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Baseball has always had the best all-star game, despite the best efforts of the people who run the game to screw that up as well. And every few years, I update this lengthy piece about the mid-season classic and toss it up here...

Obviously football can't have the best all-star game. The NFL plays their all-star game after the championship has been decided. They don't dare do it while the season is on, because football is so desperately dangerous that no one would want their best players taking part. But who could possibly care about football after the Super Bowl? I have enough trouble caring before the Super Bowl.

But baseball's all-star game is also far better than the NBA and NHL all-star games, which at least are staged in mid-season. The reason why is simple enough, though. The baseball all-star game looks like real baseball. With a zillion substitutions, true - but what's actually happening on the field looks exactly like regular baseball.

But in the NHL and the NBA, two things happen and they happen in both games. First of all, as played in the modern age, both games depend hugely on defensive systems, on specific ways of playing team defense. This stuff necessarily goes out the window when the game is being played by players who never play together. In the NBA all-star game, you can't take 5 guys at random from 5 different teams, and expect them to rotate smoothly on defense. This applies, although probably not quite as much, in the NHL - where certainly every club also has a defensive system that they attempt to practise.

In addition, in both the NHL and the NBA, an "exhibition-game" mentality is in place. Which in these cases, means we're going to see a non-contact game. No hard fouls, no smearing someone up against the boards or giving them a two-hander in front of the net.

So this is why you get NBA all-star games where the losing team might score 150 points, and NHL all-star games where the losing team might score 8 goals. It doesn't seem at all like a regular game, let alone a well-played one, let alone one involving the best players in the league. It looks like a pick-up game.

Baseball doesn't have these problems. There are aspects of team defense to baseball, but none of them are all that complicated. Teams pretty much figured out how to relay throws from the outfield in the 1880s. Middle infielders turning a double play involves a pretty minimal level of team work. Most of what we know as defense in baseball takes place on the pitcher's mound; the next most important item is an individual player's ability to react quickly and properly to a ball put in play. The players may all be members of the same team, but what they do at specific moments very often does not at all require what we generally think of as "team work."

Finally, baseball is a non-contact game most of the time anyway. There are really only three opportunities in the game for contact and collision: 1) a fielder making contact with some part of the stadium, like an outfield wall: 2) a thrown baseball making contact with the hitter; 3) a baserunner making contact with a fielder. These really aren't large parts of the game, anyway. They do happen quite regularly in regular play, and sometimes they can be very significant. But we don't miss them when they're not around. Their absence doesn't distort the game, the way the lack of physical defense completely distorts a hockey game or a basketball game.

It was also to baseball's advantage that everybody kept their own team uniform, rather than wearing some drab and anonymous "All-Star" jersey. Naturally, they messed that up. It was, and remains, possible to do in baseball. This would never work in a game like hockey, where stuff is going on so fast that the players on the ice think of their own teammates as "guys wearing the same colour."

I once posed that very question - why the baseball all-star game was the best - on this very site way back in the day.  AWeb made the point that pitchers always want to get the hitters out, and are always going to be trying to make good pitches. Certainly, no one ever wants to experience what happened to Roger Clemens in 2004, or to Tom Glavine in 1992 and 1998. Especially not in front of all your peers, and an audience of... well, millions. And so the pitchers and hitters are competing, and that's usually contagious. Everyone's pride kicks in, everyone wants to show that they deserve to be there as well. And because everybody really is competing, it makes the non-competitive moments, like Larry Walker turning around to hit RH against the Big Unit, both more memorable and (because they're so unusual) less irritating.

So here is a leisurely tour through All-Star history. There have been some very memorable moments.

The first All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Connie Mack managed the AL squad, and John McGraw came out of retirement to manage the NL squad. The starting pitchers were Wild Bill Hallahan of the Cardinals and Lefty Gomez of the Yankees. In the second inning, Wild Bill walked Jimmy Dykes and Rick Ferrell. With two out, Lefty Gomez (.147 lifetime BAVG) drove in the first run in All-Star Game history with a ground ball single up the middle. The National League players were generally excited about seeing Babe Ruth, and he gave them something to remember in the next inning by swatting a two-run homer to right. It was, of course, the first home run in All-Star game history. The Babe was 38 years old by this time, and he would only be around for one more of these contests. The AL won the first game 4-2

They won the next game, too, but hardly anyone remembers. (Well, how many people in the park that day 88 years ago are still around to remember?) Anyway, Charlie Gehringer led off the game with a single, and Giants starter Carl Hubbell walked Heinie Manush. This brought Babe Ruth to the plate, with two on and none out. Hubbell struck him out. Lou Gehrig was next, and Hubbell struck him out. That brought up the Beast, Jimmie Foxx. Hubbell struck him out too, to retire the side. In the bottom of the first, the NL jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a leadoff homer by Frank Frisch. Hubbell then picked up where he left off, fanning Al Simmons and Joe Cronin to start the second inning. Having fanned five Hall-of-Famers in a row, he allowed another (Bill Dickey) to reach on a base hit. He then fanned Lefty Gomez to end the inning - Gomez is also a Hall of Famer, although striking out the fifth worst hitter who ever lived (by OPS+, minimum 1000 Plate Appearances) perhaps isn't quite as impressive as getting Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, and Cronin. The AL would later pound on Lon Warneke and Van Mungo for 8 runs on the way to a 9-7 victory that no one ever talks about.

The AL made it three in a row the next year, behind 6 (six!) strong innings from Lefty Gomez. Finally, in 1936, the NL managed to win one of these affairs. Dizzy Dean and Carl Hubbell tossed six scoreless innings between them. Joe DiMaggio became the first rookie to start an All-Star game, and it didn't go well - he went 0-5 and made an error in right field that led to an unearned run.

The 1937 game might very well have been the most significant All-Star game ever played. A Hall of Fame career was changed, drastically, that afternoon. President Roosevelt himself was in attendance at Washington's Griffith Stadium. Dizzy Dean is reported to have asked for the day off, but Cardinals owner Sam Breadon prevailed upon him to pitch. Dean had gone 82-32 over the previous three years, set an NL record for strikeouts in a game (17), and went into the All-Star break with a 12-3 record. He was 26 years old, and he had already won 133 games in the majors. But in the bottom of the third, with two out, Joe DiMaggio singled and Lou Gehrig homered to give the AL a 2-0 lead. The next batter, Cleveland's Earl Averill, hit a line drive back through the box that caught Dean on the foot, fracturing his toe. ("Fractured?" cried Dean. "The darn thing's broke.") St.Louis was in 4th place, 6 games back. They lost 8 of their next 13 games, and Dean returned to the rotation on July 21, just two weeks after being injured. Attempting to pitch with his broken toe, he injured his arm, and went 1-7 over the rest of the season. He would win just 16 more games in his career, the last of them before turning 30.

The NL won in 1938, thanks to some less than memorable AL defense. Frank McCormick led off the 7th with a single and Leo Durocher dropped a bunt down the third base line. Because Lou Gehrig was at 1B, the AL had Jimmie Foxx playing 3B. It had been years since Foxx had spent much time at 3B, and he threw the ball into the right field corner. Joe DiMaggio, playing RF because Earl Averill was in centre, tracked down the errant peg and threw it back in. Alas, DiMaggio threw it over the backstop. Which is how Leo Durocher scored on his own bunt single. In an All-Star Game.

After an AL win in 1939, in 1940 five NL pitchers combined on a three-hitter for the first All-Star shutout. A year later, the NL was trying to win consecutive All-Star games for the first time ever. It was July 8, 1941 - Ted Williams of the Red Sox was hitting .405, and Joe DiMaggio of the Yankees had a 48 game hitting streak. Pittsburgh's fogotten great Arky Vaughan had earlier become the first man to hit two homers in an All-Star Game - the four runs that scored had pushed the NL to a 5-3 lead heading for the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Ken Keltner and Joe Gordon hit singles. Cecil Travis walked to load the bases for DiMaggio. Cubs pitcher Claude Passeau got DiMaggio to hit a game-ending DP ball to short, but the relay throw from second-baseman Billy Herman went wide, allowing Keltner to score and bringing Williams to the plate. The Kid came through, launching a massive three-run walkoff homer against the Tiger Stadium roof. It's one of the first great All-Star highlights preserved in film. I assume we've all seen the shot of Ted clapping his hands in delight as he runs down the first base line. I mean, that's what YouTube is for.

The AL won the first two World War II all-star games. Cleveland's Lou Boudreau became first man to lead off an All-Star game with a homer; Tommy Henrich added a two-run shot later in the inning as the AL won 3-1. Their victory in the 1943 game was notable for two reasons. First, it was the first All-Star Game played at night. Second, Joe McCarthy had taken some flak over the years for playing his Yankees in the All-Star game at the expense of the other AL stars. So in 1943, he left all five of his Yankees on the dugout bench, and won the game with the rest of the league. I think it was said of Don Shula that he could "take his and beat you, or he could take yours and beat you." Joe McCarthy actually did it. Greatest manager who ever lived, I will brook no argument on this!

The NL managed to win the 1944 game, giving them just their 4th win in the first 12 games. They were planning to play at Fenway in 1945, but the game was cancelled because of travel restrictions. So they reassembled at Fenway in 1946, and Ted Williams took charge in a 12-0 AL blow-out, going 4-4 with two homers, a walk, and 5 RBI. The entertainment highlight came when Rip Sewell tried throwing his famous "eephus" pitch - a ridiculously slow blooper ball - to Ted Williams. Probably not the guy you want to mess around with, especially with a couple of runners on board. But the NL was already trailing by 9-0, so whatever. Teddy Ballgame waited while the drifted into the hitting area, and promptly sent it out into the bullpen for his second homer of the day.

The AL won again in 1947 and 1948, giving them an 11-4 mark in what was by now known as "The Midsummer Classic." The 1949 game was the first integrated All-Star game. While Larry Doby was on hand for the AL, the NL featured Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Don Newcombe. The AL had a secret weapon, however. Joe DiMaggio had missed almost the entire first half with a heel injury and wasn't voted to the starting lineup. But he was added as a reserve, and ended up starting the game after Tommy Henrich hurt his knee. Joltin' Joe drove in three runs, and the AL won yet again.

And then the tide turned. The National League won six of the next seven all-star games. It took them fourteen innings to win the 1950 game on Red Schoendienst's homer. The game's most significant moment occurred in the first inning, however. Ralph Kiner drove a ball to deep left field, and Ted Williams made a leaping catch against the wall. Unfortunately, for the Red Sox, he broke his elbow on the play (he stayed in the game, and drove in the run that gave the AL a 3-2 lead before leaving.) He would be out of action until mid-September.

The NL won again in 1951, 1952 (a rain-shortened affair), and 1953 to make it four in a row. The 1953 game featured the only All-Star appearance of one the greatest pitchers who ever lived. But the NL showed 47 year old (we think!) Satchel Paige no deference at all, roughing him up for three hits and a couple of runs in his one inning.

Al Rosen hit a pair of homers off Robin Roberts in the 1954 game and the AL won an 11-9 slugfest to break off the NL winning streak at four games. Then the  NL won again in 1955 and 1956. In 1955, Stan Musial hit the fourth of his six All-Star homers - this one came in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the NL a 6-5 victory, the second walkoff homer in All-Star history. Stan the Man hit another in the 1956 game, which also saw Willie Mays hit his first All-Star homer in a 7-3 NL win.

In 1957, we encountered the first fan voting controversy. An organized write-in campaign resulted in almost the entire Cincinnati lineup being voted to start the All-Star game. Stan Musial was the only exception. An outraged Commissioner Ford Frick responded by removing outfielders Gus Bell and Wally Post in favour of Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Manager Walt Alston allowed Don Hoak and Roy McMillan to bat once before bringing in Ed Matthews and Ernie Banks. And Frick eliminated the fan vote, assigning responsibility for choosing the teams to a vote of players, managers, and coaches. The AL won the game, and won again in 1958.

In 1959, the majors tried a brief (four-year) experiment with playing two All-Star Games: in 1959, they played one in July, and a second game in August. The leagues split the games in 1959, 1960, and 1962. The 1960 games were played just two days apart: the second game saw Stan Musial hit his 6th and last All-Star homer, and Willie Mays have his second three hit game.

The first game in 1961 was played in San Francisco's Candelstick Park, Folks, Candelstick Point may not have been the best place in the world to build a baseball stadium. It's pleasant enough during the day, but in the evenings, fog and damp roll in from the San Francisco Bay. Along with gusts of wind. Big, powerful gusts of wind, winds strong enough to lift the huge cage teams use for batting practice into the air and set it down around second base. Such gusts would surely be strong enough to make a grown man lose his balance, especially if he happened to be standing on one leg at the time, and Giants relief ace Stu Miller was not exactly a large fellow, weighing at most 165 pounds. With the NL holding a 3-2 lead, one out and runners on first and second, Miller came on to close the game. A gust of wind knocked him off balance, and he balked the runners up. The tying run then scored on Ken Boyer's error. Catcher Smokey Burgess then dropped a foul pop fly. Miller rallied to fan Tony Kubek, but yet another error, this one by second baseman Don Zimmer loaded the bases. But for some reason, Hoyt Wilhelm hit for himself - the AL was not out of players - and Miller retired him to escape the jam. In the tenth inning, another error by Boyer allowed Nellie Fox to score the go-ahead run, but Wilhelm had nothing left by the tenth inning - Aaron singled, Mays doubled, he hit Frank Robinson with a pitch, and Clemente singled to walk it off.

 In the second 1961 game, we had the first tied All-Star game. This one was created by a Boston downpour, with the two teams headed for extra innings in a 1-1 game. The AL's win in the second 1962 game staved off the NL's attempt to even the overall series: the AL still held a 17-15 lead as the majors returned to playing one game a year in 1963. And then - the National League won the next eight in a row, every year from 1963 through 1970.

It was the era of Mays, Aaron, Robinson, and Clemente. The junior circuit seemed utterly unable to compete. A sample NL lineup (1965):
Mays, cf
Aaron, rf
Stargell, lf (later replaced by Clemente)
Allen, 3b (later replaced by Santo)
Torre, c
Banks, 1b
Rose, 2b
Wills, ss
Marichal, p (later replaced by, among others, Jim Maloney, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, and Bob Gibson.)

Billy Williams and Frank Robinson made pinch-hitting appearances.

Johnny Callison hit a three run walkoff homer off Dick (the Monster) Radatz to end the 1964 game. Willie Mays led off the next game with a home run, won by the NL when Ron Santo singled off Sam McDowell to score Mays and break up a seventh inning tie. The teams went to extra innings the following year, and Maury Wills singled home Tim McCarver in the bottom of the tenth.  Tony Perez won the 1967 game with a 15th inning homer off Catfish Hunter to settle the longest All-Star game ever played to that point. The NL won in 1968 when Willie Mays led off the game with a single, took second on an errant pickoff, third on a wild pitch, and scored when Willie McCovey hit into a double play. That was the game's only run - it was, after all, the Year of the Pitcher. This game also saw Mickey Mantle's final All-Star appearance - he hobbled up to the plate to hit for Sam McDowell, and struck out against Tom Seaver.

Willie McCovey hit a pair of homers and the NL slugged their way to a 9-3 win in the 1969 game, the first game that saw Expos (Staub), Padres (Canizzaro), Royals (Rodriguez), and Pilots (Mincher) taking part. The 1970 game was played in Cincinnati, and was interesting for a number of reasons. The AL squad included a couple of players named Stottlemyre and Alomar; the NL team had an outfielder named Gaston, who would go on to manage the sons of Mel and Sandy to a couple of world championships. But the most memorable moment of the game came on the game's final play. The game was tied at 4-4 going into the 12th inning. With two out, Pete Rose and Billy Grabarkewitz singled. Jim Hickman of the Cubs then hit a single to CF. Rose came barrelling around third, and absolutely creamed Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse, knocking the ball loose and scoring the winning run. Fosse was never quite the same player again.

In 1971, the AL finally won one. Hank Aaron's first All-Star homer helped the Nationals to an early 3-0 lead. But in the bottom of the third, Luis Aparicio singled and Reggie Jackson pinch-hit for Vida Blue. Jackson drove the ball an estimated 540 feet off the light tower at Tiger Stadium, as jaws dropped all over North America. It simply didn't seem possible to hit a baseball that far. Not even on television. Later in the inning, Frank Robinson became the first man to homer for both leagues in All-Star play (he had already become the first man to win an MVP in both leagues.) The AL had stopped the bleeding at last, although they now trailed in the series 23-18.

So the National League went out and won the next eleven games, every year from 1972 through 1982. They won in extra-innings in 1972 - the NL had now won all seven All-Star games that had gone to extra-innings. They won handily in 1973 and 1974. They regularly spotted the AL leads, and then came back to beat them. They hung a loss on Catfish Hunter in 1975 and Mark Fidrych in 1976. They beat the crap out of Jim Palmer in 1977 (Joe Morgan led off the game with a homer, and Luzinski and Garvey also took him deep.) That game also saw the first Blue Jay All-Star, the old Dodger Ron Fairly. He pinch-hit for Bill Campbell in the seventh and struck out against Tom Seaver.

The NL beat the crap out of Rich Gossage in 1978, scoring four runs off the Goose in the bottom of the eighth to win that one 7-3. In 1979, they won 7-6 after Dave Parker in RF threw out Jim Rice at third base in the seventh inning, and Brian Downing at home in the eighth. In 1981, the All-Star game was the first game played after the mid-season strike was settled. The NL got a solo homer from Dave Parker, a pair of solo shots from Gary Carter (the last man to hit two homers in an All-Star game) and a two run homer by Mike Schmidt off Rollie Fingers in the eighth to win it 5-4. AL manager Jim Frey ran out of position players before it was over, and Dave Stieb had to bat against Bruce Sutter in the ninth inning. He struck out. Of course he did.

In 1982, the NL won the first All-Star game played in a foreign country. (That would be Montreal, of course!) By 1983, St.Louis manager Whitey Herzog was suggesting that it might actually be a good thing if the AL finally won one of these games, after losing 19 of the previous 20. Coincidentally or not, Herzog's NL squad that July did not include Steve Carlton, or Tom Seaver, or Bruce Sutter, or Nolan Ryan. Mario Soto, an outstanding pitcher, got the start: but he was followed by Atlee Hammaker, Bill Dawley, Dave Dravecky, and Pascual Perez. You will not find their plaques in Cooperstown, however hard you look. Fred Lynn hit the first ever All-Star grand slam, and the AL cruised to an easy 13-3 win. Didn't seem to bother Whitey at all. Dave Stieb started and worked three hitless inning, allowing an unearned run, to get the win.

The NL won in 1984, as Fernanda Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden combined to strike out six hitters in a row in the middle innings. Alfredo Griffin went to the game as Damaso Garcia's guest, and ended up being added to the team after Alan Trammell was injured. The NL won again in 1985, but the AL stopped this streak at a measly two games. Roger Clemens made his All-Star debut in Houston in 1986 and announced his presence with authority; he started the game and retired all nine NL hitters who faced him. The NL highlight was Valenzuela again, who struck out five in a row to match Carl Hubbell's legendary feat from the 1934 game. Valenzuela fanned Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken, Jesse Barfield, Lou Whitaker, and Ted Higuera - not bad, but not quite Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, and Cronin.

In 1987, the greatest year of the hitter in many a moon, it took 13 innings before anyone could score in the All-Star Game. One of the interesting twists to this game was the presence of a pitcher on the AL team who had won zero games up to that point in the season. This had never happened before. HIs name was Tom Henke, and as it happened he never would win a single game in 1987. He almost won this game, however. Henke was the pitcher of record when the AL put the winning run on second with one out in the bottom of the ninth. They couldn't cash him in, and Henke worked the 10th and 11th as well, while Blue Jays fans screamed horrible, horrible things at Boston manager John McNamara, who was running the AL squad. (Henke actually worked into a third inning more than half a dozen times that season. Two weeks after this game, Jimy Williams allowed Henke to give up a run to blow a save in his second inning of work - and then give up another run to lose the game in his fourth inning of work.)  Anyway, the NL finally scored the winning run off Oakland's Jay Howell in the 13thj inning.

At this point, the AL regained its bearings and ran off six straight wins of their own. It was just like old times. In 1988, Terry Steinbach, who had hit a HR in the first major league at bat, hit a HR in his first All-Star bat; he later added a game winning sac fly. In 1989, Bo Jackson began building his legend. He ended the NL first with a fine catch off Pedro Guerrero with two men on base; then he led off for the AL with a monstrous homer off Rick Reuschel. In 1990, six AL pitchers shut down the NL on just two singles. After a lengthy rain delay, veteran Texas second-baseman Julio Franco greeted Rob Dibble with a two-run double to account for the game's only runs. Yes, Julio was a nine-year veteran in 1990. Discuss among yourselves what that made him in 2007.  Dave Stieb worked two innings in what was his seventh, and final, all-star appearance. No other Blue Jay has appeared as often - Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, and Jose Bautista each played in five games as Blue Jays. Roy Halladay was named to the team six times (as was Bautista) but Doc only pitched in the game four times as a Jay.

The game came to Toronto in 1991, and Blue Jay Jimmy Key was the pitcher of record and got the win when Cal Ripken ripped a three-run homer off Dennis Martinez. In 1992, Tom Glavine retired Roberto Alomar to start the game: he then allowed seven consecutive singles (Boggs, Puckett, Carter, McGwire, Ripken, Griffey, S.Alomar) to settle this one in a hurry. The AL won Cito Gaston's first All-Star game in 1993. This was the game when Randy Johnson sailed his first pitch over John Kruk's head; Kruk then waved feebly at the next three offerings, all the while practically running out of the batter's box. The game ended with hometown favourite Mike Mussina throwing in the Camden Yards bullpen, as Duane Ward finished the game. And oh, the howling that ensued.

Sparky Anderson said "What are they complaining about? If I was in a pennant race with Baltimore, Mussina would have pitched at least three innings." (Sparky wasn't kidding, either - that was exactly how he managed in the All-Star game. Pitchers from his division rivals always had to work when Sparky managed.) Gaston, in a pennant race with Baltimore and New York, was not planning on using his own guy, Pat Hentgen, who was just along for the ride; the Yankees had requested that Jimmy Key work no more than one inning. So Gaston tried to be fair to the Orioles as well, and got roasted for it. Regarding Mussina's little exhibition in the bullpen, Cito said "Screw him, I won't take him next year." (What I especially like about that statement is Gaston's confidence that he would indeed be managing the game again the following year.)

But Gaston did take Mussina in 1994, and actually let him pitch in the 8-7 NL win that finally broke off the AL win streak. Lee Smith took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Atlanta's Fred McGriff hit a dramatic two run pinch-hit HR to tie the game. Once the game went to extra innings, the NL had it in the bag. The NL always wins when All-Star games go overtime. Baseball celebrated by having a work stoppage and cancelling the World Series.

AL pitchers held the NL batters to just three hits in 1995: however, all of them left the yard at the Ballpark in Arlington, and the NL squeezed out a 3-2 win. They made it three wins in a row in 1996, as nine pitchers teamed up for the 6-0 shutout. The National League then entered a slump that very much resembled the very first days of the All-Star Game. The AL won in 1997 when Sandy Alomar broke up a 1-1 tie with a two run homer off Shawn Estes. This was the game when Randy Johnson's first pitch to Larry Walker sailed over his head; Walker reversed his helmet and took up his stance in the RH batter's box for the next pitch. In 1998, once the two starters (David Wells and Greg Maddux) departed the scene, the floodgates opened: 28 hits and 21 runs followed. Tom Glavine had another nightmarish outing, and the AL won 13-8. At Fenway Park in 1999, Pedro Martinez fanned 5 of the 6 hitters he faced, tying an AL record in a 4-1 win. This game featured Derek Jeter's memorable impression of Nomar Garciaparra in the batter's box, and the unforgettable scene before the game of a frail Ted Williams surrounded by all the game's current stars, who basically just wanted to touch the hem of his garment and share a moment with the greatest hitter who ever lived.

The AL won the next two games, 6-3 in Atlanta and 4-1 in Seattle. This last was Cal Ripken's last All-Star Game. He was voted to start at 3B, but starting SS Alex Rodriguez moved over to third for the first time in his life (not the last!), insisting that Ripken play short, where he had played so well for so many years. Cal hit a HR off Chan Ho Park in the third and won his second All-Star MVP. Albert Pujols made his first major league appearance playing second base (he would make one more, for the Cardinals in an extra-inning affair in 2008.)

In 2002, they played 11 innings in Milwaukee, and then ran out of pitchers. No one was happy about that.  So in 2003, they added some spice to the proceedings. Home field advantage would go to the team from whichever league won the All-Star Game, a silly idea that stuck around until 2016. So on this inital occasion the NL handed a 6-3 lead to as impressive a relief corps as one might ever hope to see: Billy Wagner, Eric Gagne, and John Smoltz. But in the seventh inning, Jason Giambi homered off Wagner to make it 6-4. In the eighth, Gagne got roughed up for an RBI double by Vernon Wells and a go-ahead homer by Hank Blalock. It was the only save Gagne would blow all year. Smoltz never did get into the game. But, even with home-field advantage, the Yankees lost the World Series.

In 2004, Roger Clemens was in his first year with his adopted hometown team (Clemens was actually born in Ohio), the Houston Astros. At the tender age of 41, he took a 10-2, 2.54 record into the break and got the start for the mid-summer classic, which was being played at his new home field, Enron Memorial in Houston. His catcher was his longtime nemesis (8-19 with 4 HR) and  World Series foe, Mike Piazza. Things did not go well for old Roger. Suzuki doubled, Pudge Rodriguez tripled, and Manny Ramirez hit a three run homer. Giambi reached on an error, Jeter singled, and Soriano hit a three run homer. Piazza firmly denied that he was tipping Clemens' pitches to the AL hitters - why would he do such a thing? - and everyone chose to believe him. Even Roger. Naturally, the AL won the game.

The AL won again in 2005. And 2006. And 2007 and 2008. The latter game took 15 innings, matching the 1967 game as the longest ever - it was settled by Michael Young's walkoff sac fly scoring Justin Morneau.  The AL won again in 2009 - Roy Halladay spotted the NL a 3-2 lead, but eventually a Granderson triple and an Adam Jones sac fly gave the AL the 4-3 win. Finally, in 2010, the NL got their first All-Star victory since 1996 when Brian McCann's bases loaded double in the seventh inning cashed three runs. The NL won again in 2011, thanks to Prince Fielder's three run homer off C.J. Wilson, and again in 2012 when they roughed up starter Justin Verlander for five first inning runs, Sandoval's bases loaded triple being the key blow. It was three in a row for the senior circuit.

The NL hasn't won it since. The current AL winning streak stands at eight. They had only begun to name an All-Star MVP in 1961 - Mike Trout led off the 2015 game with a homer and became the first man to be named All-Star MVP in consecutive seasons. Hey, if you never get to play in the post-season.. Previous two time winners were Willie Mays, Steve Garvey, Gary Carter, and Cal Ripken. I'm pretty sure Ted Williams would have got a piece of that action. 

Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez roughed up their old teammate Johnny Cueto for second inning homers in 2016, less than a year after they'd all won the World Series together.  The AL finally won an extra inning game in 2017 - Robinson Cano homered off Wade Davis in the top of the tenth and Andrew Miller struck out Cody Bellinger for the save. Having finally cracked the code, they won again in extras the following year, as Alex Bregman and future Jay George Springer roughed up future Jay Ross Stripling for tenth inning homers, and J.A. Happ - still a Blue Jay, he'd be traded to the Yankees nine days later - survived a Joey Votto dinger in the bottom half. Future Jay Hyun-Jin Ryu started in 2019, but it was his Dodger teammate Clayton Kershaw who allowed the game's first run, giving the AL a lead they would never relinquish. Future Jays Jose Berrios and Brad Hand both picked up a Hold for their scoreless innings on behalf of the AL - the only Jay invited, Marcus Stroman, didn't get into the game on the only occasion he was named to the team. That was also the fate - selected to just a single All-Star game, and not getting to play - of Dave Lemanczyk in 1979, Ricky Romero in 2011, and Marco Estrada in 2016  But at least you get to hang out with everyone. It's still weird that Steve Delabar pitched in an All-Star game.

There was no game in 2020. Last year, of course, Vladimir Guerrero became the first Blue Jay named the game's MVP. Three Jays - Stieb, Key, and Ryan - had been the winning pitcher.

Henry Aaron played in 25 All-Star games, more than anyone else - Stan Musial and Willie Mays both played in 24, and Mays started more All-Star games (18) than anyone. Musial's six HRs are the most in All-Star competition - Ted Williams and Fred Lynn each hit four. Lynn, of course, still has the only All-Star grand slam.  As no pitcher has ever hit an All-Star homer, the most unlikely home run hitter was probably Cookie Rojas, who hit just 54 of them in his 16 year career. But Rojas took Bill Stoneman of the Expos deep for a two-run shot to put the AL ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning in 1972. Naturally, the AL couldn't hold the lead and lost in extra innings. Willie Mays has the most hits (23), the most at-bats (75), the most stolen bases (6), and the most runs scored (20). Ted Williams drew more walks (11) and drove in more runs (20) than anyone else. But it was the great Detroit second baseman Charlie Gehringer who might have the most impressive slash line - .500/.655/.600 as an All-Star.  Derek Jeter's .481/.500/.667 isn't too shabby, either. Mike Trout is still working on his resume - he's only got 17 All-Star at bats, but his 7 hits include two doubles, two homers, and a triple, all making for a very nifty .412/.500/1.000 slash line. Alas, he'll be absent this time around.

Warren Spahn pitched in 17 All-Star games, three times as the starter, far more often than anyone else. But it's Don Drysdale's 19.1 IP and 19 Ks that are All-Star records. Lefty Gomez is the only man to win 3 All-Star Games. Gomez pitched a total of 18 IP in his five All-Star starts, topped off by his famous six-inning outing in 1935. Let's see some manager try that today. Drysdale and Robin Roberts are the only other pitchers to join Gomez in starting five All-Star games. Mel Harder, the old Cleveland southpaw, appeared in four consecutive All-Star games in the late 1930s. He worked 13 scoreless innings, the most by any pitcher in All-Star game history and earned a win and a couple of saves. Mariano Rivera, whose nine scoreless All-Star innings ranks second behind Harder, made 13 relief appearances, second only to Spahn's 14, and has the most saves, with four.

The All-Star Game | 132 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
jerjapan - Tuesday, July 19 2022 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#417620) #
No doubt, MLB has the only all star game that matters.
Alfredo Griffin had an fWAR of -1.9 in 1984.  ah the good old days, when you could have a 15+ years-long career with a lifetime negative WAR.
JohnL - Tuesday, July 19 2022 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#417621) #
The Jays' super-competitor Manoah's All Star take:

"If you give up 10 runs, who cares? There’s no all-star game ERA. You just get to enjoy every moment." - per Shi Davidi on Sportsnet.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 19 2022 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#417623) #
Thanks for this walk down memory lane, Magpie.  Very enjoyable.

I remember the light tower homer.  I can only imagine what the exit velocity was- it sure felt like it left the yard in an awful hurry. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, July 19 2022 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#417630) #
Should we have a Juan Soto trade discussion thread? I imagine the hot stove (hopefully including some Jays rumours) is going to reach UK-like temperatures in the next couple of weeks.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 19 2022 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#417631) #
In 1982, the NL won the first All-Star game played in a foreign country. (That would be Montreal, of course!)

I was there! It was the one and only all-star game I ever attended. The Big O was decked out in bunting, like lipstick on a pig. A few unhappy fans from Boston were sitting in front of us, mocking the Happy Wanderer (valderi, valdera) as their hometown ace was getting his ass handed to him and the hometown's ace was chalking up the W. Forty years ago you say? Nah, can't be. That would make me...ugh.

greenfrog - Tuesday, July 19 2022 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#417639) #
Manaoh gets an A for that performance (3 Ks and a HBP with a two-strike count on McNeil). He probably appreciated having Kirk behind the plate.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#417641) #
Baseball porn:
Spifficus - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 01:18 AM EDT (#417642) #
That's awesome, and the extendo version on is even better.
finch - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#417644) #
A baseball writer was speculating the cost would be a couple of roster players and the top prospects. In his opinion, Jays offer would look something like:
- Biggio
- Gurriel Jr
- Moreno
- Martinez
- Tiedemann
- Groshans
- Pearson

I don’t even think that’s enough. Maybe if you switch Kirk for Moreno. That’s a lot to give up for a team with a contention window of now to 4 years. Need those low-cost players coming up.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#417645) #
It's impossible to know how another team values specific prospects, but the Nationals will be hard-pressed to find an offer that is in the range of a team's 5 best prospects AND two MLB-calibre players at affordable prices.
greenfrog - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#417647) #
Upon reflection, I don’t see a Soto trade with the Jays happening. The Jays’ best trade chip (Moreno) is a catcher. The Nats don’t need a starting catcher. Also, trading a large basket of elite (as opposed to fake elite) prospects and young MLB players for 2.5 years of a single player isn’t really the front office’s style. And I question how much payroll space the team really has for 2022-2024. I think the Jays will focus on other trade targets.
electric carrot - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#417648) #
I think the Jays will focus on other trade targets.

I hope so. How about some pitching?
dalimon5 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#417649) #
I would do that trade in a heart beat and I believe they Jays would to, as well as the Nationals IF Juan Soto agreed to sign long term in Toronto and IF there was also still room to sign Vlad and Manoah long term.


There's your core until 2030.
bpoz - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#417650) #
We look at the teams games played and analyze why they lost.

Any losses due to scoring 3 or less runs is too few runs scored. This truth if true points to a glaring weakness from a team that is supposed to score a lot of runs. Scoring 7+ runs in some games makes the runs scored average look good. A good hitting lineup seems to be failing in possibly too many games. I don't know how Atkins can address this via trade. I will try not getting involved in acquiring Soto talk.

A few more good relievers will help. I think we will trade for a few relievers. Trading for good SPs, probably not but maybe.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#417651) #
So, looking at that core 4, what would they cost? Soto turned down 15 years, 440 million which is almost 30 million a year? Does he want more or take a comparable salary to play with a contender? So, say he would take 30 .

What does Vlad's long term contract look like? The same or more? So conservatively the two of them earn 60 million, Berrios is at 18 million and Manoah won't be paid big for several years but in 4 years may be getting 20 million a year. So, again conservatively, the Jays would be paying out almost 100 million for 4 players, plus Bo Bichette if he's not traded.

I'm just wary of the Jays becoming like the Leafs, with a few players taking up half or more of the payroll, pushing out the good, middle-class players and forcing them to sign low-priced, low- producing players to fill out the roster. In the Jay's case, they wouldn't have the good, cheap prospects coming up either because they have all been traded away.

I may be well off in my salary projections so feel free to correct me.
Kasi - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#417652) #
There has never been a modern day trade with 2 major leaguers and 5 top minor leaguers going for one player. Any proposal like that is ridiculous. Jays are not making that trade and gutting the farm system for a single player. Heck right now Gurriel since June is matching Soto's numbers so it wouldn't even be a huge upgrade to the current on field Jays (at least while Gurriel is hot). Anyway just like Jose Ramirez I imagine plenty of fans will spend endless hours coming up with theoretical trades that will never happen. And in the end the cost will come down and some team like the Dodgers will get him without even giving up their number one prospect.
Nigel - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#417653) #
The true economic cost of Soto isn’t just the crazy annual salary demands, it’s that all of your cheap help goes in the acquisition as well. I have long groused that the Jays are run on an upper middle market budget rather than the large market team that they actually are. But the reality of a Soto extension and acquisition cost is that there are really only 4-5 teams that could pay that freight (the two NY teams, the two LA teams and, and?). The Jays have never ever played in that stratosphere and won’t do so now, particularly after gutting their supply of cheap help (ie prospects). Soto to Jays is the ultimate in a pipe dream. Really, only the Dodgers and Yankees are realistic options and neither of them really need him. It’s a fascinating sale process from that perspective.
finch - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#417654) #
Washington is looking for a Hershel Walker return. That being said, you get him now, for 2.5 years. Let’s assume you can’t sign him long term, and want to trade him next season before the playoffs, or at the deadline the year after, you’ll get a nice package back, not what you’re giving up now, but assets could be recouped to some extent.

Personally I wouldn’t make that trade either.
greenfrog - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#417655) #
You could argue that a four-prospect package of (say) Moreno, Tiedemann, Zulueta and Horwitz would be a fair offer for Soto. I think a lot of commentators are still unaware of just how good a season Tiedemann is having.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#417656) #
Island, I think 100 million dollars sounds about right for those 4 players.

I'm surprised people think that the Jays can't afford Juan Soto. They essentially outbid every team out there for Ryu and Springer, why wouldn't they spend a bit more for a top 5 player in MLB? Do you really think they will spend 26 million or whatever it is on Springer in his 30s and not spend 5 million or so more for a top talent in his early and mid twenties??

Here are a couple of things to remember:

* Juan Soto is better than Vlad for many...they are two of the top generational talents in don't skimp on a chance to keep those types of players, even for a huge prospect haul
* We have no idea what the chances are of the the Jays resigning Vlad or Bo. If they can acquire Juan Soto and sign him, then they can move one or both of Vlad and Bo later if neither of them wants to resign here.
* Lastly, if some people really think the prospect capital is too much, then include either Kirk or Bichette instead and remove some of those prospects

I think it will be easier for the Jays to trade for and re-sign Soto like they did with Berrios than it would be for them to try to sign him, Trout, Ohtani or any other "once in a lifetime" type of player on the open market. That's the main motivation for me to try to sign two generational talents long term. Juan Soto and Vlad are two such players.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#417657) #
Soto is not Ted Williams.  But he's 23 and he's off to a better start to his career than Frank Robinson. It's entirely possible that he puts up a 72 WAR in the age 24-35 span as Robinson did.  The Yankees and Dodgers don't "need" him, but it's probably a good investment of $475-$500 million for them.  A player like Judge is going to be after $30M/year plus and he turned 30 three months ago.  Soto is probably a better use of their money.  Again, I'm not sure how much they would be willing to give up in prospects though. 
dalimon5 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#417658) #
Mike that's a great point from the NYY POV. That's more reason for the Jays to do a sign and trade while they have a chance.

If you know you're not likely to resign Teoscar...

If you know you're not likely to resign Gurriel...

If you know Ryu is coming off the books...

Wouldn't signing Soto long term give you security in case Bo or Vlad leave? Wouldn't it make it easier for them to resign?
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#417659) #
There's lots of things that the Jays could do conceivably.  For one thing, if they believed that Soto was a better long-term bet than Guerrero Jr (probably true), they could include VGJ in a deal with the Nationals and might have to include relatively little else while signing up Soto long-term.  VGJ hits free agency a year later, and the Jays do have the possibility of moving Gurriel Jr. to first base. He's actually pretty good there defensively.  It would change the character of the deal, but would make some sense for the Jays (if "emotionally" they could let go of the idea of VGJ as their franchise player and if they were willing to accept a modest short-term improvement in the club for this year).  I'm not sure I would do it, but I would think about it. 


85bluejay - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#417660) #
If the Nationals were willing to accept VGJ as the centerpiece of a Juan Soto deal with relatively little else not only would I give that an enthusiastic thumbs up, I'd drive VGJ up to Pearson myself - and I like VGJ a lot.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#417662) #
It wouldn't make any sense for the Nationals to be interested in Guerrero in a Soto deal.
greenfrog - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#417663) #
You would think that, in exchange for Soto, the Nats would want multiple elite/good prospects (and maybe some MLB talent as well) to help establish the foundation for their next contending team. And to save money in the short term.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#417664) #
I don't the Nationals are going to get multiple elite prospects from any club, unless you count a top 20 prospect and a 50-100 prospect and then one more further down the list.  I'm sure the Blue Jays would trade Moreno, Orelvis and Sem Robberse to them, but they'd be better off with VGJ and  Moreno (and flipping Moreno for an outfield prospect from Arizona).  Most teams don't have enough prospect depth to make that viable and the ones that do generally don't have the money to make a long-term deal with Soto. 
99BlueJaysWay - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#417666) #
Bowden is reporting that the Nationals are telling teams they’ll have to take back Corbin in a deal for Soto.

The Nationals will try to make the team that acquires Soto also absorb Corbin’s bad contract, according to sources. Corbin has two and a half years left on a six-year, $140 million deal he signed after the 2018 season. He’s been the worst starting pitcher in the majors since the beginning of the 2021 season, with a 5.84 ERA in 50 starts during that span. So if your team wants Soto, who is making $17.1 million this year, it will need to account for the likely significant raises he’ll receive in his final two years of salary arbitration, a record extension (if it wants Soto beyond 2024) and perhaps taking on some or all of Corbin’s remaining salary. Bottom line: The Nationals want the Corbin salary off their books, even if they end up with fewer players or prospects in the deal because of it.
Kasi - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#417667) #
Geez that’s a surprise. I thought reading before here that there was absolutely zero chance that a salary offload would mitigate the trade costs. I mean I don’t think that really makes it any better for Toronto but hey If they think they can fix Corbin with Walker. He really hasn’t lost any velocity so maybe there is something.
hypobole - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#417668) #
You were right, I was wrong. Selling the team is the priority over rebuilding the team.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#417670) #
Juan Soto welcome to California (Dodgers/Giants)
uglyone - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#417671) #
Jays saved money for years for exactly this opportunity.

scottt - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#417672) #
I think they need to hang on to Tiedemann. What they need right now is pitching and that's not going to change.
Soto is just a would-be-nice upgrade. Pitching is vital.

Moreno is one an injury away from being on the team.
He's way more valuable to the Jays than to the Nationals.

The Key to those trades are often to find guys that are not ranked that high but that the other team likes.

greenfrog - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#417673) #
I think the Jays should go for it (Soto + Corbin) if a reasonable deal can be had. Btw Corbin hasn't been that bad this year.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 08:06 PM EDT (#417674) #
Sure, greenfrog. Soto and Corbin for Gurriel and Orelvis works for me. Maybe throw in a lesser pitching prospect.
bpoz - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#417675) #
Agreed Mike. Maybe give them Kikuchi.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#417676) #
For what it's worth, I highly doubt that Rogers would go for it.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#417677) #
The prospect of a deal just got better. Jays are in a better position than the Yankees or Dodgers regarding the luxury tax line nobody really wants to cross. SFG are a big contender for Soto since they cleared a ton off their books and have a top 10 farm system.

According to baseball trade, Vlad is our 4th best trade chip after Manoah, Moreno and Bichette.

Soto is worth more than any Blue Jay even though he has one less year of control than Vlad...and that's AFTER you add Corbin's negative trade value to his. Insane.

Best trade simulation I could come up with which almost equals out is following:

Kirk, Espinal, Tiedemann, Martinez for Soto and Corbin


Bichette, Tiedemann for Soto and Corbin


Bichette, Groshans, Biggio for Soto and Corbin


Manoah for Soto and Corbin
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#417678) #
I have this issue with trade simulators- the assumptions they make about salaries in free agency are very important and usually not obvious. In a case like Soto's, it's key.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#417680) #
Is their simulator not based on Soto's value prior to free agency? Are you referring to arbitration raises? Guys like Berrios have negative value so clearly their system is flawed. He had negative value according to them even before the season began simply because of his contract.

Nonetheless, would you grade the simulated trades as unrealistic or unfair for either of the teams?
uglyone - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#417681) #
Moreno, Tiedeman, Gurriel
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#417682) #
Not for me. You're giving up something significant by taking on Corbin's salary.
greenfrog - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#417683) #
If the team trades LGJ and prospects for Soto, they’ll need to find a fourth OF who can play center field. Otherwise we’ll still be seeing an awful lot of Tapia/Zimmer over the rest of the season (when Springer or Teoscar or Soto is hurt or needs a rest).

Personally, I like the idea of a superabundance of outfielders: Soto, Springer, Teo, Gurriel Jr. That would also mean more rest time for Kirk (who wouldn’t often have to DH when he’s not catching).
greenfrog - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#417684) #
I mentioned Kawhi before. The Raptors went big when they acquired him and it electrified the city (and country). The Jays can do something similar for *three seasons* if they go all in with this move (and also add some pitching).
dalimon5 - Wednesday, July 20 2022 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#417685) #
Green, rumour is that the Jays are talking to Conforto.
Michael - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:33 AM EDT (#417686) #
There is an Athletic article that suggests Soto (no other contract) for one of teoscar\gurriel + Tiedeman + Pearson + 1 or 2 of Orelvis Martinez, Jordan Groshans and/or Otto Lopez. If this is accurate the cost with bad contract should be less.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:57 AM EDT (#417687) #
"If the team trades LGJ and prospects for Soto, they’ll need to find a fourth OF who can play center field. "

I mean keeping LGJ doesn't change that though. He can't play CF.
John Northey - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:57 AM EDT (#417688) #
I'm thinking part of the package has to be a MLB star and Bo could qualify for that. Mix in a top prospect and if the Nats insist on adding in an ugly contract you probably have a deal. Bo cam go due to having Español and a few SS prospects on the edge. Biggio back to 2B. Doubt any contender could do a trick like that and be ok. But then what about the OF with 4 starters plus 2 spares? Lots of interesting angles.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#417689) #
Delightful to see Captain Kirk back in Hollywood starring on television. (Chávez Ravine is just a few miles from Paramount Pictures.)

250 years after the Declaration of Independence, America's original capital city of Philadelphia will host the 2026 All Star Game.

Ted Williams:
Born: August 30, 1918 in San Diego, CA
Died: July 5, 2002 (Aged 83-309d) in Inverness, FL
Buried: Frozen

To be awakened from cryostasis... 406 years later? Sooner than that. Likely upon the next CBA impasse.

Walt Disney, too. That was debunked, until Frozen (2013) raised further questions.

bpoz - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#417690) #
13 days before the trade deadline ends Aug 2. I expect articles on potential trades to start appearing next week. I am sure Preller and Dipoto will be quite active. SD had a losing record last year. New manager Bob Melvin probably gets them in. Seattle scored 51 less runs last year but had a record of .556. This year their record is .548 but they needed a 14 game win streak. There seems to be some magic in Seattle.

Atlanta won 88 (.547) games last year and the WS. This year .596 winning record. AA added 3 OFs last year none of which were having a great season when traded. They produced in the playoffs. S Pearce produced for Boston in the 2018 post season. Sometimes it is a journeyman type of player that has amazing playoff performance.
Glevin - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#417691) #
"There is an Athletic article that suggests Soto (no other contract) for one of teoscar\gurriel + Tiedeman + Pearson + 1 or 2 of Orelvis Martinez, Jordan Groshans and/or Otto Lopez. If this is accurate the cost with bad contract should be less."

It's Jim Bowden which means it should be taken with a grain of salt. If that's what it took to get Soto, Jays would have traded for him yesterday. It would probably take something like Bo, Moreno, Tiedmann, Orelvis and Gurriel because so many teams will be interested. I expect the Jays to make an offer but don't think they line up great with the Nats because their top piece is a catcher which is the one thing Nats don't really need.. I think Padres might be favourites. They like to trade and could do package of a bunch of major league ready youngsters (Something like Abrams, Hassel, Gore, Ruiz+. Lots of teams have the young talent/prospects to make a bid. Mariners, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, etc...and Soto is a difference maker for years. the difference between Soto and Gurriel is probably 4-6 wins a year and bunching WAR like that in one position is super valuable (much easier to upgrade from a 0 WAR player than from a 2 WAR player)
Mike Green - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#417693) #
Soto is a difference maker for years

From age 20-25, Mike Trout was easily the best player in baseball.  The Angels gave him a long-term contract on supposedly club-friendly terms.  He has been paid approximately $180M for age 26-30 and produced 28WAR.  That's good value for what it is, but meanwhile the club is on the hook for 37M a year from age 31-38, and the odds of them taking a bath like they did with Pujols are pretty good.  

I suspect that part of the reason that the Nationals have indicated an interest in including Corbin in the deal is that they didn't have as much interest as expected on a pure elite prospects for superstar deal.  Which I understand completely given the economics.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#417694) #
Incidentally, it's very easy to see the early signs of deterioration in Trout's game.  His swinging strike %  ranged from 5.8% to 7.6% in the 2013-19 period, and has increased to 10.2% last year and 12.1% this year.  This has led to a K rate increase from a typical rate of 20-21% prior to last year to 28% in 2021 and 30% in 2022.  The power is still very much there, but this is a healthy year for him. 

Mookie Betts doesn't have as good superficial numbers, but he's still got the power and he's still got control of the strike zone with a swinging strike rate about the same as his career norms.  He has however lost significant speed which was an important part of his game.  I'm going to venture a guess that Betts ends up full value for his contract but little more. 
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#417696) #
"From age 20-25, Mike Trout was easily the best player in baseball. The Angels gave him a long-term contract on supposedly club-friendly terms. He has been paid approximately $180M for age 26-30 and produced 28WAR. That's good value for what it is, but meanwhile the club is on the hook for 37M a year from age 31-38, and the odds of them taking a bath like they did with Pujols are pretty good."

Mike, your argument is essentially that the Angels will take a bath because the back end of a contract is bad. You're looking at the worst part of something and using that to colour the entire picture. The Angels have received full value and then some from Mike Trout. You can't look at the bad end of a deal without looking at the most productive years when he was underpaid.

You also are using analytics to judge his performance and decline this year, yet you fail to mention that he is in all likelihood playing hurt this year. That basically voids any decline talk if he is able to return to full health.
Glevin - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#417697) #
"From age 20-25, Mike Trout was easily the best player in baseball. The Angels gave him a long-term contract on supposedly club-friendly terms. He has been paid approximately $180M for age 26-30 and produced 28WAR. That's good value for what it is, but meanwhile the club is on the hook for 37M a year from age 31-38, and the odds of them taking a bath like they did with Pujols are pretty good. "

There isn't a comparison between Trout deal and Pujols deal. Trout is still one of the best players in baseball. I mean, he has 3.8 WAR in half a season this year. Will the end of the deal be bad? probably, but my guess is that he more than makes up for it over the first part of it. Pujols was different as the Angels signed him at age 32 when he was already clearly in decline. Put it another way. Trout has more value this season already than Pujols had in any season with the Angels.

Nobody can predict the future, but Soto is 23 and maybe the best hitter in baseball with hitting attributes that tend to decline well. I'd happily extend him for 12 years.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#417699) #
On the whole contract, the Angels may end up at squares on Trout.  It's not a bad thing, but just not worth trading any elite prospect for.  Which is part of the reason why Tampa routinely finishes ahead of the Angels....

Soto is very, very good, but the idea that a team should give up a good hunk of their farm system for him is misguided.  You get 2 and 1/2 years at a discount and the rest you pay market rate for. 
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#417700) #
Soto is only one year older than Moreno, for those worried about "giving up too much future".
92-93 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#417701) #
There is no requirement for an acquiring team to pay Soto deep into his late 30s. Three playoff runs with the best hitter in baseball at arbitration prices is incredibly valuable, and teams should be salivating at the opportunity to add him to their contending clubs for just prospects, especially if he comes at a reduced talent price with Corbin attached.

As Jays fans all we can hope for is that he lands in the NL West and not BOS/NY, because he destroys RHP.
electric carrot - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#417702) #
Like I have said, I think Soto is a shiny-new-object style distraction from a bigger need which is pitching. But I could be convinced that a trade that only featured position players going to the Nationals is a good idea. Particularly if it mainly featured hitting prospects and let's say some one or two person combo of Gurriel, Bo or Teo.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#417703) #
"Nobody can predict the future, but Soto is 23 and maybe the best hitter in baseball with hitting attributes that tend to decline well. I'd happily extend him for 12 years."

Let the future records show I endorse this view completely.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#417704) #
Everyone talks about pitching being some huge need but I still don't think it really is.


Is a damn fine playoffs rotation and


Are probably all good to very good relievers.

Upgrades are always welcome of course but despite the numbers through the first half I still don't see any dire need for pitching fixes.

dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#417705) #
Here is a link to fresh new trade proposals on

I didn't realize how strong packages could be from all of those other teams. I think they're all stronger than what Toronto could offer unless someone like Bichette was the centerpiece. That's probably what we're looking at because Moreno and Tiedemann are not close to the prospect names listed as part of packages...

uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#417706) #
Moreno is a consensus top 5 prospect in baseball and Tiedemann is one of the fastest risers in baseball and rocketing up to top 50 status at age can that be "not close" to the other prospect packages?
greenfrog - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#417707) #
The important thing to note about the Trout and Pujols extensions is that the initial extensions given to the player worked out very well for the team. The subsequent long-term extensions given to them were a bad idea. The same thing happened with Tulowitzki.

I think Shapiro’s Achilles Heel might be his impulse to spread around the cash among multiple supposedly decent players (like Grichuk and Roark and Anderson and Kikuchi) rather than go for the jugular when this (Juan Soto) type of situation arises. As World Series winner AA liked to say (paraphrasing Warren Buffett), it’s better to pay a fair price for a wonderful asset than to pay a wonderful price for a fair asset.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#417708) #
Moreno is actually rated #6.

Here are stronger players in proposed packages:

Francisco Alvarez (rated #2)
Anthony Volpe (rated #8
Nestor Cortes (in MLB)
Dustin May (in MLB)
Gore (in MLB)
CJ Abrams (in MLB)
Joshua Mears (#8 prospect)
Adrian Morejon (in MLB)
Marco Luciano (#9 prospect)
Logan Webb (in MLB)
Jared Kelenic (in MLB)
George Kirby (in MLB)
Randy Arozarena (in MLB)
Josh Lowe (in MLB)

If you take the Padres simulated offer of Morejon, Mears, Abrams and Gore it trumps anything the Jays can put together without Bichette
85bluejay - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#417709) #
I read that the Dodgers had 7 prospects in the latest BA 100 list, so if they want Soto then they are in a strong position and the Giants have a top ten system and lots of available payroll.
Glevin - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#417710) #
"Everyone talks about pitching being some huge need but I still don't think it really is."

I think the Jays need a flame throwing reliever who can close if needed and a 4th/5th starter who can throw some decent innings but both are pretty gettable pieces I think. Someone like Daniel Bard would be ideal as a reliever and any number of starters would work.

bpoz - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#417711) #
Maybe greenfrog about Shapiro.

Happ and Estrada worked out better than Roark & C Anderson. I accept that they are all supposedly decent. Ryu, Springer, Gausman are categorized as better IMO than the above. Semien had 2 great seasons 2019 & 2021. Chapman had some good seasons, so he could have a great season.

Donaldson had some great seasons. His 2015 MVP season does not look better than Vlad's and Semien's 2021 to me. Othani's 2021 is the best of all.

Luck helps. And Soto is great.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#417712) #

Abrams - borderline top-10 prospect, lower than Moreno
Gore - back-end Top-100 prospect having a solid rookie year as a 23 yr old, though moved to the bullpen recently

Morejon - middling 23yr old prospect with 45ip at all levels the last 3 seasons including 30ip of getting abused in MLB mostly as RP
Mears - fringe prospect

Moreno/Tiedemann is a stronger package than Abrams/Gore, and the jays have plenty of Morejon/Mears level guys to throw in.

electric carrot - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#417713) #

I like the bottom half of this rotation better than most I bet. I think Berrios will get better and I think Stripling is the real deal. But I liked this rotation a lot better when a healthy Ryu was in the mix. At the moment, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see Kikuchi or Castillo pitching with the season on the line, or an injury to any of the top three sending the team into a tailspin.
scottt - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#417714) #
The Jays are around 3rd in MLB offensively, but not even top 15 when it comes to pitching.

The real concern with the outfield is that Springer's elbow will not hold on, assuming he doesn't hurt himself some other way.

And what will they do with Kikuchi?

Magpie - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#417715) #
Soto is certainly a great player, but it's quite possible that Castillo for Kikuchi represents a bigger upgrade than Soto for Hernandez, say.
Magpie - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#417716) #
despite the numbers through the first half I still don't see any dire need for pitching fixes.

The team has a 6-12 record when the number five guy - Kikuchi or Castillo - is the starter. I think Kikuchi can be effective, but I'd sure hate to be counting on it.
PeterG - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#417717) #
Current reports suggest that 8 teams have expressed an interest in Soto. The Jays are not one of them.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#417718) #
"Gore - back-end Top-100 prospect having a solid rookie year as a 23 yr old, though moved to the bullpen recently"

I guess that makes Bo Bichette a middling infielder struggling to repeat after 100 or so games at the MLB level, right?

or Moreno a middling prospect who has been exposed and manhandled by MLB pitching in his first go around with zero power.

MacKenzie Gore was and has been the top overall pitching prospect in baseball. There is no Blue Jays prospect other than Vlad who has come close to his pedigree as a prospect. Give your head a shake.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#417719) #
If Shapiro scolded AA for trading Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt for David Price, chances are good he won’t be offering the Nats multiple top prospects for Soto.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#417722) #
Or maybe shapiro learned a lesson.
Magpie - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#417723) #
There's also a significant difference between two months of David Price and two years and change of Juan Soto. But I expect the bidding will go higher than anything the Jays are willing to pay.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#417724) #
I'll take Shapiro over AA in his final few months of employment any time. Shapiro has shown he will trade bonafide prospects for a player. The only difference is he makes sure to resign the players he acquires rather than letting them walk.

Example - Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson for Berrios signed long term

Norris and Boyd for David Price (2 months + playoffs)

AA in Atlanta, even though he was given a gold cupboard of players to start with has done a good job. Much better imho than he did here in Toronto.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#417729) #
MacKenzie Gore was a top prospect 3 years back when he had a huge 2019 in A+. His high ranks coming into this year were #77 on fangraphs and #86 on MLB, while not cracking BA or BR's top-100 lists. He's gone through a similar devolution as a prospect as Nate Pearson has for us, though to be fair Gore is finally healthy now while Pearson may never be. Though then again they've already moved Gore to the 'pen so maybe they're worried he'll break again soon too.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#417730) #
"The only difference is he makes sure to resign the players he acquires rather than letting them walk."

for the record, it was Shapiro who let AA's additions leave unsigned.
85bluejay - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#417738) #
The Jays payed Troy Tulowitzki over $100m for about 5 WAR -David Price is about to finish his $215m/7 contract and will produce about 10 WAR - Edwin Encarnacion had teams having to add assets to move his contract.
Hodgie - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#417739) #
If the part of the Soto ask is Corbin you can rule out the Jays. Judging by his Twitter feed Corbin is another anti-vaxxing idiot.
Magpie - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#417740) #
it was Shapiro who let AA's additions leave unsigned.

Indeed. It was only David Price - Ben Revere really wasn't a big deal - and it sure did hurt in the moment. In the long run, maybe not so much.
greenfrog - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#417741) #
Extending acquired players can work out (Berrios, arguably) and not work out Grichuk (5/$52m). Whether it's a good idea depends on the player.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#417742) #
"The Jays payed Troy Tulowitzki over $100m for about 5 WAR"

Doesn't apply because they never would have acquired him if it didn't mean getting a hobbled Jose Reyes and his massive contract off the books.
Hodgie - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#417743) #
"If you take the Padres simulated offer of Morejon, Mears, Abrams and Gore it trumps anything the Jays can put together without Bichette"

Not sure how you get to that conclusion. Given Gore's control problems and move to the pen, forget Soto, I doubt that package would even net the Padres Bichette in a trade.

Polite Nate - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#417744) #
What are the limits on the restricted list? I'd gladly eat Corbin's contact - hey Patrick, don't want to get vaccinated? Great, you're restricted for home stands and on mop up duty for the road, and your contact just got cut in half.

A 23 (!!!) year old Soto is unprecedented to even be on the market and there's not much I wouldn't trade to get him. Especially if the team can eat money to reduce the prospect cost. But if there's no dead money to offset the deal, I probably would want to make it contingent on an extension.

There real problems for Toronto are that Moreno will be relatively undervalued by Washington because of Ruiz, and it really doesn't make sense for a team selling 2.5 years of Soto to take MLB talent back, which means Gurriel, Hernandez, Bichette etc. don't make sense unless a 3 way trade is wrangled.
92-93 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#417746) #
The only idiots are people who sit on the internet and call other people idiots for their personal medical decisions and political opinions. It really ought to stop around here.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#417749) #
Bichette has been average this year offensively. Mackenzie Gore pitched 100 innings in 2019 then pitched very little on 2020 and 2021. He pitched to a 2.50 ERA until a month ago when his ERA went up to 4. This coincided with a dip in his velocity and his mechanics falling apart. The Padres have moved him to the bullpen temporarily to manage his innings. False narratives abound around here.
uglyone - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#417751) #
Bo has accumulated 9-10 war halfway thru his age 24 season, with approximately 2 full regular seasons under his belt.
dalimon5 - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#417752) #
He's still average this year offensively. A WRC+ of 100 and OPS+ of 102 isn't going to cut it. If you're going to use WAR as a measurement it only proves my point. He's on pace for less than 2 WAR for 2022...if that ain't average I don't know what is.

In almost 1/3rd the at bats this year Cavan Biggio has basically the same WAR. Funny how that stat can basically be used any way you want it to...
greenfrog - Thursday, July 21 2022 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#417753) #
In a piece for The Athletic evaluating some hypothetical trade proposals, Law says he thinks the Reds would trade Castillo for Groshans and Zulueta.
John Northey - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#417754) #
If the cost is just those 2 I'd probably just pull the trigger and do it. Best starter available for 2 prospects, just 1 in the top 100 but dropping? You bet.
bpoz - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 07:54 AM EDT (#417755) #
Castillo for Groshans and Zulueta is a "you have to give up something to get something" trade. Castillo is verry similar to Berrios. Both potential #1 but #2/3 is more likely.

Years of control and Arb estimates are major factors for the Jays.

Sooner or later giving up 2 highly ranked prospects for a Berrios/Castillo acquisition will result in the loss of 2 good players in 1 trade. A Martin & SWR OR Groshans & Zulueta.

These type of trades have to be done IMO for a contender to keep contending.
greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#417756) #
There is going to be a lot of competition in the bidding for Castillo. Even a good offer by the Jays may well be rejected.
Mike Green - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 08:17 AM EDT (#417757) #
Groshans and Zulueta for Castillo makes sense. 
scottt - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#417758) #
It's still early. It's likely that someone will field a better offer for Castillo.
But if not, it's seems like a fair deal.

greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#417759) #
I expect the Castillo negotiations to go down to the wire, with Cincinnati using the pressure and competition to try to pry away a better prospect (for example, Tiedemann instead of Zulueta). Barring some problem with Castillo's health or performance before Aug. 2, I expect some team to make a pretty big offer for him.
Glevin - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#417760) #
"If Shapiro scolded AA for trading Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt for David Price, chances are good he won’t be offering the Nats multiple top prospects for Soto."

I don't see anything similar about the situations. Jays are in a much better situation now, Price was a rental, and Soto has 2.5 years left.
greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#417761) #
I’m not sure the Jays are in a “much better situation now.” The 2015 Jays had a good chance to win the division and make a deep postseason run. (Anthopoulos has said that his one regret is that he didn’t make one more prospect trade that year, flipping Tellez for Zobrist to further bolster the team.) And the team made the postseason in 2016 as well. In any event, AA didn’t have to give up a lot to acquire Price.
bpoz - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#417762) #
There are teams that are "desperate" to contend. I don't think the Jays are "desperate" but "concerned" is how I feel. 91 wins last year was a very good season but Shapiro mentioned "being disappointed". He also praised the team's performance.

2019 was definitely a rebuilding year. 2020 and 2021 were good seasons except for a lot of home games being played in Dunedin and Buffalo. 8 playoff teams in 2020 was unusual. Winning the 7th spot was "nice" nothing more. But 2020 was quite promising due to good seasons from many young players that were our potential core.

The 2021 season had very good SP pitching that I did not expect. I did not expect Manoah in the Majors in 2021. The good results from Ray & Matz also was unexpected for me. From Ryu I expected better but at least he was healthy.

The Opening day 2022 rotation has only Manoah and Gausman performing well. Berrios, Ryu and Kikuchi are quite bad. We are getting length from Manoah, Gausman and Berrios. Stripling too 5/6 IP per start since taking over for Ryu. Kikuchi had too many games with short IP that also put the game out of reach.

By Sept 1 we will know how the trade deadline additions and holdovers are doing and where we stand in the standings ie good, ok or bad.

Glevin - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#417763) #
"I’m not sure the Jays are in a “much better situation now.” The 2015 Jays had a good chance to win the division and make a deep postseason run."

Much better long-term situation. Jays have way way more young and prime talent than in 2015 when most of their players were in decline about to get there. Jays had 8 players above 2.5 BWAR. 7 of them were 29 or older. Compare that to now when Jays have 4 players above 2 in BWAR and 3 are 24 and under. Jays have a core built to win for a few years, they have lots of players in pre-arbitration. Jays then had a team built to win for a very brief window. Additionally, trading for Soto is NOT a rental. He's a 23 YO with 2.5 years left. there just aren't any similarities to 2015.
scottt - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#417764) #
What you mean is that the players AA gave for 2 months of Price did not turn into much.

However, the Jays fielded guys who were considerably worse than Boyd and Norris the following years.
Bolsinger, Brett Anderson, Cesar Valdez, Chris Rowler, etc...

As the core ages, the next waves of prospects will make the difference between being the Angels or a real contender.

Zulueta  could debut next year.

greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#417765) #
I think it's too early to tell whether the Jays will be a serious contender in a few years. Many people thought that the Jays were going to win 95-100+ games this year and be serious contenders to win the division. The fact is that, in terms of performance on the field, the Jays have to accomplish much under Shapiro and Atkins. The 2015 Jays had a +221 run differential (far better than any other team in baseball that year) and achieved a lot more (ALCS game seven) than any Jays team since then.
greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#417766) #
My point is that, in retrospect, Shapiro should have been thanking Anthopoulos for building such a terrific team (one of the very best Blue Jays rosters in history), not reprimanding him for trading away a few too many prospects.
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#417767) #
I think the biggest difference between Shapiro and AA is that the bosses trust Shaprio and did not trust AA. Call it what you want but AA couldn't attract prime time players. Shapiro got Rogers to open the chest and build a state of the art facility, then sign big name free agents (Ryu and Springer), then acquire and sign a big name player (Berrios). They built a top farm system in baseball with "waves of prospects" which the previous regime couldn't do. I think everyone and their mom loves Alex Anthopoulus because he was an honest guy who tried to do what was best for the team and he had a great background as a scout. I agree that the Jays are in a much better position now than at any point since the early 90s and Shapiro is a big part of that.

Now the Jays are said to be bidding to host the All Star game in 2027. I have received letters from the club about upcoming renovations at the Rogers center focused on redoing the entire outfield and upper deck first, then re-doing the entire infield the following season so that all seats face home plate. I love what this team is doing:

Great drafting and development
Spending money on the MLB team
Upgrading stadium

Right now they need to find a way to go over the hump. That means acquiring players and a manager who can do that. The rest of this season will tell us everything we need to know about this team as it approaches the breaking point.

Here are some interesting free agents the Jays have been rumoured to be "in on until the 11th hour":

*Trevor Bauer (in his statement video he had himself dressed in unit of 4 teams with TBJ being one of them)
*Gerrit Cole (confirmed by Mike Winner)
*Corey Seager
*Justin Verlander (confirmed by Justin Verlander)

I think this team will try to get someone like Soto or Ohtani because it aligns with the renovated stadium and All Star bid

greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#417768) #
That all sounds good (and I agree with a lot of it) but at some point you have to execute the right moves to put the team over the top — both in terms of acquiring the right players and in terms of coaching and development so that the team executes well on the field. In that respect the jury is still out, as the team has basically done nothing in the postseason under Shapiro and Atkins.
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#417769) #
"My point is that, in retrospect, Shapiro should have been thanking Anthopoulos for building such a terrific team (one of the very best Blue Jays rosters in history), not reprimanding him for trading away a few too many prospects."

greenfrog, if you're going to say that this front office hasn't accomplished much yet on the field then it is only fair to apply the same grading and criticism to the previous regime after the trades made by them out the door. The results speak for themselves as the team contended for 1 more year, narrowly sneaking in using a wild card 1 game playoff before falling off to 4th in division the following year and needing to rebuild.

Does AA make those 2015 trades if he had job security and if so why didn't he make any go-for-it trades in the previous 5 years?

AA was put in a much better position when he went to the Braves, inheriting a top farm system from a GM that did the opposite of what AA did on his way out. The Braves would be nowhere near where they are now if John Coppollela didn't have top young players ready to be called up by AA:

Dansby Swanson
Ozzie Albies
Austin Riley
Mike Soroka
Max Fried
Ronald Acuna

Compare that group with the Jays top prospects:

Anthony Alford
Rowdy Tellez
Richard Urena
Conner Greene
Vlad Guerrero Jr (doesn't debut for another 4+ years)

Yes, clearly Shapiro should have been thanking AA
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#417770) #
"That all sounds good (and I agree with a lot of it) but at some point you have to execute the right moves to put the team over the top — both in terms of acquiring the right players and in terms of coaching and development so that the team executes well on the field. In that respect the jury is still out, as the team has basically done nothing in the postseason under Shapiro and Atkins."

Absolutely fair statement and no arguments from me. Although I don't think AA makes those moves if he isn't fired... but we will never know.
hypobole - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#417771) #
The comparison shouldn't be Shapiro vs AA. It's Atkins vs AA and Shapiro vs Beeston.

Personal opinion only, AA was better than Atkins. The huge shift was Shapiro doing far, far more than Beeston.

dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#417772) #

I'd agree with that, but to me I just use the names interchangeably. Shapiro = Shapiro and his GM of choice. AA ... yes good point, a lot of what happened was put on AA but really Beeston was a large part of it.

BTW, Shapiro offered AA a job which obviously was declined. Beeston was retained by Shapiro and has a fancy title as an advisor, but it sounds like he can't call any shots.

Recently in an interview, Beeston went on the record again to say that he had money to spend but him and AA choose not to. I don't know, seems pretty odd to me.
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#417773) #
And last but not least... Atkins is probably the least liked since Ricciardi (at the end of his tenure). He isn't overtly likeable and everyone knows his boss is steering the ship.
92-93 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#417775) #
What has Shapiro done besides run AA out of town? Raise ticket prices to unaffordable levels without getting Rogers to spend more money? Are we really supposed to care about Sportsnet propoganda pieces about some high performance department?

greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#417776) #
The FO did construct a very high quality roster in 2021 with some excellent moves on short-term commitments (Ray, Semien, Matz, Cimber, Richards). Unfortunately the team was hurt by injuries (Springer, Kirk, the bullpen) and the manager may have cost the team a win or two, so we'll never find out how far they would have gone in the postseason.
uglyone - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#417777) #
The issue with the FO is what it's always been imo - they hate to go all-in, whether it's to rebuild or to contend. They're always hedging their bets.
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#417778) #
"What has Shapiro done besides run AA out of town? Raise ticket prices to unaffordable levels without getting Rogers to spend more money? Are we really supposed to care about Sportsnet propoganda pieces about some high performance department?"

Don't know if you're skipping posts but clear points have been made to answer your question of what Shapiro has done, if it isn't already obvious in the construction of the roster.

AA was demoted by Rogers, not Shapiro. He made his trades while Rogers opened a search for a replacement. Shapiro was never the rumoured target, it was always Duquette or Ken Williams being speculated as the replacement.

The money spent on the spring training facility and overall upgrades is something that actually happened and has helped in the development of players and recruitment of players. It has nothing to do with a high performance department. I don't understand what you're referring to when you say Sportsnet propaganda or how it relates to actual events leading to the state of the art facilities...

Sounds like you have a personal beef with Shapiro.

92-93 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#417779) #
The only thing that helps in the recruitment of players to Toronto is offering the most money.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#417780) #
I think the new facility and some recent prospect hits are helping the jays recruit and acquire talent also. Don’t take it from me!

Here’s Tucker Toman:
“We really wanted to go to the Blue Jays. I love the Blue Jays, and I stuck around for them. They’re my guys. “

Reporter: what attracted you to them?

“Player development is really huge for them, and was the number one thing I was looking for in a team. This was the team I was hoping to go to”
92-93 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#417781) #
That was an obvious reference to free agents, but it applies to the draft as well. Toman loves the Jays until they offer him slot.
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#417782) #
Jeff Blair saying Atkins and Schneider won't return if the Jays don't make a serious run in the playoffs.
bpoz - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#417783) #
I really hope Shapiro is not doing media stuff like saying "X and Y" will or will not be back.
SK in NJ - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#417784) #
The main negative in the Shapiro/Atkins run so far was not starting the rebuild sooner, which we've discussed a ton about whether they even had a choice with Rogers running things. Not being able to extract value for the departing veterans was sure to impact future teams (and it did) because you can't get everything by drafting and free agency. That's really the only significant blemish on their run so far, IMO.

I'd have no issues with replacing Atkins if it came to that, but I think he's done a fine job for the most part. The team was outright tanking in 2019 and by 2021 they were a better manager away from making the playoffs in a division where four teams won 90 games (ex. a manager who wouldn't let Chatwood lose a game to teach him a lesson). Heck, if they made the playoffs in 2021 they'd have been one of the favorites in the AL. This is with the aforementioned not getting enough value back for departing veterans in the start of the rebuild, so Atkins does deserve some credit there.
dalimon5 - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#417788) #
Here is the Rogers statement I was referring to earlier:

"As you may know, Rogers Centre will undergo significant renovations in upcoming seasons.

Several Premium Club spaces may be developed behind home plate underneath a brand new seating bowl to give Season Ticket Members a separate area where you can enjoy special features and amenities before, during, and after the game.

The use of these spaces may be included in future ticket prices in specific sections of the ballpark, and access may be tied to specific seats (as is the case with TD Clubhouse currently).

In addition to offering new Premium Club spaces, we will also be upgrading the overall Rogers Centre experience including new seat, sightlines, and experiences."
greenfrog - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#417789) #
Btw Ken Rosenthal says that Ohtani is highly unlikely to get traded.
Gerry - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#417791) #
Kikuchi starts tonight.. for Buffalo.
Mike Green - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#417793) #
Tapia leads off and plays CF tonight.  George Springer has the day off.  Presumably his elbow is barking because you wouldn't normally give a day off right after the All-Star break. 

On the other hand, leading him off suggests either that he is being showcased or that Schneider subscribes to the hot hand theory.  Tapia's BABIP by month:  .276, .333, .322, .423.  He has 1 walk and 5 strikeouts in July, but 3 extra-base hits.  He had an IsoP of .211 in June and .156 in July, but the batted ball data does not suggest that he is hitting the ball harder in July than previously. 

I'll say Springer is hurt and Tapia is being showcased. If Schneider really believes that Tapia is a decent leadoff hitter, that will reflect badly on him (for failing to understand that there is absolutely no reason to believe that Tapia will reach base at an acceptable rate for a leadoff hitter). 
Magpie - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#417795) #
leading [Tapia] off suggests either that he is being showcased or that Schneider subscribes to the hot hand theory.

There is actually a third possibility - that he has his chosen lineup, and any substitutes take the place in the order of the player he's replacing. Too soon to tell if that's how Schneider plans to roll.
Mike Green - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#417796) #
Schneider had Zimmer batting 9th against a lefty when subbing in for Springer just before the break. Naturally, I ruled out the third possibility!
Magpie - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#417797) #
OK, but pitchers always hit ninth.
Magpie - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#417798) #
Seriously, it's probably just a L-R thing. Against a RH, Tapia can just take his spot at the top of the order. Against a LH, it was Espinal I think.
Mike Green - Friday, July 22 2022 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#417799) #
It's true. Schneider has done some weird stuff with the batting order. Tapia against a RHP is a poor option, but whatever.

Sorry for the inadequate shaming job!
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