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It has been a long, tough, ornery winter. But baseball is back, the Blue Jays play their first game of the year today.

This winter saw very little baseball related activity, the hot stove was low on fuel. That gave the fans little to talk about and lots to nit-pick. The owners and players publicly squabbled and could not find much to agree on. The return of players to Dunedin mercifully gave the fans something to focus on and now, today, there will be a boxscore.

Ryan Borucki will start today. Vlad Jr. will not start until Sunday. In the field, Teoscar Hernandez, Kevin Pillar and Dalton Pompey will man the OF, Justin Smoak, Devon Travis, Freddy Galvis and Brandon Drury will start in the IF. In these early games expect to see 25 to 30 names on the boxscore. If you are so inclined, today's game will be available on Fan590 in Toronto and environs.

The player to discuss today is Dalton Pompey, who Charlie Montoyo talked up yesterday. Pompey starts today in right field and presumably has a chance to impress someone this spring. There might not be a place for him in Toronto but the Jays would prefer to trade him for something, rather than lose him on waivers, if it comes to that.

The Winter of our Discontent is Coming to an End | 246 comments | Create New Account
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85bluejay - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 08:21 AM EST (#370389) #
Elvis Luciano - hope he pitches well enough to make the team - I like this rule v gamble

Dalton Pompey - I know the press has said his departure is fait accompli but I'm hoping a big spring and maybe failures/injuries changes that - I have a soft spot, believe that he was rushed in 2015 and like his skillset.

Getting Stroman,Sanchez & Giles ready for market - what return these 3 get the Jays in July will have a significant impact on the speed & success of the rebuild.
Gerry - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 08:47 AM EST (#370390) #
Bo Bichette is your DH today.
Nigel - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 10:22 AM EST (#370391) #
If Pompey does show well this spring, then he is the player most likely to suffer for Moralesí continued existence on the team (given that Hernandez should be a DH). It will be an interesting story to follow. Either way, the story is only interesting if he had a run of good health.
bpoz - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 10:59 AM EST (#370392) #
I looked up Pompey's minor league stats because I had forgotten what skills he had.

He can steal bases, walk and hit for Avg. Hopefully play good D and CF.

So if healthy enough maybe Montoyo saw some of that if he still has it.
Mike D - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 11:06 AM EST (#370393) #
In the long and often unsuccessful 42-year history of the franchise, the Jays have nonetheless only once lost 85+ games in four consecutive seasons: the very first four seasons, from 1977 to 1980. (The '81 Jays were awful too, but the work stoppage kept the losses below 85.)

I would say that there is an 80% chance that the team will match that accomplishment in 2020.
uglyone - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 11:08 AM EST (#370394) #
the fact that the new FO still values Pompey and the new manager values him, all these years later, reinforces to me that we weren't wrong to consider him a very, very good prospect when we did.
SK in NJ - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 11:34 AM EST (#370395) #
Pompey seems to have the ideal 4th OF skill set. I hope he sticks with the team as well.

The logical end game here would be to put Hernandez at DH, Morales on the bench, and platoon McKinney/Pompey in LF. Not sure that is what they will end up doing, but hopefully it's at least a consideration.
bpoz - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 11:34 AM EST (#370396) #
The Jays and St Louis realized quickly that JB Woodman would most likely be a failed position prospect. If he has a strong arm, pitching is an option.

Regarding Pompey his OBP is V good about .350 and often higher in the minors. A high OBP and good SB ability can in theory be very valuable.

I think this FO values the ability to make contact. Their draft strategy seems to prove that. DJ Davis and Reggie Pruitt are examples of talented athletes that could not make contact well.
Nigel - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 12:14 PM EST (#370397) #
With the length of modern pens, the even more logical move would be to cut Morales and have a bench comprised of players like Gurriel and Drury who can play multiple positions. But that isnít going to happen.
Chuck - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 12:44 PM EST (#370398) #
Everything we read suggests that Guerrero's eventual call-up (you know, after the few weeks it will take to get major league ready) will guarantee Morales' continued presence. In what will surely be a nothing season for the team, where Morales' performance doesn't really matter, having a personal mentor for your bambino superstar may not be a bad idea.

I'm not ordinarily a fan of this sort of thing, but the 2019 Jays have the "luxury" of devoting a roster spot to someone playing this role.

Gerry - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 01:23 PM EST (#370399) #
Teoscar Hernandez gets the first hit of the spring, a double.
Gerry - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 01:58 PM EST (#370400) #
Bichette singles in his first at-bat. Thomas Pannone gave up four runs.
John Northey - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 02:22 PM EST (#370401) #
I'd like to see Smoak traded ASAP just to open space on the roster. He and Morales are DH/1B only. Very limited unless they have a 140+ OPS+.
dan gordon - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 02:38 PM EST (#370402) #
I've never given up on Pompey, and I'm happy to see the Jays giving him a shot this spring. I just hope the team's mindset isn't to hope he plays well and then automatically deal him for a low level prospect. I hope that if he's healthy and has a good spring, they keep him around, and see what he can do during the regular season.
scottt - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 04:37 PM EST (#370403) #
Some players are trying to get their timing back.
Hernandez played winter ball and had 2 hits today.
The wind was very strong today.

Pannone got knocked out giving out  4 runs and recording only 2 outs.
More importantly, Luciano looked good with both the heater and the breaking ball.
Waguespack is 6'6" and throws straight over the top.

Pompey could make the team if someone else is injured.
Grichuk has plantar fasciitis (heel pain). He's supposed to be good for Tuesday.
I don't think that stuff heals in 5 days. We'll see.
Hernandez could be the DH next year and still get a fair number of starts in left field.
There's quite a few guys who are supposed to take turns in left field this year; Travis, Gurriel, Drury, maybe even Biggio in September.

Nigel - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 04:38 PM EST (#370404) #
If Moralesí importance to the club is tied to his veteran presence, then make him the bench coach:). It might break the bench coach pay scale but him not taking up a roster space is likely to produce more WAR for the club.
Chuck - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 05:18 PM EST (#370405) #
him not taking up a roster space is likely to produce more WAR for the club

I don't dispute your math at all.

But a WAR-tack could be taken to defend Morales. Absent the advent of $11M coaches, his job is to help transition to MLB life an absurdly young, non-English speaking kid, with whom he shares a personal relationship. And that kid is the single most highly prized asset in the organization. Perhaps if that young fellow can, as a result, adjust to MLB life just a little bit more easily and a little bit sooner, more WAR, or "sooner" WAR, will accrue as the byproduct.

This argument may be pure hooey, but I don't see it as absurd on its face. And it is most definitely not one I proffer easily. Perhaps a coach, a true one of the non-$11M variety, could have as his sole responsibility Guerrero's transition. Maybe that would achieve the same thing. I don't know. Any empirical "data" on this front would all be anecdotal.

If the season doesn't start soon and smack some sense into me, there's no telling how long I'll go on defending Morales. What the off-season does to a poor guy's brain. It ain't pretty.

dalimon5 - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 05:36 PM EST (#370406) #
1B types don't have the value they once did. Nobody will take Smoak at $8 million when they can get CJ Cron or Choi for peanuts. If those types weren't easily available then Smoak would be gone and Tellez up. Instead Tellez will sit in the minors again because the Jays still feel they can deal Smoak even though nobody claimed him through waivers last deadline day.
scottt - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 06:47 PM EST (#370407) #
Even so, the Jays could pay all of Smoak's salary at the deadline if that nets a prospect.
Tellez made a coupe of nice plays today, by the way, including a 3-6-1 double play.

Nigel - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 07:20 PM EST (#370408) #
Chuck, I take no issue with the possibility that Morales has value in that role. Iíll admit that I think ďwashed up veteran is a critical mentorĒ stories are the same as ďheís in the best shape of his lifeĒ stories. They are usually spread by the same management teams to justify bad contracts. Buuuuuuut, every once in a while, a guy is in good shape, so I donít dismiss the idea completely. My only point was to ask why Morales has to actually take up a 25 man roster spot to fulfill that role?
scottt - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 09:39 PM EST (#370409) #
Well, the value in Morales leading Guerrero lies with his work ethics and how he handles success and failure. Morales is always the first guy to show up for a game. The coaches are in a different situation.

If you look at Pompey for example, there were many times in previous years in which he should have been good enough to crack the lineup, but he was held back for development purposes and the only thing he learn to do regularly is spend time on the DL. There were always questions about his concentration. The culture, mentoring could have addressed that.

JohnL - Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 09:50 PM EST (#370410) #
Iím halfway through a month in Belize, and given the tropical environment & the long off-season, it felt pretty strange to listen to a bit of Blue Jays baseball today.

But it seemed even stranger tonight when I saw a guy biking down the road in the small island town of Caye Caulker, wearing a Donaldson Jays jersey.

Play ball!
Glevin - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 03:53 AM EST (#370411) #
I'll never understand this myth about Pompey being mishandled. He made it to the majors quickly in 2014 when he looked great. I don't think you ruin players by giving them a cup of coffee in September one year. In 2015 and the 2016 the Jays were playoff teams, so they couldn't sit around and wait for Pompey to adjust to the majors which he was having trouble doing and Pillar was much much better and 2017 and 2018 he was mostly ineffective and hurt in the minors. Where was the point, the Jays should have done something differently? I hope he can rebound and become a valuable major leaguer, but it's also hard to see how that is going to happen easily. I'm trying to think of a major leaguer with this skill set. Lots of speed, gets on base OK, no power, Ks a lot, and probably average defense at a corner OF spot. I can't think of any comps. It's a very tough path to find value unless Pompey significantly improves his defense or power.
85bluejay - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 06:47 AM EST (#370412) #
I guess we'll agree to disagree but I strongly believe that Pompey should have started 2015 in AAA not the majors - of the 6 rookies on the 2015 opening day roster, I believe only Devon Travis deserved his roster spot. I get why AA did it - his time was running out - his protector Beeston was retiring and ownership was not giving him more money after the disaster of adding significant payroll a few years before and still finishing in last place but I think if the other 5 rookies had started in the minors and earned their place during the season, the Jays would still have made the postseason but those players would have had brighter futures - yes I know Osuna did very well.
scottt - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 08:23 AM EST (#370413) #
The one thing that everybody was hoping is that Pompey would hit more homeruns.
That never happened.
His game is based on speed. It might have  been a better idea to get him to work on his OBP, rather than the power.

In September 2014, he was hitting .231. In early 2015, he was hitting .223. Not a huge difference.
The Jays would play terrible fielders who couldn't catch routine balls in left that year.
Whatever was gained on the offensive side was lost on defense.
Pompey, as a plus defender with an average bat would have be more valuable than those guys.

His defensive value is questionable. Bref game him a 0.7 dWAR while fangraphs scored him at -2.2.
It's a tiny sample size. His arm is good and he has great range.

On paper, he looks like a great 4th outfielder. He can pinch run and steal a base. He can cover any outfield position. He's a switch hitter, so can come in late in a game to negate a pitching change.
He would have been a good fit in 15/16/17 and was on the playoffs roster. He just doesn't fit very well in the current Jays outfield--with Pillar declining every year and Grichuk under contract until 2021.

Cracka - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 09:18 AM EST (#370414) #
Maybe it's Pillar that doesn't fit with the Jays current outfield. He may not be worth $5.8M and the team could still cut him for a fraction of that amount ($1M or so) or trade him under the right scenario. I'm not saying this is Plan A - otherwise, they would have just non-tendered him - but I think it's a possible outcome if Pompey plays well this spring... and replacing Pillar with a Toronto-born player would soften the blow of losing another long-time fan favorite.
Gerry - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 09:36 AM EST (#370415) #
Pompey is in the lineup again today along with eight hitters who dd not start yesterday. SRF on the mound.
85bluejay - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 11:05 AM EST (#370416) #
Unfortunately, that seems to spell "SHOWCASE" as has been suggested in the press.Oh well, I hope he comes back to haunt the Jays decision makers.
bpoz - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 11:47 AM EST (#370417) #
I am taking the patient approach. So I will wait and see.

Has anyone read/heard what Montoyo is thinking? So far in ST he has said that he is impressed with Sanchez and Stroman.
Before the start of 2019 I know that he and another coach visited T Hernandez. He said he will try to win this year at his introduction. To me that does not conflict with what Atkins is saying. Atkins expects good results in 2021. He is not expecting much success in 2019 or 2020. That is more rebuilding. His off season acquisitions were modest which reflects his statements.

Atkin's statement about T Hernandez and McKinney being a LF platoon took me by surprise. Another surprise was M Wilner yesterday saying that he expects one to win the LF job. Every year Wilner says ST means nothing. It is just to get ready for the season I agree with that. That logically means no LF competition. Also I strongly believe that both should get 500 ABs in 2019. Therefore no platoon. My guess is that McKinney gets many of his 500 ABs in Buffalo.

So I will wait and see. I really hope Montoyo will say something/a lot soon. Since I have not heard him say anything yet I know nothing new. But then actions used to speak louder than words in the past.
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 12:20 PM EST (#370418) #
I donít have much faith in a Pompey revival, he has had 4 years to take the job from Pillar and hasnít been able to stay healthy or produce enough to do so.
scottt - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 12:46 PM EST (#370419) #
If healthy, Grichuk will make all the RF starts. Pillar is not going to sit much either, if healthy.
There will be a 4th outfielder, not just a super utility guy making some LF starts.
For now, that means Hernandez and most likely McKinney will share LF.

The Yankees have a similar issue with too many infielders, so either Voit or Bird will win the 1B job.
Bird has options but is old to waste time at AAA. Voit is out of options.

The Red Sox have 3 catchers and only room for 2. None of them are that good.

Montoyo is well aware of the ceilings of Sanchez and Stroman.

Pillar/Grichuk and Sanchez/Stroman are in similar situation.
It would make sense to extend Grichuk, but I'm not sure how Pillar would react to that.
Sanchez would have to be very good the next 2 years to get that huge contract in free agency.
Ideally for him the Jays are not competing and he gets traded, so no QO attached.
Stroman has had only 1 bad year, so he gets better money in arbitration.
I think you could sign either of them for one extra year if you pay a premium.
But that's pretty much what the QO does.

uglyone - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 02:42 PM EST (#370420) #

just sell the team already.
mathesond - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 03:28 PM EST (#370421) #
And give up all those profits?
Vulg - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 04:47 PM EST (#370422) #
And give up all those profits?

The team is a wonderful cash cow when stripped down like this. The best part for Rogers is that they've somehow hoodwinked the buying public into equating promising young talent with a tiny short-term player budget, which is not the same thing as avoiding longer commitments to aging players.

Pretty impressive.

One quibble with the following quote in the Sun article:

"Itís worth noting that you can catch the Jays radio crew of Ben Wagner and Mike Wilner call all of the games, either on or on the flagship radio station, The Fan 590. Thatís small consolation for those keen on seeing game action."

Wilner and Wagner actually don't call another game together until Friday. The team is going to rotate some of its minor league announcing talent through games this week (as well as Ben Nicholson-Smith from Sportsnet). I caught the pre-game and Wilner was talking about this being these being the first Spring games he'll be missing since 2001.
John Northey - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 04:55 PM EST (#370423) #
Realistically the ratings for spring training games never should be anywhere near regular season games. Plus with a team expected to struggle to win games this year after a bad year last year and most players fans knew from 15/16 gone now the Jays are not going to draw flies for spring games on TV.

Yeah, I'd love to have every game on TV but I also know that I'd rarely see them (work, kids) and I'm a big fan who loves to see the new players go on the field. Back in the 85-93 stretch I'd watch or listen to every single game from the start of spring until the season & playoffs ended. Dropping in 17/18 and 19/20 will hurt the Jays big time on the rebuilt fan base. 2 years helps but they really need a 5+ year stretch of 500+ and in contention often. Another 11 year stretch like 83-93 would be wonderful but that requires tons of prospects working through the system (Barfield/Bell/Fernandez/Fielder/McGriff/Lirano/Felix/Olerud/Myers & Borders/Kent/Sprague all got their chances to start regularly during that stretch, pretty much in that order - new kid a year plus and that isn't factoring in starters/relievers), a few lucky breaks, and very few bad ones. Can the team now do the same? New kid a year into the lineup, new ones into the rotation as well annually? You need at least one new regular and a new pitcher each year on average due to free agency, players dropping in skills suddenly, etc.
bpoz - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 05:51 PM EST (#370424) #
You are right John N. The making of the waves of good prospect strategy/philosophy starts this year.

I hope we can get 5 good ones this year. My hopes rest on Borucki, Vlad, Jansen, Gurriel and T Hernandez.
Next year we may have 5 more. Hopefully Bichette, SRF and a few more.
dan gordon - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 06:48 PM EST (#370425) #
Nice to see Pompey hit a HR and single today. That combination of good speed, some power, and switch-hitting is what makes him so attractive. I believe that his numbers the last 3 years don't truly reflect his ability because he was hurt so often. If you are constantly in and out of the lineup due to injuries, you never get really sharp, and you're probably playing with some pain and/or restrictions in terms of your swing. If he can stay healthy, and that's a huge if, given his history, I think he can be a very good player, somebody who can hit in the .260 - .270 range with a pretty good OBP, 10-15 HR's and 20-30 SB's, while playing pretty good defense in a corner OF spot. I'd rather have him on the team than McKinney.
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 08:47 PM EST (#370426) #
I could seem them potentially option McKinney or Hernandez to keep Pompey for at least a major league trial as part of the numbers game, but I am way more confident that the former two will contribute to a major league team right now. McKinney is a strong left handed side of a platoon.
John Northey - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 11:21 PM EST (#370427) #
Billy McKinney had a good brief ML time last year (252/318/462) and BR projects a similiar year this year (252/323/441). Not bad, not great but solid if he can play defense well. Entering his age 24 season

Teoscar Hernandez has shown a good bat but no defense. 239/302/468 last year, projected 242/306/460 for 2019. Entering his age 26 season. His projection has the highest reliability rating.

Pompey career is 221/289/372, projected 245/317/402 entering his age 26 season. His has the lowest reliability (so most variable of these 3). In the minors last year he hit 272/352/418. Under 300 PA the last 2 years combined majors & minors (12-2 SB-CS those years). Hard to remember that when he got his real chance in 2015 he was thought to be ahead of Pillar both on offense and defense (was in CF at first while Pillar was moved to LF).

So what do you do if you are the Jays? If this year mattered you'd put Hernandez out there as he is the best odds of being decent given his track record. McKinney has the best potential of the 3 given his age, Pompey is the most interesting given his past defense/speed/potential pre-injuries. If he can be healthy he could replace Pillar giving the Jays another trade chip and a few more years of cheap production.

My bet is Pompey getting a real shot. His last one here. McKinney being next in line for time with Hernandez needing to show something on defense if he wants a real shot early on or upping his bat to a 800-900 OPS level.

dan gordon - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 11:22 PM EST (#370428) #
I'm not very optimistic about McKinney. He hit .222 in AAA last year. His big asset is power, but comparing his minor league numbers to Pompey's shows that he hasn't hit all that many more HR's than Dalton. McKinney has 57 in 2,227 minor league AB's, while Pompey has 38 in 2,173, despite battling injuries through much of that time.
SK in NJ - Sunday, February 24 2019 @ 11:29 PM EST (#370429) #
Pillar still being on the team is very questionable at this point. Teams are not paying for defense so chances are the offers for him were practically nothing, but his value isnít going to increase as the season goes on unless youíre banking on his bat improving and I think we are way beyond that stage.

Having to demote McKinney or potentially lose Pompey just to have Pillar play CF on a team with no intention of competing would be pretty pointless. Especially with Smith/Alford/Davis already on the 40 man in AAA.
scottt - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 06:34 AM EST (#370430) #
The optimistic outcome for McKinney was to hit .280 with 20 HRs.
He's had a good start as a Jay. Given that the other 3 outfielders  hit right, it's best to keep him a platoon outfielder.

scottt - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 07:16 AM EST (#370431) #
Bichette made a couple of nice play yesterday.
Twice the Jays were enable to make plays because Davis playing center field didn't return the ball to the right guy.

Folely, Thornton and Murphy all had 3-runs innings and pitched 2 frames each.

Stroman faces the Yankees today and it's on TV.

Mike Green - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 08:52 AM EST (#370432) #
Aaron Hicks apparently signed a 7 year/$70M extension.  It's a good deal for the Yankees.  He's likely to be a good enough hitter to move to a corner in a few years.

When the Yankees made the deal acquiring Hicks, I thought that it would turn out well for them.  I had no idea how well.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 10:19 AM EST (#370433) #
AJ Pollock signed for 5 years and 60 million in the open market, so giving Hicks basically a 6 year 64 million dollar extension seems like good value.
AWeb - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 10:33 AM EST (#370434) #
Assuming 2017/18 Hicks is a reasonable projection for a few more years, this is a great deal for the Yankees. A contract that is small enough annually that it's tradable if the impulse to buy a better free agent comes up, basically pocket change if Hicks implodes (injury), and a huge bargain if he stays very good. Very annoying.

Might be a similar deal for Grichuk or Hernandez to be made, if they are good (but not too good) this year?
SK in NJ - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 10:39 AM EST (#370435) #
The free agent market is not as lucrative as it once was, so Cashman is being smart by taking advantage of it. Hicks is really good but there was no guarantee that he would have gotten more than this had he become a free agent. Smart play by both sides.
bpoz - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 11:11 AM EST (#370436) #
Vlad really hustled when he came in to score. Good. But ... did the 3b coach try to stop him at 3rd? That was not a hard hit ball IMO.

ST auditions are still going on. It is too early. Who will get how much playing time and where is still to be decided. That will show more about the 2019 team philosophy.

At least I know who will be in 1st.
85bluejay - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 11:27 AM EST (#370437) #
Bill Mckinney playing 1B today - that's a good sign.
Glevin - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 12:43 PM EST (#370438) #
"I'm not very optimistic about McKinney. He hit .222 in AAA last year. His big asset is power, but comparing his minor league numbers to Pompey's shows that he hasn't hit all that many more HR's than Dalton. McKinney has 57 in 2,227 minor league AB's, while Pompey has 38 in 2,173, despite battling injuries through much of that time."

I see McKinney as likely a strong side of a platoon and not an everyday player but this is absurd. McKinney has a lot of power and Pompey has almost none. Pompey's slugging in AAA over 918 PAs is .364. McKinney's over 538 PAs is .509. In major league terms, that is the difference between Nelson Cruz and Jacoby Jones.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 01:13 PM EST (#370439) #
Hernandez stiles out on a ball in the dirt, really hope we see less of that this year.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 01:20 PM EST (#370440) #
Tulo homers off Stroman on the second pitch of the inning.... that hurts. He was fired up rounding the bases.
uglyone - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 01:21 PM EST (#370441) #
Tulo goes deep.

get used to that.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 01:36 PM EST (#370442) #
His defence looked just fine on the Drury grounder. It only took an inning, but Tulo looks not washed up.
bpoz - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 01:38 PM EST (#370443) #
Good luck Tulo. Best wishes.
mathesond - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 02:10 PM EST (#370444) #
"get used to that."

Stroman grooving pitches to former teammates?
dan gordon - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 02:51 PM EST (#370445) #
"but this is absurd"

What is absurd is saying that Pompey has almost no power.
uglyone - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 03:26 PM EST (#370446) #
Shi Davidi @ShiDavidi
Troy Tulowitzki on whether homer meant more because it came vs #BlueJays: ďNo doubt about it. Extra special. That was the team that basically told me I couldnít play any more. Itís spring training, it is what it is, but it was a big day for myself.

love being a fan of the team where every player leaves embittered.
mathesond - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 04:07 PM EST (#370447) #
"love being a fan of the team where every player leaves embittered."

There's always following AA in Atlanta. He seems to have brought the corporate speak he learned from Rogers over to Liberty Media.
johnny was - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 04:25 PM EST (#370448) #
Nothing against the guy, but it's a spring training homer in February, an accomplishment that's about on par with having a good session in the weight room.
hypobole - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 04:32 PM EST (#370449) #
Don't blame Tulo for being enbittered.

The Jays didn't want him.

No MLB team would even offer a deal like the Jays got with Martin, picking up a bit of his salary. The most any team thought he was worth was league minimum.

So yeah, the guy is pissed.
bpoz - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 05:02 PM EST (#370450) #
Just curious. If some one offered him $2 mil plus incentives and he managed to earn $4 mil the Jays still only get the league minimum back.

christaylor - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 05:28 PM EST (#370451) #
"love being a fan of the team where every player leaves embittered."

Hm. To paraphrase a bad 80s rap song, "It takes two to make a thing go wrong." and it'd be weird to think that Tulo is blameless. It is merely that he can speak freely and those around him can not.

Like it or not, AA set this up with the trade. Everyone knew at the time the Jays were taking on a hefty contract (while shedding another burden to be sure) that would look bad in years down the line. It happened. The FO and ownership should be praised for taking the risk and cutting ties. Tulo will be fine. He may have a great first half but I wonder, even if that improbable outcome happens, what he'll be like when SS is handed back to Didi Gregorius? Yankee pride and all he may go back to sulking out in the workout room.
scottt - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 05:46 PM EST (#370452) #
The Yankees are over the tax threshold and their last signing brought that up by 3M.
They got Tulo for the minimum and still signed a top 2B, so Gleiber can slide to SS if Tulo sucks.

It sounds like I didn't miss much today. Just Stroman hanging a couple of sliders.

uglyone - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 06:22 PM EST (#370453) #
"Bill Mckinney playing 1B today - that's a good sign."

That is a really encouraging development imo. A return to caring about defense would be nice. THis might be the influence of the new manager, with his experience with TBay's emphasis on defense.

It would be nice to unclog the roster of Smoak and Morales, and go much younger with much better defense.

CF Pillar
RF Grichuk
LF Gurriel
3B Guerrero
SS Galvis
2B Travis
1B McKinney
C Jansen
DH Tellez

UT Teoscar - Smith - Biggio
OF Pompey - Alford
IF Drury - Urena - Bichette
C McGuire - Maile
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 06:44 PM EST (#370454) #
Randal Grichuk is worth a 5-6 year contract for $12.5 - $15.0 Million per year if he repeats last year- his career average basically. If he is healthy next year, as is expected, he could be much better - much, much better.
dalimon5 - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 07:30 PM EST (#370455) #
This is merely warm ups. The Troy Tulowitzki Revenge Tour begins in earnest after opening day. I got my tickets.
greenfrog - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 08:06 PM EST (#370456) #
Tulo could be a valuable player for the Yankees if they limit his PA to keep him healthy. I donít have confidence that he will be effective as a full-time starting shortstop, but if heís healthy he could be useful as a quality defender and sometime starter who logs (say) 300-400 PA.
ramone - Monday, February 25 2019 @ 11:59 PM EST (#370457) #
I received Baseball America's Prospect Handbook in the mail today, their top 30:
1. Vlad
2. Bo
3. Jansen
4. Pardinho
5. Groshans
6. Pearson
7. Smith
8. SRF
9. Biggio
10. Hiraldo
11. Alford
12. Kloffenstein
13. Orelvis Martinez
14. Noda
15. Conine
16. Stevenson
17. Patrick Murphy
18. Thornton
19. Hector Perez
20. Moreno
21. Leonardo Jimenez
22. McKinney
23. Paulino
24. Zeuch
25. Warmoth, some not good quotes from scouts here
26. Sean Wymer
27. Elivs Luciano
28. McGuire
29. Tellez
30. Spanberger
dan gordon - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 01:14 AM EST (#370458) #
Some interestingly high rankings of lower to mid level prospects in that BA list, like Noda at 14, Stevenson at 16, Moreno at 20, Jimenez at 21, and Wymer at 26.
scottt - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 03:45 AM EST (#370459) #
Mckinney played 1B in the Arizona League to increase his versatility.
scottt - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 03:58 AM EST (#370460) #
The Hicks signing frees the Yankees to trade their top outfield prospects for establish starters.
Stanton will mostly DH. Judge is a lock on RF for a while. Hicks is in center. It doesn't matter much what they do with LF, expect that in Yankees stadium it's a defense first position.

Chuck - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 07:18 AM EST (#370461) #
So yeah, the guy is pissed.

Pro athletes just love being pissed at all those who don't believe in them. It's the narrative of choice, whether or not it has any basis in truth. Whatever gets you motivated, I guess.

If Tulo is still healthy in July, maybe he can start yapping then.

bpoz - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 08:36 AM EST (#370462) #
Agreed Chuck. IMO most of the players have class and decency. If you keep quiet you don't have to back up your words. Sometimes actions are not malicious. Rickey Henderson seemed to want to show that he was the best. I think D Eckersely tried to show up the Jays in the playoffs. Alomar and Gruber took him deep back to back in the 1992 playoffs. Bautista's bat flip.

I wish Tulo well in having a great end of career. Same with Martin.

Stroman ??? Speaks his mind. Could be troublesome.
I see him as a good team mate and competitor. Good qualities.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 09:21 AM EST (#370463) #
Q: who would you rather have for the next 7 years- Aaron Hicks or Randal Grichuk?  My answer: Hicks, but it's fairly close.  Hicks has much better plate control, and is a somewhat better defender.  Grichuk has more power and is a little less than 2 years younger.  Neither has been durable, to date.

I'd be happy if the club signed Grichuk to a  7/70 deal.
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 09:33 AM EST (#370464) #
The reaction to the Tulo HR is Hilarious - baseball needs more feuds to fire up social media - Reminds me of the time JP's first significant IFA Balbino Fuenmayor homered in his first pro at bat - I think it was in a hall of fame game or something and Jays fans went delirious with anticipation - Whatever happened?
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 09:58 AM EST (#370465) #
Answer: Hicks easily - I like his skillset better & advocated for his acquisition when he struggled with the Twins - I guess this embarrassment is why the Twins are holding onto Bryon Buxton - I won't want Grichuk past his age 33 season. No way I give Grichuk a 7 year deal especially in this FA climate.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 10:13 AM EST (#370466) #
Fair enough, 85BlueJay.  So what would you give Grichuk on a 6 year deal (through his age 33 season)?  6/60?  I can see that. 
Gerry - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 10:57 AM EST (#370467) #
Hicks is the better player but he has been very injury prone. If you adjust for injuries the gap narrows significantly.
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:10 AM EST (#370468) #
Grichuk has 2 years left for FA - let's say 15m for those 2 years and 10m per 3 FA years - 5/45 - so 5 years somewhere between 45-50m - it gives Grichuk some security and allows him to enter the market place after his age 32 season with a better chance to score a multiple year deal - the recent set of pre FA team friendly contracts seem to indicate players are timid about FA and now might be the time for FO to strike deals - Much depends on what the industry (FO & Players) thinks the next CBA will look like.
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:19 AM EST (#370469) #
Logan Forsythe whom the Dodgers gave up a well regarded pitching prospect for only 2 years ago has had to settle for a minor league deal and he is only 32. Times they are a
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:32 AM EST (#370470) #
After investing 300m in Machado, it would be disappointing if the Padres went into the season without upgrading that rotation.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:39 AM EST (#370471) #
I'd guess that 5/45 or 5/50 would not get it done. 

Gerry's comment about durability is a good one.  Grichuk has had his share of injuries, but Hicks has had more of them and missed more time.  That becomes particularly important given that he is 2 years older than Grichuk. 
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:55 AM EST (#370472) #
If you put Grichuk into a lineup with Stanton and Judge as protection I think the gap narrows further.
dan gordon - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:56 AM EST (#370473) #
I don't think Grichuk is in the same talent range as Hicks at all. In the last 2 seasons, Hicks has put up 8.6 WAR in about 225 games, while Grichuk has 3.3 in about 245. I'm certainly not interested in a 5 or 6 or 7 year deal with Grichuk.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 11:59 AM EST (#370474) #
I would not give Grichuk a long-term contract. Rather, I would look to acquire a similar (or better) outfielder in a trade when the opportunity arises. Recall that the Jays did not have to give up much to acquire Grichuk. I would save my long-term contract money for a more valuable player, the way Anthopoulos did with Russell Martin.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 12:03 PM EST (#370475) #
By signing Hicks to a long term deal NYY has taken on some risk but also some form of talent insurance. They cannot handle losing as graciously as we can IMO. So they take more risks.

I agree that we will have to try to lock up our good players to long term deals. Who and how much is the question.

Talent definitely comes from unexpected sources. You need to get lucky. It helps. That is the main reason many of us are pleased/optimistic about the large quantity of unproven talent that this FO has amassed. From close to ML ready prospects like T Thornton to raw E Luciano. Also C Richard is another category of lesser MLB talent.

This all led me to mention that ex-Jay Taylor Cole joined LAA July 1,2018 and did well/ok. Similar to what D Barnes and J Biagini did for us.

I read the article by M Kelly "5 late blooming pitchers primed to break out in 2019". Well ... a writer has to write.

Chuck - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 12:17 PM EST (#370476) #
into a lineup with Stanton and Judge as protection

The protection idea has been studied quite thoroughly.

85bluejay - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 12:27 PM EST (#370477) #
At the start of the offseason, I advocated the Jays cash in the increase in value of both Diaz & Grichuk - both of whom they acquired cheaply - maybe there isn't a good market for outfielders - hey,does Adam Jones (2.6 oWar) have a job?Doesn't anyone want Pillar?
Gerry - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 01:17 PM EST (#370478) #
Hicks struggled for years before breaking out at age 27. Grichuk is coming into his age 27 season. Can he break out? That is the key question.
Nigel - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 01:44 PM EST (#370479) #
The Jays have spent the past 2-3 years playing with rosters that weren't comprised of 2 (let alone three) actual major league OFs. The current roster appears only to have 2 major league OFs and some "maybe's" after that. Why would the Jays look to move on from Grichuk? I would look to get more evidence that last year's performance can be repeated before I signed him to a long term deal, but I wouldn't move on from him. I don't see any OF prospects coming any time soon either. Chavez Young maybe?
dan gordon - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 05:19 PM EST (#370480) #
Grichuk has been pretty much the same guy for 4 years in the big leagues now. His OPS by season - .877, .769, .758 and .803. Players seldom take a big step ahead when they have played at one level for several seasons. I think he is what he is.

Bill James made an interesting point about this, which has really helped me evaluate players for fantasy pools. He was talking about young players improving from year to year, and said that once you see a player's most recent season's stats become roughly equivalent to his career averages, the player has reached his peak. If you look at Grichuk's 2018 numbers, they look very similar to his career averages. His 2018 slash line is .245/.301/.502/.803 compared to his career slash of .248/.298/.492/.789.
dan gordon - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 05:30 PM EST (#370481) #
"The protection idea has been studied quite thoroughly"

Absolutely right. As the linked article says in Chuck's post, the idea of "protection" is something that some people just believe. Baseball used to be full of things like this, that people believed, despite the fact that there was no evidence, or even in some cases, contrary evidence. Over the several decades that I have been a baseball fan, I have seen most of these incorrect beliefs fall by the wayside in the face of facts. The "protection" idea is one of the remaining die hard falsely held beliefs. Baseball people used to believe that fastballs could rise, that thrown balls on an artificial turf infield would speed up when they bounced off the turf, that the main thing of importance in a leadoff hitter was speed, that the #2 hitter should be a "bat control" guy who could bunt, and spray the ball around. It's great that baseball has moved past these and many others, and hopefully, the belief in "protection" will eventually vanish as well.
scottt - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 07:14 PM EST (#370482) #
Except there was 2 Grichuk last year. The guy who had an OPS of .485 in April and the guy with an OPS over .900 the rest of the way.

There's actually a lot of variability in performance and that's what driving the free agency down.
Bautista had a very uneven career. So did Vernon Wells. So did Alex Rios. Raja Davis.
Colby Rasmus. Pillar is pretty stable, but his range seems to be shrinking.

AA was able to extend Bautista because his production was so much over his career stats that nobody believed it was going to last. That's why Bats was so bitter. He had no clue he was selling himself short at the time.

Grichuk seems to offer a solid floor. Can he exceed it?  He just needs to maintain the same numbers he had in the second half. What's the odds of that? 50/50? Do you gamble on that now or wait until next year and risk the bets being doubled.

scottt - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 07:28 PM EST (#370483) #
The Arenado extension takes him out of the Yankees' plan.
Andujar is brutal defensively at 3B.

Surprisingly, players keep asking for opt outs.
Will Arenado be work more than 34M a year after 2021?
Seems pretty unlikely.

He also gets a full no-trade clause.

greenfrog - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 08:05 PM EST (#370484) #
The odds of Grichuk maintaining an OPS over .900 going forward are probably in the neighbourhood of 5-10%.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 08:53 PM EST (#370485) #
I wouldn't be against an extension for Grichuk since he's still relatively young and the Jays don't have much in the minors in terms of legit MLB calibre OF depth, but there is also risk there. Hicks has a great offensive profile (walks a lot, doesn't strike out a lot, FB/LD trending upwards, etc) and can play a good CF. Grichuk's walk rate makes him a very high risk offensive player. He might have a year where he looks like a stud, but I'd expect more seasons where he looks like he normally does, barring a significant improvement in his plate discipline.

The dollar value for WAR has to be adjusted with the current market. No way a win is worth $8-9M anymore when 1-2 win players can barely get big league contracts. Hard to determine what would be a fair deal for Grichuk at this point, but if Hicks got a $10M AAV, then it can't be more than that or even as much.
scottt - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 09:02 PM EST (#370486) #
That's what I though the odds of it happening with Bautista and Encarnation would have been too.
Grichuk has always had one of the highest exit velocity.  He's never topped 478 PA in a year.
Hicks got 581 last year.

Now the odds of Pillar maintaining his April numbers all year round is probably less than 5%
Odds of Dwight Smith Jr. sustaining his MLB production less than 1%. Still intriguing though.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 26 2019 @ 09:42 PM EST (#370487) #
I think you guys are missing the larger point by "protection." I just meant broadly that Hicks likely has a better chance to succeed in the NYY roster than he would if he was in Grichuk's position in Toronto. Just because "protection" in old baseball speak means one thing, it doesn't mean that the literal sense of the word ceases to exist. I wish I could go back in time and say "his numbers are better because he plays on a better team," or maybe somebody could have asked for clarification rather than providing anecdotes and references to an argument nobody's contesting. Nobody was trying to prove that batter X hits better when in a specific batting spot. Macro > Micro.
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 12:16 AM EST (#370488) #
"Except there was 2 Grichuk last year. The guy who had an OPS of .485 in April and the guy with an OPS over .900 the rest of the way"

Probably just noise. His overall numbers were in keeping with the rest of his big league career. To me, the chance of Grichuk maintaining a .900 OPS for the next several years is just about bang on zero.

As for Hicks' numbers being better in NY because the team is better, well, sure he's going to get more RBI's because there will be more people on base. He's going to score more runs because there are more big hitters to drive him in. That doesn't impact his WAR, OPS, etc.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 12:22 AM EST (#370489) #
Y'know, one way protection helps a hitter is it gets pitchers out of a game quicker - if you have a killer lineup odds are you'll face more of the weaker pitchers on a staff by the end as they'll be running out of pitchers and need to use them. Of course, the flip side is you'd face starters fewer times too as a third time though the order is less likely. So maybe the net is near zero...hmmm. Would be interesting to study quality of pitchers vs hitters on a high offense team vs a low offense time.
scottt - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 06:23 AM EST (#370490) #
The quality of pitcher argument to me is that the NYY staff had to face 2 division teams with bad pitching while the Jays hitters had to face only one, the Orioles.

If Stroman and Sanchez have good years, they Yankees numbers will probably edge lower.

scottt - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 07:05 AM EST (#370491) #
The  Atlantic League has announced a 3 year agreement with MLB in which they'll test potential rule changes. This seems to includes moving the mound back and using Trackman to call balls and strikes.

They think the Trackman data will potentially get more Atlantic League players offered MLB contracts.

It seems that the reason for all MLB affiliate teams to move to 2 half-season is to be able to implement rule changes in the middle of the year.

Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 08:14 AM EST (#370492) #
Ross Atkins gives a master class in corporatespeak.

Mr. Atkins, we know that you will keep Guerrero down for a few weeks to monkey with this service time. We know you can't tell us the truth since a grievance would be filed. But we know what the truth really is. We are not idiots. So say your lie but please, be brief. Tell us you want to see him work on his defense. It's code. We get it. Like when a politician wants to spend more time with his family. These are lies that adults tell adults when the truth is not an option.

We know you have to lie about Guerrero. But please don't double down on obvious mendacity with a long narrative that purports to sincerely defend your position. Now you're just insulting us. A little BS we can accept, it's part of the game. But this garbage bag full of BS? Leave that out by the curb.

ayjackson - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 08:16 AM EST (#370493) #
So what is the magic date that will keep Vladdy under a year for service time? I would like to mark it on my Calendar.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 08:24 AM EST (#370494) #
I believe it's mid-April. I heard somebody say April 17.
mathesond - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 08:54 AM EST (#370495) #
As Alex Anthopolous shows, once a Rogers corporate spokesperson, always a corporate spokerspeson.
Gerry - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 09:06 AM EST (#370496) #
While I don't disagree that players reach a set level, I go back to Aaron Hicks. His OPS+ for his first four years was 63, 76, 98 and 64. In his last year he was definitely not exceeding his career numbers. In the last two years his OPS+ was 122 and 123.

Maybe he is the exception.
James W - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 09:24 AM EST (#370497) #
If you're going to use the word "protection", I don't think it's fair to complain when everyone else thinks you're using it the only way it's ever been used in the game of baseball's history.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 09:25 AM EST (#370498) #
What I wish that Atkins was able to say is something like this: "It's not in the club's best interest to have him start the season in the major leagues. When we call a player up, whether it's Vladdy or Bo or Ryan Borucki or Danny Jansen, we want him to be ready from the outset and not to go up and down after that."  And then call up VGJ and Bichette (if he is hitting well in Buffalo) in mid-June and make sure Borucki gets a starting job. 

The problem is that there is no organizational philosophy like that.  Instead, there's a mish-mash approach to prospect development that I am not fond of. 
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 09:36 AM EST (#370499) #
How about: "Vlad has chosen to spend more time with his family. He thinks he'll be done spending time with them on April 17."
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 09:42 AM EST (#370500) #
As Alex Anthopolous shows

This Beat Goes On. Switchin' to Glide (slope).

uglyone - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 10:00 AM EST (#370501) #
far be it for me to defend him but if Atkins is insinuating that they are intent on making vladdy take his weight seriously then that's a good thing.

of course, I'm not exactly sure what that word salad is actually trying to insinuate.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 10:03 AM EST (#370502) #
Tangotiger has a wonderful chart posted on twitter on catcher framing.  Pitches in "the heart" of the strike zone are called strikes 99% of the time.  Outside the heart, there is the "shadow" which encompasses the edge and a bit outside the edge of the zone (in any direction); on average strikes are called a little less than 50% of the shadow with the amounts varying depending on whether it's up and in (about 10-12%) or on the border of the outside corner at waist height (70-72%).  Tango breaks down the shadow into eight quadrants, three at the top of the zone, three at the bottom and one waist high and inside and one waist high and outside.  Past the shadow, you have "the waste" which is almost always called a ball if taken.
The chart breaks down each catcher's called strike rate in the eight quadrants.

Luke Maile does exceptionally well- scoring above average except in the low inside and low down the middle quadrants.  It's exactly what you would expect from an excellent framing catcher who is tall.  Danny Jansen can certainly learn from him.
rpriske - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 10:28 AM EST (#370503) #
I think it is funny when people around the twitterverse blame Atkins and the Jays for the treatment of Vlad Jr.

They are doing the exact right thing. Don't like it? Blame the system.

bpoz - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 11:05 AM EST (#370504) #
Correct rpriske!!!
AWeb - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 11:28 AM EST (#370505) #
The system itself explicitly bans leaving players down just to increase service time based control over them. The weird part about the system, and one that players have yet to figure out how to fight, is that blatant, obvious lying about reasons for keeping players in the minor leagues seems to be accepted. Bryant is 3 years into a still-active appeal of how he was treated, which is now the blueprint for other top prospects (so apparently MLB isn't exactly worried about losing that case).

It's a very 21st century thing that society struggles with in a lot of places. Those in power agree that by saying some magic words (or by not saying certain magic words in this case), they get to pretend that reality is what they say out loud, rather than what is readily apparent to everyone who is looking around and observing actual reality. Everyone who follows baseball knows Atkins lied his ass off, there's no reason at all his words should hold any particular value here. A lawyer would crush him in cross-examination.

My solution is similar to salary arbitration - an independent panel decides if a player meets the criteria for making the majors at the beginning of each year, and their service time clock starts whether they get called up or not. Players get compared to MLB standards, and projection systems (evaluated every offseason) ask whether they project to be better than X% of the player population from the prior year. Only those who project better than 25% (or whatever would be reasonable) get a hearing, maybe tweaking to limit it to the top 60 projected players in the minors every year. I want the best players in MLB as soon as possible.

Have too many 3rd basemen that project to be MLB calibre? Trade some to teams that don't, find a spot for them, or pay them the MLB minimum as they ride the MiLB buses, gaining service time. Players stuck in the minors for an extra year still have to perform well or their projections would suffer and they might not qualify the next year.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 12:07 PM EST (#370506) #
The entire system ought to be under review in the next CBA.  I'd suggest the following operating rules:

1. service time runs from date of call to date of release with no interruption when players are sent down- teams send players down by reason of performance and need, with service time considerations entirely irrelevant
2. service time is by year- if a player is called up August 2 or later (i.e. after the universal trade deadline- teams cannot acquire talent even intraleague prior to September 1), the service time year begins the following year
3. arbitration begins for all players in the 3rd year of service and ends after the 5th
4. minor league players receive specified minimum amounts (obviously minimum wage or higher) for each level in the development process and are members of the union

The union would have to do a lot of organizing work to lay the groundwork for this, or something like it.  I don't see someone around to fill the Marvin Miller role that would be necessary to achieve it. 
rpriske - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 12:53 PM EST (#370507) #
I think service time should start when a player signs, not when they are called up. Make the pre-arb period longer, but no messing around - if they are good enough to play in the bigs, they WILL be there.
AWeb - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 12:55 PM EST (#370508) #
I like the system Mike proposes except for #4, although I'd tweak it to include anyone eligible for a post-season roster in those that count as a year's service time (so a Sept 2nd cut-off instead, plus including those guys who makes the post-season roster through the current loopholes around injury). Even with a good leader, the only leverage the players have is a strike, because I don't see what the owners would want to trade in a regular negotiation right now. A union willing to go on strike, you would think, would lower the ever-skyrocketing franchise values that the owners really make their money on.

The minor leaguers would expand the union by ~6 times, so I don't see that happening. Minor leaguers need a union, but the issues in the minors, like very low wages (sub-minimum wage in places), long work hours, nutrition, etc. aren't concerns for the MLB union. I know a few unions manage an even more lopsided distribution of members (actors guild comes to mind), but it seems unwieldy to be together.
mathesond - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 01:24 PM EST (#370509) #
I saw a suggestion elsewhere that service time begin when a player is added to the 40 man roster. Kinda like that one, myself.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 01:34 PM EST (#370510) #
first thing is service time should be cut drastically.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 01:48 PM EST (#370511) #
1 - Players called up before August 01. and remaining on the roster for the rest of the season and/or players who spend more than 50% in total of the season on the big league roster accrue a full year - this disincentivizes teams to delay callups while still allowing teams to call up a prospect in Aug/Sept. to get acclimatized to the majors.

2 - Owners/FO are preaching about wanting to play players for production, so let's start arbitration after the 1st year - teams can always non-tender a player they decide has become too expensive for his production.
mathesond - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 02:28 PM EST (#370512) #
"teams can always non-tender a player they decide has become too expensive for his production."

This could lead to teams non-tendering the majority of players, leading to a glut of unsinged players and driving salaries down.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 02:52 PM EST (#370513) #
Interesting comments all.  I don't see many people here arguing for the status quo, and there are a number of ways to go to fix its problems.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 04:20 PM EST (#370514) #
This could lead to teams non-tendering the majority of players, leading to a glut of unsinged players and driving salaries down.

If I recall correctly, we saw this writ small in advance of the 2003 season (I had to look up the year). I seem to recall that teams simply released a whole bunch of arbitration eligible players (David Ortiz, Jose Cruz Jr are names I immediately recall) with the seemingly collusive plan that they could then just sign each other's castoffs for much less than they'd have had to pay their own players, since the castoffs were now free agents.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 05:42 PM EST (#370515) #
The free agent system isnít broken, itís the 0-6 year window for players that needs to be addressed, so hopefully thatís what the MLBPA fights for.

My idea would be to increase the minimum ($1-2M) and start arbitration after year 2. In that scenario a player will be paid a lot more fairly for his prime years and wonít have to depend on free agency for the first time to finally cash out. Years 5-6 in arbitration will start to resemble FA money so it will even out in the end. Players will then have to settle for lower terms in free agency but if they are paid more during years 0-6, then it wonít be as big of a deal.

Iím not expecting the MLBPA to care about minor league salaries so that probably wonít change, but the easiest way to fix the free agent market is to improve the 0-6 model. Getting upset that teams wonít spend big money on older free agents is not fair to the team. Smarter FOís will recognize aging curves and spend accordingly. They probably wonít mind spending more for years 0-6, though. Thatís where the value is.
scottt - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 07:01 PM EST (#370516) #
I don't really see the parallel between Bryant and Guerrero.
Bryant was a seasoned college player. He was 23 years old when the Cubs kept him down.

Guerrero is more like Machado.
Both were 19 years old when their team were ready to bring them up mid-season.
Except Baltimore was in contention, ended up winning 93 games.
Had the Jays performed according to projections, the same thing would have happened.
Instead the rotation was terribly bad and Guerrero suffered a knee injury.

Guerrero will be 20 when the season open and the team is projected to finish 4th.
Given all the scouting reports questioning his fielding a third base, the position he wants to play, nobody would rule that the Jays are gaming his service time. Bryant was 23 and gold glove caliber when the Cubs did the same, to the exact day, and won their case.

I'd be unhappy if the Jays were trying to boost Guerrero's career numbers instead of the total WAR he'll contribute in a Jays uniform.

This is the skeleton of a horse getting beaten here.
Which is what the mainstream media likes to do.
It's not much of a baseball story though.

scottt - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 07:04 PM EST (#370517) #
To be fair here, it's actually not AA who talked about monetary yield and glide slope.

scottt - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 07:26 PM EST (#370518) #
The commish is apparently not going to push the pitch clock this year.
Apparently it's a CBA matter now. To be resolved for 2022. Kinda weird.
Will the players leave money on the table to keep the pitch clock away?

The 3-batter-rule is still under discussion.
That's kinda big. The Jays haven't been using LOOGYs, so it's pretty moot for us.
The League is apparently cleared to implement the rule starting in 2020.

In 2020, rosters could go up to 26 with a 13 pitchers limit.
The obvious application is  to find a speedy basestealer.
A rocket pinch runner could probably steal 100 bases easy, if the guy doesn't need to bat.
Especially if you move the mound back a bit.

The union is pushing back on the September 28 roster limit (14 pitchers).
With reason. Everybody on the 40 roster should get MLB minimum salary in September.

The League has countered the union's proposal of a single trade deadline at the All-Star game
(Which is intended to force teams to spend more on free agency--which I don't see. It would just encourage tanking teams to spend less.) by keeping the July 31 deadline and getting rid of August waiver trades. I think maybe the Donaldson deal has something to do with it.

The League has adopted the union's suggestion to limit the number of mound visit to 5 in 2019 and 4 in 2020. Sounds fine.

For some reasons, the League wants to add rules on position players pitching.
A player would need to be either a position player, a pitcher or a 2-way player (20 innings pitched and 20 starts at a position including DH with a least 3 plate appearances.) Position players would only be able to pitch in extra inning or after the 6th when losing by at least 7 runs. Kinda weird.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 10:20 PM EST (#370519) #
"I just don't see him as a major-league player." Really, Ross? Is that the quote you want to make it's way back to your young superstar prospect? Sheesh.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 10:37 PM EST (#370520) #
That should, of course, read "its" not "it's"...apologies to Dewey.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 27 2019 @ 11:12 PM EST (#370521) #
I think the position player thing is to prevent teams from claiming a guy is a two way in order to get around the pitcher limit on 26 man rosters. IE: Joe Reliever gets to play in the OF or as a pinch runner (ala Dave Stieb and Jimmy Key back in the day) or even used as a DH (the Yankees did this once) just to make an excuse to claim him as a position player then use him in relief constantly.

The 26 man thing might explain why the Jays have held onto Pompey too as he was a great stealer in the playoffs in 2015 (4 SB in 5 games, just 2 PA with 1 hit, but surprisingly never scored... could've sworn he did).

I LOVE the 3 batter rule - anything to cut down on the bloody pitching changes mid-inning as that kills the pace and flow of a game.

The pitch clock I'd love to see but I think it needs to be in the minors for a few years first to get some players used to it, have it in spring too for a few years. Seems MLB agrees with that.

As to the Vlad situation I'm hoping the players push for Free Agency to start after 5 1/2 years, owners push for 6 1/2, that extra half year makes it so starting a month in no longer helps and September call-ups for obvious guys like Vlad will happen again. As a fan who likes guy sticking around as long as possible I'd like 6 1/2 years with the owners giving players a much higher minimum salary (say, $1 mil a year) as compensation. Yeah, top end guys make less but bottom end make a lot more. I just hope they resolve it all without a strike or lock out. 1994 killed the Expos and hurt a lot of other franchises. Lets not do that again.
scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 01:40 AM EST (#370522) #
You're probably right about the 2-way player thing. Presumably a two-player would not count as a pitcher.

Defensive replacements  were a thing at some point.
Local guy Doug Frobel had a 4 year MLB career based on his ability to get the ball to the catcher from the outfield on one bound, so the ball travels mostly on a line instead of a lob.

Not seeing that coming back, but I suppose if the roster was at 26, the Jays might keep Pompey, the Yankees might use a platoon at first and the Red Sox might go with 3 catchers.

In other news, the Jays won 2-1 against the pirates. Shoemaker looked good giving up one homer.
Luciano had a late 2 strike out inning. Morales had the 2 RBIs on 2 separate hits.

scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 06:06 AM EST (#370523) #
I'm not a fan of those late signings. If the Dodgers and the Giants wanted on Harper they didn't have to wait until camp open to start the discussions. It's not like they are getting a deal. I'm still unsure of what this will mean for the next CBA. If they settle for a record breaking 340M, the union should be satisfied, but if Harper repeats his poor 2018 season it's going to limit future contracts even more than tanking teams.
Glevin - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 06:30 AM EST (#370524) #
MLB has made a number of proposals to player union.
-Pitch clock won't happen until 2022 at least
-Some limitations of position players pitching (don't see why really)
-3 batter minimum for pitchers
-26 man rosters, 28 man in September (for both here. 40 man rosters fundamentally change the game too much right when it matters most)
-Maximum 13 pitcher/14 in September
-Removal of waiver deadline (for this as well. Should be one deadline only)
-Shortening breaks between innings in some games (always for this)
-Reducing mound visits (union proposed).

Most of these seem pretty decent honestly. I generally side with the players but I get the feeling that they don't really understand the issues sometimes. Like, I believe the players think that the issue is free agency and lower level players not getting enough when there is no scenario where Adam Jones is getting a massive deal and nor should he. The issue is underpaying players earlier in their careers. I think players should be able to become free agents earlier which would get them more money for sure but the union seems to be very focused on veterans making more money which is what has made them make so many mistakes recently. I saw some interesting detailed proposals on reducing years until free agency (set number of years from signing, expanded 40 man rosters, players needing to be put on them earlier, etc...)
scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 07:12 AM EST (#370525) #
I think just having earlier arbitration would increase the low level players pay and if players make more in their last arb year, that would raise the yearly rate for all.

The problem with free market is that it raises the value of scarce resources and lowers the value of common ones. So the MVP type might make a whole lot more, but there's no increase for the league average guy who are still valuable.

AWeb - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 07:35 AM EST (#370526) #
Responding to John Northey above, the pitch clock is already in the minor leagues, has been for a few years. The reviews of it one really notices and it barely affects the game at all. Even most of those who were against it have said the same thing. Throwing a pitch within 20 seconds of getting the ball just isn't asking a whole lot of players, nor is being in the box ready to hit.

If MLB had any willingness to change at all, they'd just bring in the pitch clock now, tell umpires to enforce it stringently (evaluate the umps on it and tie all-star/postseason assignments in part to those evaluations), and the players would adjust within a few weeks.

It reminds me a bit of when the NHL cracked down on the delay tactics teams used before face-offs, especially after icing calls, to try and catch their breath more (thus defeating the primary disadvantage of an icing call of not getting to make defensive substitutions). The NHL called some penalties, enforced it, and now it works mostly like it should. It took very little time for players to adjust. Intentional down time during sporting events is bad, especially for a sport with no game clock.

I like the 3 batter rule with a DL caveat - if you remove a guy before three batters are done (or inning ends), it's an automatic 10-day DL trip.

I like the 28 man roster in September, as long as it's a day-to-day active roster, again sort of like hockey with the healthy scratches. You can carry 40 players, but only use 28 in any given game. I hate late season games which look like early spring training games. Teams shouldn't be able to use fundamentally different strategies in the last month. I still want starters and limited subs and relievers. A few more is fine (hence 28), but a limit is fine to me too.
85bluejay - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 08:23 AM EST (#370527) #
The MLBPA is losing credibility - Commissioner Manfred is using the pitch clock like Lucy's football - He brings it out and gets another concession from the MLBPA and then puts it away for another day - the MLBPA should just call his bluff and let the pitch clock be imposed and not give up another concession - the pitch clock isn't worth it.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 08:43 AM EST (#370528) #
3 batter rule with the 10 day DL caveat?  Thumbs up.
28 man active roster in September with 12 in the press box?  Crowded up there, but well worth it.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:51 AM EST (#370529) #
"Losing credibility" would imply they had any to begin with. Tony Clark has ensured younger players get screwed pretty much every time the CBA gets extended. I don't expect anything to change on that end.
AWeb - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 10:16 AM EST (#370530) #
Trying to think of widely thought of "problems" with baseball and who actually has the motivation fix those problems:

Pace of game is too slow/time between pitches: Owners want to fix, but not so strongly that they will actually go ahead and fix it. Dead time with minimal advertising opportunities, and tv ratings and attendance that drop because games go on too late aren't huge problems I guess. Players seemingly love the slower game, both hitters and pitchers. Fans generally want it fixed, both in the park and watching on tv.

Too many K's, not enough balls in play: Owners want to fix, if anyone. I'm not convinced that it's fixable without huge changes, total offense (runs) are pretty normal right now, and a weak chooper to 2B or a weak flyball aren't really more exciting or interesting outcomes to watch on tv. Any changes to suppress K's have to also suppress offense, and tradeoffs would be hard to figure out in advance. It's a bit of a zero-sum game for players, and they don't seem to really care about this? In person, unless I have really good seats, I have never found pitching to be exciting to watch. My eyes simply can't distinguish pitches and movement like the CF cam on tv can. So more balls in play is better for fans in attendance, and I think fairly neutral for tv where watching pitches is much more interesting.

Shifting: Owners seem to be the ones bringing it up, so I guess they want to fix it (tradition!?). Some players complain, but "no fair taking advantage of my predictability" doesn't exactly resonate with fans or most players I suspect. Not sure how a few more singles benefits the game significantly for anyone though. I don't think I'd care either way if there was a "two IF to each side of 2B, still playing an IF position" rule, but since studies keep showing shifts are at best a marginal gain, I don't know what the problem is.

Strike zone umpiring: Neither players or owners seem to want an automated strikezone, because they are clearly ready to go now if they wanted, with a little calibration effort to each player. The real-time display on tv very rarely fails. I think the unintended consequences to the catching position could be huge. I think the majority of fans would be on board, but honestly the umping has gotten better in recent times.

Teams not trying to maximize wins every year: Players want to fix this one, owners are opposed. The problem seems to be that teams don't see the point in making a bad team slightly less bad, but players sure as hell do, and so do fans being forced to watch a suboptimal team. Refusing to try and squeeze extra wins out of a roster in order to get a slightly better draft pick is now widely accepted strategy in all NA sports, and also (IMO) terrible for fans. I should also note that it's not just bad teams doing this, teams in weak divisions (cough cough Cleveland cough) seem to have little motivation as well. Lots of teams will be awful without trying to be (hello 2018 Orioles!), and lots of teams manage to build winners without ever intentionally being awful. Not sure how to fix this one, it's a total restructure of player compensation, the draft, promotion/demotion rules, etc.

Playoff games start too late/no day games: Owners love it (ad revenue), players don't seem to care. As a fan in the Atlantic time zone with a day job, it's simply impossible to get into games consistently when I know I won't be staying up to see the end. Playoff games need to, at least, stop being another half hour longer. Definitely hurting MLB in the long-term as fans drift away, increasingly disinterested in teams that aren't their "own". Would require a conmmissioner with long-term job security and freedom from owners (ie, not what exists) to change this, I think.

Minor league pay/conditions: Players want to fix, owners opposed. Fans honestly don't care except on websites like this where minor leaguers are regularly discussed. MLB players and their union aren't likely to negotiate for non-union members though, so this one won't change unless there's an impending lawsuit coming that results in pre-emptive improvements.

TV blackouts: Players don't care, Owners love them, fans are screwed over (a bit of a theme with some of these).

I'm sure there are lots more others could add, but going through these, some of these could be fixed by the owners right now, but the major fixes require a major fight by the players, and in a lot of cases they simply don't care. Hard to sell millionaires on a lasting strike without strong leadership, and Tony Clark ain't that.
scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 10:31 AM EST (#370531) #
To me, the problem with the time between innings is that I should never see the same commercial twice in the same game. Beyond that, I don't really care about +/- 15 secs.

Part of not having enough balls in play is to prefer hitters with power who strike out a lot to hitters who just put the ball in play. Any tweak they make will probably advantage the contact hitters more than the strikeout machines.

It looks like robo strike calls could be in by the next CBA. I think it's all up to the union, really.

Not trying to win is part of the mechanic that rewards last place teams.
It's not unique to baseball. The NHL addressed it with a lottery. I don't personally think it worked.

Maybe teams that don't make the playoffs shouldn't be penalized for signing free agents.
The current profit sharing scheme involving extra picks, shouldn't benefits tanking teams.
Just reward the small market teams that are actually trying to win.
That's be a step in the right direction, but not every teams will be competitive every year.
There's no way around that.

AWeb - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 11:50 AM EST (#370532) #
I think efforts to reduce K's will benefit the high K hitters the most, which is why I think they need to be really careful. If you knocked 20% off the K rate (so 22% to 18%), hitters with the highest K rates are likely to improve more, you generally don't see everyone get an absolute 4% change.

At the extreme, Joey Gallo struck out 36% of the time, 207 K in 577 PAs. Knock his K rate to 29%, that's 7% more of his PAs, or roughly extra 40 PAs to end in a non-K. For Gallo, 10% of his non-K PAs end in a HR, so that's 4 more HR, 4 singles, 3 doubles, and 7 walks, give or take. He goes from a .206/.312/.498 line to somewhere around .226/.341/.558.

This is assuming that somehow nothing else changes, and despite being easier to not strike out it's also not easier to walk or get a hit. Which is why you'd need an offsetting change. Aside from removing a defender entirely, I'm not sure how you reward balls in play that much more. Move every available fence back? The Jays could move the bullpen to the sidelines and make the stands into the HR distance, for instance.

Also, apropos of nothing, it's amazing the Reggie Jackson continues to hold the all-time K records for hitters, despite the league rates almost doubling since his career. The all-time K list unlike any other all-time baseball stat list. Mark Reynolds is 12th (6081 PAs)! Granderson is 17th. Justin Upton, who is 30 years old but started at 19, is 33rd and looks like the best bet to "beat" Jackson's record if he makes it to age 36 or so as a full time player. He's very good right now, so that's looking good. Failing that, Stanton has a contract until he's 40, and if he plays that long, even only somewhat healthy, he'll shatter the record (and hit 600+ HRs).
John Northey - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 12:06 PM EST (#370533) #
The not trying to win has a very simple solution. Flip the draft rules so being the best team out of the playoffs gets you the top draft pick. 2nd best gets 2nd pick, etc. Playoff teams go last. That tosses out the reverse incentive that exists now and creates a reward for teams winning but not going all the way. Suddenly tanking for 2-3 years isn't a winning strategy. Also have a bigger percentage of revenue sharing go to playoff teams with a 'market size adjustment' separate from it (same with the penalty for being the Yankees).

I don't see why this wouldn't work unless a team goes into the depths and never comes out. Heck, under the current system (more or less) we saw the Orioles go sub 500 every year from 1998 to 2011 with a peak of finishing 3rd (23 games back) in 2004. Tampa Bay was sub 500 from 1998 to 2007 - heck they were sub 450 all those years and dead last all but one year (2004 - the Jays year from hell). Looking deeper I see Pittsburgh from 1993 (Bonds leaves) to 2012 (Russell Martin joins) were sub 500 every year, only once being within 10 games of first (1997 when Houston won the NL Central with just 84 wins). The Royals during that time frame (1995-2012) also were sub 500 every year. Boy was that a time of inequity in baseball.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 12:21 PM EST (#370534) #
That's not a bad solution, John N, given the sources of revenue available to all teams.  You could tinker it a bit, so that the teams with the worst record in each league are put in a lottery with the two teams in each league that are closest to the playoffs and miss for the first six draft picks.  It ordinarily will create an incentive to try to go for it, unless your team is really, really bad. 
James W - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 03:20 PM EST (#370535) #
Philadelphia reportedly will sign Bryce Harper for 13 years and $330,000,000.
Glevin - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 03:29 PM EST (#370536) #
A lot of very interesting looking divisions this year but NL East minus the Marlins looks amazing. Phillies, Braves, Mets, and Nationals are all very good teams.
AWeb - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 03:31 PM EST (#370537) #
Sounds weirdly reasonable and not much per year. But 13 years...13 years is a long time. 13 years ago Wells, Johnson, and Rios were a great outfield for the Jays. Santana and Webb won the cys, Morneau and Howard won the mvps. WAR barely existed in common discussions.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 03:50 PM EST (#370538) #
$330M/13 for Harper.. Any guesses on how soon:
a) the contract becomes an albatross (full no-trade, no opt-out)b) the fans turn on him
I know, he had that one 10-bWAR season, but... his average is just under 4 bWAR / year.... Unless he has another gear in there, I see this QUICKLY turning into another Pujols situation in 2-3 years..
John Northey - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 04:01 PM EST (#370539) #
Wow, 13 years. The per year price is reasonable but 13 years. His most similar through age 25 are Andruw Jones (big warning light there), Griffey Jr (133 OPS+ over the next 13 years, but sub 100 games 3 times, 150+ just 3 times), Ruben Sierra (another red light), Frank Robinson (159 OPS+ over the next 13 years, 129+ games all but one year where he got over 100 in). Some promising ones there, but a couple of big flashing red lights too.

I admit to thinking a 10 year $300 mil deal was a good idea, and this is just 3 more years at $10 mil each so it should still be good but the value per WAR has dropped drastically this winter. I suspect the Phillies will regret this deal in 5 years or so, but for those first few years if healthy Harper should be worth it.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 04:05 PM EST (#370540) #
I had him at 7 years/$210 million for the first 7 years (age 26-32 seasons inclusive).  So that would make him 6 years/$120 million for the next 6 (age 33-38 seasons inclusive).  That latter figure seems high to me.  He will be a DH quality fielder, and projecting him as a 2 WAR player on average for that period seems like a stretch to me.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 04:31 PM EST (#370541) #
All the crying over free agency is broken and then Harper signs the biggest free agency contract ever? The total value given to Harper is 27.5% of the sale price of the Marlins. I still have no sympathy for Scott Boras or any of his clients, even though I know he is good at his job.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 04:46 PM EST (#370542) #
The NL will likely have the DH some time in the next five years, probably sooner, so Harper should be fine there. It is the offensive decline that will be more important for him since that is where most of his value comes from. It is a deal the Phillies will almost certainly regret depending on how it is structured towards the end of the deal (they'd be better off it it's front loaded).

Harper's contract will span three different decades (one year in the '10's, ten years in the '20's, and two years in the '30's). He took less AAV to get the longest deal. Can't say I blame him with the way teams value aging curves now.
85bluejay - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 04:58 PM EST (#370543) #
It's very difficult for us fans to know how good/bad a deal ends being because we have little knowledge of the ancillary benefits - not a single deal has cost a franchise to go bankrupt or forced the owner to sell (can't think of any) - the Bernie Madoff scandal did more damage to a franchise (Mets) than any bad deals I can remember - the Phillies had the seemingly disastrous Ryan Howard deal and they are right back at it.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 04:59 PM EST (#370544) #
I ran a Play Index for comparables- hitters who had 3500+ PAs and an OPS+ between 130 and 148 (Harper's is 139) between age 19 and 25.  There have been 9 other players who fit the bill- A-Rod, F. Robby, Cepeda, Griffey Jr., Miguel Cabrera, Cedeno, Arky Vaughan, Sam Crawford and Sherry Magee.  A lot of Hall of Famers there, and most delivered 33 WAR+ from age 26.   On average, they were a little better than Harper as hitters, and I think that the contract is fair.  I imagine that he'll be a first baseman within 5-6 years. 
greenfrog - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 05:04 PM EST (#370545) #
Note that Philly gets some value from the absence of an opt-out clause. On the other hand, Harper gets a full no-trade clause.
Glevin - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 05:33 PM EST (#370546) #
Jays signing Bud Norris. Heís a good pickup and could net prospects at the deadline but I read that piece last year about his time in STL and he seemed pretty dickish.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 05:37 PM EST (#370547) #
I agree that Harper COULD be more or less worth it. The problem, IMO, is the full no-trade. No way to move him for a different bad contract, for example, unless it's to a team he likes.
Thomas - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 05:47 PM EST (#370548) #
Ah, the veteran leadership of Bud Norris. This should turn out well.

If you don't know what I'm referring to, read:

I'd rather watch the return tour of John Axford. He seems like a great guy and his performance is secondary in 2019.
scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 05:57 PM EST (#370549) #
Unless the contract is front loaded, the team doesn't lose anything from a player opting out.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 06:21 PM EST (#370550) #
Just posted by Dan Szymborski:

"The Phillies have largely protected themselves from these outcomes by not including an opt-out clause for Harper. Opt-outs are essentially player options by a different name. If the Phillies could know with 100% certainty that Bryce Harper would average four wins a year, they probably wouldnít mind including opt-outs in the contract. But thereís a lot we donít know about how good Bryce Harper will be long-term, and an opt-out would leave the Phillies paying for the downside risk while losing Harper early if he displays the upside heís capable of. At least this way, theyíre sure to enjoy that upside."
uglyone - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 06:51 PM EST (#370551) #
buchholz a jay
uglyone - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 06:52 PM EST (#370552) #
so, no kids on the pitching staff this year.
dan gordon - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 06:54 PM EST (#370553) #
Buchholz is the guy I wanted them to sign. Excellent addition. Norris is a nice add as well.
dan gordon - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 07:10 PM EST (#370554) #
So Arenado got 8 years at $32.5 MM, Machado got 10 years at $30 MM, and Harper got 13 years at $25.4 MM. Will be interesting to see how these work out. I'd say the question is how long before each of these contracts becomes an albatross that the team is looking to get out from under. In the near term, though, they seem to provide very good value.

I have to say the Arenado deal surprised me. Of course you have to allow for the park he plays in, and when you look at his road numbers, you have a career line of .263/.318/.469/.787 and he'll be 28 shortly after the start of the season. Seems like at stretch at $32.5 million, but then it's "only" 8 years. Machado is about the same on the road at .271/.319/.442/.761 and is just over a year younger. Harper is a little younger than Machado, and significantly better with road numbers of .274/.380/.506/.887, but doesn't provide the quality of defense that Arenado and Machado (at 3B) do.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 07:33 PM EST (#370555) #
I don't want Bud Norris anywhere near this team, but I will take Buchholz if that means that it less likely Richard starts a game.
rpriske - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 07:58 PM EST (#370556) #
The Arenado deal was the best of the three... easily.

Both Blue Jay pick ups are unexciting but solid. Upside exists.
Nigel - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 08:38 PM EST (#370557) #
Morales stays because of his critical clubhouse mentoring; Norris gets signed because on-field performance is way more important than clubhouse chemistry. The reality of pro sports (the Jays are in no way unique or even unusual in this regard) is that the mentoring narrative only gets pulled out when it suits managementís other needs/interests.

Iím a big fan of the Buchholz signing provided that one of Shoemaker or Richard is pushed to the pen. I fear Borucki gets pushed to Buffalo though.
scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 08:56 PM EST (#370558) #
It's not just Buffalo. Somebody will have to fall off the 40 roster and probably  leaves on waivers.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:15 PM EST (#370559) #
I don't even think Morales is the issue. The problem is more about Pillar and Smoak. Why are the latter two still on the team? Given that teams do not pay for defense, and do not seem to value 1B anymore, it is likely due to middling trade offers, but the Jays should still be able to move both of them without eating up any money. Plus opening up roster spots for more movable assets (SP/RP) or young players who need a look (Pompey) becomes more important for rebuilding teams. I'd be shocked if the offers for Pillar or Smoak are any better 3-4 months from now regardless of performance (unless Pillar's bat really takes off in the first half).

Not a fan of the Norris signing either. There is pretty compelling evidence that he's not a good guy, and he's not a good enough RP to counter that.
Nigel - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:23 PM EST (#370560) #
Norris is probably one of the best 5 relievers on the team. He can probably be flipped for an A ball lottery ticket later in the year. So I donít have a problem with it.

I donít think you could move Smoak for anything at his new salary. Pillar is one of only two major league OFs on the roster, with almost no OF prospects in the high minors. I would move Pillar, but, given the organizational issues in the OF, I understand not doing so.
Gerry - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:33 PM EST (#370561) #
Buchholz was one of my least favoured pitchers when he was on Boston. He was so slow, I hope he has picked up the pace since then.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:39 PM EST (#370562) #
I have no issues with signing relievers in order to flip them later (it's actually a really smart way of building a bullpen), but Norris just seems like a really questionable addition to a rebuilding team.

I don't think Pillar being one of only two MLB OF's on the team really matters at this point. If they trade him for a lottery ticket that doesn't require 40 man protection, and simply stick Pompey in CF, would it really make a difference if the team loses 1-2 WAR from CF (assuming Pompey is replacement level)? Worst case CF becomes a bit of a rotating position between Pompey, Grichuk, Alford, etc, depending on performance, or best case Pompey actually turns into an asset. As is the Jays probably lose Pompey now to make room for Buccholz. The only other bubble candidates would be Davis or Smith Jr, but they have options remaining, so the Jays might value them a bit more for that reason.

I could see the logic in teams not wanting to pay Smoak $8M in today's market. Maybe thinking his entire salary could be moved is wishful thinking, especially since he wasn't claimed off waivers in August last year when his salary was half of what it is now.
Vulg - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:40 PM EST (#370563) #
Buchholz is the guy I wanted them to sign. Excellent addition. Norris is a nice add as well.

I've also been harping about the team's unwillingness to dip into the short-term SP rental market, specifically pointing at Buchholz as an ideal target. Suffice it to say, I'm pretty happy with this news. I suppose it only became feasible given the team's budget at $6M.

I could do without Norris though. This is my lasting impression of him:

Good luck to our rookie coach.
Nigel - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 09:44 PM EST (#370564) #
Oh, I agree SK. I would be ok with Pompey or Gurriel getting 100 games in CF to see what you have in them. But that ainít going to sell tickets or sell hope. A fully efficient rebuild is beyond the Rogers business model.
scottt - Thursday, February 28 2019 @ 10:22 PM EST (#370565) #
The recipe it to promote prospects when they are ready, not before.
Jansen had a solid year in AAA, he's up for good.
Tellez, Alford and others haven't done that.

The rest of the team has to be made of established players trying to win every games.
It was painful to watch Solarte in the second half.
So basically the Bisons will be loaded with young players waiting to replace other players either injured, underperforming or traded later.
The return for some of those trades will be marginal.
The whole point is to ease the young players into the team in such a way that they're not in a position to produce quickly or be demoted.

I like Buchholtz even less then Norris.
I don't think Luciano speaks English, so I doubt Norris will bother him.
If both even make the team...

Thomas - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:11 AM EST (#370566) #
Let's review: Bud Norris:
- Verbally abused a teammate who was a talented young reliever who was not behaving in a way that Norris thought a rookie should; and
- Thinks there is a culture clash going on in baseball between American and international players.

He sounds like he will be a great addition to this team. An excellent teammate for Elvis Luciano.

I'd rather forfeit the upside of the B- prospect we may get at the trading deadline and spend Norris' bullpen spot running through names like Copping and Waguespeck to see what the team has.
rtcaino - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 02:22 AM EST (#370567) #
I hope Bud understands that in Toronto this is Canada's game. The country where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run and Jackie Robinson played AAA.
There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don't necessarily agree with. I understand you want to say it's a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. By the time you get to the Blue Jays, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this team is.
Glevin - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 03:01 AM EST (#370568) #
These are the kind of signings the Jays should be making. Was a bit surprised about Bucholtz because I thought they were done adding starters. I'm not worried about younger pitchers getting a shot at all. You can never have enough pitchers anyway but Shoemaker, Stroman, Sanchez, and Bucholtz combined for 330 IP last year. Also, I see this as making a Stroman trade more likely. Norris' antics are negative but a lot of this is down to clubhouse culture. Matheney let Norris (and others) do whatever they wanted. If he becomes an issue in the clubhouse, they can just release him. Not sure who is coming off the 40-man. I think Heidt and then I don't know. Carrying Smith, Davis, and Pompey seems a bit redundant (all close to majors, none profiling more than 4th OFer) and there is a decent chance Merryweather can go on 60 day DL
#2JBrumfield - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 04:01 AM EST (#370569) #
Buchholz was one of my least favoured pitchers when he was on Boston. Never liked Coppertone Buchholz after this stunt at the Dome in 2013.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 06:25 AM EST (#370570) #
The one positive thing I can say about Buchholz is that he probably won't be here very long.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 06:37 AM EST (#370571) #
Maybe no kids pitching in April, but if one starter struggles a la Garcia, he can be replaced quickly.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 06:41 AM EST (#370572) #
In actuality, Harper is getting 3 years at 10M at the end effectively lowering the payroll as calculated for the luxury tax. I doubt Machado will be worth much in 10 years. We might see. 10 years is a long time.
AWeb - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 06:58 AM EST (#370573) #
The super-long deal makes sense for Harper in one important way - the Phillies now have a reason to play him until he's 39. If part of your motivation is having an all-time great career, playing a long time is something you want to try and ensure. Pujols has gotten a few years of extra playing time already out of simply being the incumbent with a contract, as one example.

I've seen takes on Machado talking about he might get another chance to make money after his contract expires. That's only true if he's still a top-flight player, and past a certain age, the best you are going to do is a short-term, lower money commitment. I don't know how motivated Beltre was to maximize his earning versus staying where he like it, but at ages 36-37 (he was a free agent somewhere in there), after a long series of 5-7 WAR seasons, no one came by blew the doors off with an offer. And he's one of the best mid-to-late 30s guys in history (also will be missed this year).

One other note - the NL will quite possibly have a DH in the next 10 years, so Harper might have a whole new position to occupy in his dotage.
85bluejay - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 07:23 AM EST (#370574) #
I've read fans thinking that Buchholz will likely take Richard's spot in the rotation - I'm not so sure - I think the opening day rotation is more likely to be Stroman/Sanchez/Shoemaker/Buchholz/Richard - assuming that Buchholz is ready to start the season & Stroman is still here.

I hope the addition of Norris & Axford etc. means that Paulino gets to start in the Buffalo rotation - still have dreams of him as a starter despite his injury history.
Glevin - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 07:25 AM EST (#370575) #
MLB Pipeline updated their Jays top-30 and the list looks a lot better.
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 08:01 AM EST (#370576) #
I'd rather forfeit the upside of the B- prospect we may get at the trading deadline and spend Norris' bullpen spot running through names like Copping and Waguespeck to see what the team has.

Me too.  I guess the club wanted to balance out the positive effect that Morales has on younger Latin players.  Whatever.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 08:43 AM EST (#370577) #
Sort of.

70: Guerrero
60: Bichette
55: Jansen
55: Pearson
55: Pardinho
50: Groshans
50: Smith
50: Kloffenstein
50: Sean Reid-Foley
50: Biggio
50: Alford
50: Orelvis Martinez
50: Miguel Hiraldo
45: McKinney
45: Thorton
45: Zeuch
45: Perez
45: Jiminez
45: Connine
45: Murphy
45: Tellez
45: Moreno
45: Young
45: McGuire
45: Taylor
45: Noda
45: Diaz
45: Luciano
45: Kirk
45: Stevenson

I'm guessing there's a few 45 left off the list.

The overview mentions that the depth of the system is impressive.

scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 08:46 AM EST (#370578) #
All of those 5 have had troubles staying on the field.
Richard might not even be ready to start the season.
He's coming off knee surgery. On the plus side, he could be healthier and rebound.

uglyone - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 09:07 AM EST (#370579) #
Richard 35
Buchholz 34
Shoemaker 32
Stroman 28
Sanchez 26

Axford 36
Norris 34
Phelps 32
Tepera 31
Biagini 29
Gaviglio 29
Giles 28

Morales 36
Smoak 32
Pillar 30
Galvis 29
Travis 28
Maile 28
Grichuk 27
Hernandez 26
Drury 26

McKinney 24 / Tellez 24
Davis 27 / Pompey 26
Gurriel 25 / Urena 23
Jansen 24 / McGuire 24

Oldest rebuilding team ever?
greenfrog - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 09:29 AM EST (#370580) #
Luciano 19
uglyone - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 09:42 AM EST (#370581) #
Roster with Averaged Projected War pro-rated to a full season:

Stroman (28): 2.8
Shoemaker (32): 1.8
Sanchez (26): 1.7
Buchholz (34): 1.6
Richard (35): 1.2

(R-Foley (23): 1.2)
(Borucki (25): 1.2)
(Pannone (25): 0.2)

Giles (28): 1.2
Tepera (31): 0.5
Norris (34): 0.4
Phelps (32): 0.3
Gaviglio (29): 0.2
Biagini (29): 0.0
Axford (36): 0.0

(Paulino (25): 0.3)
(Thornton (25): 0.3)
(Mayza (27): 0.2)

Vladdy (20): 4.7
Jansen (24): 3.5
Grichuk (27): 3.0
Pillar (35): 2.5
Smoak (32): 2.0
Galvis (29): 1.7
Travis (28): 1.5
Gurriel (25): 1.4
Morales (36): 0.6

McGuire (24): 1.4 (Maile (28): 0.7)
Teoscar (26): 0.9 (Tellez (24): 1.4)
Drury (26): 0.9 (Urena (23): 0.0)
Davis (27): 0.5 (Pompey (26): 0.0)
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:03 AM EST (#370582) #
The normally mild-mannered and clear-thinking Shi Davidi is "confused" by these signings. Davidi says in relation to young Blue Jay prospects:

"thereís something corrosive about repeatedly telling a player thatís clearly ready for the majors that heís not, and then withholding opportunity from him."
uglyone - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:24 AM EST (#370583) #
"in a groundwork for the future kind of season, if youíre not giving the ball to someone like Borucki, whoís won over coaches and player development people at each step through his determination and character, then what are you punting on 2019 for?"

indeed, Shi, indeed.
rpriske - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:30 AM EST (#370584) #
I didn't know that about Norris.

Now I am very disappointed he is on the team.

Nigel - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:44 AM EST (#370585) #
The idea that Rogers would deviate from its annual goal of attempting to field a 78-84 win team isnít one Iíve heard expressed anywhere by management - so this isnít surprising. As I said above, an efficient rebuild isnít in their DNA.
cybercavalier - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:55 AM EST (#370586) #
Former Jays minor leaguer Andy Burns signs with the Jays to a minor league contract, yesterday.
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:59 AM EST (#370587) #
Nigel, keeping VGJ down does not help them get to 78-84.  They're probably headed for 73 wins or less this year. 

Their average payroll for 2014-18 per Sportrac was 154M.  It is currently at 106 for 2019.  It seems to me that their goal is to keep the average payroll for 2019-2023 at 154M or less and to compete for two or three of those years.  That's from Rogers, I suspect.  The Norris and Buchholz signings are, I am pretty sure, all the GM's doing, and reflect his views on the best way to achieve Rogers' goals.  Whether or not the payroll limitations are reasonable (I don't think they are), the GM's decision is another thing entirely.
uglyone - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:16 AM EST (#370588) #
I just don't get the strategy of trading for older "readier" prospects instead of younger high upside guys, but then going out and buying more crappy vets and sending those older prospects down to the minors anyways.

or is this the year that they use the deadline to turn these vets into younger actual prospects instead of mid-20s castoffs? and if so, why didn't they do that before?
AWeb - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:18 AM EST (#370589) #
Buchholz famously has some of the highest variance in his career of anyone, ever. ERA+ for season with 70IP are 237, 215, 185, 132, 124, 111, 94, 92, 75, 69. The 215 was just last year in 98 innings, followed by season-ending injuries. He might not be fun to watch, and he might not mean the Jays make the playoffs, but if he can pitch at all, there's a chance he's one of the best starters in baseball, at least for a few months. $3-6 million for a lottery ticket and a shot at a pretty good return at the trading deadline is a shot the Jays should take. Also, since the only shot the Jays have this year is starting pitching all coming up aces (so to speak), add Buchholz to the Stroman, Sanchez, Shoemaker pile of guys who could be good if they are healthy. A one in a thousand chance is still a chance, right?

Bud Norris though? Consistently average/below average, apparently relishes playing the role of hard-ass jerk, what's the point of using a roster spot on a guy who has an upside of 4th best reliever on a good team? Sigh.
Nigel - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:19 AM EST (#370590) #
I agree that this is something like a 73 win (or worse) team. I also agree keeping Vladdy down is contrary to winning 78-84 wins, but that is a decision based on a conflicting economic issue that, Iím sure, supersedes the normal imperative. I also agree that these are GM decisions made in the context of Rogersí budgetary and ratings directives. I think the GM thinks these signings give them a better chance of being mediocre this year and more importantly gives Rogers marketing a way to sell that this is a competitive team. I donít think management is under any illusion that this team will be competitive prior to 2021.
rpriske - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:24 AM EST (#370591) #
After it no longer costs a year of control, getting Vladi up as soon as possible isn't really about winning games. It is about putting butts in seats.
People need something to cheer for.
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:27 AM EST (#370592) #
It's true, AWeb.  But, if you're going for that longshot, Borucki makes a lot more sense than Richard in the rotation at the beginning of the year.  And maybe, Atkins will tell us tomorrow that Richard is a little sore somewhere and so they're going to start the season with him in the pen. 
ISLAND BOY - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:39 AM EST (#370593) #
On the list of players with their age in brackets Kevin Pillar is listed at 35 when he was actually 30 this past January.

I would like to see Borucki start the season in the rotation. Even if he doesn't I can see him getting his share of big-league innings based on the injury histories of the starters and the likelihood that at least one will be traded. I can see a few of the starters in AAA getting a chance later on also. Its a long season and a lot happens along the way.
John Northey - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:42 AM EST (#370594) #
Keep Vlad down for a month won't cost a full win based on WAR unless whoever plays third instead is totally incompetent which is possible... Still, as a strategy it makes too much sense not to do.
uglyone - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:51 AM EST (#370595) #
I keep going back to what I suspected from the start - that these guys either don't value the concept of high-end talent or don't believe in their ability (or perhaps anyone's ability) to find it at a high rate and/or affordably.

Thus every move is premised on amassing quantity over quality and waiting for some of them to pop.

Unfortunately, of course, this means that this is not just a short term plan but a longterm one as well - a continuous pileup of "interesting" but borderline talent.

Glevin - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:09 PM EST (#370596) #
Again, people are way too concerned about Borucki and other young pitchers getting innings. Even if they start down, this is an extremely injury-prone staff. they'll get their innings. Any reliever that pitches well in AAA, will get a shot. Pitchers are not being blocked for very long.
uglyone - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:13 PM EST (#370597) #
surely a rebuild should be doing more than just using kids as injury fill ins.
Nigel - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:17 PM EST (#370598) #
In one sense Glevin I agree, pitching depth is generally a plus. But if you send someone like Borucki down, after a year in which he pitched well in Toronto over a sizeable number of innings, in favour of what can charitably be called mediocrities, what message does that send? Weíll see how this shakes out.
ayjackson - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:17 PM EST (#370599) #
I don't have a problem with bringing in Norris/Bucholz to flip in July. I, like others, only object to Norris being a dirtbag (not in the "ball player" sense, but as a human being) and Bucholz being generably unlikable.
SK in NJ - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:19 PM EST (#370600) #
I don't have an issue with the off-season necessarily, as I think Shoemaker, Buccholz, Phelps, etc, are the types of pitchers rebuilding teams should be signing to create depth and possibly trade assets at the deadline, and judging by the market they likely did about as well as they could have for Diaz (similar/better infielders than him are signing minor league or cheap one year deals), but there does not appear to be any real direction one way or the other for this team right now.

Of course having a scorched earth rebuild will never happen with Rogers owning the team, but they don't even need to do one. Just a sensible stripping down of expendable parts that were blocking internal options. Martin and Tulo being moved made sense. You could argue Pillar and Smoak are not blocking anyone that is ready, but those are still two roster spots clogged up by 1-2 WAR talent in their 30's on a rebuilding team that has a 40 man roster crunch. I was expecting more movement, and maybe we will see more now that Harper has finally signed.
SK in NJ - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 12:26 PM EST (#370601) #
The team is filled with injury prone starters. It wouldn't surprise me at all if a lot of the projected minor league arms will end up pitching more than the projected big league rotation. That includes Borucki, SRF, Pannone, etc.

On the flip side, I could definitely see the argument that demoting Borucki for non-injury/performance reasons would be a weird message to send after the season he had in 2018. Maybe the FO thinks he overachieved in '18 and want him to work on some things in the minors (if they do end up demoting him), but these are still human beings.
bpoz - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 01:43 PM EST (#370602) #
IMO Rogers can win 78-84 games with a lower payroll. $90-110 mil rather than $130-150 mil.

I don't understand how tanking works. I understand that the more losses you have the more successful the tanking is. Our Sept record was 12 wins and 16 losses which was not bad enough for me to call it tanking. So I don't believe that we were tanking. Bauxites said that we were "not" tanking. The Twins won their last 6 games.

I cannot find our farm team stats. Can't find the ML Sept 30,2018 standings to compare with the Final standings. My computer will not do this any more.

What is a "scorched earth" rebuild? That is not Baltimore. They signed FAs and gave up draft picks to do it.

What Atkins is doing may make sense. What he is saying is not making much sense. Holding Vlad back is a financial strategy. If Borucki does not make the rotation, burns his last option and dominates in AAA then that move makes no sense.
Mylegacy - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 02:46 PM EST (#370603) #
On our site these past few days, in our continuing journey through time/space here on Planet Earth, we hear (and I paraphrase): ...we're in a rebuild...Borucki being sent down, what message does that send...Norris/Bucholz taking opportunities from the kids...

"We're in a rebuild." Really? To my mind we're only just beginning the tear down. Do any of Smoak, Morales, Stroman, Sanchez, Pillar, Galvis, Shoemaker, Phelps, etc., ad nauseam belong on our "re-built team"?

Borucki: The guy comes into camp having gained 5 pounds and (as reports say HE sees it) he's upset that his fastball is up from 90/91 to 93/95. He says his stuff is going so fast it's straight instead of falling off. This is a classic case of a kid still growing, still learning his own body, and his own stuff. In M(H)O, clearly this is a kid who needs the opportunity for learning and refining, outside the glare of the Show, that the minors will grant him.

Vlad: Clearly he is NOT ready. No question the bat is BUT this guy - who KNOWS he is going to have a life long fight with weight - comes into came at 19 years of age and 250 pounds. AND (as my watery eyes see him) - almost none of that extra 50 pounds is muscle. If he was on my team I would tell him if he wants a 15 year career, like his father, he'll need the maturity to realize that his body is going to be the instrument that gets it for him. He already has had a knee injury and now he's heavier - but no stronger. I'm terrified this kid's career is going to have: A spectacular opening, a year or two at third, a year or two at 1st and then, as a 25(ish) year old he'll become "Big Pappy Two" and be an interesting, productive but ultimately pathetic shadow of what a serious athlete could have made out of his abilities, skills and spectacular natural talent.

As a 26 year old FA DH he'll sign a multi year contract with either of the Two Evil Empires and mash his way through a not bad end to what could have been a magical career.


I would NOT let the kid up until he was sure to NOT be a "Super Two." I hate to have to overpay in arbitration for a DH. He has to learn that his choices about his career have consequences. His father and his uncle know better, that they haven't been able to influence him to understand how important his body is to his career is a weighty sadness to me.

I'm being a bit harsh and a bit maudlin. I know. But - what a way to degrade the Hope Diamond, by putting it in a 50 pound coat of Zirconium.

Sigh squared...
Gerry - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 03:08 PM EST (#370604) #
Gurriel Jr. hit on the wrist by Darren O'Day. He was removed from the game.
Gerry - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 04:33 PM EST (#370605) #
No fracture for Gurriel per Blue Jays, just a bruise.
Vulg - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 06:33 PM EST (#370606) #
I don't understand how tanking works. I understand that the more losses you have the more successful the tanking is. Our Sept record was 12 wins and 16 losses which was not bad enough for me to call it tanking. So I don't believe that we were tanking. Bauxites said that we were "not" tanking. The Twins won their last 6 games.

That September win rate translates to a 69 win season. That would be golden for tanking purposes.

The problem with Rogers is the same problem that used to afflict the Leafs - they can't fully commit (or aren't smart enough to fully commit) to a rebuild. They do things like hang on to JD for fear of fan reaction or dumpster-dive for poorer versions of players that could fetch more in trades (eg. Morton vs. Buchholz).

Joe Bowden had a pretty good (IMO) assessment of each AL East's offseason. The Jays got a 'D' grade (lowest in the division) for their "strategy" of simply waiting for the kids.
greenfrog - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 06:54 PM EST (#370607) #
We'll know more in a few years about how effective this front office has been. They've made a few missteps (e.g., waiting too long to trade JD and Osuna, drafting Warmoth, wrong evaluations of some players like Solarte and Morales, some PR gaffes), but they've also made some good moves (drafting Bichette, signing Happ, maintaining a strong presence in Latin America, building good depth on the farm, closing the deal on a new spring training facility, etc.). For me, it's too soon to give them a thumbs up or thumbs down.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 07:23 PM EST (#370608) #
Looks like Sanchez had 2 good innings.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 07:25 PM EST (#370609) #
Donaldson has not played yet and his manager said he doesn't even know when he's gonna play.
Paul D - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 08:40 PM EST (#370610) #
The idea that Vlad isn't ready is not credible.
cybercavalier - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 09:35 PM EST (#370611) #
my mistake, erasing andy burns' update
scottt - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 09:42 PM EST (#370612) #
The idea is that he could improve in some areas; his defense, his conditioning, his diet, etc...
Trout came out at about the same age and had a 10.5 bWAR season in only 139 games.
That turned out to be his best season..

Third base is the strongest position in MLB right now.
Overall, at 20, he's possibly the 7th best third baseman.
You might consider that ready, but will he improve? Will he stay on the field?

I think the latest proposition for 2020 is that all players on the 40 roster will accrue service time in September but the active roster will be limited to 28. I'm expecting to see all 40 players in September again this year.. There's a chance the August trade deadline is gone this summer. That would mean we could see more contenders signing released players like Jaime Garcia. Not very exciting.

dalimon5 - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:14 PM EST (#370613) #
Is it reasonable to expect an MLB team that passed on a free agent to want to trade prospects for that same player 5 months later?
hypobole - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:17 PM EST (#370614) #
Happens all the time.
Nigel - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:33 PM EST (#370615) #
It doesn't drive me crazy that Rogers runs the club in a suboptimal way relative to their position on the success-curve. It goes with being owned by a public company who cares deeply about the next quarterly and annual report.

It does frustrate me when people say that the current management needs a few more years before we can draw conclusions about them. They've been in charge since 2015. Four years. How many more years do we need? Seven? Ten? How many industries operate on the idea that after four years we can't judge them? For every good move there is an equally questionable one from this group. I think we can judge them. I think ok/mediocre is appropriate. You could do much worse than the current group, but you could do much better.
John Northey - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:35 PM EST (#370616) #
Full tanks suck. I hate watching 100+ loss teams. It isn't fun when your team has little chance of winning most of the time. Imagine Jamie Garcia 2018 starting every game. Ick.

The quick and dirty study I did on the Jays over a year ago showed that sub 70 wins they lost fans at a crazy pace, over 90 and they gain at a crazy pace. Inbetween and the team does meh. Makes a lot of sense but more extreme than most teams thus a big incentive to win, and a big incentive not to tank. The jump comes very fast when they are playing well too.

If the Jays keep around 80 wins they won't get the top 5 picks many here would like, but they still get good ones if they scout well (Halladay was 17th overall, Stieb a 5th rounder, David Wells a 2nd round pick.

The 3 2nd overall picks ever were Lloyd Moseby (27.5 WAR), Garry Harris, and Augie Schmidt (taken just a few picks before Dwight Gooden). The last 2 never reached the majors. The other top 5 picks were Jay Schroeder (never reached), Billy Koch (5.4 WAR), Matt Williams (0.4), and Vernon Wells (28.5). Other top 10's were Ricky Romero (9.9), Felipe Lopez (7.5), Matt Stark (-0.5), Jeff Hoffman (-1.0), and Phil Bickford (didn't sign, hasn't reached yet with Milwaukee now in A+ as a reliever last year). Not a great track record. So is tanking worth it? IMO no.
John Northey - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 10:44 PM EST (#370617) #
As to the 'we should know all we need to know' about the current management team...

2016: made playoffs, got to the ALCS (same as 2015, tied for best result since 1993).
2017: tried to continue but didn't toss away prospects to go for it, injuries and age happened.
2018: one last kick at the can before losing Donaldson and injuries again. Again didn't panic and sell off prospects.
2019: admits to it being a rebuild year (retool, whatever you want to call it) but again, won't risk selling off prospects and had the guts to release or eat cash in trade to clear space (Tulo, Martin). I give a lot of credit for understanding sunk costs as too many teams don't seem to understand it.

In May we'll see Vlad up (assuming health), Jansen will be the starter behind the plate, kids in LF/RF (Hernandez, Grichuk, McKinney, whoever), Gurriel Jr will play somewhere everyday. Borucki should get 10-20 starts or more depending on health of others, Pannone, Reid-Foley, and others will get their chances too but vets are here to eat innings until the kids are ready.

I like that direction this year. Next year the rotation could be mostly kids, Bo should get a full shot, and hopefully some others jump in and earn a spot. To my thinking this is how it should go. Lots of kids but not 100%.
hypobole - Friday, March 01 2019 @ 11:32 PM EST (#370618) #
The best thing they've done is revamping the player development system. Was long overdue.
dan gordon - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 02:29 AM EST (#370619) #
Shapiro was hired on August 31, 2015 to take over after the 2015 season, so they've been in charge for about 3 years, 5 months. In baseball terms, that's not a long period of time. I like the majority of the things they've done, particularly the way they have rebuilt the farm system and emphasized building from within. Of course there have been things that I disagree with, but you will never find a management team that does everything the way you would do it. They've had some very bad luck with tradeable assets being injured - hopefully they get some good health from Stroman, Sanchez, and others they may be looking at trading. I expect Stroman will be dealt, but if Sanchez is healthy, I can see them trying to sign him for a few years. Whether he wants to stay is another matter. Buchholz could be a very good addition for either a rotation spot for 2-3 years, or a trade, if he's healthy.

I'm not concerned about Borucki and other young pitchers starting the season in AAA. Given the injury histories of Stroman, Sanchez, Shoemaker and Buchholz, plus the possibilities of trades, there are going to be LOTS of starts for other pitchers. I would be surprised if pitchers other than those 4 make fewer than 60 starts (or quasi-starts after an "opener") this season.

From the video I have seen this spring, I have to say I am concerned about Vladdy's weight. He already looks to me like he's carrying about 30 excess pounds, and if he's that heavy at his age, there is the risk that he becomes very overweight by his mid-late 20's. He may have a fairly short career if he can't get his weight under control - Prince Fielder comes to mind.
Glevin - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 06:03 AM EST (#370620) #
"It does frustrate me when people say that the current management needs a few more years before we can draw conclusions about them. They've been in charge since 2015. Four years. How many more years do we need? Seven? Ten? How many industries operate on the idea that after four years we can't judge them? "

In this industry, four years is nothing. You are not taking over a blank slate, you are taking over a company with pre-existing commitments, pre-existing talent, and a budget. Do you think the Giants or Tigers or Marlins will be contenders in a few years? At the same time, teams like Tampa and Atlanta and San Diego are setup for long-term success. I think this front office has actually made more good decisions than bad (many of the best decisions were ones they didn't make that fans wanted to...stuff like giving big extensions to Bautista/Encarnacion/Donaldson or trading prospects to go all in in 2016 or 2017). To me, they have made a few mistakes the biggest was trying to thread the needle last year instead of starting the rebuild. This is the only mistake with long-term consequences. Morales was a bad signing but all it cost was money and wouldn't have changed any results during the year. I also would have liked to target prospects further away from the majors for Happ but maybe it wasn't really available. Other than that, things like Solarte and Garcia not panning out or Warmoth looking like a bust are par for the course for every single team in baseball. In all, the negatives are actually pretty minor.

Agree with all of Dan's post right above too.
scottt - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 06:31 AM EST (#370621) #
The draft can be confusing at times. Warmoth was the 22nd pick overall and was the best player available (high floor, low ceiling, low risk). The next year they went off the board to sign Groshans and Kloffenstein, but they were picking higher and could offer more money. Groshans had a 4.2M slot. Warmoth a 2.8M slot. At least Warmoth remains one of the best baseball name and could still become a solid MLB player. They got Pearson and Smith out of that draft despite picking 22nd. It's a good one in my books.

16, 17, 18, that's 3 years.
I don't know if 3 year is enough to judge a front office, but I don't judge a year on the first of March.

Top 100 prospects don't all turn out into top prospects in the high minors. McKinney was a top 100 prospect.

hypobole - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 09:05 AM EST (#370623) #
AA was at the helm over five and a half years when he made the Tulo/Price trades.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 09:29 AM EST (#370624) #
I think this front office has actually made more good decisions than bad (many of the best decisions were ones they didn't make that fans wanted to...stuff like giving big extensions to Bautista/Encarnacion/Donaldson or trading prospects to go all in in 2016 or 2017). To me, they have made a few mistakes the biggest was trying to thread the needle last year instead of starting the rebuild. This is the only mistake with long-term consequences.

Agreed with that. And even that 'thread the needle' strategy may have been imposed from above by Rogers. They probably wanted to keep the gravy train rolling as long as possible, even though a reset/rebuild was needed.
SK in NJ - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 10:48 AM EST (#370626) #
I agree with dan gordonís post as well. The FO hasnít been perfect by any means but they have not been here long enough to really implement what they are planning for. I think even saying three years is a bit misleading since they were likely told to prolong the teamís 2015 success for as long as possible, meaning they couldnít push the reset button earlier. They helped extend the success for an additional year but couldnít squeeze any more juice out of it in 2017-18.

Where Atkins and Shapiro will be graded is how the young talent pans out and how the team looks in 2020-21. If you look at their history they seem to acquire prospects (and players in general) at their lowest value. For better or worse they seem very confident in their player development. That is a wait and see approach.
scottt - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 10:50 AM EST (#370627) #
Out of the 2015 draft, we got Jon Harris, Justin Maese, Travis Bergen, Connor Pannas and Jackson McClelland. All 3 drafts under the Shapiro regime have been solid. Their biggest mistake was Woodman and that got corrected in a hurry.

Guerrero is talented and driven but immature. He's literally a kid.
Gary Carter was the face of the Expos for years. He was called "the kid".
I can't wait to watch Guerrero every day.
All the service time manipulation talk is just non-sense though.

Nigel - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 11:01 AM EST (#370628) #
Almost nobody in any industry starts with a clean slate. Iím an executive. I went into my current role about 4 months before Shapiro took over. I have a budget imposed by my board. I am the beneficiary of the good decisions made by my predecessor and limited by some bad decisions. Iím hamstrung by some contracts signed by my predecessors. There isnít anything unique about the baseball world in this regard. In my fist performance review (and to a lesser extent my second) I did say it was too early to judge my performance. If I said that to my board right now they would die laughing right before they fired me. I understand that there will be different perspectives on managementís performance and not all of what they have done can yet be judged, but after almost four years they can be judged. I will admit that assessing this management group is harder than most because they have done less of significance than most (I donít necessarily say that negatively - doing very little may have been a good strategy).
dalimon5 - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 11:17 AM EST (#370629) #
Unless your employer is one of the largest in Canada and unless your role is as important to that employer as Shapiro's is to Rogers, basically the head guy running the operation for the family, your experience as an executive is probably not the best way to assess the time frame that Shapiro/Atkins should be given "in any industry," since every industry is different.
cascando - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 11:43 AM EST (#370631) #
I do not see a lot of reason for optimism with this management group. At this stage, I think it is difficult to argue that they are not the primary architects of what we see in front of us. 4 years is a reasonable amount of time to establish a direction and make clear a team-building philosophy. Guerrero aside (who I don't think you can reasonably credit this management team for developing--he is a gifted outlier and would probably succeed anywhere) they seem to have assembled an average group of prospects and a well below average MLB club.

Bichette is the only player they have added to the organization in 4 years that appears to have even potential all-star upside. Perhaps you could argue Pearson as well. The rest reflects a focus on quantity over quality, high floor over high ceiling, and depth over skill.

I credit them with some changes to the minor league development system that might not be apparent day-to-day but could potentially pay off in the long run.

Otherwise, and in general, this really reminds me of the risk-averse Ricciardi era. If everyone performs to a reasonable expectation, they are probably capable of 76-81 wins and should deliver an above average number of wins/$. But the chances of winning a championship seem very remote.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 12:42 PM EST (#370633) #
I have to disagree. Bichette, Groshans, Pardinho, Kloffenstein, Orelvis, Moreno, and others arguably have All-Star upside. And it can be very difficult to predict who will overachieve and become a star. Ten to fifteen years ago, did anyone foresee Donaldson becoming a 7-9 WAR third baseman in his prime?

Also, the team has a relatively new scouting director in Steve Sanders, and theyíve made a number of front office / coaching / player development personnel changes. Theyíve made a promising managerial hire in Montoyo, poached the Astrosí hitting coach, and they seem to be interested in building out their analytics department. Plus, Atkins is a fairly new GM. It took a while (arguably, until 2014) for Anthopoulos to really hit his stride. I think itís going to take a while for the impact of all of these changes to be felt.
scottt - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 02:03 PM EST (#370634) #
It seems the Jays are looking for pitchers with some history of success in the AL East.
They got Phelps. They went after Adam Warren who signed for 2.5 with an option in San Diego.
They offered Bud Norris a minor contract with an MLB option for 3M outright and an extra 1M+ in incentives. They signed Buchholz.

bpoz - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 02:10 PM EST (#370635) #
Agree greenfrog.

Shapiro trusted Lacava with the Happ signing. So they work as a group. That was a nothing much signing that worked out well. Lacava rejected AA's offer to join him in Atlanta.

AA was given free range by Beeston. Although I think Beeston kept telling him that there may be consequences for poor results.

Atkins has confused many of us. Me for sure. A large quantity of "Iffy" prospects. Some may actually have value.

I think Atkins extended Smoak. Maybe also signed Morales/Gurriel as a package.
John Northey - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 03:49 PM EST (#370637) #
When it comes to judging GM's I think 5 years is the minimum to get a strong idea. 5 years into Gillick's tenure here the team was just starting to get good (1983). 5 years into Ash's reign of terror the team was in contention sorta (1999) 10 games out in the end, 6 1/2 back mid-August in the wild card slot (20-27 after that). Funny - that team had a lot of the best the Jays ever produced from the farm in Halladay, Delgado, David Wells, Tony Fernandez (last 2 on their final return), Shannon Stewart, Shawn Green, Pat Hentgen, Kelvim Escobar, Chris Carpenter.
John Northey - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 04:07 PM EST (#370638) #
5 years into JPR's era was 2006 - 87 wins, 2nd place, but 8 back of a playoff slot. 6 back mid-August from the wildcard. The team of Wells/Rios and Halladay/Burnett. A 22 year old Adam Lind was the upcoming 'superstar' at 22. Sigh.

5 years into AA's was 2014 - a year after the big trades that flopped, 83 wins, just 5 back of a playoff slot. As we all know the team made the playoffs the next 2 years in a row. EE/Bautista the big guns, Lind still a solid DH, Stroman the young gun in the rotation, Sanchez doing killer work out of the pen (1.09 ERA in 33 IP). Brett Lawrie and Anthony Gose showing promise as did a 21 year old Pompey.

All of these GM's were on their 5th year, all getting the team in eyeshot of a playoff slot at least in August. AA made it year 6, Gillick year 7, Ash and JPR never made the playoffs. Ash was the only one given a strong team to start (or so it seemed) like the current team was given. He did his tear down mid way through his second year (1994 was his first for all intents and purposes, Gillick was seen as semi-retired that year as I recall) after chasing a division title at the start (traded for David Cone).

So I give the current team another year before I get anxious about them doing an Ash and screwing it all up. They seem to value the high floor that JPR did, but not scared of high ceilings which is all AA seemed to chase. If they can draft like Ash's teams did, while stockpiling like AA did, then have the guts to do trades like AA and Gillick did when the time is right I'll be happy. Right now it is like 1982/83 when the team was getting the kids into the lineup and seeing what was there. 2020 will be like 1984 I hope - trade/sign free agents to fill holes and see if you can sneak in as a decade of greatness starts anew.
scottt - Saturday, March 02 2019 @ 04:39 PM EST (#370639) #
Spring is almost here.

Travis has inflammation in his left knee and has been shut down for evaluation.

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