Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
You've got to pay your dues
if you want to sing the blues
and you know it don't come easy

Happy 82nd, Sir Richard Starkey.

The Blue Jays have historically had the best of it over their expansion cousins. It's true that the Jays have never won 100 games in a season, while Seattle won a stunning 116 games back in 2001.But the Mariners have never won an AL pennant, losing three times in the ALCS. The Blue Jays have lost five times in the ALCS, which is always painful but sure beats watching it on television. And they did win it twice. And went on to win the World Series twice. Bragging rights, this side of the border. The Jays also lead the all-time series, and they have split the games played in Seattle, where enough Canadians have regularly crossed the border to make games in Seattle feel like home games without the final at bat.

But the Mariners won both of the last two season series, in 2019 and 2021, taking two of three games at home and two of three on the road each time. And the Blue Jays have not played very well in T-Mobile Park since it opened, under the name of Safeco Field, in July 1999. The Jays have gone 31-45 against the Mariners in their second home. We miss the Kingdome, even if no one else does.

The two teams met up earlier this season for three games at the RC, with the Jays winning the first two and losing the finale. Yusei Kikuchi provided his best start as a Jay to win the opener with 6 innings of one-hit shutout; Bo Bichette had three hits, one of them a homer, to lead the offense. Jose Berrios followed that performance with 7 innings of 6 hit shutout, with George Springer's bases loaded triple accounting for all the day's scoring. The Mariners salvaged the finale in what was a tight pitching duel between Marco Gonzales and Kevin Gausman, broken open by Ty France's seventh inning homer off Trevor Richards.

I think the 2022 Mariners are better than last year's 90-72 team, although their record doesn't reflect it. They play a lot of close games, and while they've done rather well in them this year (12-8), they did really, really well in them last year (33-19.) Pythagoras pegged last year's team as having the quality of 76-86 team, based entirely on their runs scored and allowed - I, of course, am done with Pythagoras - I assessed them as having the quality of an 83-79 team. This year's group scores runs about as well as last year's team, but the pitching is considerably improved. Especially the rotation, largely due to Logan Gilbert (10-3, 2.61)  taking a large step forward. The guy's 6'6, of course he takes large steps. The Jays were responsible for one of those three defeats - Gilbert was on the wrong side of Berrios' outstanding outing. Happily, he's not scheduled to pitch this weekend. UPDATE - Well, he wasn't scheduled to piutch, but the Mariners decided to swap Flexen and Gilbert's starts at some point over the weekend, and now Gilbert starts the finale. The Jays and Mariners did, of course, swap hard-throwing LH this off-season (not all at once!), and that exchange is working out just a little bit better for Seattle than it has for Toronto. In his last five starts, our old friend with the tight trousers has gone 2-0, 0.80, with 40 Ks and just 9 BB in 33.2 IP.  It's his misfortune that the Mariners were shut out in one of those starts, and gave him just 2 runs on three other occasions. Meanwhile, as for the LH now working for the Blue Jays...

How do you solve a problem like Kikuchi?

 It's been a rough year for Kikuchi, and by "year" I mean the last twelve months. Since 7 July 2021, he's gone 4-11, 5.67 in his 30 starts. He was awful in the second half of 2021 (1-6, 6.22) and he's actually been slightly better in the first half of 2022 (3-5, 5.12). But. A great deal of Kikuchi's second half struggles in 2021 can be traced quite directly to a single factor - opposing hitters hit a quite ridiculous .374 when they put the ball in play, meaning that Kikuchi was allowing 11.3 hits per 9 innings. This year, things have returned to something much more like normal - opposing batters have a .296 BABiP, and Kikuchi has allowed 8.4 hits per 9, almost the same mark he posted in 2021 and... hang on. If the BABiP against him was insanely high in the second half of 2021, but the hits allowed on the entire season was quite normal - doesn't that imply that hitters were absurdly unlucky batting against him in the first half of the season? It does and they did, hitting just .221 on their Balls In Play.

What's gone wrong for him so far this season is exactly what everyone can see - he can't find the strike zone. It's been getting worse and worse - he walked 2.8 per 9 in first North American season, 3.6 last season, and he's up to a terrifying 5.7 BB/9 so far in 2022.

But he's done this before. In 2014, his fourth pro season in Japan when he was pitching for the Seibu Lions, his control suddenly left him and he issued 5.0 BB/9. It was a one year blip - his walks did go back up to 4.0 per 9 in 2016, but he was stingy enough with them in his last two seasons in Japan and his first year in North America.

I don't think it's in his head, I don't think it's a loss of confidence. I think he doesn't understand what is happening or why, and he's very frustrated. Probably far more frustrated than any of us - he's letting his team down, he knows it, and it can't feel very good. I assume it's something mechanical, that his release point, especially on his fastball, simply comes and goes and no one seems to understand why. I wonder how much the repeated changes to his mechanics - we've seen at least three different versions in the first three months - have contributed to that.

But the Blue Jays have made a significant investment in him. They must have believed that something like the first half of 2021 version can be unlocked. I think that might be a bit too much to hope for, I think it owed a little too much to some unsustainable good luck on the balls in play - but I do think he can be a perfectly fine back of the rotation starter, if they find The Fix. The team needs him to pitch well. He's shown, as recently as this very May (2-0, 2.36 in five starts, 31 Ks and 11 BB in 26.2 IP) that he's got the stuff to pitch quite well indeed.

Tis a puzzlement.

Kevin Gausman won't be making his regular start tonight. Casey Lawrence is here to fill in. The team hopes Gausman can make his bullpen session on Saturday, which could - possibly - set him up to start the Sunday game in Kikuchi's place, whose turn then wouldn't come around again until July 16, the last Saturday before the All-Star break. But I wouldn't hold my breath. I expect Gausman's ankle will still be barking at him and the team will - wisely, in my view - choose to err on the side of caution. They could put him on the IL - he'd be able to come back the last weekend before the All-Star break, or they could just hold him out until the second half begins... I rather think that decision is going to have something to do with how Kikuchi does next time out. Unless someone like Luis Castillo suddenly rides to the rescue. But for the moment, a good chunk of the rotation is in, and has put the team in, a rather uncomfortable position.

Roster news, sort of. Shaun Anderson has been DFA'd to clear a spot on the 40 man roster for Matt Peacock. The return of Yimi Garcia and Danny Jansen, in that order, seems imminent. Any day now.

Well, I know what we need to see a few times this weekend.


Thu 7 July - Lawrence (0-1, 6.23) vs Gonzales (4-9, 3.29)
Fri 8 July - Stripling (4-3, 3.32) vs Kirby (2-3, 3.75)
Sat 9 July - Manoah (9-3, 2.33) vs Ray (7-6, 3.62)
Sun 10 July - Castillo (0-0, 2.38) vs Gilbert (10-3, 2.61)
Toronto at Seattle, July 7-10 | 145 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#416922) #

Magpie, just looking back at your first line of your Oakland series thread.

It might be a good time for a road trip.

Maybe Seattle will make it a good time.

Gerry - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#416923) #
Banda to be the opener for Lawrence tonight. Lefty, then a righty.
Gerry - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#416924) #
Kikuchi has been placed on the IL with a neck issue. Maximo Castillo recalled.
bpoz - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#416925) #
Thanks Gerry. That explains a lot!!
scottt - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#416926) #
I doubt Banda works well as an opener. He's more a change up guy with little splits.

Nigel - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 10:31 PM EDT (#416929) #
Sometimes when you go shopping by dumpster diving you get what you paid for.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#416930) #
I think Gurriel Jr. just got removed from the 2022 Gold Glove ballot.
Magpie - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#416931) #
On the one hand, what happens in the Pacific Time Zone often stays there. But his chances weren't nearly as good this year. Last season he and Benintendi were the only LF in the league to start 100 games, and Gurriel had twice as many BaseRunner Kills as anyone else. This year, it looks like at least six guys wioll play as much and he's only taken 3 runners off the bases.
Nigel - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#416932) #
Gurriel - Gold Glove Winner - still silly and still makes me chuckle,
uglyone - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#416933) #
Hot seats are warming up.
Magpie - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#416934) #
He didn't actually win!
greenfrog - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#416935) #
I generally do not enjoy the Blue Jays west coast trips.
John Northey - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#416936) #
I just don't get what the Jays were doing with Banda and Lawrence tonight. Both are AAA quality players and far enough into their careers that you know that's all they will ever be. No point in using them outside of blowouts. Far better to start Castillo or some random prospect. Just makes no sense.
Cracka - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#416937) #
If I had to guess, I think "Plan A" is to start Castillo on Sunday and Gausman on Tuesday... which makes tonight a throw-away bullpen game. We haven't seen a position player pitch yet this season, but might very soon. Espinal is the obvious choice, but if they don't want to risk an injury to a starter then I guess Zack Collins? Don't think I'm going to be awake to find out though.
Cracka - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#416938) #
And.... just like that Max Castillo comes in, and obviously won't be starting on Sunday now. But maybe Castillo starts next Tuesday because there's no way they are going back to Casey Lawrence again.
tercet - Thursday, July 07 2022 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#416939) #
Max Castillo won't save our pitching problems either, Atkins need to stop hoarding prospects and trade one of our catchers for pitching a month ago.
Moreno is further getting exposed to the fact he cant hit right now, and might not hit, and his value goes down game by game by game.
Kasi - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 12:09 AM EDT (#416940) #
I agree we need some pitching, but where is this idea coming from that Moreno will never hit? Generally catchers coming up to the majors don't hit right away since they're learning a lot of other stuff too. Heck even regular fielders don't exactly always bust out immediately. Look how long it took Vlad to break out.
tercet - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#416941) #
He has been well below average vs RHP in AAA and the majors.
He has a slg under 300, and gb of roughly 60% in the majors so far, its very hard to be this bad of a hitter.
Magpie - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 12:57 AM EDT (#416942) #
The GM who traded his last two number one picks within a year after drafting them is hoarding prospects? OK.
Magpie - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#416943) #
One of the problems for the Jays in making a trade is finding a match with what the other team is looking for. In the case of Cincinnati and Oakland - the teams that employ the two best starting pitchers that might be available - it happens to be the case that each team's best position player is a catcher. Which is a little awkward.
tercet - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 01:07 AM EDT (#416944) #
RA traded them both away at peak value pretty much since it was obvious neither were actually any good early last year (which is pretty much confirmed a year later)
Moreno is probably offensively something like Kevin Pillar if I had to guess, which can still have a decent mlb career, given he can run and play some d, but he is more valuable as trade bait given our pitching problems right now.
Not trading Moreno in the next month is inexcusable imo.
Magpie - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 02:33 AM EDT (#416945) #
To whom? For what?
dalimon5 - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#416946) #
Tercet, please let me know what you’re smoking and where I can get it.

bpoz - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#416947) #
I always liked Max Castillo. #16 on my end of 2019 list and #13 on my end of 2021 list. He has been adjusting fine to his promotions. A bit slow sometimes but very fast as 2022 got underway. He seems to have proven (due to outstanding pitching) that he is potentially a good ML SP and a good reliever that is definitely behind Romano who struggled in 2019 before becoming a very good closer.

I believe Castillo has to prove how good he is to be given an important pitching role. Montoyo has always praised him. Saving the pen is important for the next day.

I personally believe that Castillo has been outstanding. If by the end of July Castillo out pitches his competition of Hatch, Lawrence, Thornton and others he may convince whomever that he deserves a start for more evaluation.

I am in agreement with John N and Cracka.

Eephus - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#416952) #
I do really think this team needs a day off.

They're good. They know it. You can tell by how hard they're pressing often times (which in my baseball playing experience often leads to pop-ups and further frustration). Circumstances are gladly muddling the underestimated mental side of the game. Also... yeah they do need another starting pitcher. Not sure trading Moreno for one is the right move either though (assuming such a move exists). It's a weird spot to be in, and as I've said earlier I'm not totally convinced this is the year to cash in all the chips.

Improve? Yes, do it. Like, yesterday please. But don't give everything away either. Like I said, it's a weird spot.   
greenfrog - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#416954) #
Jose Quintana (Pirates) is a starting pitcher I could see the Jays targeting if they're looking to give up lesser prospects in a trade. He'll be a free agent after this season.
Gerry - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#416955) #
Jimi Garcia is back, Casey Lawrence optioned again.
Gerry - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#416956) #
Danny Jansen is not in the Buffalo lineup tonight. I am not sure if he would fly to Seattle for two games so perhaps it is a night off.
scottt - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#416957) #
Not sure what the options are for Sunday if Gausman can't go.

It's nice to have internet again. Rogers has a lot to answer to.

scottt - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#416958) #
So, tonight's game is not on Sportsnet?
Gerry - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#416960) #
Apple TV for free if you have an apple account. Fragmentation might be good for the owners bottom lines but its not good for followers of the team.
greenfrog - Friday, July 08 2022 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#416961) #
Drury with his 18th HR today, helping the Reds beat the Rays 2-1. He continues to have a good season. Also of note, Luis Castillo went seven strong innings in this one.
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 01:23 AM EDT (#416962) #
Apple TV for free if you have an apple account.

Signed up for the free trial last time they did this. Naturally forgot to cancel. But it's half the price of Netflix, and there are some shows worth watching.

Of course having no Rogers all day was an issue, but my phone service isn't with them. But I never, ever watch stuff on my phone. How do people watch things on their phones? Wee, tiny screen...
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#416963) #
Luis Castillo went seven strong innings in this one.

The Reds don't need a catcher so I'm pretty sure that's going to take Orelvis Martinez. I dunno - are people OK with that?
Mike D - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 02:28 AM EDT (#416964) #
1. Salvation this season will not be found in the scrap heap.

2. Letting Biggio face Borucki with a runner on third and one out in the 11th was a major tactical error.
lexomatic - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 03:41 AM EDT (#416965) #
<br>Wpple TV is a bad experience. It's not for people who already like baseball. I will not watch another game on there.The worst commentary and distracting, useless visuals, that are supposedly pretty inaccurate too.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#416966) #
A story. After 9 hours of driving yesterday, I debated whether to watch the game but once I realized it was on Apple TV, I decided to turn in early.

I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and thought that I would check Gameday to see how the game turned out. It showed that the Blue Jays had won 4-2 in the 11th inning on a 2 run homer by Bo Bichette with George Springer on base. Pretty specific. But, it showed that Ryan Borucki was the winner and Sergio Romo was the lower (despite not pitching at all). I checked the video section which had an item Suarez' walk-off homer. I figured that it was all some Rogers outage glitch, did the Wordle which went only slightly better, and then went back to bed. The sad truth was there for me when I awoke in the morning.
scottt - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#416967) #
Maybe you just dreamed it. :)
greenfrog - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#416968) #
The Jays had one of those turning point opportunities you often see early in a baseball game. Bases loaded, two out, Jays down 2-1, Bichette at the plate. After he struck out on four pitches, I thought, this could well end up being the difference in the game. (I also thought that Bichette's OBP of .300 is too low for a player of his ability.)
dalimon5 - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 08:11 AM EDT (#416969) #
I watched the Apple TV feed and was disappointed. I don’t need a stat presented before every pitch. Teo had a 7% chance of getting on base. He got on base. Gurriel had an 11% chance of getting and RBI. He got the RBI. These stats are useless and take away from the game.

I like the idea of bringing analytics into the game, but not some BS WAR type cumulative blanket stat predictor. Give us results for stats, not forecasts. Example, show me the MPH off the bat. Show me the spin rate of a pitch, etc etc. I feel like the stats they use now Is to encourage betting…

One thing I did really like were the pitch selection graphic/charts for each starting pitcher which helps to set up the story and challenge. Also enjoyed the drone cameras panning left/right to show the batter, pitcher and runner on base all at once as pitch was being thrown.

Finally…love no commercials.

Mike Green - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#416970) #
It was definitely not a dream. I have the Wordle still on my phone. Although, frankly, the whole Rogers outage day was psychedelic to begin with. Big Grateful Dead vibes-lately it appears to me, what a long strange trip it's been.
John Northey - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#416971) #
No question betting is the #1 thing for all sports. Ugly but true. Sadly I couldn't watch 1 second of the game thanks to the Rogers outage - even my phone which is on Freedom was slow (0.1 Kbps) vs normal (21 Kbps normally) but at least I could check emails, Twitter, Facebook, this site, sorta follow the game on the Jays site.

I remember the YouTube games last year - I think it was last year - loved their showing where the defense was on the screen (with the Jays non-stop shifting I'd LOVE SportsNet to steal that). Hated the non-stop chatter that rarely seemed to go with the game. I'm glad MLB is experimenting a bit, even if it makes it harder to watch somedays. I miss the old camera from the top of the dome the Jays used to use in the 90's - straight down onto the plate, and worked great for that infamous Kenny Williams running into a coach video.

Properly used technology can add to the game. Misused it can distract.
SK in NJ - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#416972) #
It’s going to take time for people to get used to sports transitioning to streaming services. This is likely just the beginning. The NFL has a Thursday game on Prime. MLB has Apple and Peacock. I’m sure the NBA will have something in their next deal. Baseball’s issue is that it’s more popular on a regional level, so most baseball fans are used to their local cable channels. It’s the main reason ESPN did not want non-exclusive weekday games anymore and just want the exclusive Sunday night games. If a national broadcast is being aired with a local broadcast, then baseball fans are going to watch the local broadcast. That’s just the way it is. The NBA is more popular nationally than regionally, so their non-exclusive games still do well because their local fan base isn’t as strong. So MLB has to sell exclusive games to Apple, Peacock, etc, otherwise no one is going to watch on those platforms, which makes any deal less lucrative for the league.

Ultimately, if MLB wants to grow and reach younger/newer fans, then it’s going to come at the expense of local cable. There’s going to be a huge shift with RSN’s for all sports that use them (MLB, NBA, NHL) in the next 5-10 years. I think MLB probably did the right thing but used the wrong streaming service. Prime has more subscribers than Apple and Peacock combined, so there would have been far more reach with using them for these exclusive games (assuming Prime even had interest).
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#416973) #
I have the Wordle still on my phone.

Nailed the Wordle on the second set of letters, which never, ever happens for me. I was shocked!
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#416974) #
No question betting is the #1 thing for all sports.

Baseball was never quite as attractive to gamblers because the games simply aren't as important. No team expects to win every day, no team puts their best lineup on the field every day. If baseball played 16 games a year like football, you could start Alek Manoah in every game. But the schedule forbids it. So every team has more losses baked into a single season than quality football teams lose in a decade.

The one thing gamblers used to key on was that day's starting pitcher. But of course, the starting pitcher has only grown less and less important.
lexomatic - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#416975) #
I watched the Apple TV feed and was disappointed. I don’t need a stat presented before every pitch. Teo had a 7% chance of getting on base. He got on base. Gurriel had an 11% chance of getting and RBI. He got the RBI. These stats are useless and take away from the game.

I like the idea of bringing analytics into the game, but not some BS WAR type cumulative blanket stat predictor. Give us results for stats, not forecasts. Example, show me the MPH off the bat. Show me the spin rate of a pitch, etc etc. I feel like the stats they use now Is to encourage betting…
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#416976) #
You guys should try quordle instead. Considerably more challenging and more fun. I was ripping through games while the Jays continually didn’t score (2-20 with RISP!!), finding considerably more enjoyment in it than the baseball game.
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#416977) #
You guys should try quordle instead.... I was ripping through games while

For me, the whole point and great virtue of Wordle is you only get to play one game every 24 hours!
scottt - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#416979) #
About that, if there's a runner on second and he pauses to see if the hit ball goes through the defense and can't score does that count as a hit with RISP even though nobody scored?

Dr. Zarco - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#416980) #
Yes, scottt, that counts. It’s not RBIs. It’s just what it sounds like, hit with runner in scoring position, regardless of what else happens on the play.
vw_fan17 - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#416981) #
I'm starting to feel like last year was the movie, and this season is a typical sequel - similar cast and premise but mostly a letdown.. Maybe the 3rd installment will be better?

We've lost Ryu and Kikuchi (not that he was ever that good) and Berrios just isn't himself. Gausmann has come back to earth. Plus, our bullpen is a horror show most nights. Build a big lead and hold on, or forget it..
John Northey - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#416982) #
Despite the problems remember the Jays are in the playoffs right now - 3rd wild card, 2 up on non-playoff teams, 1 back of the top wild card slot. Now imagine if a fee things start going right...
scottt - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#416985) #
A fee thing?
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#416986) #
Berrios is having a weird sort of year. The team has gone 12-5 in his 17 starts, which suggests that maybe things aren't quite as dire as they might appear. As it turns out, he's had five really awful starts in which he's gone 0-3, 19.29 (allowing 34H, 30ER, 9 HR with just 3 K and 8 BB in just 14 IP.) The team actually won two of those awful starts, by the clever expedient of scoring more than 10 runs both times.

In his other 12 starts, he's gone 12-1, 2.88 (allowing 71H, 24 ER, 9 HR, with 70K and 15BB in 75.1 IP.) He's worked at least 5 iP in each of them and allowed more than 3 runs just once (when Trevor Richards allowed a pair of inherited runners to score against the Yankees back in May.)
Gerry - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#416987) #
No Gausman tomorrow, hoping for Tuesday. It could be a bullpen day tomorrow with the off day on Monday. It depends on how much the bullpen is used today.

Someone must be on the way to Seattle just in case.
Magpie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#416990) #
Danny Jansen is not in the Buffalo lineup tonight.

He caught tonight's game in Syracuse, and he's obviously not going to fly across the country to not-catch tomorrow afternoon. So most likely he'll be back on Tuesday.
Hodgie - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#416991) #
I really miss the Vladdy that didn’t constantly chase pitches outside the zone, and the Bichette that was, well, good.
lexomatic - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#416992) #
<br>agreed Hodgir.
At least Manoah has filthy stuff
lexomatic - Saturday, July 09 2022 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#416993) #
<br>you cannot let the pitcher off like that and expect to win. that mightve been the game. Thr jays ate just so horrible with risp.
I honestly feel with thr bad luck, injuries and poor execution a last place finish, but topv10 team overall is very possible.
Magpie - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 12:03 AM EDT (#416994) #
The Mets retired Keith Hernandez's number today, and some of his old teammates were telling Keith stories, among them reliever Doug Sisk:

We were playing in San Francisco. Keith was not playing that day.... We got into a tie game in the eighth or ninth inning, we pinch-hit Hernandez. It was Mark Davis he was hitting off of, a left-hander who throws a lot of curveballs. The Mex said, “If he throws me anything other than a curveball, I’m going to look really bad. But if throws me a curveball, I’m going to put it in the upper deck.” And I’ll be damned if he didn’t do that. We ended up winning that ballgame.

Naturally, I immediately suspected some Old Ballplayer BS and looked it up. September 1, 1985. Hernandez pinch-hits for Sisk in the top of the ninth, with Wilson on second and the Mets down 3-2. And hits a two-run homer off Mark Davis, and the Mets win 4-3.
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 12:11 AM EDT (#416995) #
Geezus H. Christ. The ability of our villains from the 2015/2016 LCSs to still haunt us is getting depressingly absurd.
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#416996) #
Blech. Try to salvage something tomorrow, because otherwise this is falling apart very quickly.
Hodgie - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 01:05 AM EDT (#416997) #
They look like a dead team walking. The Jays could fall out of a playoff position tomorrow, and don’t look now, but the Orioles are only 3 games back. I suspect Guerrero’s wrist is screwed - he isn’t hitting anything hard, Bichette is hitting like a glove-first shortstop which is a problem, and in general they are repeating last year’s failures in the clutch. They finally get pitching the last two nights and the hitters come up small to waste it. Tough to watch.
John Northey - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 02:39 AM EDT (#416999) #
Boy the negativity here is ugly when the Jays slump. Stats pre-tonight. Using FanGraphs WAR and qualified for batting title except in RF where Hernandez made me cut it to 200 PA.
  • Kirk: 2.9 fWAR to be #1 among catchers in MLB. Jansen is #29 when you cut to 50+ PA with his 0.5 (over 250 PA that would be 2.0 fWAR which would be 5th among catchers).
  • Vlad: #10 in MLB, ahead of ALL AL East competitors with 1.9 fWAR
  • Espinal is #11 at 2B (just behind Story) with his 1.9, DJ LeMahieu is the only AL East guy ahead of him other than Story.
  • Chapman is #21 at 3B with just 1.1 fWAR. Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox all have better guys (Josh Donaldson/Yandy Diaz/DJ LeMahieu/Rafael Devers from weakest to strongest)
  • Bo: #11 in MLB, only Xander Bogaerts is ahead of him in the AL East - Bo has 1.6 fWAR
  • Gurriel: 1.1 fWAR for 16th in LF, only Baltimore's Austin Hays is ahead of him in the AL East.
  • Springer: #8 in MLB, Judge & Cedric Mullins II (Bal) are ahead of him in the AL East despite his 1.9 fWAR.
  • Hernandez: 1.0 fWAR for 17th in RF, AL East guys ahead of him are Judge (he is listed in CF and RF), Tampa's Manuel Margot & Harold Ramirez, and Baltimore's Austin Hays
  • Kirk is listed as #2 at DH (yeah, he's been there a lot) behind Yordan Alvarez of Houston.
What does this mean? The Jays aren't that badly off with hitters despite the ugly past few days. Yeah, this slump hurts a LOT. However, the team is still a strong one and just needs a break - the schedule maker was very, very cruel this past week. Hopefully the team gets it together soon and can go on a charge again. Despite this ugly slump they are still in a playoff slot - worst case is tied for the last one with Seattle after tomorrow.
Michael - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:21 AM EDT (#417000) #
Losing sucks but Manoah is always great to watch. Such a stud.
scottt - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:24 AM EDT (#417001) #
I thought the analysis before the game was terrible.
Also, all that betting talks really grates on my nerves.

I didn't bother to watch more than once through the order, so I guess I came up on top.
Still, it's amazing that Manoah can perform even under intense pressure going so far as being interviewed before the game.

It's also amazing that many hitters are doing well personally during this slump and that it seems to have no impact on scoring runs. 

dalimon5 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#417003) #
It’s definitely the low point of the season. My takeaway is that management made a mistake not resigning Tajuan Walker. He’s been the 4/5 we have been looking for yet our FO passed him over.
dalimon5 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#417004) #
Oh yeah, two bright spots this season is the fact that Bo and Vlad’s future contracts are coming down in price to affordability. After last year I would have said $25 million and $30 million a year as a floor. Now I’d say $20 million and $35 million as the most I can see them getting. If this is who they are or a combination of this year with last year then that puts them below guys like Soto, Tatis or Harper and Trout at same age. Huge for the Jays if they can resign both for $22 million and $25 million a year.
greenfrog - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#417005) #
For sure, one more back-end SP would have been a good idea. Jose Quintana (one year, $2m) was a brilliant sign by the Pirates in the off-season. He'll likely fetch a decent prospect or two at the trade deadline.
lexomatic - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#417007) #
<br>Boy the negativity here is ugly when the Jays slump

Foe me it just always seems to be the same stuff, the team looks incapable. Same old mental and execution mistakes that other teams rarely seem to make when playing the Jays. Their terrible performance with runners on has continued lately. They may have the 3rd best offense in the last 6 weeks but they're also bottom 5 in pitching at the same time. When they can't hit it seems to be not much chance of winning. I think 9 of last 25? The team has never been "right" and locked in, but with a personal tragedy around the team and a decimated pitching staff and a bunch of hackers on offense that hot stretch the team needs seems unlikely. Right now I'm resigning myself to the Jays fighting Baltimore for 4th , though I think they're a better team, and just missing a last wildcard spot. It is very un fun at a time when we all need a fun distraction.
85bluejay - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#417008) #
The ship is sinking - where is Shea Hillenbrand when you need him.
bpoz - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#417009) #
16 games before the trade deadline. The Jays most likely make a few minor moves. The LH bat will probably not be much. Castillo should get into 4 more games. We know what everyone else is capable of. Good and bad SPs but all veterans so they could get good. Some injured players will return by the end of the AS break.

Don't know if Thornton can figure it out in the minors. Opportunities (but just a few) will be there before the trade deadline for Hatch, Kay and Lawrence.

Y Garcia and Phelps it seems are the only small off season move that worked for sure. Gausman and Chapman were the big off season moves. Gausman worked. Chapman not really.

The farm has provided Gage, Moreno and Castillo as positives but they only arrived in June.

Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#417010) #
For me, this squad has given off the same vibes as the good-not-great 2014 team: a very talented group that flirted with being several games over .500 the entire year, but for whatever reason never was able to go on a sustained run and a dreadful August (9-17) essentially wiped out their chances (losing three tough games in Seattle at an especially inopportune time in the year is probably what reminded me).

The parallels become even more eerie when you consider both teams boast the same strengths and weaknesses: top tier offenses, lackluster pitching staffs. Although, I think at this point the 2022 team would kill to have somebody like 2014 R.A Dickey around... so hey what's he up to? He's only 47! That's young in knuckleballer terms.

The 2022 squad does get the advantage of that extra available playoff spot, but as noted their recent nosedive has turned that into a genuine race. Two and a half months left in the year, still time to get things right again... but it's also getting late a lot earlier now.   
dalimon5 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#417011) #
Chapman was a great signing for me and has worked out very well. His HR and RBI batting at the bottom of the order, his underlying numbers…he’s been well worth it before you factor in top of the planet defence. I’ll bet now he will be a top 3 player on this team according to WAR by end of season.

dalimon5 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#417012) #
Here’s an interesting story that nobody has touched on: “Get it done “winning” players”… do they exist.

You look at Donaldson going to the Yankees and it has changed the culture of that clubhouse. Is he the leader? No. He has brought a grittiness and “we are the best,” attitude to the locker room. Reminds of of 2015/16 when he started calling out teammates in Toronto for having fun after a loss or saying they tried their best. Still love that line…”this isn’t the “try,” league.”

For what it’s worth, seems like Shapiro and Atkins cringe at that ideology and line you more with the I’ll of Dubas and “positive culture, always happy, never doubt ourselves.”

“We didn’t get best we just got unlucky.” We’re still good enough to win the championship.”

greenfrog - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#417013) #
I think the 2021 Jays were about as good as the 2015 team. After last year I felt the Jays would be hard-pressed to put together a team as good as the one they fielded in early October. Consider the 2021 seasons they had from Vladdy (6.3 WAR), Semien (6.2 WAR), Bichette (5.1 WAR), Teoscar (4.2 WAR), Springer (140 wRC+ when he was able to play) -- and the way players like Gurriel Jr. (160 wRC+), Jansen (181 wRC+) and Espinal (203 wRC+) were swinging it in Sept/Oct. A fearsome offense.

This year has been a big step down. The team still has a good offense, but it's fourth in the AL behind New York, Boston and Minnesota. And their run prevention has been fourth-worst in the league.
electric carrot - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#417014) #
I think this team is in a bad slump. Starting pitching needs help, but things are going to get better. I have faith this team will eventually be #2 in the AL East and a strong contender for the AL Pennant.
85bluejay - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#417015) #
Wonder what the odds are of Montoyo being the manager post all star break.
uglyone - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#417016) #
They inked Montoyo to a 2yr extension + 2 club options just 3 months ago.
scottt - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#417017) #
Most west coast trip are like that. More or less. So it's kinda of expected.
There's too much talent here to slump for long.

scottt - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#417018) #
You cannot sign 6 starters. They are pretty close to that with Stripling.
What they need is better AAA starters and that's hard to get without selling at the deadline.
They tried to get a usable guy as part of the Tellez trade, but Francis has gone backwards this year.
I don't know about Hatch. As a starter, he's been worse than Biagini.

scottt - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#417019) #
Chapman is what I expected. Really good on defense but somewhat below average offensively.
He's fun to watch. His presence has put pressure away from Bichette and allowed Espinal to take off at second.
No MVP votes, but not a bad move overall.

scottt - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#417020) #
It's not Montoyo who sent Gage down for Banta. Is it?

It seems they haven't come to term with the 13 pitcher limit yet.
They have Collins on the bench for no reason when what they need is a mop up pitcher.
Just put a pitcher there as an extra outfielder and only use him to pitch when someone has a 6 run lead.
Or use Collins for that if he's game.
uglyone - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#417021) #
So the funeral is tomorrow. Hopefully they can channel this tragedy in a positive way.
John Northey - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#417022) #
With the 13 pitcher limit you can't dance around it via a pitcher hiding as an OF due to assorted rules to keep teams from doing that. MLB teams (including the Jays) need to accept that an 8 man pen is the max, and that it might get smaller (there is a push for an 11 man pitching staff to force teams to let starters go longer). So relievers will need to be able to do 2 innings when called on more often. Thus killing off a lot of the guys who can go 1 inning at 100 mph then are gassed.

So far out of the 21 relievers used by the Jays, 10 have averaged 1 or more innings per game with Romano just barely under 1 IP per game (32 games, 31 IP) and Cimber close (39 G 37 IP). Richards & Thornton are the most used at 32 and 26 games respectively (32 IP - 37 IP). Cimber clearly can go 2 innings (has gone over 1 IP 4 times and his stats are 1 H 0 R 0 BB 6 SO over 6 2/3 IP) - his short games are almost always when he didn't have it that day (4 times just 1 out but 3 of those 4 he allowed runs to score).

I suspect the Jays are starting to prep for what is coming while taking advantage as best they can of the current setup. Guys like Cimber will have more value if the pens shrink more, while guys like Mayza will be less valuable (28 games, 22 2/3 IP). A shame Pearson just can't stay healthy as he'd be great in the pen in theory - he could go 2-3 innings with his hard fastball. Right now 5 guys have 30+ IP in the pen (a 60+ IP pace) but no one has reached 40 IP yet (an 80 IP pace). This suggests the Jays are being careful not to blow guys out.

For comparison - I expect the Yankees to blow some arms soon - Michael King is up to 46 relief innings already over 29 games, and Clay Holmes is up to 39 over 38 games. Both pitching amazing but that is taking a risk. 4 with 30+ IP, another 2 in the 20's. Holmes had 70 IP last year, and just 1 game in 2020 (I suspect injury but not sure). King was a starter in the minors but has never been pushed like this in the majors or in relief so a sudden snap could easily occur.

The Rays have no one over 35 IP in the pen yet. Just 3 over 30. 6 more in the 20's. Makes sense - they always seem extra careful as they cannot afford to lose assets. 25 relievers used so far by them. 7 have 10+ K/9, but many with low figures too. Again, from their budget standpoint it makes sense to dig for the hidden gems others ignore.

So what should the Jays do? I'd say get a few good relievers and a starter if at all possible. Ideally guys who can go 2 innings when needed. Work on minor league starters being shifted to the pen so you have more who can do 2+ IP when needed.
John Northey - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#417023) #
For the 8 man limit in the pen - how big an issue is it? Looking at the stats I see 8 guys with 20+ games in the pen including IL Merryweather, and sent to minors Thornton. The most otherwise is 11 by Gage (minors), and Borucki (released).

So top 6 guys (Adam Cimber, David Phelps, Jordan Romano, Trevor Richards, Yimi Garcia, Tim Mayza) have been in 197 games throwing 184 2/3 IP, 3.46 ERA 8.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9. The other 15 have been in 114 games, 140 IP 5.40 ERA 8.2 K/9 vs 3.2 BB/9. To get pickier the guys with sub 10 games have a 6.06 ERA over 46 games/65 1/3 IP 8.4 K/9 vs 2.9 BB/9. The figure missing there is HR/9 - big 6 0.8, others 1.73, sub 10 gamers 2.2.

Adding depth to that pen is critical. No sane person would count on Merryweather or Pearson coming back, or on the other guys used in the pen being any good (well, maybe Gage and Stripling - I hate that they sent Gage back down). Romo is interesting but he was released for a reason and counting on a 39 year old to find his mojo is silly - I get the need to find live arms but don't see him as likely to do well.

2 guys can be added without demoting or releasing anyone of consequence. I see Richards as the weakest link in the big 6 so ideally you'd replace him as well. Hopefully guys like Horwitz can be used as trade chips to get the help needed (ala Tellez last year) without costing anyone the team is counting on in 2022 or beyond. While guys like Zimmer and Tapia drive me nuts they aren't the big issue - the pen is.
mathesond - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#417024) #
All right, who was talking trash about Tapia just now?
dalimon5 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#417025) #
Wow - Moreno attempting to steal 2nd base was something cool. He had it stolen easy if it wasn't a foul ball. Extremely fast for a catcher. I like what I see.
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#417026) #
On second thought... have we maybe considered some kind of unspeakable curse as the explanation for the team's recent struggles? Seriously, how freaking often does a ball go physically through somebody's glove at any level of baseball. Just ridiculous stuff.
John Northey - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#417027) #
Imagine if Castillo started on Friday instead. Might have gone 5+. Instead he comes in today on short rest and can only go 4+. And why have 2 balls now gone through Vlad's glove? Once is bad luck. Twice is someone failed to check his equipment.
Mike Green - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#417028) #
Sorry, Matheson. I have been derelict of duty. It may be that Raimel no longer needs the direct shaming and the mere threat or possibility of it is enough to inspire him. My eyes are on him.
Four Seamer - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#417029) #
We should take up a collection and buy Guerrero some proper equipment.
Four Seamer - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#417030) #
Quality work by Mayza to gift Santana three bags on three separate goofs prior to him scoring to tie the game.
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#417031) #
This is an absurd brand of baseball. Can't say I'm a fan.
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#417032) #
Big Blast Bo.
Chuck - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#417033) #
Somebody get Eephus off the ledge!
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#417034) #
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#417035) #
Somebody get Eephus off the ledge!

Tempting but I have to go play beer league softball in an hour, which features a quality of defensive play that likely surpasses what we've seen from the Blue Jays today. I'm more speechless than anything at this point.

Magpie - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#417036) #
That was not Moreno's ball (it's never the catcher's ball in fair territory.) - it should have been Espinal or Guerrero, wjoever was closer. Were they in a shift?
vw_fan17 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#417037) #
They inked Montoyo to a 2yr extension + 2 club options just 3 months ago.
Candidate for worst off-season contract?
Eephus - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#417038) #
Well... gotta hope that's the absolute low-point of the season. To quote Spock: "Are you sure it isn't time for a colourful metaphor?"
BlueJayWay - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#417039) #
Is that the low point of the season? Losing a game because of equipment failure?
I can't imagine it getting worse.
Glevin - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#417040) #
Absolutely embarrassing for everyone. Players who make more dumb mistakes than any other team, a manager who keeps making baffling decisions, and a front office who addresses team weaknesses with the speed of a snail.
Michael - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#417041) #
That was an ugly game on defense at numerous points. Mayza also looked completely lost. The main positive was Castillo looked very good.

Over the last 10 games Seattle is 9-1 and Toronto is 1-9 and if the season ended this second they'd be the two teams tied for the last wild card spot (2 back of Boston, 1 back of Tampa, 2 ahead of Baltimore and Cleveland, 2.5 ahead of White Sox).

The Jays run difference is only +9, so their expected wins by run difference is one less than they actually have. The only silver lining is that from a schedule point of view they have played the 2nd most games against teams above 500 (51 games above 500, 36 against below 500: Baltimore is the only team with more games above 500, and that is only by 2, and Baltimore is below 500 while Toronto is above so their H2H games are more than the difference there). Fun fact as of right now, the 3 AL teams with the most wins against above 500 are the Jays, Baltimore, and Yankees all with 23 wins. The difference is Baltimore have 30 losses, Jays have 28 losses, and the Yankees have just 13 losses.

But with unbalanced schedule Seattle, Cleveland, and the White Sox will end up with a far easier set of opponents than the 5 AL East teams.

The Jays still are likely to hang on, but they certainly need to break out of this slump.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#417042) #
The Jays remain snake bit. Exit velo isn’t everything, though it feels like the only think a batter can control. The Jays out-hit with exit velo of >100mph the Mariners 8-4. Poor Vladdy hit 3 of his 4 at bats at 102mph or greater and took a collar at 0-4. Things will turn, as ugly as this is.
Hodgie - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#417043) #
Well, obviously all the team needs to be a a good player’s only meeting to right the ship. That should, wait, what’s that you say ….,
Gerry - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:42 PM EDT (#417044) #
I have seen a ball go through a players glove. It happens very occasionally and the glove gets fixed.

But you would think that Vlad would make sure that whatever glove he uses for the rest of the season would be tight. But to have it happen again seems like negligence.

The Jays need a laces coach to check all the laces before games /sarcasm.
AWeb - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#417045) #
A second ball passing right through a second glove seems a little on the nose for a season metaphor. I literally tuned in for that half inning and may never watch again...jebus. not really, but ouch.

Vlad shouldn't be allowed back to 1st base with another glove of the same make. And popups. And...yeah. never judge a team by its worst moments, but it's been a while since a good one.
85bluejay - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#417046) #
Montoyo's contract is only guaranteed through 2023 so that he wasn't viewed as a lame duck manager - I think the Jays would have no problem eating that amount if they decide to make a change.
dalimon5 - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#417047) #
Montoyo and Tapia are not the problem. Clearly, the bullpen as assembled is worst in the division. Vlad and Bo have not been as advertised. Jays fans like to pick on anyone not named Vlad or Bo.
Kasi - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#417048) #
Jays fans like to choose scapegoats to run out of town. Drury would look good right now. Generally people are far quicker to choose one or two people to bash while giving pass to others. The top of our bullpen as mostly performed as expected but problem is all the depth behind have sucked or injured. Starting pitching is good but yeah hitters are just not as good as they were last year.
John Northey - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#417049) #
Easy to tell the Jays are in a bad slump - everyone forgets how things can be. The pen has 24 saves, 8th in the majors, 15 blown saves before today, the Rays have 21 to 'lead' the majors with the Red Sox #2 with 18, #3 is the World Champion Atlanta Braves with 17 - only Atlanta has more saves than the Jays among those teams.

28% of inherited runners scored before today, 7th best in the majors (36 of 129, 8th most inherited runners in the majors - all teams with more have worse strand rates). Jays are 4th for high leverage times using a reliever (O's, Rays, and Red Sox have more - yeah it is a tough division). On average pitchers throw 17 pitches per game in relief - the only team at 16 or lower is the Dodgers (at 16), the Pirates have the highest at 23.

For Sv-Hold-BlSv you get...
Garcia: 0-12-3
Cimber: 4-9-3 (add one BlSv after today)
Romano: 18-1-3
Mayza: 0-7-2 (add one BlSv after today)
Richards: 0-6-0
Phelps: 1-6-1 (one more hold today)
Thornton: 0-3-1
Merryweather: 0-1-1
The rest are 'so what' as they don't get enough chances to make a big difference.

The line vs the pen is 242/314/403 which is poor - 21st in OPS against at 717, the Yankees are #1 at 578.

So what does this mean? The Jays are doing OK with what they have, but what they have isn't that good. Romano is a solid closer, Garcia a good setup as is Cimber. Kind of surprised Richards hasn't blown a lead yet, and Phelps just once. Sure feels worse for Phelps and Richards.

Not much question in my mind that adding 2 more relievers ala last summer would be a great idea. Perfect world add a shut down setup man to go with Garcia and a guy who can go 2 innings to add in with Cimber.
lexomatic - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#417050) #
<br>So what does this mean? The Jays are doing OK with what they have, but what they have isn't that good.

This is exactly what makes it so infuriating that the bullpen pitches so much and starters performing well get pulled with low pitch counts and / or low innings. Also thr burnout that lots of us could see coming
uglyone - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#417051) #
Last Year wrc+ (pa) -----> This Year wrc+ (pa)

Guerrero 166 (698) -----> Guerrero 130 (370) - worse
Springer 140 (332) -----> Springer 128 (331) - even
Teoscar 132 (595) -----> Teoscar 112 (258) - worse
Bichette 122 (690) -----> Bichette 103 (385) - worse
Kirk 106 (189) -----> Kirk 148 (281) - better
Gurriel 107 (541) -----> Gurriel 117 (307) - even
Espinal 115 (206)-----> Espinal 102 (334) - even
Jansen 105 (205) -----> Jansen 148 (62) - better
Biggio 84 (294) -----> Biggio 105 (153) - better

Semien 131 (724) -----> Chapman 95 (317) - worse
Grichuk 85 (545)-----> Tapia 84 (246) - even
McGuire 78 (217) -----> Moreno 66 (60) - worse
Tellez 62 (151) -----> Collins 103 (74) - better
Dickerson 107 (140) -----> Zimmer 32 (81) - worse
greenfrog - Sunday, July 10 2022 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#417052) #
I’m not sure why McGuire —> Moreno counts as “worse” but the comparable declines by Springer and Espinal count as “even.”

Pretty massive decline in performance by Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Teo from last year to this year, and Semien 2021 was orders of magnitude better than Chapman 2022 (offensively speaking). Kirk has improved a lot, as has Jansen (although he hasn’t been able to stay healthy).

Tapia/Zimmer has been an offensive sinkhole, of course.
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 02:52 AM EDT (#417053) #
Of course Dickerson didn't play here until August 3rd, and lord knows who will be here by then (post trade deadline). Also as that comparison shows you can't just play the same guys and expect the same results. Dickerson this year has a 48 wRC which is barely better than the great on defense Zimmer.
bpoz - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 07:33 AM EDT (#417054) #
There seem to be many ways to evaluate a players performance. I don't really understand these methods.

I have watched a lot of baseball over the years so I can conclude without a shadow of a doubt that performance can differ from year to year. Donaldson may or may not be a good example. In Oakland he was very good and even better in Toronto. All when healthy of course. Taijuan Walker is a good example of being much better this year than last for the Mets. So quite a change.

When performances decline by some then others have to compensate. This does not always happen.
dalimon5 - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#417056) #
How does Chapman compare to 2022 Semien…you know, the fair comparison where dead ball extreme eta isn’t at play? How many more home runs would Chapman have in Dunedin? 10?15?
greenfrog - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#417057) #
The power outage makes the performance of the outliers (like Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez) that much more impressive. Those guys are homering once every 12 PA or so.
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#417058) #
Always fun to compare the easy to compare guys...
  • Semien: 1.5 fWAR, 94 wRC+ (projected ROS 2.2 120)
  • Chapman: 1.2 fWAR, 95 wRC+ (projected ROS 1.9 114)
Pretty close there I'd say, both in what they've done and what they are expected to do.
  • Ray: 1.4 fWAR, 3.51 ERA (projected ROS 1.4 3.64)
  • Gausman: 3.7 fWAR, 2.86 ERA (projected ROS 1.8 3.39)
Gausman was an upgrade.
  • Grichuk: -1.0 fWAR, 69 wRC+ (projected ROS 0.3 95)
  • Tapia: -0.4 fWAR, 84 wRC+ (projected ROS 0.2 91)
So Tapia has been better than Grichuk for what that is worth - neither as good as a replacement level player though.

So the Jays mildly lose on the Semien/Chapman bit (but aren't on the hook for 5 more years at $23 mil per and 1 more at $20 mil, instead just $25 mil total for this year and next), but win on the other 2 of the 3 easy to compare deals. Ray/Gausman is a wash on dollars pretty much, as is Grichuk/Tapia. Could compare Semien to Espinal I guess (1.7 fWAR, 101 wRC+, projected ROS 0.9 95) but Chapman came as a result of losing Semien (Espinal was at 3B, now at 2B). Still works out well to date, but projection systems have never liked Espinal.
greenfrog - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#417059) #
Don't forget former Jay Brandon Drury, who is up to 2.2 fWAR this year as the Reds 2B/3B/DH. Baseball is always full of surprises.
greenfrog - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#417060) #
The real loss was missing out on Jose Ramirez, who is playing at about an 8 WAR pace this year. But of course he was never realistically available.
uglyone - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#417061) #
"I’m not sure why McGuire —> Moreno counts as “worse” but the comparable declines by Springer and Espinal count as “even.”"

I think I was looking at playing time there but fair enough call that one even.
greenfrog - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#417062) #
Springer's wRC+ the last four years:

2019: 155
2020: 145
2021: 140
2022: 127
lexomatic - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#417063) #
<br>I'm not convinced about Drury. I don't see much different from past seasons. I think a lot of this is Cincinnati and maybe a little confidence. I'm sure he'll be solid but I think anyone counting on more of the same shouldn't yet see this as a new level.
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#417064) #
Just glad there is zero reason for the Jays to trade for Drury as I figure someone will and whoever does will probably be disappointed. FanGraphs has him as producing 0.8 WAR the rest of the way with a 105 wRC+ but I'd take the under given his career to date (91 wRC+ lifetime including this crazy year). He is 29 years and 10 months old, a normal year for having a career best but rare for guys to really improve at this stage (Bautista an obvious exception to the rule).

Interesting to see AA traded for the Royals competitive balance draft pick (#35 overall, $2.2 mil of bonus money) today. Cost him 3 prospects - one a former top 50 guy (pre-COVID, since he has OPS sub 730 which is poor for a CF/RF/DH), a RHP with a 2.39 ERA in A+ at age 22, and a 25 year old 3B in AA with a lifetime 707 OPS, 759 this year. The pitcher is the most interesting of the group imo, although the focus is on Drew Waters (the former top 50 guy). IMO the Jays should try to do a similar deal - clear out a few prospects who won't help the Jays anytime soon but are close to 40 man status for a draft pick. Jays are rumored to be hot and heavy for Luis Castillo (Reds RHP starter with a 158 ERA+ this year, free agent post 2023).
dalimon5 - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#417065) #
So basically what you’re saying is we saved money going from Semien to Chapman and they are both the same BEFORE you factor in the difference on defence, right?
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#417067) #
dalimon5 - pretty much. Chapman is hitting about what was realistic to expect, while Semien is down from his amazing year last year. On defense Chapman is amazing at 3B but Semien is very good at 2B (although I can't forget that throw that cost the Jays a game last year).
greenfrog - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#417068) #
I think most people expected more from Chapman (he's at 1.2 WAR after 81 games). But trading Hoglund and three lesser players to Oakland for Chapman is looking like a much better route than re-signing Semien to a huge contract. Bottom line, Chapman is a solid add to the bottom half of the lineup, he's not the problem in 2022.

Ideal off-season move: trading for superstar Jose Ramirez

Solid off-season move: trading Hoglund+ for Chapman (let's see what Hoglund does over the next seven seasons once he's healthy, though)

Dubious off-season move: signing Semien to a 7/$175m contract
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#417069) #
I remember all the debate in the winter over what the Jays should do. I always felt Ramirez would be ideal, but dang would that have hurt now if the Jays sent them Kirk+++ eh? Chapman I was a fan of but those K's always worried me, still he was unlikely to be more than a 7th place hitter here. Gunnar Hoglund - hasn't played yet, still working his way back from Tommy John. Zach Logue - 72 ERA+ in 29 2/3 IP for Oakland, 5.22 ERA in AAA over 50 IP. Kevin Smith - 50 OPS+ for Oakland, 483 OPS in AAA. Kirby Snead 59 ERA+ over 17 IP in majors, 4.61 ERA in AAA over 13 2/3 IP - ERA isn't great for relievers but over 4 suggests problems without a doubt. So to this point it is the hope of Hoglund vs Chapman being a solid performer for the Jays. I feared Logue might break out and make this look bad, or Smith could be a lot better than expected but so far it looks like a very good deal for the Jays.
bpoz - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#417071) #
They Jays expect to compete at this point because the window is open. So they try to make sensible/rational trades to strengthen the current team in the off season and then at the deadline.

Long term deals are risky. Gausman has 4.5 years left on an expensive contract. I don't expect 5 good years from Gausman, 6 good from Springer, 4 good from Ryu, 5 from Berrios and 3 from Kikuchi. I also did not expect 3 good years from Happ or 2 from Estrada.

That is the situation the way I see it.

Regarding trade: How are you going to judge the Tellez trade? I feel Tellez can be replaced. We got a LH bat last year.

Semien and Ray were lovely surprises last year. So was Vlad. Some other players have to step up this year.
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#417073) #
Yelled I still cheer on from afar but there really isn't room here with Vlad and Kirk and Springer all needing DH time. 111 wRC+ but just 0.3 fWAR.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#417074) #
Do Not Trade List:

1. Kirk
2. Tiedemann
3. Moreno

Perhaps in December execute a more dramatic trade (involving a core piece) to remake the team.
vw_fan17 - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#417076) #
Why is Moreno untouchable? Not exactly setting the world on fire with the bat, and dropping fly balls...
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#417077) #
Hard to imagine that massive Fernandez & McGriff for Alomar & Carter happening today - heck it was hard to imagine when it happened. Looking back it appears the Jays signed Fernandez to a 5 year deal in 1989, so he had 3 years of control left, McGriff looks to have had 2 years of control left, then signed a 3 year deal with SD right after the deal (or signed it right before the deal) - hard to say for sure. Alomar was years away from free agency (5 years as a Jay, appears to have had just shy of 3 years service time at the time of the deal, Jays signed him to a 4 year deal after 1 year of arbitration I think). Carter only had 2 years of control, was a free agent post 1992, resigned (phew as without no 'touch them all Joe').

Carter had yet to be an All-Star (but got MVP votes each of the 3 years before the deal), Alomar was an all-star the year before being traded, McGriff, like Carter, not yet an all-star but MVP votes 3 years in a row pre-deal. Fernandez was a 3 time all-star, with MVP votes each of the 4 years pre-trade but NEVER got another MVP vote in his career (not even a 10th place one) but did make 2 more All-Star games.

Can you imagine the Jays trading 2 all-star level players this winter for 2 other guys at that level this winter? It is hard. The trick was Olerud was ready to take over 1B (was squeezed for playing time at DH/1B), and 2B had been a headache with Manny Lee being a true SS playing out of position at 2B (hmm...sounds like Espinal so for a massive trade could Bo be used?). Like 1991 the Jays have outfield issues (back then the outfield of the 80's had knee problems due to nightmare turf and prospects had flopped) but unlike then the Jays overcrowding issue is behind the plate. So Bo & one of Jansen/Kirk/Moreno for a superstar CF and I don't know what else? Maybe, but dang would that need to be a killer CF for it to make sense.
John Northey - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#417078) #
Moreno is not untouchable IMO - no one really is, he just demands a LOT in a trade.  He has crazy potential on both defense and offense as a catcher so you don't trade a guy like that for a small return. 

The Trade Simular has Moreno at 67 in value (only Manoah, Bo, Vlad, and Kirk are worth more on the Jays).  All others are worth under 30.

Arizona's two great young CF'ers are Corbin Carroll (72.6 - 313/430/643 in AA at age 21, just promoted to AAA) and Alek Thomas (41.8 - currently has a 97 OPS+ in CF for Arizona).  So a challenge trade of Moreno for Carroll could work - and dang if that wouldn't be a fun one.  One top prospect for another.  Arizona's #1 and #2 catchers have OPS+'s in the 40's.  So this could be 2 teams dealing from areas of strength to fill an area of weakness.  I'd love to see it.
dalimon5 - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#417079) #
Moreno is untouchable because he’s valued by some scouts to be better than Adley Rutschman. He may not have the bat of Kirk but he’s viewed as the top catching prospect in baseball after Rutschman. His hit tool is above average, catching above average and he fields very well. He’s likely better than Kirk in every department except power and contact, likely hitting for good average and contact himself anyway. He’s projected to be an all star catcher who throws runners out, gets on base and solidifies the catcher position. Not something Kirk can say. Most teams will take an all around outstanding catcher like Moreno projects to be over a bat first catcher like Kirk. His baseball IQ is off the charts. I know I would move Kirk to another position to let Moreno thrive behind the plate.

Here is MLBs right up before he improved this past year:

“ Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

The Blue Jays signed Moreno for only $25,000 out of Venezuela in August 2016, and he has recently blossomed into one of the game’s most promising catching prospects. He first got onto external scouts’ radars when he hit .413 over a 23-game span in the Gulf Coast League, prompting a push off the complex in his age-18 season. He followed that up with a strong showing at Class A Lansing in 2019 and was a standout at the alternate training site a year later. His biggest breakout came last summer when he hit .373/.441/.651 with eight homers in 32 games at Double-A New Hampshire before a fractured left thumb cut that short. He returned in time for the Arizona Fall League (where he led the circuit in doubles) and a short spell in the Venezuelan Winter League.

The right-handed slugger shows a quick and compact swing that he uses with promising hand-eye coordination to make a good amount of contact -- he struck out in only 14.8 percent of his plate appearances in 2021 -- and hard contact at that. His power has come along quicker than expected, and while he won’t be a .600 slugger at the top level, he should be at least above-average in the category eventually with his added strength.

Moreno has made promising developments behind the plate as well. An infielder at the time of signing, the 22-year-old puts his athleticism to use with blocking, receiving and throwing. He has an above-average arm with a quick release, capable of controlling the running game as he did with a 40 percent caught-stealing rate last year. Moreno saw some time at third base in the AFL, but his ceiling behind the plate is immense as a potential All-Star.”

Glevin - Monday, July 11 2022 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#417080) #
I am fine with Jays trading Moreno but they need to get back a big piece for multiple years. I just don't see that piece out there right now unless the Nats want to trade Soto (obviously would take more than Moreno). Don't want to give up an elite prospect for a middle of the rotation starter or a minor upgrade in LF or anything.
Nigel - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 02:50 AM EDT (#417081) #
It’s always a decent idea to move an elite hitting C off the position. Due to his physical characteristics I don’t think there is another viable option for Kirk other than DH. The organizational philosophy of rotating the position for rest makes that suboptimal. Funnily enough, because I worry about Kirk’s aging due to his weight, I think this is one case where I’d ride him out in the position for the next few years.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#417086) #
I also think moving Moreno off of catcher is the best play here, especially if the team doesn't want to trade any of the catchers. Two more seasons of Kirk/Jansen together (until Jansen is a FA), with Moreno somewhere on the infield (and emergency catcher) is a better use of the assets currently on the roster. Certainly better than holding on to all 3 of them and only playing more than 1 at a time once or twice a week due to their view on the DH position. However, the only position that would make sense for Moreno in the IF is 3B, and Chapman is locked up for another season after this one.

I wouldn't be against trading Moreno, but it would have to be for an impact talent, and I'm not sure that type of talent is available right now. If the Nats put Soto on the market, or the Angels put Ohtani on the market, then absolutely (though it would take more than Moreno in both cases). You could probably rationalize including Moreno for Bryan Reynolds given that he comes with 3+ more years of control and fills the biggest position player need in the entire organization (LH CF). Other than that, I don't really see an option that makes sense. In hindsight, if they were able to swing Moreno in a deal for Ramirez in the off-season prior to his extension, then it would have worked out beautifully given what Kirk has been doing this season.

Either way, keeping 3 catchers and then preferring to use the DH spot to rest regulars is just a really bad use of resources. Something needs to be done, and I don't see them changing their philosophy on DH/rest, so it will have to be a trade most likely.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#417087) #
Thing is Moreno isn't earning a regular spot in the lineup right now so there's no need to force him in there.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#417088) #
I assume Moreno will be going to Buffalo until September as soon as Jansen comes back. He needs to play, and he needs to catch, and he won't be able to do enough of either in the majors. The team will still be carrying three catchers on the active roster, but the job of one of them (Collins) will be strictly on a glass-to-be-broken-in-case-of-emergency basis. In that case, it's easy enough to get Kirk into the number of games you want him playing while still using the DH spot to cycle through the regulars.
John Northey - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#417093) #
That's why I think a Moreno for Corbin Carroll deal makes a ton of sense. Arizona has no catchers of any quality - their top catching prospect is #15 on their list with an ETA of 2024 (Adrian Del Castillo - A+ at 22, 'hitting' 188/277/335). Much like how the Jays don't have an real CF prospects (top OF prospect is Yhoangel Aponte who is #21 on the Jays list and is 18 in rookie ball hitting 280/368/453). So two teams with lots of depth at a premium position (Jays catcher, Diamondbacks CF) - both players should be ready for 2023, but could be pushed into service this year. From a resource allocation perspective this makes so much sense it is insane.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#417097) #
Arizona would probably do Thomas but not Carrol for Moreno.
greenfrog - Tuesday, July 12 2022 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#417102) #
I think I was the first one to float this suggestion (Moreno for Carroll) but it was more of a thought experiment than anything. Carroll has since rocketed up to the very top tier of prospect rankings and I assume he's essentially untouchable.

I actually don't think Arizona would trade Thomas for Moreno either. I guess they might but it would be kind of a risky move for both teams. It sounds as if he's more of a corner outfielder than a center fielder (although he can play center).

It's common for prospects to struggle during their cup of coffee, but it would have helped his trade value had Moreno scorched the ball instead of posting a 66 wRC+. It's not that he did poorly (he had only 60 PA), but it makes him somewhat less of a sexy trade chip for the Aug. 2 deadline.
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