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The Blue Jays have been cooking up a dish this past week that Gordon Ramsay might well approve of. Olive oil in! A dash of Yates, in! Springer in!

What? No, you've been watching too many YouTube cooking videos...

With Tyler Chatwood and Kirby Yates on board to bolster the bullpen, plus some new outfielder... there's no question this team has significantly raised its floor the past week. All the excitement of course begs the question: what should they do next?

(But first, a few thoughts on the shiny new centerfielder that'll be patrolling... somewhere in Blue Jay blue this upcoming year.)

It goes without saying that George Springer is an elite player, full stop. I can see some concerns of course: how he'll age, if he's actually a positive defender in CF (I think he's not great but good) and of course the whole trash can cheating thing (which you just know somebody is going to ask him during that first press conference).

His undeniable elite skill is his bat. He's been a consistently great hitter his entire career, his OPS+ never dipping below 124 in any season. He strikes out a lot, though he's managed to curb that as he's gotten older and more selective off breaking stuff. What's most impressive I think though is how well rounded his offensive game is: he gives you enough patience and OBP that he can definitely be your leadoff hitter, enough speed (though he doesn't steal many bases) that you'd want him ahead of your big power bats, yet he himself is such a power hitter that you probably want him driving in those guys also. There are a lot of different ways his guy can help your team with the stick, plus all the championship experience is one of those intangibles that make for lazy click-baity articles but is arguably useful for a young, relatively inexperienced core like the Blue Jays have.

One historical concern could be that there is a bit of a precedent of big contracts to free agent outfielders not working out particularly well recently. Names like Dexter Fowler, Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury certainly can haunt a franchise for a while (don't blame me, blame At The Letters for putting the idea in my head heh). Big free agent deals always carry some amount significant risk, a conclusion I reached after my semester abroad studying the works of "No Duh". Who really knows but I like Springer's chances when compared to those guys particularly since his offensive game isn't reliant on speed, rather those broad range of skills I mentioned before. I wouldn't be surprised if he's a defensive zero halfway into this, but I'd be very surprised if his bat drops off in that same timeframe. Anyway I've been clamouring for this signing since November so I of course love the deal, and it's nice to see the man get his bag after the Astros did the whole service time manipulation thing (let's just all agree the Astros are awful in many, many ways).
Okay! So lets get greedy. What's next? Starting pitching, I think most would agree, is now the biggest area for improvement. Beyond Ryu (who don't forget hasn't been a model of durability over a six month season), you're hoping Robbie Ray doesn't walk the (empty) bleachers... Ross Stripling isn't another Dodger Stadium mirage, Nate Pearson's struggles were an injury related blip (I don't think you're getting 180 innings there anyway) and Tanner Roark is... well yeah if you're relying on Roark you could use some help.

So who's still out there? I want nothing to do with Bauer, for multiple reasons (talent and otherwise) that others here have already discussed. I'd be very much into Masahiro Tanaka (reports of mutual interest? Do. It.). He's a proven AL East guy, still extremely effective and stealing from the Yankees is always fun. If he's agreeable to a two/three year deal sign me up! Or rather, sign him up. I doubt the Blue Jays would find my 53 mph two-seamer very useful.

A Taijuan Walker reunion would also be a good move: somebody familiar with the organization and considerable upside if he can consistently stay on the mound (clearly his biggest obstacle). James Paxton is another upside play in much the same "please stay healthy vein", though his declining velocity in 2020 is pretty concerning (even if his strikeout rate seems unaffected). Still though. How about Jake Odorizzi? Not exciting but serviceable, plus the guy has been in so many Blue Jays rumours the past half decade it's just about time we just got the guy. Maybe a Mike Shoemaker reunion? You probably only get fifteen starts out of him (if you're lucky) but they'd likely be good. Jose Quintana would've been a nice pickup but he went to the Angels right when the Blue Jays were signing that outfielder guy. Rick Porcello is still out there? Eccch now we're near the bottom of the pint glass.

There's the trade route, of course. Everyone seems to think the Reds are selling everybody, though really all they've done so far is dump Raisel Iglesias. Luis Castillo is the jewel there, and jewels are expensive to acquire. The Reds might be going suddenly cheap (great planning, fellas) but giving Castillo away in a salary dump of somebody like Moustakas would be pretty gruesome, even in the cheapo NL Central. So expect it to happen before this even gets published (sigh). How about Sonny Gray? Maybe his struggles as a Yankee soured me on him somewhat, though that was really just the one season (2018) now that I check. Affordable contract also, and frankly not much of a step below Bauer career wise.

If you're still kicking around the NL, Kyle Hendricks would be a sneaky good move. He's essentially an elite Marco Estrada with a less straight fastball and absurd control. Personally I love those kind of guys, but I dunno. Maybe you can get Mike Mikolas if he's actually healthy? The Cardinals would have to eat some money there though... 17 million a year? Yikes. David Price? Yes please. Not sure if the Dodgers are eager to do that though (the Red Sox are eating half that salary, don't forget). Ah whatever I'm no good at this.

Picking up another actual MLB infielder would be a sharp idea also. Landing somebody like Kris Bryant or Nolan Arenado in a blockbuster would be darn exciting (I'm way less of a Trevor Story fan) but free agency still has some intriguing names. Marcus Semien is certainly worth more than ten cents a gander, especially if you think his 2019 was no fluke. I like the idea of having somebody like Semien around since Bo Bichette has a bad habit of getting hurt. Likewise Didi Gregorius would look terrific in this lineup: he isn't the same level of defender as Semien or Andrelton Simmons but his bat is definitely a step or two above and he's left-handed. That all depends if he's willing/capable of playing third (just ten professional innings there) but I like it the more I think about it, plus again he'd likely get a fair bit of time at shortstop anyway. Kolten Wong is another name people seem to like a lot, and while the glove is pretty fantastic I'm not ecstatic about the rest of the package. Or there's Tommy LaStella, who profiles as an average defender at best but his ability to make ultra-contact makes him an appealing target. He's limited to third or second though and really is more of an elite bench player than an everyday guy, but I'd be into it.

In conclusion... I don't know! Frankly I've already written way more about this than I planned so I'm gonna step aside now. It's good to be excited about this team potentially adding impact players at least, and I certainly think they ain't done yet. Have at it.

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bpoz - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 09:16 AM EST (#393809) #
I think money is the important factor. One big and long contract is ok. The last 2/3 years of Springer should not harm the payroll. If they add any more expensive 5+ year contracts they could be in trouble for the years after the 3rd.

Moustakas & Votto have put Cincinnati in a bad rebuilding position for example. They probably are not fooling most of their fans.

In Toronto the fans support a winning team and abandon a losing team it seems. If our farm produces good players then they may be unable to keep them if we cannot afford them because we have bad contracts. Trading these good players is ok with me because it should result in a lesser payroll which is the goal.

Trades need time to evaluate. We traded a healthy Olerud and a recovering Donaldson. The Olerud trade IMO was bad but the Donaldson trade had the positive of getting him out of town.

I don't know what will be added the rest of this off season. I expect 2/3 year contracts for non elite FAs.
scottt - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 09:41 AM EST (#393810) #
They still need to replace Panik/Shaw, but not with a big and long contract since they have Groshans, possibly Martin or Martinez. Who covers if Bichette is injured again? Otto Lopez?

Not many pitchers worthy of a big and long contract either.  1 or 2 years seems preferable.

John Northey - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 09:45 AM EST (#393811) #
I figure the Jays contract wise, can handle pretty much anything for 2-3 years, it is after that we hit the Biggio/Vlad/Bo getting expensive years (and hopefully contract extensions). The Dodgers without Price (took 2020 off) and Stripling still had 5 starters with 7+ starts with ERA+'s of 120+. Wow. Only Kershaw was over 26 last year of that group too. So young and good. I'd put a call in for Price if they want to dump his contract. His ERA+ was 113 for Boston in 2019 after all. The Dodgers owe him $16 mil a year for 2021/2022 and he was pretty much just contract weight the Red Sox put into the Mookie Betts deal. So no strong ties or anything, I suspect the Dodgers would be happy to trade him. Their OF was very solid in 2020 but 1B and 2B look weak based on the starters listed by BR. But again, Chris Taylor has been a super-utility guy who hits so he might take over one of those slots, while Edwin Ríos has hit very well at 3B/1B. I could see them wanting Tellez though so they'd have a good young 1B with power. That would free up a spot at DH (put Vlad at 1B full time) for Hernandez then put Grichuk in RF full time.
John Northey - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 09:59 AM EST (#393812) #
I figure the infield backup will be Santiago Espinal. However, I fully expect the Jays to grab someone off the free agent trash pile to fill in that role instead, letting Espinal play everyday in AAA instead, to be ready to step in if an injury happens.

No question right now starting pitching and 3B are the top concerns. But the management team has shown they will be patient to get the guy they want and risk not getting someone at all rather than act rashly. So I expect nothing until well into February unless a really good deal shows up. Thus Bauer is unlikely to come as he demands a high cost in dollars. I'm hoping the Jays figure out a way to dump Grichuk's contract on someone.
Glevin - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 10:17 AM EST (#393813) #
Short-term 3B, good SP, and perhaps another reliever are probably what the Jays are looking at now. I'd be fine with going free agency route. Something like Frazier/Franco and Paxton/Tanaka/Walker would be fantastic. Fangraphs has Jays with the 4th best team in baseball according to WAR right now so I don't think the Jays necessarily need to make big moves now. I also think they need to be flexible with pitching and as of now, would like a Ryu and mix-it-up rotation with lots of bullpen pieces throwing lots of innings.
bpoz - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 11:14 AM EST (#393814) #
Ranked 4th best in baseball probably means behind NYY, LAD and one of SD/NYM I guess. When I evaluate these opinions I find I am wrong a fair bit. So we are probably/definitely 7th best at worst which is still impressive if true.
vw_fan17 - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 01:18 PM EST (#393818) #
Eephus - an SNL / late night talk show fan? Mike Shoemaker the producer has ties to those, but I'm pretty sure you meant to write about Matt Shoemaker, the pitcher who played for us last year :-)
John Northey - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 01:27 PM EST (#393819) #
So where are the Jays at?  Projected WAR via FanGraphs/ZIPS - 2.0 is viewed as a decent regular.  I mention if another system listed has a big difference.  I'm using their choices for position btw (as I don't see Vlad at 3B unless the Jays fail to find anyone)

CA: Jansen/Kirk/McGuire -2.0/2.1/0.5
1B: Tellez - 1.6
2B: Biggio - 3.2
3B: Vlad - 2.6 (4.1 from Steamer)
SS: Bo - 4.0
LF: Gurriel - 1.7
CF: Springer - 3.9 (4.5 from Steamer)
RF: Grichuk - 1.5 (others lower, as low as 1.1)
DH: Hernandez - 1.5 (Steamer 0.8) - clearly the systems don't think 2020 was his real level of talent
UT: Espinal - 0.4
OF: Fisher - 1.1 (over 111 games - oh god no)
CF: Davis - 0.7 (over 118 games)

SP: Ryu - 3.0
SP: Ray - 2.7 (Steamer 2.0)
SP: Pearson - 2.1 (Steamer 1.5)
SP: Roark - 1.4 (Steamer 0.8)
SP: Stripling - 1.5 (Depth Charts 2.0)

RP: Yates - 0.7 (Depth Charts 1.3)
RP: Romano - 0.3
RP: Dolis - 0.6
RP: Merryweather - 0.8
RP: Borucki - 1.1 (Steamer 0.3, Depth Charts 0.2)
RP: Chatwood - 0.6
RP: Kay - 0.9 (0.0 from the others, ZIPS has him starting 20 times but just 115 innings, weird)
RP: Yamaguchi - 1.1 (16 starts, 113 IP?) vs 0.3/0.1 from the others

Some oddities there in the pen based on usage.  But quite interesting to see how forecasts see the team.  Weak in the OF outside of Springer, Weak at 1B with Tellez, Vlad acceptable at 3B.  Different than how I see it.  Still, very good to look at something other than how we all see things.
Eephus - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 02:06 PM EST (#393820) #
I'm pretty sure you meant to write about Matt Shoemaker, the pitcher who played for us last year :-)

Damn, I really am watching too much YouTube. Next I'll be confusing Danny Jansen with the Angry Video Game Nerd...
scottt - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 02:18 PM EST (#393822) #
Will Tellez hit more like the 2019 version than the 2020 version. I don't know, but I'm hopeful.
will Gurriel hit more like the 2018 version than the 2019 and 2020 version. I hope not.

The short length of the 2020 season devaluates young players who took a step forward.
However, hitting is contagious, so having Springer's bat in there can only help.
The 26 roster will limit the number of platoons the Rays can have.
For the Yankees, it's more about predicting health.
Boston still has a solid lineup but the pitching does not look great.
Is Ottavino their setup guy now?

Mike Green - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 02:48 PM EST (#393823) #
John Northey, the Fangraphs numbers I see are different from yours.  They are here.   The biggest single difference is Fisher who is projected to be 0.1 WAR rather than 1.1 WAR.  It's the difference between an emergency call-up from the minors and a decent backup.  
Chuck - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 03:09 PM EST (#393824) #
It's the difference between an emergency call-up from the minors and a decent backup.

And assumes that Fishes does indeed possess the ability to catch a routine fly ball, recent evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Mike Green - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 03:14 PM EST (#393825) #
Excellent typo, Chuck!

It's kind of sad to be a Fisher who can't catch anything...
Chuck - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 03:27 PM EST (#393826) #
My subconscious clearly has its own agenda. Where's the fly ball? It's sleeping with the Fishes.
scottt - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 04:06 PM EST (#393828) #
Interesting. MLB offered the NL DH and 30M to the players in exchange for pitch clock, electronic strike zone in spring training and expended playoffs. PA said no.

This feels like a window into the next CBA.

Right now, the players get a portion of the gate revenues during playoffs.
You'd hope they're confident in attendance next fall.
However, I'm not sure how they'd squeeze the extended playoffs.
Less travel?

The player committee is pitcher heavy, right?
Maybe they don't care about the clock and the robo-umps.

85bluejay - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 04:10 PM EST (#393829) #
If they Jays don't add a quality starter before the season starts I will be very disappointed - for a team expecting to be contender, the starting rotation is very suspect.
Lylemcr - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 04:54 PM EST (#393830) #
I am not sure if you have discussed this.

If that guy gets down to 220-230, it would be addition through subtraction :)

The Jays need starters. Walker and Paxton are my choices.

Do they dare offer a minor league deal to Osuna? Can he play here?
John Northey - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 04:55 PM EST (#393831) #
Hi Mike, those appear to be Steamer numbers not ZiPS. Check Fisher's page and you'll see the projections there. I seriously doubt any projection system that says if given the same playing time that Fisher will be worth as much as Gurriel, but like I said it is interesting to look at different systems.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 05:36 PM EST (#393832) #
I think there's a good chance the Jays end up with one of Paxton, Tanaka, or Odorizzi. Not sure they will be in the Bauer market after signing Springer.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 07:12 PM EST (#393833) #
With Kluber, Taillon, German, Severino and Cole the Yankees are formidable.

With Glasnow, McKay, Patino, Yarbrough, and Honeywell the Rays have a ton of elite upside. They have McKay, Honeywell and Patino, all three high upside talents in the same category of Nate Pearson.

Jays have Ryu, Ray, Pearson and after that they have a ton of depth pieces similar to depth of Rays and Yankees.

By my count the Jays need minimum 2 more starters of the #2/#3 slot category, minimum to be at similar level to the Yanks and Rays.

Odorizzi, Walker, Paxton ... signing 2 of those players will get it done.

Signing Bauer and sitting on the depth for the rest also gets it done and puts the Jays in the enviable position of having two legit aces unlike the other two teams.
John Northey - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 07:14 PM EST (#393834) #
The more I look at it the more I expect them to not get Bauer but instead get Paxton and Walker, then try to dump Roark on someone. A Cubs trade where the Jays eat a couple of their bad deals in exchange for Roark & Grichuk (Kimbrel & Heyward) could work as long as the Jays get Bryant back. Heyward is owed $21 this year, $22 each of 2022/2023 but did hit well last year (129 OPS+) while being a solid defensive RF most of his career. Cubs reduce their net payroll for the next 3 years (critical as they claim to have lost a lot), Jays get an unneeded OF but frees up the ability to trade another one for immediate pitching help. Kimbrel before going to the Cubs was one of the best closers in the game, has 348 saves in his career, but has been crazy wild the last 2 years (7 BB/9 last year) while still K'ing a lot. Owed $16 mil this year and a $1 mil buyout of his 2022 option ($16 mil otherwise). This wouldn't be too nightmarish for the Jays, an increase of about $30 mil this year, $10 mil each of the next 2 years, but would give a better RF option and a project in the pen with a super-live arm. Plus of course, solve the 3B issue for 2021 very nicely. Odds are the Cubs would be willing to include some cash to reduce the blow this year. Trade simulator says it would take $35+ mil to balance it out (or prospects from the Cubs). Still an interesting idea if the Jays can't get a 3B replacement as the Cubs seem determined to reduce their payroll in 2021. Fun to play around with this stuff.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 07:25 PM EST (#393835) #
Also, there's a very good read at this link (never heard of this writer or site before);

He ranks the future surplus value of potential trade targets as follows:

Corbin Burnes: $71.1 million

Sonny Gray: $29.7 million

Tyler Mahle: $31.3 million

kyle Hendricks: $37.5 million

Trevor Story: $33.7 million

Kris Bryant: $2.8 million

Nolan Arenado: $-43.7 million

Kyle Sealer: $-9.1 million

There's a lot more in the article that you should go and read, including free agents and some other trade targets.

grjas - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 08:38 PM EST (#393837) #
I expect them to not get Bauer but instead get Paxton and Walker, then try to dump Roark

That would work for me. I’d just sign Walker now and then see which of the others you can pin down.
John Northey - Monday, January 25 2021 @ 10:09 PM EST (#393838) #
brjas - given I haven't seen many rumors on Walker other than the Jays I'd hope he signs here. There was one for Seattle but they appear uninterested. Detroit as well. Seems odd as you'd think teams would be very interested in him. A 2-3 year deal for $10 mil a year I'd be willing to look at if I was the Jays depending on their medical reports on him. If he is 100% healthy then he should be easily worth more than that (108 lifetime ERA+, 161 last year in his 11 starts between Toronto and Seattle).

As to 3B - so many options. Simmons for SS is a big rumor right now (Phillies and Reds also serious). If Bichette can move over to 3B or 2B (2B he played 30 times in the minors, never at 3B) that could work out. Biggio at 3B mainly, but then a super-sub (3B/2B/LF/CF/RF/1B/DH) once Jordan Groshans is ready to take over. Of course, they also could trade for someone, or sign someone else. Simmons would be sweet though with that amazing defense that is so far beyond anything we've seen here since the days of Alex Gonzalez #1 or Tony Fernandez.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 12:03 AM EST (#393839) #
Scottt - I think the biggest reason the players are rejecting pretty much anything the owners offer right now is the collective agreement ending after the 2021 season ends. If you expect a war (and the players would be fools not to) you do not help your opponent build up for it. Expanded playoffs = tons of extra revenue for owners, minimal for players.

I'm hoping the two sides talk all summer so most of the side issues can be resolved and only a couple of big items are left for the November/December negotiating period before it all grinds to a halt (officially up on December 31st I think, at which point I expect owners to formally put in a lockout). I suspect free agency and arbitration to be key sticking points. Owners will also want a hard salary cap, or at least a harder luxury tax. Players want the opposite of course. I expect a full international draft, significantly higher minimum salaries, and other items like that to be used to get expanded playoffs, and maybe an earlier arbitration (back to 2 full seasons) with something done to reduce incentives to flop to the bottom and get top draft picks (I'd do a draft where the best non-playoff team gets #1 overall and worst overall gets the last pick before playoff teams pick, thus making every win count for a club - if you suck for a decade, well, then you are the Rays from 1998 to 2007). Wouldn't be shocked to see 2 more teams as part of it too (big plus for players, somewhat of one for owners short term) or an expanded roster (as high as 28 per team) to allow a harder luxury tax to come in. I just hope it isn't stretched out so we miss a chunk of 2022.
Jonny German - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 04:32 AM EST (#393840) #
With Kluber, Taillon, German, Severino and Cole the Yankees are formidable.

1 of these is not like the others. Cole pitched 73 innings in 2020, the other 4 combined for.... 1. It was a closer match in 2019, with Cole at 212 innings and the others totalling 228.

They've got upside, for sure, but all 4 also have serious question marks.
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 08:01 AM EST (#393841) #
Reducing revenues is not going to lead to players gain.
On the contrary.

I don' t see anyone asking for a harder cap. It's already treated as a hard limit.
I imagine the players will want the cap raised and the lessening of sanctions tied to signing restricted free agents.
Overall, the QO seems to work well, but there are exceptions.
I don't know about an international draft. Scouting seems pretty uneven on that side.

The 2019 players pool money was just shy of 81M. A share for the winning team was well over 300K, so not minimal money for more than half the players receiving it. More games means more gate revenues.

Personally, I prefer no NL DH. But, I'll believe it when the first game is played.
It seems there is more noise about players being kept down to prevent them earning a full year than over the super-2 status. I expect no new teams over the next CBA. That's why Dombrowski went to Philly.

scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 09:04 AM EST (#393842) #
Tanaka likely heading  back to Japan.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 09:39 AM EST (#393844) #
In the "what's next" department, it is not too early to think about spring training and COVID with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report in 3 weeks.  The Cactus League (and indigenous organizations, mayors and others in Arizona) is asking for a delay while the Grapefruit League hasn't spoken.  One Grapefruit League park is offering tickets for sale in pods of up to 6 with 6 foot distance between pods. 

It is pretty clear now from what is happening in Europe that the variants will be in full force in North America in late February/early March before any significant number of people have been vaccinated. It also seems that the Moderna vaccine at least has much reduced effectiveness (about 1/6) against the South African variant, and there's no word yet about the Pfizer.  The UK variant (B-1117) is of course much more transmissible than the virus previously seen here and the UK is on indefinite lockdown despite having a vaccination rate 1.5 times higher than the US.

The virus has affected everyone, but disproportionately Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and South Asian communities.  With all that in mind, what is the right thing to do?

Fans in the stands?  A disaster in the making- potential superspreader events for the new variants.  Starting late February/early March with no fans?   I doubt that sufficient health protocols could be put in place in time to protect players, coaches, umpires and their families. 

John Northey - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 09:40 AM EST (#393845) #
The owners since the 90's have been chasing that cap and I don't see them stopping just because of low revenues - I see it making them more determined to get it in.  Never waste a crisis as they say.  Players will push hard for earlier arbitration I figure as that is more useful to more players than any adjustments to free agency would be.  Same with a higher minimum wage.

The International Draft again is something the owners have wanted for awhile but players really don't care much about thus why I see it as an easy bargaining chip, limiting what those players get even further, maybe pushing minimum age to 18 from 16.

I expect the regular draft to be cut back to 20 rounds from the current 40 as really very few players after round 20 become anything unless they were 'hard to sign' guys who dropped (like Tellez).  Players are surprisingly 'I don't care' when it comes to guys who are drafted.  Owners want to make it more like Football and Basketball where colleges are the minor leagues, especially now that short season ball is gone. 

The DH difference between leagues has been fun, but I see why players now are indifferent to changing it as teams budgets don't appear affected by it.  At one time it seemed to push payroll higher, but teams now are more sensible about it than they were 20+ years ago. 

It has been 22 years since the last expansion.  That is the longest gap since expansion began in 1961.  1961/1962 (Mets), 1969 (Expos), 1977 (Jays), 1993 (Rockies), 1998 (Rays). 

I'd say it is past time for another round.  Lets see a new Expos, Charlotte, Portland, Nashville, are all realistic targets.Vegas has been mentioned a lot but I don't see it right now.  The Athletic has a great article on it (subscription required) that basically suggests Portland and Charlotte are very good targets with Montreal right there with them.  Monterrey Mexico is also a good future target but presents its own problems obviously.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 10:20 AM EST (#393846) #
"With Kluber, Taillon, German, Severino and Cole the Yankees are formidable."

Nobody will argue that. Your comment about this rotation applies equally to the Jays (Ryu) and Rays (Glasnow)
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 10:26 AM EST (#393847) #
I don't know if this is a different article, John, but The Athletic has a two part survey asking questions of player agents. A lot of them were pessimistic about the owners and players working out a new CBA without a work stoppage. It will depend on what happens with this season and there is already much friction on how to proceed with it.

One notable thing is that they asked agents what was the worst ball park to play in. Oakland and Tampa Bay were the top 2, but one agent noted that Toronto was on virtually every player's no-trade list. He acknowledged that Toronto is a great city but the combination of being in the AL East, Canadian taxes, having to move families to another country, and the turf field to play on makes it harder to attract players.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 10:29 AM EST (#393848) #
Don't forget about Deivi Garcia. He could be another good starter for the Yankees this year.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 10:56 AM EST (#393849) #
Players including minor leaguers have been getting about 56% of MLB revenues for years.  That's low, but the PA has taken a very weak position on it.  With minor leaguers getting less, the PA ought to be pushing for significantly more for players in the first 3 years of their careers.  I'd be pushing for arb 1 year earlier and a 50% increase in the minimum.

COVID is a bit of a wild card.  I don't know how the average player is doing in terms of strike readiness.  Salaries were down last year, but then players probably spent a lot less. 
John Northey - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 10:57 AM EST (#393850) #
I think that is a separate article.  Still, it makes sense.  Owners know the more they expand, the more they need to divide up the TV and other shared revenues so they only want to go where it will add more to the pie.  Thus the desire for expansion to Mexico. 

As to drawing players - #1 is always $$$.  The AL East can be an attraction for the best (most great players want to play against the best of the best all the time), taxes will always be an issue unless the US grows up and gets health care for all put into the tax base instead of being a separate charge people pay.  The nation bit is a big headache too that won't go away.  Turf field would land under secondary concerns (I'm sure the retractable roof is a plus vs places like Cleveland and Detroit where you know you'll freeze in April and October).  Best for the Jays to focus on home grown players and the old 'trade for them, get them used to being here, spread the word that Toronto is a great place to be'. 

I seriously doubt we will avoid a work stoppage this time, but the question is what will be the #1 issue?  How far will the two sides be willing to push it after missing most of 2020?  COVID screwed up their savings plans for a strike/lockout.  Wouldn't be shocked if a fair number of quality players sign one year agreements to go to Japan for 2022, marginals going to Korea.  Lets hope cooler heads prevail as 2022 should be a good year for the Jays with the kids being very established in their roles by then.
Chuck - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 11:16 AM EST (#393851) #
the PA ought to be pushing for significantly more for players in the first 3 years of their careers

This will sound cynical, but I ask in all sincerity and because I haven't followed the history very closely. How often does the PA push for things that will benefit its future members rather than its existing members (like a minimum wage raise, earlier arbitration). And how often, if ever, does it argue on behalf of the minor leaguers?

dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 11:22 AM EST (#393852) #
"Don't forget about Deivi Garcia. He could be another good starter for the Yankees this year."
You're right, he had a very decent start to his career, I would say stronger than Pearson's.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 11:33 AM EST (#393853) #
The MLBPA's advocacy on behalf of minor leaguers has been weak to non-existent. But minimum salaries and arb eligibility directly affect members of the bargaining unit. Failure to advocate wouldn't be about selfishness but rather about lack of preparation and lack of guts. They need someone who draws inspiration from Marvin Miller.
85bluejay - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 11:42 AM EST (#393854) #
One of my problems with the MLBPA's bargaining committee is that it is littered with players whom I doubt have the skill set to be successful negotiators while the owners have more professional negotiators - I wouldn't be surprised if the owners bargaining unit craft inducements to appease players on the MLPBA bargaining unit while winning the negotiating war.
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 11:49 AM EST (#393855) #
Expansion is not a player item. The owners don't want to add more teams when the revenues are down.
The only way I see it happen is if new teams are asked to drop huge sums, billions literally.

I don't trust Florida with respect to Covid-19.
I'm not sure how they'll manage those long bus rides between the Florida east coast and the Florida west coast.

I'm less worried about work stoppage.
We've just seen owners perfectly happy with a 60 games season.
So, it would seem that the players don't have much leverage.

The DH offer included "a willingness to rule in favor of two players on a pair of service time grievances".
I'd be curious to hear more about that one.

John Northey - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 12:30 PM EST (#393856) #
Scottt - you don't think any union would be happy to get an expansion in membership of 6.7% (what 2 new teams would add with 52 players)?  I think they'd be very happy with that.  Same with expanding rosters - each player added is another 30 players = 3.8% increase in union members.  I see that being the easiest way for owners to try to satisfy players (especially if they can get a harder luxury tax) as then teams would have a budget of $x spread over 27 players instead of 26 or 25.  For the union it works out as they get more dues paying members, for players it could work as the salary drop for the top end would be minimal most likely vs their deals otherwise vs the extra time for some other players.

One thing to keep in mind is how short a MLB players career is.  The study I did a few threads back showed about 50% of players are retired by the end of their age 28 season.  Doing a quick and dirty summary (very quick and dirty - I might do a better study of it later on with more controls) I get for players born in the 70's (all retired now) an average of 6 1/2 years in the  majors.  The 60's were higher at 7.4 years.  You have to go back to the 1920's to get careers as short as they had for players born in the 70's (5.96 years for players born in that decade).  I suspect a lot of factors are involved here - GM's now see that younger players are cheaper and just as good as older ones quite often which leads to more churn.  Other players go to Japan or Korea now as viable options (Smoak this year for example is making more there than he could here).  I wonder if guys like Jim Edmonds who was just short of some magic numbers  might have got another year or two in (51 hits shy of 2000, 7 HR short of 400, when you are marginal for the HOF those tiny differences could sneak you in).  Lots of others retired earlier than they probably wanted as well. I'm sure we all can think of guys born in the 70's who ended their careers rather quickly.  Now, some might be due to PED fears (safe to say a lot of guys born in that decade would've touched the stuff or had their careers delayed for a start due to guys born in the 60's using).  Plus of course you get the Japanese players coming over for much shorter careers than otherwise would be expected (years spent in Japan)

The 1980's btw are at 5 years before 2020, 90's at 2.7 years as many are still active or for the 90's haven't started yet.  The lack of expansion will affect this too - other generations had regular expansion from 1961 to 1998 that would've extended careers, guys born in the 70's didn't get that boost at the end of their careers.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 12:40 PM EST (#393857) #
"One of my problems with the MLBPA's bargaining committee is that it is littered with players whom I doubt have the skill set to be successful negotiators while the owners have more professional negotiators - I wouldn't be surprised if the owners bargaining unit craft inducements to appease players on the MLPBA bargaining unit while winning the negotiating war."

Yup. Players have continued to make stupid choices for small wins. I.e. the draft pick compensation for free agents. It drove down the cost of a handful of players a tiny bit but the players wanted it as a major piece. Almost all their bargaining has come down to trying to maximize how much free agents can get but they didn't understand that baseball was going away from paying replacement level players big deals so they were pushing for something that didn't really matter. What they should be pushing is salary floors so teams like the Pirates and Cleveland need to spend money somewhere. That would mean free agents would get some decent deals. They should also be pushing when players are getting paid earlier in their careers. Earlier arbitration or FA. Also, need to get around the teams playing games with service time and maybe make service time less complicated. As a positive for the players, they did turn down the expanded playoffs. I'm not sure they understand how much this would kill salaries long-term but I hope they do and hold strong.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 01:05 PM EST (#393858) #
One change I would like to see made, which is probably unlikely, is starting a player's MLB service time as soon as they are added to the 40 man roster. Example: Moreno was just added to the Jays 40 man roster, so his service clock in that scenario would begin in 2021 even though he'll start the year in AA. This accomplishes two things: 1) on average it should lead to players reaching free agency at a younger age, and 2) will incentivize quicker promotions.

Another one I'd like to see added is a buyout for non-tenders. Example: If there are three years of arb, then a player who is non-tendered in arb1 will get a $300k buyout. Non-tendered in arb2 will get $200k, and in arb3 will get $100k. Those numbers could be more or less, just using that as an example. Would that make teams think twice about non-tendering a player? Maybe not, but at least it would give the player some type of leverage/bonus in the arbitration process, as minimal as that may be.

There is nothing wrong with free agency. Teams shouldn't be obligated to pay big for a player's decline. It's the first six years of control that is the issue, but the MLBPA doesn't seem to care much about that for some reason. They care even less about amateur/international talent, which is why MLB has been able to cut costs in those areas without much resistance.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 01:27 PM EST (#393859) #
A new thread, another new thread hijacked by politics...
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 01:48 PM EST (#393860) #
I think it helps if you picture the players as radical right wing capitalists.
They don't want communist measures like a higher minimum salary.
They want to hit free agency earlier.

There is a cost to developing players.
That cost is completely on the owners.
It's a cost that the owners have been reducing by dropping short ball and drafting more college players.
So maybe, college players could have fewer years of team control.
Time spent on the 40 roster is already limited by the rule 5.
Players on the 40 roster get paid more. If there are other constraint, teams could just keep their reserve roster around 32 to reduce those. Not a win. Lots of players spend time on 40 rosters and end up have basically no MLB career.
Guerro, Bichette and Biggio all have their 3 options intact and didn't spend a lot of time on the 40.

Mike Green - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 01:56 PM EST (#393861) #
Yup.  Baseball collective bargaining is politics.  Spring training and COVID is politics.  Henry Aaron and civil rights is politics. 

I'll happily agree that it will be nice to go to a ballgame at a real park after COVID is over, and watch players pitch, run, throw and catch, without thinking about contracts or any of that stuff and just enjoy the game for what it is.  Unfortunately, that won't be happening for a while. 
John Northey - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 03:00 PM EST (#393862) #
I see players as liberation in nature. They want to be paid for what they do. Owners are socialists - they want all costs to be 100% controlled by a central government (commissioner). I suspect a salary cap/floor revenue sharing agreement like the NBA and NHL have will happen at some point, but lord knows when. I think right now the union is at its weakest since the 60's as they are run by an ex-player, not by someone with normal union training. Clark sees things from a players POV which is 'I can do anything, pay me based on that'. He forgets how vital the minimum salary is for 90% of players who won't last long enough to get a multi-million dollar deal. Too much focus on the George Springer type, not enough on the Santiago Espinal types who will bounce up and down then get dumped without making millions (thus will need to get a 'real' job).

Ah well, in the end as fans all we care about is being entertained. I'd like fan favorites to stick around as long as possible but spare parts can bounce around. So something that puts a cap of some kind on annual salaries like the NBA has, but redistributes revenue so the weakest players get something as well. I know the owners will never base ticket prices on payroll, they will claim to but it is all supply/demand - how do you maximize revenue from tickets. If players are paid $0 or $200 million a year the ticket equation stays the same. See US college football for proof of that.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 03:16 PM EST (#393863) #
Seems the Phillies and J.T. Realmuto are reuniting, as the two sides have agreed to a five-year deal worth $115.5MM.  Just waiting on the physical to be official.  No shock really. 

Meanwhile Bauer - the last of the big free agents - has an offer from the Mets but not for a record payday.  Seems that is what Bauer is really after, $36+ mil a year to break the record regardless of length of deal.  Should be interesting to see where that goes over the next few days.

Given those 2 things I'd expect the market to start moving a lot faster now.  I really hope the Jays get Walker back and appear to be finalists for Justin Turner (who wants a 4 year deal but no one will give him that I'd think, Dodgers stuck on 2 years).  The 2021 Jays are nearly set.
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 04:28 PM EST (#393864) #
Springer would have signed for something similar with the Mets.
It's a bit frustrating, but the last few CF got overpaid as well.
The Realmuto deal involves 10M of deferred money.
No options or opt outs.

I, for one, believe the market will continue to trickle down.

Ozuna is the top guy left. Less of a market.
Next is Gregorius. I'd really be interesting if he's up for playing third base.
Then Turner who probably goes back to LA.
Semien is still there, but I'm worried about his bat.
Simmons, not even a year older than Semien, a better defender and a better hitter if you exclude Semien's 2019's season.
Pederson, Cruz, Bradley
Kolton Wong who could be a Super Utility, maybe. Not a lot of power, but he hits left and gets on base.
LaStella, nobody talks about this guy, but he can hit from the left and play third.

On the pitching side:
Bauer, Odorizzi, Paxton, Walker
Wainwright. 15 season with the Cards. You think they'd just bring him back because.
I think Colome is still out there too. Pretty quiet. Vastly outdid his peripherals last year.
Porcello, Hamels, Melancon, Archer

Glevin - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:10 PM EST (#393865) #
Jays getting Semien. Reported first oddly by Carlos Baerga but confirmed by Heyman now as well. He's a great risk and his ability to play multiple positions is also super useful for the Jays. The team just keeps improving.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:12 PM EST (#393866) #
The Jays have signed Marcus Semien to a one year, $18 million deal. Great move. I would assume he's moving to 2B or 3B, but either way, there is a lot of upside there, and very little risk.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:14 PM EST (#393867) #
1/$18 which is great. He had a terrible start to last season but apart from that has been a very good player for the last few years. Zips has him as a 3.9 WAR player. He hasn't played 3b or 2b in years but it's down the defensive spectrum so I have faith he can.
PeterG - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:14 PM EST (#393868) #
It's been reported that he has agreed to move to 2b as primary position.

what about pitching?

trade coming?
christaylor - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:21 PM EST (#393869) #
I'm neutral until I hear the terms, but I really hope the Jays didn't give Semien more than a pillow 1/2 year deal. His $13M salary last year seems like an overpay. I would have preferred taking the money and throwing Baurer a record 1-2 year contract.
JB21 - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:26 PM EST (#393870) #
1 year / $18. There are no bad 1 year contracts and we have added a good player. What's not to like?
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:34 PM EST (#393871) #
Can't say I like it.
His career OBP is .305.
He can cover shortstop if Bichette is injured, but he looks like the 9th hitter.

Glevin - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:40 PM EST (#393872) #
"Can't say I like it.
His career OBP is .305.
He can cover shortstop if Bichette is injured, but he looks like the 9th hitter."

12.7 WAR in the last 2+ seasons.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:42 PM EST (#393873) #
Sounds like he will play 2B based on reports written on Twitter. He broke out offensively in 2019 but unfortunately 2020 was only 60 games so not enough time to see if the turnaround was legit. He started the season very poorly, but came on strong in the final month and playoffs. This is a move with a solid floor but a potentially high ceiling, and very low risk as it's only a one year deal.
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 06:56 PM EST (#393875) #
OPS of .706/.892/.679.

The Orioles have signed Galvis for 1.5M. There's a real possibility that Galvis has a better year.
However, Semien has upside.
I don't like Biggio's defense at 3B.
A left bat would have been better. How many lefties left in the AL East? Montgomery and Yarbrough?Here's hoping he doesn't hit at the top of the lineup.

Glevin - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 07:22 PM EST (#393883) #
"The Orioles have signed Galvis for 1.5M. There's a real possibility that Galvis has a better year."

Come on! Galvis hasn't had a better year than Semien since 2015 and even then it was basically the same. In the last 3 years, Galvis has 4.1 WAR. Semien has 12.7. That's more than 3X the value. Semien is a starter on a playoff team and Galvis is a backup for a non-contending team. It's like saying "Why sign Springer, Jake Marisnick might have a better year"? Yes, it's possible I guess but extremely unlikely.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 07:29 PM EST (#393886) #
For reference, Semien is 12th in baseball in WAR over the past 3 years tied with Arenedo and ahead of guys like Bellinger and Freeman. I don't expect anything like that but even the 3-4 WAR I expect would be amazing. Honestly, for that price, even 2-2.5 WAR would be fine. Current Jays plan is to play Semien at 2B and Biggio and 3B. Only weakness Jays have right now is a lack of lefties in the lineup. You can live with only 2 though (Tellez and Biggio) if the lineup is that good.
scottt - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 07:38 PM EST (#393890) #
Semien has hit better than average only once in his career.
His oWAR seems high compared to his OPS. I'm not sure why.
He can run a bit, but his stolen base/caught ratio isn't good.
I'll have a better idea after watching him play a few games.

BlueJayWay - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 08:25 PM EST (#393902) #
Semien looks like a really good get to me. No bad one year contracts and he was a monster in 2019. I don't think anyone expects him to get back to that level, but outside of that year he's been a consistent 95-100 OPS+ hitter with defensive versatility. Last year he was hurt to begin, and then really came on later, and was dynamite in the playoffs. There's the chance for significant upside here.

Davidi is reporting that, as of now, Semien has agreed to play 2B and the club sees Biggio as the 3B.
christaylor - Tuesday, January 26 2021 @ 09:41 PM EST (#393911) #
The 1/18 deal seems OK. The main reservation I have is if Bauer ends up signing for 1/36 or 2/72 for another team whether that 18 would have been better spent on him. If this is where the Jays stop (or stop because they can't make another deal) then I'll be disappointed. I'm also unsure whether this is an upgrade, but we'll never know because Vlad back a 3B won't happen now. Another low OBP addition to the lineup is hard to get excited about... then again it'll be a nice surprise if the 2019 version of Semien shows up.
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