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Four games at the Trop? That seldom ends well. At least there probably won't be many witnesses.

The Jays finally get to play a team that's not in first place. Alas, Tampa Bay is both good and highly motivated. The Devil Fishies are locked in a tight battle to get into the Wild Card game - just half a game separates Tampa, Cleveland, and Oakland. There can be only... uh, two.

The Jays have 140 games in the books now, which means there's 22 games left. (Math skillz - I haz them.) Marcus Stroman and Daniel Hudson, both long gone, remain tied for the team lead in Wins with 6, and while it's not beyond the realm of possibility that someone on the staff could match that, I can guarantee that whoever leads the team will have the lowest team-leading figure in franchise history. Only one other time have the Jays not had a pitcher reach double digits in wins, and that was when Tom Underwood led the 1979 team with 9 of them. The 1979 team, with their .349 winning percentage still holds the dubious distinction of the worst record in team history. (While the 1981 team was the most pathetic crew I have ever seen in my life - even worse than that 1979 team -† the 1981 squad got to send Dave Stieb out there every four days and Stieb was astonishing that year.)

Is anyone going to hit 30 HRs? Possible, if not all that likely. Randal Grichuk is certainly capable of hitting 6 of them in a month - he's done it twice this year - and if he does it again this September he'll finish with 29.

Is anyone going to drive in or score 100 runs? Please.

One more thing. The other day I saw someone somewhere refer to Montoyo's "love affair with the bunt." (I don't think it was here.) Anyway, let's stomp on that idea right here, right now.† The Jays have 12 sac hits this year, which is just below the league average. Only twice in franchise history have they had fewer sac hits in a season. Six times in franchise history a single player has had more sac hits in a season (and one of them was Roberto Freaking Alomar, although I'm pretty sure he was trying to bunt for a hit with a man on base most of the time.) Twelve sac hits just seems like a lot compared to 2018, when John Gibbons' gang had exactly 5 sac hits. That was a little weird, actually.† In his first tour as manager, Gibbons - like Bobby Cox, Gaston, and Carlos Tosca before him - bunted much less than the average AL team. But he he shot up near the league average in 2007, was way over in 2008, and remained consistently above the league average in his second tour. Until last year. Ah, Gibby - so unpredictable!

But we saw a similar phenomena when John Farrell replaced Cito Gaston. Farrell was a completely average manager when it came to bunting, but coming after Gaston in 2010 Farrell looked like Gene Mauch.

We have come a long way. Roy Hartsfield's first team had 81 sac hits (league average was 66), and come to think of it, why not? It's not like he had any guys who could actually hit.

Hey, I can make a pretty picture.

Figures for the three seasons with shortened schedules have been pro-rated. Is that the term? Whatever.

As you can see, the bunt has fallen out of favour over the years and good thing too. And the Jays have generally always bunted less than the average AL team, sometimes quite a bit less. The most obvious spike is in 2008 when John Gibbons was trying everything possible to avoid the double plays that were throttling his offense. He also had David Eckstein, John McDonald, and Joe Inglett receiving plenty of playing time.


Thu 5 Sep - Thornton (4-9, 5.34) vs Pruitt (2-0, 4.78)
Fri 6 Sep - Buchholz (1-3, 5.45) vs McKay (2-3, 5.55)
Sat 7 Sep - TBD vs Morton (14-6, 3.06)
Sun 8 Sep - Waguespack (4-3, 3.97) vs Yarbrough (11-3, 3.49)

The Jays haven't announced anything regarding Saturday's game, though it's generally expected that Anthony Kay will make his MLB debut, possibly behind an opener.

And a reminder - tonight's game is not on television. It's being broadcast on the YouTube, which I understand is something on that Internet thing .
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 5-8 September | 157 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#380966) #
Sanchez to undergo season ending shoulder surgery, and I unfortunately think his career is officially washed.
Cracka - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#380969) #
Sanchez will almost certainly be non-tendered and become a FA this off-season... and given his durability concerns, he will likely have to settle for a non-roster invitation / minor-league deal next season. I'm sure teams will be intrigued by him -- after all he did just throw 2/3rds of a no-hitter.

On a different note, I'm curious to see how Montoyo uses the extra players on the bench over the final 22 games. Do you prioritize at-bats for fringe guys like Alford, Davis, Fisher, McKinney, Urena to give them another chance to impress? Or do keep putting your regulars out most days as he's been doing?

bpoz - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#380970) #
If the surgery to Sanchez happens then he gets paid by Houston for 2020 and still becomes a FA at the end of 2020?
Cracka - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#380974) #
He doesn't have a contract yet for 2020 and is currently earning $3.9M. The Astros could offer him a tender of ~$3M+ (there's a formula) and risk that he would go to arbitration (most players get raises in arbitration, especially those in their final arb year). Or they could just not tender him a contract and let him become a FA this off-season. It's not a ton of money, but the Astros might just move on.
SK in NJ - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#380975) #
I would think the Astros would non-tender him. He is clearly not a big league starter, and I don't think they'd pay him $4 million in 2020 to be a reliever when his ability in that role is unclear.
hypobole - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#380976) #
One thing about the Jays over the past few years. Some of the lack of sac bunts was managerial decision, but the position players were also pretty awful at it when they did try. More than a few times they would try, but simply end up in a 2 strike hole after fouling off a couple of attempts.

As for Sanchez, I can't help but wonder if the Astros drastically altering his pitch mix, or maybe even his mechanics, contributed to his injury. Maybe it's just good luck, but Jays pitchers have had hardly any serious shoulder or elbow issues under Pete Walker's tenure.
PeterG - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#380977) #
Anthony Kay is at 87 on Sickels new top 100 list. Opinions differ on so many prospects. Team scouts see players much more than any online evaluators and likely their judgements are best for the most part.
Gerry - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#380980) #
Shafer and Brock Stewart recalled for tonight.
hypobole - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#380981) #
Shafer and Stewart recalled from where?

Don't minor leaguers go home once their seasons end?
Cracka - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#380982) #
I guess there are waiting until Saturday to add Kay and DFA someone (Maile?). Also, if they add Elvis Luciano within the next week or so, he will fulfill his Rule V MLB service time requirement and become optionable next season. He's on the 60 day IL and will need to a 40-man roster spot to return.
Gerry - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#380983) #
They are technically recalled from the Buffalo roster.

The Buffalo season ended on Monday so the two could have made it to Atlanta for Tuesday. But they had to clean out their apartment or equivalent so I assume the Jays said, just report to Tampa on Thursday.
PeterG - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#380984) #
Boshers is also a prime candidate to be DFA. He can easily be signed back to minor league contract in off season if the team so wishes. I am sure he would again prefer Buffalo to Mexico.
hypobole - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#380985) #
Thanks, Gerry.
hypobole - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#380986) #
Yeah, was thinking about Boshers and even Mayza. With the new 3 batters rule next year, LOOGY's are pretty well useless now. I'm guessing good LH relievers with minimal platoon splits may get paid well this offseason.
scottt - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#380987) #
Players on the reserve list (40 roster) and not on the active list (25+roster)  are considered to be on optional assignment.
Players cannot be optioned to a minor league club whose regular season including playoffs has concluded.
However, players on optional assignments must be recalled no later than the day after the end of the MLB regular season.

scottt - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#380988) #
Each unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster who is tendered a contract must be offered at least the MLB minimum salary which was 555K in 2019 he but must be offered at least 80% of his previous year salary. That would work out to 3.12M but I'm not sure if Boras would take that to arbitration.

There is no Injured List once the season is concluded, so the players are not considered injured until they report back to spring training the next year.
Nigel - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#380992) #
Is Jansen hurt? If not, McGuire appears to be the shiny new toy until proven otherwise.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#380993) #
I really hope this isnít a mirage with Bichette, because he looks otherworldly.
tercet - Thursday, September 05 2019 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#380994) #
Sorry Joe but it definitely is a mirage so far, he has a 400~ babip, 5bb/25k. I hope he eventually walks more, but what do you guys think a realistic comp for Bo is? I've been saying for a while Brett Lawrie.
PeterG - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:23 AM EDT (#380997) #
Bo is light years better than Brett Lawrie in just about every way imaginable.
ayjackson - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#380998) #
How about Craig Biggio?
uglyone - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#381000) #
Age 21

Bichette: 157pa, 5.1b%, 23.6k%, .382babip, .329avg, .302iso, 158wrc+, +4.8fld (AAA 103wrc+, AA 120wrc+))
Lawrie: 171pa, 9.4b%, 18.1k%, .318babip, .293avg, .287iso, 157wrc+, +0.0fld (AAA 163wrc+, AA 117wrc+)

That being said, Lawrie had a bunch of screws loose, and Bo looks pretty much the opposite in that regard.

I still firmly believe Lawrie should have been a star, if only he was sane.
uglyone - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#381001) #
ah I switched the fielding grades by mistake.

Lawrie was actually at +4.8 that year per fangraphs, Bo is at +0.0.
Spifficus - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:45 AM EDT (#381002) #
Heyday Hanley Ramirez is the closest I can think of so far from recent times. Ramirez was more of a 9-11% walk rate guy, though, whereas I see Bichette as a 6-8% guy (once people start avoiding his power more). Also, I think Bichette's going to be an average SS for longer.

Another thought I had was peak-offensive Machado (I think Bichette's going to consistently be around .300).
tercet - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:47 AM EDT (#381003) #
Peter - It is alot closer then you think, Brett was a better hitter early on, but due to injuries/pitchers figuring him out his peripherals got worse every season, and now he is out of baseball. Bo's BB/K are super scary now, but its only been 150~PA

ayjackson - I don't think Brett will ever have perhiperals close to Craig (9.3bb/14), but you never know.

ugly - Yea I looked alot of their numbers, I think Bo will be a 5-8%BB guy, and 18-22%K which will end up close to Brett's career numbers. Obviously he won't 400 babip forever, so his numbers are due to regress, to what extent, no one knows for sure yet.
dan gordon - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:56 AM EDT (#381004) #
I don't think they have disclosed what Sanchez' shoulder problem is, so it's premature to say his career may be over. If it's a torn rotator cuff, then he has a difficult road ahead. I suffered 2 partial rotator cuff tears this past spring while getting ready for my baseball season, and haven't seen much improvement yet. I couldn't pitch very often this summer, and I'm just a slo-pitch pitcher. I can't imagine trying to throw overhand at 95 mph after such an injury. A friend had surgery for a torn rotator cuff suffered 2.5 years ago, and still has pain. If it's a labrum tear, that's also difficult to recover from. If it's tendonitis, he should be OK.

I've been quite happy that the Jays have eschewed the bunt over the years, and I think it's great that baseball teams in general have realized that it is a flawed approach, and hardly use it any more. One of the few things I liked about Gaston as a manager was that he almost never bunted. After reading the Baseball Abstract every year for a decade, I certainly realized how bad a strategy it almost always is. I remember a comment James had in one of his books that a sacrifice bunt with a runner on 1st and none out was a good strategy if the batter was the pitcher - even then, just usually, but not always.
hypobole - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 01:23 AM EDT (#381005) #
"That being said, Lawrie had a bunch of screws loose, and Bo looks pretty much the opposite in that regard.
I still firmly believe Lawrie should have been a star, if only he was sane."

My thoughts as well. AA bought low on a number of "bad makeup" guys - Escobar whose teammates went to management to get rid of him, Rasmus with his dad as his hitting coach, and Lawrie who refused to go to the AFL because the Brewers didn't 40 man him. And these were issues that were made public, I'm sure there were more behind the scenes issues also. All had their moments because they were all very talented, but all fell short of what their talent should have produced.

One thing this FO seems to value is makeup, and I've have never heard of any issues with Bo that way, only praise. I really believe Bo has a much better chance of realizing his potential than the above guys did.
John Northey - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 01:39 AM EDT (#381006) #
Y'know, after all the complaining about the Jays not trading guys in time last year, they sure timed it well with Sanchez this year. Yeah, he was part of that no-hitter but he also was back to normal after that and now is a non-tender candidate. Derek Fisher may not impress much yet (can still hope) but unless Cal Stevenson becomes a solid ML'er (possible, but is 22 in A+ with a 772 OPS helped a lot by many walks, not much power while in LF/CF). Biagini was just another middle man who was 'meh' most of the time - those are a dime a dozen.
Magpie - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 06:12 AM EDT (#381007) #
Is Jansen hurt? If not, McGuire appears to be the shiny new toy until proven otherwise.

By happy coincidence, Lott has a nice piece on Jansen this very morning.
Shoeless Joe - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 07:30 AM EDT (#381008) #
Boís xBA is 0.297 and his xSLG is .512, as long as he can hit close to that he is a superstar. I just have an irrational fear of top prospects not working out after Snider and Lawrie.
scottt - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 08:10 AM EDT (#381011) #
They do surgery for tendonitis?
scottt - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#381012) #
Jansen is cold. McGuire is red hot. Normally they'd be playing about 50/50, but it's OK if McGuire plays more here and there.
Catchers get banged up a lot. Jansen should bounce right back.

Last 6 games, Biggio has 5 walks, 4 hits including 2 homers, .400 OBP and slugging .632
Over the same span, Fisher has 3 walks, 3 hits including 1 homer, .352 OBP and slugging .500.
He's the opposite of Biggio. Good tools, bad baseball IQ. That seems fixable. To a point.

dalimon5 - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#381013) #
Bichette is not this good, obviously. Every scouting report has him as a 280ish hitter with potential to hit 20 home runs. He's not going to end up being some superstar who hits 30+ bombs and bats .330.

The league will figure him out as they always do and his numbers will decline. I think he's more like a Christian Yellich for a ceiling (before he turned into Heman). Thats still a very good player but not a superstar or Trout type talent. Lawrie with better makeup and less decline every year is probably the best comp. Saying he's light years better than Lawrie, I don't know about that...remember when Lawrie and Trout were talked about in the same breath when he first came up?

The guy I really like is Biggio. He's really really good batter and reminds me of young Joey Votto. Vlad is awesome with the bat but not much else. Pretty much like Miguel Cabrera except now pitching is better than ever and you can't murder baseballs that are meatballs because they aren't being thrown much. Cabrera had benefit of facing pitchers that were expected to go 7 innings.
dalimon5 - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#381014) #
I guess I should probably follow up my post by also stating that Bichette is still really really good, obviously. We just need to remember to temper our expectations and be happy even if he's not the player we are seeing right now which seems to be Joe Dimaggio or bust.
uglyone - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#381015) #
I think he could very well be a .330avg / 30hr guy, actually.
Mike Green - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#381017) #
Bichette looks extremely fresh- I loved the homer the opposite way. last year  It's not really surprising because he missed quite a bit of time earlier.  So far he has 400 PAs- last year he had 595 PAs and was picking up steam as the season wore on.  Before this year, ZIPS had his 2021 projection as .265/.320/.461.  It'll probably be a little better than that after this year- maybe something like .275/.335/.475. 

Reese McGuire looks to be an awfully good backup catcher.  There still is every reason to believe that Jansen will be somewhat better.  It's a very fine situation for the club to be in.  It sure would be nice to have a centerfielder though. 

Spifficus - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#381018) #
My particular crystal ball splits the difference for him, with most normal peak years probably looking like a .300/.360/.500-.550 while playing an average SS. I think the K rate will hover around 20% and the BB rate will be 7-8% (the split is exaggerated because he's currently hitting everything). There will be some years where the babip gods show displeasure, of course, but then there will be years where he is the babip god (and an MVP candidate).

While we're peering into the future, this weekend's 6/49 numbers are...
cascando - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#381019) #
I noticed that Bichette didn't use a leg kick on his second HR, even though it was on a 2-0 pitch. I wonder if he was just feeling more comfortable timing wise without it, or if that's the type of adjustment he'll just make on the fly sometimes.
uglyone - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#381020) #
The babip has been coming down (at .382 now) and the performance hasn't dipped yet, and I think he can afford more babip drop because I'm pretty sure his K% will come down a good chunk too, meaning more balls in play. his BB% should tick up a bit too. He won't continue at this 40hr pace I don't think but I think he has legit power and can keep his iso comfortably above .200.
ayjackson - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#381022) #
I'll admittedly say that I wasn't think BB/K rates when I suggested a Craig Biggio comp for Bo. I was thinking base-running, defense, BA, doubles and home runs profile that made me think of Craig.

(Also the hall of fame. ;) )
DH - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#381023) #
I imagine Derek Fisher is spending far too much thinking about his future ... 2 balls dropped in the outfield in a couple of weeks. Here's hoping he spends the offseason meditating.
Mike Green - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#381025) #
I ran a Play Index, looking for middle infielders who at age 21 hit .275 or better in at least 300 PAs with at least 15 homers.  To my great surprise, there have been only two- Alex Rodriguez and Bill Mazeroski.  I tried it another way- 21 year old middle infielders with at least 150 PAs and an OPS+ over 140.  I got Fred Dunlap from the 19th century, Bo Bichette, Arky Vaughan and Rogers Hornsby.  When I lowered the threshold to an OPS+ of 125, I got the same 4 names plus Laughing Larry Doyle.  When I lowered it to an OPS+ of 110, I got a larger sample.  In addition to the 5 mentioned, I got: Vern Stephens, Francisco Lindor, Starlin Castro, Jim Fregosi, Garry Templeton, Rod Carew, Delino DeShields, Ketel Marte and two other 19th century players (Reddy Mack and Jack Farrell). 

No matter how you slice it, his comps are excellent.  Ketel Marte probably illustrates best why.  Marte was a decent hitter as a middle infielder, but when the Snakes moved him to centerfield this year, he exploded offensively.  Bichette could probably play any position in the field capably and this allows him to adapt fairly easily should the need arise.  With his broad range of offensive skills, he could probably also adapt well to changing offensive environments.
BlueJayWay - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#381026) #
Seems a lot of posts don't show up lately...
BlueJayWay - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#381027) #
Trying again, regarding Bichette
Well, Bichette's babip is .382 which, while it's come down a bit recently (it's mostly been over .400 since he came up), is still unsustainably high. So there is that. Also he's hitting homeruns at a pace that no one would expect to continue. He does seem like the kind of hitter that can hit a ton of doubles, though. His BB and K numbers should improve, too. He is still just 21 though. If his true ability is a .300 avg, .500 slug type player with league average BB and K%, 25 dingers and 40 doubles a year while playing a passable SS (or very good 2B if he gets moved there) then it's hard to be disappointed in that.
uglyone - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#381028) #
but mike Bo doesn't have anywhere near 300pa.
bpoz - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#381029) #
I don't know if you have leaders in baseball. Bo is very confident in himself. I don't think he will ever give up. My summary .... incredible character.

I think that this team will be a no quit team in regards to making the playoffs. The great rookies and Gurriel should make for a strong team next year.

Need the pitching to develop. I think it would not get worse than it is now.
dalimon5 - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#381030) #
Castro and Marte are excellent comps for Bo with Tulo (his mentor in COL) a comp for his ceiling if everything goes right. Vlad is still the stud on this team.
ayjackson - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#381031) #
With a 24.1% LD rate would you still normalize his BAPIP around .361? Or are there other factors we should consider? With the new balls, is .380 normal for his LD/FB profile?
ayjackson - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#381032) #
Okay, just summarizing from the last few days on comps...

Vlad - Mickey Mantle
Bo - Roger Hornsby

I'm good with this. :)

Someone throw Clemens on Nate and Gooden on SWR and we're off to the races.
Mike Green - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#381033) #
but mike Bo doesn't have anywhere near 300pa.

I know.  Unfortunately, Play Index doesn't let you use HR/PA, W/PA, K/PA.  Bo was called up late and will probably get to 250 PAs.  When I redid it and lowered the PA to 250 and the home runs to 10, I got Rodriguez, Mazeroski, Stephens, Lindor, Doerr and Castro.  No change except for another Hall of Famer!
bpoz - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#381034) #
Regarding the 3 batter rule and the value of LOOGYs.

How does that actually work?
I understand 3 batters and then pull him. Number of outs don't count.
Is it also less than 3 batters with the inning ending so he does not have to pitch next inning to fulfill the 3 batter quantity? I can see various strategies forming.
AWeb - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#381037) #
You can still pull a pitcher if they record the last out in an inning, no matter the number of batters they face. I assume this is a no-DH caveat for the rule, allowing for pinch-hitters. With the 40-man rosters also on their last September (it's only 28 next year, after being 26 all year), I wish that rule would be enacted now. I hate-hate-hate the late-year 15 man bullpen usage that crops up once in a while.

I still think that one way to combat the HRs and Ks that are dominating the game moreso than before is to strictly enforce the pitch clock. Less time for pitchers means lower radar gun readings and possibly even hitters less able to fully exert every swing. Oh, and deaden the "now proven to carry further beyond any possible doubt due to the AAA numbers this year" ball.
John Northey - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#381040) #
Deadening the ball is the best method to make for more of a non-HR/K style of baseball. Fewer HR's means more of an incentive to steal bases, put the ball in play, etc. For guys like Vlad it won't change much but for most it will.
bpoz - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#381041) #
I believe in the past the manager would have the current pitcher walk the batter and then bring in the new guy. Now the New pitcher would issue the walk if able so that it counts as 1 batter faced.

Double plays could still be confusing but Buck and Pat will explain that.
scottt - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#381043) #
I think we already saw this in year in AAA that the pitch clock does not suppress the HRs.
scottt - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#381044) #
For a true LOOGY, you might see the pitcher moving to the field, maybe 1B, for an out and then go back to the mound.
Something like that happened this year with the Rays and Montoyo had Mayza take ground balls at 1B in spring training.
It all depends on how they word the rule.

scottt - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#381045) #
Doubles are homeruns now, so who knows? Bo knows.
He does run well, hustles to first and hit the ball all over the field, so will probably always have a high BABIP.

The Lawrie/Bichette comparison is interesting.
Well, for age 21, anyway. Lawrie was hitting 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th.  Bo is hitting first.
At age 22, Lawrie was mostly the leadoff hitter, but just average by then. He hit everywhere except 4th and 8th.

The pitchers haven't adjusted to Bo yet, because they haven't figured out what to do.
You don't want to pitch around the leadoff hitter.

John Northey - Friday, September 06 2019 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#381046) #
Another thing to factor into the Lawrie vs Bichette comparison...

Majors: 171 PA 953 OPS
AAA: 329 PA 1.076 OPS (age 21)
AA: 662 PA 781 OPS (age 19/20)
A: 423 PA 802 OPS (age 19)

A+: 11 PA 489 OPS (age 21 rehab from injury)

Majors: 157 PA 994 OPS (so far plus 0-3 with a walk today)
AAA: 244 PA 806 OPS (age 21)
AA: 595 PA 796 OPS (age 20)
A+: 198 PA 884 OPS (age 19 + 21)
A: 317 PA 1071 OPS (age 19)
R: 91 PA 1182 OPS (age 18)

Both moved fast through systems. Both were over 750 OPS across the board (other than Lawrie's rehab in A+) Both reached the majors at age 21. Lawrie was more impressive in AAA but over fewer PA, similar in AA but Lawrie got there a bit earlier, Bo was better in A+/A, and Bo had some time in rookie ball.

Both showed everything needed in the minors but Lawrie despite coming up young never again showed the promise he did at 21. He only cracked 500 PA twice in his short career, over at age 26 - the age most start to hit their peak at. An annual OPS+ of 94 to 103 he was very consistent. He signed with Milwaukee this year but never played, just did workouts in Florida until they cut him in June. Leg injuries killed his career it says in articles I read.

In the end health seems to have killed Lawries career. The biggest variable in a players career. Normally if you get off to a hot start at 21 you expect a lot more. Kids coming up at young in Toronto have had crappy luck. Travis Snider actually came up at 20 - 803 OPS in 80 PA. He never got to 800 again. A 776 at age 26 was his next best in 359 PA in Pittsburgh. He followed that up with a 663 at age 27 in 2015 and hasn't been back to the majors - was in Arizona's AAA team this year and hit 294/402/497 in the PCL after missing his age 30 season. Will he play in 2020? Who knows? At age 32 it will be hard for him to get a contract.
bpoz - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#381047) #
It is good to compare the young players that we had high hopes for. Lawrie and Snider did not last long.

Vernon Wells was a young player that lasted long. But this Dec 2019 he will turn 41 years old. His last year playing was 2013 so not as long a career as it could/should have been.

So Wells deteriorated fast but lucky, for him, he had a big contract. The Skydome turn gives knee, hip and back problems to outfielders, most of us agree.

Skydome's harmful turf should discourage outfield FAs to sign here and management should not attempt to sign them. Our turf would shorten their careers and hurt their performance and we would be stuck with the bill.

Vlad, Bo and Biggio should be safe. Gurriel, Grichuk and othe other OFs no.

scottt - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#381048) #
Load management. With the 26 roster, have a 5th outfielder and rotate one through the DH with Vlad.

It will be interesting to see how competitive the Red Sox will be next year and the year after.
Also, the Yankees might be doing well despite numerous injuries, but are those injuries ever going away?
They might have loaded up on brittle players who can't stay on the field.

bpoz - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#381049) #
NYY have a very good offense but both Verlander and Cole are better than anything they have. Maybe even Greinke is better than anything they have.

In the playoffs you need 3 or 4 good starters.
John Northey - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#381050) #
The big question for the Jays going forward is how good will their young pitchers be? Vlad, Bo, Biggio, Gurriel I feel fairly safe with. Mix in 2 young good catchers and things look nice. CF/RF/1B are the questions on the field and hopefully Tellez, Hernandez, Grichuk can do it but we'll see with more coming up.

It is pitching that is the big variable in this rebuild (as it always is). SRF showed promise, but I fear he'll never be more than a 4/5 guy. Waguespack counts on his defense a lot which is dangerous with this team. Thornton has been up and down, little consistency. Pannone I have zero faith in. The other kids haven't had a real shot yet. Need someone to emerge as a #1, a few others to look like solid #2's.
bpoz - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#381051) #
I have been a fan since day 1. I have made a very strong conclusion that we will always have very good pitching.

I think it is in the Jays genetics.

J Garvin, D Lemanchuk, P Vukavich. Pretty good I think.

J Clancy, D Stieb, J Key. Better than pretty good IMO.

J Guzman, P Hentgen.

Timely additions that worked out quite well. R Clemens, D Cone, J Morris and D Stewart.

Halladay. Alone unfortunately.

These got away somehow C Carpenter, D Wells.

Very recent Stroman, Osuna (possible starter) and Thor.

Good additions. D Price, Dickey and Buehrle.

There is enough overlap that our farm produced 2-3 of the above type of starter throughout our history.

Our farm looks the strongest it has ever looked and we are loaded with V good pitching prospects that we drafted sprinkled through all the levels.

This FO has also traded for a handful or so of excellent pitching prospects. Also traded for and scavenged pitching that has a chance but a low chance.

Magpie - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#381052) #
Kay activated for tonight's game. Beau Taylor DFA'd.
scottt - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#381053) #
Marcum was a decent pitcher. Produced 9.9 bWAR in 4 seasons + one September call up.
Dickey was only good for 7.4 WAR over 4 seasons.

scottt - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#381054) #
Pineda suspended for 60 games over a masking agent in what he claims was a weight loss pill.
Kluber not going to be back this year.

Cleveland would need to sweep their current series to have a decent chance at the division.

Taylor is replacement value, but so is Maile who should get non-tendered.
I'm pretty sure Maile only gets a minor league contract.
At any rate, it's weird that they used Taylor to catch Zeuch when McGuire could have done a better job and they don't bother to let him catch Kay.

ISLAND BOY - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#381055) #
The Jays seem to be sinking back to their pre-All Star break level with spotty pitching, fielding errors and very little hitting success. The enthusiasm generated by the talented rookies has died down and Vlad seems to be chasing bad pitches again as the losses mount against teams who are at the top of the standings. ( You know, that means they're good.)

I'm looking forward to this dreadful season ending. Did I miss anything?
Nigel - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#381056) #
Although Iím sympathetic Island Boy, I think thatís a bit of a misdiagnosis. They looked better for a stretch because they were surfing through the soft underbelly of their schedule. Itís hard not to look good facing Baltimore and KC. They are now going through a tough part of their schedule and are being exposed. Itís hard to look good against Houston and TB. This was and is a 95-100 loss team and are what they are. Of course, individual players are going through their normal hot and cold cycles. This last stretch is a good reminder of just how far away from contention the team is.
hypobole - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#381057) #
ďWhen you decide to hit rock bottom, humiliation is part of the deal.Ē - Guillaume Musso

Thanks to Dan Zips for that one. Jays may set a record this year. Don't think any team has lost 100 games and didn't even get a Top 4 draft pick.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#381058) #
Yes, you're right about the schedule, Nigel and that's why I mentioned the losses mounting against top teams. Part of their better play did include two series against the Yankees and one with Cleveland though. There was enthusiasm with the arrival of Bo Bichette and then earlier with Vlad Jr. but, as you said, it's been a tough stretch against superior competition.

I don't see many people commenting on the actual games lately because they haven't been fun to watch. A lot of games recently I've only watched parts of, but I saw most of today's game and there was nothing to get excited about. Even getting the bases loaded with none out in the ninth yielded an almost expected result - no runs. Of course, Jay's teams never win in Tampa anyway so it's hard to overcome that.
Michael - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#381059) #
I think today's game has Kay's debut to be excited about. One game is always a SSS, but that was a pretty strong first game on the road against a top team.
John Northey - Saturday, September 07 2019 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#381060) #
Kay doing well today is a big plus. The Jays need some of the pitchers in the system to step up and give them a decent rotation going forward. You need 7 solid starters to feel safe, even with the tandem starting going on (opener, headliner, etc. I see as another way of saying 'tandem') as with the changes MLB is working on I suspect the opener thing will fade over the next few years (thankfully, not a fan of a guy gong 2 innings to start, then a guy comes in for 4 innings, then another each inning after that).
Glevin - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:09 AM EDT (#381061) #
Kay definitely the most promising looking of all the young pitchers. The other guys all look like relievers. Kay consistently was in the 93-95 range, big curveball, and a change the kept hitters off balance. If he can locate his pitches, I can definitely see him as a long term rotation piece of some sort.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 07:26 AM EDT (#381062) #
Kay consistently was in the 93-95 range, big curveball, and a change the kept hitters off balance. If he can locate his pitches....

I was actually reminded of Al Leiter, for all of those reasons. Kay doesn't even remotely look like Leiter, but he seems very much the same type of pitcher - a LH with a lively fastball and a couple of useful secondary pitches. Leiter fought with his control for his whole life, except for his years as a Met (who must have had an exceptional pitch framer.)
scottt - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#381063) #
Kay outpitched Morton. The bullpen wasn't very good but they did trade Hudson/Phelps/Biagini, so the bullpen imploding isn't anything to write home about.

It's not something to worry about for next year either.

Over the last 7 days. Tellez has been good (2 HRs), McGuire has been good (hitting .333).
Davis has been OK.
Everyone else has struggled, including Smoak (.354 OPS) but the key players have not been terrible.
Bichette (.647) and Guerrero (.616)  Biggio (.500).

The losses are pilling, but Seattle is only 3 games in front of the Jays. Mariners, White Sox and Jays are all 2-8 in their last 10. That overall 5th draft pick is not a sure thing, but it could turn into a huge piece as soon as 2022.

Mike Green - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#381064) #
Did Stevie Wonder write a sequel to Master Blaster called Mister Blister? Thankfully not.

I suspect that Leiter's improved control in New York had more to do with hand/finger health than better framing. I like Kay, subject to the usual health caveats.

Hypobole is off the hook for the BGs tag. It looked good for a while there when all the young players were in the lineup and the relievers were pitching over their heads.  The club is still much more interesting now than it was in the first half.
85bluejay - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#381065) #
Jays lose, allowing KC to creep closer and dreams of the 4th overall pick and each subsequent round - in 2018, the Jays were apparently eyeing Woods Richardson with the 52nd pick, but the Mets grabbed him with the 48th pick - Kay had a solid pitching line, better than Stroman's - I don't see anything not to like, well maybe Seattle could win a few more games and put the Jays away in positional rankings.
hypobole - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#381066) #
"Hypobole is off the hook for the BGs tag."

Mike, you may have lost the bet, but on the bright side, you'll probably outlive me.,

BTW, notice the study was done by Boston University's School of Medicine. I'm guessing the U of T's School of Medicine wanted to do the same study, but couldn't find enough optimists in Toronto.

Mike Green - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#381067) #
Hypobole, are Leafs fans optimists or gluttons for punishment?

I see myself as a realistic optimist.  I described the chances of the Blue Jays finishing above .500 for the second half as a longshot, which is exactly what it was. For what it's worth, their RS/RA is 231-241 in the second half.  It really isn't a 100 loss team with the personnel on hand now. 
hypobole - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#381068) #
Mike, I'm a pragmatic pessimist.

As far as where we finish in the overall standings.

Games Back or Ahead/Strength of Remaining Schedule.

Marlins -4/.509
Royals -2/.534
Jays 0/.519
Mariners +3/.500
Rockies +5/.519

Chuck - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#381069) #
I see myself as a realistic optimist.

We're all living in the matrix. Over on our side of the fence, we see ourselves as realistic pessimists.

More and more it seems that genetics plays a big role in where you land on the optimism/pessimism continuum. I'm sure we all just rationalize our genetic predisposition with a philosophy to explain it. That's what our species does.

Enjoy your excessively long life, Mike. Come visit our grave sites when we drop off a decade before you.

bpoz - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#381070) #
Nice explanation Chuck.

I too was with Mike. Nobody stepped forward on the pitching side except Stroman. He rebounded to his previous good level. Others disappointed me.

Regarding optimism and pessimism, I am encouraged by the whole team being optimistic. The emerging young stars and the mediocre players doing their best to become useful fringe ML players.

The losing still hurts a lot.
bpoz - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#381071) #
One thing I am reasonably sure about is that Rogers is willing to spend pretty big money.

1)We waited for D Phelps to get healthy, then pitch for a month and a half. We paid him for the full 4 months and then sent money to the Cubs in the trade for Hatch.

2) We have spent well on Int'l FAs. Very big contracts to Vlad and O Martinez.

3) Always our 1st round June draft pick got good money even if he turned out not so good.

So now we are going to pick #4-#7 in June 2020. The slot value for that pick I am guessing is $5-6 mil. That is a very big amount for a guy that may not work out. Something serious to consider.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#381072) #
I suspect that Leiter's improved control in New York had more to do with hand/finger health than better framing.

I really don't think so. The injuries, which were actually to his shoulder and then his elbow, were all behind him by age 26 and he was quite durable for the rest of his career. Piazza was his teammate for just four seasons, age 32 to 35. He walked 3.06 per 9 IP with Piazza catching, and 5.22 per 9 with everyone else, before and after.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#381073) #
My bad. They were team mates longer than that, but Vance Wilson took the catching.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#381074) #
Anyway. I know Bo Bichette is 21 years old and all, but he's played every single game since he got here. He's playing shortstop and that takes it out of you, 21 years old or not. He could really use a day off and there's another shortstop on the roster now.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#381075) #
And in other news - Font comes out of the bullpen today, and the next five games list Zeuch, Thornton, Buchholz, Kay, and Waguespack as the starters. Does this mean we're done with The Opener?

Probably not. I'll wager Font opens for Waguespack next time round.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#381076) #
That gives Sam Gaviglio 88 IP this season, all in relief.

He leads the league! He's a Blue Jay and he leads the league!
hypobole - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#381077) #
Gaviglio is definitely a long man. Many here wanted a long man. Personally I would prefer him as a long-gone man. But that's just me.
Gerry - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#381078) #
Jays are 55-88 and will be 55-89 by the end of today. A few weeks ago they looked like they would avoid a 100 loss season, they now would have to go 8-10 to avoid it. With games against the Yankees and Red Sox coming up that will be a tall order. They would have to sweep Baltimore, not impossible, to have a chance.
Gerry - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#381079) #
Also..Teoscar is not a centre fielder. That non-play today was embarrassing.

The Jays are playing Teoscar in centre, because they don't want him in left. So they play a very good centre fielder, Jonathan Davis, in left, so Teoscar can stay in center. That apparently makes sense somewhere in someones head.
Nigel - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#381080) #
If this team were closer to contention Iíd want Font in the 2-3 inning/long man role rather than Gaviglio. Of course, this team isnít going to find the 8-10 new pitchers it needs all in one year so I can see Gaviglio having a similar role (ie absorb innings at a non embarrassing proficiency) next year.

This team really needs a CF and probably one or two other OFs.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#381081) #
Teoscar is not a centre fielder. That non-play today was embarrassing.

As Kiermaier's backup demonstrates how a real centre fielder backs up his teammates in the corners.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#381082) #
There ya go. This is now the longest losing streak of the season (7 in a row), and they've gone 3-16 since 17 August. Bring on the Red Sox and Yankees!
85bluejay - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#381083) #
I don't get too worked up about a 100 loss season - I'd rather a 100 loss season and a better draft position than a 95 loss season and a worse draft position
uglyone - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#381084) #
Teoscar's not much of a hitter, either.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#381085) #
Meanwhile... doesn't scoring 21 runs on a day when you've got Gerrit Cole pitching seem like a misallocation of resources?

And how about that Michael Lorenzen, the Reds reliever who has appeared in 91 games this season and started just one of them. That was in centre field. He's pitched out of the bullpen 67 times, and today he came up as a pinch-hitter and delivered a walkoff double.

Let's see... in the majors, Ohtani has never played an inning at a defensive position except pitcher. Lorenzen has started a few games as a pitcher, but not this year. Still waiting for someone to start a game as a pitcher and as a position player in the same season. Maybe Russell can do it in the final week.
scottt - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#381086) #
Font pitches well only on 2 days rest and it's probably better to start him with a clean inning.

Waguespack wasn't as bad as his line looks.
He was hitting the outside corner regularly with a 92 mphs fastball.
In the second he used a lot of 90 mph cutters and he didn't have a lot of control on that pitch.
He flashed some good 77mph curves and he had at least one strikeout with an 82-83 changeup.

The ground rule double that should have been an out in the 3rd and the 2 inherited runners who scored were tough results.

Tellez  looked good on the field, but I wish he'd run to fist base when he puts the ball in play.
Hernandez is not a #2 hitter. If you sit Smoak and Biggio, that only leaves 2 guys who gets on bases, Bichette and Guerrero. Soon, they'll have Gurriel back but he might not have enough time left to get going again.

scottt - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#381087) #
The 26 roster make it very advantageous to have a 2-way player.
Maybe the Rays will try that.

To me, the 100 loss is not a factor.
The Jays are already eliminated from the playoffs.
Might as well use the month to give some of the reserve player a look.

Zack Godley has elected free agency.

Vulg - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#381088) #
Teoscar's not much of a hitter, either.

Teoscar, Grichuk and Fisher are all a variation of the same kind of hitter (or at least produce similar results), and it's a model I'm pretty tired of seeing. It's wild to me that Grichuk is getting paid $9.3M annually to do this.
dan gordon - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#381089) #
Certainly if Grichuk keeps playing like he has this year, he's grossly overpaid. However, prior to this year, he had produced 9.4 WAR in 528 games, or about 3.3 seasons, about a 2.9 WAR pace. That player earns the contract easily. We'll see next year if this was a 1 time fluke, or if he, for some reason, has permanently lost his ability in his age 27-28 season.
85bluejay - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#381090) #
You're absolutely right Vulg and I would add in J.B.Woodman and Griffin Conine both high draft picks who seem to have the same DNA - I hope the FO goes in a different direction in the future as I'm also tired of the results of this approach.
Nigel - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#381091) #
I think we have seen enough examples to know that the FO actually likes this kind of prospect. Itís one of my least favourite major league player profiles (huge power, questionable strike zone control, middling to poor defence). There are definitely examples of success stories of that profile around. My problem with this is that there are so few ways in which it works out. Itís a poor risk reward model in my opinion.
Vulg - Sunday, September 08 2019 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#381093) #
Certainly if Grichuk keeps playing like he has this year, he's grossly overpaid. However, prior to this year, he had produced 9.4 WAR in 528 games, or about 3.3 seasons, about a 2.9 WAR pace. That player earns the contract easily. We'll see next year if this was a 1 time fluke, or if he, for some reason, has permanently lost his ability in his age 27-28 season.

I can't deny that Grichuk had produced at a consistent value up to the point he signed that deal. I think where the Jays missed the boat, or where they got unlucky depending on your perspective, is that a primary driver of his value matters less now than it did even a couple of years ago - in a juiced ball era, it doesn't mean as much that he hits the ball harder/farther at an elite level. Fangraphs put it best a while back:

Of course you'd love to have the kind of offensive players that smash the ball AND have great strike zone judgment and contact rates, but it seems like that at least for now, the team has gambled on the wrong offensive imperfections.

Unfortunately, I'm doubtful that MLB will "un-juice" its baseballs near future.
Magpie - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 01:50 AM EDT (#381094) #
Red Sox fire Dave Dombrowski.

That's a tough crowd.
Glevin - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 02:08 AM EDT (#381095) #
Red Sox knew exactly who they were getting in Dombrowski. I never liked him because I donít think his approach is difficult to replicate. Trade all your prospects and get your team to spend stupid levels of money. The problem is that you need prospects and salary room for this to work and the Red Sox are now out of both.
scottt - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 04:25 AM EDT (#381097) #
It's awkward that they're doing this in the middle of a series against the Yankees, but what does it mean? Are they rebuilding?

Betts is their best player and he's a free agent at the end of next year. Is he traded over the winter?

Mike D - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 07:29 AM EDT (#381098) #
Some organizations are much, much more tolerant of losing than others.
cascando - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 07:53 AM EDT (#381100) #
Iíve seen rumours about the Red Sox trading Betts, but I donít understand why that would ever happen. Theyíve never been afraid to overpay someone. Betts is still just 26 and heís on a hall of fame track. Most other organizations might have to choose which high-end players to extend, but this is the Red Sox.

I can perhaps see them moving someone like Benitendi.
scottt - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#381102) #
Betts has been very open about wanting to test free agency.
To extend him, they would to match what the Angels gave to Trout.

Glevin - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:04 AM EDT (#381103) #
"Iíve seen rumours about the Red Sox trading Betts, but I donít understand why that would ever happen. Theyíve never been afraid to overpay someone."

Because they are at the luxury tax threshold (or a bit over) so they have no room to add more without paying massive penalties.
scottt - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#381104) #
It's all about expectations.

Technically, Dombroski was president and the Rex Sox have no GM.

The GM crafts several alternatives (along with their costs) and present them to ownership.
The owner decides how much they want to spend.

Dombrowski has a contract for 2020, so they will pay him to work for someone else.
Someone else will come up with those alternatives. Will they be different? Maybe.
They might hire both a president and a GM.
Dombrowski's plans would all have been attempting to return to contention.

Transposed to the Jays, it's not Shapiro who is reducing spending.
You can bet he's spending every dollar he gets from Rogers.
AA was on a tight budget for most of his tenure in Toronto. He's on a tight budget in Atlanta.
The Canadian dollars was at parity in 2013 when AA made his big trade.
It was down to 89 cents US in 2014 and has been around 75 cents US since 2015.

grjas - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#381105) #
It will be an interesting offseason for the Jays:
. They have a ridiculous number of mediocre outfielders. How will they be culled?
. Will they look to trade some of the plethora of good infield talent for pitching or a half decent centre fielder?
. Can they get value out of Giles, or sign him long term?
. Are they clear on who mans first?
. How aggressive will they be in signing starters?
. Will FO contracts be extended?

Losing 100 is dull. Hope the offseason isnít. Lots to do.
scottt - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#381106) #
The Luxury Tax has a base threshold, a first surcharge and a second surcharge.
The Red Sox are over the second surcharge for a second year in a row.
It drops their draft picks by 10 ranks and cuts their international pool money.

This year, they paid 59M in arb salaries. Those will all go up.

Porcello will come off the books. He was a hit of 20.625M against the Tax.

Betts is in a Donaldson situation. Do you trade him now, wait at the deadline or give him a QO?
The fans certainly want the team to keep him and resign in on the free agent market.

Jonny German - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#381107) #
My answers to grjas' questions:

- The outfielders won't be culled. With the active roster going to 26 players in 2020 and with no full time DH on the team, the Jays will go with 5 outfielders out of spring training. McKinney and Davis the favourites to start the season in Buffalo (along with Forrest Wall and Josh Palacios).

- If any infielders are traded they will only be from A ball and lower. There is no surplus at the top of the system.

- They can get value for Giles, but they aren't under the gun to trade him. If he's performing he'll have lots of value at the July 2020 deadline. Very much doubt they're interested in signing him long term, expect they're hoping a young arm will emerge as the next closer.

- No clear answer at first. Unlikely the job is handed to Tellez. Smoak returning is a definite possibility, or maybe even... dare I say... Edwin!?!?

- This is a really key question. I hope they'll seriously pursue a pitcher who slots in as the opening day starter for 2020 (not a high bar), and that they don't just hope to get lucky with another Matt Shoemaker type. But I expect to be disappointed.

- I don't know the status of FO contracts so I won't speculate on this one.
scottt - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#381108) #
Last I looked, the best 1B on the free agent market was Smoak.
Might as well play Tellez then.

Maybe you can get something for McKinney. I'm not sure.
You can get something for Giles, but probably not a great centre fielder.
Maybe they can trade a prospect, but that's always risky.

bpoz - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#381109) #
I don't know why Smoak was not traded at the deadline. Atkins, smartly did not say. Either they could not get anything for him or they did not want to trade him.

Some other players have played 1B this year for the Jays. McKinney and Drury. I believe that their defense was good enough but maybe their offense not good enough for 1B.
Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#381110) #
I suspect that John Henry might be unhappy that the Red Sox seem to have fallen behind a number of teams in the sabermetric/advanced technology side of the game.  Dombrowski is, if not old-school, far from cutting edge.
rpriske - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#381114) #
The most likely reason Smoak was not traded at the deadline is that nobody was willing to pay for him.

He just isn't that unique.
Nigel - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#381116) #
Re: the Poll and Jonny's comment - its certainly possible that the Jays will keep 5 OFs next year, but if they do that will be a huge sign of hoarders mentality at work. I'm still not sure that they have even two average major league OFs on the roster. Why mess around with 5 - 3 of whom profile best as 4th OFs/AAAA types?
PeterG - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#381119) #
Red Sox have several bad contracts. That might have something to do with the firing.
uglyone - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#381120) #
Drew @DrewGROF
The Blue Jays should trade for Mookie Betts. Itís late no one will see this

Drew @DrewGROF
Fuck it. Use that sought-after financial flexibility to take on Chris Saleís (reviews Baseball Reference) entirely fair deal for a generational talent?

Betts and Sale to TO LFG

I like to imagine a very solemn press conference, with a crestfallen Shapiro announcing ďItís with a heavy heart we acquire the 2018 AL MVP and one of the most dominant pitchers ever. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated during this difficult time.Ē

Brian @Briligerent
Replying to @DrewGROF
I'm risking my job for this.

Nick Stellini @StelliniTweets
Replying to @DrewGROF
"While we've made our team substantially better, we've sacrificed many years of control in doing so."
bpoz - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#381128) #
Boston is on pace to win 86 games. But for the previous 3 years they were really quite great. Farrell got dumped while doing a good job. He won a WS as did A Cora. Cora's 2019 team is not going to win too many games over 90. If he does come in at mid to high 80s then it is a failed season by Boston's standards.

Dumping Dombrowski is an odd move to me. With NYY always being a contender. TB and hopefully Toronto and Baltimore will be opening windows often enough to make it a 3 team race fairly often.

NYY and Boston don't seem to realize that a WC position is a victory of sorts. They are expecting too much to ever be happy.
hypobole - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#381129) #
Juiced Ball stat

In 2015, the Tiger's staff led MLB by giving up 193 HR's.

In 2019, only 3 teams (Dodgers, Cards and Rays) have allowed fewer HR's than the A's. At their current pace, the A's will give up 194 HR's.
grjas - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#381132) #
Well as a colleague fromBoston said, local fans are ruthless- Such a successful sports city, the fans expect big results, every year.

In terms of Jays outfielders, they're going to have to do some culling with Alford and Pompey out of options and lots of other mediocrity, even if it just means cuts.

Jays aside, a great year for Canadian sports! Look out Boston.
rpriske - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#381133) #
Sometimes the Box fans hold on to their hopes for prospects a little too long.

Alford and Pompey are failed prospects. They can (and probably should) just be cut with no negative impact to the organization.

John Northey - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#381134) #
Alford has his final shot this September. He did a great catch a couple days ago, but needs to do a lot more to show he deserves serious consideration for the 5th OF slot next year. Pompey might get a AAA deal - those are never a bad thing for an organization.

2020 Outfield: Gurriel/Grichuk/Fisher/Hernandez (DH rotation), plus one of McKinney/Drury/Alford/Davis/etc. Drury has an advantage due to playing 1B/2B/3B/SS, Alford is reasonable in CF and has some speed (22-8 SB-CS in AAA this year, 114-32 SB-CS in minors overall).

If I had to put a bet on it, I'd expect the starting I list there plus Alford (speed/defense/possible bat), with Drury in the infield mix. Vlad/Bo/Biggio/Tellez starting, 2 catchers (McGuire/Jansen), and 3 subs (Drury/Alford/Urena/McKinney with one of those cut). That gives us 13 hitters, which I think is required in 2020 on the 26 man roster with a max of 13 pitchers.
scottt - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#381135) #
Smoak is so slow that he doesn't really fit that well in the top of the lineup anymore.
It took Smoak several years to turn into a good hitter. He didn't turn into an OBP guy until his age 30 season and almost 3000 ABs.

The FO was small enough to extend him and should be smart enough to move on.

McKinney is 24 and they'd be selling really low right now, but that's what teams trying to contend have to do.
They can't turn around and unload Fisher and Alford should get a shot a providing defensive value in center.

With respect to the standings.

The White Sox have taken a healthy lead.
Seattle actually has a very soft schedule. They play the Reds, the Pirates, the White Sox, even Baltimore...
KC on the other hand is not going to win many more games: Houston, Oakland, the Twins twice, the Braves... The White Sox is the only losing team they'll face.

John Northey - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#381137) #
Standings backwards...
1) Detroit: 42-100
2) Baltimore: 46-97 3 1/2 games ahead
3) Miami: 51-91 5 1/2 ahead of #2
4) KC: 53-91 1 ahead of #3
5) Toronto: 55-89 2 games ahead of #4
6) Seattle: 58-86 3 games ahead of Jays
7) Colorado: 60-84 2 games ahead of #6

Jays could move up to #4 fairly easily, and #3 is in reach. #1/2 are too far to reach though. #6 is reachable the other way but #7 would be hard to get to.
hypobole - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#381139) #
Jays could move up to #4 fairly easily, and #3 is in reach

John, you might want to look at the remaining schedules for KC and Miami. In fact, scottt just posted KC's schedule. We'd have to suck tremendously, including a bunch of the 6 games vs the Orioles to drop in the standings.
John Northey - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#381140) #
Of course, Houston has their division locked up, and are just fighting for best record in MLB/AL now which is secondary - they might be resting their best against the crap teams. Oakland is fighting for their playoff lives so they'll play hard. Minnesota has their division almost fully locked up (5 1/2 game lead) and about the same distance from first overall so they'll be resting regulars a lot vs crap teams too. Atlanta has a 9 game lead, 3 1/2 back of the Dodgers for 1st overall in NL so I suspect they also will be resting regulars. KC might have a much softer schedule than expected all things considered.

Jays meanwhile have 3 vs Boston, 6 vs Yankees, 3 vs Rays, and 6 easy ones vs Baltimore. So I wouldn't say the Jays have an easy schedule.

I figure 3-7th is the range with their current slot at #5 the most likely.
SK in NJ - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#381141) #
I'm also confused on Hernandez playing CF while better CF's than him are playing in the corners. If he is not the CF long-term, and he shouldn't be, then why do this? Maybe he told the team he is more comfortable there, which is fine, but the Jays need to figure out their 2020 and beyond lineup. I find it hard to believe Teoscar in CF fits into that.

Grichuk has actually graded out positively in CF this year according to FG (+4 DRS, +0.4 UZR in 464 innings). Between him, Hernandez, and Fisher, he seems to be the one who might be able to handle CF competently, even though he's likely better off in RF.

With Alford looking like a long shot to be a MLB regular (at least based off 2018-19), hopefully the team will look outside the org for a long-term CF this winter. Atkins made it sound like they think Fisher could do it when he was acquired, but haven't really played him there (looks like with good reason). I wouldn't mind seeing one of Grichuk/Fisher/Teoscar not on the team next year as they are way too similar in their flaws, but one's contract prevents him from having much value, and the other two haven't done anything meaningful at the big league level over a full season.
John Northey - Monday, September 09 2019 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#381142) #
Checking Jays CF by UZR/150 We see...

Pillar: 12.1
Davis: 10.9
Alford: 5.1 (just 9 innings)
Grichuk: 1.3 (over 400 innings)
Hernandez: -10.7 (over 500 innings)
Brito: -25.5
Fisher: -35.8 (25 innings only thankfully)

So basically Pillar was the best (duh) to Fisher the nightmare. Hernandez is extremely bad in CF, Grichuk average, Alford & Davis both decent backups. Pretty much fits what I think most of us eyeballed it as. I can understand trying to see if Hernandez could handle it but geez he sucks out there. Grichuk in RF is just 0.1, Hernandez in LF +19.5 over 295 innings. Huh, who'd have thunk it? Drury is the only guy with over 100 innings in RF other than Grichuk and is -31.9 there (yikes) Biggio was worse at -40.7 in 61 innings.

UZR/150 by position for regulars for 2020....
1B: Tellez: 5.5
2B: Biggio: -2.9
3B: Vlad: -19.4
SS: Bo: 0.6
LF: Gurriel: -0.2
CF: Hernandez: -10.7
RF: Grichuk: 0.1

A few ugly spots there. Glad Bo isn't an ugly one. Drury is a +6 at 3B btw, Gurriel at 3B is -27.7. As pretty much everyone has said Vlad is moving to 1B or the outfield sooner rather than later.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 12:46 AM EDT (#381143) #
Teoscar is bad. Vlad is the worse. Defensively.

I wouldn't describe Davis' defensive work as back up quality like Alford. To my eyes he's right there with Pillar and getting better every game.
dan gordon - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 02:06 AM EDT (#381144) #
Davis will be 28 shortly after the start of next season. He's going to start declining, and he isn't even a big league player now. McKinney has a career OPS in the minors of .783, and a .709 OPS in 373 big league PA's, and isn't a great defender. He's produced 0.1 WAR in those 340 PA's. Drury, I've mentioned many times before - his road OPS numbers are quite consistently poor - 2016 .638, 2017 .640, 2018 .628, 2019 .594, career .633. That's what he is. The only question is how long is it going to take for the Blue Jays to realize this. I don't think any of these 3 players has any value. Well, maybe McKinney, at 25, has a very slight chance of becoming a decent backup OF for a few years if he develops some more, but I think the chance is small. I'm not ready to give up on Alford quite yet, given his speed, defense and age of 25, with limited minor league time. He's the same age as McKinney, but has almost 50% fewer professional AB's. I've always been a Pompey backer, but I think he's just too injury prone to have a successful profession baseball career.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 07:54 AM EDT (#381146) #
Greentrac has a new competitor- fangraphs has new Roster Resource-Team Payroll pages.  Here's the one for the Blue Jays.  It's very good, including the notable pre-arb players currently in the organization. Definitely a step up from Sportrac and BBRef. 

Fangraphs does not have players in the high minors at the start of the year who are currently on the roster or who certainly can be expected to be next year.  So it has Trent Thornton and Ryan Borucki (and Devon Travis and Clayton Richard), but no Waguespack, Kay and Zeuch.  And no Pearson.  If you're going to project out to 2025, you need those names (at a minimum).   

dalimon5 - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#381147) #
Should be worst not worse.

Davis is a faster runner and better defender than Alford. He's also probably the best base runner on the team right now. He's a perfect bench player to carry on your team with Dyson upside.
scottt - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#381148) #
Houston and NYY are in a fight to the finish to win overall home advantage and face the wild card team.
Nobody is resting until the end of the ALDS.

The Jays decided to rest in 2015 and struggled in every series.
Here both teams wants to win it all and will not take the gas off the pedal.

Boston is 8 games back of a wildard  spot. They just dropped a  4 game series. At home. To the Yankees.
They arrived in Toronto at 4AM this morning. Sale is done for the year. Rodriguez pitched yesterday.
Eovaldi will start today. That's a pretty average team, good hitting, bad pitching.

The Yankees lost Kauchman for the year. The pitching is still questionable. It's obviously a good team.
Baltimore is terrible.
I don't know if the Rays games will be meaningful. That's definitively a team that will rest and keep their best pitchers for the playoffs since it's the last 3 games of the year. Home advantage could still be at play, which might mean a lot.
If the last game means nothing, I could see an all AAA pitching squad.

scottt - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#381149) #
I certainly wouldn't drop Davis while he has options.
He's not been able to hit at the MLB level, but he might just need some time.

This is where you need to improve hitters without having them play in minor games.
It's not as easy as it may sound.

I'd still like to see Alford get some time.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#381150) #
It does look like the Blue Jays' best centerfield option is Grichuk.  Here's a rundown on the data- Grichuk vs. Hernandez.  You're best to go with 3 year UZR/DRS, and I'll look at corner OF and centerfield performance separately.  Statcast actual vs. expected catch % is a nice check on the data.  The 3 years are 2017-19:

  3 Yr
3 Yr
3 Yr
3 Yr
Grichuk  2  -2  -1  7  87  90  88
Teoscar  -6  -8  -15  -10  85  83  90  89

If you take an average of DRS and UZR, you have Grichuk as a 0 centerfielder and a +2 corner (bearing in mind that he has played more than a full season in the corner outfield during 2017-19) which is consistent with the expected catch data. Teoscar has 600 innings in centerfield and 1400 innings in a cornerover the last 3 years.  the average of DRS and UZR has him as a -14 CF and  a -13 corner.  That's about right.  The Statcast data suggests that he might be somewhat better than that. 

Ergo, make Grichuk your centerfielder, stick Gurriel Jr in left and find yourself a right-fielder.  Alternatively, find an inexpensive better defensive centerfielder who ideally bats left (hello Jarrod Dyson) and leave Grichuk in right.  If you want to be daring, run out a Davis/Dyson platoon in centerfield.   Davis had pretty extreme platoon splits in the minors, and hasn't looked overmatched against lefties in the majors.  He's a great fielder, so the risk there is modest.

Did I mention how much I like Anthony Rendon?

SK in NJ - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#381151) #
I wouldn't mind a Dyson/Davis (or Dyson/Alford) platoon in CF if you could live with the likely bad offense, but if Grichuk is capable of being an average defensive CF, then just roll with him there since his bat would be more valuable in that spot and try to find an upgrade in the corners. Since the start of the 2016 season, Grichuk has a 99 wRC+ in 1939 plate appearances. That's a fairly large sample size. If he bounces back to his pre-2019 form, then a league average bat is what he just might end up being going forward, assuming whatever approach/swing adjustment the team made with him this season does not lead to any tangible improvement.

Another option might be trying Gurriel in RF (or even CF) and seeing if he could handle that. Fisher/Hernandez could then cover LF/DH and it would be a much more reasonable defensive alignment given the internal options. Although that does nothing to change the issue of having Hernandez, Grichuk, and Fisher in the same lineup. I'd group Tellez in there as well. I don't mind Grichuk since he might be a bounce back candidate and he has a resume, but the others can't all be in the 2020 lineup. An upgrade should be made somewhere there.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#381152) #
Gurriel Jr. was below average but serviceable in LF according to DRS/UZR and Statcast.  I don't know why one would try to move him to centerfield.  The young man can hit, and you want him to get better at that, rather than stressing him defensively (least of all after a lingering leg injury). 
Nigel - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#381153) #
That all seems about right to me. Finding a CF who can play at least average defence and get on base north of .300 (preferably bat LH), should be near the top of the FOís priority list. The on base skills may be the most important part. There have been many games this year where the team has rolled out an all sub .300 OBP OF.
Chuck - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#381154) #
Greentrac has a new competitor- fangraphs has new Roster Resource-Team Payroll pages.

The very threat of Greentrac spurred them into action.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#381155) #
I have no idea how Gurriel would do in RF/CF. My point was they could try him in one of those spots to potentially fill an organizational hole (and make Fisher/Teoscar in the OF more palatable as LF'ers), but obviously if Gurriel can't handle RF/CF, then that option is pointless.

What it comes down to is what is easier to find, a CF or RF? Grichuk takes one of those spots, and the other is filled from outside the org. Fisher and Hernandez can battle it out for DH and occasional OF appearances, and just have a revolving door at DH. That seems to be the best use of the current roster. If Alford shows up in Spring Training looking like a beast ready to take over the CF job, then that would be a gift from the baseball heavens. It's also looking very unlikely at this point.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#381157) #
The very threat of Greentrac spurred them into action.

Non-profit "enterprise" spurring for-profits- what a concept!  First greentrac, next green everything.  It's a slippery slope, I tell you. 
Chuck - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#381158) #
First greentrac, next green everything.

Tom Waits is singing your song.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#381159) #
Thanks, Chuck.  There ought to be an association of brilliant croaking, rasping musical poets.  Waits to Cohen to Dylan  doesn't quite have the ring of Tinker to Evers to Chance, but give it time.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#381160) #
gurriel in LF was good but mistake prone - as you'd expect from a guy playing out there for the first time. i think he could become a legit good defensive OF in time and even a CF at that.

and i'm not overly convinced that he's much more than an average hitter in the end.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#381161) #
Gurriel Jr. played outfield in Cuba.  I think that he'll be a decent left-fielder but pushing him to centerfield would be (to my mind) an obvious mistake.  As was keeping him in the infield for as long as they did. 
bpoz - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#381162) #
I have a strong feeling that this FO wants/values the Hr power of T Hernandez and are willing to take his weak defense in return. Maybe that is why he is getting full time play in CF. They are maybe hoping he will get better in time. J Davis and his much better defense is not getting the playing time.
uglyone - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#381163) #
well i have gurriel with 2478inn in the IF, and 888inn in the OF....with 307 of those coming before this year, in cuba.
Nigel - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#381164) #
Gurriel's offence is such a black box to me. In 2020, I will be equally unsurprised if he puts up a 95 wRC+ or a 130 wRC+. He's looked like both of those kinds of hitters for good stretches of the past two years.
hypobole - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#381165) #
Beau Taylor back with Oakland, claimed on waivers.
dan gordon - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#381167) #
A WRC+ of 130 (or higher) for Gurriel wouldn't surprise me at all. He's still a pretty young, developing player whose best days are still ahead of him. His development was delayed due to missing so much time, and he finally has been placed in his proper position. I expect big things from him.
bpoz - Tuesday, September 10 2019 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#381169) #
I agree with Dan Gordon.
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