales is Solarte. He's a switch hitter, and is much better against righties. He's hit them very well the last 3 years, despite playing half his games in a terrible hitters' park. Plus, he's a lot younger than Pearce, and could be an important guy on this team for a while. I hope the Jays recognize how effective he is vs righty pitchers - his OPS the last 3 years vs righties .771, .815, .794, playing in San Diego. He could be the 2nd best hitter on this team vs righties. He can play 2B when Travis needs a day off, and when Travis plays, Solarte can DH against righties.
Chuck - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#354951) #
I think the guy who should platoon with Morales is Solarte.

On these modern day short bench rosters, is there room for a short-side platoon DH? That sounds like the least effective use of roster spot imaginable (which is not an argument for using him full time if he is kept). I wonder if he were an inherited player, and not one signed by the current administration, if he wouldn't have been jettisoned by now.

I'd sooner a healthy Pompey or Alford (do either creatures exist?) take that roster spot and be worked into the mix to take Morales' playing time (presumably playing the field and pushing Pearce to DH... should the latter suddenly show any proclivity for health, that is).

uglyone - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#354952) #
i think we're gonna need solarte to stay freed up in a true super utility role. might even need to see what he can do at SS if diaz can't bounce back.
SK in NJ - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#354953) #
I think Morales will see less playing time regardless. There will be days when Donaldson needs to DH to rest his body, so obviously in that scenario Solarte will be at 3B. Plus, with Granderson being 37 and Pearce being 35 + injury prone, there will be days when they have to DH as well. Gibbons has to use Morales (and DH in general) more strategically this season.
Mike Green - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#354955) #
FWIW, I don't buy the idea that Morales is any better from either side.  His career wRC+ from the left-side is 112 and from the right is 113.  He has done better the last two seasons from the right side in 332 PAs, but I don't believe that it is reasonable to project from a small sample at age 33-34 rather than to look at the career.  If one takes a closer look at his performance vs. left-handed pitching over the last two years, a lot of it is BABIP luck. 

The best thing you can say about him is that he has done well over his career in high leverage situations, posting an excellent .285/.345/.512 slash line (but negating that to a significant degree by a horrific 65 GIDPs in 943 PAs).  I've resigned myself to the fact that he's going to get too many PAs this year.  I am hoping that he bats sixth or seventh when he is in the lineup. 

Gerry - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#354956) #
Luis Santos, Al Alburqurque, Deck McGuire, Rhiner Cruz and Chad Girodo all sent to Buffalo.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#354957) #
FWIW, I don't buy the idea that Morales is any better from either side. His career wRC+ from the left-side is 112 and from the right is 113. He has done better the last two seasons from the right side in 332 PAs, but I don't believe that it is reasonable to project from a small sample at age 33-34 rather than to look at the career. .

If I recall correctly Mike, Bill James studied switch-hitters one year in the Abstract and found that a significant platoon split emerges as the player ages, in favour of his natural handedness.
uglyone - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#354958) #
getting closer.

bullpen battle:

Osuna: 6.1ip, 7k/0bb, 1.42era

Biagini: 18.0ip, 19k/6bb, 6.50era
Oh: 1.0ip, 1k/0bb, 0.00era
Tepera: 7.0ip, 6k/3bb, 9.00era
Barnes: 8.0ip, 12k/3bb, 7.88era
Loup: 6.2ip, 10k/1bb, 2.70era
Clippard: 7.0ip, 9k/2bb, 3.86era
Axford: 8.0ip, 11k/2bb, 1.13era
Mayza: 10.2ip, 9k/2bb, 1.69era

there just might be a surprise cut or two here.
Mike Green - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#354959) #
It's been a long time, CBDC, but I recall it differently.  As I recall it, a natural right-handed hitter who moves to platooning and sticks with it, typically hits better from the natural side for the first few years and then gets better from the acquired side.  It makes sense because switch-hitters get more work from the left-side and with repetition, you'd expect that they would get better at something new.

I believe that the discussion arose in talking about Willie Wilson. 

China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#354960) #
It's pretty clear that Axford and Clippard will be fixtures in the 2018 bullpen. And the new "Buffalo shuttle" is likely to consist of Tepera, Barnes and Mayza. There's room for two of those three in the current bullpen. All three have options. (And they are the only remaining relievers with options, aside from Osuna of course.) Mayza is a useful weapon against any LHB-heavy lineup, so he can be promoted as needed, with Barnes (probably) or even Tepera being demoted for a couple weeks when they need Mayza.

It's also useful to have Santos and Albuerquerque available in Buffalo, and Santos has options remaining, so he can be added to the shuttle if the Jays need an innings-eater in the bullpen. Albuerquerque does not have options, so he can't be shuttled back and forth, but he's a good depth piece to have available.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#354961) #
Rhiner Cruz, incidentally, also has options left. So he's another candidate for the Buffalo shuttle.

It's good news that he and Albuerquerque both accepted the Buffalo assignments, because I suspect that they probably could have insisted on being released from their contracts and testing the market as free agents. (Due to unofficial verbal agreements, rather than formal opt-out clauses.) Both seem like very useful depth relievers this year.
uglyone - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#354962) #
I wouldn't be calling guys "fixtures" who were terrible last year, china.
85bluejay - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#354963) #
After reading Shi Davidi's piece on Tulo, I'm starting to think he may not return this season and may require more surgery - that's bad news because with 3 GB starters, Diaz &/or Espinosa are not plus defenders at SS - too bad they couldn't acquire Profar - Maybe if the Jays are contending in July, they could pick up the expiring contract of Jose Iglesias.I wonder if Tulo's contract is insured?
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#354964) #
Fixtures because they don't have options. That was the obvious meaning of my words.

If you thought I was guaranteeing their performance this season, you misread me. Why would anyone issue a guarantee of a player's performance?

Regardless of whether they were good or bad last year, there are no guarantees. Axford and Clippard can easily be released if they are terrible this season. Same applies for any low-priced reliever who doesn't have options.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#354965) #
In a recent tweet, John Lott noted that Diaz is a below-average SS by the defensive metrics. (If anyone has an Athletic subscription, please let us know if his analysis was good or not.)

This helps to explain why Ngoepe is still in competition for the back-up SS job, despite his poor hitting. With all the groundball pitchers in the rotation, the Jays need a good defensive SS on the roster. Espinosa is a better hitter than Ngoepe but might be not as good defensively. The Jays, I'm sure, would like the option of using a stronger defender at SS in some games when a groundball pitcher is on the mound, or in the late innings of a close game.

I still expect Espinosa to get the job, and Ngoepe might even be dropped from the 40-man roster if the Jays think they can sneak him through waivers. But the fact that he still remains on the roster, in one of the final roster decisions, indicates that the Jays like his defensive abilities.

The Tulo health situation adds further importance to the need for a strong defensive SS on the roster. It's somewhat remarkable, after all the infield acquisitions in recent months, that the Jays still haven't found a strong veteran defender for the back-up SS job, except Ngoepe.

If someone has seen Espinosa recently and feels that he is a better defender than Diaz or Ngoepe, please weigh in. I'm not yet convinced, but I would defer to anyone who was seen him or analyzed his metrics and is convinced that he can be a defensive upgrade in those late-inning situations.

Ngoepe can still be kept on the 40-man roster if the Jays drop Moll and Gaviglio to make room for Axford and Clippard. I presume they will put Tulo on the 60-day DL, which creates room for Espinosa.
SK in NJ - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#354966) #
I'm more worried about whether Diaz hits than his fielding. He's more than likely going to be below average defensively, and we just have to hope the overall defense can compensate for him a bit, but his value is going to come from his bat. If he's something close to the 2016 version, then you can live with the defense. If he's closer to 2017, then chances are the Jays will be cycling through SS's a lot until Tulo gets back (if he does at all in 2018).

Espinosa is likely a better defensive SS, so maybe when Sanchez and Garcia are starting they can put him out there, but a lot will depend on performance. If Diaz is close to the 3 WAR player he was two years ago, then he should play everyday regardless of the defense. They can also have Espinosa be a defensive replacement late in games, which I'm guessing they'll do quite a bit.
uglyone - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#354967) #
Yeah Diaz has to hit. The metrics say his glove is passable at short but not enough to cover for a poor bat.

But all the metrics do think that Espinosa is a legit above average glove at SS, and an excellent glove at 2B. Depending on how you read his splits, there's an argument that he's already our best option to start at SS vLHP.

As for Ngoepe - we hear he is great defensively but nobody knows if that's actually true. I'd be surprised if he was much better defensievly than Espinosa.


China - I guess it's semantics but I don't think Axford and Clippard should be treated as fixtures in any sense of the word. They shouldn't be treated any differently than any of the others - and as for their lack of options, it's not like teams were in hot pursuit of either of them this offseason.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#354968) #
"....as for their lack of options, it's not like teams were in hot pursuit of either of them this offseason...."

You're suggesting that Axford and Clippard will be unclaimed if the Jays try to sneak them through waivers during the season? I think that's pretty risky. Other teams might not have been in "hot pursuit" of them, but they might take a flyer on them for a cheap waiver price. Axford, especially, has boosted his stature during the spring. He's routinely hitting 97 mph on the radar gun and he's looking strong even when he pitches more than an inning.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#354969) #
On the question of Diaz and his defensive abilities, John Lott doesn't seem to accept the "passable" description. His words on Diaz: "Sift through his defensive metrics, and the best one can say is that he is a below-average shortstop. The worst one can say is, well, worse."
Marc Hulet - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#354970) #
I have a subscription to The Athletic (you all should, it's amazing baseball coverage -- hockey too) and the article gave solid data to support that Diaz has been well below average as a defender (basically can field anything right at him but nothing more). And if Donaldson has leg issues, the left side of the infield could be brutal this year. I can see why the Jays are aggressively pushing both Bo and Vlad.
Mike Green - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#354971) #
The Fangraphs' community does not like the 2017 Blue Jays as much as the Fangraphs' projection.  They (implicitly) say 82 wins. 
Mike Green - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#354972) #
2018 not 2017. 
Nigel - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#354973) #
If Travis gets hurt, the infield defense on this team could be really ugly, particularly the range (Smoak has none and Donaldson's noticeably slipped last year).

Regarding Morales' usage this year, I just don't see Gibbons substantially reducing his playing time. A reduction in playing time would suggest either a platoon with Pearce or more line-ups focused on mixing and matching offense/defense issues. Neither of those are Gibbons' strengths (he does has strengths, just not this). I would have preferred that he had the "Morales everyday player" option taken off his console.
scottt - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#354974) #
BB-Ref gave Diaz -0.1 dWAR over 111 games in 2016 and tagged him with -0.6 dWAR in 79 games in 2017.
Barney was worth -0.3 dWAR last year in 119 games.

We'll see soon enough.


ComebyDeanChance - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#354975) #
It's been a long time, CBDC, but I recall it differently.

It certainly has. I can't recall if the study was in relation to a specific player or was separate. In any event, I'll forage around the Abstracts still kicking around my cottage sometime and have a look.
greenfrog - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#354976) #
The early injuries to Donaldson, Tulo, and others are somewhat ominous. It's quite possible that Tulo will be essentially a non-factor for the Jays at shortstop this year. If the team remains in contention into the summer and Bichette continues to excel, the front office might be tempted to promote the 20-year-old to take over the position. I'm sure the thought has crossed Bo's mind.
Richard S.S. - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#354977) #
At some point and time the Jays will be making a decision on whether Aledmys Diaz is the primary answer at Short Stop or must they do better. If his offense is good it might carry his defense, if not? The Jays traded possibly significant assets to acquire him for this purpose. So any decision will take a considerable time.
Danny Espinosa was signed as an N.R.I. to create more depth. Thus far reviews are mixed. He may or may not hit better than Diaz, that remains to be seen. He should be better than Diaz defensively and heís not quite that. So who does he have to be better than? Keeping him means an asset might be lost.
Gift Ngoepe might be the best defender the Jays have anywhere, let alone at Short Stop. His offense might charitably be termed a work in progress. Of course, stranger things have happened in Toronto. This is not a first option decision, you either need defense or you need offense. Can the Jays risk losing him if a 40-Man decision must be made?
mendocino - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#354978) #
Perfect Game's Top 250 Draft Prospects (top 10 free rest behind pay wall)

Top 10 Prospects, 2018 MLB Draft

1. Casey Mize RHP Auburn
2. Matthew Liberatore LHP (Ariz. HS)
3. Shane McClanahan LHP South Florida
4. Ethan Hankins RHP (Ga. HS)
5. Travis Swaggerty OF South Alabama
6. Ryan Rolison LHP Mississippi
7. Nick Madrigal 2B Oregon State
8. Nolan Gorman 3B (Ariz. HS)
9. Mason Denaburg RHP (Fla. HS)
10. Jarred Kelenic OF (Wisc. HS)

https://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=15032
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#354979) #
Two more hits for Teoscar Hernandez tonight, including a 3B. He continues to look like a major-league hitter, and the dilemma of how to get him into the major-league lineup will continue.

Personally I'd put him in Buffalo for a few weeks while waiting to see which of Morales or Pearce is performing better -- and then making a decision to move the lesser of those two players off the 25-man roster, whether by trade or whatever. It will probably cost some money in written-off salary, but the Jays have to go with their strongest-hitting lineup, and that should probably include Hernandez.
uglyone - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#354980) #
the funny thing is there's no dilemma..they could just waive kendrys. nobody would grab him. we wouldn't even lose any depth.
John Northey - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#354981) #
Interesting on the broadcast (TV) tonight.  They seem to be 100% on the infield being a legacy one in AA - Biggio at 2B, Bichette at SS, Vlad at 3B.  I didn't think Biggio was ready for AA myself but they seemed convinced he is a fast riser who will reach the majors soon.  Also Max Pentacost at 1B/CA - seem to be suggesting his catching days are numbered without saying it.
SK in NJ - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#354982) #
Hernandez's K% is still an issue, but starting him in LF with Granderson/Pearce at DH would likely be an upgrade over what the team will end up going with. I don't see the team cutting bait on $23M, though.
China fan - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#354983) #
Ugly, is there any change that you could exit your abstract statistical exercises and enter the real world? In the abstract world, you can release Morales for purely rational on-field reasons, without any consideration of money. In the real world, baseball executives worry about job security, and Shapiro and Atkins are very aware that they can't write off $23-million in salary for Morales without suffering a major backlash from the cost-conscious owners and the skeptical fan base (which is already complaining about the Tulo contract).

Hence the dilemma.

Of course I would love it if Rogers was willing to write off $23-million to get Hernandez into the lineup. But in the real world, it's difficult to see how anyone can make that argument to Rogers.

Perhaps if Morales has a bad season, Rogers might be willing to write off his 2019 salary. But I just don't see it happening at the beginning of the 2018 season.
uglyone - Monday, March 26 2018 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#354984) #
The only thing that makes them look good is winning. losing makes them look bad.

the money is sunk. there is no getting it back.. They can choose to stop the bleeding or to further hurt themselves.
dan gordon - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 03:04 AM EDT (#354985) #
I agree there is no chance they just waive Morales right now. They'll at least give him a chance to have a better season than last year, especially given that free agents signing significant contracts with new teams typically underperform in the 1st year of the new contract. If he has another year like 2017, though, he could very well be gone. I think it's a similar situation with Tulo. They may decide to eat the rest of his contract after this year, depending on what happens with his health and performance. Or keep him around for 2019 until Bichette is ready.

BTW, if they waive Morales, and he clears (which he would), since he has 5+ years in mlb, he can refuse a minor league assignment, become a free agent, and still receive any guaranteed money owed on his existing contract.
TamRa - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 03:19 AM EDT (#354986) #
that's putting entirely too much faith in the word of Tabby, John
scottt - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 07:30 AM EDT (#354987) #
Well, that was interesting. Looks like they brought the entire minor camp to get them a taste of playing before a crowd.

The kids needs to conquer AA, especially Bichette.

Diaz seems to have some power, just needs to get his timing down.
Oh had no control. I don't know if I've ever seen someone miss up with a splitter before.
Being in the Big O, that was no Mel Rojas.

Hernandez might be better than Grichuk, but it's just a matter of time before they're both on the team.
There's always a chance that Pillar feels the pressure and hang on to the strike zone all year.

It seems like Tulo really needs to go on the 60 DL now. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#354988) #
I suppose the club could run with a bench of Pearce, Hernandez, Solarte and Maile, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. 

The club might trade Pearce and run a Granderson/Hernandez/Morales mix at RF/DH with Granderson getting 450-500 PAs, Hernandez getting 550 PAs and Morales getting 300 PAs (including some backing up Smoak and pinch-hitting for the shortstop or Luke Maile)..  It would be sub-optimal, but better than stashing Hernandez in Buffalo. 

I don't know how good Hernandez might be, but it seems to me that you want to get him in the lineup to find out.  When he takes PAs from Morales, the bar is very low. 

bpoz - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#354989) #
I am going with the philosophy that ST means nothing.

With Tulo being DL'd Gift or D Espinosa make the team.

2 bullpen spots were unknown IMO.

I am hoping some 40 man prospects stay with the organization when they are DFA'd tomorrow I suspect.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#354990) #
"I have a subscription to The Athletic (you all should, it's amazing baseball coverage -- hockey too) and the article gave solid data to support that Diaz has been well below average as a defender"

I'd love to see their data (hint hint).

The problem for me looking at his defensive stats is that there's all sorts of conflicting data.

UZR says he was horrific as a rookie, and pretty decent last year. DRS says he was passable as a rookie but awful last year.

Over the last 2yrs, his closest comps, looking at both UZR and DRS, are guys like Asdrubal Cabrera, Erick Aybar, and.....Ryan Goins.


krose - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#354991) #
There could be major roster changes this year imho. The prospects who are going to be in the minors will likely make contributions to the 25 man roster this season. Hernandez and Alford could be the first ones to come up. Their promotion would create an outfield surplus. Morales and Pearce are the two most likely to be replaced. IMO these changes might not happen in the first third of the season.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#354992) #
Sportsnet has announced that Ben Wagner will take over the radio play by play responsibilities for 2018. He will be joined by a rotating team of analysts. Dan Shulman will have a role, not exactly sure what that will be as he is involved in the TV side.

Wilner will continue to host the post game show and Jays talk.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#354993) #
Fangraphs Positional rankings Update

3B 1st
C 9th
2B 11th
SS 11th
CF 12th
1B 12th
RF 13th
LF 15th
DH 9th (of 15)

SP 13th
RP 18th


So nothing surprising - one elite slot surrounded by a whole lotta average. All things being equal, that probably means playoff contention. If more of those average slots turn into bad slots than good slots, though, we're pooched.

One thing I'll add, though, is that these slots aren't created equal. SP is probably worth 7 of the positional slots and the bullpen another 2. Or something like that.

And given that SP is by far the most valuable of any slot here, I'll point out my one major quibble with all the projections - the projection of Aaron Sanchez as a 2-2.5war pitcher even if healthy. In my biased opinion, Sanchez is just plain better than that, by a lot.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#354994) #
It's not reasonable to project Sanchez to throw more than 150 innings, given his history, and perfectly reasonable to project less.  He's had precisely one season with more than 100 innings pitched in his minor and major league career.  For comparison, Noah Syndergaard has had 4 such seasons.  Nonetheless, ZiPS projects Syndergaard to throw only 142 innings.  That's a bit on the low side, but reasonable too.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#354995) #
my issue is more with their projection of Sanchez' performance, not the IP.

though now that I look at it, even talking about IP projections, Sanchez has never actually missed time due to any structural issues (like Thor). The only reason he hasn't pitched multiple full seasons already is because of a blister, and because management decided to shut him down in the midst of a Cy contending World Series pursuing season.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#354996) #
The #11 ranking at SS currently seems ambitious, donít you think?
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#354997) #
Rusney Castillo is obviously happy to have the money & isn't giving it back, but how depressing it must be that no matter how well he performs, it's unlikely he sees the show until that contract expires - must drive a guy to drink & not care - what a waste.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#354998) #
"The #11 ranking at SS currently seems ambitious, donít you think?"

looks like it - though remember that projection already included Tulo missing ~1/4 of the season.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#354999) #
A few stray thoughts from last night's game:

Dominic Leone is apparently the leading candidate to become the Cardinals closer this year. Although I like the Grichuk trade, the Jays might have paid a higher price than we realized at the time. The Front Office explained the trade by saying that the Jays have plenty of depth in the bullpen and therefore Leone was expendable. But despite that claim, 3 of the 7 relievers on the Jays presumed opening day roster (Oh, Axford, Clippard) were acquired AFTER they traded Leone. Which suggests that he wasn't exactly surplus. We'll see how the Jays bullpen performs this year, but Leone might have been the second-best reliever on the team if the Jays had kept him. I don't think he was "surplus" -- he was just the high price the Jays had to pay for Grichuk. It was still a good trade if Grichuk hits as well as he might.

It was interesting to watch Guerrero Jr. in his three innings of work. He was under some pressure to do well for the hometown Montreal crowd. He didn't get a hit, but he looked totally unflappable, despite the big crowd and the standing ovations. He showed plate discipline again, working the count full or nearly full each time. In the field, he bobbled a groundball, but recovered with a strong throw to make the out.

Cavan Biggio made one of the best defensive plays of the game, snaring a hard-hit ball halfway to 1B. If the Jays are thinking of starting him at AA as reported, he might be more of a prospect that we realize.

But the best defensive play was made by Roemon Fields in CF on a sliding catch after a full-tilt run. I'm still getting my Devon White flashbacks when I see him out there. I realize that the CF of the future is Alford, but don't sleep on Fields. If he can handle the CF defence, steal bases (as he did last night) and get on base at a reasonable clip, he has value. His hitting has greatly improved in the past year, and it's possible that he is finally putting a lot of things together now.
PeterG - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#355000) #
I agree on Fields. If he continues to improve this season, he may well be a part of the Jays future.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#355001) #
Only thing is Fields is 27 and a half. He's more likely to be part of the jays' "now" than the jays' "future", imo.
PeterG - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#355002) #
You make too big a deal of age Ugly...always have. Fields could still have 6 good years ahead of him. Baseball is a game where late boolers are common.
dan gordon - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#355003) #
I think Fields is highly unlikely to be a significant mlb contributor. In 2016 he hit .227 and OPS'd .591 in AA at 25. Even last year, he hit .237 and OPS'd .579 in AA at 26 - the good numbers he produced in Buffalo look like real outlier to me. I think is ceiling is a 4th outfielder/pinch runner/defensive replacement.
BlueMonday - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#355004) #
Some further random thoughts from the game last night (Our spring training trip this year was to Montreal rather than Florida):

I agree re the poise of Vlad Jr.

Stroman, despite his late start, looks to be ready to take his spot in the rotation in the first week.

Bo Bichette does have a high leg kick, hope that doesn't make him unable to adjust to major league pitching. His speed impressed me.

The crowd seemed more Francophone than I remember from the Expo years - a good sign for the growth of baseball in Quebec.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#355005) #
Sickelsí predictions for AL postseason teams: Boston, Minnesota, Houston (division winners), New York, Cleveland (WC teams)
Nigel - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#355006) #
Although I argued against Morales as a full time player above, I find the notion of just cutting him a bit odd as well. Leaving aside the political reality that it will never happen, he could actually be a valuable player getting 250-300 high leverage ABs (relatively speaking). If he was used in the Earl Weaver mould as the go to high leverage PH, his strengths (switch hitting and HR power) could actually be utilized to good effect. It would require a shorter BP with a creative use of the Buffalo shuffle for the 6th and 7th relievers and more creativity on LF/RF/SS usage than has been the norm around these parts. Its not going to happen in 2018 but a more creative manager and management team could make some use of Morales (albeit that he would still be overpaid) and he wouldn't be useless.

Nigel - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#355007) #
Biagini looks excellent tonight. I think if you put him in front of a league average defence he has a good chance to be a league average MLB starter. I'd bet that ahead of Garcia being able to stay healthy and doing that.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#355008) #
Hot take: Mike Mordecai is the Jays manager whenever Gibby finishes.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#355009) #
Nigel,

IF (defense = league average AND chance)
THEN biagini == league average MLB starter
ELSE what shall we manage biagini?

Can the Jays put league average defense regularly?
To increase chance, can he stay healthy or does sending him to Buffalo increase the chance, or letting him start in the MLB increase the chance?


Mike Green - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#355010) #
That was fun.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#355011) #
Guerrero's bat speed is incredible.

And his confidence and poise are so impressive. You can see why players such as Stroman want him on the team already. He elevates the rest of the team.
scottt - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#355012) #
I can't picture Minnesota beating Cleveland. Even if they have some injuries, Cleveland would make some moves because they know their window is slowly closing.
scottt - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#355013) #
If Fields has improved, he'll put another good season this year and knock somebody else off the roster.
It's nice to have competition but not everybody will make it. Right now Fields isn't even on the 40.

China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#355014) #
".... In 2016 he hit .227 and OPS'd .591 in AA at 25. Even last year, he hit .237 and OPS'd .579 in AA at 26 - the good numbers he produced in Buffalo look like real outlier to me...."

Ordinarily I would have to agree with you. The stats seem pretty clear. But what changes my opinion about Roemon Fields are three things: 1) his spring statistics, which are admittedly a small sample but do add some weight to the Buffalo narrative; 2) the fact that the Jays have been taking such a long look at him this spring -- he has the 6th-highest number of ABs on the entire team this spring, a amount of playing time which normally would never be given to a player with a sub-.600 OPS at the AA level; this suggests that the Jays do see genuine potential in him; 3) as we've often discussed, he got a late start in professional baseball and didn't get proper professional coaching until the age of 23.

The other thing is this: if he can continue to play good defence in CF and steal bases at the rate of 50 per year, he doesn't need to have a high batting average or slugging power. Something less than that could still be very acceptable.
PeterG - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#355015) #
Gibby says Gift has made the team.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:11 PM EDT (#355016) #
could just as easily be Diaz sent down as Espinosa.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#355017) #
Ngoepe makes the opening-day roster. An indication that the Jays are prioritizing defence and positional versatility in their second back-up infielder. There's little doubt that Espinosa is a better hitter with more power, but the Jays -- with three groundball pitchers in their rotation -- must have assessed that Espinosa's defence isn't as good as that of Ngoepe, who is equally good at SS, 2B and 3B.
China fan - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#355018) #
Ugly, that's an intriguing idea about Diaz, but that would hand the full-time SS job to Espinosa, and I don't think the Jays perceive Espinosa as highly as that. I could be proven wrong. But the early indications from the Jays beat reporters are that Espinosa will be demoted, not Diaz. They are talking about 2 positions being needed on the 40-man roster (for Axford and Clippard), rather than 3 positions (which would be needed if Espinosa makes the team).
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#355019) #
If Espinosa is willing to play in Buffalo then it makes sense to demote him since they wonít have to open up a 40 man roster spot for him, but Gift looks like Goins part 2 (thatís not a good thing). Diaz better pan out. Otherwise the SS spot will be a black hole again this year.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#355020) #
yeah I wouldn't want to lose Espinosa just in case.

as for gift - if he's a legit plus defended he's already better than goins imo.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 27 2018 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#355021) #
Final spring stats for fun:

Guess/Hope at healthy starting lineup:

2B Travis: 45ab, 2bb/7k, .742ops
3B Donaldson: 27ab, 6bb/8k, .451ops
1B Smoak: 43ab, 6bb/11k, .701ops
DH Pearce: 29ab, 4bb/8k, .934ops
LF Granderson: 43ab, 6bb/10k, 1.104ops
RF Grichuk: 33ab, 3bb/10k, .722ops
C Martin: 37ab, 4bb/13k, .748ops
SS Tulowitzki: ---
CF Pillar: 48ab, 2bb/5k, 1.127ops

UT Morales: 58ab, 3bb/14k, .652ops
UT Solarte: 51ab, 3bb/7k, .574ops
UT Diaz: 52ab, 2bb/9k, .510ops
C Maile: 31ab, 5bb/3k, .665ops


Guess at healthy Bisons lineup:


LF Pompey: 18ab, 1bb/4k, .541ops
CF Alford: 31ab, 0bb/8k, .958ops
RF Hernandez: 53ab, 3bb/17k, 1.084ops
DH Smith: 20pa, 2bb/4k, .854ops
3B Leblebijan: 50ab, 8bb/15k, .742ops
1B Tellez: 5ab, 0bb/2k, .400ops
C Jansen: 19ab, 2bb/2k, .340ops
2B Espinosa: 28ab, 1bb/8k, .703ops
SS Ngoepe: 46ab, 9bb/19k, .574ops

UT Davis: 27ab, 1bb/5k, .767ops
OF Fields: 48ab, 4bb/10k, .978ops
IF Lopes: 18ab, 4bb/3k, .780op
C McGuire: 16ab, 1bb/3k, .715ops

Other prospects of interest likely starting in AA:

1B Guerrero: 13ab, 0bb/1k, 1.385ops
3B Bichette: 10ab, 0bb/4k, .900ops
2B Gurriel: 24ab, 0bb/3k, .695ops
SS Urena: 29ab, 1bb/4k, .441ops
C Pentecost: 22ab, 3bb/7k, .336ops


Starting Rotation:

SP Stroman: 7.1ip, 7k/1bb, 3.68era
SP Sanchez: 17.2ip, 16k/2bb, 3.06era
SP Happ: 20.2ip, 16k/5bb, 3.05era
SP Estrada: 15.2ip, 13k/3bb, 4.60era
SP Garcia: 13.2ip, 12k/1bb, 2.63era

Probable Bisons rotation (Note: all these guys are RP depth for the jays, too)

SP Biagini: 23.0ip, 25k/7bb, 5.09era
SP Guerreri: 6.1ip, 4k/1bb, 1.42era
SP McGuire: 10.2ip, 13k/1bb, 0.00era
SP Borucki: 7.2ip, 3k/4bb, 9.39era
SP Rowley: 8.0ip, 10k/3bb, 9.00era

other prospects of interest likely at AA:

SP Pannone: 6.0ip, 4k/0bb, 7.50era
SP R-Foley: 5.0ip, 2k/2bb, 10.80era
SP Harris: 4.0ip, 4k/1bb, 4.50era


Likely opening day bullpen:

RP Osuna: 7.1ip, 8k/0bb, 1.23era
RP Tepera: 8.0ip, 8k/4bb, 7.88era
RP Barnes: 8.1ip, 13k/3bb, 7.56era
RP Loup: 7.2ip, 12k/2bb, 2.35era
RP Oh: 2.0ip, 1k/0bb, 13.50era
RP Clippard: 7.0ip, 9k/2bb, 3.86era
RP Axford: 8.0ip, 11k/2bb, 1.13era

Likely Bisons bullpen:

RP Albuquerque: 8.0ip, 12k/1bb, 3.38era
RP Ramirez: 3.0ip, 1k/0bb, 15.00era
RP Mayza: 10.2ip, 9k/2bb, 1.69era
RP Dermody: 7.0ip, 6k/1bb, 10.29era
RP Santos: 12.0ip, 10k/2bb, 6.75era
RP Girodo: 9.0ip, 7k/3bb, 1.00era
RP Breslow: 7.1ip, 6k/4bb, 6.14era

PeterG - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 12:03 AM EDT (#355022) #
Not a chance Diaz is sent down.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#355023) #
Kind of disappointing to hear that Ngoepe has made the team. It seemed a good thing that we wouldn't have the weak bats of Goins and Barney on the team, but now we've got somebody who's probably even worse. Not like he's some young guy who is still on the upswing - he's 28, and likely about as good as he's going to get. 2,603 career minor league AB's with an OPS of.671, and he's got a poor SB% as a bonus. Maybe Espinosa goes to Buffalo, gets some AB's and comes up in a few weeks when they have a better idea of how to create a 40 man roster spot.

Tulo is seeing another specialist Wednesday, so maybe they get a better idea of his prognosis.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#355024) #
one thing I hope for this year, since we're all in on the Deep Depth strategy, is that we give ourselves the flexibility and willingness to try out all sorts of options interchangeably to find the hot performers, and don't just stubbornly choose one mediocre guy over another mediocre guy if he's not performing.

we can't afford to stubbornly insist on playing guys like, say, Morales and Diaz if they're hitting like they did last year....and with the other options we have available, we have no need to do that, either.
Glevin - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 06:35 AM EDT (#355025) #
"Kind of disappointing to hear that Ngoepe has made the team. It seemed a good thing that we wouldn't have the weak bats of Goins and Barney on the team, but now we've got somebody who's probably even worse."

You really expect a team to get five middle infielders capable of starting? Ngoepe is literally fifth on the team depth chart at MI and 3rd at SS. The Jays upgraded from Goins and Barney and that is Diaz and Solarte.


"we can't afford to stubbornly insist on playing guys like, say, Morales and Diaz if they're hitting like they did last year....and with the other options we have available, we have no need to do that, either."

I agree. People are overreacting to Hernandez's spring. ZIPS still has Morales 104 WRC+ to Hernandez 87. I still think Morales has a good chance of being the Jays best DH option. However, if the team is a month or two in and Morales is struggling, the Jays should just cut bait. It's a loss of $20M+ but playing him and paying him would be even worse and it's not like they'd save the money. (Same goes for Pearce.)
scottt - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#355026) #
Last year, Goins and Barney were out of options, so there's more flexibility this year.
I wouldn't mind stating April with the hottest bats, but since we're not doing that, I'm not expecting changes until late May.

It think they're waiting to see if Tulo is going to the 60 DL before announcing anything.

85bluejay - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#355027) #
I wonder if last night might be the high point of the season.
sweat - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#355028) #
Given that Diaz could probably be optioned (as its his 5th professional season: https://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2017/12/1/16726540/blue-jays-acquire-ss-aledmys-diaz-from-cardinals-for-jb-woodman ), then I would say there is definitely a chance.
I was down at spring training for 18 days, and saw a fair amount of Diaz. He didn't hit well all spring, and seemed to struggle on the defensive side as well.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#355029) #
According to BBRef's OppQual (quality of opposing pitched/batter faced), Hernandez on average faced less than AA competition in ST, so that combined with the K/BB might be reason to temper expectations.

With that said, Morales will really have to hit to provide value. A 104 wRC+ is likely going to be put him somewhere near replacement level. Hernandez in LF vs. Morales at DH from a value standpoint might favor Teoscar, but hard to say until Hernandez is given a shot (and the K% will be something to keep an eye on with him).

Hopefully batting lower in the lineup, with a little (actually a lot) less expectations, and some adjustments can help Morales out in 2018.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#355030) #
Looking at Baseball Reference's handy "spring training opposition strength" tool:

10 - MLB end of last year
8 - AAA
7 - AA
5 - A+

Travis 7.6
Donaldson 8.2
Smoak 7.7
Pearce 7.8
Granderson 8.1
Grichuk 8.0
Martin 8.0
Tulo ---
Pillar 8.2

Morales 8.1
Solarte 8.1
Diaz 7.0
Maile 6.8

So basically all of the expected roster played against AAA competition on average this spring - except for 2 guys, Diaz and Maile, who faced AA competition on average (and neither did particularly well against that softer competition). Not sure if that tells us anything about how Gibbons was viewing these guys and their spots on the roster, but maybe it does indicate Diaz' spot isnt a lock.

Pompey 7.8
Alford 6.4
Hernandez 6.7
Smith 7.0
Leblebijan 6.2
Tellez 7.1
Jansen 5.7
Espinosa 8.0
Ngoepe 6.5

Davis 5.9
Fields 6.6
Lopes 6.6
McGuire 6.9

Guerrero 6.4
Bichette 6.6
Gurriel 5.8
Urena 6.8
Pentecost 5.6

So unfortunately some of the standout guys like Teoscar, Alford, and Fields did it against pretty soft competion - not even legit average AA quality on average. It's potentially interesting that Gibbons gave Espinosa the toughest usage of all these guys this spring, and tougher than guys like Diaz and Ngoepe.



Stroman 8.3
Sanchez 8.3
Happ 8.3
Estrada 8.7
Garcia 8.2

Biagini 7.5
Guerreri 7.8
McGuire 7.3
Borucki 7.6
Rowley 7.5

So the regular rotation got as good competition as possible while the Bisons' 5, including Biagini, faced below average AAA quality on average.

Osuna 8.1
Tepera 8.1
Loup 8.1
Barnes 7.5
Oh 8.3
Clippard 8.1
Axford 8.0

All these guys got as good competition as possible too, aside from maybe Barnes.

Alburquerque 8.0
Ramirez 8.2
Breslow 8.3
Mayza 6.5
Dermody 7.0
Santos 6.9
Girodo 7.0

So Gibbons gave Alburquerque, Ramirez, Breslow legit matchups while the other guys he wasn't really using in matchups that makes you think they were ever really in the running for a spot.
BlueMonday - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#355031) #
"we can't afford to stubbornly insist on playing guys like, say, Morales and Diaz if they're hitting like they did last year....and with the other options we have available, we have no need to do that, either."

Agree as well. I think April will be a real test of John Gibbons. I'm not sure this has been his strength, as he's tended to go with his 'favorite guys' who have delivered for him in the past.
85bluejay - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#355032) #
On the other hand, the minor league guys are trying very hard to impress & maybe win jobs now/later while the ML players are often working on stuff - the bottom line is that it's very difficult to assess spring training results.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#355033) #
https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2018-positional-power-rankings-summary/

Fangraphs summary of their positional power rankings.

I was looking at the numbers and noticed that the Cubs are the only team that has a better "worst" rank than we do - Jays' worst rank is 17th, Cubs is 14th. The dodgers also have 17th as their worst rank.

And then from the article: "You might be somewhat interested in balance. I calculated a quick standard deviation of the 11 positional ranks for every team. The Blue Jays come out as the most balanced ball club. Theyíre first at third base ó Josh Donaldson is amazing ó but everywhere else, theyíre somewhere between ninth and 17th. The Jays are followed by the Cubs and Cardinals. "



Me, I'm not a big fan of a balanced approach, but hey, at least we seem to have done a good job of implementing that kind of approach.
Chuck - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#355034) #
Me, I'm not a big fan of a balanced approach

True, hard to make a big jump from a scrub to a star that the unbalanced strategy offers. With a bunch of middling players, you can only look at small incremental gains.

christaylor - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#355035) #
The gains may be incremental on paper but big-win of the balanced approach for me is that I expect the games will be a lot more fun to watch. There were a lot of painful half-innings of punchless Jays hitters last year. It was easy to lose interest and switch to another game on mlb.tv -- especially given the emergent young Yankees were a fun team to follow.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#355036) #
Regardless of any options to the contrary, I believe Troy Tulowitzki is a very good Short Stop when totally healthy despite no longer being exceptional. The ongoing saga being continued from the Preseason should regain clarity today. The question should be which 100 games do you want him to play? The first 100 games of the Seaosn or the last 100 games (including Postseason) of the Season?
China fan - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#355037) #
Shi Davidi says Danny Espinosa is expected to accept a Buffalo assignment. That's excellent news for the Jays depth. We all know that Diaz and Ngoepe have flaws, and Tulo might be out for months. If SS becomes a black hole in the lineup, the Jays can still try the Espinosa option.

It does create a bit of a logjam in the Buffalo infield. There are essentially two choices: demote Urena or Gurriel to New Hampshire (which would cut into Bichette's playing time); or try to keep all three of them active in Buffalo by shifting them around the infield or DH, with occasional days off.
PeterG - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#355038) #
It probably means that Tim Lopes gets less playing time or goes back to NH.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#355039) #
nice to hear Espinosa will accept an assignment.


as for Gurriel and Urena, for me they should be in AA anyways.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#355040) #
Has the 40 man roster been set in stone yet or are we still speculating? Do we have to inform the league FO? If so what is the deadline?
Gerry - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#355041) #
I believe the deadline is 3:35pm tomorrow, as in before first pitch. The Jays are waiting for the Tulo doctors report to see if he goes on the 10 or 60 day DL.

Most of the decisions have been made, we just don't know them yet.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#355042) #
For those advocating getting rid of Tulo in previous threads...the current options are what you'd be looking at as replacements. If you go to market for a decent short stop you will be paying similar money that you owed Tulo. Bear in mind this is all with the caveat that a Hall of Fame caliber player fell off a cliff and became below league average, which, is jumping the gun in my opinion. It's a lot more complicated than that. We know now that on top of switching leagues and stadiums and facing better pitching that he was also playing through multiple injuries (hamstring, bone spurs) on top of the fractured back (thanks PIllar) and hip surgeries of the past.

I'm of the mind that Tulo is more Joe Mauer than...(I actually don't have a comp for a Hall of Fame player falling off a cliff) anybody else. Trying to play through injuries. Hopefully he gets more surgery done or whatever it is that he needs to stabilize his ankle because when completely healthy he's probably a very good slap hitter with some power and above average defense. He has the arm and "vision" to make up for a lack of range to maintain plus numbers in the field.

Whatever happens, let him get 100% so he can post some respectable numbers and strengthen the line up. No, he's not immune to being at fault either. The Tulo in Colorado had a very different approach to hitting. The last 2 years in Toronto he saw Donaldson and changed his swing and went on record to say that every at bat for him was an approach focused on either HR, BB or RBI. That's gonna lead to more strikeouts and flaws to your swing.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#355043) #
Thinking about Tulo and other SS who dropped fast...
  • Nomar Garciaparra is who first came to mind. From age 22 to 32 he hit 318/367/540 for a 130 OPS+ with a 120 OPS+ at age 32. Then the next 3 years he hit 279/325/395 for an 87 OPS+ moving to 1B/3B/DH with a bit of SS mixed in. Ouch. HOF lock he seemed at 32 but that crash came fast and hard.
  • For a Jays based example, Roberto Alomar - from 20-33 he hit 306/378/455 for a 121 OPS+ and had a 150 OPS+ (his best) in 157 games at 33 so he still was playing like a HOF'er. Then he played just 3 more seasons, 262/331/367 for a 85 OPS+ and that was it. Ouch.

Seems age 32 to 34 is the ending for middle infielders unless you get lucky.  Tulo just finished his age 32 season.  Gulp.  Owed $58 mil over next 3 years (including buyout for age 36 season).  Lets hope he is the exception.

cybercavalier - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#355044) #
The MLB.com player transaction page shows more recently released players.
aged 29-30 RHP Yorvani Gallardo
aged 29-30 R/R C Cameron Rupp
aged 29 L/L RF and some LF/CF Jarret Parker
aged 30 L/R C Chris Hermann
aged 30-31 LHP+LHB Dan Jennings
aged 29-30 CF Ben Revere

So... does the Jays want to stack a LF/CF on the bench or in Buffalo? Ben Revere is available.... Chris Hermann can provide a LHB catcher to complement Russell Martin.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#355045) #
With all the pessimism existing for the Jays, people forgot that as bad as it was last Season the Jays were only three games out of a Playoff Berth as late as mid-August. The worst player in Baseball last year (Jose Bautista) is no longer with the Team. Aaron Sanchez looks to be all the way back and with a new grip, There will be nine new faces on the Roster, all of which are significant upgrades on those from before. With a new resolve to keep everyone as healthy as possible throughout the season the Jays might even challenge for the Divison. The Jays first seven games are at home, then three in Texas keeping the Jays from the usual early April weather for at least that long.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#355046) #
"You really expect a team to get five middle infielders capable of starting? Ngoepe is literally fifth on the team depth chart at MI and 3rd at SS"

Glevin - who said anything about Ngoepe starting? Not me. Nor did I say anything about having 5 middle infielders who could be starters. I was hoping the Jays wouldn't have such a weak bat on the team, and when they signed Espinosa, it looked like he would be the last guy on the roster instead of Ngoepe. At least Espinosa gives you some power. As I said in my post, maybe Espinosa goes to Buffalo for a few weeks and comes back up to replace Ngoepe, who I don't think belongs in the big leagues. With rosters being squeezed by having 12 relievers, there just isn't room for a defense only guy.
China fan - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#355047) #
"....Ngoepe, who I don't think belongs in the big leagues. With rosters being squeezed... there just isn't room for a defense only guy."

Ryan Goins, with a career .611 OPS, is a defence-only guy who has won a bench job for Kansas City this year.

Gibbons is on record as saying that they think Ngoepe has some untapped hitting potential. That might be wishful thinking, but it suggests that the Jays see him as potentially better than Goins. But to be honest, Ngoepe is on the roster for two main reasons: Tulo's injury has created a roster spot for another infielder beyond Diaz and Solarte; and Ngoepe (unlike Goins) has options remaining. So he can easily be sent to the minors if the Jays decide that Espinosa is a better option.
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#355048) #
Yes, and Kansas City isn't a very good team. Goins isn't much of a major league player in my books either.

As far as Gibbons' statement about untapped potential is concerned, I'll take the 9 year minor league record of weak hitting and age 28 as strong indications that the likelihood of there being significant untapped potential in Ngoepe is very close to zero.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#355049) #
Thanks Gerry about the Tulo decision.

I feel like celebrating. A new season starts. Real baseball is back.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#355050) #
the bigger problem with goins is that he wasn't good enough defensively to be a defensive specialist.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#355051) #
So #27 Vlad hits a mammoth HR. At home Plate another player #7 makes a fantastic verticle high jump in the celebration. Anyone know who that was?
China fan - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#355052) #
People here seem quite astonished that the 25th player on the Jays roster (or the Royals roster) might not be an all-star combination of great hitting and brilliant defence.

It's the 25th player, the back-up to the back-up infielder. For a fringe spot in the roster, a fringe major-leaguer is normally chosen.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#355053) #
eh I get that with all the emphasis on depth over stars that people are upset that we're still choosing to include two guaranteed offensive holes on the bench.

I would usually be upset too but I dunno I guess I have Stockholm syndrome.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#355054) #
eh I get that with all the emphasis on depth over stars...I guess I have Stockholm syndrome

I feel ya. We oughta be paying for the most expensive shortstop in baseball instead.

Oh. Wait.....http://www.spotrac.com/mlb/rankings/shortstop/
Parker - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#355055) #
"I feel ya. We oughta be paying for the most expensive shortstop in baseball instead.

Oh. Wait....."


Well, yeah.

I mean, "it's not my money" ...right?
dalimon5 - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#355056) #
Dumb.
Parker - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:48 PM EDT (#355057) #
The Jays could have been paying for baseball's most expensive reliever until 2022, based on the loudest and most often-posted here.

The loudest and most-often postings here would have the Jays paying for baseball's third-most expensive DH a year from now.

Neither of those opinions would've gotten the Jays to the playoffs last year. But man, those are some loud opinions.
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:48 PM EDT (#355058) #
I mean, "it's not my money" ...right?

If you're smarter than me and not laying down on telcoms. Better on Amazon.

Oh. Wait.....I am... http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-trump-stock-20180328-story.html I meant GE....
Parker - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#355059) #
I mean, "it's not my money" ...right?

If you're smarter than me and not laying down on telcoms. Better on Amazon.


I meant that the "it's not my money" crowd speak very loudly. Of course it's not their money.

It's your money, and my money.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#355060) #
yeah those teams that signed those overpaid crapola players sure are really dumb crappy teams. good thing we're the super smart team.
Parker - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#355061) #
yeah those teams that signed those overpaid crapola players sure are really dumb crappy teams. good thing we're the super smart team.

Who's "we", again?
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#355062) #
smart guys like you, Parkie, who make fun of wanting to sign an elite DH for $20m so we can sign 2 bad DHs instead.

super smart guys. like you. smart.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#355063) #
I mean SO smart that you figured out that big contracts are risky AND that the best way to win is to draft a bunch of superstars all at the same time. you figured this out all yourself, too!

super, duper smart.
Parker - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#355064) #
smart guys like you, Parkie, who make fun of wanting to sign an elite DH for $20m so we can sign 2 bad DHs instead.

super smart guys. like you. smart.


You keep talking like you're part of the Blue Jays' decision-making process. And you keep talking like the AAV for a free agent signing is something you can analyze on a year-to-year basis and completely ignore contract term.

You're not setting the bar for "smart" very high.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#355065) #
Parker,

He may be using the term "we," but you're the only one thinking he thinks he's part of the management team that built the team. I don't think anybody else on this forum is under the impression that Ugly thinks he's Mark Shapiro or working with or for him. So, let's move on please...

CBDC
If Tulo was a bad player and we signed him to a bad contract, these dumb rants would make more sense. The reality is his your negative comments against management or Tulo are way short-sighted. Give your head a shake, look at the facts and realities of "the market."

Tulo was underpaid in Colorado during peak years and signed a big contract which looked manageable (and probably still is). He's been injured. What do you want? If he plays the way he did in Colorado he's probably worth $30,000,000 to $35,000,000 annually. If he plays in line with an average decline from his peak years he is worth $15,000,000 to $20,000,000.

We got rid of around $40,000,000 in Jose Reyes contract to the Rockies which they ate. Tulo cost us roughly $42,000,000 for the same time period. So it nets out.

Starting this season, we will owe Tulo $58,000,000 for 3 more years including his 4th year buy out of $4,000,000. So we are paying him $18,000,000 per year for top 10 performance when healthy. He isn't healthy right now and his salary is covered by insurance while rehabbing. Doesn't matter whose money it is, it's insured. You don't pay for a player when they aren't playing. Jean Segura is the last regular shortstop to sign a new deal in 2017 and he signed for $14,000,000.

Shortstop is the center position of hockey. You're gonna pay dearly because there aren't very many guys (even though there are 10X as many as before). YOU WERE NEVER GONNA GET TULO or any player of his caliber during his prime in Toronto. That's the biggest reason why AA was a "ninja" because he brought superstars to Toronto in their primes. If you want to pay market or under market value then go watch Cleveland or sub market teams.

If we re-sign Donaldson for 5 years and he breaks a leg and falls off a cliff for 2 years (but is still top 10 3B) and could bounce back for top 5 for last 2 years of contract would you go around complaining that we are paying the most expensive 3B in baseball during the middle of it?

Have some patience. Those that look at things at their worst and pass judgement at that time look like fools in the end. In this particular case, they already look like fools because the contract and contributions of this particular player have already been repaid immensely both in Colorado (Tulo's peak years) and in Toronto (two playoff appearances).

The kicker is that we got rid of Reyes and his salary, so apply his salary toward Tulo's to net it out. In addition to this, HE'S INJURED and not playing. He's still got time...and it's likely, not possible, likely that when healthy he is a top 10 shortstop. It's no different that saying Donaldson, when healthy, is a top 5 player in MLB.

Tulo missed 2017 so throw that season out. He's been top 10 SS in baseball in both 2015 and 2016 and that's with him playing injured, in shortened seasons and with better younger insanely talented short stop players entering MLB that were never there before. Even if Tulo matched his Colorado numbers he would still be only at the edges of top 5. He built his stardom around the fact that there were only 2 shortstops that were supremely talented for a long time. Now there's nearly 10.

Name 1 player that has finished ahead of him statistically in his last 2 seasons (2017 barely played). Out of those players, how many of them are non franchise players drafted first overall or close to first and developed by their team as insanely unique once in generation type players or very close to it? How many of those players would be available to Toronto at SS? You can't get Lindor, Machado, Seager, Crawford, Bogaerts, Correa, Crawford, Russell etc all because you'd have to draft them.

Who you gonna get instead of Tulo? Cozart at 13 million? Jean Segura at $14 million? Elvis Andrus at 15 million? Hanley Ramirez at 22 million?

Show me the other options that make it worth ranting about why we are paying "the most expensive short stop in baseball," with the negative connotation you're using and I'll have a reason not to rake you over the coals.
jerjapan - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#355066) #
I gotta agree with Dalimon, although my logic is slightly different.

At this point, if I could undo the Tulo trade for the team going forward, I would.  But I just thinking judging a GM or a FO by one move doesn't even make sense.  You aren't going to hit on every move, and the more risks you take, the more failures on your record.  But also the more homeruns.  If you get the ratio right, I'll take the risk-taking, aggressive FO.  AA was the type of GM who, as Dalimon said, brought superstars in their primes to TO.  I'll take the Tulo contract if it means we get to enjoy JD. 



CeeBee - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#355067) #
Parker stoking the fire.... gotta know real baseball is just around the corner.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#355068) #
With Tulo the Jays got to the playoffs twice (WAR of 1.3 and 3.4).   Those are the only 2 times since 1993 the Jays have got there.  Without him we'd probably have had Reyes at SS those years (-0.2 WAR in 2015 post-Toronto, 1.4 in 2016 but only 60 games, the rest would've been Goins & Barney (ugh).  I somehow doubt the Jays make the playoffs in 2016 in that case (3 wins ahead in real life, 2 wins lost with Reyes vs Tulo assuming Reyes plays that well in Toronto like he did in NY for the Mets then I'd assume the rest of the season would've been negative from Goins & Barney).

So was it worth the financial headaches to have that playoff in 2016 and to have maybe made the difference in 2015 (probably not, 6 wins up on the Yanks for the AL East title - he was key to lasting as long as they did in the ALCS).  Given the Jays still don't have anyone decent to fully replace Tulo (I'm hopeful for Diaz but also realistic) until next year at least (Bo Bichette I really hope is the real deal).  Once Bo gets here next year the Jays owe $38 million to Tulo and I'd guess that half can be written off in a trade if needed and someone would want him for under $10 mil a year for 2 years.

Of the players lost only Jeff Hoffman would've been nice to keep - but he has a 5.15 FIP lifetime and a 5.65 ERA (ouch).  His K/9 is OK at 7.2 but nothing to write home about and now has a shoulder injury.  The other guys have since been released or are still in the minors.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 28 2018 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#355069) #
all of that is true, john, except the financial heartache part.

tulo's money isn't stopping them from doing anything they want to do.
John Northey - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#355070) #
Some seem to think it is.  In truth the money for Tulo is minimal vs the budget, unlike the Delgado mess around 15 years ago, when his was a third of the teams payroll.  Plus if he is worth 2-3 WAR then he will easily be worth what he is paid and given the Jays can afford a top 10 payroll that should be easy.  Next year Donaldson most likely comes off the books ($23 mil saved vs this year) and is replaced by Vlad Jr (minimum), Estrada & Happ might be gone as both are free agents thus saving up to $13 mil each.  Pearce is a free agent, $6.5 mil saved.  Loup is hard to predict but is a free agent too, making just shy of $2 mil. 

I could see the Jays dropping the payroll significantly next year AND being a better team by trading Tulo, letting Donaldson go, having some kid pitchers develop, and Bo & Vlad emerge as stars.  Not likely, but possible.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:21 AM EDT (#355071) #
The window for Tulo being worth his remaining contract isn't closed, but it is closing. While this bone spur/heel problem is annoying (why wasn't it addressed earlier in the offseason?), it also doesn't seem to be the kind of injury that necessarily becomes a permanent problem. If Tulowitzki returns to full health, I think there's a good chance he can still be a plus shortstop. But those chances are narrowing - he may miss too much time to allow him to be valuable; his various injuries may prove to undermine his performance even when he does get back on the field; or his underlying skills may simply have declined too far with age to be valuable, even if full health returns. I'd love for the optimistic scenario to come to pass, but I'm glad we have better options than Goins this year.
dalimon5 - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:27 AM EDT (#355072) #
Not even discussing intangibles, I think Tulo is definitely a more valuable player than Bichete in 2018 and possibly 2019. I think it's more realistic that Tulo stays and Josh goes. Vlad at 3B. Bichete at 2B. Travis DH/INF.
StephenT - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:31 AM EDT (#355073) #
The jumping #7 was Bo Bichette, who was on deck.

I didn't see any Jays regulars in the crowd greeting Vlad at home plate.
The only player I recognized besides Bo was Teoscar.
I assume the regulars were already in the clubhouse and didn't see the end.

It was already announced that there wouldn't be a 10th inning.

Box: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/cardinals-vs-blue-jays/2018/03/27/536857
Glevin - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 03:50 AM EDT (#355074) #
"If Tulowitzki returns to full health, I think there's a good chance he can still be a plus shortstop."

And if I win the lottery, I'll be rich. Tulo has a 93 WRC+ in almost 1,000 PAs with the Jays from ages 30-32. In the last 2 years combined, he's been the 24th most valuable SS in baseball with at least 400 PAs. There is a chance there's a bit of a bounce back but a near zero chance he's worth his contract. (It's not just WAR, the kind of value Tulo has put up is not the value teams pay big money for. Teams pay for offense and maybe elite defense not for guys with pretty good defense and below average offense.)
dan gordon - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 05:46 AM EDT (#355075) #
I just don't see much likelihood of Tulo being an effective player any more. To me, it's more a question of what they do with the contract. Nobody is going to trade for him, so it basically comes down to what point do they eat the rest of the deal. Maybe at the end of this year, but I think more likely after 2019 when they "only" have to eat $18 million.
dalimon5 - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 08:11 AM EDT (#355076) #
Using your logic we should get rid of Aaron Sanchez too because he was just average at best the last 2 years. Nobody wants an average starting pitcher. Of course, if you use logic you will realize that ranking Tulo 24th overall over past 2 years makes little sense when he didn't play for half of that time and was injured for a chunk of the time that he did play. Once again, common sense not so common.

David Price, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, etc all...these guys play injured and their numbers suffer. Look at Verlander...a couple of adjustments and good health made him dominant again. Cream always rises to the top just as irrational slanted views always will be washed to the side by reason and common sense more times than not.

"Tulo was 14th ranked SS" past two years . . . that's funny using the same measurements what ranking was Aaron Sanchez? I'm very curious.
dalimon5 - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#355077) #
*** 24th ranked short stop as labeled by Glevin.
scottt - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#355078) #
Some vets are great at coaching their successors and some aren't.
Dante Bichette was the hitting coach for the Rockies in 2013.
Bo Bichette and Tulo are not strangers.
The Jays could ask Tulo to be the backup SS and the only thing he could do is try to play himself back to starting.
The Jays always seem to make a big deal out of moving aging vets.
Vernon Wells was playing center and hitting in the middle of the lineup until he got traded.
Jose Reyes played 3B and 2B as soon as he left Toronto.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#355079) #
Opening Day.

There's a headline in today's Globe sports section- "Stanton is going to take it one day at a time".  What are they going to do to top this on Sunday- "Stroman vows to take it five days at a time", "Gibbons fed up with channelling his sexual energies"?

The FO had a decent off-season.  There were no Morales-level bloopers, and some fine budget acquisitions.  It sure would be nice though to have Zack Cozart right now.  He's stuck playing third base for the Angels and getting paid 3/38 to do that.  The budget ought to have been present to sign him and it would make more sense for him to be here than there. Hopefully Aledmys Diaz makes it academic, but honestly I am not holding my breath- he didn't look great to me either in the field or at bat.  All along I felt that Tulo was as great an injury risk as Travis and the club ought to have protected both spots equally.  I don't think that they did that. 

Play ball.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#355080) #
Rusty Staub died today. He was beloved in Montreal and New York for the way he played and for his charitable work.

I'll always remember the precision of his approach at the plate.  There are so many ways to be a great hitter. Staub was like a surgeon. 
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#355081) #
the reasonable expectation for tulo is still a good 3war type player when he plays, like he has been for us aside from his very short stint last year. This is not a guy to dump or even to bench.

2015: 534pa, 2.8bwar, 2.4fwar, 3.2war650
2016: 544pa, 3.4bwar, 2.9fwar, 3.8war650
2017: 260pa, 0.1bwar, 0.0fwar, 0.1war650

yes last year was a complete write off, and yes it sucks that he's not ready to start this year, and yes it's possible that his age 31yr will be the last effective year of his career....but the reasonable expectation is still that he's by far our best option at SS and should be able to play at some point.
Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#355082) #
Rusty Staub died today.

Le Grand Orange was a local hero in my youth.

rpriske - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#355083) #
I found it jarring to see #RIPRusty on twitter (since that is my name).

A tribute is well deserved for Staub.

Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#355084) #
Nobody wants an average starting pitcher.

EVERYONE wants an average starting pitcher because he'd surely surely be an improvement over their 4th or 5th starting pitcher.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#355085) #
The average ERA for starting pitchers in MLB was 4.49.  That's roughly what a reasonable projection for Jaime Garcia looks like.  The nub of the issue as far as I am concerned is pitcher usage (i.e. how many innings you try to get out of each pitcher).  I'd rather have 140-150 good innings out of a pitcher like Garcia than 170-180 mediocre ones.  It's hard to do that if you have 7 relievers who are basically 1 inning pitchers.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#355086) #
It sure would be nice though to have Zack Cozart right now. He's stuck playing third base for the Angels and getting paid 3/38 to do that. The budget ought to have been present to sign him and it would make more sense for him to be here than there

Sure. $20 million per year for a multi-year write-off at shortstop, and another $13 a year for the guy who'll actually play.

I think the business plan this year was to hope that one last year of Donaldson, Tulo and Martin could be competitive, to surround them with better players than Bautista at least, and hope to transition into a new player complement over the next few years. Hoping to get anything at all out of Tulo however was either somewhat optimistic or else a marketing ploy. Either way, they're not going to chase the remaining $58 million in sunk cost for Tulo at short with $13 million a year for Cozart at short. No one else in baseball pays $20 million a year for a shortstop, let alone replaces a $20 million a year write-off shortstop with a $13 miiillon a year defacto shortstop.

bpoz - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#355087) #
Thanks Stephan T. Great jump by Bo Bichette.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#355088) #
Axford and Clippard officiall on the roster.


"Hoping to get anything at all out of Tulo however was either somewhat optimistic or else a marketing ploy"

heh.
Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#355089) #
I think the business plan this year was to hope that one last year of Donaldson, Tulo and Martin could be competitive

Based on a recent interview I saw with Shapiro, and with me reading between the lines (perhaps not accuately), I concur with this opinion.

Shapiro said something to the effect that on paper, the team was due for a rebuild at least a year ago, but that the fans needed to be taken into consideration. I read that as code for "Rogers is enjoying the TV and gate revenue that 40K per game offers, so we want to ride that out before we start alienating fans with a weaker product". I believe 2018 will be the last year of "riding that out", with the wishful hope that core 30-somethings have one last hurrah in them.

He did spew the predictable "being competitive and rebuilding are not mutually exclusive" yakety yak and actually said he thought the team could be just as competitive next year. He didn't explain how losing a 6-WAR third baseman worked into the calculus and the hard-hitting interviewer didn't think to ask.

uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#355090) #
"Shapiro said something to the effect that on paper, the team was due for a rebuild at least a year ago"

yep, he did say exactly that - that a team that had just gone to back to back ALCS (something his indians hadn't done in his 15yrs there) should be stripped down and rebuilt.
Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#355091) #
"If Tulowitzki returns to full health, I think there's a good chance he can still be a plus shortstop."

And if I win the lottery, I'll be rich.

And if I drop 40 pounds, I'll be able to fit into my old Speedo. Sorry, did I just ruin everyone's coffee break?

Mike D - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#355092) #
No one else in baseball pays $20 million a year for a shortstop, let alone replaces a $20 million a year write-off shortstop with a $13 miiillon a year defacto shortstop.

Well, the Red Sox replaced a $12 million a year write-off right fielder (Castillo) with a $24 million a year right fielder, despite also having a write-off $18 million a year third baseman that will instead play for the Giants.
Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#355093) #
There's a headline in today's Globe sports section- "Stanton is going to take it one day at a time".

Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, write headlines.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#355094) #
CBDC, the point was that Cozart can play shortstop well, and second base and third base.  If Tulo recovers and can play shortstop, it's not as though they don't have a place to play Cozart in the medium term.  And if he can't, his presence would reduce the pressure on the club to move Bichette along quickly.  Good management doesn't look at other clubs and say "they don't spend $33 million total on shortstops, so we won't"- they ask "what are our needs and our budget?". It is reasonable to spend $34 million for Tulo, Cozart and Travis- you would have a decent chance of getting 1300 pretty good PAs and pretty good defence out of the middle infield. 

In fairness, I have no idea if Cozart would come here.  Maybe he had a powerful yearning to kiss a sunset pig. 

SK in NJ - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#355095) #
Shapiro is working on behalf of Rogers. So while he has final say on baseball decisions, the team direction is likely entirely on ownership. Rebuilding after two consecutive ALCS appearances, even though it was clear the team's window was likely done after 2016, did not make financial sense. Corporate owners don't look at what makes "baseball sense", they look at revenue and profit. When you are sitting on a money train, you don't want to get off unless you have to, and it seems the team is going to try to squeeze one more year out of this group before the real transition period happens.

So trying for that 2nd wild card while Donaldson is still under team control and rebuilding in the background seems to be the compromise. I don't have a problem with it in hindsight. Teams are not trading top prospects for rentals right now and enough teams in baseball are rebuilding/mediocre that the Jays could conceivably sneak into a WC spot with good health, luck, etc. If they are out of it at the deadline, then they have a whole bunch of rentals that they could trade for whatever they can get.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#355096) #
The Toronto Star and CBC are using Opening Day to throw shade at the Blue jays with a phoney Toronto Star/CBC 'scandal'. According to these two, the prices for tickets are shooting through the roof on secondary markets like Stubdhub (do these two Liberal Party stalwarts mention that embattled and likely soon ex, Liberal Party Premier Wynne has introduced anti- scalping legislation? Are you kidding, of course they do). And the 'secret scoop' is that the Blue Jays are getting part of the big take! Our intrepid media friends of the Liberals also tell us that while the Blue Jays publicized they were partnering with Stubdhub, they didn't say they were taking a cut.

So what's the real story? The Blue Jays have entered into a partnership with Stubhub, which is one of a number of resellers (Seatgeek is another). People with a blue jays ticket manager account (I have one as a season ticket holder, I imagine others with ticket packs do as well though I don't know) can manage their tickets and post tickets directly to stubhub if you want to sell a game. Rather than downloading the tickets and then uploading onto Stubdhub, you can now seamlessly post your tickets there for sale right from your blue jays ticket manager account .

Stubhub takes 10% of the sales price from the seller. It did so before and it does so now. Ticket account holders can still download their tickets and post them elsewhere, like Seatgeek if they want to, but it's now easiest to post directly to stubhub and I imagine that's what most others do. I do. The Blue Jays created/use the software to make it easier to sell on stubhub than on stubdhub's competitors. And stubhub now pays them something out of the 10% that they collect. Anyone, like for example the CBC orThe Star it seems, who thought that the Blue Jays would get nothing out of it and would just give stubhub the business for free, should learn a bit about normal business practice. It has noting whatsoever to do with the price of tickets. It's the type of phoney 'scandal' you'd expect from intellectually lazy (at best) journalists.


And while the CBC/Star go on at great length about the price of secondary market Opening Day tickets, which has nothing to do with the Blue Jays partnership with stubhub, they don't seem to mention all the games where the price of tickets is far below the face value of tickets. Even from the CBC and Star I expect better.
Mike D - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#355097) #
I think most people around here, me included, consider the Morales contract to be a total process failure -- from when and how the decision was made to the contract terms and the roles the player can and can't play.

But I think ownership does not view the Morales signing as the process never to repeat. They view the Martin signing and the Tulo trade to be the unforgivable mistakes -- $20M players in their decline years. So we can all forget about significantly playing the free agent market or extending star players past their early 30s.

Just look at the Shapiro/Davidi interview for the front office's strategy -- "to be a club that outperforms its payroll." The plan appears to be to become a drafting/developing organization built on pre-arb and arb-eligible talent with some cheap bottom-tier free agents and depth pieces.

To me, this is putting a lot of faith in the current salary structure remaining unchanged in the medium term. I am not sure this will hold. If MLB teams collude and/or collectively "get smart" around not paying players for their decline years, then I really think the next labour war will revolve around no longer forcing young superstars to play for league minimum before their arbitration years. It will be a hard argument for owners to win.

Ronald Acuna turning down a $30 million extension is the canary in the coal mine.
China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#355098) #
The Jays have announced that Tulo will begin the season on the 60-day DL.

They still need to create one more spot on the 40-man roster. Announcement expected soon.
85bluejay - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#355099) #
Sam Moll was DFA per Atkins
China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#355100) #
So the 40-man roster crunch wasn't much of a crunch at all. With the departure of Moll and the shifting of Tulo to the 60-man DL, the Jays still have Gaviglio and Dwight Smith on the 40-man roster, either of whom could easily be dropped if the front office sees an opportunity to acquire someone else during the last-minute flurry of roster cuts and roster shuffles by other teams.
China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#355101) #
Here is the opening-day lineup. Granderson is batting clean-up, and Morales is bumped down to the 5th spot. (I would expect he could sink even lower if he doesn't hit well.)

Travis 2B
Donaldson 3B
Smoak 1B
Granderson LF
Morales DH
Grichuk RF
Martin C
Pillar CF
Diaz SS
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#355102) #
Good management doesn't look at other clubs and say "they don't spend $33 million total on shortstops, so we won't"- they ask "what are our needs and our budget?". It is reasonable to spend $34 million for Tulo, Cozart and Travis-

I imagine the Blue Jays do both, and in my view 'good management' does both. I'm sure the current front office is highly aware, and certainly should be aware, that they are paying a shortstop far more than their competitors are paying for theirs. But the big problem of course, is that the Yanks and Sox have great young shortstops and we don't. It's one thing to pay more, it's another to get absolutely nothing for the money. I have to disagree Mike that they would consider they're not paying Travis much (yet) and so they should spend money that they are not paying him on Cozart. People who think that way end up spending a lot of money twice. The other thing is that while Travis isn't making much now, he's arbitration eligible next year, and will certainly get a raise, and will certainly get a raise the next year. If he does really well, he'll get good raises and if he doesn't, what's the point in signing Cozart? So by 2020 they could be paying $40 million for that combo.

I think the plan was to see if Tulo could be the guy dalimon thinks he can be. If Tulo could than they might be able to compete with the Yanks and Sox. If Tulo can't, then Cozart isn't gonna make them a playoff team and isn 't worth the $
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#355103) #
I'm encouraged by the fact that Morales is not being handed the cleanup spot. Though I still hope that Pearce gets an equal shot, though letting Morales go against Severino is probably understandable.
Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#355104) #
The Orioles' leadoff hitter today? Chris Davis.
Mike D - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#355105) #
The 2018 Jays have a fair Opening Day lineup. Not "fair" in the sense of justice being done, but "fair" in the sense of falling between "poor" and "good" in the annals of club Opening Day lineups.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#355106) #
"So what's the real story?"

Sounds like the real story is that the Jays are now profiting off the secondary market, after justifying their new pricing and current ticket sales based on "going after" the secondary market.
China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#355107) #
It will be interesting to see if Gibbons does more lineup juggling during the games this year. Today, for example, with Pearce and Solarte on the bench, he can look for pinch-hitting opportunities, depending on the pitcher. He could pinch-hit for Diaz and then bring in Ngoepe as a late-inning defensive replacement. Or he could pinch-hit for Pillar, switch Grichuk to CF for a couple innings and put Pearce at LF and Granderson at RF. (Pillar, however, seems to hit well in the early stages of the season, so maybe it's best to keep him in the lineup.)
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#355108) #
"I imagine the Blue Jays do both, and in my view 'good management' does both. I'm sure the current front office is highly aware, and certainly should be aware, that they are paying a shortstop far more than their competitors are paying for theirs. But the big problem of course, is that the Yanks and Sox have great young shortstops and we don't. It's one thing to pay more, it's another to get absolutely nothing for the money."

the fact that the Yanks and Sox may have already sunk a lot of money into positions where they don't have young studs doesn't stop them from spending more in those slots if they need to.

Red Sox paying Hanley to suck didn't stop them from signing Martinez for the same position. Red Sox paying Porcello to suck didn't stop them from paying Price for the same position.

Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#355109) #
Or he could pinch-hit for Pillar

When was the last time he actually pinch-hit for Pillar? I can remember the time Pillar threw a hissy fit and was then sent to AAA. I can't recall a time since.

Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#355110) #
Red Sox paying Porcello to suck didn't stop them from paying Price for the same position.

In all fairness, Price's arrival didn't mean that Porcello would be squeezed out of playing time.

blu-j - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#355111) #
Any chance of a new thread to start off the regular season?

And I'm pumped that the Jays are tied for first in the division!!!

China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#355112) #
Good point, Chuck. But I think in the past the Jays didn't have someone like Grichuk who could easily slide into CF for a few innings or a game or two. And I think the Jays have recognized that Pillar shouldn't play every inning of every game, as he has tended to do in the past. And the whole point of the current lineup -- with its emphasis on depth and versatility -- is to ensure that players aren't worn down as much and are better rested and used more appropriately.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#355113) #
If ownership/management believes that the Martin signing was an unforgivable mistake, we definitely need new ownership/management.  Martin was paid $82 million for five years, two of which are to run.  He has delivered 5.3 bWAR/6.2 fWAR so far without accounting for pitch framing (and he's very good at that).  He's on pace to deliver a little more value than anticipated from any free-agent signing.  And it's not as though the club has had other better catchers he is taking time from...

I have to say that when the club bandies about the $20 million figure for Martin, it pisses me off.  He signed a back-end loaded contract.  The club benefits from that.  In 2015, when the club was winning and raking in the money, they were paying Martin $7 million.  Which allowed them to spend other money on other players and pay more of his salary later at slightly depressed value. 

uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#355114) #
who knows what career enigmas Happ and Estrada do with the Jays if they don't have a captain like Martin calling the shots behind the plate?

on that note, i'm excited to see whether Martin can help maximize Garcia, too.
Gerry - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#355115) #

Any chance of a new thread to start off the regular season?

I was just working on it. Its now live.

China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#355116) #
I think Martin's contribution to the entire pitching staff has been huge. It's not easily measured, but I think he gets a massive amount of the credit for the strong performance of the starting rotation since his arrival. And then there's his leadership role in the clubhouse, which can't be overlooked as well.

The whole point of acquiring Martin and Tulo was to improve the team's defence, help the pitchers, and stabilize the lineup with veteran leadership. I think that strategy was very successful in 2015 and 2016, and for that reason alone I think the financial cost was worthwhile.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#355117) #
Strength up the middle is a well justified cliche.

Having a very good 2-way SS and C combo were obviously massive parts of this team going to back to back ALCS.
SK in NJ - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#355118) #
The Martin signing was always a good one, even factoring decline towards the end. The only negative was backloading it, as paying the most money for a player's worst seasons is never a good thing, but overall the signing was justified with a good chance at reaching or exceeding the dollar value.

The Tulo trade/contract is a different story.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#355119) #
The Yankees are running out a roster with 8 relievers.  It's weird given the strength of the pen, but maybe they are planning to use a kind of tandem with Sabathia (and maybe Montgomery/Tanaka). 
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#355123) #
If ownership/management believes that the Martin signing was an unforgivable mistake, we definitely need new ownership/management

Or else we need a new commitment to accuracy. I haven't heard anyone in management/ownership equating Martin to Tulo as a write-off cost. Can you show me where that was said, other than Mike D saying the front office thinks that? Except for those who think that $100 million plus players for Tulo for 1 1/4 seasons is a good investment, I don't know of many who support that move. Martin's a different kettle of fish. He plays, and as others have said, he's helped the pitching staff.
China fan - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#355126) #
"....Except for those who think that $100 million plus players for Tulo for 1 1/4 seasons is a good investment, I don't know of many who support that move...."

If you're claiming to have a "commitment to accuracy," why are you framing the Tulo debate in such a misleading and false way?
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#355129) #
Sounds like the real story is that the Jays are now profiting off the secondary market, after justifying their new pricing and current ticket sales based on "going after" the secondary market.

Absolutely they are making some money from the secondary market. As they should be. And is your claim that this is wrong? Is it wrong that other clubs do exactly the same? In major markets like Boston the club runs the resale market itself, cutting out sites like stubhub. The Blue Jays aren't a charity providing free entertainment.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#355130) #
Hey, if you think taking a cut from the secondary market is the same as "cleaning up" the secondary market, that's fine. For me, that seems like greasy corporate speak.

I'm pretty sure there are teams, like Vegas in the NHL, now sell e-tickets that simply cannot be re-sold online, period. That's cleaning up the secondary market.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#355132) #
"Except for those who think that $100 million plus players for Tulo for 1 1/4 seasons is a good investment"

-$60m in contracts
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#355134) #
Well, the Red Sox replaced a $12 million a year write-off right fielder (Castillo) with a $24 million a year right fielder, despite also having a write-off $18 million a year third baseman that will instead play for the Giants.

The contract for the third baseman in SF is a big part of what cost Ben Cherington in job. As it should have. Boston's third baseman costs $565k, not $13 million. Rusney Castillo was signed young and it didn't work out. Boston's rightfielder last year made less than 1 million, not 24. This year Betts makes 10, not 24.

Betts, Devers, Boegarts, Bradley, Benintendi, Vasquez etc are why Boston is far ahead of Toronto. That's where we should be going.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#355135) #
Actually, it was the Red Sox' pitching that carried them up the standings last year.
dalimon5 - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#355137) #
CBDC,

I think you need to factor in Vlad and Bichette and the young studs on our team currently (Osuna, Sanchez, Stroman) and Toronto is right there with Boston in terms of young controllable players. It's fair to include Vlad and Bo since you've included Devers and Benintendi. We have spent more for "stars" in our INF (C, 3B, SS) whereas they have invested in "Stars" in the pitching category with Price, Sale and Kimbrel.

Where Boston has us beat is the following:
1) swallowing sunk costs (Ramirez/Panda) and moving on
2) Signing more stars (not having to rely on trade)...JDM, Harper? Shohei if he wanted Boston...
3) They find depth and quality pieces to cover for injuries. Compare Pedroia to Tulo. Similar players. Both play hurt. Both too old to keep doing that. Both likely need to fully heal and come back to focus on their hitting with smart defense to be 2-3+ WAR players. This year the jays have back ups that are capable. Only problem is Tulo is out too long and now your back ups are regulars and that's where it would have been better IMHO to sign Cozart and use Lourdes rather than trade for Diaz. Then you have Cozart sliding into starting duties, Solarte a capable back up and Lourdes as your 3rd guy. Let Tulo take his time.
Mike D - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#355143) #
1) swallowing sunk costs (Ramirez/Panda) and moving on

Which, coupled with the Castillo contract, was obviously my point about the Red Sox. CBDC's rebuttal to this point (A-HA! It's totally different because JD Martinez will NOT usually play in right!) is pretty hilarious.

I do take CBDC's comments about my take on the Martin contract more seriously. Shapiro's comments, shown here

https://bluejaysnation.com/2018/02/03/shapiro-speaks-real-talk-on-revenue-rogers-centre-donaldson-yelich-vlad-and-more/

and elsewhere from this offseason reflect the view that the Jays don't have the payroll available to build a complete team when they have "two or three contracts" paying "tens and tens of millions of dollars." The front office/ownership is clearly more resentful of Tulo's contract than of Martin's. But everything about how they have approached player acquisitions suggest to me that they are not giving out Martin-like contracts to players his age in free agency anymore.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#355144) #
and yet the signed 34yr old Morales to his contract.
Mike D - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#355145) #
But Morales was not a $20M per year guy.

Morales was intended to be a cheaper facsimile of Edwin -- they were hoping to get two-thirds the player at half the price. Which, coupled with his 20 speed and 20 defence, is why so many of us did not like the thought process going into that signing.
Mike D - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#355146) #
The fact that it wound up being more than half the price of Edwin's contract only makes it worse.
uglyone - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#355149) #
I guess my point is they were spending the money anyways.

they just think it's riskier to give it to one established player for mutliple years instead of an assortment of different question marks every year.

The idea that they'd do anything with Tulo's $20m other than disperse it amongst a couple of borderline bench/parttime starter types is probably wrong.

Tulo's money doesn't stop them from doing anything.

In fact, without Tulo, the payroll would probably just be a bit lower.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#355150) #
dalimon

Thanks for your reply. A couple of small points. By 'Ramirez' I take it you mean Hanley. He's not been 'swallowed' to my knowledge. I got to watch a couple of games last year of him playing first at Fenway, he's playing first today in Tampa. As for signed stars. it's a contract they'd rather not have but they've not eaten it like Panda. JDM I guess, but Harper hasn't signed with them, and everyone made a pitch for Shohei, including Toronto. I'm also not sure he's a star. They'd love Price to opt out but that's not going to happen. They'd love to have that contract back too.

Anyway, you're obviously much more optimistic about Tulo being a contributing member of the team than I so I won't rain any further on that parade. Did you renew your tickets?
John Northey - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#355154) #
Edwin's contract - $60 mil over 3 years plus assorted bonuses
Morales contract - $33 mil over 3 years period

Yeah, Morales did end up being a tiny bit over half of Edwin's deal and I agree he was a bad signing, but remember, at the time Edwin rejected an $80 mil over 4 years offer from the Jays plus the market hadn't undergone the crash we've seen since. Sucks that the Jays did one of the last signings before it crashed but better Morales at $33 mil than Edwin at $80 mil over 4.

Edwin was worth 2.8 bWAR last year, but at 35 this year I'd be betting on that going down and to keep going down. Morales at -0.2 is probably on the same downward path, just a bit quicker as he wasn't as good. Ideally the Jays write off the remaining $23 mil and call it a day.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#355155) #

Edwin was worth 2.8 bWAR last year, but at 35 this year I'd be betting on that going down and to keep going down. Morales at -0.2 is probably on the same downward path, just a bit quicker as he wasn't as good

Encarnacion posted a better wRC+ and wOBA at both ages 34 and 35 than his career averages.  He's obviously not the hitter he was at his peak 5 years ago, and he can be expected to decline further but he's still a much, much better player than Morales.  I am not suggesting that taking on either contract is a good idea but it has as much to do with position as with age. 
bpoz - Thursday, March 29 2018 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#355191) #
The other thread's purpose is for predictions and game 1.

I like Keven Barker on the Jeff Blair show. He is getting an opportunity in broadcasting. He has strong opinions on hitting, which I like.
For example Morales hit .216 as a LHB, last year. That is bad for 400ABs. I hope Barker's information is accurate.

I am going to criticize Barker now. There are no good LHB options on the team. That is a failure of the FO. Maybe they tried. If Barker mentioned that there are no good LHB options then he did well and I have been unfair to him. I don't listen all the time.
scottt - Friday, March 30 2018 @ 07:02 AM EDT (#355210) #
Yep, Morales hit .216 as a LHB and .362 as a RHB which in 127 AB is pretty good.

Pearce had reverse platoon last year and only hit .207 against lefties and he's in a platoon with Granderson...

Solarte has been good as a LHB lately.

I don't know why people talk about big acquisitions next year when they have all those young players ready to break out.
Maybe a starter and a reliever, but should they sign an expense starter instead of trying to extend Stroman/Sanchez?



bpoz - Friday, March 30 2018 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#355211) #
AA and AAA are good tests for our prospects. Most interesting will be Vlad and Bo. Alford, Urena and Borucki as well. All 3 will have used their 2nd option.

Tellez and Jansen need to prove that they are ready.
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