Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence.Ö Terror is the normal state of any oral society, for in it everything affects everything all the time.Ö


That was Marshall McLuhan some 60 years ago, and in my lifetime I think I've seen McLuhan go from visionary prophet of the future to somewhat passe thinker no one cares about anymore to what he seems to have become - guy who absolutely nails our present situation. Fear seems to be all around us, and that's never made any sense to me. People are afraid of problems that have shrunk in importance. People are so afraid that they've created new problems out of whole cloth where none existed before. I stumbled across that quote, in the midst of a lengthy article about the coming of the satellites back in the 1960s, and thought - oh. there you go.

Well, I got nothing to say about Tampa Bay. We're going to see them play five games over the next four days. I'm sure we'll all think of many, many things. Here's who's pitching.

Thu 30 June - Wisler (2-2, 2.83) vs Kikuch (2-4, 5.08)
Fri 1 July - Kluber (3-4, 3.45) vs Berrios (5-4, 5.86)
Sat 2 July (12:07) - McClanahan (8-3, 1.77) vs Gausman (6-6, 2.93)
Sat 2 July (6:07) - Rasmussen (5-3, 3.41) vs Hatch (---, -.--)
Sun 3 July - Baz (0-1, 3.38) vs Stripling (4-2, 3.12)
Tampa Bay at Toronto, June 30-July 3 | 200 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#416548) #
A phase of panic terrors?

We call that a 4 game series at the Trop.
scottt - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#416550) #
Maximo could be a candidate for the doubleheader if Kikuchi can have a quality start.
You never know.

Magpie - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#416551) #
Hatch and Lawrence are on the 40-man and Lawrence pitched Tuesday, so I'm expecting to see Hatch.
scottt - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#416555) #
I imagine Collins gets to play at least in the doubleheader.

Gage would be best saved for early in the other 3 games, which will have lots of left bats.

I think Kay is rehabbing.
Pearson and Merryweather were expected to contend for some high leverage innings.
Danner might have been an option by now had he been healthy. Instead he's been an unfortunate 40 roster placement.
Adrian Hernandez is intriguing. Kyle johnston could be worth a look. 

greenfrog - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#416556) #
No Kikuchi first inning is complete without at least one walk.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#416557) #
Big fan of Harold Innis, who was Marshall McLuhan's contemporary. Great Canadian scholars.
dalimon5 - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#416558) #
Iím an alum of Innis College. Bias of Communication resonated with me.
greenfrog - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#416559) #
2IP scoreless, 25 pitches? Pretty good start. He still doesnít quite have the feel for his pitches, though.
electric carrot - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#416560) #
Iím an alum of Innis College. Bias of Communication resonated with me.

I like both Innis and McLuhan. I view Innis as an academic and McLuhan as a visionary artist. I prefer McLuhan. I think he had a real beat on the times we're living in now. A lot of what he said really is coming to pass. But he was pretty flakey too. The academic community couldn't really get behind his non-linear, sideways moving logic. I don't really blame them -- but I still think he was an important thinker/artist.
Nigel - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#416561) #
Kikutchi is the Gurriel Jr of pitchers. Long stretches of sub replacement level performance interspersed with glimpses of thermonuclear greatness. It all evens out to a 5th starter level performance - but heís rarely just ďokĒ.
greenfrog - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#416562) #
Except that he was really good in the first half last year. So it seems the potential for sustained good performance is there.
Nigel - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#416563) #
Sort of - if you look at his 2021 game logs his good first half (which it definitely was) was largely the result of a 7 game stretch between late May and the end of June when he was essentially unhittable.
92-93 - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#416564) #
The Jays really need some runs. The only fresh bullpen arms are Thornton, Gage, and Romo, plus Castillo who they probably would like to use as a starter this series. Great start from Kikuchi.
greenfrog - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#416565) #
I donít know. His starts from the beginning of the season through July 1 (15 starts in total) were really quite impressive, by and large. He had two,
maybe three mediocre/dud starts, but the rest were all quality, 6-7 IP starts with good K:BB ratios and 0-3 ER allowed per start.
uglyone - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#416566) #
Tapia-free baseball feels good.
hypobole - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#416567) #
Thank you, Espinal.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 30 2022 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#416568) #
I was in the house for the first time this year.  Kikuchi threw many more changeups than before and the Rays had all kinds of difficulty with them. His rhythm was much better than in previous starts, and I suspect that it was the early success that let him find the rhythm.

I had a much better sense of how fast Chapman is.  He covers a tremendous amount of ground on pop-ups down the line especially when he starts out near the second base bag while shifting.  He has better range than most shortstops.  I guess Oakland collects these guys because of the amount of full ground in their home park.

Solid outing from the home nine.  Tampa looks much less formidable than in past years.  I could see Baltimore catching them this year. 
Kelekin - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:56 AM EDT (#416569) #
Tampa is definitely less formidable this year - though much of this has to do with how much they've been hit with the injury bug through their entire system. Yarbrough is far and away their worst starter, so glad we started off with a solid win.

I expect Tampa to remain competitive for years to come despite the lack of funding - Franco will only get better, and if Brujan, Lowe, and Paredes figure it out, their bats will be significantly improved. Curtis Mead and Taj Bradley are just around the corner, too.
scottt - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:20 AM EDT (#416570) #
Kikuchi brought back his cutter. He did what he was told, threw nothing but fastballs for the first 10 pitches but then started to mix things up. He threw some fist pitch cutter to get ahead as he seems to control that better than the 4-seamer.

Teoscar seems to have declined the ice shower. I saw somebody rush to ask Chapman something than grab Espinal. Montoyo wanted to talk about Chapman in his press conference.

Chapman is a lot of fun to watch. You can tell that he's not happy with his offense. So far, he has the same OPS as last year. Low .700 after 3 straight years of .800+ prior to the injury. He certainly looks healthy though and at 29, he still has many years ahead of him if he can hit just a bit more.

Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#416572) #
Statcast has Chapman at -1 Outs Above Average defensively at third base. That's probably the first Stacast defensive number I have seen where my thought is "that is very far wrong".
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:59 AM EDT (#416573) #
I suspect that the issue is difficulty accounting for positioning.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:59 AM EDT (#416574) #
Kikuchi brought back his cutter. He did what he was told, threw nothing but fastballs for the first 10 pitches but then started to mix things up.

He was starting everybody off with the fastball last time, he just couldn't throw it for a strike. But bringing back the cutter is interesting, if only because that was the pitch they took away from him.
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#416575) #
His four-seam usage was way down. It was used more as an accent pitch. More cutters, more changeups, fewer four-seamers. It worked, and they should stick with it. Not all pitchers are the same.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#416577) #
Not all pitchers are the same.

No kidding. Normally the hitters are yelling at the pitcher to pitch like a man and throw the fastball. (They really do this.) But Kikuchi's four-seamer is probably the hardest pitch in his repertoire for batters to actually hit. But it's the one he has the hardest time throwing for strikes. Everything about him is upside down.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#416579) #
I think you're right that he really has to mix it up. His slider isn't really a swing-and-miss breaking ball. It's reliable for getting him a strike when he needs one, because he can get it over the plate and because hitters often automatically let the breaking ball go by until they have two strikes. But it's not unhittable.
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#416580) #
Right.  The Jays did put out a good defence behind Kikuchi, and that helps too in my view, by building confidence that a ball-in-play is not necessarily a bad outcome.

Biggio had the night off last night, and hopefully will start for the next 3 games.  He's perfectly fine in the DH role if Kirk is catching and the club doesn't want to rest a regular; the doubleheader game where Kirk is catching is a logical place for it as it would allow Biggio to play both games without overtaxing him. 
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#416581) #
Kikuchi should probably throw a first pitch four-seamer maybe 20-30% of the time.  On a particular day when he's got good control of it, you might up the usage, but the starting point is that it's used to keep the batters honest. 
Nigel - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#416583) #
That Statcast number on Chapman is crazy. I do think he went through a slump defensively for a few weeks in late May-early June but otherwise heís been fantastic.
lexomatic - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#416584) #
I suspect Chapman numbers are related to all the shifts.
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#416585) #
Statcast should theoretically be able to handle the Blue Jays extreme shifting. 

Statcast has Josh Donaldson at +4 and there's absolutely no way that he's been better than Chapman. 
John Northey - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#416586) #
Defensive numbers were getting to the point of being very meaningful then the shift happened and things got weird. I think for a better measure in the future we need what I wanted to set up in the minors when I was in my 20's (the 1990's) and thought I'd get a job doing that for a living - namely measuring a players ability to go to the right/left-forward/back - how far, and how fast they react after the crack of the bat. Those with the quickest reaction times would probably be good at 3B, those with the most distance covered best in CF, etc. Then a measure of arm strength and accuracy. I'd do it both in controlled situations and in game situations, then try to figure out why some guys do better in one over the other. Of course back then all I could get was one in person interview (with Stats Inc) and another minor opportunity that I turned down (working in St Catherines with the Jays A ball team doing misc. work around the park for minimum wage - kind of regret not taking the shot now).

Now, that is all tracked today - we see it on games sometimes, and teams have gone far beyond whatever I thought up of way back when. But most defensive stats we see are based on % of expected outs made without accounting for positioning fully. Where the player starts today has very little to do with the player and is mostly due to what the team thinks is best. Ozzie Smith must hate it (he famously just took up position in the traditional SS spot and counted on his amazing ability to react), while Cal Ripken must feel validated (he was the most well known for positioning way back then, thus allowing him to have amazing fielding numbers). Thus the best fielding stats should be based on what % of plays did the player make from their starting position vs what would be expected to be made. So if Chapman is standing at SS you'd base it on what you'd expect a guy to do from that spot - if the ball goes through the 3B area you don't count it against him as he had no choice in the matter. Same for Bo if the ball goes through SS while he is on the opposite side of 2B.

Next headache is catchers defense - we finally can account for framing and that will vanish very soon with robo-umps for balls/strikes. Throwing out runners is easy to account for, but stopping guys from even thinking about it you can't. Generally pick offs at 1B by the catcher are seen as pure bonus points, but how can you measure the effect of Kirk doing that on other aspects - holding runners closer to the bag, thus less of a jump and fewer bases taken (I'd assume - be interesting to dig into the raw data and see if that is true). But the big hidden thing is handling a pitcher - getting a guy through a game, making a pitcher who has no feel for the ball get back into the game or setting up batters. That is near impossible to measure imo. One could try to measure how often a pitcher shakes off a catcher as a measure of how well the 2 work together, but that would reward catchers who are catching guys with 2 pitches vs catching a guy like Ryu who has 1001 different ones. Still, it is a key component of a catchers game that has been known to be critical for over a century but no one has figured out how to measure it afaik.
uglyone - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#416587) #
Couldn't go two games in a row without Tapia.
uglyone - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#416588) #

Sox manager Alex Cora vaguely suggested things would be different when his club returns to Toronto in September. It appears Duran is the first Red Sox player to have a change of heart re the vaccine. https://t.co/wMPvio2Vj6

— Ethan Diamandas (@EthanDiamandas) July 1, 2022

Jarren Duran says he will be available when the Red Sox play in Toronto in September.

— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) July 1, 2022
hypobole - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#416589) #
Betcha we'll get to see Tapia tomorrow also!
Gerry - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#416590) #
Thomas Hatch is in Toronto, could either start or be in the pen for the DH tomorrow.
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#416591) #
Solid prediction, hypobole.  One of the obvious differences between Tapia and Gurriel Jr. is on the ground ball through the 5-6 hole when the outfielders are shifted over to right-field.  Gurriel Jr. regularly makes the play and holds the runner at first; Tapia throws left and weakly and just can't make it.  I am doubtful that the extreme shifting is worthwhile with Tapia in left-field. 
JohnL - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#416592) #
John Northey: Related to your Uncompetitive Starts post, I came across someone's project (started 1985), "Who Sharted?", defining a Quantity Shart as 6IP or less, 6 ER or more. An article this month in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/06/29/nats-fan-tracks-stinker-starts/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email. He also has a twitter account @MLBWhoSharted.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#416593) #
Got to like the way it ended for Russell Martin. In the last game he played in his career, in the 2019 NLDS, he went 2-4, drove in 4 runs, and homered in his last at bat in the major leagues.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#416594) #
As pre-game ceremonies go - pretty good. Jose Bautista narrating, Gibby looking very relaxed, Joey Votto. Russell throws a strike to the new #55. Hard to do it better.
lexomatic - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#416595) #
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#416585) #
Statcast should theoretically be able to handle the Blue Jays extreme shifting.

Statcast has Josh Donaldson at +4 and there's absolutely no way that he's been better than Chapman.

I agree, but I don't think there's points for the play that he made recently running in and just missing throwing out the runner at first barehand. I was amazed by that play.
hypobole - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#416596) #
DRS has Chapman at +4. Donaldson at +7. Maybe not regularly watching Donaldson play 3rd this year clouds ones judgement?
SK in NJ - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#416597) #
Interesting that the analytics/medical/whoever team thinks itís beneficial to give DH days to regulars at the expense of putting the best lineup on the field, but Bo Bichette never gets a day off and never DHís. I guess Tapia canít cover SS.
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#416598) #
7 GIDP in 221 PAs.  It's a hard thing to do for a fast left-handed hitter. 
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#416599) #
It's been a rough start for the shifters. Berrios has pitched well but he's up to 50 pitches early without having given up much in the way of contact at all.
krose - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#416600) #
Choi loves the 4 outfielders alignment. He could probably hit .500 against it.
Nigel - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#416601) #
Horrible base running by Gurriel. Even little leaguers know that itís half way with one out and back to the bag with zero out.
mathesond - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#416602) #
Man, it's like this team can't do anything right.
uglyone - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#416603) #
Very nice seeing them do this to the rays right after beating the Sox.

Biggio has an argument to be our #2 hitter but can't get above Tapia.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#416604) #
Biggio has an argument to be our #2 hitter but can't get above Tapia.

It's obviously got nothing to do with Tapia - it's that whole Biggio's a second leadoff hitter idea - but it might be worth trying. You'd end up with Bichette hitting sixth, and Gurriel, Chapman, Espinal at the bottom of the order.

Not that it really makes a lick of difference.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#416605) #
The hitters will need a few maintenance days due to all this baserunning.

Tomorrow will be a long day at the office. Hopefully the roof is open all day. The first game starts at high noon.

California Dreamin' for Monday. Oakland weather forecasts steady 20įC early next week.

Happy Canada Day!
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#416606) #
The second David McKay to play in TO. Appropriate that he should make his first appearance on Canada Day.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#416607) #
The first Dave McKay is still coaching, first base coach for the D'Backs. 72 years old, but 70 is the new 50. Or so I'm told.
Nigel - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#416608) #
Not often that you will see a .380 OBP with a .219 BA. Sort of hard to fathom.

In contrast to earlier, fantastic base running by Biggio and Springer.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#416609) #
I like what Romo said when they asked him why teams were interested in him: "I'm 39 and I throw 85."
hypobole - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#416610) #
Romo chewed up a scoreless inning. 6 outs to go.

Cubs down 4-0 early came back and beat the Red Sox 6-5.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#416611) #
My sweet Lourdes!
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#416612) #
So what should Montoyo do tomorrow? Gausman in the first game or the second?
lexomatic - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#416613) #
<br>I really do not know but seeing the statscast stats showing Chapman at -2 vs LHB and knowing how much more the Jays shift than anyone, I think it's just another example of them breaking metrics. He might not be having as good year, but I guess the key is being able to determine if he's being penalized for balls hit to 3b "zone" while he's at "SS" for thr shift. It might not be publicly available or freely, but i think it would be easy to confirm or disprove.
Nigel - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#416614) #
Castillo might just be a solution to the multi inning low leverage role the team has needed. His stuff is better than I thought.
hypobole - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#416615) #
So Gausman and Casey Lawrence tomorrow?
Gerry - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#416616) #
Gausman gets his choice of whether to start game one or two. Thomas Hatch will likely start the other.
scottt - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#416617) #
Best Canada Day game that I can remember.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#416618) #
Gausman and Casey Lawrence tomorrow?

Lawrence pitched Tuesday. Hatch is already here.
jerjapan - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#416619) #
Freakin Brett Phillips man. That guy will haunt my nightmares.

I feel better about our pen already with romo and especially Castillo. Kids a story in perserverance and could really log valuable innings if he can keep throwing like today. A bulldog mentality

Happy Canada day!
greenfrog - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#416620) #
"My sweet Lourdes!"

Back in March I wrote that Gurriel Jr. would be one to watch this year. Let's hope he can extend his productive stretches (or have more of them) this season. He's currently up to .292/.347/.432 (121 wRC+).
Mike Green - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#416621) #
I agree, Nigel. Castillo's stuff out of the rotation in Buffalo looked soft. Much better in a relief role in the Show.
jerjapan - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#416622) #
Also, watched the ceremony on your advice magpie. Glad I did!
bpoz - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:49 PM EDT (#416623) #
Jays need to win 1 but hopefully 2.
greenfrog - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#416624) #
McClanahan will be a tough assignment for the Jays. Iíd like to see a Gausman-McClanahan matchup.
Cracka - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#416625) #
Some interesting game theory for tomorrow's matchups:
1. Gausman gets his choice of the day or night game.
2. The Jays will likely go with an all-RH lineup against McClanahan.
3. Montoyo is highly likely to start all four "day game" bench players in the night game.
4. This means that Biggio, Tapia, Collins, and even Zimmer will likely start in the other game (likely against RH Drew Rasmussen).
5. Kevin Cash apparently wants to wait for Gausman's decision before announcing his starters.

If I were Montoyo, I'd hold off as long as possible before making the announcement tomorrow morning.
Michael - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#416626) #
"It's obviously got nothing to do with Tapia - it's that whole Biggio's a second leadoff hitter idea - but it might be worth trying. You'd end up with Bichette hitting sixth, and Gurriel, Chapman, Espinal at the bottom of the order."

I think if Biggio is second, Bichette is 5th not 6th.

1. Springer CF
2. Biggio 2B/1B/LF/RF
3. Vald 1B/DH
4. Kirk DH/C
5. Bichette SS
6. Jansen C
7. Gurriel LF
8. Chapman 3B
9. Hernandez RF

Espinal and/or Moreno primarily filling in while Jansen is out.

The current major league average for OBP is 312 and OPS is 706. From that eleven players the only ones below average at OBP are Jansen (290), Bichette (298), Chapman (302), and Hernandez (306). The only ones below average at OPS are Moreno (658). You can get a 12th non-terrible guy in Collins with 285 OBP and 732 OPS. As long as you greatly limit Tapia (285 OBP, 648 OPS, both numbers worse than all 11 other players, combined with bad defense) and Zimmer (205 OBP, 420 OPS, even if he were the best defender in history, you can't make up for those numbers) you have a great offense. Heck Kirk's 408 OBP is with in spitting distance of the 420 OPS of Zimmer.
Magpie - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#416627) #
Hernandez is not going to hit ninth. Not in this universe.

Biggio right now is the ninth guy, Tapia is the tenth, and they will both get bumped down a peg when Jansen returns and Moreno goes back to Buffalo. Espinal is ahead of them, as much for his glove as his bat, which is decent enough anyway.
scottt - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#416628) #
Chapman and Bichette should play both games.
Vlad and Springer could DH, even if that takes Kirk out of a game.
Tapia and Zimmer can start in the outfield. Collins could play first base.
Biggio might do all of the above or replace Espinal at second.
Moreno is probably catching Hatch.

An early blowout or a first game going extra innings could twists things a bit.

uglyone - Friday, July 01 2022 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#416629) #
#ABT

Anything

But

Tapia
hypobole - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:45 AM EDT (#416630) #
Top 3 hitting teams by wRC+ NYY 116, TOR 115, HOU 114.

RISP, which the broadcasts have stopped endlessly mentioning, is now at .246, all the way up to 21st.

Here's an oddity. The 2 teams directly behind the Jays with RISP? HOU .242. NYY .236. CIN with their 26th ranked 89 wRC+ leads baseball, batting .281 with RISP.

And finally on the sheep front, 4 legs good, Tapia bad.
bpoz - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#416632) #
I really wanted Max Castillo to start one of todays games because I believe that he is good. Hatch will start 1 game today so I suppose he is believed to be ready for a role like that. I hope everything works out well.
Cracka - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#416634) #
I think Castillo is clearly the better choice to start today over Hatch - but if he did start today, it would cost him his roster spot, because they'll likely need to option him for a fresh bullpen arm tomorrow. I think it makes a lot of sense to try to get as many innings as you can out of the "27th man" today, but I still wouldn't be surprised to see another move after the game.
Nigel - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#416635) #
Agreed Cracka - somewhat counterintuitively, I interpret Castillo not starting as a sign of him impressing the team in his current role. Hatch hasnít been that good in Buffalo and Lawrence is Lawrence. I think Hatch and Lawrence are cannon fodder for today and today only.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#416636) #
And finally on the sheep front, 4 legs good, Tapia bad.

Didn't they change their tune before the book was over?

I just got in the door from grocery shopping. It's hot already and it's going to get hotter. Whichever poor sod catches the first game is going to need lots of time in the cold tub afterwards.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#416637) #
High 28C and getting windy around 3 pm, Magpie.  BTW, 28C is the new 25C- sorry you didn't get cced on the memo. 

Good lineup for the first game; I anticipate that we'll see Tapia in left, Zimmer in center and Kirk catching game 2 with Gurriel Jr. DHing.  
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#416638) #
It'll be interesting whether Montoyo gives Bichette or Espinal the second game off; I am pretty sure that Biggio will play second base. 
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#416639) #
Byron Buxton's HR last night, down 1, bottom of the ninth, nobody out and runner on 1st had the 18th highest WPA of the season at .662.  Trivia questions for today: which player has the hit with the highest WPA this season and which Blue Jay has the club's hit with the highest WPA (and what were the circumstances)?
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#416640) #
28C is the new 25C-

Anything over 20 is too bloody hot. I come from the land of the ice and snow.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#416641) #
There have been a lot of big hits by Jays hitters this season. I imagine the grand slam that the slumping Bichette hit against Boston in April had a high WPA. I remember the game because he (I think) had a similarly big late-inning HR at the Rogers Centre against Boston in 2021.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR202204250.shtml
scottt - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#416642) #
Ouch. That one hurts.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#416643) #
What hurts?
AWeb - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#416644) #
What happened to gausman?
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#416645) #
How bad is the injury?
Cracka - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#416646) #
Gausman was hit on the foot by a line drive comebacker to the mound. He initially couldn't put weight on it and looked to be in significant pain... but he did walk off the field, albeit slowly. It reminded me of when Doc Halladay was hit in the leg by Kevin Mench (in 2005?) and that ended his career season.

UPDATE: Gausman's X-Rays are negative! It's a contusion and probably a very, very ugly bruise. But that's very, very good news and we've probably dodged a bullet. They might still put Gausman on the IL after the game to make room for Hatch.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#416647) #
Not the Bichette grand slam.
lexomatic - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#416648) #
<br>Franco hit a ball off his leg 2nd inning knocking him out of game he walked offshore hopefully he just needs to rest until next start, maybe 1 skipped but not great foe this series or of long term
AWeb - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#416649) #
This doubleheader just got a lot more complicated to get through. Glad the xrays are negative.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#416650) #
Gausman's X-Rays are negative!

Cool. Put some ice on it, get him back out there for 6:00.

No?
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#416651) #
Sure, Magpie.  Put him in left-field, can't have Tapia out there. 
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#416652) #
Maybe Gurriel Jr. or Teoscar's home run in this game?

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR202206190.shtml
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#416653) #
It's a contusion and probably a very, very ugly bruise.

Contusion is a three-syllable word for bruise, so that seems right.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#416654) #
Not the Lourdes or Teoscar homers.
Nigel - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#416655) #
This is my favourite Jays broadcast crew. There have been several interesting discussions between the two. There was an actual attempt to impart knowledge.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#416656) #
Agree, Nigel.  Siddall's comments about landing leg injuries and how they might affect control were enlightening.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#416657) #
The Jays have just acquired LH reliever Anthony Banda, just DFA'd by the Pirates after the NL batted .374 against him, for cash considerations (which is a fancy way of saying "money." George Carlin, we miss you.) Banda was pretty decent last season.
hypobole - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#416658) #
Hey, uglyone, you know who is just as happy as you are that Tapia isn't in the game against McClanahan?

Yup, Tapia.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#416659) #
You guys.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#416660) #
George Carlin, we miss you.

Sheriff, I'm gonna pay you.  And I'm gonne pay you slow. 
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#416661) #
Bichette's been having problems with LH pitching this season (not that it involves many ABs.) But of the ten guys that Montoyo normally allows to hit, seven basically have no platoon split, and the other three - Bichette, Espinal, and Hernandez - all beat the crap out of southpaws. And that's what Espinal and Hernandez have been doing. But not Bo.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#416662) #
Teoscar having some issues with this southpaw.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#416663) #
Yep.  Teoscar looks lost against McLanahan.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#416664) #
Matt Chapman, two-out double T9 to put the Jays ahead 4-3 against Houston?

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU202204220.shtml
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#416665) #
That's probably it for McClanahan, who's at 94 pitches and has thrown 100 pitches (exactly 100) once this season. Begone. Go away.
Nigel - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#416666) #
The results donít reflect it but Lawrence has been pretty good. A few dinks and dunks have made the two blasts look worse.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#416667) #
Yeah Lawrence did his job. Saved the bullpen.
Unfortunately once Gausman was injured there was little chance of winning this one.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#416668) #
Nice try, greenfrog, but not Chapman's hit.  It was a 2 out homer to tie the game.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#416669) #
Well, if the Rays manage to hang on that'll mean McClanahan's gone 7-1, 1.09 in his last 10 starts with 86 Ks and 8 BB in 66 IP.

What is this swelling up in my heart? Terror? Despair? Something unpleasant, that's for sure.
Cracka - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#416670) #
It looks like Max Castillo will be the roster casualty for Tom Hatch. And then Hatch is likely optioned to make room for Banda. And if Gausman goes on the IL, then Castillo can come back and potentially start in his place in 5 days.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#416671) #
Guerra came up as a shortstop? Played there for six years in the minors, made his MLB debut there with San Diego in 2018.

At which point, I'm guessing the first basemen petitioned to get him moved to the mound.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#416672) #
He's like bad chili, Magpie.  But it will pass by dinnertime..
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#416673) #
Harold Ramirez... that was the Drew Hutchison trade. The trade that goes on giving.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#416674) #
He's like bad chili

I've never had bad chili. I'm highly skeptical that such a thing could even exist. But of course I don't eat at any of those fancy places...
lexomatic - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#416675) #
<br>game 2 soon
This lineup looks a little scary due to who's resting.
Hope Hatch has some surprises
lexomatic - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#416676) #
<br>Rough start but that could've been worse with bases loaded 0 out. Maybe we'll get the momentum shift effect.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#416677) #
I approve of Tapia's effort to bunt his way on.  It wasn't a good bunt, but even the failed bunt had a value. 
uglyone - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#416678) #
Ye Olde bunt by the #6 batter with no outs and 2 on.
Nigel - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#416679) #
Iíd have liked that bunt a lot more if they werenít already down three with Hatch on the mound. Feels like a ton of runs are going to be needed to have a chance tonight. Plus, Tapia just isnít that fast. It would take a perfect bunt to get a hit.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#416680) #
One in the first, two in the second, three in the third... do we even want to see the next step in this progression?
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#416681) #
He's not the #6 hitter.  He's Raimel Tapia and he did not ground into a double play...
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#416682) #
The next three numbers in the progression are 0, 0 and 0.  Not so well known fact.
bpoz - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#416683) #
We need a big comeback!!
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#416684) #
And the answers to the trivia questions:  Jorge Alfaro had the highest WPA play of the season, and George Springer's 2 run homer off Jake Diekman in April to tie the game in the 9th was the Blue Jays' highest WPA play of the season.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#416685) #
As I said when Ryu was injured, the Blue Jays need a starter.  The cupboard in triple A is bare. 
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#416686) #
Looks like a good night for Santiago Espinal to make his third career appearance on the mound.
Nigel - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#416687) #
Itís pretty clear that the Tapia bunt was the turning point in this game:). All his fault.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#416688) #
Indeed. And he did nothing in the first game.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#416689) #
Itís going to be a competitive market for starting pitchers. If you think about what it cost to acquire Berrios (the then-market value of Martin and SWR, which was pretty high), I think it will cost at least that much to land someone like Montas. If the Jays want to hold on to Moreno/Kirk/Tiedemann, they might not have the prospects to pull off an impact trade.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#416690) #
It may be easier to land a back of the rotation arm than one of the really good ones - Tyler Mahle instead of Luis Castillo.
Nigel - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#416691) #
Looking at positives, Biggio looks to be the player he was in 2019/20 (perhaps with a smidgen less power with the changed ball/humidor). Thatís incredibly valuable to this lineup. Regardless of position he needs to be an everyday player.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#416692) #
Looking at positives

Well, I got another! Hernandez got hurt in April, missed almost a month - and when he came back, he hit like Zimmer for about two weeks while he shook off the rust. But Since May 24 - .328/.360/.574 with 6 HRs in 32 games. I was pretty dubious about the idea that he could keep hitting around .300 striking out as much as he does. I'm still skeptical. But... let the good times roll.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#416693) #
Is Mahle a back-of-the-rotation arm? His stats have been consistently good for several years. He looks more like a solid #3 pitcher, if not better.
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:04 PM EDT (#416694) #
As good as Moreno has looked, he seems to be the most likely player to go, if the Jays are aiming to get a really good player in return. Unless a team like Oakland or Cincinnati is willing to accept a multi-prospect package that doesnít include Moreno or Tiedemann.

It seems more likely the Jays will try to land an innings-eater for a lower-level prospect, more akin to the Stripling trade.
85bluejay - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#416695) #
just checked the box score - disappointed that Max Castillo wasn't held back yesterday to start today - I'd love for him to get a shot at a start or two.
scottt - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#416696) #
Getting a starter would just push Stripling back to the pen--where he wasn't very good.

The way to have depth starters in AAA is not to trade them away.
You can always sign veterans but those guys don't want to hang around AAA if they're any good, hence Stripling waiting in the pen to get his starts.

Hatch was good in the pen where he was throwing 96mph.

Rental pitchers are not that expensive.
Shapiro wasn't happy with AA trading all the AAA starters to get Price.
They've hang on to Merryweather, Pearson and a bunch of guys who could have taken a step forward.

I was expecting them to start Romero with Hatch, because they've worked together recently.
Hatch left a lot of stuff over the middle of the plate.

If pressed, I'd try Castillo, possibly with Gage as the opener if it's a team with lots of left bats.

scottt - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#416697) #
The Jays got Taijuan Walker 2 years ago.
You remember how good he was in the playoffs?

Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#416698) #
I remember he didn't pitch in the playoffs.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#416699) #
You remember how good he was in the playoffs?

Can't say that I do...
greenfrog - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#416700) #
Rental pitchers are not that expensive

It's true. Just give up a warm body like this and you're off to the races: http://tinyurl.com/5bdkdcry
92-93 - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 09:57 PM EDT (#416701) #
Bunting for a base hit when you basically never try that otherwise and your team is down 3-0 with a AAA starter on the mound is incredibly stupid. Some consider it selfish.

Nice swing from Zimmer. The sum of his parts would be greater than Tapia's if they just gave him some run.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#416702) #
Some consider it selfish.

Tell me who these people are who think trying to get a hit is selfish, so that I may gaze on them with wonder.
92-93 - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#416703) #
When a player only attempts to bunt for a base hit when it can't hurt his batting average, it's selfish.
Magpie - Saturday, July 02 2022 @ 11:35 PM EDT (#416704) #
I hadn't thought of that. He would have been hitting .256 at the end of the day instead of .257. Take that to arbitration, see where it gets you.
scottt - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#416705) #
Looks like they've optioned Lawrence and Castillo and kept Hatch and Banta.
Cracka - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#416706) #
Lawrence was the 27th man though. Someone else needs to drop for Banda and Hatch is the obvious candidate. But there's not much time for Banda to get to Toronto, go through physicals, and then become active for today's game. So perhaps he just meets the team in Oakland tomorrow and Hatch gets to stay for another day (and earn another ~$3,900 in big league pay).
scottt - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#416708) #
Banda is another Rays reject, although he started in Arizona after being drafted by the Brewers.
He was part of the 3-team trade that brought Drury to NY.
The Rays also got Nick Solak from the Yankees, Sam McWilliams and Colin Poche as part of that deal.
He's a bit like Richards, Fastball and change up, but he doesn't have noticeable splits.
Right bats are hitting .352 against him and left bats .405.

The Jays should probably use one of the position players as blowout pitcher.
It works for the Rays. Just need to get Collins to throw a knuckler or an eephus.
As a catcher, his fastball is probably borderline.
You could have Hagen Danner in that role next year.
Officially the 3rd catcher but really the blowout pitcher.



Magpie - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#416709) #
This is truly dreadful news. Mark Budzinski's eldest daughter, Julia, has died. He will of course be away from the team for a while.
Gerry - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#416711) #
Hatch is now optioned. Trevor Richards activated.
92-93 - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#416712) #
The Jays are 11-6 when Zimmer starts in CF (and 2-0 when he starts in RF). They are 7-8 when Tapia starts in CF.
Chuck - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#416713) #
Looking at positives, Biggio looks to be the player he was in 2019/20... Regardless of position he needs to be an everyday player.

I am pleased for Biggio that he seems to be "back". It's like the team has traded for a valuable player.

bpoz - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#416715) #
I expect Max Castillo to be an important part of the pitching staff. I can see Atkins pulling some crafty maneuvers to get him up soon.
Mike Green - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#416716) #
That is terrible news about Mark Budzinski. It is every parent's nightmare.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#416718) #
Pretty hard to have 9 baserunners in 4 innings and 1 run. 1-10 with RISP will do it.
Chuck - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#416719) #
This Shulman/Siddall broadcast pairing is hands down the best combination. They give the game room to breathe. It's such a relief not having to continually reach for the mute button to silence inane chatter.
Mike Green - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#416720) #
Well, it could have been a little worse if Diaz hadn't unnecessarily sacrificed himself.  Always searching for the slightest hint of a silver lining.
Eephus - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#416721) #
I say it every time and Iíll say it againÖ. playing the Rays makes me not like baseball. Finally get to watch a couple games this weekend and, well I shouldíve known better.

To be fair, the on-field results are far from the largest tragedy surrounding the team today.
Hodgie - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#416723) #
I wonder how much longer Trent Thornton is allowed to pass himself off as an MLB pitcher before the Jays FO gives up on that notion?
John Northey - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#416724) #
It is frustrating. Thornton was doing well. 8 of 25 games he has allowed runs to score, just 2+ in 5 games including today - 3 were 2 on the nose, today and June 17th were horrid (that day was 5 runs vs NYY). Maybe just keep him away from AL East teams outside of blowouts (as he makes them into blowouts). His 3 2 run games were 2 vs Boston and 1 vs Cleveland. Opponents OPS 1.375 vs Boston, 1.149 vs NYY, Tampa was 1 for 7 before today this year. Thornton is no more than a 7 or 8th guy in the pen. When forced into a bigger leverage role you are asking for problems.

So what to do with a drained pen and injuries? Not an easy solution for the Jays right now. We need a string of healthy 5-7 IP starts from the starters so the pen can have some rest and hopefully a trade or two to get some more effective guys in there to help the core.
Chuck - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#416725) #
So what to do with a drained pen and injuries?

Spend pocket change on guys even the Pirates don't want.

99BlueJaysWay - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#416726) #
The lack of any kind of consistency with this team drives me absolutely insane
lexomatic - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#416727) #
The lack of any kind of consistency with this team drives me absolutely insane
YUUUUUP
scottt - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#416728) #
If you believe in FIP, Banda is interesting.
Not sure whose place he's taking.
I hope it's not Gage's.

Magpie - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#416729) #
The team apparently considered not playing at all today. That could not have been easy.
SK in NJ - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#416730) #
As good as Moreno has looked, he seems to be the most likely player to go, if the Jays are aiming to get a really good player in return.

With the way the Jays are consistently using the DH position, I tend to agree. Jansen is worthy of being a starter but he's so injury prone that having him as a backup to Kirk is likely the smartest way to use him unless there's a team out there willing to pay through the nose for him in a trade. Kirk is obviously not being moved. That leaves Moreno, and while a well run organization should be able to use Kirk and Moreno together effectively, I just don't think the Jays are that organization given their view on playing time and the DH position. Trade Moreno and then use the DH spot to get Tapia as many PA's as possible.....I mean, use the DH spot to rest regulars routinely.
tercet - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#416731) #
Shoulda traded Moreno a month ago before he got exposed as someone who probably won't hit, but still trade him now and don't think twice about it.
uglyone - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#416732) #
Maybe Shapkins makes the playoffs in year 8
greenfrog - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#416733) #
I think the Jays will be opportunistic, as always. They'll make a significant move if a good opportunity presents itself. Otherwise they'll make moves around the edges to strengthen the back end of the rotation, the bullpen, and the bench.
SK in NJ - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#416734) #
Barring a huge collapse, I think the Jays will end up with one of the Wild Card spots this season, so I'm not necessarily worried about that, but it's a good/flawed team with practically no depth in the upper minors and questionable (to put it mildly) roster/lineup management. They are not equipped to deal with SP injuries and the bullpen is having the same issues it has had for years. The lineup is a bright spot but even that has a dark cloud over it (the impractical use of Tapia, excessive sitting of Kirk, and not using optimal lineups/rest days more often than not).

It's going to be interesting to see what they do at the deadline. There's no immediate help on the farm, so how the team performs in 2022 and likely 2023 will depend a lot on their big league transactions over the next 12 months.
bpoz - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#416735) #
I expect trades by the Aug 2 trade deadline. I cannot figure out the FOs plan for the trade deadline.
Kasi - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#416736) #
Excessive sitting of Kirk? I think Magpie has debunked his fairly well already. Heís been in a ton of games and heís a catcher as well. Heís also has injury history. You put him in every day like some of you want and heíll get injured again and then it will be Moreno and Collins full time.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 07:41 PM EDT (#416737) #
The amount of quality pitching available at the trade deadline may just have gone down. Per MLBTR:

Athletics starter Frankie Montas left todayís start early after seeing a drop in velocity, per MLB.comís Martin Gallegos. Montasí heater was 2.4 mph slower than usual, while his sinker was 2.7 mph slower on average, notes Gallegos. The initial diagnosis is inflammation, reports Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle, but they will need more time to evaluate.
John Northey - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#416738) #
It is tough to figure out trade plans. As I've said before I think there are A/B/C/.../Z plans.
A) trade for a couple of top notch relievers to deepen the pen (I think we all agree this is critical)
B) trade for a top level starting pitcher to replace Ryu in the rotation and move Stripling to the pen again, mostly to go after Kikuchi pitches (not counting his last start of course).
C) trade for a top level CF who has years of control thus freeing up one of the OF (Hernandez or Gurriel) for another trade, and opening up the option of moving Springer to RF fulltime.
D) trading for a much better LH OF than Zimmer or Tapia (no point in a marginal upgrade) which again might make Hernandez or Gurriel expendable.

Those area a few ideas. I figure cost/opportunity are key elements here - if a player isn't available that fits (and remember, they need to be vaccinated) then you can't do much about it. If the cost is too high (they want to contend in 2023/24/25/... of course) that will kill a deal.

So who fits each area? Checking just teams out of it (10+ games out)
A) Relievers: David Robertson (free agent after 2022, very effective for the Cubs); Scott Effross (also Cubs but not a free agent until 2027 so higher cost); David Bednar (not a free agent until after 2026) Pittsburgh; Joe Mantiply (LH with Arizona, drastically better than ever before), Daniel Bard (Colorado, free agent after this year); an interesting idea is Raisel Iglesias (makes $16 mil a year for 3 more years with the Angels but they are out of it as always - could be a salary dump situation); Alex Lange (Detroit, solid middle man but years until FA); Tanner Rainey (Washington, lots of years left); so many more it is crazy. I guarantee I missed a few good options.
B) Starters: Madison Bumgarner is interesting - 2 years left on his contract at $37 mil, but a known playoff performer - someone a playoff bound team should be very interested in, even if he wouldn't be starting in the playoffs just for his experience and ability to probably teach the kids how to deal with it. Still a good pitcher. Lots more out there but the price skyrockets for the really good ones. MLB.com had a decent article on it in late May. MLB Trade Rumors had a list too in May. From late June you have The Athletic list too (subscription needed). All had Frankie Montas high on their lists but his injury now could kill that.
C) CF: Arizona has the dream - Alek Thomas (a 22 year old rookie with a 108 OPS+) but the cost would be sky high as it would also be for their super CF prospect Corbin Carroll. SF has a very nice one in Mike Yastrzemski but the cost again would be high (years until a FA) and he is more a RF than a CF and is 31. Bryan Reynolds in Pittsburgh would be sweet (FA after 2025) but again, very expensive. I think you get the idea - a good CF is an expensive piece to acquire, thus why the Jays tried with Tapia & Zimmer.
D) OF: more options at more affordable prices. Andrew Benintendi (LH LF/CF for KC, free agent post 2022) is probably the best candidate - cheap due to only being a rental, solid on D, hits left, having a good but not great year (118 OPS+), can cover CF in a pinch. I'm sure many others are out there in the same vein.

So lots of targets and potential targets. Which will the Jays go for? It all depends on how much the Jays are willing to give up and how much of the team they are willing to shuffle (I'd be nervous about playing with the OF due to the great chemistry the current 3 and Vlad/Bo have together). Ideally a starting pitcher and 2 or 3 relievers imo. The Jays big budget space is a massive asset here as is the 3 catcher situation.
Magpie - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#416739) #
[Kirkís] been in a ton of games and heís a catcher as well.

He's started 59 of 80 games which is almost 75%. I would think that the return of Jansen will allow them to boost that a little. If Jansen catches three starters, and Kirk catches two and DHs twice, he's up to starting 80% of the games. I think that ought to be plenty. It's July, much of his body is already beat up. It's going to get worse. Catchers don't really get days off, whether they're in the lineup or not. Kirk's never played 100 games in a season. We'll just have to see how it goes.
Magpie - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#416740) #
If you're looking for upgrades - well only one team in the league has scored more runs than the Jays. But only three teams have allowed more runs. So I know what side of the diamond I'm looking for help, and I'm looking for whatever I can get - starters, relievers, better AAA emergency options. All of it.
Nigel - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#416741) #
Yeah, I agree. Kirkís usage in April was light but he was struggling then anyway. Since then, no real complaints. They should be targeting 500-550 PAís for this year. Thatís doable.

I also agree that pitchers are where itís at. Funnily enough, I think the Yankees have made things easier. The Jays arenít catching them this year. That takes short term premium SP rentals off the table, thereís no point. Get premium RPs, sure, get back end starters, sure and, maybe, shop in the long term SP upgrade aisle. I actually think things are simple. The Jays are a WC team this year and have a competitive window for the next 2-3 years. Allocate resources accordingly.
John Northey - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#416742) #
My reasons for listing CF/OF other options is due to the 1993 situation. The Jays hit mid-season wanting pitching help but couldn't get it so they took Rickey Henderson to fix the weak LF situation. This year the only hole on offense is backup OF really and as much as I get on Tapia he isn't _that_ bad, for a 4th OF that is. With Biggio here and playing well he could cover LF thus cutting down Tapia's time and helping reduce that issue. But no question #1/2/3 priorities are pitching/pitching/pitching. I'd love for Castillo to get more of a chance (a start) at some point. Hatch isn't the answer, nor is Thornton - both are nice to have in AAA as backups along with Lawrence. It'll be interesting to see what happens though. I can't imagine it'll be a DH/1B type like Joey Votto (hitting 261/359/507 since May 1st after a horrid April 434 OPS) or Josh Bell of Washington (160 OPS+ though... oh yeah that'd be nice) as that would block Kirk (161 OPS+) from DH.

I fully expect 1 or 2 relievers to be brought in who have a decent track record, and maybe a solid starter who is a free agent post 2022/23 or an ace type if the Jays are willing to dig deep, or a guy who is overpaid ($20+ mil) to be a solid #3 guy who'd be #4 in our rotation (I believe in Berrios and really hope Gausman is OK). Kikuchi for all his troubles still has an ERA+ of 83 which is poor but the 1993 team's #5 had a 70 (Jack Morris) and they did OK. The other 4 ranged from 112 (Hentgen) to 90 (Stottlemyre) for ERA+. Of course that team had a lock down closer (Ward) and a few decent middle men (Eichhorn, Castillo, Timlin, Cox) in an era where 5 man bullpens were the norm (can you imagine). More recently the 2015 team made the playoffs with Drew Hutchison starting 28 times and an ERA+ of 74 (yikes) but again a killer pen (Osuna-Sanchez-Hendricks-Cecil-Loup) helped a lot. No question the pen must be improved. Cannot count on guys like Richards and Thornton. I like Gage so far, and Castillo but I doubt the Jays are comfortable leaving them in the pen as key pieces. Romo might help, as might Anthony Banda (looks like a nightmarish BABIP is killing him - 463 this year vs 355 lifetime which is also pretty high vs the normal of around 300). Still, one doesn't count on castoffs from Pittsburgh to help.
John Northey - Sunday, July 03 2022 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#416743) #
For Kirk playing time I'd be scared if I was the Jays to go over 80% of the games right now. He is doing fantastic as is, so why push it. Moreno is a solid option (298/327/319 at the moment) who will go back to AAA when Jansen returns (232/290/625). While neither hits like Kirk, each has their pluses on defense (Jansen as a game caller, Moreno with his killer arm). Keeping Collins around as a 3rd option is a good idea so there is no hesitation to use Kirk on his days off as a pinch hitter who you run for right away, or to run for him or Jansen late in a game regardless of Kirk being the DH.

80% = 130 games a season. That is a reasonable goal this year. Next year with lots of DH time pushing him to 150 games is a reasonable goal, but given Kirk has never played 100+ games in a year (his peak is 92 in 2019) I'd be careful. Especially with playoffs looming - you want Kirk in every one of those games either behind the plate or at DH and that could add another 22 games potentially with lots of off days. I could see the Jays giving him a day off here and there during the playoffs if he looks tired, same for Springer, but only if they lead the series by a fair margin (up 3-1 or 3-0).

FYI: Kirk has played 87.5% of games so far (70 of 80) 8 times just as a PH (including today), 3 times as a PH/C (under 3 innings each time). 19 times as a DH, 40 times as the starting catcher. Once Jansen is back I expect the times behind the plate to cut down. He is on pace for 140 games roughly but remove pinch hitting and it is down to 74% of games, or a 120 game pace (as a starter). That seems reasonable.
Magpie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 06:33 AM EDT (#416744) #
as much as I get on Tapia he isn't _that_ bad, for a 4th OF that is.

They let it be known that he was a project, that they wanted to make some changes to his game. Since May 26 (the day Biggio came back and completed the lineup), the Designated Scapegoat has hit .297 and slugged .484, which would indeed be pretty good for a fourth outfielder. He was a better hitter in June than Bichette or Espinal, but I strangely didn't hear any complaints that they were receiving so much more playing time.

Problem is, he's not really a fourth outfielder. We've seen for ourselves what the Rockies already knew (and we didn't, and would be distressed to discover) - you can really only play him in LF. Montoyo, however, had already demonstrated in 2021 that he will play any outfielder anywhere if he feels like it. And Zimmer, meanwhile, hits like a pitcher. A pitcher with pop, but there you go. If Hyun-Jin Ryu were healthy, I don't know who should hit for who. Still, between the two of them, you can kind of cobble together an acceptable fourth outfielder. The team actually has a nice record (9-4) when they're both in the starting lineup. There are probably other reasons for that sort of thing. There always are.
bpoz - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#416745) #
We have seen how a team conducts a rebuild:

1) Asset acquisition mode by AA. He also accumulated extra draft picks. Atkins made trade deadline moves for "middle aged" relievers/pitcher prospects. I cannot remember who they were and how they worked out.

2) Try to draft well?? Good luck. Also don't tank. 2019 was a "clear the books" strategy rather than tanking IMO. Or both.

3) Trades to build. Lawrie. Trades to compete Dickey and Donaldson because we could not compete consistently since the 1990s. Still could not compete before the 2015 trade deadline so empty the farm at the deadline. 7 years later the "empty the farm" strategy proved to be a huge success.

4) Compliment a good team. 2020 get SPs. 2021 get relievers.

5) Spend $ on FAs (Shapiro/Atkins). Semien, Ryu, Springer and Gausman.

6) Make big trades. But don't empty the farm. Berrios and Chapman.

The BIG question is how to extend a window!!

1) Draft picks & Int'l signings will help if players like Manoah & Kirk show up in a timely fashion once the core is ageing and the payroll is getting high. Waves of prospect talent is one main area.

2) If the payroll can support expensive FAs and extensions. Verlander said that the Jays offered equal money. But that was low because he signed for $26mil/year for 2 years I believe.

Honestly I don't know what the Jays will try to do going forward in trade deadline & off season activity. Winning 1 of 6 (the 6th) playoff spots is a pretty good goal IMO. Spending $ like LAD & producing your own talent like 9th round Tony Gonsolin really helps to become the top team in your league.
Mike Green - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#416746) #
And Zimmer, meanwhile, hits like a pitcher. A pitcher with pop, but there you go

Zimmer career: 8.1% W, 33.9% K, .124 IsoP, .318 BABIP
Zimmer 2022: 6.4%W, 39.7%, .145 IsoP, .167 BABIP

What's the big change in 2022?  Do you think that's likely to continue?  Personally, I think that if you gave him 400 PAs, he'd hit about his career line and be a much, much better player than Tapia. And if you gave Biggio extra PAs in the corners as needed, you'd have an excellent 5th option. But you and I have been through that...

It would have been a gutty move to bring on Romano to start the 5th inning.  This is not criticism; it was a day that the club was just trying to get through things. 


 
Magpie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#416747) #
Do you think that's likely to continue?

I don't think it matters a whole lot when you've fanned 31 times in 69 ABs. Give him a BABiP in line with his career rate and he's hitting .174/.260/.319. That's better, I suppose. Problem is, he's hit so poorly his own confidence must be somewhat frayed. And his manager has little reason to believe much good can follow from allowing him to hit.
Mike Green - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#416748) #
Personally, I call that a slump.  And it's the worst kind because he gets 4-6 PAs a week, and even when he puts a nice swing on a ball, he may not get another chance for a week. 

Over their careers, Tapia has a wRC+ of 78 (this year 80) and Zimmer has a wRC+ of 75 (this year 32).  Tapia is a little better as a hitter, but the difference between them in other phases of the game is large.  For what it's worth, ZiPS believes in Zimmer- they've got him at .208/.307/.334 good for an 85 wRC+ and 0.5 WAR in half a season and 163 PAs. 
Hodgie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#416750) #
Shoulda traded Moreno a month ago before he got exposed as someone who probably won't hit, but still trade him now and don't think twice about it.

Is this serious or is BB missing a sarcasm font?

Nigel - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#416751) #
Iím with you Mike on the Tapia/Zimmer issue but I donít think itís ever been a competition. In the games following hitting a HR, Zimmer was on the bench in favour of Tapia. Those would have been opportunities to build some confidence. I think itís been clear that, for whatever reason, it was pre determined that Tapia would be the fourth OF and nothing that happens this year (other than injuries) will change that. Iím moving on.
uglyone - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#416752) #
Calling Tapia's role "4th OF" is significantly understating the size of his role.
Mike Green - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#416753) #
I think itís been clear that, for whatever reason, it was pre determined that Tapia would be the fourth OF and nothing that happens this year (other than injuries) will change that. Iím moving on.

I agree.  But it's indicative of a management problem.  The single greatest need for a fourth OFer on this club is to be able to play CF when Springer is not.  And it's been evident from very early on that Tapia is not cut out for that.  There was nothing wrong with trying Tapia in the role at the beginning of the season, but the failure to take account of the objective and subjective evidence that he is not capable of playing centerfield is a bad sign.  It reminds me a bit of the extreme shifting that the club has done.  There's a significant sub-set of players who the Jays are shifting but are obviously capable of adjusting to it.  The Blue Jays have responded after the opposing batter has exploited it usually two or three times. 

I hadn't noticed but Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s offensive profile has changed with the new ball.  His HR/FB rate is way down, and his average is up.  His .295/.350/.434 line with pretty good speed would play well near the top of the order rather than in the 6 slot.  It's not a big deal, but seeing him right there with Guerrero Jr. in OBP is a surprise. 
85bluejay - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#416754) #
Mike Trout went 0 for 11 with 9 strikeouts against the Astros over the weekend - The Astros are very impressive and I think the team most likely to upend the Yankees magical season come October. I hope Dusty Baker wins it all because I was shocked that he received only a 1 year contract after the team's performance despite losing Springer - Also that the team lost Correa and is performing so well highlights the need to keep your quality prospects - last time I checked Jeremy Pena has produced a higher WAR so far this season than any of the high priced free agent shortstops signed last offseason.
greenfrog - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#416755) #
The position players who have played the most (PA ranging from 356 to 135), in order of playing time from most to least, are Bichette, Vladdy, Springer, Espinal, Chapman, Gurriel Jr., Kirk, Tapia, Teoscar, Biggio.

Each of those players has at least 0.9 fWAR, except for Tapia, who is at -0.6 fWAR.
Magpie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#416756) #
[Gurriel's] HR/FB rate is way down, and his average is up.

He's been having one of his hot streaks without hitting for power. But his power tends to come in bunches as well - the 7 HRs in 19 games last September, the 10 HRs in 18 games in 2019. He could very well become that guy again. For three weeks. It's the Gurriel experience. In the end, it's generally well worth it, but how it gets there is always rather unpredictable.
uglyone - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#416757) #
I forgot that Gurriel was a gold glove finalist last year.

You put his solidly above average offense with his low pricetag to a GM who appreciates his gold glove defense and you have quite an asset.
Magpie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#416759) #
Gurriel was a gold glove finalist last year.

Looks good on the resume! Even if it was by default.

It's a little weird, but as his play in LF improves, the amount to which his defense helps the team could actually be decreasing. He's not turning as many baserunners into outs, which was a really valuable thing to do. But the word has spread.
Mike Green - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#416760) #
In the "I was wrong" department, the balance between the leagues has returned to favouring the AL, which leads the interleague competition 84-75 in wins and 671-647 in runs.  The Yankees and likely the Astros have been better the Dodgers, and the Red Sox and Blue Jays have been as good as any of the other teams in the NL. 
Magpie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#416761) #
the AL, which leads the interleague competition

It ain't the Yankees, who've only played 3 games against the NL. It's got a lot to do with Tampa Bay (10-3), the Cubs (4-10). and the Pirates (1-6). The Dodgers are the only NL team doing well against the AL (9-4). Everybody plays different opponents, of course.
Mike Green - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#416762) #
If the Yankees haven't played the NL much, it's a sign that the current interleague record might be an understatement of the difference between the leagues.
Magpie - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#416763) #
I believe I'll put up the thread for the Oakland series before we hit 200 comments. Besides, I have some Thoughts. About catchers.
scottt - Monday, July 04 2022 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#416771) #
The Yankees are playing the Mets and Tampa are playing Miami.
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