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When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
   --- Hunter S. Thompson

Well yeah. Everything is very weird indeed, and it's going to stay weird for the foreseeable future.

I'm not particularly optimistic that teams will report to spring training next February as in years past, and they'll start playing games in stadiums full of people by the beginning of April. I just don't see it happening. I think there's roughly as good a chance that the republic to the south will have fractured into three or four separate entities by then (don't you think Texas will want to go solo? I do.).

These are strange and disturbing times we live in, and  two months of baseball really doesn't tell us much about anything.

But we persist, do we not?

The grades, as always, are extracted from somewhere in the vicinity of my nether regions. There is not, there never has been, there never will be, anything even remotely scientific about it. They mean something like this, more or less:
A - Outstanding (in the Awards discussion)
B - Good (maybe even an All-Star, who knows)
C - Average (generic regular)
D - Below Average (replacement level, bench part, something like that)
E - Fail (probably belongs in the minors)
F - Epic Fail (this man needs to make a new career choice)

The cutoff, as is my custom, was 50 plate appearances for the hitters and either 10 appearances or 20 IP for the pitchers. So I have nothing to say about Brandon Drury, Reese McGuire, Derek Fisher, Jonathan Davis, Alejandro Kirk, Nate Pearson, Ross Stripling, Julian Merryweather, T.J. Zeuch, Sean Reid-Foley, Patrick Murphy, etc. etc. etc. With the exceptions of Drury and McGuire, I think all of those players showed us something worth having in their brief time on the diamond. I still don't think Davis can hit enough to even be a fourth outfielder, however much I wish I was wrong about that.  I'm damn sure Derek Fisher will never be anything but a DH, and it will have to be for someone else. But that's more or less what I believed about them a year ago. These samples were too small for even myself to contemplate, and seeing as how no one walking the earth values the small sample more than me, they must be too small for the rest of you as well.

First the management:

B   Charlie Montoyo
The Jays played .533 ball in this fragment of a season, which would work out to 86-76 over a full campaign. Seeing as how they lost 95 games just one year ago, this leap forward is going to earn Charlie Montoyo some Manager of the Year votes. Not mine (Rick Renteria, by a hair over Kevin Cash), and certainly not enough to win, but some. At this point, we can see that Montoyo has helped build a very positive team culture. He's got a team that likes to play together and plays hard. It matters. They don't always play particularly smart, but that's the nature of young players and this was as young a group as the Jays have put on the field since their Expansion Days. And young players will make mistakes. You just have to live with it, and help them learn from them. As to what type of game manager Montoyo is or will be, it's still hard to say. This was just his second year as a major league manager. It was the first time he'd had a decent team to work with, and the season itself was so weird that he was probably doing a lot of things he wouldn't do in a normal season, particularly with his pitchers. The team stole more bases than the average AL team, but only Oakland had fewer guys get caught stealing. Only one team in the league laid down more sac bunts - but all but one of the sac bunts came from his two catchers, neither of whom was able to crack the Mendoza Line. Everybody bunts with the guys who can't actually hit. Mark Belanger led the AL in sac bunts twice while playing for Earl Freaking Weaver, and Belanger was never as bad with the bat as Jansen and McGuire were this year. What else? Well, Montoyo used about an average number of pinch-hitters - unfortunately, his pinch-hitters were just dreadful. Teoscar went 2-3, the rest of them went 2-27. Montoyo does like to get his whole roster involved, and maybe that does pay off when you run into injuries. As you will. It's nice if the guys on the bench haven't been overcome by rust.

B+   Ross Atkins
He's taken an awful lot of abuse, hasn't he? Maybe a little respect wouldn't be completely out of line. It took Atkins four long years to completely dismantle the team he inherited and replace it with a new one. This was mainly because he took his sweet bloody time getting around to it, of course, far longer than may have been advisable. But he did inherit a first place team. It was a pretty old first place team, but it's hard to just throw those things on the woodpile. Even heading into 2019, Smoak, Stroman, and Pillar were still in the lineup from the 2015 group. They're all gone now though, and in his fifth year on the job Atkins' team -and it's definitely his team now -  is going to the post-season. Hey, that's quicker than Gillick or Anthopoulos were able to manage and we need not speak of Ash or Ricciardi. (Technically, of course, Atkins went to the post-season with his very first Toronto team, but that was the group he inherited from Anthopoulos. We're not going to count that.) Someone needs to give him his due, and I'm willing. His team is incredibly young, they're already pretty good, and there's more young talent in the pipeline. Atkins (and Shapiro) have always emphasized that they want to build something sustainable -  a contender with a longer shelf life than the 2015 gang, as much fun as they were. It's baseball, and youneverknow, but good times might be coming. It's now conceivable. You can begin to see how it would happen.

And the players:

A   Hyun-Jin Ryu
I think it took some guts for Atkins to invest $80 million dollars for the age 33-36 years of a guy who'd lost two and a half of the previous five seasons to injury. And moreover was someone who'd made his bones pitching in Dodger Stadium, a place where all sorts of career ne'er-do-wells had been able to do convincing imitations of legitimate major league pitchers. So let's right now acknowledge that Bauxites scottt, Mike Green, Shoeless Joe and SK in NJ all said, well before it happened, that going after Ryu would be an excellent idea and that it would be worth the probable overpay that would be required. So far, so good, fellas because Ryu's first year couldn't have gone much better. He never got blown out - he was able to keep his team in the game even on those rare occasions when he didn't pitch all that well. And man, absolutely nothing fazed him. Errors? Bad calls? Random misfortune? Water off a duck's back. He just kept pitching. I need to get five outs this inning? No big deal. I'll get the five outs. Right up until his unfortunate start against the Rays in the playoffs. C'est la guerre.

A   Rafael Dolis
This past off-season, Atkins brought in four RH relievers in their early 30s to replenish his bullpen. He hit on three of them. One of them (Yamaguchi) was a stinker, true - but two of them (Bass and Cole) were just fine and one of them - Dolis - was really good. Dolis was really good despite walking loads of guys, which is a neat trick. He gets away with it because he's very stingy with the hits and he gave up just one home run. He's always been able to keep the ball in the yard, wherever he's pitched. He walked and struck out far more batters in the AL than he ever did in Japan, but the ball always stays in the park, wherever he's working. And just to put a cherry on top - he inherited 14 baserunners and allowed just two of them to score, which is pretty impressive. Plus, he looks almost as relaxed out there as my old hero Tony Castillo. The Jays have a $1.5 million team option for next year, and exercising it is surely a no-brainer.

A-   Teoscar Hernandez
Atkins got him in exchange for two months of Francisco Liriano at the deadline in 2017 and that's starting to look like a fairly decent transaction. Yeah, some of it was done with mirrors. A BABiP of .348 simply isn't likely to repeat itself. But the power was always for real. Besides, the fact that the goodness was done at all is a always a certifiably swell thing. It helped the ball club, you get points for that. Teoscar has made a little progress reducing his strikeouts. That absolutely needed to happen, it was non-negotiable - the strikeouts have always threatened to simply swallow up his offense. A little more progress in that area would be welcome indeed. He's still not a good outfielder, but he seemed to do less damage in RF than he did left or centre and it does put his fine arm to better use. Arbitration eligible this winter. I imagine he's about to become a millionaire.

A-   Ryan Borucki
Borucki showed a lot of promise as a starter back in 2018, but since turning pro he's lost almost all of three entire seasons (2013, 2015, 2019) to injury. It's the kind of thing that makes me suspect that his arm simply isn't up to the demands of being a starting pitcher. So it's nice that he was so good at the job they gave him instead.

A-   Tom Hatch
Hatch was acquired for two months of David Phelps and cash at the deadline last year. That's also pretty nice work if you ask me. He's always been a starter - this was basically the first time he'd ever worked out of a bullpen - and at some point I think we're going to have to find out if he's a major league starter.

A-   Jordan Romano
That was really impressive. It was just 14.2 IP, but it was really impressive.

B+   Bo Bichette
It made pretty obvious sense to get Bichette out of the leadoff spot. He walks about as often as  Damaso Garcia did, and while we all loved Damo he was no one's idea of a leadoff hitter. (Well, no one except his Hall of Fame manager. Go figure.) These guys aren't really the ones who are going to start the rally for you. However, and unlike Damaso, young Bo hits with real power. Bichette has now played 75 MLB games. He's hit 27 doubles, 16 HRs, and drawn 19 walks. He doesn't start the trouble. He finishes the trouble. It's kind of a law - guys who hit more doubles than draw walks ought to be batting with people already on base.

B   Cavan Biggio
There are probably days when Biggio's the least talented athlete on the field, but he might be one of the smartest players ever to wear the uniform, him and Vernon and Robbie. He just knows how to do everything. Which is how he's able to extract every drop of potential value out of the talent he does have. He knows the difference between a ball and a strike. He knows how to play whatever position you put him at, and he's now started games at no less than six different positions. He knows when he can take an extra base, when he can't, and when he shouldn't. (He made just one out on the bases, and it was at home so I'm blaming Luis Rivera for the send.) He's now got a full season's worth of games in and he still hasn't been caught stealing (he's 20 for 20.) He's a baseball player. He also seems to have emerged as a team leader, the guy all the other young guys (and some of the older ones, remarkably enough) look to.

B   Lourdes Gurriel
He's a fun player. I thought his work in left field, which wasn't really a problem anyway, improved this season. He's still got less than 200 professional games in the outfield. He plays hard and it was good to see him make it through even this little season without hurting himself (he appeared in 57 of 60 games!) As a hitter, he'll have these long stretches when you're no longer positive he should even be in the lineup. You must ignore that thought. He's in the lineup because sooner or later he's going to have one of those streaks when you simply can't get him out. And they're going to go on for a while. You have to wait for them, because they're really worth waiting for. There was the month in 2018 when he hit .423/.438/.648, and there was the month in 2019 when he hit .337/.381/.683 with 10 - ten - homers. And just this past month, it was .368/.394/.653 - and none of this fully captures just how hot he gets because no one actually turns it on at the beginning of the month and off at the end. You can't build your offense around a guy this streaky, but you sure want him contributing. Signed for three more years for a total of $13.4 million, which has a chance to be one hell of a bargain.

B   Rowdy Tellez
I was exceedingly hard on the Rowdy one this time last year, and I challenged him to prove me wrong. And by gosh, he was beginning to do that very thing - he came out of August hitting .244/.308/.512 which is decent enough. But he was also just beginning to embark on what is now his traditional September hot streak (.387/.444/.613) - when, alas, a knee injury put him on the shelf for the rest of the regular season. But I certainly feel better about him now than I did a year ago.

B   Tajuan Walker
He couldn't survive having Derek Fisher play the outfield behind him - but who can survive that, anyway? He's a free agent and I imagine there will be plenty of interest over the winter. But he's also a guy who was able to pitch just 13 IP in 2018 and 1 IP in 2019, which may temper the general enthusiasm. I do like him - he did a good job on the mound, he really competes out there, and seemed to fit in quite nicely. I'd certainly be kicking the tires.

B   Anthony Bass
Picked up off the scrap heap (a waiver claim, to be precise) last October and did a solid job. He doesn't blow anyone away, but he doesn't beat himself either. Bass stranded all 8 baserunners that he inherited, which is interesting because he didn't pitch particularly well with runners on base in general (.323/.417/.516) or with runners in scoring position in particular (.292/.393/.500) -  A.J. Cole was much more effective in those situations. But it was Cole who allowed 7 of 17 inherited runners to score. Bass is a free agent this winter and he needs to get paid, seeing as how he turns 33 this winter and he hasn't made a whole lot of money from baseball so far (relatively speaking, of course!).

B   A.J. Cole 
His work was very, very similar to what Bass gave the Jays. I didn't think Cole wasn't quite as good as Bass, but  he was pretty close. And he was a little bit luckier. Neither Bass nor Cole strike out as many hitters as your typical modern reliever but they're both stingy with the hits, walks, and home runs. Arbitration eligible this winter.

B-   Randal Grichuk
As everyone knows, the Jays lost a lot of people on the bases, and we all have vivid memories of some boneheaded basepath manoeuvers. Remarkably, for such a young bunch, the 2020 Jays were the AL team that was least likely to take an extra base - I thought young players were generally, you know, aggressive? More than a third of the Jays outs on the bases came at home plate (which is normal) and that's almost always a decision made by the third base coach. (Which I think lets Lourdes Gurriel, team leader with five outs on the bases but three of them at home, off the hook.)  Randal Grichuk, of all people, was the Blue Jay who was most likely to take an extra base. Grichuk certainly doesn't cover as much ground as you'd want from a centre fielder. On the other hand, he generally catches what he gets to and he doesn't make a whole lot of mistakes.  These are not traits shared by the rest of the team's outfielders. At the plate - well, he said back in 2019 that he was trying to reduce his strikeouts. He's made pretty impressive progress. He struck out in just 21.2% of his PApps this season. He'd never been below 26% before and back when he was a young Cardinal he'd been up over 30%. He was presumably adjusting his approach when he had two strikes on him. Now as it happened he hit just 2 of his 12 HRs when he had two strikes. In the past, roughly 1 of every 3 of his HRs had come after he had two strikes against him. Ah-ha! He's reduced the Ks by giving up on the HRs. But here's the thing - Grichuk was still hitting HRs at exactly the same rate he always has - 1 every 18 PApps. So I guess he had to be getting them earlier in the count. What does it all mean? Why are you asking me? Maybe the best news of all for Grichuk was simply that his BABiP luck returned to normal (.299) after falling off quite a bit in in 2019.  He's signed for three more years, which takes him through his age 31 season (he's only one year older than Teoscar? Really?) and I still think he's got a 35-40 HR season in him. Why do I think that? Because he's a RH hitter, who started out in the National League (This is also known as Bautista-Encarnacion Syndrome.)

C   Vladimir Guerrero
I would really like to see Guerrero have a chance for a conventional season. This would begin with a normal off-season followed by a full spring training which he spends playing the position he's going to be playing when the games count. And I just don't know if  that's happening any time soon. He doesn't know how to play first base yet- why would he? - but I did think he was giving a good effort in the field. Which isn't all that surprising because he's one of those guys who just likes playing baseball (not all of them do, folks.) He definitely needs to learn how to manage his body, and he needs to learn how to play his new position. But I'm still way more optimistic about Vlad's chances of making something of himself than I ever was about Travis Snider. And my goodness, but he hits the ball hard.

C-   Matt Shoemaker
Another guy who couldn't keep the ball in the yard, but because he was able to keep the baserunners to a minimum he greatly mitigated the damage that was done. He hurt himself and missed some time because he's Matt Shoemaker, folks. That's what happens, that's what he does. He's a free agent this winter. Good guy, decent pitcher, but his last healthy season was in 2016.

D+   Robbie Ray
Obviously, it's impossible to succeed as a major league pitcher when you're issuing 9 BB per 9 IP, which is what Ray was doing in Arizona. In Toronto, he cut that to... 6.1 per 9 IP? Baby steps? But it's still almost impossible to succeed when you're walking that many guys. Ray was allowing as many Hits, HRs, and BBs per 9 IP as Yamaguchi, but somehow he escaped the same grim reckoning. The whole thing was baffling to me. That said, it was certainly good for the club that he did escape said reckoning (hence the higher grade), but I sure can't account for it. Ray's a free agent, he's only 28, he's generally been a solid major league starter. But I don't know that I'd want to be counting on him.

D+   Travis Shaw
After a truly disastrous 2019 season, Shaw bounced some of the way back to his 2018 self. This is better than not bouncing back at all. Was it merely the illusory, meaningless bounce of a dead cat? Wish I knew. His home run stroke was still largely absent - but in both of his 30 HR seasons he had two month periods where he hit just like he did these past two months. So who the hell knows, really? I thought he was a dependable enough glove at both positions. Shaw was the team's oldest position player (he turned 30 in April) and he was the only 30-year-old among the position players save for those few games when Caleb Joseph suited up. There were at least half a dozen pitchers older than Shaw, but none of the hitters. Arbitration eligible this winter.

D+   Anthony Kay
Gotta admit, he did more for the 2020 Jays than Stroman did for the 2020 Mets.

D   Danny Jansen
Style points don't exist in baseball and there's no getting around the fact that Jansen's results at the plate were grisly and awful to behold. Much of this was a matter of hitting in awesomely bad luck for a few weeks. But a few weeks is all this season amounted to. His BABiP was .190, which is almost impossible to do. He was walking twice as often, and I don't know if it's because his plate discipline has actually improved or if he'd come to believe it was the only way he'd ever get on base. His defense - never supposed to be the strong part of his game anyway - didn't do him any favours this time around, either.

D   Joe Panik
They can't all turn out like Eric Sogard, whose Toronto performance is looking more and more like a random and temporary fluke anyway. It took Panik a while to get his bat going at all, but at least he kept taking his walks so he was never a total black hole. Montoyo didn't bury him and he was a useful enough bench part when needed. Unfortunately for him, he finished his season going 1 for 17 and when the season's as short as this... it drops your BAVG from .252 to .225.  He'd never played a single major league inning at 3b or ss before 2020, and while he did start out at shortstop in the low minors he hadn't actually played the position since 2014. He managed to hang in there and not embarrass himself. He'll be a free agent again and he'll find a job somewhere. Maybe here, maybe not.

D   Santiago Espinal
Didn't look too out of place - he's your generic backup infielder - and he certainly looks younger than Urena, even if he isn't.

E  Jonathan Villar
He's definitely a better player than he showed in his brief time here. But he wasn't very good, with the bat or the glove and he also didn't seem to fit very well. He did manage to lead the team in stolen bases, which isn't too surprising.  Villar runs the bases just like Alfredo Griffin used to - he'll try anything -  which is very entertaining and loads of fun. I'm just not sure it's something you actually want if you're planning on being serious about, you know, winning the games. Villar, Biggio, and Teoscar combined to steal 19 bases and were caught just once (it was Teoscar.) If you are going to steal bases, that's how you go about it. Villar's a free agent this winter, and I'm sure he'll be playing somewhere next season. And I'm sure it will be somewhere else.

E   Chase Anderson
Anderson and Roark were supposed to provide a short-term bridge to the generation of young pitchers still working their way up through the system - Pearson, Murphy, Kay, Woods Richardson. I mean, I assume that was the plan. It wasn't a bad plan, it could have worked. It didn't work, though, because Anderson and Roark were both really bad. Anderson wasn't quite as bad as Roark, partially because he was able to throw more strikes and miss more bats, but mostly because he wasn't out there as often and wasn't given the opportunity  to hurt the team quite as much. He was still pretty bad, and the same concerns apply to both of them. They both gave up way too many hits and way too many of those hits went sailing over the fence. The Jays have a $9.5 million option on him for next season, and if you pick it up you kind of have to use him, don't you? Still, this was a weird season and maybe we shouldn't actually conclude anything about anyone on its basis.

E   Tanner Roark
Opposing batters hit .309/.386/.613 against Roark, and only Ryu faced more of them. All those home runs (14 in 57.2 IP) were the biggest problem, but the 23 BB and 60 Hits allowed meant there were generally people clogging the bases as the balls left the yard. There is simply no defense against the walk or the home run. Whether it was just a couple of bad months in a weird-for-everyone season or symptoms of Irreversible Decline - well, who knows? He's signed, sealed, and delivered for another year at $12 million, so let's hope it's the former.

E   Shun Yamaguchi
Weird. Some days - more days than not, actually - he looked just fine. And then he'd go out and throw a nice evening of batting practice for the other team. He did strand all 9 of the baserunners he inherited, best on the team. Unfortunately, he allowed so many of the batters he faced to run happily around the bases themselves....  He's under contract for another year at $3 million and change, so let's see if he figures out North America. He's been a good pitcher in the past, he should be able to figure it out. He'd better.

E   Jacob Waguespack
I like him, so it grieves me to point out that the AL batters liked him even more. And why wouldn't they? They were more or less hitting him at will (.346/.422/.474) this time around. It may have just been One of Those Things that can happen over 17.2 IP, because anything can happen over 17.2 IP. I hope so. He did increase his Ks and reduce the HRs allowed, if you're looking for something to like and you don't mind checking the underside of rocks and stuff like that.

F   Wilmer Font
Like Yamaguchi, he did a good job stranding other people's baserunners (Font allowed just 1 of 8 inherited runners to score.) Unfortunately, Font had a similar problem with all the people he put on base himself. The opposition hit .378/.447/.527 against him, which means he pretty much turned the entire American League into D.J. LeMahieu (.364/.421/.590), which is not what you want to see. Font was, finally, designated for assignment, and he chose to become a free agent. And thus ends our long national nightmare.

So, yeah. It was weird. But it was more fun than I expected.

Blue Jays Report Card | 180 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jonny German - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#391319) #
Thanks Magpie, an enjoyable read as always. Sadly I can't find any grades to quibble with.
rpriske - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#391321) #
I think a C is too harsh for Vladi and a B is way too forgiving of the bad job done by management but the rest looks solid.
Dave Till - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#391323) #
I look forward to this every year. Thanks as always.

Some comments (more to come later maybe if I think of them):

First off: I'm grateful that there actually was a 2020 season, even if abbreviated. I originally thought that it was a bad idea - teams were likely to be ravaged by COVID, players might fall seriously ill and even die. But it turns out that, once the players were in their standard athletic cocoon, they were safer than they would have been in their communities. (It's quite likely that many players will catch it over the winter, given that something like 1 in 130 Americans have it right now, and that's just the ones they've found.)

Also: I had no idea that Vernon was as smart as Biggio and Alomar. I'm not disagreeing - I just didn't know. I've always been a huge fan of his - he seems like a great guy, and it's not his fault that the Jays paid him all that money. What was he going to do, say no?

Looking at Danny Jansen's numbers, I'm thinking that pitchers have found a hole in his swing and he hasn't adjusted yet. Dante Bichette was preaching waiting longer on a pitch and then making contact rather than trying to pull it; he has more walks and a lower average, which suggests that he is trying this. The real solution is to let him hit more often against Tyler Glasnow.

I'm thinking that Vlad would have thrived in the late 1990s. Back then, umpires weren't calling strikes above the belt, and were compensating by calling a wider zone. Vlad has trouble elevating high pitches, and has no problem going and getting low and outside pitches. I don't know how he will turn out - it's still early; he's several months younger than Alejandro Kirk - but I noticed something in one of the postseason games that made me think even more highly of him. He went around on a backswing and clubbed Mike Zunino in the back of the head; without even hesitating, he immediately turned to Zunino and asked if he was okay. His family raised him right (though perhaps they feed him too much sometimes).

Regarding Bo and Teoscar: I've noticed for some time that players often go on huge hot streaks just before they hurt themselves. At first, I assumed that this is because we are Blue Jays fans and aren't allowed to have nice things. But I'm wondering whether it's because exceptional athletic performance often requires players to strain themselves to their very limits - and perhaps beyond.

I don't think Atkins and Shapiro get enough credit for building a bullpen every year. They seem to always find a bunch of guys to either shore up the pen or trade to a contender in August. They were virtually never forced to put some guy in who had an 8.19 ERA or something like that (except for Wilmer Font, who hadn't been all that bad last year). They had depth at a time when pitching depth was desperately needed. I'm confident that they can do it again - assuming that there is a 2021 season and that the U.S. isn't in a civil war or something like that.

The only grade I really disagree with in your list is Montoyo - I'd rate him higher. He could have easily groused about being kicked out of Toronto and not knowing where you were going to play until just before the season, and then being consigned to a minor league clubhouse. But Montoyo turned it into a positive. The team seemed to be a happy clubhouse even when they weren't winning. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

Okay, that's enough for now. :-)
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#391324) #
Worst hitless performances with RISP in a single playoff series

Dodgers: 1966 World Series 0-for-22
Rangers: 1999 ALDS 0-for-14
Cubs: 2017 NLCS 0-for-14
Blue Jays: 2020 AL Wild Card 0-for-13
scottt - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#391325) #
I think Borucki walked too many to get an A-.
Cut that up by half and I'm there.

scottt - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#391326) #
Biggio seems willing to play anywhere and probably doesn't care where he bats.

Wells was kept in centerfield long after he could no longer handle the position.
He was always batting 3rd even though he should have been hitting at the bottom of the lineup.
scottt - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#391327) #
Espinal vs Urena is interesting.
Urena has more power and is probably faster.
He's a switch hitter and a better defender.
Espinal might have that "baseball intellect" thing.
hypobole - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#391328) #
"I think a C is too harsh for Vladi and a B is way too forgiving of the bad job done by management"

Disagree vehemently with this take

Vlad showed some positive glimpses of the future but per uo's final stats:

DH Guerrero (21): 243pa, .282babip, .329obp, 115wrc+, 0.5war650

Need some serious rose coloured glasses to see this as being better than a C.

As for management, the pitching staff was a shambles last year. 5 of the top 7 (Bref) or top 8 (FG) pitchers this year were brought in. Ryu and Walker stabilized the rotation. Dolis, Bass and Cole the bullpen. B+ I agree with, others may think it's a bit high, but no way is it "bad". That just sounds like blind hate.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#391329) #
Wonderful job, Magpie. 

The only grade I substantially disagree about was Jansen.  I thought that he played good defence and certainly deserves his share of the credit for the pitching staff being a little better than expected.  Although he hit under the Mendoza line thanks to that horrific BABIP, he hit with enough power and drew enough walks to merit a C in my books.  Fangraphs has him at 0.4 WAR in 147 PAs which is consistent with that view.

I am extremely high on the club's everyday lineup in coming years.  I really like the 10 players that should be the core of the club very soon- they'll have to figure out whether Austin Martin is a third baseman or a centerfielder (my money is on the former).  I even like Jonathan Davis and Santiago Espinal in backup roles. 

It's no great mystery that the focus of the off-season will be on the pitching staff.
Thomas - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#391330) #
Excellent job, Magpie. Really fun read. And, I can quibble with a half-grade here or there, but there are no grades I have any significant disagreements with.

I'm with hypobole. The circumstances are weird and the adjustment period excusable, but the results on the field, offensively and defensively, were not great for Vlad Jr. When someone is a poor defensive first baseman, he needs to do more offensively than Vlad Jr. did. Hopefully Vlad Jr. will get there shortly, and improve his defense, but when you combine that with the poor baserunning, I don't think a C is way too harsh.

Nor do I think management did a bad job. Even though there were a couple of busts, namely Yamaguchi and Villar, I thought they did a good job at the trading deadline without sacrificing major prospects (there's a chance Williams hits, but Stripling also has several years of control, so I understand the thinking). The relief additions worked out well and I don't think anyone would have had AJ Cole or Dolis on their offseason radar in October 2019.

And they should get credit for a calculated gamble on Ryu that has paid clear dividends so far. It took them a little longer than it should have to give up on Drury and Fisher, but both of them seem to be out of the picture. While they were very aggressive with Kirk's promotion, they were proven right as he didn't look out of place against major league pitching. I don't see how that amounts to a "bad job."
John Northey - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#391331) #
To gain perspective on the team you need to adjust to a full season - 60 x 2.5 = 150 which is close enough for me. Lets see some adjusted stats to 150 games...
  • WAR: Biggio: 4.5; Hernandez 3.25; Gurriel 2.5; Bo 2 (bloody injuries); Jansen 1.25; Tellez 1.25; Vlad 1;
  • Pitchers: Ryu: 7.5; Dolis 2.75; Romano 2.75; Cole 2.5; Walker 2.25;
Interesting. Ryu's year would've been equivalent to #7 all time best year for the Jays, only Stieb (2 both got some Cy support but not much, voters were win/save addicts back then), Clemens (2 both Cy Youngs), Halladay (Cy), and Hentgen (Cy) had better. Jimmy Key's best was a 7.4 (2nd in Cy voting). So yeah, he was damn good.

For relief - Duane Ward (100+ IP in relief regularly) only did better than Dolis/Romano twice (92/93), Henke 3 times; Osuna's best is a 2.1

Hitters didn't do anything historic by Jay standards. Many have had 5+ WAR years. Takes a 6.9 to make the top 10. Still, can't complain. Bo played half the season (29 games) so you could adjust his to a 4 perhaps but still not a 'wow', just a 'sweet'.

So for 2021 yeah, this team is nice but not a championship team by any stretch. Lots to build on and build up. If I was GM I'd seriously consider trading Hernandez if a solid offer comes in but not make it a priority by any stretch. 2021 should be a year to try to solidify gains from this year and shake out some of the dead wood, figure out which kids are for real and which are not. As much as I loved watching Kirk play I'd put him in AAA as an everyday catcher to start. We have 2 1B/DH in Vlad/Tellez and 2 young catchers in Jansen/McGuire (yeah, McGuire isn't holding anyone back) plus a couple months down might gain an extra year of control which is not a bad thing. I expect a trade for another starter, some bullpen juggling (Romano/Dolis/Cole/Borucki are locks, Yamaguchi should be back as he is under contract, the rest can fight it out for 3 more slots with some going to AAA for starting experience) I expect more retreads to be signed in hopes of finding gold that can be traded mid-season again.

I expect a lot of the hitters to be shuffled, as while they did good this year they weren't great. Defense needs improving, some kids are close (hard to say how close with no minor league season). This will be an interesting offseason and spring.
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#391332) #

I like my war650 paces to see how they did, and i like to average both wars.

Hernandez 5.0fwar, 4.1bwar = 4.6avg*
Bichette 4.6fwar, 4.1bwar = 4.3avg*
Biggio 3.7fwar, 4.2bwar = 3.9avg*
Gurriel 3.5fwar, 2.9bwar = 3.2avg*
Tellez 2.1fwar, 2.6bwar = 2.3avg*
Jansen 1.8fwar, 2.2bwar = 2.0avg*
Guerrero 0.8fwar, 1.1bwar = 1.0avg*
Grichuk 1.7fwar, 0.3bwar = 1.0avg
Shaw 0.7fwar, 0.0bwar = 0.4avg
Panik 1.4fwar, -1.8bwar = -0.5avg

Sub-100pa samples:

Kirk 5.2fwar, 5.2bwar = 5.2avg*
Davis 1.9fwar, 5.7bwar = 3.8avg
Espinal 2.0fwar, 2.0bwar = 2.0avg

Fisher -0.2fwar, -1.1bwar = -0.7avg
Villar -2.5fwar, -2.5bwar = -2.5avg
McGuire -10.1.fwar, -7.2bwar = -8.7avg
Drury -6.6gwar, -13.3bwar = -9.9avg

tbh there's a good 8 guys (marked with asterisks) there that I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see put up 2.5+ war over a full season next year. and I'd be dissappointed if a majority of them didn't.
Parker - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#391334) #
Great writeup as always, Magpie. Incisive and entertaining. Thanks are in order.
Nigel - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#391335) #
I seem to say this often - thanks Magpie. I agree with Mike that the grade for Jansen is a bit harsh. I continue to see him as a long term solution at C with this team.

I still see Montoyo as a caretaker manager, for which he absolutely deserves the grade noted above.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#391336) #
I don't know if this is the ideal thread to talk about possible trading positions, but I'll bite on John Northey's suggestion that the club could consider trading Teoscar Hernandez.  If the club was going to try to improve its defence for 2021, trading Hernandez for a pitcher and signing Jackie Bradley Jr to play centerfield and moving Grichuk back to right-field would be a good way to do it.  Jonathan Davis would make a reasonable 4th outfielder in that situation.  Teoscar was one of the best hitters in baseball this year, and he has 3 arb years in front of him- the club should be able to get back a pretty good return if they move in that direction. 

Defensively, JBJ ended up tied with Luis Robert for the lead in Statcast's OAA for 2020 at +6 runs.  He's +17 for 2017-20 according to DRS and +13 according to UZR.  For comparison, Grichuk in centerfield is -8 for 2017-20 according to DRS and -5 according to UZR.  He's -5 in rightfield for the same period according to DRS and +5 according to UZR.  I think that if you just stick him in right-field and leave him there, he'll be a good defender for a few years. 
Glevin - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#391337) #
"I don't know if this is the ideal thread to talk about possible trading positions, but I'll bite on John Northey's suggestion that the club could consider trading Teoscar Hernandez"

I'd be fine with that. I can see a trade to Cleveland being a natural fit. Teoscar for Plesac as a basis for a trade? Great work on the piece. Like others, I would grade slightly differently here and there but overall, very little to quibble with.

A couple of interesting issues from the short season.
1) We don't know how prospects advanced. I mean, Martin, SWR, Groshans, etc...might be close to major league ready.
2) Major league numbers are messed up because teams only played their own divisions. Just one example, Central pitchers almost all had inflated numbers because their division was the worst offensively and struck out the most.
Magpie - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#391338) #
Thanks, and it would be weird if there was no quibbling about the grades because - CONFESSION! - I spend next to no time on them. I'm in it for the wisecracks, and that's where the real thought and effort gets expended. I almost had Vlad ranked higher than Grichuk, who had a better year with the bat and played centre field at least as well as Vlad played first base.

But despite my lack of rigor in all of this, what does strike me is everyone seemed to be either pretty good or pretty bad. They're A's or Bs or Ds and Es. Not much in the mushy middle. I always think it's easier for a team to fix two or three bad things than to upgrade a whole bunch of average things.
bpoz - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#391339) #
Fantastic work Magpie. Thanks. Seems like you got everything right. However I thought Teoscar gained a lot of confidence in his defense in the 2nd half. To me he looked like he was even taking charge of his OF area.

I agree with John N about having a positive attitude and being thankful for what we received this year. Playoffs and progress.

UO's WAR 650 projections seem fine to me. Asking for 5 of the 8 to live up to this expectation seems ok. However 3 things (actually 4 that being injuries). 1) Bo seems to get hurt every year for maybe 1 month. 2) Did or did not Teoscar have a career year? He could repeat over a full year but probably not every year. 3) I am quite sure that this young core is still maturing. Vlad is getting "it". Kirk may have to be a patient grasshopper unless he has a lot of Olerud in him.

I defended Atkins last year because I thought he was being treated unfairly. He signed and traded for a lot of "junk?" players in the off season last year and brought in a lot of released players last year that proved why they were available for nothing.

He did have a 2 part plan for 2018 and also for 2019. In 2018 post trade deadline Jansen/McGuire played and Martin sat. Other young guys played. Somehow McKinney got his trial in 2018/19. 364 ABs with the Jays and did not do enough to make a believer of Atkins. A few others in both 2018/19 got their feet wet after the trade deadline (part 2).

No part 2 for 2020. Instead Atkins was a buyer. Successfully I think. So I sort of believe that he knows what he is doing or trying to do. He probably knew that the 2018 team would not be good enough. He was right. I think he knew that the 2019 team would probably be bad. Almost being "no hit" by Detroit (I think) to start the season was a hint that went over my head.

Chuck - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#391340) #
I'm in it for the wisecracks, and that's where the real thought and effort gets expended.

"Tim Laudner: Rhymes with Podner." -- Bill James, 1985

bpoz - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#391341) #
For a Teoscar trade do we get someone as good as Clevenger. 1 for 1. Both should/could make the same money next year and also have equal years of control?

If it is Z Plesac he too is good (Clevinger is better IMO) and he has more years of control than Teoscar. So 1 for 1?

JBJ as a FA is only money. Short term I expect. He will not block anyone.
Nigel - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#391342) #
Magpie - you're bang on. This team was far closer to a stars and scrubs team than the oatmeal gruel of the past few seasons. I do think its easier to find marginal upgrades in the circumstances.
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#391343) #
could be the much smaller sample short season excaberated the seeming stars/scrubs split, which might just be more of a hot/cold split.
Parker - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#391344) #
could be the much smaller sample short season excaberated the seeming stars/scrubs split, which might just be more of a hot/cold split.

Could be.

Mike Green - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#391345) #
The stars and scrubs is a bit of an oversimplification.  The bar for "star" in the bullpen is much easier to clear, and unfortunately of less value. 

The club had one player of no-doubt All-Star value- Ryu.  They had one borderline All-Star- Teoscar.  And they had two player who were very good and just short of that- Biggio and Gurriel Jr.  They then had a bunch of players in the mushy middle when it came to value- Bichette (due to injury), Grichuk, Tellez, Guerrero Jr.  and a whole stack of relievers.  The difference is that there is good reason to believe that a couple of the young position players in the mushy middle will improve. 

They definitely had some scrubs in the rotation!
John Northey - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#391347) #
Stars and scrubs is always my favorite way for a team to go - you can replace scrubs easily, stars can be hard. The kids are good, with many having potential to be great. Agreed on your method being better Uglyone, I just wanted a quick and dirty way to get an idea and avoid going overboard on guys. We are all too closely invested in the Jays to be objective. The ratings here by Magpie are fantastic - hard to quibble much with them. Although I wouldn't be surprised if Montoyo gets a Manger of the Year award this year.

I have used sOPS+ (via BR which is OPS+ vs others at the same position) as an easy way to see how the Jays are doing on offense vs the league (as we need to beat those other teams). So where did the Jays end vs AL teams (as the NL is a who cares siutation)?
  • CA: 12th: 78 sOPS+, KC, White Sox, Red Sox lead by a mile (140+), McGuire dragged it down big time (-38), Jansen was a 93, Kirk 205. So with Jansen/Kirk in 2021 the Jays would be much better, around 5th/6th with Seattle (102) & Oakland (103)
  • 1B: 5th 107: Vlad dragged this down with a 91. Tellez 123, Shaw 151 (huh, who knew? 994 OPS when playing 1B)
  • 2B: 6th 110, Villar's 28 dragged it down a fair amount. Biggio 117, and surprise! Panik 146 , Drury 165 (12 PA)
  • 3B: 15th (last) 67, Drury -41 (!), Panik 50, Shaw 88 (711 OPS when at 3B), Biggio 106 (guess I see why he was put there so much later in the season). Espinal was 0-2 there.
  • SS: 9th 89: Bo at 124, then the crap Espinal 79, Villar 43, Panik 41, Drury 0-3. Bo's 124 would've been 2nd best on its own.
  • LF: #1 (!) 138: Gurriel's 138, Alford & Davis sucked (97, 60), Biggio, Fisher, McKinney all hit well in LF (169 and up) in limited time (16 PA, plus 19 for Davis & Alford).
  • CF: 2nd 135: Hernandez loves to be in CF (297 in 26 PA), Davis too (149 in 11 PA), Grichuk had a good year (124), Biggio didn't enjoy it (62), and Alford sucked (-21)
  • RF: 3rd 119: Hernandez just a 108 here, Davis 131, Biggio 151 (might explain why the manager kept putting him out there), McKinney 1-1, then there is Fisher (95).
  • DH: 3rd 119: 14 players here, Tellez 160 (950 OPS vs 885 at 1B), Vlad 142 (878 OPS vs 752 at 1B) - so much for the 'kids can't handle DH, they need to be in the game to play well' that you hear broadcasters say at times.
Not bad, we can quickly see removing Drury will help in 2021, and McGuire should have a smaller percentage of PA behind the plate baring injuries. Biggest issues were 3B (Drury leaving fixes it big time and if Biggio is left there it might be league average or better); CA (less McGuire, more Kirk solves this); SS (Bo please stay healthy).
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#391348) #
Excellent work Magpie, I would probably bump up some of the young hitters a half grade as I think they all mostly improved their plate discipline.

I also think Robbie Ray should be bumped up a bit based on his performance solely as a Jay, including 3 playoff innings, as that is what he was brought in to do. Ross Stripling would be a D- for me if he were ranked.

Overall this year for me the hitters improved and look like a solid core, but the pitching still needs a lot of work.
scottt - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#391349) #
Honestly, I'm still puzzled by the Stripling acquisition.
His FIP was down with the Jays, but not his ERA.
Was he just unlucky?

Paul D - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#391350) #
I've been a huge Stripling fan for years, and I'm glad the jays got him. Now, it's true that his numbers don't justify my like for him, but he's a guy who could put it together and be a solid number 2 starter for a couple of years.

I'll bet (something small) that he has a better year than Roark and Andersen next year, if given a chance to start.
Parker - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#391351) #
They then had a bunch of players in the mushy middle when it came to value- Bichette (due to injury), Grichuk, Tellez, Guerrero Jr. and a whole stack of relievers.

You should probably watch American Son.
John Northey - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#391354) #
The rotation should be interesting in 2021...
Lock (1): Ryu
Signed but not a lock anymore (2): Anderson, Roark
Has serious ML experience (2): Stripling, Thornton
Kids with ML time (7): Hatch, Zeuch, Merryweather (well, low experience - is 29 next season), Pearson, Kay, Murphy, Diaz
Used before but now probably pen pieces (4): Borucki, Pannone (still in system not 40 man), Reid-Foley, Waguespack
Minor leaguers so far (4): Simeon Woods Richardson, Eric Pardinho, Josh Winckowski, Joey Murray
Free Agents (3): Shoemaker, Walker, Ray

For minor leaguers I limited it to top 30 prospects who were in A+ in 2019 or higher as they would've been in AA this year thus fighting for a chance in 2021.

Phew. Lots to choose from, but just one who is guaranteed a rotation slot. 11 guys who probably all think they deserve a serious shot at starting in 2021, 4 who should be part of the Buffalo rotation next year, and 4 more who might be starting in Buffalo or relieving in the majors, or could start in the majors if needed.

If I had to pick today, I'd guess the Jays go with Ryu, Anderson, Roark, Stripling, Pearson. However, I expect to see the Jays buy out Anderson's option ($500k vs $9.5 mil given his 7.22 ERA this year (ugh), allowing at least 1 run in all but 1 game (2 innings) never lasting more than 5 and only doing 5 twice. 4 of his last 5 were bad to terrible (3+ runs allowed, max of 4 innings, 4 of the 5 were under 3 innings). Roark I figure they will try to trade even if they need to eat his $12 mil salary (4+ innings in all but 1 start, and that is the best thing I can say about him). Then use any savings to help pay for Walker to stick around or to get another quality starter. Wonder if the Dodgers would be interested in trading David Price - they have an insanely deep starting rotation and he makes $16 mil from them each of the next 2 years (Boston pays the rest). Hmmm....
Nigel - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#391355) #
Fair enough - stars and scrubs probably isn't the best descriptor. Call it an obvious needs/obvious solutions roster. I think the needs are crystal clear on this roster (CF, 3B and at least 2 starters). There are also obvious solutions even if they aren't stars. For example, I cannot image the Jays shopping for any of a C, 1B or DH. Whether any of Jansen, Kirk, Vladdy or Tellez are stars, it makes sense to ride those horses next year.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#391356) #
The off-season rotation goal for me is to get a playoff starter. Ideas that I like:

- Signing Trevor Bauer

-Trading for a high level arbitration eligible pitcher a small market team might not want to pay, such as Frankie Montas or Taylor Glasnow.

-Trading for Zac Gallen, he perfectly fits the mold of the pitcher this front office covers, and the Diamondbacks are in fire sale. Either pay premium prospects or take on Bumgarner and give up fewer prospects.

-Swapping Roark for Price is a dead money swap which gives us a bridge to our better prospects and lowers the Dodgers Tax Bill.
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#391357) #
Having Price as a key member of the next true contender jays would be...sweetly ironic.

And no doubt its a clever sensible swap there.
hypobole - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#391358) #
White Sox on their 6th pitcher and it's still the 4th inning.
Magpie - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#391359) #
Bichette isn't really a mushy middle quality player, though. And, to my surprise, Grichuk and Tellez showed enough improvement to suggest that going forward they might not be either. To my surprise because I regarded Grichuk as pretty much the Mushy Middle Poster Boy, and I didn't think Tellez wasn't even as good as that. Vlad's still there, but he's still just 21...

Next year's rotation. Well, Ryu for sure. I assume that you have to see if Roark, Stripling, and Pearson can get it done. At some point, some of these young arms have to begin to push their way into the mix. I would guess that the most likely candidates next year would be Kay or Hatch. But Roark might be toast, the AL may not agree with Stripling, Pearson may not be ready for the load. So I expect they'll be looking at free agents as well, because I wouldn't want to be counting on any of those options for six months. I suppose that starts by kicking the tires on Walker and Shoemaker. Who else will be out there?
Mike Green - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#391360) #
Right, Nigel. 

The pitchers currently on the 2021 club who I want to see in a starting role behind Ryu are Thomas Hatch and Anthony Kay.   It looks to me like Nate Pearson is headed for a different role, perhaps a 2 inning Andrew Miller-type high leverage one.  There's quite a bit of value in that. 
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#391361) #
Gotta disagree there Mike.

Kay and Hatch look absolutely destined for a future in the 'pen to me, while Nate is an SP as long as he can stay healthy.
Cynicalguy - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#391362) #
If the Jays decline the option on Anderson, they would have about $54 million for guaranteed salaries. Add in the arb players and non-arb players, that brings the payroll to about $70 million. This year's payroll was about $118 million (for 162 games). So the Jays have about minimum $50 million to spend on free agents. They should spend that on pitching mostly and maybe one impact bat, and some bench pieces who are plus defenders with speed.

scottt - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#391363) #
Kay could work because he can handle right handed bats.
I'm not sure about Hatch. The fastball is good enough. He needs to work off that instead of throwing his other pitches for no reasons. Certainly, the potential is there.

uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#391364) #
Add stroman, price, Donaldson, and osuna.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#391365) #
I agree that Nate Pearson would be an obvious choice if you felt that he's got a good shot to throw at least 150 innings. I don't.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#391366) #
I like Hatch, Merryweather, Kay, Murphy and Zeuch as the AAA rotation pushing for major league jobs, but not as plan A.

I would keep Borucki, Reid-Foley and Romano in the bullpen with the big league club. A.J Cole, Dolis and Yamaguchi make it at least 6 controllable options at the ML level.

Anderson and Roark won’t be back in my opinion, as they won’t pickup the option on Anderson and Roark made too many negative comments to go along with being horrible.

The baseline rotation will be Ryu, Pearson, Stripling and Thorton. They will absolutely need to get at least one more major league option and ideally two, with Thorton getting pushed back into the bullpen.
Nigel - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#391367) #
I honestly haven't seen anything from Thornton to believe that he is anything other than a high leverage reliever in waiting. They've got a big (relatively speaking) investment in Roark and Stripling and this FO's history suggests that that will buy those guys some time in the mix next year. I think the starting rotation to start the year is likely Ryu, Pearson, Stripling, Roark and free agent X.
Thomas - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#391369) #
My inclination is the Jays will pick up Anderson's option, although I am not certain about it by any means.

His 2020 option needed to be picked up by November 4, 2019. I don't know when they need to decide whether his 2021 option is picked up, since I couldn't find that information in a quick search. However, assuming it's about the same time, I suspect the Jays will err on the risk-adverse approach and pick up the option, rather than rely on filling that rotation spot in free agency or with internal options.

It may be different if they feel positively about their odds of resigning Walker, but I think relying on free agency as the solution may be something they want to avoid.

The other variable is what impact COVID has on the free agent market below the superstar level (I don't expect it will influence the market for Bauer, etc... significantly). The Jays may have a sense free agents of Anderson's ilk will take a hit and maybe they can try to resign him for 70% of the option. However, the Roark contract is a demonstration of the market value (in both dollars and term) that a 4th starter may receive. Roark was worth 2 WAR in 2019, compared to Anderson at 1.8.

Also, I'm sure the Jays will assessing to what impact 2020 may have been a blip on each of their resumes and to what extent, if any, it's an indication of decline.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#391370) #
Sign Trevor Bauer or Drew Smyly as well as more arms. Spend most of your money on top arms.

Trade Grichuk with premium prospect for starting pitcher rather than Teoscar.

2021 Blue Jays

1. Bauer
2. Traded for pitcher here
3. Ryu
4. Pearson
5. Roark/Stripling/Shoemaker (these guys are 5th starter, long man and cover for injury depth)

Keep SWR, Manoah and Groans in the minors all year the way the Rays do with top prospects.

Promote Austin Martin as exception.

Trade From: Kirk, Jansen, Martinez, Moreno, Kloffenstein, Tellez, Grichuk. Besides Grichuk I wouldn't want to trade any of these guys but you gotta give to get.

More aggressive scenarios for premium pitching: trade Lourdes or Teoscar for Clevinger type.

Sign Andrelton Simmons and Hechevarria to shore up defense and put Martin in the outfield.

2B Bichette
1B Biggio
LF Gurriel Jr
RF Hernandez
DH Guerrero Jr
SS Simmons
CF Martin
C Jansen/Kirk
3B Hechevarria

dalimon5 - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#391371) #
Nigel - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#391372) #
The problem with trading Grichuk is that his contract makes him a liability. You'd have to add something (your mileage may vary as to how big that something is) to get some team to take him off your hands. Grichuk isn't going to help you find pitching. Now, offloading his contract may well be an idea if they want to take on substantial money elsewhere.
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#391376) #
3x10 for an above average hitting 29yr old that can field CF and is above average in RF isn't a liability imo.
scottt - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#391377) #
Not going to trade good prospects to save money.

They probably need to offload McGuire though.
4 catchers on the 40 roster is a bit much.

Surprisingly, Pearson will start 2021 as a top prospect.
Martin and Groshans will be interesting to watch.
Woods Richardson could get a late call up.

Meanwhile Josh Winckowski should be added to the roster even though he was not in the player pool.
Joey Murray was, but he probably doesn't get added until late next year.

Yeah, it's hard to know where prospects are at right now.
Need to see if Luciano progresses.

Shoeless Joe - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#391378) #
Speaking of prospects Adam Kloffenstein finished strong in Indy ball. At basically AAA quality competition he was hitting 98 and ended with a 4.64 era.
uglyone - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#391379) #
Nice. I'm a big kloff fan.
John Northey - Thursday, October 01 2020 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#391380) #
Right now the Jays don't have ugly contracts - Grichuk isn't ugly, he is a 1-2 WAR player right now which is worth about $9-18 mil a year - easily fits his contract. Not a ton of extra value, but a perfectly fine 'meh' player. Roark is a waste of money right now, but was a $15+ mil a year player before this season. So the Jays need to decide with him if his negative value this year is what to expect going forward and if so will someone take him? Anderson is a more pressing concern as his option is due soon and he was a $9+ mil a year player at times before this negative value year. That is the tough one. Everyone else other than Ryu is cheap still and Ryu was easily worth his $20 mil.

So for 2021 the Jays should be looking to take contracts off other teams hands who are broke or tight (Dodgers in high luxury tax zone with David Price making $16 mil from the Dodgers after taking 2020 off and they have 5 starters who all had 120+ ERA+'s this year and more in the pipeline, not to mention the luxury tax which they were over this year but could be under next with work). Other big deals out there that might have teams with buyers remorse should be checked into by the Jays - Nolan Arenado at 3B for the Rockies is interesting as they sucked and he sucked this year (84 OPS+ career 120 just entering age 30 season) owed $199 mil over the next 6 years - bet they want to get rid of that badly right now, he could opt out after 2021 but I can't see it. Smaller market which probably was hit hard by COVID and the team sucked which will kill revenue next year as well. Probably not, but fun to think about. Other big contracts are guys like Stephen Strasburg who sucked in his 2 starts this year but won't be traded. Justin Verlander who had just 1 game this year (Tommy John), Zack Greinke who had a meh year for Houston ($35 mil next year, $25 paid by Houston) but I don't see them dumping right now.

Strange - fewer big dumps than I expected out there - guess teams are getting smarter about deals. So Price & Arenado are the big 2 I see that could be available. Price obviously the better risk/deal. But Arenado is a potential MVP if returned to form. Should be an interesting winter.
cascando - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#391381) #
I think the decision on Anderson is fairly easy. There should be plenty of players of that caliber available for much less than $9 million next year. Walker, for one.

I have never been much of a Grichuk fan, but unless there is someone else that can push him out of a spot, they should keep him. Ideally he'll play RF again next year. His bat is not great for a corner OF, but that doesn't justify pushing him into a defensive position he can't really handle. Agree that he has basically no trade value, so they might as well keep him until something better comes along.

At the end of last season, I thought the Jays had basically zero MLB-quality SP (although plenty of depth and guys who might be good enough some day.) At the end of this season, I think they have one (a very good one), and some of the depth is a bit closer. Hopefully Pearson can stay healthy. Hopefully Roark or Stripling can bounce back. Hopefully one of the SP in the Kay/Hatch/Zeuch/Murphy/Thornton tier can take another step. I'd be willing to give Ray and Walker another look. Regardless, they need another front-end SP to make next year interesting, I believe.

Nigel - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 01:31 AM EDT (#391382) #
In the last four years, Grichuk has put up 3.5 bWAR or 4.5 fWAR over almost 1800 ABs.
Jonny German - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 04:27 AM EDT (#391384) #
My ”realistic” offseason plan would look something like this:

1) A starting pitcher. I don’t know what’s realistic on the trade market, but among free agents Trevor Bauer would be ideal (if he sticks to his 1-year plan), Taijuan Walker would be good. Masahiro Tanaka would be good if the Jays are confident about his health. James Paxton or Drew Smyly would be reasonable gambles.

2) A third baseman. Brad Miller or Justin Turner would do nicely.

3) A bona fide backup shortstop. I’m guessing Andrelton Simmons and Jose Iglesias will land starting jobs, so maybe Freddy Galvis? Can he still pick it?

4) A bona fide backup centre fielder. Here I’d be willing to trust management if they say that Jonathan Davis and Josh Palacios are the answer. But they should be looking at all the possibilities, including ones that involve getting a starting CF and moving Grichuk (I’m in the group that thinks he has slightly negative trade value) or Hernandez (my asking price would be high).

5) A relief pitcher or two, the Cole/Dolis/Bass type rather than a premium guy. Can Ken Giles be signed to a 2-year contract where he’s not on the 40-man for the first year? I’d do that.

I would not pick up Anderson’s option. I would give Roark a chance to rebound rather than eating his contract before the season starts. I’d put Pearson in the starting rotation in tandem with Hatch or Kay, alternating 5-inning and 2-inning outings for about 110 IP for each of them on the season.
dalimon5 - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#391385) #
Of course no Anderson option for me.

Pearson, throw him to the wolves and let him air it out as a SP. If it doesn't work out then move him to BP. I've seen enough "white glove," treatment of these elite pitching talents arriving that does nothing to avoid injury or boost performance.

We saw Syndergaard, Sanchez, Chamberlain all get treated this way only to all never make the leap to SP or not stay healthy. I want a pitcher that can go 6+ innings a start or else what's the point? Look at how long the Braves kept Ian Anderson in the minors and he's routinely pitching deep into games. At least give the player a chance. If they can't handle it like Casey Mize this year then change plans and do piggy starts or bullpen.

Also, defensive back ups isn't a good solution, we need better defense in all innings. Bo is not the answer at short and our CF defense is laughable. Some guys like Jansen and Gabriel Jr can improve further, and that's a different story.
scottt - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#391386) #
The problem with the backup middle infielder is that the guy will mostly move Biggio from 2B because Bichette will start every day if healthy.

Davis and Palacios are probably fine as 4th outfielder. Is Grichuk the answer in center?

Dolis and Cole should still be there. You also got Romano, Merryweather, Borucki. Yamaguchi takes a spot.
Maybe Thornton. Murphy looks interesting. Bullpen looks OK.

Pearson is not going to start 30 games. Maybe they should go back to his starter/opener routine.

Defensive Runs Saved per fangraphs:
Trout -9
Grichuk -8
Jansen -4
Guerrero -4
Panik (3B) -3
Lourdes Gurriel Jr -3
Fisher (LF) -3
Hernandez (RF) -2
Bichette -1
Panik (SS) -1
Panik (2B) -1
Tellez -1
Biggio (RF) -1
Espinal 1
Hernandez (CF) 1
McGuire 1
Biggio (2B) 2
Davis 2
Shaw (1B) 2
Bradley jr 5
Springer 6
Kiermaier 10
Byron Buxton 11

scottt - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#391387) #
Bichette is fine. Lots of shortstop worse than him this year: Polanco, Rosario, Seager, Semien, Torres, Wendle, etc...
bpoz - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#391388) #
I agree that this off season will be interesting. I feel that Atkins actions/moves will convey more than his words.

I am very interested in Anderson's option. I would like to see a solid #3 SP. This means he has to stay healthy and produce like a #3. At least 150 IP if given the chance with an ERA of 4-4.5. Getting this from a veteran would be fine Roark, Stripling or Anderson, if on the team. A kid pitcher would be fine too Hatch, Kay and the other 10 kids. Even a new addition to the team like J Murray if he is added. He is not rule 5 eligible until after the 2021 season. Which makes him a good SP.
85bluejay - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#391389) #
With the decline in revenues this year and uncertainty about next year, I expect most teams (maybe including the corporate owned Jays) to have a budget cut for next year - I expect the FA market to move even slower than 2 years ago and I think the Jays will be slow playing the market - I expect the Jays to decline Chase Anderson and gamble they can sign him back for less if needed - I think the relationship with Roark is such that the Jays will attempt to move him maybe eating some money or taking back a bad contract - I want more LHB in the lineup - I like Marwin Gonzalez maybe on a 1 or 2 year contract (not getting LeMahieu) to hold 3B and move around.
bpoz - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#391390) #
Agreed about lower revenues. Very likely that stadiums will be empty next year.
Paul D - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#391391) #
What do we think the odds are that the Jays will be playing in Toronto next year? I'm not optimistic they open the season there.

I suppose the NBA and NHL will give us a clue. I expect the Raptors to spend next year as the New Jersey Raptors, and that the NHL may consider a Canadian division to start the year. Hopefully I'm wrong though.
hypobole - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#391392) #
Don't remember where I heard this, but the only thing certain about the future is that it's not going to be what we think it's going to be,
John Northey - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#391393) #
The stadium issue will be big again. If no vaccine is approved by March expect another year of Buffalo baseball. Politics will determine a lot, but in the end it is a vaccine that is the magic bullet everyone is waiting for. With one they can start opening stadiums to a limited degree (maybe 25% capacity). Without we have the Buffalo Blue Jays again and a big salary drop across the board. Anyone signed in the past 2 years to a multi-year deal will be available for peanuts.
bpoz - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#391394) #
Agreed John N.
Mike Green - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#391395) #
I'm not particularly optimistic that teams will report to spring training next February as in years past, and they'll start playing games in stadiums full of people by the beginning of April. I just don't see it happening. I think there's roughly as good a chance that the republic to the south will have fractured into three or four separate entities by then (don't you think Texas will want to go solo? I do.).

My "optimistic" view of the near future: The republic to the south stabilizes without separations or battles or anything of that sort.  The virus makes for a nasty winter in North America and elsewhere.  Many more people die.  By April 1, things are better and sufficiently safe that the ballplayers go for a training camp as they did this summer but this time it lasts 6-7 weeks, so that the pitchers are nicely stretched out.  By late May, it is safe to start the regular season with fans in stadiums- although with 30%-50% capacity to begin.

You don't want to know my pessimistic view of the near future.  Instead, carry on with talk about potential trades and free agent acquisition, or, if you prefer, bat flip comparisons. 
Kasi - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#391396) #
I have to agree with 85bluejay here. I don't see them getting someone like Bauer. One there will be more attractive teams giving the money he wants but there is uncertainty around baseball here in Canada with the covid crisis. All the barriers that exist for Toronto getting free agents are still there and likely magnified now.

What I'd like to see is:
1. Jays sign a number 3 starter type. Maybe they can get a number 2 through trade. I don't think there is many 1/2s available in FA this year. But get someone like Walker or someone else.
2. Get some sort of supersub for the infield. Especially someone who can play shortstop. I wouldn't mind moving Bichette to 2b and clearing out SS more of the time.
3. Do their usual bullpen thing and find another 1-2 gems.

On starting pitching they need someone to step up from the current big league graduated youngsters (Pearson, Borucki, Hatch, etc) and to get closer to bringing the next wave up. Add that to Ryu and a couple vets is about the best I think they can do.
Mike Green - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#391397) #
It would be cool if the Marlins and Padres won their series, setting up showdown East vs. West LCS in both the AL and NL.  It certainly appears that the Central division clubs were as a whole quite a bit weaker than their records suggested and the East and West clubs were a little better. 
dalimon5 - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#391398) #
There's a big drop off from Pearson to Hatch and Borucki.

uglyone - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#391399) #
Stroman, Price, Donaldson.
SK in NJ - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#391400) #
Picking up Anderson's option is a really bad idea. I don't think the Jays do that. There were going to be better ways to allocate $9.5 million in 2021 regardless of the Covid related drop in revenue. Once you factor that in, I don't see pitchers like Anderson getting half of that in free agency this winter. More likely if the Jays keep him around, they will decline the option and try to re-sign him cheaper.

I like the Roark/Price idea floated in this thread. Not sure the Dodgers would do that one for one, but if they wanted to shed $20 million off their payroll over the next two years and don't particularly care to have Price around, then maybe it's doable. No idea what to reasonably expect out of Price at age 35/36 after sitting out a full season, but if he's on the mound it's likely better than anything Roark could provide.

I think the Jays playing in Toronto in 2021 is very unlikely, which will make attracting free agents a lot harder as well. Trades will probably be the best way to bring the necessary (significant) changes the team needs. Free agency will still be good for depth pieces, with supply possibly exceeding demand due to the financial situation around the league/world, but if the team wants significant upgrades in the rotation or 3B, and not just placeholders, I feel like trading is the way it will happen. With the minor leagues looking at big changes next year and beyond, assuming they're even allowed to play, I think trading prospects makes more sense now than it ever has since this FO took over, especially since the Jays don't look far off from being very good.
hypobole - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#391401) #
Tatis does the Bautista
John Northey - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#391402) #
CF defense could improve the entire outfield - is Bradley Jr the solution? Stealing a player from Boston is always appealing. But he is a 2-3 WAR player entering his age 31 season who counts on his defense for a big portion of his value. That is a high risk for quick decline. A short term, 2-3 year deal could work but no way do you go further. 1-2 ideally. If draft picks are attached, screw it. I think a trade for a younger player is ideal - checking FanGraphs (has a nice filter by position) I can't find anyone who is better than Grichuk by enough to be worth getting who is potentially available.
Gerry - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#391403) #
Atkins spoke to the media today. He laid out the following roles for pitchers in 2021:

Will be starters in minors/majors:
-RHP Thomas Hatch
-RHP Julian Merryweather
-LHP Anthony Kay
-RHP Elvis Luciano

Will be relievers in minors/majors:
-LHP Ryan Borucki
-RHP Sean Reid-Foley
-RHP Patrick Murphy
-RHP Yennsy Diaz
-RHP Hector Perez
hypobole - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#391404) #
the Central division clubs were as a whole quite a bit weaker than their records suggested and the East and West clubs were a little better.

The Cubs, Reds and Brewers managed to score 3 runs in their 6 games combined.
Mike Green - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#391405) #
Thanks, Gerry.  Elvis Luciano may actually be the one prospect who benefited from the weird season.  He is 20 years old and has had some significant major league experience.  As a result of the cancellation of the minor league season, he was spared mileage on his arm at a young age while getting some development time in Rochester.  He can start in full season ball in 2021 (if they play it) and be on target to be in the major leagues again at age 23. 
Michael - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#391406) #
The playoffs are too small of a sample size to know for sure the central is weaker, but that is what you'd always assume based on historic record. I assumed it when we were talking about if the win on the last game of the season would have changed our opponents.
Shoeless Joe - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#391407) #
Thanks Gerry, that is pretty much the roles I had figured out for next with the exception being I might have given Murphy one more year as a starter.

I was taking a deeper dive into some of the underlying numbers of the pitching prospects to figure out where they need to improve. Hatch only threw his breaking ball for sticks just 33% of the time, he’ll need to bring that up to keep his walk numbers down.

Julian Merryweather just had fantastic numbers all around with very consistent release points, and threw strikes despite living on the edges. He threw 52.4% of his pitches in the zone against a league average of 49.9%, but also threw 48.1% of his pitches on the edge of the zone against a league average of just 39%. I will predict that he will be the breakthrough pitcher next season.
scottt - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#391408) #
Merryweather is out of option. He's not starting in the minors.
Luciano will definitively start in the minors.
Kay and Hatch could very well start in the minor and come up as needed.

Borucki is out of option and will be in the pen.
Reid-Foley, Murphy, Diaz and Perez still have options and will compete for spots and possibly ride the shuttle back and forth.

It's a given that Pearson is still a starter.
The rest of the rotation might depend on the length of the season.

scottt - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#391409) #
Hatch's slider was hit hard very often.
He only has 3 pitches.
He needs to throw like Happ. Lots of fastballs.

bpoz - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#391410) #
SD is using a bullpen pitching and leading 1-0 in the 6th inning.
krose - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#391411) #
Just a spitball here; starters for next year.
Majors: Ryu, Walker, Merryweather, Stripling, Pearson, Roark

AAA: Hatch, Kay, Murphy, Zeuch, SWR

AA: Manoa, Kloffenstein, Pardino, Luciano, J. Murray
krose - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#391412) #
In reality, the starting pitching roster will probably be quite different for 2021.
John Northey - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#391413) #
Krose - good guessing on rotations for 2021 - so much up in the air who knows what to expect. AAA/AA should both be pretty stacked though with all the kids. I wouldn't be shocked to see 2 or 3 kids used in a deal to get another #1 like Ryu here. If any are available. Looking at the top WAR guys I didn't see any who caught me as available other than Trevor Bauer - he wants to be on a 4 man rotation, I suspect the Jays want Ryu on a 5 man rotation and the rest as close as possible to that. Could that work?
Bauer - Ryu - #3 - #4
Bauer - #5 - Ryu - #3
Bauer - #4 - #5 - Ryu (extra day 4/5)
Bauer - #3 - #4 - #5 (#3 extra day)
Bauer - Ryu - #3 - #4 (Ryu extra day)
Repeat. Yep - I think that could work, plus with Ryu liking extra days off and the kids probably needing more time to recover as well it might be good. Now, would Bauer be willing to come here and would the Jays meet his price, and would the Jays be willing to do that rotation? If a draft pick is involved I'd expect the Jays to insist on a 3 year deal minimum while Bauer wants to go year to year. 3 years $120 mil it might take, but for the next 3 years the Jays have little pressure on the payroll (after that it gets dicey as the kids hit arbitration) so if they ever were to do that, this is the time.
krose - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#391414) #
Bauer would be great and sure would help line the quality of the rotation to the development of the position players without giving up 2 or 3 high end prospects.
hypobole - Friday, October 02 2020 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#391415) #
I think Murphy will probably be given the opportunity to be part of the Jays bullpen.
John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 12:38 AM EDT (#391417) #
Closer next year will be a battle too - Dolis (5 Sv, 1 BlSv, 7 hold) seemed to grab it at the end but Romano (2 Sv, 1 BlSv, 5 holds) certainly showed he could do it earlier. Bass could return and he had 7 Sv, 2 BlSv, 4 Holds. Others will be in consideration as the year goes along (Yamaguchi was a closer at times in Japan, Sean Reid-Foley I could see becoming a good one, I'm sure many others could do the job too. To start if everyone is healthy (big if) I'd expect Dolis closer, setup Romano/Borucki, the rest eating up the other innings. I also expect a few more guys to be signed just to provide depth (maybe more Japan retreads after Dolis, or more AAAA guys given a shot in camp to win a spot). Can't see the Jays chasing a 'real' closer this winter. Might resign Bass for a few mil. But doubt anyone will be paid more than $5 mil to pitch in the pen for the Jays.
scottt - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#391420) #
Thornton should be back at some point.
Also, what about Tim Mayza? Is he still in the Jays system or is he a free agent?

bpoz - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#391421) #
Atkins has been telling his goals for the off season. He wants 1 very good player. FAs Realmuto and Bauer definitely qualify. Because he had unexpected success at the trade deadline, I cannot dismiss this very high goal. FAs may not want to play in Canada or Buffalo, or other reasons. But that is Atkins problem.

I don't see that impact player coming from the farm. Pearson and Kirk qualify as impact players if healthy. But they are already on the team.

Taking on an expensive long contract is another way. Arenado qualifies. I don't know the financial details. This is a possibility.

bpoz - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#391422) #
Atkins also mentioned that finances will play a role for all teams. But differently among the various teams. He thought that a number of teams would trade prospects as a means of getting what they want.

I only see 3B as a vacant spot on the team. Another T Shaw? Not Drury. C Biggio can play 3B but then 2B is not impactful. He expects improvement from the young position players. Bo has only had 319 ML ABs so a full healthy season of experience will help him achieve his potential.
Chuck - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#391423) #
Taking on an expensive long contract is another way. Arenado qualifies. I don't know the financial details.

Arenado is owed 200M for the next 6 seasons, from age 30 to 35. In his 5 seasons from ages 24 to 28, he was about as consistent as could be imagined. He played almost every day averaging about 6.2 bWAR, varying little from season to season. His 2020, at age 29, would be prorated to about 4 bWAR.

Does his two-month 2020 represent the start of a decline? Is he due to decline based on age alone? Is there much (any?) surplus value to be had in his remaining contract (i.e., where he outperforms his paycheque)?

Arenado seems a decent bet to be worth his remaining contract, even if things get a little mushy at the end. But I have serious doubts that this specific organization would want to roll the dice on a contract so large for someone entering their 30s.

bpoz - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#391424) #
Thanks Chuck. I hope the Jays don't try for that contract.
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#391425) #

As per the summary from the article above:

*Arenado had a bad year, which decreases his value going forward, no matter the explanation.
*His contract is steep, which means it is now significantly underwater.
*Given that, Arenado will not opt out at the end of 2021 and walk away from the remaining $164M. (He’s not getting more.)
*Baseball teams are cutting budgets, and unlikely to take on big contracts, especially negative-value ones.
*The Rockies are unlikely to sell low.
John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#391426) #
The advantage of Biggio is the Jays have a LOT of flexibility with who they get this winter. Bichette has already offered to move if they get a super-star SS such as Lindor. So SS/2B/3B are all 'open' for a star level addition. So who are the 'stars' at those slots? Are they available? 1.9+ WAR in 2020 guys
  • SS: Tatis Jr (well pre-FA, unavailable), Trea Turner (2 years until FA - unavailable), Trevor Story (hmm... 1 year until FA, $18.5 mil in 2021, traditionally low on cash team - would be funny to get Tulo's replacement), Tim Anderson (signed for 4 more years, 100% unavailable), Xander Bogaerts (signed for 5-6 years), Dansby Swanson (2 years until FA, unavailable), Corey Seager (1 year until FA, doubt Dodgers would trade)
  • 2B: DJ LeMahieu (FA...would be fun to steal from the Yankees, entering age 32), Brandon Lowe (years until FA, not available), Cesar Hernandez (FA - 1.9 WAR, possible)
  • 3B: José Ramírez (signed 3 more years cheaply, not available), Anthony Rendon (signed for 6 years $219 mil), Manny Machado (signed for 8 more years $256 mil)
Lindor has 1 year left before becoming a FA. I'm sure there are others. These are the top ones though. DJ LeMahieu catches me as a #1 to chase (just 1 move needed - Biggio to 3B, not a fan of that but would solidify the IF). The top guys of 2020 at 3B are not available. Unless the Jays are willing to eat a TON of salary from Nolan Arenado who had an off year with the bat but still very solid on defense (UZR/150 of 15.5 - Biggio was -13.4 at 3B, Biggio was 4.6 at 2B). Possibilities. Could be an interesting winter.
John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#391427) #
Good article there Shoeless Joe. Arenados I was attacking because he is clearly a bad contract at this point and the Jays are one of the few teams who can eat that. Plus his skills fit perfectly - high defense, decent offense (other than 2020) plays 3B. But I doubt Colorado would mix in the prospects or raw dollars to make it work. Still, it is silly season so fun to wonder. Not like it is my money :)

DJ LeMahieu makes a lot more sense to chase down - a 2B but Biggio can move (maybe with a winter of work he could be decent at 3B and not Vlad level). DJ isn't a gold glover (-1.0 last year at 2B, 4.7 lifetime UZR/150), can play 3B (-11.2 last year, -1.3 UZR lifetime). Plus is a free agent so all he costs is cash.
bpoz - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#391428) #
Too early to talk about our draft position but the calculation is bugging me.

We are clearly better than the 7 AL non playoff teams and we have a better record than Houston. I will guess that Houston picks ahead of us.

In the NL only 4 teams have better records than us. So 11 pick before us. 8+11 means we get the 20th pick.

WOW!! We got good fast.
johnny was - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#391429) #
I certainly got more entertainment value out of Blue Jays baseball this year than I expected, so on the whole I'd give this group an A-.

The FA market for pitching this winter is death after Bauer to the point that Taijuan is probably a top 5 option, so I hope the front office makes an effort to retain him. It feels like he'd cost less that Gausman or Odorizzi with about the same probability of turning in a decent result. Then perhaps add James Paxton on a dice roll if he really has got over what happened after the 2009 draft and let the youngsters compete for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Realmuto on a $100 million plus contract would be the best offensive/defensive upgrade. Then maybe Justin Turner for a year or two. Or Semien, with Biggio slotting to third and Bo to second. Sign Nelson Cruz to DH and turn Rowdy into trade bait. Anyway, it's good that there are lots of different ways to make the team better and build on a pretty satisfying effort this year.
bpoz - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#391430) #
FA signings are just money unless a pick is lost. Any big contract FA signing or extension of a star player affects budget for this year, next year, the year after ...

Shapiro emphasized on Tim and Sid that the current financial flexibility was an incredible opportunity/situation. Shapiro looked very excited about this situation. Then 2 weeks later he signed Ryu.

With NYY Stanton has to stay healthy and produce. Bad things are being said about Pujols contract. So Shapiro would not like and probably avoid contracts that could get bad. Tulo was 4 years and Martin 2. 2 years is probably acceptable. I don't know.

John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#391431) #
Yeah, 2 years for any massive contract I'd see as a reasonable limit, 3 max. By 2022 we will see a ton of arbitration coming. Potentially Kirk, Luciano, Tellez, Vlad, Bichette, Biggio, Jansen, Thornton, Hernandez, Cole, Stripling, heck anyone who was up this year could be into arbitration by then to various degrees. That could be expensive. All depending on what the rules are by then which is also a big variable.

Trevor Bauer might be an excellent fit depending on if he still wants a short term deal (he was talking of sticking to 1 year deals, might consider 2-3 years but wants to be back out there soon). I could see a guy in his mid-30's being signed as they would be satisfied with a 2-3 year deal.
Thomas - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#391432) #
Re: LeMathieu, everything I've read says he's basically told New York he'll sign there if they make him a reasonable offer and the interest mutual. I think he's almost certain to end up back there, they'll just have to figure out the right mix of term and salary.
scottt - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#391433) #
There are several option for pitchers:

Bauer, Walker, (I wouldn't touch Tanaka), Shoemaker, Paxton. Ray doesn't really help the bullpen.

At third base, LaStella could be interesting.
Gregorius also, assuming he's willing to move to third.

I think Atkins like having bench bats that can give you a platoon advantage.
They seem happy with Biggio playing everyday, it's too bad they hurt the defense  by moving him around.

They also have a problem with the 4th outfielder.
They can carry a 5th outfielder so they can use a regular outfielder at DH, which put either Vladdy or Tellez on the bench. Or they can just sit one of the regular outfielder. They don't seem to know what to do here.

scottt - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#391434) #
Everybody always say they want to stay, but then they wait for free agency. (Donaldson)
Once in free agency, they listen to the best offer. (Bautista)
Sometimes that's not even enough and they sit it out hoping to get even more (Encarnation).

With LeMahieu, you make sure the Yankees pay top dollars and/or go an extra year.

John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#391435) #
Agreed Scottt - every player says how much they love playing for team xyz until they leave then they love their new team even more. Often it just means 'make me a killer offer and if I don't go for it at least you'll cost my old team more if they want to keep me'. So with LeMahieu I'd push as far as possible just to make the Yankees pay more (hard to win a bidding war with that team, but at least you can soak them).

If only the Jays had offered Baltimore something for Mike Yastrzemski (they gave him away for a minor league starter who was 26 at the time with 0 ML experience and was no more than a 'meh' in Tyler Herb). Trout & Acuna are obviously not available. Trent Grisham is the other CF who had 2+ WAR in 2020 and has many years of control thus is not available. Jackie Bradley Jr. appears to be the best who is good at defense that might be available (he is a free agent but I'm sure has said he wants to stay in Boston ... see above).

Boy this will be an interesting challenge - how do you improve and keep space for the kids coming up as you don't want to be over budget in 2 years. You also don't want to push kids too fast or leave them down too long. Need to write a full article by position someday with 'here is what we have now' 'here is the minors' 'here is what is available that is better'.
John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#391436) #
Hmm... looking at the MLB top free agent list there are some interesting options.
  • J.T. Realmuto - CA - not a realistic option as we have 2 good young catchers in Jansen & Kirk with McGuire around for defense and more on the way. There are smarter areas to spend.
  • Trevor Bauer - RHP - wants short term deals, wants to start every 4 days, bit of an attitude, but dang does he look good.
  • George Springer - CF - positive dWAR, 140 OPS+ last year, 131 lifetime, entering age 31 season, plays for Houston - would be a nice fit if we can trade an OF.
  • Marcus Semien - SS - was getting better on defense but had a negative year by dWAR this year, his offense is in the 90's for OPS+ with 2019 being the one exception. He'd be nice, but not a perfect fit.
  • Marcell Ozuna - DH/LF - poor defense but that bat - 175 OPS+ last year, 117 career - not even close to a fit here
  • DJ LeMahieu - 2B - fits decently, would be nice to steal from the Yankees but would be expensive if they want to keep him and if they don't, do we really want him?
  • Marcus Stroman - RHP - we know this guy. Not the worst idea to bring him back, but make sure that he is healthy.
  • Didi Gregorius - SS - up and down on offense (90's to 120 for OPS+, 100 lifetime), decent on defense. Is he worth shuffling everyone around or would he go to 3B?
  • Liam Hendriks - RHP - closer now, since he left he has a 136 ERA+, 11.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, but upped it the last 2 years with a 237 ERA+, 13.1 K/9, 2.0 BB/9. 39-8 SV/BlSv. He'd be nice but what would it cost? Entering age 32 season. Traded him for Jesse Chavez who was later traded for Mike Bolsinger who has been out of baseball for a few years now. Ugh.
After that the prices should be low, so basically if the Jays feel like it they would sign them but mostly a 'who cares'. Masahiro Tanaka, Walker, Ray, and others land here. So #3 starters and beyond and spare parts.

Bauer is obviously the prize. Springer would fit really nicely in CF. LeMahieu could fill 2B shifting Biggio to 3B. Stroman might be nice to bring back as might Hendriks if the price is right but neither should be budget breakers - in a normal winter I'd write both off but this winter with many teams slashing payroll they might be affordable, but probably not to be chased until February.
John Northey - Saturday, October 03 2020 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#391437) #
FYI: For 2021 only 3 guys make over $5 million as Jays (not counting arbitration or free agency). Ryu $20 mil, Grichuk $10.333 mil, Roark $12 mil. Dang does that Ryu contract look good now doesn't it even with his stinker in the playoffs. Grichuk not so good, but endurable (he'd have been a free agent this winter otherwise which wouldn't have been the worst thing). Roark shows the price of signing mid-rotation guys - sometimes they step up, sometimes they collapse.
bpoz - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#391438) #
Atkins has not mentioned depth but I am sure he will get depth pieces. Interchangeable I presume. Instead he is after an impact player (1).

Realmuto and Bauer are the top 2. Add 2 more FAs for a target of 4. Is everyone's 3rd and 4th a significant drop off from the 1st 2?

I compare Bo and Biggio as impactful on offense/defense and also smart players. Realmuto too I will say.

Comparing very early ML stats for Realmuto 2015 and Jansen 2019, are they similar basically? If so keep Jansen and let him improve. ABs Jansen 548, Realmuto 2699. Kirk SSS, but lived up to his minor league reputation. Minor league ABs 1593 Realmuto, 1282 Jansen and 518 Kirk. The minor league BB/K ratio for Realmuto is V good but Jansen and Kirk are a lot better. I have tried to not do cherry picking in favor of the Jays catchers.

scottt - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#391439) #
I don't think Tanaka will be cheap. I don't know about Walker. It's all about the number of years. Same with Ray.

Hendriks for Chavez is not a great trade obviously, but it was the consequence of having traded all the pitchers in the higher part of the system. I'm afraid the Stripling trade will look very similar down the road, but at least the Jays still have a large number of pitchers they value more than Williams, who is the kind of prospect they can easily redraft next summer 

johnny was - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#391440) #
I'm surprised you'd be so quick to discount Realmuto, John, when the team has money to spend and we're talking about the catching WAR leader from 2017-20. The chance to add a catcher this well-rounded comes along very rarely and he's a much better player than Russell Martin was in 2015. I'd very much like to see Jansen take a step forward and he's still young in catcher years, but  he hasn't hit yet and has doesn't have much success throwing out baserunners. The word is that Realmuto is seeking a big deal, maybe Paul Goldschmidt money, but even that seems like a stretch given the relatively poor returns on the Mauer and Posey contracts. More recently, Yasmani Grandal had to settle for $73 mil over 4 years. Realmuto is better and I think he's had for around $100 million.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#391441) #
Rendon was signed for 7/$245m ($35m AAV). Realmuto will be about the same age this off-season as Rendon was last off-season. He's roughly a 5 WAR player at a premium position, while Rendon is about a 7 WAR player at a slightly less premium position.

A contract in the range of 5/$150m (or more) doesn't seem unreasonable for Realmuto.
scottt - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#391442) #
There is an expectation that the Mets will go after Realmuto.
A new owner wants to win and get the fans over.
They already have the pitching.

The Jays are still deep at catcher
Early on, Moreno has barreled balls all over the field with 12 HR, 22 walks and 38 strikeouts in Lansing.
Jansen wasn't at Lansing very long and didn't hit there, nor at Dunedin.
Jansen only started to hit in New Hampshire at 22. Moreno is 20.

Riley Adams has hit everywhere, but he does strike out a lot.
Still he walks as much as Jansen and sees more pitchers per AB. 

BTW, only Teoscar, Stripling and Cole are headed to arbitration this winter.

The Player Association is worried that extended playoffs would disincentivize teams from spending.
This year the players are getting 50M of the 1B the league receives in broadcast revenues.
And then there's the upcoming new CBA.

John Northey - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#391443) #
Realmuto is a very good player (kind of stating the obvious) but the black holes are CF/3B/starting pitching. While it would be nice to upgrade anywhere unless the Jays have a big trade lined up where Jansen/Tellez are going or something like that it could be non-optimizing assets.

That said, if the price is right it lands under 'why not'. Realmuto is turning 30, viewed as a solid defensive and offensive catcher. I think to get him you need to clear out two of Jansen/Kirk/Tellez - if 2 of them can get something good for the rotation then great, do it. If not then it would be a gain but how big is the question. A 7 year deal would be idiotic, a 5 year is pushing it, 3 years lands under 'why not'. By sOPS+ the Jays were 24th but that was hurt a lot by McGuire. Jansen on his own would've been 15th (93 sOPS+ tied with Miami). Realmuto was a 148 sOPS+ so he'd be a big upgrade on Jansen if you think this is Jansen's real level.

Hrm...the more I look at it the more I see advantages in going for it with Realmuto. But as with all things cost matters. This winter could be a unique opportunity with so many teams cutting payroll while the Jays have flexibility. Lets hope Atkins takes full advantage.
bpoz - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#391444) #
There are a lot of NL teams that Just missed and believe that they should have made the expanded playoffs. Not Pittsburg for sure, maybe Arizona and Colorado. I also think that Miami did not expect to make it. So NYM, Philly will all be aggressive IMO. Lucky SD is in round 2 or Preller would continue (desperately) trading to improve.

If Realmuto leaves Philly then they will try to add via trade (Arenado for example) to break even on position player strength.

Atkins saying impact player was Realmuto or Bauer to me. Good luck to him trying to trade for Tatis Jr or Sixto Sanchez.

Of course impact player to Atkins could be a FA other than those 2. There are many others that could help this team.

I like trading some of our surplus young pitchers to gain something of value. 2 of Hatch, Kay, Zeuch, SRF, Romano, Merryweather plus a position player like R Adams or K Smith. That is a nice package for 1 good player.

A not so highly regarded player but still good is Brenden Marsh of LAA. How valuable is he to their playoff hopes compared to a pitcher. I remember getting Grichuk for a reliever and a pitching prospect. The situation is different but has some similarities.

Marsh gives another OF possibility and we still have quite a few of those above young pitchers left. Borucki, Murphy and Y Diaz not even mentioned by me. Atkins will also find a Font, Gaviglio and Bass to fill out the pitching staff.
scottt - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#391445) #
According to the Wall Street Journal, teams have lost a combined $3 billion this year.

Games in Texas will have limited attendance as an experiment.
This could be the model for next year if no vaccine is available by March.

It's likely that there's no full season in 2021.
Some teams could decide to skip the season altogether.

scottt - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#391446) #
Impact player does not mean franchise player.
I don't think it even means All-Star caliber.
Any solid regular is an impact player.

John Northey - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#391448) #
Right now for the Jays it is pointless to sign anyone who isn't likely to be a 3+ WAR player. We have tons of guys who might be 0-3 WAR guys, to win we need better than that. The 3 and under guys will be a dime a dozen this winter. For impact you need guys likely to be 5+ WAR (no one is a guarantee) and yes, those are rare. Had to be a 2+ WAR player last year to make it - BR has only 5 hitters in the AL (LeMahieu, Abreu, Anderson, Ramirez, and Lowe), 10 in the NL (Betts, Freeman, Machado, Swanson, Tatis, Yaztzemski, Ozuna, Grisham, Story, Soto, Turner); 6 pitchers in AL (Bieber, Ryu, Lynn, Cole, Bassitt, Plesac, Keuchel), 13 in the NL (Fried, Wheeler, Senzatela, Gallen, Bauer, Darvish, deGroom, Lamet, Nola, Scherzer, Freeland, Burns, Woodruff). These should be the Jays prime targets - most won't be available but the ones who are should be chased hard.
85bluejay - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#391450) #
What would it take to get German Marquez out of Colorado? young,talented and a nice contract.
scottt - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#391451) #
Replacing a 0 WAR guy with a 3 WAR guy is more impactful than replacing a 3WAR guy with a 5WAR guy.
Some teams will be more desperate than the Jays.

An interesting stat is WPA/LI (sum of Win Probability added divided by leverage index).

1.9 Trout
1.6 LeMahieu
1.6 Abreu
1.5 Ramirez
1.5 Lowe
1.4 Voit
1.2 Biggio
1.2 Perez (I think it's possible to get 1 year of Salvador Perez, but it would cost and the Jays are in the long game)

scottt - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#391452) #
To get Realmuto for 2 years, Philadelphia sent Sixto Sanchez, Will Stewart, Jorge Alfaro and some international slot money to Miami. Now Realmuto is probably gone, Sixto helped the Marlins jump over the Phillies and they'll have him for another 5 or 6 years. Totally the type of trades not to make.
John Northey - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#391453) #
Trades are risky - I'd lean towards ones that clear out excess in the majors and minimal minor league talent. The Jays have extra OF/1B/DH depth right now and maybe CA as well. Ideally find a team desperate for some offense who might want Hernandez or Grichuk or Tellez or Vlad - obviously need a bigger return for some than others. No one should be untouchable, but if they want Vlad you should demand a TON, Grichuk would be a piece of a trade where the Jays might pay part of his salary. Hernandez would need a lot in return as he appears on the cusp of being a major force. Gurriel would need a ton as he is signed cheaply for the next 3 years (under $15 mil). It'd be interesting to know what teams are willing to trade. All of the guys here have potential to move up more in quality but how much is a crapshoot. Minor leaguers are high risk in trades - just ask Anthopolis. You can make a dozen that work perfectly but that one where you give up a kid who develops will hang on you for a long, long time.

Free agents are the safest bet - "only" costs money. In truth, the more I look at the team the more I think no one should be untouchable and all are replaceable. Don't let who is here stop Atkins from signing a free agent. George Springer should be a top target - excellent bat, plays CF. 1.8 UZR/150 lifetime, -4.0 last year. So not ideal, but dang nice. Jackie Bradley Jr also a good backup plan - weaker bat but 6.3 lifetime, 5.5 UZR/150 last year in CF. Either of these guys would be a big upgrade. But either would also require the Jays to make a trade of one of the OF or Tellez or Vlad unless you want one of them on the bench everyday which could work - 1 out of 5 days each guy gets a day off and is a pinch hitter, but not an ideal use of resources.

Yep, this will be a fun winter. So much more fun trying to imagine how the team will improve rather than how it will dump vets for kids.
mendocino - Sunday, October 04 2020 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#391454) #
Blue Jays Instructional League Roster
hypobole - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#391457) #
No Samad Taylor or Sem Robberse. Are they PTBNL's?
scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#391458) #
Robberse might have stayed in the Netherlands.

Taylor didn't hit in Dunedin last year.
Fangraphs didn't list him at all this spring.

scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#391459) #
It's probably going to be a frustrating winter.
I think the market will develop very slowly as teams try to figure out what kind of season will be played next year.

hypobole - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#391462) #
Taylor had a 107 wRC+ as a 21 yr old at Dunedin.

There is still one PTBNL outstanding in the Stripling trade.
scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#391470) #
Right. He hit .228 .319 .387 in A and .216 .325 .364 in A+.

In A+:

Kirk 153 wRC+
Warmoth 142
Noda 138
Christian Williams 132
Cullen Large 130
Obeso 109
Bec 108
Taylor 107
Orimoloye 101
Chavez Young 101
Vicuna 93

Well, Samad Taylor is rule 5 eligible this fall and won't be protected.

Shoeless Joe - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#391472) #
The biggest surprise for me is seeing Addsion Barger on the list.
scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#391477) #
He's a late Addition.

Well, he's a 6th rounder, just 2 years removed.
Shouldn't be surprising.
He's a left bat. That's a plus right there.

Shoeless Joe - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#391478) #
It is a suprise because Barger walked away from baseball suddenly last year, and retired.
scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#391479) #
I see that he has a really great arm 80/80? so, they could be patient with him if he changed his mind.
hypobole - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#391480) #
Didn't hear the retired part - never heard any reason, just that Barger had been placed on the restricted list.
tstaddon - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#391481) #
So this piece has a tidbit at the end that's easy to lose one's mind over:

Now, the Jays today are nowhere near where the Dodgers were on the win curve this spring. But if the sale price for a cost-conscious team moving Betts, Price and cash was Verdugo, Downs and Wong... it's not incomprehensible to think Cleveland could consider moving Lindor - and perhaps a more expensive arm (Carrasco? Hand?) - for Teoscar, Jordan Groshans and Riley Adams. Not apples to apples. But I think that's a deal the Jays take, if they believe there's any chance they could re-sign Lindor. Hell, maybe Cleveland even considers an Orelvis Martinez instead of Groshans. Bichette to 2B, Biggio to 3B - lineup and defense improve. Then you probably try to sign a Jackie Bradley Jr. type to platoon in CF.

Yup, it's just that easy to lose your mind over a little note like that. Wow!
scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#391484) #
It' s completely different in that the Jays won't take Lindor and sign him for 10 years.

Cleveland would not want Hernandez, he's a late bloomer with just a few years left.
They'd want Bichette and a couple of top 5 prospects.

Michael - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#391485) #
Yeah, re article about Lindor:

"I’ve heard he’s not interested in the New York teams. One source told me Lindor would be open to West Coast teams (the Dodgers rumors) or perhaps a surprise team such as Toronto."

On the Bauer front, if he wants one year deals, there's no reason to try to force him to 2-3 year deals. Sign him to a 1 year deal. 1 year deals by definition have very limited downside. Even if he's injured and never pitches and/or COVID completely wipes the season, you are still only down a single season. It is really hard to have a bad one year contract for an impact player.
scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#391487) #
How much will that one year cost? 50M?
Mike Green - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#391488) #
Game's on. 

The answer was John Hiller in 1973.  An abridged version of the story is here.  Just your basic "had a heart attack, learned a changeup and was better than ever" story from a guy from Scarborough. 
John Northey - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#391489) #
If the Jays are willing to send the prospects needed to get Lindor I'd expect them to make signing an extension a condition of the deal (this has been done by other teams in the past - get a short window to make a deal). Sounds like Cleveland is almost in a Halladay situation where they need to trade the player. We are talking a guy who is a strong positive on defense (1-2 WAR a year from defense alone) and on offense (3-6 WAR a year, but last year was weak). He is entering his age 27 year so a 10 year deal would cover 27-36 thus a few potential 'ugh' years at the end but the core 27-32 would be covered. A 5 year deal would be ideal. So I'd put the minimum at 5 x $30 = $150 million, but more likely 10 x $30 = $300 to get him signed. The question then becomes is he worth it? Bichette has said he'd be happy to move if Lindor came and he played 30 games at 2B in the minors 4.81 range factor, 972 fielding percentage. Biggio, with pretty much the same teams, had a 4.73 range factor and 973 fielding percentage suggesting similar level of defense at 2B from Bichette as we get from Biggio now (advanced stats not there for the minors afaik). Then the big problem is getting Biggio to an acceptable level at 3B so the shuffling will help overall defense. I suspect it would.

José Ramírez, at 3B, they also only have for 1 more year so he could be a target too. 1 year older than Lindor. He has a 123 OPS+ lifetime and had a 163 last year, not as good with the glove as Lindor but decent plus wouldn't require shuffling everyone around. So I'd take either of those guys.

Given this deal would solidify the infield, the biggest variables are 1) what does Cleveland want and 2) would the Jays be willing to spend $300 million on one player? I think #2 was answered last winter when it was rumored the Jays were #2 for bidding on Gerrit Cole. #1 is a lot harder to guess at. Doing a quick check of Cleveland's BR page I see a team OPS+ of 86 (ugh) with a team ERA+ of 140 (sweet) so they should be chasing bats. Good news is the Jays match up nicely on that. Their catchers were Roberto Perez (33 OPS+), Sandy Leon (49), Beau Taylor (-48) and Austin Hedges (1 for 12, -54). For reference, McGuire was a -42 - so their 3rd and 4th catchers hit worse than McGuire. Quite the trick. I suspect they'd LOVE either Kirk or Jansen as part of any deal. Their 3 most used outfielders had OPS+ of 79/71/68 with the top 2 backups having -5 (! over 93 PA) and 60. In fact, none of their non-regulars had an OPS+ of even 70 in 2020. Wow. So Randal Grichuk and his 114 would look god like to their fans at this point :) Teoscar Hernandez bat would also work nicely for them (obviously) and he has 2 more years before free agency so they'd have time to work on making a deal vs Lindor and Ramirez, but I doubt they want to deal with free agents that quickly. Jordan Groshans would almost have to be part of a deal to get either of those guys I'd think. Plus others. Minor leaguers will be hard to mix into deals this winter due to the challenges they present with no stats. Other than arbitration Cleveland only has one contract for 2021 in Carlos Carrasco ($12 mil, same for 2022 and a $3 mil buyout option for 2023) which is an excellent deal for them so no way they dump him. So no contracts the Jays can eat as part of a deal. This would be a 'do you give up prospects for a star' mixed with 'can you afford that star' deal. So one that tests both Atkins love for prospects and Rogers love of money. I suspect if a deal happens it'll be before Christmas. Wouldn't be shocked if Cleveland deals both players in order to jump start their rebuild. No idea how their minors are (probably solid) so the question is how good do our prospects fit with their goals. Kirk/Groshans/Grichuk might be the core of a deal (plus more and/or cash to pay for Grichuk) on top of $300 million over 10 years. Do you do that deal? Do the Jays? Should they? Should Cleveland?
85bluejay - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#391494) #
Giving up quality young talent and paying Lindor the type of money he will command makes it tough to build a sustainable contender IMO especially in the toughest division in baseball - If the Jays can get Didi Gregorius on a 3 or 4 year deal, that's the direction I would go, keeping the quality young talent and having less of a financial hit on the budget so when it's time to extend guys like Bo/Vlad/Pearson the money is available.
Chuck - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#391497) #
If the Jays can get Didi Gregorius on a 3 or 4 year deal, that's the direction I would go

Maybe the on-going expanded playoff system will motivate teams to be happy chasing 85 wins and taking their post-season chances thereafter, rather than paying the bug bucks for 5-7 WAR players to push them to 90 wins. In that case, maybe 2-3 WAR types like Gregorius will be what the team chases. Back in the day, though, someone like Lindor could have been seen as the potential centerpiece of the franchise.

scottt - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#391498) #
Frustrating to watch Snell fall  behind in the count to every batter.
The Jays could have beaten that version of Snell.

John Northey - Monday, October 05 2020 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#391500) #
TV ratings are out including the Jays. 500k per game roughly. Compare to the top US teams - Yankees 260k, Dodgers 233k per game, Phillies are 3rd with 195k. Basically you can take the next 2 teams and the Jays did better than both combined. In 2016 the Jays were averaging 895k a game. Crazy spread. If any team can afford to sign top free agents it is the Jays - especially given Rogers owns the Jays, the TV station (SportsNet), and the stadium. So any improvement instantly adds to their bottom line. The Jays should be telling Atkins to do whatever is needed to win. If that is spending $40 mil a year to get Trevor Bauer, or $30 a year to get George Springer for CF then he should have the flexibility to do it. Or even $300 million to get Lindor (which is a killer risk).
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#391501) #
" Cleveland would not want Hernandez, he's a late bloomer with just a few years left."

Teoscar will be 28 on October 15 and in this years shortened season hit 16 home runs and had an OPS of .919. If he is a late bloomer then maybe you should take a look at the stats of Jose Bautista, Edward Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, none of whom did anything of significance with the bat until their age 29 season.

I wouldn't trade Hernandez when he's just hitting his prime and seemed to have figured out things at the plate. I don't think he has just a few years left but rather I can see him having a Jose Bautista career path.
James W - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#391502) #
After watching these playoffs, I no longer believe Blue Jays television ratings matter that much. Aside from the financial shenanigans implied with Rogers "paying" (not paying) Rogers for the TV rights, it feels like there are only two advertisers, so how much can they really be paying to put their awful repetitive commercials?
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#391503) #
When you watch a Yankees broadcast, you'll see ads targeted at the local (Tri-State) area.  I wonder what the number of Blue Jay viewers there are in the local area (Golden Horseshoe).  My guess is that it would be over half the total audience and probably more than the Yankee viewership. 

I don't know if you can equate ad quality with revenue generated.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#391504) #
"Maybe the on-going expanded playoff system will motivate teams to be happy chasing 85 wins and taking their post-season chances thereafter, rather than paying the bug bucks for 5-7 WAR players to push them to 90 wins."

The expanded playoffs will make teams not chase anyone. If the Jays don't make any moves in the same playoff format, they'd still make the playoffs and once you get in, anything can happen. 2 of the 8 teams left were worse than the Jays this year. Aim for 85 wins and hope things go your way in the playoffs. That's what a smart team would do in this system (and pretty much what all teams will do). It's why players should oppose expanded playoffs but probably won't because the union is so poorly run and have no long-term vision.
scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#391505) #
That's a good point.
Those sportsnets streaming ads are just placeholders. They don't generate money.

scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#391506) #
Hernandez has just 3 years of control left. That's what I meant.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#391507) #
The 1992 Jays had great pitching IMO. The 1993 Jays were an offensive powerhouse. WAMCO.

Both 92 & 93 teams knew how to play the game. TB seems to be good at that. I am sure the FO has figured that out.

Montoyo is trying to get this young team to learn how to play the game the right way. Atkins has said, I think, that the hitting will improve a lot with more experience (1 full years of ABs suppose).

The pitching is still unproven except of Ryu and Giles. Giles gone. So increase depth and get a lot to throw at the wall.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#391508) #
Just like the NHL and NBA teams don't try to be more than 500 teams? Oh wait, that isn't how it works. They try to get as strong as possible for the playoffs so they can generate playoff revenue and up the regular season revenue. I suspect if MLB goes to the 14 team playoff structure they are talking about we'd see more emphasis on closers, starters who go long, and high level stars as those have a bigger impact in the playoffs than a team of average players who might sneak in. The 10 most recent champs and players with 5+ WAR (star level - last Jays to do that was Stroman 2017 although Ryu was on pace for it this year)...
  • 4: Washington, Cubs
  • 3: Boston (2018 & 13), Houston
  • 2: SF 2010
  • 1: KC, SF 2012/2014, St Louis
Without a 5+ WAR player you don't win the series. Of course, some of that is self filtering as odds are you don't win 90+ without one too. I really need to do a real study on this - check how many teams made the playoffs each year and which had stars (5+ WAR) and which was just tons of good guys (2/3 WAR).
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#391509) #
The 2005 White Sox won 99 games and went 11-1 in the postseason without any 5 WAR players, but had Buehrle and Garland who were very close.  I doubt that you would find a comparable case in the last 50 years.  The 1990 Reds had Rijo and Larkin between 5 and 6 WAR, and they were the club that I immediately thought of.

Anyways, I don't think that is the Blue Jays issue.  They are going to have at least 1 or 2 stars in the coming years.  The question is whether they have enough overall talent. 
hypobole - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#391510) #
The teams less likely to chase big time upgrades will probably be teams like the Dodgers. They are good enough to win all, and definitely good enough to make the playoffs as is. But how about the Mariners, Jays , Mets, maybe even the Tigers, Orioles and other teams where standing pat would have them as only fringe contenders. They don't have guaranteed 85 win teams, but spending money could take them from below 50% playoff odds to above.
Another benefit would be shorter tanks for any but the lowest revenue/mismanaged teams.
scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#391511) #
NHL and NBA have salary caps.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#391512) #
MLB has a 'luxury tax' which has been pretty much a salary cap lately - only 1 or 2 teams cross it most years, only 8 teams have cracked it since 2002 - Yankees all but 2018, Dodgers 2013-17, Red Sox often (2004–2007, 2010–2011, 2015–2016, 2018-2019), Cubs twice, Tiger 3 times, SF 3 times, Washington twice, and the Angels once. What MLB is missing is a minimal payroll - beyond minimum salary of course.

Also, a cap would mean teams couldn't go nuts in their best years (like most of those listed did) in an effort to win it all. Also teams want their odds of playoff glory to be more than 50% thus go after players. More in means less likely to tank as the benefit of tanking goes down. At this point I suspect players should accept a salary cap/percentage locked in around 50% of TV revenue & gate & merchandise - challenge being how to measure it for teams like the Jays who are owned by the same people who own the TV station - Jays TV rights should (based on US experiences) be around $100 million or so a year but instead I think were listed in the $30-$50 mil range last reported. The devil for revenue sharing is in the details and MLB has a rep for lying to players and the public about their revenue.
scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#391513) #
Not everybody is going to be at 50% playoff odds.

I don' t see the Mariners going anywhere. At best, they try to get Walker back.
Seager  has only 1 year left at 18.5M.
I expect Dipoto to make half a dozen trades. That's what he does.
The Angels should be doing something.
The Rangers also.

The Mets have a new owner. That often means spending. They have a decent rotation.
The bullpen is a mess which can be fixed on the cheap.

Not sure about the Tigers.
Schoop was their 3rd best player. They signed him for one year at 6M.
That's the kind of moves I see them making.
They still have to give Miggy another 94M over the next 3 years.
Same with Orioles. They're slowly filling up with young players and keep paying Davis.

Rangers won 22
Tigers, 23
Red Sox, 24
Orioles, 25
Angels, 26
Mariners, 27

John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#391514) #
Good question - who is a contender for the top 7 next year (assuming they go with 14)? The top 7 were the playoff teams except Houston who snuck in with a sub-500 record. Safe to assume all 7 think they will contend in 2021 and Houston will as well given they made the ALDS and look likely to make the ALCS. The Angels feel a need to try with .

Who doesn't feel good? The teams missing the playoffs (couldn't make it to 500) Cleveland I wonder about as their lineup is getting older (28.1 average age) and they are cheap thus can't afford to hold onto guys like the Jays can (Lindor & Ramirez one year left each). I wouldn't be surprised to see Cleveland do a sell off one year before they are forced just to ensure a good future. Colorado is one to watch with Story having just 1 year left before free agency solid defense, solid offense, would fit nicely at SS - hey, last time we took a SS from Colorado we got 2 years of playoffs. Could lightning strike twice? Should be fun to dig into this stuff at some point.
scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#391515) #
Lindor will go somewhere. Not sure what they get in return. They still have lots of pitching.
They have 2 more options on Ramirez at a reasonable price. He's not going anywhere.

They got a bunch of guys for Clevinger. Not sure if any move the needle.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2020 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#391516) #
Good catch scottt - The quick and dirty summary on Cot's didn't show that (the one that has payroll by year) since it only lists guaranteed money. Yeah, Ramirez is there for now for sure. $33.4 mil over 3 years is a heck of deal for Cleveland. But that team had zero offense from their bench or OF last year - none over 80 for OPS+ (ugh)Carlos Santana I'd expect them to buyout of his option for next year (91 OPS+, and entering his age 35 season but they might try to resign him for a lot less). Cleveland is definitely a team to watch this winter - low on cash, high on talent (#1 in team ERA for example). Could be a good match for the Jays (high on cash, always looking for talent).
scottt - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 06:28 AM EDT (#391518) #
I think you look at it the other way. Cleveland has been making the playoffs for years without outfield contribution.
So they can offset the loss of Lindor with some increased outfield production.

It would make more sense to go after Springer to play center than to get Lindor. A healthy Bichette is a top 10 shortstop and Biggio is a top 10 second baseman. It makes no sense to move them around just because they have 30M committed to Grichuk who is playing at replacement value. They need a reliable starter more.

John Northey - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 07:42 AM EDT (#391519) #
Good point scottt - so the challenge then is what do you chase if you get Springer (or someone else) for CF? We have a logjam at 1B/DH with Vlad/Tellez/Kirk/Hernandez (who really should be a DH) and if Springer is signed (or someone else for CF such as Jackie Bradley Jr.) then who do you trade of the 3 OF'ers? Ideally imo you find a home for Grichuk (paying part of his salary if needed) or you use Hernandez who should have a lot of value right now, or maybe Tellez. Kirk I'd rather keep if at all possible.

For an oddity I just noticed - the AL/NL battle was a 500 fight this year - 149-149 record. The NL scored more by 42 runs - not a killer spread over 298 games. Weird - when interleague play started the AL had a big advantage but now it appears to have vanished.
scottt - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#391521) #
Kirk is a catcher. Tellez is the DH. Hernandez is tolerable in right field if he keeps hitting.

Kirk is actually going to start in AAA and work on his throwing, his game calling and his English, which is not good enough for a major league catcher. He'll be back at some point, but maybe not before next September.

Bradley is a 90 wRC+ hitter who gets hot or cold from time to time.
Jonathan Davis has more upside. Davis has always figured it out after repeating a level.

Springer is third to only Trout and Bellinger.
That's exactly the type of guy you spend money on.
One other possibility is starling Marte whom the Marlins have for another year.
It's hard to find a team who did worse than the Jays in center.
There's the Pirates.

For a half measure, I like LaStella at 3B.

John Northey - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#391522) #
Yes, Kirk is a catcher but he also is a dang fine hitter and is limited to CA/DH (too short to work at 1B I suspect). Right now his bat plays in the majors so the question becomes will the Jays hold him back in AAA even though his bat would help now in the hopes he becomes Mike Piazza? Tellez had a positive UZR/150 at 1B (3.1 this year, 2.2 lifetime) vs Vlad (-13.8) - that is more than a full win over the course of a season between them on defense. Tellez isn't a gold glove candidate but at least is competent there. If his bat is real he is a solid ML'er. Hernandez is endurable in RF but needs to hit as well as he did this year obviously. I think clearing out one of those players is necessary long term as no way do I see Kirk being limited to catching only, and I suspect the Jays want to use DH for all players as a 'semi-day off' rather than be locked into Tellez/Vlad.

For CF - Springer/big gap/Bradley is how I see it this winter. Like you say, go for Springer as he fills a hole and lets the team trade an extra piece. Any of the 3 current OF'ers or Tellez or Vlad. I suspect Kirk will get tons of attention from other teams this winter. No one else jumping out at me with a quick glance - most are too early in their careers for teams to trade or are signed long term. Lets hope Atkins does win the battle for Springer then figures out where to go next.
scottt - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#391529) #
What Kirk has done isn't even the equivalent of a September call up.
The Twins have a guy named Astudillo, who looks a lot like Kirk. He did very well in a short 2018 stint.
The league figured him up the following year.
Kirk is not going to be hitting .385 over a full year.

Teams like the Rays don't have a regular DH.
Good for them.
When you do have a guy who hits, what's the points of playing good defenders at DH?
The guys are young and don't need the rest unless they are hurt.
If they need it, they can rest on the bench.

The interesting question is who is the backup catcher next year?
They need to add Moreno and Adams and that's 5 catchers on the 40 roster.
But is Riley Adams ready for the role or do they need to bring back McGuire and trade somebody else?

Tellez has had more time to work at 1B.
Guerrero has a better arm and moves better.
Over the long term, Vladdy should be OK.
Vladdy has had just 2 month at first base.

jerjapan - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#391533) #
Magpie, sometimes I read your stuff and think, I could never write that well.  And I think I write well.  So hats off to you sir.  And to Dewey, wherever he's at.  I corrected the punctuation on 'hats' as a result of knowing that he's out there. 

My only critique of this exercise is the idea that we can evaluate relievers at all.  Pretty early in the season people started talking about how good our pen was, and I don't see it with the vets.  Sure, good young starting prospects will often do well in the back end of the pen, but the plan is for them to start, no?    I would not be surprised whatsoever if Dolis and Bass completely implode next year, and if Yamaguchi emerges as a prime Jesse Chavez - prime being a relative term.  I can say that the approach the FO is using in the pen makes a lot of sense though. 

Thoughts on the season / offseason ...
  • Picking up Anderson's option is the equivalent of going by yourself into the scary garage in a horror movie...
  • Cavan Biggio is easily my favourite player right now.  I love an overachiever, and I love an underdog, so I'm also pretty happy for Rowdy
  • as a minor league watcher, I'm super happy for Jon Berti right now.  Guys like him seldom have outcomes like he's had this year
John Northey - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#391535) #
A big problem right now is we all (myself strongly included) are weighing 2020's stats far too strongly, but it is hard to adjust down as we have no idea how the players would've done with another 102 games, or how the kids did in summer camp, or what is going on with the hundreds of other minor leaguers who didn't play at all this summer (that we know of). In a normal year I pretty much write off pitcher stats with under 20 innings pitched - that covers all but 12 pitchers this year (out of 29), and sub 50 tends to be with massive grains of salt - only Ryu passed that level and he only got to 67 (a 181 pace in a full year). Only Biggio cracked 250 PA's which is generally a minimum for stats to matter. Only 10 cracked 100 PA. I'm thinking I need to re-evaluate everything from scratch and use 2 year stats, perhaps weighing this years 2-1 over last years or something. Quite the mess for teams doing evaluations. For us, this is just fun. For Atkins it is millions of dollars on the line if he gets it wrong.

For 2021 - are any minor leaguers ready after camp? Austin Martin? Jordan Groshans? Either could solve the 3B problem if everything is right. Kirk? If for real he would be a 'wow' behind the plate with that bat. Simeon Woods Richardson might be close on the mound. Lots of other variables. Massive one is if Nate Pearson is ready too. Everyone wants him to be but is he? CF/3B/pitching are the big questions. Our pen looked great at times but this was a freakshow year where they all were used far more than they should've and put into roles they shouldn't have been in. Do you spend the money to get a 'real' closer or do you leave Dolis there? Do you resign Bass to be the closer or as a setupman or do you let him go wherever instead? As great as Romano looked he only threw 14 2/3 innings. Fun to think about but does any of it matter?
jerjapan - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#391537) #
For sure John, I think the entire industry weighs stats and storylines too heavily, even knowing that this pandemic means small sample sizes all around. 

But that idea begs the question - can elite MLB prospects follow the NBA / NHL path and skip the minor leagues?  Kirk certainly looks like he could, based on his approach.  I hate to admit it, because I hate to admit that the corporate execs know what they are doing, but the Jays seem to have the right model. 
John Northey - Wednesday, October 07 2020 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#391538) #
I think we'll see a LOT more players going straight from college to the majors over the next decade. With the minors being reduced - I'm certain this is just stage one of a major reduction, especially after summer camp this year. If players come out of that camp doing well in 2021 then I'd expect to see teams trying to shrink to 3 teams and maybe eventually down to 1. Loan players to indy leagues but just 1 team the club owns in AAA for backups to be ready. Summer camp allows more workouts, less time wasted in travel, more ability to hide best prospects from other teams until they come up. Use colleges like the NFL/NBA do as a rookie/A/AA minor league (depending on the league). Best of the best will get a week or two in camp to ensure they are set, then up to the majors.

How many have done it in the last 20-40 years? Most recent ones are... Garrett Crochet this year (6 IP 8 K's, 0 BB, 3 H, 0 R - faced 2 batters in the playoffs and K'd both). Mike Leake in 2010, Xavier Nady in 2000, Darren Dreifort 1994, John Olerud & Jim Abbott 1989, Pete Incaviglia 1986.

Then the big one 1978: Mike Morgan (publicity stunt for Texas, did make an All-Star team 28.7 WAR), Brian Milner (Jays - got his only 2 ML games then went down for the rest of his career - anyone know the story around that one), Bob Horner (ROY and made an All-Star team, never played in minors, did go to Japan at 29 - very odd), Tim Conroy (up for 2 games, down for a few years, then a meh 6 years). I think that is enough. There are a dozen more plus some Japanese league players and Cuban's who I don't count.

A lot more than I ever expected. Weird in 1978 how many did that but only Morgan and Horner had significant careers from it. Dave Winfield and Catfish Hunter are the only HOF'ers to do it in the draft era. Olerud, Abbott were all-stars, Incaviglia was a very solid player (11.6 WAR), as was Dreifort (6 WAR), Xavier Nady had a pinch hit then was sent down for most of the next 4 years (4.2 WAR), Mike Leake (14.2 WAR so far, just 32 this year but didn't play).
scottt - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#391539) #
Martin is older and ahead of Groshans but neither is close to breaking camp with the Jays next year.

Palacios might be the next ready guy, but does he get a crack at it?

Pearson, Merryweather and Hatch are tagged to start but the first 2 will have a very low inning limit and Hatch's 3rd pitch might not be good enough to go through a rotation twice.

It will be very interesting to see what happens in New York, Tampa and Boston.
Tampa always tweaks things to clip the payroll. Choi and Glasnow are due for raises. Is Morton done and gone?
Boston should try to rebound and put a solid rotation behind Sale.
Tanaka, Happ and Paxton are all free agents.
Maybe they pencil Garcia in there with Cole and resign Tanaka at a rebate, maybe they bring back German who has served his suspension,  but they'll also have a long list of arbitration cases to deal with: Judge, Voit, Sanchez, Andujar, Torres and more. They're finally done paying Ellsbury, but LeMahieu will cost more than 12M.

bpoz - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#391540) #
3 weeks of playoffs left. Atkins has not said anything about the veterans in the 2021 rotation. Ryu is in and maybe others.

Ryu has shown that he can go 7 innings using 100 pitches. Unless errors cause extra outs or big innings by the Jays force him to sit for a long time.

SSS in 2020 means inconsistency for the other veteran SPs in the rotation. Roark and Stripling for example.

The young SPs targeted for the rotation are Pearson, Merryweather, Kay and Hatch so far. I expect them to start the game and to go 1-8 innings. So that may be considered a starter (5 innings) or an opener (1-3 innings) or something more inventive, but not a reliever.

The young and older multi inning relievers like Murphy, Borucki and Yamaguchi for example would pitch 2-5+ innings. Since they don't start the game they are not considered openers or starters so they are nameless.

scottt - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#391541) #
I'm not happy about Chapman appealing his suspension and not serving it this year.
That's a joke.
Teams used to appeal and wait until they traveled to New York to serve it, which advantages the New York teams.
This year, the handling of suspension was just egregious. Just awful.

pubster - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#391542) #
"Martin is older and ahead of Groshans but neither is close to breaking camp with the Jays next year."

Martin is ~8 months older than Groshans.

Man, Randy Arozarena looks good. Tampa keeps getting these guys. Great management.
Glevin - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#391543) #
"Just like the NHL and NBA teams don't try to be more than 500 teams? Oh wait, that isn't how it works"

Because they are vastly different sports. I wish people would stop trying to compare them because they are not even remotely alike. #8 and even #7 seeds almost never win in the NBA and pretty infrequently in NHL. In baseball, they would win all the time. Baseball is a long season where better teams rise up being being a little better over a long period of time. In order to mimic the percentage of time that the better NBA team go through in a 7 game series, the baseball playoff series would have to be 75 games long. Bad teams beat good teams all the time and in a short series, that would happen a ton. They are simply different games. Owners are not going to spend an extra $40 million to improve WS winnings odds by 2%. They will ease into the playoffs, slow spending down, tell their fans "we made the playoffs, this year we can win", aim for 85 wins, and keep the extra profit.
bpoz - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#391544) #
Martin ahead of Groshans. Thanks for the info. I am a bit poor at prospect evaluations so I missed him do that.

Last year I waited a very long time for the prospect list to to be posted. I understood that "life came in the way". An excellent reason. So this year as soon as the playoffs are over I will post a list of about 20.

Top 4 Pearson, Kirk, Martin and Groshans. When ST opens Pearson will be 24, so not yet old. Romano will be 28 on April 21. So sort of old. Hatch, Kay, Merryweather also would be 25 or older. None have pitched 50 innings in the majors yet. When/if they do our farm system's ranking will take a big hit.

These older prospects will be at the end of my list. They made the majors and seem capable of some ML time in 2021. Hope that they become as good as Bass. I hope I can squeeze Moreno, SWR, Manoah and Kloff in there because they could make it. They have raw talent. May take a few years.

My 21-30 group will have higher ceilings than some of the prospects in the 11-20 group.

scottt - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#391545) #
Arozarena really stood out to me in last year playoffs when St-Louis eliminated Atlanta.
Looking back, he went 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts. Weird.

The Rays gave up Liberatore (a lefty pitching prospect ranked in the top 50) and a young catcher who was raking in rookie ball to get him and Jose Martinez.

They traded Martinez back to the Cubs at the deadline and he went 0-for-21. Ouch. He would have made 2M this year.
The Rays got back Pedro Martinez, an 18 year old infielder who was hitting well in rookie/A- last year.
scottt - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#391546) #
I think that was in a Zoom call.

Atkins said Martin might project slightly ahead (sic) Groshans because of his amateur experience at Vanderbilt University.
hypobole - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#391547) #
Future Blue Jays released the official version of the FDL roster and Samad Taylor is on it. Seems BA missed him.

There are also a few more tidbits there, including a Maese update.
scottt - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#391548) #
No Addison Barger. They have Tolhurst in Development rather than Rookie.
scottt - Thursday, October 08 2020 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#391549) #
What's the long rumoured Clarke position switch?
scottt - Friday, October 09 2020 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#391563) #
Chapman loses another elimination game.

That was a great game. Really shows how much pitching you need to win in October.

John Northey - Friday, October 09 2020 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#391564) #
Yay, no more Yankees. Rays vs Houston, LA vs Atlanta. Hard to pick favorites there, part of me wants to see the Rays win it all as their management team has been amazing for years. LA also has been going nuts trying to get their first title since Gibson hit the miracle home run (yes, I know that was in game 1). So I'm cheering on Rays vs LA.
Michael - Saturday, October 10 2020 @ 05:11 AM EDT (#391568) #
I think it is pretty easy to pick not-Houston as the favorite for us to all cheer for. I agree that LA versus TB is probably right, and I'd probably prefer TB win that just for the AL bragging rights. LA is clearly the most skilled collection of players, so would be a deserving favorite. But anyone but Houston is my final choice.
hypobole - Saturday, October 10 2020 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#391577) #
I'm with Michael, fine with any team but Houston. Despise the owner and despise the team.
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