Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
The numbers don't decide
your system is a lie
The river running dry
the wings of a butterfly
And you may pour us away like soup
Like we're pretty broken flowers

The 2021 Blue Jays were indeed some pretty broken flowers... unfortunately the numbers decided their fate and it was one tantalizingly, teasingly and frustratingly short of the postseason. As usual, I have some thoughts on this final technical off-day... and these will be my final thoughts on 2021 because I am very done with this painful year. 

The 9th Inning

Simply put, this season was a lot to intake. Many will argue it was a success because this was a young team not widely expected to challenge/be in the hunt for playoff position, while also navigating three different home stadiums. Others (me, perhaps) will lament the severe missed opportunity this all feels like, with multiple players having MVP caliber seasons, a supporting cast strengthened halfway through the summer and a bizarre yet objectively underperforming Yankees squad looking very susceptible.

Anyone can perceive this frankly insane year as they prefer... for me personally though (and this will surprise nobody reading my game thread comments)... 2021 is a season I will not look upon with fondness. No sir, not one bit.

My perception could change. In those winter months, missing baseball and struggling with following a exciting but flawed .500ish Raptors squad (the Maple Leafs do not interest me)... perhaps my heart may grow seven sizes in those cold moments. That cannot change how I've felt watching this team play games since April and how it stings bad now more than ever.  

I'd like to clarify, in case my meaning isn't precise: The 2021 Blue Jays team? A delightfully fun, talented group of ballplayers with dramatic moments, great dugout chemistry... a group of professional players genuinely, emphatically and energetically pulling for each other in every moment at the highest level. The 2021 season? A miserable, infuriating succession of events and inventively painful losses seemingly designed to challenge biblical characters and their undying faith. A mediocre Red Sox team junking up the playoff picture and sneaking in somehow? Sure, slap us in the face with that gruesome one. A Mariners team with a well below negative run differential causing equal difficulties and almost sneaking in? Fine why not. Toronto missing the playoffs by a single game? Happens I guess, although if the Washington Nationals had simply not been a completely useless joke (or not traded us a completely useless reliever)... this piece would have a much different tone. If I ever go to a game and Brad Hand comes into pitch he's getting booed mercilessly by me. Same with Chatwood, but him appearing in a game seems way less likely.

Really where this season will hurt longest are the missed victories Toronto themselves could not secure. Josh Palacios' foolish dive in Detroit... Marcus Semien's 1/10,000 terrible throw on the most routine of plays with two out in the 9th... Tyler Chatwood in any game after April... Travis Bergen walking the entire Dunedin bleachers... Rafael Dolis in Fenway Park... The B(r)ad Hand Experience... just so damn many of these!

Too many brutal moments, too many handfuls of gentle victories snatched by razor blade hands... it wears on a fella eventually. You just start wondering why you're subjecting yourself to something so tantalizing while it's brutally torturing you. Certainly, this would hurt significantly less if the team weren't so lovable, if they'd been knocked out with a week left instead of on the final day... or, what's the term... oh yeah if they hadn't been so really damn good. 2021 marks the 7th time in forty-five seasons that the team has won at least 90 games: of those teams only the legendarily heartbreaking 1987 squad failed to qualify for the postseason, while the 2016 and 1989 teams won fewer games while still making it in. While 2021 is hardly the dramatic collapse 1987 was (not that I remember the '87 team very well, being about three weeks old when that season ended) this one feels more of a longer, drawn out hurt. The good team that could've been truly great if not for a series of frustrating missed opportunities. 

Even with those blown chances, they were still easily one of the best teams in baseball (by talent and run differential) and easily the best to not make the playoffs. Maybe the best team to ever miss the playoffs in the Wild Card era. Instead the Yankees and Red Sox get to go, because we've never seen that before and the universe is obviously terrible. This baseball season was the equivalent of Lucy pulling the football on Charlie Brown for six months, all while your worst enemies watch and laugh obnoxiously. They overcame home-field disadvantages much of the season (All those Rays fans in Dunedin was probably the first moment of the year I wanted to hurl heavy objects at my screen) to somehow stay close enough in the race, finally got red-hot at the perfect time of the season and it still wasn't enough, getting as damn close as you can damn well get. Even a cruel exciting tease is still a cruel tease. 

Only the future will tell for sure if this year was this truly their best shot. It's a young team, sure, but we need only look at the local hockey squad for a young exciting team that appeared to arrive ahead of schedule but then struggled to break through for multiple seasons afterwards. Perhaps a healthy and full year of Biggio, Springer, even Espinal could offset a Semien departure, perhaps not. There are no guarantees, none of the positives of this trying season are certainties. There's only optimism, a lonely beacon atop a distant hill.

Despite the constant gut punches of this finished year and my bitter sullen words, believe it or not I'm still leaning towards that optimism. Better to experience a playoff push and come right to the very brink of it, than to never have even been close like those underrated 2000s teams.

Now please, please, please, don't ever spend half a season with a septic tank fire of a bullpen again.

Around The League

American League

Well... time for a quick reluctant look at the playoff matchups in the American League.

Okay I'm done. Off to the National League!

(Seriously, when the most likeable team to cheer for in the AL playoffs is managed by professional curmudgeon Tony La Russa... I'm not going to bother. I hope all those teams get obliterated and embarrassed)

National League

The NL is more interesting anyway. Atlanta, despite a sluggish start and losing superstar Ron Acuna Jr. for the entire season, figured themselves out and managed to win a pretty (annoyingly) weak NL East. They'll face the surprising Milwaukee Brewers, boosted midseason by a trade for shortstop Willy Adames who has probably been their best position player all year. Milwaukee boasts a formidable front three in their rotation of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, all of whom have ERAs below 3, WHIPs below 1.00 and strikeout rates over 10 per 9 innings. Combined with a fearsome and deep bullpen (less deep now though with Devin Williams' silly celebratory injury)... the Brewers look like a team that will be tough to score against.

The biggest issue with that series will be if the Brewers can score enough. While 5th in the NL in runs scored, they rank 11th in OPS and 13th in total hits. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been a complete black hole at the plate, Christian Yelich barely a league average hitter and that itself is their largest concern: plenty of average-ish hitters but nobody that is a seemingly game changing threat. Still though, they're a patient squad (3rd in walks) and with that dynamite pitching staff they won't need to win many 9-8 games.

Meanwhile it 's Dodgers-Cardinals in the Wild Card game. Hard to bet against a 106 win Dodger team. Also hard to bet against a Cardinals team that's gone 21-4 over their last 25 games, good enough to leapfrog over the Cincinnati Reds and win the second Wild Card spot easily. Did I mention I've hated this season? What's that you say.... repeatedly? Ah whatever. Winner of that game goes onto face the 107 win Giants, a win total that still has to be the biggest surprise in MLB for 2021.

Might as well ask, in this moment of day after mourning, if any of you have particular rooting interests as the playoffs begin. I'd personally go for the Giants, since I have a connection there, love the ballpark and it is an interesting story of a bunch of veteran players all bouncing back. The Brewers also seem like an interesting team. I have no interest in the American League playoffs and doubt I watch a single minute of them.

That's it, that's the year. Thanks to everyone who has been reading these all season, through good times and bad, and I do wish this final one had been a sunnier one written under happier circumstances (I definitely would've picked a different song from that album for the header). Enjoy the playoffs everyone, maybe I'll pop in and comment on an interesting NL game but for now I seriously wasn't kidding when I said I badly needed a break from this. So, it's off to "what ifs" and sad songs.... cheers all.

Off Day Blues Vol. 9 | 36 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#408312) #
if any of you have particular rooting interests as the playoffs begin.

I always find that I have to watch the games before I know who I'm cheering for - my preference will simply reveal itself to me, organically. But going forward, I seem to have pretty serious issues with nine of the ten teams still in the fray. Leaving one that I'm entirely indiffferent about.

New York - GTFO
Boston - You heard me, GTFO
Tampa Bay - I may try to cheer for them but they're an AL East rival. It just goes against the grain.
Chicago - They have kind of a fun team, but LaRussa is so damn irritating.
Houston - I know, they cheated back in 2017. Dusty Baker and Zack Greinke weren't part of it and I wouldn't mind seeing those two guys win. But still.... yuck.
Atlanta - Hey, good for Alex and Freddie Freeman, but I know that as soon as they do the chop they're gonna lose me.
LA Dodgers - Geez, you won it last year. Go to the back of the line.
Giants - You've got like three championships in the last ten years. Don't get greedy.
St.Louis - Don't you dare drift through the season, then get hot at the end and win a title. Don't you dare pull that crap again.
Milwaukee - I don't seem to have any actual objection. Or enthusiasm.

Well, this is just swell.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#408314) #
I will cheer for the bad umpires.
Chuck - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#408315) #
Milwaukee - I don't seem to have any actual objection. Or enthusiasm.

TB is an easy one for me. I like them in the regular season as well. Option #2 however is not so easy. I concur with all your reasons for dismissing the other teams so Milwaukee lands here by default for me. I wonder how much they are going to miss their wall puncher.

Mike Green - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#408316) #
Ahh, the bullpen.  It's worth taking a looking back at your 2020 Blue Jays who somehow made the playoffs with these players.  The key was a bullpen led by (drum roll) Anthony Bass, Rafael Dolis and A.J. Cole.  Yes, 2021 was painful but if one is going to judge Charlie Montoyo and throw brickbats for his handling of the difficult bullpen situation early in 2021, one ought to also remember the bouquets for his handling of the difficult bullpen situation in 2020. 

Meanwhile, the General Manager deserves plaudits for the big-ticket acquisitions- Semien was healthy, Springer was not always, but together they added 9-10 wins for the club for $41.6 million.  That's good value. But the failure to add bullpen help for 2 months after Yates, Phelps and Merryweather went down ended up being costly.  I also want to come back to Nate Pearson.  Reasonable people may differ on where his future lies, but it is a fact that if he had been left in the pen after the end of 2020, there would have been a better chance that he could have contributed in a much-needed way in 2021.  It may yet be that the decision to try to keep him in the rotation will work and he will be a good starter beginning in 2022.  I'm a skeptic but I've been wrong so many times before, about pitchers especially.

As for the repeated telegraphed two-strike bunting with a position player, there was no excuse.  The explanation seems to be that Charlie wanted to teach the players a lesson- it's important to be able to bunt to increase strategic options.  The lesson is a good one, but the means for teaching it is disproportionate and counterproductive.  Charlie did back off from it fortunately, and it may or may not have cost the Jays a game over the course of the season. 

James W - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#408317) #
I'm somewhat with the Cowboy, but the umpires can kick rocks. I'm cheering for football.
Mike Green - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#408318) #
It was easy to root for the 2021 Blue Jays.  The Rays are always worthy, and the A's most years. 

Fun fact.  Marcus Semien is almost exactly a year younger than George Springer.  Semien has generated 28.3 bWAR in his career; at the end of last year, Springer had generated 27.8 bWAR in his career.  Semien has slashed .371/.450/.571 in the post-season and Springer hasn't been bad there either!  If you look at Semien's performance over the 2019-21 period, it is considerably better than Springer's over the 2018-20 (with both having the shortened 2020 season).  It sure would be nice if the club had 6/150 available for Semien...
Gerry - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#408319) #
I enjoyed the ride in 2021. It was a fun team and they provided many memorable moments.

But there is a sense that the parts were better than the whole, that they underachieved with 91 wins. The Jays had two MVP type seasons in Guerrero and Semien and the rotation was generally healthy which is always a key issue for success. In addition to the bullpen, and the three home parks, the Springer injuries also was a major factor in the Jays missing the playoffs.

So near and yet so far.
greenfrog - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#408321) #
Semien is everything you want in a ballplayer (professional, hardworking, talented, high baseball IQ, and a good teammate who leads by example). I hope the Jays bring him back. What better choice if the team plans to compete hard during the Bichette/Vladdy years?
Gerry - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#408322) #
I have heard chatter that Semien wants to play shortstop. Has anyone seen this coming directly from Semien himself?
BlueJayWay - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#408323) #
Not only that Semien before this year had always been a shortstop, there was a quote a week or two back where someone asked him this and he said that he "seems himself as a shortstop"

Sorry I don't have the source...
electric carrot - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#408326) #
I am not unhappy with this season even though I think the team at the end was about even money with any of the top teams who are in the playoffs, i.e.. Tampa/LA/San Fran/Chicago. But while results are great, if in sports that's what you're after you're looking at a net loss nearly every year. Only one team actually wins. It's sure great when it happens -- but I think it's also just great to have a team that's so fun to watch.
Magpie - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#408327) #
Sorry I don't have the source...

Can confirm. As I recollect, it just part of wide-ranging general discussion but he definitely said that he "sees himself as a shortstop."

And he's got a young family, they've been settled in the Bay Area... and California's kind of nice, you know.

You know what frightens me? Sooner or later, one of the Florida teams is going to be run by someone who is both smart and has money to spend. There's no state income tax. And it sometimes seems like half the guys in the majors already live in Florida. Scares the crap out of me just thinking about it....
bpoz - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#408328) #
I understand that today is a day for mourning. That is nice. I want to see the season picked apart and analyzed.

Maybe we are a year early and maybe not. Certainly Ray and Semien provided much more than expected. I don't see them repeating this next year.

Something not mentioned yet is that the 91 wins should generate a lot of ticket sales and other revenue. This should allow the FO to not worry.
Chuck - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#408330) #
And he's got a young family, they've been settled in the Bay Area... and California's kind of nice, you know.

And the Pujols contract is now over and done with.

Mike Green - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#408331) #
The Athletic tells me that the Dodgers are the betting favourite (by a significant margin) to win the World Series.  That's insane.  Yes, they are the most talented team in baseball by a small margin and the best team in the NL by a larger one.  But they've got to play a winner-take-all game against the Cardinals with Muncy very likely out and Betts not at his best.  Their chances of winning that game are about 55% (at the most).  If they win, they face the Giants and there's no way that the odds favour them to a huge degree.  It is true that if they get through that hurdle, they will have an easier time in the NLCS than the contestants in the AL will have, but still the extra round has to mean that they are not the favourite.
Mike Green - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#408333) #
You know what frightens me? Sooner or later, one of the Florida teams is going to be run by someone who is both smart and has money to spend. There's no state income tax.

How long are rich people going to want to live in South Florida? Already tall yachts and low bridges are a problem and it's not going to get better.  Pittsburgh has never looked so good...
Magpie - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#408335) #
I want to see the season picked apart and analyzed.

Well, you'll see a Report Card tomorrow.

And one of the things I mention is that during the last two off-seasons, Atkins has done exactly the same thing: a) sign one big-ticket, highly desired free agent b) take a flier on a couple of starting pitchers looking to rebound; c) sign a bunch of random, generic relief pitchers. The mission, I think, hasn't been to contend for a championship. It's just been to try to get better. This may be the off-season that his strategy becomes a little more ambitious than simply trying to improve.

In other words, I don't think it's as likely that he'll be taking a flier on a couple of starters looking to bounce back, no matter how well it worked this past year with Ray and Matz. (It didn't work at all the year before.)
ISLAND BOY - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#408336) #
" [ Dodgers are] the best team in the NL by a larger one."

Tell that to the Giants who finished 2 games ahead of them. You can have all the superstars you want on paper but the games are played on the field.

Mostly agree with Magpie's assessment of the playoff teams. The sooner the Yankees and Red Sox are put out the better. Tony LaRussa looks like something that crawled out of a coffin at sunset and I absolutely hate the chop and insane wailing of Atlanta fans. You can't tell me that the Jays aren't one of the most likable and exciting team in MLB, It's a shame they aren't in the post season.
Nigel - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#408337) #
To Magpie's point, I think that this is the first offseason where this management team now has to think about how to build a championship team rather than just trying to add talent. Those two aren't quite the same process.

I'm mostly happy about the year that was (yesterday notwithstanding) and optimistic about the future. Two major caveats though, I've never thought that Semien would resign in Toronto (superstars playing out of position is never a thing unless forced to) and its hard to imagine the team having such good fortune next year as it did this year. Without being overly reactionary, spending a bit more of the team's assets (prospect or financial) on high leverage relievers seems to be the way of the future though.
John Northey - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#408339) #
It is challenging to move from 91 wins to 95+, very difficult in fact.  This is the stage where you need to upgrade from league average to well above quite often and that is very expensive.  The Rays have a big bonus in their extra draft picks each year (competitive balance) which allows them more prospect capital for trades and increases the odds of them finding the diamonds in the rough.  Same with the bonus IFA money they get to spend (Wander Franco fit nicely into their budget but the Jays couldn't practically spend that much under the rules of the day which are only tighter now).

So is there any low hanging fruit?  Positions well below average?  Checking WAA by position on BR...
Jays are 3rd overall - top 5 (so very hard to improve) at 1B/2B/SS/LF/DH
6-15 (difficult but not impossible to get better) at C/RF/RP/SP - overall pitching was #9 overall.  Relief being 11th was a shocker.
So the low hanging fruit is: 3B at 17th overall, CF at 21st.

Now CF is already fixed if Springer is healthy.  3B we all knew ahead of time I suspect.

By rank, worst to best, was CF-3B-C-RP-RF-SP-LF-SS-DH (#2 overall)-1B (#2 overall)-2B (#1 overall)

Second is moving from best in the league to meh with Biggio/Espinal.  (13th in 2020 with Biggio and 3 horrid backups), CF from 'ugh' to 'wow' if Springer is healthy.

Relief pitching should be a lot better with full seasons from Cimber & Richards (and hopefully Merryweather).  I strongly suspect the Jays will look seriously at top closers and setup guys on the market this winter (none should get qualifying offers so no draft pick cost).  By OPS against we had 4 guys over 1000 (Hand, Kay,, Edwards, and Zeuch), 10 in the 800's/900's (Milone, Hatch, Tice, Beasley, Stripling, Murphy, Merryweather, Soria, Thornton, and Barnes).  Using 33 relievers was far from ideal.  Same with using 16 starters (3 over 1000 OPS, Roark,Thornton, Pearson with Hatch in the 900's)  Manoah had the lowest OPS against for guys with more than 1 start (604) which is noteworthy.

IMO the clear spending priority has to be 3B/2B followed by RP and backup OF (find a home for Grichuk elsewhere) who can play CF decently.  Finding an ace level starter would be sweet but very expensive.  Maybe an older one on a 2-3 year deal at megabucks (Verlander, Grenke, Kershaw, Scherzer).  That way their deal clears out as Vlad/Bo/Teoscar get super-expensive.
85bluejay - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#408341) #
Rays vs Giants world series sounds great.
85bluejay - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#408342) #
A tip of the cap to Canadian Farhan Zaidi and the San Francisco Giants - what a remarkable and joyous season - So many of his offseason moves paid off - I remember when he hired Gabe Kapler as manager after Kapler's disastrous tenure in Philadelphia it was not well received to say the least. Hope the World Series awaits.
scottt - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#408343) #
There is a lot of good shortstop available this winter and the two best ones are Semien and Correa.
Correa is 3 years younger.
I think the 3 things that will matter for Semien are total money, location (west coast) and position.
I see nothing that advantages the Jays here.
Jays need to replace at least one starter, two top relievers and a left platoon bat. 
Cheap middle infielders are going to rise throw the system and it won't take that long.
They need to extend Teoscar.

2020 Jays were not good at beating bad teams and that was with Semien playing in every game.
Need to have some bench bats who can mash against junkballers as well as hard throwers.

greenfrog - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#408344) #
Spending big on relievers is often (but not always) a poor allocation of resources. How many of the elite relievers in baseball were acquired as free agents on big-money contracts? Not many. Take a look around the AL East, for example.
Mike Green - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#408347) #
I don't know why anyone would suggest spending significant money on relievers.  The club's pitching entering 2022 at this point breaks down:

Starters- Manoah, Berrios, Ryu
Relievers- Romano, Mayza, Cimber, Richards, Borucki, Castro, Hatch, Merryweather
?- Pearson, Stripling

It seems pretty clear that at least one starter should be on the shopping list, and it may be as simple as signing Matz. 
Nigel - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#408348) #
I wouldn't spend big dollars on RP but I do think that the team needs one more high leverage reliever. It came down to Romano and, to a lesser extent, Mayza too often to do the really heavy lifting. Maybe Pearson could be that guy. They have enough middle leverage guys. I do think a Matz signing with Stripling and another 4/5 flyer signing is the most likely pitching outcome from the winter.
John Northey - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#408349) #
Good point Mike and greenfrog - relievers are a crapshoot often.  The Jays most expensive relievers?  Yates $5.5 mil (0 IP), Chatwood $3 mil (released), Phelps $1.75 mil (10 IP then IL), Dolis $1.5 mil (released), One could argue Stripling was at $3 mil (some good starts, one really good relief game, IL time, some horrid starts at the start of the season, and some 'meh' relief at the end).  The Jays briefly had $10..5 mil Hand who sucked and was taken off waivers by the Mets (saving Rogers some money).  Soria was $3.5 mil (8 IP but less than 1/2 a season here).

So basically the money invested in the pen this year was wasted - over $10 mil on guys who either did nothing or should've been released earlier.  Stripling the only one who was any good at any point other than Phelps (for 10 IP).  There is a reason many teams go cheap in the pen. 

I'd say one more solid starter should be the goal - but not solid, #1 level. Go big.  If you go cheap you'll get the odd Robbie Ray, but you'll also get lots of Tanner Roark's.
Glevin - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#408351) #
For me, needs for next year.
-1 top-3 starter, 1 #4-5 guy
-1 Backend bullpen guy
-Figure out 2B/SS/3B-Bo is probably SS even if he's not a great fielder but Jays need to upgrade 2B/3B. Espinal and Biggio make great utility guys but rather get better starters. Probably need 2 more pieces here.
-Upgrade from Grichuk-Makes no sense to have a RH 4th OFers when all three starters are also RH. Dickerson is a much better fit but even better would be someone like Conforto or Schwarber who could DH and play corner OF with lefty bat.
-Add a lefty or two. Most of the time it doesn't matter much to have an unbalanced lineup but sometimes there are pitchers with massive splits and it does allow bullpens to stack up with righties. Having a couple of regular lefties in lineup would be nice.
-Figure out C. Jansen looks like obvious catcher. Kirk looks good but looks like prime trade candidate as Moreno is close and you don't want 3 catchers and can't carry full-time DH with no flexibility.
Mike Green - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#408352) #
Thanks, eephus, for the off-day blues series.  Always entertaining.
John Northey - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#408355) #
For the playoffs - I'm not excited, but for the AL I'm pulling for the Rays, then Houston. For the NL Milwaukee (has never won a WS), then SF. A Rays-Milwaukee final would be fun as neither has a WS title. I think every fan should be able to have that one magical season to look back on. Sadly for Expos fans it is the 'if only' 1994.

For a different idea for the Jays at 3B what about trying to take advantage of the Padres nightmare season? They have Kim as a utility player - he had just a 73 OPS+ but his fielding was fantastic getting over 2 WAR via just that pretty much in half time play. With the Jays offense having a pure defense guy at 2B or 3B might be a good idea and he could cover either. Take on one of their pitchers contracts (Darvish or Snell who both had 92 ERA+'s this year) Snell is not expensive at all ($28.5 mil over 2 years), Darvish $37 mil over 2 years. Those 2 are 2 of the 4 biggest contracts on their roster. At this point I figure the owner has to be pissed about 2021 and they might be willing to do a salary dump. Manny Machado is the big one (over $30 mil a year for a long time) but no one will take that on. Eric Hosmer is $23 mil owed next year (including buyout) for a 1B with a 104 OPS+. Jays can easily take on salary if they fail to sign Semien and/or Ray ... wonder if SD might bite on a few B prospects to get rid of some of that salary? I'm sure the Jays will be checking.
johnny was - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#408356) #
Get Chris Taylor early with the idea that he's either your primary second or third baseman. If the FO then fails to re-sign Semien, it can wait on the market to leave one of Bryant/Seager/Correa/Baez/Story without a dance partner and make a move. If none of them work out, Eduardo Escobar wouldn't be too expensive as another multi-positional stopgap.

Rudy Can't Fail, right?

I absolutely want Marcus back, but I think we need Ray for '22.
grjas - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#408357) #
They don’t need to spend tonnes on relievers, but they need to add. Climber and Richard weren’t that expensive and were the difference between being competitive to the last day vs crashing and burning in August. They still only have 4 reliable relievers plus Merryweather and Pearson if he can’t start. And they can’t burn through cimber and Richards all season like they did after the break.

They don’t need a 15mm closer- they have one on the cheap- or a 6mm lottery ticket like Yates. They need good solid guys that can cover a lot of innings the way the game is now played. And there doesn’t appear to be much in the minors. Heaven help us if they turn again to the trailer trash that torched our season this year. Chatwood, Dolis etc have been named above, but they were far from the only dead arms we saw in the 6th, 7th and 8th.

Atkins said he’ll deal with the issue..along with a few others named above..but we’ll see.
scottt - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#408359) #
Richards (out of options)
Merryweather (out of options)
Borucki (out of options


They need to push Stripling back to the pen as the long man.
That still leaves a hole or two.
Who closes when Romano is on the IL? It will happen, the guy throws 100mph.
They need enough arms to close games every single day, not 4 or 5 times a week.
I'd take another hard thrower. Maybe Merryweather is that guy. Maybe not.

85bluejay - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#408360) #
The Marlins have a boatload of quality young starters and the Jays have some positional players they can move - I see the potential for a good match.
John Northey - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#408361) #
The more I look the more I like the pen. Closer (Romano), LH set up man (Mayza), 2 RH set up men (Cimber, Richards), 5 wild cards (Borucki, Castro, Snead, Saucedo, Baker) plus who knows how many decent starters/relievers in AAA/AA right now or who they will sign as AAA free agents this winter. I think a very smart thing to do would be to sign high end pitching coaches for AAA and AA who would be trying to refine those arms into useful ML pieces at the back end of the pen. Ideally pushed to do 2 innings each time out.

I'm certain the Jays will sign someone for the rotation with Ray #1, Matz #2 on their list, followed by all the high end guys (Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Jon Gray, Anthony DeSclafani, Eduardo Rodríguez, Carlos Rodón, Clayton Kershaw, Kevin Gausman) and the IL recovering guys (Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander) who might want to do a one year deal with a top pitching coach who helped Ray & Matz. Hey, Walker is damn good, might as well take advantage of it.

So many options. Many won't be available (sign quickly with someone else, tell the Jays they have no interest in playing in Canada, Jays determine a guy isn't as good as he looks on paper, whatever) but I'm sure the Jays will get someone good.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, October 04 2021 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#408363) #
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