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Pitchers and catchers begin workouts on... 13 February? That's like two weeks from now. Is winter getting shorter? This is still Canada, right?

That reformed drunk Stoeten reviews some of the spring's upcoming roster battles over at The Athletic. But I'd really like to draw your attention to this fairly epic piece of investigation by one Tony Adams - and as Mr Adams identifies himself as an Astros fan, this must have been a dreary task. He's gone through all 58 Astros games with a suitable video feed and created a record of every trash can bang. All 1,143 of them. Who was the opponent, who was the batter.
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bpoz - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 06:36 PM EST (#385426) #
Good article. Pitchers may throw at Astro hitters. New manager is Dusty Baker.
Cracka - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 06:44 PM EST (#385427) #
I was hoping someone would post this excellent analysis (by an Astros fan, no less). Of the 58 games reviewed, the worst was against the Blue Jays on August 4th - there were 54 audible "bangs" including 23 alone in the 4th inning, a 9-run inning against Cesar Valdez, Matt Dermody, and Mike Bolsinger. Following the game, Bolsinger was DFA'ed and Valdez was DL'ed and neither EVER PITCHED AGAIN in MLB.

The other interesting piece from this analysis is that Jose Altuve is an outlier -- every hitter on the team participated, but Alture's "bang rate" was far lower than anyone else's. Yet he still participated consistently througout the season...
85bluejay - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 07:25 PM EST (#385428) #
Well if there were so many "bangs" against the Blue Jays and they didn't pickup on that it doesn't say much about the awareness of the coaches and players on the Blue Jays .
dan gordon - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 07:56 PM EST (#385429) #
The Astros scored 16 runs in that game. Why would you keep cheating so often, more than in any other game, when the game was out of reach? I would think the cheating would have been more prevalent in games where it could have made a difference in winning/losing. Strange. Those weren't exactly great pitchers, but their careers may have been shortened by the cheating. Lawsuits?

I will be interested to see what the Jays do with their horde of starting pitchers they have at the AA level and higher. No doubt there will be an injury or three to thin the ranks. I expect to see at least 1 or 2 moved to the bullpen, and wouldn't be surprised to see some tandem starts in the high minors, so that players don't have to pitch at a level lower than their ability warrants.
scottt - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 08:21 PM EST (#385431) #
In the first 2 months, there' s just a few bangs. One or 2 per games. They don't seem to be  very effective. Swinging strikes, balls, called strikes.  Also the bangs are sometimes on breaking balls and sometimes on fastballs. Maybe the guy doing the banging sucked.

Then the flood gates open against Baltimore, 28 bangs against a lousy team, in the last game of a 3 game set.
Turns out it took a lot of bangs to make a difference.

Derek Fisher started all 3 games against Toronto and there were no bangs in his ABs.
That's always that.

Magpie - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 08:29 PM EST (#385432) #
The Astros went 60-21 at home last season, which is a historically great home record. Even so, over the last three seasons, they've actually been a better team on the road (157-86) than at home (154-89).

Dusty Baker seems so obviously the perfect man for this situation. The Astros cheating scheme was a huge benefit to half the roster, but not all that helpful to the other half. Who now get to share in the general embarrassment. It's the kind of thing that can easily make for a bitterly divided clubhouse. But if there's one guy who you know can get everyone back on the same page and pulling in the same direction, it's Dusty Baker. This is a very talented group of baseball players - look at that road record one more time - and they're going to come out this spring with a chip on their shoulders, believing the world is against them, with something to prove. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 08:45 PM EST (#385433) #
I don't think so, Magpie. The Astros have lost Cole, their manager and their GM. The players got off with no penalty and haven't even acknowledged their wrongdoing but the league knows. They are going to pay in some fashion. Don't know how but the umpires and other players will find a way. Justin Verlander is my #1 choice to fall off dramatically in 2020.
bpoz - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 09:41 PM EST (#385436) #
Throw at the hitters!! If Houston is way ahead or behind throw at the hitters. Put fear in those core hitters.

Go to bat with a target on you!! Maybe the umps will be lenient on the pitcher.

I hope they play the LAD.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 29 2020 @ 10:27 PM EST (#385437) #
An old school manager is probably best at this point for them.  I wouldn't be shocked in the slightest if Baker gets manager of the year if the Astros are a contender.  Baker's first year as a manger was the year the Jays last won a World Series.  His final season was the year after the Jays made the playoffs...hmm... an omen?  :)  I'll take anything I can get.

Funny - his last 4 years as a manger his teams won 97-90-95-97 games and made the post season all 4 years and was fired twice.  Kind of surprised.  AN oddity also is he was only ejected once his last 4 seasons.  This is his age 71 season.  Lets hope he does well, but the Jays finish ahead of them. :)
scottt - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 07:39 AM EST (#385438) #
Wasn't Baker one of the first to complain about Fiers snitching?

I couldn't find any of those articles.

Magpie - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 07:40 AM EST (#385439) #
The Astros have lost Cole, their manager and their GM.

Cole is a great pitcher, but they get a full season of Zack Greinke, who isn't exactly chopped liver.  They lost Wade Miley as well, but McCullers will be back and Urquidy has a chance to be pretty good. They should have enough pitching. As for the manager and GM - I think Baker is a better fit for their current situation and they don't need a GM to build the team. The team is built. They're really good. And all that talent, with a no-one-respects-us mindset, with something to prove... well, they scare me. But sure, throw at their hitters. They've got it coming. But I don't think it gets you anywhere, except getting your hitters thrown at in return.
Thomas - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 07:52 AM EST (#385440) #
All 1,143 of them

And don't forget that sometimes the absence of a bang was illegal signalling. The number of pitches on which the Astros cheated noticeably exceeds that.

There is a good thread on Twitter where someone takes this info and breaks it down to estimate the percentage of at-bats in the study in which the Astros cheated, and so on.

I haven't actually read the Athletic article, as I just saw links to the Twitter posts, but I'll get to that shortyl.

Magpie - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 08:21 AM EST (#385441) #
Justin Verlander is my #1 choice to fall off dramatically in 2020.

I don't see any actual reason to think that could happen. I'd be more worried about Cole. He's a 29 year old RH power pitcher, and this is when it happens. Maybe not this year, maybe not even next year - but I still wouldn't be at all surprised if his ERA spikes by a couple of runs and he scuffles along at .500 or thereabouts. Something happens to RH power pitchers around the time they turn 30. Some are destroyed by it and some work their way through it, like Verlander did. Great pitchers often do.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 09:28 AM EST (#385443) #
Question: does a bang on the garbage can necessarily mean illegal sign stealing?  Suppose the Astros are able to ascertain from a dugout view what the pitch is because the pitcher is tipping (at least from that angle).  Would it be permissible in those circumstances for the Astros to bang on the can?
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 09:47 AM EST (#385444) #
There's like 20 guys on the bench and 10 guys in bullpen and 2-3 guys on the basepaths who can send the signal to the batter if they're naturally picking it up. That's what other teams do. There's almost no chance someone would prefer to bang a trash when they can just signal directly. You're aldo not supposed to be watching the game on the TV if you're participating in it.
mathesond - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 09:48 AM EST (#385445) #
Would that mean they would be signalling from the dugout to wherever the can-banger is, in order for said banger (can we call him English Sausage?) to signal the batter?
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 09:55 AM EST (#385446) #
Why were they banging on the trash can when picking up signs illegally rather than just sending signs the usual way?  
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 10:24 AM EST (#385447) #
Verlander from age 33-36 threw 870 innings with an ERA+ of 152.  There are five pitchers who have thrown more than 800 innings with an ERA+ of 150 or more- Randy Johnson, Verlander, Roger Clemens, Kevin Brown and Cy Young.  Johnson was in a class by himself.  Clemens and Brown were on their way down, and Cy Young had just begun. I think Verlander is more like Clemens and Brown; his rectitude has taken a hit and we'll see if that impacts him the way that I think it will. 
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 10:49 AM EST (#385448) #
"Why were they banging on the trash can when picking up signs illegally rather than just sending signs the usual way? "

Basically, in a nutshell, first base and 3rd base coaches, men on second (offence) couldn't see the catcher's signal because he was hiding it in between his legs. The guy in the video room was watching the TV feed, a zoomed in lens on the catcher's signal from the batter's eye in the outfield. He signalled someone down the hall by yelling, and that person banged a trash can which the players heard.

That's how it started. Then later in the season that wasn't enough so they actually installed their own camera system in the outfield which they assembled before the game and took down after every game.

So to answer your question they didn't send signs the usual way because they couldn't decipher what Valdez et all were throwing since the signs were hidden...they could only pick up the signs with the help of video technology.

Only sign stealing that is permitted are those that are picked up by players on the literal baseball field. The pitcher and catcher can redo their signals and can defend against all types of sign stealing weather that is a runner, an opposing teams bullpen in the outfield or coaches/players in the dugout. The catcher and coaches of the pitching team can monitor all of those fronts, but not the video monitor room in the tunnels of the stadium...that's completely past the line and indefensible.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 11:28 AM EST (#385449) #
I'm sorry, dalimon.  I don't follow you at all.  I don't understand why the method of communication to the batter would be different if the players in the dugout picked up the tipped pitches naturally or with the aid of technology.  Maybe I am extraordinarily thick today.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 11:54 AM EST (#385450) #
I always assumed they banged on the trash can because it was quicker.They would only have a matter of seconds between the catcher giving the sign and the pitch being thrown. To see the sign on the monitor, relay it to someone on the bench, then relay it to the first or third base coach who would relay it to the hitter would take too long. I would think it would be hard for a hitter to look directly into the dugout to see a sign directly and take his eyes off the pitcher.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 12:04 PM EST (#385451) #
That was my interpretation too Island Boy.

Basically they would have had a hell of a time when facing Mark Buerhle.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 12:19 PM EST (#385452) #
That's what I thought too, Island Boy and Whiterasta.  But wouldn't that also apply if the guys in the dugout picked up that the pitcher was tipping?  It's a different angle than the hitter has,and it may be that the Astros figured out something about that legitimately. 
AWeb - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 12:30 PM EST (#385454) #
If the bench figures out something about tipping pitches, they tell the hitters about it and it's up to the hitters to also pick up the tell. They don't send the batter signals while he is at the plate before every pitch, often during the windup when the tipping happens. Cito Gaston was reportedly great at this, but he certainly wasn't yelling "Curve!" just before each pitch if he picked up on it. We would have noticed is Gaston talked or moved in the dugout, given how rare it was.

Are there actual position battles in the spring to be had this year? It seems like the big pile of mediocre OFers have to be separated somehow, but teams rarely let spring training make decisions for them anymore. Could Pearson or Woods-Richardson be good enough in spring training to get a MLB spot right away? Could McGuire take the primary catching job?
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 01:42 PM EST (#385455) #
Sorry, AWeb, I'm thick.  Alex Cora notices from the dugout that the pitcher is tipping his fastball and Alex Cora sees the sign on the video feed and notices that the sign is for a fastball.  Why should the means of communicating to the batter be any different?  Apparently, the Astros did change their means of communication from banging on garbage cans at some point. 
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 01:48 PM EST (#385456) #
I think you guys are missing the mark. While banging on the trash can is illegal because it's off the field and opponents aren't expecting it - The real illegal action is how the Astros saw and stole the signs which was not by human element but instead with the assistance of electronic zoomed in video. So I understand Mike's confusion if the illegal activity was only banging on a trash can, but that was the secondary element, not the primary offense of electronically stealing signs.
rpriske - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 01:54 PM EST (#385457) #
Josh Thole signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.
AWeb - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 01:58 PM EST (#385458) #
The "old" way, Cora picks up on a tell from the pitcher, and tells the hitters about what to look for (glove position, finger position, windup differences, lots of things creep into pitching that can give it away until it is fixed). This is fine, and a part of the game. I supposed picking up the tells can be done using video scouting, and probably has been by some for 30 years or so. But it was still up to the hitter to use that information, because it is not considered a reasonable part of the game to yell or bang (or maybe use buzzers) to alert the hitter, mid-pitch, to these things.

As mentioned, the problem here is the real-time sign stealing using video. The signaling method was not really a problem.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 02:05 PM EST (#385459) #
What if you can only tell from the dugout view?
christaylor - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 02:27 PM EST (#385460) #
It'll be absolutely great if one of the Astros players involved in this tempest in a teapot winds up with a concussion from a head-hunting pitcher. Wait, what am I saying? No, it'll be absolutely great if they end up with a hamate fracture. No! Sorry. Cracked ribs. Oh, jeez. No, not that... um... shadowban their twitter accounts? Sigh. Modern life is rubbish.

Kris Bryant (expectedly) lost his grievance against the Cubs and, personally, I think what the Cubs did to him is worse than what the Astros did to any pitcher.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 02:36 PM EST (#385461) #
Are there actual position battles in the spring to be had this year? It seems like the big pile of mediocre OFers have to be separated somehow, but teams rarely let spring training make decisions for them anymore. Could Pearson or Woods-Richardson be good enough in spring training to get a MLB spot right away? Could McGuire take the primary catching job? Barring injuries, I think it is more the case that players such as Alford and Fisher are pretty much locks for the opening-day roster. Apologies to Davis & McKinney, but if the Jays were going to give up on Alford they would have opened up his roster spot this offseason. The one quasi-competition I could see is between Valera and non-roster guys Joe Panik and Ruben Tejada; even so, I think Valera's a pretty strong favourite, and you'd have to have Panik or Tejada pretty clearly show something in ST to dislodge Valera.
rpriske - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 03:26 PM EST (#385462) #
The Cubs didn't do anything to Kris Bryant. A horrible system screwed Bryant. The unions should fight the rules that allow it rather than fighting the team that understands what the system allows them to do.

Nobody should head-hunt the Astros. If you want to prove that the cheating made a difference, beat them.
Magpie - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 04:34 PM EST (#385463) #
it is not considered a reasonable part of the game to yell or bang

It is not considered reasonable for the hitter to sneak a look at where the catcher is setting up. Seriously, no peeking! Retribution will follow.
scottt - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 05:59 PM EST (#385464) #
A good example if when the catcher give a high target. You can be sure it's a fastball coming and everyone on the bench can see that. Sometimes they might all start screaming or something. Then you adjust by not giving an early target.

The normal sequence goes like this. Both catcher and hitters takes signals from the bench. Then the hitter gets in the box and the catcher gives a signal. Once the pitcher agrees, he pitches right away. There's not much time for the hitter to look at the bench and the pitcher would see that anyway. If the pitcher is tipping, that will become apparent during the windup which the hitter has to watch or he won't be able to hit the ball anyway.

scottt - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 06:06 PM EST (#385465) #
The pitchers will do what the want. There's basically nobody on the Jays who got victimized and they only face the Astros 6 times a year. It's really more a matter of hiding their signals better against the Yankees/Rays/Red Sox.

Now, for the Angels, Rangers and A's it's a different story.
Maybe players on  teams like Cleveland, New York and Boston would be upset too, but maybe not as much as we think.

bpoz - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 06:47 PM EST (#385466) #
I wonder how the umps feel about the cheating.

Penalizing the Astros and Red Sox on balls and strikes is good punishment and they can easily get away with it.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 08:42 PM EST (#385467) #
" Where does Josh Donaldson rank on the list of top Blue Jays of all time ?"

This question was posed on Tim and Sid back in September when the Jays played the Braves. Sid answered no. 3 behind Halladay and Alomar. I initially agreed, but it made me think, " How do you arrive at that?" Naturally you'd just have to count the years the player actually played in a Blue Jays uniform, but should longevity count, too? A player like Donaldson played just 3 good years in his prime ( plus 1 injury-riddled one ) versus the 12 years of Tony Fernandez,( 4 different periods on the team !) I spent a lot of time thinking on it and, while not a great stats guy, I leaned heavily on WAR. Here is my Top 10 Blue Jays of all time:

1) Roy Halladay -- who else? 12 seasons, 48.4 WAR, 1 Cy Young with Toronto simply the best
2) Roberto Alomar -- only 5 seasons but 22.3 WAR His home run off Denis Eckersly in the playoffs was, in my opinion, one of the most important in team history
3) Dave Stieb -- Longevity with excellence matters to me here: 15 years, 408 games started, 56.9 WAR
4) Josh Donaldson -- 3 very good years and 1 injury-filled one, 21.6 WAR, 1 A.L. MVP
5) Jose Bautista -- 10 years, 37.3 WAR, the bat flip is one of the Jays most iconic moments
6) Tony Fernandez -- 12 years, 37.5 WAR, one of my most favorite Jays ever, great hitter and defender
7) Carlos Delgado -- 12 years, 36.8 WAR despite not being good on defense, a fearsome slugger
8) John Olerud -- 7 years, 22.6 WAR, one of the sweetest swings of any Blue Jay ever
9) Jesse Barfield -- 9 years, 29.5 WAR, good hitter and a cannon of an arm
10) Paul Molitor -- 3 years, 10.5 WAR, a tough choice but have we forgotten the 1993 playoffs? World Series MVP, 24 at-bats, 12 hits and 3 walks 1.571 OPS. He came through when it really counted

This list leaves off George Bell, an A.L. MVP but really that was his one really good year and he was terrible defensively. Also, there was Pat Hentgen, Cy Young winner and 26.8 WAR over 10 years; Edward Encarnacion, 8 years, 24.3 WAR; Fred McGriff ( I thought long on him) 5 years ( Really 4, 1st year only 6 games) 19.4 WAR; Vernon Wells, 12 years, 28.7 WAR; Lloyd Moseby, 10 years, 26 WAR.

Of course, there is also Roger Clemens but I thought if the Hall of Fame voters aren't supporting him then I won't either. His numbers, however, show two of the greatest years by a Blue Jay ever. In both he won 20 games, accumulated 20.1 WAR with 292 and 271 strikeouts, 264 and 234 innings pitched and 1.03 and 1.09 WHIPs.

A few Jays who would make my Top 10 favorite Jays of all time are crafty lefty, Jimmy Key; the fearsome Cliff Johnson whom I loved to watch batting, and the tall flame-thrower, Tom Henke.

Sorry for the long post and you may think I'm out to lunch on my top 10. Feel free to disagree!
Glevin - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 10:39 PM EST (#385468) #
Wouldn't have Donaldson near the all-time top five and probably notntop-10 and in a few years I can't imagine anyone else would either. Just a case of recency bias. His career with the Jays is similar to Clemens'. Elite but very short. I don't even see how it's possible to argue Donaldson was better than say Delgado or Jose Bautista who both were amazing and for much longer periods than Donaldson. Was he a better Blue Jay than Olerud? McGriff?
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 10:42 PM EST (#385469) #
Bump up Wells and Delgado, bump Donaldson down. How do his best 4 year window compare with Wells and Delgado's best 4 year windows?
John Northey - Thursday, January 30 2020 @ 11:24 PM EST (#385470) #
We each have our own lists... I've been thinking of putting an article together on best Jays ever but as other admins here have seen I keep getting part way then distracted and it never gets done, then 6 months later I try again.  Sigh.

Personal favorites though are easier....
  1. Tony Fernandez - when I was 14 he took over from Griffin and I loved it, he had that cool flip throw from SS that I tried to impersonate, could hit any pitch, could (unlike others on the team) take a walk, stole bases at a good pace without getting caught so often that it was useless, had surprising power at times, could be argued to be the best SS at times in his Jay days.  Hated that he had to be traded to get Alomar.  Loved when he came back in 93 and was angry at his agent and the team over his not resigning here (bloody Alex Gonzalez who the Jays thought would be a superstar but was never more than a decent player), loved his comeback late and couldn't understand the Jays letting him go to Japan (wondered after if he was on steroids or something and that was why) but now looking back I see up to June 21st he was all-word hitting 414/491/573.  After down to 244/368/329 with a negative WPA.  Amazing how fast he fell apart there.
  2. Roberto Alomar - why I accepted the Fernandez trade, getting a very young superstar just starting out was amazing.  Was furious when Ash refused to sign him to an extension pre-1995 as he thought (foolishly) that salaries would go down after the strike.  The #1 piece for the 2 WS winners imo.
  3. Roy Halladay - just so nice every 5th day to know he'd throw 7-9 innings quickly and the team woudl likely win.  Especially during those dark days.
  4. Carlos Delgado - followed from the time the Jays signed him, just knew he would be a super-star from the interviews they did with him on the old Jays show that used to be on regularly.  Just a shame they didn't take him away from catching quicker as he might have been up full time in 1994 instead of the mess it was that year for him, then he'd have gotten to 500 HR.
  5. Mark Eichhorn - that 1986 when he threw 157 innings in relief with a sub 2 ERA was amazing.  Bloody Jimy Williams not figuring out he could get an ERA title until it was too late to grab the extra 5 IP.  Watching Eich K the Boston killer lineup and make them look foolish while doing it was a highlight.
  6. Jimmy Key - always fun to watch pitch, the first good LHP ever here, his final games in the 92 WS were fantastic, as we all knew the Jays were going to be idiots and let him go.  Sigh.
  7. Tom Henke - the Terminator, Mr. Aqua Velva, Mr. Crohn's and Colitis.  Saved the day in 85, critical part of the team through 1992.
  8. Dave Stieb - My grandmother's favorite player, hard to argue it.  Super-competitive, hated how his career ended early, hated that he didn't get a full chance to start in 1998 although it sure is obvious now when I look back at it.  Still, it was fun to see him try.
  9. Jesse Barfield - his cannon arm in RF was amazing to watch.  Dang were we spoiled back then by him. 
  10. Jose Bautista - the leader of the 2010s revival of the Jays - made them fun again after the dark JPR days.  I had hoped he'd find a job DH'ing for a few more years elsewhere and get 20 or so a year for a bit to get him closer to the HOF (no way he was getting in).  Ah well.
Many others have been great fun to watch, like Ernie Whitt, Garth Iorg (idiot me tried to hit like he did, look for video of his batting stance and you'll see why I hit horribly), George Bell (his karate kick of Kison was a thing of beauty), dang, sure is easy to tell when I fell in love with baseball isn't it?
dan gordon - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 02:15 AM EST (#385471) #
For any all time greatest list, I like Bill James' approach that he took with his Baseball Abstract. For each position, he made 2 lists. One was for career value, which would be basically an accumulation of the player's entire career - in this case, it would be the player's entire Blue Jay career. The other list was what he called peak value - how good the player was for the short period of time, say a few years, when he was at his absolute best. So, in the Abstract (written in 1985), you'd have a guy like Warren Spahn, who ranked 2nd all time among left handed starters for career value, but was nowhere near the top for peak value. Spahn was never a superstar, but he was very good for a very long time. On the other hand, you have Dizzy Dean, who was 3rd all time in peak value, but nowhere near the top in career value. He had a few great seasons, and then hurt his arm when he came back from a broken toe too soon, and had to alter his delivery to avoid the pain in his foot.

If you apply the same procedure to the Blue Jays' all time greats, it would seem that Stieb was #1 in career value, as he amassed the most WAR as a Blue Jay. It is such a shame that the Blue Jays had virtually no bullpen support for Stieb, and he often ended up pitching 9 or more innings, and 150+ pitches in many games. Four seasons in a row of 265 or more innings up to age 27, and then he was never really the same again, with 2 much lesser seasons, and then 3 pretty good ones. Seems likely that his career was shortened due to arm trouble from all the over use in his early to mid 20's. He was an amazing pitcher - his slider is one of the absolute best pitches I have ever seen.

For peak value, there are certainly a lot of candidates, especially if you consider a "peak" as short as 2 seasons - Alomar, Donaldson, Bautista, Halladay, Wells, Green, McGriff, White. But nobody has come close to the 2 seasons Clemens had as a Blue Jay, with 20 bWAR combined. Next best would be Donaldson and Stieb, each at about 15 WAR combined for their best 2 consecutive seasons.
dan gordon - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 02:16 AM EST (#385472) #
Barfield is another one who was close to 15 WAR for his '85 and '86 seasons.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 07:50 AM EST (#385473) #
I based my list on how the player performed as a Blue Jay no matter how long they were here. I also recognized that Donaldson's years here were part of his prime while other longer serving Jays would have their overall stats pulled down by their declining years.

Still, in basically 3 years, as his 4th only added .5 WAR, he accumulated 21.1 WAR and won a league MVP. You can pick the 3 best years, not consecutive, of Vernon Wells career and his WAR adds up to a little over 15.

I've watched the Jays since their first game and if I based my list on who was the greatest for the longest without looking at stats, then Vernon Wells would be on it with Lloyd Moseby and maybe Pat Hentgen.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 09:17 AM EST (#385474) #
Thanks for these lists.

Gruber? D Ward?

C Carpenter and D Wells did their magic for other teams.

M Young and J kent also great Jay products.

WAMCO ????

Cito used Ward and Henke to shorten the game for the SP.

For me J Guzman peaked at the right time.
christaylor - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 09:38 AM EST (#385475) #
Was it that Stieb had no bullpen support or was merely used as other pitchers of his (single-season) caliber? Not to minimize his accomplishments, he was clearly a great pitcher given the context of the ERA, but WAR gives him a ton of credit just for the number of because of the (IP/9) term in the last step of the calculation. He was a lesser pitcher than Verlander and bref gives a comp with King Felix. I can recall seeing him from 1987-1990 with only real memories of the 1990 season. I remember Halladay very well and can see videos of his slider. Halladay was certainly the more complete pitcher and as a Blue Jays great he get short-changed because of his era, where the team decided was unable to be competitive during the final phase of his career.
mathesond - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 09:49 AM EST (#385476) #
These guys are nowhere near the top (or even middle) of the leaderboards in Jays history, but I'd like to acknowledge Roy Howell's 9-RBI game vs. the Yankees in 1977, when the expansion Jays squeaked out a 19-3 win over the soon to be WS champs.

And of course who can forget John Mayberry getting 7 RBI as a pinch-hitter vs. Earl Weaver's Orioles in a 24-10 Jays win? Looking at the box score, future Jay Mike Flanagan was dinged for 6 runs in an inning, future Red Sox & Expos (I believe) pitching coach was touched up for 7 in an inning and a third, and Tippy Martinez, he of the 3 pickoffs in one inning (the tenth, no less!) vs the Jays a few years later, allowed 6 runs while chalking up 5 outs.

As a side note, I was 7 years old when Mayberry hit 3 HRs vs. the Jays in 1977, and when he became a Blue the following season, I was sure we had the best power hitter in the game.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 09:55 AM EST (#385477) #
Has WAR ever been proven to be accurate considering a large portion of it is based on subjectively inspired defensive metrics?

I'm a little shocked Vernon Wells' WAR over his peak 3 year window is lower than Donaldson's. Who had the 3 best offensive seasons between Bautista, Donaldson and Delgado, ignoring defence?
Mike Green - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 10:21 AM EST (#385478) #
BBRef's franchise page has a listing of the top 20 players by career WAR with the organization.   For peak performance, you've got Clemens then a group with Stieb, Donaldson, Bautista,  Halladay and Barfield, and then a group with Delgado, Moseby, Key, White, and Alomar.

It's always good to remember the story of Devon White.  In 1989-90 at ages 26-27, he had .234/.285/.360 for the Angels.  He was a valuable player even at that, because he was the best defensive centerfielder in baseball.  Gillick traded Junior Felix for him after the 1990 season to a chorus of boos.  Felix had hit .261/.322/.419 at the (supposed) ages of 21-22 and was a so-so defender with good speed. Many thought that he was going to be great.  Many were wrong, and Gillick was right.  I learned from that the GM may know something that you do not, and defence is more important than I thought previously.
uglyone - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 11:36 AM EST (#385479) #
"I'm a little shocked Vernon Wells' WAR over his peak 3 year window is lower than Donaldson's. Who had the 3 best offensive seasons between Bautista, Donaldson and Delgado, ignoring defence?"

Best qualified offensive blue Jay's seasons by wRC+:

1. Bautista 2011: 181
2. Olerud 1993: 179
3. Delgado 2000: 179
4. Bautista 2010: 165
5. Bautista 2014: 160
6. Delgado 2003: 159
7. McGriff 1990: 157
8. Donaldson 2016: 157
9. McGriff 1989: 156
10. McGriff 1988: 156
11. Donaldson 2015: 154
12. Encarnacion 2014: 151
13. Encarnacion 2012: 150
14. Encarnacion 2015: 150
15. Bautista 2015: 148
16. Barfield 1986: 147
17. Encarnacion 2013: 146
18. Delgado 1998: 145
19. Delgado 2002: 145
20. Molitor 1993: 144
21. Bell 1987: 143
22. Delgado 2001: 143
23. Alomar 1993: 142
24. Barfield 1985: 142
25. Green 1999: 142
26. Lind 2009: 140
27. Winfield 1992: 140
28. Molitor 1994: 139
29. Upshaw 1983: 137
30. Encarnacion 2016: 136
37. Wells 2003: 133
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 11:38 AM EST (#385480) #
The 1983 & 84 teams won 89 games. No WC at the time. That could have been the Joey Mac time. No Henke yet.

The current team has a few things in place to get the contending window started shortly. With Giles here for only 2020, the closer role may have to be addressed.

Glevin - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 11:41 AM EST (#385481) #
I think peak performance does matter but for all-time team greats, you want some longevity too as well as good peak. Delgado had 6 straight years of over 4 WAR. He had 5 seasons with the Jays where he was one of the top-10 hitters in the league. Barfield had 6 years in a row of 2.5+ WAR with the Jays. Bell had 5 years of over 2.5 WAR. Fernandez has 6 years in a row of at least 3.6 WAR. Olerud, 6 years of 2.2 WAR. Bautista, 6 years of over 3.1 WAR. Encarnacion had 5 straight years of 3.7 WAR or higher. Etc...

I think there's a pretty good argument that Donaldson was third best Jay of the past decade but this franchise has had too many great players for someone to slip into the top-5 or (IMO top-10) with 3 great years.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 11:55 AM EST (#385482) #
The Dome's turf is hard on OFs knees, hips and backs. The worst for CFs I suppose. I don't know if we will get grass any time soon. So the shelf life of our CFs is shorter than others.

Pillar had 4 years in a row here with 500+ ABs. That could have wore him down.

I don't know what we can do about that but maybe keep Biggio out of the OF. Gurriel is another to be concerned about. All the other OFs as well.

Magpie - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 12:15 PM EST (#385483) #
Has WAR ever been proven to be accurate

Practically by definition, WAR can not be proven accurate. It's a theoretical attempt to determine value. Which makes it an interpretation of the game, one which assigns value, rather than a record of the game, which is always a simple count of things that happened.
uglyone - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 12:40 PM EST (#385484) #
best 3yr peaks, by fangraphs stats:

1.J.Donaldson 15-17: 154wrc+, 21.5war, 7.3war650
2.J.Barfield 85-87: 131wrc+, 18.8war, 6.3war650
3.F.McGriff 88-90: 157wrc+, 18.5war, 6.1war650
4.J.Bautista 10-12: 165wrc+, 17.8war, 6.7war650
5.D.White 91-93: 107wrc+, 17.7war, 5.5war650
6.C.Delgado 98-00: 153wrc+, 16.6war, 5.4war650
7.L.Moseby 83-85: 123wrc+, 16.3war, 5.4war65-
8.R.Alomar 91-93: 131wrc+, 16.2war, 5.1war650
9.J.Olerud 92-94: 147wrc+, 14.3war, 5.6war650
10.A.Rios 06-08: 117wrc+, 14.1war, 4.8war650
11.T.Fernandez 86-88: 108wrc+, 13.6war, 4.3war650
12.K.Gruber 88-90: 120wrc+, 13.5war, 4.7war650
13.V.Wells 04-06: 112wrc+, 12.9war, 4.3war650
14.E.Encarnacion 13-15: 149wrc+, 12.2war, 4.4war650
15.S.Stewart 00-02: 118wrc+, 11.7war, 3.9war650

AWeb - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 01:21 PM EST (#385485) #
League context matters so much for the adjusted stats, it's a little hard to get your head around sometimes. Bautista's 3-year peak was .271/.400/.593. Delgado's was .303/.413/.609. McGriff's was .283/.392/.535 (his best year .924 OPS lead the league, one of the lowest league leading totals in the live-ball era). Donaldson at .285/.387/.559.

The top-10 OPS seasons (unadjusted) are Delgado (2000), Olerud, Bautista, Delgado, Bautista, Delgado, Green, Bell, Delgado, and Donaldson.
rpriske - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 01:48 PM EST (#385486) #
Whenever there is a discussion of WAR, there seem to be two very wrong views.

1. WAR is a useless stat that doesn't mean anything.

2. WAR is an absolute judge of which player is better than which other player.

Both are incorrect. It is a tool like any other. It happens to be a very useful tool, but that doesn't mean it has perfect granularity.

Can you look at a 4 WAR player and a 2 WAR player and assume that the 4 WAR player was better over the chosen time period and feel confident that you are correct? Absolutely.

Can you look at a 4.1 WAR player and a 4 WAR player and assume that the 4.1 WAR player was better over the chosen time period and feel confident that you are correct? Much, much less confidently.

Just like pretty much any stat.
uglyone - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 02:06 PM EST (#385487) #
i like how the historical WAR resonates even without the same defensive stats.

look at how high guys like White, Barfield, Moseby rank there - that absoolutely agrees with my amateur tween eye test.
whiterasta80 - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 02:29 PM EST (#385488) #
The discussion of greatest Jays went a little too long without including Joe Carter in the mix. He won't show up on any WAR or wRC+ lists of course, but he gave us 2 good (and 5 mediocre) seasons, put the ball in play...alot... and was a sneaky good base runner.

Oh yeah and he was the last person to touch the ball in both world series wins.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 03:02 PM EST (#385489) #
How is War affected in Coors Field? The green monster? Being a left or right handed hitter or pitcher?

Would Devo be a factor in a pitcher's WAR vs T Hernandez?

Dimensions and "warning track power"? Juiced balls?

I think a lot of theses play a part negative and positive.

You need to put a player in a situation to succeed, if you can figure out how.

I also think the juiced ball is hurting certain types of pitchers.
John Northey - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 03:39 PM EST (#385490) #
rpiske - agreed 100% on WAR - I use it to group players - generally speaking, if a guy doesn't get to 10 WAR lifetime he wasn't that good a player, could be a fan favorite but not a big contributor overall.  20+ would be a regular All-Star guy but not close to the HOF.  30+ a solid Hall of the Very Good but few would think of for the HOF.  40+ gets some votes for the Hall, 50+ sometimes sneaks in, 60+ should be a near lock for the HOF but needs time to get in often, 70+ an amazing player who should be a first ballot (outside of weird cases like Lou Whittaker), 80+ solid HOF'er.  100+ inner circle guy.

Single season: 10+ - a year for the ages, just 1 in Jays history by Roger Clemens his first year (pre-drugs according to all accounts too, as it was his 2nd year that started up)
8+: MVP level, see Clemens 2nd year, Hentgen's Cy season, Halladay 03, Donaldson MVP, Bautista 2011.
5+" solid all-star, possible MVP contender - Bautista 50 HR season, Barfield '85/86, Moseby 84, Delgado 2000, Olerud 93, Stieb & Halladay most seasons, Key 87, Eichhorn 86, etc. etc. etc.
2+ decent everyday starter
-1 to 1: why is this guy here?  Often a utitity guy
below -1: Should be released long ago or a rookie up too soon.
Magpie - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 03:39 PM EST (#385491) #
There is a large and pressing need for a measure like WAR, or something very similar - for a great statistic, something that expresses the value of all the extremely different things each ballplayer does with a single integer. Which is an insanely optimistic ambition, of course. (I personally don't think the founding assumptions of WAR, for example, are helpful or appropriate. I simply don't buy the concept that major league players have negative value. Not even Socrates Brito.) But that's neither here nor there, and everyone's mileage will vary. The point is, no great statistic will be all that well suited to the always desperate work of comparing two players of similar quality. We simply don't understand the game that perfectly.

Having acknowledged that, it's still the case - however regrettable one may find it - that the analysis of groups of players is made much, much easier by a great statistic that represents each individual in the group in terms of a single integer.
#2JBrumfield - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 04:23 PM EST (#385492) #
The Vancouver Canadians have announced their coaching staff for 2020. North Delta, BC native Brent Lavallee has been confirmed as manager as he replaces Casey Candaele. Demetre Kokoris is back as pitching coach and Danny Canellas returns as bench coach. Andy Fermin is the new hitting coach, replacing Aaron Mathews.Fermin was a member of the C's 2013 championship club.

Today marks the team's annual Hot Stove Luncheon. Blue Jays legend Jesse Barfield and coach John Schneider were in attendance along with director of minor league operations Charlie Wilson.
#2JBrumfield - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 04:24 PM EST (#385493) #
Bold off.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 04:28 PM EST (#385494) #
Daniel Hudson had a great 2019.

Signed to a minor league contract and released by LAA. Must have been hard to crack their pitching staff.

He managed to crack the Jays pitching staff along with many others. He was kind of mediocre to start off with the Jays. Then did better or well enough to get traded to Washington and played a key role in them winning the WS.

2008 5th round draft pick. Made the majors the next year 2009. Was a #1 SP in 14 starts 2010 and 33 starts 222 IP in 2011. This from a 5th round pick. TJ in 2013 and up and down results as a reliever since then

So one of Atkin's stick at the wall guys . Those that worked E Sogard, D Hudson and J Adams.
uglyone - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 04:36 PM EST (#385495) #
Gotta disagree on principle magpie - they are imo certainly players who get consistent chances in mlb, for various reasons, who contribute less than the average AAAA scallop would, which makes them a negative value player in a very real way.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 04:36 PM EST (#385496) #
Thanks for the heads up on the C's hot stove lunch #2JB.

Vancouver is 3 Hrs behind Ontario. C's Plus should have a write up tomorrow or the day after.
Spifficus - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 04:54 PM EST (#385497) #

Make the bold stop! Please?

Spifficus - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 05:00 PM EST (#385498) #

3 more unclosed Bolds... 2 more... 1 more... If this doesn't do it, I give up.

perlhack - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 05:16 PM EST (#385499) #
Speaking of Tony Fernandez, he is in critical condition from kidney complications according to this tweet.
dan gordon - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 06:08 PM EST (#385500) #
"Was it that Stieb had no bullpen support or was merely used as other pitchers of his (single-season) caliber?"

It was mainly the bullpen problems the Jays had - an ongoing serious issue for many seasons. Here is where Stieb ranked in all of mlb in innings pitched, starting in 1981: 7th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 8th. The Jays would usually just try and hang on with Stieb in there when they had a small lead, no matter how much he had pitched, because even a dead tired Stieb was better than anything coming out of the bullpen. The 1985 playoffs were another example - he started game 1 and pitched 8 shutout innings. they used him on 3 days rest in game 4 and he managed to last 6 2/3 innings and allowed only 1 run despite walking 7 - he was clearly very tired. He started again on 3 days rest in game 7 and was struggling, but had a 2-1 lead into the 6th. Despite being just about dead, they kept him in there and he gave up the famous wind-blown double by Jim Sundberg to clear the bases. I was at that game, and you could clearly see that Stieb was done long before that hit. I've always felt that was one of the many managing errors made by Bobby Cox in that series that contributed significantly to the Royals winning after the Jays took a 3 games to 1 lead. Plus, Stieb was never the same again after that abuse in the 1985 playoffs. His ERA from 1982 to 1985 was getting better every year: 3.25, 3.04, 2.83, 2.48 (which led the league, and he was still just 27), but then in 1986 it ballooned to 4.74. He figured out a few things, made some adjustments, and by 1988 he was very good again for 3 more years, despite not having quite the same overpowering stuff. He may have been a sure fire Hall Of Fame guy if not for the abuse he was subjected to.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 08:14 PM EST (#385501) #
Thanks dan gordon. Halladay or Stieb who knows. I loved them both.
Dewey - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 09:17 PM EST (#385502) #
"Spahn was never a superstar, but he was very good for a very long time."

Dan, I don’t know if “superstar” was even a category when Spahn began his career. But in 1948 -- when he was with the Boston Braves, who went to the World Series that year -- he was on the covers of The Sporting News, Sport Magazine, and such several times. (This was before SI existed.) The catch-phrase “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” was coined that year, I believe. People went to the ball park specifically to watch Spahn pitch. Awfully close to being a “superstar” in my books.
Glevin - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 11:34 PM EST (#385503) #
"Can you look at a 4 WAR player and a 2 WAR player and assume that the 4 WAR player was better over the chosen time period and feel confident that you are correct? Absolutely."

WAR is a useful general measure and it's roughly accurate in that a 5 WAR player is always going to be better than a 1 WAR player but the difference of 1-2 WAR is not really significant.
John Northey - Friday, January 31 2020 @ 11:36 PM EST (#385504) #
Spahn not a superstar?  I wasn't around for his career but that makes no sense. 
8 times led the league in wins when that was the #1 stat for pitchers, 1 Cy Young award, 3 times in 2nd place - this was back when there was one Cy Young award for both leagues.  14 times on the All-Star team, 4 times in the top 5 for MVP voting.  4 times in the World Series (when there were no playoffs, just the World Series) with 1 title.  That combination would make almost anyone a superstar even playing in Milwaukee.  If it wasn't for military service he might have had a shot at 400 wins.  He was great.  Yeah, by modern standards not as good as some but a peak of 9.4 WAR is still damn good plus a 3 year stretch of 6+ WAR.  If that isn't a superstar then I wonder what is.
John Northey - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 12:29 AM EST (#385505) #
For Stieb I think it is worth looking at his AB against since we don't have pitch counts for his early years.  30+ batters faced I'm using as a standard (3.58 Pitches per plate appearnce in 1988 via USA Today, seems a good base, so 30 PA = 107 pitches, 40 PA = 143, high stress
1979: 30+: 11 times; 40+: 0 times (once at 39) at age 21, in his 2nd year as a pro, first full one pitching (just 26 pro innings before this)
1980: 30+: 21 times; 40+: 3 times (peak of 49 = 175 estimated pitches in 12 innings)
1981: 30+: 17 times; 40+: 0 times (twice at 39)
1982: 30+: 28 times; 40+: 0 times
1983: 30+: 16 times; 40+: 3 times
1984: 30+: 23 times; 40+: 1 time
1985: 30+: 20 times; 40+: never
1986: 30+: 9 times; 40+: never
1987: 30+: 4 times; 40+ never
1988: 30+: 9 times; 40+ never; pitch counts now available: 100+ 18 times, 120+ 3 times, never at/over 130
The pattern continues the rest of his career with declining pitch counts and games of 30+ batters.

Too tired to check modern pitchers.
dan gordon - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 01:43 AM EST (#385506) #
The Warren Spahn example was straight out of the Baseball Abstract. In fact, it was the example that James used to explain "peak value" vs "career value". He had Spahn 2nd all time in career value among lefties, but said he wouldn't even be in the top 20 for peak value. He says "he quite certainly was not the domineering force, even in his best years, that pitchers like Hal Newhouser and Rube Waddell were". Facts like the 14 all-star games are great examples of why his career value is so enormous. As for the term "superstar", of course it is a word without precise definition. Perhaps my "star" is your "superstar". In any event, Spahn had a tremendous career.
John Northey - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 09:38 AM EST (#385507) #
Ah, I get it.  Basically it is using more modern statistics to determine who had a great peak vs great career.  A retroactive superstar vs compiler thing.  James had a great idea trying to split it but there are 2 classes of peak performance, one is easy - the statistics method, one not so easy - the viewpoint of the era.  Trying to retroactively figure out who was a real star in an era you were not part of can be hard.  James and other boomers would've been around for Spahn's career thus known how he was viewed - be it a (for gen X'ers like me) Dave Stewart type (20 game winner 4 times, but not a super-star due to high ERA's relatively speaking - ERA's in the 110's plus one at 144) or Roger Clemens type (20+ wins but low ERA's and high K's - over that 4 year stretch Clemens had an ERA+ of 153, never lower than 132 but had fewer wins due to Oakland having a better offense than the Red Sox I suspect, plus Dennis Eckersley who was a killer closer back then). 

Spahn's career was amazing, but just twice did he crack 130 for ERA+, never reached 6 K's per 9 IP at any point, 4 times led in K's but never had 200 (very different era).  Just 4-3 in the World Series, 3.05 ERA - good but not 'wow'.  Yeah, he is a guy like Buehrle was - solid year in year out, but rarely spectacular.  People in that time frame might not have thought that though as wins were king for pitchers so leading in that would've gotten him tons of attention (thus the Spahn and Sain then pray for rain).
bpoz - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 10:08 AM EST (#385508) #
We need Aces and #1s ASAP!!

Correct me if I am wrong on any of the following. I am trying to predict.

Stieb and Guzman (Guzman took long to develop in the minors) came up and were immediately Aces. So quick/early/immediate success is an indicator that I like to follow.

Sticking with the Jays Key and Hentgen were kind of fast. Stroman was fast and qualifies as a #1 IMO. None of them struggled from what I saw.

HS signings and Int'l signings are allowed to take a little longer in the minors due to being very young.

Carpenter, Halladay and D Wells did not have that immediate/quick success. Correct me if I am wrong.

Outside the Jays organization Gooden & Saberhagen are 2 immediate/quick success.

Randy Johnson and J deGrom took too much time in the minors I think but became Aces. Never mind deGrom drafted in 2010. 60 day DL'd all of 2011. Dominated the minors and overworked (IMO) in 2012 and 2013.

The Mets push their top pitchers (Kay/SWR) early. The Jays don't (Kloff). In the minors that is. Different styles.
Magpie - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 10:18 AM EST (#385509) #
[Spahn] never reached 6 K's per 9 IP at any point

Yikes. That's a little like complaining that the power hitters of the 1910s never hit 30 HRs in a season. In the years when Spahn was a young pitcher, hardly anyone reached 6 Ks per nine innings. The hitters were different then, and averaging 6 Ks per 9 was exactly the same as averaging 12 Ks per 9 in the modern game.

NL league leaders in K's per 9:

1946 - Higbe 5.7
1947 - Blackwell 6.4
1948 - Brecheen 5.7
1949 - Newcombe 5.48 (Spahn was 5th)
1950 - Blackwell 6.5, Simmons 6.1 (Spahn was 3rd)
1951 - Queen 6.6 (Spahn was 5th)
1952 - Mizell 6.9, Simmons 6.3, Wilhelm 6.1 (Spahn was 6th)
1953 - Mizell 6.9, Erskine 6.8, Antonelli 6.7, Klippstein 6.0 (Spahn as 9th)

Every qualified pitcher who averaged 6 Ks per 9 is noted there. These were Spahn's first eight seasons, and it takes us through his age 32 season. After that he transitioned pretty smoothly into a guy who relied on a screwball. Spahn was never a power pitcher deluxe, but he got more than his share of his strikeouts. He did lead the league four times, and it wasn't just because he threw a lot of innings.
Magpie - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 10:40 AM EST (#385510) #
[Spahn] is a guy like Buehrle

He was a little more like Cy Young, actually. Like Young, Spahn did have a couple of seasons when he was probably the best pitcher in the game that year, which is not true of Buehrle. But usually there were two or three guys having a better year. Five years later, those guys would be gone. There'd be two or three new guys having a better year than Spahn. And five years later, those guys would be gone. And Spahn would still be there, winning another 20 games. That's exactly how Cy Young's career unfolded. Spahn didn't have Young's ridiculous control - it's also the biggest difference between Spahn and Greg Maddux, who was even less of a power pitcher than Spahn.
Magpie - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 11:33 AM EST (#385511) #
The hitters did approach things a little differently 70 years ago. In those eight seasons, just seven NL batters struck out 100 times in a season: 1 in 1946, 1 in 1950, 2 in 1952, and 3 in 1953.

The 2019 Brewers had 8 guys strike out at least 100 times, the Braves had 7 and every team in the league could match the total for the entire NL in 1953. All told, there were 74 NL hitters who struck out more than 100 times this past season. Granted, there are twice as many teams now. But still... whoa. That's a whole lot of nothin'.
John Northey - Saturday, February 01 2020 @ 09:36 PM EST (#385512) #
Very good point Magpie about how a 'power pitcher' was very different back then.  Heck, Stieb was thought of as power when he rarely got 6 K's per game iirc and never got 200 K's.  Cy Young and Spahn do have similarities in long careers of solid excellence.  Rarely the best in a year, but always up there.  The type of pitcher a manager loves but rarely gets fully appreciated.  It is crazy peaks that people love to watch - Roger Clemens comes to mind with his insane 2 years here, his 1986 season, his 2 20 K games, etc. mixed in with injury years and the odd time when people thought he lost it just to see him come back and do something amazing again.  Maddux was very consistently great (26-32 every season was 160+ ERA+ with 2 straight years of 260+ - sadly the strike years of 94/95).  A shame in their prime I don't think Maddux and Halladay ever faced each other - it probably would've been a 1 hour game.
Magpie - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 06:21 AM EST (#385513) #
I don't think Maddux and Halladay ever faced each other - it probably would've been a 1 hour game.

Doc did match up with Mark Buehrle a few times, though. There was an especially memorable one (31 May 2007) when the Jays didn't have a single baserunner all night, but Doc beat Buehrle 2-0 on a couple of solo HRs from Thomas and Hill. Game time was 1:50. Buehrle returned the favour a couple of months later (28 July 2007), beating Doc 2-0 in 2:07.
scottt - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 07:57 AM EST (#385514) #
Interesting. Bullpen coach Matt Buschman will continue in his current function but he is also the new director of pitching development. So, should I expect to see more prospects in the pen?

bpoz - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 12:20 PM EST (#385515) #
Regarding bullpens: J Smoltz and R Darling and 2 others talking about the best rotations. Washington and the Mets got high marks. But they or someone also said that having a strong pen has the uncertainly factor. A crap shoot. Various Bauxites have mentioned the crap shoot factor.

Too few elite SP FAs were available so most hopeful contenders lost out. I think that SD has added good pen pieces to help their non elite rotation. Makes sense IMO.
Paul D - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 12:58 PM EST (#385516) #
Magpie, that description of Spahn sounds like Mariano's careee
dalimon5 - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 03:23 PM EST (#385517) #
If I remember correctly, Halladay beat Buerhle in a 10 inning gem, after an emergency appendectomy to boot.
Magpie - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 03:38 PM EST (#385518) #
Halladay beat Buerhle in a 10 inning gem, after an emergency appendectomy to boot.

The 28 May 2007 matchup with Buehrle in less than two hours was indeed Doc's first start after the appendecetomy, but he only went seven innings. Janssen and Accardo finished up. I believe that's the only time Doc beat Buehrle. Doc did go 10 innings to beat Detroit 2-1 earlier that year, and he also pitched a 10 inning shutout against Detroit in 2003. Those are the only times he pitched past the ninth inning as a Blue Jay. Dave Stieb, as you would expect, did it more than anyone else, working into extra innings seven times (he went 4-0 - yup, three no-decisions.)
Magpie - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 04:31 PM EST (#385519) #
that description of Spahn sounds like Mariano's career

You do get the same changing cast of challengers to the crown. Rivera had 16 seasons (0ver 17 years) as the Yankees' closer. In his first year, he probably wasn't quite as good as Randy Myers in Baltimore. But very, very close. A couple of years later, he's duelling with Foulke and Percival. Then along come Joe Nathan and Francisco Rodriguez. And Papelbon. And in his last years, there's Greg Holland or Jorge Soria and Rafael Soriano.

And Mariano, always. A quick and nasty look at those 16 seasons, and he looks like clearly the best closer that year four times, and in a general mob of equals as the best closer five times. And he's also got one pretty decent season and six more really, really, really good ones when someone else was having a career year.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, February 02 2020 @ 11:49 PM EST (#385520) #
Joakim Soria? I remember thinking that he was going to be the heir to Mariano.

It's been a respectable career, he is welcome on my staff any time. But he never quite reached the heights that I expected back in 07-10.

All time great nickname though.
scottt - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 07:34 AM EST (#385521) #
whiterasta80 - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 09:42 AM EST (#385522) #
The mexicutioner
John Northey - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 10:20 AM EST (#385523) #
Rivera is interesting.  Never won a Cy or MVP, 2nd in Cy voting once, 3rd 3 times.  The year he came in 2nd the winner was Bartolo Colon (21-8 3.48 ERA - one of the last dinosaur wins).  He and Colon had 4.0 bWAR's, 3rd was Santana with 7.2 WAR.  Santana was the only guy getting votes with over 5 WAR.  Today he would've been a lock, but the old voters must've been kicking still then (wins are all that matters).

Reliever of the year (Rolaids Relief award) went to Rivera 5 times.  1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009.  His best year for ERA+ didn't make it ('just' 39 saves that year while KRod got 62 saves).  He is tied for most wins with Dan Quisenberry.   2012 was the last year it was given out so only his last season it didn't exist for.
Mike Green - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 10:33 AM EST (#385524) #
A propos of our discussion about the three great current era catchers- Mauer, Posey and Yadier Molina, Jay Jaffe had a fine article last week on the All Outside-the-Hall team.  Jay thinks that Mauer will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2024, and points out that he performed well above the standard of the average Hall of Fame catcher.  I think he will get in, but his short period behind the plate will make it more likely that he has to wait awhile. 
John Northey - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 10:51 AM EST (#385525) #
Mauer will be an interesting HOF case when he comes up.  55 WAR is plenty for a catcher, but not impressive overall.  921 games catching is a low total for a HOF'er.  937 games played where he didn't catch.  That combo will hurt him a lot.  1 MVP, 3 times top 10 is decent but not a 'wow' factor.  6 ASG's is good but not an asset for getting in.  Never part of a team that won a playoff series, let alone a World Series will hurt.  3 Gold Gloves is an asset, but not a major one.  His top 10 most similar scores only has 2 HOF'ers and they are #9 and #10, but the fact none are a 900 score suggests a very unique profile which would help him (IE: there aren't any others like him out there).  Spending his whole career with one team is a plus - voters like that.

Will Mauer get in?  I suspect he will someday, but he'll need a weak class that year to get in as he'll lose in comparison to a strong one. 
ISLAND BOY - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 11:52 AM EST (#385526) #
Speaking of weak classes, next year will undoubtedly be the first year since 2013 to not have a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. The only first year eligible players of note are Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, and Tori Hunter. This is good news for Curt Schilling, but where does it leave Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens? Also Omar Vizquel has seen his voting percentage go up each year but I'm in the camp that says he had a really good,long career but not a Hall of Fame one.
Mike Green - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 12:03 PM EST (#385527) #
The weakness of next year's class presents a great opportunity for Scott Rolen.  He's a logical parking spot for a wide coalition of voters- he has mainstream appeal (the GGs and the good traditional hitting record), and in the analytics crowd and no known PED issues.  Hey, ithe Iowa caucuses are today,  and in some ways, Hall of Fame voting in these days is like that. 
Glevin - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 01:07 PM EST (#385528) #
ProspectsLive released their top-100 prospects.

5 Jays made it.

bpoz - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 01:38 PM EST (#385529) #
The 40 man roster has 23 pitchers. 25 when R Dollis and Pearson are added. I expect Pearson to play for the Jays in ST even though he is not a NRI as yet.

Of the 25 pitchers I mentioned Hatch & Luciano probably don't come up in 2020 and maybe H Perez. I see them as needing a lot more development. But who knows.

You can add to the deep pool SWR because Bauxites like him a lot. Murray has never had trouble any where. If he can master AAA then he is more depth.

If healthy I have faith in Ryu. Somehow also an unproven Yamaguchi. A healthy Roark, Anderson and Shoemaker could still struggle. These 5 are my rotation at the moment if healthy because they are veterans.

rpriske - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 03:53 PM EST (#385530) #
"The mexicutioner"

I recall hearing that Soria hates that nickname.
scottt - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 05:55 PM EST (#385531) #
He officially dropped it in 2011 because of its association with gang violence.

It's now used by an MMA fighter.

Shoeless Joe - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 06:42 PM EST (#385532) #
I think Olrevis is pretty darn worthy of a top 100 list. In comparison Jason Dominguez from the Yanks is on top 50 lists with zero pro data, I get it he has tools but until I have some pro data on top J2 signings I don’t buy in.

I always viewed Manoah as a better present prospect that SWR, but the industry consensus looks like the opposite. Score one for uglyone there.
dan gordon - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 07:40 PM EST (#385533) #
5 in the top 100 is nice to see, but....I just had a look at the Jays top 30 that Prospects Live published last year, and the list was not as good as most. They had guys like Sean Reid-Foley, Jonathan Davis, and Hector Perez very high. Their list for this year has a few oddities, too, like de Castro 19, Machado 23, and Brito 29. They have Zeuch way down at 30.
John Northey - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 07:44 PM EST (#385534) #
Island Boy - agreed.  Next year's HOF class will be an odd one.  The full potential ballot with stats is at Highest WAR among newbies is for ex-Jay Mark Buehrle at 59.2 and I don't see him getting 10%, let alone in.  Other's in the 50's are Tim Hudson, and Torii Hunter.  Neither really are close to the HOF imo. 

Curt Schilling is a lock imo at 70% last year I don't see how in a weak class he doesn't get the last 5 points needed. 
Normally guys in the 60's should also be near locks with a weak first year class, but Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds should've been first ballot locks in normal circumstances however, that is hardly the case now. 
Omar Vizquel is the only other guy over 50% and he really doesn't belong anywhere near the HOF.  The Hall of Very Good maybe.
Scott Rolen should jump to 50% with any luck and be well on his way to getting in.
Todd Helton I also see as likely to make a big move.
Jeff Kent desperately needs a big move next year to have any shot, currently at 27.5% and entering his 8th season on ballot.

Quite a few ex-Jays, from Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, and Roger Clemens to newbies Mark Buehrle, Alex Rios, A.J. Burnett, and Kevin Gregg.  Might have missed someone. 
bpoz - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 07:55 PM EST (#385535) #
I like many things about Bo Bichette. Wander Franco is the #1 prospect. Both played as 18 year olds in in the Midwest and FSL. Bo out hit Wander. I suppose Wander gets the higher ranking based on defense, speed, arm and SS savy. I am happy to have Bo so close to the probable best SS in the majors for the next few years.
dan gordon - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 07:58 PM EST (#385536) #
I still like McGriff for the HOF, but he came off the writers' ballot after 2019 and now can't get in until the "Today's Game" vote in a couple of years. Just missed 500 HR's, career OPS just under .900. He was a terrific hitter for 16 years. His defense hurt his chances somewhat, I guess.
John Northey - Monday, February 03 2020 @ 09:59 PM EST (#385537) #
McGriff's biggest problem getting into the HOF is playing in the steroid era without doing them (as far as we can tell).  His numbers never went to video game level like McGwire, but he was better than McGwire from ages 22 to 30, then McGwire suddenly jumped to a new level in his 30's which shouldn't happen without assistance (which he has admitted to).  I'll add in another Jay near HOF'er who paid a price for playing during the drug era.

McGwire: 250/362/507 834 H 238 HR
McGriff: 285/389/541 1136 H 262 HR
Delgado: 281/390/554 1118 H 262 HR

Ages 31-end
McGwire: 278/430/683 792 H 345 HR
McGriff: 284/367/482 1354 H 231 HR
Delgado: 279/375/537 920 H 211 HR

McGriff was a far more normal decline phase, slower than normal but for a potential HOF'er pretty normal.  McGwire was freakshow, jumping his Slg by 176 points at a stage when it should've dropped.  Delgado held on decently but had a fast stop to his career, 38 HR, 128 OPS+ at 36, then only 26 games at 37 with a 142 OPS+.   Checking online, eight days after his last game on May 18, the Mets announced that Delgado had a bone spur and a torn labrum in his hip, and he would have to undergo surgery - he had a second surgery in the offseason and his hip kept giving him troubles so he only played a few games in Boston's minor league system before hanging up the spikes.  No question in my mind that both Delgado & McGriff deserve to be in the HOF more than McGwire.  McGwire was the poster boy for steroids and without them he wouldn't have made it to the needed level given pre-peak he was below 2 guys the HOF didn't give a lot of support to unlike Bonds & Clemens.  In fact, without McGwire's HR chase it is safe to say Bonds never would've touched the stuff given what I read in the book that damned him by beat writers in SF - Game of Shadows - where they saw how he reacted to the awe everyone gave McGwire even though it was painfully obvious he was using steroids/etc. at the time (even had a bottle of something found in his locker but instead of being condemned the writer was blasted by MLB and other writers for looking into it) which basically told all stars that they were idiots if they didn't do drugs.

Should be interesting to see if a vets committee which put a much, much inferior player to McGriff and Delgado in (Baines) will put them in when the time comes.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 03:14 PM EST (#385538) #
The Feb 4 birthday list has 120 loss potential on the field, but Hall of Fame names- kind of like the 1962 Mets.   The names: Lou Say, Ri Jones, Germany Schafer, Rankin Johnson, Hod Leverette, Possum Whtted, Joe Sparma, Steve Schmoll and Raimel Tapia.  Of course, Rusty Kuntz and Doug Fister would be born on February 4. 

There are only two players with more than 10 career bWAR- Dan Plesac and Fister, but quite a few with Blue Jay connections- Tom Mastny, John Frascatore, Brad Cornett, and Plesac.
Magpie - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 03:35 PM EST (#385539) #
I did the McGriff-McGwire comparison back in the day. It's just impossible to resist. Two AL first basemen born in the same month, both debuted in 1986, both became full-timers the following year, both led the AL in homers, and both switched leagues and then led the NL in homers. The photos are fun. There they are, the young Blue Jay and the young Athletic - McGwire looks almost scrawny in comparison.  And ten years later McGriff, in Tampa, looks the same as always. And McGwire has turned into the Incredible Hulk.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 04:15 PM EST (#385540) #
The young McGwire moved over from third base.  It took him a year or two to adapt, but he was a good fielder for a few years there and even won a Gold Glove.  He was better than McGriff there.  From 1986-1992, McGwire generated 25 bWAR and McGriff 28.  If truth be told, neither was as good as Keith Hernandez (say).  Both were about halfway between Mark Grace and Keith Hernandez....
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 07:25 PM EST (#385541) #
I'm not actually sure there is room between mark grace and keith Hernandez for others. Grace was fantastic with the glove.

I do know that neither McGwire and mcgriff were anywhere near them defensively.

McGwire also had the privilege of playing with Walt Weiss, Mike Bordick, Royce Clayton, and Edgar Renteria which is basically a who'd who of defensive shortstops over his career.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 08:14 PM EST (#385542) #
I wasn't clear there. In my view, McGriff and McGwire sit between Grace and Hernandez overall. It's a reflection that defence and the ability to reach base is a potent combination and that is true all over the diamond.
uglyone - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 09:03 PM EST (#385543) #

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
Both Mookie Betts and David Price would head to Los Angeles if #RedSox and #Dodgers complete their blockbuster, a source tells The Athletic. Alex Verdugo would be centerpiece for Boston. Deal could be in place tonight, per @alexspeier. Would require completion of medical reviews.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 09:18 PM EST (#385544) #
Third team rumoured to be involved, possibly Jays, unlikely, but who knows.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 09:48 PM EST (#385545) #
Twins are the third team.
Thomas - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 09:55 PM EST (#385546) #
I should reserve judgement until the deal is finally announced, but based on what's come out so far, I don't understand why Minnesota got involved, as they seem to be a loser.

Also, rumours are L.A. will deal Joc Pederson to the Angels if this trade goes through.
uglyone - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 10:27 PM EST (#385547) #
can't believe they just gave away betts for nothing.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 10:53 PM EST (#385548) #
The deal appears to be Betts and Price (+ cash) to the Dodgers, Verdugo and Graterol to the Red Sox, and Maeda to the Twins.
Vulg - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 10:55 PM EST (#385549) #
can't believe they just gave away betts for nothing.

Verdugo entered the majors as the #35 prospect in the top 100 per Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Gaterol was #55 for BA. The Sox are stuck with half of Price's contract though.

I think a Red Sox team under Chaim Bloom is really bad news for the Jays, and this is a strong tell. The Jays are attempting to build as a rich-man's version of the Rays (build from within w/ small splashes of investment), and the Red Sox appear to be interested in the same, except with around $75M more to play with than the Jays.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 10:57 PM EST (#385550) #
The Sox must really, really, really needed to get payroll down for some reason this year.
Alex Verdugo = a good OF - 107 lifetime OPS+ entering his age 24 season, pre arb this year and next.   Has played a lot of CF but is more a corner guy from the looks of it
Brusdar Graterol = 21 year old who reached the majors last year, is viewed as a reliever rather than a starter by Baseball America which drastically drops his value imo.

That's it.  Plus some salary relief from Price's contract. 
uglyone - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 11:18 PM EST (#385551) #
uglyone - Tuesday, February 04 2020 @ 11:21 PM EST (#385552) #
"Verdugo entered the majors as the #35 prospect in the top 100 per Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Gaterol was #55 for BA"

Wow what a coup. Now the Sox look really scary.

dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:03 AM EST (#385553) #
With Price on their books and Betts off the team in 6 months they looked a lot less scarier than you pretend. They had as good a chance of finishing ahead of the Rays and Yankees as the Jays did.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:15 AM EST (#385554) #
From the SI article:

"Betts reportedly asked for $420 million over 12 years.

Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, Liverpool FC and Roush Fenway Racing, among other properties, was recently valued at $6.6 billion. Forbes ranked it No. 3 in the world—$500 million ahead of Yankee Global Enterprises. The Dodgers didn’t even make the top 10.

Henry said no."

uglyone - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:25 AM EST (#385555) #
They just traded away a home grown hall of Famer for scraps at age 27 because he wanted market value.

Man oh man. That's shapiroesque right there.

Vulg - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:14 AM EST (#385556) #
Hey, I'd have paid Betts. There's no salary cap in baseball, and I skewer the Jays regularly for making these kinds of moves. I'm just saying they got real players back and that if the Sox are actually going to get smart about player development and emulate the Rays per their new boss (but spend up to the tax threshold), it's going to suck.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:24 AM EST (#385557) #
They might even win a championship with this new strategy.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:31 AM EST (#385558) #
The big winner is probably Kent Maeda who signed that 8/25m contract with big incentives that the Dodgers kept suppressing by moving him to the pen periodically - should be a regular in twins rotation and chance to collect those significant incentives.
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 03:40 AM EST (#385559) #
I think the Red Sox did pretty well. They lose 1 year of Betts, and rid themselves of a very bad contract, while getting a very young CF who produced 3.1 WAR last year in just over 100 games, a 4.5 WAR pace, and a high upside young starting pitcher. To an extent, it depends on how much of Price's contract they are picking up. Betts wants $420 million for 12 years covering his age 28 through 39 years? I wouldn't do that. If he was the player he was in 2018, OK, but that season looks like an anomaly. His career road OPS is in the .850 range, and he's not a CF. The last 4 or 5 years of that contract could be rather ugly.

The Dodgers get 1 year of a terrific outfielder, an overpaid, fading David Price, and lose an excellent young CF, a mid-rotation starter and part with an outfielder who had 36 HR's and an OPS of .876, in Joc Pederson, a guy who is a "strong side of the platoon" player, in a separate deal for a young infielder who had an OPS of .685 in his 1st mlb season. It depends on how Price performs, how much of his contract they are paying, and whether they sign Betts or not, but of course, they might have signed him anyway, but I don't really see the deal from the Dodgers standpoint. They're better in 2020, but if they don't sign Betts, then starting in 2021 they have Price, with whatever portion of that bad contract they are eating, plus Rengifo, for Maeda, Verdugo and Pederson, which looks terrible.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 07:25 AM EST (#385560) #
" The Sox must really, really needed to get payroll down for some reason this year."

From what I've read, the collective bargaining tax ( or luxury tax ), which penalizes a team for spending over a preset limit, is set at 208 million for 2020. A ballclub that surpasses the limit for 3 straight years pays a top rate of 95%. On the other hand, if a team goes under the limit for a season, the penalty for their next violation resets to the lowest rate of 20%.

Apparently the Red Sox knew they probably wouldn't be able to sign Betts after this season as he wants to test free agency and sign a max contract so they traded him and Price to get under the luxury tax.
scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 07:27 AM EST (#385561) #
Well, Price played a huge role in the deal and that's not the type of contract that Shapiro would ever do.

Maeda for Graterol is interesting. They would not give Graterol for Stroman. Maeda has 4 years of control and has a base salary of 3M plus up to 10M for innings pitched and games started.

scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 07:40 AM EST (#385562) #
Pederson is a free agent at the end of the year too.
So for this year, it's just Betts over Pederson, maybe a 2 to 4 WAR gain.
The Dodgers have had a lot of problems dealing with left handed pitching so, that takes care of that.

Price for Maeda isn't a huge deal.
Maybe it will keep the manager for messing with roles in the playoffs, but probably not.
They obviously have alternatives for Verdugo, so they're not creating a hole.

Shoeless Joe - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 08:41 AM EST (#385563) #
From a value perspective the Red Sox made out well as five years of Verdugo is worth a year of Betts. However I think most Red Sox fans will be a little embarrassed to see an all time great get traded in reality what is a salary focused move. The Dodgers positioned themselves to really be the favourite for the World Series, and I would love for them to finish this team
off by trading Lux for Lindor.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 09:29 AM EST (#385564) #
"Maeda for Graterol is interesting. They would not give Graterol for Stroman. Maeda has 4 years of control and has a base salary of 3M plus up to 10M for innings pitched and games started."

I think Jays just liked SWR and Kay better...after the trade the Twins went public about having something better to offer the Jays but not getting a full chance to match.
Glevin - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:00 AM EST (#385565) #
"but I don't really see the deal from the Dodgers standpoint."

The Dodgers' motivations are pretty clear. They were an elite team who got probably the second best player in baseball. They got Price at half his contract which is reasonable. They managed to do all this without giving up any of their top prospects and didn't lose anything meaningful off their major league roster.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:03 AM EST (#385566) #
Mookie Betts has 39.7 WAR between ages 22 and 26.  There are 9 outfielders in major league history between 35 and 45 WAR during that age span: Aaron, Trout, DiMaggio, Mays, Ruth, Betts, Barry Bonds, Henderson and Speaker.   I tried to break it down further by oWAR and dWAR.  Mookie has 28.8 oWAR and 9.9 dWAR, so I used oWAR greater than 25 and dWAR greater than 5.  I got one comp and it's pretty close- Ken Griffey Jr.  had 28.7 oWAR and 7.0 dWAR during that span.  Griffey Jr. produced 34 WAR in the ensuing 12 years. 

I tried it one other way.  I looked for an outfielder who had more than 3000 PAs during the 22-26 period with an OPS+ between 124 and 144 (Mookie's is 134) and at least 5 dWAR.  There were two others: Barry Bonds and Al Kaline. Bonds produced 50 WAR between 27 and 32 (before the PED explosion).  Kaline produced 47 WAR between ages 27 and 38.  Kaline is probably the best comp of them all, but Mookie has been better than Kaline.

At $9-$10 million/win, $420/12 years seems entirely reasonable.  I'm pretty sure that the Dodgers will extend him.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:04 AM EST (#385567) #
I read an article last week about which teams won the off season. The Jays were ranked 9th or 10th. The Ryu signing was the killer move.
LAD may now make the list. But we are still better than half the teams in the league.
Thomas - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:06 AM EST (#385568) #
Betts wants $420 million for 12 years covering his age 28 through 39 years? I wouldn't do that. If he was the player he was in 2018, OK, but that season looks like an anomaly. His career road OPS is in the .850 range, and he's not a CF. The last 4 or 5 years of that contract could be rather ugly.

In the last four seasons, Betts has two seasons where he posted WAR over 9.5, and in the other two seasons he posted a WAR above 6.0. Even if you want to call 2018 an "anomaly", his average WAR from 2016, 2017 and 2019 is 7.6.

I take your point that the last few seasons of that contract might be ugly, but the Red Sox are one of the teams in baseball that can afford a bad contract without it hampering their spending too much. Betts is among the top 5 players in baseball, without question.

If you're the Red Sox, and you have the chance to re-sign a homegrown superstar who shows no immediate signs of any drop in his production below superstar level, I don't see a compelling case for trading that player for prospects.

Maybe Boston is gambling that it will be able to sign Lindor or Bryant in two years, but Lindor and Bryant are likely going to command $25 million a year or something in that range for maybe 7-8 years (assuming nothing unforeseen over the next two years), and there is a significant risk they sign elsewhere. The Cubs are sitting on a pile of money that they didn't spend this offseason.

I just don't understand why Boston would deal Betts unless the offer blew them away. And, I don't think that this deal did, particualrly considering the fact they are paying half of Price's contract. Even if Betts hits free agency, there's no guarantee he'd get what he's looking for and maybe he'd resign with Boston for a lesser number. (I'm also aware Boston could try to sign him in free agency after dealing him, but I think that this is a risky proposition: see Jon Lester.)

Glevin - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:24 AM EST (#385569) #
A couple of other thoughts...

1) This is very bad for baseball. When a team like the Red Sox will trade one of its best ever players, one of the best players in baseball because they don't want to pay a little luxury tax, something is very wrong.

2) Pete Rose is applying for reinstatement in the HoF. He won't get in because he doesn't deserve to but that's not the point. Baseball is always filled with Rose fans demanding he being reinstated. I have no idea who the Rose backers are. He was a great player but he very clearly broke baseball rules repeatedly then refused to take any responsibility for it and in fact lied about it for decades. He is also clearly not a great person. He had a sexual relationship with a 14 or 15 YO in the 70s, evaded paying about 400K in taxes until he was caught, and just generally always seemed like a huge prick.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:24 AM EST (#385570) #
I think it's a good deal for the Dodgers. They want to win in 2020, so adding one of top 2-3 best players in the game plus a discounted David Price (apparently more than half his salary is being eaten by the Red Sox) without giving up any of their core pieces or top prospects is going to help that. Verdugo is good, but he was expendable on that team, and if any team has the resources to give Betts the $400+ million deal he wants, it is the Dodgers.

It seems like the Red Sox are trying to retool rather than rebuild, which is going to be difficult with a barren farm system and limited trade assets, but they could conceivably be FA players a year or two from now.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:35 AM EST (#385571) #
I dont think you can compare to players from a bygone era. Baseball is tougher on age 30+ players than ever before. Front offices now want to avoid paying for the age 30+ years. Henry has gone on record to say this and it's evident in the moves of many front offices. When you get the top tier teams in terms of budget, they will sign 2 or maybe 3 players to massive deals and try to follow the under 30 rule for the rest as much as possible. Between Price, Martinez, Sale, Betts and Pedroia there were just too many highly paid. This move is a reflection of Dombrowski's poor budget management as much as anything. Not once, not twice but three times they signed weaker players to long contracts before trying to extend Betts.

* trend against signing age 30+ players is in reference to 5,6,7+ year deals. The Ryu, Donaldson or any shorter term deal does not apply.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:49 AM EST (#385572) #
The idea that have a handful of bad years at the end of a contract outweighs having the prime years of a half of Famer is one that'll never make sense to me.

bpoz - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 11:13 AM EST (#385573) #
Has Boston been found guilty of cheating in 2018 by Manfred? If so what is their punishment?

LAD stronger in the playoffs?? Add D Price, A Wood & B Treinen. Less Ryu & Maeda. Broke even I think.

In the playoffs some players are fantastic. Betts and J Soto have 88 & 65 career playoff ABs. They are probably equal in results. However Soto seemed more flamboyant.

When 4 teams are left, they are all good IMO. A hot Betts or anyone can be the difference in winning the WS. As well as luck and bad/good bounces.

I think deep pitching is more valuable.

So I don't believe that the LAD have improved their chances of winning the WS that much more.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 11:35 AM EST (#385574) #
The new Red Sox manager, whomever he will be, will be stepping into a very tough situation with a very short time before spring training, replacing a popular manager and having to deal with a fanbase disgruntled after seeing their star centerfielder traded away.
Marlow - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:03 PM EST (#385575) #
Has Boston been found guilty of cheating in 2018 by Manfred? If so what is their punishment? I would expect their penalty will be similar to what Houston got, especially since they are a repeat offender. Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora will be banned for 1 year. They also will likely lose at least this year's first and second round picks. Even though they are going to be doing the same thing as the Blue Jays, their farm system is going to take time to rebuild. After Mark Shapiro/Ross Atkins took over, it has taken the BJs about 4 years to build up the farm system and that was with the draft and international signings. The penalty inflicted by MLB will add an extra year or two to the rebuilding of Boston's farm system.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:13 PM EST (#385576) #

MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM

Hall of Famer Jim Rice spoke to Mookie Betts last night.

Betts, according to Rice: "This is my home. I don't want to go anyplace else."@RedSox | #RedSox
bpoz - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:25 PM EST (#385577) #
Being the GM or manager of certain teams is probably not worth it.

NYY, Boston, LAD and now Cubs & Philly. Those teams are desperate to win all the time and so make desperate/risky signings and trades. So heads will roll. SD owner has said that about his 2020 team I believe.

Only 1 team wins the WS. Everybody else loses. Rolling heads!!

In the generally weak AL Central you can build a window fast. Then sacrifice your future to keep it going. You should be able to get V good revenue while you are winning.

Except TB in any division.

Graterol has 3 options remaining so Boston should use them to develop him as a starter.

Maeda is the prize 4 cheap years of control for a #3 SP.

Graterol is not a sure fire big league pitcher. Potential to be ML SP or Closer. Zeuch is close to that a potential ML SP.

Maeda helps a contender like the Twins now and the Jays soon 2021 or 22. That is very valuable. Graterol and Zeuch are currently depth. 1 both or none make it.
Glevin - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:37 PM EST (#385578) #
I would understand this trade for the Red Sox if they were a perennial .500 club or looking at a 5 year rebuild or something but they won the World Series 2 years ago and were probably around a 90 win team going into the year. Betts is exactly the kind of player your lock up. It's just baffling that they got themselves into a position where they are trading a HoF level player to dump salary and get under the luxury tax.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 12:49 PM EST (#385579) #
Boston signed/acquired for the following seasons Price 2016, Sale 2017 and Martinez 2018. No way they did not see the luxury tax trap advancing on them.
rpriske - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 01:23 PM EST (#385580) #
Terrible trade for Boston... UNLESS they think they can sign Betts when he hits free agency. If they can... it is just bad, not terrible.

The Dodgers come out smelling like champions... until they immediately make a terrible trade giving away Pederson.

I don't get that part.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:02 PM EST (#385581) #
Pederson is kind of ... bad.

David Price had good underlying numbers before playing through his wrist injury which he ended up needing to have surgery one.

If Mookie goes back to Boston in offseason it just accelerates their re-tool.

Graterol is similar to Pearson in many ways so Red Sox got 5 years of Verdugo who is similar to Bo Bichette as well as a high floor high upside pitcher who at very least will be a Papelbon type and at very best a Thor like presence in the rotation.

New GM of BOS will do what Shapiro and Atkins did but in less than half the time. He already traded their best player in a competing year for a good return, something our management wasn't able to do.

Graterol/Verdugo/salary relief > Julian Merryweather
Glevin - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:11 PM EST (#385582) #
Pederson is pretty good but he's a free agent after the year and the Dodgers didn't really need him (Guys that can play OF on team-Bellinger, Betts, Pollock, Taylor, Hernandez) and they needed to get under second luxury tax level.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:27 PM EST (#385583) #
The Boston side of the swap makes perfect sense if one assumes the primary goal of owning a ballclub is to make a profit. The trade puts over $75 million into John Henry's pocket this year alone, if LA is picking up half Price's salary as reported. And Boston attendance isn't at all like Toronto. Attendance numbers barely climb or drop whether the team wins 100+ or loses 90+.

bpoz - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 02:40 PM EST (#385584) #
Financial flexibility is a major factor IMO.

The rich teams have their own version of this.

TB, Miami, Cleveland, Oakland and a few others keep the budget low.

J Pederson was traded for salary relief as mentioned by others. R Stripling as well probably. I don't know how much Pederson and Stripling will earn in 2020.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 03:16 PM EST (#385585) #
The Boston side of the swap makes perfect sense if one assumes the primary goal of owning a ballclub is to make a profit. The trade puts over $75 million into John Henry's pocket this year alone, if LA is picking up half Price's salary as reported. And Boston attendance isn't at all like Toronto. Attendance numbers barely climb or drop whether the team wins 100+ or loses 90+.

I think there's more to it than that.  Boston's overall revenue does depend on success.  That's why they regularly spend over the cap threshold.  There is however a limit, and resetting the penalties as they will do by going under the threshold assures that they will stay within that limit.

Bill James has retired from working for the Red Sox and tweeted: "Whatever you can say about losing Mookie, the fact is that we screwed up to put ourselves in a position where that had to happen. If we had made better decisions two years ago, we wouldn't be here."  Hard to argue with that, save to say that there was a WS ring in 2018.  Perhaps the Red Sox could have extended him at a lower price after 2018. 
Glevin - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 03:44 PM EST (#385586) #
"Bill James has retired from working for the Red Sox and tweeted: "Whatever you can say about losing Mookie, the fact is that we screwed up to put ourselves in a position where that had to happen. If we had made better decisions two years ago, we wouldn't be here." Hard to argue with that, save to say that there was a WS ring in 2018. Perhaps the Red Sox could have extended him at a lower price after 2018."

I think there were more obvious mistakes. The Price contract was obviously going to be awful and put them in a long-term hole. You can't have 2 pitchers for $30M+ more a year long-term. They are just way too risky and in Price's case it looked like a bad deal at the time. Dombrowski also completely emptied out their system (which he always does everywhere he goes). That's fine trying to win a World Series and you're not going to get Sale without giving up a ton, but when you give up elite prospects for Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Thornburg, it just seems wasteful but that's what Dombrowski does. That's what you expect him to do. He trades everything not nailed down in order to try to win and then leaves the team in a mess. Still, they could have found a different way I think. Trade Price with a prospect and pay down 1/3 of his contract. Trade JBJ. Get someone to take Eovaldi and pay down some of his salary, etc... Mookie is the kind of player, you find the money for.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 04:19 PM EST (#385587) #
"Still, they could have found a different way I think"

absolutely there were avenues other than ditching your 27 best player.

this is just lame attempts to say "i told you so about signing bit free agent contracts" from Mr.James.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 04:22 PM EST (#385588) #
Price helped them win a World Series in 2018, and indeed may have been the key player.  The Red Sox paid him $31 million a year for 4 years ($124 M) and he gave them 11 WAR.  He gave up 15 runs in 35 post-season innings during those years.  On balance, they probably got value for their money during those four years, but the odds are against him providing $31 million of value per year over the next 3.  It turns out to have been a modest overpay, which is about what I thought at the time. 
Glevin - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 04:34 PM EST (#385589) #
"Price helped them win a World Series in 2018, and indeed may have been the key player."

Price was the 52nd best qualified pitcher in 2018 and was the 2nd highest paid pitcher in baseball. He was the third most valuable starter on the Red Sox. He had a 4.87 XFIP in the playoffs too. Did he help the Red Sox win? Sure. But you don't pay $32 million a year for this kind of production. It's the kind of production they could have easily received for much much cheaper and without any long-term holdback. For example, just at the 2018 deadline, Lynn, Hamels, Happ were all in the same range of production as Price and none of them cost anything in trade value.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 04:46 PM EST (#385590) #
Happ's contract was a good one.  So was Hamels.  But free agent contracts typically cost about $9-$10 million per win.  Ryu's contract of $80 million will be at about par if generates about 8 wins above replacment during that time.  It'll help if he has a good post-season one or two of those years. 

For fun, here are a list of the 2015-16 Hot Stove Top Free Agents from CBS.  Price was #2.  Before clicking on the link, try to guess how many of the top 10 signed contracts which were worse for the club than Price's.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 05:31 PM EST (#385591) #
James Paxton is out 3-4 months after back surgery.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 05:42 PM EST (#385592) #
Even for a FA, saying that $124m for 11 WAR production is value for money seems extremely generous to me - and of course the Red Sox will be paying Price in the neighbourhood of $48m more over the next 3 years for 0 War production for the Sox - in total about $172m for 11 WAR production for the Red Sox - I'd say overall that's a disaster - on the other hand, I expect Price to pitch well in the NL and I think the Dodgers will make out very well at 3/48.
jerjapan - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 06:06 PM EST (#385593) #
count me among the 'lopsided steal' side of this debate.  what package could we have offered that would have beaten the Dodgers? 
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 07:30 PM EST (#385594) #
"The Dodgers' motivations are pretty clear. They were an elite team who got probably the second best player in baseball. They got Price at half his contract which is reasonable. They managed to do all this without giving up any of their top prospects and didn't lose anything meaningful off their major league roster"

Don't agree with this at all. The Dodgers have lost a CF, a RF and a mid rotation starter. If the 3 players they dealt were traded to the Blue Jays, Maeda would be their 2nd? 3rd? best starter, Verdugo would be their CF and Pederson would be their RF against righties. Those are 3 good players. Verdugo, in particular, seems to have a very bright future after putting up 3.1 WAR in a partial season, and he's only 23 years old. That's the kind of player you want to get in a trade, not deal him away. Verdugo, Pederson and Maeda will likely produce similar or more WAR combined than Betts this year, and then Betts might be gone. Verdugo could be a star.

This deal is a good example of why even a team like Boston has to be somewhat careful about long term big money deals. They needed to unload that Price contract, and now are on the hook for a large portion of it, even though he's playing elsewhere.

What are the calculations that indicate 1 WAR is worth in the $10 million range? Seems too high to me. Mike, it looks like you are comparing the WAR produced by Griffey/Kaline from age 27-38, but Betts' contract will cover 28-39, which is a significant difference. One of Betts' 2 big WAR years was in 2016 when he had 2.9 dWAR, which he is not going to replicate. His dWAR has been declining steadily for 4 seasons now, and is down to 1.1 last year. His oWAR has been in the 3.3 to 6.4 range except for his anomalous 2018 season. I can see him being a 6.5 WAR player this year, and then it's a matter of how long he holds his peak and how well he ages. Kaline obviously aged a lot better than most.
Thomas - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 08:50 PM EST (#385595) #
Mike, that list.....Wow.
scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 09:44 PM EST (#385596) #
I stopped reading at 46. Back to back Chris Youngs? Why not.
scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 09:53 PM EST (#385597) #
They could have extended Mookie earlier and saved a bit but not much.
It would always have taken a record breaking deal.

Dr B - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:09 PM EST (#385598) #
Verdugo, Pederson and Maeda will likely produce similar or more WAR combined than Betts this year,

Yes, but this is not quite as compelling an argument as it may seem. Would you prefer to have one 8WAR player or three 3WAR players, for example? Remember, you don’t have infinite roster spots or playing time.
Consider a roster of one 8WAR player and 25 1WAR players. What is the best team you can field if you can only field 9 players? 8 + (8 * 1) = 16. Now consider three 3WAR players and 23 1WAR players. The best team you can field is (3 * 3) + (6 * 1) = 15. Even though your three players are contributing more WAR, they are taking up two more roster spots. Hence you lose the two WAR that the extra scrubs would contribute if they could only get on the field.

(And this also leaves aside the advantage of having a stars and scrubs team, is that it is much easier to upgrade the scrubs later).
scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:13 PM EST (#385599) #
They didn't lose Pederson, they replaced him with a better player.
They could have shifted him to another position, but they already have better players.
They still have 4 or 5 left bats in the lineup, so losing a platoon player isn't an issue at all.

Vertigo was a top prospect but he doesn't have much power and he's an average runner.
He's a good lead off guy who gets on base, with a really great arm, but they could afford to lose him.

In a way, Mookie was traded to get rid of the Price contract.
Boston has one of the worse farm system, so they might have to spend money back on pitching sooner than later.

scottt - Wednesday, February 05 2020 @ 10:15 PM EST (#385600) #
With Paxton on the rocks, there's a real chance that a league average Happ pitches enough to earn himself an extra year.

dan gordon - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 12:30 AM EST (#385601) #
Pederson was a 3.3 WAR player last year, and had 514 plate appearances, so yes, it is a big deal that he's gone. He's just 27 and may be just entering his prime. If you want to say they replaced him with Betts, OK, if Betts is a 6.3 WAR player, they have added about 3 WAR there. But Verdugo was on a 4.5 WAR pace last year at the age of 23 and he is gone. He may very well be better than that as he develops. Maeda is a good pitcher. Any way you slice it, they gave up a lot to be able to add Betts for 1 year and Price.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 07:27 AM EST (#385602) #
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Betts trade may be on hold as the Red Sox may seek an additional player or money after reviewing Graterol's physical exam.
rpriske - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 08:50 AM EST (#385603) #
It is not that they traded Pederson that is the issue. It is that they got so little for him. He is a legit prospect.

Of course, this could change if the players not yet named balance the deal a little more.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 09:06 AM EST (#385604) #
I should mention that I subjectively like Betts to age better than you would anticipate from his comparables. My reasons: he's smart, he's been very durable and his build is (I think) conducive to longevity in the game.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if Betts ends up with (a few) more career WAR than Trout.  It's the old Mays vs. Mantle comparison- Trout has averaged less than 600 PAs per year from age 24 to 27, even fewer than Mantle, and his build is not, in my view, conducive to the same kind of longevity as Betts'. I rush to add that the Trout/Mantle comparison is an excellent one, while Betts isn't at Mays' level as a hitter (I do think that he may be as good or better as a fielder which may get me kicked out of the oldtimers lounge for good)..

hypobole - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 09:32 AM EST (#385605) #
"It is not that they traded Pederson that is the issue. It is that they got so little for him. He is a legit prospect."

I wouldn't characterize Pederson as a prospect. He has 5 years of MLB service time and will hit free agency after this season.
Glevin - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 10:21 AM EST (#385606) #
"Pederson was a 3.3 WAR player last year, and had 514 plate appearances, so yes, it is a big deal that he's gone. He's just 27 and may be just entering his prime. If you want to say they replaced him with Betts, OK, if Betts is a 6.3 WAR player, they have added about 3 WAR there. But Verdugo was on a 4.5 WAR pace last year at the age of 23 and he is gone. He may very well be better than that as he develops. Maeda is a good pitcher. Any way you slice it, they gave up a lot to be able to add Betts for 1 year and Price."

Pederson is a good player but he's not a star and he has one year left on his deal. He can't hit lefties at all and his WAR numbers are inflated by the Dodgers having the depth to protect him from lefties. Trading him just means more PAs for Taylor and Pollock. Probably don't lose a single win there. Price replaces Maeda pretty well. Don't lose any wins there. Verdugo is a very good prospect but not one of the Dodgers' best and not going to play much on major league team. So...they gain, what 6 wins from Betts and Price and lose...maximum.. 1 win? That's a major boost. Verdugo is a loss but they got probably the second best player in baseball without giving up Lux, May, Downs, Ruiz, or Gray all of whom should play in the majors this year. This is the deepest team in baseball and one of the 2 best so consolidating some of that depth for an elite player is a great move.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 10:33 AM EST (#385607) #
Pederson is a considerably better player against RHPs than Taylor or Pollock.  The Dodgers probably lost 1.5 wins there, after gaining about 4.5 wins with the acquisition of Betts.    They're likely the best club in baseball heading into the season.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 10:39 AM EST (#385608) #
The 2020 ZiPS projection for Ryu is in the Dodgers article.  He's projected to throw 144 innings with a 3.48 ERA and a 3.72 FIP.  His seasonal comp is Tommy John (!).  It would be great, of course, if Ryu followed John's pattern and that is within the realm of reasonable possiblities.
bpoz - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 11:36 AM EST (#385609) #
Last WS championship for LAD is 1988 I believe. Kirk Gibson's Hr. So a long time ago for such a great team.

Maybe their goal is to win another WS soon rather than division titles. WS championships are hard to win. Making trades, signing FAs and drafting/developing prospects are easier IMO.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 11:55 AM EST (#385610) #
" Verdugo is a very good prospect but not one of the Dodger's best and not going to play much on major league team."

Well, he did play 106 games as a 23 year old last year and had a .294 batting average and an OPS of .817. I don't see why he wouldn't have played as much or more if the Dodgers hadn't made the trade for Betts.

Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 12:30 PM EST (#385611) #
Verdugo held his own against lefties also last year. It's hard to predict him because he outperformed what you would expect from his minor league record.  That sometimes does happen at his age and there's nothing about his batted ball record which suggests a fluke.  At this point, he still is more of a good everyday player rather than something more than that.  DRS and UZR split on his defence, with DRS having it as great and UZR as a little above average.  Statcast data is in line with UZR's account. 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 12:32 PM EST (#385612) #
I should add though that Verdugo played most of last year in centerfield, and by all the information he was at least decent there.  There is every reason to believe that he would be a significantly above average defensive corner outfielder, or an average defensive centerfielder.
christaylor - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 02:22 PM EST (#385613) #
PECOTA's projection (entirely revamped now with 0% Silver) for Ryu came out today. He's projected to throw 143 IP, 3.46 ERA, 3.86 FIP. His comps include Ron Guidry, but no Tommy John.

As a whole, the Jays' PECOTA projections for their starting staff look OK. This could be an 85ish win team that is a comfortable 3rd, back to the holding pattern of the middle of the last decade, I suppose. We'll see if the FO can do what JP could never do (I have faith in that).
Mike Green - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 03:01 PM EST (#385614) #
Thanks, Chris.  I'd call the PECOTA/ZiPS projections as a close enough match for concurrence. 

85ish wins is about right.  I have them at 83, but as usual, everything is +/- 10. 
#2JBrumfield - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 04:55 PM EST (#385615) #
From Shi Davidi - #BlueJays announce that director of player development Gil Kim will join big-league coaching staff.

There's looking over your shoulder and then there's looking over your shoulder.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 06:52 PM EST (#385616) #
I don't think Gil Kim is any future coach. He's a high-minded numbers analytics guy. This is a move to echo the "analytics guy in the dugout" move by other organizations like the Dodgers. I had real fun watching the Analytics guy whispering into Dave Roberts ear before making pitching changes only to see it blow up in his face. Priceless.

If there was any soul left in baseball in this new WAR era, the Astros spoiled it this year. Here's to new beginnings.
bpoz - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 08:18 PM EST (#385617) #
Thanks dalimon5.

I respect your opinions.
tercet - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 09:21 PM EST (#385618) #
What makes you think he is a numbers guy?
I've talked to him in Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania, even though he blew me off in Arizona. He just chatted with Scott Mitchell from TSN most of the game in the stands. In PA, he was just another scout essentially filling out reports when TJ Zeuch was pitching.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 10:00 PM EST (#385619) #

Im speaking generally when saying everybody is an analytics/numbers's just how front offices are run/focused now. Kim will be looking after players, helping with language barriers etc. Here's a link to an article on his background.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, February 06 2020 @ 10:04 PM EST (#385620) #
Another way to look at this: the Red Sox bought themselves a year to get under the luxury tax and trade enough contracts so that when they resign Betts in the off-season, they can still stay under the worst of the luxury tax for a few years..
I.e. you might see JD Martinez traded this season, etc.. Since Mookie was ALWAYS going to go to free agency, this doesn't really change much, IMHO.
John Northey - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 12:26 AM EST (#385621) #
FYI: working on merging all top 30 prospects lists I can find from sites (have 8 full ones, 3 partials) and the top couple are consistant, Nate Pearson is #1 (everyone has him there so far), Jordan Groshans is #2.  #3 is a mixed bag with Alek Manoah the most common, two have SWR in 3rd, two Orelvis Martinez.  Last year was similar with Vlad #1, Bo #2 in all cases, #3 split Danny Jansen most often, Nate Pearson on 2 lists.  I suspect most lists are like that, where the best of the best are obvious, but after that it becomes a mixed bag.  FanGraphs called it with Alford moving him down to 23rd last year when most still had him around #10.  Groshans last year was ranked from 4th to 9th.  I have ours of course,, Baseball America top 10, Baseball Prospectus top 10, TSN, Prospects Live, Prospects 1500, Fantrax HQ, and partials or waiting for ... FanGraphs, Blue Bird Banter, Jays Journal.  If anyone knows of other sites let me know and I'll mix them in unless they are just regurgitating other sites like I'm doing :)

Last years top 30 summary - Top 30 Prospects Summary
scottt - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 07:25 AM EST (#385622) #
Alford had a good spring but then got injured.
He was always high risk, high ceiling.

Chavez Young is supposed to be a decent defender in center.
It's going to be an important year for him.
They could project him to take over in 22 and focus on other positions.
85bluejay - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 07:53 AM EST (#385623) #
Interesting about Brusdar Graterol medical's - I think he was the prospect the Jays wanted for Stroman, perhaps a good thing the Twins declined - wonder if the Jays would be interested in Kenta Maeda if the Twins withdraw.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 09:32 AM EST (#385624) #
"Interesting about Brusdar Graterol medical's - I think he was the prospect the Jays wanted for Stroman, perhaps a good thing the Twins declined"

As mentioned earlier, I think it was the Jays who didn't pull the trigger with the Twins considering their public comments after the trade saying they were ready to give a better return than Kay and SWR. I also think that the Jays were looking for either OF help or Mississauga's Balzanovic in a return.
ramone - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 10:16 AM EST (#385625) #

I just received BA's prospect handbook in the mail, which has the Jays top 30. I can email you the list if this will help with your merging of all the top prospect lists.
Gerry - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 11:00 AM EST (#385626) #
Jake Petricka is back, minor league deal.
bpoz - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 11:39 AM EST (#385627) #
LAA is making interesting trades.

Luis Rengifo for Pederson and Stripling. How good is Rengifo? That makes LAA better IMO, a steal. Also the Will Wilson and Z Cozart for Garrett Williams trade. How good is G Williams?

This is a strategy of sorts. 2 contenders and a rebuilding team. SF.
Thomas - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 12:20 PM EST (#385628) #
I strongly disagree, VW fan.

Even if you accept Betts was always going to go to free agency (which doesn't necessarily seem to be the case based on some rumours I'm hearing where he asked for 420/12), the context changes significantly.

Betts doesn't go to free agency as a career Red Sox. He doesn't go to free agency with Boston having the ability to pitch to him the fact he could become a name that Red Sox fans mention in the same breath, or even before, Ted Williams. He doesn't go to free agency knowing the (presumed) comfort he has in the Boston organization and the risk he's taking going elsewhere.

Instead, Betts has a year to be sold on the perks of living in L.A.. He has a year to be sold on the various advantages of playing for the Dodgers, from the potentially better clubhouse to the advantage of playing in the NL West and not running up against the Yankees 18 times a year to getting out of the microcosm of Boston's baseball media landscape. He has a year to adjust to a new city and a new organization and a team that isn't suddenly being run as if the luxury tax is crippling.

All of this probably won't make a difference if offers are tens of million dollars apart, but I think there's a significant change from going to free agency as a superstar who is building a legacy in one city to a superstar who has been traded away and experienced life outside that organization.

Just ask the Red Sox how well the idea of trading and re-signing the player worked out in the case of Jon Lester.
Mike Green - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 12:55 PM EST (#385629) #
I wonder if the division in the Red Sox clubhouse about visiting the White House after the 2018 World Series win played a role in what happened.  Betts and  the other African American players did not go, and all the white players went.  Given Boston's history as the laggard in baseball integration, I can see that playing a part in Betts' expressed desire to get to free agency. 
uglyone - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 01:01 PM EST (#385630) #
Boston is infamous in that regard.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 01:56 PM EST (#385631) #
I think it's as simple as "I'm the best and I want to get paid the most." He's gonna get paid big especially now that he doesn't have compensation pick attached to any team that signs him.

Mike Trout is exception not the rule.
mathesond - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 02:01 PM EST (#385632) #
Why wouldn't he have the comp. pick attached to him? He wasn't traded in-season, and has never been QO'd before.
bpoz - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 02:09 PM EST (#385633) #
Looking at our 40 man roster and top prospect list I am hopeful that we will have a strong team (93 wins) by 2022 or 2023.

This should get expensive. Will we pay? I don't know.

Atkins said that our prospect base has hardly been touched and he would trade prospects to improve the ML team. IMO only TB and maybe Miami prefer to trade ML players for prospects so that they don't have to pay. Atkins may trade prospects for good players. He has not yet done that. I don't consider C Anderson expensive or Spanberger a good prospect.

Roark is a decent FA signing and not too expensive. Ryu cost a bundle and was considered an elite FA. I think they may be willing do 1 more like this but not a 3rd. I still don't know why Ryu would come to the Jays. I can see Latin players being willing to play here.

John Northey - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 02:38 PM EST (#385634) #
There will be a comp pick for Betts unless he is traded during the season.  Wonder if the Jays are thinking of opening the vault if none of the OF'ers claim CF this year?  Wouldn't that be fun.  $400 million is nuts though.
Mike Green - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 02:43 PM EST (#385635) #
The Blue Jays non-roster invitees to spring training include: Nate Pearson,  Ty Tice, Travis Bergen, Kirby Snead, Bryan Baker, Riley Adams, Alejandro Kirk, Logan Warmoth, Kevin Smith, Nash Knight, Josh Palacios and Forrest Wall. 

It's good for Kirk to get that experience. 
Mike Green - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 04:07 PM EST (#385636) #
Old friend Kendrys Morales has retired from baseball. 
#2JBrumfield - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 04:21 PM EST (#385637) #
I don't know if this has been mentioned in these here parts but according to C's broadcaster Rob Fai, the Jays were close to getting Francisco Lindor. First-rounders Jordan Groshans and Alek Manoah were apparently part of the proposed package.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 05:29 PM EST (#385638) #
I am incorrect. Betts was traded in offseason and you lose attachment only during in-season trades. He will have the comp attached.
bpoz - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 07:18 PM EST (#385639) #
Thanks #2JBrumfield on the Lindor trade possibility.

Does anyone know about Lindor's contract situation?

He is a super star IMO. Arb would be close to $20 mil. FA would be even more expensive.
John Northey - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 08:53 PM EST (#385640) #
Boy that would've been big.  Lindor for Jordan Groshans and Alek Manoah and probably others.  2 years before free agency, then a killer contract needed to hold him at age 28 and beyond.  Be hard to give up 2 really good prospects like that, but yeah, I'd do it.  The Jays infield would be scary good then and the OF would be enhanced too with one of the big 3 kids moving out there.  The team for at least 2 years and maybe more would be so much fun to watch.

I give this front office props if they were close, as it shows they aren't scared of potential killer contracts.  If the Jays start making the playoffs regularly we all know it would mean 3-4 million in the seats plus 1+ million watching on TV every game.  2015/16 showed that quite clearly (and early in 2013/2017).  I'm feeling good about this team and how it is going.  Keep building up those top prospects and use them when needed to get star level players.  Screw 'meh' players unless you get them for near nothing (like they are doing now).  The Jays have the potential for a $200 million payroll if they start making the playoffs, no need to fear having a couple of $30 million a year players.

bpoz - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 09:22 PM EST (#385641) #
The Jays offered EE a $20mil/yr deal to keep the window open. Signed Ryu to $20 mil/yr in hopes of opening the window.

1) Outspending NYY and Boston or the same is probably unlikely.

2) With equal money or close the FAs may not prefer the Jays. But Molitor, Winfield etc ... were happy to join the Jays. Halladay liked Toronto. All Americans. The WS ring is good temptation.

Ownership would be happy with a full house. They may even consider ticket price increases.

They need to study the Raptors!!
dan gordon - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 09:38 PM EST (#385642) #
I wouldn't have made a trade like that for Lindor unless he signed an extension. He's a free agent in 2 years - you're going to start trading off some of your best prospects for a 2 year player when you really don't expect your team to be 100% competitive for another year or two? Doesn't make sense, it's short-sighted. Also, he doesn't address the team's main needs for the next 2 years anyway - a CF, another top starter, maybe a 1B/DH, and a closer for 2021 if they don't resign Giles.

Don't see the interest in Petricka when they already have so many pitchers for the upper minors. He spent most of last year in AAA and in the previous 2 seasons, he allowed 98 hits in 71 innings in the big leagues. Now, if they want to sign a RP who is actually good, sure.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 09:42 PM EST (#385643) #
Couldn't agree with Dan more. Even if they traded for Lindor I would have preferred Bichete + rather than Groshans and Manoah, seeing how Bichete would have to be moved off SS anyway to make way for Lindor.
bpoz - Friday, February 07 2020 @ 10:23 PM EST (#385644) #
I know that we are speculating.

But IMO the fans don't make the decision. It is the FO and ownership.

IMO ownership (Godfrey) rather than the GM (Richardi) gave V Wells the big contract. Same with Bautista and Donaldson rather than trade him.

#2JBrumfield - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 12:24 AM EST (#385645) #
That comment by Rob Fai is here around the 45 minute mark on TSN 1040.
Gerry - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 08:23 AM EST (#385646) #
Former Blue Jay minor leaguer Bubbie Buzachero has passed away. He was just 38 years old.
scottt - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 09:15 AM EST (#385647) #
They always need catchers in spring training. Last year Mineo was invited.

Tice, Bergen and Snead are potentially lefties in the pen at some point. However, like Baker, they were the guys with ERA below 4 in Buffalo.

I'm more hopeful than most about the pen.
Bass has been solid for several years.
Same for A. J. Cole and Miller.
Pannone was good out of the pen.
Font was great as an opener.
Maybe you use him only when he's well rested.
The rotation should provide more innings now.

They probably need to move Diaz, SRF and Perez to the pen, also.

Jonny German - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 10:02 AM EST (#385648) #
Another potential lefty in the pen is Brian Moran, according to Shi Davidi he’s signed a minor league deal. And personally I think they should be seriously considering Borucki and Kay for the major league pen.
SK in NJ - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 01:37 PM EST (#385649) #
I could see the logic in that proposed Lindor trade if the Jays were expected to be legit contenders in 2020, but we have seen in the past that trying to force contention is not the right strategy. If the 2020 team wins 85 games and looks like a piece or two away, then you start to consider trading prospects for short-term veterans. Timing is very important, especially when years of control are limited (as it would have been with Lindor for only two years).

The important thing to realize is the Jays not only seemed "aggressive" this winter, but they were rumored to be in the top end of free agents/trade targets, even landing a FA that was on the high end (Ryu). Hopefully that bodes well for when the team is looking to supplement its young core with veterans down the road.
bpoz - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 03:27 PM EST (#385650) #
Agreed SK. Too many IFs and #4 SPs in 2020. The young position players are still inexperienced.

So Giles stays for now I presume. We will find out soon enough. Right now we trade at the deadline probably. We should have a few veteran pieces to deal.

Lindor did not get traded. So Cleveland did not get what they wanted.

Proven players like Pederson and Stripling got moved for very little IMO. They are worth their contracts IMO. Pederson can be QOd if he is worth it.

Maeda for Graterol seems ok to me. If you want to win now, Madea is the better option.

Lindor is a great player. Groshans and Manoah are great prospects nothing more. Which is fine. Manoah could get a taste of AA next year which would make him more valuable to trade or keep. The same for Groshans in 2021.

Speaking of guys that did not progress very well, H Danner. I wanted him as a pitcher. Another one is J Maese who got injured. Hope he is ok.

Gerry - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 03:40 PM EST (#385651) #
Mookie Betts trade might be off, rumours that the Twins might be pulling out.
85bluejay - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 04:13 PM EST (#385652) #
Dodgers & Red Sox have smart FO, I expect them to find a way to reconstitute the deal - I wonder if the Jays have any interest in Maeda.
scottt - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 06:51 PM EST (#385653) #
They might as well have 10 starters ready to go.
Ryu and Shoemaker are not known for pitching lots of innings.
Borucki might need some time to recover.
Kay should definitively be in the mix to start. Lefty relievers are a lot less important now.
Lefty starters are very valuable, especially against teams who carry 3 or 4 left bats.
Guys who haven't been able to stick in the rotation should be the first ones sent to the pen.

scottt - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 06:56 PM EST (#385654) #
Is it the Twins pulling out? The Sox are trying to pry another prospect out of Minnesota.
The Twins have offered a top 20 prospect but Boston wants another top 10 guy.
If Boston think they're not getting far value they could take Maeda and try to trade him, or any of their other starter themselves.

scottt - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 07:00 PM EST (#385655) #
Graterol is the Twins' top pitching prospect and he's in AAA and ready to contribute now.
The Jays equivalent would be Pearson. So yeah, not interested.

Gerry - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 08:05 PM EST (#385656) #
The Dolis deal was announced, Valera DFA.
Marlow - Saturday, February 08 2020 @ 08:43 PM EST (#385657) #
Interesting choice of choosing Alford over Valera. It seems they want Fisher and Alford to battle it out in spring training.
dan gordon - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 02:49 AM EST (#385658) #
"Bass has been solid for several years.
Same for A. J. Cole and Miller.
Pannone was good out of the pen.
Font was great as an opener"

Bass was pretty good last year, and he pitched well in a small number of mlb appearances in 2018. Prior to that he was not very good at all from 2012 to 2017.

Cole was halfway decent last year, with an ERA of 3.81, FIP of 3.83, and a good K:BB ratio, but gave up a lot of hits and had a WHIP of 1.50. His career ERA is just under 5.00, his career FIP is just over 5.00 and his career WHIP is about 1.50. He gives up a lot of hits, HR's and walks a fair number as well. He's a AAAA guy who could be the #7 or 8 man in the bullpen if there are injury problems.

Miller had a good year in 2018. Other than that his career is kind of spotty, he missed all of 2016, and he'll be 33 in June.

Pannone has a career ERA of 3.60 as a reliever, and should be a decent guy if limited to that role.

None of these guys is really the kind of guy you want to bring into the 6th, 7th inning of a close game against the Yankees/Red Sox/Rays, etc. except maybe Bass.

Right now, I see the pen as Giles, one of Thornton/Yamaguchi, Dolis, Font, Bass, Gaviglio, Pannone and one of Waguespack/Romano/Miller/Bergen/Baker/Moran. That's if all the starters are healthy. If one starter is out, then Thornton and Yamaguchi are both in the rotation. I would not be comfortable going into the season like that, unless a few things happen - (1) Romano continues his development and finds a way to reduce his HR's allowed. In the 2 or 3 times I saw him last year, he looked dominant for stretches, and I really like his potential; (2) Font continues to pitch as well as he did last year as an opener when used in a more traditional role; (3) Dolis can make a successful transition to the big leagues; (4) Pannone can continue to succeed if used exclusively as a reliever. I would expect 1 or 2 of these to happen, but all 4 is unlikely. I think they need to get a guy who can be used in the 6th, 7th or 8th innings of close games against good teams.

Happy to see that Valera was the one they chose to remove from the roster. I was afraid they would make another one of their head-scratcher decisions.
Mike Green - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 06:25 AM EST (#385659) #
How much will Brusdar's bruise grate?
Is Brusdar's bruise so great that
Brusdar Graterol won't be great at all?
Or is Brusdar's bruise just a ruse after all
whiterasta80 - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 06:31 AM EST (#385660) #
Aumont is making this team and will have the 7th or 8th by midseason: book it.

His issue historically has been control and he cleaned that up here in Ottawa. Not sure who he replaces.
scottt - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 07:26 AM EST (#385661) #
The real battle is Panik, Drury, Tellez, Alford.

They someone to play first against lefties. Tellez? Drury?

scottt - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 07:33 AM EST (#385662) #
Aumont was not just the best pitcher in the CanAm League, he was the pitching coach of the Ottawa Champion.
He could be a great influence in Buffalo, for a few months.

scottt - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 07:41 AM EST (#385663) #
The Rays traded their closer--who is still pre-arb and with 4 years of control--for a centerfielder in his first arb year making 2M more. Sure looks like they are ready to trade Kiermaier.  Seems kinda late though.
85bluejay - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 09:05 AM EST (#385664) #
I hope Valera passes through waivers and stays in the system - won't be surprised if he's this year's Gio Urshela.
85bluejay - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 09:10 AM EST (#385665) #
I love how the Rays are aggressive and always taking chances - rarely do they hold on too long to a player - their FO would not have been caught holding on too long as the Jays FO did.
bpoz - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 09:33 AM EST (#385666) #
I both fear and like the Rays. They have very strict parameters and they succeed quite often. Both WCs may come out of the AL East quite often and I see the Rays having a good shot at getting 1 or the 3 spots. That leave NYY and Boston out quite often.

If the Rays are doing well they keep Morton. If not they trade him. They probably already have spoken about an extensions.

They won big on the C Archer trade. They seem to always add highly ranked prospects to their 40 man roster via trade and draft.
John Northey - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 12:33 PM EST (#385667) #
I'm always amazed the Rays front office isn't raided even more than it is.  What they do with no money is amazing.  5 times in the playoffs since 2008, the first year they were not either last or 2nd last in the division.   Heck, before that they never had a 450 winning percentage even (91+ losses every year).  Since then they have lost 90+ just once while cracking 90 wins 7 times.  For comparison the Jays since 1977 have cracked 90 wins just 6 times.  Just once since  the World Series years, which was 5 years before the Rays existed.  Also just 6 times losing 90+, with last year and 2004 being the only ones after the first big strike in 1981 (on pace for 100+ losses but the strike ended that).

Huh.  Funny.  Didn't really pick up on how between the 2 big strikes was the golden era of the Jays - 1982 to 1993, the first year was the only one that was sub 500. It was a fun and frustrating time (so close so often with 3 playoff appearances cut short, but oh that ending).
bpoz - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 12:39 PM EST (#385668) #
The Rays have a great FO. I wonder if they are getting paid like a great FO?
pooks137 - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 05:44 PM EST (#385669) #
The Rays have a great FO. I wonder if they are getting paid like a great FO?

I doubt it. Guys keep leaving and Stu Sternberg is notoriously cheap.

The whole "Tampa to Montreal" debacle came about after the Rays stadium plan in Ybor City proposal fell apart because Sternberg hardly wanted to pay for any of it

pooks137 - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 05:50 PM EST (#385670) #
I love how the Rays are aggressive and always taking chances - rarely do they hold on too long to a player - their FO would not have been caught holding on too long as the Jays FO did.

Even good teams make some weird decisions though.

In recent history, they traded Corey Dickerson to Pittsburgh for Daniel Hudson's contract, which cost essentially the same as Dickerson, just to buy Hudson out.

This offseason, they tendered and resigned Mike Zunino for 4.5 million of their limited dollars after he hit .165 with a .544 OPS. He's a good pitch framer, but surely they could have found someone better/equivalent for cheaper

scottt - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 07:40 PM EST (#385671) #
The latest version of the Mookie deal has Verdugo, SS prospect Jeter Downs (one of the top Dodgers prospects) and catching prospect  Connor Wong--who could be in MLB later this year--going back to Boston. Boston seems to be filling many needs and could go back to the market for more pitching.

Strangely the Maeda deal could still happen with the Twins possibly getting even more for their medically challenged pitching prospect.

John Northey - Sunday, February 09 2020 @ 11:24 PM EST (#385672) #
Jeter Downs is the Dodgers #8 prospect via BP, Connor Wong isn't in their top 10.  Downs is #6 by BA.  Clearly he is a key piece here.  Alex Verdugo is a solid CF'er just entering his age 24 season with a lifetime line of 282/335/449 107 OPS+ in 488 PA - obviously the replacement for CF.  dWAR of 1.0 over 158 games.  75 games in CF, 44 in RF, 37 in LF.  Solid and would easily be the Jays CF if here but not an All-Star at this point unless he ups his game a bit more. 

If it was a pure talent trade then I'd be underwhelmed but it is also a desperate attempt to save money by the Sox.  Wong is interesting as he has shown a good bat in the minors 852 OPS.  He is entering his age 24 season with just 40 games in AA (none in AAA).  Might be a good one, but given his low ranking on Dodger prospect lists he isn't a 'wow' player at this stage.  He could be a Yan Gomes type who hits well everywhere but had a 'meh' prospect rating for some reason that no one understands.  I hope not if he does go to the Red Sox as we don't want them having anymore decent players than absolutely necessary. :)
scottt - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 08:02 AM EST (#385673) #
Vertugo is marred by make up issues. He doesn't have a lot of power and often does not run ground balls out.
Downs is considered too thick to stay at shortstop. Maybe Solarte is a good comparable. He doesn't have any plus tools.
Wong is coming off a good hitting season but strikes out about a third of the times and doesn't have power.

It seems like the move leaves Boston one starter short.
Lots of starts could go to guys who aren't on the roster now.

85bluejay - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 09:12 AM EST (#385674) #
I wonder if the Jays would make a bid for Joc Pederson and/or Ross Ross Stripling.
85bluejay - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 09:18 AM EST (#385675) #
No question, the Rays make decisions that don't work out, that's why I said I loved their aggressiveness and taking chances not that they always make the right moves but it's how I would want a FO to operate.
Mike Green - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 09:43 AM EST (#385676) #
The February 10 birthday team is deep with talent, much of it from the last 20 years:

CF  Lenny Dykstra
DH  Omar Narvaez
RF  Max Kepler
1B  Lance Berkman
LF  Alex Gordon
3B Randy Jackson
2B Cotton Tierney
C Jim Keenan
SS Cesar Izturis

Bench- Travis D'Arnaud, Curt Welch (a good right-handed hitting CFer who would play plenty), Ralph Hodgin (back-up 3B/OF), Lenny Webster, Kevin Sefcik (back-up middle IF)

SP- Herb Pennock
SP- Hiroki Kuroda
SP- Billy O'Dell
SP- Jim Barr
SP- Bobby Jones

RP- Liam Hendriks
RP- Allie Reynolds
RP-Larry McWilliams
RP-Bob Logan
RP- Brandon Woodruff
RP- Cal Quantril

A few notes:  Randy Jackson, nicknamed Handsome Ransom, was a solid third baseman for the Cubs and Dodgers for 5 years in the fifties.  Cot's Baseball Contracts comes from Cotton Tierney's name. Allie Reynolds was perhaps the best pitcher of this fine lot by a nose; I'd use him in a swingman role. Brandon Woodruff might make the February 10 birthday rotation by the end of the year   There are a number of Blue Jay connections beyond the obvious Hendriks and d'Arnaud ones- Jamie Vermilyea, Eddie Zosky and Dane Johnson were born today.

It's a good club and might make the playoffs, but the pitching lacks the top-end talent and the offence lacks the pop normally associated with playoff success.  Brandon Woodruff might be their Juan Guzman.

mathesond - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 10:15 AM EST (#385677) #
No surprise seeing Lenny Webster on the bench :)
Mike Green - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 10:29 AM EST (#385678) #
The 2019-20 offseason has been a pretty good one, but management's approach to the integration of pitching and defence has to date been "wait and see".  They've acquired some useful pitching talent in Ryu, Anderson and Roark, but the talent will result in a significant number of balls in play.  The club has not however immediately dealt with its defensive weaknesses at third base and in centrefield.  The club's best alignment for the present would have Shaw at third base, Tellez at first base and VGJ as DH. but the club is going to see how Guerrero Jr. does.  That is understandable.  But centerfield is another story.  With this pitching and a 26 man roster, you want to have a centerfielder around who can play the position well.  If he doesn't hit well enough for an everyday role, it would be nice if he could steal a base for you too. 
Glevin - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 12:44 PM EST (#385679) #
"No question, the Rays make decisions that don't work out, that's why I said I loved their aggressiveness and taking chances not that they always make the right moves but it's how I would want a FO to operate."

I actually don't like what the Rays are doing at all. They keep doubling down on depth when they should be consolidating talent. They are a playoff team with way too many good and not great players and a top system. Their trades are just getting more good players. What does getting Margot do? Isn't he just like Kiermaeir? Is Jose Martinez an improvement on N. Lowe and Choi? Maybe but marginally. This is a team that should be trying to land upgrades even if they have to slightly overpay.
Mike Green - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 01:05 PM EST (#385680) #
It seems to me that the Rays wanted to get rid of Pham because of his defensive decline, and his arbitration status.  Margot allows them to maintain value but at a much lower price for a few years.

It's really hard to operate on a payroll of $60 million per year.  No one has done it better than the Rays over the last 12 years or so.   
uglyone - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 01:45 PM EST (#385681) #
I think he might have a case tbh.

Former #MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger files lawsuit against #Astros, saying their cheating changed course of his career
bpoz - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 01:48 PM EST (#385682) #
Agreed UO.
Glevin - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 02:19 PM EST (#385683) #
"Former #MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger files lawsuit against #Astros, saying their cheating changed course of his career"

Good. Lots of victims here and the more that comes out, the more obvious it is that there needs to be a deeper investigation and likely more punishment. I would love it if the Twins filed to nullify Marwin Gonzalez contract too. His numbers in 2017 were clearly based off of cheating. Do Twins still give him same contract without that year? They could easily argue not. Some idiot on twitter compared what the Astros did to Delgado keeping notes on players. One of the stupidest things I've ever seen on baseball twitter and that's saying something.
Mike Green - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 02:26 PM EST (#385684) #
Bolsinger had an ERA of 3.62 in 109 innings in 2015, an ERA of 6.83 in 27 innings in 2016 and an ERA of 5.30 in 35.2 innings when not facing the Astros.  It was his age 29 season.  It's true that he likely would have had more opportunities without the sign stealing. 
hypobole - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 03:49 PM EST (#385685) #
If Bolsinger's case goes to trial, Jays management would almost assuredly have to testify as to their reasoning in demoting Bolsinger after that Astros debacle. Would be very interesting to hear the Jays rationale. Will they side with the Astros and say Bolsinger would have been demoted whatever happened? Or side with Bolsinger and say that outing was the determining factor?
Mike Green - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 03:52 PM EST (#385686) #
It is unlikely that it will go to trial.
Cracka - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 04:42 PM EST (#385687) #
Bolsinger was DFA'ed, unclaimed and outrighted to Buffalo on April 1, 2017, June 1, 2017, and August 5, 2017. Prior to that night in Houston, he had given up home runs in each of the previous four outings and was clearly at the bottom of the roster, with his spot very much in jeopardy, especially if the Jays needed a fresh arm.

He has every right to be upset and to file a lawsuit, but by August 4th, 2017, his career was already hanging by a thread.
mendocino - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 05:05 PM EST (#385688) #
MLB looking at adding 2 more teams per league making playoffs by 2022.
Glevin - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 05:08 PM EST (#385689) #
Story in NY Post about baseball planning playoff expansion. 7 teams in each league and the winners get to pick their opponents. I hate it. 14 teams in the playoffs is just awful. One of the great things about baseball is that the 162 games matter. You want to play 162 games to eliminate half the teams? Manfred has some ridiculous ideas. There are things that need to be fixed in baseball (games too long, not enough in game action) but I actually miss Bud Selig at this point.
scottt - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 05:37 PM EST (#385690) #
Bolsinger couldn't get a second out and after the game he was gone.
Some of the earlier reports specifically named the Jays as a team that made no effort to hide their signals, from Astros communications. The actual cheating is factual and every bang is audible on the recording.

As a judge or jury member, I would pay no attention to what the Jays would have to say.
That would all be speculative.
Obviously, if Bolsinger throws a no-hitter he's still with the team. So there's performance threshold that buys him another start. It's probably not that high, maybe just reach the fifth inning. That was enough to keep him on the roster until August.
It's not like the Jays were in a pennant race.
Bolsinger wasn't released until October 2.

scottt - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 06:16 PM EST (#385691) #
At first glance a bye for the top overall team is a bad idea.
So let's say Houston gets a buy and the other 2 division winners and the top wild cards get to play a 3 game series against the opponents of their choice? That's crazy. Everybody will find 2 aces and/or bullpen their way through that.
Being the most feared wild card team is as good as winning the division.

In my humble opinion, that's just more reason for the best teams to crush the others and it gives a huge advantage to having tanking teams in your division.

So, if more depends on the overall rankings, you gotta have more inter division games.

hypobole - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 06:18 PM EST (#385692) #
"As a judge or jury member, I would pay no attention to what the Jays would have to say.
That would all be speculative."

Well, it was the Jays that demoted him. Why would the Jays have to speculate as to why they made that decision? Or maybe the Jays are totally incompetent and really don't really know why they make any decisions?

Reporter: "Why did you sign Ryu?"
Atkins: "I'm not sure, but my best guess is that he's pretty good at pitching baseballs"
uglyone - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 06:23 PM EST (#385693) #
"I hate it. 14 teams in the playoffs is just awful."

Shapkins disagrees.
85bluejay - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 06:46 PM EST (#385694) #
Increasing to 14 teams is a good business decision and I am surprised it took MLB this long to do it - 162 games is a long season and with 14 playoffs spots MLB will keep most teams at least around the fringe of a playoff spot and maybe less enticing to tank - fans will be more interested in a mediocre team if it still has a shot at the playoffs - the NHL has been using that gimmicky 3 point game to artificially keep teams in pseudo playoff contention and with a better looking record.
electric carrot - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 07:07 PM EST (#385695) #
I hope Bolsinger goes to court and wins a big settlement. No to the playoff idea.
BlueJayWay - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 07:08 PM EST (#385696) #
Thumbs up on playoff expansion. This doesn't suprise me that much - the trend is always toward more playoffs and the incentive to make more $$$ is a strong one. Last year one of the US guys (Morosi or Heyman) was on the Fan 590 and mentioned that this idea had been bounced around, and Shapiro also said a similar thing when he was on an episode of At The Letters.

I don't know how they're going to implement it and I don't like the idea of 'picking your opponent', and byes in baseball can be disadvantageous if they're too long, but I would like to have more teams.
BlueJayWay - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 07:10 PM EST (#385697) #
maybe less enticing to tank
This is another reason why I think they're going to do it, with all the concern about tanking teams the last couple years. More playoff spots = more teams in contention = less incentive to just blow it all up and tank.
John Northey - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 07:19 PM EST (#385698) #
I'm surprised they aren't just saying 'screw it' and go straight to 16 like hockey and basketball. 

A best of 3 series is not something I'd be a fan of.  Too many random factors (ala the one game we have now) that become an issue.  The top team overall getting a bye is interesting, as is having all 3 games in one city (thus a reward for a good season, incentive to fight to not be the wild card, incentive to be the best overall team).  Basically the two top teams get a break ala the All-Star game and get to have their #1 start game 1 of the Division Series with proper rest (1 day after season, 3 days of games, 1 day travel to next round) while the other teams are a bit beat up at that point.  The top teams picking opponents in round 1 seems like a doomed to fail thing, could be fun for a year or two but quickly become silly.

Not the dumbest thing MLB will have ever done, but like I said, if doing it then just go to 16 teams and 7 game series.  Cut the season back to 154 games too so more time is there for the final.
BlueJayWay - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 07:38 PM EST (#385699) #
I'm surprised they aren't just saying 'screw it' and go straight to 16 like hockey and basketball. 

I'm sure that's where this is heading - although it might take till 2035 to get there.
Glevin - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 07:42 PM EST (#385700) #
The expanded playoffs won't stop taking at all. What it will do is incentivize teams to be pretty good. Why try to go for 90 wins when 85 wins gets you into the playoffs. The idea of playing 162 games to eliminate 16 teams is absurd. I hate this. Teams will love it because they can make the playoffs and spend less money but I don't want to watch mediocre teams win world series because they fluke their way through their playoffs. Baseball's regular season is wonderful. It's long and meaningful. Doing this fundamentally changes the game into a regular season doesn't mean much sport.
dan gordon - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 08:26 PM EST (#385701) #
I love the idea of an expanded playoffs. More chances to see your favourite team(s) in the post season, when games are the most exciting. It would also get rid of the 1-game elimination thing, which I don't particularly care for due to the inordinate importance 1 player, the top starting pitcher, can have. Should get more teams trying to make the post season each year. I also like the idea of teams picking their 1st round opponent; that would be interesting to see. Hopefully, they will accompany the change with a more balanced schedule, which would make it fairer for teams to get into the post season. Playing in a weak division is a big advantage.

I really enjoy the hockey 16 team playoff. Very exciting. The hockey schedule is just as long in duration as the baseball schedule, about 6 months. I'd be very much in favour of a similar 16 team baseball playoff. Probably need to cut the season back to 154 games to accommodate it.

Good to see the Bolsinger lawsuit. I mentioned the possibility of lawsuits a while back. Could be a few more.
bpoz - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 08:31 PM EST (#385702) #
Too bad in the AL East the Jays, Rays and Orioles will still have to play the NYY and Boston a lot.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 08:33 PM EST (#385703) #
I can see both sides of the argument. I like that it is difficult to make the playoffs in baseball. That makes it more meaningful when a team does get there. However, the game is seeing a drop off in attendance and relevancy every single year. No team is going to try for a WC spot in today's format because all you are guaranteed is one extra game. Teams would rather tank, save money, and build a roster of cheap young players. Having more playoff teams might decrease some of the tanking, and maybe make 1-2 WAR free agents that are having trouble getting jobs a bit more desirable if teams are higher on the playoff win curve heading into a season. That's all in theory of course. Who knows how teams would actually operate in that system.

I personally would prefer if the system stayed as is, but something like this was bound to happen eventually. Attendance and genuine interest in the game has to be fixed. I don't know if this is the solution, but obviously they feel it will help.
bpoz - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 08:59 PM EST (#385704) #
No comments about the Jays going after Pederson or Stripling as 85bluejay was asking?

Maybe we are still in the rebuild so it is not yet time. Pederson's salary is ok IMO. Stripling is probably ok. I don't know his salary.

Also what do you give up.

LAD have 42 players on the 40 man according to a reporter.
scottt - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 09:30 PM EST (#385705) #
The bye does not necessary help.
The postseason is already a crapshoot because the games aren't managed the same way.
It might only take a couple of guys bunting through shifts to eliminate the better team.
The outcome can too easily be decided by guys like Price or Sale being healthy or not.
More so than actually winning the most games in the division.

The CBA expires in 2021 and the players have their own sets of demands.

Will we have robo umps by 2022?

scottt - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 09:46 PM EST (#385706) #
Striping is still cheap. He was only included to facilitate the trade.
It was a really good trade for the Angels. Seems like an other example of an owner messing up his team.

Pederson is a free agent at the end of the year. Not a good match for the Jays.

The Dodgers rotation is Buehler and 4 lefties.

So, yeah, Luke Raley is on the 40 and so is Graterol.
Still, they could trade some prospects on the 40 for others not there yet.

bpoz - Monday, February 10 2020 @ 10:56 PM EST (#385707) #
Good point about trading for prospects that don't have to be on the 40 man roster.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 12:03 AM EST (#385708) #
I think expanded playoffs has 2 purposes - #1 and most important is to make owners more money, that is always their #1 goal.  #2 is to try to kill off tanking as it hurts baseball when teams pretty much declare they won't try this year or next.

My view of what will kill tanking is to simply flip the draft.  Instead of the worst team getting pick #1, it is the best team that doesn't make the playoffs that gets it, followed by the rest until you get to the worst team which gets a pick just before the weakest playoff team gets one.  Suddenly losing 100+ is no longer a plus in any respect.  Teams have a (small) incentive to win even late in a lost season with something to play for.  If the playoffs expand that incentive is bigger.  Could add a secondary condition that no team gets a #1 pick two years in a row, or a top 10 two years in a row in order to remove any gaming of the system (try not to make the playoffs due to some star player in the draft ala Bryce Harper, or Stephen Strasburg.  Both were super-hyped pre-draft.  Of course, sometimes that super-hyped up player flops, see Todd Van Poppel who was viewed as the best in the draft his year but his demands were such that a 'poor team' like Atlanta couldn't afford him while the 'rich' A's (who were in the middle of a major run with Canseco and McGwire) could so Atlanta had to make due with Chipper Jones.  Funny how things work out sometimes eh?
scottt - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 07:20 AM EST (#385709) #
Expending playoffs does nothing to kill tanking and the owners must know this, they are the ones doing the tanking.
Tanking is most advantageous when fewer teams do it.
Maybe half the teams will try to make themselves better at the deadline and less than half will try to make themselves worse. That means sellers will be able to sell even more assets.
So, maybe less tanking in the first half and more in the second half?

scottt - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 07:24 AM EST (#385710) #
2 prospects it is.

They DFAed Tyler White and Kyle Garlick.

Those were the obvious choices.
White is an ex top 100 Astros prospect who hasn't hit. He's out of option and will probably end up in AAA for good.
Garlick is a decent right handed outfielder with 2 options left. They'll probably get something for him.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 09:33 AM EST (#385711) #
I had a weird dream last night about the Bolsinger case.  I read that Bolsinger filed in Los Angeles District Court. The dream probably arose from discussions on twitter about whether the Bolsinger suit would survive a motion to dismiss and the notion of "decision-based evidence making"  in medicine (and its analogue in law) with ex-roster member Dr. John Neary.

The highlights of the dream:

1.Judge Vincent Mark Mulder Scully  presides and whispers at the outset "the truth is out there, Dodger fans"
2.The Astros' lawyer (or attorney, as they do in the States) is Monty Hall, who Judge Scully insists on calling Mr. Astromonte.
3.Judge Scully suggests to the Astros' attorney that he might want to go to the hallway to "make a deal" and jokes that he has some practice at that.

And as for expansion of the playoffs, I'm an old fart (in some ways).  I like the long season to mean something important, and I think that they need to cut down on cross-continent travel.  Four divisions, 8 teams each (expansion required).  One West Coast and Mountain division (SD, PHX, COL, LAA, LAD, SF, OAK, SEA), one Central division (MIN, MIL, STL, CHW, CHC, KC, TEX, HOU), a Northeast division (BOS, NYY, Montreal, DET, CIN, CLE, TOR, PIT), a Southeast division (NYM, PHI, BAL, WAS, ATL, MIA, TB, a North Carolina triangle team).  Winner of each division enters playoffs and just two rounds of 7 games. 
Glevin - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 09:38 AM EST (#385712) #
"I personally would prefer if the system stayed as is, but something like this was bound to happen eventually. Attendance and genuine interest in the game has to be fixed. I don't know if this is the solution, but obviously they feel it will help."

MLB is much more popular than both the NBA and the NHL in terms of viewership and attendance. The thing about Manfred is I don't think he understand why people like baseball. I really don't think he likes baseball even. There are very simple fixes to make baseball better that are being ignored completely. I also think the timing of this was done to distract from what is becoming apparent is his disastrous handling of the Astros situation.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 10:19 AM EST (#385713) #
The further watering down of the importance of the regular season in baseball seems inevitable. What drives MLB is the same thing that drives the other sports. More teams are in contention, so more fanbases are engaged, so, so, so more money for everyone. Which is really the only end game.

Old farts like myself are nostalgic for the day when the regular season meant almost everything. In fact, when considering teams from history, the narratives associated with the regular season are generally more compelling to me than those associated with the random post-season tournament that ensues. There is something poetic about the six-month marathon and far too much that is pseudo-poetic based on the absurdly random tournament that ensues.

But I am old and not the target demographic. If younger fans are happy to see more playoff teams, and if this is what lures their viewing dollars, then what possible value does my opinion hold? Dinosaurs are rarely made happy by change.

As this watering down process continues unabated, let's hope that the idea of choosing your opponent dies on the vine. That is crass and beyond the pale. Frankly, it seems so absurd as to seem a red herring, an idea that exists only to be ceded and to serve as a distraction for other, less controversial decisions.

Finally, the nature of the regular season will change. That seems inevitable. Load management.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 10:30 AM EST (#385714) #
It should be noted, Chuck, that the baseball of my youth was the most popular sport in North America.  It may be that in the cable television and computer age, it was inevitable that the slower-paced, less violent game would lose popularity.  With our coming environmental collapse (or at a minimum slow-down), it may be that people will once again long for something more slow-building and relatively peaceful.  The way things are going, these changes may yet take place in my lifetime. 
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 10:48 AM EST (#385715) #
MLB is much more popular than both the NBA and the NHL in terms of viewership and attendance. The thing about Manfred is I don't think he understand why people like baseball. I really don't think he likes baseball even. There are very simple fixes to make baseball better that are being ignored completely. I also think the timing of this was done to distract from what is becoming apparent is his disastrous handling of the Astros situation.

The average MLB fan is 57 years old. Their mainstream relevancy is dropping every single year. MLB does well with regional TV viewership, but a lot of the league's revenue is going to come from TV deals with Fox, ESPN, TBS, etc. Those networks will want more meaningful content, which is where extra playoff rounds come into play. The NFL viewership is older too (50), but they just had 100 million viewers for the Superbowl, and with a 16 game schedule where they play once a week, every game is meaningful. Baseball just has a huge inventory of games where most of them don't mean anything. The small amount of playoff teams combined with a one game wild card just makes teams prefer tanking and saving money rather than spending. That's going to impact attendance and interest as a whole.

The real issue with baseball has nothing to do with the game itself. It is the lack of marketing of the players. Mike Trout can walk into a crowded restaurant and how many people would recognize him? Compare that to Griffey in the 90's, or Jeter, or A-Rod, or whoever, and it's night and day. MLB has been awful at marketing its players and they haven't done a good job adapting to the changing technology since we live in a social media driven world and MLB wants to control everything MLB-related on social media. It's not a fan friendly league in that regard. So cosmetic changes to shorten games won't do anything.

However, adding more playoff teams might help in the absence of the other issues being fixed. Again, I don't like it. I prefer a tougher road to the playoffs and the best teams making it, but in the long run, MLB needs to make their games mean more, and more teams being in relevant playoff races during the season is one way of doing that. Whether it leads to more fan interest, who knows.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 10:48 AM EST (#385716) #
Change always seems uni-directional. Historians and sociologists (and some website posters!) like to remind us that there are often pendulums at play, and what is old is often what is new again. Our lifetime you say?
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 11:05 AM EST (#385717) #
It has started to happen in our politics, our entertainment, our diets and even in fashion.  Give us 30 years of more natural disasters, extinctions and so on, and I think it's a safe bet that our desire to cocoon will be stronger.  Baseball fits that situation more than basketball, football or hockey.  Perhaps soccer will have taken over completely though, as the simplest sport for all to play. 
bpoz - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 11:09 AM EST (#385718) #
NYY opens camp tomorrow. Tanaka is already there.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 12:16 PM EST (#385719) #
I see MLB as 2 seasons now, and if playoffs expand even more so.  The regular season is what I enjoy the most - a chance to watch the team grow and see how it handles the non-stop schedule.  The playoffs are a 'bonus' in my mind at this point - a second season the Jays rarely participate in.  Much more random, you never know who the hero and goat will be each year.

Part of the problem for MLB marketing stars is they aren't locks for the playoffs - a top quarterback will be in the NFL playoffs, a top basketball player also should always be there, most top hockey players are there every year too.  Only baseball has its best player out golfing during the playoffs...Mike Trout started at age 19 in 2011 - his team has been less than 10 games from the division title just 3 times in that stretch, including their one playoff appearance in 2014 (out in 3 games).  Heck, the last 4 years his team has been 20+ games out of the division lead, last over 500 in 2015.  Pretty sad way to show off the top player in the league. 

Now if MLB had 8 teams per league in the playoffs ala the NHL/NBA we'd have seen a 78 win team make the playoffs in the AL (Texas) by 6 games over LA & Chicago.  Does anyone think those teams would've tried a lot harder had they known some playoff money was at stake?  With 7 teams it would've been Boston getting the last slot with 84 wins.  in 2018 the Angels would've had the 8th slot with 80 wins (2 over the Twins, 7 ahead of the Jays).  With 7 it would've been Seattle getting the final slot with 89 wins.  In 2017 7th/8th was a tie between LA and Tampa with 80 wins each.  So with a 8 team playoff per league Trout would've had a chance to shine 2 of the past 3 years, with 7 in 1 of those years.  A much better situation if you want to sell your stars.  It would also cut a few teams from the tanking pile as knowing you have a shot at the playoffs changes strategy a lot - see the Jays in 2017/2018.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 01:25 PM EST (#385720) #
While I empathize with the "purism" and "the drive for the pennant" and all that, the reality is, I'm no longer 8 - I'm 48. There's very little mystique or aura left about baseball in that sense. We can get a pretty good estimate of how our team will do based on individual player contributions, etc. It's not the same as looking at my O-Pee-Chee '82 or '83 Dave Stieb card (long before I'd heard of WAR or OPS or wRC or K/9, etc.) one more time and seeing those few stats and feeling like he's a crazy good pitcher and hoping that he can pull it out somehow when I'm listening to the west coast game on AM after lights-out with a mono headphone on my cassette/radio combo player hoping I don't get caught and knowing I'll be tired the next day..

Why do I think they are trying to expand playoffs? I have, a couple of times, canceled my MLB.TV subscription a month or two early, after the Jays were clearly out of it. Pretty sure they can analyze those trends with MLB.TV subscriptions - I can't be the only one. So, I guess I'm partly to blame. If the Jays still have a chance to make the playoffs, I'll keep watching. For some reason, I've never been able to really enjoy watching a regular season game that's doesn't involve Toronto.. Maybe if it's the last game of the season and playoffs are on the line, sure, but.. In May, watching the Tigers vs. the Rangers? I'd rather do the dishes..
bpoz - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 01:59 PM EST (#385721) #
vw_fan17. That was perfectly said. The last thing I enjoyed doing was following Zeuch lead NH to the championships. Playoff baseball for this Jay's fan.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 02:12 PM EST (#385722) #
I actually quite like expansion of the playoffs because it is the easiest way to promote parity and prevent buying of championships.

So I'm in favour of expanding playoffs. But only if paired with a reduction in regular season games. The season is too long as it is. The classic counter argument is that it will stop "record chases"l I disagree since most MLB counting records are borderline impossible to catch as it is (I see absolutely no path to a change in career or single season stolen base, hits or HRs).

I do think that expanded playoffs will put a massive premium on having a good and deep pitching staff (if that hasn't happened already).
John Northey - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 02:53 PM EST (#385723) #
I always find it funny when a record that was set in my lifetime is viewed as 'unbreakable'.  It wasn't _that_ long ago that Rickey Henderson stole 130 in a season and Vince Coleman had multiple 100+ SB seasons.  All you need is someone with killer speed and instincts, plus who can take a walk (Rickey's big plus) on a team with a manager who says 'screw it, let him do his thing'.  20 years of 50 SB = 1000 SB and still short of his career record so that is a LOT harder to reach, but could it happen?  Sure, just takes the right player and right conditions.

Single season hit record was set very recently by Ichiro with 262 in 2004 - is that unbreakable?  It wouldn't be easy - you need a guy who makes good contact regularly but doesn't have enough power to get tons of walks.  (just 49 walks, 19 intentional, and 63 strikeouts that year for Ichiro with just 8 HR).  The career record by Rose is a lot harder, which is probably why only Rose and Cobb have 4000+ hits in the majors (Ichiro had 4367 between MLB and Japan vs Rose 4256 with the last one in 1986, Cobb 4189 last one in 1928).  So yes, that record could be broken but again it takes a LOT of things to go right and it seems only every 20-60 years can someone with that skill set come close.  Odds are the next guy to get 4000 hits has been born but isn't in high school yet.   We'll see if it happens in 30+ years or not.  You need to start young and play until well into your 40's.

Home runs was set in 2001 by Bonds (while enhanced) and his final one was in 2007.  A-Rod was thought to have a great shot at that record until he lost a year due to an old drug discovery.  So again, a very recent record and needed perfect conditions (super-star who got mad and did the drugs to try to keep at the top, and it worked - weird how he was getting intentionally walked 120 times in one year, now that record I see as very hard to break). 

So basically the key thing with all records is you need ideal conditions.  The win records (40+ in a season, very best ever was 60, 511 lifetime) will be the hardest I think as you need a lot of things to change to make that happen - the single season could happen with a team like Tampa who uses openers a lot, thus giving a #2 guy lots of chances for sneaking a win with 3 innings of work every 2nd or 3rd day  if they so choose to set it up.  Lifetime much harder as you'd need to keep doing that for over a decade.  20 wins a year for 25 years and you are just at 500, still needing another 11.  So yeah that one is super-hard to see happening.
Glevin - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 02:59 PM EST (#385724) #
"I actually quite like expansion of the playoffs because it is the easiest way to promote parity and prevent buying of championships."

Teams don't buy championships. There's a myth that there is this massive disparity between rich and poor teams but that isn't so. The Royals were just sold for a billion dollars. The Pirates owner is worth $1.3 billion. Teams make tens of millions in profit every year. Every team can spend much more and this is part of why I hate this. This whole change seems designed to make sure that teams don't have to spend money to make the playoffs. Why make a splash to try to get to 90 wins when you can get to 85 wins and be in the exact same place. There is no benefit. Parity=mediocrity and you will have mediocre teams winning the World Series all the time. Regular season would become basically meaningless (look at this year for example. There are about 5 teams tanking with zero chance to make it and 2-3 others with very little change, so you'd play 162 games to eliminate 8-10 teams? This is what hockey does and the hockey regular season is boring. Not only that but playoffs are such a different game in baseball than the regular season. Way more than any other sport because the marathon goes into a sprint. This would be like having the top-15 finishers in a marathon also run a-100 meter dash to decide the winner. This would absolutely kill regular season baseball and de-incentivize competition .

Dallas Braden put it well

"Half the league in the postseason doesn’t generate more hope. That’s cute though. It DOES generate potential POSTSEASON revenue for teams that haven’t spent $ to be competitive. This is LOWERING THE BAR. Just a mechanism to allow the tanking to be veiled as being competitive."
Magpie - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 05:05 PM EST (#385725) #
What's been lost, of course, is the capacity to hold the entire post-season in the mind. It was still possible - just barely, perhaps - when there was just a league championship series preceding the World Series. But there's too much for that now. Two sudden-death games, six different series, and then the World Series? The horse has left the barn. Might as well go all the way.

I don't know that it's better or worse. It's just different. The thrill, the importance of the pennant race is lost, perhaps. And there were certainly seasons when the pennant race was far more entertaining than the World Series that followed. Bobby Thomson hit his home run, the Giants won the pennant, and were promptly dismissed in the World Series. And there were seasons when a thrilling World Series redeemed a season when there was no pennant race interest whatsoever after the first of August (I believe I've written about 1912, haven't I?)

The most thrilling Jays moment of the last quarter-century happened in the first round? That's a little sad, actually. It reminds me a little - just a little, but still - of those awful Leafs teams of the 1980s, who would somehow sneak into the playoffs and then engage in a life-or-death struggle with some other hapless Norris Division foe that likewise had no chance whatsoever of making the Cup final. Which didn't stop the city from being alive with excitement anyway.
scottt - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 05:42 PM EST (#385726) #
Well, even a guy who is worth 1.3B isn't able to pour an extra 100M into his baseball team every year.
The Yankees and the Red Sox generate massive revenues.
It's not the owner spending his fortune.

In the off-season, teams aren't going to spend more because there are 2 extra wild card spots.
A team having a hot start could become a buyer at the deadline, but those teams are usually not in a position to trade valuable prospects. Teams not competing can load up with guys likely to rebound and be in demand, but they still need to develop their players or there not going anywhere and they won't spend much anyway.
Teams like Baltimore aren't going to spend an extra 100M to finish with 70 wins instead of 60.

BlueJayWay - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 05:50 PM EST (#385727) #
People have mentioned Mike Trout - and his case might be another reason MLB is looking at playoff expansion. Here you have a transcendent player, and he's only been in the postseason once in his life - and the Angels got swept. He's played 1200 regular season games and 3 playoff games. I agree baseball should market its starts better, and a way to do that is have them on the October stage more often.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 06:17 PM EST (#385728) #
An easy way to look at MLB expanding playoffs is to look at the NHL (NBA is such a star driven league that I have trouble seeing it as comparable).  Checking overall record, to see how low out of the top 16 each champion is.

2018/19: St Louis wins - tied for 10th best record
2017/18: Washington wins - tied for 6th best record
2016/17: Pittsburgh wins - 2nd best record
2015/16: Pittsburgh wins - 4th best record
2014/15: Chicago wins - 7th best record
2013/14: LA Kings win - tied for 9th best record
2012/13: Chicago wins - Best record in NHL
2011/12: LA Kings win - 16th best record (IE: snuck in)
2010/11: Boston wins - tied for 7th best record
2009/10: Chicago wins - 3rd best record

I think that is enough.  So in the past 10 years you had the best team win it all once, and the 16th best win it all once.  Sure seems to imply this is a random chance game once the playoffs hit.  
1st: 1 win
2nd: 1 win
3rd: 1 win
4th: 1 win
5th: 0
6th: 1 win
7th: 2 wins
8th: 0 wins
9th: 1 win
10th: 1 win
11th to 15th: 0 wins
16th: 1 win

To break down into groups of 4 for the past decade
1st to 4th: 4 wins
5th to 8th: 3 wins
9th to 12th: 2 wins
13th to 16th: 1 win

Huh.  That balanced out better than I expected.  By quarters it actually makes sense.  Be interesting to expand further but not really in the mood right now.  Maybe I'll write a full article on it someday if I get in the mood and have time.  This pretty much answers what I was wondering for now, the better the team the more likely you are to win in the playoffs but even a 16th place has a chance, small chance, but a chance. 

As to the Maple Leafs, in 1985/86 they got into the playoffs with the 19th best record out of 21 teams (top 4 in each division made it back then and the Red Wings were nicknamed the 'Dead Things' that year).  They won the first round 3-0 over Chicago who won the division but were just the 8th best team in the league.  They lost the next round against St Louis (10th best record) in 7 (exciting games as I recall).

Playoffs can be fun for horrible teams as suddenly the fans who suffered all year with a sucking team get to have hope even if it only lasts one or two rounds.
PeterG - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 07:30 PM EST (#385729) #
Eric Pardhino had TJ surgery today. I have been expecting this for 18 months. It should have been done last year. Kid was likely obstinate.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 11 2020 @ 07:35 PM EST (#385730) #
Agreed Peter, sometimes its inevitable. Too bad he didn't get it done in the fall. There is no guarantee that he will be ready for the start of 2021 season. Sometimes it takes up to 18 months to get fully better.
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 02:47 AM EST (#385731) #
So the injury bug has already started. Too bad about Pardinho, but he should be OK for the 2021 season - he's got 14 months to get ready, and if he misses the first few weeks, no big deal. One problem is that he will be eligible for the Rule 5 after the 2021 season. I'd like to see an allowance for injuries, giving teams an extra year of control before possibly losing a player in certain circumstances like this.

Mike, I think under your set up for mlb, we'd almost never see the Blue Jays in the playoffs, and I would hate that. With big revenue teams like the Yankees and Red Sox in our division, and only the first place team getting in, it would be extremely difficult to make it. There is a pretty strong correlation between payroll and wins. Now, I think the Jays should be a bigger spending team, but that's another issue.

John, the average spot that your Cup winning teams finished was 6th overall, so being a better team than other playoff teams does increase your likelihood of winning, but there still is hope for any team getting in. I'm amazed that so many people here don't seem to like that. To me, the most exciting baseball/hockey/football is playoffs. Basketball, I'm not a fan, but I watched all the Raptors playoff games last year and really enjoyed it. I was talking with some people at bowling today, and we were all really excited about the possibility of more baseball playoffs. We all liked the aspect of teams choosing their opponents, too. Oh well, everybody has their own unique views of life.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 03:03 AM EST (#385732) #
Yeah I'm all for expanded playoffs.
scottt - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 07:27 AM EST (#385733) #
Pitchers starts getting injured as soon as they officially report. Or just before.
That's how it goes.

Pardinho could get an extra option year if he misses more than 12 months.
They'll still have to put him on the 40 roster, though.

In hockey, it's a jog that turns into a marathon.
Some people think the best hockey is in the first round of the playoffs.
After that, teams start falling apart.
Also, the cost of playoffs tickets go up every round.
It might be fine in Toronto but people around here are not dumb enough to spend more than a grand on playoffs tickets just for one person. Hence, there's lots of empty stands.

The Nats still had a pretty good team.

If some people will be happy about losing an extra series on the road, than fine.
I can live with that. Not going to affect my spending one way or the other.

scottt - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 08:07 AM EST (#385734) #
People talk about the league trying to get Trout in the playoffs, but the Angels currently have a rotation of:
Andrew Haney,
Julio Teheran,
Dyland Bundy,
and 2 guys out of Griffing Canning, Jaime Barria, Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez.

If Trout wanted to be in the playoffs he would have gone to free agency.

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 10:05 AM EST (#385735) #
Mike, I think under your set up for mlb, we'd almost never see the Blue Jays in the playoffs, and I would hate that. With big revenue teams like the Yankees and Red Sox in our division, and only the first place team getting in, it would be extremely difficult to make it. There is a pretty strong correlation between payroll and wins. Now, I think the Jays should be a bigger spending team, but that's another issue.

They somehow managed to do OK from 1985-93, and the market has only grown since then.  Toronto is already the 4th largest metropolitan area in North America behind New York, Mexico City and Los Angeles. and it will have the easiest path of any of them (or Boston) in adapting to climate change.  I'm happy for the Blue Jays to continue competing against the Red Sox and Yankees, and for the corporate overlords to learn that if they do not spend in the rough vicinity of the Red Sox and Yankees, they will fail.  There's no excuse for what they have done in the last 20 years as a whole, and ultimately the owners have paid for it with a franchise that is worth less than it would otherwise be worth.  The Raptors are in the top 10 of basketball franchises in value, and within range of all the other franchises.  There's no reason that the the Blue Jay franchise couldn't be in the top 5 of baseball franchises if they had spent the money. 
bpoz - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 10:44 AM EST (#385736) #
I think in 1992 and 93 the Jays may have had the highest payroll. Not sure.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 11:23 AM EST (#385737) #
The Jays were third in team payroll in 1992 behind the Mets and Dodgers, and first in 1993 by almost 3 million dollars. Their team total for that year was nearly 46 million.
PeterG - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 11:56 AM EST (#385738) #
BA has just published current farm system rankings and has the Jays at 6th.Ben Badler suggests that is quite a feat for a team that just graduated top prospects. He cites Pearson and overall depth at all levels.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 12:10 PM EST (#385739) #

The current AL East teams all have different payroll philosophies and use different but easily understandable methods.

NYY and Boston are the 2 high spenders.

TB is the lowest spender most of the time. They won only 68 games in 2016. So lean years do happen for them. 90 & 96 wins in 2018 & 19.

Toronto and Baltimore may spend basically the same.

TB is the best at getting good young talent. Int't & draft. They get extra picks and a bigger budget just for being poor.

Wander Franco $3.8 mil, Jassson Dominguez $5.1 mil and Vlad $3.? mil. Boston Moncada. Baltimore ???.

Boston and NYY will also trade some their best prospects very often or maybe all the time.

TB trades FOR v good prospects by trading v good ML players.

Baltimore I think does not usually have good prospects. But then Machado was V good #3 pick in 2010.

Toronto until recently did not have an overflow of good prospects. The 2010 draft started our farm becoming good. We traded for Lawrie, Drabec and T D'Arnaud. Also SWR and Jaun De Paula. So the draft, Int'l signings and trades have improved our prospects like TB does.

We can add Ryu ($). TB adds Glasnow & Morton ($).
aarne13 - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 12:17 PM EST (#385740) #
ooof. per Shi, McGuire was arrested for flashing something that wasn't a slider/FB.
Cracka - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 12:32 PM EST (#385741) #
"The incident in question occurred Friday afternoon in a public parking lot outside a Dunedin strip mall, when a subject was seen inside an SUV exposing himself."

This is bad. Obviously he's innocent until proven guilty, but this is the type of thing that can keep people out of baseball. I don't expect him to play again until this is resolved. Caleb Joseph may be our backup catcher on opening day.

Marlow - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 12:43 PM EST (#385742) #
Not very good judgement by Reese McGuire. We all make mistakes when we are young, but like Cracka said, some things can keep you out of baseball.

I wonder what his future with the team will be, as the Blue Jays seem to emphasize character and being a good team mate.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 12:55 PM EST (#385743) #
Couple of gut punches between the Pardinho and especially the McGuire news.

With Kiley McDaniel back at ESPN, Longenhagen released his Fangraphs Top 120 prospect list today. Pearson #8, 60 FV. SWR #76, Groshans #80, and Orelvis #89 all with 50 FV's.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 01:09 PM EST (#385744) #
Exposing oneself inside an SUV?  Maybe I'm out of touch entirely, but this does not seem to me to be much of an issue.  If the windows are down, and the person is intending to make a public spectacle, that's not great judgment. But otherwise, I don't get it. 
hypobole - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 02:31 PM EST (#385746) #
And from the FG Top 120 chat, a couple of Jays items:

Any Blue Jay prospects beyond the top 4 considered for the top 100? 45+ types who you debated a 50 on?

Eric A Longenhagen
12:13 I considered Alejandro Kirk as one of many bat-first catchers on the fringe.

Were the injuries to Groshans what has kept him from being a tier higher?

Eric A Longenhagen
1:40 He was in consideration for the 55s back when he was healthy, yeah
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 05:00 PM EST (#385752) #
Mike, yes they did very well from 1985-93, what an exciting time that was, but then they were roughly in the same ballpark, so to speak, as the Yankees and Red Sox in payroll. Now, those teams spend $100+ million more than the Jays do on their payroll. That's an awfully big handicap to try to overcome. Of course we could talk all day about what the Blue Jays true revenues are, and what they should actually be spending.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 05:17 PM EST (#385755) #
In 1987, the Blue Jay payroll was $10 million, the Red Sox payroll was $13 million and the Yankees was $19 million; in 1988 it was TOR $14 million, BOS $14 million and NYY $20 million.  In 1989, it was TOR $16 million, BOS $18 million and NYY $17 million (the Jays had the highest attendance in the major leagues that year, with the Skydome providing a boost).

If they spend just under the cap consistently with the young players they have, they will be competitive for quite a few years. 
dan gordon - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 05:37 PM EST (#385756) #
Yes, if they would spend close to the luxury tax threshold of $208 million, that would be excellent. Kind of doubt they're going to do that, though.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 12 2020 @ 10:24 PM EST (#385770) #
They'll probably hover around 60-70% of the luxury tax threshold most of the time, with brief spikes to 80% during periods of on-field excellence.
Michael - Friday, February 14 2020 @ 01:16 AM EST (#385800) #
The exposing self inside a SUV could be a pretty wide range of things. In the more innocent side it could be changing clothes when he thought he was hidden or something similar. The much less innocent side could be intentionally exposing himself to people like a flasher.

The reporting suggests a misdemeanor which likely would not be career ending (I.e., not a felony) - although if he ends up needing to register on a sex offender type list it may well make border crossings challenging.
uglyone - Friday, February 14 2020 @ 04:22 PM EST (#385819) #
Apparently he was just having a private moment with a mobile video.
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