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A little something thread on a Friday afternoon...

(but really an excuse for me to write about Taijuan Walker)

The Blue Jays have clearly made multiple splashes on the free agent front, giving them a lineup that looks devastatingly fearsome on paper (that term sounded better in my head, I swear). So what's left? Here are my quick thoughts on the top 10 remaining free agents, according to MLBTR

1. Trevor Bauer (SP)

We've been through this. Pass. I just don't think he's that good.

As an aside, if he ends up going to the Mets: the contract will be a disaster because... Mets gotta Mets. If he ends up as a Dodger: he'll probably be the same guy he was in Cleveland with one more Cy Young level year out of nowhere. I have no factual or statistical basis on making these predictions of course.

(edit: and of course Bauer signs with the Dodgers while I write this. Bless the edit button)

4. Marcell Ozuna (OF/DH)

I didn't see much of a fit here before the Springer signing, now the possibility seems all the more redundant. He's a good hitter though and I hope he stays on the National League side of things.

11. Jake Odorizzi (SP)

He clearly fits a need here (*cough* starting pitching *cough*) but I wouldn't be jumping at the opportunity to throw a three year deal at him. I like his consistency though, even if he is consistently average.

14. Justin Turner (3B)

The dude can really hit, so if you're committed to assembling a batting super lineup he would fill a remaining spot. As is, I'd be very surprised if scoring runs is the biggest problem for the 2021 Blue Jays so I don't see an urgent need for Turner here. He's also 36 and not a particularly strong fielder anymore either.

21. Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF)

A very useful player, with strong defensive and baserunning value. He doesn't really make sense now with all the outfielders here (if they jettisoned Grichuk to some poor unfortunate soul, then maybe). Rumours have it that Bradley Jr. is looking for a 3-4 year deal, which is a bit much for a guy I see as an elite fourth outfielder type.

22. James Paxton (SP)

He's gonna get hurt. There's just no way around that reality. The gamble is whether he can give you 140 innings or 20. His dips in velocity are worrying, but that combined with his injury history are really the only reasons he's hanging around as a potential bargain. When he has been able to take the mound, he's been extremely good every season aside from 2020 (which in the context of MLB history is so bizzare it's difficult to reach substantial conclusions from anything there). I'm all for it, you'd just have to hope his health lines up with the stretch run.

23. Taijuan Walker (SP)

He clearly liked being a Blue Jay, seems like a cool guy, and pitched really well when he was here. So just re-sign him already!

Walker has had an interesting career. He was a huge hotshot prospect coming up in the Mariners organization, making his MLB debut as a 20 year old in 2013 (and holding his own in three appearances, all starts). Seattle still kept him in AAA for a good chunk of 2014, summoning him in late June for a trio of starts and then a sustained September run. For the next two seasons Walker was a reliable fixture in the Mariners rotation, putting up mirror 11-8 and 8-11 campaigns with an ERA in the mid 4s, showing a good ability to limit walks but also allowing his fair share of home runs. The top prospect sparkle seemed to have worn off as far as the Mariners were concerned, and traded Walker (then 24) and Ketel Marte to Arizona for Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger. Segura gave Seattle a couple pretty good seasons and Haniger is still a very valuable hitter for Seattle when healthy, but Marte exploded into stardom as a Dback and even finished top 5 in MVP voting as recently as 2019 (hey that sounds familiar).

As for Taijuan Walker, Arizona is where the injury bug stung him. He put up a solid 2017 season (9-9, 3.49, 2.6 WAR in 157.1 innings) but the next two years were complete write-offs. The ol' Tommy John surgery got him, and through 2018-19 he pitched only four times. The Diamondbacks let him go after 2019 and Seattle scooped him back, buying low and giving him a few million bucks to see if he had anything left after pitching a grand total of 14 innings in two years. Turns out he did. His first start was rather rocky (7 H, 5 ER in 3.1 IP) but the next four were strong enough to attract the attention of a team looking for starting rotation help for their playoff push, which is where we come in.

Like Paxton, relying on Walker to stay healthy seems like a bit of a gamble. Likewise, when healthy, Walker has proven himself a very effective major league pitcher and he's only 28 (Paxton is 32). I wonder, after losing two entire seasons to injury, if there's still some untapped upside here also. Anyway if I haven't made it clear enough, hey Blue Jays please re-sign this guy. I'd even wager, if given a similar amount of innings, that in 2021 he'll be more valuable than Trevor Bauer. And infinitely easier to cheer for.

26. Trevor Rosenthal (RP)

If we're talking free agent 'Trevors' I'd much prefer this one. Modern MLB success does seem to reward teams with dominant, deep bullpens and so Rosenthal (if 2020 isn't a mirage and he's back to his pre-2017 ability) would be a nice addition to slot along with the likes of Yates, Dolis and Romano. No, I wouldn't give him more than one year either.

32. Yadier Molina (C)

As many (more connected than I) people have pointed out, the Blue Jays "interest" in Molina is likely a ploy to get the Cardinals hurrying up to bring back their legendary catcher already. Which is what is going to happen, of course. Yadier actually being a Blue Jay though? It's compelling sure... and completing the Molina brother trifecta would be so worth it... but I'd be shocked to see him not as a Cardinal in 2021.

46. Rick Porcello (SP)

The exact guy you sign and give innings to when you're trying to not be awful, but not be good either. I'd like to think/hope that the 2021 Blue Jays have higher ambitions. I always forget that Porcello won the Cy Young in 2016. He's actually never made an all-star team, and got lit up in the 2016 playoffs for good measure. He just screams 'Mets' to me and if they miss on Bauer, I sense a reunion is in the cards.

Toronto has already made some smart splashes on this free agent front, and to be fair this list (aside from Walker and Paxton) isn't terribly exciting, realistic or frankly needed. Aside from pitching, the bench could use another piece and I really liked Mike Green's suggestion of Marwin Gonzalez. Yeah, you've got the case of Astros Stink again I suppose but Gonzalez is a versatile player with bounce back potential offensively, and a good enough glove you could plug in anywhere on the field. Adam Frazier of the Pirates is another interesting guy you could kind of imagine as a useful super-sub on a contending team. Who knows! I definitely don't think the team is done quite yet, even if their big cannonball splashes have left the pool.


Window Shopping The Remaining Free Agents | 242 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
grjas - Friday, February 05 2021 @ 04:10 PM EST (#394279) #
I’d be good with Walker too, but I suspect the hold up is that the 3 B level pitchers were waiting for Bauer to sign expecting the losers will have cash falling out of their pockets.

I hope Jays are all over their preferred pitchers as I wouldn’t be surprised to see dominoes falling quickly.
Cracka - Friday, February 05 2021 @ 04:26 PM EST (#394280) #
Every time that Taijuan Walker tweets something, dozens and dozens of Blue Jays fans quickly reply asking/begging him to re-sign. There's an occasional reply from a Seattle fan or Phillies fan, but it's at least 90% Jays fans, and they treat him like he's been here a decade, even though he's only started 6 games for the Jays. I'm not sure what to make of this or if it matters at all, but I find it fascinating and an interesting potential competitive edge for a city that used to have trouble attracting big-name free agents.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 05 2021 @ 09:31 PM EST (#394288) #
I don't know if posters know this but FYI when you post an article on this site your post is picked up by Blue Jays Aggregator and puts your real name on their web site for everyone to see.
John Northey - Friday, February 05 2021 @ 11:03 PM EST (#394290) #
Thanks dalimon5 - not an issue for me, but might be for some others.  Given I ran for the Green Party (twice) my name is out there already for stuff that gets me far crazier things than baseball can ever provide.  Ever been on a phone call for 2 freaking hours with someone over some minor issue that they are obsessed with?  Not fun - part of my first campaign.  After that I learned how to get off the phone with people a lot quicker.  Funny, even though I've been on TV and the like I still love seeing a site that has my name and a summary of how popular (or unpopular) I am.  Most popular article I wrote based on click through from there is Top Jay Prospects via Other Sites from 2019.  Keep meaning to do one for this years but right now have 90% of an article written about Jay prospects over the years (top 10 lists from 1983 to present via Baseball America).  Been fun to dig into, challenge is making it into a readable article.
John Northey - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 12:23 AM EST (#394291) #
Marcell Ozuna  signed a 4 year deal with Atlanta.  $65 mil, 5th year option for $15 mil more. Not that the Jays had any interest I suspect but noteworthy at it removes another top from the list.
#11 is the highest left - Jake Odorizzi, followed by Justin Turner.  Both potential targets. 

The Dodgers are now (via Cot's) well past the payroll tax mark - $237,743,824.  That is $27 mil over the limit which puts them into trouble.  20% tax ($5.4 mil) plus a 12% surtax (not clear but normally that would apply to the entire payroll = $28.5 mil, but if just the overage then $3.24 mil).  At $40 mil over (add another $13 mil or the minimum Turner could possibly ask for) and they get hit with a 42.5% tax rate with their top draft pick pushed  back by 10 slots (they arleady lost their first round pick by signing Bauer).  Get it down to $20 mil over and the surtax goes away with it being just the 20% on overages (max $4 mil).  Price is $31 mil less $16 being paid by the Red Sox (heh) so a tax cost of $15 mil - get that off the books and they are under $20 mil over and save a minimum of $6.14 mil plus almost no risk of having their top draft pick going down 10 slots (basically making a late 2nd round pick  into a 3rd round).  Plus, of course, saving the $15 mil they owe Price.  So for them Price is a $21-$46 mil player (depending how the surtax works) who is their #7 starter.  Seems kind of expensive for a guy that far down the depth chart.  The Dodgers have a ton of minor league depth - 49 35+ players according to FanGraphs, 35 40 or better, with 5 in the 50's (Jays have 7 in the 50's, 25 40 or better, 39 35 or better) so I figure the Jays would be happy to take some of those 40 or 35 guys to add depth in the system in exchange for saving the Dodgers $20+ million in 2021 and beyond.  For example, DJ Peters is an OF at a 35 score who is in AAA, Jeren Kendall a CF in A+, Jose Ramos a CF in rookie ball - any of those 3 would add much needed OF depth to the Jays system while not raiding the Dodgers system in a way that would hurt.

I'd think there is a match there in some way.  Maybe a higher quality prospect package mixed with Price and Tellez can go the other way (their 1B production wasn't the best in 2020 - 80 sOPS+ vs other 1B, ranked 23rd.  Jays were 10th with Vlad/Tellez/Shaw).  Max Muncy made $8.7 mil a year (2021/22) and had a 97 OPS+ last year, but was 'wow' before that with a 161 and 133 in 18/19.  He can play 2B and 3B as well so maybe that is a way they could shave more off the budget to make room for Turner - send him here too, we send them a cheaper replacement in Tellez, they add a couple of 40+ prospects and everyone is happy.  Jays get more positional flexibility and another starter, the Dodgers get their payroll down at a cost of a #7 starter and a guy with great potential at 1B for a reasonable deal in exchange for another guy with great potential and an even cheaper contract (ML minimum in 2021).  The Trade Simulator thinks the Jays would be getting the better end of that deal as it rates Muncy as more valuable than Tellez, but has it as a minor overpay for the Dodgers ($3 mil spread in value) but that is more than covered by the savings on the luxury tax.  Hmmm....  I'd go for it, but it isn't my money.
scottt - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 08:09 AM EST (#394292) #
The Dodgers might be paying Bauer 40M to be their 4th or 5th starter.
Which might not be a bad move if there is no extended playoffs.
It would  be Dodgers or Padres in a wild card game against the Mets or the Braves. 

I don't see Turner as a fit. Biggio needs to play somewhere.
Turner is not signing in Toronto as a bench bat.

I think that the Jays already have enough lefties, so I would pass on Paxton.
Walker is OK, but I think replacing Yamaguchi with Rosenthal would be the best move.

The Yankees have the best rotation only because of Cole.
It's not clear what Tampa will cobble together.
The team with the ability to trade at the deadline could have the advantage.

dalimon5 - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 08:41 AM EST (#394293) #
Maybe LA knows something we don't. Maybe Price plans to sit out 2021.
grjas - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 08:47 AM EST (#394294) #
I wonder if they can get a three way going with Grichuk going to a third party for one prospect that goes to LA while we send another prospect/early MLBer to LA for Price. Can always dream I guess.
bpoz - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 10:11 AM EST (#394297) #
R Yarbrough and T Glasnow will do the heavy lifting in TBs rotation. Don't know how C Archer will do. K Cash will then use his pitching staff successfully like he always does. It will be interesting how/if they can still succeed after losing Snell and Morton.

3 CFs in the OF that don't make mistakes. All their players don't seem to make baserunning errors.

They can take their time promoting prospects. Maybe Honeywell and McKay are out of options. I don't know.

scottt - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 10:57 AM EST (#394298) #
I don't think they can count on Yarbrough for more than 140 innings.
Glasnow might be a stretch to go back to the 111 innings he threw in 2018.
Archer is a big project.

bpoz - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 11:22 AM EST (#394299) #
Just read the best rotations in baseball. #4 NYY, #7 CWS, #8 Cleveland and #9 Oakland. I do like Cole and Bieber.
John Northey - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 12:14 PM EST (#394300) #
With all rotations you need a risk factor - ie: Jays are high risk due to having a #1 in Ryu with injury history and a big drop after him. Yankees after Cole are big risks as well. If the Jays or Yankees lose their #1 both teams rotations fall apart fast. Yankees really need Kluber to have a full comeback this year. The most important position on the Yankees might be the trainer who keeps those pitchers healthy. IF that person fails the team fails. You also get teams like the Rays who seem to find someone competent no matter what.
scottt - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 12:55 PM EST (#394302) #
They were good when they had Price and after Snell won a Cy young in 2018.
Outside of that, they were not as competent  as you might think.

2020 40-20 1st place
2019 96-66 2nd place (The Snell years)

2018 90-72 3rd place  (The Archer years)
2017 80-82 3rd place
2016 68-94 5th place
2015 80-82 4th place
2014 77-85 4th place

2013 92-71 2nd place (The end of the Price years)

bpoz - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 04:11 PM EST (#394303) #
Thanks scottt. Looks like I for one have really overestimated TB.

Checking a current bad team ie Baltimore. 2012 93 wins, 2014 96 wins and 2016 89 wins.
bpoz - Saturday, February 06 2021 @ 05:01 PM EST (#394304) #
I looked at Baltimore's player performances for 2014. Many had their best years. Pitching was C Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris who are not great career pitchers. In fact Ricky Romero was a lot better in 2011 than any of them.

I cannot make a conclusion.
bpoz - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 09:24 AM EST (#394305) #
Andrus to the A's.
scottt - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 10:58 AM EST (#394306) #
Replacing Semien with Andrus is not a plus, but A's free a bit of money to sign back Fiers.
The point was to unload Khris Davis, who has suddenly lost all value by coming an average hitter.
The A's have Andrus for 2021/2022 and maybe 2023 if he's healthy enough to play every day--which has never happened. The Rangers pick up a  good backup catcher who might get a chance at becoming a primary. Heim was always looking like a trade chip for Oakland given that they have Austin Allen who is considered the better prospect, but they got another catching prospect back in the deal. Texas also got a pitcher drafted by the A's in the 4th round last summer.

Pure tanking move from Texas.

The Mets signed Albert Amora Jr as their right handed center fielder.
Looks like replacement level, but that removes one suitor for Bradley.

scottt - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 11:08 AM EST (#394307) #
It looks like the Orioles are happy to continue tanking as long as Chris Davis is on the payroll.
Talk about a bad contract.
Still due 23M this year and next.
Next year, they'll be done with Cobb, but I don't see them signing a good pitcher yet.
Trey Mancini becomes a free agent after 22. Not sure what they do with him.
They'll probably just fill the roster with prospects until it's good enough to add a few vets.

Glevin - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 12:32 PM EST (#394308) #
Actually, I don't think Price makes any sense if I think about it. Jays already have Ryu, Ray, and Matz as starters and you don't really want to have 4 LH starters in your rotation especially in a division with the Yankees whose entire lineup is right handed. I think just paying for Walker would be the best move here.
dalimon5 - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 01:10 PM EST (#394309) #
Problem with Walker is the underlying numbers aren't that impressive, and this front office seems to like these harder to find stats.
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 01:19 PM EST (#394310) #
Deeper analytics like Walker's fastball and the Jays like splitters.
John Northey - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 02:30 PM EST (#394311) #
How was Walker vs Jays on more advanced stats (using full season, not just Jay time)?

GB%: 39.1%, Jays average 42.9% (22nd among 50+ IP)
HR/FB: 13.1% Jays: 17.1%
K%: 22.2% Jays: 22.1%
BB%: 8.4% Jays: 9.5%
LD%: 20.5% (27th among 50+ IP guys last year)
Soft%: 17.1% (45th highest - you want this high)
Medium%: 52.0% (54th lowest, Ray was 3rd lowest at 43.1%)
Hard%: 30.9% (33rd lowest, Ryu was 4th best at 24.3%)
wFB: 4.7 (23rd out of 81 - Ray dead last at -13.7)
wSL: -1.6 (52nd out of 61)
wCB: 0.0 (38th out of 69)
wSF: -0.1 (4 out of 6)

Note: wFB is weighted runs saved by his fastball, wSL by slider, wCB by his curve, wSF split finger. So Walker's fastball was an asset, his slider was not, and his curve and split finger were just 'meh'. Ray's fastball should never be used.

None of his figures there are that impressive. Not sure if something else is if you dig harder but it seems last year was more smoke and mirrors. So much for thinking he was better than 'meh'. I'll get a better idea of these numbers as time goes by I'm sure as will we all.
scottt - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 02:54 PM EST (#394312) #
Walker faced Baltimore twice 0 runs in 9 innings.
New York twice, 0 runs in 4 innings but 5 walks, 3 Ks and 2 hits, and then the meltdown where Fisher dropped the ball, 7 runs, 1 earned in 1.2 innings.
A great start against the Phillies, 1 run in 6 innings with 8 Ks.
An OK starts against Boston, 2 runs in 5.2 innings.

They didn't think his stuff would have played against the Rays and their numerous left handed hitters.
They didn't care to see him face the Yankees lineup 3 times.

Overall, in 2020, lefties had an OPS of .869 and righties .515 against him.
The Rays have at least 4 left bats.
Boston has Vertigo, Devers and Benintendi.
Baltimore could field 3 left bats and 3 switch hitters this year.

scottt - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 03:00 PM EST (#394313) #
Bradley is still out there.
I wouldn't mind signing him if they can flip Grichuk and his contract is not for more than 3 years.
I wouldn't spend much extra money/capital on that though.

Mike Green - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 03:08 PM EST (#394314) #
Boston has Vertigo

Always looking up in the standings will make a whole city dizzy.  Unos, dos, tres, catorce...
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, February 07 2021 @ 07:00 PM EST (#394315) #
Eno Saris of the Athletic gave Walker the best 4 Seam Fastball in Baseball last year analytically:

It might be weird to see Taijuan Walker at the top of this list, but he gets a lot of movement on the pitch, and he’s got decent velocity, and the results kind of agree — it’s his best pitch relative to other pitches of the class. Yeah, his slider gets a few more whiffs, but it gets below-average whiffs for a slider, and his four-seam gets nearly twice the whiffs of an average four-seamer.
grjas - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 08:09 AM EST (#394316) #
Interesting article on Toronto’s market size vs others.
scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 09:20 AM EST (#394317) #
If the Brewers can get Turner, they'd have a chance at the division.

The Jays are talking to Marwin Gonzalez. Meh. To me it looks like an attempt at getting Springer comfortable in the clubhouse. He's a switch hitter. He could rebound. He's versatile.

rpriske - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 09:46 AM EST (#394318) #
'Bauer is not that good' is just wrong. He was the clear best pitcher on the market.

But... wow, that is a lot of money. Too much money.

I don't agree with the rest of MLBTR's rankings, though. I would take both Paxton and Walker ahead of Oddorizzi. Not that he is bad or anything. I would be happy with any two of them.
Glevin - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 09:57 AM EST (#394319) #
Marwin makes sense as a utility player. I prefer Brad Miller who I think is a better player but the Jays need a utility IFer who can cover multiple positions and who is better than Espinal. Right now, 26 man is something like
P-Ryu, Pearson, Ray, Matz, Chatwood, Roark, Stripling, Thornton, Dolis, Romano, Yates, and two of Kay/Merryweather/Borucki/Liriano/Zeuch/Hatch. Hopefully, Jays get rid of Roark and replace him with someone like Walker or Paxton but it still leaves a lot of competition for the bullpen (not a bad thing at all!).

C-Jansen, Kirk
1B/DH-Vlad, Tellez
OF-Springer, Teoscar, Gurriel, Grichuk,

That leaves 2 more players for the 26-man. Since Biggio can cover OF as well, there's no real need for another OFer (Fisher and Davis can both be off 40-man IMO). They definitely need someone who is comfortable at 3B. I can see 2 IFers as most likely or 1 IF and McGuire which would allow Kirk to DH some (not really PAs there at the moment IMO).
John Northey - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 10:09 AM EST (#394320) #
That market size hits a lot of the issues I've brought up before, as others have as well, that Toronto is massive vs other markets directly, has a TV market beyond any other (since the old superstation days when Atlanta and the Cubs had their games shown to all of the USA but others didn't).

An item not covered was local income (meaning how much money fans nearby have) - rough median household income in Toronto is $61,440 (in US dollars). SF is highest in the USA at $123k, Seattle $102k, Washington $92k, San Diego $85k, Boston $79k, Denver $75k, NY $69k, LA $65k, Fort Worth $65k, Chicago $61k, everyone else lower than that. So Toronto in income is middle of the road I'd say. 10 cities higher covering 14 teams. Detroit is lowest listed at just under $34k.

TV Ratings - the Jays are on their own planet here. The US numbers show the Yankees #1 by a mile at 237k households per game. Jays are harder as their numbers aren't always made public (lots of searching but cannot find 2019's numbers). In 2016 they were over 1 million viewers per game and 2015 was over 900k. I also found articles showing playoffs hit as high as 5 million a game. Finally found it for 2020 500k viewers per game in 2020, up 23% from 2019 (so for apples to apples, 406k in 2019) Average Household in the US is 2.6 roughly, so the Yankees 237k = 616k viewers per game in a year they won the division with 103 wins, after a 2nd place 100 win season. So the Jays in 2019, 36 games back in a no-hope season had 400k viewers. When in a similar situation (2016 - won the division the year before and that year made the playoffs) the Jays had 1 million a game, a level 67% higher than the Yankees in 2019. Crazy eh?

So bottom line - Jays have a much bigger TV market than anyone, even bigger than the Yankees & Dodgers who both haul in over $100 mil a year for TV rights. The Jays have a middle of the road average income to source from. The Jays have the 2nd largest local market for attendance (Phillies a tiny bit bigger), and are top 10 vs all other markets (NY, Chicago, LA being split). So yeah, the Jays are finally acting like they are the market they are - a massive one that should be top 5-10 in payroll during contending years. The money is there if they grab it.
scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 10:28 AM EST (#394321) #
TV  revenue depends on how much advertisers are spending.
I think that's a way bigger issue than the poor people in Toronto in their million dollar houses.

John Northey - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 11:03 AM EST (#394322) #
The Jays are hitting that roster crunch now. 13 pitchers a lock to be used (or whatever the max allowed is) leaving 13 hitter slots.

As Gleven listed just 2 bench slots after starters, catchers, and Grichuk. I expect McGuire to be the #2 catcher while Kirk is in AAA getting reps behind the plate. But that is secondary really. I expect Davis or Fisher to be kept, for good or ill, as a 5th OF (not much point, but I expect it). So right now the last slot is Espinal or Urena (spring invite). Options will be a factor - FanGraphs shows those now too which is nice. No options: McGuire, Fisher, Urena (on minor league deal so not an issue). So right there might be the bench for 2021, at least to start given how this team hates to lose assets for nothing. Thus why someone like Marwin makes sense - no need to have Urena or Espinal on the bench then.
bpoz - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 11:39 AM EST (#394323) #
ST is scheduled to start in 1 or 2 weeks. Playoffs will be 5-8 teams qualifying. We will know eventually.

I strongly feel that the AL is much weaker than the NL. The AL lost Snell, Morton, Carrasco and Lindor. Maybe other V good players. The best player added to any AL team is Springer. He is the only V good player added as far as I can remember. Maybe Semien.

Verlander coming back healthy to start the season is a huge lift for Houston. Others returning are Sale, Severino and maybe others.

I have read all posts this off season and weakly conclude that da Box members feel strongly that the Jays are a favorite to take 1 of the 5 playoff spots. By that I mean the Jays did enough to convince da Box members. Springer, Semien and the pen.

So is that what most Bauxites are thinking?
scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 12:19 PM EST (#394324) #
It looks like we'll be back to 3 division leaders plus 2 wild cards.

Apparently the Grapefruit League has been split into East Coast and West Coast teams.
West coast teams include Blue Jays, Yankees, Phillies, Orioles, Pirates, Ray, Braves, Twins, Red Sox and probably Tigers.

East coast include only Mets, Cards/Marlins and Astros/Nats in 3 locations.

John Northey - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 12:30 PM EST (#394325) #
Sounds smart for MLB to split spring into more divisions - doesn't matter who you play, just that guys get game action. So being in a 10 team or a 5 team division is irrelevant. Just want everyone to get reps. Heck, could just have the Jays play the Phillies and Yankees if you wanted. Below is a map of where teams play in Florida to help with reference.
scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 01:03 PM EST (#394326) #
That map doesn't look right.
Doesn't Houston still share FIT TEAM Ballpark with the Nats at West Palm Beach?

PeterG - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 01:38 PM EST (#394327) #
I don't think they will begin season with 26 man rosters. Covid will still take out players from time to time. There needs to be at minimum a 4 man taxi group that stays and travels with team even if only 26 allowed in game. This will be negotiated in conditions to return of play before season begins.
GabrielSyme - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 02:57 PM EST (#394328) #
I expect we'll see a trade or three before opening day to simplify the roster, with Grichuk and Roark probably the most likely to move. They can each be upgrades for some other team, and if the Jays eat some salary, there might even be something interesting coming back.
Gerry - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 03:41 PM EST (#394329) #
MLB is changing the ball for the upcoming season. The change will "reduce the weight of the ball by less than one-tenth of an ounce, and also see a slight decrease in the bounciness of the ball."

The impact could be:

"The MLB memo includes a footnote that says an independent lab found that fly balls that went over 375 feet lost one to two feet of batted ball distance with the new ball. That also sounds like no big deal, but every 3.3 feet of distance increases the likelihood of a home run by ten percent. An analyst familiar with the physics and math of this situation said the relationship was linear enough to estimate that this change will reduce home run rates by around five percent. "
scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 03:46 PM EST (#394330) #
You have to see the angle for the other teams.
Tanking teams want prospects and they want to offload their bad contracts.
Contending teams want salary relief so they can spend the money on something better, but there isn't much left to spend money on.
Grichuk is too expensive for a tanking team and the Jays are not trying to reduce payroll.
Roark could throw 6-7 innings every 5 days even if the results are not good.
Is that valuable? Most of the teams the Jays will face will have worst pitchers.

Consider, the Mets seems to have 40M left and nothing to spend it on.
Maybe they should have signed Realmuto like everyone expected them to.
Maybe they look at Paxton?

I don't see a place for Fisher. Maybe a tanking team would take him .
Davis could be sent down.

Might be a while before we know about roster size.
Remember, the PA wants 26 players with no increase in September.
There was no 13/13 rule last year, but that was mostly because they didn't complete spring training.

scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 04:00 PM EST (#394331) #
Funny time to do this when they should be worrying about pitcher health.
Also 5 more teams will be storing their balls in a humidor.

Mike Green - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 04:38 PM EST (#394332) #
Thanks, Gerry.  I wonder if it's enough to end the flyball revolution.  You'd think that 5% wouldn't be enough.  If that's right, you'd expect flyball defence to be somewhat more important than before. 
Glevin - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 04:51 PM EST (#394333) #
I am fine with reducing offense but I don't think this addresses the issues enough. The real issue is that there aren't enough balls put in play. A small part of that is too many HRs but there are also way too many player Ks. Some of this is players' evolving their swings to go for flyballs and some of it is bullpen usage. If this is one step, it's OK, but it feels like baseball wasn't made to have an endless parade of pitchers throwing 98 MPH. The solution might be moving the mound back or lowering it but it's a tricky balance. I just think something along those lines need to be done. (Similar to that I think hockey should enlarge the nets. Players are built so differently from when the standards were created. Goalies are 6% taller than they were 30 years ago. The net is the same size. If you don't evolve, you end up with goalies who take up the whole net(.
scottt - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 05:16 PM EST (#394334) #
You can't really go after bullpen usage. The game is the same for starters and relievers.
If you move the mount back, it could affect starters more leading to even more bullpen usage.
The K issue might go away just due to robo-umpiring.
An inconsistent strike zone leads to more balls and strikes and less swings.

I wonder how different this "new" ball is from the legacy ball that is still used in the minors.

I'm shocked to learn that Boston, Seattle and Shea have been using an humidor but not launchpads like Yankees Stadium or Camden Yards. Team choices?

Gerry - Monday, February 08 2021 @ 06:57 PM EST (#394335) #
The testing agency reported on how the ball will impact home runs. But the unknown at this point is how the pitchers will react to a slightly lighter ball. Will it impact pitch speed, or spin?

We will just have to watch and listen to pitchers during spring training.
scottt - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 04:55 AM EST (#394336) #
They have agreed to the 2021 Covid protocols.
This year will have 7-inning double headers and runners on second.
No NL DH, 26-men roster that goes up to 28 in September.

It sounds like instead of shutting down whole teams, they will use contact tracing to shut down players like in the NBA.

BlueJayWay - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 07:04 AM EST (#394337) #
I am fine with reducing offense but I don't think this addresses the issues enough. The real issue is that there aren't enough balls put in play.

Agreed. People haven't liked the juiced baseballs from the last couple of years, but it kept some offence in the game. Reducing homeruns without any other change doesn't do anything about the ever rising K rate and fewer balls in play.

Apparently the balls are a little lighter though, so that might affect spin rate and velocity...hopefully moving those in a lower direction, but I don't know.
scottt - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 08:20 AM EST (#394338) #
5% of homeruns will become ball in play.
More in those 5 stadiums that will use humidors.

Stat wise, there was a risk of too many players hitting 500 HRs.
I don't see that many pitchers reaching the 3000 K plateau.

Sinkers were hit out of the park with uppercut swings.
If those produce fly ball outs, we could see more ground balls and so more balls in play.

bpoz - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 08:33 AM EST (#394339) #
Y Molina has signed with St Louis.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 08:46 AM EST (#394340) #
The OF for St Louis is young and unproven in the ML. Don't know what they will do about it. Weak division, so maybe taking a chance on youth. They probably are all good defenders. But 3 OF spots in the lineup that if weak will kill rallies.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 09:13 AM EST (#394341) #
Reducing homeruns without any other change doesn't do anything about the ever rising K rate and fewer balls in play.

A radical shift from baseballs to waterlogged softballs would devalue grip-and-rip as a strategy and raise the importance of putting balls in play. A severe shift from the stultifying TTO style of play would be achieved in very short order. HR down. K's down. BB's down (since there is no need to pitch carefully).

Somewhere between the modern baseball and the waterlogged softball there is a target equilibrium baseball that introduces a happy medium, forcing the requisite behavioural changes to lower the TTO rate to a "better" level. The new baseball, reducing HR by 5%, isn't that target baseball, but maybe that target baseball is only ultimately achievable in modest steps, rather than in one fell swoop.

I don't know, nor pretend to know. I do find it interesting, however, that MLB is tweaking the baseballs, so somebody somewhere thinks the TTO rate is a problem.

scottt - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 09:21 AM EST (#394342) #
Villar to the Mets.

I find it amusing that they are dejuicing the balls after years denying that they ever juiced them in the first place.

John Northey - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 09:29 AM EST (#394343) #
I think a mix of dejuicing, removing the extreme shift (2 players each side of second base would do a lot of that), both would do a lot. Might take a few seasons for the full effect as hitters adjust. They need to start seeing that grip and rip isn't working before things change.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 09:34 AM EST (#394344) #
Somewhere between the modern baseball and the waterlogged softball there is a target equilibrium baseball that introduces a happy medium, forcing the requisite behavioural changes to lower the TTO rate to a "better" level

We call it "The Seventies"- artificial turf, speed, power, balls-in-play, defence and varieties of pitching from Seaver and Blue to Palmer and Carlton to Catfish Hunter and Tommy John.  Cue Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, David Bowie, The Bee Gees and The Clash. 
PeterG - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 09:45 AM EST (#394345) #
New return play to rules are agreed to and published. The highlights include 7 inning doubleheaders and the same extra inning rule as last season. No DH in NL. With rosters, a taxi squad of up to 5 players, one who must be a catcher, can train and travel with team. It seems as though each major league team can either have an alternate site or AAA team. I think there are more details to be worked out in this area as minor leagues situations not finalized.
Glevin - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 10:35 AM EST (#394346) #
Pecota is out and has the Jays at 85 wins which is the same area as Tampa, Cleveland, Chicago, and Angels and behind Yankees, Houston and Twins. With expanded playoffs, there's be no point trying to do much because all those teams make the playoffs but without it, there's a real incentive to to try to get a couple more wins. By far easiest place is to improve rotation. Add Walker or Odorizzi instead of Roark and you gain an extra 1.5-2 wins probably which puts the team in a much better position to win.
scottt - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 10:53 AM EST (#394347) #
PECOTA thinks the Mets win at least 95 games and that the Braves are 4th with only 82  wins.
Brewers 8 games ahead of third place Cardinals.
If it's close like that, you wait at the deadline and get a pitcher then.
No point in signing a guy that gives you only 2 wins this year year and would be a drag next year.

John Northey - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 11:03 AM EST (#394348) #
Via MLB Trade Rumors the top free agents left. Listed with predictions from MLBTR for end destination and dollars/years.
There are more out there, but those are the noteables.  Others should be under $2 mil each.
So how did they do on the Jays targets?  Springer they had to the White Sox for $125 for 5 (Jays added a year and $25 mil).  DJ LeMathieu they had coming here for 4/$68 vs the Yankees paying 6/$90.  Semien they had going to the Angels for $14 mil for 1 year ($4 mil less than the Jays paid), Ray they had going to the Brewers for $6 mil vs the $8 mil the Jays paid.  Yates they had going to the Padres for $5 mil for 1 year vs the $5.5 the Jays paid.  Not a great record on guessing there, but this is a crap shoot thing.

Still, I wouldn't mind if the Jays end up with the top one left in Odorizzi. 
Chuck - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 11:25 AM EST (#394349) #
We call it "The Seventies"

I was thinking that. I grew up with 70's MLB being my template. That time period, of course, was fraught with their own issues because front offices were staffed with good old boys rather than with quants. What do we do with our .240 singles-hitting shortstop? Duh, we bat him second and hope he leads the league in sacrifice bunts. What else would we do with him?

In all seriousness, how much of that run-scoring environment can be attributed to the turf and the baseball, and how much was cultural and doing things by "The Book", as the book was understood at the time?

Chuck - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 11:28 AM EST (#394350) #
removing the extreme shift (2 players each side of second base would do a lot of that)

I would never want to see defensive players being told where they can stand.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 12:14 PM EST (#394351) #
It was a bit of everything in the 70s.  There was Earl Weaver with his index cards.  Earl was, of course, well aware of the value of a walk and the 3 run homer, and defensive range for that matter.  And you wouldn't take Billy Martin for a quant, but he got it too. And you had Sparky Anderson who was blissfully unaware, but was gifted with a club that was every sabermetrics fan's dream.  And he just trotted them out, and did his best to figure out how to get 9 innings per game out of his pitching staff (substitute Hyun-jin Ryu for Don Gullett and you've got Charlie Montoyo's major issue for 2021).  

I guess the fact that there was much more turf in the NL than in the AL contributed to the different strategies that you would see commonly in each league.  It was also the case that roles in the bullpen were evolving, and that particular point in time, the roles were most conducive to a watchable game.  The multi-inning ace was a perfectly fine adaptation to the realization that not every starting pitcher ought to be expected to throw 8-9 innings most times out. 

The 3 batter minimum was a good start in that direction, and I'd be happy to see it increased to 4.  
scottt - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 12:44 PM EST (#394352) #
In case of an outbreak, a team will be able to bring minor players up and send them back down without burning options or going through waivers.

For example, guys like Tyler White, Urena, Groshans, Martin, Forrest Wall, could get in a few games.

Saliva PCR test every other day. Rapid tests twice a day.
Individuals who test positive will have to isolate for at least 10 days and go through a cardiac evaluation before they can return.

Voluntary testing provided to families.
Mental health resources will be provided.

Indoor gatherings limited to 10. Most follow state and local rules.

No leaving the hotels during the season except for walks, outdoor dining or other approved low-risk activities.

No meeting with anyone outside of meeting family members outside.

Violators will be suspended without pay while self-isolating.

Kinexon contact tracing devices must be worn at all times during club activities and travel.

Mandatory quarantine of 7 days for those who have been in contact with  a positive case.

A mobile app will be used to setup lineup cards. Hopefully that works better than last year.

Any player can pitch at any point during the game. I can see Tampa playing a pitcher at first.

There will be a 5 person Taxi Squad, but only for road games.
Those players must return to the alternative training site after the trip.

I wonder if the Jays will play in Dunedin and the Alternative training site will be the back fields.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 12:47 PM EST (#394353) #
I think everyone within MLB acknowledges that excessive TTO is bad for the game. Whether altering the baseball will have an impact remains to be seen. You ideally do not want to regulate how teams should play the game. However, adjusting conditions (ex. unjuicing the ball, moving the mound back, pitch clocks, etc) might have the desired effect at least to some degree.

Ultimately, baseball needs to be have more balls in play and selfishly for me more stolen bases. Bringing athleticism back into the game would be a nice change of pace. I mentioned before that James McCann was on a YouTube video with Bauer and mentioned that in AA down they have (according to him) implemented a rule where a pitcher has to step off to pick off a runner, with the logic being to try to get stolen bases up again. Between that and Manfred testing out moving the mound back in the Atlantic League, and now adjusting the ball, it seems like baseball's issues are very well known within the inner circles of the sport. Now it is about implementing those changes in the most effective ways.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 12:48 PM EST (#394354) #
It was a bit of everything in the 70s.

As I recall, there were even AL umpires and NL umpires, two different sets of animals. And their styles were different, no? One looked over the inside shoulder and the other over top of the catcher's head. Or am I making this up?

mathesond - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 01:09 PM EST (#394355) #
Chuck, each league had their own umpires. Not sure if they set up differently, but I think they may have worn different chest protectors.
James W - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 01:53 PM EST (#394356) #
Pecota is out and...

(Stealing this from Twitter) - no team came CLOSE to the PECOTA estimates last year. Why are we listening to this *algorithm* again?
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 01:57 PM EST (#394357) #
Inside chest protectors were worn in the NL, with the umpire positioned over the catcher's shoulder on the inside side of the plate. Outside chest protectors were worn in the AL with the umpire positioned behind the catcher's head as currently.  The NL was known as the low strike league and the AL the high strike presumably because of the umpire's lower positioning in the NL.
Eephus - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 05:55 PM EST (#394358) #
You know, with Adam Duvall now getting 5 million guaranteed from the Marlins, I can't help but wonder if the potential trade market for Randal Grichuk might be underestimated, at least a little bit. Grichuk's contract still has three years on it and waaaay more money, sure, but he's also clearly a similar but superior player to Duvall and notably younger. Grichuk is at least a semi-passable CF and a solid corner outfielder with the glove, while Duvall has been mostly limited to LF and I recall him having a good arm but being otherwise "meh" out there as a Red a few seasons ago.

I still think the Blue Jays would have to eat some of the Grichuk money to get anything of consequence back, which makes a deal unlikely I figure. I'm quite content keeping him around as a luxury fourth outfielder type anyhow, with injuries and rest days there are plenty of ABs for him to get and (hopefully) utilize his best asset (power hitting).   
scottt - Tuesday, February 09 2021 @ 07:05 PM EST (#394359) #
I'm still expecting Grichuk to get his share of ABs.
He becomes a regular if any of Guerrero, Tellez, Springer, Gurriel or Hernandez is on the shelf.

Jonny German - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 04:50 AM EST (#394360) #
If Vlad shows himself to be playable at third base, Grichuk is the fill-in for any non-catcher injury.

His contract might be bigger than ideal for the role but it is useful to be able to go to him as a regular rather than Jonathan Davis or Santiago Espinal. I wouldn't be looking to move Grichuk without adding an equally useful player to the bench.
Gerry - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 08:30 AM EST (#394361) #
Keith Law has ranked the farm systems of the MLB teams. He has the Jays as the third best system in the game.

"The Jays placed six guys on my top 100, one on the just-missed list and have three or four more who would comfortably fit among the next 40 names."
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 08:54 AM EST (#394362) #
Keith Law hates the Jays.
Glevin - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 09:18 AM EST (#394363) #
"Keith Law has ranked the farm systems of the MLB teams. He has the Jays as the third best system in the game."

I think Fangraphs is a real outlier here. I will say however, that the lost season has made prospect evaluation almost impossible. Nobody got to see live games, almost no tape was available, and there were no stats.
Gerry - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 09:37 AM EST (#394364) #
Baseball America also has the Jays as the third best system.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 09:47 AM EST (#394365) #
For pure scouting I'd trust Baseball America. For stat analysis I'd trust FanGraphs first. But with no games in 2020 I'd suspect BA is the more accurate system to trust as they tend to have contacts in each organization that have been trusted for years (a good rep would help that) whereas FanGraphs, while doing well, isn't anywhere near BA for rep in the industry I'd suspect. I know when I was growing up (like most coaches in baseball now who would be within 10 years of my age [51]) Baseball America was a must read pre-internet - that carries a lot of weight when people come calling asking for info I'd think.
mathesond - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 10:10 AM EST (#394366) #
On the other hand, FanGraphs writers do seem to get hired by MLB teams with some regularity.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 10:10 AM EST (#394367) #
"For pure scouting I'd trust Baseball America."

I'm exactly the opposite. Who are these BA "scouts"?

MLB has hired numerous FG guys. CC with the Jays. Cameron Padres, Sullivan Rays. Edwards MLBPA.

Law worked with the Jays. ESPN's McDaniel the Braves. Goldstein, now with FG, was hired from BP by the Astros.

Who from BA has any MLB team hired? To me BA guys aren't original content guys. They use the scouting expertise of their industry contacts and form opinions from those. As long as they know who to trust for honest opinions, it works, but the BA guys are more scouting aggregators than scouts. I'm not saying it doesn't work, it just seems to be somewhat inherently flawed.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 10:16 AM EST (#394368) #
It seems to me that K Law has changed. He may have had something against the Jays in the past. About 10 years.

Made sense to bet against Richardi's farm system. AA did better. Shapiro may be even better. Shapiro's farm has hoarded prospects, added in SWR and A Castro to name 2 and Tinnish has been adding a lot of prospects.
scottt - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 10:22 AM EST (#394369) #
It's not really a question of stats I think. Fangraphs reviews the top 39 Blue Jays prospects and the top 48 Yankees prospects.

8 50, 2 45+, 4 45, 4 40+, 12 40, 18 35+. "Those pinstripes sure are sharp, and double-edged."

vs Jays
1 60, 1 55, 5 50, 1 45+,  1 45, 3 40+, 13 40, 14 35+. "The system looks thin but at least there are young and big leaguers entrenched at key positions."

Glevin - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 10:57 AM EST (#394370) #
"MLB has hired numerous FG guys. CC with the Jays. Cameron Padres, Sullivan Rays. Edwards MLBPA."

These guys are hired not to be scouts but to use their anayltics knowledge to help the front office. Carson Cistulli for example, was hired because of his analytical dive into prospect numbers to try to unearth undervalued prospects not to watch tape. I am sure Kiley McDaniel could be hired as a scout with a team but the biggest difference between Fangraphs and some of the others to me is the number of eyes on tape and lots of people with different contacts. There are hundreds of players to see and one person can only do so much.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 11:02 AM EST (#394371) #
Probably see a few NRIs added soon. Another catcher I think.
PeterG - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 01:00 PM EST (#394372) #
Am expecting that also.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 01:15 PM EST (#394373) #
FanGraphs seems addicted to depth. 100 35+'s are more valuable than 5 50's from what I'm seeing on their site which seems idiotic at best. Baseball talent is at the extreme end of a bell curve. Each slight increment in talent is a drastic drop in number of guys who can do that. ie: for every Roy Halladay you have a dozen Ryu's, for every Ryu you have dozens of Dickey's, for every Dickey you have dozens of Roark's, for every Roark you have hundreds of Gaviglio's. You get the idea. So for every 80 you have dozens of 70, for every 70 you have dozens of 60's and so on. I'll take one Vlad level prospect over 1000 35's. No way I'd trade Pearson for every 35 in baseball. BA seems to feel the same, FanGraphs doesn't.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 01:18 PM EST (#394374) #
Totally agree John N.
scottt - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 02:59 PM EST (#394375) #
Yes, they probably need a catcher on a minor league contract to be on the taxi squad.
That seems to be a requirement even if they have 3 catchers on the 26 roster.

pubster - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:00 PM EST (#394376) #
Would you trade an Alex Gordon for two or three Simeon Woods Richardsons?

IIRC Alex Gordon was a very highly touted prospect. And nobody liked SWR. (except for our terrible GM)
hypobole - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:03 PM EST (#394377) #
Leaderboards are littered with guys who were sub 40FV prospects at one point. Tatis jr, Betts, Bellinger, Ramirez, Degrom, Bieber off the top my head. Yeah, a 35+ FV in AAA might be a middle reliever or a utility guy at best, but having a 100 35+ kids in rookie ball is probably better than 5 50 FV kids.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:08 PM EST (#394378) #
Lower level prospects are massive crap shoots. Guys in short season leagues are poorly scouted often, so I have trouble buying evaluations of most of them. Someone with a decent curve can have a sub 2 ERA easily at that level but have zero shot at being a decent ML'er for example.
scottt - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:23 PM EST (#394379) #
On the other end, only 75 players per team will  be in spring training.
To make up for that, innings can end as soon as a pitcher has thrown 20 pitches and games might be called any time after 5 innings.

scottt - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:25 PM EST (#394380) #
Yeah, but the Yankees typically draft late and their international pool money is limited like everybody else.
So if they have loads of players in rookie  balls, they are guys that were signed for next to nothing.

scottt - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:44 PM EST (#394381) #
Moreover, teams have to submit their 75-player list by the 4PM on Friday.

It looks like adding players late will be a nightmare. Guys could be returned from camp to make room for someone else?

There will be an alternate training site with up to 28 players.
Once AAA starts, the AAA club can effectively become the alternative training site.

IL list will be 10 days and 60 days, but there will also be a Covid List with no minimum or maximum.
The 7-day concussion List is still there as well.

The definition of outbreak and the relaxation of the roster rules to backfill the Active List is at the sole discretion of Manfred.

Players will have access to in-game videos on their iPad again, but in a format that prevents stealing catcher's signs.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 03:48 PM EST (#394382) #
"Would you trade an Alex Gordon for two or three Simeon Woods Richardsons?

IIRC Alex Gordon was a very highly touted prospect. And nobody liked SWR. (except for our terrible GM)"

Gordon was the 2nd overall pick in a stacked draft in 2005. He ranked in the top 15 overall prospects the next year and then went straight to the Show. Those players are rarely if ever traded. I don't think any GM today would trade a huge borderline top 10 prospect for any combination of other prospects.
Also, stating that nobody liked SWR is likely false, since he is on everybody's top 100 lists. Calling the Toronto GM terrible also reflects weakly on your argument since you have no basis for it in your sentence. Are you confusing Simeon Woods Richardson with another player? Did I miss something down thread?
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 04:23 PM EST (#394383) #
Does anybody publish a "consideration set"?  John Sickels used to do that.  So, if BA or Fangraphs or Keith Law says that they considered  (let's say) 100 players in the Blue Jay system and 45 players (let's say) were 35 FV and higher, with a few lines on why the other 55 aren't?  It would be interesting how many all of them miss in the consideration set.  My guess is that there would be some obvious misses even with that low bar. 

Anyways, I'm pretty sure that Fangraphs ranking of the Blue Jay system is off considerably but I really have no idea whether the Blue Jay system is the 3rd best, the 7th best or the 10th best.

I want to return to Jonny's comment earlier today about Randal Grichuk.  With the signing of Semien, I hope that the only time VGJ touches third base this season is as a baserunner (or even better after launching one of many three run homers).  Which means that somebody else (at this point Espinal) plays one of second, short and third if there is an injury at a key infield position.  Unfortunately Grichuk's bat is not an ideal complement to the Jay offence- another right-handed, low OBP, high slug bat is a recipe for an inefficient offence, but if he can play all three outfield positions capably, he's a good 4th outfielder worthy of 300-400 PAs in a typical year. 
pubster - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 05:21 PM EST (#394384) #
"Also, stating that nobody liked SWR is likely false, since he is on everybody's top 100 lists."

I was referring to the Stroman trade. Everyone hated the trade at the time. 6 months later everyone loved the trade.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 05:39 PM EST (#394385) #
I recall the opposite, most people being surprised about the prospects the Jays received.
Kasi - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 05:50 PM EST (#394386) #
People were surprised, mostly in a negative way. People thought Kay was a bad prospect and that SWR had no upside. Now there is still some question about SWR projectability, but Kay has been better than most expected and its not like Stroman has been great for the Mets.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 05:50 PM EST (#394387) #
Does anybody publish a "consideration set"?

Look below the 39 write-ups of the ranked players.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 05:50 PM EST (#394388) #
Easy enough to check the feelings on Stroman's trade.

Post trade Stroman summary
One comment says: "Bob Nightengale in U.S.A Today called the trade "a stroke of genius" for the Mets and quoted another GM as calling it a steal for the Mets. Sigh."
hypobole: "From a pure talent standpoint, Marcus was probably worth more than the Jays got."
uglyone: "I gotta reiterate that given my age vs level obsession, this SWR pickup might actually be huge."
Shoeless Joe: "Honestly I’m underwhelmed by the deal, but if SWR has 5 or more good starts in A+ as an 18 year old he should be a top 100 guy by the end of the year. Major helium potential, especially with recognition as being in the deal."

Annoying that I didn't comment on that thread. Maybe someone else can find another one.
pubster - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 06:00 PM EST (#394389) #
Everyone was complaining they the Jays didn't receive a single top 100 prospect for Stroman.

6 month later everyone loved SWR and he became a top 100 prospect.

If you dont believe me start reading from Sunday, July 28 2019 @ 05:50 PM EDT

Marc Hulet with:

'There are no enviable prospects in the Mets system so I hope it's Edwin Diaz to flip elsewhere... but I question how the Jays front office can't get a good prospect return for Stroman...'


'The Mets have zero Top 100 pitching prospects. Zero. Simeon Woods-Richardson is the only interesting arm.

The Jays failed to acquire a top 30, 50, 75 or even 100 prospect, if reports are true. And could have kept working on a deal for 3 days... I don't get it.'


'The Jays should never have settled for that return three days before the trade deadline.'
pubster - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 06:01 PM EST (#394390) #
Uglyone's first post about the trade was:

'4 and 6 prospects from a poopy system is a bad return, any way you slice it.'
pubster - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 06:03 PM EST (#394391) #
JN, I have to learn how to make links!
bpoz - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 07:00 PM EST (#394392) #
My opinion: I have to agree with pubster about the terrible GM reputation. Since Atkins arrived he has taken a lot of heat. I have defended him because I felt it was unfair.

However he acquired a lot a mediocre players. Waguespack etc... which was basically hoarding mediocrity. S Brito & Buchholz. Happ to NYY did not work. Stroman seems good so far.

Ryu and Springer are elite/impact players. With permission to spend money he convinced them to sign.

The drafting and farm were good. Biggio, Bo, Pearson should become good. AA gets credit for Vlad, Jansen and Tellez. The pipeline seems healthy from trades, drafts and Int'l signings. SWR, Groshans/Kloff and O Martinez.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 07:38 PM EST (#394393) #
I made the mistake of thinking you meant professional writers/analysts when you said "everyone," not posters here.

There was only one prospect ranked higher than SWR that was traded at the deadline and that was Taylor Trammell who was #26 by MLB pipeline rankings. It took Trevor Bauer to get that prospect.

SWR was the best prospect traded otherwise, even if you include Corbin Martin and JB Bukauskus who were both traded for Greene who is also a better pitcher.

Lots of people were talking down the trade, but in reality it fell right in with a depressed market that saw the Astros later net Sanchez, Biagini and Stevenson for Fischer.

Trammell and Bukauskus have both fallen off the top lists and SWR has moved up.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 07:52 PM EST (#394394) #
If I remember correctly, I gave the Stroman trade a thumbs up when it occurred.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 08:11 PM EST (#394395) #
The article when it happened was Rays at Blue Jays - July 26-29.

85BlueJay: "Will note that Simeon Woods-Richardson numbers in A ball compares well with Syndergaard numbers when he was traded for Dickey and Woods I believe was over a year younger." and "2 Thumbs up for me - I see Woods in the same ballpark as Syndergaard when he was traded (and 1 year younger) and I like Kay as a potential backend starter - in fact I like Kay's potential better than Borucki or Pannone as a potential lefty in the rotation -Kay was drafted in 2016 but didn't pitch until 2018 because of TJS and other injuries, so I will cut him some slack on being old for his level."

You were happy for sure

Just figured out why I didn't comment right away on it - I was travelling with the kids up in Thunder Bay and this site is a pain on phones I find. Sadly none of us have the time or energy I suspect to fix it up.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 09:23 PM EST (#394396) #
Jays are locks now - just claimed Joel Payamps on waivers.  OK, not that exciting.  A RHP who has a total of 4 ML games, all in relief, just 7 IP 6 BB 5 SO.  Yawn.  Decent minor league numbers as a starter but in the PCL (launch pad) he had a 5.42 ERA 3.4 BB/9 vs 7.8 K/9.  Entering his age 27 season. Purely a depth move.  I suspect they'll waive him soon and try to sneak him onto the AAA roster.

A fun article on MLBTradeRumors - Which Players Will Have The Largest Change In Performance In 2021? - shows Vlad as one of the peak possible jumps in 2021 (0.5 to 3.2 fWAR) and Bo also on the leaderboard for jumps (2.2 to 4.3) last years based on prorating their 60 games to 162.  Robbie Ray on the top pitchers likely to jump (0.0 to 2.5), Pearson (0.0 to 2.2) and the guy the Jays are chasing hard Odorizzi (0.0 to 2.0).  Guessing whatever assumptions FanGraphs is using a combination of ZiPS and Steamer projections and their own guesses on playing time to get the season figures.  Sadly the biggest hitter jump is expected to be Yankee Gleyber Torres  from 0.5 to 4.3, then 3 Astros before you get to Vlad (Bregman, Alvarez, and Altuve).  Among the biggest drops is Bauer from 6.8 to 3.8. 

Fun stuff.  Only a few weeks until we have new boxscores to look at again (spring training, but fun none-the-less).
PeterG - Wednesday, February 10 2021 @ 10:20 PM EST (#394397) #
Payamps was impressive in Dominican winter league though small sample size. Had ERA of 1.38 but most noteworthy fact was increased velocity.
Jonny German - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 04:57 AM EST (#394398) #
And with the dawning of the Payamps era we bid farewell to Shun Yamaguchi. Designated for assignment. I feel like signing him was a reasonable gamble, but if the analytics say he was a bad as he looked in 2020 then it's also the right call to cut bait now.

The bullpen now has just 3 guys with MLB contracts - Yates, Dolis, and Chatwood.
Jonny German - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 05:02 AM EST (#394399) #
Unfortunately Grichuk's bat is not an ideal complement to the Jay offence- another right-handed, low OBP, high slug bat is a recipe for an inefficient offence, but if he can play all three outfield positions capably, he's a good 4th outfielder worthy of 300-400 PAs in a typical year.

It would be better if Grichuk hit left, sure. But I don't think OBP is a weakness for this team any more. League average OBP for the AL the last two years was .319 and .323. My personal projection is for Grichuk to be the only regular who can't hit the .320 mark. Jansen and Teoscar should be right around average, everyone else above - significantly so for Springer, Guerrero, and Biggio.
John Northey - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 07:47 AM EST (#394400) #
Sad to see Yamaguchi go - had high hopes for him, but he was a low risk to give a shot to that could've worked out, but didn't. Wonder if someone else will grab him off waivers. $3.185 mil tossed away this year, but last year only cost $1.176 after adjusting for the 60 game season so it ended up being a $4.36 mil risk that failed. He showed hope now and then, but not a big loss by any stretch.
grjas - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 08:43 AM EST (#394401) #
Surprised Fisher is still around. Hoping they are keeping him because a trade is in the works for a pitcher which includes one of the other outfielders.
PeterG - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 08:50 AM EST (#394402) #
I'm a bit surprised that Fisher is still here also but think it is likely because he is one of the few left handed bats on the roster. A trade of an OF remains a possibility as well.
scottt - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 09:22 AM EST (#394403) #
I had Chatwook/Stripling knocking Yamaguchi out for a while now.


Can now keep a slot open for Murphy/Waguespack/Payamps/Tice

Or add one of Liriano, Cole, Mayza, etc...

I don't see anyone paying Yamaguchi 3M.
Not when nobody would pay 10 for Hand.
The Jays can either release him and pay 2.5M or eat the whole thing and trade him for something small.

John Northey - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 10:03 AM EST (#394404) #
Hand got $10.5 mil in the end so claiming him would've been smart for a team to do. I suspect the Jays will try to send Yamaguchi down to AAA as an expensive depth piece, but if he wants to be released instead they will do that.

The pen is shaping up. Merryweather might be in AAA to get innings (he had an option added).

I see it as Yates closing
8th is Dolis
7th Romano
6th: Chatwood
Long man: Stripling
As Needed: Borucki and the 7th and 8th relievers.

7th and 8th will be a rotation of guys with an option for this year. Merryweather, Payamps, Waguespack, Murphy, Zeuch, Hatch, Thornton, Kay, Tice, Mayza all have an option for 2021 at least. As do Borucki & Romano for that matter. Luciano and Castro (an NRI) both could be in the mix too. Wouldn't be surprised if Liriano or Cole grab the 7th slot (both NRI's) my bet is on Liriano grabbing it with Cole in AAA to start the season. Wouldn't be shocked if the Jays get another reliever though.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 10:11 AM EST (#394405) #
For what it's worth, both ZiPS and Fangraphs depth charts project Fisher to be a comparable player to Grichuk- a little worse on offence and quite a bit better on defence where Grichuk is projected to be the worst defender on the club by quite a margin.  Personally I don't buy the defence projections at all; I prefer the Statcast info on this one.  Grichuk is losing a step and he's no longer going to be an above average defensive outfielder overall but I expect him to be solid average in a corner and playable in CF in 2021.  Fisher was vile in 2019-20 (total 91 possible plays) per Statcast and the eye test...It's odd because he was perfectly fine for Houston in 2017-18 (total 120 possible plays). 

I like Jonathan Davis quite a bit better than the projections.  Statcast has him with an xwOBA of .312 over his 3 partial years here and he's an above average defensive centerfielder.  For comparison, Grichuk's xwOBA over the same period has been .322.  If you could pair Davis with a left-handed corner bat who was better offensively than Davis but a reliable fielder than you'd have something as good or better than Grichuk (in my view). 

Mike Green - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 10:13 AM EST (#394406) #
If Peter Thiel set up a ruthlessly capitalist competitor to Bandcamp, would he call it Payamps?
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:11 AM EST (#394407) #
He'd call it Spotify
hypobole - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:13 AM EST (#394408) #
I liked Josh Winckowski. Didn't like the Matz trade and didn't like Winckowski included in the deal. Hoped he would succeed as a Met. Mets just sent him to Boston in the Benintendi trade. I hate Josh Winckowski.
Jonny German - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:28 AM EST (#394409) #
I still like Josh Winckowski, because his instagram profile currently says

Josh Winckowski
I guess Red Sox
PeterG - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:34 AM EST (#394410) #
Jays have signed David Phelps to a major league contract.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:36 AM EST (#394411) #
He'd call it Spotify

Fair. We'll know something is up if the Blue Jays sign Nigel Spotify as their next bullpen prospect. 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:41 AM EST (#394412) #
David Phelps is not as good a name as Nigel Spotify, but a better pitcher.  Statcast numbers suggest that he was very unlucky last year and he was the same pitcher overall as he was previously. 
Nigel - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:47 AM EST (#394413) #
Careful on the name calling:)
Mike Green - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 12:00 PM EST (#394414) #
I was thinking of the XTC song, but maybe I should have chosen something like Elvis Spotify...
John Northey - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 12:10 PM EST (#394415) #
Good idea signing Phelps - last time it cost $2.35 mil and they got Tom Hatch in trade mid-season. Plus 0.3 WAR while he was here. Weird year last year for him - 6.53 ERA but 5 BB vs 31 SO in 20 2/3 IP. 7 HR killed him. From August 23rd to the end he had a 11.81 ERA (10 2/3 IP 14 ER on 15 H and 3 BB, 18 K 7 HR). Before that he had 10 IP 1 ER 4 H 2 BB 13 SO. Clearly something happened that allowed hitters to get far more bat on the ball when they made contact, but his K/BB ratio suggests his talent was still there. Most of that was after he was traded to the Phillies (from the team that made the playoffs despite a sub 500 record to the team that finished 1 game back).

An excellent low risk move imo. Whatever caused all those HR's is probably fixable (might have been tipping pitches) and if so then he is an excellent reliever. $1.75 mil plus $750k in incentives. Guess it now is Core: Yates/Dolis/Romano Where Needed: Chatwood/Stripling/Borucki/Phelps/Liriano. With many, many more in AAA ready to step in. I like.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 12:38 PM EST (#394416) #
Phelps' average EV was very low.  Just a few extra barrelled balls.

The bullpen is in fine shape.  They are playing to win and that is always fun. 
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 01:03 PM EST (#394417) #
He was crushed by home rune in the tail end of the season. Hopefully the altered ball turns those into warning track shots. Then he's elite.
scottt - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 02:37 PM EST (#394418) #
I'm hoping they'll be good enough to be forced to use more than one closer.
Font is gone. Was 1-3, ERA 9.92. 9 BB/15 K.
Yamaguchi is waived. was 2-4, ERA 8.06. 17 BB/26 K.
I don't think there's a huge drop off from one pen guy to the next.

Paul D - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 03:05 PM EST (#394419) #
Mike Wilner's now with the Star.
scottt - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 03:22 PM EST (#394420) #
For what it's worth, Fangraphs projects Phelps to produce 0.3 WAR which put the Jays pen at 3.1 WAR tied for 8th best with the Brewers.
PeterG - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 06:54 PM EST (#394421) #
Derek Fisher DFA
Glevin - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 07:16 PM EST (#394422) #
Makes sense to DFA Fisher. I think Jays might go with 14 man staff (is it allowed with new rules?) all teams are worried about pitchers with last year, likely weird off days this year, and double headers etc... Jays have the flexibility to go with short bench but would expect a Brad Miller or Marwin signing for even more flexibility.
scottt - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 07:50 PM EST (#394423) #
Bye bye Fisher. Maybe he makes it to AAA?

Given that anyone will be allowed to pitch at any time, I believe there is no restriction as to how many of the 26 players on the roster are pitchers. Would make sense to have a bench player who can be optioned down if the pen is getting tired.

greenfrog - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 09:23 PM EST (#394424) #
Biggio just got Klawed:

“Chris P: While I think Cavan Biggio is at least deserving of a roster spot, I really think the Jays should try to move him now while his value is likely going to be at its highest. The fact he struggles against quality fastballs is concerning.

“Keith Law: It’s fatal. He can’t hit what is now an average major-league fastball. That’s why his best month in the majors has been September – he sees lower-quality pitching and pads the stats against them. I agree, I would shop him now, but to be honest, most other teams see the same flaws. His value is very low.”
greenfrog - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 09:29 PM EST (#394425) #
And this:

“Ed: What do you see as probability of a Vlad Jr breakout this year? He seems to be more committed after his down, by his standards, last season and seeing his contemporaries explode on the scene.

“Keith Law: It’s really about the swing. He’s a bright enough kid to figure it out on his own but my understanding is he’s not someone they’re going to be able to take aside for a whole swing optimization.”

Glevin - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 09:30 PM EST (#394426) #
KLaw hates Biggio. I like Law normally but his big flaw is an inability to admit he's wrong so he digs himself into these absurd positions. Sure, Biggio's best month has been September but he's also been very good in August and June. His only bad month has been July. (and talk about SSS!) Maybe he's right in the end and Biggio fails but his logic here is silly. Biggio is now at 695 PAs with good numbers. It's OK to be wrong sometimes.
John Northey - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 10:21 PM EST (#394427) #
To put the lie to that Biggio evaluation using career splits...
1st half: 232/362/424 2nd half: 236/365/432
So how is that taking advantage of late season weak pitching?
Now, when he is ahead he kills pitchers: 307/546/670, but even: 233/238/332, behind: 163/178/238. Ugh.
Now, vs Power pitchers: 198/352/313 - ick. vs Finesse: 278/387/486 sweet. vs Neutral: 218/354/436

For comparison Vlad (as opposite a hitter as you get).
1st Half: 249/328/413; 2nd Half: 293/349/452 - more of a spread.
Ahead: 262/440/419, Even: 321/324/560, Behind: 202/208/303
Power Pitchers: 231/326/372; Finesse: 260/315/448; neutral: 302/365/480

So what do we see? Biggio is even first vs 2nd half. ahead in the count he kills them (when a pitcher is likely to throw a fastball), but behind he is toast. Power pitchers kill him, but finesse he kills. Vlad is weak first half vs 2nd (not a massive spread), weak when behind but not as bad as Biggio, but also not as strong when ahead. Power pitchers he has some trouble with, a bit better vs Finesse, gets the neutral best.

So from that I see some of the issue with power pitchers for Biggio, but not enough to kill a career, especially when he kills all pitchers when ahead in the count. We'll see as time goes by. Biggio I suspect will always be fighting for respect though.
John Northey - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 10:46 PM EST (#394428) #
Well, no Giles in 2022 - he signed with the Mariners for 2 years. No report on dollars, just that it is for 2 years.

So there goes another sub 80 ERA+ guy from 2020. By ERA+
40's: Ken Giles (Mariners), Hector Perez (Reds), Wilmer Font (to KBO), Trent Thornton (still here)
50's: Sam Gaviglio (Rangers), Jacob Waguespack (still here), Shun Yamaguchi (off 40 man), Santiago Espinal (a fielder)
60's: Chase Anderson (Phillies $4 mil), Tanner Roark (likely in rotation)
70's: Ross Stripling & Nate Pearson (both fighting for rotation slots)
80's: Anthony Kay (likely in AAA)
Also gone: Matt Shoemaker (free agent), Anthony Bass (Marlins), Taijuan Walker (free agent), Sean Reid-Foley (traded).

Quite a few cleared out. 10 pitchers (plus 2 gone during 2020 season) out of the 29 used in 2020. Still leaves a lot (17, 16 if you don't count Espinal) with 3 likely in AAA to start 2021 (Kay, Thornton, Waguespack) and a 4th likely left in AAA as a NRI (Cole). Others left in AAA will likely be Patrick Murphy, and T.J. Zeuch. Funny that Hatch and Phelps should both be in the pen given they were traded for each other.

I'd say the right guys were cleared out. I'd give an NRI to Shoemaker if he wants it. Walker I'd sign if reasonable and dump Roark if anyone would take him.
Cynicalguy - Thursday, February 11 2021 @ 11:53 PM EST (#394429) #
Using September to downplay stats that can't be explained away easily is Keith Law's go to strategy when he's being proven wrong. That's one of the things he used against Bautista after the breakout year and Law dismissed it as a fluke year plus the previous September he said should be ignored. He sure ended up with egg on his face.
scottt - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 06:02 AM EST (#394430) #
The Jays having issues with power pitching came up a lot in the broadcast last year.
I suspect Guerrero, Bichette, Gurriel, Henderson and now Springer are fine.
That leaves Jansen (who was having a bad year a the plate), Tellez (who seems to like to sit on the offspeed stuff) and Grichuk. No idea what to expect with Semien.

The trend in the league has been to throw fewer fastballs, so sitting soft isn't a terrible idea, but you need to be able to square power fastballs if they are just pounding the plate with it.

I can imagine Biggio fighting for respect until he starts to get paid in arbitration.
Harder to argue at that point.

Hiraldo, ETA 2022 is the next 2B in the pipe. Will be interesting to get stats from him.

Mike Green - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 07:36 AM EST (#394431) #
If you look at Biggio's overall performance against pitches, he kills 2 seamers and has held his own against 4 seamers.  He definitely was not as successful against 4 seamers in 2020, and his EV was down.  I wondered if he was fighting a nagging injury later on in the season and staying in the lineup because of the short season and the Jays' position in the standings. 
dalimon5 - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:10 AM EST (#394432) #
Keith Law hijacking this thread. How many times must a man be proven wrong before we stop referencing his evaluations?

The biggest obstacle for Biggio is the terrible prejudice from umpiring. If it's within 2" from the plate the umps call it a strike against him.
bpoz - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:32 AM EST (#394433) #
Completely agree dalimon5.
85bluejay - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:38 AM EST (#394434) #
I don't know what the data says but the eye test says to me that Biggio is way too passive on 2 strike counts.
bpoz - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:51 AM EST (#394435) #
The personality of Bichette is very intense. No laziness there.

Vlad's will need another 500 ABs to show his intensity/work ethic. He is so young and never struggled until the big leagues. How will he react to position change to DH/1B? So far he has spoken with determination about 3B. We will see results soon.

Biggio has quiet leadership. He works at his game and encourages his young team mates to work hard. 20 SBs 0 CS means he knows what he is doing. Playing multiple positions without his overall game being upset is also a strength.
Mike Green - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:02 AM EST (#394436) #
Not to my eyes.  He does take close pitches especially on 3-2, but he's usually right.  Eventually he'll get his fair share of the calls. 

Here's the data for 2019-20. He is the best hitter in the major leagues by a mile at not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone while swinging at a typical number of pitches inside the zone.  His rate of swinging strikes is good- 33rd fewest in the majors and the best on the Blue Jays.  
bpoz - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:33 AM EST (#394437) #
Lyle Overbey used to successfully work the walk by having a good eye. But that strategy had flaws I believe. Situational hitting has to be done. With runners in scoring position bringing them in is most important. The Jays during Overbeys days were not elite hitters. Hate using elite. This team hits very well so taking the walk may work better for this team.

The game has changed.
greenfrog - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:38 AM EST (#394438) #
"Law hijacking this thread"

Did he hijack the thread, or suddenly make it a lot more interesting? Personally, I find an analysis of Biggio's merits as a hitter a lot more compelling than discussion about the Derek Fisher DFA announcement.
Glevin - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:57 AM EST (#394439) #
"Keith Law hijacking this thread. How many times must a man be proven wrong before we stop referencing his evaluations?"

Because being wrong sometimes doesn't matter. The best scout in the world, the best analytics guy looking at stats in the minors will both be wrong a lot. Law is a smart guy and has contacts so his evaluations are still worth discussing.

Jays sign Panik to minor league deal. I hope they go better for backup IF but Panik is a good backup to a backup.
hypobole - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 11:11 AM EST (#394440) #
Has anyone heard anything about the status of robot-umps? Were supposed to be used at some minor league parks last year, which obviously didn't happen. Haven't hears a peep since.
scottt - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 11:26 AM EST (#394441) #
It was in the spring camp proposal that was rejected by the players.

It looks like Manfred is serious about bringing in robo-umps but the vets are fighting it so they'll fight over that in the next CBA.

bpoz - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 11:41 AM EST (#394442) #
Not counting Ray the Jays have added 12 players to the 40 man roster since the end of 2020.

The following players are not ML ready for 2021 IMO. E Luciano, O Lopez, G Moreno and R Adams. I have faith the other 36 can contribute if given the chance.
PeterG - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 11:55 AM EST (#394443) #
Bisons sign new agreement with MLB in new set up and will be Jays affiliate for 20 years. They will play in new AAA East. Schedule to be made up later.
Mike Green - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 12:02 PM EST (#394444) #
The 2021 schedule is out.  The Jays open up on April 1 against the Yankees in New York and close it out at home vs. Baltimore on October 3. 

They have 5 off-days in April.  It may be a challenge to get pitchers regular work, particularly if there are COVID-related or weather-related postponements.  I would think that they would start with 13 pitchers. 
grjas - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 12:07 PM EST (#394445) #
Interesting to see that none of the next 3 SPs have signed despite a number of teams looking for starters. I wonder if they are holding out for longer terms, and waiting to see which team blinks (or vice versa).
bpoz - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 12:24 PM EST (#394446) #
The Jay's home to start the season is most likely Dunedin. This is a great facility.

I cannot remember who posted. 75 man ST roster to be named today? Either AAA or Alt site?

Vancouver probably does nor start the season at home. Where will they play? NH will soon be clear.

We have Low A in Dunedin and most likely many younger prospects also in Dunedin. Instructs and Extended ST.

We will not get a lot of stats for prospects but they will be developing in Dunedin. Overall I am pleased.
PeterG - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 12:46 PM EST (#394447) #
Vancouver will likely play in an American city in the NW until they can be cleared to play in Vancouver.
bpoz - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 01:18 PM EST (#394448) #
Thanks PeterG and others for keeping me informed.

M Gonzalez signs with Boston.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 01:39 PM EST (#394449) #
Greenfrog, there were exactly 3 posts relating to Fisher and only one of them had an opinion about it. The span of the 3 posts was less than 1 hour yesterday. That's not a discussion you should have to worry about reading through...try not to be defensive about criticism to what you post. Criticism was on Keith Law and the general online community who all still give his views weight and merit, not on you directly.
It is interesting to discuss Biggio's projections and potential, and I am glad John was able to swiftly highlight just how outlandish Keith Law's remarks were regarding September feasting by Biggio. I still remember how Lawrie was unplayable at 3B according to Law, only to see him play way above average at the hot corner.
Nigel - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:13 PM EST (#394450) #
With something as subjective as the projections involved in scouting, the best outcomes are achieved by considering the full spectrum of opinions. I have zero issue with Law's take on prospects; I agree that his lack of nuance to some of those takes is pretty annoying sometimes. That controversy is part of what gets eyeballs to content.
hypobole - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:23 PM EST (#394451) #
Kiley McD at ESPN has his system rankings behind their paywall. Anyone know where he ranked the Jays?
Jonny German - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:32 PM EST (#394452) #
Was hoping for someone with more upside / better fit for the bench than Joe Panik. Remaining low-cost free agents include Brad Miller, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jake Lamb, Greg Garcia... even Travis Shaw!
greenfrog - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:36 PM EST (#394453) #
dalimon5, I posted two comments by Law about Jays players. The span of the 2 posts was less than six minutes yesterday. That's not a discussion you should have to worry about reading through...try not to be defensive about criticism to what you post. Criticism was on referring to reposting Law's observations as "hijacking the thread," not on you directly.
Mike Green - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:41 PM EST (#394454) #
It's a minor league deal for Panik, so presumably that wouldn't stand in the way of signing a player like Brad Miller.  I agree that he'd be a better fit. 
John Northey - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:49 PM EST (#394455) #
Another signing...
Blue Jays, Joe Panik Agree To Minor League Deal
Not super exciting but does fill that 26th man slot.  Minor league deal worth $1.85 mil if he makes the team and $400k in incentives.  Gives  a 3 way battle for utility infielder with Panik, Santiago Espinal, and Richard Urena.
With Derek Fisher gone (yay) it seems the lineup might be almost set.  Assuming no more signings of course (Marwin Gonzalez still on the potential list).
CA: Jansen/McGuire/Kirk (depending who they want as backup and if they want Kirk to start everyday in AAA)
1B: Tellez
2B: Semien
IF: Espinal or Panik or Urena (max 2)
OF: Davis

Utility infielder and who is at 3B are the big battles.  Jays will want Guerrero to win at 3B as Biggio can play anywhere pretty much leaving DH more open for Grichuk and others to share instead.  With Biggio and Panik and Grichuk on the bench the Jays might feel safe with 3 catchers and a very short bench.  Should be interesting to see who breaks camp with the team in the end.
grjas - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:55 PM EST (#394456) #
Boston signed Gonzalez I believe
Kasi - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 02:58 PM EST (#394457) #
hypobole Kiley had the Jays ranked at 12th, up from 20th last season. I think it was a fairly balanced view of the system.
Mike Green - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 03:00 PM EST (#394458) #
I sure hope that the club doesn't start the season with VGJ at third, Tellez at first and Biggio DHing.  That would be a waste of defensive talent. 
Chuck - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 03:17 PM EST (#394459) #
I sure hope that the club doesn't start the season with VGJ at third

I see two potential personality issues that will need to be addressed. This is the foremost. Guerrero sees himself as a major league third baseman, even if no one else does. Does the team indulge him in this fantasy? If they do not, how will Guerrero react? How much does the organization do to appease someone they still hold out hope to be their future star?

On a lesser note, Grichuk surely does not see himself as a fourth outfielder. Will there be squawking that the team has to address? Or will Montoyo move players in and out of the lineup to the point that everyone who expects playing time will get it? (This seems to be his default strategy even with lesser personnel.)

Though neither Grichuk (787/773) nor Tellez (764/811) have exhibited dramatic platoon splits, I imagine that there will be platooning involving the two of them.

Chuck - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 03:21 PM EST (#394460) #
Boston signed Gonzalez I believe

And another useful lefty bat, Brad Miller, seems to be off to Philadelphia.

Does this dry up the pool of useful lefty bench players? Was Joe Panik the discount solution?

Mike Green - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 03:36 PM EST (#394461) #
I had a closer look at the Fangraphs system rating and I can't take it seriously at all in relation to the depth of the system.  At the bottom, you're looking at lottery tickets.  So why precisely were Winckowski and Palacios (for instance) not rateable?  I see the reasons given and I don't buy them in the slightest, even though I am not particularly high on either prospect. 

I know what I do not know. Both prospects could plausibly make it and when you're missing data on how they were playing in 2020, I don't see how you decide that they are lesser prospects than Hobie Harris, Curtis Taylor and Hector Perez.  It's all one great muddle and I don't put a lot of stock in evaluations about that level of prospect. 
scottt - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 03:55 PM EST (#394462) #
Springer was a 4th outfielder over the last 3 year.
Grichuk has nothing to complain about and he doesn't appear to be a guy who complains.
He's a guy who puts his head down and try harder.
Kinda like Drury, so obviously that doesn't always work but that's the attitude the FO likes.

The DH should be Tellez/Guerrero/Hernandez/Kirk. Not a spot for Biggio at all.

Fangraphs depth charts have Tellez with 259 PAs, Hernandez 238, Kirk 133 and Guerrero 35.

At third base, they have Biggio with 553 PAs, Guerrero with 105 and Panik/Espinal 42 combined.

In RF, they have Hernandez 329 PAs, Grichuk, 322, Springer 21 and Biggio/Palacio 14 each.

In CF, they have Springer with 588 PAs. Grichuk with 63, Davis 35 and Palacios 14.

Behind the dish, they have Jansen with 390 PAs, McGuire with 147 and Kirk with 102.

At 2B, they have Semien with 609 PAs, Panik with 42, Biggio with 28 and Espinal with 14.

At 1B, they have Guerrero with 483 PAs, Tellez with 175, Biggio with 21 and Gurriel with 14.

In LF, they have Gurriel with 574 PAs, Hernandez with 49, Palacios with 49 and Davis with 21.
I imagine Grichuk could get a few PAs here.

Overall, I imagine Montoyo will try to play the hot bats.

85bluejay - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 04:06 PM EST (#394463) #
Will Breyvic Valera be able to attend spring training, if so I hope he wins a roster spot.
scottt - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 04:11 PM EST (#394464) #
Heck, Espinal is not rateable even though he was worth 0.2 WAR in 27 games.
He wrote that he's closer to replacement level than above it. That's not worth a 35+?

He wrote that Winckowski could pop but looked rusty--was throwing 97mph with a splitter.
Not worth a 35+?

Castro was not ranked last year either when he was in Detroit, but was classed as a "reliever type".
I guess a reliever is only a 30.

"The don't have the requisite prospect depth to make several of them (trades) the way San Diego, Tampa Bay, and other ultra-deep orgs do."

Tampa Bay doesn't go around trading prospects and who are those other ultra-deep orgs?
For most prospect site, that's Toronto.

hypobole - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 04:49 PM EST (#394465) #
Thanks Kasi.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 06:45 PM EST (#394466) #
Greenfrog, let me know when your done healing your wound and have your confidence back. Feisty doesn't suit you.
Cynicalguy - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 07:10 PM EST (#394467) #
MLB has released the new revamped structure of minor league baseball.

Looks like there's still one short season team left with the Gulf Coast League surviving but not clear, can anyone confirm?
John Northey - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 08:07 PM EST (#394468) #
Agreed that I'd rather not see Biggio at DH - I more listed him and Grichuk there as defaults.  I expect Vlad to be given time at 3B, maybe even a majority of the time there.  Biggio I expect to see moving all over the place with others at DH, Grichuk in LF/RF/CF to give those 3 a day off here and there at DH.  Others on the bench will be more emergency backups.  So you want guys there who have no real future like Panik, or guys who can fill a need (Davis with his speed and defense).  Espinal I think they see some potential with still as a fill in for DL stints so I expect him in AAA (he has 3 options left it seems).  Urena would be fine as a backup (waiver wire guy) who gets into 1 game per week or two. 

I wouldn't be shocked to see another catcher signed as a 3rd catcher option (via NRI) so Kirk can stay in AAA.  Riley Adams might be an option (on 40 man, made it to AA in 2019) but I think they see him as having more potential than that.  I don't see Gabriel Moreno getting a shot this year as the backup either.  Might make Kirk the backup with McGuire the 3rd catcher (I think that is the most likely situation).  An NRI or two should be around so Moreno can be in AA and Adams in AAA with Kirk and McGuire mixed with another guy as backups in the majors.
Cracka - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:03 PM EST (#394469) #
Keegan Matheson wrote on that Tellez is looking at being the primary DH, but would also play some 1B to get Vlady some rest. He also suggested that Jansen & Kirk would be the catchers, with McGuire & Adams splitting time in AAA.

Speaking of Kirk, he posted a picture of himself in Dunedin today and he appears to have lost some weight. I'm really bad at guessing, but he seems closer to 225 lbs than 265 lbs (last year's listed weight).
mendocino - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:46 PM EST (#394470) #
Estiven Machado video
John Northey - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:50 PM EST (#394471) #
If Vlad is kept off 3B for the most part I'll be very happy. He was a terrible 3B (-14.6 UZR/150), and was terrible at 1B last year (-13.8 UZR/150) but there is hope still at 1B given he was thrown there with no prep. Tellez didn't look bad at 1B (2.2 UZR/150 lifetime). So I'd much prefer Tellez at 1B and Vlad at DH but can understand why the Jays would keep Vlad on the field.

3B sees Vlad (-13.8) vs Biggio (-13.4) - both equally ugly, but Vlad in a lot more innings in 2019 vs Biggio's 81 innings in 2020. I'm hoping someone in the minors (Groshans) steps up and takes it over by mid-season. I'd be happy with Biggio as a super-sub who gets into 140 games all over the place ala Tony Phillips in the 90's (Detroit - in 1991, for example, he played 146 games but no more than 46 at any one position and had a 122 OPS+, only once in his career did he play more than 110 games at a single position in a season, 150 in LF at age 37).

SS/2B/LF/CF/RF/CA are all pretty much set in stone barring a trade. 1B will be Tellez or Vlad. 3B will be Biggio or Vlad. DH will be Tellez or Vlad or a rotation of many. I suspect that all falls on how Vlad does in week 1 of spring at 3B, if not a disaster he'll get a shot but we all expect it to be ugly (maybe not Cecil Fielder 1987 ugly at 3B but that ballpark, Jimy Williams was determined to make Fielder into a 3B and even played him at 2B....brrrrr). Spring is the time for experiments but it is rare they work out.

Utility will be Panik I'm sure with Espinal as well unless the Jays want him in AAA playing everyday to fill in should an injury happen. Davis should get a slot as well if roster space exists but has an option left.
mendocino - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 09:55 PM EST (#394472) #
Jays non-roster spring training invitees

Catchers: Philip Clarke
Infielders: Jordan Groshans, Miguel Hiraldo, Leonardo Jimenez,
Austin Martin, Orelvis Martinez, Joe Panik, Kevin Smith,
Richard Urena, Logan Warmoth, Tyler White
Outfielders: Ryan Noda, Forrest Wall, Chavez Young
mendocino - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:09 PM EST (#394473) #
Right-handed pitchers: Bryan Baker, Anthony Castro, A.J. Cole,
Adam Kloffenstein, Alek Manoah, Joey Murray, Jackson Rees, CJ Van Eyk,
Simeon Woods Richardson, Yosver Zulueta
Left-handed pitchers: Nick Algeyer, Francisco Liriano, Kirby Snead, Tim Mayza
dalimon5 - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:49 PM EST (#394474) #
And now the Rays are looking stronger for 2nd place and wild card with Mchugh and Hill signed.
scottt - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 10:51 PM EST (#394475) #
There's no Gulf Coast League anymore.

The D-Jay are in the Low-A Souteast League (10 teams)
The Vancouver Canadians are in the High-A West League (6 teams)
The Fisher Cats are in the Double A Norteast League (12 teams)
The Bisons are in the Triple-A East (20 teams)

That works rather well for Toronto.
Losing Vancouver would have hurt. They still play mostly the same teams, Eugene, Spokane, Tri-city, Everett. I don't remember Hilboro.

Magpie - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 11:05 PM EST (#394476) #
Like just about everyone who's seen him play, I've long been skeptical of young Vlad's ability to handle third base. (I didn't much like his hands, for starters.) But - he wants to play third, and the benefits to the team of his being able to play third would be immense. So I rather expect at least half the spring to be devoted to giving him a chance to stick there.
Magpie - Friday, February 12 2021 @ 11:10 PM EST (#394477) #
Derek Fisher DFA

Isn't this what Tajuan Walker was waiting to hear? What's the hold-up, dude?
John Northey - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 12:17 AM EST (#394478) #
Philip Clarke is another catching prospect, not a AAAA guy. So no chance of making the team, just getting some looks from the majors probably to help figure out if he can handle AA soon or needs to go to A+. In 2019 he was in A- (Vancouver). I'd expect him to be back in Vancouver except now in A+ for his age 23 season. If he impresses he could move to AA at some point this year. Someone here will need to put together a AAA/AA/A+/A lineup with guesses as to who will be crunched out due to roster limits and loss of 2020 in the minors.
Gerry - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 08:34 AM EST (#394481) #
Even though its not on the MLB list, there will be a Gulf Coast League, or the equivalent, this year. Because those "complex teams" are owned by the major league clubs, they were not subject to the "negotiations" like the other minor league teams, and so not listed on the MLB press release.

Similarly, the DSL will continue.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 08:42 AM EST (#394482) #
One more point about VGJ at third base.  The Blue Jays have the following prospects who are suited to playing third base:
Austin Martin
Jordan Groshans
Orelvis Martinez
Miguel Hiraldo

They're all near the top of the orgs prospect list, and all were/still are shortstops who most likely don't have the defensive chops to play the position at the major league level.  The move from short to third has been made by many, many players successfully.  VGJ had the defensive skills of a 1B/DH or perhaps a RFer when drafted. The success rate on conversions of this type to begin with is extremely low- the odd Tim Wallach or Bob Elliott notwithstanding. Now, we have even more evidence that the odds of success are even lower than that.

At a time when you are trying to win and when you have so many good options at 3B for 2-3 years down the road, the only justification for giving VGJ time there is appeasement.  Needless to say, I'm not a fan of that. After two failed conditioning efforts from VGJ, I think he needs to prove himself with the bat and glove at first base for a season.  If he does that and still wants to make the move to third base, then I'd feel a lot better about giving him a chance. 

Mike Green - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 09:23 AM EST (#394483) #
Correction: VGJ wasn't drafted; he was signed by AA of course as an IFA. Need to up the caffeine content in my coffee. I hear Java Blue is supposed to be good.
bpoz - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 09:46 AM EST (#394484) #
It should work out well. Vlad/Tellez will establish their levels of offense/defense. EE had trouble at 3B. He was fixed by becoming a DH.

Something else is that A Martin, Groshans, Martinez and Hiraldo will be added for 40 man protection and get a chance to make the team in 3/4 years. So the future is bright. Espinal/Urena could go to AAA and improve their hitting with full time ABs. More OBP improvement to become harder outs when they fill in off the ML bench. Panik could make the team in 2021 because he can do that.

The OF is currently ok with 4 good regulars and Biggio.

The pitching is not yet elite but the search is ongoing, with quantity of #1/2 SPs being the goal. We have candidates galore throughout the system. FAs signings next year are probably the plan.
85bluejay - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 10:34 AM EST (#394485) #
"After two failed conditioning efforts from VGJ" - I think you are being very kind.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 10:44 AM EST (#394486) #
Thanks. During COVID, I am trying hard to be kind about these sorts of things. There's plenty to be savage about.
85bluejay - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 11:14 AM EST (#394487) #
Tampa Bay has added some talented reclamation projects - Chris Archer, Collin McHugh, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha - showing a lot of confidence in their pitching coaches - I'm impressed.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 11:28 AM EST (#394488) #
Knowing Tampa Rays, two of these will probably end up having really good seasons.
Glevin - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 01:19 PM EST (#394490) #
"One more point about VGJ at third base. The Blue Jays have the following prospects who are suited to playing third base:
Austin Martin
Jordan Groshans
Orelvis Martinez
Miguel Hiraldo"

Absolutely. One or two of these guys can go to corner OF but someone there will be 3B. (I can see Martin at 2B) Even if Vlad ends up being OK at 3B, he'll be there for what, a year? Two? I am happy he's getting in shape. It can only be good for him but it's so hard seeing any scenario where he is staying at 3B long-term.
John Northey - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 02:05 PM EST (#394491) #
Via FanGraphs ETA's for potential 3B candidates. Plus a few due in 2021 in nearby positions (SS/2B)

Austin Martin: 2022
Jordan Groshans: 2023
Orelvis Martinez: 2023
Miguel Hiraldo: 2022
Kevin Smith: 2021 (a SS)
Otto Lopez: 2021 (a 2B)

So this year it is unlikely anyone takes over 3B from Biggio/Vlad. Thus the value in Vlad playing there if possible, even if just on days Biggio needs off or when Biggio covers someone else thus opening DH those days. Smith and Lopez both are talented but not ready imo (Lopez in 2019 324/371/425 in A ball, Smith 209/263/402 in AA) - both projected by all systems to be sub 80 wRC+ at FanGraphs. I'm hoping at least one of Martin, Groshans, Hiraldo, or Martinez is ready by mid 2021, or 2022 but I'm not betting on it.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 03:32 PM EST (#394494) #
It's probably a good time to recall the career of Bob Horner. He was a poor fielding third baseman who could mash, and was the first overall pick of the 1978 draft. He made it to the majors at age 20 in 1980 and hit enough to win the Rookie of the Year award despite fielding terribly. He battled the bulge and had a weight incentives clause in his contract in 1983. He reached a peak of 4.4 WAR in his age 22 season and after that ranged from 0.7 WAR to 3.4 WAR over the next 6 seasons, playing third base until  the 5th of those. Horner started out his major league career hitting a lot better than VGJ has, but still playing the position did not help him. This is the most likely scenario in my view if the club persists with VGJ at third. One good but not great season and arrested development.

scottt - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 03:43 PM EST (#394496) #
Tampa retooled again by trading Snell and dumping Morton.
The classical move here to load up on one-year contract and if things don't pan out you have guys to sell at the deadline. Kiermaier could go too.  I wish the Jays had done something like that back in 2014 when the rotation was left in shamble.

The bad move is to sign a bunch of long term deals like Baltimore did.

Fangraphs depth ratings has the Jays rotation in 8th and Tampa 18th. Archer 1.9 WAR, Wacha 0.9 WAR and Hill 0.9 WAR, pushing back Fleming 0.8 WAR and Patino, 0.7 WAR.

Magpie - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 07:04 PM EST (#394499) #
I don't like Vlad's chances of sticking at 3b through the end of camp, but I figure they'll at least give him a look.  But I also remember that Edwin Encarnacion didn't become Edwin Encarnacion until they stopped asking him to play third.

But I don't much like the idea of Biggio at 3b either, now that I think of it.. I'm getting hard to please in my old age.

Shun Yamaguchi has been given his release, and folks, I looked at these two sets of numbers from the Japanese leagues and did my best to understand.

Pitcher A
Year    Age   W   L    ERA    RA9    G    SV    IP     H     R     ER    HR   BB   IBB   SO   HBP    BF    WHIP    H9    HR9    BB9    SO9    SO/W    
2017    29    4   4    2.71   3.14   63   37    63    53    22    19    1    17    1    85    1    259    1.111   7.6   0.1    2.4   12.1    5.00   
2018    30    1   7    2.80   3.62   56   32    54.2   51    22    17    4    17    1    58    2    233    1.244   8.4   0.7    2.8    9.5    3.41   
2019    31    5   4    2.51   2.98   58   19    57.1   38    19    16    1    12    2    52    2    222    0.872   6.0   0.2    1.9    8.2    4.33   

Pitcher B
Year    Age   W   L    ERA    RA9    G   SV    IP     H     R     ER    HR    BB   IBB    SO   HBP    BF    WHIP    H9    HR9    BB9    SO9    SO/W
2017    29    2   1    4.11   4.11   7    0    35     29   16    16     5    20    0    30     2    151    1.400    7.5    1.3    5.1    7.7    1.50
2018    30    9   9    3.69   3.87  32    1   156   130   67   64    18    61    1   146     9    654    1.224    7.5    1.0    3.5    8.4    2.39
2019    31   16   4    2.78   3.08  28    0   181   148   62   56     8    64    1   194    13    750    1.171    7.4    0.4    3.2    9.6    3.03

Nah, I can't figure it out. The reliever pitched like a star in 2020 and the starter just got handed his release. It's possible that he had trouble adjusting to coming out of the pen. It's possible that the fact that the reliever had previous North American experience was an advantage. But I don't know how you'd have seen either development coming.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 08:19 PM EST (#394501) #
I agree  Semien at third and Biggio at second is the best choice with the personnel on hand, but promises were apparently made to Semien.
scottt - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 09:04 PM EST (#394502) #
For most players, DHing is difficult because they just sit on the bench and wait for their next AB which could be 30minutes or more later. It's hard to stay loose. It's a different mental game.
You see guys on a stationary bikes while their team are on the field now.

Vlad playing 3B once a week shouldn't keep anyone up at night.

bpoz - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 09:10 PM EST (#394503) #
Almost every lineup this season should be interesting based on the on field position of Vlad. I hope Montoyo can solve the mystery about 4 months into the season.

I still expect a big year from Vlad at the plate.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, February 13 2021 @ 10:36 PM EST (#394504) #
Paxton back to Seattle on a one year, $8.5M deal. So that's another (potential - not really sure if the Jays were in on him) target down, leaving Odorrizzi and Walker as the best remaining FA starters.
grjas - Sunday, February 14 2021 @ 08:42 AM EST (#394506) #
It will be interesting to see how the markets develop for the 2 remaining B level starters. It’s reported that the issue with Walker is term. I’ll be disappointed if he signs elsewhere for a 2 year term, and I wouldn’t even have a major issue with a 3 year term given his age. The Jays only have 1 experienced starter with a contract beyond a year and Walker is not that expensive.
Jonny German - Sunday, February 14 2021 @ 09:40 AM EST (#394507) #
Paxton got quite a bit less money than expected. I suspect the Jays didn’t see him as a big enough upgrade to go after, and/or they don’t want to spend much at all right now.

The thing about the excellent FA class of starters next year is that those guys are also potential trade deadline targets.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 04:35 PM EST (#394525) #
Another factor with Paxton, aside from his health, is that he may not have wanted to take a one year deal with a team in the AL East possibly playing their home games in Dunedin. He's pitching for a 2022 contract, and the Mariners are a much more favorable situation from that perspective. The Jays may have also not considered him an upgrade to the current rotation with his issues (injury/velo drop).

The Jays acquired pitchers coming off down years during a 60 game season, and all of them either had an increase in velocity from the year before (Ray/Matz) or right in line with their career (Stripling). This not like Paxton who was hurt and had a huge velo drop. This is buying low due to unique circumstances and hoping for bounce backs, or in the case of Matz maybe they see some upside that he hasn't yet turned into results. The team obviously follows the Rays method of trying to optimize performance through bulk innings and things like that, so waiting to see what they have with their current SPs and then potentially getting better pitchers than Walker/Odorizzi at the deadline in trades isn't a terrible strategy.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) without the expanded playoffs it's going to be harder to make the post season, so not making more moves to add those incremental wins could come back to hurt them, but it's debatable whether Walker or a long-term commitment to Odorizzi is going to move the needle. Especially since the Jays want to save some bullets not only for the deadline but also for next winter's FA market.
dalimon5 - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 06:47 PM EST (#394528) #
Posters keep referencing next year's free agents. For starting pitchers, do we really believe any of Scherzer, Greinke or Kershaw will sign here? Kershaw will probably sign with Dodgers, home town Rangers or retire. Verlander will want to be in USA for Kate Upton and her modeling career. Greinke...strange guy who knows.

Syndergaard is the only one I think will consider Toronto but with Cohen at the helm, I dont see any good players leaving the Mets. Lindor and Thor will be resigned. There's not much left after that folks, unless looking at position players.

John Northey - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 06:54 PM EST (#394529) #
While pitching might not come here, what about Bryant at 3B or someone else? Always possibilities. Plus trades of course. This year will help the Jays figure out a lot for 2022 and beyond that is for sure. Was 2020 an illusion or are the kids ready? Will Vlad/Bo/Biggio/Gurriel all step up to the next level or will they just be decent players instead of all-stars? Tellez and Hernandez are they for real or a 2020 illusion? Will Pearson step up or will he take longer (remember Halladay needed a few years after he came up to become the HOF'er he was). Which prospects will move forward? So many questions.
bpoz - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 07:54 PM EST (#394530) #
Next year's FAs could be connected to the Jays in the rumor mill. Would not surprise me in the least.
Thomas - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 08:32 PM EST (#394531) #
Matt Shoemaker has landed with the Twins on a one-year deal worth $2 million.

Taijuan Walker sits unsigned....
Gerry - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 08:52 PM EST (#394534) #
Walker wants a multi year deal. Its a game of chicken between teams who want him on a one year deal and Walker who sits and waits for that two year deal.
dalimon5 - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 10:03 PM EST (#394535) #
I think Walker has 2 years easy already on the table from a team. He's likely waiting for a 3rd year. Odorizzi and JBJ too.
dalimon5 - Monday, February 15 2021 @ 11:12 PM EST (#394536) #
Just read this interesting stat on Jo Adell on regarding him being a breakout candidate for this coming season:

"Adell had one of the highest maximum exit velocities of any MLB player in 2020, and he was one of only 15 players to hit a ball in the air at over 115 mph (Adell lined a 115.5 mph single against the Dodgers on Aug. 16). The others? Giancarlo Stanton, Pete Alonso, Rafael Devers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Miguel Sanó, Luis Robert, Matt Chapman, Marcell Ozuna, George Springer, Manny Machado, Teoscar Hernández, Ketel Marte, Rowdy Tellez and Gary Sánchez. Hitting the ball that hard is a rare skill. It doesn't guarantee you'll be a great hitter, but it's an indicator that you have a high ceiling. Adell can do something most big leaguers can't. Now he just needs to stop swinging and missing at everything.
-- David Adler"

That's 4 Blue Jays in that note. Vlad, Teoscar, Rowdy and Springer. Pretty impressive.
Jonny German - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 06:14 AM EST (#394537) #
Posters keep referencing next year's free agents. For starting pitchers, do we really believe any of Scherzer, Greinke or Kershaw will sign here?

This year's biggest free agent signed here, why not anybody else? But at any rate, those old guys are probably not who the Jays will be most interested in. I think they'll be after a guy who will look good on a contract of 4 years or more. Besides Syndergaard possibilities include Lance McCullers Jr, Dylan Bundy, Zach Davies, Jon Gray.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 07:32 AM EST (#394538) #
"Besides Syndergaard possibilities include Lance McCullers Jr, Dylan Bundy, Zach Davies, Jon Gray."

I don't think any of those guys move the needle for us next year, that's my point. Only Thor, if he reaches free agency.
Jonny German - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 08:14 AM EST (#394540) #
It's easy to get spoiled with the team having signed 3 free agents in the past 2 years that may be good for 5 WAR each. But 3 WAR guys are also very good to have.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 09:30 AM EST (#394542) #
Jonny that is a very good point, but aside from Gray, none of these guys have the upside for the AL East. Bundy struggled mightily here, as an example.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 09:48 AM EST (#394543) #
Kershaw and Greinke are nice examples. One of the key advantages of signing an ace with the attendant cost is post-season performance.  It hasn't worked out that way for Kershaw.  He's thrown 189 innings with a 4.19 ERA.  Similarly for Greinke 109 innings with a 4.22 ERA, and averaging 5.5 innings per start. 

Neither Kershaw nor Greinke has put up a 5 WAR season since 2017, and I don't think it's reasonable to anticipate that they will in future years. 

The arc of pitching careers is entirely unpredictable- there are relatively few pitchers who maintain greatness from age 25 to their late 30s.  Would it shock me if a pitcher like Steven Matz emerged in 2021?  Nope.  The Blue Jays best move might be retaining one of the pitchers they now have...
Jonny German - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 10:10 AM EST (#394544) #
Bundy struggled mightily here, as an example.

So did Arrieta ;)
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 11:53 AM EST (#394545) #
So did Arrieta ;)
Try to take a look at this article:
Here is a quote from linked article:
"While it’s easy for those who hate everything west of Washington, D.C. to say that Arrieta is better because he isn’t pitching in the American League East any longer, that likely isn’t the reason why he has looked like a different pitcher. Certainly, the AL East is a challenging division, but the NL Central also has some strong teams, with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati rotating atop the division in an “I don’t want it” type of division race. Still, there’s plenty of talent that Arrieta has had to battle with over his 20 starts and 124.1 innings this season. So…how has he won those battles?

Jake Arrieta is a different pitcher. Jake Arrieta has recreated himself thanks to a single pitch – the cutter."

"Arrieta is simply harder to hit, harder to predict, and harder to score on because of a single pitch impacting the pace of the game and his ability to get the opposition to fail."

Arrieta was a completely different pitcher outside the AL East. That's rare. Bundy is the same, just in a pitcher's park now.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 11:55 AM EST (#394546) #
"The Blue Jays best move might be retaining one of the pitchers they now have..."
I think you're right. That or sign Odorizzi or Walker. I don't think next year is an option for SP free agents. It's either sign a free agent now or make a trade now or later. There won't be any Kershaw, Greinke, Scherzer and probably no Thor. That's all I am saying. That's why I would gamble on one of the two remaining free agents for a solid 4/5 starter with upside.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 12:46 PM EST (#394547) #
Regarding the best move by the Jays. Not counting drafts!!

For 2016 I vote signing Happ and Estrada.

For 2017 Signing Joe Smith and Domenic Leone.

For 2018 Trading Domenic Leone for Grichuk.

For 2019 Trading for Trent Thornton.

For 2020 Signing Ryu. Trading for T Walker. The philosophy of loading up with Villar, Ray, Stripling just to beat out the 7 non playoff teams.

For 2021 Too early to tell. But the philosophy of adding impact players like Springer and Semien.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 16 2021 @ 01:58 PM EST (#394549) #
Alberto Rodriguez was the price for Walker - showed a little promise in rookie ball in RF (301/364/422) is now 20. But he didn't make the Mariners top 30 prospect list on so I wouldn't worry much.

Thornton was at the cost of Aledmys Díaz - has a 110 OPS+ for Houston so far in 2 seasons as a super-sub (1B his main position in 2019, 2B in 2020 after playing at SS here) for a net of 1.2 WAR there. 1.4 for Thornton here. Guess that works out as a wash.

Leon was off waivers, 2 WAR his one year here in the pen, -0.8 since. Nice timing. Conner Greene also went in the Grichuk trade - had a 5.13 ERA in AA/AAA in 2019, now entering his age 26 season I'd be surprised if he ever gets even a cup of coffee in the majors. Grichuk has been worth 3.1 WAR here so yeah, that worked nicely. A 7th round pick who briefly made the top 100 one year (#100 exactly) plus a waiver wire guy for Grichuk.

The current GM has made a few good deals no question. I love that he seems to understand that relievers aren't worth $10+ mil a year with rare exceptions. That he watches the budget while setting up the team so they aren't screwed later on (I think the Tulo deal hit him with that). Often what a GM has happen early on shapes their career and AA being able to dump Wells early on made him think no contract was an anchor - he could always send it elsewhere if needed. Atkins seems to have learned that yes, contracts can be a pain if too long or too big, but also that you can rebuild quickly. Hopefully he also learned better to trade too soon than too late (see Donaldson).
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 17 2021 @ 01:59 PM EST (#394580) #
" I love that he seems to understand that relievers aren't worth $10+ million a year with rare exceptions."

You look at the free agents signed this year and Liam Hendricks name is near the top in cost at 18 million/year for 3 years. It has been said before but that is a LOT for a reliever, especially one that has been good just the past few years. Signing a position player like Springer to a big contract is money a lot better spent.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 17 2021 @ 04:02 PM EST (#394584) #
It's difficult to expect a decent pitcher to sign a one year contract to pitch in Dunedin and try to build value - I think the Jays will have to offer Walker or Odorizzi a multi deal, trade for a starter or go with what they have.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 17 2021 @ 04:04 PM EST (#394585) #
That should read "I think the Jays will have to offer Walker or Odorizzi a multi-year deal"
uglyone - Wednesday, February 17 2021 @ 05:33 PM EST (#394587) #

James Paxton on @Sportsnet650 on whether the #BlueJays considered signing him:

“They showed a lot of interest, and I had interest too, but they never came forward with an offer.”

— Gregory Balloch (@GregBalloch) February 17, 2021
John Northey - Wednesday, February 17 2021 @ 10:49 PM EST (#394597) #
At this point I think the Jays plan to stick with what they have until mid-season. See what develops. Walker and Odorizzi both would be nice but would require a trade away from what is here. I'd expect both to be upgrades on Roark but maybe the Jays numbers say otherwise. Guess we'll see.
bpoz - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 07:05 AM EST (#394599) #
Aaron Sanchez signs with the SF Giants.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 09:40 AM EST (#394601) #
Mike Petriello has some interesting analysis on Marcus Semien at second base. has changed a lot over the last few years- sophisticated statistical analysis is new to the site and it is a welcome addition.

It's possible that the deadening of the baseball might result in more ball-in-play hitting approaches particularly from hitters with average power or somewhat less.  We'll see.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 11:13 AM EST (#394603) #
Suggested You Be The Manager item for late March: who is on your Blue Jays pitching staff and what roles are they in to begin the season?

As of today, my first five would be:
Ryu- regular rotation skipping a start once in a while beginning in May when the days off become fewer, 5 innings max in April increasing as season rolls on
Pearson- same as Ryu but no more than 5 innings per start and a bullpen appearance when skipping a start
Ray-regular rotation
Stripling-same as Ryu
Matz- regular rotation

But a lot can change before the bell rings. 
85bluejay - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 11:31 AM EST (#394605) #
Seems about right, though I say it's a toss-up between Stripling and Roark depending on who looks better in camp - I hope the jays decide the Trent Thornton is best suited as a multi-innings reliever.
bpoz - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 11:46 AM EST (#394607) #
No Roark?? I am ok with that except I don't believe any player wins or loses his job in ST. I strongly believe that ST is simply to get ready for the season.

Ryu, Pearson, Ray, Roark and Matz to start the season.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 12:09 PM EST (#394609) #
Separate and apart from winning a job in spring training, it often happens that a pitcher starts throwing seriously in February/March and ends up on the DL very quickly.
hypobole - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 12:22 PM EST (#394612) #
Roark's 2-seamer has been his best and most-used pitch. It was that through 2019 when he threw it 30% of the time. He lost 1 1/2 mph off that pitch in 2020, it got hammered, usage dropped to under 20% and none of his other pitches are plus.

If his 2-seam velocity is back to pre-2020 levels by the end of ST, he should have the inside track for a starting job. If not, or shows a further drop, he starting job may well be in jeopardy.

Some guys do figure out how to pitch with diminished velocity with some success, but it's usually the beginning of the end for most starting pitchers.
hypobole - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 12:29 PM EST (#394615) #
Mike, there is no way any Blue Jays pitcher will end up on the DL this year.
mathesond - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 01:11 PM EST (#394619) #
hypobole, I'm sure Mike feels positively IL about that.
hypobole - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 01:24 PM EST (#394620) #
; )
Mike Green - Thursday, February 18 2021 @ 02:54 PM EST (#394625) #
Old codger alert.  The IL used to mean something else.  What is it now- Triple A Northeast Division or something equally colourless?
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