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Well, kind of quiet but the Jays did sign a few guys recently. No one to make you jump up and down, but enough of an excuse to start a new topic.

Signed: to Minor League deals with invites to Spring Training.
  • INF Richard Ureña - 91 ML games here with a 73 OPS+, entering his age 25 season, gives another option for utility infielder who is no hit/all field in addition to Santiago Espinal. He was with the Orioles last year but not in their summer camp.
  • INF Tyler White - 256 games in the majors, 95 OPS+, had a 140 in 2018 over 237 PA but then a 63 in 2019 and didn't get called up in 2020 - mostly in Houston. 1B/DH mainly so a backup for Tellez and Vlad I guess. Hit very well in AAA 311/399/539 lifetime. Entering his age 30 season, but a good guy to have in AAA as a backup imo.
  • OF Forrest Wall has yet to reach the majors, but had good reports from summer camp iirc. Was a 2B up through his age 21 season (245 games) now in CF (199 lifetime games) but also time in LF/RF. 274/353/413 lifetime in the minors, gained via a trade away of Seunghwan Oh to Colorado in 2018. Entering his age 25 season.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Jays have been in touch with Ha-Seong Kim. Ryu had dinner with him. Lets hope that is a good sign.

Jeff Passan of ESPN says the Jays (and Padres, Rangers, and Red Sox) are talking with Tomoyuki Sugano (or his agent).

So the Jays are talking with the two top international free agents who would cost only cash, no draft picks (like Bauer, LeMathieu, and Springer would cost) or prospects (as any trade would require).
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bpoz - Friday, December 18 2020 @ 02:58 PM EST (#392816) #
Other than Ray, the Jays have not added any useful ML pitching.

Last game of 2020 they had Shoemaker, Walker and Cole on the roster. So the pitching is weaker today compared to then.
John Northey - Friday, December 18 2020 @ 09:52 PM EST (#392819) #
Part of the 2013 trade has signed - Anthony DeSclafani went to the Giants for $6 mil plus incentives. 6 WAR lifetime, he had a bad year in 2020 (-0.6 WAR) but has had a good career so far. Alvarez had 6.1 WAR after leaving as part of that trade, Yunel Escobar 6.7 WAR, Adeiny Hechavarría 5.3 WAR, Jake Marisnick 10.9 WAR, Jeff Mathis -1.2 WAR, and Justin Nicolino (-0.7 WAR) - so a total of 33.1 WAR lost for Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck (flipped in the RA Dickey trade a month later), Mark Buehrle (6.9 WAR), Josh Johnson (injured), Jose Reyes (salary dump to get Tulo).

Great reminder of the old saying that the best trades are often the ones you DON'T make. Funny how at the time it seemed so good and exciting.
scottt - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 08:42 AM EST (#392820) #
Cole? They lost Bass.

Romano will be back, I'm not sure that the pen is weaker, but I expect them to add a late inning guy with some experience. Mayza could earn a spot in the spring.

Walker was added mid-year. They could circle back to him if they don't sign anyone better. He won't cost must and he liked the Blue Jays staff.

It's still very early, whatever the players might say.
There's no way the playoffs are in a neutral site this time.

I'd like the players to get vaccinated and be able to play in Toronto.
It goes down to how much vaccine is available by then.

The Jays have picks number 19 and 54. They stand to lose pick 54 by signing a top free agent and  91 if they sign 2.
Nothing to fret over. As long as they don't trade away top prospects, the system isn't going to change much next year.

scottt - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 08:47 AM EST (#392821) #
Maddon plans to use a 6-man rotation next year to help Ohtani get back in top shape.
I think the Jays' plan is to have enough 2+ inning guys in the pen.

Of course, it would help to know how big the roster actually is.

Thomas - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 11:15 AM EST (#392823) #
Cole? They lost Bass.

The Jays are missing both Cole and Bass from last year's bullpen.

bpoz - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 12:37 PM EST (#392824) #
Once Bauer signs. The 2nd tier of SPs will be sought. Tanaka is in the 2nd tier IMO. Then the 3rd tier will get interest.

Darvish and Snell will be of interest as well after the Bauer signing.
scottt - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 03:15 PM EST (#392825) #
Yes and Bass was the closer while Cole was mostly the 6th or 7th inning guy who'd go against  a tough lefty or two, possibly in a lower leverage spot.
scottt - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 03:21 PM EST (#392826) #
Bauer likes to taunt every team, but most are not considering him, so he's only holding guys who think they could be offered more by teams that missed on Bauer. I'm not sure it will happen like that.

It could be that the thing holding the market is the lack of clearly defined plans for 2021.
Japanese and Korean pitchers only have 30 days to accept the best offer they have.
That could be the thing that happens next.

John Northey - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 03:35 PM EST (#392827) #
Pitching is such a crapshoot - every year there are a few guys who show up out of nowhere (Antonio Senzatela last year - 77 ERA+ in 2019, 153 in 2020, 101 lifetime including last year, higher bWAR than Bauer in 2020). There also are guys who collapse (in 2019 Mike Minor led the majors in bWAR for pitchers, in 2020 he had 5.56 ERA, 79 ERA+ in 56 2/3 IP). That is why you want a big stable of them and if you get a stable one like Halladay was you hold them as best you can.

That said, I'd love Bauer here even with the variability. Especially if the Jays showed the guts to put him out there every 4 days. Next tier I'd say is Tanaka & Tomoyuki Sugano (sub 2 ERA last year, under 2.20 5 of last 6 years) then comes the rest who mostly are filler. Yu Darvish (3 years left on current deal, average just shy of $20 mil a year) already has lots of trade interest as does Snell - both great to get but the prospect cost would be high. I'd rather the Jays chase down one of the biggest 3.

FYI: For comparison for Sugano - Yu Darvish's last 5 years in Japan saw ERA's sub 1.90 each year (higher K totals too). For a bit we thought the Jays were going to get him - even had an article written up about it just in case iirc. Instead Texas got him and his 18.5 bWAR (first contract - FanGraphs has him worth $20-30 mil a year during that outside of his lost year to injury of course, at a cost of roughly $112 mil - posting fee of $51.7 mil, contract $60 mil) plus 3 prospects who flopped (traded him mid-way through his last year).
John Northey - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 03:39 PM EST (#392828) #
Scottt - good point about Korea & Japanese players - we should hear soon about Kim and Tomoyuki Sugano. Both of whom I'd love the Jays to sign. Should be interesting to see who gets them and for how much. Each should provide $100 mil of value over 5 years based on their records but coming over is such a crapshoot - so many variables to consider. I'd risk $50 mil each if I was running the Jays and see if either bites, with a bit of wiggle room if needed. No way to over $75 mil though as then the risk gets too high imo, if someone wants to risk that much on them then great for those players, but if they settle for $50 or less and the Jays don't get them I'll be annoyed.
Cynicalguy - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 04:31 PM EST (#392829) #
Hoping the Jays sign Bauer, Springer and Ha-Seong Kim.
John Northey - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 04:50 PM EST (#392830) #
Cynical guy - that'd be nice but those 3 might cost as much as the entire roster right now does. Minimum $50 mil, Maximum $80 mil a year. It'd be nice as we don't pay the bills (directly) but I don't see it happening. 2 would make me happy - a mix of any 2 of the big 4 (on the poll) or the 2 from overseas would do the trick for me. 3 or more would be 'holy crap' time.
scottt - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 06:28 PM EST (#392831) #
If they go with Bauer, they probably keep the same outfield and got with however is left standing in the infield.
It's not surprise that Grichuk is wishing for Bauer.
With either of Springer, Realmuto or LeMahieu, they'd still have enough to get Kim/Sugano/Bradley/whoever.

I'd rather they get one of the international guy rather than spend around 10M per year on a reliever.
But the only thing that would upset me would be trading good controllable players/top prospects for an expensive 3B.

John Northey - Saturday, December 19 2020 @ 08:48 PM EST (#392832) #
Agreed Scottt - unless they got a guy who'd produce like Donaldson did of course :) Part of why I'm not enthused about Lindor - he'd cost a lot of prospect capital plus $300 million over 10 years. While he'd be super-nice to have it could lead to all kinds of other issues. Whereas Kim or LeMahieu should be OK playing at 3B from day one, not displacing anyone unless you really think Vlad will be at 3B everyday in 2021. Realmuto lands under the 'if you can't get anyone else, why not' category - as then you'd need to trade Jansen and someone else to find a real 3B or CF or starting pitcher.

Can hardly wait for the first pieces to start falling. So many dominos.
Cynicalguy - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 03:32 AM EST (#392833) #
John, yes it's wishful thinking, but payroll wise the Jays have great flexibility. Commitments for 2022 and 2023 is around 36 million, even if it's 80 million a year to sign those players, payroll is going to be 116 million plus the arb and non-arb players.

As for Lindor, I agree, doesn't excite me either even if we sign him to a long term deal. His best years defensively are likely behind him, and hitting wise he's a career 117 OPS+. Lindor was more valuable when he was in his prime athletically. Investing 300 million on Lindor on his older years is pretty risky. Better hope for the team long term is for one of Bichette or Groshans to stick at SS while they are cheap, allowing the team to use free agency to load up on talent to fill in other positions and starting pitching.

Same with Realmutto, don't understand the interest. Better hope is for one of the young C prospects to break out. If the team has cheap all star talent at C and SS during the expected contention window, that would be a huge advantage for the team to bolster other needs with free agency.
scottt - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 09:34 AM EST (#392834) #
The difference is that Realmuto does not require a 10 years commitment.
Also, Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball. Is Lindor the best shortstop in baseball?
He was the best in 18, he was probably 4th in 19 (Story, Bogaerts, Semien) and was only so-so in 20.
In 19, he missed a month  because of a calf strain, came back and strained his ankle.
20 was too short to reach any conclusion, but 21 will probably be shortened as well, which mean you're trading for less than 1 year of Lindor while paying in prospects for more and then you still need to overpay him for the next decade.
Lindor is only 27 and will rebound, but are we buying low or paying full price?
I'd buy low for the one year and see, but no more.

Realmuto on 4 years would be just as good as the Ryu signing.
You can't really hope for a young catcher to break out because you're only playing one full time.
A great year in the minor does not mean a young catcher could come up and be an All-Star.
It's a demanding position, which is why Jansen hasn't been focusing on the hitting.
Realmuto is already excellent defensively and offensively.
Which mean some of the young catchers could be traded for interesting pieces.

John Northey - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 01:07 PM EST (#392835) #
I see Realmuto as a two pronged thing -
1) by making everyone think the Jays are chasing him it will increase his price and thus suck more resources from whoever does sign him in the end, thus making it harder for them to outbid the Jays on other guys
2) As a backup plan if the Jays can't sign at a weakness so they can trade Jansen and/or Kirk to build up at 3B/CF/SP

Ideally the Jays get who they want and see Realmuto suck up tons of cash from someone else, thus making them less able to compete for other guys the Jays want. However, the fall-back of getting the best catcher in baseball and trading some of our kids for help elsewhere isn't a bad one either. Worst case is the Jays sign no one and someone ends up paying more than they wanted to for Realmuto. Not a bad worst case.
bpoz - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 01:43 PM EST (#392836) #
I think the Jays get better (playoff ready) if their young core can get 500 ABs in 2021. But due to covid probably 350 ABs is likely at the minimum.

The young pitching has to sort itself out. Who is good and who is not. P Murphy, SRF, H Perez and Y Diaz have 1 last option left. P Murphy has shown enough with 6 ML good innings to be given a serious trial in 2021. 72 ML innings by SRF are inconsistent but there is still hope. Y Diaz and H Perez have basically no ML experience. 1 outing is not enough and it was bad (nerves).

Zeuch has had good enough results in 34 ML innings. As has Romano in 30 ML innings.

At the end of 2021 we will know more. Are about 9-15 pitching spots basically locked up or will the FO be looking to add another Ray or maybe see about getting a Bauer type for 2022?
John Northey - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 03:05 PM EST (#392837) #
Now there is a good question, which potential free agents are there after 2021? Via 3B only has Kris Bryant and Eduardo Escobar. SS will be the interesting one with Francisco Lindor, Javier Báez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story. Starting pitching has some 'wow' in it with Noah Syndergaard, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander (TJ this year), Zack Greinke, Lance Lynn, Eduardo Rodriguez, Dylan Bundy, and Lance McCullers Jr.

I ignore guys with club options as if those aren't picked up then they probably had horrid years. Freddie Freeman at 1B is interesting but obviously nowhere to put him here unless Tellez or Vlad is traded.

Kershaw will be going into his age 34 season, and I'd expect him to sign an extension before then but if not he'll be an interesting one - how long do you sign a pitcher going into his age 34 season? Any deal would be $30+ mil a year for him. What about Verlander coming off TJ? Do you risk $20-30 on him a year for 2-3 years? Entering his age 39 season at that point so big risk there. Greinke entering his age 38 season and is still a great pitcher but again, how much do you lock in on an arm that old? Syndergaard is much younger (29 in 2022) but missed 2020 due to injury and has had issues throughout his ML career. So 2021/22 offseason will be very interesting with those pitchers and few teams willing to lock in due to losses this year.
Magpie - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 07:09 PM EST (#392838) #
So there I am, messing around on (hey, I was following up on something I saw on the Twitter!) and I was gazing at a certain team's franchise page and I suddenly thought to myself:

Self? Isn't that a lot of black and white photographs?

Because the bb-ref franchise pages list the top 24 players (by WAR) in team history. As a general rule, it seems that anyone who was active after 1950 has a colour photograph. The real old-timers have to settle for black and white.

Anyway, I further wondered if the particular team page I was looking at had more black and white photos than any other, indicating that their best days, or at least their best players, haven't been active in more than 70 years.

So I had to check, all 16 of the franchises that were around Back In The Day. And now I know, and I'm uncertain whether to come out and just tell you. Or let some of you venture a few guesses. For who has most old-timers, and who the fewest, on the team leader boards.
bpoz - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 07:12 PM EST (#392839) #
In 2022 or/and 2023 Ryu could have a good season. Get signed one of the pretty good SP FAs available next off season. Pearson could great immediately, fairly soon or not at all. Immediately would be Steib, Guzman or Hentgen. Fairly soon would be Halliday, Carpenter and D Wells. Not at all is IDK. 100 IP from a young gun like Manoah in 2021 and 50 IP in 2022 before promotion could be valuable for 2022 playoffs. I believe Guzman came up mid season in 1991 and did well in the playoffs that year.

I know this is fantasy.
earlweaverfan - Sunday, December 20 2020 @ 08:42 PM EST (#392840) #
John, Realmuto is intriguing for other reasons, too. None of the other possible bidders seem too enthusiastic. Philly don’t think they can afford him; Washington seem to have higher priority roles to fill. The Yankees are seeking to avoid paying the tax. The Mets have their man (McCann).

The Jays have a lot of younger pitchers (Pearson, SWR, Menoah...) who will need to be mentored into playing their best - the top catcher in baseball would be ideal for that role.

If you could do a 4-year deal, while also front-end loading his pay, you could free up budget at the end of his contract just when Moreno might be fully ready to step up and the young core will need to be paid much more.

Also save more money for later by giving Bradley a 2-year contract now to play CF (rather than Springer at much higher pay for longer), so that you can replace Bradley with Austin Martin once that time is up.

Rinse and repeat with a cheaper-than-DJL infielder to upgrade the defence there until Groshans or Martinez is ready. (E.g., Wong to 2B; Biggio to 3B).

Similarly, as budget permits, add either Sugano (longer-term) or Tanaka (shorter-term) to bolster the rotation.

Finally, trade Jansen and Tellez for either another emerging high minors outfielder or rising starter (plus Int. FA $?) . Move Hernandez to DH.

The team would be much stronger for 2020, (defence far stronger, offence a bit stronger) but you would not have spent prospects or mid-2020s budget space for when the youth movement fully ripens.

Only Realmuto (plus maybe Sugano) would take up big budget room, mid-to-long-term.

John Northey - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 12:07 AM EST (#392841) #
Good ideas there earlweaverfan (good choice for favorite manager). A vet catcher might be right for this team with a few younger ones coming up in a few years. Realmuto might like a front loaded deal given how most teams are pushing back loaded (maybe a bonus up front as no sane player wants too much in 2021/2 given the real risk of a shortened season in 2021 and 2022).

The main reason I've been gun-ho on the foreign players is they should be a lot easier on the budget and would fill in areas of need for 5-6 years potentially. Bradley could be nice in CF mixed with Davis while an OF or Tellez is traded.

I love the 1001 moving parts but really hope something happens soon so it can all start going. Kim and Sugano both need to sign soon (1 month window) so that might be the log jam breaker.
greenfrog - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 07:34 AM EST (#392842) #
Something to consider about Realmuto is that a four-year contract, or even a five-year contract, for a 29-year-old elite catcher (who just had a semi-rest season) is actually relatively low-risk. Martin was two years older than Realmuto when the Jays signed him to a five-year deal. Free agent contracts are getting less onerous overall and if the market for Realmuto is more constrained than it would be in other off-seasons, the Jays should take advantage by making an aggressive move to acquire him.
85bluejay - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 08:28 AM EST (#392843) #
Pitching is my priority - I wonder if the Jays pick up all of Mike Moustakas contract ($51M including buyout) and stick him at 3B -how much does that lower the price for Luis Castillo (3 years control) - add in Tomoyuki Sugano and improve CF defense (JBJ & Davis platoon?) - Realmuto is nice but I think the money can be better spent.
rpriske - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 08:52 AM EST (#392844) #
The Blue Jays signing Relamuto would be absolutely ridiculous.

They have actual, gaping holes. Filling those is more important than a simple upgrade.

You do upgrades after the holes have been filled.
greenfrog - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 09:43 AM EST (#392846) #
Several people on this site and elsewhere (e.g., Keith Law) have made good arguments in favour of the Jays acquiring Realmuto. There is no simple rule that a team must “fill holes” sequentially before making an (arguably significant) upgrade at another position.

Also, you misspelled Realmuto.
bpoz - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 10:15 AM EST (#392847) #
Makes a lot of sense rpriske.
cascando - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 10:57 AM EST (#392848) #
Steamer projects Jansen at 2.1 WAR next year and while he could certainly fail to reach that level, his youth and track record also make him a decent bet to exceed it. Realmuto is projected at 4.1 and is 4 years older.

I think there is a reasonable chance that Jansen is as valuable over the next 5 years as Realmuto. In my opinion, the FA money Realmuto will command would be better allocated almost anywhere else on the roster.
scottt - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 11:45 AM EST (#392849) #
Jansen and Realmuto both reached the major at 23.

 age  Jansen  Realmuto by OPS+
 23 115     71
 24  70      92
 25   85     111
 26   ??     112   
 27   ??     126
 28   ??     109
 29   ??     123
 30   ??     ??

It seems like Realmuto could have 3 maybe 4 years of All-Star level hitting left.
Jansen might show an average bat in 2021 which gives you about 2 WAR.
Realmuto hit 30+ doubles 4 years in a row. Jansen had 12 last year and only 3 this year.
To be as valuable as Realmuto, Jansen would have to hit more HR, since he doesn't hit doubles.
Realmuto hit 21, 25 HRs, Jansen would need to hit 30 of them.

scottt - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 11:58 AM EST (#392850) #
There are 3 positions that are harder to fill than others.
Catcher, shortstops and centerfield are were you spend money.
Other holes can be filled just by moving people around.

That's why Tellez has very little trade value.

Filling a hole in centerfield would be my priority, hence Springer.
Failing that, a discounted upgrade at catcher is fine.

This year is exceptional because most teams are slashing their payroll and the Jays aren't.
You take advantage of that by signing a player without a strong market at a discount.
If they were to give 38M for the year to Bauer, they'd kinda miss the boat.
Same for Lindor.

Glevin - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 12:14 PM EST (#392851) #
"I think there is a reasonable chance that Jansen is as valuable over the next 5 years as Realmuto."

There's a chance but not a great one and there is a very high likelihood that Realmuto is significantly better than Jansen over the next few years. I'll take a catcher who goes 4/4/3/0/0 over a player who goes 2/2/2/2/2 easily. Marginal wins are huge and you can move on when a player is finished. A 2 WAR catcher is pretty replaceable year to year. I don't think Realmuto should be #1 choice but he is a massive upgrade and would make the Jays a lot better as well as allow them to trade a catcher for strength elsewhere.
John Northey - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 12:27 PM EST (#392852) #
Youth is always nice, and projections of improvement are nice, but established and in prime are best. Realmuto is established and prime, Jansen is all projection, Kirk all youth and hope. Jansen is great for a team that isn't contending but hopes to in a few years. Cheap, potential, but also established enough to be useful and to have a known floor (roughly where he is at right now) which is at or above replacement level. Kirk is the type of guy teams dream of - young, powerful bat, 6 years of control, maybe 7 if left down long enough this year, no options used yet.

I suspect that Jansen/Kirk could get something decent in return at a position of need. I'm certain the Jays are pursuing that while asking Realmuto what his price is to come here. If nothing comes of it then only a bit of time was wasted but you now have an idea of who needs catching and how badly in case something comes up (another kid charges through the system).

Don't get me wrong, I see Realmuto as a backup plan. a) is Bauer &/or Springer &/or LeMahieu &/or Turner, b) Lindor (due to prospect cost plus contract) &/or Tanaka, c) Kim/Sugano, d) Realmuto e) assorted middle of the road free agents (due to injuries or age or limited skill set) like Paxton, Bradley, Walker, Wong, etc. to fill in holes.

E can/will be used to fill slots that aren't filled by a/b/c/d if the Jays can't fill all their needs from those plans. A mixture is likely - I can't imagine the Jays blowing what it would take to sign 3 of the A set, and if they trade for Lindor then all else has to be low level E's. C will be decided in the next couple of weeks regardless as those guys need to sign soon or will be back to their respective leagues.
greenfrog - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 12:34 PM EST (#392853) #
The Jays could sign Realmuto, keep Jansen as the #2 catcher, and allow Kirk to develop for another year in the minors. Then reassess and possibly trade Jansen or Kirk later in 2021 or in 2022. Signing Realmuto doesn't also oblige the Jays to immediately move one of their young catchers.

A catcher is different than other players, as he (maybe someday she) is on the field most days and also works with the entire pitching staff. Someone like Realmuto may add some intangible value in this "quarterback"-like role that someone like Bauer or Springer wouldn't, much as Martin arguably did for the Jays in 2015 and 2016.
John Northey - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 01:52 PM EST (#392854) #
Good point greenfrog - that Jansen and/or Kirk don't need to be traded if Realmuto is signed. Gabriel Moreno will be in AA or A+ (was in full season A in 2019 with an 800+OPS), Riley Adams in AA/AAA (reached AA in 2019) so if Kirk kept we'd probably see Kirk in AAA with Reese McGuire as the backup, Adams in AA, and Moreno in Vancouver (A+). Otherwise move all up a level.
cascando - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 02:07 PM EST (#392855) #
A 2 WAR catcher is pretty replaceable year to year.

Is it? There were 11 in MLB in 2019. There were 13 in 2018.

If you think Jansen has trade value, and is unlikely to ever be better than league average, and if you believe that Realmuto’s peak years are going to coincide with a window of contention for the Jays, then I can understand signing Realmuto.

I personally think Jansen’s trade value is probably well below his potential, and I think the Jays are still a few years from contending, especially if they spend major FA dollars hoping for a 2 WAR upgrade at C. I can see the team growing into serious contender status in a couple of years if they bolster the pitching staff and fill holes at CF and 3B. Then, if there is still payroll room, it might make sense to break the bank to add marginal wins at a position where you already have a league average regular.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 02:21 PM EST (#392856) #
The Jays really like Kirk's bat. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kirk and Jansen as the opening day battery. I only see Realmuto being signed if there isn't much money spent elsewhere. ie: If all of the multitude of players supposedly linked to the Jays go to other teams.
bpoz - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 02:30 PM EST (#392857) #
By record the Jays (7th best) beat out Houston in 2020. So we need to realize that the extra playoff positions really helped the Jays.

In 2021 will we only play ALE and NLE teams? I doubt it, but I could be wrong. A significantly longer regular season (aprox 90-120 games) may result in playing games against other divisions and still have extra playoff spots. We don't know. I don't think we are an elite team just yet. I also think Washington and Boston will be better.

We could be in contention at the trade deadline. Easier to be in contention if there are more extra playoff teams.
Mike Green - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 03:19 PM EST (#392858) #
Steamer's 2021 projections for Realmuto and Jansen are quite similar.  Realmuto is projected to hit .265/.330/.458 over 610 PAs for a 107 wRC+ and 15.6 runs saved defensively over that time.  Jansen is projected to hit .240/.320/.413 over 364 PAs for a 97 wRC+ and 11.5 runs saved defensively over that time.  The reason that Realmuto is projected to be a 4.1 WAR player and Jansen a 2.2 WAR player is largely the playing time projection.  Jansen is projected to be a slightly better defensive player and a somewhat less capable offensive player. 

Over his major league career to date including post-season, Jansen has 24 homers in 631 PAs, 61 walks and 127 strikeouts.  These are good numbers. He has a .229 BABIP which account for his current career slash line. Steamer projects his 2021 BABIP at .269. ZiPS has Jansen at .230/.322/.424 with a .249 BABIP. 

If you believe that Realmuto is a far superior handler of pitchers than Jansen, then I can see the logic of being interested in him.  Otherwise, I don't. 
scottt - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 03:43 PM EST (#392859) #
The Jays have 5 young catchers on the 40 roster. They absolutely need to trade one even without adding Realmuto.
You can trade guys with potential and get very little in return or trade guys who have already shown something and get something back. I think they stick with Kirk and Moreno. Jansen shouldn't be a backup.
So, I expect them to trade McGuire or Adams and Jansen if they were to sign Realmuto.

That would leave room to get some other pieces.

scottt - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 03:45 PM EST (#392860) #
Maybe Steam is getting confused by the shortened season.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 03:55 PM EST (#392861) #
"Pitching is my priority - I wonder if the Jays pick up all of Mike Moustakas contract ($51M including buyout) and stick him at 3B -how much does that lower the price for Luis Castillo (3 years control) - add in Tomoyuki Sugano and improve CF defense (JBJ & Davis platoon?) - Realmuto is nice but I think the money can be better spent."

Are we the only ones that think the Jays can go after elite pitching like they did last off season? We don't have a rotation, yet everyone is infatuated with the idea of signing Realmuto under value, then moving all the plates of the earth to make surplus-for-surplus deals with another team(s) and some how get a good rotation out of that which will better the Rays, Dodgers, As, White Sox, Twins, Indians, Padres, Cardinals, NYM, Nationals, Marlins and Braves which are the most likely teams to make the playoffs with solid rotations.

Remind me, who is our rotation again?

1. Ryu

2. Pearson (if healthy)

3. Ray

4. Thornton, Hatch, Yamaguchi, Merriweather?


5. Roark

Sign Bauer and let the kids improve around the diamond or trade up there.

1. Ryu
2. Bauer
3. Pearson
4. Ray
5. Filler
X. "Waves of prospects"
Glevin - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 04:07 PM EST (#392862) #
"A 2 WAR catcher is pretty replaceable year to year.

Is it? There were 11 in MLB in 2019. There were 13 in 2018."

Yes, very replacable. The difference between 1-2 WAR is meaningless in reality (WAR is a very rough stat which is too often treated as if it were a precise measurement) where a 2.2 WAR player is no better than a 1.6 WAR player. Getting a catcher who is roughly a 2 WAR player is extremely easy. There were 17 catchers with at least 1.6 WAR and 21 catchers with WAR 1.3 in 2019 and many of them were cheap and easy gets and many of them didn't get that much playing time. You can replace 2 WAR with a minimum salary defense catcher and maybe lose half a win. There were 2 catchers over 5 WAR. The same 2 catchers over 4 WAR. 6 over 3 WAR. The point is simply that a 4 win player is not twice as valuable as a 2 win player, he's way more valuable. Getting players that are pretty good is easy. Getting elite players is hard.
Glevin - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 04:18 PM EST (#392863) #
"If you believe that Realmuto is a far superior handler of pitchers than Jansen, then I can see the logic of being interested in him. Otherwise, I don't. "

Or that Jansen's WAR was based on an extremely fluky defensive 2019 where he was like the 10th most valuable defensive player in all of baseball. Because he has very little history, that fluky numbers are influencing predictions but they look a bit silly. Realmuto is an excellent defensive catcher and probably at least as good as Jansen. You then add that his WRC+ for the last 3 years have been 125, 106, and 126 and Jansen's career (over the last 3 years has been 80). They really aren't close as players. I wouldn't want Realmuto for long-term because catchers decline quickly, but he's probably the best catcher in baseball and Jansen is an adequate catcher with some potential for more.
Mike Green - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 04:21 PM EST (#392864) #
Realmuto does not project to be an elite player. The projection for him over 616 PAs vs. Jansen and Kirk over those same 616 PAs is less than a win. If you think that he's a great handler of pitchers, then fine. Or if you think the projections for Jansen and Kirk are optimistic, then sure.

It's a boring off-season and it's easy to get carried away by above-average but not exceptional talents.
John Northey - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 04:59 PM EST (#392865) #
I find most projections of Jansen nearly laughable - this is a guy with a lifetime 208/297/370 line in the majors over 626 PA spread over 3 seasons. 3 times in the minors he had an 800's OPS (never 900+), 3 times below 650. Now, he might be that 800's guy but I'd bet on a 600's based on both his ML and minor league performance. It made perfect sense to make him the everyday catcher once Martin was clearly done, but to count on him being a 240/326/413 player seems silly. wRC+ of 80 lifetime, but Steamer sees him at 97 in 2021? Yeah, it could happen but any team that bets on a guy increasing his wRC+ by 17 points is being foolish.
Mike Green - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 05:26 PM EST (#392866) #
That's fair, John. Subjectively, I think that Jansen is going to beat the Steamer projection and put in a season that would fit into Gene Tenace's career.

Speaking of Tenace, my first guess for the club with the most pre-1950 players in its top 25 is the Athletics. They had some great players in Philly, none in Kansas City in the 50s and have generally not held on to their stars since.
scottt - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 09:10 PM EST (#392867) #
Realmuto has been the best catcher in baseball for the last several year.
He threw out baserunners at a 47% clip. He's one of the best blocker. He's also a top framer.
Right now, Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal are the only 2 elite catchers in the game.

Adley Rustchman and Joey Bart are the only catching prospects projected by scouts to become elite players.
None of the Jays catching prospects crack the top 10.

greenfrog - Monday, December 21 2020 @ 09:32 PM EST (#392868) #
In the end, you have to trust your evaluators. How highly do they rate Jansen, Kirk, Moreno? If your best evaluators think that acquiring JT nets you maybe a win at the C position, then fine. Look to make other moves. (This is not an implausible conclusion.) If you think Jansen has a real shot at a career similar to that of Gene Tenace, then of course you hold on to him and slot him in as your starting catcher. If you think Realmuto nets you 2+ wins annually over the next two or more years, and he’s available at a reasonable cost, then maybe go after him.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 12:12 AM EST (#392869) #
Bingo greenfrog - #1 is the Jays scouts and other evaluators - do they feel the spread between Jansen and Realmuto is enough to justify a $20+ mil a year contract over the next 4 years? IMO it does, but other spots are higher priority, but there is also the variable about how many teams are asking about Jansen and/or Kirk and what are they offering? Then you can figure out if it is worth it or not. Like I've said before - if the Jays can fill the other slots they will, but if it become Realmuto or nothing then I expect them to sign him. I suspect Realmuto will be a late signing for whoever gets him at this point - probably not until February.
scottt - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 07:16 AM EST (#392870) #
Right now it looks like it's a staring contest between the Jays and the Mets for Springer.
I don' t know how long it will last, but the deadlines for Kim and Sugano are approaching.
Kim wouldn't cost a ton. I think it's mostly a question of keeping LeMahieu in sights or not.
If they miss on Springer they will really need to get that elite veteran somewhere else.

With that new covid-19 strain in the UK, things are getting more complicated.
At some points the players will realize that things are worse than last summer and serious talks will start about the season. Worse case, nothing happens until the presidential inauguration.
I'm hoping the players gets vaccinated before camp and the Jays play in Toronto.
It seems that owners in places like Florida and Texas are banking on having fans in the stadium early.
Maybe some federal directive put an end to that. Maybe not.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 08:33 AM EST (#392871) #
The staring contest appears to be between DJL and the Jays committing to each other since he wants to play in NYC but is getting the offer from TO.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 09:00 AM EST (#392872) #
I understand this discussion about Realmuto/Jansen. Given enough ML playing time the comparison will be clear. One is most likely better than the other.

Going off at a tangent: 1) We have Catchers on winning teams. 2) All Star/HOF catchers that did not play on winnings teams. E Whitt & P Borders played on winning teams but fell short of AS/HOF. Gary Carter & Pudge Rodriguez are AS/HOF types. Analysis needed.

Here are names of V good catchers IMO. Short list Y Molina, C Fisk & B Posey. Another tangent: LAD traded for Y Grandal who is pretty good I suppose 2015 -16 for LAD. M Kemp was the prize.

Sorry to cherry pick but Washington won the WS in 2019 with K Suzuki and Y Gomes. Soto was one of their star players. The 2 catchers & Soto were not big moves (Soto DR kid that blossomed). Sherzer, Strasburg and Harper were big acquisitions.

Many good/winning teams don't win the WS but are winning when their window is opened. There is a mix and match it seems to me. Do you want an AS catcher Posoda or an AS closer M Rivera.

Cracka - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 09:12 AM EST (#392873) #
Bo Bichette is a big fan of DJL, recently quoting as saying: “I think DJ LeMahieu is the best hitter in baseball, and I don’t even really think it’s close, from what I’ve seen. He’s probably the No. 1 player I’d want to play with in the league. If that would happen, that would be awesome for us".

I still think he'll stay with the Yankees, but this was an interesting perspective.

Eephus - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 09:27 AM EST (#392874) #
As I've said before, I think Springer is the best player available in free agency and I'd much rather have him than the other big names. The dude is just super consistent. Realmuto would be second I suppose (and I'd prefer Tanaka over Bauer to be honest).

I'll guess the Tigers for the Top 24 question (early 20th century success, long periods of modern futility), though I suspect Mike is quite correct with his A's reasoning.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 09:41 AM EST (#392875) #
Speaking of catchers, Moreno was mentioned in this Dec. 21 article on how some prospects are doing in winter ball:

"Gabriel Moreno, C (Blue Jays No. 8)

Moreno extended his hitting streak to four games on Sunday via his first four-hit performance of the offseason, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and runs scored apiece for Cardenales de Lara. The 20-year-old catcher has quietly established himself as one of the better young backstops in the Minors across the past two seasons, as he followed up his impressive 2019 full-season debut (.280/.337/.485, 12 HR) with a strong showing at Toronto’s alternate site over the summer. In Venezuela, meanwhile, Moreno is slashing .370/.452/.500 with five extra-base hits, 12 runs scored and 10 RBIs through 16 games."
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 10:07 AM EST (#392876) #
That's very good news about Moreno. 

My second guess for the pre-1950 WAR leaders was the Yankees, and Reggie Jackson's career illustrated my choices. His most famous period was with the Yankees, but his most productive was with the A's.  I didn't think that he had enough years in Oakland to make their list (or in New York), but I checked and he ended up with 48 WAR in Oakland which probably puts him in the second half of their list.  Similarly with Bando (52 WAR in Oakland) and Campy (49 WAR in Oakland).  The great A's players of that era reached free agency later than they do now because of the timing of the Messersmith decision and what followed from that. 

So I checked and the Yankees weren't it.  Joe DiMaggio has a colour photo (he played in 50-51), and Brett Gardner makes their list! 

Mike Green - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 10:14 AM EST (#392877) #
My third and fourth guesses were a lot better.  They're both National League clubs.  It's a bit deceptive because in both cases there are quite a few modern names that everybody knows among the top 10.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 11:18 AM EST (#392878) #
I read about G Moreno. He and about 2 others are 20 years old. There are also about 2 players that are 24.

For all players they talked only offense but not defense. I feel confident that Moreno's defense is ok.

If somehow Moreno is traded I look forward to him shooting up the prospect lists. I say with a knowing smile.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 12:00 PM EST (#392879) #
Springer fits the Jays perfectly, so he should be (and likely is) the top priority as far as top free agents. Forget CF, outfield in general is a weakness up and down the organization. If Springer can give you 2 more solid defensive years in CF before moving over to RF, then the value should be there over a 5 year period as long as the bat doesn't fall off a cliff (though there will be obvious decline towards the back end as with all FA deals for players in their 30's). Unfortunately the Mets present a pretty big challenge considering it's close to where he grew up, with a new rock star owner and the biggest market in NA. If the money/years is close, then I don't see the Jays winning that, but who knows.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 12:35 PM EST (#392880) #
CWS have signed Int'l Yoelqui Cespedes. Rated #1.
Cynicalguy - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 12:49 PM EST (#392881) #
Just curious on these projection sites like Steamer, has anyone done an analysis how accurate these predictions are compared to actual results? Sounds like astrology to me with so many variables on how a player might perform.

I am usually into advanced stats, but some I have to question like the defensive stats UZR and DRS where they have some wild year to year swings and they both don't agree with with each other. Then there's WAR where you incorporate those defensive metrics, and try to find some kind of common value between pitchers and position players using some formula. Not a big believer in it. The outs above average stat sounds more reasonable to me.
Magpie - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 02:15 PM EST (#392882) #
Top 24

As you might suspect, I was initially looking at the Cubs franchise page (fastest way I know to get to Ferguson Jenkins by just clicking things, rather than actually typing something) when I was struck by all the black and white pictures - 15 of the 24.

No one had more, but the Giants and Clevelnds both matched it, to my surprise. The A's just fell short with 14. And the Dodgers had just 6 guys in black and white, even less than the Yankees and Red Sox (7 each). But that makes sense. The Dodgers basically sucked forever until the late 1940s.

You see, I saw this video on Twitter of Jenkins striking out all these guys in his first All Star Game and I was wondering who they were... And down the rabbit hole I fell.
Michael - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 02:21 PM EST (#392883) #
Lots of people have done studies of the accuracy of predictive systems, and generally the different systems are all quite accurate in terms of offensive productivity per PA. Decently accurate in terms of pitching productivity per PA (but not as good as offense). Not as accurate in terms of predicting injuries, playing time, and defensive ratings (or role dependent stats like saves).

But in all of those decently accurate is about nailing the expected behavior of most players in the aggregate. Obviously there are outliers every year both positive and negative. Some of those outliers are just "lucky"/"unlucky" and fall back (rise) to normal predictions. Some of those outliers have risen (fallen) to new levels that will power them forward.
Magpie - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 02:56 PM EST (#392884) #
the Giants and Clevelands both matched [the Cubs]

However - the Cubs and the Giants go back into the 19th century, and no less than 6 of the Top 24 Giants of all time were 19th century stars. As were 4 of the Cubs. Whereas all 15 of Cleveland's black and white photos are necessarily of 20th century players.

I'm tempted to eliminate all the 19th century guys and level the playing field... this would mean identifying the next 6 Giants... the next 4 Cubs... one more Dodger... six more Braves? AT any rate, the Clevelands will be the king of 20th century black and white photos, followed by the A's.

I definitely need a life.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 03:10 PM EST (#392885) #
I definitely need a life

Not alone in that.  So, I had forgotten that Stan Hack ended his career in the 40s and hence was shot in black and white.  I clicked.  Did you know that, in successive years, Hack's SB/CS was 17/18, 16/19, 16/15, 17/18 and 21/22?  He led the league in stolen bases twice but didn't manage to lead the league in caught stealing even once.  The league was right around the 50% mark in stolen base efficiency- sometimes a little above, sometimes a little below. 

For some reason, the SB efficiency was much lower in the NL than in the AL at the time (the late thirties).  Anyone know why?
christaylor - Tuesday, December 22 2020 @ 07:44 PM EST (#392886) #
This has been looked at by BP. Interestingly one has to get quite far into a normal 162 game schedule before a player's actual stats for the early season to be more predictive of his performance for the remainder of the season. Nearly halfway through if memory serves. The systems tend to fare better for individuals rather than teams. As you point out the publicly available defensive stats are relatively limited and variable.
Magpie - Wednesday, December 23 2020 @ 03:08 PM EST (#392887) #
Stan Hack ended his career in the 40s and hence was shot in black and white.

I've got something far more disturbing. Phil Cavarretta (who'd make the Cubs page if we took out all the 19th century guys) is also shot in black and white. He played his last game in 1955.

I just don't know what to think now....
John Northey - Wednesday, December 23 2020 @ 03:49 PM EST (#392888) #
Got me thinking about the Jays page...

Players who came to the Jays in the...
70's: Ernie Whitt, Jim Clancy (both part of original expansion draft), Dave Stieb (still #1 with 56.8 bWAR)
80's: Fernandez, Key, Barfield, Moseby (#10 with 26.0 bWAR), Olerud (barely), Bell, McGriff
90's: Halladay, Delgado, Wells (barely), Hentgen, White, Alomar, Guzman, Clemens, Stewart
00's: Bautista, Encarnacion, Rios, Hill (#24 with 17.1 bWAR)
10's: Donaldson

No one on the current team makes the top 50 hitters or pitchers list. Ryu is close with his 3.0 vs 3.8 for top 50 pitchers. Takes 5.5 for the top 50 hitters and no Jay is there right now.

Expos/Washington still has 15 Expos hats plus El Presidente in his O's hat. 7 of the top 10 are Expos including the top 4 (Carter, Raines, Dawson, Rogers), and the bottom 6 (of 24) are as well. 17.2 WAR is the minimum (Bryn Smith).
Dewey - Wednesday, December 23 2020 @ 03:50 PM EST (#392889) #
I’m not at all surprised that it’s the Cubs, Magpie. They were awful/mediocre for a long time last century. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I actually saw Hack and Cavarretta on the field -- Cavvy often -- in the late 1940’s. Hack was pretty much toast, but Cavarretta had his good days. The photos in the Cubs’ ‘yearbooks’ in those days were in black and white. That new-fangled Kodachrome and such were a few years away, into the ’50’s.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 23 2020 @ 07:42 PM EST (#392890) #
The Cubs made sense as they were really, really good around 1900 but sucked after 1945. I'd have expected the White Sox to be the same, they have 12 b&w's with just 2 who started up this century (Mark Buehrle & Chris Sale) and 2 in the 90's (Frank Thomas & Paul Konerko), and 2 in the 80's (Robin Ventura & Carlton Fisk who came as a free agent in '81). Their lowest is Willie Kamm (26.6) closely followed by Shoeless Joe (27.8*). I suspect if not for the Black Sox scandal the list might be even more dominated by old guys, but after that they had a lot of issues. I figure guys would've picked other teams to sign with due to the notoriety the Sox got after that.
ayjackson - Thursday, December 24 2020 @ 12:11 PM EST (#392891) #
Joe Posnanski has an interesting piece going in The Athletic (subscription required) call The Outsiders. Counting down the 100 best players not in the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday was the tale of #23 Fred McGriff. I include a small excerpt below where he defines Fred "as the line" to get into the HOF. Presumably, he'd have everyone above and including 23 in, and everyone below 23 out. (but then he said Stieb should be in, so who knows what he means)

"But as a Hall of Fame voter, I had to consider McGriff in a very specific context. Was he a Hall of Fame player as compared to the players already in the Hall of Fame? It’s so close. He’s better than some, not as good as others. He has as many home runs as Lou Gehrig, but not quite the 500 that would clarify things. His career value is right on the border. His impact on the game is substantial and puts him right on the border. I have written before that, for me, Fred McGriff is the Hall of Fame line. But then, there was another question to ask: Was he one of the 10 best players on the ballot? This is the limit for voters, and this was at a time when you could make a viable argument for as many as 20 players on the ballot. As this thing developed, I never did vote for McGriff. The vast majority of us didn’t. So for 10 years, McGriff had to wake up on a January morning to find out that he wasn’t a Hall of Famer. And now, in 2022 I assume, he will be elected into the Hall by 16 voters who get together in a room to talk it over. This is a really weird way to grant baseball immortality."
BlueJayWay - Thursday, December 24 2020 @ 12:12 PM EST (#392892) #
I find most projections of Jansen nearly laughable - this is a guy with a lifetime 208/297/370 line in the majors over 626 PA spread over 3 seasons. 3 times in the minors he had an 800's OPS (never 900+), 3 times below 650. Now, he might be that 800's guy but I'd bet on a 600's based on both his ML and minor league performance. It made perfect sense to make him the everyday catcher once Martin was clearly done, but to count on him being a 240/326/413 player seems silly. wRC+ of 80 lifetime, but Steamer sees him at 97 in 2021? Yeah, it could happen but any team that bets on a guy increasing his wRC+ by 17 points is being foolish.

Isn't Jansen the guy who got his vision corrected while in the minors and then hit much better after that? I think his worse-hitting seasons in the minors were earlier on. If the 800s OPS Jansen was putting up in the minors the last couple of years before his call-up represents his real hitting ability, then he should project to be at least a 700s OPS guy in the majors. In other words around a league average hitter overall, which is quite good for a catcher. His major league stats are not good overall (.208/.297/.370) for a OPS+ of 80 (same as his wRC+, which is usually how it works out), however.....he does have a career BABIP of .229, which is crazy low and probably indicates flukiness in a bad way.  Some of the expected stats have him as being one of the unluckier hitters in the league the last couple of years (Baseball Savant has his xwOBA as .339, way above his actual .295).

Given all that I can certainly see where the projections are coming from. There could very well be a lot more in Jansen's bat than we've seen so far in MLB. Anyway, Fangraphs wrote a post on the Jays catching situation recently
Mike Green - Thursday, December 24 2020 @ 01:47 PM EST (#392893) #
The December 25 birthday team has Rickey! and a few other pieces, and the December 26 birthday team could really use Rickey and those other pieces, so how about a holiday special team?


LF Rickey Henderson
CF Ben Chapman
C Carlton Fisk
1B Chris Chambliss
RF Jo-Jo Moore
2B Nellie Fox
3B Jeff King
SS Ozzie Smith

Quincy Trouppe (C), Omar Infante (middle IF), Wayne Causey (utility IF), George Tebeau (OF/1B)

SP- Pud Galvin
SP- Ned Garver
SP- Mike Minor
SP- Ray Sadecki
SP- Storm Davis

CL- Stu Miller
RP- Yonny Chirinos
RP-Al Jackson
RP- Hideki Okajima
RP- Al Milnar
RP- Pug Cavet
RP- Herman Pilette

I love this club.  Lots of runners on base, very good speed, very good defence and good pitching.  You've got probably 5 hitters who could lead off, but you have to put Rickey there. 
bpoz - Thursday, December 24 2020 @ 09:13 PM EST (#392894) #
Pittsburgh traded Josh Bell to the Nationals for 2 pitching prospects.
John Northey - Thursday, December 24 2020 @ 09:24 PM EST (#392895) #
Here is a trip down memory lane - Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K) signed to play in 2021 in Japan. He was in the majors from 2007 to 2014 under tons of hype, 4th in Cy voting his second year, but under 10 WAR in his ML career. He was very good in Japan but was hyped due to a special pitch iirc that wasn't anything special in the end. He had a sub 4 ERA in 2018, but wasn't good in 2019 and missed 2020 due to injuries. It'd be nice to see him make a real comeback but I wouldn't hold out much hope. FYI: His Japan ERA pre-coming to the majors was sub 3 often, lowest 2.13 with big K numbers. Sugano for comparison was 1.97 last year, one of 3 years he was sub 2 for ERA. So Sugano has been more successful than Dice-K was in Japan by ERA (far from a perfect measure but noteworthy).
John Northey - Thursday, December 24 2020 @ 09:27 PM EST (#392896) #
For those curious (like I was) Yamaguchi was sub 2 only once, in 2012, and since then his lowest ERA was 2.69 in 2014. So while a good pitcher, he is a level lower than DiceK and Sugano.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, December 25 2020 @ 09:31 AM EST (#392897) #
Once there was a King in a distant land who was a just and fair ruler. He loved his subjects and, noting how his Queen influenced his decisions as King, he decided to find out who was most often the head of the household in his subject's homes.
He called in one of his knights and instructed him to take a flock of chickens and two horses and tour the kingdom. At each home where the husband was head of the household, they would be given a horse. If the wife was boss, then they would get a chicken. The knight did as he was told and after several hours travelling the countryside he arrived at a farm with just one chicken left and both of the horses.
The farm couple invited him in and the knight explained why he was there. " Now who is the head of the household here ?" he asked. " Why I am, of course!" exclaimed the farmer, a big burly man with wild, curly hair and a thick, rough beard. His wife, a petite woman barely over five feet tall sat quietly and said nothing.
The knight replied, "Oh, well, in that case you are to receive a horse. I have a black one and a white one. Which one do you prefer?"
" I'll take the black one." said the farmer confidently. "Fine," said the knight, " I'll get it right now." As he was going out the door he noticed the wife standing up and whispering in her husband's ear.
" Just a minute," called the farmer," I've changed my mind. I'll take the white horse." The knight nodded and went outside and came back in shortly. " Here's your chicken." he said.

Merry Christmas to my fellow Bauxites and their families. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for everyone and a good one for the Jays!
bpoz - Friday, December 25 2020 @ 10:00 AM EST (#392898) #
Merry Christmas Bauxites!!
scottt - Friday, December 25 2020 @ 01:06 PM EST (#392899) #
Makes a lot of sense. Bell has 2 years of control left and who knows what the QO mechanism will be in the next CBA.
They got Wil Crow who is MLB ready and who was ranked 10th in the Nats system by BA, 3rd by MLB and 4th by Fangraphs. He now slots all the way down to 17th in the Pirates system according to MLB.
They also go a 19 year old who slots at 7th in the Pirates system (MLB still).
5 of the 6 guys ahead of him are position players, so that's probably a good fit for Pittsburgh.

Bell won't be making a ton and Washington might not have a lot of payroll flexibility.
It does take a 1B/DH  bat spot of the market and the Pirates won't be spending much to replace him either.

scottt - Saturday, December 26 2020 @ 09:12 AM EST (#392900) #
Everybody in Japan seems to be throwing a splitter. The Japanese ball is a bit smaller, so it's easier to grip.
That seems to be one adjustment.
The other is that you can't miss with a low 90's pitch in the MLB.
Sugano throws harder so he has more margin of error.
The other thing is that Japanese pitchers typically make around 25 starts on a 6 day rotation.
Sugano has been down to 136/137.1 innings the last 2 years.

Magpie - Saturday, December 26 2020 @ 10:01 AM EST (#392901) #
The December 25 birthday team has Rickey! and a few other pieces

It also has Shane MacGowan, co-author (and singer, along with the late lamented Kirsty MacColl) of the greatest Christmas song of them all.

bpoz - Saturday, December 26 2020 @ 10:06 AM EST (#392902) #
The Jays lineup is young and strong on offense. Jansen's does need a higher BA. His OBP is quite good IMO. Somehow Rowdy had a good BA, OBP and power in 2020. 553 career ABs in the Majors so far. Other offensive flaws for our regulars Teoscar too many Ks. Grichuk seems Ok to me.

Other factors. Streaks, hot and cold for hitting. Injuries, long and short term over 1 season.

If everyone is healthy and you have 1 good player on the bench, Kirk or Rowdy for example then the manager will have to find ABs for this extra player. Injuries will "help" solve the ABs problem. If Bo goes down for 5 weeks then his replacement (Espinal) is going to not match Bo's offense. This is a problem that can and will happen to every team. Eg Judge, Stanton.

scottt - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 09:10 AM EST (#392903) #
The Baseball America transactions page has a few interesting moves which took place between mid November and mid December.

The following players were released, probably due to the reduction in the number of affiliates:

Pitchers: Alex Nolan (the Canadian from Brock University), Felipe Castaneda, Juanfer Castro, Yohan Conception, Leo Correa, Austin Havekost,, Blake Sanderson and Andrew Sopko.
Catchers: Omar Gutierrez, Jesus Hernandez and Gleybar Jimenez.
Outfielder: Amin Araujo.

Blake Anderson was a 2019 draftee, 31st round.
Nolan seemed to have pitched well enough to continue his career somewhere else.

Also, the Blue Jays have signed collegiate pitcher Thomas Ruwe.
I guess they like his potential as a reliever after he K'd 11.8/9 while walking only 2.9/9 in 2019.

Finally, pitcher Brad Wilson has voluntary retired after only 2 seasons. The 24 year old had an ERA of 1.94 while making it to AA as a relief pitcher.

mendocino - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 09:30 AM EST (#392904) #
Thomas Ruwe
scottt - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 11:26 AM EST (#392905) #
Interesting. High revolution fastball then.
Magpie - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 01:56 PM EST (#392906) #
Phil Niekro? Geez, 2020 has it in the Hall of Fame. Enough already.

Niekro was 81 years old, which also happens to be how old he looked when he was an active player. He was 28 years old when the Braves finally gave him a shot at starting, in June 1967. He tossed a two-hit shutout, and kept the job for the next 20 years and more than 300 wins (for a lot of really bad teams).
Magpie - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 02:11 PM EST (#392907) #
Niekro never did win a Cy Young (his best finish was second, and no one was taking it away from Tom Seaver in 1969.) He probably should have won twice: in 1974 (the voters were dazzled, and I don't blame them, by Mike Marshall's 106 appearances and more than 200 IP out of the bullpen) and again in 1978 (Gaylord Perry went 21-6, Niekro pitched significantly better, but went 19-18.)

Seaver's got a case for a couple more awards as well in addition to the three he actually did win. Seaver probably should have beat Gibson in 1970 and Jenkins in 1971. (He also should have beat Randy Jones in 1975, but then Jones should have beat Seaver in 1976. I guess that one evened out.)
Chuck - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 03:15 PM EST (#392908) #
And lest we ever forget, Toronto served as a pit stop for Niekro in his final season at age 48, which seems like an odd acquisition for a 96-win team. My memory being what it is, I can't recall why they felt they needed his services late in the season. I do recall that much was made of him being older than his manager, Jimy Williams.
Magpie - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 04:09 PM EST (#392909) #
I can't recall why they felt they needed [Niekro']s services late in the season.

It was part of a two month search for a Fifth Starter, once Joe Johnson had been banished from our sight forever. That left Key, Clancy, Stieb, and Cerutti taking regular turns. David Wells got a shot, he wasn't ready for prime time. Jose Nunez got a shot, pitched well the first time out which got him a few more chances. It was not to be. Then they brought in Niekro, but his Best-By date had passed. Finally, Gillick traded for Mike Flanagan. Just in time.
Magpie - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 04:16 PM EST (#392910) #
Curiously, despite the mess created by Joe Johnson and David Wells and Jose Nunez and Phil Niekro, the Toronto starters in 1987 gave up fewer runs per inning than any starting rotation the American League. Go figure. Dave Stieb was pretty good (4.09 ERA notwithstanding), Jim Clancy was really good, and Jimmy Key was really, really, really good.
John Northey - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 09:31 PM EST (#392911) #
I wouldn't say Flanagan was just in time given the Jays finished 2 games out in the end. Niekro could've been a lot more effective but we had the worst possible manager it seemed. Hand him a knuckleballer (all need regular work to be effective) and he had him start on 8 days rest, then kept him on 8 days between starts for his next 2. What a shock he wasn't effective. His first 2 weren't terrible (5 2/3 each time, 3 runs allowed), but his 3rd was (2/3 of an inning pitched, 5 runs). I was at that first game - was very excited as he was the first non-Jay I ever cheered on so I was very happy to see him here. Just a shame Williams was such a horrid manager. Ah well. Was glad he got that final start in Atlanta to end his career.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 09:56 PM EST (#392912) #
So it being 2020 and Phil Niekro just having died, it seemed like the perfect time to look at the boxscore for the Jays last game in 1987 again.  I can remember Herndon's homer off Key like it was yesterday, but I had no recollection at all of the top of the 4th.  Barfield K, Fielder single to LF, Fielder CS, Lee triple and Iorg fly out to CF.  I presume the CS was on a failed hit and run, but why would you hit and run with Fielder running and Lee at the plate? 

Blocking out bad memories is, I suppose, a positive thing for one's mental health. 
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 11:03 PM EST (#392913) #
It looks like the Jays have out in an offer for Kim, who always looked like the best long term piece in the free agent market for a rebuilding club. We will know in a few days as his posting ends soon and perhaps he might get this market rolling.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 11:49 PM EST (#392914) #
And Blake Snell just got traded to the Padres, so the Rays get worse (for the short term).

Shoeless Joe - Sunday, December 27 2020 @ 11:55 PM EST (#392915) #
The Rays actually got pretty good value, the only way the Jays land Snell over that package is to include Pearson over Patino.
John Northey - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 12:29 AM EST (#392916) #
Snell being traded is the first big shot of the winter imo. Now Kim is into the serious stage with 5 or more teams giving him 5+ year offers including the Jays. Teams shown in the graphic include the Rangers, Reds, Padres, Red Sox, and Cardinals. Red Sox are weak at 2B so that is where they'd play him, the Jays at 3B of course, Texas is just weak all around, Padres haven't any openings I can see, Cardinals now have a big hole at 2B, their SS/3B situations aren't impressive either, Reds have a big hole at SS.

So basically I think it comes down to money, years, what position he wants to play, and if he cares about being on a contender. Jays can cover most of that but if he wants to be a SS then Toronto may not be his best spot.
John Northey - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 12:37 AM EST (#392917) #
Agreed Shoeless. I always advise against deals with the Rays as they need to win nearly every time or they are doomed with their tiny budget.
John Northey - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 01:03 AM EST (#392918) #
85bluejay - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 03:45 AM EST (#392919) #
Padres-Rays - good baseball trade - I like the Rays return especially Patino and Hunt. It doesn't always work out but I'm continually impressed how the Rays turn over their roster and still have success.
Magpie - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 06:31 AM EST (#392920) #
I can remember Herndon's homer off Key like it was yesterday, but I had no recollection at all of the top of the 4th.

Same here. I also remember Iorg's comebacker to the mound to end it. All the rest is lost to me. Good thing, too.

Trying to figure out what Jimy Williams was thinking is always a desperate business, but at this remove it looks like his main priority in August 1987 was to keep Clancy, Stieb, and Key humming along on their regular days.
Magpie - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 06:42 AM EST (#392921) #
I wouldn't say Flanagan was just in time given the Jays finished 2 games out in the end.

True, I guess. They were 1 game behind Detroit when they got him and 2 games behind when it was over. But Flanagan himself was just great, far better than anyone could have expected. He went head-to-head with Jack Morris twice in those final ten days. Beat him the first time, and then pitched 11 innings in a 2-2 game the second time (an error by Lee had allowed the Tigers to tie the game in the fifth.) And I think everyone who was watching still remembers what Lee did after Flanagan left the game. How that was scored a base hit... it went right through his damn legs!
scottt - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 07:35 AM EST (#392922) #
They Jays also have a large city with a significant Korean community and an All-Star Korean pitcher.
How much does that weight in?

scottt - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 07:39 AM EST (#392923) #
Former Expos pitcher Derek Aucoin also died yesterday of  brain cancer.
He was only 50.
He pitched for the local Ottawa Lynx the year they won the Governor's Cup.
He's now mostly known for being a radio host.
He was a huge guy, 6'7", but a gentle giant.

scottt - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 07:57 AM EST (#392924) #
The Rays gets Francisco Mejia. In 2018, he was the second ranked catching prospect behind Joey Bart.
He's a bat first guy who played most left field for the Padres.
He instantly becomes the Rays' backup catcher.
He's struggled to hit at the MLB level, but the pedigree is there.

Patino was the Padres's 3rd best prospect.
He's MLB ready. He has a good fastball and a killer slider.
Right handed batters struggle against him but he can get hit by the left bats.
Maybe the perfect guy for a Rays team who uses openers and elite relievers.
I expect he'll give fits to the Jays hitters.

Cole Wilcox is a third round draft pick who can reach triple digits.
He would be rated higher if it was clear that he'll end up a starter.

Blake Hunt was a competitive draft pick in 2017.
He's a good catching prospect with several year of development ahead of him.
He could become the Rays catcher of the future.

dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 09:33 AM EST (#392925) #
I don't think Patio will see the major next year. He will probably go down to the minors and learn that change up that all Rays starters learn. 2021 rotation will likely be:


Honeywell and McKay on the mend.

No Snell or Morton likely means a big drop from WS appearance the year before.

greenfrog - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 09:52 AM EST (#392926) #
The Jays have made an offer to Kim of at least five years, according to MLBTR. It sounds as if they'll be competing with a number of other teams to sign him.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:13 AM EST (#392927) #

This report was already posted here yesterday by Shoeless.

dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:16 AM EST (#392928) #
The latest report has the Padres making a "serious run" for Kim, speculating as a super utility player.

dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:19 AM EST (#392929) #
Latest reports on Twitter has Kim boarding a flight and leaving for a physical to either Toronto or Dallas...courtesy Daniel Kim, "KBO Insider"
dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:22 AM EST (#392930) #
For the record, it was Buster Olney who reported the Padres taking a run. Also of note, Daniel Kim predicts Kim going to the Blue Jays. He says Kim has this order of preferences:

1) $$$$$
2) position (SS/3B)
3) contender
4) Korean community
bpoz - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:45 AM EST (#392931) #
I was hoping the Jays would get a good pitcher but Kim is OK I suppose. He can slot in at SS if Bo gets hurt.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:48 AM EST (#392932) #
Looks like the Padres are the favourite as per the latest rumours.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:53 AM EST (#392933) #
Yup, Kim to Padres per Sherman, Cronenworth moving to OF. $7-8 mil per year, years still unreported.
bpoz - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 11:10 AM EST (#392934) #
With Snell and Kim SD is ahead of the CWS in winning the offseason IMO.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 11:35 AM EST (#392935) #
Jim Bowden had a piece in The Athletic predicting where the remaining free agents would go and the only one he had signing with Toronto was Kim, so he's wrong already if reports are true. He had Realmuto going to the Phillies, Springer to the Mets, Bauer to LA Angels, and the Yankees signing all of LeMahieu, Tanaka and Paxton.( Which I doubt)
Most commenters panned his predictions.
greenfrog - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 12:41 PM EST (#392936) #
Thanks, dalimon. I guess I missed that post. Too bad that the Jays might not land Kim. I can understand why he would want to play in San Diego rather than Toronto, though.
johnny was - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 01:08 PM EST (#392938) #
All you kids out there, don't try to cut and paste from Twitter.

Anyway, as of this morning, Daniel Kim, the KBO rumourmill authority, still sees the Jays as the most likely destination for Kim Ha-seong, who wouldn't be able to play SS or 3B for the Padres thanks to Tatis and Machado.
John Northey - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 01:30 PM EST (#392939) #
Jays should win the $$$$, position if 3B is preferred to 2B, contender is a bit on SD's side, Korean community is boosted by Ryu, Google says 53,940 of Korean heritage in Toronto vs 20,449 in the San Diego area. Although San Diego has the benefit of saving a few hours in flight time going back. So many factors to consider, I'm sure he has been flip flopping himself on it. Seems it is down to Jays vs Padres with Red Sox a dark horse and Mets/Reds both kicking tires still.

Also of note: Padres are being super-aggressive right now, seems they are deep into talks for Yu Darvish. If I was a player looking for a 1-2 year deal SD would be very tempting, but if you want a 5+ year deal then not as much since odds are they will have an empty farm by the time this winter is done. Mid-Season the Padres were #4 rank vs Jays #7 ( But the only one of the top 15 traded by the Jays is Griffin Conine vs Padres losing their #2 (Snell), #4 (August), #10 (August), and two 11-15 (August). Not to mention a great young one in Cal Quantrill. So 5 of their top 15 are gone plus a top young graduate of the minors. SD is clearly all-in for winning now despite being well behind the Dodgers last year (6 games).

If the Jays win the Kim sweepstakes it'll be interesting to see who SD chases down next - clearly they have positional flexibility (not as much as the Jays, but some). Wonder if they'll chase down LeMathieu if the Jays get Kim. Crazy winter. If the Jays get Kim will they still pursue LeMathieu or Lindor in an attempt to maximize their infield strength? Will they put an all out push on Springer to lock in the OF and IF? Or "just" chase down more pitching? Hopefully pieces start moving soon. The AL East champs are clearly doing their usual (dump anyone who makes money for more kids), the Red Sox are weak at the moment, O's hopeless, Yankees are Yankees but holding back on spending.
greenfrog - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 02:27 PM EST (#392940) #
Grass/sunshine versus Astroturf — another factor.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 03:29 PM EST (#392942) #
The Padres have been clearly the most aggressive team this offseason, with Darvish now a target.
bpoz - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 03:41 PM EST (#392943) #
If the Cubs deal Darvish then they are probably rebuilding/retooling. Darvish and Kyle Hendricks are their best SPs.
uglyone - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 04:37 PM EST (#392944) #
oh hey the jays failed to get someone they were "heavily interested" in again.
85bluejay - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 06:00 PM EST (#392945) #
If I'm going to a new league (different culture) to try and establish myself, do I really want to sign with a team that doesn't even know where it will be playing next year or is nearly twice as far from home as San Diego - it's also why I don't hold out much hope for Tomoyuki Sugano.
greenfrog - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 06:25 PM EST (#392946) #
Yes, and living in California (weather plus culture) for the next four or five years may be more appealing to the 25-year-old Kim than the idea of living in Toronto/Canada.
Petey Baseball - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 06:33 PM EST (#392947) #
The Jays were never going to get Snell without a massive overpay. Teams just do not trade their #1 starter to a team they will face 17 times each of the next 3 seasons.

While he would have been 1a with Ryu at the front of the rotation, his numbers the last two seasons (two important ones; walks and home runs) are trending in the wrong direction. He also has a history of arm trouble. I'm glad the Jays didn't go nuts to get him. He's no Roy Halladay.

dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 06:44 PM EST (#392948) #
F it, go for Arenado or bust. Return for Davis (huge money) will be very interesting.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 08:04 PM EST (#392949) #
uglyone - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 08:54 PM EST (#392950) #
Kim preferred Toronto.

🚨 Final Ha-Seong Kim update.

-Kim preferred a move to Toronto while his family preferred a West coast team
-Toronto made numerous offers to Kim, but none included a “no minors” clause
-Kim ended up choosing SD b/c he was guaranteed MLB baseball

#BlueJays | @JaysJournal
scottt - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 09:12 PM EST (#392951) #
That's interesting.

I guess he isn't confident that he'll be able to hit at the MLB level.

There are still a lot of free agents out there who would be an improvement over Shaw.

pubster - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:08 PM EST (#392952) #
Who wants to play in the minors? Teams routinely keep players in the minors who are good enough to play in the Majors.
John Northey - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:30 PM EST (#392953) #
Uglyone: Makes sense across the board with Kim then. The Jays didn't want to lock him into the majors (I thought that clause wasn't allowed anymore?) as if he isn't ready it could be a big problem (playing once or twice a week isn't a good way to develop and you don't want to be locked into playing a guy who isn't ready). Kind of surprised San Diego would guarantee that given they are a stronger team than the Jays. Also makes sense his family, all else being equal, would prefer the west coast (shorter flights). A little surprised the Jays didn't give in on that no-minors clause in the end - shows this front office isn't willing to be locked into something they don't want - and they want flexibility. On to plan B.
James W - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:50 PM EST (#392954) #
ESPN's sources say San Diego will acquire Darvish and Victor Caratini, while the Cubs will get Zach Davies and 4 minor leaguers: outfielders Owen Caissie, 18, and Ismael Mena, 18, and shortstops Reggie Preciado, 17, and Yeison Santana, 20.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:51 PM EST (#392955) #
I'm glad the FO chose to stick with their freedom and not be locked in. With the weak return for Darvish, relative to past trade returns for star players, the trade route may look more viable for a team that can eat salary like the Jays.


Keep an eye on these players as targets for the Jays.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 28 2020 @ 10:58 PM EST (#392956) #
Jays Journal wonders if the Jays and Padres can line up on a Jansen for Morejon deal.

Also, 2 other names to add to target list are Taillon and especially Carrasco.
Magpie - Tuesday, December 29 2020 @ 03:19 AM EST (#392957) #
I don't quite get why a team that already has Machado and Tatis wants a guy who plays shortstop and third base. They even have second base covered already. Will the NL be using the DH in 2021? Play Myers there, move Kim to the outfield?
85bluejay - Tuesday, December 29 2020 @ 03:48 AM EST (#392958) #
It's never a bad idea to acquire talent especially when it only cost cash - apparently they plan to move Cronenworth to LF and play Kim at 2B - but you have more talent to trade, so Kudos to the Padres - Also impressed that San Diego acquired 2 TOR starters each with 3 years control while keeping their top prospects.
85bluejay - Tuesday, December 29 2020 @ 04:47 AM EST (#392960) #
I remember a few years ago I think it was the Dodgers that gave an established Cuban player (Hector Olivera?) the right to refuse a minor league assignment without his permission and it became a huge burden when he struggled in the ML and eventually a sunk cost - also player had off the field issues.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 30 2020 @ 12:39 AM EST (#392995) #
Doesn't look like Hector Olivera was guaranteed ML time, luckily for his teams. LA blew a LOT signing him - his ML earnings were $56 mil according to Baseball Reference with the last payments being in 2020 (they list many years twice pushing it to $92 mil but that was due to his pay being split between the Padres & Dodgers). Not bad for a 30 game ML career (85 OPS+) - all that ML time was in Atlanta which is funny given how much SD & LA paid for him. Padres did it to get rid of Matt Kemp's contract. He last played in 2017 in an indy league hitting 289/322/376 mainly in LF. Ugh. He was suspended at one point due to off-the-field personal conduct that consists of domestic violence and other known violation. Yeah, there is the downside of signing a guy who looked good in a foreign league.
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