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The limping Blue Jays entertain Oakland for four. The Jays struggling starting pitchers will try to get on track without JA Happ who started on Wednesday. Oakland has a similar record to Toronto.

Marco Estrada starts Friday. He will face off against former Jay, for a brief time, Brett Anderson. On Saturday we are back to a 1pm start time, the Jays seem to be alternating between 1pm and 4pm start times. Joe Biagini is scheduled to start Saturday with Jamie Garcia going on Sunday.
Oakland @ Toronto - May 17-20 | 197 comments | Create New Account
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Gerry - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#358097) #
I was at the game last night. Donaldson looked terrible, he had a lot of swings and misses. Dwight Smith and Richard Urena had good at bats and hit the ball hard. Smith deserved his single in the eighth.
BlueJayWay - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#358098) #
Donaldson's K rate is 30.8% this year, a huge jump over his career norms.
Gerry - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#358099) #
Donaldson had eight swings and misses last night.
Mike Green - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#358100) #
And his swinging strike rate is way outside of his career norms.
hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#358101) #
On the bright side, Pillar's PA's this year rarely look like Pillar's PA's used to look. That's a very good thing.
mathesond - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#358103) #
I suppose, but on the whole I think I prefer Classic Donaldson & Pillar vs. New Donaldson & Pillar.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#358105) #
Donaldson looks like any good player playing injured. He looks like he did last year when shuffling because he was playing hurt. He looks a lot like Tulo when playing hurt.
Mike Green - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#358109) #
Ken Rosenthal at the Athletic says that the super two deadline in June is an important piece in the promotion decision for Guerrero Jr. 

I am with Keith Law on this issue.  He says that it is rational for teams to take into account the extra year of service time (i.e. to wait until late April to promote, as per Longoria/Trout), but that it is cheap in the extreme to worry about the super two deadline. 

hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#358110) #
Doubtful we'll see classic Donaldson (or Tulo) again. Even if they regain their health, they're also on the downward slope of the ageing curve.

And speaking of the downward slope, this from Eno Sarris' twitter yesterday.

"the players with the fewest hot zones (wOBA/pitch > .115 in 3x3 inch box inside the strike zone) since 2017, min. 1000 PA:
1) Russell Martin (14)
2) Mike Napoli
3) Jose Iglesias
4) Curtis Granderson
5) Todd Frazier
6) Jose Bautista
7) Alex Gordon
8) Matt Carpenter (18)"
uglyone - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#358111) #
yeah getting the impression that Donaldson may have been told he needs surgery at some point, but is playing for his contract.
cybercavalier - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#358112) #
Could Donaldson be dropped to the 8th slot? Shall Danny Jansen be promoted to take some workloads of catching and ease R. Martin to a 3B/C role?
Chuck - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#358113) #
rational for teams to take into account the extra year of service time... but that it is cheap in the extreme to worry about the super two deadline.

Yes, two distinct and separate things that seem to get conflated in the media.

Chuck - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#358114) #
yeah getting the impression that Donaldson may have been told he needs surgery at some point, but is playing for his contract.

Donaldson is looking less and less like the consolation prize for the team that fails to land Machado.

Waveburner - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#358115) #
hypobole, what does that stat mean?
hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#358117) #
Waveburner, they divide the strike zone into 64 3"x 3" squares. A wOBA of > .115 per pitch thrown in a square makes that square a hot zone. Russ has 14 of 64 squares considered hot over the past year+. I'm assuming the " min 1000 PA" criteria is pitches.
bpoz - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#358118) #
Do NYY fans have a Batters Box type site? How did that team survive those bad A Rod and M Texiera contracts?
hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#358120) #
Have to agree never seen it on a normal swing- I saw Carlos Santana do it on a checked swing.

https://twitter.com/sung_minkim/status/997486717073526787
Waveburner - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#358122) #
Thanks for the explanation. That surprises me about Martin, I didn't think his contact quality was that poor.
hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#358123) #
Jeff Z chat today at FG.

aw
9:19 I'm wondering if your position on Aaron Sanchez as a starter pre-2016 breakout was right. That 5.19 BB/9 isn't inspiring confidence he'll get back to his 2016 level of success...

Jeff Sullivan
9:20 Sanchez is weird -- he appears to have a quality changeup, and his contact rate is by far the lowest it's ever been. Yet he has a K-BB% of 5%
9:21 And this is pretty easily traceable
Sanchez vs. righties is no worse
9:22 Sanchez vs. lefties: .441 OBP, .478 SLG
20 walks, 14 strikeouts
9:23 It's not because of the changeup. The changeup has actually gotten strikes! But almost literally half of Sanchez's fastballs to lefties have been balls
9:24 He hasn't been down in the zone like he used to be, and for a guy with such a premium sinker, that's not great
christaylor - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#358125) #
I'd say the dearly departed NoMass was similar in spirit to Batter's Box. As to how Yankees survived those contract -- c'mon. It's weird when the Yankees *don't* have a big contract on the books. They don't survive them it's standard operating procedure and the ticket prices reflect that...
bpoz - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#358126) #
True cristaylor. They bludgeoned the other teams with money.

The luxury tax limited their spending. But Cashman traded A Chapman and A Miller for a lot of good prospects. Then resigned Chapman. He used an opportunity(?) to not contend.
Gerry - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#358127) #
Deck McGuire is up with the Jays, Jamie Garcia expected to hit the DL. Is that why Gibby didn't use Gaviglio last night in a blowout?
Gerry - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#358128) #
Gaviglio and Biagini to start over the weekend.
Magpie - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#358129) #
I go to River Ave Blues when I want to check up on the Yankees.
hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#358130) #
Don't know if this has been mentioned, but back in the 5th round of AA's 2011 "pick a whole bunch of HS pitchers and see who'll sign" draft, Jays took a kid who'd just had TJ surgery named Andrew Chin. Cards had the next pick and chose Gaviglio. 2 picks after Gaviglio, Red Sox took HS shortstop Mookie Betts.

As for Chin, he didn't sign, went to college and ended up drafted in the 15th round by the Yankees in 2014. He never made it out of short season ball and was released a year later.
#2JBrumfield - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#358131) #
Baseball America's latest mock draft is up (subscription required). They have the Jays taking South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty at #12, noting that scouting Steve Sanders has gone to see him.
scottt - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#358132) #
I was more surprised that they didn't just use Barnes instead of Ho with a guy at first base.

I don't think we're losing much by starting Gaviglio instead of Garcia.


hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#358133) #
FWIW both Law and the FG guys had Swaggerty 4th in their personal rankings (not mocks) a month ago. Is that good or bad?
jerjapan - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#358135) #
The 2011 draft - aka, the one saved by landing Kevin Pillar in round 32.  The Giants sure loved that draft - Beede and Suarez both failed to sign with us and are top ten prospects for San Fran. 

I liked AA's draft style a lot - he drafted some serious upside guys, and was very willing to cut bait quickly on guys like Comer in trades while they still had value.  The conservative approach of the new FO was worrisome to me at first, but they've had great results with position players.  Aside from 1st round talents Pearson and Zeuch, I'm not nearly as optimistic on the pitching side of things. 

It will be interesting to see the next draft class - I feel we can start getting a handle on their approach to drafting by this point. 

Gerry - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#358137) #
Swaggerty - It could be bad that his stock is falling as several teams have decided he is too risky. He could be a dud.

It could be good if he is just going through a bad patch and will turn it around with good coaching after he is drafted.
scottt - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#358138) #
I kinda like the name.

There's a lot of strategies out there. It's not best player available by any mean, even though it's much better than it used to be.

Shoeless Joe - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#358140) #
The 2011 draft is scattered with guys we didn't sign or who were traded for aces.

Beede - Dod not sign
Aaron Nola - Did not sign
Suarez - Did not sign

Norris traded for Price
Musgrave traded by Hou for Cole
DeScalafani trade for Johnson

I still think there was a tonne of talent in the draft and was pretty happy with it at the time.
hypobole - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#358141) #
"Swaggerty - It could be bad that his stock is falling as several teams have decided he is too risky. He could be a dud."

3 days ago, FG mocked Swaggerty at 6.

Yesterday, Longenhagen was asked if he'd change anything due to new info and the first answer was dropping Swaggerty to 9. Stock is falling.
CeeBee - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#358142) #
I'd like to know why his stock is falling. Performance, injury or other?
James W - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 07:49 PM EDT (#358143) #
Law's 2nd mock has the Mets choosing between India and Swaggerty at #6. He has them selecting India. So someone dropping in a mock could be as simple as one team liking one player more, and then the intervening teams like others more.
PeterG - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#358145) #
I have seen 6 different mocks in last 10 days and there are 5 different projections for Jays. Only player that appears twice is Shane McClanahan. However, he appears well out of reach on the other 4, as high as 6 on one.
Shoeless Joe - Friday, May 18 2018 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#358146) #
I'm going to predict that they take Ryan Rolison or alternatively Logan Gilbert.They Jays seems to like guys who show up big at the cape cod league and they need pitching.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#358152) #
At the moment Iím comfortable with my pre-season prediction of ď78 wins, due to mediocrity at some positions and injuries.Ē Of course, Iím hoping for a team resurgence and a WC position for the Jays. Itís still a reasonably plausible outcome for 2018.
John Northey - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#358153) #
The draft is a tough one.  You need a lot of years to go by to get an idea as to how well the Jays did.

2000: 5 reached, 1.6 WAR total, only Dustin McGowan (active last year) and Vinnie Chulk cracked 1 WAR but not 2.
2001: 7 reached, 7 WAR total, Gabe Gross 4.6, Brandon League 2.6 are all above 1 WAR
2002: 8 reached, 0 WAR total, Dave Bush 3.6, rest are 0.2 or worse
2003: 7 reached, 41.5 WAR, Aaron Hill 23.7, Shaun Marcum  13.5, Ryan Roberts 5.7, rest sub 1.
2004: 7 reached, 22.0 WAR, positives are Adam Lind 11.9, Casey Janssen 7.4, Jesse Litsch 3.9 - rest are 0.1 or worse.
2005: 3 reached, just one of note: Ricky Romero 9.9
2006: 5 reached, just one positive - Travis Snider 4.3
2007: 8 reached, 9.8 WAR total, led by Brett Cecil  7.6
2008: 8 reached, 0.2 WAR total, led by Eric Thames  1.9, Danny Farquhar 1.0, David Cooper 0.1, rest are negative.
2009: 13 reached, 41.7 WAR total, Yan Gomes the best for now at 9.8 WAR, but James Paxton (did not sign) close with 9.4 WAR, Jake Barrett  also has 1 WAR and DNS.  Aaron Loup is the last one still here I think.
2010: 12 reached, 46.9 WAR total, Kris Bryant (DNS) best with 21.6 WAR, followed by Noah Syndergaard (10.2), Aaron Sanchez (8.9 and dropping), Chad Green DNS 3.5
2011: 12 reached, 28.8 WAR total, Kevin Pillar best with 13.9 so far, Aaron Nola DNS but has 8.3.  rest sub 4.  Dwight Smith Jr. in this class.
2012: 4 reached, led by Marcus Stroman  at 9.9, Anthony Alford was drafted this year.
2013: 6 reached, led by Kendall Graveman  at 5.5, then Matthew Boyd at 2.8.  Rest at below 0.2.  The trade draft :)
2014: only Jeff Hoffman has reached, he is -0.8 WAR so far (traded for Tulo)
2015-2017: none reached yet.

Lots of ugly drafts in there.  2010 the most painful though with a DNS getting 20+ and a guy traded before he reached also over 10 while the best one to stay has major issues this year.
scottt - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#358154) #
It seems that at the highest level, pitching is less predictable, so they might not favor a pitcher, but a lot depends on what the other 11th picks are. 
scottt - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#358156) #
Hernandez was the hot hitter on the team and missed the last 2 games.
Donaldson hasn't hit well yet. Same with Martin.
Pillar has gone cold this week and Solarte has been below average for the last month.
Urshela is not going to hit. For some reason they are taking it easy with Urena who has been good in limited appearances.

bpoz - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#358157) #
Thanks for the draft results breakdown, John N. You looked at reality. And reality looks extremely unpredictable.
cybercavalier - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#358158) #
Playing at the number one [juxta]position is today's hyperbole: Mr. Sam G. the record man makes his first recorded start? I am just trying to create humor and maybe someone likes it.
cybercavalier - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#358159) #
The draft is a tough one.  You need a lot of years to go by to get an idea as to how well the Jays did. [...] 2006: 5 reached, just one positive - Travis Snider 4.3 (John Northey, May 19 2018 @ 10:29 AM EDT)
Updating, Travis Snider is playing with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. He went 2-4 and 1 RBI on the second leg of the Thursday's doubleheader against the team with former Jays OF Gustvao Pierre and C A J Jimenez who both played the first leg.
bpoz - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#358160) #
About 2 weeks to the draft. We need to be lucky to pick one of the best players in the draft. We know for sure that a few picks from #12 to the end of the draft will definitely be better than a few picks 1-11.
cybercavalier - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#358161) #
Question to scottt. Do you mean we shall just type what is observed instead of our interpretation? For example, Urena shall be playing in New Hamsphire where he would get more PAs. Urshela shall be sent to Buffalo for Pompey or Jansen. In the latter case, Russel Martin is playing 3B more.
Chuck - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#358163) #
Seriously random strike zone today.
Gerry - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#358164) #
I too am puzzled as to why Urshela is getting more starts than Urena. Urena has played well when he gets in the game and you need to see what he can do at this level. Urshela is four years older and less likely to develop into a decent player.
mathesond - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#358165) #
Urshela is obviously in for his offence.
Chuck - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#358166) #
A sac fly on 0-2 must drive managers crazy.
cybercavalier - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#358167) #
why Chuck?
Chuck - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#358168) #
Why? Because as well as Pillar has been swinging this year, you still want to throw a couple of pitches low and away to see if he will chase. You don't want to throw something up that he can drive to the outfield.
jerjapan - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#358169) #
I'll take this strike zone with Gaviglio on the mound.  The kid is looking promising right now, despite a mediocre track record and low K numbers.  I have a soft spot for ex Card draft picks I think, but he might be someone who's low K numbers don't matter as much / someone who's numbers were skewed in the PCL. 

At this point, the only reason I can conceive of Morales on the roster is if the FO is planning a sell-off at the trade deadline, which I sincerely hope they are given the strength of the teams we are contending with for WC2.  Going into this season with a transitional stage in mind is only justifiable if we legit sell if we are out of the race at the deadline.  As in, 'most likely out', not 'we have a shred of hope and are therefore still in the race'.  I don't think anyone would argue that we have a shot at anything but the 2nd WC at this point (although I'd love reasons for optimism if the argument is there).  But sill, the Angels are better than us, and if not, they are still more likely to spend at the deadline to upgrade their team. 

with all the injuries, I think we are in sell mode.  I have no problem with the FO taking this approach, but I sincerely want to see us start selling assets soon - let's beat the market here.  We certainly are positioned to do this - a number of one year contract commitments, multiple vets who could help a variety of teams, and with the last few trade deadlines of evidence, a number of our vet relievers should get a legit return.   and then it doesn't matter if we continue to try and extract value out of Morales!

And frankly, I have a lot more fun watching the rookies / longshots right now than the core.  Fringey prospects like Smith deserve a shot in my books.   Aside from Pillar, who among the core is worth watching right now?  Maybe it was the charges against Osuna that lead me to feeling this way, but this is currently a team I'd like to see experience some long-term changes.

And FWIW, I'm sympathetic to Osuna, and hope that he finds a path to redeeming himself.  This is a major $##%, but perhaps the kid can grow, learn and improve from it.  

Magpie - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#358170) #
Well, that went sideways in a hurry.
mathesond - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#358171) #
It may have stopped raining outside, but it's pouring in the Dome.
Gerry - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#358172) #
Are the Jays now paying the price for overworking the bullpen earlier?
Eephus - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#358173) #
I take a nap for twenty minutes at 4-0, and it's 5-4 Oakland???? What happened?
cybercavalier - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#358174) #
From ESPN:
Chapman walked.Davis singled to right. Chapman to third.Olson struck out swinging.Piscotty singled to right, Chapman scored, Davis to third, Piscotty to second on throwing error by rightfielder Hernandez.Axford pitched for TORONTO.
Fowler flied out to centre.Lowrie hit for Lucroy. Lowrie walked.Pinder grand slammed to right. Davis, Piscotty, Lowrie scored.Semien singled to centre.Semien stole second, Semien safe at third on throwing error by catcher Martin.Joyce struck out swinging
Eephus - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#358175) #
That's a back-breaking one to let get away, no doubt. Obviously you'll get those from time to time over the course of 162 games, but the way things are going now they really needed that one.
scottt - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#358176) #
They could have gone to McGuire for multiple innings earlier. It's just that, every time it's close, or the Jays have a lead, Gibby want to go to his role guys.

They had a day off Monday. They'll have another one after tomorrow. Nobody should be overworked.
They're just finding ways to lose.

Chuck - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#358177) #
They could have gone to McGuire for multiple innings earlier

As the last man in the pen, wouldn't McGuire's job be to eat up innings in games the team is losing? You'd trust him with a lead more than you would the likes of Oh, Axford and Clippard who have all pitched rather well?

scottt - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#358179) #
The starter threw first pitch strikes and blanked them over 5 innings.
The relievers fell back in the count too many times and where missing their spots badly.
Axford didn't look good. Clippard hung up something high for the grand slam.
McGuire came in and had an easy inning in the 9th.

Chuck - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#358180) #
I understand how the game actually played out. Had Gibbons known in advance that Axford and Clippard would stink, he'd have surely not used them. Are you suggesting that he should have had the prescience to know, somehow, that they would stink?
cybercavalier - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#358181) #
If someone wants to see how Travis Snider is hitting today live, follow this link.
John Northey - Saturday, May 19 2018 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#358184) #
Travis Snider is exhibit A with Sil Campusano exhibit B as to why there is no such thing as a sure thing with prospects.  Both extremely hyped, both looked promising, both flopped in the end.  Delgado is an example of going super-super-slow.  2 years in low A/rookie, one year in full A (with a few games in AAA emergency situation), one year in A+, 1 year in AA with September call-up (getting him a WS ring), started in majors but sent down after a month and a half to AAA, most of year in AAA with 37 games in majors, finally in majors to stay after that.  For someone with the raw talent he had that was a crazy long time to get to the majors and to stay.  Partially done due to his catching most of the way (done after his September callup).

Now, if there is a big sell-off mid-season the Jays will be sorely tempted to call up Vladmir.  If they do then he is up for good most likely and the Jays would be smart to try to sign him long term, especially if he has some issues right away.  For a super-gutsy move I'd go for a 15-20 year deal where his pay is $1 mil per with an jump clause that lets it climb up to $30 mil if he wins multiple MVP's, or drops back to $1 mil per if he misses more than 100 games in a season, with an A-Rod clause that if he is caught on PED's he can be released from the contract with no money owed by the team to him and he is a free agent.  Have a max each year up to year 6, then if he wins a couple of MVP's it goes up to $30 mil per but if needed he gets a special clause that links it to the average of the top 10 salaries in baseball (based on average annual value) should he prove to be the insane super-star predicted by many now.  That way he gets the massive payday locked in if he is that good, gets a locked in $20 mil if he flops, and both player and team never again need worry about negotiating a deal.  Might be creative enough to work.
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 12:30 AM EDT (#358186) #
the only thing there, John, is that vladdy is far far more advanced than any of those guys ever were.

Age 19

Vladdy (AA): 170pa, 8.8b%, 8.8k%, 1.131ops
Campusano (AA): 196pa, 7.1b%, 16.2k%, .807ops
Campusano (A): 416pa, 13.9b%, 20.2k%, .949ops
Snider (A): 517pa, 9.5b%, 25.0k%, .902ops
Delgado (A): 528pa, 14.2b%, 18.4k%, .855ops

AA

Vladdy (19): 170pa, 8.8b%, 8.8k%, 1.131ops
Delgado (21): 581pa, 17.6b%, 16.9k%, .954ops
Snider (20): 423pa, 12.3b%, 27.4k%, .818ops
Campusano (19): 196pa, 7.1b%, 16.2k%, .807ops
Campusano (20): 564pa, 10.8b%, 17.4k%, .772ops



and Delgado was trying to crack an elite roster....and iirc had a couple injuries in 94/95 that slowed him down.
Magpie - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#358191) #
Ah, Sil Campusano. I vividly recall my first sight of him. We'd heard so much about him, there was so much hype and of course the ball club decided to move not one but two veterans out of position to make room for the wonder kid. But no one had actually seen him play. There was no YouTube, there wasn't even any internet. You needed to make a road trip to Syracuse. So finally in the spring of 1988, we set our eyes on him - and holy crap. He looks like a backup middle infielder. This is the guy? You're kidding, right?
Magpie - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#358192) #
What I'm saying is, Campusano failed the eye test. He didn't look like a hitter, at any time. (Neither did Snider to my eye, but he at least looked as if he might become one if everything worked out perfectly and he gained control of the strike zone. Brian Giles light or something.) Whereas Vlad Jr has as beautiful a stroke from the right side as I have ever seen. He reminds me of Manny. And Cabrera.
scottt - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#358194) #
Clippard did not stink. Clippard did exactly what he always does. A few hits, but most of them home runs.
The problem was that Cippard did not start a fresh inning. Tepera is usually the setup guy, but I guess he wasn't available because he pitched on Thursday in a blow up loss and then on Friday to close a 2 run deficit.

Oh and Axford were bad on Thursday giving up 5 earned runs in less than 2 innings so you bring them up to face the very same hitters?

Yeah, no. That one is on Gibby.

Also why is Biagini starting on 6 days rest?
He just sat there watching Gaviglio grab the 6th starting spot and now he has to try to give the team 7 innings because McGuire is no longer fresh. No pressure.
He must have slept really well.

Mike Green - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#358195) #
John  Lott has a fine article in The Athletic on Sam Gaviglio. Gaviglio throws a two-seamer with a grip between the seams- a little different.  I like his command and composure, and would be happy to see him in the rotation indefinitely.

John also points out that the struggles of Donaldson, Martin and Morales have a lot to do with the club's poor record in May.  There are younger troops waiting for a call in Buffalo- the club will be more interesting and successful when that day comes.
hypobole - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#358196) #
"with all the injuries, I think we are in sell mode. I have no problem with the FO taking this approach, but I sincerely want to see us start selling assets soon - let's beat the market here. We certainly are positioned to do this - a number of one year contract commitments, multiple vets who could help a variety of teams, and with the last few trade deadlines of evidence, a number of our vet relievers should get a legit return."

jerjapan - I think beating the market will just yield very disappointing return - there really are very few buyers now. And as for legit return on our vet relievers, look at FG - Osuna at 0.5 WAR, Loup the next best at 0.2.. Our relievers have been pretty close to replacement level despite some OK ERA's.

Our best trade chip now, by far, is Happ.
hypobole - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#358197) #
Some interesting stuff from Buster Olney on aging hitters and the importance of being able to catch up to heat. Because:

"As ESPN researcher Sarah Langs discovered a few weeks ago, the number of pitches thrown at 96 mph or more across baseball has more than tripled in the span of just four years -- from 6,000-plus to the 20,000-plus pace of this season."

http://www.espn.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post/_/id/18519/olney-hitters-who-cant-beat-the-heat-getting-left-behind
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#358198) #
John, if there was an owner since Tom Hicks (who ran the Rangers like he was taking instructions from the Scott Boras fanclub, to the point of franchise bankruptcy) who was desperate to buy a championship, it's Ted Lerner. If Ted Lerner couldn't do a deal with Bryce Harper, and it would have had to be far, far beyond the guarantee levels you mention, with his own money, then Toronto/Rogers isn't going to get a deal done early with Vlad Guerrero Jr. with other people's money. Especially if they call him up before May 2020.

If the Blue Jays call up Guerrero this year or next, it will be the same situation as Harper and Machado. From Day 1, the focus will be on how young he will be at free agency, ensuring he's gone after 6+. They would get the least possible value out of a guy who hasn't learned to play third yet, while ensuring he's gone as early as possible. I expect and hope that they'll call him up in 2020, after this year at AA and next at AAA, and deep enough into the season to pass the service threshold. That way they'll get his best almost 7 years, with free agency, perhaps only slightly, less irresistible.
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#358199) #
"Our best trade chip now, by far, is Happ."

Stroman and Osuna would easily have more value than Happ at the deadline. Pillar and Pearce depending on how Happ pitches until July could be at similar value on the trade market.

Of course, if Donaldson starts to play healthy and to his norm then he will easily beat everyone on this list except the first two.

This doesn't even include players in the minors which would surely be more attractive as a trade chip.
Eephus - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#358200) #
So I turn on the broadcast of the game just in time for Tabler, talking about the A's starter, to exclaim: "Well look at the size of his legs! That's how he stands so wide because they're so lean and strong!"

To which I said, "I think I'll listen to the radio feed for this one."
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#358201) #
heheh.
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#358202) #
It's hard to imagine a lower point for getting a return for Osuna than now. No one is going to want the optics of acquiring him. Moreover, I can't see him pitching again in Toronto, at least for very long. And everyone knows it. So every other team knows they have the leverage, and nobody really wants to be seen with him. That's the rock bottom of trade value. They might be better to just sit him for the rest of the year and then move him in the offseason.
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#358203) #
Chapman seemed to hold his trade value.
Chuck - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#358204) #
Just look at Mengden's legs. They go all the way to the ground. This lets him walk upon the field and not hover over it.
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#358205) #
As for Vladdy - we can try to play service time games with him if we want to risk that, but I'm sure he'll consider that when considering re-signing.

And we literally cannot hold him down at AA at this point. It would be unprecedented to hold a kid down in AA for much longer when he's dominating like this.

BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#358206) #
Vlad's 3/3 so far today. .419.
Gerry - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#358207) #
Barnes hasn't looked good since he came back from Buffalo.
Four Seamer - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#358208) #
I guess it is accepted custom that you can't be charged an error if you don't touch the ball, but that was a routine grounder Donaldson let get past him, to go with the error he was actually charged earlier in the inning. His defense has always been a little suspect to my eyes, but he doesn't look anything like the player we've been so spoiled by these past few seasons. Hard to watch a player go through this.
Chuck - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#358209) #
JD has looked like a matador twice today. Ole!
Richard S.S. - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#358210) #
Can Joe Biagini avoid that inning where he loses control? Does he get once through the lineup? Does he get twice through the lineup? Or does it happen earlier? He pitches well most innings. He needs to figure out how to solve this problem before it becomes mental and he expects to be bad.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#358211) #
Make that 4/4 for Vlad. Just hit a walk off hr.
Eephus - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#358212) #
Ughhh boy. This is not good. Maybe this is the time to extend Donaldson? Ah? Ah?

I thought Biagini looked OK today, personally, but I don't think I'll ever be convinced he can be a major league starter. He had a lot of 0-2 counts on hitters where he either let the batter hang around and get to a 2-2 or 3-2, or lost them completely with the free pass. He has a tendency to nibble around the plate a lot when trying for that third strike, and I don't think his command is really good enough to make that work. It definitely feels like he's overthrowing his curveball in those situations as well, attempting to spin a perfect one in a perfect spot, which is why hitters usually never seem even tempted to swing at it. He has a good curveball, and as a reliever it was a great weapon for him. You don't get as many looks at it.

Add in the fact that Maile saved him from a couple of unpleasant innings with some pinpoint throws to nail base stealers, and I would probably end this Biagini as a starter experiment ASAP if there were better depth options available. Which is the thing: there really aren't.

rpriske - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#358213) #
The defense has been embarrassing today.
Magpie - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#358214) #
I don't think I'll ever be convinced [Biagini] can be a major league starter.

Me neither. And I don't think Danny Barnes can be a major league pitcher unless he figures out how to keep the ball in the yard. That's 15 HRs in 83 IP in 2017-18.
Gerry - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#358215) #
In this series the starting pitching has been average, the bullpen poor, the defense bad and the hitting weak. Other than that things are fine.
rpriske - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#358216) #
I'm not a big fan of booing the home team... but today, it is well deserved.
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#358217) #
shea hillenbrand may sneak into the clubhouse today and scrawl something on the whiteboard.
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#358218) #
the sad thing about biagini for me is that he may have missed the short window he had to become a quality mlb reliever and earn a real mlb contract.
Vulg - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#358219) #
And the Jays just lost Carlos Ramirez to the A's.

Why did the team need to expose him, again?
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#358220) #
DF @DrewGROF Grim scene inside the Blue Jays executive box right now

scottt - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#358221) #
If they really want to keep Ramirez they can pick him  back when the A's designate him.
The A's starting pitching is not very good, but they manage with a 9 man pen.

vw_fan17 - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#358222) #
Going back a couple of games.. I was waiting for Pat/Buck to comment on how KM made a "productive out" by moving the runner to third when he hit into that double play.. OTOH, when the team's scuffling this bad, there aren't too many things to talk about..

Amazing how a month changes things in sports. Approx a month ago (not necessarily all these things were true on the same day, just around that time), the Leafs had fought back to get to 3-3 i their series, the Raptors had won their first playoff round and the Jays were 13-6 and owned the first wildcard outright by 0.5 games. I mean, I KNOW the Jays were a bit over their heads at that point, but.. this looks like it's going to be a long, LONG season..
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#358224) #
Vlad's 5 for 5 today. Second game of the double header.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#358225) #
Meant to say New Hampshire's playing a double header, second game of which is underway now.
hypobole - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#358226) #
Yeah, my Happ trade chip comment only included FA's. Vlad would definitely get you more.

And I don't think you're correct in the JD/Happ assessment. Good Happ is worth more at the deadline than excellent JD simply because of supply and demand.

Spifficus - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#358227) #
Ok, Kendrys on the mound provides something to watch in the back end of this game, at least.
Nigel - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#358228) #
This is again a poor defensive team. Not as terrible as last year but still poor. The front office pays all kinds of lip service to fielding a more athletic and all round club but I have yet to see that put into action. Solving this issue isn't a simple or one step fix. However, having a roster without 4 or 5 players (for the second year running) whose best position is 1B/DH would be a decent start.
Chuck - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#358229) #
Kendrys is Toronto's own Ohtani Lite... a DH/P.

How bad is Wilmer Font, despite the blazing fastball? 24 career innings. 33 runs. 12 homeruns.

Tabler, discussing the run of outs made by the Jays: "The A's have retired the last 15 batters... in a row!" My question: how do you retire the last 15 batters not in a row?

CeeBee - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#358230) #
I guess if they're lined up nicely they are in a row instead of a gaggle.
hypobole - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#358232) #
"How bad is Wilmer Font, despite the blazing fastball?"

Last year people here complained that we'd let the guy walk.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#358234) #
Let's never speak of this series again.
John Northey - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#358235) #
Could've been worse - at least no one got injured.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#358236) #
Urena optioned back to AAA.
jerjapan - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#358239) #
Hypobole, I'm with you on Happ being the most valuable trade chip currently in play, but I think you are sleeping on some pieces that could get a decent return - or better.  I don't like WAR for relievers, but we've got three vets with closer mojo, pitching reasonably well in a SSS, who could appeal to someone who likes what they bring to their team's bullpen mix ... Joe Smith yielded 2 top 30 prospects, and by the time teams are shopping for bullpen help, I'm guessing one or more of our relievers will be having a comparable season.  Heck, even if it's a lesser return - I'd take one prospect like Pannone or Taylor for a bunch of the arms in the pen. 

Grandy, Maille, Smoak, Pearce, Loup - these guys, with specific skill sets and cheap, short-term contracts, have value, even in a market that is increasingly skewed towards prospects over vets.  I don't imagine we trade them all, but I feel we could deal several for a decent return and make space for our kids to play.  And we could certainly sell high on Pillar right now, although I think I like him more than most and would like to see him stick around.   Same with Solarte.  I have zero interest in trading Osuna.  Kid made a mistake.  Let's not rush to ride him out of town, and certainly not before the facts are in. 

Where I think you are right is on a return for JD - I don't see one materializing that would make dealing him worthwhile. 

Speaking of WAR, Sam Gaviglio is 3rd on the team for pitcher WAR.   And I share Ugly's concern that this 'Biagini the starter' idea may have damaged the kid's career.
scottt - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#358240) #
I was kinda bummed that Monday is an off day during a holiday, but not anymore.

grjas - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#358241) #
Jays playing significantly below expectations this year - grichuk, Travis, Donaldson, Martin, Tulo, Sanchez, Biagini, Estrada, Stroman.

And then thereís Osuna. And Morales. And Garcia.

Yeah. Month 1 was just luck. Barring a 6 week miracle, blow this puppy sky high.
Magpie - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#358242) #
I believe that when we open bb-ref tomorrow, we'll discover that the best OPS+ on the 2018 Blue Jays belongs to Luke Maile.

These are the end times, surely.
Magpie - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#358243) #
Month 1 was just luck.

I must agree. Even now, the Jays have averaged 4.83 runs per game, which puts them in what's essentially a dead heat for third best offense in the AL (more or less even with Cleveland, and well behind the two Beasts of the East.)

But this doesn't look very much like the third (or fourth) best offense in the league, does it? They're 7th in slugging, 11th in On-Base, 14th in BAVG. They got lucky for a while with some timely hits and pushed more runs across the plate than they had any right to expect. But luck usually runs out. Alas.
uglyone - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#358244) #
well, we knew the run production in April was being unsustainably boosted by great production with runners on base and in scoring position, at least. but overall the offense has performed a tick under average (17th mlb, 9th AL in wRC+), even with all the injuries (donaldson, tulo, grichuk, granderson, diaz, pearce) and implosions (donaldson, travis, grichuk, morales). And I don't think that's fluke - it's an offense that looked to be a bit above average heading into the year, so falling down to average or a tick below when more things go wrong than right sounds about right.

but the starting pitching...I dunno. I sure HOPE it's a fluke. I didn't think it would be great this year but I definitely thought it would be around average.
grjas - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#358245) #
ď I didn't think it would be great this year but I definitely thought it would be around average.Ē

I actually thought the starters would be great. So much for my predictive abilities.
Gerry - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#358247) #
As of today the Jays timing is bad. First,their most tradeable asset is almost untradable at the moment. Second, with so many teams tanking, and with several super teams, the buyers market is depressed and the sellers market is crowded. Prices will be depressed. In some cases it will be better to hold on to an asset and try and resign them rather than trade them.
lexomatic - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#358248) #
I believe that when we open bb-ref tomorrow, we'll discover that the best OPS+ on the 2018 Blue Jays belongs to Luke Maile.

These are the end times, surely.
I believe it was either Bill James or someone at Baseball Prospectus who had a theory about backup catchers. Give them enough seasons and eventually in one of them they'll hit .300.
Obviously if they do it early enough, it pretty much guarantees a career. If Maile turns back into a mostly pumpkin on offense after this year, I hope it's after getting traded at peak value. There's also the non-negligible chance the Jays staff found and fixed something in his approach. It's not like there's not a history there.
John Northey - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#358249) #
Right now if some team is dumb enough to offer a real prospect for Maile the Jays should jump on it.  I'd like to keep him as he is useful but the pitching staff isn't exactly doing well with him (or anyone) this year and I sure wouldn't bet on that bat being for real but if you are a strong contender you might want to get him so you are reasonably safe should your #1 go down.  Same with Martin - if you get a good offer jump on it.  Especially with Martin - as much as I love having a Canadian star on the team he is getting up there and is being paid a LOT for the next couple of years.

No question in my mind that Happ is the #1 asset for trading as starting pitching is always in demand.  His 108 ERA+ isn't exactly star quality but this is his 4th straight year of 105+ ERA+'s which is very solid for a starter.  Atlanta is a surprise contender and with AA at the helm they could easily trade prospects for a starter to help push them forward.  They have given a regular turn to Brandon McCarthy who has a 76 ERA+ so far and has been below 95 in 5 of the past 6 years.  Plus AA probably likes Happ given his history with him. 

I'm sure others will dig in and see who else might want a solid guy in the rotation, or a solid backup catcher, or a bad DH (OK, no one wants that).
hypobole - Sunday, May 20 2018 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#358250) #
In all probability, Machado, Moose and Beltre will also be on the market, as well as Josh. From Olney:

"32-year-old Donaldson had 33 homers in just 113 games last season, but heís making $23 million this year and has been dealing with a shoulder issue. ďPart of the selling point of Donaldson a couple of years ago was that he was a guy who always posted [in the lineup],Ē one rival evaluator said. ďHeís been banged up.Ē

Officials with other teams wonder if the Jaysí best option for extracting value in Donaldson might be in extending him a qualifying offer in the fall, setting themselves up to get draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere."
Michael - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#358251) #
After watching today's game, any thoughts to Donaldson going down to AA to learn to field third? Tough for Vlad Jr to match this defense.

Clearly Donaldson is injured or drastically different than the MVP we are used to.

I'd try and get that 9-10 year deal with Vladimir Jr with a guarantee to hit the majors at 19 and free agency in his 20s, and hope the leverage of an indirect no contract, no call up service time would motivate a fair deal for both sides.
Chuck - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#358252) #
I believe it was either Bill James or someone at Baseball Prospectus who had a theory about backup catchers.

It was Rany Jazayerli of BP. Unrelated, but interesting, was Nichols Law of Catcher Defense, or some such, attributed to Sherri Nichols back in usenet days, when dinosaurs walked the planet.

scottt - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 08:01 AM EDT (#358253) #
It's really not the starting pitching that is to blame in this series.
Oakland's starters were significantly worse.
And now they're behind the Rays who have traded away many of their best players during the winter.
It's still early. Yes, it is.

Bautista is out of baseball. Probably for good.
Encarnation is batting .212 with an OPS+ of 88.



Mike D - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#358254) #
I'm not especially worried about the psychological impact of the club's service time gamesmanship on Vlad Jr.'s distant future free agency decision process. That will come down to dollars and cents regardless.

But I am also not particularly concerned about how best to time Vlad's pre-free agency years. My fear is that it won't matter if the team self-imposes roster constraints so as to largely surround him with off-brand retreads and mediocre homegrowns. See, e.g., Delgado, Carlos; Halladay, Roy.
Mike D - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 08:20 AM EDT (#358255) #
Also -- I am not at all confident that free agency eligibility and pre-free agency salary structures will survive the 2021-22 offseason when the CBA expires. If the league has more offseasons like this past one where clubs are collectively smart enough to refuse to overpay mediocre veterans on dollars and term, then you can bet the MLBPA will not allow Aaron Judge types to play for league minimum while putting up MVP type seasons.
bpoz - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#358256) #
Gillick built a very good young core. 1983 and 1984 would have been better with a good pen. Joey MaLaughlin.

Ash, Richardi and AA never could "build" a good core. Shapiro has not yet built a good core.

Gillick had a lot of time and not much pressure to produce quickly.

Ash and Richardi had to compete for 1 available WC which basically belonged to NYY and Boston.

AA made rookie mistakes. I believe he dismissed the luck factor. Maile and Pillar may be having good luck this year regarding their offense. Possible career years.
SK in NJ - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#358257) #
I'm definitely rooting for MLB to change their treatment of minor league players and MLB players in years 1-3 of their service. It's a broken and unfair system, and what's happening with Guerrero is simply a result of it. You can't fault the Jays for trying to get an extra year of control. That could be worth god knows how many millions if Vlad turns into what everyone expects him to. To give that up in order to call him up now at age 19 in a season where the team's window under Donaldson is closing shut is just a waste of service time. If the Jays were fighting the Yankees and Red Sox for the division, then that's a different story, but clearly that won't be happening, so Vlad's presence on the big league roster provides no clear benefit for the team. Toronto fans are bandwagon fans. There might be some hype to see Vlad, but that will fall when the novelty wears off and it will be back to status quo.

My guess is Shapiro is going to pull a Kris Bryant with Vlad and call him after a few weeks in 2019 (or longer if he's a September call up this year). I don't think the team cares as much about the Super 2 status as they do the years of control. I'm sure paying Vlad $12M in his 3rd year of service is less of a concern than potentially losing him one year earlier.

Of course, offering him a very long-term deal (9-10 years) with the promise of calling him up immediately after signing it would solve a lot of these issues. I'm assuming Vlad Jr had no issues with money considering who his dad is, so he might not be all that eager to sign an extension, but the Jays could assume more risk than normal but giving him a lot of money towards the back end of the extension. But again, two to tango.
Mike Green - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#358258) #
Babe Ruth was a 19 year old in double A (at least that's what BBRef has the International League of the time).  His batting statistics do not survive, but here's an account of what he was doing with the plate.  He pitched a little better than Kendrys Morales too.
BlueJayWay - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#358259) #
To give that up in order to call him up now at age 19 in a season where the team's window under Donaldson is closing shut is just a waste of service time. If the Jays were fighting the Yankees and Red Sox for the division, then that's a different story, but clearly that won't be happening, so Vlad's presence on the big league roster provides no clear benefit for the team. Toronto fans are bandwagon fans. There might be some hype to see Vlad, but that will fall when the novelty wears off and it will be back to status quo.

Agreed. I just don't see any point to bringing Vlad up now, unless the Jays manage to sign him to a long term contract right now, that buys out a bunch of his arb and FA years. Then the service time stuff goes right out the window.
bpoz - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#358260) #
At about July 15th the Jays will know if their record gives hope for a playoff spot. With or without the help of a miracle run. ie: how close are they.

Assuming the record makes it clear that we are sellers. I believe that there will be many buyers.

Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington and NYM. Milwaukee, Cubs, St Louis and Pittsburgh. Colorado, SF and LAD

In the AL. NYY, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Seattle and LAA, currently are in a good position. TB and Oakland look pretty good but personally I feel the may not want to spend assets because a rich team can buy assets. They can/will not.

So at the moment I strongly agree with jerjapan. We have a lot of attractive assets. Happ if healthy and playing his usual game will be in high demand. The relievers and role players are getting paid little, but provide insurance and an edge.
hypobole - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#358261) #
Mentioned Romo starting back to back games vs the Angels on the weekend. Reading the rationale, it seems a perfect opportunity to start Oh in a similar fashion this week. Medium leverage guy with good numbers vs RHH's, facing a RHH heavy lineup.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/23558800/tampa-bay-rays-forefront-rotation-revolution
Paul D - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#358262) #
Anyone think Gibbons is still managing this team in 2019? Seems pretty unlikely to me at this point.
bpoz - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#358263) #
I think Gibbons is still here. Injuries have produced worse results than expected.

Chuck - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#358264) #
Shapiro and Atkins arrived in Toronto being "shackled" by the team's on-field success and strong attendance. That meant that an immediate rebuild and a new manager would have made for lousy and deleterious PR. If this season continues to go sideways (as many predicted from the outset), they should have carte blanche to do everything they want. I imagine replacing Gibbons would be part of that equation.
christaylor - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#358265) #
Personally, I'm surprised that he's still here. I thought with the changes in the FO he'd be replaced at the first opportunity. I don't think he deserves to be let go and this season and last poor results have little to do with his stewardship.
bpoz - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#358266) #
Well the FO could always let him/the team fail again in 2019. Rebuild/non competitive. But the risk is that the team may do well. Then he stays.
uglyone - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#358267) #
I'm sure gibbons will be used as a bit of a fall guy. that's what usually happens with inherited coaches.

"My guess is Shapiro is going to pull a Kris Bryant "

Bryant: 773pa in milb
Vladdy: 981pa in milb
hypobole - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#358268) #
Bryant: 773pa in milb
Vladdy: 981pa in milb

Kris Bryant debut in majors Age 23-103 days.

Vlad presently Age 19-69 days



Chuck - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#358269) #
Bryant: 773pa in milb, Vladdy: 981pa in milb

Don't forget that Bryant also had 800 plate appearances in NCAA ball.

hypobole - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#358270) #
Don't forget that Bryant also had 800 plate appearances in NCAA ball.

Or to further the narrative, let's conveniently forget that.
Mike D - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#358271) #
I agree with Chuck and bpoz, and I think most here do. But it's worth stepping back to consider that this front office has felt forced to conduct itself as an incompetent large-market team because it couldn't immediately justify its preferred way of doing business, which is as a competent lower-middle-market team. Like, it's just towering cynicism.

Good thing Shapiro is on the job for the club's most pressing need, which is more "premium seating." Blech.
John Northey - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#358273) #
It is worth remembering that the #1 job for a club president is to increase revenues faster than expenses increase, or to drop expenses faster than revenue.
scottt - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#358274) #
Maybe Guerrero can slot at 3B whenever the team is ready.
That's the easiest transition.
Can Jansen become the starting catcher while Martin moves to backup/super infield utility?
Can Travis be an offensive 2B again?
What happens when Tulo if finally healthy?
How long do you give Grichuk? What happens when Pompey is out of options?
Currently Alford is playing left field in Buffalo and hitting worse than Morales.
He should turn it around, but who knows. Should they move along with those guys or bring back another vet?

What will the rotation look like next year?
Will any pitching prospect finally arrive this year?



Mike D - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#358275) #
John, from a revenue perspective, one would think that a strategy of gouging 22,000 fans has less upside and more downside than putting an excellent product on the field for 45,000 fans. To say nothing of the difference in ratings, which affect revenues for the parent company.
hypobole - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#358276) #
Hoiw exactly should they have put an excellent product on the field?
christaylor - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#358277) #
Could you unpack the "incompetent large-market team" claim for me?

Outside of Morales, most of the team decisions seemed like good process within the context of when they were made. Heck, even with Morales there was an argument that exit velocity and a better hitting environment could produce an uptick in the level of his performance after his signing. Sure, the results haven't been there but I doubt many here would have predicted how poorly (esp. Stroman and Sanchez) the SP have performed. 2017 didn't give a lot of reason to shop in the expensive section of the FA market and the Jays didn't need another cheap 1B/DH type.

In short, I don't see a good argument for this FO conducting itself as an incompetent large market team.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#358278) #
Mike D I don't think this front office is trying to fit any narrative, nor where they forced to do anything.

I just think this front office is of the opinion that building a team doesn't involve tearing down the current one. I think they believe in fundamentals of drafting, developing, putting the right people in the right positions to succeed and building from making sound decisions. If they keep signing value free agents, avoiding big contracts, drafting well, finding value (i.e. Teoscar) then success will eventually come here.


cybercavalier - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#358279) #
To scottt, Pillar has been playing many games. Eventually he needs rest. So Dwight Smith Jr, and Pompey can be assessed for their opportunities to play in the MLB this season. Then a four men OF with Granderson is good enough for now. Grichuk can take his time improving. For IF, Martin shall be slotted to 3B while Donaldson's situation is assessed. Martin playing 3B allows catcher substitution and the assessment on Maile and Jansen's opportunities. For IF, with Martin at 3B/C, Solarte can play more 2B and consequently Travis' hitting issue is less influential. What about the shortstop before Tulo's return. Urena is back in the minors. Ngoepe is already off the 40-men roster. Diaz is on the DL. Can Urshela play more shortstop? Gurriel Jr. had already played at the position and has been sent to Buffalo again. Is it time to try Leblebijian?
cybercavalier - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#358280) #
An added bonus of bringing Jansen to Toronto is that McGuire can bat more and possible more opportunities to De La Cruz and Cantwell too. With all the talents that Vald Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio have, they can take their time to develop. Let us not jeopardize the future for immediate gain.
grjas - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#358281) #
Let us not jeopardize the future for immediate gain.

Iím glad thereís one rational board in Jaysland. Even the sports writers are calling for Vlad in a year where their DH has to pitch. Maybe too many fans and writers are bored. Thatís the only rationale for calling up the youngsters early.
John Northey - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#358282) #
Agreed cybercavalier.  Long term the best thing to do is leave the core prospects in the minors this year and call them up in May next year if ready (Vlad/Bo/etc).  Where you have multiple at one position fighting for playing time then call one up and see what he does - Jansen is a good example of this where you can make Martin a super-utility player (3B/CA/1B/DH) while Maile gets 3 starts a week and Jansen gets 3 starts a week lets say while learning the craft from two excellent receivers. 

Trade possibilities - Smoak (still not in pumpkin mode and low salary = high value in trade), Granderson (cheap one year deal), I could easily see other teams wanting Solarte right now (115 OPS+, plays 3B/2B/1B/SS/DH) with cheap team options for the next two years (I'd rather keep him but if a strong enough prospect is offered, why not).  JA Happ is an obvious trade target, Estrada having an off year sadly, most of the pen should be available for a decent price and demand is always there.

Mix in prospects if slots open but hold off if possible on bringing up the core ones.
Gerry - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#358283) #
Grichuk is in the lineup as a DH tonight for Dunedin.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#358285) #
Let us not jeopardize the future for immediate gain.

I haven't seen anyone even try to argue that there would be any present gain at all, other than a brief moment of amusement for the internet. It would be simply a stupid waste of service time. There's certainly not going to be any significant boost in attendance. People in Toronto never turned up to watch Roy Halladay pitch. They're not going to show up regularly in droves to watch a kid play third badly every inning on a losing team and come to bat four times a game.

I think Solarte will and should be playing third in 2019 while Guerrero continues to learn the position at AAA. In fact, I suspect that was a big part of the trade reasoning. Next year is the last that the team has to pay $20 million a year for a backup catcher and the last year it wastes another $12 million on Morales. The Tulowitzki boondoggle continues through 2020. Donaldson's salary comes off the books this year, and given that attendance is settling back to its bottom half of baseball norm, there's likely a payroll reduction coming. It makes sense to me to use that ex-Donaldson money to pay off Tulowitzki's final year owing at the end of 2019, so that the books are clear and a fresh start begins in 2020. May 2020 looks to me like the time for calling up prospects and beginning a fresh start.
dalimon5 - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#358286) #
And then the Jays will never again pay market value for superstars! Yau! Can't wait to reset and have below market contracts so we aren't burdened with the albatross contracts.
hypobole - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#358287) #
When was the last time we paid market value for a superstar?
Shoeless Joe - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#358288) #
I still think if Tulo comes back and plays well at all in the 2nd half you could swap his contract for another bad contract and a prospect. For example I think you offer Tulo for Yasmany Tomas + Taylor it would work.
uglyone - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 09:00 PM EDT (#358289) #
Mike D speaks the clear, pure, unadulterated truth.
greenfrog - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#358290) #
How about offering Vlad Jr. 12/$350m and a callup in 2018?

Seems a fair balancing of risk/reward for both sides. And make no mistake, if the Jays want to keep their young superstar for the long haul, they're going to have to accept some substantial risk at some point. In my view, if the front office treats Guerrero like just any other prospect -- biding their time, trying to eke out a team-friendly value extension at just the right time -- they'll be making a mistake.

Of course, as Gerry pointed out the other day, it takes two to tango. VGJ may prefer to take *his* time, bet on himself, and go year-to-year.

In any event, I do not expect Shapiro and Rogers to make this kind of bid to keep the player long-term (even if 12/350 could prove to be a very team-friendly deal). The front office likes to vigorously manage its risk, which likely means a callup in June 2019, six-plus years of control, and then a strategic bid sometime during Guerrero's arbitration years to extend him into his free agent years at a high AAV, which may or may not work out. My guess is that by that point, VGJ will be seeking years and dollars that Rogers simply isn't willing to offer.
Richard S.S. - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#358291) #
Troy Tulowitzki isnít the problem right now. His contract lasts longer than Martinís by one year and a one year option. Trading people to get something back usually results in getting nothing much, unless full salary is retained. The best tradeables need to bring in extreme talent. Happ must bring back Valdy-caliber talent in pitching or no deal. Of course more comes back the earlier theo deal is made, but thatís not good optics for the Fans.
uglyone - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#358294) #
yeah the eagerness to trade contracts like tulo makes little sense. it's mostly due to an overemphasis months downside or big contracts.

I.e. if we're not trying to contend right now, why the back do we need or even want to trade tulo?
dalimon5 - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#358295) #
The last time we paid market value for a superstar was this year. We agreed to pay Donaldson 23 million which is market for a superstar 3B.
SK in NJ - Monday, May 21 2018 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#358296) #
The Jays cannot operate like Cleveland did. The potential for huge revenue and attendance is there as 2015-17 proved, but the success has to be sustainable over a number of years. Cleveland could be great for years but their market it what it is. The Jays have much greater potential. If they view prospects as "six years and out", then there's no way they can build the type of team the FO wants to build. You have to overpay for generational talent. By the time Vlad is a free agent, he will likely be 25-26. A ten year deal at that time likely carries some regression towards the end of the deal but still likely enough surplus in the beginning to make it worth it. That's the risk Rogers has to be willing to take. We are talking $300-400M type of risk (depending on what the market looks like 6-8 years from now). You can't do that with all the prospects obviously, but the great ones will need to get paid.

I don't think there's any way Guerrero stays down until 2020. It would make sense from a service time standpoint (if not a cruel way of doing business), but he's likely going to reach Buffalo at some point this season and likely start there in 2019. I'd be shocked if he's not playing everyday with the Jays by mid-2019.
dan gordon - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 02:42 AM EDT (#358298) #
As a comp. to the Morales situation, the Twins just DFA'd Phil Hughes. He has $22 million owing on his contract, which runs until 2019, the same time frame and a little more money, compared to Morales.

And another interesting comp. to a Jays situation, the Nationals recently promoted 19 year old super prospect Juan Soto, and he just homered today in his 1st mlb start. Soto started this year in A ball, and OPS'd 1.300, followed by an OPS of 1.256 in advanced A, and then .981 in AA. Like Vladdy, Soto had more walks than strikeouts in the minors this year, and showed even more home run power with 14 in 152 AB's.
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 06:04 AM EDT (#358299) #
Vlad's AA stats this year (including 216 wRC+) are significantly better than Soto's (173) -- in a larger sample size, too. And Vlad is about five months younger than Soto.

Soto has been having a great year across several levels, though.
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 06:07 AM EDT (#358300) #
"A ten year deal at that time"

SK, your position is that the Jays should go year-to-year with VGJ until he's a free agent, then hope to win the MLB-wide bidding for his services by offering him 10/$300-400m?
SK in NJ - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 07:00 AM EDT (#358301) #
No, I have said many times they should sign him to a long extension yesterday if heís open to it. Iím not saying the Jays ďshouldĒ go year to year with him, but thatís what is going to happen sans extension. As far as what his free agent contract will look like, itís impossible to predict what the market will look like in 2025 or whatever year heís a FA. Point is it will require superstar money, an extension that will make ownership uncomfortable. They need to be ready to pay it (assuming Vlad is as good as advertised).
hypobole - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#358302) #
"The last time we paid market value for a superstar was this year. We agreed to pay Donaldson 23 million which is market for a superstar 3B."

A $23 million 1 year deal is market value for a superstar? No. There's a difference between arbitration and market value. Two different things.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#358304) #
I am wondering what would be a reasonable process for determining the fair value of a player on a very long-term contract.  Some questions are obvious even if the answer is not- what is the player likely to be worth in wins over essentially a career.  Other questions perhaps not quite as obvious even if the answer might be easier to figure- what is the value of a win (not on the free agent market but generally). 

I tried to answer the second question.  I added up the total fWAR for 2017 and came to 1000 (or on average 33 per team).  That seems low- with an imputed total of 48 wins for a replacement level club.  I have a range of 1000-1500 (31-48 wins for the replacement club).  The total salaries paid in baseball were apparently $4,133M less $375M, for the cost of the roster slots which a replacement team would have to spend, for $3,758M.  By this theory, the overall value of a win is 2.5- 3.75 M.

Then the first question- what is the 50% projection for a fabulous player who can hold his own at age 19 or 20.  You've got some players who essentially live up to what was hoped for- Cobb, Ott, Foxx, Mathews, Kaline, Frank Robinson, Mantle, Griffey Jr., A-Rod (likely Trout) and will give you about 100 WAR and occasionally more- and some players who fall short at various levels a few at 20 or less (Ruben Sierra, Tony Conigliaro, Bob Horner), more at 30-40 (Stuffy McInnes) and plenty at 50-60 (Cedeno, Cepeda). 

Let's say that the 50% point for a player like Guerrero is 60 WAR over a career.  The pure value of that is likely no more than $240 million (in excess of the 7.5M associated with the replacement salaries) if I have done the mathematics right- and this fairly accounts for underpayment in the pre-free agency years.


On the other hand, a 60 WAR player (who comes up at 19 or 20) is likely to do better than that in the existing system.  Bryce Harper has been paid $48 million so far for 26 WAR so far, and will surely be paid more than $200 million for the next 10 years.  Manny Machado has been paid $34 million for 30 WAR so far and has a very good chance to beat $216 million for his next contract. The figures that make sense to me are $300 million/15 years.  Trout is likely to be paid about $350M through age 34, and any projection for Guerrero Jr. has to have him (at best) slightly behind Trout.  An alternative is to arrange a similar contract to Trout's ($140 million through age 28).  That method would likely appeal to this FO more. 

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#358305) #
Cleveland could be great for years but their market is what it is.

As much as people in Toronto don't wish to acknowledge it, the Cleveland market and Toronto market have been pretty close comparators.

To begin with, there seems to be confusion about what a 'market' is. 'Market', which is the demand for a product, and 'population centre' aren't synonymous. Toronto may be a larger population than Cleveland, but that is merely a single factor, and not an over-determining one, in measuring the amount of demand for major league baseball.

The home attendance for the Indians and the Blue Jays over the 20 year period ending 2017 shows just how close the markets are. In that 20 year period Toronto finished in the top half of MLB home attendance just 4 times and in the bottom half 16 out of 20 seasons. Cleveland is similar. It finished in the top half of MLB attendance 5 times, and in the bottom half 15 times.

Of the 16 times out of 20 that Toronto finished in the bottom half of MLB attendance, it finished 10 times in the bottom third (21-30) of MLB attendance. Cleveland is even worse. Of the 15 times in the last 20 seasons that it finished in the bottom half of attendance, ALL of them were in the bottom third.

Examined from the other end of the attendance spectrum, Cleveland finished in the top third 4 times, Toronto 3, and both finished between 11-15 once.

The similarity of the market size is also demonstrated by contiguous home attendance rankings in a number of years. In 2011, Cleveland finished 24th and Toronto 25th. In 2005, Toronto and Cleveland finished 23rd and 24th. In 2004, 24th and 25th. In 2003 they were 23rd and 24th. It may make for a funny skit when the 24th place team in home attendance is calling the 25th place team "small market", but it doesn't amount to much more than humour.

There are only a small handful of teams with home attendance as regularly poor over this 20 year period as these two teams. Only a few finish in the bottom half of attendance 75 or 80% of the time as Cleveland and Toronto have, and in the bottom third 75% or 50% of the time in that period. These two teams are comparators in that regard.

Finally, if one were to take crude means of ranking over that 20 year period, Toronto's mean finish is 18th in MLB home attendance over that period, and Cleveland 20th.

Two further notes. First, measured over the period Toronto's attendance is inflated in comparison to Cleveland's by small market giveaways. Two-dollar Tuesdays, and the $100 season's pass were just two of the promotions that Paul Beeston referred to earlier this decade when he stated that the team would stop giving the product away for free. Cleveland charges lower bowl prices much more in keeping with big-league norms than Toronto, which even after the last couple of seasons' increases and higher than usual attendance, still finished third last in revenue from its lower bowl due to the relatively cheap prices. Tampa Bay for example, charges considerably more for its lower bowl tickets than Toronto. Big markets teams like the Cubs charge 2-4 times the amount, depending on location.

In the opposite direction though, and this predicts poorly for the future of Cleveland's attendance, the northern Ohio and Pennsylvania economies have never really recovered from the 2008 recession and the longer term restructuring of the economy. If one drives through nearby Erie PA, the number of closed businesses and the extent of economic desolation are shocking. One can see the appeal of cheap 'solutions' like destroying NAFTA in the area. To anyone who knows it, Cleveland has a number of legacy institutions - the Cleveland Clinic and the Cleveland Symphony for example, are among the best in the world. But the area's dismal economic prospects can't help but continue to depress attendance in the future.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#358306) #
That's ridiculous, CBDC.  The Indians have been a terrific team over the last 20 years with six playoff appearances.  The Blue Jays have not.  In 2013, the Indians made the playoffs (winning 92 games) and the club drew only 1.6 million fans.  Nothing like that has ever happened in Toronto.  In 2017, the Indians won 102 games after coming off a World Series appearance and drew 2 million fans.  When the Blue Jays had almost that success in 2015-16, they drew 3.4 million.

If you look at the last 40 years, you'll get a fairer sample.  Cleveland has been a small market club for a long, long time.  It hasn't really recovered from the twin ills of poor management after the glory years from 1948-54 and then the decline of the American manufacturing sector. 

cybercavalier - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#358307) #
As a comp. to the Morales situation, the Twins just DFA'd Phil Hughes. He has $22 million owing on his contract, which runs until 2019, the same time frame and a little more money, compared to Morales. -- (dan gordon  May 22 2018 @ 02:42 AM EDT)
Shall the Jays swap Morales for Hughes one-on-one? Then young hitters from Buffalo are promoted to Toronto.
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#358308) #
Iím a bit surprised that no one has mentioned Stantonís contract (13/325 through 2029, the playerís age-39 season) in this context. The really valuable seasons for Vlad Jr. are likely to be the next dozen, maybe 14, years. If the Jays are willing to spend a bit more now, they might be able to secure their young star for the long term without having to spend heavily on his decline years ó which this front office will probably refuse to do, in any event.

The risk associated with planning for a Trout-type short/mid-range extension is that VGJ may well decide he doesnít want to commit to Toronto for those extra years, i.e. after heís played for a few years on artificial turf, in a dated stadium, possibly without making the postseason, despite his own superlative performance.

Baseballís roughly 5% salary inflation rate also has to be taken into account, of course, in contemplating long-term contracts.
dan gordon - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#358309) #
Yes, greenfrog, Soto's stats are better. I hope it didn't look like I was trying to say HE was comparable, I was saying the SITUATION was comparable, in that they promoted a 19 year old super prospect from AA to the majors. The difference being that Washington is looking like a playoff team. and the Blue Jays aren't. I imagine Soto probably doesn't have the questions about his defense either.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#358310) #
There does not seem to have been any inflation for 2018.  I don't know if it's a blip or a signifier. 

It might be that Harper and Machado will get Stanton-like contracts this off-season.  This FO tends to play things conservatively, and would probably be inclined to wait for more data points. 

Chuck - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#358312) #
I don't know if it's a blip or a signifier.

My instinct is that it's a signifier for older players (as teams finally wake opt to no longer pay players to repeat in their 30s what they did in their 20s), but likely not so for younger players. This off-season should be quite instructive with Machado and Harper on the market.

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#358313) #
A $23 million 1 year deal is market value for a superstar? No. There's a difference between arbitration and market value. Two different things.

In my own respectful view, there are a number of errors here.

First, the arbitration system is an effort to replicate the market. The parties to the collective agreement which created the system, freely negotiated the factors that arbitrators will consider. Those include service time and performance in an effort to match the player's salary with similar market salary outcomes for players of similar service length and performance. Far from being detached from the market, it is based on market outcomes.

I think what you are talking about exclusively as 'the market' is the very limited market of free agents with six years or more of service who are on the 40 man roster and not under contract. That is very, very far from constituting 'the market' for baseball talent.

If you look at a performance ranking, and if you correlate that to player salary, you will see the the almost complete disconnect between the actual 'market' for baseball talent and the free agent market for the small number of 6+ years service players. If you look at Russell Martin's performance in 2017 for example, where to use WAR his bWAR is 1.5, one may wrongly conclude that "the market" dictates a salary for a player of 1.5 bWAR of $20 million. The same mistake may lead one to believe that "the market" dictates a salary of $24 million for Prince Fielder, although Prince Fielder does not even play baseball.

In fact, if you look at the cluster of players who have the same performance level of 1.5 bWAR, or a larger number of players within a close range of 1.5 bWAR, you will see that rather being representative of 'the market', a salary of $20 million is a complete outlier. Much, much more frequently you will find salaries approaching the league minimum (itself negotiated).

In order to constitute "the market", a market must be nearly ubiquitous. The outliers don't demonstrate "the market". Much the opposite. While the salaries for 6+ years free agents may be the most expensive salary costs you can find, that doesn't make them the market.

As a brief example, lets suppose Mike has a trial or an important meeting tomorrow in New York. His plane's about to leave, and Mike tosses a suit and a shirt into a bag, ones his wife has been scoffing at him for a week or so for not taking to the cleaners. On arriving at his hotel in New York, Mike gives his suit and shirt to the desk to have them sent out for overnight. Maybe he's 'pressed' for time. When Mike gets his bill of $85 USD the next morning, Mike doesn't confuse that for the cost most people pay, or 'the market', for getting drycleaning done in NYC. He knows that either because of circumstances, regardless of who's responsible, he's paying far more than the market normally dictates for drycleaning a suit and laundering a shirt.

Nigel - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#358314) #
CDC - I generally agree of your assessment of the relative sizes of the "at the gate" local market sizes of the Cleveland and Toronto baseball markets. But the TV audiences aren't comparable at all. The Jays are a very large market club from a TV audience perspective. Rogers has chosen to take the benefits of that audience in to another part of their conglomerate (as is their choice).
Were the Jays to receive TV revenues commensurate with their viewership numbers they would be a "large market" team and the Cleveland - Toronto comp wouldn't apply at all. Rogers has simply chosen to run the team as a mid-market team a la Cleveland. I find the Jays a hard team to compare to any franchise from a size of market perspective given all of the above.
Gerry - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#358315) #
Devon Travis back to replace Urena.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#358316) #
CBDC's take is typical of many jays fans - either rogers has convinced them or they have convinced themselves to explain rogers behaviour that the jays are not a big market team, when they obviously are.

and never forget that even with the devastatingly mediocre product they've put on the field for the last 17yrs and the numbed fanbase that has resulted from it, they have still seen their initial investment of ~$150m grow almost 1000% to ~$1.4b.

p.s. calling a 1yr $23m arby award "market value for an elite free agent" is, of course, ludicrous.
hypobole - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#358317) #
Why am I thinking of Emily Litella?

Here's the conversation.

Comment: And then the Jays will never again pay market value for superstars! Yau! Can't wait to reset and have below market contracts so we aren't burdened with the albatross contracts.

Me: When was the last time we paid market value for a superstar?

Comment: The last time we paid market value for a superstar was this year. We agreed to pay Donaldson 23 million which is market for a superstar 3B.

Me: A $23 million 1 year deal is market value for a superstar? No. There's a difference between arbitration and market value. Two different things.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#358318) #
Mike, you may have many suppositions about why the Cleveland market and the Toronto market play so similarly when measured by home attendance (Cleveland has been successful and Toronto not). My point however is that they have been perhaps the two most similar markets in terms of attendance that there have been over the last 20 years. You may be right, that this is entirely a result of disproportionate success, or it could just be that Cleveland is in an area where people care a lot more about baseball than they do in Toronto, which I think is at least as likely an explanation. The point however, was not why there are so similar over a twenty year period, merely that they are. And that it's pretty skit-like to hear the team 24th in attendance chanting 'small market' at the team that's 25th.

20 years is a long time. It begins only 5 years after back to back world championships for Toronto, and includes the last three years of unusually high attendance. If someone can show me another team that has finished in the bottom half of attendance in the last 20 years 16 times or more, and in the bottom third of attendance 10/20 times or more, that they think is a more persuasive comparator than Cleveland, I'd be happy to see that.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#358319) #
It's not a supposition, CBDC.  Blue Jay attendance has in fact fluctuated greatly with the success of the team, and when the club succeeds, attendance is at or very very close to the top of the league. 

Devon Travis is back in the lineup tonight against Garrett Richards.  I would have thought that Kendrys Morales had earned a rest from the starting lineup with his fine performance in relief on Sunday, but no.  Solarte gets the rest.  FWIW, Morales doesn't have a record of success against Richards- he's hitting .111/.158/.278 in 19 PAs over his career.  Gibbons is absolutely right to ignore such a small sample!

It wouldn't be bad if Morales transitioned into a PH/9th reliever role.  There's a use for him in a close game and a use for him in a blowout.

Chuck - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#358320) #
Re the 2018 shortstop carousel...

1. How many have played the position so far? (6: Diaz, Ngoepe, Solarte, Gurriel, Urshela, Urena)

2. How many fresh bodies are to play it yet? (Presumably at least Tulowitzki. Any more? Martin in an emergency? Morales in a blowout?)

Jonny German - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#358321) #
Martin already has an inning at shortstop - May 15 in the 12-2 loss to the Mets.

Bichette in September isn't a crazy thought. IMHO.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#358323) #
CDC - I generally agree of your assessment of the relative sizes of the "at the gate" local market sizes of the Cleveland and Toronto baseball markets. But the TV audiences aren't comparable at all. The Jays are a very large market club from a TV audience perspective. Rogers has chosen to take the benefits of that audience in to another part of their conglomerate (as is their choice). Were the Jays to receive TV revenues commensurate with their viewership numbers...

Nigel, these are points I've made on here before, so if it sounds repetitive it's probably because it is. The notion that 'Rogers' is making a fortune off Blue Jays broadcasts and not sharing it with the club is an internet legend. I have never seen a shred of evidence for this often made assertion while what we do know points to the contrary.

Here's what we do know. The Blue Jays broadcast rights were at one time sold in part to TSN and CBC. When CBC quit in 2009, some of the information was made public. Here is an article from the Globe at the time. For context, this was the time that I referred to in a different post, when Beeston had returned to the front office and was going to put a halt to the practice of giving the product away for free. For further context, those of us who remember the time will remember that CBC bought prime games from the Blue Jays. Weekend games. Yankee games. They weren't showing Tuesday night in Minnesota.

When CBC quit, they were paying $150,000 in broadcast rights per game, for prime games. And they were losing significant amounts of money because advertisers weren't going to pay. The Blue Jays weren't even broadcasting all 162 games at the time. About 10% of the games went without broadcast, for the obvious reason that they weren't financially viable. So if you make the erroneously generous assumption that the Blue Jays rights were worth 150k (they weren't) for 162 games, that totals 24 million a year CDN, or 19.4 million USD at .80 conversion per year. And to reiterate, that is based on the level at which CBC was losing "significant amounts", not making money.

The last number that I heard was a few years back when it was reported (by Blair I believe) that Rogers was paying much more than that ($36 million) to the Blue Jays for broadcast rights. While the CBC event was nine years ago, advertising dollars have been fleeing cable, along with print media, for the internet. What I've seen shows about a 10% increase in advertising dollars in the period since 2009 on TV. I've seen no study that shows a big increase in TV advertising, even for sports, that would justify that kind of increase. If anything, Rogers may well over-contribute to the Blue Jays in excess of revenue. As part of MLB revenue sharing, major league baseball teams keep a close eye on competitors' revenues. The notion that the Blue Jays are not declaring revenues sounds to me like the kind of plot hatched best on the internet.

Everything else points that way too. Normally, the Blue Jays are around the CFL, a semi-pro league with a $5 mil per team salary cap, in TV ratings. Plus, we've seen the collapse since the 90's in the radio broadcast network for the Blue Jays. And maybe the best signifier that this 'hidden revenue' scheme is a canard, is the years of 'back to back' Rogers ads in games, where the same ad was simply repeated because they couldn't sell the time and it wasn't worth spending the money to make another ad.

christaylor - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#358324) #
Thanks for the reminder that Gilda Rader can easily be viewed on YouTube these days Emily Litella was genius.

Somewhere in this "Never mind." is an interesting question/discussion of whether thinking about "market value" is truly a helpful way to view players' salaries.

This past off-season has been the first where I've seen something akin to a market mechanism at work and even then only in 1B/DH slugger types. It looked very unusual. Free agency usually seems more like an auction than a market. We've seen so many examples of the winner's curse in action with Free Agents.
Nigel - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#358325) #
I don't know about Bichette at SS this year (let's hope his play warrants it) but I sure hope that the club's recent play has confirmed to all that this is a mediocre club (not terrible, just mediocre), it was built to be a mediocre club and therefore its members, with sacred few exceptions, should be treated as members of a mediocre club (i.e. fungible). As the year progresses, I hope to see younger players assume greater roles. In general, I hope by August to see (at least) some combination of Hernandez, Pillar, Grichuk, Alford, Pompey taking the vast majority of the OF reps (with Pearce never to see the OF again and Granderson there only on occasion). Jansen up and one of Travis/Gurriel as the 2B. Vladdy isn't happening in 2018 for economic reasons whatever might be the merits (or not) of it.
Nigel - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#358327) #
CDC - I don't know all of the details either but a number of the larger market teams have recently (within the past 5 years) renewed their local TV deals (e.g NYY, Dodgers, Rangers, Phillies, etc.) at annual rights fees in excess of US$90m per year and their per game viewerships are (in a couple of cases significantly) less than the Jays. The CBC viewership rates were a fraction of current Rogers ratings (and yes I understand that there is a chicken and egg issue there). I don't happen to believe that the TV rights issue is an internet myth at all.
Nigel - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#358328) #
The latest numbers is saw on viewership for the Jays was the 2017 numbers which were around 750k per game (down substantially from (2015 (second half) and 2016). CFL viewership was around 500k in 2017.

For context, the per game Phillies viewership in 2017 was around 100k (per Forbes).
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#358329) #
Blue Jay attendance has in fact fluctuated greatly with the success of the team, and when the club succeeds, attendance is at or very very close to the top of the league.

Yup. I agree with that. In 2015-2017 attendance was up due to making the playoffs in two of those years. For Cleveland, the same was true in the early years (1998-2001), when they made the playoffs and also were near the top of MLB attendance.

Where the symmetry breaks down is when Cleveland's attendance did not recover on making the playoffs in 2007 and 2013. I would acknowledge that with the Ohio/Pennsylvania industrial economy in ruin, the Blue Jays are now much more likely than Cleveland to get an attendance bounce if they were to make the playoffs. But relying upon making the playoffs in order to not regularly reside in the bottom half or bottom third of the attendance ranking is not a characteristic of large market teams. Surely we can agree on that as well.
James W - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#358331) #
I agree with Nigel here, that teams with much less viewership have negotiated huge contracts. I suppose a counterpoint would be that the New York City market is probably much more valuable than "the entire country of Canada" with regards to advertising revenue and whatnot, especially since you can watch an entire broadcast and see approximately 5 unique ads.
Nigel - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#358333) #
James - there are quite a number of differences between regional and national ad revenue rates and between US and Canada that make the exercise much more complex than simple head counts. You also can't compare sports that easily. For example, selling ads on CFL games is a much more difficult process because there are a large number of (particularly national brands) advertisers that do not want their brand associated with a "second tier" product (I don't happen to think of the CFL that way but some marketers do). However, the quantum of viewers on an average Jays game relative to most regional markets leaves me comfortable in saying that the rights fees on the Jays games are valuable and far less than the $36mUS figure I seen a few times as what Rogers currently attributes to the Jays. So valuable in fact that when there were rumblings of Rogers' interest in selling the Jays there was speculation that the big stumbling block would be negotiating the FMV of the rights fees of the Jays games.
Nigel - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#358334) #
Sorry - far more not far less
hypobole - Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#358335) #
Canadian ratings are viewers, U.S. Nielsen are households?

And the legend of Kendrys Morales adds another chapter.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 23 2018 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#358361) #
But relying upon making the playoffs in order to not regularly reside in the bottom half or bottom third of the attendance ranking is not a characteristic of large market teams. Surely we can agree on that as well.

The Blue Jays weren't even in contention during the last 20 years aside from 2015-16.  In years prior to that when they were in contention but did not make the playoffs, they have drawn well. 

When the Yankees fell out of contention briefly in the late 60s (after a fabulous run of 45 years), team attendance dropped to middle-of-the-pack for the league.  The Dodgers haven't had a period out of contention since the late 30s.  When the Giants fell out of contention in 95-96, their attendance plummeted to near bottom of league.  The Cardinals haven't really had a period of non-contention since the early 90s.  Like the Yankees, they fell to middle of the pack in attendance, despite a tremendous history of success prior.  The Cubs have sometimes been at the bottom of the league in attendance when their team is out of contention for a period.  The Red Sox have not really had a prolonged period of non-contention since Ted Williams arrived, but in the 30s they were in the middle or at the bottom in attendance. 

One characteristic of large market teams is the willingness to spend at least somewhat more than league average almost every year.  That's certainly true of the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox.  Spending helps teams to win more often (though not always of course).  Winning more often leads to much higher attendance in most markets, and certainly in Toronto. 
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, May 23 2018 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#358376) #
One characteristic of large market teams is the willingness to spend at least somewhat more than league average almost every year. That's certainly true of the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox. Spending helps teams to win more often (though not always of course). Winning more often leads to much higher attendance in most markets, and certainly in Toronto.

You see it that way Mike. I see another place that doesn't support its ball club very well and conveniently blames the club's ownership for their lack of support. Comparing Toronto to the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox (or Cubs) is in my view, to use your word, ridiculous. The Blue Jays opening day payroll was greater than all of those teams except the Red Sox. They've been in the playoffs two of the last three years. But instead of bums in the seats, we've got excuses instead.

I've owned season tickets since the Ex. When the Skydome opened there was a huge surge of novelty interest. It lasted until a very few short years after the WS years when people started ditching their seasons tickets because they couldn't give them away. Partners didn't want them, associates didn't want them, clients didn't want them, the clerical staff didn't want them. The team was up for sale for years in the late 90's and no one wanted it. Rogers didn't steal the team. Ted Rogers bought it after it had languished on the market for years, to keep it in Toronto when no one else wanted to buy it.

I'm not ragging on Toronto, it is what it is. But constantly ragging on ownership for the poor fan support, is just too easy.
Mike D - Wednesday, May 23 2018 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#358379) #
CBDC, you're on the wrong track with your take on fan support in Toronto. I posted this a couple of years ago and it wasn't hard to update my research to make it current.

From 2004 to 2015, the Jays had a long run as a member of the dubious ten-and-ten club: Seasons following ten consecutive full seasons without either a playoff berth or a new ballpark, the two primary drivers of a packed MLB stadium.

There have only been 172 seasons in baseball history where a team's fans have had to support a ten-and-ten team. They are becoming increasingly rare in this era of expanded playoffs.

The 2015 Blue Jays averaged 34,505 fans. That is the most all-time of any ten-and-ten team in baseball history. The Jays hold down 6 of the top 16 average attendances for ten-and-ten teams (asterisk means they broke the no-playoff streak):

1. 2015 Blue Jays*
2. 1986 Mets*
3. 1985 Mets
4. 1999 Mets*
5. 1984 Tigers*
6. 2013 Blue Jays
7. 1979 Angels*
8. 2010 Rangers*
9. 1993 Yankees
10. 1990 Reds*
11. 2008 Blue Jays
12. 1994 Yankees (would have made playoffs)
13. 2014 Blue Jays
14. 2007 Blue Jays
15. 2007 Rockies*
16. 2006 Blue Jays

The worst ever ten-and-ten season for the Jays was 2010, which ranks 99th out of 172 at 19,173 average.

This year's Padres are a ten-and-ten team and are averaging 26,238 fans. This year's Mariners are also a ten-and-ten team and are averaging 25,401 fans. They will not crack the top 15.

The 2019 White Sox will certainly be a ten-and-ten member. This year, they are averaging 15,810 fans.

Finally, I consider it galling to blame Jays fans for staying home during pointless out-of-contention seasons when the received wisdom for years was that the Leafs were bad because fans kept showing up no matter what (not to say that you subscribed to this, CBDC). Shouldn't a record-sensitive crowd environment provide an incentive to aggressively compete?
jerjapan - Thursday, May 24 2018 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#358427) #
Very interesting stuff guys, I've enjoyed following this discussion.  Mike D, that was a fascinating look at attendance, I'd never heard of a ten-and-ten team before - a useful concept.  Words worthy of the other Mike D - "I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, But I'm intercontinental when I eat French toast". 

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