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Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. It wasn't the Season From Hell, but there was punishment.


The 2018 Jays somehow got off to a decent start (16-12 through April 30.)  This was remarkable because four regulars (Grichuk, Martin, Travis and Morales) had lost their ability to hit a baseball and the third baseman was unable to throw the ball across the diamond, Baseball, eh? (It was J.A. Happ and the bullpen that carried the team.) But the wheels fell off soon enough and we were left at last with no doubt whatsoever that the 2015-16 run was over. Totally Over. Utterly, Finally, Irretrievably Over. Which many had already suspected, but it's definitely helpful to know for sure. Well, we now know for sure.

The grades, as always, are extracted from somewhere in the vicinity of my nether regions. There is nothing remotely scientific about it. The grades mean something like this, more or less:

A - Outstanding (in the MVP/Cy Young discussion)
B - Good (maybe an All-Star, who knows)
C - Average (generic regular)
D - Below Average (replacement level, bench part, something like that)
E - Fail (belongs in the minors)
F - Epic Fail (needs to find gainful employment in some other line of work.)

The cutoff, as in years past, was 50 plate appearances for the hitters and either 10 appearances or 20 IP for the pitchers. The most interesting guys who missed that cut were Reese McGuire (at this stage, looks quite a bit like a LH Maile) and Jonathan Davis (really like everything about him except his bat, alas, which is awful enough to kill his chance to have a major league career)

And for the first time since I started doing these - and that was way back in 2009, you young 'uns - no one gets an A this year. All we can say about that is SAD! It did inspire me to go back over franchise history and see what other seasons might have qualified for such a dubious accomplishment. I singled out three other similarly dismal campaigns: 1977, 1979, and 2004. And I also note that both 1978 and 1995 would have had an asterisk attached, each year getting its only A grade from a player who spent only a partial season with the team (Victor Cruz and David Cone, respectively.) Dave Stieb would have earned the most A grades (seven, including five in a row); Tom Henke, Carlos Delgado, and Roy Halladay would have earned six apiece (including the year when I unaccountably gave Doc a B+, because I'm just an idiot sometimes.)

NON-PLAYERS

John Gibbons C
Did what he could with what he had. I don't think anyone blames Gibbons for the team's record. I know I don't, and I know I don't blame Ross Atkins either. (I'd begin by blaming Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez and proceed from there. There's lots to go round and no shortage of guilty parties.) I've described Gibbons in the past as a perfectly fine pilot when the machine is in good working order, words which don't exactly describe the 2018 Blue Jays. The team needs something else now. Gibbons himself didn't sound all that interested in being part of a Rebuild from Scratch anyway. (Well, not at first though it did occur to him later that these jobs are "hard to come by.")

Ross Atkins D+
Atkins wasn't quite ready to pull the plug on the 2015-16 team last winter. For starters,  they still had Tulowitzki and Martin and their Contracts on the roster, which somewhat gummed up the prospects of Tearing It All Down. So Atkins didn't immediately write off the 2018 season. And hey -  Tulowitzki, Travis, and Sanchez had missed huge chunks of the 2017 season. And after finally getting healthy, Donaldson had closed out the season with a Stupendous burst of power and production. Maybe there was still some life left in the old beast. But  for the most part, Atkins was not willing to actually invest anything significant on the 2018 team either. That proved ... prudent. It did mean his approach to the season basically amounted to sitting around and waiting for it all to be over, which is a little weird but made a certain strange kind of sense.  I'm sure Atkins regrets the $8 million he gave to Jaime Garcia, but the money is spent, the player is gone, and he's not on the hook for anything going forward. While Tulowitzki and Martin and their Contracts are still around, the end is at last in sight. We're finally getting done with the team Atkins inherited, and he can get to work on building something new.

PLAYERS

Justin Smoak B
Smoak came reasonably close to matching his 2017 breakout season. Some of his home runs turning into doubles was the most significant difference. He was steady and consistent all season long. Until September his worst monthly OPS was .728, but both he and Morales stopped hitting in the final month. The playing time for both veterans became somewhat erratic in September as Gibbons tried to squeeze some of the kids into the lineup. Anyway, Smoak's consistency made him something of an outlier on this team, most of whose hitters were going up and down like a bunch of yo-yos. (A yo-yo was a toy, from my distant childhood. Google it if you must.)  The Jays can exercise a $8 million option to bring Smoak back next season, which I expect they'll do. I certainly would. I'm not ready to cast him aside and install Rowdy Tellez quite yet. For one thing, Smoak was more productive in the American League than Tellez was in the International League. Counts for something.

Ryan Borucki B
Borucki was the team's best starting pitcher in 2018, which wasn't something predicted by too many people before the season began. I myself was barely aware of his existence. And being the best starter on the 2018 Blue Jays isn't saying much, I realize. Nevertheless - there's a lot to like here. Borucki's always around the plate and  he keeps the ball in the park. No one on this staff is less likely to give up a home run, and in the modern game (hell, any version of the game) not giving up walks or home runs comes highly recommended. Plus he's absolutely fearless out there. That's plenty to begin with. Let's see what he makes of it all. I certainly like him. Mark Buehrle, whose uniform number he wears, is his role model, and I loved Mark Buehrle so I'm already in his corner.  Borucki doesn't actually remind me all that much of the original. Yes, Borucki works quickly, and yes, he doesn't exactly frighten the radar guns. But Borucki does throw quite a bit harder than Buehrle ever did and of course no one has ever worked quite that fast.  And finally,  the opposition had 16 SB in Borucki's 17 starts, and it would be hard for a pitcher to be less like Buehrle in that regard.  The vast majority of baserunners who were foolish enough to even think about running on Buehrle  were promptly removed from the basepaths and dispatched back to their own dugout, there to reflect further upon their foolishness. I am not exaggerating, by the way. The career numbers against Buehrle were 58 SB, 81 CS, 100 Picked Off. Yeah, he was something, wasn't he?

Seunghwan Oh B
Traded to Colorado at deadline time, he was obviously the team's best relief pitcher in 2018. A low bar, I admit, but he cleared it with ease.

Roberto Osuna B
Traded to Houston at the deadline. Pitched well. It doesn't matter. Women go to baseball games, too. I remember quite clearly how angry every woman I knew was when the Jays signed Jose Canseco twenty years ago. They were all outraged.  As far as I can tell, the only thing that's changed since then is that women have grown somewhat less inclined to put up with the same old crap. So... good riddance.

J.A. Happ B-
Traded to the Yankees at the deadline, Happ had another strong season. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, the prospect of the impending trade deadline may have got into his head just a little. For no apparent reason, in the month before the deadline Happ ran off what was by far his worst stretch of starts since rejoining the Jays in 2016. Once his destiny was settled, he went back to being a very good pitcher. All on behalf of the Evil Empire, of course. But I doubt that his July struggles had any negative impact on the trade return. Major league teams are smarter than that.  Happ was a few months shy of his 33rd birthday when Seattle traded him to Pittsburgh at the deadline in 2015. His career record at the time 55-59, 4.24. Since then, he's gone 54-23, 3.29. I suppose everyone wants to give Ray Searage the credit, and maybe they're right.  But it's baseball, and no one knows anything. Leo Mazzone was a genius when he worked with Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz. He wasn't nearly as clever when he was coaching Daniel Cabrera, Kris Benson, and Rodrigo Lopez.

Steve Pearce B-
Traded to Boston a few weeks before the deadline. He hits and he gets hurt.  Or he gets hurt and he hits. One or the other.

Rowdy Tellez B-
The Rowdy one certainly announced his presence with authority, but anyone can get hot for a week and it was September, after all. If he's ready, he's ready, but that's a pretty large but. (Please feel free to insert your own joke about Tellez' physical attributes here. If you must.) At any rate, I need to see more. (Of his performance on the field, I mean. Geez, this keeps getting worse and worse, one word at a time...)  Anyway, I'd really like to see Tellez open the year in Buffalo, beat up on AAA pitching for a while, and then see if  the team can move Smoak in mid-season for something shiny and attractive. Tellez, of course, isn't obliged to cooperate with this plan.

Kevin Pillar C+
On the one hand, I'm just about ready to move on. Pillar's still a good player, but most of his value is defensive and he'll be 30 in a couple of months. Defensive value peaks and declines quicker and earlier than offensive value, which is something Pillar doesn't provide. (We have finally, finally given up on the idea of Pillar improving as a hitter, haven't we? The man is what he is.) On the other hand, you always need a centre fielder, because otherwise an awful lot of balls are just going to fall in between the other two guys out there. And all things considered, I think you'd especially prefer to have a good one behind a staff of unproven young pitchers. Anthony Alford has done nothing yet that suggests to me that he's going to be ready for the Show in 2019. And Randal Grichuk looks like a guy who can move over from the corner when the regular needs a day off, but I don't think I like the idea of seeing him in centre every day.  Well, there is a Dream Scenario out there. In Buffalo next April and May, Alford starts hitting AAA pitching at the level he hit AA pitching in 2017. Meanwhile, Pillar gets off to another one of his hot starts at the plate - this time it's for real, folks! - and at precisely this juncture, some contender finds itself with a pressing and unforeseen need for a centre fielder. A plentiful bounty is extracted and everyone lives happily ever after. The chances of all these dominoes falling so perfectly into place are Slim and None, in all likelihood. Anyway, I'm mildly curious as to how Pillar's arbitration numbers are going to shake out. Pillar's often been linked with Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays, a reasonably similar player (Tampa Kevin is a year younger, another defensive whiz, a better hitter, but not nearly as durable.) Toronto Kevin is obviously not going to get anything like Kiermaier's contract (6 years, 53.5 million) out of the Jays. But might he get one year at something like Kiermaier money (which was $5.5 million this year, $8 million next year.) I think the team could live with that, especially when they contemplate the existing alternatives. Or lack of same.

Tim Mayza C+
I expected - well, let's say I hoped for  - a little bit more from Mayza than we got. At least he was better than Loup, which was probably what mattered most. But here's the thing - Mayza was optioned to Buffalo on March 29 to start the season. Over the next four months, he was recalled to the Show and then optioned back to Buffalo six times. Not once did he stick around for three weeks. That may be clever roster management, but I think it's generally counter-productive. It's hard enough to establish yourself as a major league player without the threat of being sent back to the minors every time you give up a run hanging over your head. And I'll tell you this, too - every time it happens, it's a crushing disappointment to the player. Going back to the buses after you've had a taste of the bright lights? It's going to hurt.  (Maybe the purpose is to develop mental toughness, I don't know.) Anyway, Mayza finally came up to stay in mid-August and promptly became the best relief pitcher on the team from that point forward, posting a 1.96 ERA in 21 appearances (20 of which were scoreless.)  He also allowed just 4 of his 27 Inherited Runners to come home, best on the team by quite a bit.

Randal Grichuk C+
It's become a thing with me, but I just get far too excited when RH hitters come to Toronto from the National League. I think the technical term is Bautista-Encarnacion Syndrome. Anyway, I actually said to Liam before the season started that I thought Grichuk might hit 35 HRs in Toronto. In my defense, from June through the end of the season - four months - he did hit .270/.318/.552 with 23 HRs, which is Fine and Dandy and also very much within shouting distance of a 35 homer pace. But it's a six month season and both April (hitting, how do you do that?) and May (that hurts!) happened. Grichuk been better against RHP in three of his five seasons, and had no discernible platoon split at all in the other two. As a Jay, he got hot against southpaws at the end of the year and finished up .237/.295/.505 against RH and .263/.313/.496 against LH.

Aledmys Diaz C+
Like his fellow ex-Cardinal, Diaz is another RH batter who doesn't show much in the way of a platoon split. Diaz in fact has generally had a reverse split in each of his MLB seasons. Kevin Pillar also had a reverse split (very out of character for Pillar, who normally hits quite a bit better against southpaws.) The two switch-hitters, Smoak and Morales, were both very good against RH and both struggled against lefties. You see a trend developing here? Aledmys just might be the least flashy player ever to come out of Cuba, but he grows on you. He's a nice player - he seems reliable, low-maintenance, a better hitter than your average middle infielder - and the team will likely have need of his services next year.  (I mean even if Tulowitzki is able to play again, you have to assume that he's going to be a day-to-day proposition for the rest of his life.) Diaz will be a handy guy to have around.  I have no real sense at all of his defense at short. What did you folks think? He seemed competent enough, not really good but not really bad. He does  seem like a guy who'd make a fine utility infielder, although he's not really well qualified for the job. He's never really played anywhere except shortstop. (Coming into this past season, he'd played 23 pro innings at 3b, and just 4 innings at 2b.) One does assume that if you're capable of playing shortstop in the majors, you can probably handle the other two spots. But he's never actually done it, and they are quite different positions. 

Kendrys Morales C+
Baseball, eh? After looking completely washed up for the first six weeks (he was hitting .146/.230/.270 on May 17), Morales ditched the eye-glasses he had adopted to compensate for the failing vision in his right eye. And in so doing, he miraculously turned back the clock, and became the team's best hitter. From May 19 through the end of August, Morales hit .298/.372/.547 and even chipped in an emergency inning at third base and pitcher without grievously embarrassing himself or the ball club. Like Smoak, he stopped hitting in September as his playing time dried up and disappeared while young persons were being auditioned. There was something exceedingly strange about Morales' revival, besides the fact that his season turned around after he took off the glasses.  Kendrys came into the league as a switch-hitter with no platoon split and in time he had gradually devolved into a guy who killed LH pitching while struggling against the RH throwers. But this year he completely reversed that trend -  beating up on RH pitching (.274/.366/.495 even while turning his bad eye toward them) while scuffling against southpaws (.199/.258/.324). Who knows? Maybe he just needs glasses when he's batting right-handed.  But it all worked out, didn't it? Wouldn't we all rather be looking forward to one more year of Morales at $12 million than the deal Encarnacion famously passed on (which at this point would involve two more years at $20 million a year.) Today that feels like a bullet, dodged. Tulowitzki doesn't have that much guaranteed money coming. (Almost, though.)

Lourdes Gurriel C+
Still looks really raw, but obviously circumstances have interfered with his development quite a bit. He didn't play at all in 2016, and injuries limited him to just 64 games in 2017.  I don't know what he is yet, neither do you, and neither does his team. He seems to have All the Tools, as they say. He looks like he has the arm and athleticism to be a good shortstop. He is not a good shortstop, however, and his eventual spot on the diamond is To Be Determined.  He does look like he can handle major league pitching - he may actually hit 30 HRs in a full season someday - but he also looks like yet another member of the team's Hit the Ball before the Ball Hits You brigade. Which is a thing, because if you have four or five guys like this in your lineup every day, you're just not going to have enough people on base to score many runs. There's no way. And Kevin Pillar, Devon Travis and Aledmys Diaz are charter members of this club and it's not like Grichuk and Hernandez are on-base machines themselves. At the beginning of September I noticed that Gurriel and Grichuk were both running a siginificant reverse platoon split. That did not hold up for either player. Gurriel in particular spent the final month absolutely hammering the southpaws, and  finished the season as one of the team's two best hitters against LH pitching. Gurriel and Luke Maile. How sad is that?

Curtis Granderson C
Traded to Milwaukee at the August deadline. He's nowhere near the player he used to be, of course, but he can still help you out if you keep him away from the southpaws. I will always have fond, fond memories of  his walk-off homer against Kimbrel. I mean, Craig Freaking Kimbrel? The guy with the career ERA+ of 217? The guy who strikes out three batters for every one who manages a base hit? A walkoff homer? Please. Against Kimbrel I tend to be impressed when someone manages a foul ball. That was worth it, all by itself. The fact that Granderson is one of the game's better people, and it's always good to have guys like that around, was icing on the cake. (It provides good organizational karma.) With the notable exception of the 2015-16 seasons, John Gibbons in both his terms as the skipper has consistently used more pinch-hitters than almost any AL manager - his teams have led the league in PH appearances several times, including the season just past - and Granderson was his best at the job this year. (Hernandez was the worst.)

Russell Martin C
Martin was sufficiently alarmed by his offensive production this past year - not that there were very many catchers in the AL who hit better than Martin anyway, as disturbing as that may be . - that he was talking about doing off-season work that specifically addressed his hitting. Good idea, dude. Apparently it's not his normal practice - Martin's off-season regimen has mostly focused on overall body maintenance, which does seem to be a good plan if you're an elderly catcher. But when you're looking up at the Mendoza Line special measures would seem to be appropriate. There's one year left on his contract and it's not likely to hurt the team. He's still, at the very worst, a league average catcher. No, he can't throw anymore but it's not like anyone steals bases in the modern game anyway. It's probably a good idea to have him around to help school the young catchers. It's definitely a good idea to have him behind the plate handling the young pitchers.

Billy McKinney C
Came over in the Happ trade and promptly hit .395/.478/.763 in his first month with the team. Just as we were all penciling him in for a job on the 2019 team, he went out and hit  .182/.232/.325 in his second month. You may want to Google "yo-yo" once again.  What he is, how good he is... no one has any idea yet. I'm hoping for good enough to get Hernandez out of the everyday lineup. McKinney is almost two years younger and he was a better player in his two month audition. But McKinney's not going to be nominated for a Gold Glove anytime soon either, and he hasn't demonstrated yet that he can hit a LH pitcher (He had just 23 plate appearances against the Sinister Ones.)

Dwight Smith C
Smith is one of those guys who gets no respect, and consequently gets no opportunities. It's not going to make any difference, but he might be a better baseball player - in every facet of the game - than Teoscar Hernandez. Teoscar is exactly 11 days older than Smith, and has certainly received an opportunity.  But I promise you we're not going to find out.  I don't expect Smith's situation to change. I don't expect to see him get any kind of a shot. It probably doesn't matter. But youneverknow.

Teoscar Hernandez C
With younger LH batters like McKinney, Smith, and Tellez threatening to take away some of his at bats, Teoscar might be well advised to carve out a role for himself as a lefty-masher. But that's not happening - he didn't have much of a platoon split at all, and what there was saw him hit a little better against righties. I'm not a fan at this stage. He's like Tepera to me - he's not bad, he just isn't very good. Hernandez hits doubles and home runs, which is a fine thing. It's just that he doesn't hit an especially large number of them and he really doesn't do anything else. He needs to either add something to his offensive game or (much more likely) simply do more of what he already does. Which is not beyond the realm of possibility - he hasn't harnessed it yet, but he has big-time power. But as for his defense? Avert your eyes, people.  I don't know why he's such an awful outfielder. He seems to have the requisite athleticism, he seems serious enough about wanting to improve.  Is it possible that playing the outfield isn't quite as easy as some of these guys make it look? The worst defensive outfield I have ever seen was the group that Tim Johnson ran out there for a couple of weeks in July 1998. It had Jose Canseco in RF, Shawn Green in CF, and Tony Phillips in LF. If you weren't unfortunate enough to actually see them play, I don't know how I could possibly describe it. Just be aware that it's twenty years later and I'm still traumatized by the experience. As you can probably tell. Hernandez would not have been out of place with that crew. George Bell, at his absolute worst, after the knee and shoulder issues, was never this bad. I  think Bell, who was actually a pretty good outfielder when he came to Toronto, might be pretty relevant to the current situation. Bell heard so much and so often about his defensive shortcomings that it got into his head. He began to believe it, and began to play the field tentatively, defensively, unsure of whether he could make a play. I think that's starting to happen to Hernandez.

Luke Maile C
I mentioned a few weeks back that Maile, in blatant disregard of all the laws of God and Man, was one of the better hitting catchers in the AL in 2018. This is a good thing, but this was information so shocking, so unexpected that the entire Box community was literally struck speechless upon receiving the news and needed some time to absorb it.  Nevertheless, it's true. Baseball, eh? Unfortunately, the Jays gave up many more runs when Maile was doing the catching. Which was not a good thing, and it was also the exact opposite of what had happened in Maile's games behind the plate with Toronto in 2017 and Tampa in 2015 and 2016. Investigation was called for. So what went wrong? Home runs. Opposing batters hit 91 HRs in 526.2 IP working with Maile, just 76 HRs in 620 IP with Russell Martin. This in turn called for looking at the individual pitchers involved. This isn't always a factor - everybody does better pitching to Jeff Mathis, it's just a fact, accept it people! - but it really was the key variable this time. Maile caught the majority of innings from Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini. Those two guys were both a:) lousy and b) prone to giving up home runs. They allowed 26 HRs in 129 IP with Maile, 11 HRs in 58.2 IP with Martin. The HR ratio is similar, the innings caught was not. Whereas Martin caught the majority of innings worked by J.A. Happ and Ryan Borucki, who were both pretty good and generally better at keeping the ball in the yard. Martin also caught most of Stroman's innings, and while Stroman was pretty lousy himself, he does keep the ball in the park.

Josh Donaldson C
Traded to Cleveland at the waiver deadline. Oh, we had some good times, swell times, times that we'll always remember. Just not this year. Donaldson started only 21 games at 3b, and generally looked like a shadow of his former self in the field and at the plate. The team and the player were both counting on his good health, and both lost, big-time. (I came this close to writing "both lost, bigly.") Anyway, the return on the trade has already demonstrated that to be true for the team, and I expect that Donaldson's upcoming free agent contract will confirm it for the player. That's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. So why, why, why did the GM wait so long to make the move? Well, Atkins took enough heat this year for trading Donaldson at the waiver deadline - with the player one month away from free agency, after showing up for the season with a dead arm and then missing 100 of 130 games with the worst calf injury in the history of calves - that it's fearful to contemplate what the response would have been had he traded him last winter.  If Atkins had received anything less than Ronald Acuna in return, he'd have been burned in effigy by now. And maybe even then. Trust me, for every thoughtful observer murmuring "Yes, now is the time" there would have been hundreds of  not-so-thoughtful folks roaming the streets with pitchforks and yelling. Atkins is smart enough to know these things, and he's smart enough to know the impact trading Donaldson before the 2018 season would have had on the morale of the team ("Wait, we've given up already?") and on the paying public ("He traded Josh? What the hell?)  It surely wasn't unreasonable to imagine Donaldson playing well enough to make the whole season better for everyone. And even if that was not in the cards, it wasn't unreasonable to think he'd play well enough to bring back a plentiful bounty at the deadline. So Atkins took a chance. It just didn't work. It won't be the last time, either. He's going to do lots of things that don't work. That's the job.

Danny Jansen C
Well, you have to like how he swung the bat in his first look at major league pitching, and it will be nice to have someone in the lineup with some actual plate discipline. Especially as Martin approaches the end. Jansen obviously wasn't particularly in sync with the pitching staff (team ERA was 5.43 with Jansen catching, 5.19 with Maile, 4.38 with Martin), but that's what spring training is for. I assume (I hope!) he'll be Martin's apprentice next year in some type of job-sharing arrangement and graduate to the number one job in 2020.

Ken Giles C
He didn't exactly remind me of Tom Henke at first glance. He kind of grew on me, though. His Toronto numbers were knocked all out of kilter by one disastrous outing against the Red Sox, but he was just fine after that. Giles' history suggests that he may take the game, and its ups and downs, just a little too seriously.  But that's better than not taking it seriously enough. He's obviously got the goods to be an extremely effective relief pitcher, and he's certainly been one in the past. Next year's bullpen is about as close to a blank slate as you can imagine. Of this year's holdovers, Giles might be the most likely to still be around next spring.  Surely Mayza (not just good, but left-handed too!) will be there as well and probably Tepera (though I'm not really a fan.) But the rest? Do they bring back Clippard? How about Guerrieri? Fernandez? Paulino? Shafer? It's a good thing relief pitchers grow on trees because Atkins will need to be shaking a few this winter.

Thomas Pannone C
Doesn't throw quite as hard as Borucki, who I think we already regard as the team's designated soft-tossing LH starter. In his brief audition Pannone has walked a few more guys and given up a few more HRs than Borucki. But he seems to have a pretty good idea of what he's doing out there and and a pretty good idea of what he needs to do in order to succeed. Like Borucki, he doesn't get rattled out there. He just keeps pitching. And that figures - when you don't make the radar guns scream, you need to learn how to pitch. I don't know how effective Pannone will be in a major league rotation but I don't think he's got anything left to learn at the minor league level.

Aaron Sanchez D+
As bounce-back years ago, that wasn't much better than what you'd get from a dead cat. Sanchez came dangerously close to posting a worse WHIP than Biagini, which is terrifying to contemplate. Luckily, he only allows half as many home runs. Listen to me Aaron - if you're not going to strike out a lot of hitters, you have to throw some strikes. This is not negotiable. You can't issue 5 BB every 9 innings. Granted, much of this badness happened during his generally awful month of May (0-3, 5.96 with 17 BB in 22.2 IP.) He was pitching well in June when he went on the DL for six weeks, and he seemed about to close out the year with several strong starts when his finger started acting up again. Sheesh. Al Leiter had a problem with blisters for three months while at Syracuse in 1990 and we're still hearing about it almost 30 years later. One wonders what kind of place Sanchez' issues will eventually assume in Team Lore.

Devon Travis D+
Stayed off the Disabled List for the first time since.... well, ever, I suppose. That's the good news. The bad news is that his BAVG, OBP, and SLUG declined for the fourth year in a row, which is what the scientists call a disturbing trend. In Travis' case, it was mostly because he came out of the gate like Grichuk and Morales, having completely lost the ability to hit. It got Travis sent to Buffalo for a few weeks. He didn't hit there either, but he did do better on his return. But Gurriel or Diaz (or both! After all, Tulowitzki might play some baseball next year, youneverknow) are  threatening to take his job away. Travis needs to step up.

Sean Reid-Foley D
At this moment the favourites for next year's rotation - more or less by default - would have to be Stroman, Sanchez, Borucki, Pannone, and Reid-Foley. That's two RH finesse ground ball pitchers, two "soft-tossing" LH and Reid-Foley, who throws a zillion miles per hour and often doesn't  have much of a clue where it's going. But I really like a bit of  variety from my gang of starters, and Reid-Foley would certainly provide some. The observers who invoked the name of Juan Guzman have nailed his upside, which is considerable. But Reid-Foley definitely, certainly, absolutely  needs some more time in AAA to learn his trade, so I would expect the GM to look some itinerant starters on the cheap to fill that spot in the meantime. At this stage Reid-Foley is still a thrower rather than a pitcher. When his stuff is working he can beat anyone and when it isn't working he doesn't know how to get by. He doesn't have a clue, in fact. There's more life in that arm than anyone else in the picture for next year's rotation, but there's not yet a whole lot of pitching sense in that head. But why would there be? I've got shirts that are older than he is. They don't fit me anymore, but I've still got them.

Richard Urena D
Actually posted some decent offensive numbers with the major league team at the end of the season. Don't be fooled. For a brief, shining moment the goddess of BABiP fell completely in love with Urena. Alas, as we all know, the goddess is one fickle deity and a mighty reckoning will be coming. Urena's bat actually seems to have stopped developing, in which case he's simply not going to hit enough to hold down a major league job. He still strikes out in one of three at bats, which is about the only thing he has in common with Adam Dunn. But let's not write him off just yet. He's still only 22 years old, and it's not like baseball players all develop in a nice steady, linear way. They progress, they stand still, they take a step back, they progress some more. You never know. Urena still has plenty of time to take another step forward. But he needs to take that step.

Tyler Clippard D
Now a free agent. You can do worse at the back of the bullpen, I suppose. Clippard led the team in appearances, which doesn't mean much of anything, but he also led the staff in K/9 ratio, which does suggest that there's still some giddyup on his heater and some movement on his pitches. But his mistakes tend to provide souvenirs for the paying customers. It's a problem. Clippard gave up more homers than Jacob deGrom, who was second in the major leagues in innings pitched. Okay, deGrom is seventeen shades of awesome. It's still just a weird thing. Clipppard also allowed more home runs than either Stroman or Sanchez. I know both guys missed about a dozen starts but they still pitched way, way more innings than Clippard. You can call me old-fashioned but I don't think relief pitchers should give up more of anything than starting pitchers. Especially not home runs.

Ryan Tepera D
He's not bad. He's just not very good. If he was tucked away at the back of the bullpen, your seventh reliever, that would be one thing. But he's been one of the key relievers these last two seasons, and he's simply not good enough for that job.

Sam Gaviglio D
Some are born mediocre, some achieve mediocrity, and fans of the 2018 Blue Jays had mediocrity thrust upon them. Gaviglio finished the season as one of six starters, and I assume that's his job next season - working in the Buffalo rotation, ready to come aboard if (when) someone goes down.  I hope that's his job next season. If he's on the big league roster, it's a sign to me that things have gone amiss.

Marcus Stroman D
Sometimes I think Stroman has been undone by the very mindset that has made him successful. He's been told all his life that he was too small to make it in the big leagues. As a necessity, he developed an obstinate belief in himself that he could indeed become a major league pitcher. And you have to give it up to him. He was right. Here he is. But it seems sometimes that there's something stubborn and obstinate about his game, that he doesn't adjust well to changing realities. And then I reflect - nah, I'm overthinking all of this. He's just a guy who doesn't miss enough bats to start with, so he's always going to be at the mercy of things he can't control. His defense, the umpires, the random vagaries of the Ball in Play.

Yangervis Solarte D
Solarte's strong first half was fun to watch, and it was useful with Donaldson missing in action and Grichuk, Morales, and Travis all struggling out of the gate. But he was pretty much useless (.168/.202/.226) from July 1 forward, and he didn't exactly impress me as a particularly alert and energetic kind of player. His attention span and  his level of effort all seemed to come and go. The Jays have a $5.5 million team option on Solarte for next season and I know I'd cut him loose. It's nice to have a guy who can play a bunch of positions and chip in with the bat. But that might be Lourdes Gurriel's destiny, and the Jays do have many roughly equivalent, more or less average infielders coming out the wazoo. The wazoo? Come on, indulge me. After all, I could have written "... average infielders oozing from every orifice."  But then you'd all hate me, if you don't already. And you'd be right to do so.

Marco Estrada D
He's now a free agent and extremely unlikely to return, especially if Ross Atkins cares at all what I think. Estrada gave up the fewest Hits/9 IP in the AL in both 2015 and 2016, but these last two years his hits allowed and home runs allowed have gone up and upper.  And  this year his strikeout rate fell sharply back to where it was three years ago. These are not encouraging trends. But it was a good run, one pretty much unforeseen by everybody, and I think he must be regarded and remembered as the second best post-season pitcher in franchise history.

Aaron Loup D
Traded to the Phillies at the deadline for a bucket of baseballs and a tall minor league right-hander. This brought an end to his rather long and very weird tenure with the Jays. Aaron generally delivered the same level of performance during the Gibbons years (he was much more effective pitching for John Farrell) but the precise way in which he delivered that performance varied wildly from one year to the next.

John Axford D
Traded to the Dodgers at the deadline for a ride to the airport and a relief pitcher unsure of where home plate is located. Man, the 2018 Blue Jays were a new experience for me.  I'd always thought that inning-eaters were supposed to be mediocre, run-of-the-mill starting pitchers. After all, if you plan to use mediocre relief pitchers to eat innings, you're going to need an awful lot of them. But the 2018 Jays were up to that challenge. I've never seen so many mediocre relief pitchers in my life.

Jake Petricka D-
Speaking of run of the mill relief pitchers. The opposition hit .317/.386/.511 against him, which is actually a little worse than run-of-the-mill. He could have had better fortune on his Balls in Play, but that's about the best thing that can be said about him.

Jose Fernandez D-
Made the playing time cut-off, to my considerable frustration. What can we say? Well, he's the fourth Jose Fernandez to play in the majors. The first was Jose Amayobanex Fernandez, a corner outfielder from the Dominican who got into 21 games with the Expos and Angels in 1999-2001, and hit .143 - he then went off to Japan, where he enjoyed seven strong seasons in the JPPL. The second was Jose Delfin Fernandez of Cuba, who blazed so brilliantly through the baseball sky for the Marlins before killing himself in a bout of drug and alcohol fueled stupidity. The third was Jose Miguel Fernandez, the Cuban second baseman who defected back in 2015 and finally made it to the majors this summer with the Angels (for whom he's mostly played first base?) Our boy is Jose Manuel Fernandez, a skinny left-hander from the Dominican. Maybe he has a chance, maybe he doesn't. His history suggests his relationship with the strike zone tends to come and go, but he's been hard to hit and he gets enough Ks.

Jaime Garcia D-
Washed out as a starter, and was pitching pretty well (one disastrous outing aside) out of the pen before being released at the waiver deadline. His days as a starter are surely over. At the very least, I doubt anyone's going to give him $8 million this winter to start for them next year. He went on to pitch pretty well in the Cubs bullpen and may be able to carry on for a few more years as a LOOGY.

Danny Barnes E
He's not a major league pitcher, folks. Trust me on this. He was passable in 2017 because - but only because - he was fabulously lucky on his Balls in Play. Opposing hitters batted just .222 on balls in play against Barnes in 2017 - and that just screams FLUKE, in large flashing capital letters. I didn't notice this a year ago because I was so disturbed at the number of home runs he was giving up. Anyway, when things return to normal, this crap is what you get. He does nothing well. He allows too many home runs, too many hits, too many walks - and, just as a bonus, the numerous baserunners in the game when he's on the mound can steal the next base at will.  I suppose it could have been worse. But I'd rather not try to imagine how, if you don't mind.

Joe Biagini E
Whoa. Worse than Barnes? Well, 'never challenge worst"  Matthew E. always used to say.  Biagini does throw strikes, but when you consider what opposing hitters do with those strikes (.323/.384/.529 with 14 HR in 297 ABs) you feel like telling him to cut it out. Try walking some guys, Joe. It won't hurt the ball club as much. After his final appearance of the season (2 BB, 3H, 3ER in .2 IP) Scott Carson wondered on Twitter what uniform Biagini would be wearing next year. I came this close to answering that whatever it is he'll be saying "Want fries with that?" With a mighty effort, I was able to restrain myself. Just too mean. Even for me.

Luis Santos F
Oh my lord. Worse than Biagini? Really? Yup. He was basically exactly like Biagini but with almost twice as many bases on balls mixed in.  It turns out that approach hurts the ball club even more, so Joe can feel free to disregard my snarky advice. Fortunately for everyone, Santos was allowed to do this for just 20 IP, whereas Biagini stunk out the joint for more than three times as many. Santos did do one thing well - 4 guys tried to steal a base with Santos on the mound, and all 4 were caught stealing. It does make you wonder, though. Why would you even try to steal with this guy pitching? Just let the batter drive you home.

Troy Tulowitzki (Absent)
No one was paid more money to play baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018 than this fellow, so he rates a mention. (Russell Martin made the same amount of money and Josh Donaldson was at $19 million and change when he was sent to Cleveland. Technically, the Jays paid Donaldson more money than Tulowitzki, but they were paying Donaldson to play for Cleveland by the time it was over. It was that kind of year.) While acknowledging his significant contributions to the 2015-16 teams, you'd have to say that the return on the Tulowitzki investment has left something to be desired. He's got complete no-trade protection and he's guaranteed another $20 million next year and $14 million in 2020 (there are also bonus provisions but I'm pretty confident they will not come into play). And then it's either a $15 million club option for 2021 or a $4 million buyout. Gosh, I wonder which way the team will go on that one?
Blue Jays Report Card | 129 comments | Create New Account
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Nigel - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#366546) #
Thank you Magpie, such a great read, as always. I can only quibble with one grade - the C+ for Morales. I just can't see that grade for a player who was essentially replacement level, again, for his $11-12m per year.
uglyone - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#366547) #
"We're finally getting done with the team Atkins inherited, and he can get to work on building something new. "

ah c'mon.

this team was 90% his.
greenfrog - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#366548) #
Hindsight is 20/20, but it obviously would have been much better had the Jays traded Donaldson, Osuna, and Happ in the off-season. That would have translated into a significantly better return in prospects and a stronger draft position next June.

The front office did make some decent moves (Oh, Grichuk, Diaz) and it has continued to add to the farm system, but the organization would be in better shape had it moved decisively in favour of a rebuild ahead of, instead of behind, the curve. Especially since the division looks to have tough competitors in the coming seasons in New York, Boston, and TB.
Magpie - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#366549) #
this team was 90% his.

Well, let's see - the lineup was supposed to be Martin, Smoak, Travis, Tulowitzki, Donaldson, Grichuk, Pillar, Hernandez, Morales. Atkins brought in the two corner outfielders and the DH, the rest were already here. (He did bring in all the replacements, of course.)

The rotation was supposed to be Stroman, Sanchez, Estrada, Happ, Garcia. Everyone but Garcia was here when Atkins came aboard, including the two free agents signed in the interval between Anthopoulos and Atkins.

I still think he started the year with a team he had largely inherited.
lexomatic - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#366550) #
Barnes had a bad year,  but I think he's serviceable. His babip was 330 this year. His control deserted him 50% more than last year. HR% was average. Lob% went from really high to below average. This season represents 1/3 his career mlb output and is probably within reasonable variation for most rps.I'd give him another chance.
uglyone - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#366551) #

His

Grichuk
Pearce
Granderson
Smoak
Morales
Diaz
Solarte
Maile
(Teoscar)

Happ
Estrada
Garcia
(Gaviglio)

Oh
Clippard
Axford
Biagini
(Petricka)



inherited with notable contracts

Donaldson
Martin
Tulo

inherited cheapos

Pillar
Travis
Stroman
Sanchez
Osuna
Tepera
Barnes
Loup
Magpie - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#366552) #
Happ and Estrada were signed as free agents in November 2015. Atkins was still working for the Indians.
Magpie - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#366553) #
I can only quibble with one grade - the C+ for Morales.

Yeah, it's hard to make any kind of sense of the seasons we saw from Grichuk and Morales. Morales, for example. He was really, really awful for six weeks. And then he was really, really good for fifteen weeks. (Hey, a .919 OPS is not to be sneezed at.) And then he was mainly a spectator. Grichuk is a similar story. I figure it's more good than bad, at any rate.
hypobole - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#366554) #
Estrada was resigned by Atkins this past offseason.

Still doesn't make it 90%
dalimon5 - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#366555) #
This team is all Atkins and the Braves are all AA...is that the new narrative for this off season? Next year the team will be AA's since he drafted Vlad, SRF, Jansen etc.
Magpie - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#366557) #
Estrada was resigned by Atkins this past offseason.

Okay, but Estrada's BB-Ref page doesn't mention it. That's my excuse!
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#366560) #
Who wouldn't have resigned Marco Estrada last year?
grjas - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#366561) #
The career numbers against Buehrle were 58 SB, 81 CS, 100 Picked Off. Yeah, he was something, wasn't he?

That is astonishing...puts to rest the debate on whether the pitcher or catcher drives SB numbers.

PS- what did Donaldson get a C for? Cheerleading?
AWeb - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#366562) #
Great as usual Magpie. I've been posting here for a long time, and this was the most boring year to be a Blue Jay's fan ever. I didn't even find it that painful (unlike the Year from Hell), just sort of like the front office - somewhere in early summer, just wanted to skip to the end and get it over with. If it was a video game I would have just reset the season after May, or put it on autoplay.  

My own less entertaining thoughts:

Using your definitions, I'm not sure I give anyone a grade past B- (aside from Happ?). Smoak is marginally above average in the AL, which lacks a 1B who is actually performing at an allstar level, but I can't see a B for him. If memory serves, he wasn't great in September last year either, but last year he was genuinely great for a few months. This year he was...fine...

With regard to Morales, I think I'd still rather have Encarncion, assuming I had to pick either him or Morales (even with the contract). I mean, he was better this year, last year, and basically every year for the last 6. He's also more fun. I'd rather have neither on the 2019 Jays though. On the plus side, at least Morales got hot for a while this year, a distinction he shares on the 2018 Jays with...well, no one else I can think of. No other pitchers or hitters really had prolonged great stretches.

Dwight Smith has only ever been a good hitter in the majors, although he does seem capable of being thoroughly acceptable at the plate. In my limited viewing sample he seems like a bad defender. So he fits right in...

Travis deserves something worse than a D+. He was awful In April, yes, but also awful in August, September, and only marginal in June. Plus unreliably healthy. I know lots of people love him (my mother adopted him a bit in the past few years as a favourite) and want him to succeed, but he did not succeed this year. With no defensive versatility, he's not even a good candidate to be a backup.

Solarte's season was an F. Bad hitting, bad fielding, bad running, no hustle. Don't care if teammates or manager liked him (did they?), there's not way he gets a MLB roster spot out of spring training next year. Those post-July 1 numbers aren't "pretty much useless", they are significantly worse than the Jays pitchers did this year (.208/.240/.250 - hey, there's a offensive bright spot, that's a damn good hitting line for pitchers). A very good month, two decent months, and three very sub-replacement months on a team flush with replacement level infielders.
 
Mike Green - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#366563) #
Thanks for the wonderful read. 

My grades, where they differ by more than 1/2 a grade from Magpie's:

Gibbons- B
Atkins- C
Grichuk-B
Morales-D+
Gurriel- C-
Maile- B-
Giles-B-
Clippard-C-
Tepera- C-
Gaviglio- C-
Stroman- C-
Solarte-E- (probably my biggest disagreement: Yangervis was nothing close to average although he started off hot)

My MVP was Grichuk, but really you could have given out grades no higher than a B- for every single player on the club.  In truth, nobody was quite good.  OK, Happ was good but that was it.  

hypobole - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#366564) #
Mike, your grades are closer to mine. And I'm glad you brought up Grichuk.

I think he had as good a season as anyone on the Jays and was a bit surprised no one else came to his defence, especially after not one person agreeing with my idea of trading him this offseason.
Mike Green - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#366565) #
Here's a question.  Who has greater trade value- Gurriel Jr. or Grichuk?  I think that they are both right-fielders ultimately, for what it's worth.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#366566) #
For next year's Team, it doesn't matter about the resigning's, most are easy to do, if the performance is good enough:
1B: Justin Smoak: belongs to A.A.
2B: Devon Travis : belongs to A.A.
SS: Troy Tulowitzki: belongs to A.A.
3B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: belongs to A.A.
.C: Danny Jansen: belongs to A.A.
DH: Kendrys Morales: belongs to Tony LaCava
RF: Randal Grichuk: belongs to R.A.
CF: Kevin Pillar: belongs to A.A.
LF: Billy McKinney: belongs to R.A.
2nd C: Russel Martin: belongs to A.A.
Other C: Belongs to R.A.
4th OF: All belongs to A.A.
INF: Almost all belongs to R.A.
SP: Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley: belongs to A.A. Only Thomas Pannone: belongs to R.A.
RP: Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, Tim Mayza: belong to A.A., while Ken Giles, Joe Biagini belong to R.A.

Apparently this Team was A.A.'s and will remain A.A.'s creation for another year or more.
Magpie - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#366567) #
I feel I was a little harsh about Teoscar, and I'd like to take the opposite tack for a moment. In some ways, he reminds me of Encarnacion (before Edwin exploded on the league at age 29.) The raw power was there for everyone to see, but he hadn't yet figured out how to put it to use. And the obvious defensive shortcomings were distracting everyone, the player included.

That doesn't mean I think Hernandez is going to eventually hit 40 HRs - what EE did was pretty unusual. But that's the happy ending.

Of course, I once did a lengthy disquisition on Paul Molitor as Brett Lawrie's happy ending. I hope everyone's forgotten.
John Northey - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#366568) #
Grichuk is exhibit A for not judging a player too quickly.  2.2 WAR in the end despite a horrid start.

April: 106/208/227
Worst of any month otherwise: 222/286/444 (mostly July the OBP is Sept)  His July OPS was 737 which is just 2 points lower than the team total for the year.
After April I was ready to write him off.  Glad the Jays were smarter than me.
His  lowest point was after the game of June 2nd - 099/195/211 - can it get worse and still call yourself a professional ballplayer?  Then he hit 275/324/561 the rest of the way.

The Jays have 2 more years of control with Grichuk.  I'd consider a 5 year deal - ages 27-31 to cover off his prime years as long as it was for around $10-15 mil a year on average.  3 years might be safer (ages 27-29).
Magpie - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#366569) #
There's another reason I'm conflating Encarnacion and Hernandez - in one of my exceedingly rare moments of blind lucky insight, I described EE as a "beast" who could hit 40 HRs if he got his game together. That was after his 21 HR year in 2010 when his career high was just 26, done years earlier. This was a hysterical over-reaction to one at bat that just blew me away. But the dinger Hernandez hit against Castillo on Saturday had the same kind of effect on me.

Yeah, one at bat. But whoa.
SK in NJ - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#366571) #
Hernandez's power potential is definitely real, but the difference between him and Edwin (and it's a big one) is that even before Edwin broke out he drew walks and didn't strike out much. It was reasonable to assume that if Edwin tapped into his power (pre-2012) that there was at least a chance of him becoming a star offensive player. Hernandez hits the ball hard and barrels it at a high rate, so him eventually morphing into a 30+ HR bat is definitely a possibility, but he also strikes out more than 30% of the time and doesn't walk much. On top of that he can't play D. Adjustments need to be made on his end to take the next step as a hitter.

With that said, I'd have no issues putting Hernandez at DH next season and seeing how he does. This was his first full season at age 25, so there is a chance he can improve. I'd like to know what happened between 2016 and him coming to the Jays, though. He went from a reasonable K% to striking out like crazy. Maybe the casualty of trying to hit more dingers.
PeterG - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 10:03 PM EDT (#366573) #
John, I would also take a chance on a 5 year deal for Grichuk before he becomes expensive.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#366574) #
The Jays have 2 more years of control with Grichuk. I'd consider a 5 year deal - ages 27-31 to cover off his prime years as long as it was for around $10-15 mil a year on average. 3 years might be safer (ages 27-29).


I really like what Grichuk can do and I agree the Jays need to sign a long term deal with him. I don't think it will be any time soon that they Jays will have three studs coming up in the Outfield at the same time, so he's not blocking anyone. I would try to avoid any and all contracts beyond age 31, unless solely one year deals. That said, signing Grichuk to a five year contract is best value deal for the Team. The Jays need to start building around Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and with Randal Grichuk is a good place to start.
hypobole - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#366575) #
"The Jays have 2 more years of control with Grichuk. I'd consider a 5 year deal - ages 27-31 to cover off his prime years as long as it was for around $10-15 mil a year on average. 3 years might be safer (ages 27-29)."

The 2 years of control cover his last 2 theoretical peak years(I'm no expert though, Mike is much more knowledgeable on aging curves). Odds are slim to none we contend next year, so that's a wasted year. If everything goes perfectly we may have a chance at a playoff spot in 2020. Things never go perfectly in Jayville, so that's another year shot in all likelihood. An extension would cover our supposed contention years, but he's now a good, but not great player on the start of his decline.

And we always talk about extending players we like. What percent of good players actually sign extensions? 10%? I honestly have never heard a number, but it's not like teams are anything like fans in handing out extensions or players actually agreeing to them.
electric carrot - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 11:28 PM EDT (#366576) #
Mlb as a whole gets an F for bringing us the most boring season of baseball ever played. There were basically no races. The team's were like America -- haves and have nots -- with no middle class. This sink or fly ethos is brought on by the upper executive's unwillingness to create a fair playing field with some kind of serious salary cap. Oh great, ANOTHER Boston at Baltimore game (SCHNOOOOOOOZE!)
dan gordon - Monday, October 01 2018 @ 11:38 PM EDT (#366577) #
Grichuk's numbers this year are bang on with his career numbers. This is what he has been for the last 3 years in St. Louis - it's not like he's had some kind of breakout season. He's 27 and this is probably about as good as he gets. He'll hit .245 or so, with an on base of about .300, and hit 30 HR's if he plays a full season. He's a good defensive right fielder who is stretched a bit too far if placed in CF. I would be interested in a 3-year deal for him, but certainly not 5, and certainly not for anything close to $15 million a year.

I think the Giles grade of C is too low. He's a terrific closer, and I'm amazed the Jays got him PLUS 2 decent prospects for Osuna. Aside from that terrible game in a non-save situation against Boston, he's pitched very well for the Jays. Giles has the longest stretch of saves without a blown save in baseball at 31 in a row. His career numbers are very similar to Osuna's. I'm surprised at some people thinking he's trade bait. I think the Jays have gotten themselves a fine closer who just turned 28, and he could be their closer for quite a few years.

Tepera is also too low IMO. His numbers are pretty good, with an ERA of 3.62, more strikeouts than IP, only 7.7 hits allowed per inning. He's never had an ERA over 3.62 in his career. I think he's an excellent 7th/8th inning guy.

They said on the TV broadcast a few days ago that Barnes was bothered by a leg injury for much of this season, which may account for his poor season relative to last year. When he was pitching in 2017, he reminded me of Estrada when Marco was on his game, pitching up in the zone with the 4 seam fastball, then down in the zone with the 2 seamer or changeup. I expect he will be much better next year.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#366578) #
Now the question becomes, "How well do we like Ken Giles?"
John Northey - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:20 AM EDT (#366579) #
Uh, electric carrot - you did know there were 2 game 163's today due to 2 of the NL divisions being tied at the end of the season right?  The NL was a crazy battle all year.  Yeah, the AL was dull but the NL wasn't.  A salary cap wouldn't do anything as the current system is working almost like one, and anyways Tampa got 90 wins which most years is good enough for the playoffs.  What is needed is a removal of the incentive to lose that exists today.  If you aren't contending you might as well lose 110 games.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#366580) #
If given a decent offer I'd trade Giles in a second.    He has far more value to a contender than a rebuilder.

Extend - never go past age 32 imo unless you are willing to write off those years as a loss.  Grichuk is the only hitter I'd consider (unless Vlad wants a 10+ year deal).  None of the pitchers.  Sanchez and Stroman I'd have considered before but after this horrible year they'd have to accept a massive discount (sub $10 mil per) to get a multi-year deal.
Mike D - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:30 AM EDT (#366581) #
I think there's about a 30% chance that every single player on this report card has zero 4+ win seasons in their Blue Jays future.

I mean, Stroman had one in '17 and Sanchez, one in '16. You'd hope that Stroman and Sanchez could have one more in a Toronto uniform between them. But would you bet on it?

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#366582) #
Randal Grichuk's 124 game career-average year, this year, was his first in the A.L. This came after a 3.5 year, 404 game career in the N.L. which established a career average. April and May were months to forget for everybody, including him and us. His return in June however was very good: .271, .319, .553, 99 G,358 AB, 30-2B, 1-3B, 23-HR, 54-RBI. This indicates he could get better results in the future with Toronto.
Mike D - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:36 AM EDT (#366583) #
Gaviglio finished the season as one of six starters, and I assume that's his job next season - working in the Buffalo rotation, ready to come aboard if (when) someone goes down. I hope that's his job next season. If he's on the big league roster, it's a sign to me that things have gone amiss.

I agree. With the offseason's limitless possibilities, planning on Gaviglio to be part of the Jays rotation is like planning to have a dinner at McDonald's on an upcoming trip to Europe.

I mean, sure, it's not all that far-fetched to conceive of a series of unfortunate circumstances that might leave you with no choice but to eat there. But it is an indefensible plan A.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:29 AM EDT (#366584) #
It's not hard to compete for the Playoffs. Some years 85 wins gets you in. Other years over 90 wins are needed. But to kiss off competing must never happen. The Offense will be fine, perhaps even very good once the overloaded Outfields and Infields are thinned down.

Pitching will be where this Team lives. Pitching is what the Jays must go after. What they currently have on the Roster is not enough and will not be good enough. It will all be up to Ross Atkin, whether we like him or not.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 04:38 AM EDT (#366585) #
Very interesting and the whole point is to spark debate I guess so here is where I disagree.
Osuna and Giles-Osuna had 15 innings with the Jays with a 3.45 XFIP and created a circus. Giles pitched 19 innings with a 3.27 XFIP.
Jansen-ERA numbers are misleading. (He never got to catch Happ for one). Jansen had the best debut IMO of any of the young guys with sustainable very good numbers.
Grichuk, Gurriel, and Diaz-Would be a little higher on all of them. Were pretty good players sometimes asked to do more than they should have. Grichuk was the Jays best position player this season.
Solarte and Travis-Both should have been Fs. There were 278 players with at least 300 PAs in baseball this year. Travis ranked 265th in FWAR and Solarte 276th. If you're in the bottom 5% of major leaguers, you should be getting an F IMO. I'd be surprised if either are back with the team next year.
scottt - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 06:08 AM EDT (#366586) #
Decent offer is highly subjective. If anyone if offering what the Chicago and Cleveland paid for Miller and Chapman, absolutely. Otherwise, his value could skyrocket if he keeps closing every chance he gets. There's always a market for a closer at the deadline.
scottt - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 06:10 AM EDT (#366587) #
It's the players who don't want a salary cap, not the executives.
scottt - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 06:15 AM EDT (#366588) #
For all we know, Gurriel isn't better at tracking outfield balls than Hernandez.
It's easy to move guys around on paper.

scottt - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 06:25 AM EDT (#366589) #
Griffin Conine is the next prospect who profiles as a right fielder. He could be close by 2021, but it's too early to tell anything. I think Grichuk only sniffs an extension if he takes it to the other level with 35 HR or the equivalent in improved discipline. Otherwise, Grichuk is probably cheaper after he reaches free agency.
ayjackson - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 07:34 AM EDT (#366590) #
I think there will be a bunch of guys at NH next year who profile to right field better than Connine at this point. Not to mention Biggio at Buffalo. Connine has a lot of development ahead of him.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 07:43 AM EDT (#366591) #
The question of who is responsible for a team is an interesting one. As someone here pointed out on an earlier thread (forgot who, sorry) a front office can choose to trade players or release them so at some point even players brought by previous management can be "owned" by new management. Take someone like Travis. The Jays could bring him back next year or release him or trade him. So, if he comes back, it will be on the Atkins regardless of who brought him in initially. Similarly, the prospects coming up were not traded when some of them would have been in a front office who was "going for it" in the last few years.

For me, I agree with Magpie in that next year will be the first one with an Atkins core and that's where I think "ownership" of a team really happens. This was the final (and misguided) attempt to build around some of the core that took us to the playoffs in 2015/2016. Stroman was the ace, Donaldson far and away the best player, Osuna the star closer, Pillar, Travis, Tulo, Martin, and Sanchez were all supposed to be everyday players. The Jays picked up complementary pieces. Funnily enough (not funny at all) the complimentary pieces did OK. It's the core pieces that collapsed. (Jays were probably hoping for around 15-20 WAR from Donaldson, Stroman, Sanchez, Travis, Tulo, and Osuna. They got 3 WAR.)
Chuck - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#366592) #
This was the final (and misguided) attempt to build around some of the core that took us to the playoffs in 2015/2016.

This has been discussed many times, so I'm not bringing any new theories to the table here. I think the strong attendance in 2017 was behind giving 2018 one more try and forestalling the rebuild by a year. It feels like this was a decision that corporations make to do what corporations are designed to do, maximize revenue. Now that attendance has dropped by 10,000 a night, there is nothing to disincentivize a rebuild.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#366593) #
Agreed that 2019 will be the first real Shapiro/Atkins year. Not because of talent brought in versus out, but because the team is no longer trying to extend the 2015-16 window. Donaldson, Bautista, Edwin, and Osuna are gone. There is a good chance that Stroman, Sanchez, Pillar, Travis, Martin, and Tulo will be gone either this winter or next trade deadline. While many of us knew the window was shut after 2016, the team still tried to extend it for two years (likely on ownership's request). Now that reality has sunk in, the real roster turnover can begin.

I think 2019 will still be a bit of a transition, but by 2020, the entire look of the roster will be dramatically different.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#366594) #
lol.

they were never trying to extend any window.

if you mean this is the first year they'll just stop spending money altogether instead of fake signings for the fans, then you're right about that.
rpriske - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#366595) #
Saying there were no races when a full third of the divisions ended in a tie is just bizarre.

Ask the Cardinals if there were no races as they watch the post -season from home.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#366596) #
I think there's about a 30% chance that every single player on this report card has zero 4+ win seasons in their Blue Jays future.

Which players on the report card do I think have a realistic shot (let's say 15%) of having a 4+ win season in their Blue Jays future:  Borucki, Tellez, Grichuk, Gurriel, McKinney, Hernandez, Jansen, Sanchez, Reid-Foley, Stroman.  How many do I think have a decent shot (let's say at least 40%): Borucki, Jansen and Stroman. 

I think it's quite unlikely, in the aggregate. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#366597) #
I think it's quite unlikely, in the aggregate...that none of the players in the report card post a 4+ win season in a Blue Jay uniform. 
Paul D - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#366598) #
Thanks Magpie. I think the grades that angered me the most were Barnes and Biagianni, but not because you're wrong, but because I suspect you're right. They're both fun and easy to cheer for when things are going well, I was really hoping they could spend 6 years as the 3rd and 4th guy in the bullpen, but I suspect it's not to be.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#366599) #
Grichuk's numbers this year are bang on with his career numbers. This is what he has been for the last 3 years in St. Louis - it's not like he's had some kind of breakout season. He's 27 and this is probably about as good as he gets. He'll hit .245 or so, with an on base of about .300, and hit 30 HR's if he plays a full season. He's a good defensive right fielder who is stretched a bit too far if placed in CF. I would be interested in a 3-year deal for him, but certainly not 5, and certainly not for anything close to $15 million a year.

Yes, with two additional points.  Grichuk's slash line was a little better than his career line, and it was propelled by a significant improvement in his K rate and an increase in his IsoP which more than offset a decline in BABIP.  Those are modestly positive indicators.  On the other side, Grichuk hasn't yet put up a 500 PA season, let alone a 650 PA one.  He's averaged over 3 WAR/650 in his career, and so the biggest question mark for me is durability.  His BBRef comps run for Wally Post and Nick Swisher to Willie Stargell and Carlos Delgado.  Stargell's early career looks quite a bit like Grichuk's, but he did have a better year at age 26 (and he was not as good defensively).  Stargell didn't get 600 PAs in a season until he was 31...

It looks to me like 35 home runs is within Grichuk's reach if he can play a full season.  That's a big if.  It's a really tough call.  From age 30-32, Wally Post was a part-time player, destroying LHP and filling in occasionally against RHP.  He produced just about 2 WAR/season for 3 years in that role, and there's a decent chance that Grichuk will be able to do at least that.  He will be turning 30 towards the first year he is eligible for free agency. 
James W - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#366600) #
2 Game 163s! Outstanding.

Nobody was eliminated yesterday, so where's the fun in that?
bpoz - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#366601) #
A couple of things.

1st thanks for the BB team for their effort this year. Great job as usual.

2nd thanks to the Bauxites for a few intelligent comments. I could not understand many of them. Especially the stats analysis. Just cannot understand them. I DO know how to add. It is the SORTING that I can't do. I have more confidence in some Bauxites than others. However I am not very confident in who is correct and who is wrong. To me the numbers seem to be lying to the analytical Bauxites. I am not saying that the Bauxites are lying. An extremely high % of too many different conclusions. So I am very lost. I am intrigued by the concept of "expected" VS "actual" WAR. Did we lose most of the WARs this year? Maybe 80% losses.


3rd I want to thank those who read my posts. I trust your integrity and hope you trust mine most of the time.
AWeb - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#366603) #
The talk of 4-win seasons makes me want to go check what a 4 win season looked like in 2018. I'm using fangraphs due to easy filtering by position, but position WAR is typically pretty close for position players from different sources

For a C: only 2 came close, Realmuto in Florida and Grandal in LA. Hit .250/.350/.470 or so as a full-time catcher to get to 4 WAR, and you're a top 3 catcher in the majors.

For a 1B: Joey Votto was at 3.5 WAR this year, hitting .284/.417/.419, with decent baserunning and defense. Cody Bellinger was at 3.6 with a .260/.343/.470 line, better baserunning. 4 WAR at first base makes you a top-5 First baseman.

For a 2B: Scooter Gennett hit .310/.357/.490 (125 wRC+)with average defense for 4.5 WAR. Ozzie Albers hit .260/.305/.452 (101wRC+) with great baserunning and defense for 3.8 WAR. A 4 WAR season would've placed 6th in MLB.

For a SS: this is a loaded position right now, wow. Jean Segura hit .304/.341/.415 (111 wRC+), good defense, for 3.8 WAR. That placed 9th among SSs.

For a 3B: Eugenio Suarez for the Reds (such a good infield for such a bad team) hit .283/.366/.526 (135 wRC+) with bad defense and baserunning for 3.9 WAR. 4 WAR would've placed 7th in MLB.

For a LF: Andrew BEnintendi hit .290/.366/.465 (122 wRC+), with OK defense and good baserunning, and 4.3 WAR. TOmmy Pham split time in two places, hitting .275/.367/.464 (129 wRC+) for 4 WAR. 4 WAR placed him 3rd in MLB.

For a RF: Brandom Nimmo hit .263/.404/.483 (149 wRC+) with good baserunning and meh defense for 4.5 WAR. Bryce Harper hit .249/.393/.496 (135 wRC+) with awful defense to get to 3.5 WAR. 4 WAR gets you 5th in MLB.

For a CF: Nimmo and Pham show up again in this filter. Starling Marte in Pittsburgh hit .277/.327/.460 (113 wRC+) with good defense for 3.7 WAR. 4 WAR gets you to 5th in MLB.

SO a 4 WAR player will usually be a top-5 guy at his position. Could happen I suppose...for 2019 the leading candidates for cracking this level would have to be Guerrero, Grichuk, and Gurriel (killer G's!). It's almost impossible to do unless you can get on base at a well above average rate on offense. 35 position players made in 2018, and the worst OBP was Javier Baez at .326. And he SLGed .554 and is a good defensive player. Other random notes about the 4 WAR club in 2018:
Every one hit at least 10 HRs (Cain hit exactly 10).
Only JD Martinez and Stanton were below average baserunning and defensively (and they both DHed a lot, so that's misleading).
Only Judge exceeded 30% K rate.
Jose Ramirez had the worst BABIP (.254), and somehow managed 8.1 WAR anyway. Give him a "usual" BABIP season and he's pushing Betts and Trout for MVP.

Dave Till - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#366604) #
Hi, Magpie. Your annual report card is always very informative and entertaining. I enjoyed reading it very much.

Some thoughts and occasional minor disagreements:

- I think that Justin Smoak did exactly what could be expected. When he suddenly went from "just above replacement level" to "All-Star", an entire league's worth of video experts spent hours figuring out what he was hitting, and then telling pitchers not to throw any of those any more, for crissakes - pitch around him if you have to. And that's precisely what happened - fewer bombs, more walks.

The same thing happened to Jose Bautista after his big year. (I can't imagine what it must have been like to be Jose Bautista in 2010, when pitchers were still following the outdated "book" on him and pitching him fastballs inside.)

- I'd give Ken Giles a grade higher than C. He got bombed in some non-save situations, and it's true that he might melt down under pressure. (I'm not sure that there are many stable individuals who can throw a baseball 100 miles per hour, but then I've never met any.) But he was perfect in save situations, and you can't do any better than perfect at your job.

- I'm wondering whether we have already seen peak Randal Grichuk. His 2018 numbers are .245/.301/.502; his career numbers are .248/.298/.492. That's really similar. He might hit more bombs because he's in a ballpark that loves right-handed power hitting, but I'm not sure it's enough to make him actually good.

- I don't expect too much from players who were acquired from other teams for not all that much. If Grichuk, Hernandez, and Solarte (to name three) were really all that good, the Jays would not have been able to acquire them for (a) Dominic Leone and Conner Greene, (b) a few relief innings from Francisco Liriano (!!), or (c) two low-ranked prospects. You get what you pay for.

- Atkins/Shapiro deserve credit for keeping the Jays from falling into the same black hole as other recent AL pennant contenders: Texas (65-97), Kansas City (58-104), and Baltimore (0-93736, approx.). The Jays have a whole boatload of grade C players, and it made the season at least a bit more interesting until some of the kids started to be more ready. That's worth something, I think.

This season proved two things:

- Old players get worse; young players get better. 2017 was living (or semi-living) proof of the former.
- It takes time to figure out whether young players will be any good. Young pitchers need to build a book on the league; young hitters get to enjoy a honeymoon period because pitchers don't know yet what they can't hit. (In particular, the adjustment for McKinney seems to have been a brutal one. But perhaps this should have been expected - his minor league numbers aren't all that great. Somebody who hits .226 in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and .203 in Buffalo should not be expected to light it up in The Show.)

Anyway, thanks again :-)
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#366605) #
A lot of it is about durability.  Borucki's hero, Mark Buehrle, was never really a great pitcher, but was a good one who would pitch 200+ innings a year and generate 4-6 WAR most years as a result.  I don't doubt that Borucki could perform as well as Buehrle, but matching his history of durability will be very hard. 

What you first want to see with young players is the ability to actually contribute at that level, and you see that with a large number of the young ones.  Maybe one or two takes a couple of steps forward, or maybe one or two makes typical age-related improvements and turns out to be very durable.  Guerrero Jr., is, of course, at entirely another level. 
rpriske - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#366607) #
Paul Molitor was just fired.

So, he is available. I think the fanboy in me would explode.

In a good way.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#366608) #
Great player, terrible GM. He's literally the exact opposite of everything the Jays are advocating for in a manager, but yes I would like him as manager anyways just because 93.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#366609) #
BREAKING: 2/3rds of managers next year will be sabremetrically inclined with analytics and fielding drills/shifts and creative line ups at the fore front of their direction. These new managers will all make a fraction of the salary of the old school types (ie. Scioscia vs Cora).

Seems like trends in baseball lately have gone like this over the years:

- no more steroids/earlier decline in production

- shift to power pitching and power hitting (more ks/HR)

- huge shift to shortening starting pitcher game with focus on bullpen (instigated by the Royal's in '16) and now the Rays in ,18 with their flexible starters

- saving money and embracing analytics by hiring Alex Cora/Kevin Cash lookalikes throughout the league in '17 and '18 off seasons


I'm the kind of guy that likes to go left when everybody goes right. Up when others down...pitch backwards so to speak...is a Paul Molitor/Gibby type of manager the new market inefficiency? That is to say...an 'old school' manager who relies on surrounding staff and front office for analytics fed to him? Someone that has lots of experience with the intangibles to add to analytics?
Chuck - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#366610) #
The talk of 4-win seasons

Max Muncy just gave LA a 5-win season. Is this the most surprising season by a player in 2018? It's got to be, right?

PeterG - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#366611) #
Molitor is simply too old at 62. The Jays are seeking a younger manager I believe.
budgell - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#366612) #
Great read Magpie, well done sir.
hypobole - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#366613) #
Someone that has lots of experience with the intangibles to add to analytics?

Could you list these intangibles?
Vulg - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#366614) #
Great work as always, Magpie. Thank you for this review.

I might have given JD an incomplete based on his 36 hobbled games with the Jays, but I can't quibble with any of the quality rankings.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#366615) #
"Someone that has lots of experience with the intangibles to add to analytics?

Could you list these intangibles?"

Gibby vs Hillenbrand/Lilly

Leadership in clubhouse...not OVERUSING analytics or ignoring the virtues of great managers pre analytics...is it that hard to think about intangibles Hypo?
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#366616) #
"Intangibles" may not be the best choice of words.  "Non-measurables" might be better.  It includes things like:
  • player relationships- motivation, dispute resolution....
  • media relationships
  • front office relationships
Communication skills, grit, sensitivity and ethics (a man or woman has gotta have a code) are all part of these. 

And then there is the intuitive part of decision-making which supplements the analytics. The intuitive part of decision-making is relevant at all levels- development over years, season and game- and requires good judgment above all. 
hypobole - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#366617) #
A lo those qualities are pre-requisites rather than intangibles.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#366618) #
The trend is definitely going towards younger, cheaper, and more analytically driven managers. Nowadays the manager is just an extension of the front office. Whoever the Jays end up hiring will likely resemble the Aaron Boone hiring in New York, or Cora in Boston. Someone in his early to mid 40's with good communication skills who will follow whatever blueprint the FO gives them. I highly doubt it will be Wedge or any other retread veteran manager. McDonald, DeRosa, Schneider, Woodward, etc, are the types I would expect to get strong consideration.
hypobole - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#366619) #
Posted this in the other thread. What does this guy seem to lack, besides managerial experience?

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-managers-perspective-josh-bard-on-process-and-the-distillation-of-data/
uglyone - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#366620) #
is there much evidence that our FO cares about analytics?

they certainly don't care about defensive metrics.

and even their offensive measures are questionable.
Nigel - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#366621) #
I cannot imagine Eric Wedge being the new hire. As a manager, he offers the same pluses and minuses as Gibbons did, with an even more pronounced old school vibe and some grump for good measure. I'd rather having Gibbons playing Gibbons than Wedge recreating the role.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#366622) #
Hard to know what they care about - but I do like that they are spending money and effort to improve training in the minors - better food, training, etc.  Odds are to justify it they do analytics.

As to defense I think that is more a function of who they have vs what they want.  Is there a defensive wiz who was benched or demoted?  Outside of Goins whose stats were dropping iirc.  Show me strong defensive players who were benched in favor of offensive ones and I'll worry about that.  Pushing some of the kids to play a tougher position than they should this year seems smart to me as you want to see if they can handle it or not.  By July it was obvious the team was going nowhere so pushing it in exchange for losing a few is A-OK in my books.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#366623) #
Uglyone, Mark Shapiro has a high opinion of Paul De Podesta from their time in Cleveland.

Incidentally, I was checking the front office listing to see the names of the people in the Blue Jay analytic department.  No names I recognized, but Ben Freakley as the Mental Performance Coach caught my eye.  I also wondered how Tim Raines feels about the club's baserunning this year- Raines is my favourite ballplayer and I can't imagine that he would be happy about it. 
Nigel - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#366624) #
John, managementís disregard for defence has gone way beyond pushing kids up the defensive spectrum this year. The main issue has been running with 4-5 players per year in the past two years whose best position is 1B/DH. It has left, for example, Pearce playing LF, Bautista playing RF, and Solarte at 2B, none of which should ever happen, except on am emergency basis. Itís been a large and ongoing problem. It needs to stop.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#366625) #
...no more steroids/earlier decline in production...

There will come an avoidance to signing long term contracts beyond age 31. Beyond that age only sign Players to one year deals with no options. This is a policy the Jays must follow.

...shift to power pitching and power hitting (more Ks/HR)...

The Jays have one big power arm on their Team - Ken Giles. They need to keep him and acquire a lot more. Of course, finding the big Power Arm with great consistency and control has been Baseball's search for the Holy Grail.

Power Hitting needs to have good defense with it, and that is/can be expensive. The key is trying not to bleed more runs defensively than they are hitting/creating offensively.

...huge shift to shortening starting pitcher game with focus on bullpen (instigated by the Royal's in '16) and now the Rays in ,18 with their flexible starters...


The Jays need to figure out what their Starters can actually do. Can they go twice through the lineup before struggling or can they go through the lineup three times? Can they always smother/stifle a rally/finish the inning? Can they always pitch five innings before struggling? Can they always pitch six innings before struggling or can they pitch seven? Getting less should never happen and should never be an option.

The Jays need two Relievers who can consistently throw 2-3 innings every third day and maybe 4-5 innings upon occasion. They need four big Power Arms to put out a fire or for later innings and they need a good Spot Starter/Long Relief. Saving money need not be an option for the Jays.
scottt - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#366626) #
They draft an awful lot of shortstops for a club that doesn't care about defense.
They signed Pearce in case Smoak didn't pan out. He was cheap.
They played Bautista in RF because that's where he wanted to play.
They got Solarte to cover 3B. They tried Urshela who is a defense first player and it wasn't an improvement.
They didn't sign any good 2 way players because those guys don't grow on trees and are expensive.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#366627) #
Scottt hit it on the nail with the last point - good 2 way players are expensive.  Right now defense is highly valued after decades of being undervalued so offense is now undervalued I suspect.  The trick is to always be ahead of your competition.  Wins are wins, regardless of it being 10-9 or 1-0.  If you are doing a lot of 10-9's though you better have lots of guys on the AAA/ML shuttle. 

In 2018 the Jays used 36 pitchers the most ever for a Jays team by 2.  Next highest is 34 twice (2017/2012) with 30 cracked only 2 other times (2011, 2013).  For those curious the lowest is 13 twice (1982 and 1984 - Jays did a 4 man rotation both years with 4 guys having 35+ starts in 1984, leaving just 22 for others).  This year just 2 had more than 20 starts with 7 having 10+ starts - a total of 14 starters, or more starters than 1984 had pitchers.  1984  is even more extreme as one of the 13 was an outfielder (Rich Leach).

I suspect the Jays will sign a few AAAA guys and rehabing ML'ers to minor league deals hoping to have the needed 30+ pitchers to get through 2019 with poor defensive support. 
grjas - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#366628) #
ďshift to power pitching and power hitting (more Ks/HR)...Ē

Iím interested to see if MLB will address the declining entertainment value in ball games. Many fans like me find a game of SOs, shifts and home runs deadly dull, and at the end of the day the game is simply about entertainment.

They could take the tennis view from the late 80s that players would finally work out how to the return the big Boris Becker style power serves that almost ruined that game. And sure enough they did. But I think rule changes are needed in baseball, similar to those made in hockey that negated the hideous neutral zone trap.

Lots of arguments on what could change, but I think they might need to shrink the strike zone and eliminate or minimize the shift, difficult as that may be. There are probably even other ideas around from much better baseball minds than me, but I hope they take action to deal with what to me is a deteriorating product.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#366629) #
If you can't sign good two-way Players because they are expensive, trade for them. Randall Grichuk is a good two-way Player and he was relatively cheap to acquire. Aledmys Diaz is also a good two-way player with a little bit less range as a SS. He was almost given away.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#366630) #
Something to think about regarding making the playoffs in future seasons. Here are the win totals for this year's WC teams:

NYY 100
Oak 97
CHC 95
Col 91

The idea that a mid- to high-80s win total puts you in good position for a WC berth doesn't always hold true. Even if the Jays had won 90 games this season, they would have finished well off the pace in the WC race. Rogers Corporation, take notice.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#366631) #
I don't think the team has been purposely targeting poor defenders, aside from Morales. It looks more like trying to find the best value without spending/giving up too much. A lot of the players they acquired on the hitting side had major warts (Pearce couldn't stay healthy, Grichuk issues with K's, Diaz coming off a down season, etc), which made them easier/less costly to acquire. Hernandez being this bad of a defensive player may not have been expected. I don't recall any scouting reports saying he was a butcher in the field.

I guess we will see how they go from here, especially with prospects. I am not a fan of Guerrero at 3B, but aside from that, they will have a lot more time and resources to make sure they put the prospects in their best positions, so there will be less excuses there.
electric carrot - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#366632) #
NYY 100
Oak 97
CHC 95
Col 91
Yes and besides St. Louis (2.5 back) no other team was closer than 7 games out of the 2nd wildcard spot.  Of course I don't know the exact stats but in normal years I bet the number of teams within 7 of the second wildcard and beyond 7 games out of the second wildcard would be pretty even -- this year, one team. Congratulations St. Louis, you made the 6 months of baseball fun to follow! The whole season was just a giant, entertaining mystery. All of us just wanted to know: "What will happen to St. Louis?"
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#366633) #
You can always find something to support anything if you ignore most of the available information.

The 2018 WC was the outlier not the norm.
2018: AL:100, 97; NL:95, 91.
2017: AL: 91, 85; NL:93, 87.
2016: AL: 89, 89; NL:87, 87.
2015: AL: 97, 86; NL:98, 97.
2014: AL: 89, 88; NL:88, 88.
2013: AL: 92, 92; NL:90, 94.
2012: AL: 93, 93; NL:94, 88.
2011: was a single Wild Card setup.

So a possible 2nd WC record of 85, 86, 88 and 89 got a Team into the playoffs. So going into the All Star Break with 45 wins still gives you a chance for the Postseason.
lexomatic - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#366634) #
I would love it someone had info/ video to confirm or disprove.Teoscar seems to be such a different player with the Jay's that I wonder  if
A) he's made adjustments to sell out for power - his plate discipline numbers are way off the numbers he put up in the minors- or if that was a function of playing in favorable offensive environment in a deep lineup.B) whether he's bulked up for more power and exacrbated bad technique/mental stuff in the field or we suffered from lack of exposure and playing well for scouts.I just find him so fascinating as a player. I hope he pulls a Bell, but he doesn't seem to have the contact skills for that.

electric carrot - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#366635) #
OK fine, I researched it in the AL. Below are the number of teams in the AL closer than 7 games out of the 2nd wildcard since 2011 when the 2nd wildcard came to be:

2018: 02017: 32016: 42015: 52014: 42013: 42012: 22011: 2






electric carrot - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#366636) #
2018: 0 2017: 3  2016: 4  2015: 5  2014: 4  2013: 4  2012: 2  2011: 2
Formatting -- ugh.
Nigel - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#366637) #
This management team spent about $40m in 2017 (all signed in that offseason) on 31B/DHís in Morales, Pearce and Bautista, chose to play two of them nearly full time in the OF and also chose to have only one major league OF on the roster (Pillar). The Jays have had historically bad defence largely by choice, not because of lack of resources or any other excuse.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#366638) #
No question the 2018 AL was an oddity.  We had a batch of teams give up day one, others going full bore from day one.  End result is 3 teams with 100+ wins and 3 with 100+ losses.  Ugly.

The Jays need to keep pushing for low to mid 90's for wins and hope for luck to go higher.  I did a simple study awhile ago which showed Jays attendance and TV ratings (from publicly available sources) skyrocket around the 90 win mark.  So Shapiro needs to use that type of data to show Rogers that the Jays need to target that level year in/year out.  Clearly at the moment a rebuild is needed - if by some miracle the Jays go like the Rays did in 08 (jumped by 31 games in the standings).

Btw, there have only been 4 years where the Jays didn't have a 4 WAR player.  2 with sub 3's only.  This year was the worst for 'best' player with Pillar at 2.5.  The other year with sub 3 leading in WAR was 1978 with Victor Cruz, a reliever having a career year at 2.8 WAR.  The two years a 3 won were 1977 and 1979.  All 3 of those years were 100+ loss seasons.  Next worst was a 4.4 from Dave Stieb in 1981 (strike year) then 4.5 from Delgado in 2001 (80 win season somehow).  The best was 1997 when Roger Clemens, pre-PEDs by all accounts (earliest listed for him is 1998), had a 12.1 WAR season.  Wow.  That was fun to watch.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#366639) #
the guys with actual defense - Grichuk, Diaz - cost the least.

it was the no-D guys that were expensive.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#366640) #
While I preferred a pick to re-signing Bautista, it didnít appear that he was going to sign anywhere else at the time and he was still a projected 3 WAR player who they got on essentially a one year deal. Again, that goes back to value and cost more than specifically targeting. They fell into Bautista and had already signed Morales so there was no other spot to play him. The bad signing was Morales for many reasons. The others were at least justifiable based on cost and projected value.

I really liked the Pearce signing at the time but yes youíll get no argument from me that playing him in left was a bad idea. It zapped a lot of his potential value. Whether that was their intention when signing him or just a result of Smoak unexpectedly busting out is anyoneís guess.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#366641) #
Going into this season, there were 4 teams that were expected to be strong in the and they were, Cleveland with the fewest wins at 91.

There were 3 teams that knew they would be bad and didn't try whatsoever. They were exactly what they thought they were, winning 58, 62 and 64 games.

That leaves the 8 in-between teams. Here's where it gets interesting. 4 of those spent under $20 million in Free Agency. They won 97, 90, 89 and 73 games. Oakland, Tampa, Seattle and yup, that's us with the 73.

LA, Minnesota, and Texas spent in the $40-50 range in Free agency. They won 80, 78 and 67 games.

That leaves one team. It tried, committing $76 million in FA contracts. 47 wins later, that's the 2018 Baltimore Orioles.
Nigel - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:23 AM EDT (#366642) #
SK, I wasnít trying to rehash those signings. There were pluses and minuses to them. My only point was that the defensive end of things was a choice.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 03:35 AM EDT (#366644) #
Not worried about defense for a number of reasons
1) Defense is less and less important in baseball. (Around 20% fewer balls in play than a decade ago). Teams around baseball are playing players out of position more than ever because of this.
2)The Jays' biggest issues will largely solve themselves very quickly. The worst defensive players were Hernandez, Solarte, Travis, and Granderson. 3 of those guys are likely gone next year and the Jays have more options to play in OF for Teoscar. The defense will get vastly better automatically. I expect the Jays to be a below average defense next year which is fine.
3) There's not a whole lot you can do anyway. The guys who are great defensively who are available, can't hit. So instead of trading for Diaz, the Jays could have traded for Galvis or Hechevarria or something. Doesn't make the team better just different.
4) The Jays are rebuilding. I am much more interested in individual development than I am in fixing team deficiencies. (and so should the Jays)
5) This team will likely never have great defense. To do so, you need some of your elite players to be strong defensive players the way Donaldson/Martin/Pillar was. None of the wave of players here or close-Jansen, Bichette, Biggio, Gurriel, or Vlad look to be top defenders. There are better defenders lower in the minors and I assume some of the SS that will move off of the position will likely be good elsewhere. That's completely fine. You don't need a great defense to win. It can't be as bad as it was this year but it won't be.
scottt - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 03:44 AM EDT (#366645) #
They chose to bring back Bautista like you would choose to get your wisdom teeth extracted.
They would have much preferred to get a pick back and they were on other outfielders who signed elsewhere for more money and longer contract that they felt comfortable with.

Pearce was still young and had carried Baltimore to the playoffs.
Everybody thought he would hit and he did, but not often enough.

Personally, what I regret is sticking with the defensive pair of Barney and Goins.

Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 06:59 AM EDT (#366646) #
I don't think defense is a priority for the Jays this season, but lets remember that younger players tend to be better defenders than older players. If you're looking for players in free agency they are likely past their defensive prime, such as when Pillar eventually hits free agency.
ayjackson - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 07:34 AM EDT (#366647) #
Josh Norris of Baseball America dropped the "professional hitter" tag on Kevin Smith the other day. Always makes me think of Rance Mullinicks.

Can we get an MLU up and running to discuss some of these Top 20 lists of BA, prep for AFL, and other assorted prospect topics?
uglyone - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 07:38 AM EDT (#366648) #
"Not worried about defense"

is that you, Ross?
scottt - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#366649) #
I think they'll bring in another starter. Gaviglio could be a nice long relief guy, but he's not a starter.
SRF probably needs more time. I'm not sure about Panone. He'll start some but maybe not 30 games.

Happ would be nice. Estrada would be a last resort.

They'd rather trade some of the extra position players for a starter of some sort.
Not sure if that will work out.

First thing will be to figure out the coaching staff.

rpriske - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#366650) #
Focusing on defense would be a mistake.

Keeping it in mind, sure, but if you are getting worse hitters in order to get better defense you end up with a team full of Kevin Pillars.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#366651) #
"SK, I wasnít trying to rehash those signings. There were pluses and minuses to them. My only point was that the defensive end of things was a choice."

I wasn't rehashing the signings, just pointing out that I don't think they were disregarding defense when making those moves (aside from Morales). Those moves were more related to circumstances, value, and acquisition cost. Two way players are very difficult to acquire, and the Jays (especially the last two years) were at a point where they didn't want to trade (real) prospects or spend a ton of money. I don't think the lack of defensive value represents how they feel about defense. However, we will know more once prospects start filtering up.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#366652) #
Keeping it in mind, sure, but if you are getting worse hitters in order to get better defense you end up with a team full of Kevin Pillars.

You've written in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s name for 7 years, and it looks like they will play him at third base for a few of those.  And with the other talent coming up and on the 40 man already, it seems very likely that the club will not have a team full of Kevin Pillars.  The issue that the club does have is in making sure that there is an adequate defence so that the young pitchers can feel confident about throwing strikes and not getting beat on balls in play.   Pillar, by the way, is one of those guys who did have a 4 WAR season. 

The average team hit 186 home runs this year vs. 204 last year, and scored 30 fewer runs.  In other words, most of the loss in run scoring comes from the decline in the home run (probably because of the change in the ball).  The flyball revolution may fizzle out soon.  In other words, the equilibrium between Cardinals baseball and Yankees baseball might be returning in the next couple of years.  I think that it will. 
Glevin - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#366653) #
Strongly disagree Mike. Balls in play declined significantly again this year for the 10th straight year. The game is not going back to speed and defense any time soon. Power pitchers, lots of relievers, and three true outcomes. Plenty of pitchers have developed fine in front of bad defenses. It's giving up a few runs extra a year. It's not ideal but it's what the team has. Trading young players to shore up the defense would be crazy and very short sighted for a rebuilding team. If they can improve the team defense and make the team better overall, great, but it seems very strange to focus on team weaknesses during a rebuild.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#366654) #
I thought the ball was the same as last year. What I've heard is that pitchers are throwing far more high FB's, to negate the launch angle swings.
bpoz - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#366655) #
The math and computer wizzes on Batters Box and the FO are capable of calculating "Expected WAR".
They should be doing that now (FO anyway). Pillar, Grichuk and Solarte provide large sample sizes. 3-5 years of 400-500 ABs. They also look consistent to me. Expected WAR 2019?

Martin 2015 & 16 (A) and 2017 & 2018 (B) are grouped. A and B are not similar. For 1 thing A has 100+ ABs more than B. 2017 injuries and 2018?. What is Expected WAR for 2019?

T Hernandez 1 full ML year. Gurriel only a half ML year. What are the expectations and what to do? Both are young so they get regular playing time I expect. Expected WAR calculations for them should/could require different parameters. These parameters would entail guessing I suppose due to the SSS.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#366656) #
The American League has not been a speed and defence league during my lifetime, because of (likely) the slowness of integration, parks, the grass and (later) the DH.  But, the great teams in the AL usually had infielders who could play the position and a centerfielder who could cover a lot of ground.  And occasionally, very good teams like the 05 White Sox would focus on defence.  It should also be noted that most of the young Blue Jay pitching talent does not incline to above-average totals in strikeouts, and it will probably be better for them to focus on cutting the walks than trying to increase strikeout rate. 

Take Miguel Andujar.  He's a very good hitter, but a rancid fielder.  And just a hair above average in total.  Another player, Jurickson Profar, had about the same overall value but more evenly distributed between offence and defence.  With the talent on hand for the Blue Jays, I am more interested in the Profars and Matt Duffys of the world than the Andujars. 
Nigel - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#366657) #
Kevin Pillar just put up another 2 WAR season. If only this team had been filled with Kevin Pillars. Kidding aside, I'm with Mike. The pitching staff needs it. Punting defence makes no sense to me. A run saved is just as valuable as a run scored, and almost certainly costs you less in today's salary market. I'm not advocating for a mid 80's Cardinals team but what has happened in the past two years has made zero sense.
uglyone - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#366658) #
Over the last 10yrs balls in play have declined approx 7.5%. From about 130k to about 120k.

Hardly a reason to ignore defense.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#366659) #
I think Mike's focus od defence strong players (to a point like Duffy and Profar) is the smarter way to supplement and build the team. I don't think he's talking about the Coins, Barney's and Urshella's of the world. He's talking about the Rays who have focused on strong defence everywhere on the diamond and supplemented that with some power hitting (Cron, Choi), speed (Kiermaier, Mallex) and of course top notch pitching. They will keep running out an excellent defender at 1B in Jake Bauer's but only if they think he can turn around and be a decent offensive player which he wasn't this year.

I think this is why they will hire a manager that understands defence like Johnny Mac or a manager that will be easy to work with and take in-game direction from the Blue Jay's brass which Atkins and reporters have hinted at.

Vlad, Tulo/Bo/Gurriel,Tellez give you more than enough pop with this Rays model. Jay's have zero speed players like KK or Mallex and weak pitching compared to the Rays. I expect them to look for pitching prospects via trade and maybe look for speed from a buy low candidate like Billy Hamilton.
Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#366660) #
I would argue its easier to make Miguel Andujar an average fielder at a different position than it is to make Matt Duffy into a power hitter, and lets not forget that fielding metrics are tricky even based on Duffy's -4 DRS vs. 5.8 UZR/150. Defense is important, but less so to a rebuilding team that can tolerate mistakes while trying to fix flaws in players.


Glevin - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#366661) #
Iíd take Andajuar over either. Offense is just more valuable than defense, more accurate to measure, and lasts longer. (The reason defense is cheaper is because teams donít value it as much...for a reason) Anyway, this Isnít Duffy versus Andajuar. This Teoscar versus Adam Duvall. The Jays donít want to trade prospects for talent which means that the only defensive players they re getting poor offensive players. Making sideways moves to improve a team weakness makes no sense for a rebuilding team. Jays should keep on with the rebuild and add players. Acquire talent and let the cream rise. Donít worry about general stuff.
rpriske - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#366662) #
Atkins talking:


https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/gm-ross-atkins-on-blue-jays-offseason-manager-search.html


SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#366663) #
I'm with GLevin on this one. Defense fluctuates year to year a lot more than offense does, and there are far more accurate stats for offensive value than defensive value. Getting a player that does both well is very difficult, and getting a player whose value is more geared towards defense brings a lot more volatility.

Ideally you can find a player that provides good offense and just maybe needs a change of position (i.e. Grichuk in RF versus CF) or some development to become a better defensive player.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#366664) #
One guy who's probably a better defender than he showed in his brief time is Jonathan Davis. Also 29 SB/4 CS across 3 levels hints at adding that dimension as well. As with pretty well every potentially plus defender this org has added over countless years the biggest question is his hit tool.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#366665) #
Davis certainly pushed himself into the conversation for 2019 as a 4th OF.

Boy is it getting crowded in Jay land though with prospects eh?  Makes me think of the early 80's when Fernandez, Griffin, Garcia, Upshaw, Bell, Moseby, Barfield all showed up on offense and pitching had Stieb, Key, Henke, Eichhorn, etc. all show up on the mound.  Hopefully like them we see a long stretch of success (theirs was 1983-1993 with 1982 the real start).

Youngest Jays ever? For pitchers -  25.5 years old in 1979 followed by 25.6 in 1982.  For hitters - 25.8 in 1980 and 1981 setting up the great years, 1982 was 26.5 for 3rd place.

Hitters over 30?  2016, 2007, 2017, 2008 - the last 2 being age 31.0 for hitters.
3 times pitchers were over 30 too: 2013, 1998, 1992.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#366670) #
One thing that stood out at Atkins presser was the seemingly different levels of respect he showed Martin and Tulo.

Martin #1 C.
Tulo starting SS, if.
Chuck - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#366671) #
Davis certainly pushed himself into the conversation for 2019 as a 4th OF.

In the days of longer benches, you could make an argument for him as a 5th outfielder, i.e., a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. I just wonder if his bat is just too weak for a bigger role than that.

uglyone - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#366672) #
Davis looked every bit the fast-but-not-actually-good-defensively guy that I suspected he was, tbh.

he's a 27yr old pinch runner. with our epic glut of one dimensional 1war players, there's no room for a 0war guy.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#366674) #
In an Outfield and 40-man list of Randal Grichuk, Kevin Pillar and Billy McKinney we add:
1) Dwight Smith Jr.: never gets much of a chance despite being able to hit well at the MLB level.
2) Teoscar Hernandez: hits well enough with lots of power and negligible defense.
3) Anthony Alford: all that talent and can't hit at the MLB level - has no power anywhere.
4) Dalton Pompey: can't stay healthy; can play at the MLB level; out of options; is he out of favor?
5) Jonathan Davis: Borderline AAA/MLB who doesn't hit well at the MLB level.
I think Defense must be important, but a player must be able to hit at the MLB level before worrying about the Defense.


uglyone - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#366675) #
and this defense conversation has been a little sidetracked. there's a difference between not overpaying for defense, and stacking your team (and system) with so many pieces that are best off as DHs, and can't even be trusted with LF or 1B.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#366677) #
Good point there Richard.  Right now the OF is McKinney/Pillar/Grichuk for LF/CF/RF.  I'd say Hernandez is #1 for the 4th slot, getting lots of time in LF with Alford and Smith Jr and Davis in AAA - I assume Pompey is gone.

Perfect world our DH/1B team of Morales/Smoak gets traded so Hernandez can DH and Tellez play at 1B full time in 2019.  Then the 4th OF can be the traditional defense/speed first and put Pompey or Smith Jr in that spot.  Alford needs to regain his prospect status with a strong 2019 in AAA. The more I think about it, the more it seems Davis really is just cannon fodder in AAA.  Useful to have around but not really an option for an everyday role or even a steady 4th OF role.  Also don't forget Ramirez in AA who will need to be in AAA next year.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#366678) #
Davis will be 27 next spring. He finally made it to AAA this year where he hit .249/.308/.389, so I have trouble seeing him as a guy who'll do enough with the bat to play in the majors. He's a September pinch-runner.
grjas - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#366679) #
One thing that stood out at Atkins presser was the seemingly different levels of respect he showed Martin and Tulo.

Suspect thatís a reflection of health worries as opposed to respect.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#366680) #
Hold on. No one is saying Davis a building block. Anyone who has seen Davis play for any length of time will attest he's a good outfielder. If anyone can find a scouting report that says he isn't a plus OF, please provide.

Yeah, he's old and hasn't hit in the 229 PA's above AA. But the conversation earlier was to have some defence behind our young pitchers, in a non-contending season. I don't see the problem carrying him as a 4th outfielder for a year. He won't get regular PA's, but he's not a prospect anyway, so big deal, there's not much development to stall anyway, as opposed to an Alford who needs everyday playing time, here or in Buffalo.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#366681) #
"Suspect thatís a reflection of health worries as opposed to respect."

This is what Atkins said about Tulo starting

"If Tulo's healthy and performing at a very high rate, then yes [he'll play]. If he's healthy and his performance isn't to the calibre that Major League environments demand, then no."

Sounds more like "Even if if he's healthy, if he's a 0 WAR SS again, he's not going keep starting."
Nigel - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#366682) #
All of the OF prospects in the high minors (along with Hernandez and McKinney) seemed flawed to me, at least in ways that likely limit them to 4th OF status. Its why I've been saying that future Jays OFs are more likely to come from outside the current crop of prospects. However, as 2019 is likely going to be a rough season, I would like to see 2 or 3 of them get 200-300 ABs to see if there is something more to them. In the context of our discussion today, I would just like to see more, rather than less, of the ABs go to some of the candidates that can add some value on defence.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 03 2018 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#366684) #
Hey, Rogers Communications, remember this?

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/blue-jays-end-negotiations-for-dan-duquette.html

He's yours if you want him and the Jays won't even have to give up any prospects.
John Northey - Thursday, October 04 2018 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#366691) #
But after a horrid season in Baltimore after having a near $150 mil payroll this year or over $3 mil per win I can't see him being popular.  The Chris Davis and Alex Cobb contracts will be a weight for a few years on payroll.  The empty farm will hurt too.  Honestly, if Duquette is willing to be an assistant GM or something similar I'd be good but no way I'd fire anyone to make space.
hypobole - Thursday, October 04 2018 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#366693) #
In Duquette's defence, the Chris Davis deal was an Angelos decision by all accounts, as was a good part of the farm issue with the avoidance of the Latin American market.

But yeah, Alex Cobb, Cashner, Trumbo and the horrible Ubaldo deals.

Makes little sense to dump anyone for Duquette, but it's Rogers so youneverknow.
bpoz - Thursday, October 04 2018 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#366697) #
I wonder if LaCava will get any interest?
hypobole - Thursday, October 04 2018 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#366701) #
From MLBTR:
The Mets are beginning to compile names and line up interviews to determine the identity of their next general manager, though Blue Jays VP of baseball operations Ben Cherington wonít be interviewing for the position, SNY.tvís Andy Martino reports. While neither Cherington or the Mets commented on the situation, Martino hears that Cherington is happy in his current job in Toronto.

scottt - Wednesday, October 10 2018 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#366832) #
The Mets GM job comes with too much ownership oversight to interest the top talents.
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