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The blue bus
Is calling us

The home team may be playing out the string, but the visitors are trying to lock up a place in the Wild Card Game. The Rays are two games up on Cleveland with three to play. A win tonight along with a Cleveland loss punches their ticket. Or the Rays could just take two of three this weekend and it doesn't matter what the Clevelanders do.

Matchups! (obviously subject to change on the visiting side)
Fri 27 Sep. - Glasnow (6-1, 1.92) vs Zeuch (1-1, 4.58)
Sat 28 Sep. - Yarbrough (11-5, 4.08) vs Thornton (5-9, 5.00)
Sun 29 Sep. - Snell (6-7, 4.21) vs Buchholz (1-5, 7.00)

What do the Jays have to play for? Well, Thornton has a chance to join Marcus Stroman and Daniel Hudson, both last seen here in July, as six-game winners and a share of the team lead for 2019. And Clay Buchholz will be trying to convince me that his work this season doesn't merit an F in Tuesday's Report Card.

Yeah, good luck with that.
Tampa Bay at Toronto, 27-29 September | 211 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#381936) #
Buchholz helped Thornton with his curveball.  Be kind!
Chuck - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#381937) #
Be kind!


Chuck - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#381938) #
In a league that has become all about the Three True Outcomes, Joey Gallo's 2019 is at a new level of crazy: 63%. He is now at 59% for his career which I am pretty damn sure is the highest of all time.

His counterpart remains Willans Astudillo, a man totally out of sync with today's game. His seasonal and career TTO rates are 8%. In 291 career PA he has walked 5 times and struck out 7 times. That's a weekend for Cavan Biggio.

hypobole - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#381939) #
Rays also have home field in the WC game to play for. 1 game back. Oakland won the head-to-head 4-3, so the Rays have to make up 2 games on the A's.
Chuck - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#381940) #
And Clay Buchholz will be trying to convince me that his work this season doesn't merit an F in Tuesday's Report Card.

Should Clay throw a 9-inning shutout, his ERA for the year would still be 6.00. Still an F, no?

Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#381941) #
[Gallo] is now at 59% for his career which I am pretty damn sure is the highest of all time.

Well, he's left Russell Branyan (50.5%) in his dust, and I think Branyan was like the original Three True Outcomes guy. I presume Branyan took the crown from Jim Thome, who probably took it from Mickey Mantle...
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#381942) #
Should Clay throw a 9-inning shutout, his ERA for the year would still be 6.00. Still an F, no?

I think I once scrambled to justify someone not getting an F by noting that he'd kept his ERA below 6.50, which had been a minimum for all previous F grades (which assert that there are more appropriate career choices for this person than baseball.) If this was actually a scientific process, a Buchholz shutout could require some last minute editing.
Mike Green - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#381943) #
Doesn't Magpie give out Es? 

If he throws a 7 innings or more, I vote E- taking into account the help he gave.  Not that my vote is worth anything.  Buchholz also get points for treating his fielders well when things went wrong.  I'm getting real soft in my dotage.
GabrielSyme - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#381944) #
Yeah, but if he throws a 27-inning shutout, it'll be a much more respectable 4-something.
lexomatic - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#381945) #
Ibthi k you're leaving out Schmidt (and Reggie!) And McGwire. Maybe a Dick Allen from Mantle.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#381946) #
Yeah, McGwire's the one at 45.6%. Mantle comes in at 40.1%, Reggie at 39.7%, Schmidt at 39.1%, Allen at 38.3%
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#381947) #
Oakland McGwire was 41.7%, but St.Louis McGwire almost matches Gallo with 55.2%.
Waveburner - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 05:51 PM EDT (#381948) #
I always thought Rob Deer was the TTO poster child.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#381949) #
Deer checks in at 49.1% - well spotted!
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#381950) #
The thing with Deer - his numbers are sort of top-heavy. There's just so many strikeouts, almost three times as many as his walks. Mantle was the all-time K leader when he retired, but he actually had more BBs than Ks.

Dave Nicholson is pretty obscure - his claim to fame is he held the record for Ks in a season before Bobby Bonds. He played 7 seasons in the 1960s and had a TTO score of 51.7% which was remarkable for the time. And explains why he only had one season as a regular!
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#381952) #
Doesn't Magpie give out Es?

He sure does - over the years, twice as many Es as As. But his favourite is the old D grade. Replacement level!

Why do I know this? I just went and checked on all the F grades I've handed out these last ten years. All 27 of them. I'd like to say that none of them ever played in the majors again, but that wouldn't even be close to accurate. But I can say that the only one who was ever remotely useful to a major league team again was Jesse Chavez, and his 2012 grade was richly deserved. Josh Thole also got to keep playing under a kind of special dispensation. ("Hey, I can catch a knuckleball.")
dan gordon - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#381953) #
Jim Thome was a TTO star, at about 47.5% and Mickey Tettleton was pretty high, at about 43.5%.
dan gordon - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#381954) #
Buchholz has pitched 54 innings. I might give him an "incomplete".
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#381955) #
Jim Thome checked in at 47.6%, by the way. I think Branyan and Gallo are the only guys who can beat that.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#381956) #
I might give [Buchholz] an "incomplete".

I've generally set the playing time bar at 10 appearances or 20 IP for pitchers. He ain't getting off that easy.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#381957) #
A couple of fun facts. Babe Ruth led the league in Ks five times, but his most in a season was 93. And Ted Williams hit lots of home runs and drew an obscene number of walks - Ted actually walked more often per at bat than Barry Bonds - but Ted never struck out more than 51 times in a season.
Chuck - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#381958) #
All this TTO talk and no mention of Biggio: 49%.
greenfrog - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#381959) #
Off-topic, but does anyone have a reliable update as to Groshans' health? One commentator recently suggested that Groshans should be the Jays' #1 prospect at this time next year, but he has been out for a *long* time with a foot injury. Is it reasonable to expect that he will be fully recovered at some point soon, or are we realistically looking at someone whose career is at risk due to health issues?
Chuck - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#381960) #
And Teoscar is at 48% this year and 45% for his career. I wonder if I looked at all the rosters I wouldn't see a lot of this kind of thing these days.
hypobole - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#381961) #
1929 pitching vs 2019 pitching:

K/9 2.90 vs 8.87
BB/9 3.30 vs 3.29

No offence to that Ruth guy, but the average batter that year walked more than he struck out. BB/9 is almost the same then and now, as are BABIP and ERA/FIP.

bpoz - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:41 PM EDT (#381962) #
I agree with greenfrog on Groshans. Injuries!!!

But this FO really does protect its prospects. Pearson with the 2 & 5 Innings schedule is a great example to me.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#381963) #
1929 pitching vs 2019 pitching

Oh, no kidding. It's hard enough making people understand that Dave Stieb was a power pitcher who struck out lots of guys. They'll never get Lefty Grove!
christaylor - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#381964) #
As ever the broadcast team is an F. I am watching the home broadcast tonight hoping it is the last time I hear the Buck and Pat show.
John Northey - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#381965) #
I remember it being a big deal that Stieb nearly K'd 200 (198 in 1984). Since then we've seen 6 seasons of 200+ K's led by Clemens 1997 at 292, then his 1998 at 271, then a big drop to AJ Burnett's 231 in 2008, 3 seasons of Halladay (2003/8/9) with 204 to 208, and Brandon Morrow's 203 in 2011. Guzman's peak (he was viewed as a strikeout pitcher) was 194 in 1993.

Stieb's highest K/9 was 6.7 in 1984. His lowest was 3.6 in 1979 as a rookie (ERA+ of 100, 7 complete games out of 18 starts at 21 - he started pitching at 20 - a very different time).
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#381966) #
I left the room for a couple of minutes. I come back and it says Biggio double on a bunt line drive?

I require an explanation.
hypobole - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 09:19 PM EDT (#381967) #
TB shifted/4 OF's, leaving the middle of the field wide open. The bunt wasn't exactly a line drive, more a pop-up/humpback that dropped to the left of 2nd base. By the time an OF got to it, Biggio had hustled into 2nd.
dan gordon - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#381968) #
And of course, pitchers used to often get over 300 K's in a season, sometimes well over. Randy Johnson was over 300 K's 6 times, topping out at 372, and Nolan Ryan did it 5 times (in a stretch of 6 seasons), with 383 being his best.

I think there a loads of guys in the 40%-50% range for TTO now. Mitch Garver, for instance, is 44.2%.

Agree about the TV broadcast team, but Buck did have some good comments about Biggio's great AB where he beat the crazy shift they were using against him with a sort of push bunt to just place the ball in behind 2nd base because there was nobody even remotely close to that spot, and he got a double. Buck said that more players should do that, and I completely agree. If they really overshift on you, bunt for a hit. If you succeed even just 60% of the time, you'd have the best OPS in baseball.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#381969) #
The bunt wasn't exactly a line drive

Clever boy!

I put up a couple of data tables around this time last year - it just listed the 60 guys who'd made the most AL starts in 1988 and 2018, and each guy's K/9. Stieb was 13th of 60 in 1988 with 6.38 K/9, a figure that would have had him behind 55 of the 60 guys in 2019.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#381970) #
Buck did have some good comments

Old Buck has had a few good moments this season - there was a memorable (to me) at bat where he recommended each pitch before it was delivered, the pitcher delivered precisely what Buck had recommended, and got the hitter. But he and Tabler just bring out the worst in each other. Tabler (who was always one of the game's famous Nice Guys when he was a player) is almost aggressively bland, which is hard to imagine but somehow he delivers.
Magpie - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#381971) #
I think Law might be running on fumes. Believe it or not, he's never pitched this many innings in a season.
hypobole - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#381972) #
Luciano the past few outings has looked as good as anyone in our bullpen not named Giles.
SK in NJ - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#381973) #
I was expecting Luciano to have an ERA around 8.00-9.00 (or worse), so him sitting at 5.35 in 33.2 innings by the end of September, plus the team having his rights for the next few seasons is a pretty solid outcome for a Rule 5 pick. Whether he can turn into anything with some minor league development as a SP remains to be seen. It doesn't appear a season in the bigs at 19 did any sort of damage, at least from a confidence standpoint.
John Northey - Friday, September 27 2019 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#381974) #
So with 2 games to go the Jays cannot finish lower than 4th worst, or higher than 6th worst. Seattle has 1 1/2 games on them and is currently leading Oakland 2-1 in the 5th in Seattle. The Jays have the tie breaker for better draft slot vs Seattle so the Jays would need to win both games left and Seattle needs to lose all 3 they have left to deny the Jays that 5th slot in next years draft. C'mon Seattle!

As to what happens if Oakland and Tampa are tied, home field is decided based on which had the better record in head-to-head games this year - over 7 games Tampa won 3, Oakland 4. So if Oakland loses the two of them are tied with 2 to go, if Oakland wins then Tampa needs to win both games left and Oakland has to lose both of them for Tampa to get home field advantage.

So things are as good as it can be for the Jays now - one win or Seattle loss gives the Jays that 5th pick, both Oakland and Tampa have something to play for so a Jays win would make Tampa go to Oakland for that playoff game. At least in Oakland they might get a crowd, Oakland averaged 20,521 this year vs Tampa's pathetic 14,552, only Miami was worse with 10,016 and under 1 million total. Funny how way back in the 90's it was thought teams in Florida would be a good idea but it sure has been the opposite. Tampa last had 1.5 million in 2013 (their last playoff season) and only cracked 2 million their first year 1998. Miami cracked 3 million their first season, then 2 million in 1997 (WS win), and in 2012 (moved into new park, became Miami instead of Florida Marlins). This year is their 2nd straight under 1 million, 3rd time overall (also in 2002, the year before they won their 2nd WS). Oddity: Don Mattingly is now the longest serving Marlins manager at 4 full seasons (assuming he lasts the final 2 days).
Spifficus - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:12 AM EDT (#381975) #
Buck was a good colour guy who was miscast in his return as a play-by-play guy, and has been caught in the nether regions in between ever since. Magpie's right that he and Tabler bring out the worst in each other - it's two people dancing, continuously struggling to figure out who is going to lead.
dan gordon - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 01:29 AM EDT (#381976) #
I also figured Luciano would be worse than he has been. Glad to be wrong - he looks like he's yet another pretty good prospect for the rotation in a few years.
hypobole - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 02:15 AM EDT (#381977) #
Liam Hendricks just gave up 2 runs in the 9th allowing Seattle to beat the A's. Tampa pulls in a tie for home field. Tampa will not be playing out the string.

Jays also now guaranteed to pick 5th.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 06:34 AM EDT (#381978) #
I hope Dan Shulman does at least some of the games next year. It was a lot more tolerable when just him and Buck did the broadcasts this year.
Chuck - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 07:03 AM EDT (#381979) #
Yankees have taken the HR lead over the Twins, 305 to 303.
scottt - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 07:45 AM EDT (#381980) #
So Cleveland is out. Houston has home field advantage over the Yankees. That's one fight the Yanks lost.
Paxton was pulled after one inning by precaution and they're saying that Encarnation is not "mentally" ready to return.

Overall, I can't really think of one of the 20 non playoffs team who had a great year.
Take the Padres. They spent all that money on Machado, now they realize they have to get rid of Myers and possibly Hosmer too but they gave them those huge contracts.
The Rangers? They were pretenders for the beginning of the year, but did that set them back for next year?
Odor could end up with 30 HR to go with is 76 OPS+. 
Pence was good, but he's 36 and they didn't trade him.
The pitching was all Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. They have Minor for another year and Lynn for 2 more.

Overally, I'm not too displeased with the Jays. If you're not competing, might as well set yourself for a good draft as long as your key players are developing.

Shoeless Joe - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#381981) #
Since Luciano has returned his control seems to have improved.
bpoz - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#381982) #
I give a lot of credit to the development people. This part of the org seems to be doing a lot of developing/teaching using time that is not during a game.

I don't know the nature of Luciano's injury but he did some development while out it seems.
hypobole - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#381983) #
Biggio is now right behind Stro on both FG and Ref 2.7 fWAR/2.8 bWAR.

Any chance he gets some down votes for AL ROY?
scottt - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#381984) #
Luciano threw 66.2 innings in 2017, 67 innings last year but only 33.2 this year.
That's a bit a of a setback there, mostly due to the injury.

Looking at the AFL results.

Kevin Smith .150  .150 .200
Cullen Large .188 .278 .375
Logar Warmoth .333 .412 .878

Maverik Buffo IP:3  BB:1 K:2 ERA:3.00
Jackson Rees IP:3 BB:1 K:3 ERA:0
Graham Spraker IP:4 BB:2 K:5 ERA:6.75 (1HR)
Mike Ellenbest 1P:4 BB:2 K:2 ERA 0

Spraker was piggy backing on Pearson in Dunedin and has decent number there.
Should be starting in  AA next year, if it's not too crowded.

John Northey - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#381985) #
Biggio has had a really good September - 10th best in MLB by fWAR at 1.2 (#1 is the A's Marcus Semien 2.1).

Biggio is 7th in the majors for fWAR by hitters, only Yordan Alvarez of the Astros is ahead of him in the AL (4.0 vs Biggio's 2.7, with Luis Arraez of the Twins and the Rays Brandon Lowe barely behind at 2.6). Bo is at 1.8, Vlad is at 1.4. Jansen 1.3 - all top 25 in the majors, top 10 in AL. Reese McGuire is at 1.1 and 11th in the AL.

For pitching Trent Thornton is 3rd in the AL at 1.8 while John Means of the O's is leading at 3.1 with Spencer Turnbull of the Tigers at 2.7. Jacob Waguespack is 19th with 0.7 fWAR.

Seems clear Alvarez will win the ROY, Biggio won't get as many votes as he should due to voters going for the more flashy Bo & Vlad show. Can't imagine any pitcher will get too many votes as none will have 162 IP, none have 10+ saves, Means leads with 11 wins but has 11 losses as well which still influences some voters. The Tigers Turnbull is 3-16 which really sucks even when you factor in how bad Detroit is.

So Biggio should come in 2nd or 3rd but probably will be lucky to get votes at all. No one said it was fair.
bpoz - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#381986) #
The Boston ownership spoke about the firing of Dombrowski. They believe that he cannot control payroll well enough to avoid luxury tax penalties.
bpoz - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#381987) #
93 wins for Cleveland and no playoffs.
hypobole - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#381988) #
Cleveland with 57 games vs 3 of the 10 worst teams in baseball. Can't say missing the playoffs was undeserved.
bpoz - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#381989) #
True Hypo.

Oakland scares me for our future. They are well run and mainly need some starting pitching.
John Northey - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#381990) #
Sucks for Cleveland. However, pre-wild card the Jays missed in the high 90's one year and there were teams with 100 wins who missed (SF one year in the 90's I think).

The Jays next window might be well timed. Red Sox are in chaos and have a weak minor league system and ownership who are determined to get payroll down. O's suck. Yankees used miracles this year to be so good despite DL times, and Tampa is always broke.

Tampa's big costs ($10 mil plus) are Charlie Morton ($15 mil in 2020, 21 option - their ace, not likely to be traded, even at age 35 I suspect), Kevin Kiermaier ($10-12 mil over next 3 years, CF 79 OPS+ but 2.5 WAR as very strong defense, entering age 30 season - could see him being traded easily) and Blake Snell ($7 mil, then $11-16 mil per over next 4 years - disappointing year after his Cy Young season with a 106 ERA+ but doubt he is going anywhere at age 26). Mike Zunino in final year of arbitration (CA, 46 OPS+, ugh, release candidate even if his defense kept him above 0 for WAR at 0.1). Gotta figure the struggles of their payroll limits will knock them down again quickly.
lexomatic - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#381991) #
I remember reading that at some point this year Snell was roughly on line with last year only with worse luck. The injury doesnt help, but I imagine hes not going anywhere unless he recovers full value.
hypobole - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#381992) #
Disagree on Tampa, John.

They're in great position for the future despite never being able to be big players in free agency. Best farm system in baseball with the #1 prospect. Plus being cheap almost always forces them to follow Branch Rickey's philosophy of trading players.
Vulg - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#381993) #
They're in great position for the future despite never being able to be big players in free agency. Best farm system in baseball with the #1 prospect. Plus being cheap almost always forces them to follow Branch Rickey's philosophy of trading players.

Very much agree, Tampa is not going anywhere. They're smarter and outmaneuver teams out of necessity and they've show mastery on every front needed to sustain success, from amateur scouting, pro scouting, player development ... you name it. The Chris Archer trade is a great example of the kind of opportunism I wished the Jays could have exploited.

There's a nice and timely piece on this topic by Zwelling today:

Best part IMO:

It’s frustrating because the Rays don’t only have that pitching and defence — they boast the best staff ERA and FIP (both 3.65) in the AL. They’re not only young — their two best hitters, Austin Meadows and Brandon Lowe, are in their age-24 seasons. They’re not only cheap — only $36-million is on the books for 2020 and much of the team’s core has yet to even hit arbitration. They’re not only nasty — Tampa’s staff boasts the fifth-highest average fastball velocity (94.4 m.p.h.) in the game. And they’re not only annoying — they have 39 come-from-behind wins this season (already a dozen more than they mustered in all of 2018) and are 22-9 in their last 31 one-run games, a .710 winning percentage.

They’re all those things and they’re getting better. They have eight players on Baseball America’s top-100 prospect list; six on’s top-100; five on Baseball Prospectus’s top-50. They boast, at worst, baseball’s third-best farm system. The Blue Jays have worked diligently and purposefully to push their system into the top-10 of industry rankings over three consecutive losing seasons. The Rays, meanwhile, have merely chugged along in the top-five while posting a .550 major-league winning percentage since 2017.
Mike Green - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#381994) #
VGJ was scratched from today's game because of right knee soreness. Earlier this year, it was left knee soreness that kept him out.

I really don't understand why you want him to continue at third base, between the fielding issues and the health problems. The hot corner is a bad place for a 20 year old with bilateral knee problems.
hypobole - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#381995) #
"Best part IMO:"

Worst part IMO :(
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#381996) #
The hot corner is a bad place for a 20 year old with bilateral knee problems.

There are no good places, but I think first base is worse in that case. There's a lot more action there.
greenfrog - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#381997) #
The concrete-floored RC is probably the wrong stadium for someone like Vlad.
Mike Green - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#381998) #
The problem with third base is quick twists and turns. Killer on knees.
hypobole - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#381999) #
Move Vlad to 1st now, don't be surprised if he turns into big tub of goo within a few years.
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#382000) #
The problem with third base is quick twists and turns. Killer on knees.

Exactly. There's even more of it on the other side of the diamond.
Mike Green - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#382001) #
Don't think so, Magpie. Vlad can't play deep because he doesn't move quickly coming in. He could and would play deeper as a first baseman and that makes all the difference.

Anyways, I am pretty sure that the current plan is going to fail.

Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#382002) #
I'm not thinking of the batted balls he has to field. I'm thinking of all the times the first baseman has to hustle to the bag and pivot to take the throw.
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#382003) #
Hey, it made my knees cream.
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#382004) #
Scream. It made my knees scream. Sheesh.

Anyway, playing third base was positively restful by comparison!
greenfrog - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#382005) #
Or the team could get it over with, make him a DH, and hope he resembles a 20- and 30-something Edgar Martinez for a decade or two.
Mike Green - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#382006) #
I scream,  you scream.

I am more worried about actually popping a meniscus or worse.
Spifficus - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#382007) #
Or they could work with him on an offseason conditioning program to see if being a bit more trim helps with some of these knee issues. It sounds like he's ready to buy in, from his public comments.
Mike Green - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#382008) #
DH is a possibility. I would be happy if he was healthy and hitting like he can for 12-13 years.
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#382009) #
I always like my first baseman to be a little taller than young Vlad anyway. If it turns out he can't handle third base, I'd rather see him in right field. This is obviously out of the question if he's lugging 250 pounds around. It's only if he gets in better shape, and if he can't handle third base. In which case - he's a DH.
scottt - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#382010) #
Yeah. 2017. Sure. The Rays won 68 games in 2016 and picked 4th in 2017.
That was Brendan McKay, their #2 prospect. He debuted this year. He hasn't done much yet.

In 2017, they won 80 games. Last year they drafted Liberatore, 16th overall.  He's their #4 prospect.

The Jays are on the same trajectory. Just 3 years behind.
The Rays last made the playoffs in 2013. The Jays in 2016. Just lagging by 3 years.

The Rays have a couple of good International prospects. Especially Franco.
But they'll rely on a bunch of young upcoming pitchers. Just like the Jays.

PeterG - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#382011) #
Vlad is much better off where he is than moving to first and I believe the team thinks so as well. I don't see any switch in the forecast. All he needs is the occasional day off and maybe 1 in 5 games at DH as apart of a rotation and all will be fine.
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#382012) #
Did that pitcher actually hit Cavan, or did it just invade his personal space?
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#382013) #
Ah. Brushed the elbow.
Magpie - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#382014) #
So if Oakland wins tonight, Tampa visits Oakland and tomorrow's game won't matter to anyone. Which would be good news for Buchholz, right?
dan gordon - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#382015) #
"Take the Padres. They spent all that money on Machado, now they realize they have to get rid of Myers and possibly Hosmer too but they gave them those huge contracts"

Yup, more examples of how signing players to huge money free agent contracts or extensions usually turns out to be a bad idea. Often, a VERY bad idea. Even with teams being more careful the last few years about big money deals, there still is lots of evidence to not do it.

Look at the Bryce Harper contract. He's hitting .259, with an .879 OPS this year after hitting .249 with an .889 OPS last year. That's with playing half of his games in a very good hitters' park this year. His road OPS is just .824. His 2015 and 2017 seasons are starting to look like outliers. In 6 of his 8 mlb seasons, his OPS has been under .900. He is owed $27.5 million a year for 9 more years, and then $23.5 million a year for 3 more years.

Machado has hit .253 with a .787 OPS this year, and is leading the league with 24 GIDP. The Padres are on the hook for $32 million a year for 9 more years of Machado. Hosmer has given the Padres an OPS of .736 this year after .720 last year, and is actually a negative WAR player this year. He turns 30 next month, and they still owe him $21 million a year for the next 3 years, followed by $13 million a year for 3 further seasons. Myers has had a tough time holding on to a regular job, and is a negative WAR player, with a .239 BA and .735 OPS, and is owed $22.5 million a year for the next 3 years, plus a $1 million buyout after those 3 years.

When the Yankees traded for Stanton, I said they would regret it because Stanton is so injury prone. So far, in 2 seasons, he has given them 174 games with a total of 4.6 WAR. He is still owed $244 million for the next 8 seasons, including the buyout of the 2028 option year. The Marlins will owe $30 million of that once Stanton declines the option to opt out next year, but that still leaves $214 million for the Yankees. Stanton is just over a month away from his 30th birthday. Of course, it's the Yankees, so they aren't going to be bothered too much by such a bad contract.

I just hope people keep things like this in mind when they are calling for the Jays to start signing big name free agents.
greenfrog - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#382016) #
A better approach seems to be what the Astros have done so brilliantly with players like Verlander and Cole, that is, trading middling prospect packages for outstanding veteran pitchers with a couple of years left on their contracts.

In an era when prospects are frequently overvalued, the Astros have executed this strategy to perfection. Note that they pursued this approach when the team was already championship-calibre or close to it.
scottt - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#382017) #
Verlander and Cole were last stage deals done after the team was already playoffs bound.

Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron are Detroit's prospects #6, #7 and #8.
(Take into account that Detroit's top 3 prospects are the guys they drafted in the first round since the trade.)
Verlander came over with around 150M/over 5 years and the Astros helped him improve his pitching.

Cole was a 2 year rental. It would be pointless for the Jays to trade prospects for 2 years of anyone right now.

The Yankees did something similar with Justus Sheffield for Paxton.
That only works if you're able to over hype your prospects. Not in the Jays playbook.

John Northey - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#382018) #
Lets see how ugly last winters free agents were...
1) Bryce Harper: $330 over 13 : 3.8 bWAR team is 80-80
2) Manny Machado: $300 over 10 : 3.0 bWAR team is 70-90
3) Patrick Corbin: $140 over 6 : 5.7 bWAR team is 91-69 home field for WC game.
4) Nathan Eovaldi: $68 over 4 : 0.1 bWAR team is 83-77

That covers everyone over $60 mil last year. 3 of the 4 were on teams that didn't come within 5 games of the playoffs, while the Nats got the right guy as without Corbin they probably miss the playoffs (their #6 starter who would've moved to #5 had an ERA+ of 78, 2 others had 8 starts with one at 74 for ERA+ and the other at 140 but at 27 had a 4.34 ERA in the minors so that was dumb luck and probably wouldn't have been the case over 30+ starts).

So as mentioned before, free agents at the high end can be worth it if you are on the cusp, but you damn well better be certain you are and that the guy you sign is likely to hold up.
Vulg - Saturday, September 28 2019 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#382019) #
So as mentioned before, free agents at the high end can be worth it if you are on the cusp, but you damn well better be certain you are and that the guy you sign is likely to hold up.

Which is why you don't play in the high end. I don't particularly care how the Jays leverage their financial might, just that they spend in a way that is commensurate with their market, similar to how the Raptors and Leafs or even TFC spend (i.e. top ~25% in their respective leagues). There are many, many ways the team can play in the space below the luxury tax threshold (just north of $200M in 2020), and many of them don't need to result in long-term commitments that overlap with the maturation of your young core once they emerge from pre-arb in a few years.

Ideally, they make smart Charlie Morton-style deals that are shorter in term. There is absolutely no reason the Jays shouldn't have been in on guys like Keuchel, who were available for 1 year at $20M or less. If they work out and contribute a few extra wins over a season and contribute to the environment you're trying to establish, great. If they turn into solid trade chips, even better. If they're a complete sunk cost, who cares, you didn't need the money in 2019.

We'll see how creative the Jays get in 2020. This year they were 22nd in payroll. So far, they are 29th as far as 2020 payroll commitments go. I want to see more than dumpster diving next year and no, that doesn't mean I want them sign 5+ year deals to whatever aging FA is available.
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 12:10 AM EDT (#382020) #
That only works if you're able to over hype your prospects.

I would think this is more fantasy than fact. Any GM that buys into media hype shouldn't be a GM. There is too much information now. Now fans on the other hand very much do fall for hype. Fans hated the Stroman return, because neither SWR or Kay had any hype, but it seems a fair deal now, and may turn out much better than that for the Jays.
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 12:39 AM EDT (#382021) #
As for Bryce Harper, FG has him at 4.5 WAR and a top 30 position player. 3.8 or 4.5 isn't fantastic, but he was worth the money. As for Philly's poor record, think of the Jays pitching staff this year. Philly's is actually one spot below the Jays on FG - too many injuries and too much under-performance.

Harper and Realmuto combined for 10 WAR. That's more than all the rest of their position players combined and more than their entire pitching staff.
Michael - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:47 AM EDT (#382022) #
Trading middling prospects for quality major league players is exactly what AA was effective at. Again, the way you convert your prospects into major league players is sometimes you develop them, and sometimes you trade them (and sometimes you hold them too long and they spoil and become worthless).

Now that said, sometimes the middling prospects develop after you trade them, but if you play the odds right you win more deals than not and end up ahead on aggregate.

I do also like the other approach though of taking on salary on older players other teams have soured on. For instance, this article suggesting Price + Casas (BA #66 prospect) + $25 million to the Jays for random less than middling non-prospects (really about money/luxury tax). That would seem like a good deal to me (assuming Casas is the sort of mid-to-lower 100 top prospect BA is saying).
scottt - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#382023) #
Notice that AA hasn't traded any middling prospect for quality major league players in Atlanta.

Taking on Price is something the Mets might try, but Betts might be a better target for them.
Making Boston better would be a firing offense for the Toronto front office.

Teams like the Pirates, the Rays, the Athletics, the Marlins will trade some of their best players when they become too expensive. You also need to watch teams on the edge of a rebuild.

Conversely, other managers will give you more for your prospects if you don't have better ones.
Stroman was just traded for middling prospects.

The Verlander trade is not something you want to emulate.
The result could well be something like the Archer trade. 3 prospects for a guy you think you can fix?

scottt - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#382024) #
By hype, I meant beeing on top prospect lists. I don't think the media figure in this at all.

The Yankees took great care not to expose Julius Sheffield to much MLB hitting before they traded him for Paxton.
They seem to be trying to get too much value from Frazier who has been a one way player.
Estevan Florial is still a top 100 prospect, but he hasn't been able to hit in A+ in 2 full year.

Biggio, for example, was mostly under the radar being 24 and not blazing through the minor.
For good or bad, they were not aggressive with him and kept him with Vlad and Bichette.

hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#382025) #
Making Boston better would be a firing offense for the Toronto front office.

Didn't we trade the 2018 WS MVP to Boston?
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#382026) #
By hype, I meant beeing on top prospect lists. I don't think the media figure in this at all.

Publicly available top prospect lists are all media lists.
scottt - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#382027) #
Did he make them better this year?
mathesond - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#382028) #
Didn't he help make them better last year?
John Northey - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#382029) #
Heh. Pearce turned back into a pumpkin this year - -0.6 WAR, 32 OPS+ and finished on the IL with just 89 PA. He had a great World Series but that was just 16 PA. Anyone can get hot for that long.
scottt - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#382030) #
The front office has been able to make trades with Cleveland, the Astros, the Mets, the Cards, the Phillies, the Nats, etc...
The Padres seems like an interesting team because they have lots of prospects coming up.

They currently have 11 players on the 60IL, so they figure to have roster problem even before considering the rule 5.
They have 3 outfielders in AA who will need protection, on top of Olivares who has burned his first option.

With the 26 roster, they're always the possibility of outrighting Alford and picking a centre field in December.

greenfrog - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#382031) #
Pearce did much more for the Red Sox in 2018 than perform well in the WS.

In the regular season (165 PA), he hit .279/.394/.507 (143 wRC+).

In the postseason (47 PA), he hit .289/.426/.658 (187 wRC+).

He also made a game-saving defensive play in the ALDS:

In short, he had an incredible part-season with Boston last year.
scottt - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#382032) #
Trading rentals who contributes is good for 2 reasons.

You take some prospects from Boston and Tampa and you help them finish higher and draft later.

Trading prospects to division rivals is just plain bad.
Trading Stroman to the Yankees would have been terrible next year.

hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#382033) #
Just read Kaitlyn's piece on Trent Thornton at The Athletic and it got me wondering about something discussed by Magpie and Mike early in this thread.
From an outsiders perspective, Buchholz deserves an F. If you were a member of the Jays FO, what grade would you give Buchholz?
85bluejay - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#382034) #
Happy to have secured the 5th pick, though after the July selloff I was hoping for a top 3 pick.

Top 3 disappointments this year:

- Randall Grichuk - He complained about the insecurity he felt in St. Louis - the Jays gave him security and regular playing time and he stagnated in what should be the prime of his career.

-Brandon Drury - Seduced by the Yankees previous interest in him, I was expecting better and he didn't seem to improve as the season went along making the Happ trade look sour.

-Aaron Sanchez - an abysmal season meant the Jays ended up having to virtually give him away -another lost trade chip.

Top 3 surprises:

-Gurriel - the continuing injuries are a concern (not the appendicitis) but he finally seemed to have found a position and his bat was productive - in this dreadful Jays outfield, he offers hope.

-Thornton - that he was probably rushed into ML service because of injuries, he survived and seemed to improve after a tough run

- Me - because of the Jays abysmal season, I hardly watched any baseball (congratulations to those that did),spent a lot of time doing outdoor activities, lost some weight and got my waist size down to 30 - I'm in the proverbial "best shape of my life", well at least since my 20's - with old man winter coming, it will not last but I'm basking in the glory for now!
bpoz - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#382035) #
Does not sound right to me that the fortunes of Boston in 2018 and 2019 were impacted by Pearce very much. I agree that he contributed more in 2018.

I compared the RS and RA for Boston's 2018 vs 2019. The RS was about the same but the RA was about 200 runs higher in 2019. I realize that my analysis is a bit too simple.

My simple analysis worked better for me. I tried the Pythagoras formula but I could not figure out how to do it right.
uglyone - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#382036) #
Time to put this season to be...

bpoz - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#382037) #
I think there was only 1 big money trade by this FO. We took Liriano, McGuire and H Ramirez and gave up D Huchison. I don't think Pittsburgh sent us any money. This was when we were contending.

The Richardson trade happened when SD DFA'd him and 10 days later they shipped him plus cash for C Pannas. This is when we are rebuilding the whole team. But SD was contending.

I hope the 2020 team will be called a continued rebuild team. That is simple. Using fancy words (PR) will not affect the results of the team.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#382038) #
Time to put this season to be[d].

Nice. BTW, looks like The Far Side may be coming back.

hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#382039) #
The first half of this year was eye-gougingly bad - 23 games under .500. The tank was in full effect.

The 2nd half? Well, Mike didn't win his bet, but he came a lot closer than I ever dreamed possible. Our 37 wins are better than 12 other teams have managed in their past 80 games.

scottt - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#382040) #
They Jays paid 1.5M for Richard, which is next to nothing. 
In return he barely played.

Connor Panas played 12 games in the PCL with an OPS of .967.
He played 21 games in A+ hitting only to an OPS of .675.
By July he was playing for Quebec City in an Independent league (CANAM) where he was good for an OPS of .686 in 24 games.
In played for Canada in the PanAm games in August where they won the silver medal.

bpoz - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#382041) #
Well said hypo.

Some of us were consistently down on 2019. Any hopes for .500 ball by any Bauxites were quickly removed. The promotion of Bichette, Biggio and the return of Gurriel produced a positive feeling for our future and that the rebuild made good progress in a few areas.

As Opening day 2020 approaches I expect to get a feel for the level of optimism and pessimism by Bauxites. This will be affected by the off season moves.

Last off seasons moves and in season moves as well as the moves at the July 31 trade deadline IMO confused everyone in large part because of the huge number of players that got playing time.

I finally realized it was a "stick to the wall strategy"
which helped me understand. But I am sure that the huge number of pitchers used by the Jays was not the "stick to the wall" strategy but a "we need any and all arms" strategy. I still hated the losing but we avoided 100 losses and won 4 or the last 5 series which made me very happy.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#382042) #
This stuff makes me crazy. Joe Maddon and the Cubs made it official, and ESPN's story by Jesse Rogers, actually includes the following:

the manager who was in the dugout for the most successful stretch in franchise history

The most successful stretch in franchise history? A professional baseball writer wrote that? The franchise existed before you were born, dude.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#382043) #
History only starts when you were born. That's the unspoken rule.
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#382044) #
If you were a member of the Jays FO, what grade would you give Buchholz?

To answer my own question, I would guess at least B, with the only reason for not getting an A would be his injury. Mike posted a piece on Danny Duffy where he admitted as a rookie, a gang of 5 veteran bullies in the clubhouse made his life hell, to the point he almost quit baseball. It really seems our FO placed a great emphasis on character with the vets. And if that change grip Thornton was shown actually does make it a future weapon, Buchholz was worth every penny, no matter his personal results.

Even Edwin Jackson, whose Jays tenure was best known for throwing batting practice to opposing teams, fit the mould. He's still in the majors with Detroit.


Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde called Jackson “one of my top five teammates I’ve ever been around” — a reference to the pair’s days together with the Cubs. “He’s a total pro and a class act, and there’s a reason why he’s been around so long and people want to have him around and always give him an opportunity, because he’s such a great guy,” said Hyde.
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#382045) #
Magpie hearkening back to his days of watching Tinker to Evers to Chance. :)
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#382046) #
Good times!
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#382047) #
Hurdle walks the plank. Unsurprising considering all the clubhouse issues and under-performance. Still shocking to many Pirate fans that Nutting will actually eat the final 2 years of his contract.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#382048) #
It really seems our FO placed a great emphasis on character with the vets.

Everybody around the team says the same thing about Clayton Richard as well. All really good character guys, helped out all the youngsters. Too bad they can't actually play, but you could certainly argue that the mentorship was more important this year anyway.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#382049) #
Teoscar showing everyone what he has learned about playing defense these past six months...
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#382050) #
I think playing was somewhat important. Playing well wasn't.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#382051) #
I must confess to being excessively fascinated with the Cubs of more than 100 years ago. There are two reasons. First:

Most wins in one season: 1906 Cubs (116-35 .757) and the 2001 Mariners (116-46, .716).
Most wins in two seasons: 1906-07 Cubs (223-81, .734).
Most wins in three seasons: 1906-08 Cubs (322-136, .703).
Most wins in four seasons: 1906-09 Cubs (426-185, .697).
Most wins in five seasons: 1906-10 Cubs (530-235, .693).
Most wins in six seasons: 1905-10 Cubs (622-296, .678).
Most wins in seven seasons: 1904-10 Cubs (715-356, .668).
Most wins in eight seasons: 1904-11 Cubs (807-418, .659).
Most wins in nine seasons: 1904-12 Cubs (898-477, .653).
Most wins in ten seasons: 1904-13 Cubs (986-542, .645).

They were really, really good.

And the other reason is that what appears to have made them so good was mostly their defense. They had an excellent offense, but only led the league twice in those ten years. What they did you couldn't do now - you couldn't put out a team that was that much better than everyone else defensively. Even if you had Ozzie at short and Brooks at third and Maz at second and Willie in CF. You'd have the best defense, but it wouldn't be that much better than the other teams. But that seems to be what those old Cubs teams had.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#382052) #
Kevin Cash must have enjoyed watching Kiermaier diving all out on the turf in a completely meaningless game.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#382053) #
In a story that may well have gotten ink that I have just missed, Castallenos has 58 doubles this year, the 10th highest seasonal total ever. This is the highest total since 2000, when Helton had 59 and Delgado 57.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#382054) #
They were really, really good.

And you can confirm that Joe Maddon was not the manager in the early 1900s?

uglyone - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#382055) #
Shapiro has a guessed it...more DEPTH...
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#382056) #
Castallenos has 58 doubles this year

And he's not in today's lineup to chase 60. I'll bet the Brewers are just delighted.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#382057) #
Remember when people cared about batting championships? Remember the Brett vs. McRae controversy?

No controversy in the NL this year, as the two front runners have been shut down, but it has taken 4 decimal places to resolve this year's competition with Yelich defeating Marte .3292 to .3286.

Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#382058) #
Remember the Brett vs. McRae controversy?

Oh yes! Accusations of racism and everything!

Remember Cobb vs Lajoie?

Okay, no one remembers Cobb vs Lajoie...
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#382059) #
Gerrit Cole is two innings away from win #20.

Trivia question (and I don't know the answer): what was the last team with two 20-game winners?

Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#382060) #
At this precise moment, the Twins and Yankees are tied with 306 HR.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#382061) #
I am hoping that Guerrero is looking at Rafael Devers for inspiration. Devers is a big, young man who spent the last off-season focusing on his conditioning. He is now playing the 156th game of his 5-WAR season.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#382062) #
Let's tell the tale of Cobb vs Lajoie. The Chalmers auto company announced that it would give a brand new Chalmers Roadster to the 1910 AL batting champion. Going into the final day, Cobb led Lajoie .383 to .375 so he took the last day off. Lajoie played both games of a double header and in the first game he dropped five bunt singles in front of the St Louis third baseman who was playing very, very deep (allegedly on orders of his manager - everybody in the league just hated Cobb.) Lajoie went 8-8 on the day to edge ahead Cobb.

Then league president Ban Johnson got involved. He discovered that one of Cobb's games (second game of a double-header) hadn't been counted and the additional 2-3 edged Cobb back ahead of Lajoie. Then a sac hit in Lajoie's final game was changed to a single, putting him back in front. Lajoie is reported to have received congratulatory telegrams from eight of Cobb's Detroit teammates.

In the end, the Chalmers company gave cars to both guys.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#382063) #
Teoscar showing everyone what he has learned about playing defense these past six months...

Would you like to say that again?
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#382064) #
Trivia question (and I don't know the answer): what was the last team with two 20-game winners?

Two teams, same year.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#382065) #
Khris Davis needs to go 17-for-17 from this point on to end the season with a .247 average for the 5th straight year. I have a worry that he may not get the requisite at-bats in the game's remaining 4 innings.
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#382066) #
Two teams, same year.

A fittingly palindromy year.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#382067) #
Teoscar 2018: 239/302/468
Teoscar 2019: 231/307/474

He continues to tease but has there been growth? He'll be 27 in a month. Does he get the opportunity to tease for one more season? Does Smoak's departure open up 1B for Tellez and DH for Teoscar?

Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#382068) #
A fittingly palindromy year.

In 1881, Larry Corcoran (31) and Fred Goldsmith (21) both won 20 games for the Cubs.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#382069) #
Twins 307 HR, Yankees 306.

Something fitting about a man named Castro rankling a team named the Yankees.

Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#382070) #
[Teoscar] continues to tease but has there been growth?

Who the hell knows. Consider this:

Split       G    PA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB  CS  BB  SO  BAVG   OBP    SLG   OPS  
1st Half    63   236  216  24 44   8   1   8   27   4   1  19  71  .204  .267   .361  .628
2nd Half    62   227  220  36 52  11   1  19   35   2   2  26  82  .260  .348   .610  .958
That includes today, and who knows what he's got planned for the rest of the afternoon.
Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#382071) #
I think I gave Teoscar one too many second half homers, although he could sure help me out in his next AB.
Chuck - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#382072) #
Who the hell knows. Consider this:

That's right out of the Grichuk killer second-half playbook. The old "he's figured it out" tease to get you optimistic. Maybe Teoscar has figured it out. Who knows? I believe he will get one more season to make a statement, but it won't be as an outfielder.

Magpie - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#382073) #
I have some snarky things to say about Maile's OPS+ this season, but I guess I have to wait until tomorrow to find out where he ends up. Thanks, Charlie.

So I guess the next palindrome season is 2112?
hypobole - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#382074) #
So I guess the next palindrome season is 2112?
I'm looking forward to it.

Disappointingly, the A's lose to the Mariners. Was counting on the A's to win so we could finish 25 1/2th instead of 26th.
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#382075) #
In the 86 games since Teoscar came back from his demotion he had 1.6 war which is roughly a 3 WAR pace.

Regardless, it's nice to finish off this season. Heres to 2020 Bauxtities!
uglyone - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#382076) #
GabrielSyme - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#382077) #
The old "he's figured it out" tease to get you optimistic. Maybe Teoscar has figured it out. Who knows? I believe he will get one more season to make a statement, but it won't be as an outfielder.

On the season as a whole, Teoscar hit the ball harder and for more power, increased his walk rate and his contact rates, decreased his chase rate and his swinging-strike rate, was more successful on the basepaths and improved in the field (albeit from dreadful to merely bad). On the negative side, he hit fewer line drives and more pop-ups, and struck out more often.

I'd take that season as pretty promising overall. There's no reason for his strikeouts to increase with most of the determinants of strikeouts heading the other direction, so I suspect he'll decrease his Ks next year. Guys with similar plate discipline profiles are Chris Taylor (28%), Robinson Chirinos (29%) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (27%), so 33% is probably a little unsustainably high if he maintains his plate discipline.

I think Teoscar's best fit is actually in centre - he makes the same mistakes in centre as he does in left, but his speed plays up a little more in centre, so he's more valuable there. He's not good, but I think his negatives are just more obvious than a lack of range is. If he's a -10 centre fielder and a league-average hitter, that's a 1-1.5 win player, which is playable, especially if keeping Teoscar in centre allows the Jays to keep both Alford and Fisher and give Alford some opportunities in centre.
dan gordon - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#382078) #
"As for Bryce Harper, FG has him at 4.5 WAR and a top 30 position player. 3.8 or 4.5 isn't fantastic, but he was worth the money"

Maybe he was barely worth the money this year, at roughly the age when players peak. What's he going to be doing when he's in his mid to late 30's and still getting paid a truckload? That's a terrible contract for the Phillies.

I don't think I'd make that Price trade. Even getting $25 million, you're on the hook for $71 million. I'd rather leave Boston with a $96 million burden for the next 3 years.

Top disappointments for me this year - the top 6 starting pitchers heading into the season all getting injured/traded. Stroman/Sanchez/Shoemaker/Borucki/Buchholz/Richard combined for only 72 starts. You have no chance of success when your top 6 starters only make 72 starts. I thought that rotation had a lot of potential (well, except for Richard). Jansen didn't hit as well as I expected. Guerrero apparently not in good shape, and not really contributing as much as people expected. Trading Stevenson for Fisher. Grichuk was not as good as he showed for his career prior to this season.

Top positive surprises - Biggio and Bichette were better in their 1st mlb season than I expected. Some of the mediocre pitching "prospects" like Thornton and Waguespack actually looked like they might have some potential to be mlb assets. McGuire looked like a good hitter in his late season trial. Wilmer Font coming out of nowhere to carve a role for himself. The Stroman trade. Getting Romano back from Texas, and seeing him look very good in a relief role initially, although he wasn't so good after the injury.

As expected - figured Drury was a weak hitter and he continued to be. Figured Gurriel was a great hitter and an OF, and the team finally made the right move with him - will be nice to see what he can do with a 550 AB season. Giles is a great reliever. Still hoping for a 3 or 4 year contract for him.
Mike Green - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#382079) #
Same pleasant surprises, disappointments and met expectations as Dan.

I think Biggio and Bichette are going to be good for a long time. And I think Jansen will bounce back- this was his year to focus on the defensive side of the game and he did very well at that.
bpoz - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#382080) #
Agree dan gordon has said it perfectly.
GabrielSyme - Sunday, September 29 2019 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#382081) #
Dan killed the thread by saying all anyone needed to say.

So let me ask a question: what should the Jays' strategy be for the offseason? Should we be trying to be a contender? Or recognise that our window isn't open yet and 2020 will be a rebuilding year? What should the Jays do during the offseason on the basis of that strategy?

I think I'd be tempted to try to thread the needle: provide enough talent that, if things broke right, we could make a run for a wild card, but without significantly undermining our rebuild. If we are going to cycle guys through DH, we still will need a 1B - I don't believe Tellez is ready to really contribute. Unfortunately, the market is really weak in 1B, and Smoak is probably one of the best options on the market - he really did have poor BABIP luck this past year. Another option might be Jung Ho Kang, who looks like a good buy-low candidate who could play 3B if Vlad has to move across the diamond.

For our pitching staff, there actually are a fair number of interesting players in the middle of the market, and we probably want two of them. It would be nice to go after someone like Wheeler, but the draft pick and international money cost would probably be too high. Instead, I might try to go after Michael Pineda and/or Alex Wood. I'm not sure if Strasburg's opt-out allows the Nationals to tender him a qualifying offer - if not, he's the guy I'd really try to go after as a piece for the longer term. If bullpens are truly unpredictable, we might as well return to our strategy of signing bounce-back candidates like Phelps and Hudson this past year.

The Jays are rich in unproven former prospects in the outfield: Hernandez, Fisher, Alford and McKinney. It's difficult to see how signing another starting outfielder makes sense from a rebuilding point of view unless we are ready to give up on this group.

That's a modest offseason, and definitely further towards the "continue rebuilding" strategy than the "try to contend" strategy. If we decided to sacrifice a draft pick and international money, we could go after some of the better starters (Wheeler, Cole, Bumgarner). The real lack of good 1B options makes it hard to improve the roster at one of our real voids; and our bevy of OF options makes it difficult to justify signing a CF. Given those constraints, I think the best thing to do is to try and build a team that could surprise, rather than one that is solid on paper.
dalimon5 - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#382082) #
Don't sign compensatory free agents.

Don't trade prospects.

Don't let budget drop below $110 million

That means sign a couple of 3/4/5 pitchers with rare exception like Strasburg a possibility.

Trade for bad contracts.
Glevin - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 06:10 AM EDT (#382083) #
"Another option might be Jung Ho Kang, who looks like a good buy-low candidate who could play 3B if Vlad has to move across the diamond."

Would be shocked if the Jays, who value character, signed a guy who has 3 DUIs including fleeing the scene and been accused of sexual assault.
uglyone - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 07:23 AM EDT (#382084) #
Well I have to be the one that disagrees with Dan Gordon, then.

For me, there were quite a few more good surprises this year than bad surprises.

The only real unpleasant surprise for me was Jansen not hitting much at all and vladdy being just ok - though even then, as rookies, struggles weren't really unexpected.

Otherwise, it was a lot of better than expected performances - pichette, Biggio, gurriel, sogard, Thornton, Giles, waguespack in particular.

As for offseasons plans - I think it'll be the same scrapheap picking as last year, and maybe even fewer moves.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#382085) #
Cavan Biggio now holds the Jay's record for consecutive games getting on base. Who held the previous mark of 27 games ? ( Those who were watching the last few games will know but it might be a hard question for those who didn't.)
scottt - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 07:59 AM EDT (#382086) #
For a rebuilding team, what happens in the minors is very important.

Groshans only got 82 ABs.
Kevin Smith took a step backward and then fell on his ass.
Murphy has not reached AAA yet.
Merryweather has gone missing.
Hector Perez has stagnated. Maybe it's time to move him to the pen.
Alford got injured again.
SRF could not throw enough strike to stay up.
Paulino is gone.

Pearson is almost there.
Connine has shown massive power.
Kirk has kept hitting.
Hidalgo, Moreno, etc keep progressing but are still at least 3 years away.

Overall there's quite a few pitchers and hitters in the system but not a lot graduating until 2022.
Still enough pitching to keep us entertained next year with Kay, Zeuch, Burocki, Waguespack, etc...

scottt - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#382087) #
Isn't that just the rookie record?
ISLAND BOY - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:10 AM EDT (#382088) #
Yes,sorry, I forgot to put rookie in the question.
scottt - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#382089) #
I did not expect much from Richard, Buchholz, even Sanchez.
I like Shoemaker. Maybe they can sign him long turn with team options.
Borucki reminds me of Chacin in a way. Lefty who came up and got it done but couldn't stay healthy.
Hopefully  he recovers and they manage his innings carefully.
Kay throws harder. Borucki has better command. They both have good changeup and struggle with their breaking balls.

I'd like them to extend Giles. If they need to burn money, it's not a bad spot.
Then, find a solid starter who doesn't cost a pick.
For the rest I'm OK with what is there for the first 3 months at least.
However, still look around for a center field or a middle of the lineup bat.
It's all a matter of opportunity. I'd like to have a real basestealer on that 26th spot.
I think Alford could do that.

hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#382090) #
Agree with uo on the surprises, good and bad. Still holding out hope at least one multi-year FA starter is brought in. The bullpen will be mostly reclamation projects, which seem to work out as well as most big money signings. One positive is that Atkins and his scouts seem to be better at finding value with pitching than on the position players side.
Mike Green - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#382091) #
I ran a Play Index on Anthony Rendon for fun.  I used for the period between ages 24-29: PA >3500, 124<OPS+<134, SO<600, and restricted it to third basemen.  I got two very good comps: Sal Bando and Harlond Clift.  Bando had 5 good years left.  Clift's last good season was his age 29 one, but he had been declining for a few years before that. 

When I expanded it to players who played second base and shortstop also, I got Robinson Cano, Roberto Alomar, Tony Lazzeri, Laughing Larry Doyle, Lou Boudreau and Cupid Childs.

When I looked at third basemen who were very good between 27 and 29 (total WAR between 15 and 18- Rendon has 16.6), I got among third basemen Matt Williams, Tony Perez, Ron Cey, Brooks Robinson, Jeff Cirillo,  Whitey Kurowski, Jimmy Collins, Home Run Baker and Heinie Groh.  Most of them were 3-5 WAR players in their early 30s.  I like Rendon a little better than the average of this group, and think that he's good for about 18-20 WAR during the age 30-34 period. 

Shoeless Joe - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#382092) #
I agree that there were more pleasant surprises than not. I was happy to see Gurriel turn is around after his demotion and how SWR really dominated after the trade and made my hot take reaction look silly about the Stroman trade.

As for the team moving forward I expect them to rely mostly on internal growth for the next calendar year, with the main off-season objective being moving Giles and finding dept rotation pitchers like Ivan Nova or Kyle Gibson. I honestly would take on Price if Boston offered to pay 50 million of the 96 million remaining, but I don't see it happening.

John Northey - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#382093) #
IMO the smart move this winter is to sign the 3 kid infielders to 7-10 year deals (options at the end) with a big signing bonus and less cash later thanks to that thus making future budgets more manageable. Not sure if any of them would go for it but boy would that be nice. Gurriel is already on a long term good deal.

After that, money spent should be on deals like the two Francisco Liriano trades where the Jays ate cash and gained Reese McGuire, Harold Ramirez, Nori Aoki, and Teoscar Hernandez. Also cost Drew Hutchison (only 54 innings outside of Toronto AAA last year for 3 organizations ERA over 5 - 3 of the 4 teams with 100+ wins this year so he had no chance of a callup) Damn good deals in the end. Teoscar and McGuire could be parts of the next contender here quite easily while Liriano helped the last contending team do well - Aoki and Ramirez were 'meh'. Need to chase down the cheap teams (KC, Tampa, Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh, etc.) and see if any have bad contracts they will give up a prospect to get rid of.
Mike Green - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#382094) #
Final stats on the second half of the season:
38-43 record
388-403 RS/RA
Strength of schedule: 5 interleague games- 3 against LAD and 2 against ATL,  inside division-13 games against Yankees and Tampa, 10 against Boston, 9 against Baltimore, against other AL teams- 7 against KC, 6 against Seattle, 3 each against Houston, Cleveland, Texas and Detroit.  On balance, it's probably the more difficult half of the schedule. 

At the start of the season, I thought that the club would end up with 73 wins and that they had a chance to be above .500 in the second half.  I was a little optimistic (I thought that they would have at least one "returning" performing starter in the second half from among Borucki, Shoemaker, Stroman and Sanchez), but really not too far off when it came to the shape of the season. 

One more comment on defensive metrics for outfielders.  DRS has Jonathan Davis as -3 for his career, UZR has him at +1/150.  Statcast has him at +3 for 2019 (85 expected catch probability and 90 actual- the same figures as Lorenzo Cain) and -1 for 2018.  I think Statcast has it closest to right and that Davis is about a +10/150 CF.  He hasn't hit a lick so far, thanks to a .234 BABIP, but if he pulls it up to a more realistic .280 or .290, he'll be a typical poor hitting/good defence centerfielder, and a little better than that in a platoon role.     

SK in NJ - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#382095) #
For a rebuilding season I think there was more good than bad as well. The point of 2019 was to incorporate a young core of position players into the lineup, and while there was varying degrees of success, the team was able to integrate long-term solutions at SS, CA, 2B, and 3B (for now). They threw a lot of stuff at a wall, and Gurriel as a potential long-term OF piece developed out of it. Hernandez once he came back up from his AAA stint had a 126 wRC+, 10% BB%, and 1.8 WAR in his final 323 plate appearances. He's not a CF, but there might be some potential with the bat, or at the very least he might have turned himself into a trade asset. I also think this might have been Atkins' best trade deadline, mixing in near ready upper minors players with some young low minors talent. The Luciano experiment worked out better than they probably expected as well.

There were some real stinkers/disappointments in 2019 (Grichuk, Drury, McKinney, Sanchez, Brito, Tellez until September, etc), but I'd say as a whole this season was a positive in terms of development.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#382096) #
I'm just glad that at this point we won't have to watch Alen Hanson types anymore. The floor is raised for position players from the start of the year.
uglyone - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#382097) #
Controlled position players, heading into next year:

1yr stats

SS Bichette (22): 212pa, 6.6b%/23.6k%, .368bip/.311avg, .260iso, 142wrc+, 5.2war650
LF Gurriel (26): 343pa, 5.8b%/25.1k%, .318bip/.277avg, .264iso, 124wrc+, 3.4war650
2B Biggio (25): 430pa, 16.5b%/28.6k%, .309bip/.234avg, .195iso, 114wrc+, 3.6war650
3B Vladdy (21): 514pa, 8.9b%/17.7k%, .308bip/.272avg, .162iso, 105wrc+, 0.5war650
CF Teoscar (27): 464pa, 9.7b%/33.0k%, .293bip/.230avg, .242iso, 102wrc+, 1.8war650
DH Tellez (25): 409pa, 7.1b%/28.4k%, .267bip/.227avg, .222iso, 91wrc+, 0.2war650
RF Grichuk (28): 628pa, 5.6b%/26.0k%, .266bip/.232avg, .225iso, 90wrc+, 0.6war650
1B McKinney (25): 276pa, 6.9b%/26.4k%, .250bip/.215avg, .207iso, 80wrc+, 0.0war650
C Jansen (25): 384pa, 8.1b%/20.6k%, .230bip/.207avg, .153iso, 68wrc+, 2.4war650

UT Drury (27): 447pa, 5.6b%/25.3k%, .259bip/.218avg, .163iso, 66wrc+, -0.9war650
OF Fisher (26): 167pa, 12.6b%/34.1k%, .244bip/.185avg, .185iso, 76wrc+, 0.0war650
IF Urena (24): 80pa, 2.5b%/28.8k%, .353bip/.243avg, .081iso, 57wrc+, -1.6war650
C McGuire (25): 105pa, 6.7b%/17.1k%, .324bip/.299avg, .227iso, 128wrc+, 7.4war650

IF Valera (28): 52pa, 7.7b%/13.5k%, .256bip/.234avg, .149iso, 84wrc+, 1.3war650
OF Davis (28): 95pa, 5.3b%/25.3k%, .224bip/.181avg, .084iso, 45wrc+, -0.7war650
C Maile (29): 129pa, 6.2b%/25.6k%, .190bip/.151avg, .084iso, 14wrc+, -2.0war650
OF Alford (25): 30pa, 3.3b%/36.7k%, .250bip/.179avg, .107iso, 36wrc+, -2.2war650
OF Brito (27): 43pa, 9.3b%/39.5k%, .136bip/.077avg, .051iso, -23wrc+, -10.6war650

2yr Stats

SS Bichette (22): 212pa, 6.6b%/23.6k%, .368bip/.311avg, .260iso, 142wrc+, 5.2war650
LF Gurriel (26): 606pa, 4.8b%/23.9k%, .321bip/.279avg, .220iso, 115wrc+, 2.4war650
2B Biggio (25): 430pa, 16.5b%/28.6k%, .309bip/.234avg, .195iso, 114wrc+, 3.6war650
3B Vladdy (21): 514pa, 8.9b%/17.7k%, .308bip/.272avg, .162iso, 105wrc+, 0.5war650
CF Teoscar (27): 987pa, 8.7b%/32.0k%, .304bip/.235avg, .235iso, 105wrc+, 1.1war650
RF Grichuk (28): 1090pa, 5.7b%/26.1k%, .273bip/.238avg, .239iso, 101wrc+, 1.6war650
DH Tellez (25): 482pa, 6.4b%/28.4k%, .287bip/.241avg, .234iso, 100wrc+, 0.8war650
1B McKinney (25): 408pa, 7.4b%/26.0k%, .265bip/.227avg, .208iso, 90wrc+, -0.2war650
C Jansen (25): 479pa, 8.4b%/20.0k%, .239bip/.215avg, .159iso, 78wrc+, 3.0war650

UT Drury (27): 533pa, 6.0b%/25.0k%, .252bip/.210avg, .152iso, 62wrc+, -1.3war650
OF Fisher (26): 253pa, 10.3b%/39.1k%, .248bip/.178avg, .200iso, 70wrc+, 0.0war650
IF Urena (24): 188pa, 4.8b%/29.3k%, .393bip/.272avg, .075iso, 79wrc+, 0.7war650
C McGuire (25): 138pa, 6.5b%/19.6k%, .330bip/.297avg, .242iso, 133wrc+, 7.5war650

C Maile (29): 360pa, 9.2b%/27.8k%, .289bip/.212avg, .106iso, 66wrc+, 3.1war650
IF Valera (28): 127pa, 8.7b%/15.7k%, .272bip/.234avg, .081iso, 69wrc+, 0.0war650
OF Pompey (27): 11pa, 9.1b%/54.5k%, .500bip/.200avg, .000iso, 35wrc+, 0.0war650
IF Travis (29): 378pa, 4.2b%/16.9k%, .255bip/232avg, .148iso, 77wrc+, -0.9war650
OF Davis (28): 122pa, 4.9b%/24.6k%, .234bip/.185avg, .074iso, 44wrc+, -1.6war650
OF Alford (25): 51pa, 5.9b%/39.2k%, .231bip/.149avg, .064iso, 15wrc+, -2.6war650
OF Brito (27): 87pa, 8.0b%/29.9k%, .170bip/.127avg, .063iso, 3wrc+, -7.5war650
Mike Green - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#382098) #
To be clear, UO's summary has players 2020 ages not 2019 ones. 
Vulg - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#382099) #
Don't sign compensatory free agents.
Don't trade prospects.
Don't let budget drop below $110 million
That means sign a couple of 3/4/5 pitchers with rare exception like Strasburg a possibility.
Trade for bad contracts.

Dalimon - That's a solid, concise list.

I would quibble on the budget number: $110M would've placed the Jays 23rd in total payroll for 2019. League average was ~$137M. A payroll of $150M would've placed the Jays in 13th, just behind the Rockies and ahead of the Mariners. I think that's a fair range for the Jays to operate in before 'loading up' for playoff pushes.

On that note, I don't believe the competitive window should be forced next season, that's just premature as the core isn't seasoned enough and there are far too many holes to plug. I do think the Jays need to stop dumpster diving for those 3/4/5 pitching slots and some of the other team needs. There seems to be a decent assortment of ~1.5 - 2.5 WAR players that will be hitting the market and that can be had on reasonable and shorter term deals that maintain flexibility.

Between upgrading or choosing smarter FA stop-gaps and absorbing bad contracts (your last point, which I strongly agree with), the main thing I want to see is more effective use of an expanded budget.

Fortunately, the team is past the phase of converting its veteran talent to prospect capital. The FO was downright terrible at that phase of the rebuild, with SWR as the only true bright spot to come out of the JD/Edwin/Happ/Stroman/Sanchez+Biagini+Stevenson (ugh) firesale or expiry. Hopefully we can add Kay to that list if he can figure out his command.

Here's a somewhat decent list of the 19-20 FA class:
hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#382100) #
We got Pearson out of the Edwin expiry
bpoz - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#382101) #
I think our committed payroll including Tulo and any others is about $50 mil at the moment.
hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#382102) #
So you guys got me to subscribe to the Athletic. Lots of good stuff there, but also eye-rolling drek. Lott is terrific and seems to attract the more knowledgeable comments. McGrath attracts the nicest. Stoeten really seems to target the stupidest, most cynical element of the fanbase. He is very good at it though - they really do lap it up.
John Northey - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#382103) #
BR lists the Jays payroll at the moment (based on who is on the roster) at $64 million, 2nd lowest in baseball with only Tampa lower.

Cot's has the Jays projected 2020 payroll at $49.936 million and this years as being at $132,814,314.

Yeah, the Jays have money to burn right now.

Doing a fast check of the dregs of the league...
Detroit: still paying Prince Fielder in 2020, Miguel Cabrera's nightmare contract $30+ each of the next 4 years, $25 mil for Zimmerman (1-13 6.91 ERA over 112 IP). Can't imagine anything short of a young Mike Trout would compensate enough to take on that nutty Cabrera contract. Zimmerman I could picture the Jays taking on if the Tigers have a few good prospects to pass along.

The Royals are blowing $16 mil on Ian Kennedy as a closer, Danny Duffy gets $15+ each of the next 2 years (30 years old, 109 ERA+ over 130 IP), $14+ each of the next 2 years to Salvador Perez (CA, missed 2019, Tommy John surgery 98 OPS+ lifetime, entering age 30 season). Lot of 'meh' there. Nothing so terrible they would give up prospects to get rid of the guy, nothing the Jays would chase either. Maybe Duffy or Kennedy. Maybe.

Baltimore has slashed already, but still has Chris Davis and his 60 OPS+ for 3 more years at over $21 mil per. Alex Cobb had hip surgery this year and is owed $14 and $15 mil the next two years. That's about it for them and the Jays might take on Cobb if they got good stuff from Baltimore but they'd be nuts to do that in division.

Miami owes Wei-Yin Chen $22 mil next year who had a 64 ERA+ in the pen last year - now here is a guy the Jays could easily take on and stuff in the pen (or release) while taking a good prospect or two from Miami. Even with Chen they are only projected to have a $33 mil payroll. Yeah, that is one cheap team.

That covers the 100+ loss teams.
bpoz - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#382104) #
Payroll is something that we can speculate on. If our young players like Bichette are not extended this off season I will take the under for $80 mil that is assuming about $60 mil is the accurate current figure.

So $20 mil to spend. A decent chunk could go for a good SP. $15 mil or a little less. If that happens then they probably spend more than the $20 mil I guessed.

Also I am happy to hear Shapiro say they going to try to acquire depth. It does not surprise me. I expect the quality will be better, but they will have to pay for it.

GabrielSyme - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#382105) #
Would be shocked if the Jays, who value character, signed a guy who has 3 DUIs including fleeing the scene and been accused of sexual assault.

I knew about the DUIs, hadn't heard about fleeing the scene and the alleged sexual assault. I generally want institutions to give guys more chances, but the Jays would really want to do their homework and know what his character is like.
vw_fan17 - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#382106) #
Here's the thing - I find that "new" teams, with a bunch of new players, often take a year to "gel". Same with the players coming off newly great years - they try to show too much 1st year of the big contract. How many times with the Jays and the Leafs has the "big free agent" (or traded-for player) taken a year to adjust? Plus, all the young players may need a year of reinforcing what they learned - they may easily take a step backwards, etc. Especially if all we get is more of the same retread / rescue project pitchers like Buchholz, Richards and Shoemaker.

If we are trying to be competitive in 2021, IMHO we need to start this offseason with putting MOST of our competitive pieces in place so they have a year to mesh. Sure, the BGs (+Grichuk) will/should stay, Jansen/McGuire, etc. But if the plan is to win 90+ in 2021, IMHO, if we just rehash mostly what we have, taking us as a 75-win team this year (roughly 2nd half), we'll end up with another 75-win season, maybe 80. Then, we're magically going to sign enough free agents to add another 5-10 wins in one off-season? What if we get outbid again? We get outbid so often, we have to try to sign A LOT of players just to hit on one. And we generally do have to overpay - but that's just part of the game. We have a TON of free cash right now - we absolutely should pay / slightly overpay some free agents.

Shoemaker was good for 5 games, but that could be the post-spring-training swoon (some pitchers come out of the gate flying and tail off as the year wears on - many batters have a better 2nd half). Plus he has never shown any "health" - his RPG health rating would be a 4 or 5. He's been injured the last 3 years in a row, and is 32 - it's not like he's suddenly going to find the fountain of youth. 2 years down the road, he'll be 34. Lots of pitchers have a 5-game (28 IP) streak where they're really good. That doesn't mean we discount his previous ~545 IP pitched of 99 ERA+. In other words, if healthy, he may be a perfectly fine #4/#5 on a competitive team - he's NOT a #1/2/3, IMHO. And he's the BEST we've got right now. Thornton's at ERA+ 94. Waguespack ERA+ 104 in 78 innings. We MAY have #3/#4/#5 covered ok with those three. We need TWO front-of-rotation starters - and those don't come along every week.

IMHO, we absolutely need to find a 4-5 year #1/#2 starter this offseason, get the catchers and infielders familiar with him, get all the players in the mindset of "when this guy pitches, we win most of the time", etc - our best pitcher won 6 games? What?

Then add another one next offseason and hope at least one of the pitching prospects works out by then - because I'm about 90% sure that one of Thornton/Waguespack/Shoemaker will NOT be with us in 2 years time, and personally, nothing I've seen of SRF or Borucki gives me any confidence. Maybe Kay takes a step forward, or Zeuch. Then, unless something magic happens, we still only have #3/#4/#5 covered. Do we have any legit #1/#2 prospects coming up in a year or two? I don't follow the prospects that much, but I guess Pearson is supposed to be good? Will it take him 3-4 years to get there, like Halladay? He's still a year away from the majors, from what I can tell - so maybe in 5 years he'll be a #1. At which point, we'll be trying like mad to re-sign the big 3 who are on year 6 of their careers..
bpoz - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#382107) #
I think Shapiro said that they will make the big moves when the team wins 90 games for the 1st time.
PeterG - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#382108) #
There will not be any big moves made for starting pitchers this off season. At this time next year, the situation will be re-assessed. We may be pleasantly surprised by the state of the pitching next season. It wasn't that bad post trade deadline this season. I expect a couple of depth pieces to be added.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#382109) #
Pearson might only have a handful of starts in the minors next year before he is the number ones starter you are looking for.
greenfrog - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#382110) #
23-year-old Jack Flaherty posted 4.8 WAR in 196.1 innings this season. My guess is that the team will try to find someone like Flaherty before he breaks out (the Jays reportedly could have had him for JD prior to the 2018 season, but they declined the Cards’ offer). Maybe next time they’ll have more luck in the trade department.
Magpie - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#382111) #
I thought that the club would end up with 73 wins and that they had a chance to be above .500 in the second half. I was a little optimistic

And the team was a little unlucky. If you score 726 and allow 828, my Pythag calculation says you should go 70-92, BB-Ref says 71-91, and the awful revised Pythag formula (1.83 factor) says 76-86.

So you guys got me to subscribe to the Athletic. Lots of good stuff there, but also eye-rolling drek.

I think the baseball coverage is OK, the basketball coverage is better, and the hockey stuff is outstanding.
bpoz - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#382112) #
I know that there is a luck factor in the draft but we could have had Jack Flaherty in the 2014 draft. He was chosen Round 1 #34 overall.

In 2020 we get a good pick round 1 and 2. But quite often our best player picked is the 3rd player. Bo 3rd player picked but round 2. I like Kloff a lot. Groshans needs to get healthy and produce. Obviously. G Conine was old for the Midwest league but great power and also way too many Ks.
James W - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#382113) #
Regarding the Athletic, both reviews have been bang-on - Lott and McGrath are great, Stoeten continues his schtick. The easy solution is just not to click. And the football coverage is even better than the hockey coverage.
James W - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#382114) #
I'm just glad that at this point we won't have to watch Alen Hanson types anymore.

If the Yankees had another injury-pocalypse next year, how close would Hanson come to hitting 310/340/530 for them?
Nigel - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#382115) #
Totally agree on the reviews of the Athletic's coverage of the various sports.

The reality is that the easy part of a rebuild has been accomplished. The team was significantly better at the end of the year than at the beginning. However, moving from a 100+ loss team to a 90 loss team is a lot easier than moving from a 90 loss team to a 75-80 loss team. Harder still is moving from 75-80 loss team to a 65-70 loss team. This FO hasn't tried any particularly risky moves or transactions that cost any assets of significance (money or prospects) since it arrived (there have been plusses and minuses to that) and I see no signs of that changing over this offseason.
hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#382116) #
Nigel, I would say the Happ and Morales deals were risky moves. Both 3 yrs and over $10 million AAV, and both panned at the time. The Happ deal for the term at least and the Morales deal for pretty well everything. Just hope Atkins learned from that cautionary tale he inked.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#382117) #
"If the Yankees had another injury-pocalypse next year, how close would Hanson come to hitting 310/340/530 for them?"

If that were to happen I think my mind would ultimately melt down into a world where I would question everything, and result in watching flat earth youtube videos.
Magpie - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#382118) #
And the football coverage is even better than the hockey coverage.

What is this "football" that you speak of?
Magpie - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#382119) #
The Angels can Brad Ausmus after just one year? This has to be because Joe Maddon just became available and Maddon's got a long history with the organization.

Is it just me, or are there a lot of managerial openings this winter?
hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#382120) #
Some final juiced ball stuff. The O's pitching staff blowing by the old record of 258 HR's allowed back on Aug 22nd was well documented. But 3 other teams, the Rockies, Angels and Mariners also surpassed that mark. Philly (hey, weren't they supposed to contend?) managed to hold the line right at 258.

Mentioned a while back the Tigers staff leading MLB with 193 HR's allowed in 2015. Only 3 teams didn't give up that many longballs this year - Cards 191, Dodgers 185, Rays 181.
Mike Green - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#382121) #
I didn't think that the Happ deal was risky.  And frankly, I didn't think that the Morales deal was risky either- it was pretty obviously a bad  move but it served a different purpose (providing "cover" for not bringing Encarnacion back).  I know that they had hopes that Morales could gain lift while not suffering in exit velocity or contact rate, but a 3 year deal was pretty clearly unnecessary and was just about locking up early a DH.

The closest thing to a risk I can think of was the drafting of Groshans, who was not considered to be anything like a top half of first round pick.  They knew what they were doing with that one, regardless how Groshans ends up. 
Shoeless Joe - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#382122) #
I would say giving up Stroman for what was considered non-blue chip prospects was a risky move. Most observers panned the move, but honestly they may be right on the 18 year old they received in that deal. The Osuna deal was very risky, but well managed for different reasons. While Giles has been great the deal might be judged more on if Perez transitions well to the bullpen or what return they get for Giles.

Generally though it has been a steady stream of small value added deals, while avoiding long term implications. Nigel is right in that the risk factor and true test for the front office is making the next steps now that the foundation is there,

Nigel - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#382123) #
I really didn't view signing Happ as particularly risky. Just as I won't see signing someone like Kyle Gibson (to say a three year deal this offseason) as taking a big risk. The Morales deal might have been a bit riskier but that signing is so inextricably linked to the optics of losing EE that its an outlier in all senses (for and against the FO) for me.
uglyone - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#382124) #
Gotta repeat the warning that we should all be well familiar with by now - never take a late season "surg" by a team way out of it too seriously....especially when it's a bunch of kids in their first go round the league.
Mike Green - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#382125) #
Second half record is a meaningful indicator of next year performance.  Bill James listed 6 indicators (which he studied) of following year improvements and one of them is second half performance.  The Blue Jays have 5 of the positive indicators (the performance of their double A and triple A clubs is a small negative indicator).  Obviously, they're not going to win 90 games with the current personnel.  They probably need to add 10 wins in the off-season to do that, and get at least average development from the young kids. 
hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#382126) #
Whoa, aren't these the kids you were raving about when they were in the minors?

But I do agree if anyone is thinking contention next year. On the other hand is .500 unreasonable? Don't think so.
Nigel - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#382127) #
Of course it will depend upon how the rest of the winter goes but if you asked me to bet the over/under on 81 wins for this team in 2020 (as its currently constituted and with Pearson et al likely to arrive at some point next year), I would bet the under. I think this is a mid 70's win team right now.
vw_fan17 - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#382128) #
Hypobole: is 500 unreasonable? I don't think so.
Nigel: mid 70's win team.
That's my point - if you sign more retreads to replace the ones moving on, we're back at 75 wins, maybe 80. And that's WITH lots of kid development. If we're not signing a big pitcher until we hit 90 wins, we'll be waiting a LONG time. No way the 4 kids (BB/GG) take us to 90 wins without at least one significant pitching signing, and maybe another good reliever in there, AND keeping Giles.

If we let Giles go, that's another 1-2 losses.. If they try to go with just the players coming back and no significant players signed (i.e. if WAR from 2019 of players signed adds up to less than 5), we might end up under 70 wins again.. 
How do the kids learn about grinding out wins, being mentally prepared every day, etc, if we don't have ANY above-average pitchers? How demoralized would the players in '81-83 have been without Stieb?
Shoeless Joe - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#382129) #
Jays 2019 Record 67-95:

2013 Astros: 51-111
2014 Astros: 70-92
2015 Astros: 86-76
2016 Astros: 84-78
2017 Astros: 101-61

2013 Cubs: 66-96
2014 Cubs: 73-89
2015 Cubs: 97-65

2017 CWS: 67-95
2018 CWS: 61-100
2019 CWS: 72-89

2015 Brewers: 68-84
2016 Brewers: 73-89
2017 Brewers: 86-76
2018 Brewers: 96-67

2015 Braves: 67-95
2016 Braves: 68-93
2017 Braves: 72-90
2018 Braves: 90-72
2019 Braves: 97-65

If you compare where the Jays are to some of the other recent rebuilding clubs its fairly likely they have another season in the low 70 win column before making a leap to the 80 win range when the pitching arrives in 2021. Alternatively we could just flounder in the 70 win range for a few years.

GabrielSyme - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#382130) #
My back-of-the-envelope estimate is that, without signing anyone, I'd expect a gain of ~8 wins from the hitters, and ~2 wins from the pitchers. That would actually put us around a .500 team, given our underperformance of Pythag this past year.

That does seem like I'm doing it wrong, coming off a 67-win season, but:

Vlad 3B: 3.0 WAR
Bichette SS: 4.0
Biggio 2B: 4.0
Jansen/McGuire: 2.5
Tellez 1B: 0.5
Lourdes LF: 2.5
Teoscar CF: 2.0
Grichuk: 1.0
(19.5 WAR; 2019=11.5)

Pearson 3.0
Thornton 1.5
Shoemaker 1.5
Kay 1.0
Borucki 1.0
Waguespack 0.5
Giles 1.5
Font 0.5
(10.5 WAR; 2019=9.1)

Everyone else cumulatively replacement level. A replacement-level team should win 52 games, so a 30 WAR team should win 82. Am I too optimistic?

scottt - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#382131) #
Most of those teams went 70 to 90 wins.
I don't see that happening.
The Jays have lots of prospects reaching in 22, but not a lot happening in 21.
They better be close to 80 wins next year.
You think the payroll will increase if the attendance isn't there first?
We're following the Rays.

2016 Rays: 68-94
2017 Rays: 80-82
2018 Rays: 90-72
2019 Rays: 96-66

Maybe not too closely though. I think Kiermaier is the only guy left from 2017.

hypobole - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#382132) #
Many teams deplete their farms trying to stay relevant until they realize it just ain't working. Then they rebuild.

Jays started their 90 loss season with a top 5 farm system and their best prospects in the high minors.
dalimon5 - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:05 PM EDT (#382133) #
Hoping Pearson is your #1 starter and for Vlad, Cavan and Bo to post 3 - 4 WAR seasons would be irresponsible and naive of this FO.

They need to spend money. I don't know how many of you go to 60+ games/year but this year the seats were empty. Concessions were empty and gift shops were empty. Season ticket prices are not increasing any longer and some sections are going down in price. They clearly aren't getting the same income from this team.

Here are some contract targets I would kick a tire on:

Jake Arrieta
Joey Votto
David Price
Yu Darvish

100+ loss teams just wont trade a bad contract because they don't want to give up a prospect with him.
bpoz - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#382134) #
Going for .500:- I probably go higher than .500 but for now I am holding back.

I am wondering if Atkins "will" find the equal of Hanson and Brito to play next season as a trial of 100 ABs or less. That should be worth a few losses.

For pitching:
1) I have more faith that he can find/sign pitchers that are very likely to get injured. Richard, Shoemaker, Buchholz, Phelps. This type of cheap vet is easy to find and seem to be needed/used during the year.

2) We have a lot more kids this year that can step in for Borucki and Zeuch injury setbacks.

3) Atkins will manage to find the Kinghams, Boshers and Stewarts that are freely available.

So the above 3 are positives in a weird negative way. None of these type of pitchers should block any of the kid pitchers that are working their way up the minors.

With the 26 man roster that has 13 pitchers the Buffalo shuttle should be well used.

So quite negative on my part.

But as ST ends I will very strongly expect 3 really good breakout pitchers. We have the numbers to "stick to the wall".

bpoz - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#382135) #
For more negatives ... I know that we stranded 3 base runners and 2 base runners, total 5 in consecutive innings either Sun Or Sat. That could happen. But Vlad, Bo and Lourdes were not playing. With them healthy and hot we destroy the opposition. I expect/hope.
SK in NJ - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#382136) #
I don't think the FO will add much to the roster in free agency. Maybe Galvis or Shoemaker types to fill some holes (OF/SP) and their usual buy low RP options to fill out the bullpen. I wouldn't mind the team going after some mid-tier FA SP's (in the same category as Happ/Estrada in 2016), but the team is coming off a near 100 loss season and have a bunch of arms on the 40 man roster who the FO may want to give opportunities to next season. I don't think they are ready to add yet, even though adding wins in free agency is about the cheapest it has been.
AWeb - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#382137) #
For a team with unlimited cap space, free agent pitcher signings are a lot less risky. A lot of pitchers will either be ok or get injured. And they are often bad enough on the downside to just release if you have to. Or you move them to the pen. Or just being s 5th starter is a pretty low bar, barely replacement level even on some good teams. Of course, this year, none of the "throw stuff at the wall " pitcher signings worked out, but at least they weren't blocking anyone.

Morales was a good example of the downside of position player signings - a mediocre position player takes up space on a modern roster in a very inconvenient way. Grichuk looks like he could be a similar problem. Not terrible enough to release, not good enough to have trade value, just average-ish roster filler that can't help a team be actually good. Hope I'm wrong about Grichuk, but that was his 2019...
Mike Green - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#382138) #
So I had a look at the Astros' progress from 2014 to 2015.  They went from 70 wins (71 Pythagorean) to 86 (93 Pythagorean), but the changes were pretty varied.

They had -6 wins on the 2014 roster in players like Jon Singleton and Matt Dominguez. They got rid of them. The Blue Jays of 2019 had Brito, Hansen, Drury, Jackson and Stewart.

They brought in two rookies Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr who contributed  7 WAR, and got an additional 2 WAR from George Springer who played a full season. They gained a win in CF by swapping out Dexter Fowler for Colby Rasmus. And they replaced the below replacement players with inexpensive decent ones. They managed to succeed despite getting a poor season from Chris Carter at DH.

They got a career year from Dallas Keuchel, who was a good pitcher before 2015, and the Blue Jays don't  have that. But otherwise,  I don't see any reason that the club cannot get the same value from their position player core and the starting pitching behind the ace that the Stros did. Nate Pearson has a reasonable shot at doing what McCullers did. One very good starting pitcher and some wise secondary pieces would fit the bill for this club.

dalimon5 - Monday, September 30 2019 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#382139) #
Biggio passed Russ Adams for the rookie on base record.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:01 AM EDT (#382140) #
GabrielSyme, you asked if your WAR estimates for 2020 are too optimistic - I had a look at several, and I actually think you are being somewhat pessimistic.

Gurriel, for instance, had 1.7 WAR this year in roughly half a season. That included being dragged down somewhat by the continued nonsense of playing him in the infield at the start of the season, and the terrible start with the bat, which I believe was related to the use of the player in a position to which he was clearly not suited. He could easily have been 2.0+ for his half season without those issues, and at 25, could still have some development in him. I believe he has a reasonable shot at a 3.5+ WAR season next year.

Grichuk averaged almost 3.0 WAR per 160 games until this year, and he's only 27, so I think 1.0 WAR for him is too low - I would say 2.0 is more reasonable.

I expect Jansen will hit much better next year, and McGuire not as well - your catcher estimate of 2.5 looks more like a floor to me, and I would have it at 3.0 or 3.5.

I think Bichette beats the 4.0 number easily. Nobody expects him to hit as well as he did this year, but hey, he's only 21, and guys that age tend to improve - a lot. He had 2.1 WAR this year in just over 1/4 of a season. I can see putting him at 5.5 or even 6.0.

I do think Teoscar is a little high. His last 2 seasons are remarkably close, and his career averages are very close to this season, a sign that Bill James always said indicated a guy had reached his peak. He may not get regular playing time next year.

I don't know what to expect from Vlad. I think to a large extent it's up to him. If he truly wants to be a star and is motivated enough to get in proper shape, and maybe make some swing adjustments to get the ball off the ground a bit more, and work on his baserunning, he has the talent to be much more than a 3.0 WAR player, but if he's content just to be a good hitter and isn't willing to make the sacrifices, he won't even be a 3.0 WAR player.

I know they're both coming off injuries, but I think Borucki and Shoemaker should beat your total of 2.5 for the 2 of them. In 2018, Borucki had 1.7 WAR in just 17 starts, and this year Shoemaker had 1.2 in just 5 starts, which of course, is an unsustainable pace, but I see no reason not put them down for 4.0+ combined if they can make, say, 50 starts between them. As usual, a lot depends on the health of the important players. If their top 6 starters are absent for 90 games again, like they were this year, the season will be another write off.
Michael - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#382141) #
I'm with vw_fan17 that if you want to compete in 2021 you have to try to add at least one quality pitcher now. And that you target not just value or cost control but quality. There are very limited quality people in all of baseball. They become available rarely. The Jays have a big advantage on contract/budget. They should be willing to use that for the right people. You might not succeed, and you don't do a deal just to do a deal, but you absolutely should be trying to find quality front half of the rotation starters who will be front half of the rotation for most of the next 3-4 years (but not doing anything stupid like 7-10 year deals for 30+ year old pitchers).

I don't think they will do that, but I think they should do that.

GabrielSyme, your estimates are too optimistic. You are mostly assuming our overachievers continue their overachievement, while our expected or underachievers hit their mark. Expecting Biggio and Bichette to both give you 4.0 WAR is unreasonable. It isn't impossible, but there were only 50 position players in all of baseball to have 4.0 or higher WAR this season. Frankly there were only 86 to even be 3.0 or higher. To expect all 3 sophomores to be 3.0 or higher is very unlikely too. (ESPN WAR stats). Similarly expecting Pearson to give you 3.0 is too much. Cole Hamels was the 35th most valuable pitcher in MLB this past year with 100+ IP and he delivered exactly 3.0 WAR. Expecting a rookie to be among the 35 best pitchers in baseball is not a realistic middle projection.

To show why waiting to add the multiple pitchers until 2021+ is a bad idea, this past year there were only 130 pitchers who pitched 100+ IP (this is less than 4.5 per team). Of those, you can sort of break it down in quality either by ERA for quality or WAR for quality*quantity. By ERA first (selected Jays or former Jays / Jays prospects):

Ace (ERA < 3.0): 10 pitchers
#1 (3.0 < ERA < 3.5): 12 pitchers (including Stroman)
#2 (3.5 < ERA < 4.0): 29 pitchers
#3 (4.0 < ERA < 4.5): 30 pitchers (including Price, Snydergaard, Norris)
#4 (4.5 < ERA < 5.0): 22 pitchers (including Thornton, Happ, Boyd)
#5 (5.0 < ERA < 5.75): 16 pitchers
AAA (5.75 < ERA): 11 pitchers (including Sanchez)

Now again this is just by ERA, and some people move around, and this is with a cut off of just 100 IP, well below the 162 to be a qualified starter, but if you get a chance to get someone who rates to be an Ace/#1/#2 more years than not, you should engage on that. There are only around 50 of those in all of baseball, less than 2 per team, so if the opportunity presents itself it is worth overpaying a bit for that when you have the resources to do that (again, overpay a bit, not sign some 10 year $1B contract or anything).

If you cut the same 100+ IP folks up by ESPN WAR you get roughly the same sort of tiers (although some folks move around):

ACE (6.0+ WAR): 7 pitchers
#1 (4.0 <= WAR < 6.0): 15 pitchers (including Stroman)
#2 (2.5 <= WAR < 4.0): 34 pitchers (including Norris, Boyd)
#3 (1.8 <= WAR < 2.5): 25 pitchers (including Snydergaard, Price)
#4 (1.0 <= WAR < 1.8): 21 pitchers (including Thornton, Happ)
#5 (0.0 <= WAR < 1.0): 24 pitchers
AAA (WAR < 0.0): 11 pitchers (including Sanchez)

Again if you can get someone that rates to be #2 or better, act! Even the #3 are worthwhile if the price is right. Don't overpay for the 4/5 types though unless you are solidifying your aging playoff core and filling the last gap.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 03:24 AM EDT (#382142) #
I actually think this year went OK especially considering the miserable start. The core players look like they will be core players in the future, the Jays added a lot of talent to the system through the draft and trades, and most of the prospects progressed well. I'd like the Jays to sign a starter as well but there isn't a lot out there. Keuchel and Wheeler would be good. Alex Wood would be interesting. Awful this year but he was 2-3 WAR every season for about 5 years before this and is only 28. Odirizzi also an interesting possibility. Jays need a guy who can be a middle of the rotation starter (i.e. Ace on the Jays). The team can afford to overspend a little (especially if they front-load contract).
grjas - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 04:46 AM EDT (#382143) #
I think this team is at least two years away from being competitive. The offence is probably top third next year but defence and pitching is bottom third. The rotation is as weak as I can remember in a long time, with some hope in the form of Kaye and Pearson though the latter will have to have his innings managed aggressively even if he makes the majors. The bullpen has little depth and needs 2 or 3 good signings.

The challenge is it’s a weak free agent class, many teams need pitching, and this team is not a draw. Some clever trades might bring in needed talent, but the FO’s trading history is decidedly mixed.

Overall, I think the team is heading in the right direction but we’ll need a lot of luck to be better than mid 70s next year and possibly the year following.
scottt - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:02 AM EDT (#382145) #
The bullpen can change overnight, especially when they have to put struggling starters in the pen or lose them.
Failed starters can become elite relievers like Britton.

Montoyo said that they're not sure if they will go will Jansen/McGuire behind the dish or use Maile as backup and let the other catcher have regular AB in AAA. I presume that means Jansen. McGuire does not need more AAA ABs to be the backup. So that would mean keeping Maile on the 40 roster and deciding in spring training. Maile is arbitration eligible, so that seems like a waste to me.

Jonny German - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#382150) #
I feel like whenever Montoyo offers an opinion on roster composition he makes no sense. Maile should absolutely be non-tendered, and if he's brought back it should be on a minor league deal to back up Riley Adams in Buffalo.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#382153) #
Thank you Michael for all your work on pitcher categories Ace to #5.
That was a lot of work but things have changed. So I have a few questions/comments for anyone that would like to comment.

1) We accept the juiced ball. So Fly ball pitchers are probably going to take a hit (more HRs). I don't know about ground ball, strikeout and pitch to contact pitchers. I doubt that any SP gains and feel strongly that a fly ball reliever could get hammered.

2) D Price was a # 3 based on the formula. Accurate, but a bad year for him 4+ ERA and only 107 IP. No problem. Nice formula.
Thornton is a #4 with 154 IP. Waguespack shows promise as a #4 but only 78 IP.

So in constructing a rotation for 2020 I have hopes that we can have numerous #4s, ERA wise, not IP, based on our current 40 man roster. I do expect/hope for a few better than #4.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, October 01 2019 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#382154) #
Yeah, the comments from the team management are crazy. Play Maile next year? If Maile gets more than 150 AB next year, either we had a major injury to two McGuire and/or Jansen, both took a major step back, or they're crazy. Play the guy with a 40+ OPS? He's so far below the Mendoza line he needs an elevator...

"Depth"? Again? Because it worked so well this year? So we're doing the "Hanson, Brito and Drury" show all over again?

Plus veteran retread pitchers that either get injured, pitch badly, or do both? Seriously? GAH! 5 good games from Shoemaker along with 30 bad games from Buchholz, Richard and Jackson is NOT a success "on the whole".

This management team is reminding me too much of the Leafs of the 80s - sign retreads / guys past their prime or guys who couldn't stick with other teams to fill out the roster, over and over. If you get a good player - great. Keep them until they get expensive, then trade them for peanuts and hope you get another good player through the draft.
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