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One Evil Empire was dispatched by another on Tuesday night, as Boston dismissed the Yankees in a somewhat ho-hum game. And last night the Dodgers got by the Cardinals in a tense, gripping affair that was only decided on the game's final pitch. Which took place four hours and fifteen minutes after the first pitch. It was wonderful, dramatic entertainment if you had the endurance required to stick with it to the end. But now we have an Elite Eight.

The ALDS kicks off this afternoon with the White Sox in Houston, two teams managed by guys even older than me. Cool. The Red Sox and Rays get underway in Tampa Bay later tonight. The Other League gets started on Friday.

So why don't I make a fool of myself and venture some predictions?

Boston-Tampa Bay
The Red Sox are irritating, streaky, and unpredictable. But the Rays are easily the best team in the league, and by a considerable margin. Rays in four

Two ancient managers (who apparently don't like each other too much) will get a lot of the attention. But the real story is the classic clash between an irresistible force (the Houston offense, best in the league) and an immovable object (the White Sox pitching, also best in the league.) It's always interesting when that happens. Astros in five

The Braves have a solid team but the main reason they're in this thing is because they're the only good team in their weak-ass division. They'll be in tough against what might be the most frightening pitching rotation in the post-season. It's one thing to win the NL East without your best player. This will be harder. Brewers in three

These teams have never met in actual post-season play, but they do have a history. Oh, they have a history. One than spans an entire continent and more than a century of baseball. And some of the most memorable parts of that history have indeed come after what supposed to be the last day of the regular season. There was a rather playoff famous series to settle a tie between these teams at the end of the 1951 season. There was another at the end of the 1962 season. The Giants were the winners on both occasions, and got to go to the World Series and get beat by the Yankees.  I think the Dodgers are the better team and they were unlucky to finish second. But the Giants are really good as well and the Dodgers are pretty banged up. Giants in five


Chicago (Lynn 11-6, 2.69) at Houston (McCullers 13-5, 3.16)
Boston (Rodriguez 13-8, 4.74) at Tampa Bay (McClanahan 10-6, 3.43)

Chicago (Giolito 11-9, 3.53) at Houston (Valdez 11-6, 3.14)
Atlanta (Morton 14-6, 3.34) at Milwaukee (Burnes 11-5, 2.43)
Boston (Some Guy ?=?, ?.??) at Tampa Bay (Baz 2-0, 2.03)
Los Angeles (Buehler 16-4, 2.47) at San Francisco (Webb 11-3, 3.03)

And there will be more...


I mentioned the other day that I had moved beyond Pythagoras when it came to evaluating a team's season, because I am so very, very progressive. So let me explain myself! (He never does anything else, they wearily murmur.)

We are more or less agreed that sometimes a team's W-L record doesn't tell their story clear and true. And when it doesn't, we know why. It's because the team's record in either one-run games or blowouts (or both) varies somehow from their performance the rest of the time.

These days even ESPN's home page includes Runs Scored and Allowed and Run Differential. As if that told the story (after all, a run differential of 100 runs in Dodger Stadium is very, very different from the same thing in Coors Field.)

From a team's Runs Scored and Allowed we extrapolate we have come to call a team's Pythagorean W-L record. This is based entirely - entirely - on the relationship between totals Runs Scored and Allowed. As I suppose is generally known, there are two fairly common methods of making that calculation: one involves squaring the numbers involved, while the other uses a component, often 1.83, instead. Whichever you use is entirely up to you. Let me hear no talk of accuracy. Please. Whichever formula you choose generates a fiction, an imaginary W-L record. One fantasy is not more accurate than another. It's all a matter of which one you like best, or which one suits your needs. (As I was generally trying to identify real seasons that didn't tally closely with the actual results, I very much preferred the traditional formula that squared the numbers. If you're looking for seasons that deviate from one's reasonable expectations you don't want to use a method that generates those deviant seasons willy-nilly. Which is what using the component will do.)

Now there are two problems with using one of the Pythagorean formulae to generate a W-L record, as imaginary as it may be.

The first problem, which I regard as as less important but still an issue, is with the blowout games that constitute a significant part of any team's season. It's not that it makes no difference at all whether you win by 6 runs or 12 - but I do suspect that this mostly tells you something about choices made by the losing team when a game gets out of hand rather than anything about the quality of either team. So I think that while a team's record in blowout games is very significant, I don't think a team's Runs Scored and Allowed in those games is nearly as important.

And what this means is that the raw data - the Runs Scored and Allowed - that is being fed into the Pythagorean formula of your choice creates its own distortions right from the jump.

But I think that's a fairly minor matter. The other issue I think is much more important. And it's pretty obvious. And of course it involves my own Great White Whale. But nevertheless, here we go! Because baseball teams play lots of games that are decided by a single run. And even if you do believe that Run Differential and the Pythagorean formula will give you an accurate idea of a team's quality, you still can't apply it to one-run games. You simply can't do that.

Because that's not how one-run games work.

It just isn't. You can't apply a Pythagorean formula to those games. Because in one-run games, the impact of random chance is sufficient to overcome the impact of team quality. You may not be able to win a game by ten runs thanks to a lucky bounce. But you can definitely win by one-run.

This is why the effect of one-run games is to drag every team to the centre. It drags everyone towards .500 - it lifts the bad teams and it lowers the good teams. That's what it does. This is a Law.

This doesn't quite mean that we should set a .500 record in one-run games as a team's expected outcome. The better teams actually do play better in one-run games than the bad teams. It's just that any single season is much, much too short a sample for that result to manifest itself. It would be exactly like assessing a hitter's season on 30 random plate appearances. We need the whole season, we need the 700 plate appearances to have a decent idea. As it happens, that's about how many one-run games it takes for a team's quality to begin to consistently affect that team's record in one-run games.

And even when we have that many games (in truth, the number needed might be closer to 1,000 games) - a team's record in one-run games still isn't going to match whatever Pythagorean projection we had come up with. Because one-run games are still going to drag teams towards .500, however good or bad they may be. That's what they do. It's just that if you play enough of those games, the effect won't be as pronounced. Given enough games, an equilibrium between these two forces is reached, between the the relentless pull towards .500 and the actual quality of the teams.  The effect is always present, and it's generally reliable: to state it crudely, the .600 teams will play something like .550 ball in one run games, the .550 teams will play something like .530 ball in one-run game, the .450 teams will play something .480 ball in one-run games. And so on.

And so I developed a very, very simple formula to generate a team's projected record in one-run games. It's as consistent as I could hope for once the sample gets large enough.  Once the sample gets large enough, the formula actually works (I can hardly believe it myself!)  I don't need to worry about the blowouts. I don't even have to worry about total Runs Scored and Allowed. Simply adjusting the outcomes of one-run games turns out to be enough to make the actual results match up with the expected results.

Here's how it works (three calculations are involved!)

Tampa Bay went 20-25 in their one-run games. They played .684 ball (80-37) the rest of the time. So:

1) Multiply their 45 one-run games by their .684 winning percentage in their Other Games. You get 30 (because I'm using the INTEGER function, I don't want to mess around with 30.7 - hey, you either win or you don't!)

2) Multiply those same 45 games by .500 - after all, dragging every team towards .500 is precisely what one-run games do. It's what they're for. This time we get 22 (the INTEGER function strikes again, lowering 22.5 to 22).

3) Add the two figures - 30 and 22 - and divide them by 2. Easy enough, it's 26.

Voila! Tampa Bay's expected W-L record in one-run games is 26-19 instead of the 20-25 inflicted on them by Cold Reality.  We are free, if we like, to regard this as more reflective of that team's quality than What Actually Happened.

Repeat 29 times. Or do what I did, Copy and Paste the formula. (I had a blank cell waiting for this calculation in 2,789 other seasons. That would have been a lot of data entry.)

And these would be your modified standings. (The two Times columns near the end give the results of the two calculations carried out on the team's one-run games; the final pair gives their new fantasy record in those games.)
                       FANTASY                    REALITY            ONE RUN GAMES         OTHER GAMES (OG)  Times  Times    FANTASY ONE-RUN    
     W    L    PCT    GBL        W    L    PCT        W    L    PCT        W    L    PCT       OG %  0.5        W    L
Tampa Bay    106    56    .654    -       100    62   .617      20    25   .444       80   37   .684       30    22        26    19
Toronto    92    70    .568    14        91    71   .562      15    15   .500       76   56   .576       17    15        16    14
Boston    89    73    .549    17        92    70   .568      26    18   .591       66   52   .559       24    22        23    21
NY Yankees    89    73    .549    17        92    70   .568      28    20   .583       64   50   .561       26    24        25    23
Baltimore    54   108    .333    52        52   110   .321      13    24   .351       39   86   .312       11    18        14    23
Chicago    98    64    .605    -        93    69   .574      18    24   .429       75   45   .625       26    21        23    19
Cleveland    82    80    .506    16        80    82   .494      17    22   .436       63   60   .512       19    19        19    20
Detroit    76    86    .469    22        77    85   .475      23    23   .500       54   62   .466       21    23        22    24
Kansas City    71    91    .438    27        74    88   .457      21    19   .525       53   69   .434       17    20        18    22
Minnesota    67    95    .414    31        73    89   .451      25    19   .568       48   70   .407       17    22        19    25
Houston    96    66    .593    -        95    67   .586      21    19   .525       74   48   .607       24    20        22    18
Oakland    89    73    .549    7        86    76   .531      23    27   .460       63   49   .563       28    25        26    24
Seattle    83    79    .512    13        90    72   .556      33    19   .635       57   53   .518       26    26        26    26
LA Angels    69    93    .426    27        77    85   .475      25    14   .641       52   71   .423       16    19        17    22
Texas    58   104    .358    38        60   102   .370      18    21   .462       42   81   .341       13    19        16    23
Atlanta    93    68    .578     -      88    73   .547      26    31   .456       62   42   .596       33    28        30    27
Philadelphia    79    83    .488    14.5      82    80   .506      30    25   .545       52   55   .486       26    27        26    29
NY Mets    78    84    .481    15.5      77    85   .475      31    35   .470       46   50   .479       31    33        32    34
Miami    68    94    .420    25.5      67    95   .414      21    29   .420       46   66   .411       20    25        22    28
Washington    64    98    .395    29.5      65    97   .401      22    26   .458       43   71   .377       18    24        21    27
Milwaukee        93    69    .574     -       95    67   .586      21    15   .583       74   52   .587       21    18        19    17
St.Louis         87    75    .537    6        90    72   .556      26    19   .578       64   53   .547       24    22        23    22
Cincinnati       81    81    .500    12        83    79   .512      24    20   .545       59   59   .500       22    22        22    22
Chicago Cubs     70    92    .432    23        71    91   .438      24    27   .471       47   64   .423       21    25        23    28
Pittsburgh       58   104    .358    35        61   101   .377      20    22   .476       41   79   .342       14    21        17    25
LA Dodgers    111    51    .685    -       106    56   .654      24    24   .500       82   32   .719       34    24        29    19
San Francisco   104    58    .642    7       107    55   .660      31    17   .646       76   38   .667       32    24        28    20
San Diego    81    81    .500    30        79    83   .488      21    26   .447       58   57   .504       23    23        23    24
Colorado    73    88    .453    37.5      74    87   .460      24    25   .490       50   62   .446       21    24        22    27
Arizona    59   103    .364    52        52   110   .321      10    31   .244       42   79   .347       14    20        17    24
This past season, eight of the 30 teams would see a change of more than five games in their W-L record.  As you can see, the AL East, the Al West, and the NL West all end up with a slightly different pecking order. Boston, New York, and San Francisco all did better in the one-run games played in the Real World, while the A's and Dodgers did worse. This was enough to vault the Giants past the Dodgers, the Red Sox and Yankees past the Blue Jays. Because in baseball, the real world is stranger than fantasy.  Otherwise, the Giants would have faced off with the Cardinals last night. Boston, New York, and Oakland would have had to fight among themselves to see who played Toronto in the AL Wild Card.

And Seattle finishes a respectable enough 83-79, slipping one spot to third place. The Mariners were in fact the team that really set me off on this adventure, this mad pursuit of an untamed fowl. Seattle's raw Runs Scored and Allowed aren't remotely impressive. If you just apply one of the Pythagorean formulae to it, the team ends up with a losing record. The one-run games were very good to them indeed - they played lots of them and they won 14 more of them than they lost. That was largely good luck, pure and simple. But the Mariners also won more games than they lost the rest of the time as well (57-53.)  Which may be why I have some trouble thinking of the 2021 Mariners as losers. They may not be a 90 win quality team. But losers? I think not.
The Division Series (Plural) / Goodbye Pythagoras | 229 comments | Create New Account
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scottt - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#408473) #
The Blue Jays are sending the following players to the AFL:

Gabriel Moreno C
Leo Jimenez (UT?)
Michael Dominguez RHP
Cre Finfrock RHP
Brody Rodning LHP
Graham Spraker RHP
Spencer Horwitz (UT?)

I could have swore Spraker already went.

Mike Green - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#408478) #
You've got a point about the value of the add-on runs with extreme margins of victory.  Another way of looking at it is to use a modified Pythagoras.  When either club wins beyond a certain margin (6 runs say), adjust their runs scored so that the margin of victory is 6.  So the Blue Jays had the following games with margins more than 6 runs:

9-  15-1 win over the Angels; adjusted final score 7-1 (minus 8 runs scored)
24- 13-5 win over Atlanta: adjusted final score 11-5 (minus 2 runs scored)
40- 8-0 win over the Red Sox; adjusted final score 6-0 (minus 2 runs scored)
50- 11-2 win over the future Guardians; adjusted final score 8-2 (minus 3 runs scored)
55- 13-1 loss to Houston; adjusted final score 7-1 (minus 6 runs allowed)

and so on.  You then subtract all the runs scored and runs allowed from the team's runs scored and runs allowed and you run Pythagoras on the adjusted figures.   The Blue Jays would definitely suffer a hit vs. ordinary Pythagoras as they do under your system- they were 20-2 in games decided by 8 runs or more and 11-13 in ordinary 5-7 run blowouts. 

With the addition of the ghost runner in extra innings, it's not only one-run games that are the subject of a healthy luck component.  The Blue Jays had three 2 run losses and no 2 run wins in extra innings; those games should probably be added into the one run games.  You have a 14 win difference between the Rays and the Jays, and it's hard to get there with the same run differential. 
Gerry - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#408479) #
I think you have a good point there Magpie, and Mike's variation works well too. In most cases the difference is small but there are always a couple of teams that are outliers.
bpoz - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#408482) #
Great work Magpie. Seattle and LAA came down a lot and Arizona went up a lot. The 1 run games supports this.

Very good point Mike Green.
Chuck - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#408483) #
I believe that Bill James only intended to use Pythagoras as a "thumb in the air" assessment of a team's "real" quality, especially with respect to anticipating what comes next. Due to neutral random chance alone, an over-performing team should suffer a setback (Seattle +14) and an under-performing team the opposite (Toronto -8).

I can see the merits to Magpie's approach and this certainly dampens the adjustments. Seattle is +7, Toronto is -1. Toronto certainly seemed to score a bunch of frivolous runs, and Seattle certainly seemed to allow a bunch. Pythagoras doesn't treat these situations well.

Mike's "modified" Pythagoras is a method I specifically had in mind myself over the past couple of weeks, and I chose the same arbitrary cutoff of 6 runs. So you win 15-1 and we'll call that 7-1 for Pythagoras's purposes.

The Jays' actual 846/663 RF/RA yields 99 Pyth. wins. Shaving off runs when margins exceed 6 yields a modified 773/654 RF/FA, good for 93 wins, in line with both reality and Magpie's method. Setting that threshold to 5 yields 92 wins.

Such were the nature of the team's blowouts this year that 73 RF were deemed superfluous by the "Pythagoras6" method, but only 9 RA allowed were (and from just two blowout losses).

Chuck - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#408484) #
To answer the question, "were the Mariners any damned good despite their 90 wins?":

Actual RF/FA 697/748, 76 Pyth. wins
Pythagoras6 RF/RA 690/704, 80 wins
Magpie 83 wins

The Mariners scored all of 7 superfluous runs compared to the Jays' 73. And they allowed 44 superfluous runs compared to the Jays' 9. These teams were actually 1 win apart. Pythagoras had them 23 wins apart. Pythagoras6, 13 wins apart. Magpie, 9 wins apart.

The Mariners, at their core, seem like a .500 team.

Chuck - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#408485) #
One more team: Tampa Bay.

Actual 101 W
Pythagoras 100 W
Pythagoras6 100 W
Magpie 106 W

Their run differential was only 23 runs better than Toronto's, but more in line with their "true" level.

Michael - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#408486) #
A different approach from Pythagoras if you are worried about blow outs is to use Michelangelo which has you compare every RS and RA to get that value.

I.e., if a team had RS/RA of:

W 5-2
L 0-1
W 12-4
L 2-5

win percentage .500 with 2-2 record.
You could do a Pyth of 19 RS - 12 RA which is 361/(361+144) = 0.715.
For the Michelangelo you note that
5 RS would win versus 2, 1, 4 and tie 5 so that is 3.5/4 wins.
0 RS would win versus none and tie none so that is 0/4 wins.
12 RS would win versus 2, 1, 4, and 5 runs and tie none so that is 4/4 wins.
2 RS would win versus 1, and tie versus 2 so that is 1.5/4 wins.

Add this up and you get 9/16 wins is 0.5625 win percentage.

In this way the blowouts don't over count, your "close wins" could be loses if you allowed slightly more and your "close loses" could be wins if you scored slightly more. If you've been unreasonably lucky or unreasonably unlucky in 1-run games in reality, the Michelangelo will pull you back to reality.

The basic idea is you pretend your RS and RA are independent variables for each team and then assume each game could have gotten any of your RS and any of your RA. We know the RS and RA aren't totally independent due to opponent teams often having good hitting and pitching or bad hitting and bad pitching as well as things like relief pitchers that get brought in to close games versus non-close games; however, it is actually a good approach overall.
Gerry - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#408487) #
Ryan Yarborough and Brett Phillips have been left off the Rays ALDS roster. The Shane's, McClanahan and Baz, will start the first two games. Youth is having its day. I am surprised with the Yarborough decision though. However he did not have a great finish to the season, the Jays also had success against him.

For Boston JD Martinez is on the roster, we will have to see if he is ready for game one. Matt Barnes has been left off the roster after losing the closers job.
Michael - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#408491) #
Just to follow up on the Michelangelo for Toronto and playoff teams and Seattle this year you can see the team quality even without blowouts counting too much:

Dodgers 104.1-57.9
Giants 100.2-61.8
Tampa 99.6-62.4
Houston 98.6-63.4
Toronto 95.0-67.0
Brewers 93.5-68.5
White Sox 93.1-68.9
Atlanta 92.7-68.3
Yankees 87.1-74.9
Boston 86.2-75.8
St. Louis 84.0-78.0
Seattle 79.0-83.0

This is similar in results to others, but just goes to show again that the Jays really were a top quality team even when you properly account for blowouts and the like.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#408492) #
Tampa was also hyper-efficient in scoring runs.  They scored more runs than Toronto despite not hitting as well overall.  The way they did it was by hitting the crap out of the ball with runners on base and particularly with multiple runners on base.  In the extreme, they hit .392/.451/.725 with the bases loaded, which (I am guessing) might be a record for a team over a season.  For comparison, they hit .237/.311/.408 with nobody on.  Some difference is to be expected because of the possibility of a sacrifice fly but nothing like what Tampa did (the league hit .237/.307/.403 with nobody on- just a little less than Tampa- and .278/.332/.472 with the bases loaded).  The very good performance by the league in 2021 with the bases loaded was heavily influenced by Tampa's otherworldly effort.  More typically, there is 40-45 point of OPS difference between performance with nobody on and the bases loaded.  This was the case in 2019 and 2020. 

You might think that Tampa was stealing signs, but their batting line with just a runner on second and with runners on first and second was totally consistent with their other marks. 
Nigel - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#408494) #
Mike's last point is the reason why I have felt all year that Houston was the best team in the AL, TB next and then the Jays just behind TB. TB's run scoring just screamed "fluky" all year. Now, TB's ability to turn arms into bullpen gold, there is something that they are onto there that smells of more than just luck.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#408495) #
You might be right, Nigel.  I thought that with the adjustments for strength of division, Tampa was a little ahead of Houston, but once you factor into it  the harder interleague schedule for AL West, they are quite close. 
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#408496) #
the harder interleague schedule for AL West

True, and an alternative phrasing would be "the softer interleague schedule for AL East."

I would think that assessing any team's strength of schedule is sort of fraught with difficulty. (I don't know, I've never tried!) The top four AL East teams not only got to kick the crap out of their NL East counterparts - they also got to play Baltimore 19 times. (Tampa went 33-6 against the Orioles and the NL.) But on the other hand - they had to play each other, over and over.
electric carrot - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#408497) #
To switch topics a bit, I don't like to come out publicly as a hater but the only thing I care about at the moment for the playoffs is that neither the Dodgers nor the Red Sox win. Fortunately, one of them has to lose eventually, but my hope is they both bow out after the first round. The Red Sox fan base annoys me. "It's not the band I hate it's their fans." And the Dodgers obscene wealth irks me too.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#408498) #
neither the Dodgers nor the Red Sox win.

I'm down with that!

I confess though that I didn't really want the Dodgers to lose last night. Even though I liked the Cardinals more. I just would have been troubled by the prospect of a 106 win team being eliminated in a single game Wild Card play-in.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#408499) #
This doesn't quite mean that we should set a .500 record in one-run games as a team's expected outcome. The better teams actually do play better in one-run games than the bad teams. It's just that any single season is much, much too short a sample for that result to manifest itself. It would be exactly like assessing a hitter's season on 30 random plate appearances. We need the whole season, we need the 700 plate appearances to have a decent idea. As it happens, that's about how many one-run games it takes for a team's quality to begin to consistently affect that team's record in one-run games.

And even when we have that many games (in truth, the number needed might be closer to 1,000 games)

How many seasons does it take to get 700-1000 1-run game samples FROM THE SAME TEAM? Teams change players year-to-year, although they are often similar from one season to the next. After 10+ seasons, though, no way is it "the same team"... And you'd still only have something like 400-500 1-run game samples.
92-93 - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#408500) #
Why is "a run differential of 100 runs in Dodger Stadium is very, very different from the same thing in Coors Field"?

Obviously it's easier to score runs in COL but perhaps you can elaborate a bit more, Magpie.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#408501) #
How many seasons does it take to get 700-1000 1-run game samples FROM THE SAME TEAM?

They' re not from the same team. The games are from all the teams that have posted a similar winning percentage. For example, about 135 teams have had seasons when they played in the .600 range. They played more than 20,000 games and more than 6,000 of those were decided by a single run. (I'm trying to start with a basic principle about the game itself, not something about any particular team. If the principle works for everyone, maybe then I can apply it to an individual team.)

Why is "a run differential of 100 runs in Dodger Stadium is very, very different from the same thing in Coors Field"?

Precisely because it's easier to score more runs in Coors, as you said. Which also means that you need to score more runs to win. To put it another way - 100 runs in Dodgers Stadium goes a lot further (helps you win more often) than 100 runs in Coors.
92-93 - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#408502) #
Wouldn't they be the same thing though if the run differential of 100 comes about the same way (from the same RS/RA)?
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#408503) #
This is a grotesque exaggeration to make the point - but 150-50 and 750-650 are both run differentials of 100, but one of them is a lot more likely to mean more wins.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#408504) #
Now if the actual totals were the same like you're saying - sure, it would have the same impact. But Dodger Stadium and Coors Field? Never gonna happen!
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#408505) #
The better teams actually do play better in one-run games than the bad teams.

The most successful franchise of all time is - you'll never guess - the Yankees. They've played 18,440 games since 1901 and they've got a .570 winning percentage, because they are truly the focus of evil in the modern world.

The least successful franchise is the Philies, who have played 19,965 games since 1893 and have a .472 winning percentage.

They're much closer to each other in one-run games: the Yankees slip all the way down to .526, the Phillies improve to .486.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#408506) #
Anyone else think someone from the younger generation of managers would have hooked Lynn before the Brantley at bat?
mathesond - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#408507) #
Kevin Cash might have...
Nigel - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#408508) #
I assumed that my own personal dislike of the Red Sox and their fans was a result of 44 seasons of cheering against them as a Jays fan in the AL East. Apparently, the Sox and their fans are pretty widely despised. Water cooler talk in my office (yes we are back to doing that here in Vancouver, through masks etc.) led to a discussion of the most hated teams in any sport. The Red Sox were named by every single person and I was the only Jays fan in the group. I'm surrounded by Giants and Mariners fans. Reaching that status when they rarely play your home nine is actually pretty hard to achieve. Hats off to the Sox and their fans.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#408509) #
Kevin Cash might have...

No kidding. I also think I just saw Dave Roberts hook Max Freaking Scherzer in the fifth inning of a 1-1 game.
John Northey - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#408510) #
Pre-2004 the Red Sox were at least lightly cheered on by most as I recall, especially after the nightmare they had in 1986. Then they finally broke the curse and became that which they hated most - the Yankees. Now the difference between the two organizations is non-existent beyond the Sox having a beautiful stadium imo. Both spend whatever it takes, both have no ethics - they'd both sign a wife beater in a second if it helps their team. I was very happy when the Jays decided 'no, we won't do that' with Osuna and traded him ASAP.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#408511) #
Pre-2004 the Red Sox were at least lightly cheered on by most as I recall, especially after the nightmare they had in 1986.

Only if you drank the kool-aid! The Red Sox were always irritating, in a way the Tigers or Orioles weren't. It's because the Red Sox (and their fans) always thought they were so f***ing special. "We're not unsuccesful. We have a Curse." And 1986 only made that worse.

They were only worth cheering when they came back from 3-0 to beat the Yankees in 2004. I don't think we cared that the Yankees had tortured the Red Sox for 80 years. We just enjoyed seeing the Yankees humiliated. And since that day, as you say, the Red Sox have done everything in their power to become like the Yankees.
Nigel - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#408512) #
Sure, I dislike the Sox for their evil empire tendencies and aspirations. Rooting against the Yankees, Sox and Dodgers goes without saying:) But I dislike the Sox fanbase in a way that I don't the others. They are irritating in a way that the fans of other rivals, even the Yankees, just aren't. Maybe that's just me though. I'm getting cranky in my old age.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#408513) #
The Red Sox do inspire a special kind of dislike. Yankees fans merely bring their enormous sense of entitlement, too vast for human instruments to even measure. It's positively breathtaking how utterly unaware of it they manage to be. Deeply, deeply irritating, of course.

But meanwhile Red Sox fans still want to carry on as if they're special. Still historically star-crossed when they've won four championships within the last twenty years (while the MFYs, as they refer to the Yankees, have won one.)
GabrielSyme - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#408514) #
A problem with Magpie's method: it's going to result in pulling most teams towards the middle. Most good teams blow out their opponents more than they get blown out. And the reverse for bad teams. Unless Pythag currently over-exaggerates just how bad bad teams should be and how good good teams should be, you'd have to readjust the whole scaling of Pythag so the average 100-win team actually projects for 100 wins.
John Northey - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#408515) #
Ugh. I hate cheering on the Rays. Just feels wrong. But if it is them or the mini-evil empire there is no choice. The other AL series is also tough as it is the Houston Cheaters or the ChiSox who have Tony 'drunk driver' LaRussa at the helm. Again, not my favorite but I'm cheering on Houston there. Then for Tampa to go to the WS again as I can respect their management and feel they deserve a title (even if their marketing department and ownership don't).
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#408516) #
it's going to result in pulling most teams towards the middle.

Well, that's what one-run games always do. But it's always a coin flip. What I think I'm doing - it's what I'm trying to do anyway - is moderate the randomness of the coin flip. One run games will always pull the results towards .500 but in the short sample of a season the results of the coin flip can be extremely random. Flip a coin 1000 times, and tails will come up 500 times. But flip it 30 times and you might easily get tails 20 times. And there you are, wondering why you're one game behind the Giants. So that's the effect I'm trying to minimize by also referring to a team's actual W-L record the rest of the time, which of course includes the blowout games. And as you say, good teams always do better in those games.
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#408517) #
Or to put it in another way - one-run games (and they're the only ones I'm messing with) are already pulling everyone towards the middle. But they do it in an entirely random and unpredictable manner. It's chaos, I tell you! I am imposing just a little order on that chaos by referring to a team's record in the not-so-random games, the ones decided by two runs or more!
Magpie - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#408518) #
Or to put it yet another way - one-run games are often mostly telling us about a team's luck. It''s the rest of the games that tell us about a team's quality. Tampa Bay played .444 ball in one-run games, .684 ball (.731 in blowouts) the rest of the time. I'm trying to moderate their bad luck in the close ones and apply a dash of their quality.
SK in NJ - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#408519) #
I seem to view the Rays the same way you all view the Yankees/Red Sox. I'll root for any other team besides the Rays. Maybe that changes if/when they move to Montreal, but for now, my preference is "anyone but Tampa".

Unfortunately, I expect them to make the World Series. The Astros might be the only team capable of beating them on the AL side.
85bluejay - Thursday, October 07 2021 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#408520) #
I have such enormous respect for the Rays.
StephenT - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 01:34 AM EDT (#408521) #
Dan Shulman was in fine form calling the Red Sox @ Rays on the radio tonight.  (I think he's better on the radio than on TV.)

He was actually at the game (I think his first time at a U.S. major league ballpark in a couple years).  (I think last year he called all the playoff games from an ESPN studio in Connecticut.)
bpoz - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#408522) #
Thank you for all the work Magpie.

I just analyzed the 2021 Jays 1 run games (manually eyeballed it) month by month. During the season I check the standings daily in hopes that the Jays are gaining. In 2022 I will try to check the 1 run results of our close competitors at the end of the month just to see the luck factor.

Baseball by statistics is now a factor for me.

Our Sept & Oct record is 22-9. We won the 1 run games 4-0. A fantastic finish.

greenfrog - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#408523) #
Apparently the Jays tried to acquire Jose Ramirez and Robbie Grossman at the trade deadline.
Glevin - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#408524) #
"Apparently the Jays tried to acquire Jose Ramirez and Robbie Grossman at the trade deadline."

Would have been great pickups! Jays I think will go after Ramirez again. He's just such a perfect fit for the team. Probably would take something like Groshans, Kirk, and Gurriel to get it done.
Mike Green - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#408525) #
I wondered what kind of shape Tampa is in for 2022.  Answer: excellent.  They will almost surely not have Nelson Cruz, Michael Wacha and Collin McHugh.  They will likely cut bait on Ryan Yarbrough- either by trade or non-tendering.  Their rotation will likely be somewhat upgraded despite the absence of Glasnow, with full seasons from Baz, McLanahan, Rasmussen and Patino.  They will have Wander Franco for a full season.  They will need to replace McHugh.  Nelson Cruz hit .226/.283/.442 for them, and I'm sure that they will be able to get a replacement who will do better at a much lower cost. 

Kiermaier's plate discipline was better this year than it has been in a few years.  I suspect that they'll keep him, and run a somewhat higher payroll. 
SK in NJ - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#408526) #
Would have been great pickups! Jays I think will go after Ramirez again. He's just such a perfect fit for the team. Probably would take something like Groshans, Kirk, and Gurriel to get it done.

Ramirez would be perfect for this roster and as a direct replacement for Semien. It's hard to lose a 6-7 WAR player and be able to replace him with one player, but getting Ramirez would be able to accomplish that and is a better fit defensively as he goes to 3B and leaves 2B open for Biggio, Espinal, or a veteran stopgap. If Cleveland would do Gurriel/Kirk/Groshans, then it's a deal the Jays should definitely make. The Jays still need to be able to supplement their roster over the next few years with high upside prospects, so making a deal like that while holding on to Moreno is critical. Orelvis likely fits that description as well.

Make that trade for Ramirez, and replace Gurriel with someone like Conforto, and it's likely a direct upgrade from 2021. Probably getting our hopes up though (with Ramirez....Conforto seems pretty realistic). I don't think Cleveland moves him, but who knows.
GabrielSyme - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#408527) #
Magpie, my apologies. I was thinking of Mike Green's proposal of lopping off runs in blowouts. I don't think the critique applies to your system.
Mike Green - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#408528) #
Gabriel Syme, it's a question in my mind.  Comparing teams with the same run differential (like the Blue Jays and Rays of 2021), do teams which win more 10+ run blowouts and fewer 5-7 run blowouts do better or worse the following year than teams with the reverse?  It's the kind of thing Bill James might have studied back in the day with cohort teams. 
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#408529) #
Few if any of the playoff teams appear especially likeable, despite a tiny bit of begrudging admiration. Objectively, Toronto seemed to be leading the league in likeability.
Mike Green - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#408530) #
Objective likeability?  Interesting concept, Cowboy!
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#408531) #
Everybody Loves Vladdy.
John Northey - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#408532) #
A note: Voting for the Hank Aaron Award is on now - it goes to the best hitter in each league. I voted Vlad of course. Freddie Freeman (has a Canadian mother and played for Team Canada once) got my NL vote. Although for the NL I think Fernando Tatis Jr. is actually the better hitter but I like supporting Canadians when I can make a case of any kind.
Mike Green - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#408533) #
By the way, the Mariners were 5-1 in extra inning games not decided by 1 run.  There's a substantial luck element to those.  They were 11-28 in blowouts, or more properly 11-27 (I wouldn't count the 5 run loss in extra-innings against them). 
Nigel - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#408535) #
So, this is only tangentially related to this topic:). One of the things that has been rolling around in my head for the past year has been the impact of the rule change to extra innings and how it should impact roster construction and even player valuation. It seems to me that the rule change has placed an added premium to high leverage relievers with high K%'s (and pop ups) and, in the converse, a bench bat who makes contact (see: Santiago Espinal). So, for example, I would suggest that the value to the Jays of a second high leverage reliever (other than Romano) who could, in theory, k his way through a 10th inning without allowing the runner on second to score, would be higher than normal? Does anyone know of any work that's been done in this area?
Nigel - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#408536) #
I'll add that the marginal impact of such a reliever, in the case of the Jays, might be extraordinarily high.
92-93 - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#408537) #
Thankfully that rule is reportedly gone for 2022, and hopefully banished forever.
Thomas - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#408538) #
Who is the most unexpected player on a playoff roster?

One contender has to the former Blue Jay who raised his career OPS to .568 this season in 30 at-bats for the Brewers: Luke Maile.

And one of the players he reportedly beat out for the last spot was Daniel Norris.
John Northey - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#408539) #
For extra's with the bonus baserunner I think having a speed demon on your team has bonus value - help guarantee that first run. Thus why the Jays had Davis on the team for a chunk of the season, then got Dyson. The problem with flame throwers is often they can be wild and with a runner on 2nd that is dangerous to put it mildly. Having a good bunter on the team too would be valuable. Smart teams should have a guy in the minors who is a speed demon who can bunt that they can call up late in the season to help in those games, and in the playoffs too. Remember Dalton Pompey in the 2015 playoffs? Guys like that are very useful. If I ran an organization I'd be having someone sit down and talk with any speedy guys in the minors who can't hit a lick and tell them - work on your baserunning and bunting and ideally learn more positions. That way they can get to the majors and be useful otherwise their career ends in A ball.
Mike Green - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#408540) #
Bummer, he didn't catch that one. 
Magpie - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#408541) #
the classic clash between an irresistible force (the Houston offense, best in the league) and an immovable object (the White Sox pitching, also best in the league.)

Irresistible Force 2, Immovable Object 0
Magpie - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#408542) #
After watching Leury Garcia on Correa's double I will never complain about Gurriel's and Teoscars routes ever again.
scottt - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#408543) #
I like how Vladdy is front and center in that picture.
Gerry - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#408544) #
I was thinking today that a team that barely makes the playoffs then often goes on a run to get deep into the playoffs, if not win the whole thing.

Could Boston be that team this year?
Gerry - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#408545) #
And I wrote that before the Sox took the lead against Tampa.
John Northey - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#408546) #
So Astros in very good shape up 2-0 in the battle of the geezer managers, Red Sox tied up against Tampa, Brewers get a win to start their series (last in WS in 1982), Giants leading 2-0 right now in game 1.

Tomorrow just game 2's for the NL, Sunday games 3 for the AL.
pooks137 - Friday, October 08 2021 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#408547) #
They will likely cut bait on Ryan Yarbrough- either by trade or non-tendering.

Ryan Yarbrough has a fairly pronounced split between bWAR (-1.4) and fWAR (+1.2 WAR) for his 155 innings of 5.11 ERA ball.

It seems that Tampa stopped using openers for most of his starts in 2021, as he started 21 of 30 games where his previous high was 14.

If you prefer or believe that his 2021 performance based on FIP was closer to his career level of roughly 1-2 WAR over 140 innings, I'd certainly be looking into him if I was Ross Atkins as a 2022 Steven Matz replacement.

scottt - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 07:07 AM EDT (#408548) #
Yarbrough is cheap. Most of the Rays are arb eligible.
Yarbrough is just a soft tosser who can't mix it. Matz throws hard and has 4 pitches.

I don't like the Rays rotation. Too many unproven arms.
Cruz has not hit for them. Just an average bat since traded.

I wouldn't mind the Rays choking here.
The egos are getting too big.
The less money they make in the playoffs, the better.
dalimon5 - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#408549) #
Completely disagree for this series. Boston must lose. Last thing we need is a Red Sox organization run by the former leader of the TB Rays, winning in its first year after shedding payroll and trading their stars. After Boston is eliminated, then I can agree and start rooting against the Rays.

bpoz - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#408550) #
Looks like T Houck has the potential to turn into a good SP. Sale and the other SPs are probably declining.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#408551) #
Still too painful to closely follow these series. The 2021 Jays could well have beaten these teams and made it to the ALCS and beyond. I know the official narrative is that "the future is bright" and this is no doubt true, but the healthy and productive Jays team that finished the season against Baltimore was one of the best Jays teams ever. It will be tough to match a postseason roster that would have included:

- Rotation of Ray / Berrios / Manoah / Matz

- Lineup of Springer / Semien / Vladdy / Bichette / Teoscar / Gurriel / Espinal / Kirk / Jansen

- Bullpen of Romano / Mayza / Richards / Cimber
AWeb - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#408552) #
Now that they've all played a game, my admittedly small rooting interests are revealed!
Boston over Tampa, I guess rooting for a team on local tv as a kid (in NS, the Red Sox were on tv and the 'local'team for all the us network affiliates we got) never totally goes away. Also, I hate Tampa and their poorly lit stadium so much....

SF over LA, because the Dodgers are the big evil team against which everyone is an underdog right now, so go Giants I guess.

Houston over Chicago, and I have no idea why. Smallest preference possible I think.

Milwaukee over Atlanta, go team that has never won a world series. Plus the former Jays. Tellez's hr was awesome yesterday.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#408553) #
Absolutely true, greenfrog.  It's funny that it shares the same weakness as the great 2015 club- missing a left-handed bat or two.  Maybe Corey Dickerson would have come up bigger than Ben Revere did...
bpoz - Saturday, October 09 2021 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#408554) #
TB and Houston seem like the only teams better than the Jays.

Boston and NYY had the luck. CWS had the easiest division.

Boston and NYY will add for next year. Have not figured out what the Jays plan is this off season.
scottt - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#408557) #
It's easy to root for Dusty Baker over the angry man on the other side.
scottt - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#408558) #
Romano / Mayza / Richards / Cimber are all returning and some pieces will be added to that.

Semien might be gone but Gabriel Moreno should be up by June if not before that.
Add a power bat at 3B, keep Espinal as UT and the lineup looks fantastic.

They should have a much better rotation in April 21 than what they started this year with.

The rest of the division have deeper moves to make.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#408563) #
I am interested in seeing what position the club has Moreno at in the AFL- catcher or third base.If it's third base, it is possible that he opens 2022 as the club's third baseman. 

Unlike many here, I don't mind Espinal as an every day third baseman.  I see him as a smart and dedicated ballplayer- like Semien- and with enough physical tools to make it all work.  He's an old-school player of a certain type at the plate; he has the ability to shoot for the lines on both sides with enough zip to make him effective.  If you play him that way, he can hit the alleys enough to allow him to hit for a lot higher average than his exit velocities would suggest.  If you nibble, he'll take his walks. 

The FO has some choices if they don't sign Semien.  They're not as good options, but they're not bad either. 
pooks137 - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#408565) #
They should have a much better rotation in April 21 than what they started this year with.

I also don't think the Jays can hope for such luck with SP health next year.

2021 in some ways was reminiscent of 2016, where the Jays only used 5 starters all year (Stroman, Sanchez, Happ, Estrada, Dickey), 2 spot starts from Drew Hutchison and 8 starts from Francisco Liriano after the trade deadline.

It will be hard to replicate 2021 health and performance. There were a few IL stints, but very little time lost.

It's also amazing how all of Toronto's SP depth in the minors evaporated overnight.

SRF, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckoski were traded for Matz (a win you'd do again). SWR traded for Berrios. Zeuch was terrible and claimed off waivers by the Cardinals. Another lost year for Merryweather and likely a reliever if he survives the offseason on the 40-man. Nate Pearson with low innings and looking more like a reliever every passing year. Jacob Waguespack all but forgotten. Anthony Kay suddenly looking too old for a prospect and missed most of the second half. Thomas Hatch seemingly made of glass. Tommy Milone DFAed.

The narrative last offseason was that the Jays had an embarrassment of mediocre SP depth options to choose from.

But none of the above reliever contributed anything of value to the rotation. Only Nate Pearson and possibly Thomas Hatch seem like realistic depth options entering 2022.

Nigel - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#408566) #
Mediocre SP depth is almost always not depth, just 40 man flotsam (although often used in most seasons when you get down to your 8th or 9th SP). I don’t think the team has a single SP prospect within a couple of years of Toronto. A FA SP signing this offseason, of some kind, is a must as a consequence.
scottt - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#408568) #
It's not really possible that Moreno could open as the club third baseman. He's played 1 game there.
Missing a few games would give the Jays an extra year of control and he hasn't played enough because of injuries.

The Solar Sox have 3 catchers including Moreno and 8 infielders including Jimenez and Horwitz.

scottt - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#408569) #
There is a need for guys with options to starts some games and the guys that can be signed there are often worse than the younger AAA starters.  Pearson probably gets a chance to start. Hatch, Kay and Thornton could be the 7th, 8th and 9th guys. I really don't like Thornton in the pen.
Chuck - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#408570) #
Could Boston be that team this year?

It would appear that Gerry is in control of the cosmos. I write this as Boston has decided they will not make a single out in the 3rd inning of game 3.

krose - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#408571) #
These Rays just keep hanging on.
Nigel - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 09:00 PM EDT (#408572) #
Listening to Adam Wainwright talk about pitching and Dylan Cease in particular is a joy. Makes me sad about the level of colour commentary we’re normally subjected to. Wainwright is actually talking about the game, the situation and passing on real insight about what the pitcher is thinking or should be thinking, I’m in shock.
krose - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#408573) #
Rays was robbed!
Chuck - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#408574) #
Rays was robbed!

A new great strategy has just been introduced to stop runners from scoring from first: just swat the ball over the fence with your glove and make it look like an accident (in Renfroe's case, it was an accident).

BlueJayWay - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#408575) #
I don't think I've ever seen that happen before.
Glevin - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#408576) #
Espinal us useful but not an everyday guy. When his BABIP goes down to reasonable levels, he'll be around an 85 WRC+ sort of guy. You need to aim higher then that if you want to contend.
AWeb - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#408577) #
Not that they couldn't still roll to the title, but the Rays have a bit of an issue that I usually associate with NBA teams. They pull out little strategies and moves all year, ekeing out edges by barely using starters, rotating unfamiliar pitchers, searching for matchups, etc. In the playoffs, other teams also go searching for these edges in much the same way - it's hardly rocket science, but teams and managers like the Jays this year didn't exactly optimize in game (and you're not allowed to rotate the roster in series).

Reminds me of nba teams that grind out wins all year, while a few teams, usually with the top players, will barely use their best strategies and lineups, for a variety of reasons. Doesn't mean the Rays can't win...I am glad to see a fluky play go against them.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 10 2021 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#408578) #
What's a reasonable spread for BABIP?  Danny Jansen has a career BABIP of .230, and projection systems have him with a BABIP of .240-.260 going forward.  I would lean to .260.  That's still 32 points below league average.   Kepler and Seager each have BABIPs of .236 over the last 3 years (about 1300 PAs each).  I would venture a guess that there's a 40-45 spread around the average, with the flyball hitters tending to the bottom and the line-drive/ground-ball hitters to the top.  Espinal is of the latter type and if he can keep his K and BB rates where they were this year, he'll be all right. 

League average BABIPs are lower than they used to be, driven by the flyball revolution.  You've got all these players at the bottom of the BABIP charts- Kepler, Seager, Hoskins, Jose Ramirez, Renfroe, DeJong- who also sit at the top of the flyball charts, north of 45%.  It's reasonable to expect that spreads will be a little more than they have been historically. 

There are five players who have a BABIP over .340 over the last 3 years in over 1200 PAs.  Tim Anderson (.385), Moncada, Trea Turner, Brian Reynolds and Chris Taylor (.341).  It's true that it is hard to sustain that number without more power than Espinal has shown so far.  David Fletcher is probably the most comparable player to Espinal.  In 2021, he had an off-year due to a very low BABIP; he didn't hit the ball as hard as he had in previous years leading to an IsoP of .062 and that very low BABIP.  We'll see if Espinal can avoid that fate. I think he can.
John Northey - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#408579) #
This type of play happened a couple of years ago (July 26th, 2019 in the bottom of the 4th) against the Jays in favor of the Rays. Via Mike Wilner's tweet, by way of Chris Black. Only appropriate it helped the Rays then, hurt them now.
Glevin - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 12:38 AM EDT (#408580) #
Letting a team bet on Espinal being a lucky BABIP guy is fine but you're not a serious contender. He's just not someone I can see being a starter. He isn't fast, has no power, and doesn't hit the ball hard. Relying on high BABIP without underlying high BABIP skills for offensive success isn't sustainable. Maybe he can be a Luis Arraez kind of player but that's pretty underwhelming as a starter and Jays should be aiming higher.
SK in NJ - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#408581) #
Interesting article on MLBTR about Berrios and a possible extension. Apparently back in July he said: "[I will have been] waiting six years, almost seven, to get where every player wants to be — a free agent, able to maximize our value….We are in a good position, and we’ll see what the best deal is going to be". The article guesses it will take around $100-120M to get him extended, and given that he's already excited to go into free agency, I think that's a reasonable assumption. He's not taking a discount to extend early. The Jays desperately need long-term SP's given the dearth of them in the upper minors, and combine that with giving up two top prospects for him a few months ago, and I think Berrios is in a good spot. He's either getting a massive extension from a Jays team that can't afford to lose him, or he'll test free agency to maximize his money.

I agree that the SP depth in the minors is negligible at the moment, and there are only 3 SP's in the big league rotation that should be penciled in (Berrios, Manoah, Ryu). Stripling is better off in a swing man role, and who knows what Pearson is going to amount to. I don't think bringing Ray back is a necessity, but adding a top/mid rotation SP + another bottom of the rotation SP is required. Can't count on 2021 health again, either.
Mike Green - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#408582) #
He doesn't need to be lucky.   Look at it this way- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has delivered 4.9 fWAR (5.9 bWAR) in 1371 career PA with a .320 BABIP.  Espinal has delivered 2.4 fWAR (2.8 bWAR) in 312 career PA with a .353 BABIP.  Espinal is a year younger. 

If Espinal manages to sustain the BABIP a la Manny Alou, he'll be way, way more valuable than Gurriel Jr.  for the simple reasons that he will get on base a lot more and be football fields better with the glove.  If he loses 20 points of BABIP which is more likely, he'll still be more valuable and a perfectly decent player.  And if he has the same BABIP as Gurriel Jr.'s career .320, he'd be about as valuable.  But nobody talks about the need to find a better leftfielder. 

Subjectively, I like Espinal even more the numbers.  He already handles good fastballs very well.  He has work yet to do on off-speed stuff, but he's already learning to lay off stuff out of the zone a lot better. 
grjas - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#408583) #
I like Espinal as well but still see him and Biggio as more super utility types. They can afford one of those- in fact they need at least one- but I think one of second or third needs a bigger bat. Smith and/or Groshans may get there but it's risky to expect that next year.
Nigel - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#408584) #
Umm…. I talk about the need for a new LF:). Often. Now, given his cost, it’s unlikely they will go in a different direction, but still. Espinal is the anti-Gurriel, the contact skills, walk rate, base running and excellent defence can make a marginal bat into something approximating a solid regular. With Gurriel, an absence or of all those things turns an above average bat into a marginal regular. Both probably are needed next year to keep payroll manageable even if they’re flawed players.
Mike Green - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#408585) #
Thanks, Nigel., and apologies for forgetting.  And I agree absolutely with the conclusion.  Gurriel Jr. and Espinal both offer good value, and can contribute significantly to a winning club. 

In the "did you know" department.  The major league leader in fWAR 2019-2021 is....Marcus Semien, and it isn't particularly close.  He leads too in bWAR 15.8 to 15.4 ahead of Trea Turner. 
AWeb - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#408587) #
Espinal can play a few positions and hit well enough this year that a BABIP drop makes him a still-decent player. Of course he can be part of a contending team (he already was). Fiddling around the edges is fun and all, but the Jays will need to either re-sign or replace the production of Semien, Ray, and Matz. Guerrero needs to come back into camp in 2022 in even better shape and continue being a great hitter, which is far from guaranteed. The most likely place for internal improvements would seem to be Springer (healthy?) and the OF in general. Buck and Tabby love Grichuk so much it's painful to listen to, and he seems well suited to the 4th OF role, since he plays passable defense. But not on this team, since the Jays already have an OF full of guys hitting RH, and Grichuk's defense isn't great, there's not much of a role for him on a healthy roster.

Also, Kirk and/or Jansen could be very good hitters, I weirdly still believe in Jansen - he's not terribly slow, here's no reason he should be a historically awful BABIP guy. I'd love it if Kirk has a Guerrero-esque offseason, and realized he has the rest of his post-baseball life to enjoy food, but only a few years to set up tens of millions of dollars for himself. 
SK in NJ - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#408588) #
I'm in between on Espinal. I tend to agree that he might do just enough to be a solid MLB regular at 2B/3B, but I also don't think the team should (or will) begin the 2022 season with him penciled in as a starting position player. As the primary utility IF, he's likely to get a lot of PA's regardless, so if 2021 is closer to his real talent level, then he should still get more than enough opportunity to prove it. Would definitely be nice for him to develop into a Marco Scutaro 2008-2013 type. The Jays need cheap young regulars with existing young talent about to get more expensive, so if Espinal is suddenly a 3+ WAR player with an average-ish bat, then it would be a nice development.
Glevin - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#408589) #
I really don't get the Espinal love. I like him as a backup but he's almost 27 so he's already in his prime and has zero power, and just got very lucky with BABIP. His XOBA according to Baseball Savant was .303. That's .50 points lower than it was and again, he doesn't have the skills (speed, hitting ball hard) where'd you expect him to outperform XOBA. Youre talking about someone with a WRC+ of like 70-80 in that case. I think his most likely outcome is utility guy but I think being a minor leaguer is much more likely than being a starter. Jays need to do aim higher as a starter.
Mike Green - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#408590) #
Espinal's xwOBA this year was .308, just a little under league average of .312.  The league beat the xwOBA by 5 points, and this includes players who are vulnerable to the shift (the Kendrys Morales of the game).  Espinal beat his xwOBA by 26 points, but even if he only beaten it 9 points, he would have been a league average hitter.  That doesn't seem like a stretch for a player who sprays the ball around foul line to foul line as Espinal does. 
scottt - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#408591) #
I had seen those types of ground rule doubles before.
The throw that hit Grandal was something new for me.

When there is a play at the plate and you hit the ball along the first base line, it seems like you should run inside the lines. Now I have seen players running out of lane to second base in hope of breaking a double play.

John Northey - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#408592) #
Espinal is a great backup, meh regular is my first thought but lets dig in a bit.  2.8 bWAR lifetime in 312 PA = 5.4 per 600 PA - all-star level, weak MVP.  Better than Teoscar was this year (4 WAR over 595 PA), better than Springer was (adj to 600 PA he was at a 4.4 rate).  That ain't a backup, that is fantastic.

However despite this most projection systems see him as a sub 1 WAR player.  Why?  His BABIP in the minors is 320, majors 353 so that is a big difference.  Lets adjust his stats to match that 320 - so his ML stats go from 301/361/390 to 273/335/362 - from a 751 OPS to a 697 or from a 107 OPS+ to roughly an 87.  Ouch.  From hitting like Kirk (107) & Jansen (106) did this year to below Grichuk (89).  If instead he does his combined BABIP (325) his stats go up by 1 hit to 277/339/365 704 OPS which would be about a 90, or a tiny bit better than Grichuk.  Of course, the spread is real ML 85 hits, with minor BABIP 77, with all 78.  His oWAR was 1.9 with 1.1 dWAR, lifetime - remove all of the oWAR and go pure defense and you'd have a 2.1 WAR player still which is league average for a starter iirc.  Makes him a fantastic backup, meh regular.  I suspect in  a semi-platoon with Biggio at 2B, while backing up 3B/SS as well, he could get 300 PA a year and be very valuable.  Ideally you get him to work on his bunting skills too and on reading pitchers so he can steal a few more (7-1 lifetime, 44-24 in the minors SB-CS) thus making him a more valuable player overall.  But yeah, digging in you don't want to be counting on his high BABIP continuing - if it does, great!  But making him plan A for 3B is a bad idea - plan B or C at 2B/3B is good though.  Plus, of course, he seems to fit in great with the team as is which never hurts.

This spring the Jays will have a battle at 3B or 2B for sure - I'm assuming no more than 1 guy will be added as a regular.  I expect the Jays to sign someone as a backup infielder who is willing to sit in AAA waiting for a chance who is a pure defensive guy.  I think the Jays like Smith even though he showed nothing in the majors.  Lopez will be given a shot, but odds are will be in AAA to start 2022, Groshans & Taylor also will be given shots but I expect will start in AAA.  Smith/Groshans/Taylor will fight hard with Espinal and Biggio for any open slots at 2B/3B.  I expect at least one of them, maybe more, to be in a trade to get a stronger solution at 3B or 2B.  Jose Ramirez being the dream candidate - he led the majors in fWAR at 3B 6.3, #2 is Rafael Devers (Boston), Yoan Moncada (White Sox), Manny Machado (SD), Austin Riley (Atlanta), Nolan Arenado (StL), Justin Turner (LAD), Kris Bryant (free agent) - that's all the 3.5+ guys at 3B.   At 2B Trea Turner at 6.9 is #1 (LAD), then Marcus 6.6, big drop to Brandon Lowe (TB), Jose Altuve (Houston) both 5.2, then Jake Cronenworth (SD), Ozzie Albies (Atlanta), Enrique Hernandez (Boston) in the 4's, and Jonathan India (Cin), Jorge Polanco (Min), and Javier Baez (free agent Mets) cover the 3.5's.  Baez is interesting as he has been a regular at 3B, 2B, and SS over the years and has played LF, 1B, RF in the majors too but boy does he strike out (184 this year).

I can't see the Jays signing/trading for a guy who has lower than 3.5 WAR in 2021 unless he is recovering from an injury and was at a superstar level before.  Lower than 3.5 and you might as well give Espinal the position.
John Northey - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#408593) #
FYI: MLB Trade Rumors just posted estimated arbitration pay for all players including the Jays.
  • Ross Stripling – $4.4MM
  • Jose Berrios – $10.9MM
  • Jacob Barnes – $1.2MM
  • Teoscar Hernandez – $10.0MM
  • Adam Cimber – $1.5MM
  • Trevor Richards – $1.1MM
  • Ryan Borucki – $800K
  • Danny Jansen – $1.5MM
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – $7.9MM
  • Tim Mayza – $1.2MM
  • Trent Thornton – $900K
  • Cavan Biggio – $1.7MM
Total of $43.1 mil. Cot's has committed salary plus other stuff (benefits/etc.) at $76.8 mil. So a total of $119.9 mil for 16 players (those 12 plus Ryu, Springer, Grichuck, and Gurriel). The remaining 10 could be any combo of minimum salary guys (Bo for example) and free agents. At the ML minimum they'd cost about $5.6 mil for a net of $125.5 mil. By that method they spent $153 last year leaving $28 million roughly for free agents, before factoring in whatever else the Jays have on their budget plans (IE: hopefully $20 mil more).
SK in NJ - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#408594) #
I'd be shocked if the Jays actually view Espinal as a starting 3B/2B next season. I don't think that has a chance of happening unless they re-sign Semien and have to go cheap everywhere else. It seems very likely he's going to be used as the utility IF off the bench, at least to start with. Whether he has the potential to be better than that is a different discussion. It depends on whether you think there is something resembling a league average bat in his future.
Polite Nate - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 10:39 PM EDT (#408595) #
If you'd asked me at the start of the season, I'd have told you you were crazy if you thought I'd be happy that the Red Sox beat anyone in the playoffs. But there's something about Tampa Bay this year, something insufferable about their attitude and the attitude of everything written about them. I even think they were a bit overrated, and I think they're bad for baseball. Here's hoping I don't regret this later on because I sure as heck don't want a monkey's paw style result of Boston going all the way.
BlueJayWay - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#408596) #
Hell of a series there. So it's Boston vs somebody in the ALCS
Kasi - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#408597) #
Can’t say I’m sad to have the Rays lose. A bit sad that it’s to the Sox but I have a hard time cheering for anyone this postseason. Once the Brewers get eliminated I’ll likely tune out.
pooks137 - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:10 PM EDT (#408598) #
You'd assume Jacob Barnes gets outrighted off the 40-man roster after the World Series ends, freeing up a roster spot. So he isn't getting paid 1.2 million.

My first instinct would be to non-tender Trent Thornton, but Fangraphs seems to think he has two options left in 2022, making him more valuable even if his stock has plummeted.

The other name on the list that I would consider cutting would be Ryan Borucki. It's a little confusing looking at his transactions page, but it looks like Borucki spent the 20 days in the minors requisite to burn his final option.

Borucki has essentially had 3 lost years since his 2018 campaign as a starter, other than 16 decent innings during a pandemic shortened 2020.

I just don't see the utility in using up a 40-man spot all winter for an out-of-options Borucki to compete for the 2nd lefty in the pen come ST.
Nigel - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#408599) #
I’m in a different camp. A Red Sox Astros series is unwatchable for me. I strongly dislike both teams. It will be NL ball only from here on out.
dalimon5 - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:25 PM EDT (#408600) #
Agree with Nigel. Also agree with Pooks though about the Rays just being bad for baseball in that new “baseball can be won on paper” analytics sort of way.
John Northey - Monday, October 11 2021 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#408601) #
pooks137 - agreed on Barnes, maybe on Borucki (no options = not much point unless the Jays feel he is solid for 2022 which I would disagree with - 2 seasons in the pen with 5.1 BB/9 over 40 IP is too scary for me), Thornton I'd be expecting to see released at this point but his 3 options (2 left I'd assume) mean he has value bouncing up and down. I suspect it all depends on who the Jays can cut and who they keep.

Cuts: Jacob Barnes (can't see them paying over $1 mil to a guy who isn't good enough to lock down a spot on a 9 man pen)
Free Agents (thus off 40 man unless signed): Robbie Ray, Steven Matz, Corey Dickerson, Jarrod Dyson, Joakim Soria, David Phelps, Kirby Yates, Marcus Semien
Bubble: Bryan Baker, Anthony Castro, Trent Thornton, Ryan Borucki, Breyvic Valera, Reese McGuire

2 FA's were on the 60 day IL so they didn't count towards the 40 man limit (Yates, Phelps). So 6 spots opened via FA's (plus 2 who were 60 day guys), 1 from an easy cut (Barnes), and up to 6 more I see as bubble guys. Castro and McGuire I see as most likely to survive of that group (the Jays seem to love McGuire's glove). The more I look the more I suspect Thornton is toast along with Borucki ($1.7 mil combined between the two of them vs $1.2 roughly for 2 rookies, so not a ton of savings dollar wise, but roster wise I see it being smart to try to get them to sign AAA deals). McGuire had that crazy hot streak at first 315/365/427 before July, just 202/267/275 from July 1st to the end (120 PA). He really can't hit and pure defense catchers are a dime a dozen.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 06:42 AM EDT (#408602) #
Here is a very interesting piece on how MLB is using the Atlantic League as a laboratory to look for ways to improve the product on the field, which has of course been swallowed up by a plague of walks, strikeouts, and relief pitchers. Trying to put the baseball back into baseball. One of the elements has been robo-umps, and here's how that's been going:

 It turned out that the strike zone in the rule book didn’t match the one that umpires called—which players, coaches, and fans had come to recognize. In the rulebook, the strike zone is 3D, the “area over home plate,” extending from the midpoint between a batter’s shoulders and belt at the top to the “hollow beneath the kneecap” at the bottom. Any pitch that touches this floating pentagonal prism, even if it drops in from above, is technically a strike. When plugged into the Trackman, this produced some odd-looking results. Breaking pitches that veered wildly, sending the catcher lunging, were called strikes. In practice, Atlantic League umps judged pitches by where they crossed the front of the plate, and they rarely called pitches in the top of the zone strikes. For this season, MLB adjusted the Atlantic League strike zone to more closely match custom. It lowered the top, raised the bottom, widened the sides and, most significantly, made the zone into a two-dimensional plane that cuts through the middle of the plate, 7 inches from the front.

Fans have already figured out how to heckle the new arbiters, with cries of "Call tech support" and "Change the batteries."
scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#408603) #
The Urena/Espinal comparison is interesting.
Espinal might be a bit better defensively, but mostly walks more and getting on base is what you want from the bottom of the lineup.
Espinal is one year older than Urena.

scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#408604) #
I was tired of watching the Rays.
I mentioned that I didn't like their rotation.
Baz came in with less than 20 IP and was given the 3rd game which they lost.
A team that rely on the pen over the rotation is poorly equipped to handle extra innings.
And that was part of their undoing.
Some talk about using everything each given night and worrying about the next day when it comes but that is foolish.
The Rays made that worked all year by using the AAA shuttle.
There is no such thing in the playoffs.
Using an opener  worked, but the young starting pitcher on short rest wasn't good and couldn't get 3 outs.
They clawed their way back to make it interesting but didn't play well enough to win.

A lead off single in the 9th.
Followed by a bunt. Looked so easy.
They weren't going to walk the 9th hitter to setup the double play with the lead off hitter being hot.
So, Cora pinched hit for Shaw who isn't an on base machine and doesn't run that well.
He hit a dribbler to third that should have been out number 2 but the throw was poor and Choi could only block it.
Late in a tied game, Wendell should have been the third baseman. Diaz went 0-4.
From there a fly ball could win the game. 

The Rays have a number of free agents and some guy hitting arbitration.
They really could have used Glasnow who is probably a non-tender canidate.
He'd be a good bet for a team at or near the luxury tax. You can pay him for 2 years and average that over 3.

scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#408605) #
Is Biggio really a super-two?

800K for Borucki is pretty close to the minimum which might rise with the new CBA.

Escobar is a left hitting third baseman who can be counted on for 30 HR. Could be an option.

They still need to trade a catcher.

Oakland has a lot of expensive arb cases.
I still think they'd be open to move Chapman.
He hasn't hit that well due to his hip issue. Too many strike outs, but still pretty good defense.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#408606) #
The Rays are my least favorite team in baseball and it's not even close. They are terrible for the sport in just about every measurable way, and don't have the lovable charm that "successful low payroll" teams probably should have. Other than Arozarena and Franco, I don't particularly care to watch their brand of baseball. I'm glad they were taken out early, even if it had to be by the Red Sox.

I'm fine with BOS/HOU or BOS/CWS. Either way, the SF Giants have looked like a team of destiny all season, so I'm expecting them to come out on top at the end.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#408607) #
It's true- the Rays wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet. 
Magpie - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#408608) #
The Rays did kind of push that "Starting pitchers? We don't need no stinking starting pitchers!" idea farther than it can probably go. They got just 11.1 IP (allowed 6 runs) from their starters (not all of whom were really starting pitchers) in the series, which left 27.2 IP (allowed 20 runs) for the rest of the staff. And I've always thought that the more pitchers you send out there, the better your chances of finding the guy who doesn't have it that day. They kept finding that guy.
grjas - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#408609) #
Interesting article Magpie. This sentence in particular sums it up well-

“the time between batted balls has reached an average of nearly four minutes, up by almost a minute from two decades ago“.

No wonder I and many others find this game more and more boring. It’s rare I can sit through a whole game, given its pace. Hockey had a similar dilemma with the neutral zone trap, and changing red line rules really helped to turn the game around. We’ll see what baseball changes pass the final hurdles.

And yeah, robo umps would be huge.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#408610) #
That's one way of looking at it.  They went 5 innings with McLanahan in Game 1 who threw a shutout and 82 pitches. I suppose they could have gone another inning with him, but that one wasn't a big issue in the post-season.    In Game 2, they took out Baz after 2.1 innings, 3 runs (47 pitches) and 6 hits including a homer .  Baz had all of 3 major league starts, and it doesn't seem that strange to pull him when they did.  In Game 3, they took out Rasmussen after 2 innings, 6 hits and 3 runs.  That was probably a bit fast but the bullpen did give them 10 innings while only allowing 1 run until Vazquez' homer in the 13th.  The strategy probably ended up working well.  In the 4th game, they used McHugh as an opener (understandably as he was on 2 days rest) and McLanahan (the starter) blew up following.  If you want to treat McHugh as the starter and McLanahan as the reliever in Game 4,  that's technically true, but not really functionally accurate. 

For what it's worth, the Red Sox did the same thing in Game 1 as the Rays did in Games 2 and 3.  They pulled Rodriguez after 1.2 innings, 2 runs and 47 pitches. 

I did disagree with the decision to play Meadows over Margot against Rodriguez in Game 5 (Margot had started against Rodriguez in Game 1).  Meadows has a very significant platoon split, and while Eduardo Rodriguez has a negative split over his career; he was essentially even this year.  I felt that it was a "hot hand" decision, and a poor one.  
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#408611) #
The QO this year is $18.4m. The Jays should make that offer to Semien, Ray, and Matz. As they did with Estrada after the 2015 season, the Jays might then be able to negotiate a multiyear deal at a lower AAV than the QO.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#408612) #
Multiyear deal with Matz, that is.
Steve02 - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#408613) #
I subscribed to a year of snnow in April and it ran decently for the first few months but the last couple have been poor. Glitchy. Freezes. out-of-Sync. Dropouts. Logouts. Not sure if anyone else has issues. I've used for years with pretty much 0 issues ever. I sure miss the days before they implemented Jays blackouts.
AWeb - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#408614) #
As I commented above, I don't think the Rays style, which is essentially a playoff approach all year, allows them any particular edges in the playoffs. They had 14 pitchers give them between 19 and 75 innings this year, and all but one of them was above average era-wise. For comparisons-sake, the jays had 13 in that IP range, but one was Berrios and only 5 of the other 12 were above average. On the year that's a huge depth advantage, but having 14 candidates for the playoff bullpen doesn't really help AAA shuffle allowed, as noted.

On offense, facing teams more willing to mix and match pitchers all game limits their roster flexibility advantage as well. They are good, and could win the WS next year as easily as anyone, but it's an unbearable product to watch.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#408615) #
That's not it, AWeb.  With Glasnow and Snell and Morton, they went deep into games.  This year, with Glasnow injured for part of the year and Snell gone and their replacements still getting minor league experience, they really had little choice but to do what they did.  I'll bet that they have McLanahan, Baz, Rasmussen and Patino going deeper next year, but they probably won't average 6 innings per start.    It's a smart adaptation to a low budget.
pooks137 - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#408616) #
I certainly don't hate Matz at 18.4 for a year if it came to it, especially with Ray gone and a lot of question marks remaining in the rotation for next year (Berrios' final year, the decline of Ryu, Manoah with only half a season of experience, another lost year for Nate Pearson, essentially zero minor league depth, Stripling being Jekyll and Hyde).

I think there's a very good chance Matz accepts it. If Matz's agent talks to teams before the deadline and he ends up rejecting it, it would suggest trying to replace two starting pitchers on the open market is going to be a lot more expensive than hoped.
scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#408617) #
That's a bit rich for Matz. Semien and Ray are obvious moves though.

Zwelling has an article on SN in which he goes over the free agent options.

Both Seagers, Escobar and Brad Miller.

Jose Ramirez would be a nice trade target.
What would be the cost? Maybe 4 prospects?
I could handle losing anyone outside of Moreno.
Ketel Marte, Gregorius, Candelario.

scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#408618) #
Sure, but like with any young pitchers, there's no guarantees that McLanahan, Baz and Rasmussen will be better than average next year. Or healthy.

The Rays have a crazy number of pitchers on the 60 IL.

Archer, Chirinos, Glasnow, Beeks, Drake, Hunter, Johnson, Poche, Reed, Roe, Springs and Thompson.

Add all of those guys to the 40 roster and things will break.

scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#408619) #
If I have money, I start by extending Berrios.

Way more important than resigning Matz.

pooks137 - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#408620) #
I guess I personally value using financial might to try to extract an extra pick out of the system in Matz, with the associated risk being you have to slightly overpay Matz for a year in an offseason where you need lots of pitching.

I also value short-term contracts over worrying about locking up stars to contracts that will inevitably turn to regret on the backend.

The main argument for locking up Berrios is to try to recoup some of the high prospect cost they had to give up in acquiring him, which I think is a dangerous game.

I don't think I'm interested in Berrios if the MLBTR article yesterday is true and his starting point is close to 120 million.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#408621) #
the Red Sox did the same thing in Game 1 as the Rays did in Games 2 and 3

... might not be the best argument for what they were doing in those games.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#408622) #
If you make the QO to Matz, you might be able to sign him to a 2/$30m contract instead. But even a one-year deal is OK, for the reasons Pooks mentioned.
scottt - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#408623) #
120M for 5 years might be OK as Ryu comes off the book.
If Ryu was worth 4/80M, Berrios is probably worth every penny he wants.
He started 32 games each of his last 3 full years and he has never spent a day on the IL.

I don't think they want to push Pearson to the pen, so they can't go after both Ray and Matz and Matz probably takes the QO.

Magpie - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#408624) #
If you make the QO to Matz

I expect they will, if they don't make a deal with him first. Apparently they really like him, and had been trying to get him well before last off-season.
Nigel - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#408625) #
The thing is, Matz is coming off a good year. The QO price might be a bit high relative to the AAV of a longer term contract for him, but you can't compare apples to oranges. To sign a player, coming off a good year, to a one year contract (if you even could) you'd need to pay a substantial premium. The QO price might even be a discount to what a one year, fair market value, deal would be for Matz. It's hard for me to see the team passing on that option if it comes to that. But, I can't help thinking that signing Matz to a 3-4 year deal is far and a way the most likely resign of the big three FAs for the team.
cascando - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#408626) #
I like Matz a lot and hope they sign him to a multi-year deal, but he’s not QO worthy to me. I think he’d just take the QO, make 18.4M next year and hit free agency again in a year. I’d rather they try to lock him up for a couple of years (and maybe a team option or two) before it gets to that.
Nigel - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#408627) #
Matz might just take the QO but a) that wouldn't be a bad thing for the Jays as there's very little risk in that contract for the Jays; and b) its hard to imagine that there wouldn't be, at least a few, 3years/$40m or 3years/$45m offers (or thereabouts) our there for him on the market. At 30, those would be hard to pass on in the circumstances.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#408628) #
It's a risk worth taking if the team thinks highly of Matz. It would be penny wise and pound foolish to try to save a few million by not making a QO to him, only to end up with a more "economical" starting pitcher like Tanner Roark or Chase Anderson.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 12 2021 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#408629) #
Luke Maile just struck out for the Brewers. Jesse Chavez finished the fourth inning for the Braves. Baseball is weird.
Chuck - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:47 AM EDT (#408630) #
They are terrible for the sport in just about every measurable way, and don't have the lovable charm that "successful low payroll" teams probably should have.

Funny, my reaction to the team is the exact opposite. Where other teams are required to spend their way out of mistakes or need a thick chequebook for any hope of success, Tampa holds their own with their brains. The Dodgers want to remain top shelf? Sure, let's just add Bauer and when that doesn't work, Scherzer and Turner. If we need to rescue Ted Williams' cryogenetically stored head, we'll pay for the technology to do that too. Tampa, on the other hand, asks only to be given your poor, your huddled masses, your sows' ears, and they'll make silk purses for you.

Brains over brawn. What's not to love?

Chuck - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:51 AM EDT (#408631) #
Luke Maile just struck out for the Brewers. Jesse Chavez finished the fourth inning for the Braves.

All that playoff-caliber talent they let slip away!

scottt - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 06:54 AM EDT (#408632) #
They ooze arrogance in a special way.
They're starting to feel like a street gang.
Kiermaier's faiplay?
Glasnow complaining about the no-foreign-substance rule blowing his elbow?
Their phantom fans who show up only during the playoffs?
Or in Dunedin, for some weird reason.

I don't mind players breaking out in Tampa, but there's something off-putting about players doing poorly after they leave Tampa.

ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#408633) #
" They ooze arrogance in a special way."

During their opening game win some players were eating popcorn on the bench. It would have ticked me off if I was on the other side.

If the Dodgers win, there will be 4 generally unlikable teams left, although an Astros-Dodgers final would be interesting. I just hope the Red Sox get put out by Houston. I don't even mind their players that much, it's just that their fans are so obnoxious.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 08:28 AM EDT (#408634) #
I wonder if the weekend fallout at Rogers will have any impact on the Nlue Jays budget this off season.
James W - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#408635) #
David Price would eat popcorn on the bench too! Scandalous!
92-93 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#408636) #
Giving Matz around 40% of the $ you have projected to spend would be a horrific allotment of resources, and completely out of line with last year's SP FA market.
cascando - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#408637) #
I agree, and again that’s as a big fan of Matz. Whether Matz is worth $18.4 for one year in isolation is a fair question in itself, but in the context of the team having maybe $40-50M to spend (optimistically) it seems fairly clear to me that you can’t devote that much of it to Matz.

I’d try to work out something in the 3/36 range and if he’d rather test FA, fair enough. Matz has made $12M so far in his career and he has been very up and down so I think he’d be pretty interested in whatever term
he can get.
bpoz - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#408638) #
Regarding 2022 I see KC, Minnesota, Texas and Baltimore as very unlikely to compete. So 4 AL teams and I see 6 NL teams as very unlikely to compete.

Rotations I like are Atlanta with Fried, Morton, I Anderson and Sokora returning. CWS seem to have a nice rotation but I don't know who is a FA. Maybe L Lynn. Milwaukee, LAD, Oakland, Maimi & Detroit but very young and close to ready. Undecided about SF they seemed to overperform and I expect a few may be veteran FAs. Also undecided about TB they are V young and cheap but need experience.

Some teams will spend big on 1 very expensive FA because they are desperate to win. Philly & NYY come to mind.

There will be talk about big FA starters regarding the Jays but despite recent FA success I have very serious doubts. I see our financial flexibility philosophies being strongly tested this off season especially with 2023+ starting to be extension time. Trading our best prospects will possibly get us something good but maybe not because "all" prospects are unproven and so are risky.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#408639) #
The issue with giving Matz the QO, which he will almost instantly accept in all likelihood, is that it means $18M of whatever available money the Jays have this winter will be used up on a bottom of the rotation SP. Matz also has a fairly high level of volatility given his history. I wouldn't offer him the QO. Trying to bring him back on a cheaper multi year deal wouldn't be a bad idea, but they could probably do that without risking a $18M investment for one year. A 1/18 deal isn't bad in a value sense, but in terms of team building in 2022, it could end up being restrictive. Roark's $12M in 2021 likely cost the Jays the opportunity to add multiple relievers, which you can now rationalize as potentially costing them a playoff appearance. Obviously you would expect Matz in 2022 to be MUCH better than whatever the heck Roark turned into after signing his deal, but you still don't want to overpay unnecessarily. At least not for a non-star.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#408640) #
I don't know how much the club has available to it, but it sure makes sense to spend.  The attendance revenue was off due to COVID, but I'll bet that the broadcast revenue was pretty great in 2021.  And in 2022, if the club is competitive, there is a reasonable prospect of a banner year at the gate with capacity limits likely off or at a minimum significantly higher.

And as for expenses, Sportrac has them at $108 million plus 9 pre-arbs for about $115 million.  They are actually below major league average.  The luxury tax threshold in 2021 was $210 million.  We really don't know what will come from the CBA negotiations, but I don't know where the figures about the monies available to the club in 2022 come from. 
92-93 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#408641) #
They come from the reporters around the team. You can deduce a lot from Davidi's pieces and read between the lines. There is no way the Jays are going to be anywhere close to the luxury tax threshold, but if they do then sure, bring on a back-end SP who goes 5 innings for 18M!
Eephus - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#408642) #
Can we just crown the victor of the Giants-Dodgers series as the World Series Champion? If the Giants lose that'll be the last game I watch anyways, so....
greenfrog - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#408643) #
"then sure, bring on a back-end SP who goes 5 innings for 18M!"

Ryu 2021 innings: 169.0
Ryu 2021 WAR: 2.5

Matz 2021 innings: 150.2
Matz 2021 WAR: 2.8
Nigel - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#408644) #
I really don't see it being obvious that Matz just takes a QO but maybe the pendulum has swung from longer term security for FA pitchers? If you think that 2021 was a fluke for Matz then I totally agree a QO is terrible idea. If you think that Matz can deliver another 2.5-3 WAR then I'm having trouble seeing that there will be a lot of FA pitchers available of that quality for an AAV of much less than that (other than someone you might have to lock up for a long term, risky, contract). But maybe I'm not in tune with the FA market these days.
92-93 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#408645) #
All you need to know about last year's FA SP market is that Stroman sniffed around and decided to accept his qualifying offer.
bpoz - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#408646) #
Good point 92-93 on Stroman.
pooks137 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#408647) #
Interesting discussion here and nice to see some diversity of opinions re: Matz.

It's obvious I personally value short-term financial flexibility more and avoiding giving players term more than other posters.

I'm certainly more interested in the small chance of acquiring another compensation pick, but willing to risk paying him an inflated one year deal to chance it.

I also find it interesting that some would balk at risking 1/18 on him to try for a pick, but would feel more comfortable giving him 2/24 or 3/36, which eliminates the chance of a pick entirely.

I guess I feel more comfortable overpaying Matz a bit if necessary as well since, in my mental framework, the Jays also are letting Ray and Semien walk and not necessarily replacing them with similarly premium players, which leaves a lot more payroll room.

bpoz - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#408648) #
I ask myself if and why the Jays would be desperate to sign a biggish FA. Answer: The Jays want to keep building the momentum due to having the 9th best record in all of baseball. That will help future revenues. If they win the fans will show interest anyway. I don't think the Jays are desperate.

Desperate teams for #1 SPs would be NYY, LAA (Trout), Philly, SD, NYM. They desperately need a very good pitcher because them winning is a necessity at this time.
Nigel - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#408649) #
And boy did Stroman taking the QO work out well for the Mets:) Stroman's FA journey last year might be instructive for this year, but, somewhere between his missing all of 2020 and being the anti-high FB, high spin rate pitcher, I'm just not sure he's fully indicative of the FA pitching market. Matz is definitely an interesting case for this off season.
85bluejay - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#408650) #
I'd be surprised if the Jays offered Matz a QO - more likely to try and sign him to a 2-3 year contract - maybe 3/30?
Magpie - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#408651) #
Lessons from History! In November 2015, Atkins gave Marco Estrada a QO ($15.8 million) after one good season as a major league starter, and signed him to a two year deal for $26 million two weeks later.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#408652) #
Correction - that wasn't Atkins. I believe Tony LaCava was the interim GM who did that.
92-93 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#408653) #
Addendum to the history lesson - had Estrada left, the Jays would have received his new team's first pick in the next draft, unless it was in the Top 10. That was a very real noose around Estrada's earning ability, and made his situation quite different.

Under the new system, a whole bunch of teams can sign Matz and lose a much less valuable draft pick. He won't have the same incentive to negotiate with the Jays.
greenfrog - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#408654) #
I guess the Jays should also give away Ryu for nothing this off-season. If Matz is a fungible back-end starter, then so is Ryu, who generated less overall value than Matz this year. In fact, Ryu’s contract (two years remaining) makes him even less valuable than Matz on a low-risk 1/$18.4m contract.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#408655) #
If I have money, I start by extending Berrios... Way more important than resigning Matz.

I agree. Furthermore, I submit that extending Berríos & Hernández is the priority, well ahead of new contracts for Ray & Semien.

Long-term contracts for Vlad & Bo might just wait until after the new CBA is negotiated.

* * *

A.L. - Boston vs. Houston. (How exactly did the Astros become the lesser of two evils?)

N.L. - Atlanta vs. Game 5 winner. (Thursday night, 9:07 Eastern. LAD Julio Urías vs. SF Logan Webb.)

Spifficus - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#408656) #
For me, the answer to how Houston became the lesser of two evils is the resident of the manager chair. Dusty Baker is an affable guy who righted the ship after his team's scandal. Cora was there for his team's transgressions, and has the added mark of annoying me when he was arguing his runner should get second on the time call after the ball was dropped at first in the last game.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#408657) #
[Matz] won't have the same incentive to negotiate with the Jays.

Agreed, and I wouldn't think Matz would want to settle for two years if he's testing the market.

Obviously one would like to extend Berrios - he's about as safe a signing as any pitcher could possibly be - but for a couple of years now it's sounded like he wants to try the market and find out what he's worth.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#408658) #
FanGraphs has Matz being worth $15+ mil only twice in his career - last year ($22.1) and 2016 ($19.9). 2019 he was over $10 mil, but every other year was sub that level. Just 3 times worth over 1 WAR. The big question is why was this year so much better than all but his rookie season of 2016? If the Jays feel he is really at that level then a QO is an easy choice. If not then the question is more complex - do they think one of the other 29 teams would think Matz is a $20 mil a year pitcher or close enough to sign him at a price that makes him reject the QO? Is the risk higher than the value of a draft pick?

IMO he is worth the risk. BR's WAR has him as a 2+ WAR guy 3 times (2021, 2019, 2016)and close to it in 2018 (1.7) His negative 2017 and 2020 make one pause on a long term deal but his 4 solid years make him worth the $18 mil risk. Especially for a team like the Jays who have tons of cash. In 2022 no 1 year deal should be a make or break thing. A long term 5+ year deal could be a big problem though so I see Matz as a no-brainer to make a QO to. Bigger contracts are the question, like needed to keep Ray (5+ years at $20+ per year) or Semien (similar). I dislike giving pitchers more than 3 years as they are so variable in performance, and hitters more than 5 unless it is very unusual circumstances (such as Vlad & Bo - 2 guys who have established all-star level skills at a very young age). I see the Jays having 2 years before the budget starts to get really tight due to Vlad/Bo/Teoscar/etc. Ideally by June you promote another top prospect (Gabriel Moreno or Jordan Groshans or Otto Lopez) so they start getting expensive in 3+ years and keep doing that annually. Hopefully they keep producing them!
92-93 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#408659) #
The difference in ability between Ryu and Matz is significant. If the Jays thought Ryu was a 2-3 WAR pitcher they would never have given him 4/80. They made that offer to a guy fresh off a 5 WAR season with a bunch of seasons confirming that talent level. The situations aren't remotely similar either. Two years ago the Jays were starving for pitching and had a ton of payroll room, both in the present and future. Today the Jays have much less wiggle room because of the signing of FAs like Ryu and Springer, the stellar performance of guys like Hernandez and Guerrero, and the trade for Berrios. If they are going to spend big money on a starter it needs to be on somebody with a much higher ceiling than Matz, somebody with the FA profile of Ryu. Otherwise you go shopping in the bargain bin or trade for this year's Matz.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#408660) #
Semien ought to be getting 25-30m per season, and maybe more.  He has been the most valuable player in baseball over the last 3 years.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#408661) #
I don't know that I would look at the free agent picture in isolation.  The Blue Jays need pitching volume as well as quality innings.  Right now, they've got Manoah, Ryu, Berrios, Pearson, Romano, Mayza, Cimber, Richards.  I count 700-800 there and they need another 650-700.  There's no one in the minor leagues who can be expected to add more than 50 innings or so in 2022.  If you're counting on Bowden Francis, that would hopefully be as an 8th or 9th starter. 
Michael - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#408662) #
I'm in the camp that the QO to Matz is clearly something that should be done. I'd say if it is done it is 2-1 that he doesn't accept (or that we or someone else signs him to a longer term deal). If he accepts, 1/$18M is fair value and we need multiple starting pitchers and he'd be one of them. If he doesn't accept, the extra pick has value and is near free to take. It is a win-win from my POV.

The Jays were by more advanced metrics about the 5th best team in baseball (trailing just the Dodgers, LA, Houston, and Tampa), so that is the base they are building on. However, they were relatively healthy as a unit last year (not totally, as Springer healthy would help, but overall mostly healthy as a group), and they are losing multiple key pieces (at least with if you start from a no re-signing base) with at least Ray, Semien, and Matz (as well as other more minor pieces like Dickerson). That top 3 is basically 15 WAR walking out the door which would take the Jays from 5th best to something more like the midpoint of the league and 15th or 16th best. That's what is needed to be added back. Sure Matz for 1/$18 is only like 15% of the need, but 1-year deals are rarely overpays, and it is hard to find and sign all the quality arms that are needed. There will not be that many people better than Matz that the Jays can be confident they can get - and few for much less than that AAV - and most will need multiple years, not just 1-year.
85bluejay - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#408663) #
Marlins have a bevy of quality controllable starters and the Jays have affordable positional players(Gurriel/Kirk/Jansen/Moreno/Espinal/Biggio etc.) the Marlins need - I see the possibility of a good match.
scottt - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#408664) #
Guys get traded and extended all the time.
Berrios is not getting Cole money.
It's not hard to get an idea of what one could get on the market through comparables.
The point of signing an extension is removing the risk of getting hurt and not cashing out.
That risk is pretty low with Berrios, so you're not getting a team friendly extension.
They could give him a QO and still end up with the best offer.
However, if they have to spend top money  on another pitcher on a long contract,  they might not be one of the teams in play to sign him next year.

With Semien, you offer the QO, grab the draft pick and run.
And then you circle back to all the free agents infielders.
I expect a few will fall through and be available at a rebate.
Possibly another 1 year deal or the like.

John Northey - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#408665) #
Berrios is nice to have - his most similar at age 27 #2 is Bauer, #3 is Scherzer. Nice potential there (assuming he doesn't start chocking people ala Bauer) - he reaches that and he is getting Cole money. His #1 is John Lackey who also had a heck of a career. I'd want a much more in depth analysis of his matching up than that of course before locking him in for 5 years, but dang if that doesn't make one go 'yeah, good idea'.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#408666) #
I probably wouldn't do QO for Matz. There are a lot of free agent pitchers out there and you'll get similar pitchers for less.. Last off season Odirizzi and Walker both got 3/$23 deals and that seems like a good area for Matz as maybe he can be ok but not counting on it.. I like him, but he just doesn't have any track record of being a good starter. He was pretty good last year but bad to mediocre for four years before that. Would be shocked if Jays gave him offer. I mean, the guys who were given QO last year were Stroman and Gausman. That's just a different league of pitcher.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 13 2021 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#408667) #
I also agree that Matz and Ryu comparisons are completely off the mark. Different times, different teams, and you shouldn’t look at Ryu’s performance in isolation to this season. You must include his first year and we will see how he does in next 2 years. I also bet you Semien and Springer don’t sign here if your ace at the time is Matt Shormaker or Ross Stripling.

The front office has wasted much more money on other players like Roark and the closer they signed who never pitched a game…Kirby Yates.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 12:41 AM EDT (#408668) #
The Jays have now had years 1 and 2 of Ryu's 4/$80m contract. Those seasons generated fWAR totals of 1.9 and 2.5 (imperfect measures, but good enough). He'll be 35 and 36 in the last two years of his contract, so it's reasonable to think he's going to pitch at the same level (at best) or start declining. Especially with his injury history and just-good-enough stuff (90 MPH fastball).

Matz, on the other hand, is 30 and coming off a 2.8 fWAR season with Pete Walker's help. If he accepts the QO, the Jays would be adding a pitcher with arguably as much upside as Ryu (2021, 2022 or 2023 version) with significantly less risk (lower AAV on a one-year contract).

Interestingly, only 15 AL pitchers with 150+ innings had a higher fWAR total in 2021 than Matz. Only 15 had a better xFIP.

It really all depends on how much the FO likes Matz. Do they think his performance is likely to stay at this level (or improve)? Then make the QO. Unless they think they can do better in the FA/trade market.
Glevin - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 01:28 AM EDT (#408669) #
The problem, Greenfrog, is that you are assuming his best season in five years is his new normal and that's pretty unlikely..this isn't Ray with great stuff and new upside. His XFIPs have been in the 4.00-4.50 range for the last five years. Fine, but not a guy you offer a QO to. The difference between this Matz and bad Matz was. HR suppression. Is that a skill he can keep up? Maybe but the broader point is that even at his new normal, 1/$18 is too much. There are plenty of free agents in the Matz quality range and they will be cheaper. Look at last season which was much weaker in pitchers. Morton signed for 1/15.. Kluber for 1/11. Stroman and Gausman signed QO. I'd much rather save the money for going after a bigger player than spending big money on your #4/5 starter. It also feels like a position where yo can take a risk on someone like the next Matz and be fine. I'd be happy to have Matz back but on like a 3/24 sort of deal. Otherwise, Jays can replace him pretty easily.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#408670) #
What Glevin said.

I have my heart set on Noah Syndergaard. Would love to see what Pete Walker can do with him. I’d spend 20+ million over 4 years on him easily.


This front office will push hard for a big lefty bat. Last year they wanted Brantley, tried Tellez, traded for Dickerson and picked up Lamb. I expect them to finally address the lefty bat one way or another this off season.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 08:16 AM EDT (#408671) #
Glevin, you are making some opposite assumptions about Matz -- that this *isn't* his new normal (lefties sometimes develop late and Shapiro had liked Matz for a while), that comparable talent will be available this off-season, and that the Jays will be able to make the right choice instead of whiffing as they did on SPs like Roark and Anderson.

Also, Matz has good stuff! He's throwing harder than ever at 94.5 MPH the last couple of years. And after the Jays returned to the RC on July 30, he allowed only 5 HR in 60.1 innings.

I'm not saying he's the next Robbie Ray, but he was pretty good in 2021. I think there is a good chance he maintains that performance under the tutelage of Walker.

Lastly, if Kluber (1.5 WAR in 80 innings) is what you might get for 1/$11m, then why not spend the extra $7m and secure a more useful pitcher in Matz (2.8 WAR in 150.2 innings).

Morton is sui generis and therefore not a good comp. As Ben Clemens of Fangraphs wrote on Sept. 8, "Getting someone like that on a one-year deal is the brass ring; Morton has said he’ll only play in the Southeast, so many teams wouldn’t be able to compete for his services, but on the open market, I think he’d be able to secure an even larger one-year deal."
92-93 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#408672) #
If one is going to cite Ryu's 2020 WAR, it's probably a good idea to point out that the season was 60 games long and that 1.9 WAR was more like a 5 WAR. There is simply no argument to be made that Matz represents the same upside that Ryu had when the Jays signed him. This isn't about who is expected to be better moving forward, because the Jays are already locked in to Ryu and that's part of the reason they need to do better with the money they have available to spend this offseason.

Hopefully this front office learned from their mistakes of Roark and Grichuk and will aim higher.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#408673) #
92-93, thanks for sharing your opinion. Care to go on the record about specific pitchers the Jays could sign this off-season that would represent better value than Matz for the #4 and 5 slots in the rotation?
lexomatic - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#408674) #
I'm definitely in thr pro Matz camp. Anyway at last year's WAR total he's total worth a QO.
Just everything I've read about Syndergaard throughout his career suggests he's stubborn, makes bad decisions, and not open to learning.I think  Polanco is the fallback option for lefty bat.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#408675) #
Is this the Davidi article from which some people are inferring that the Jays will have a payroll of about $160 million this year?  Or is there another one I am missing?

All I can say is that if that was the plan (to run payrolls significantly under the luxury tax threshold), the decision to sign Springer at that money was likely a very poor one.  It has been a long-standing problem with the organization. The understandings about how much money is going to be available constantly have changed and made it hard for the GM to make rational decisions. 
John Northey - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#408676) #
A big factor with QO's this winter vs past ones is the market. Last winter saw salaries finally go well past the $30 mil mark - with Bauer being guaranteed just shy of $40 mil per over 2 years (assuming he opted out after that - $75 mil after 2 if he opts out of year 3). $30+ per year for 10+ year deals for hitters are now almost common (Machado, Lindor, Harper, Cole, Stanton, Betts, and Trout all have $300+ mil deals) after A-Rod holding the record for years and years ($252 over 10 signed in Dec 2000 which is still #11 all-time, his 2nd deal in 2008 for $275 mil is #9). Stanton was the first to break the record set in 2000 - his deal signed in late 2014. And last winter was coming off of COVID with teams not knowing if they had full stadiums for 2021 or if part of the year would be shut down.

Owners really held the line on salaries for the peak contract to hold for 14 years. Based on 2% inflation (real world) the top deals today should be near $381 mil, which Trout is the only person to beat ($426.5 mil over 12 years). Shift to 3% though and the peak would be $469, 5% (closer to MLB historical raises) and you are up to $702 million. Using his 2nd deal you get 5%=$518, 3%=$404, 2%=$356. Given that it seems 4% is the expected raise over time.

For starting pitchers you have, all time, 44 contracts for $18+ mil including recent ones like Cole Hamels in 2020 for 1 start (the 5 previous years he was a 119 ERA+ starter averaging 29 starts a year with a 4.09 FIP entering his age 36 year). Matz hasn't been close to that good, but is also a lot younger and healthier. You regularly see $10 mil risked on guys who might not pitch at all in a season (Yankees on Kluber who missed June/July/August for example) so I see a 1 year deal at less than half of the top salaries for a guy who should be a decent 3/4 guy in the rotation as reasonable. In fact I like it better than a 3 year $30+ mil deal as the Jays aren't locked in to using him if better options arise or he turns back into a pumpkin.
uglyone - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#408677) #
85bluejay - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#408679) #
I heard a former GM say that owners usually make decisions about payroll year to year and it's usually a hard number - I remember that Rogers gave Ricciardi a 3yr/215m payroll back in 2005.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#408681) #
Now is the time to spend on quality players. The next few years may be the best chance the Jays have for a while to field a truly top-notch team. After that the team is likely to be relatively old and expensive, which is not a good place for a baseball team to be, especially in Toronto.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#408683) #
The formula in Toronto seems to be:

1. Patiently build up a substantial hoard of prospects
2. When the team starts to look promising, strategically add a few free agents and cash in many of the prospects for key major-league pieces (for example, Donaldson, Price, Berrios)
3. Have two or three genuinely competitive seasons
4. Go back to step 1

It’s a different approach than the one used in LA or Boston or New York (or, for that matter, Tampa or Oakland or St. Louis).

The Jays are currently in phase 2-3. Unfortunately they missed the postseason in the first season during that phase. They should hustle hard to compete in the next few years before the inevitable rebuild.
bpoz - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#408684) #
My definition of "Impact" player is Springer. "Quality" player is Ryu and Semien.

I don't see Grichuk, Roark and Anderson as "Impact" or "Quality". Maybe "Average" or a little better because they are getting paid $10-12 mil/yr and they did have good/decent years prior to getting those contracts.
uglyone - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#408685) #
"The formula in Toronto seems to be:

1. Patiently build up a substantial hoard of prospects
2. When the team starts to look promising, strategically add a few free agents and cash in many of the prospects for key major-league pieces (for example, Donaldson, Price, Berrios)
3. Have two or three genuinely competitive seasons
4. Go back to step 1"

imo they didn't give away a substantial percentage of their prospect cache this year.
John Northey - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#408686) #
The general rule by WAR is via FanGraphs and who fit each category by Jays standards via FanGraphs (better for forward looking, I find BR better for how they did)...
Scrub0-1 WARKirk, Dickerson, Grichuk, Valera, Mayza, Cimber (as a Jay), Phelps, Stripling, Saucedo, Castro, Chatwood, Payamps, Snead, Milone, Barns, Cole, Dolis, Overton, Richards (both full season and as a Jay)
Role Player1-2 WARGurriel, Jansen, McGuire, Berrios (just as a Jay), Romano, Cimber (full season)
Solid Starter2-3 WARSpringer, Espinal (both on pace for over 4 in full-time play), Matz, Ryu, Manoah
Good Player3-4 WARTeoscar Hernandez, Ray
All-Star4-5 WARBo, Berrios (counting Minny stats as well)
Superstar5-6 WARNone
MVP6+ WARVlad, Semien

Now, via FanGraphs, the value of a single WAR is around $8-9 million after the 2019 season - didn't quickly find one after 2020 but that was such a screwed up year.

So if you think Matz is a 2-3 WAR pitcher going forward he is worth $16-$27 mil a year. Very easily worth the QO. Semien is 'bring out the cash truck' at roughly $50 mil last year and $60 in 2019. A 5 year $150 mil deal should be the starting point for him, brought down due to his age (entering age 31 season) and I wouldn't be shocked if he cracks $200 mil in the end (over 7). Yikes. Ray now has 3 seasons in the 3's (2016/17 and 21) but 2020 and 2018 were sub 1's with 2019 being a 2.3. Over his 7 seasons he has been (via FG) worth $125 mil roughly even with those lows and highs. At $9 mil a win for 3 wins you get $27 mil which I figure is the starting point. So 5 years $135 mil is his bottom price I suspect and I doubt he'll go that low. But paying him based on 4 WAR would be very risky. 4 = $36 per = Cole level for price and I can't imagine any team is that nuts. I can see $30 per for 5 happening.
bpoz - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#408687) #
Moreno, O Martinez, Groshans (injury issues) are my top prospects. Pearson as well (only 33IP).

I am ok with saying SWR and A Martin are substantial prospect losses because they did make the top 100 list. A Martin at 36 currently seems to have slipped.

I personally don't put much faith in the top 100 list. Moreno, O Martinez and Groshans are #32, 44 and 55 with M Gore 56 (slipped badly I think).

SK in NJ - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#408688) #
The Berrios trade involved trading top prospects, but Atkins has mostly tried to supplement the roster via free agency (Ryu, Springer, Semien, Ray, etc). Maybe if there's a trade out there for Jose Ramirez this winter, then he'd be willing to trade more top prospects, but I don't think it's going to be the norm with this FO. I would expect that even if they lose Ray and Semien that Atkins will try to replace them via free agency first or a trade for a depressed asset for lesser cost (ex. Matt Chapman). They don't want 2-3 competitive seasons, they want a long sustainable run. In some of the years it might mean missing the playoffs (2021) but it's about building an uninterrupted run of competitiveness.

The team appears to want to extend Hernandez, and obviously Berrios is someone they need to extend, so money is going to be an issue at some point. They'll need young players to come up and provide cheap production once existing young talent gets more expensive, and they'll need to limit the amount of long-term FA deals they have on the books. This actually makes keeping top prospects more important, not less. That goes out the window if you can acquire a player like Ramirez in a trade, but he's very much an exception.
bpoz - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#408689) #
I think Cleveland will trade J Ramirez this off season because he has only next year before FA.

NYY have prospects A Vople, J Dominguez, O Peraza and L Gill. They probably compete for him.

I am sure others will compete as well.
92-93 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#408690) #
That game is easier to play after all the contracts have been signed, greenfrog. With the upcoming CBA talks and last offseason's unique market it's tough to get a gauge on what the FA SP market will look like this time around. It certainly wouldn't have landed a pitcher of Matz's calibre 18MM last year, or even 3/30. That much is clear.

For me your question is a bit of a non-starter. The Jays shouldn't be involved on large and/or multi-year deals for guys that clearly slot in behind Berrios/Ryu/Manoah. If they're going to give up their limited resources, either via FA or trade, the target should have a talent level that makes him interchangeable with the guys already on hand.

On a quick perusal of the impending FA list, here are guys with upside worth targeting, in no particular order: Ray, DeSclafani, Rodon, Gausman, Stroman, Gray, Kershaw, Kluber, Rodriguez, Scherzer, Verlander, and Syndergaard.

Here is a list of guys with value in Matz's range, the kind of guys you don't rush out to sign but ones that could help the team's need for SP innings on the right 1 or 2 year deals: Duffy, T Anderson, Cobb, Greinke, Heaney, Hill, Kikuchi, Miley, Paxton, Pineda, Smyly, Wacha, and Wood.

And here's a few arms that I think are worth taking a flyer on and seeing what Walker can do with them: Moore, Norris, and Quintana.

Those lists aren't meant to be comprehensive, and I'm sure on closer examination I'd move guys around based on both health and recent performance. I also wouldn't be against them trading Hernandez for an arm of similar value/control, like a Nola or Alcantara.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#408691) #
A lot of players in that post are either (1) old, (2) injury prone, (3) overpriced, (4) overrated, or (5) unlikely to come to Toronto (or unlikely to do so without extra financial incentives).

Also, I’m not confident that in 2022 Matz “clearly” slots in behind Ryu (who faded down the stretch this year and by objective measures was no more valuable than the cheaper Matz over the course of the season).

I don’t think Matz is the perfect choice, but I think he’s a reasonable one, for reasons of age, recent performance, stuff, health/durability, handedness, “bird in the hand,” low financial risk (in the big picture).

And I’m not someone who likes to reward mediocrity with big contracts. I was opposed to the Grichuk extension, for example.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#408692) #
I'd rather have Matz than Corey Kluber. Kluber only threw 80 innings last year after missing 2020 and they weren't very good ones considering the quality of competition..  He faced Toronto 4 times and gave up 9 runs in 15.1 innings.  He faced Tampa once and gave up 5 runs in 2.1 innings.  Otherwise he faced the poorest clubs in the league- Baltimore 3 times and no Boston, the Tigers and Cleveland but no White Sox, the Rangers twice and the Angels but not the Astros, A's or Mariners.  He had great outings against the Tigers and the Rangers in May, and a good one against Cleveland in September, but otherwise there wasn't much there. 

I am not saying whether they should give Matz a QO; I'm inclined to think so but there are too many variables that I just don't know about. 
92-93 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#408693) #
Heh. If the only name you could cherry-pick out of that list that took me less than 2 minutes to compile was Kluber, I did a good job.

Also, come on. Pretty much all of Matz's good work was done vs. bad teams (other than NYY) too. That's likely true of most pitchers.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#408694) #
Greenfrog, we get it, you like Matz and don’t agree that there are other options out there more reasonable for the Jays to sign. I think for the money and the short term commitment it’s reasonable to offer the one year to Matz. The hiccup I have with your argument is your insistence on comparing Matz as a comparable or better pitcher than Ryu. Several posters have shown why your argument involving Ryu is flawed. You don’t need to prove that Matz is better than Ryu to prove that signing Matz could be a good move for the Jays.

The worst thing you can do is take a portion of a contract, season or even career to support your argument while ignoring other important elements. You have used this logic several times in the past to make arguments as to why the Jays made mistakes with Dwight Smith Jr and Bergen.

Lastly, are we all still using WAR as a realistic measuring stick for players? I get it, it’s convenient, but I don’t think it’s the key stat that front offices are using to evaluate players and their worth to salary and payroll. The stat is getting pretty old…

Greenfrog, I think we’re all guilty of some of these arguments, to be fair, and I love your perseverance. I wasn’t interested in Matz, and although you’re way off the mark comparing Matz to Ryu, you have convinced me that Matz can be a good match for the Jays, but there are still others I would prefer.
pooks137 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#408695) #
WAR is not a perfect stat. Front offices also likely their own proprietary value metrics that we don't have access to.

It seems like strange criticism to me to say "WAR is getting old" and shouldn't be "still using WAR as a realistic measuring stick for players".

If not WAR as a single, universal, all-encompassing stat, then what else?

I'm skeptical that WAR captures real life reliever value. The sometimes major discrepancies between bWAR and fWAR can also be concerning.

But it seems to me that it's hasty to discard and disregard a stat like WAR when the heir apparent isn't quite so obvious.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 14 2021 @ 11:53 PM EDT (#408696) #
“ If not WAR as a single, universal, all-encompassing stat, then what else?”

The whole idea is that there is no single all encompassing stay to explain everything. WAR is way to simplistic and leads to generalizations of evaluations based on posted WAR numbers. Knowing which players are playing injured and relying on your analytics team to summarize a plethora of underlying numbers is likely what baseball insiders are doing. It’s why I think most people if not all people in baseball would choose Ryu of Matz even if WAR over a recent sample size says otherwise.

Anything can change in the future between those two pitchers but it will have to be based on lots of numbers and underlying facts, not a simplistic paint by number stat over a small sample size.
Magpie - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#408697) #
If not WAR as a single, universal, all-encompassing stat, then what else?

Nothing else. The very idea of such a thing is silly. It's a wild goose chase. The game isn't that simple.

It's just handy and convenient to have a broad estimate of overall value - however crude - that can be expressed as a single digit.
Eephus - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 12:43 AM EDT (#408698) #
An absolutely atrocious call to end a damn great and entertaining game. It does seem like the umpiring (from the little I've watched) has been exceedingly poor this postseason. 
pooks137 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 02:18 AM EDT (#408700) #
I can respect that people have problems with the foibles of WAR.

But calling it silly and flawed and then offering no other alternative to evaluate and compare players sure seems like a non-answer to me.
Magpie - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 07:03 AM EDT (#408701) #
It's really the idea itself that there could actually be such a great statistic, a single thing that accounts for everything accurately that's silly. It's not unlike the quest for a unified field theory that combines general relativity with quantum mechanics, which has been frustrating theoretical physicists since Einstein took a whack at it a hundred years ago. The actual attempts to create such a thing can best be regarded as noble attempts at achieving the impossible. It's not a useless and futile exercise because there really are types of analysis that can only be made with the use of such a great statistic (typically they involve comparing one large group of players to another.) It's still a snipe hunt.

But having created this monster, and having it at our disposal, has made people lazy. In this regard, WAR (or any other great statistic) isn't silly so much as it's dangerous. All such great statistics are far too crude to be used to compare one individual to another - but who can resist doing so anyway? It's simply so convenient to refer to this one catch-all rather than pore through the myriad details that constitute as much of the actual record as we can find. Even people who know this to be true - hello, it's me - can't resist doing so anyway because it's so, so easy and convenient. Every time I use WAR in such a manner, I hate myself in the morning. But I've had my cheap fun, thank you very much.
BlueJayWay - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#408702) #
Agreed with above posters.

The problem I have with WAR is not the stat itself (it's just one stat among many), it's that people treat it as if it's the be-all end-all stat that absolutely captures all value about a player no questions asked.

Player A had 3.6 WAR and Player B 3.2 WAR so therefore Player A was exactly 3.6 - 3.2 = 0.4 WAR better than Player B. I have no reason to believe it can do this level of distinguishing.

Even just the fact that there are two main versions of WAR that often differ quite a bit should give people pause.


greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#408703) #
How about ERA, FIP, and xFIP instead? AL pitchers with 150+ innings in 2021:

fWAR ranking: Matz (16th), Ryu (17th)
ERA ranking: Matz (13th), Ryu (19th)
FIP ranking: Matz (14th), Ryu (17th)
xFIP ranking: Matz (16th), Ryu (17th)

Matz topped Ryu in bWAR (2.0 versus 1.7) and ERA+ (115 versus 100) as well.

I'm not seeing the case that objective measures other than fWAR favour Ryu over Matz. But I'm open to persuasion.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#408704) #
Perhaps the best way to consider Wins Above Replacement is simply as a zero-to-six point scale (roughly) for any player.  Similar to the 20-to-80 point scale for prospect ratings, except WAR is rooted in actual performance statistics instead of strictly scouting evaluations.

I do not generally subscribe to the literal interpretation of WAR.  For example, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. provides much more than 6 or 7 extra wins compared to Jake Lamb.  Nonetheless, the WAR measure may serve as a useful guide.

I also agree about the perception of WAR. For those familiar, it is not the Omega Particle or the Kyber Crystal.

dalimon5 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#408706) #
Do you realize Ryu was put on the DL? It may be possible he was pitching hurt. Did he have as many starts as Matz and IP as Matz this year?

Are you comfortable using a down season from Ryu and good season from Matz as the true barometer of future expectation of value? Will you ignore the other years of data and the decisions of management to not even include Matz in the potential playoff rotation? To pitch Ryu in a key must win game over Matz?

It’s been discussed on the radio and the TV broadcast that Ryu needed an adjustment to his delivery as the Blue Jays felt it was tipping his pitches and he was losing his feel for his change up. Is it possible it doesn’t matter because Matz has gone from #4/5 starter to top 3? I suppose that’s possible. Corey Dickerson also had more WAR than Cody Bellinger so it’s possible he could be a better player for 2022.

dalimon5 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#408707) #
And for those wondering, Robbie Ray, likely Cy Young pitcher for this year, had a negative WAR in 2020 with mediocre underlying numbers.

Magpie’s post should be pinned to the top of every new thread as a reminder.

Excuse me while I pray this discussion does not travel into the League Championship thread…
bpoz - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#408708) #
In 2013 we won the off season according to most experts. This taught me to not trust many baseball wisdoms because of the actual results.
greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#408709) #
"why the Jays made mistakes with Dwight Smith Jr and Bergen"

First of all, dalimon, this is so lame. This is at least the third time in recent months you've repeated this argument (without the nuance of the original discussion years ago) in unrelated contexts, over and over, in an apparent attempt to damage my credibility.

Every single one of us has made good predictions and bad ones. I could easily do the same thing about you: "I remember when dalimon5 confidently predicted that the Red Sox would go into a late-season tailspin and miss the postseason. Now they're in the ALCS. He claims to be right about issue X but his predictions clearly lack merit."

Honestly, doing that just makes the poster look like a jerk.
92-93 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#408710) #
I still have no idea why Ryu and Matz are even being compared. The Ryu the Jays signed was a much better pitcher than the Matz people are suggesting they target.

Funny you mention Bergen, dalimon5. One of the fun parts of this site is that we can pull up past threads and see how silly we sounded with hindsight. After greenfrog said they were opposed to the Grichuk extension I read the thread related to that deal and while there was no opposition from them to the extension (perhaps it came later?), there was indeed mention of a clean Bergen inning. I was confused by the deal and said the risk doesn't match the reward, which is a good way of framing an 18MM deal for Matz.
92-93 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#408711) #
No doubt greenfrog, we have all been horribly wrong if we provide opinions with any spice to them.
John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#408712) #
WAR has its uses - I love it for stuff like comparing long term results from drafts or trades for example where players involved could be defensive wizards, power hitters, pitchers, closers, you name it. You need an objective way to compare and it works decently for long term. Single season tends to have lots of noise though, much like all other stats.

I like looking back and seeing how people here reacted to stuff at the time. Marcus Semien signing for example - Parker's comment I like the most: "I love it. If you're a pessimist, he's a league-average bat who can play both middle infield positions. If you're more optimistic, he's an MVP candidate." The optimists won.

Back to the topic... Ray's signing happened early in this thread Mike Green had a good comment: "$8 million for a year for Ray does not suggest that the market will be completely flat. He is a project although one with potentially good returns." Oh yeah. scottt pointed out the rotation at the time was seen as Ryu, Pearson, Stripling, Ray, Roark - ugh, thank goodness for the Matz & Berrios trades and Manoah coming up.

Most felt Ray was a decent signing at $8 mil for 1 year, with a few of us wishing the Jays got a team option for 2022 (boy would that have been nice now) but one really can't argue with the end result. Many pushed for Walker and/or other free agents such as Odorizzi (0.7 WAR, 102 ERA+ over 104 IP), Paxton (1 start, 1 1/3 IP before his arm blew up), Plesac (94 ERA+ over 142 IP, but would've been very expensive in a trade), Walker (90 ERA+ over 159 IP, 0.4 WAR for the Mets in a very bad division), Carrasco (67 ERA+ over 53 IP and makes $12 mil next year before his $3 mil buyout can be used). None of those guys would've been better than the final 5 (or 6 if you count Stripling) we had here and all were more expensive than all but Ryu (Berrios' trade cost was probably comparable to what Cleveland would've charged to get Plesac).

All this is good for reminding us the front office knows their job better than us. They picked Ray up for peanuts and the other cheap guys they left behind (that people here wanted signed) were not worth signing. Their big signing, Springer, was a bit of a flop due to injuries (under 1/2 a season) but he did play well when healthy. DJ LeMathieu would've been a big mistake (1.5 WAR, now going into his age 33 season so more likely to drop than grow in production), Bauer - the less said the better, J.T. Realmuto would've been nice (3.4 WAR) but not drastically better than Jansen/Kirk (1.3/0.9), Marcell Ozuna was negative WAR. That covers the top 5 Free Agents of last winter by most measures. Semien was also a top 10 and well worth it to put it mildly.
greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#408713) #
This is tedious, but since 92-93 decided to go there, here are some of my posts about Grichuk (who was extended on April 2, 2019):

- 4 April 2018: "Keith Law called Grichuk a fourth outfielder. Ultimately, that may be his role once Alford is healthy. Clearly, he’s not a good hitter..."

- 11 May 2019: "In my opinion, the Jays overcommitted in terms of years and risk when they agreed to the Grichuk contract, especially in a rebuilding year..."

- 20 June 2019: "If the team doesn’t expect to contend for a few years, and therefore plans to trade Stroman, then why extend Grichuk (an inferior player who will be past his prime in a couple of years)?"
John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#408714) #
For Ray signing The Athletic has an article on it estimating a $18-23 mil a year salary over 4-6 years with 6 being unlikely. 4 years $20 mil per ala Ryu, that would work nicely.
dalimon5 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#408715) #

I questioned why the Red Sox were given a free pass to reach the post season when the Yankees and Jays did not receive the same treatment. They were ahead of both teams for 1st WC and guess what happened… they had to fight to the last day for a spot in the playoffs, and they needed to play in the wild card game as an equal opponent not a team X number of games ahead. What you are trying to show as me being wrong is the opposite, my questioning turned out to be accurate, since Boston did not walk away easily with the 1st wild card as others claimed.

Your 3 quotes on Bergen is cherry picking. You have posts into the 20s and 30s count about Bergen and Dwight Smith Jr being assets who the Jays bungled by trading or releasing.

Notice that my post about the Red Sox, accurate as it became), was ONE post, not two, not 3, not 6, not 7…see where I’m going with this? The only tedious thing is re-reading the same poor arguments dressed up differently.

It’s not my intention to tarnish your credibility, your post history takes care of each posters reputation. I’d count 7-8 posters on this site that have credibility, and none of them argue ad nauseam about non prospects and marginal players like you do.
John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#408716) #
Kept looking for the Matz trade and finally found it - deep in the Marcus Semien signing thread.

I said: "...I'm going on the optimistic side here and think the Jays bought low. SRF I've been a fan of but at this point he was not going to be more than a middle man in the pen."

Many others were not happy - grjas pointed out "Among starters projected to put up more than five starts next year, new Blue Jay Steven Matz has the 206th-best Quality of Stuff (based on velo and movement) according to numbers from @Moore_Stats", rpriske: "I don't mind Matz as a reclamation project. Trading SRF for him? Uh, no."

damion5 got it "Matz has better underlying numbers and perceived upside than Walker and will cost significantly less annually and for one year only."

SRF had a 5.23 ERA in relief for the Mets over 20 2/3 IP, Yennsy Diaz also sucked 5.40 ERA in 25 IP, Josh Winckowski was the other guy in the deal (Mets sent him to Boston) 2 very good starts in AAA, 4.14 ERA in AA over 100 IP. He is their #19 prospect, not on the top 100 for MLB. So nothing big lost yet unless Winckowski develops.
greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#408717) #
Honestly, dalimon, I feel sorry for you.
bpoz - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#408720) #
Thanks John for digging. Proof that getting it right all the time is very hard.

Atkins giving S Brito a try in 2019 was a lost gamble in a year that little to no effort was put into being half decent. To Atkins credit he DFA'd Brito quickly. F Galvis was a great signing for that year IMO.

As far as people disagreeing with each other or me ... I am ok with agreeing to disagree with me. I get a lot wrong. I do miss SRF.

Losing prospects does upset me. Lost: SRF, Y Diaz, H Perez, Zeuch, P Murphy plus more. Added A Castro ( I thought there were more). I valued our prospects more than they showed.
bpoz - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#408724) #
Grichuk is getting paid $10 mil for each of the next 2 seasons. Would $6mil/yr be his real value? His 511 ABs was 2nd to only Teoscar's 550 of the OFs. He is not perfect but is quality depth. We needed it in 2021. Offense with not horrible defense seems to be valued.

SD really under performed and are blaming poor depth in part. Also when Acuna got injured AA had to scramble. Lucky that division was bad. I don't know how well Acuna was covered but deGrom for the Mets was not covered.

Our past discussions (hope my memory is correct) about Rogers being ok with a low payroll ($90-110mil) and a record of 79-84 has proven wrong. I bought that concept because bottom line is very valuable. AA proved in 2015 that higher payroll combined with winning (playoff runs) would generate good enough revenue to scrap the old plan.
John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#408727) #
bpoz - agreed, 2015 was critical to the current Jays success - we lost a lot of prospects, but the Jays making the playoffs and getting sky high ratings and packed stadiums proved to Rogers that spending to win is not a bad thing and could be more profitable than just treading water. The Jays aren't the Leafs - the fans will come to a certain degree for a 'meh' team, but for a winner - wow.

As to Grichuk - his $10 mil is an overpay but not a killer one (for Tampa it would be). He is barely over replacement level. His deal was a mistake, but I get why the Jays did it. If only the Jays could con Vlad or Bo to sign that same deal :)
scottt - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#408745) #
Losing prospects does upset me. Lost: SRF, Y Diaz, H Perez, Zeuch, P Murphy plus more. Added A Castro ( I thought there were more). I valued our prospects more than they showed.

None of these guys amounted to much. The real prospect they lost are Martin and Woods Richardson.
Looking at MLB Pipeline, the Twins have Royce Lewis (#1 overall pick in 2017), Martin, Jordan Balazovic (He's the guy the Twins offered for Stroman) and then SWR. All of those guys should reach next year. Should be interesting.

Besides Castro, the Jays picked up Bowden Francis in the Tellez trade.
He has a chance to make some starts next year.
John Northey - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#408766) #
I hate losing prospects but also know how often they flop.  Looking from 2015 to now for Jays in the Baseball America top 25 you get (WAR in brackets) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (9.4), Bo Bichette (9.4), Nate Pearson (-0.1), Daniel Norris (5.4), Anthony Alford (0.0), and Austin Martin (minors).  Alek Manoah (2.8) never made the top 100 list, let alone top 25.  I see 2 successes, 1 flop (Alford), 1 flopping but might recover (Pearson), Norris has 5.4 WAR so far and will not get much as a free agent this winter I suspect.  Austin Martin is likely to make the majors but will he be a star?  Unlikely at this point (power disappeared).  Kirk made the top 100 list after he had success in 2020 (#70),

Others in the top 25 in the 2000's?  Travis d'Arnaud (4.4), Kyle Drabek (-0.1), Travis Snider (4.3), Alex Rios (27.3), Dustin McGowan (1.6), and Vernon Wells (28.6).

So do I see trading a top 25 prospect as risky?  Sure.  But damning?  No.  Since 2000 the Jays had 12 guys make the top 25 (some multiple times like Vlad 3 times) and only 5 got 5 WAR so far (I suspect d'Arnaud will get there someday) with just 2 cracking 10 (Wells & Rios, both over 25).  Vlad & Bo having the exact same career WAR surprised me but damn if it doesn't fit.  Hopefully in 25 years we'll see them go to the HOF together.
Michael - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#408767) #
And that is the hit and miss rate for guys in the top 25. Many traded "prospects" weren't even in the top 100. There are some that criticize AA for not drafting and developing good prospects AND criticize AA for "trading away all the prospects". The point is that you want to develop major leaguers and the traditional way is draft and develop, but if you can draft and sell high while the rest of the league is higher on them than they are worth, then you can produce good quality major league players that way.

Even the good prospects that hurt to lose like SWR are not even top-100 prospects on the list (in the 60s for BA and in the 90s for MLB).

Selling the farm would have been trading Vlad.

Austin Martin was a legit prospect that was sold. Most of the minor leaguers sold in trades are not legit prospects. They have value, but far less than most MLB starters signed to non-FA sized contracts.
John Northey - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 01:17 AM EDT (#408768) #
The question with Martin is will he be a Bo Bichette level player or a Travis Snider? Right now you really can't say for sure. At 18 Snider had a 979 OPS in rookie ball, at 20 he had a cup of coffee in the majors with a 114 OPS+, at 22 he had a 105 OPS+ in 82 games for the Jays K'ing in just under 25% of his PA. At 22 Martin was in AA hitting 270/414/382 K'ing in just shy of 20% of his PA. I wouldn't bet the farm on Martin having a better career than Snider (who played in AAA this year for Atlanta hitting only 174/305/304 at age 33, last ML PA was in 2015).

Prospects have gained massive value to teams, far beyond any reasonable value imo. The risk/reward ratio is way out of wack and I think Atkins figured that out in the Berrios and Matz deals. You need to keep prime prospects (top 10's were mostly successful except Pearson so far, Snider, and Jose Silva in 1994 - every other top 10 prospect (from Olerud & Delgado to Vlad & Bo) has been successful by any measure (all 10+ WAR guys except Vlad & Bo at 9.4 each).

Yes, some lower ones do work out beautifully - see Syndergaard - but those are remembered because they are the exception, not the rule. The best ever traded away was Jeff Kent but he had issues in NY with the Mets and was only in Cleveland for a partial season before he became the near HOF'er he was in SF. And our HOF GM released David Wells after a poor season just to see him earn 46.4 WAR over the rest of his career. So yeah, even the best get things wrong. Even after seeing ML success and failure - just looked at his game logs in 1992 (his last here in his first stint) and he had 3 starts giving up 28 ER in 14 2/3 IP - IIRC the staff was drained at the time (it was August and the Jays were struggling a bit pre-Cone trade) and Cito left him out there to eat innings. Remove those and his ERA drops from 5.40 to 3.76 (76 ERA+ to over 100 by a bit). Dang, I do wander sometimes don't I?
greenfrog - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#408788) #
I don't want to trigger any posters, but for those interested, Kevin Goldstein answered my question about Matz in his chat today:

12:30 Do you think Steven Matz elevated his game in 2021 (possibly making him worthy of a qualifying offer)?

Kevin Goldstein
12:30 He's a real tough QO case. It's VERY close. I do think he'll do well in FA if he doesn't get one.
bpoz - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#408792) #
Thanks for digging further greenfrog on Matz.

Any FA that signs with a QO attached resulting in a lost round2? pick should get a 3 year deal I imagine. I suppose 3X $14mil = $42 mil. That should not break any teams budget I would think.

Springer, Bauer, Realmuto and LeMahieu all took a while to sign. My guess is that they were confident in getting a deal and were haggling for $ and term. Also the teams pursuing them were very willing to lose the draft pick.

Personally I now believe that draft picks are not as valuable as I used to think they were. I randomly clicked on 2014. 1st round (9th pick) J Hoffman was successful and round 10 J Romano was successful. Romano was chosen to save money ($114,400) by signing under slot. All the saved money was given to round 5 pick Lane Thomas who could be successful.

I then clicked 2018 (not randomly). 2018 is a bit too early to spot successes but the perceived failure rate looks like it will be consistent with other years.

So no more fussing about lost draft picks via FA penalty or trade for me. So giving Matz a QO seems fairly harmless to me. We may gain a #2 pick and over pay $4-5mil if the QO is accepted. That was the cost of Yates or Phelps.
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