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And then there were four.

The ALCS gets started tonight at Enron Memorial, with two teams that have richly deserved every bit of disdain we can muster. Unfortunately, they can't both lose. What to do? Well, the Astros don't play in the AL East, which goes a long way in their favour. I figure Dusty Baker had no part in the past shenanigans and I wouldn't be at all unhappy to see him finally get a championship as a manager (he won once as a player with the 1981 Dodgers.) This is his fifth managerial job and he's finished first in every one of the places he's been. Only eleven men have managed more Wins in the game's history than Dusty's 1987  and if he comes back for a 25th season in 2022 he should cruise past several of them - Bruce Bochy, Leo Durocher, Walter Alston. But Baker's teams have only made it to one World Series and they lost that one in seven games.

Zack Greinke wasn't in Houston in 2017 either, and Zack has given us years of fun without ever winning a championship. In fact, I believe that just five of the current Astros were part of the 2017 team. Those five are pretty prominent parts of this year's team, though - it's the entire starting infield and one rotation starter.

But mostly... they're not Red Sox.

In the other league, Milwaukee's outstanding pitching held Atlanta to just 12 runs in four games. But that was twice as many as the punchless Brewers were able to manage - a pair of homers from our old pal Rowdy Tellez accounted for both of their runs in the first game and two of their four runs in the finale. They didn't score at all in the other two.

Meanwhile those ancient rivals, the Giants and Dodgers, gave everyone their money's worth and then some. They swapped victories in the first four games - Giants shutout, Dodgers blowout, Giants shutout, Dodgers blowout - and then provided an absolute classic on the finale. In the top of the ninth, Cody Bellinger broke up a 1-1 tie with an RBI single to score Justin Turner. Mad Max Scherzer then pitched around Turner's error for the first Save of his professional career, with more than a little help from a truly terrible - awful, horrendous, mind-boggling when you consider the game situation - check swing call from first base umpire Gabe Morales, a call so terrible that even Dodgers fans were apologetic afterwards, though some managed to recall an even worse checked swing call - Ed Hickox on what should have been a game ending third strike - that cost the Dodgers a mid-season win against these very same Giants. Yeah, stakes weren't quite the same. Giants manager Gabe Kapler behaved with remarkable class and restraint in the aftermath, saying it was a tough way for it to end but there were other reasons they lost the game.

In other news... managers have started to fall.

First, in the least surprising development of the entire season, Jayce Tingler walked the plank in San Diego.

Then the Mets cashiered Luis Rojas, which may been a little surprising except that nothing the Mets do should ever surprise anyone.

But St.Louis dismissing Mike Shildt for "philosophical differences" seems to have caught everyone off guard. Cardinals watchers suspect that Shildt wasn't entirely on board with GM Mozeliak's desire to build an organization that is driven more by data and analytics than it is at the moment. Possible conflict between Shildt and hitting coach Jeff Albert, widely viewed as Mozeliak's man in the dugout, has also been suggested. This is all just gossip, of course.

And the Yankees fired their hitting coach - not too surprising the way they swing the bats this year. Someone had to take the fall. They also fired third base coach Phil Nevin. We all saw that send of Aaron Judge in the deciding game. Nevin is Aaron Boone's buddy, and while Boone is believed to be safe, he may have other options. Us old folks might remember the exact same thing happening in the 1980 ALCS - George Steinbrenner wanted to fire third base coach Mike Ferraro after an ill-fated send of Willie Randolph in the third game. Manager Dick Howser refused and resigned after the season was over  (oddly enough, Ferraro ended up keeping his job.)
The League Championship Series | 169 comments | Create New Account
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Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#408705) #
In the 2006 NBA playoffs, San Antonio and Dallas were seeded # 1 and 4 despite being 1st and 2nd overall in the West. So, they played head-to-head in the 2nd round, instead of the 3rd round. (The top 3 seeds were reserved for the division winners.) As a result, the NBA modified the bracket. Now, the 3 division winners receive a top 4 seed, which provides home-court advantage in the 1st round.

For MLB, previously with just 1 wild card team, the old rule prevented a 1st-round matchup between division rivals. Now with 2 wild card entries, that rule was abandoned. I would not re-establish that format. Rather, I suggest all the teams should be re-seeded after the Wild Card Game. (San Francisco playing the Dodgers really should have been the NLCS. Moreover, Atlanta does not deserve home-field advantage.)

John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#408718) #
Hrm... not a fan of these pairings but I'll cheer on Houston (not Boston), and Atlanta (ex-Jay factor - Travis d'Arnaud, Jeff Mathis, Jesse Chavez, and of course Alex Anthopoulos, plus honorary Canadian Freddie Freeman - represented Canada at the 2017 World Baseball Classic) over LA (just won last year and blow more cash than anyone as proven by having David Price in the pen and wasting tens of millions on Bauer yet still winning 106 games thanks to trading for Scherzer - just something wrong about that imo, roughly a $262 mil payroll this year vs the Jays $153 mil - so the Jays could sign 3 guys to deals worth $30+ mil and still be spending less than the Dodgers)
ISLAND BOY - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#408719) #
If there were no salary cap in hockey, the Maple Leafs would be the equivalent of the Dodgers, a rich team that could sign any free agent that would come there plus trade for more stars. And yet they'd still find a way to screw it up.
92-93 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#408721) #
Even without a salary cap the bean-counters at MLSE would prevent outlandish spending, as was the case before the cap was instituted in 2005. There's just no incentive when people are passionate enough to fill the ACC regardless of the product on the ice. It's kind of similar to where the Yankees find themselves today.

Speaking of the Buds, it's annoying seeing Kaberle in Montreal red on the Leafs HR franchise page. I would never have guessed the franchise's #1 player by hockey WAR.
Gerry - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#408722) #
I dislike the Braves but I like Alex A.
hypobole - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#408723) #
Houston has a horrible reputation and rightly so..... but.

Minor leaguers this season received some paltry pay increases. But the longstanding issues with housing were even worse than in past seasons for many. Because of the pandemic, host families weren't taking them in, like Danny Jansen's parents did with Adam Jones years ago.

The Angels may or may not have been the worst, but they were called out for the despicable treatment of their minor leaguers.

Only one team provided fully furnished housing to their minor league players this year - the Houston Astros.

John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#408725) #
Now that I can respect. Makes it a lot easier to cheer on Houston this series. I never got why teams cheap out on the minors - look at Olympic athletes - the ones who get the best facilities to train in tend to do the best (far higher base to work from for them). Sometimes you get ones who sneak through running barefoot, but generally the better the training the better the result. The minors would be the same - better nutrition, better sleep quarters, and better results should come through (IE: getting the guy who maxes out in A to reach AA, AAA to reach the majors, etc.). Just need to get 1 extra ML win a year via it to cover virtually any costs involved I figure - Plot out $2k per rental unit, $1k for decent food per player x 25 players per level = $75k per level x 4 levels = $300k per year or more or less a minor bonus for a ML'er. Less than the value of 1/8 of a win. Seems moronic to penny pinch on this.
Michael - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#408726) #
I think the number 1 seed ought to have the right to pick between the 3 seed and the two wild card teams. You could have it before the wild card game is played so they could do the split thing of if team A wins the wild card, we'll play them, but if team B wins the wild card, we'll play the 3 seed. It is often the case the better wild card is better than the worst of the division winners.

This format would make there be more to play for between the top and 2nd division winner as well as between the 2nd and 3rd division winner, and would also add extra interest. Teams could also have added motivation from being picked/not being picked so overall I think it is a better format, but also creates interesting talking points in both the end of season and start of playoffs.
johnny was - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#408728) #
Anyone looking to learn more about the generally atrocious living conditions minor leaguers endure should follow @MiLBAdvocates.
dalimon5 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#408729) #
"I dislike the Braves but I like Alex A."

Funny, I am the exact opposite. I like the players, like the team, but still have a sour tase after seeing AA get fired/put on notice then when he had nothing to lose go all in.

I especially like Freddie Freeman and would move Teoscar for pitching if it meant signing Freeman. 1% chance this happens?
John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#408730) #
As much as I'd love Freeman to play here no chance with Vlad at 1B as he is a 1B/DH too with a tiny bit of play at 3B (16 games in 2017). The only way it'd work is to have the two of them split time at 1B/DH and that reduces the value of each player and makes it harder if Springer gets hurt again (as he probably will).
cascando - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#408731) #
still have a sour tase after seeing AA get fired/put on notice then when he had nothing to lose go all in.

Funny, that’s not how I remember it. I always thought that AA went “all in” because he realized that the team was much better than its record suggested and that the division that year was weak and there for the taking.

Shapiro was hired on Aug 31, so by then AA had already made his decisions (and the team was in first place, I believe.) I thought Shapiro told AA after he started that he didn’t approve of the prospect trades and that’s part of what led to a falling out. That, and Shapiro’s pretty tactless comments during his introductory interview about how glad he was that he was going to be more involved in baseball ops.

Water under the bridge and it doesn’t really matter anymore who the villain is. But I’ll be cheering for AA. He was always a very passionate, hard working, creative executive. I’m glad to see him continue to succeed.
dalimon5 - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#408732) #
Beeston and AA were both put on notice well before the moves were made. First Rogers interviewed Williams in Chicago as a replacement. Then leaks came out that Duquette was being interviewed as a replacement. Then AA and Beeston were officially notified.

Job Mccown has covered this and he’s very close with Beeston. Alex and Beeston according to him we’re extremely upset to not having their contracts renewed as the GM and President since they stuck to Rogers parameters up to that point.

greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#408733) #
Actually, the problem with 2015 is that Anthopoulos didn't go far enough (as he himself has acknowledged). He had a deal in place to acquire Ben Zobrist (for Rowdy Tellez, if memory serves) before the trade deadline. Had he made that move, the Jays might well have won the World Series that year.

Either way, AA was and is a class act.
John Northey - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#408734) #
It did seem classless at the time. But at least it worked out for us fans - playoffs in 15/16 for the first time in decades, playoffs again in 20, nearly there in 21, core of young talent suggesting we should see a lot more of this in 22 and beyond.
greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#408735) #
The fact that AA fought hard to exclude Alford from the David Price trade during their all-night negotiations (Dombrowski wanted him included) and chose not to trade Tellez for Zobrist suggests that AA was still keeping the future in mind, even as he moved aggressively to win that year.
Michael - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#408736) #
Yeah, despite the constant refrain AA did not sell the farm for the future. He made some trades that improved the team at the cost of a small amount of the prospects, but still left the Jays well positioned. The deals would have made sense had AA stayed, and they made sense when he left. They were smart moves. They weren't that different from things like the Berrios trade this year.

IMHO we have been pretty lucky as AA was a well above average GM and Shapiro/Atkins are also a well above average GM. They could always do better, and there will always be some mistakes or missed opportunities, but we could do a lot worse.
Kasi - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#408737) #
I dislike Alex A but I like the Braves.
greenfrog - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#408738) #
One other thing about 2015. I think AA had some bad luck in that Tulowitzki got injured when Pillar ran into him in the outfield and broke his scapula. I don’t think Tulo fully recovered from the injury that season, which hurt the team in the postseason (when he hit .205/.239/.386). Like the 2021 Jays, that team almost achieved greatness but couldn’t quite pull it off.
Glevin - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#408739) #
I liked AA fine and going all in on 2015 was the right move, but he did not leave the Jays well positioned at all and his approach of going all in every two years was not sustainable. Both things can be true.
bpoz - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#408740) #
AA's big moves were hard to fully justify.
Nigel - Friday, October 15 2021 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#408741) #
I find the notion of posters liking or disliking AA personally, very odd in the circumstances. Approving or disapproving of his GM tenure in Toronto I understand. Like most GMs who are competent enough to have some tenure, he had big successes and some big failures on his individual transaction resume in Toronto. I thought more wins than losses but I can see the other side. My guess is though that he currently chuckles at critics, as he is building a resume of post season trips, that is getting hard to ignore. There are very (emphasis on very) few who can match it.
bpoz - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#408742) #
Houston wins game 1.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#408743) #
This ALCS matchup reminds me of professional wrestling, where villain vs. villain (heel vs. heel) generally never works for storytelling.

I wonder if any of these characters can perform the classic turn from villain to babyface...

Joe West, my hero, is set to retire after the playoffs.  One last hurrah brouhaha.

scottt - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#408744) #
AA was terrible at drafting and developing.
AA didn't go for it in 2015. He went for it in 2013 and the result was not good.
A lot of the moves in 2015 were just to try and recover from 2013.

Atlanta was not fit to hold the All-Star game.
It would be quite awkward to have a world series there.
Also, the way they played in the interleague this year, the AL would probably win in 4.

bpoz - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#408746) #
I will give AA credit for Atlanta's accomplishments. That is fair. However winning in the AL East with NYY and Boston is a much harder challenge. So the FOs of TB, Baltimore and Toronto really have a huge challenge.
AWeb - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#408747) #
Initial impressions after watching some game 1 alcs...cheering for the offenses, don't care who wins. Kind of hoping the 'relievers early and often' strategy fails, and both teams wreck their staffs in a series of 13-12 games where yesterday's starters and the backup catchers end up pitching. Relievers are generally too good for that to happen repeatedly these days though.

As per usual, I got exhausted making it through the early innings. The announcer seemed to be subtlely digging at how long the game was taking, which was kind of satisfying but didn't make the game go faster...
grjas - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#408748) #
I agree with Michael that both front offices were very good, but the skill sets are quite different. Interestingly, they all ended up in organizations where their skills matched up well with current needs,

AA was not a development guy with the Jays and he did sell the farm for the 2015 year; that many of the Jays players traded never panned out is just a further reflection of the development challenges in the organization at that time. I have no issue with his 2015 "go for it" year as he had an aging team with a limited time to leverage the two incredible flukes of his tenure- EE and JB. It's wise to make good on your luck.

Where AA particularly shines is in deal making, in terms of both innovation and tenacity. The JD trade of course was one for the ages, and demonstrates in spades his doggedness in getting deals done. In Atlanta, he has inherited an excellent young team with a good farm system- built by the prior front office- so he has focused his efforts on what he does well; for example, he made a big difference again this year at the trade deadline for what was at the time, a middling team.

The current FO on the other hand is very development oriented, and has done a very good job of building a young competitive team and a decent farm system from the ashes of 2016. It's a pleasure to see good young players on the field that were actually developed within the system, which is something we hadn't seen for years. I am sure Baltimore, which cratered at a similar time, would kill to have this FO.

While it's frustrating to see them miss the playoffs, this is a young team that won 91 games (4 more than Atlanta) in a division where 4 of the 5 teams were playoff level. We can all identify 50+ "bad bounces"- eg Springer hitting the wall- that were the difference between playoffs and golf. The FO gave them a good chance to win, and that's all you can ask for.

The FO has now shown it's willingness to also sign and spend. It will be interesting to see how well they can balance that with maintaining a strong farm system, and if they can make solid deals with the same capability as AA.
bpoz - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#408749) #
Well said grjas.

IMO this FO does show promise.

The Berrios trade is their big trade. It will take time to see if it is good. Good meaning Berrios's performance. The 2 prospects given up don't matter much to me. Smaller trades got us Grichuk and Hernandez. The pitching acquisitions at the 2020 and 2021 trade deadline improved the team.

In 6 drafts so far we have had a few successes. Bo and Manoah were exceptional.

5 years of Int'l signings have mainly produced hopefuls. 2016 was budget restricted due to signing Vlad. Also these players are only 16 years old so they need to be given time IMO. A Kirk signed Sept 2016. 1st season to play 2018 so he developed very fast.

Gurriel was a good signing.

They know how they must manage the payroll budget.

So far quite good it seems.
jerjapan - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#408750) #
Beeston and AA were both put on notice well before the moves were made. First Rogers interviewed Williams in Chicago as a replacement. Then leaks came out that Duquette was being interviewed as a replacement. Then AA and Beeston were officially notified.

Job Mccown has covered this and he’s very close with Beeston. Alex and Beeston according to him we’re extremely upset to not having their contracts renewed as the GM and President since they stuck to Rogers parameters up to that point.
And of course, none of this is any more than anecdotal evidence and inference. 

I found this position hard to support when it emerged 6 years ago.  In this era of misinformation and division, I find it problematic.  We are supposed to be information-savvy here at the Box. 

This has nothing to do with my opinions of AA.  Dont present as fact what you cant possibly know to be fact.
scottt - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#408751) #
Most of the AA years fell like what Baltimore is going through to me.
2011, zero playoffs hope, but finished 81-81.
2012, some hopes, but finished 73-89. The carefully chosen manager bolted to the rival team.
2013, go all in, favorite to win the division but name Gibbons as manager and finished dead last.
2014, back to zero hope. Bautista tried to raise money to sign a 5th starting pitcher. 83-79
2015, some hopes, under .500 at the deadline, but go in then and finish first but only 93 wins.


scottt - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#408752) #
Sale didn't last 3 innings but he outlasted me.

92-93 - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#408753) #
The Dodgers left old friend David Price off their NLCS roster. He was actually pretty effective as a starter this year, and is a good example of a guy the Jays can probably get for next to nothing and see if he has anything left in the tank. Heck, if they were willing to pick up part of the tab it would come with a nice prospect attached.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#408754) #
Well, if he doesn't cost much, Price might help as a fifth starter or bullpen piece. He did like Toronto when he was here and you can never have enough pitching.

I saw some of the middle part of the game last night, including Altuve's game-tying home run in the sixth inning. I went to bed shortly after as it was midnight here on the east coast and I value my sleep more than caring who won. I don't know why the playoff games start so late.
hypobole - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#408755) #
They have to start late on a workday. Your Atlantic time zone is shared by exactly zero US states. Their time zones had start times from 8 pm in the east to 5 pm in the west.
hypobole - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#408756) #
AA's exploits were well known. Shapiro has the Dunedin complex as his publicly known legacy. What did Beeston accomplish?
cascando - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#408757) #
It was widely known that Beeston was retiring after 2015. They spent the first few months of the season interviewing candidates to replace him and, sure, there were questions about what that meant for AA.

Any story that has Beeston being extremely upset that he wasn’t having his contract renewed after 2015 is suspect to say the least.
John Northey - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#408758) #
I'm guessing scottt you aren't old enough to have lived through all of 1994-2014 and remember it.  93 wins is a big thing.  Only 4 times the Jays have won more - 1985, 1987, 1992, 1993.  Anyone who lived through 1987 will never complain about the ending of 2021.  It hurt, but not like that year did.  AA did a very good job setting the team up for 2015.
2010: drafted Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez , Sam Dyson , Dalton Pompey (very useful in 2015 playoffs) - 6 compensation picks and 10 total players reaching the majors so far.  2 he drafted but couldn't sign reached too (Kris Bryant  the big one)
2011: Kevin Pillar, Anthony DeSclafani, Joe Musgrove, Daniel Norris, plus 5 guys who reached but didn't sign (Aaron Nola the big one) and 3 others who reached but I can't be bothered listing.
2012: Marcus Stroman , Ryan Borucki, and 5 others (including Anthony Alford who will always be a 'what if' guy) who reached.
2014: Jordan Romano, Sean Reid-Foley, Jeff Hoffman  (last 2 useful in trades), and 3 others reached, plus 3 DNS's did (Tanner Houck and 2 others).
2015: Travis Bergen , Tayler Saucedo , and 2 DNS's.  Very weak final draft for AA it seems.  Jon Harris was his 1st pick, now a meh reliever in AA/AAA and unlikely to ever get called up.

Atkins did a bit better...
2018: Nick Allgeyer - plus high prospects like Jordan Groshans,
2019: Alek Manoah - plus hopefully others reach at some point
2020: Austin Martin was critical in a trade
2021: will be awhile before anyone from this class makes it, unless someone shocks us all.

I go by a 'draft for stars, take a big risk' rule.  So draft guys like Martin and hope for the best and if they seem to not be working out trade quickly before others catch on (that is what I'm thinking they did this summer).  Both GM's had a great first draft.  We'll see if Atkins later ones are strong or not in a few years as guys either develop or flop.  Adams might be the one that got away (for bloody Brad Hand).  Both GM's had excellent picks in the IFA market too - AA with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Atkins with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Alejandro Kirk so far.

2021 is the 6th highest win total and just the 2nd time the Jays didn't make the playoffs when winning 90+.  The bar is high in the AL East, and I'm really, really hoping the Jays get shifted to a new division at some point (shared with Detroit, Cleveland and others).  Thus drafts and IFA's are critical for the Jays.  If they go to an international draft (as I suspect they will) it will hurt the Jays, but also hurt the Rays a lot I suspect (they get a lot of extra cash for it via the current rules).  If they readjust the draft to remove incentives to suck that would help the Jays (as they rarely go 'screw it lets suck').
dalimon5 - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#408759) #
Guys, read the post. No “facts” are being presented about Beeston’s reaction or how AA was removed. The post references Radio and TV and Bob McCown. It’s all rumour and debate on these channels. Calling it suspect is like calling Trevor Rosenthal’s rumour of a trade target as suspect. Of course it’s suspect it’s based on a radio hosts “inside information” while he’s trying to keep listeners engaged.

When we say we don’t personally like AA, it goes without saying that none of us have met him and connected with him on a personal level. The expression refers to his work as a GM, not a friend. Shouldn’t be odd when you look at the criticism that way.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t look at Atlanta as a team Alex built and say “wow look at all those post season trips.” He had a top farm system with some of the best young talent in the game handed to him. He hasn’t done a bad job but certainly I still haven’t seen him do a few things that most GMs can do:

1) sign big time free agents to big contracts
2) construct a top bullpen
3) stop signing reclamation projects
4) draft and develop A players (stars to above average)

I’ve seen Atkins hit two of these out of the park already and expect the other two items on this list to be achieved after this off season.

The best thing about Alex was his deal making in trades, and since he has joined the Braves, he has been outclassed by Atkins in this department.

Accurate in my opinion to say they are both good GMs. Alex is just a little too safe for me, but I really like the team and players he has inherited.

hypobole - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#408760) #
3) stop signing reclamation projects

Most GM's do sign reclamation project. Some extremely successfully like the Jays with Ray, Dodgers with guys like Turner and Muncy, and the Giants with almost half their team. In fact, I'd argue AA has been very much on the low side of reclamation project signings in Atlanta.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#408761) #
Matz (9.68 ERA in 2020) was something of a reclamation project as well. The Jays helped him bring his GB% back to around his pre-2020 norm, his HR/FB rate to its lowest in six years (from 38% in 2020 to 12% this year), and his walk rate to its lowest since 2017.
92-93 - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#408762) #
AA deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the Albies and Acuna contracts. Let’s see how he pulls off keeping Freeman around.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#408763) #
This recent Fangraphs article details a number of savvy contractual moves the Braves have made under AA:
cascando - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#408764) #
The Albies and Acuna Jr deals were all-timers. Imagine having Vladdy and Bichette locked up until they are 30 for $24M combined. But both sides have to be willing. Riley and Swanson were not so easily taken advantage of.

Freeman will be 32 next year as a FA. I don't think AA will give him another long term deal.
John Northey - Saturday, October 16 2021 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#408765) #
The Jays with Vlad & Bo have a big disadvantage that you rarely see - both are sons of very successful ML players.  Neither should ever have to worry about money, or about what happens as your career moves along.  They both saw their dad's play for a few teams (5 teams for Dante Bichette, 4 for Vlad's dad) so they know they are secure.  Most players, especially young ones, are more likely to want the big long deal to guarantee they are around for many kicks at the can.  I think signing a medium length term early on by Halladay helped save his career after that disaster year when he had an ERA over 10 - the Jays had millions to pay out to him and didn't want to lose it all.  Vlad & Bo if they'll sign will not do so at a big discount, but would do so because they want to be here long term.  I think the Jays would be smart to approach them at the same time saying 'we want the two of you as our cornerstone for the next decade - here is a 10 year $250+ mil deal each.  Sign and you two will be teammates for the bulk of your careers'.  Might work, might not.  But I figure it is worth a shot.  I also would be careful about using Gurriel in a trade (I suspect he might be needed with his low contract and solid end numbers in 2021) as he seems close to Vlad especially.  The price of a close knit team is you can upset the balance easily, but the advantage is they might sign long term to be together.  Bo & Vlad via their dad's would know how rare it is to have guys play a large part of their career together and that might help.  We'll see over the next few years I guess.
bpoz - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#408769) #
Looking at Atlanta playoff pitching. I remember great pitching in playoffs resulting in a WS ring. J Guzman, Verlander, D Price outpitching Verlander in 2018. Verlander maybe was still great in 2018. Don't know who was the playoff ace in 2019 for Washington.

Back to Atlanta. Milwaukee went down very easily. Morton, Fried and Anderson all did well in the 1 game they pitched. Fried against LAD was good. SSS means no proof of an ace yet.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#408770) #
A pennant race is not the best time to settle scores...

2022 April-May Reprisal List:

1. TB - Kevin Kiermaier**  (re: Sep 20)
2. BOS - Alex Verdugo*  (re: Aug 6)
3. BAL - Ryan Mountcastle*  (re: June 19, Sep 10)
4. OAK - Josh Harrison (re: misc.)
5. SEA - TBD
6. NYY - TBD
7. HOU - TBD

*Arbitrary player selection
Thomas - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#408771) #
AA deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the Albies and Acuna contracts.

I don't know how much "credit" AA deserves for that. He offered two players from poor backgrounds, who might value financial security* in a way that is very different from a North American-born player (even one who grew up in relative poverty), and both players were very poorly served by their agents in this scenario.

There have been numerous articles written about how extremely poor the odds were that Acuna and Albies would have earned less than their contract value by going year-to-year. Those contracts were ridiculous, particularly Albies which Rosenthal tweeted at the time was probably the worst contract in baseball history from a player's perspective. After a 4.1 WAR season (BR), he signed the next 7 years away for $35 million and gave the Braves two further club options at $7 million.

AA has a duty to do the best he can for the Braves, but the degree to which he ripped off those two players (there's a team-friendly extension, but these contracts are in another dimension) almost makes me like him less. There were also rumours that one of or both of Acuna and Albies were going to drop their agents, so their agents wanted them to sign the extensions while they would still receive the commission. If AA knew that and took advantage of that, it may be smart business from a financial standpoint, but I don't have to like it or him for doing it.

Anyhow, I'll be cheering for the Braves if they make the World Series, but until then I'm cheering for L.A. The less I have to hear of that chop, the better.

John Northey - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#408772) #
While AA did take advantage of those players having poor agents, that is kinda his job. If a player takes advantage of a poor quality GM/president who gives them, say, $126 million over 7 years when they aren't that level of player ::cough Vernon Wells:: should he not take it? Those two players got what was important to them - enough money to live off of for life, and a chance to enter free agency again after age 30 season. As to 'poor kids who didn't know better', remember that Acuna is a cousin of ex-Jay Kelvim Escobar so he had people who could have told him 'wait'. Albies not as much, but if his career ends tomorrow he has $26 mil more coming to him which is plenty to live off of.

In short, I cry no tears for guys who sign early and get guaranteed tens of millions vs hundreds of million if they waited. A GM who gets those on the dotted line is doing what is best for his team.
Magpie - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#408773) #
Anthopoulos did the exact same thing in Toronto with Jose Bautista and it worked like a charm. The player was locked up long-term and Bautista was ridiculously underpaid for the production he was providing. One of the reasons it worked is because Bautista never raised a peep - this was the deal he signed and he was going to live with it. We'll see how things go in Atlanta when Acuna or Albies finds himself making half as much as some other guy who couldn't carry his batting gloves.
Nigel - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#408774) #
Same with EE. Those deals were the foundation for a mid market team to challenge large market teams. If you’re only ever going to pay “market” value for established performance then we might as well follow European soccer where the same 3-4 teams are the only ones to have a chance.

You have to be careful about viewing these contracts paternalistically. These are bargains made by adults with professional advisors. No one would ever suggest that Bautista was anything but a smart guy. He made a deal for his own reasons. Every human values financial security, risk and value maximization (which in every walk of life are almost always working against each other) differently. I never looked at those Toronto deals and thought that the Jays had exploited anyone. Choices made and lived with. It could have gone differently for the Jays too. That’s just me though.
Magpie - Sunday, October 17 2021 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#408775) #
I entirely agree. But athletes have been known to measure their own worth and success by the amount of money they're making and when a contract turns into an underpay down the road a bit of dissatisfaction can creep in.
SK in NJ - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 06:37 AM EDT (#408776) #
I agree with Thomas that the Albies/Acuna contracts just have a bad vibe to them, IMO. I get it, they were adults (barely) with adult advisors, but both players came from poor backgrounds and were royally taken advantage of. Bautista was almost 30 when he signed his deal. Same with Edwin. The team took just as much risk as the player given those two were signed essentially coming off one great season towards what should have been the tail end of their primes. That is not comparable to signing players in their very early 20's who have their whole primes ahead of them. The risk for the Braves is almost nothing.

Agents deserve more criticism here than AA, but point still stands.
Jonny German - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 07:56 AM EDT (#408777) #
Agree with everything SK in NJ said, Bautista/Encarnacion are not comparable to Acuna/Albies.
Thomas - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#408778) #
Agree completely.

You can't compare a highly-rate prospect hitting the ground running in the majors with players with very checkered histories about to turn 30.

Bautista provided the Jays with excess value and I think it was a very smart risk for them to take due to the fact a mid-market team needs excess value in some of its contracts and there were logical reasons to believe Bautista's turn-around was real, but it was a risk.

Jose Bautista's OPS+ from his age 25-29 seasons: 94, 96, 91, 99, 164. Ozzie Albies's OPS in his age 20 and 21 seasons, before signing his contract: 110 and 101. To sign a 21-year-old already contributing above-average offensive production is not the same as a 29-year-old Rule 5 draft pick. Albies put up 5.4 WAR before his 22nd birthday. Bautista didn't have a positive WAR in his age 25, 26 or 27 seasons.

You're free not to find those contracts distasteful, but they're not comparable from a negotiating standpoint to Bautista and Encarnacion.
scottt - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#408779) #
AA is known in Atlanta for signing great players to very team friendly long term deals.
AA was known in Toronto for making trades that nobody saw coming.

Two completely different guys, it seems.

bpoz - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#408780) #
Injuries happen as well. H Alvarez got injured and his career is over.
Mike Green - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#408781) #
A loose affiliation of millionaires, billionaires and babies.

I confess that Alex Anthopoulos taking advantage of unequal bargaining position to give Albies and Acuna Jr. half of what the market would bear (in millions) does fall considerably below on my outrage meter (for instance) Joe Manchin's taking advantage of his bargaining position to make a major contribution to the wrecking of the climate of the earth for generations.
bpoz - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#408782) #
E Longoria signed cheap by TB. I think the agents were the problem. These poor negotiating agents have sent a clear message that they are not good at their jobs. Their clients will think of leaving them I suspect.
rpriske - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#408783) #
If Atlanta ends up beating the Dodgers, I won't watch the World Series.

With no AL teams left worth cheering for and the last remaining racist team iconography repping the NL (thank you Cleveland), just... no.

After the Dodgers, I suppose I would cheer for the Red Sox out of the other three teams, but not really. Not enough to care about the result.
SK in NJ - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#408784) #
AA knew those contracts were unfair the moment he offered them. He did a very smart thing from a team building standpoint, but whether what he did was ethical is probably debatable. Albies signed his extension at age 22. Acuna was 21. Both come from tough financial situations. It was clearly exploitative. It's just a matter of whether you want to place more blame on the people advising the players or the person making the offer. Like I said earlier, I think AA deserves less blame than the agents do, but he also knew exactly what he was doing and the type of kids he was dealing with. Would he have made the same type of offer to Vlad at 21 knowing how he grew up? Probably not.

Ultimately, both Acuna and Albies are going to be paid millions and I'm sure they are fine with it, but it was never a good optic for anyone involved, IMO.
LouisvilleJayFan - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#408785) #
Anyone else concerned that Gabriel Moreno hasn't yet seen the field in the AFL? He was only playing every third game or so in Buffalo at the end there as well. Maybe still not 100%?
bpoz - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#408786) #
I also strongly believe that Moreno is not 100%. Hopefully he is eased back into game shape before ST. He should be looked after properly.

I keep wondering about Pearson recovering from his sports hernia over the off season. If healthy he can pitch well. A power starting pitcher with good enough control.
Glevin - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#408787) #
The Bautista/EE contracts were very different from braves ones not just because of the reasons mentioned above but also because they were choices. AA could have waited and seen more from EE and Jose and then paid more. He could have not signed them. He deserves credit for those extensions. The Atlanta case, any GM would have approached and made offers and probably ended up in the same place. There is no gm who isn't touching base with agents to hear what player prices are. The Acuna contract was bad but the Albies agent should never work again.
pooks137 - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#408789) #
E Longoria signed cheap by TB. I think the agents were the problem. These poor negotiating agents have sent a clear message that they are not good at their jobs. Their clients will think of leaving them I suspect.

I thought Longoria signed his first six-year deal when he was still in the minors, but Wikipedia says he signed it after being a major leaguer for six days.

Longoria's deal is a little bit different than Acuna Jr and Albies in that he was still just a superstar prospect who hadn't proven it in the majors yet.

Like the Jon Singleton contract for 10 million for Houston in 2014 for 420 PAs of .620 OPS ball, there's certainly at least some argument for taking the millions on the table if offered before getting called up rather than betting on yourself for the first 3 years in the MLB making minimum salary.

hypobole - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#408790) #
Mentioned the other day the Astros were the first and only team to provide their minor leaguers with fully furnished housing. Apparently, all teams will be required by MLB to provide housing next year. Baby steps.

Also, per Heyman, Brian Butterfield has been let go by the Angels.
Michael - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#408791) #
I don't think the Albies and Acuna contract were something you can knock AA or the agent for those players for at all. To the extent that they are exploitative, it is just because of the rules of baseball (I.e., that young players are free agents able to sign to any team for the best offer available). I think it makes sense for young athletes to take guaranteed money to lock in no matter what, and then go for the bigger bucks in the next contract.

You shouldn't just measure in $EV, you should measure in utility-EV. I.e., for Acuna $200M is likely not truly worth double $100M, and risking a little of the top for a guaranteed thing makes sense. A career impacting injury (on or off the field) could mean that he'd never make $10M, so locking up $100M should be more than enough. Same thing for Albies who lock up $35M. Even with taxes, agents, etc. $35M is set for life money living in the US, let alone living in a cheaper cost of living area.

Unless someone like an agency or the players association were willing to offer the players insurance (of the sort don't sign the deal with the Braves, we'll guarantee you that amount of money no matter what for a cost of half the amount more that you'll make on year-to-year negotiations over the lifetime of that contract), then from an individual's POV, of course you lock up the set for life money. They both can go for an even larger FA contract at 31 (if not sooner if options aren't picked up), but at that point they'll already be set for life even if they can't get a FA contract signed.

So, again, I don't think this is a fair knock against either AA or the player's agents. This is just the way that baseball is structured. Of course we'd be happy if the Jays singed a similar deal with Vlad or Bo, but as noted above they may already have the security from their parent's baseball careers, so they may be happy to note that if their career ended tomorrow they'd still likely be set. Dante Bichette earned $42.8 M in his career and Vlad Guerrero $125.5 M in his career. On the other hand, from a friendly family rivalry, make sure the next generation is good, perhaps they'd like a contract that guarantees them a higher salary than their fathers made?
bpoz - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#408793) #
Very good points Michael.
Paul D - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#408794) #
If your agent isn't there to advise against signing the Olbies contract, I don't know what an agent is for. (With the caveat that maybe that's what the agent advised).
Gerry - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#408795) #

From the minor league thread, last Thursday......

Gabriel Moreno is still in Dunedin recovering from his thumb injury. He is still headed for the AFL but just isn't there yet.

Thomas - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#408796) #
I don't think the Albies and Acuna contract were something you can knock AA or the agent for those players for at all.

Extremely hard disagree.

Paul put it perfectly, there is no point having an agent if he isn't going to advise against taking that deal.

There are a lot of articles out there that show that, with his record of success in the majors over more than 600 at-bats at his age and playing plus defence at a premium defensive position, in his worst-case scenario he would have made the same amount as his contract amount. The only conceivable scenario where he might not have was a career-ending injury, but how often does that happen to a 21-year-old position player? Tony Conigliaro and that's about it (and he played several more season in the majors - he was just never the same player).

For comparison sake, Jurickson Profar earned $3,000,000 in 2019. This was his fifth big league season. Going into that season, Profar had 2 career WAR. In 2021, Albies earned $3,600,000 in his fourth big league season. Going into that season where he earned marginally more than Profar, Albies had compiled 11 WAR (it would be over 12 if his 2020 season was pro-rated over 162 games).

Albies didn't receive a lump sum signing bonus in order to get his money faster. He didn't get player options to mitigate his risk in case his performance dropped off in his early 30's. The team options aren't for a really high salary, which would either get him to free agency quicker or get him a more significant payment to buy out his late 20s (see the Scott Kingery deal, for example). He gave the Braves all of the upside in every single way in that contract.

This was a case of a number of factors converging to create the worst contract in recent baseball history and two of those are negligence and self-interest by his agency and predatory behaviour by the Braves.

John Northey - Monday, October 18 2021 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#408797) #
Given Albies is a grown adult I think he should be able to do some basics like look up salaries for other guys like him online and see that the contract offered him was grossly low.  For some reason he still decided to sign.  In the end, unless you feel he is incapable of doing that basic stuff then this deal is 100% on him, not his agent or AA.  He signed it in April 2019, at that point he was an All-Star, with 1 1/2 years in the majors.  He had a year+ until he would get to arbitration (after 2020) and he had no way of knowing if something could go horribly wrong before then.  Until then he would get the ML minimum otherwise and have no guarantees.  He is from a tiny island near Aruba so odds are this is more money than most people he knows has ever seen.  I get why he signed it.  Odds are his agent tried to push for more but Albies wanted the security of knowing he'd be wealthy for life rather than take the risk of a freak accident happening.  He will be a free agent before his age 31 season, so he could make tens of millions more to allow a crazy relaxed lifestyle if he wants.  But this way he is set for life.

If someone offered you $35 million and told you if you do everything right and stay healthy for 3 more years you might make more, maybe even $100-200 million more, would you take the $35 mil or wait?  I'd take the cash.
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 07:42 AM EDT (#408799) #
For me, the agents and the MLBPA were the main culprits in the Albies and Acuna contracts - Perhaps the agents had money problems or were afraid that their clients would be poached to recommend such poor extensions and the MLBPA should have stepped in and said no as they have the power to decertify an agent - Young players coming from poverty and a lack of financial acuity can be easily swayed. I hope the MLBPA has taken some steps to help young stars in these situations - the MLBPA seems not to very proactive in the help and education they impart to players regarding their financial future - it seems that players and their agents are left to their own devices.
scottt - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 08:01 AM EDT (#408800) #
These games are not even fun to watch.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#408801) #
Yeah, I lost interest awhile ago in the playoffs - I check scores and keep hoping for Houston-Atlanta at this point but it looks like Boston-Atlanta is the likely result. Sigh. Why do the Red Sox go from worst to first with no 'lets work on it' stage? Since 1986 their longest playoff break was 4 years (1991-1994), in the Wild Card era it is 3 years (2000-2002, 2010-2012). Of course they had a 10 year break from 76-85, and a 7 year break right before that, and 20 year break before that, and a 27 year break before that (after trading Babe Ruth). Meanwhile we had a 21 year break (1994-2014) then a 3 year (2017-2019). Of course, could be worse, the O's are on a 5 year break after 3 in 5 years, then a 14 year one, preceded by a 12 year gap. I suspect this current one could be a lot longer if they don't expand playoffs more (any major division shift will probably keep the O's with the Yankees and Red Sox).

A map of where MLB teams are...

As you can see a 6 team division of Baltimore/Washington/Philly/NYY/NYM/Boston makes a ton of sense (could drive from Boston to Washington's parks in just over 7 hours according to Google Maps).

The Jays are in a gaggle of teams in the central - closest to Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. Add a new team in Montreal and you have a nice division.
Another could be ChiSox-Cubs-Brewers-Twins-Royals-Cardinals, all very close to the Jays division.
Then comes a west coast one of Seattle-Oakland-SF-LAD-LAA-SD-Arizona (7 teams, ick)
Then comes Colorado-Texas-Houston-Atlanta-Rays-Marlins. Add in an expansion team for Charlotte NC or Nashville TN to give another 7 team division.

South and West would play each other as a league, the 2 centrals play each other, and the East (aka nuclear) division plays everyone (as everyone wants the Yankees- Red Sox-Mets as visitors to sell tickets). I suspect divisions would need to be larger (8 teams) or some other adjustment needed but dang does 6-7 teams per work well geographically if you can live with 5 divisions. Of course, move Oakland to LV (no change) and Tampa to Montreal and things shift. Then expansion goes to Portland, Oregon (shifting Arizona to the south division) most likely or to Austin Texas (no division issues), San Antonio Texas (same), or El Paso Texas. Those appear to be the biggest expansion potentials. Nothing on that front will happen until 2028 when Tampa can move unless Tampa gets their stadium situation settled down there though.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#408803) #
These games are not even fun to watch.

Indeed, a largely uninspiring playoffs of mostly unwatchable games.

* * *

MLB moved the 91st All Star Game (and First Year Player Draft) to Colorado as a defiant protest against the State of Georgia. The issue in question was Georgia Senate Bill 202. Whether or not MLB's action was appropriate, it establishes a new precedent.

The State of Texas recently enacted a series of highly controversial laws. These included Texas Senate Bill 8. Due to pandemic protocols, last year's 116th World Series was staged entirely in Arlington, Texas. In retrospect, it follows that MLB should regret that decision.

It is not my place to comment on American laws. On the other hand, it would be wildly hypocritical for MLB to entertain any return to Montréal as long as Québec Bill 21 remains in effect. As a Canadian, I will comment here: Bill 21 is a discriminatory law and unabashedly obscene.

Just like the strike zone, the important element is consistency. For better or worse, MLB has opened Pandora's Box.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#408804) #
I think politics in the USA is very toxic and getting more so by the day. MLB like all sports will react to what is 'popular' at the time. Georgia deciding to make it harder for non-Republicans to vote (IE: those who fit into one of the following categories: black, poor, live in big cities) was a gross thing indeed, and is only getting worse in Texas and other areas where Republicans are feeling cheating is their only way to victory. MLB is run by Republican voters most likely (very rich white men are Republican for the most part - they love their tax breaks and low tax rates and poor labor laws for obvious reasons) so for them to come out against Republican measures is a big deal. It clearly required very strong public support. Bill 21 is very obscene without a doubt (especially given how Christians can wear their cross without it being seen by tucking it into their shirt thus is 'legal' but those with a turban or hijab are screwed). I'm not a fan of religion but that bill is quite disgusting. However, it isn't leading to mass protests (at least not ones that are reported on) and most of Canada and the USA has just accepted that Quebec will do what Quebec will do (see Bill 101).

For the playoffs I think MLB will just allow games to happen where they happen as it is the home team's park, not a neutral site or a single game 'wow' event which is planned years in advance. I fully expect Atlanta to get that ASG back in a few years when the pressure dies down. But if it increases then they won't. Remember, MLB is played in big cities and those tend to be more left wing than right wing even in the deep south, thus they will focus on keeping those viewers/fans happy. To MLB money = #1 religion.
Thomas - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#408807) #
If someone offered you $35 million and told you if you do everything right and stay healthy for 3 more years you might make more, maybe even $100-200 million more, would you take the $35 mil or wait? I'd take the cash.

More like, if someone offered you $35 million, rising to $45 million, payable over 9 years, would you take it knowing you'd make at least that much if you didn't suffer a career-ending injury, even if you never improved your performance at all from what you have already done in the majors as a 21-year-old.

I'm going to make this my last comment on Albies, but I really think people are losing sight of the fact he was a former #11 overall prospect by Baseball American and, he had held his own in the majors at 20 and been an all-star at age 21 with a 4.7 WAR season. That is not a player who should be giving up four free agent years for $7 million a pop. With that track record, you don't think he would have gotten $15 million over three arbitration years (which is what he signed them away for)?

Profar hit his second arbitration year with 1,100 at bats over five seasons (which were over seven calendar years) and had an OPS+ of over 80 in ONE season and still settled for $3.6 million. And that was in 2019.

So it would be comparable to more than $4 million in today's dollars. Albies has never had an OPS+ below 100 and is making $5 million in his second arbitration year. This isn't about "doing everything right" to get a bigger payday; it's about basically not suffering a career-ending injury. Albies has never had a WAR under 3.5 in a full season. Zips estimated he would be worth $280 million over the course of the contract!

This isn't about him giving up $30 million of upside for security. This is about a top prospect who had already had above-average performance in the majors at a time when a lot of players are still in college signing away his free agency for pennies on the dollar.

I apologize for banging on about the same topic, but these contracts are in a different stratosphere to some of the team-friendly extensions that young players sign for security or pitchers sign to mitigate injury risk.

scottt - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#408808) #
Quebec Bill 21 is similar to what is established law in France. Equality, Fraternity, Liberty.
Are any players wearing religious garbs during the game?
Is that allowed?
Have you noticed that the Yankees clubhouse rules are more severe than the Quebec laws?

If I had been a couple of years older I would have been taught by a noun wearing the full outfit like it happened to my brother. I don't feel like I missed anything. 
I did have a Jewish professor at the U of O, an institution established by the Catholic Archdiocese and originally under the direction of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
The University's motto is Deus scientiarum Dominus est.
He liked making jokes while walking in front of some relics from the original days. 
It's not like he was going to sign himself or something.
Not something I would have noticed, but he always brought it up on the first day of class.

Other people's religion can  be unabashedly obscene.

99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#408809) #
On the contract issue, wasn’t there an article around the time that Acuna’s contract was signed that said companies are now loaning millions of dollars to young athletes based on future earning potential? I thought I read that Acuna had taken out $10M as a rookie. If that money was spent quickly, I could see how signing a contract to make millions sooner would be appealing. The interest rates alone would be challenging on a minimum deal. Does any one else remember this or am I crazy?
John Northey - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#408810) #
99BlueJaysWay - you remembered right. Here is the article.

The more I think about these deals the more I look back on the Jays history. 
  • Good old Travis Snider sure would've loved a great deal at 22.  Top prospect at 21, mediocore year at 22, career earnings of $5.148 million.
  • Junior Felix (no one knows his real age so I use the age we were told but might have been as much as 10 years older).  At 21 a 2.5 WAR player, 22 a 1.9, fairly solid but just 1.6 for the rest of his career.  Under $3 mil lifetime.
  • Brett Lawrie came up at 21 with a bang 3.3 WAR, 4.5 at 22, 2 more years in the 2's, then 2 in the 1's, and never got the massive payday.  Total earnings of $8.1 mil.  Probably the best 'worst case' for the kids in Atlanta.
Now, Albies did a bit better starting at 20, WAR's of 1.3, 4.1, 4.9 for 20/21/22 - signed before 2022.  So started a year earlier than Lawrie but after 2 seasons Lawrie had performed at a higher level and never got the big payday.  I'm sure AA brought that up to him.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#408811) #
Doh, signed before he was 22 I meant to say.
Both Albies and Acuna signed before 2019's season got moving. 
Acuna at 20 had 3.9 WAR and 5.1 at 21.  So a big notch better than any of the others. 

Another to note: Jeff Francoeur who at 21 as a rookie in 70 games had 3.0 WAR, but never had a season that good again - twice over 3 WAR barely but in 162 games each time.  Lifetime earnings of $27.5 mil.

I'm sure there are many others but those are ones who came to my mind right away.  I thought of many pitchers but those are a different beast altogether.  Plus I ignored hitters who came up at 24 and later like Shane Spencer who flopped quickly after. 
cascando - Tuesday, October 19 2021 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#408813) #
Albies #1 comparable at bbreference after ages 21 and 22 is Roughned Odor. Odor signed a 6 year $50M extension after his age 22 season that will probably overpay him by $35M or so compared to what he would have received in his first two years of arbitration and then after an inevitable non-tender. The Rangers even included 2 horses so Odor could start the ranch he was planning to buy in Texas. They admitted it was part of an emotional appeal. The money helped him bring him family to the US from Venezuela. I don’t think that was unethical—it was smart negotiating. It worked out pretty badly for the team.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#408814) #
cascando - great example - Odor was a hotshot at 20 0.5 WAR in 114 games, at 21 2.1, at 22 2.7 and many figured stardom was in his future. He signed his extension just before the 2017 season (his age 23 season). Since he signed he has produced 1.6 WAR total. Just a 78 OPS+ vs a 103 before signing. His timing was perfect. $49.5 mil and boy did Texas regret it.
bpoz - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#408815) #
Not much chatting on the Atlanta/LA and Boston/Houston series.

I suspect sites of other eliminated teams are similar.

Very impressed with the power of O Martinez at a young age.

Words from Shapiro: " They're guys we're going into the market and compete for, but I,m not a believer that you have to sign anyone back". He goes on to say we will get better (my short version of what he said).

This is a fairly big clue IMO of the Jay's plan/philosophy on how they will proceed.

I expect lots of rumors and hope to not get sucked in.
99BlueJaysWay - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#408816) #
I’m curious what you think the clue means bpoz. To me it says they’ll be fishing in the high end of the market for high impact talent.

I was fortunate to tune into the Astros game just in time to catch their offensive explosion. I tuned it immediately after the near strike 3 and caught the rest of the inning. Nice to see Boston lose IMO. I find their over achievement highly irritating (especially when compared to what I feel like was underachievement by a superior Jays team).
Glevin - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#408817) #
"Albies #1 comparable at bbreference after ages 21 and 22 is Roughned Odor."

Albies was and is a way better player than Odor. Odor had combined war for his 21+22 seasons of 5. Albies had a WAR of 8.2 in the same period. He gave away 4 years of free agency and the maximum he can get is $45M for 9 years. He would have made more going through regular arbitration without giving up a year of free agency. Yes, there's always a chance of catastrophic injury but that is extremely rare and the risk reward made no sense. If Albies needed money badly, he could have done a different, shorter deal and bought out his arbitration years or something or even just signed a better deal. You don't think the Braves would have done this for another $25M added on? it still would have been a steal. The Braves bought out his prime for $5-7M a year. What would he get for a free agent deal if he were a similar player at 27? 6 years/$150M or something? He cost himself tens of millions of dollars for absolutely no reason.

The Jeff Passan tweet sums it up:

"It's typical that agents criticize competitors' deals. But I've now heard from executives, players, analytics people, development side and scouts who are saying the same thing: The Ozzie Albies extension might be the worst contract ever for a player. And this is not hyperbole."
bpoz - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#408818) #
Shapiro's clue to me means that they are preparing to be cautious about payroll increases. D Price got a huge contract and Cole an even bigger one. Top notch pitching like Ray and Stroman will be in demand because everyone needs a good SP to anchor their rotation. Berrios makes 3 top pitchers which buys them time to avoid spending big. My opinion only and I could be wrong.

Philadelphia got lucky with Z Wheeler. He was a good #3 IMO before they signed him and turned into a #1. I suspect he got a 2 or 3 year contract. Maybe his contract closely resembles Roark. When next Wheeler is a FA he will hope for a good contract. He turns 32 in May 2022.

SPs to anchor a rotation are maybe 7 FAs this off season? Scherzer/Stroman who are good and durable. Not Syndergaard who is coming off injury and needs to prove himself IMO. No QO for him would not surprise me. deGrom's injury definitely hurt NYM's playoff hopes. deGrom will be 34 next June.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#408819) #
Regular season wins -- Dodgers 106, Houston 95, Boston 92, Atlanta 88 -- determines home field advantage for the World Series.

I was actually fine with the All Star Game deciding home field.
Retiring Joe West behind home plate for Game 1?
Final MLB games without Universal DH?
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#408820) #
FWIW, I found it hard to find a comp for Albies.  When I ran various sets using (loose) parameters in  BBRef's Stathead, I ended up with one other player in each instance- Bobby Doerr and Gleyber Torres.  Doerr isn't a great comp because he had good control of the strike zone and less power than Albies.  Torres is a good comp, but we don't know what is going to happen with him. So I tried the loosest possible comp list- 2nd baseman (60% of games) who had at least 300 PAs and an OPS+ of at least 90 at age 20-21.  To my surprise, there were only 22 players who made the cut sorted by HRs:

Albies, Mazeroski, Odor, Torres, Gregg Jeffries, Doerr, Roberto Alomar, Joe Morgan, Addison Russell, Rod Carew, Pete Browning, Delino DeShields, Cass Michaels (1946-47), Fred Dunlap (1880), Whitaker, Frank Gustine (1940-41), Reddy Mack (1886-87), Jerry Browne, Willie Randolph, Frank Warfield (1920), Laughing Larry Doyle and Johnny Evers. 

Lots of Hall of Famers, and should-be Hall of Famers, and near Hall of Famers despite the very loose criteria.  Among players of the last 70 years, only Odor, Russell and Browne disappointed while 8 others were very good to great. 

Albies has, if anything, taken a step back the last 2 (or rather 1 and 1/2) years.  At this point, even a less-than-catastrophic injury might depress his value to the point that the contract ends up being reasonable.  What made the contract so unreasonable is the very real possibility that he would take a significant step forward and be one of the best players in the league.  He hasn't done that yet, but still has plenty of time (see Semien, M). 
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#408821) #
" I tuned it immediately after the near strike 3 and caught the rest of the inning."

I didn't see the game but on the highlights it showed an overhead view of the plate and, unless the pitch was high which it didn't look like, then then it was clearly a strike. Instead, it was called a ball, the inning didn't end and the floodgates opened for the Astros. If I was on the Red Sox I'd feel jobbed.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#408822) #
"At this point, even a less-than-catastrophic injury might depress his value to the point that the contract ends up being reasonable."

No, it wouldn't. He signed away 9 years of control for $35M with a maximum of $45M. Fangraphs had him as worth $33M this year. He's already made the Braves way more than they spent for the entire extension. He is now signed to what is either a 4 year-$30M or a 6 year-$40M and it's the Braves option which one they want. That's $6.7-$7.5M a year. You're talking about a player who would get likely $25M a year on a long term deal on the open market who is getting paid like a backup infielder/low-end starter. I mean, Tommy La Stella got 3/$18.75 and he's certainly not an everyday player.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#408823) #
"I didn't see the game but on the highlights it showed an overhead view of the plate and, unless the pitch was high which it didn't look like, then then it was clearly a strike. Instead, it was called a ball, the inning didn't end and the floodgates opened for the Astros. If I was on the Red Sox I'd feel jobbed."

Diaz was awful but that actual call was very close. It was likely a strike but a breaking ball in the top corner, barely touching the zone is the type of normal missed call.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#408824) #
Albies has provided Atlanta with $118M worth of value so far per Fangraphs.  If he hadn't signed the contract, he would have received $8-10M for his work to date, but would be in line for a healthy raise for 2022.  He's had a wRC+ of 105 the last 2 years, and it's easy to imagine a non-catastrophic injury driving it down enough to really negate his value in his last year of arb and for free agency.

The scouting report for Albies on Fangraphs from 2017 is funny- raw power 40/40, game power 20/30 and hit 45/70.  That year he had an IsoP of .171 in the major leagues, and hit 24 homers the following year.   The power didn't come from nowhere.  He had an IsoP of .151 as a 19 year old in double A in 2016. 

Gerry - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#408825) #
Gabriel Moreno is playing his first AFL game today. He walked in his first at-bat and later scored.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#408826) #
Moreno is catching this afternoon.  He walked in his second trip too. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#408827) #
And a third walk for Moreno; this time by Josh Winckowski. 
John Northey - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#408828) #
If Moreno ever swings the bat and hits like he did this summer I suspect Kirk is a lock to be part of a deal this winter. There is a lot of value potentially there which the Jays could convert to a 3B or starting pitcher (with other parts included). Moreno takes over from Jansen and/or McGuire in 2023, with a late 2022 audition possible.

The Jays are in a good position right now. a solid ML catcher, a good defensive backup, and a kid who can hit enough to be a DH but catches, and a prospect charging fast to take over that role. Time to cash some of those chips.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#408829) #
Mike, Albies is a 4-5 WAR player. He'd need to be about a 1-1.5 WAR player for the contract extension to be a wash. That's a catastrophic change not a minor regression. Right now, Albies would have been going into his second year of arbitration and making what, around $7M? Next year he'd go back again and make what, $10M? Let's say he doesn't progress much and gets $12M next year. That's $30M just in arbitration in worst case scenario and then he'd be a free agent. The Braves bought all the arbitration years and four free agent years for what they should have paid for just his arbitration years. There really is no way to splice this deal without it being shockingly bad for Albies and you're trying to make it seem like it's close to being even.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#408830) #
With Albies we are all getting 'recent bias' - namely, we know what he did post signing but that is irrelevant to why he signed. He signed after 1+ years in the majors. His OPS went from 810 to 757 his second year with a BB-SO ratio over those 2 years of 57-152 in 928 PA. Yes, year 2 he was worth over 4 WAR but a lot of that was defense which guys rarely get paid a lot for. Brett Lawrie (a worst case example) after 1+ years in the majors had a BB-SO of 49-117 in 707 PA, a 729 OPS year 2 with a lot of value via his defense as well to get him to over 4 WAR (4.5 to be exact, 7.8 over that time frame). He had 2 more years as a solid regular (WAR in the 2's) then came the trade and he flopped in Oakland. Net earnings of "just" $8.1 mil. That is what I'm certain AA showed to Albies while I'm sure his agent showed him many others who matched his age exactly and had HOF careers. I can see why Albies took the money, a poor choice perhaps but very understandable. Dang, forgot just how good Lawrie was at the start. Many here iirc didn't like the Donaldson trade because there was a feeling Lawrie could've been the great Canadian hope here. Franklin Barreto in the trade was also viewed as a danger to make it lopsided for the A's (didn't play in 2021 anywhere, -1.0 WAR lifetime - a good reminder that top notch prospects are always a risk).
cascando - Wednesday, October 20 2021 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#408831) #
I'd be surprised if they deal Kirk because I doubt that he has much trade value right now. At the moment he is a bit of a suspect defensive C with no other possible position on the field. Kirk also struggled against RHP this year (.211/.295/.368)

Is anyone going to value Kirk as a young C with a great bat? Or will they see Kirk as a platoon DH with some offensive upside? His conditioning does not really suggest he's a good bet to improve enough that stick at a premium defensive position. But it's possible. I personally believe in the bat so unless someone is willing to pay for a young, pre-arb, plus bat C, I would not trade him.

If Moreno is actually knocking down the door sometime soon, and if Jansen continues to be a competent major leaguer, that's a nice problem to have.
Jonny German - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 07:59 AM EDT (#408832) #
According to Mitch Bannon (by way of another SI writer, Pat Ragazzo), Cleveland's ask for José Ramírez in July was "Alejandro Kirk, plus an assortment of top prospects and major league players.". That implies that Kirk was the headliner.

Personally I'd be on board for dealing Kirk in a Ramírez trade, but for this rumour it would depend on who else was in the package. Top prospects and major league players sounds like a lot.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#408833) #
I don't want to beat a dead horse, glevin, but I'll give it one last try.  I think that Albies got about 1/2 of what was fair market value, with the key point being that he gave up a large amount of money if he turns into Lou Whitaker or Marcus Semien or Willie Randolph (i.e. a Hall of Famer or near Hall of Famer in his prime). 

His pattern over his career so far has not been great.  He's been a 3.5 WAR/650 PA player in 2020-21, if you take the consensus of DRS, Statcast and UZR for his defence.  His defence has seemingly been not as good as when he came up, and his bat too has actually been a tiny bit off.  What you have right now is a slightly above average hitter who is also a slightly above average defensive second baseman, who has been durable.  A non-catastrophic injury could easily push him into a slightly below average defensive second baseman who is less durable; that happens all the time to second basemen (although probably less now because of the new rules) because of their vulnerable position on the DP.  The more likely outcome though is modest growth, or at least maintenance of his current performance, until his prime. 

Mike Green - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#408834) #
Ramirez for Kirk, Orelvis and Espinal (say)? I would say no personally- I like Kirk and Espinal more than the crowd and Orelvis less.  

BBRef lists two third baseman among Ramirez' top comps- Longoria and Rolen.  Longoria was a great player in his early 20s and can clearly on a Hall of Fame path.  He's still got a chance after a significant mid-career fade due to injury, but he's got a lot of work to do.  Rolen started off slower but was a very good player from 28-35 and should make it to the Hall in the next couple of years. 
scottt - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#408835) #
Major league players would be guys like Espinal and some young relievers.
Top prospects would probably include a shortstop. In July, it might have included Martin.
Ramirez would walk after 2 years, so they would have to keep a young 3rd baseman like Groshans.
Can't keep all those middle infielders anyway.

greenfrog - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#408836) #
You can see what Cleveland was trying to do with a trade along those lines. Acquire a good but undervalued (due to his body type) young major-league player in Kirk, another decent major-leaguer or two, and some solid prospect talent. It’s a good formula for rebuilding while staying competitive. And taking advantage of your trading partner’s strong need for short-term impact talent.

You can also see what Atkins and Shapiro turned down the proposal.

greenfrog - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#408837) #
* why not what
92-93 - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#408838) #
Ramirez is so valuable at 1/11 or 2/24 that his long-term outlook shouldn't really matter to the Jays. They are set up in a way that it makes perfect sense for them to pay a big prospect price to have Ramirez around even if it's only for 2022-2023. Especially given the comments Shapiro made in his last presser that should temper spending expectations.
bpoz - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#408839) #
I am enjoying the playoff results. Big spending LAD on the brink and disliked by me Boston also almost out.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#408840) #
Shapiro and Atkins have made clear that they are interested in seriously competing for more than 2 years.  You can argue with the philosophy (or the wisdom of the Springer contract for instance) if ownership isn't intending to keep payroll near the luxury tax threshold for the duration of the competitive window.  Last year was a poor one for the Blue Jay minor league system- depleting the talent base further to acquire Ramirez would make competing after he reaches free agency extremely difficult.  Not to mention that the incremental benefit of Ramirez over Kirk and Espinal is likely less than two wins with an additional cost of $10 million. 
greenfrog - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#408841) #
Ramirez makes sense for the Jays (with Espinal continuing to play a valuable utility role), but not at any cost. Even if you think the Jays should empty the farm for a serious run over the next couple of years, burning your best trade chips to acquire Ramirez means fewer resources to augment the team in other ways.

The front office has made some very good low-cost (in money and prospects) moves in the last year or two. Hopefully they can keep that up. Doing so will be harder if they’re under significant financial constraints.
92-93 - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#408842) #
It's a lot more than two wins when you consider that the Jays have very viable replacements for Kirk and Espinal on hand in Jansen/Moreno and Biggio/Groshans. What they don't have is somebody who can reasonably be expected to produce at an elite level at 3B the next couple of seasons.

If people wouldn't give up Martinez, Kirk, and Espinal for Ramirez that's probably a good approximation of what it would take. There's probably some recency bias + prospect status built in there, as people would probably feel differently about parting with Martinez, Jansen, and Biggio.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#408843) #
Kirk plus Orelvis plus Espinal (plus more?) seems a bit steep considering what the Jays gave up for four seasons of Donaldson in his prime.
85bluejay - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#408844) #
I'd rather the jays use prospect capital and/or ML talent to acquire controllable quality pitching.
Thomas - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#408845) #
With Albies we are all getting 'recent bias' -

That's just not true. There are literally articles on the internet from the days after he signed the contract calling it an absolutely terrible contract for Albies. It was widely recognized at the time it was signed as an awful deal. There is no "recency bias" here.

There are three articles from April 2019 on Fangraphs only titled, "Ozzie Albies Just Signed a Stinker", "Here's Why the Ozzie Albies Deal Was Terrible" and "What Can the MLBPA Do About Ozzie Albies' Deal?" Sports Illustrated has one from April 2019 titled "Ozzie Albies's Contract Extension Is Insultingly Low". You can find articles from the same time period on other sites.

A tweet from Jeff Passan at the time ( reads: "It's typical that agents criticize competitors' deals. But I've now heard from executives, players, analytics people, development side and scouts who are saying the same thing: The Ozzie Albies extension might be the worst contract ever for a player. And this is not hyperbole."

Thomas - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#408846) #
Kirk plus Orelvis plus Espinal (plus more?) seems a bit steep considering what the Jays gave up for four seasons of Donaldson in his prime.

I don't think we can hold the Donaldson deal up as the standard against which to measure potential trades.

greenfrog - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#408847) #
I don't think there is a single immutable standard to be used in assessing trades. In my view, the Donaldson trade should be taken into account as one example of what it might take to execute this type of trade.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#408848) #
Kirk plus Orelvis plus Espinal (plus more?) seems a bit steep considering what the Jays gave up for four seasons of Donaldson in his prime.

Sure - but IIRC, that trade is also widely regarded as one Oakland had to make due to Donaldson's increasing salary (they couldn't afford to keep him) AND it's widely regarded as being a HUGE steal for the Jays (i.e. we fleeced Oakland). It's like saying "why trade 3 players for a 3B, when we could just get another EE or JB off the scrapheap to play 3B and hit 40+ HR?"

Did you miss a /s tag?
bpoz - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#408849) #
The Donaldson trade was connected to the 2013 trade with Miami. That window needed more help to open. Martin was added and then the trade deadline moves. Really good that all that worked.

IMO the current window opened much faster than expected. Vlad was out of shape for 2019 & 20. Bo had not yet played a full ML season. Nobody had even dreamed of Manoah. Ray's, Matz's and Semien's performances were a very big surprise.

The negatives were Springer and the pen.

For 2022 we start with a better rotation of Ryu, Manoah and Berrios. Stripling was considered the swing man because his 2020 was very bad. He should be considered the 4th or 5th for 2022. For 2021 Only Ryu had high expectations. Maybe Pearson if he was healthy. Ray and Matz were question marks.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#408850) #
I agree that the Donaldson trade is not a standard. 

Much of it concerns evaluations of readiness and expected value.  I don't think Groshans is going to be ready in 2022- he needs to have one season in the minor leagues with more than 300 PAs.  And whether he will make it at all remains in question.  On the other hand, I wouldn't have any difficutly if the club traded Gurriel Jr. and Orelvis for Ramirez.  Others might think that Gurriel Jr. is primed to be a great hitter, but I don't and see the incremental benefit of a Ramirez trade as being closer to 3 wins/season in that case.

greenfrog - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#408851) #
My point is that the Jays should be considering the full range of historical trades along these lines (trading young talent for a few years of an impact player).

I agree that many people viewed the Donaldson trade favourably at the time, but you need to be careful about relying on hindsight. Not everyone viewed the trade as a "fleecing." For example:

- "I have to dissent from the consensus on this one. I think that the A's will do better than the Jays in 2015 and a lot better in a few years" (Mike Green)

- "Hate to see Barreto go. That's a huge price to pay" (#2JBrumfield)

- "I understand this deal and have to give it a thumbs up - it's also a good deal for Oakland" (85BlueJay)

- "Not the biggest fan. Mostly because of the age difference between Donaldson and Lawrie. Donaldson is beginning his decline phase now while getting expensive fast" (Moe)

- "This looks to me to be a good trade for both sides, which probably means Oakland got a bit of the light end in it" (Spifficus)

- "I'm warming up to it a bit. You all are doing a pretty good job of selling the trade :) I still think Baretto will be the one we miss the most in a few years" (CeeBee)
92-93 - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#408852) #
Speaking of Donaldson, Chapman has the same 2 years of control left as Ramirez but he has only hit .215/.306/.431 over the last 2 seasons and would therefore presumably cost much less. No home/road difference, which is a bit weird for an A. He could be a better target for the Jays, even as a RHB. They would need to improve greatly on Dickerson in that scenario. It's a shame that Hazel Mae report about Brantley was bunk.
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#408853) #
I’m hopping on the Albies horse!

To me, the only way the contract makes sense is if there’s something in his medicals that caused both parties to worry about his longevity. So as a result they’re both attempting to hedge - Albies through term and Atlanta through lower AAV. I’m thinking something like Devon Travis’ shoulder(or knees) or Tanaka’s elbow. He and Atlanta might just be having success in addressing these issues to date.

I concede that there’s no evidence of this so far, however for such a contract to both be offered and then accepted tells me something’s up. It’s hard to accept something so out of line so I assume there’s information we’re not privy to that makes it more reasonable.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#408854) #
I know I was wrong about Donaldson, greenfrog!  And a bunch of other things. 

Chapman is an interesting buy-low option.  He can still play very good defence at third base, but he's got much more swing and miss in his game.  The big issue seems to be the two-seamer, and in particular the harder variety we now see more of.  I think he'll figure it out. 
bpoz - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#408855) #
Shapiro is a every experienced and good baseball executive. He must know the approximate payroll level. He should be more certain by the finish of the WS.

They have already made a list of the guys they have targeted. The list may be 5-10 guys. On last years list Springer was probably in the top 5 but not Ray and Semien. I have no idea where Matz was as a trade target.

I can see Ramirez being a trade target. He is a good player. There probably are others on the "available for trade" list. Since they value prospects a lot then most likely they will only trade what they can afford to give up ie don't empty the farm.

I expect that they will follow policies on how to become strong and stay strong. Control expensive contracts and have a strong farm.
John Northey - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#408856) #
The good ol' Trade Simulator says Ramirez for Kirk, Martinez, and Groshans is a do-able deal for both sides. The Guardians would get 2 excellent young SS/3B prospects and a young CA who has reached the majors. The Jays get 2 years of one of the best 3B in the majors. Interestingly Kirk has the lowest value based on their method. Gurriel or Hernandez could replace any of the 3 on the Jays side and keep the value the same but odds are Cleveland wouldn't want those guys - they are setting up for a new future, not a stronger present.

The problem is that would be about it for trade chips until some other kids start showing off more and climbing those prospect lists. I don't see Moreno as available at almost any price right now. Orelvis Martinez is close to untradeable but I think for a guy like Ramirez the Jays would part with him, but not in a year or mid-season this year. This winter is the time to trade Ramirez, not next winter and not mid-season 2022.

Alternatives like Chapman are FAR cheaper. Chapman would only cost Groshans which would make a lot of sense for both teams - Jays are win now, A's are build cheaply for the future at all times. Hmm...despite batting right (which I don't see as a problem but many others including our GM do) I think this is a really good fit. For 2 years he was elite 7+ WAR, then dropped the last 2 years. Would being surrounded by a team of great bats release the pressure on him and allow him to get going again? Maybe.

I suspect nothing will happen until the free agency period begins and we know for sure that Semien is going away and the Jays can talk with the assorted free agent SS's out there to see if any want to play at 2B or 3B in 2022 and beyond. Story last played 2B/3B in 2015 in AAA (never in the majors), Corey Seager played a little 3B in the majors & minors in 2015, Carlos Correa never played anywhere but SS at any pro level, Javier Baez played a lot at 2B this year, and 3B in 2018/19. Andrelton Simmons would be wasted anywhere but SS (and has never played anywhere but). For real 3B you get Kris Bryant (moved to LF a lot this year), and Eduardo Escobar (played at a lot of positions over the years).

I suspect the Jays #1 choice would be to keep Semien but not at any price and his price will be high. #2 would be Ramirez but the trade price will be high and I suspect they don't want to pay it. #3 is a free agent as the cost is just money, #4 is Chapman due to his decline the past 2 seasons (depending on what the underlying stats say). Right now I suspect the Jays know Semien's asking price and aren't feeling confident they'll keep him, they know Cleveland's price for Ramirez and hope they come down (I suspect the 3 I listed plus more, probably pitching), the free agents are an unknown right now. I suspect they tossed out feelers for Chapman but aren't willing to pull the trigger until they know all the other options. Worst case is giving Espinal the full time job in 2022 with Biggio at 2B hoping for Groshans to develop quickly with Otto Lopez in the mix as well (the cheap option).
grjas - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#408857) #
Ramirez looks too pricey in talent I think for the FO. The depth of top end talent in the minors has taken a hit through trades and promotion to the majors. I doubt they’ll want to empty it of both high end infielders. Pity they had to waste a CA prospect on empty-Hand.

Chapman is definitely interesting if the price is reasonable. Only 28 with just the one off year that hopefully would drop the price a bit.

Other than Manoah, this was such a rotten year for our pitching prospects. Going into next year, not much excites me for either the pen or rotation…or to trade for talent. And had Pearson emerged, there’d be less pressure to go big for a pricey starter, which now looks like a necessity.
scottt - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#408858) #
Chapman for Groshans does not make that much sense.
Groshans could be up mid-year and outperform Chapman.
I'd take Chapman against 3 or 4 lesser prospects, but I don't think he really ticks the boxes.

Donaldson was less valuable because he was not on a cheap contract and had to get paid.

The return for Lindor wasn't great. 2 middle infielders and 2 prospects, one outfielder and one pitcher but they had to include Carrasco. Ramirez needs to be traded now or at the deadline and trading him at the deadline would be easier only if they think they'll be out of contention by then.

The Jays don't have pitching to trade. Anyone trading pitching usually wants pitching back.

Gurriel is in Toronto for another 3 years and I don't see any reason for trading him.
He was 4th in bWAR this year among position players despite struggling for months.
He's cheap and he's seen as a good clubhouse guy. Same as Hernandez.

I see Pearson as the 5th starter and Stripling as the 6th one.
So they need one more.
Would Berrios, Manoah, Ryu, Matz, and Pearson be good enough?

I suppose Groshans can be moved if they don't mind playing Orelvis Martinez at 3B.
Hiraldo is an obvious trade candidate but I don't think he has a high value.
Same story about Smith and Lopez.

BTW, Moreno watched 14 pitches in his first AFL game and walked 3 times.

Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, October 21 2021 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#408859) #
José Ramírez for 2 years is an acquisition. Keep Gabriel Moreno & Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

* * *

In Business News: The Chairman of the Rogers Board made a power play against the CEO, but did not win the vote.

CBC article.

Update: The Chairman is out at home plate?

85bluejay - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 01:32 AM EDT (#408860) #
Edward Rogers booted out as Rogers chairman - I wonder what the implications are for the Jays going forward as I think Edward Rogers was the baseball guy in the company and has a close working relationship with Mark Shapiro whom he recruited.
greenfrog - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 07:58 AM EDT (#408861) #
Chris Taylor’s free agent price tag just went up.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#408862) #
Vlad + Bo + Teo + José = 800~?

Small potatoes for the Boardroom...
Mike Green - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#408863) #
It is an interesting question- which players currently on the roster do you want to be there for the next 5 years at least?  Guerrero Jr. and Bichette are obvious.  Manoah will be.  Springer will be.  Hernandez and Berrios probably. 

Seager has looked pretty bad at shortstop during the post-season, and his defensive numbers have not been very good.  I wonder if he'd be willing to accept a move to third base (or to second base for that matter). 
Mike Green - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#408864) #
Problems in the Rogers boardroom were big trouble for the Blue Jays in 2008-09 after Ted Rogers died. In this case, the timing of the corporate unrest almost coincides with the free agency season.  The uncertainty about payroll is not good. 
bpoz - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#408865) #
Payroll could go down I suppose. Arb part of payroll will increase. But Semien, Roark and assorted relievers like Yates and Phelps will be off the books.

Hope Pearson gets healthy enough to give us 100IP as a starter. I expect Atkins to roll the dice on another SP for depth at about $10mil. He would compete for the 4/5 rotation spot with Pearson and Stripling. Hatch, Kay and others will have another opportunity to show if they can start. If not there is always room in the pen.

This would be the low payroll version.
JohnL - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#408866) #
Surprised that Edward Rogers has messed things up so much. He did such a clean job getting rid of the Blue Jays CEO.
Mike Green - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#408867) #
The butt-dial misadventure does add a nice 2021 touch to it.  No COVID cases yet arising, but the latency period has not  passed. 
ISLAND BOY - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#408868) #
I was going to post this in the previous thread where there was conversation about prospects and how we often over value them. Then there were some posts here about the Donaldson trade and how some people thought Barreto be a steal for the A's. Anyway, since nobody seems interested in the playoff games, me included, I'm laying out the top prospect list from 2011 from Baseball America which rated the Jay's farm system as the 4th best in MLB at the time.

Top Ten

1) Kyle Drabek - part of the underwhelming return for Roy Halladay,
career 30 games started most of them 2 seasons with the Jays WHIP - 1.70 career 0.1 WAR

2) Brett Lawrie-kind of a head case, I really thought he was going to be great, 4 years with the Jays, 2 elsewhere career 15.6 WAR

3) Deck McGuire- nothing to see here, 8 innings with the Jays 9 hits 5 walks 7 k's, 43 innings with other teams career WAR 0.2

4) Zach Stewart- Eeech! 16 innings with Jays, 26 hits 5 walks 10 k's , 103 total innings pitched career -1.6 WAR

5) Asher Wojiechowski- drove equipment managers mad trying to fit his name on a jersey, never pitched for Jays, 202 total MLB innings including 4 this year with the Yankees career WAR 0.0

6) Carlos Perez- catcher was traded with several other to Houston in 2012 in exchange for J.A.Happ, among others. That worked out well. Parts of 5 seasons with 3 teams 618 AB's career WAR 1.1

7) Aaron Sanchez- I was always a fan of him, great stuff but was never the pitcher he should have been except for 1 good season. 625 innings pitched 571 with the Jays, 35 with SF Giants in 2021, career 9.8 WAR

8) J.P. Arencibia- looked good the first game, went downhill from there, 1573 total AB's over 6 seasons, 1392 with the Jays career WAR 1.9

9) Travis D'Arnaud- part of another underwhelming trade, 9 seasons in MLB with 4 teams, 50 games for Atlanta in 2021 career WAR 4.4

10) Anthony Gose- came with Drabek in Halladay trade, fast with good defense but couldn't hit a lick. 1128 MLB AB's 552 AB's with the Jays, became a pitcher and had 6 IP with Cleveland in 2021. career WAR 2.0

In the 11-20 rankings were a half dozen who played in the majors to different degrees.

Noah Syndergaard- okay, trading prospects does hurt sometimes because Noah turned out to be probably the best of the bunch, even if he's injured now. He has a career WAR of 14.7 and might add to it if he can come back from TJ surgery successfully. D'Arnaud was part of the deal, too and the Jays got R.A. Dickey who, if nothing else, was an ininng eater, averaging 233 IP over 4 years and 7.1 WAR. My God, he was exasperating to watch pitch, though. One game he would be unhittable, the next that knuckleball would go anywhere but over the plate and the Jays would be down 6-0 after the first inning.

Others : Jake Marisnick 11.3 WAR, Adeiny Hechavarria 5.1 WAR , Henderson Alvarez 0.3 WAR, Eric Thames 2.1 WAR, Chad Jenkins 1.5 WAR

I'll always remember Jenkins pitching multiple good innings in relief in that epic 20 some inning game against Detroit. ( I think)

Ones from 11-20 that never made it: Dickie Joe Thon, Kellen Sweeney, and Griffin Murphy.

Players mentioned that weren't ranked who made it: Drew Hutchison, Justin Nicolino, Sam Dyson and Moises Sierra.

So there you have it. Rating prospects is a crapshoot at best and if you're agonizing over the Jays losing a prospect in the Rule 5 draft or a trade, just remember, he probably wasn't going to amount to anything anyway.
Nigel - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#408869) #
Barreto is the prospect that I most seriously overrated. The year he was in Vancouver, I went to a ton of Canadians games so I saw him at least 15-20 times. He was, and still is, the best hitting prospect I've ever seen in Vancouver. It was just line drive after line drive to center and right center with a really short and quick swing (think Paul Molitor). The only thought I'll add is that in my defence, when I saw him again in Oakland with the A's, he had become a completely different hitter. He had completely sold out for launch angle, grip it and rip it. It's an approach that definitely doesn't work for everyone. He's still only 25. Maybe there's still hope.
greenfrog - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#408870) #
For all the agonizing over losing Syndergaard, his career might not turn out to be that great. He'll be 30 next year and he has barely pitched since 2019. I imagine durability is going to be a big issue for him going forward.
bpoz - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#408871) #
Thanks ISLAND BOY. Should stimulate a bit of discussion.

1) I don't care much for Baseball America rankings. They count pedigree and tools too high IMO.

2) I am still a bit scared about trading prospects and the rule 5 draft. Especially now because this FO I think may understand baseball talent.
I like the fact that they believe a position player has to have the hit tool.
G Conine: Good Avg and bb. Great power. Horrible K rate.

J Palacios, W Robertson and T Morris are all lefty bats that make contact so they have a chance.

Very hard to figure out the pitching.

The Latin signings are very hard to evaluate because they sign at a very young age.
Mike Green - Friday, October 22 2021 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#408872) #
Syndergaard's career might not turn out that great, but it sure would have been nice to have him instead of Dickey in 2015-16.  In the 2015 ALCS, Dickey started Game 4 at the RC and lasted 1.2 innings, allowing 5 runs.  The Jays lost 14-2 (Liam Hendriks followed Dickey and went 4.1 shutout innings).  Syndergaard would probably have done better and might have shut the Royals down long enough to make a difference.   In the 2016 ALCS, Syndergaard probably wouldn't have made a difference; the Jays scored 8 runs in 5 games and their pitching was not the issue.
John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:04 AM EDT (#408873) #
Red Sox are out!  Shut out that is as well as being out of the playoffs at long last.  Sadly that means Houston gets in, but I prefer that to the Red Sox. 
scottt - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 08:15 AM EDT (#408874) #
Yes, a happy ending in Houston.

Weird series. Kike Hernandez got hot then Jordan Alvarez got hot.

John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#408875) #
Mike - given the score of that playoff game, 9 runs were allowed in 3 other innings suggesting the Jays were screwed that game - you score just 2 and you will rarely win. In 2015 in the NL Syndergaard allowed 1 or 0 runs 11 times out of 24 (he had a great year) so under a 50-50 chance of him doing that in the playoffs, and it is safe to say if the starter that day went 5+ in a 2-1 or 2-0 game that Hendricks would not have been the guy coming in. Weird that he was the bulk guy given he averaged barely over an inning a game all year. But who knows when Thor would've been called up and in the rotation that year and if he'd have been given playoff starts. One good thing about Dickey was he'd take the ball every 5th day and eat some innings (over 200 that year). Still, the odds of Syndergaard becoming that good that fast was low - flamethrowers in A ball flame out a LOT.
bpoz - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#408876) #
With a record of 91-71 the Jays won a lot of games.

To get into the playoffs an AL East team has to 1) Hold its own against it's ALE competitors. I think we did that against Boston and NYY but not TB. 2) We have to also definitely play better than .500 ball against the main competitors. 3) You are also competing for the WC spots against the other 2 divisions. 4) Then there is also luck, bounces and injuries, which cannot really be controlled.

I blame the pen for being unable to hold a lot of leads. They were terrible. Borucki, Dolis, Merryweather, Phelps, Yates were unable to provide enough innings due to injury. Thornton, Zeuch Hatch and Kay could not take up the slack. Basically they missed an opportunity to establish themselves. Also those 3 maybe cannot put the whole blame on injuries.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#408877) #
When traded, Syndergaard had just turned 20 and completed a very successful year in the Midwest League (both in the strikeout and control departments), and his stuff drew raves. I would guess that if you looked at his comparables somewhere between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 were successful 3 years later in the major leagues.  Many of those successes, like Syndergaard, run into injuries and do not have the career that their team had hoped for them.  But they deliver an awful lot of value because of high performance in the pre-arb and early arb years.

Syndergaard did pitch in the playoffs in 2015-16 and was excellent, although Kansas City did score 3 runs off him in 6 innings in the 2015 World Series.  The Royals bunched 6 of their 7 hits in the first 2 innings before he started blowing them away, as the Mets won easily.

Mike Green - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#408878) #
When I was reading about Syndergaard's upcoming free agency, I came across a bit about Michael Conforto.  The Mets may or may not give him a QO because of his less than great performance in 2021.  The underlying numbers don't show any significant change as far as I can tell, and I think that he'd be a nice fit here if the Jays trade one of their corner outfielders. 
John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#408879) #
True enough Mike - but those 3 runs would've been enough for a loss in Dickey's game. Yeah, Dickey had a bad one, but the offense taking a day off killed any chance at all. Plus I figure part of the problem might have been due to the manager being silly in Dickey's previous start where he was going well but pulled 1 out shy of qualifying for the win so Price could vulture it (game was a blowout - ideal for leaving a knuckleballer in to eat innings and keep the pen fresh). That choice I hated at the time for an assortment of reasons, but one would be how knuckleballers need innings to keep strong. Given them too long a break and they lose their touch.
Magpie - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#408880) #
Travis Tritt is singing the anthem in Atlanta tonight, as the Braves think up new ways to irritate me, which is no doubt why they do it.
John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#408881) #
If Michael Conforto gets a QO he takes it for sure. A poor defensive RF who has never cracked 4 WAR and had a sub 1 WAR season last year? $18 mil would be his biggest payday to date and a QO would guarantee none next winter (depending on new rules of course). As a LH hitter he'd be nice in the lineup, along with his lifetime 124 OPS+, but his 101 last year is a warning as at that level he is worthless. No speed (18-11 SB-CS lifetime), has never had a sac bunt (majors or minors). He is an old style DH - power and walks with no speed. His LH hitting is the only thing that makes him at all appealing to the Jays. I don't see him coming here.
John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#408882) #
Ugh. I'd hope Tritt gets booed, but sadly too many COVIDiots down there. Sad they found a way to make me cheer the Dodgers.
bpoz - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#408883) #
I mentioned our 2021 pen being terrible. In 2017 our record was 76-86. So terrible record but great pen. This pen built by Atkins with incredible luck I suppose. Tepera, D Barnes, D Leonne, Osuna, J Smith and A Loup all pitched a lot and were very good. M Dermody was not that bad. J Grilli, Biagini and Mayza were bad. Only J Smith and D Leonne were off season additions.

Atkins will have to do something like this again.
Glevin - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#408884) #
Also like Conforto as a fit but even if Jays don't trade an OFer. I think they are likely to trade Kirk as part of a package for a big piece and that leave DH/corner Of open. Also, he was between -. 5and +0.5 UZR for past five years before last one so it could be decline but could easily also be fluke.
John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#408885) #
bpoz- I think 2017 shows how variable pens are and what a crapshoot they can be. For example, David Phelps has (when healthy) been very good in the pen. But in 2020 he went to Philly to help their disaster of a pen and he sucked bad for 10 games (5 HR vs the 5 he gave up in all of 2019 over 41 games and the 0 he gave up this year in 11 games). That great 2017 pen? Osuna blew 10 saves. This year no one blew more than 3 (Mayza and Richards, 2 for Saucedo, no one else blew more than 1). 27 blown in 2017 (81 holds, 45 saves), "just" 18 this year (vs 34 saves and 64 holds). Wow. 98 successful holdings of leads vs 18 lost this year (84.5%) vs 126 successes in 2017 vs 27 blown (82.4%). So in 2017 they actually lost the lead more often than in 2021. Go figure.
SK in NJ - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#408886) #
Agreed about Conforto. He would be a good target even if no OF is moved. Just cycle the 4 outfielders between OF and DH, and having a LH bat makes Grichuk as a 4th OF a bit more logical from a roster config standpoint. Conforto and Syndergaard would be great “pillow contract” options if they want to try to replicate that strategy again. I would imagine Syndergaard will be tendered. Not sure about Conforto.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#408887) #
I agree, Glevin.  If the Jays trade Kirk, using Hernandez, Conforto and Gurriel Jr. in the corner OF slots and as DH would make sense.  However, with Springer needing significant corner OF time, it's not quite optimal.  The perfect is the enemy of the good...
John Northey - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#408888) #
How does Conforto help the team? He hits left, might have a 120 OPS+, or might be at 100. His defense is poor (negative UZR/150 in CF and RF lifetime, his LF is nice but only due to his rookie season since then he was 'meh' at best, and hasn't been in LF since 2018). He is entering his age 29 season so odds are he won't be getting better at this point on defense, his bat might come back but his defense won't (historically all players get worse at defense as they get older).
SK in NJ - Saturday, October 23 2021 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#408889) #
Conforto had a 133 wRC+ from 2017-2020 (1959 plate appearances), and he has a 3.3 WAR projection (ZiPS) for 2022 which he has the potential to top given his history. He is the ideal buy low candidate since he's probably taking a one year deal coming off the season he had, and being LH would fit the lineup's needs. He is not the ideal fit as a corner OF, but unless the team is trading for Byron Buxton (which I would be 100% ok with), you're simply not going to find a CF who can present that type of upside. So they will have to work around Springer's injury history/need to DH periodically creatively whether they sign Conforto or not.
bpoz - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#408894) #
Atlanta VS Houston for the WS.
JohnL - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 08:19 AM EDT (#408896) #

Atlanta VS Houston

Choppers vs Cheaters. Alex vs Dusty.

92-93 - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#408897) #
Is that Conforto 2022 ZIPS projection current, or was it from before the season and therefore no longer accurate? There was an SI article out last week that mentioned Matz’s 4.82era 1.3war 2022 ZIPS projection as well.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#408899) #
The brain trusts of pro sports leagues are said to prefer big market teams competing for the championship. I suppose the currency of television ratings cannot be denied. Still, I find that narrative a bit irksome and cliché. It seems to me like cheering for a lush dividend at the risk of alienating the grassroots fandom beyond capital cities. (Then again, small market teams like the San Antonio Spurs or Green Bay Packers are established marquee franchises.)

Georgia & Texas in the World Series. Politics, optics, etc. Is it accurate to say that MLB embraces Woke-ism? MLB HQ is located in Manhattan, an island of the largest concentration of wealth on Earth. Just sayin'.
John Northey - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#408902) #
The concept of owners being 'woke' is a funny joke. They are multi-billionaires or corporations. To them voting Republican and pushing for more tax cuts is a must, as is begging for public money to subsidize their corporate playpens. They will play at it to get more butts in seats and to avoid any issues with negative publicity, but never doubt that they are around the Bushes on the political spectrum, and scared to death of an AOC presidency.
85bluejay - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#408904) #
"Is it accurate to say that MLB embraces Woke-ism?"

Only in an Alternative Facts sort of way.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 24 2021 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#408906) #
Meet the owners:
Arizona Diamondbacks- Ken Kendrick wokely made donations to Koch brothers groups and supported Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination
Atlanta Braves- Liberty Media principally owned by John C. Malone, wokely on the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute
Baltimore Orioles- Peter Angelos is indeed a Democrat and supported Biden
Boston Red Sox- John W. Henry is the publisher of the Boston Globe who did support Biden, but wokely plays Out of the Park baseball
Chicago Cubs- Tom Ricketts wokely supported Trump and fundraised for him in the 2016 and 2020 elections
Chicago White Sox- Jerry Reinsdorf wokely donated 250K to the Republicans and 100K to a group called Illinois Democrats for Change which promptly disappeared.  Ah, Chicago.
Cincinnati Reds- Bob Castellini is wokely to the left of Marge Schott, and donates to PACs affiliated with Scott Walker, John Bolton and Marco Rubio
Cleveland Future Guardians- Larry Dolan doesn't have any large political influence- donating modest amounts to Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown (woke city, baby!) and John Kasich
Colorado Rockies- Charlie Monfort gives substantially to Republicans, and at times has wokely given to Hickenlooper, a Colorado Democrat
Detroit Tigers- Chris Ilitch gives a bit to Republicans but he is wokely the brother to an active Michgan Democrat
Houston Astros- Jim Crane was woke before there was woke donating to Obama's campaign in 2008 and clearly liked him through 2017, but "never formed a bond" with Hilary Clinton.
Kansas City Royals- John Sherman did indeed wokely support Democrat Jason Kander
Los Angeles Angels- Arte Moreno wokely spoke at Latinos for Trump in 2020
Los Angeles Dodgers- Now we're cooking with woke, the ownership group includes Magic Johnson and Billie Jean King and does donate to Democrats
Miami Marlins- Bruce Sherman wokely donated -2300 to Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign...I'm not kidding
Milwaukee Brewers- Mark Attanasio wokely supported "centrist" Democrat Krysten Sinema from Arizona...woke and weird
Minnesota Twins- Jim Pohlad wokely supported Hillary Clinton
New York Mets- Steve Cohen is another woke and weird...$1 million for Trump's exceptionally well-attended inauguration and 500K for Andrew Yang's presidential run
New York Yankees- Hal Steinbrenner wokely supported Chuck Schumer even though George was tight with Trump
Oakland A's- John J. Fisher wokely got his start in the RNC mailroom, fundraised for Reagan and gave a whole whack of cash to a dark money group opposing Obama
Philadelphia Phillies- Sorry.  John Middleton doesn't merit anything to do with woke.  He's just a large donor to the Republicans in PA. 
Pittsburgh Pirates- Robert Nutting is the driving force behind Let's Go Bucs, Let's Go Green.  Need I say more?
San Diego Padres- Peter Seidler co-owns with MLB the Rawlings baseball company which wokely makes baseballs in Costa Rica
San Francisco Giants- In that most liberal of places, Charlie Johnson is as woke as you could imagine...not
Seattle Mariners- Speaking of woke before woke existed, John W. Stanton cried when the Pilots left Seattle
St. Louis Cardinals- Bill DeWit served on George W. Bush's Advisory Committee...closet woke
Tampa Bay Rays- Stuart Sternberg modestly (of course) supported Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton and Charlie Christ...why I don't know
Texas Rangers- Ray Davis wokely donated a huge chunk of cash to Jeb Bush's campaign
Toronto Blue Jays- the Rogers family are closely tied with the Torys, who are Tories
Washington Nationals- Congress intervened to prevent woke George Soros from gaining ownership, so instead less woke Ted Lerner is in charge...he is fabulously wealthy but gives small amounts to Democrats and Republicans, a little more to Democrats.

Yep, avocado toast, Bon Iver and beards.  That's your group there. 
Magpie - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 05:59 AM EDT (#408916) #
John Tory is, and shall likely forever be, the only Conservative for whom I have cast a ballot in my life - as you can possibly tell, I'm a little bitter about being forced to do that - but in the US he could sit comfortably in the Senate's Democratic caucus and be far from the most conservative person in the room.
Mike Green - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#408923) #
Sure.  To the left of Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema and probably a few others. Edward Rogers however seems to be a Trump fan, and it remains to be seen who will emerge with control of the Corp when the dust settles. 

Along with a spot-on editorial about Ontario's COVID plan and a fine piece on remaking Calgary's downtown, my morning paper has an Associated Press item that a MLB work stoppage is likely effective December 1 with both sides indicating lack of progress.  It does not mention whether a lockout or a strike is foreseen.  Winter is coming all right, with an uninspiring World Series followed by millionaires trying to get their share from billionaires.  It's such a shame that the Blue Jays didn't quite make it this year- they had a team that was fun, very good and easy to cheer for. 
ayjackson - Monday, October 25 2021 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#408926) #
One interesting bit in Edwardgate was the proposal to spin the sports entities (Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, FC, Argos) into a separate company (public, I assume). That probably would not be the best thing.

The odd part was it being a condition of accepting Uruji's contract extension.
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