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It's the annual epic look at the MLB free agent class! While the three month long lockout froze transactions for the majority of last off-season, this Winter promises to spread out the madness a bit more evenly... like a smooth peanut butter on an English Muffin instead of random globs of peanuts dumped unevenly upon some hastily toasted bread. I've got to stop writing when I'm hungry.

After three straight winters of big free agent splurges (Ryu in 2019, Springer in 2020 and Gausman last year), it remains to be seen how much higher the Toronto Blue Jays will push their budget. The Teoscar Hernandez trade (occurring while I was halfway through writing this, gee thanks) now really brings the budget question into the spotlight. Huh.

Well... we can still have some fun can't we? Of course! Like last year, I'm going to look at each of the Top 50 Free Agents (this time using Fangraphs' ranking) and briefly envision the fit or realistic possibility of them joining the local ball squadron. 

Last year, the Jays signed the #5 (Gausman) and #34 (Kikuchi) free agents according to MLB Trade Rumours. Lets take a look at this year's list:

#1. Aaron Judge (OF-NYY) -- .311/.425/.686 - 62(!)HR 131 RBI (10.6 WAR) - 211(!) OPS+ (career 163)

After that season, it's a bit hard to imagine Aaron Judge not being a fit on any baseball team that has ever existed. Not hard to find a place in the lineup for this guy.

The chances of him joining the Blue Jays at this moment in time have to be pretty close to zero, unless complete wackiness ensues. The big fella is going to get paid, and whether that's in New York or California (Giants please!) or some unpredictable third big market destination is all that remains to be seen. If the Yankees do lose Judge... that team suddenly looks pretty fragile with a bunch of big contracts for old guys in serious decline, eh? C'mon Aaron, go home to Northern Cali. Forget Shake Shack, in your heart you want the In-N-Out double-double burger. Damn it, still hungry.

#2. Trea Turner (SS/OF-LAD) -- .298/.343/.466 (4.9 WAR) - 121 OPS+ (career 122)

This is one where if you like unconventional thinking (as I do), Turner could make a lot of sense... as the 2023 Blue Jays centerfielder. Hey, he's played a season there before! It was 2016 and only 45 games... and he was 23 years old then... but... ahhh??? I'm sure he'd at least look better than Tapia out there.

Turner is obviously a great player and one of baseball's best hitting middle infielders... but he's also entering his age 30 season and I certainly expect his great speed to leak some gas pretty soon (if it hasn't already... this was his first full season he didn't steal 30 bases). Bo Bichette isn't a good enough reason not to pursue a player of this level (and I don't think Bo would complain if he was sliding over to second for a star like this), but also we do have Bo... plus a bunch of useful options at second base anyhow. Middle infield isn't exactly an area of desperate need for Toronto. It'd be a pleasant but weird shock if they pulled off this one.

#3. Carlos Correa (SS-MIN) -- .291/.366/.467 (5.4 WAR) - 140 OPS+ (career 129)

As I wrote last year, Correa is just a phenomenal ballplayer, with the advantage of being two years younger than Trea Turner and a better defender. He maybe lacks the complete package of offensive skillset as Turner, but I think whichever team has to "settle" on Correa won't complain about that too much. One figures Correa will want more guaranteed money this time than the unusual pillow deal Minnesota gave him last winter... but also who knows? I imagine the Blue Jays will at least kick the tires on any possibilities here.

#4. Jacob deGrom (SP-NYM) -- 5-4, 3.08 (1.4 WAR)

Man, what a tough one. deGrom is going to turn 35 next June and over his injury plagued previous two seasons he's earned about 2.7 million dollars per start. Nice work if you can get it.

He's still an unhittable monster, of course, and if you can somehow get 20-25 starts out of him a year, or in any year (whether via prayer or some kind of complicated cloning technique) whichever team signs him will surely have something special to enjoy. The age and the health is really worrying, though. Especially the latter. The dude throws really hard and the obvious risk is the existential argument with his arm getting much worse. Why must I hurl this rock at unhuman speeds to avoid wooden swinging poles? Damn it, deGrom's arm! The sitcom just writes itself.

If he was interested in some kind of short term deal with opt-outs (seemingly in vogue these days) I think Toronto would have to be somebody interested in that market. My only condition would be that he has to grow his long hair back... but I'm semi-reasonable so it's not a total deal-breaker.

#5. Justin Verlander (SP-HOU) -- 18-4, 1.75 (5.9 WAR)

I wonder if signing Verlander might provide a familiar repeat of history for longtime Blue Jays fans: here's a longtime star pitcher who started his career in Detroit, having just been the winning pitcher in the clinching game of a World Series and now looking for potentially one final big contract in the coda of his career. He'd be joining a team that has made the playoffs a couple of times in recent years but has fallen heart-breakingly short at the next step thus far. The only difference is that Justin Verlander is a way better pitcher than Jack Morris ever was (I don't think anyone in these parts will argue Verlander isn't a HoFer, for instance).

Verlander is also going to be 40 before opening day (Morris turned 37 during in his first Jays season) and isn't that far removed from the most significant injury of his long workhorse career. There are a lot of innings on that arm, and while his pure stuff seems as sharp as ever... there has to be a point sadly coming soon when he can't dial it up to 98mph anymore, surely?

That is an absolute truth, but this is also Justin freaking Verlander. You never know... that moment he can't at least touch high 90s could be seven years in the future. That doesn't even matter all that much because Verlander is also a pitcher's pitcher, as wily and adaptive as they come. Personally I'd be way more willing to wager on him than deGrom, despite the absurd upside the latter proposes... which is wild to say in how I'm describing a now reigning and worthy Cy Young winner in any inferior sense.

Most importantly, for me, Verlander is just plain fun to watch... with that silk smooth high leg kick and last second skip away from the mound he does on his follow-through. With their great pitching depth, it isn't like Houston is in a desperate hurry to retain him at the higher price he's seeking either. I'd be very into Blue Jay Verlander... maybe he can finally throw a no-hitter for the team even. Plus, signing him gives the necessary "We've For Real" PR stuff and blah blah make it happen. 

#6. Xander Bogaerts (SS-BOS) -- .307/.377/.456 (5.8 WAR) - 131 OPS+ (career 117)

Few things in the world of baseball would please me more than the Blue Jays stealing the Red Sox's best player from right under their nose. Let me think about it a bit longer.... Wuhahaha! Ohhh yeah, that's the good stuff.

Bogaerts is a marvelous hitter, although looking at his recent production he seems to be settling into more of a doubles guy than somebody who is a serious threat to punish one over the fence. Does he just hit a bunch of high line drives off the Green Monster that could be homers in other parks? Anyhow, adding Bogaerts to the Blue Jays (while having the advantage of weakening a rival) would be similar to adding Trea Turner: doubling down on a team strength and becoming better by virtue of additional overall talent... it just isn't really what you need.

#7. Carlos Rodon (SP-SF) -- 14-8, 2.88 (5.4 WAR)

Could the Blue Jays steal an ace-level starter from the Giants for the second year in a row? In 2022 Rodon convincingly shook off those health concerns that blanketed him beforehand, setting a career high in innings (178) and strikeouts (226) while maintaining a reduction in walk frequency that began in his final White Sox season. He's going to get a big contract, and like any big contract for a pitcher with an overall iffy track record... it's going to be a high stakes affair.

I'm not sure if the Blue Jays have the cash for it: they already have multiple long term deals for pitchers on the books, and now considering the obvious outfield need... I lean to just trying to bring Stripling back for way cheaper and shorter term anyway. I've never been much of a Rodon fan anyhow, but I was also clearly very wrong about Kevin Gausman... so maybe don't listen to me. Now watch Rodon morph into late 90s Randy Johnson.

#8. Dansby Swanson (SS-ATL) -- .277/.329/.447 (5.7 WAR) - 115 OPS+ (career 95)

With any of the previous position players, my biggest arguments against them were really just how imperfectly they'd fit this current Blue Jays roster (except Aaron Judge. He'd fit any roster). Still, if the team somehow added any of those three star shortstops (Turner, Correa or Bogaerts) I'd be overjoyed. Bizarre fit be damned. Swanson is the first player on the list I'm truly a hard "no" on: I just don't think he's that good.

Okay okay, clearly he's a good player: a consistent league average-ish RH hitter who plays a pretty good shortstop. At age 28, maybe there's even a bit more to unlock with the bat... but is that really what Toronto needs at this point in time? Especially at what will certainly be a nine figure contract? Or that they already have a poor man's version of that player in Santiago Espinal? I'm not in love with what Swanson brings and definitely not in love with what he'd be able to bring to this team at the huge price he's going to get. 

#9. Brandon Nimmo (CF-NYM) -- .274/.367/.433 (5.1 WAR) - 130 OPS+ (career 130)

On paper, Nimmo seems the precise kind of position player bat the Blue Jays need (and what many Jays fans have been openly pining for since Vlad Sr. was in the system it feels). A LH hitting center-fielder (who the metrics suggest is good enough out there to push Springer more permanently to a corner) with exceptional on-base skills? Give him whatever he wants and bat him second, right? Right?

It isn't quite that easy, although Nimmo's abilities sure look ideal (and I wrote that before the Teoscar trade). The health record is a major concern: he's only played over 100 games twice (2018 and 2022) and while his bat has been impressively consistent in spite of missing months at a time in his injury years (2019 and 2021, a neck and hand injury respectively) 2023 will be his age 30 season and we've seen another very good centerfielder in these northern parts struggle with injuries once crossing that threshold.

You could definitely talk me into Nimmo at the right cost, but on a mega-huge deal I'd be wary both of the injuries and how his production will age if the mild home run power completely dries up. Although, Citi Field isn't a great place to hit and Nimmo's been a notably better hitter on the road in his career (.850 OPS versus .802 at home) with more long flies as well. Yeah, it's pretty intriguing all right.

Before the Teo trade I was wary of a Nimmo deal north of 100 million. Well, I suppose I am still wary of that, but the potential positives are awfully seductive. 

#10. Willson Contreras (C-CHC) -- .243/.349/.466 (3.9 WAR)

Aren't we the team with so many good catchers we're in a hurry to trade one of them away? It's more likely we sign Judge than this dude.

#11. Clayton Kershaw (SP-LAD) -- 12-3, 2.28 (3.8 WAR)

Only slightly more of a possibility than signing Contreras. Unlike that, this would be incredibly damn cool.

#12. Jose Abreu (1B/DH-CWS) -- .304/.378/.446 (4.2 WAR) - 133 OPS+ (134 career)

The slugging numbers have dipped somewhat as Abreu rolls through his mid-30s, but the man remains an absolute beast of a hitter regardless. If the catcher shuffle dance ends with the Jays trading Kirk, it's conceivable Abreu becomes somewhat of a fit as the full-time DH and mentor to some of the younger hitters. It'd be interesting... Abreu would look pretty darn good in that lineup, but it just seems so unlikely he leaves south Chicago. He's reached that particular level of "guys who'd look super weird in a different uniform".  

#13. Anthony Rizzo (1B-NYY) -- .224/.338/.480 (2.3 WAR) - 131 OPS+ (127 career)

*this was written before Rizzo re-signed with the Yankees for two years

I'm on the record as being a Rizzo fan (and lamenting his recent Yankee-ness) but aside from being a LH willing to take a free pass? This doesn't fit on the Blue Jays. One of Rizzo's best attributes (1B defense) isn't really helpful here with the 1B Gold Glove winner blocking him at his only position, and he doesn't have the pure bat of a Jose Abreu to just be a DH. Those 32 homers are yet another in a long line of New Yankee Stadium mirages (19 of them were there) and while I'm quite high on Rizzo remaining a good and productive hitter for a while longer, he'll turn 34 next August. One of these days though.... one of these days we'll somehow get one of my beloved NL first basemen in Blue Jay blue... (*cough* freeJoeyVotto *cough*).

#14. Chris Bassitt (SP-NYM) -- 15-9, 3.42 (3.2 WAR)

As a mid-rotation guy, Bassitt is interesting. He's been a good pitcher since 2019 and seems reliably able to provide 150 terrific innings per season. The problem? He'll be 34, doesn't exactly have a great fastball and has spent his entire starting career in exceptional pitcher's parks (Oakland and Citi Field). Not to say it couldn't work in Toronto, but if we're looking at this type of pitcher I'd be more interested in just bringing Stripling back.

#15. Nathan Eovaldi (SP-BOS) -- 6-3, 3.87 (1.5 WAR)

Between Eovaldi and Bassitt, I'm more interested in Eovaldi. He doesn't quite have Bassitt's year-to-year consistency but is a year younger, has pitched a lot in the AL East bandboxes and gives you more swing and miss (not to mention Eovaldi just doesn't walk anybody ever). Probably a bigger risk than Bassitt when you consider Eovaldi's injury history, but paying big money for mid-rotation starters is usually a financial dice roll regardless. That's the game. Also, signing Eovaldi makes the Red Sox worse and I'm all on board for that.

#16. Tyler Anderson (SP-LAD) -- 15-5, 2.57 (4.3 WAR)

*This was written before Anderson signed a three year deal with the Angels. Poor guy

A soft throwing lefty journeyman who goes to the Dodgers and suddenly has a career year? Colour me unconvinced. Or rather, colour me unconvinced this is who he is now and will be for the 2023 Blue Jays were they to pony up the cash to sign him. His home run rate in 2022 as a Dodger was 0.7/9 innings, compared to 2021 and the 1.4 he put up in 103.1 innings as a Pirate or the 11 he surrendered in 63.2 innings as a Mariner. Pass.

#17. Andrew Benintendi (OF-KC/NYY) -- .304/.373/.399 (3.2 WAR) - 120 OPS+ (career 109)

I'm completely unsure what to think of Benintendi at this point. Coming up with the Red Sox, I thought he was going to be a star: a high average, all-fields hitting LH bat with insane defense in LF? Instead, Boston pulled the plug after a meh 2019 and shortened 2020 season, shipping him off to Kansas City purgatory. In a situation far from any spotlights he recovered his previous form enough for the Yankees to pick him up last trade deadline to help solve their outfield problems. Benintendi played decently there until suffering a hamate bone injury in early September which winded up ending his season.

He'd be an interesting fit as a Blue Jay. Still a solid defensive left-fielder, Benintendi would also bring particular skills this lineup lacks in abundance (left-handed hitting, above average plate discipline) and he's going into just his age 28 season. Still young enough where there might still be some development as he enters his prime years. To be honest as a fit I like him almost as much as Nimmo, to whom he is two years younger, will command a much smaller contract and has a much cleaner health record. The only drawback being that Benintendi isn't really a centerfielder (hasn't appeared there since 2019) and while his on base skills are terrific they're not at the elite level of Nimmo's. Can Benintendi play right, he asks? (the dewy teardrops still trickling down his face for Teo). The answer is probably not: Benintendi has never played there professionally.

Regardless, you could definitely talk me into this one. I'd prefer Nimmo sure (he is objectively the better player) but Benintendi could help this team in 2023 quite a bit also. Plus, I would love to see all of our spell-checkers groan in contempt every time we have to type "Benintendi". I know mine is. The constant misspellings themselves will be worth it.

#18. Kodi Senga (SP-NPB)

Hard to judge or gauge or assess or surmise or pontificate upon, seeing as I do not follow any Japanese baseball leagues (and even if I did, estimating how that translates to MLB seems a haphazard errand). By the accounts I've read it sounds like he has good stuff, so as an actual international big signing gamble (something this organization rarely does) I'd be down for it. Sometimes the unknown can be richly rewarding.

#19. Taylor Rogers (RP-SD/MIL) -- 4-8, 4.76, 31 SV (-0.7 WAR)

Rogers was part of that surprising Brewers-Padres move where the two teams swapped closers, with Josh Hader going the other way to San Diego. It didn't really seem to work out for either team, and now Rogers is hitting the market off a down year. He'll be 32, and while Toronto could definitely make use of any LH reliever (if only to help poor Tim Mayza) a lot of guaranteed cash for Rogers doesn't ease any of my concerns. He's got the swing and miss, sure, but he also seems awfully hittable for a late inning guy. At his absolute best he's a lefty Cimber. Unless it's a buy low bargain, no thanks.

#20. Martin Perez (SP-TEX) -- 12-8, 2.89 (5.0 WAR)

*Written before Perez accepted the qualifying offer from Texas

If you're going to have a career year, a contract year is mighty good timing. Before 2022, Perez fit the tailored suit of "mediocre MLB starting pitcher" his entire decade-long career. A left-hander who had always been exceedingly hittable (ask the 2015 Blue Jays in the ALDS), in 2022 Perez made an adjustment with his fastball usage and his OPS against dropped over 100 points from his career mark (.765) to .646. I tend to lean on the side of caution when stuff like this suddenly happens for a pitcher who hadn't previously ever really been any good... but he's also left-handed and the typical rules of the universe often do not apply to those types of fellows. It's definitely not a flashy choice regardless, and I can already hear the groanings of "cheapness" if the Blue Jays go this route. I personally wouldn't and don't think they will either.

#21. Jameson Taillon (SP-NYY) -- 14-5, 3.91 (1.3 WAR)

This one appeals to me. While injuries (which will be a nibbling concern for whoever signs him) have slowed him from the potential that made him a former #2 overall pick, Taillon when healthy has been a very good MLB pitcher. He doesn't walk anybody, misses plenty of bats and has been impressively consistent in his injury-free seasons. Throw in a Canadian connection (always good for the PR department) with the delight of stealing a good player from the Yankees... I think you've got a real winner here.

It's an interesting question down at this tier of the starting pitchers: is the team better off adding somebody like Taillon while bringing back Stripling, which would set your five man rotation in solid stone... or is it better aiming for the big splash (deGrom or Verlander) then hoping you can salvage something from Kikuchi or Mitch White? (or praying Tiedemann is ready by June... which seems a Hail Mary among prayers).

This assumes they even go any of these routes at all, of course. Regardless, in a vacuum I really like Taillon as a potential fit. Sign him up.

#22. Taijuan Walker (SP-NYM) 12-5, 3.49 (2.6 WAR)

Certainly a familiar name to Blue Jays fans, and who wouldn't want to see Walker dust off his classic "00" jersey and wear it once here again? Fella never even got to pitch a home game in Toronto.

Injury concerns surrounded Walker on the free agent market after his six start cameo for the Blue Jays in 2020, as before that season he'd made a total of four starts in two years. Those apprehensions have surely faded somewhat as Walker's time in Queens was remarkably consistent (29 starts in both seasons), performing very well both years aside from a second half hiccup in 2021. There's no question that when healthy, he's a good major league starter with a positive familiarity with the organization. Should the Blue Jays add a second tier starter it wouldn't surprise me at all if Walker is the direction they go, and it would be a solid thumbs up from me.

#23. J.D. Martinez (DH-BOS) .274/.341/.448 (1.1 WAR) - 117 OPS+ (career 132)

There's no real spot for him on this particular roster, Martinez will be 36 later in the 2023 season, was a terrible outfielder even six years ago (nevermind now) and his once godlike offensive skills seem to be slipping. Plus, I just don't like him. Strong pass.   

#24. Justin Turner (3B-LAD) .278/.350/.438 (2.0 WAR) - 116 OPS+ (career 126)

Like J.D. Martinez with the diminishing bat, except even older. At least Turner can still play a defensive position somewhat decently though. The Blue Jays getting Turner made a lot more sense going into 2021, but with Matt Chapman here now this is about as awkward a fit as could be. Ain't happening.

#25. Jean Segura (2B-PHI) .277/.336/.387 (1.8 WAR) - 104 OPS+ (career 100)

An unusual player whose most dynamic offensive days seem well behind him, but he's settled into this extreme contact profile that has kept him a roughly league average bat the past few seasons. His "put everything in play" approach might be novel in Toronto's "all or nothing" lineup, but unless the Blue Jays aren't at all content for whatever reason with the Espinal-Merrifield-Biggio trio they've currently got set at second base, I don't see a Segura addition in the cards here. All three of those players may very well be better than Segura on their own anyhow.

#26. Jose Quintana (SP-PIT/StL) 6-7, 2.93 (3.4 WAR)

It looked like the end of the road was in sight for Quintana going into 2022. Now his steady strong work for the Cardinals down the stretch seems likely to guarantee him a multi-year deal. Not sure I'd want to be the one banking on that continuing. Actually, I'm quite sure I wouldn't want to be. Still, good on him and hopefully he lands somewhere more forgiving of his pitching style.

#27. Noah Syndergaard (SP-LAA/PHI) 10-10, 3.94 (1.8 WAR)

Seems very unlikely Thor will get the same one year 20+ million "prove it" contract he got from the Angels last winter. After two years of wandering Tommy John injury wilderness, Syndergaard was able to pitch 134.2 solid innings (his highest total since 2019) as a heavy strike thrower completely allergic to issuing walks. The big dip in strikeout rate (6.3 compared to 9.7 in his Mets career) is very concerning and indicative of his once mighty fastball dropping back into more of a low-mid 90s offering... while his work with the Phillies suggests he was rather fortunate to get the results he did while there.

If this is who he is now that's a very useful MLB starter at the back end of a rotation, with some upside perhaps. I'd kick the tires on that.

#28. Sean Manaea (SP-SD) 8-9, 4.96 (-0.9 WAR)

Once a hot trade chip for the perpetual fire sale that is the Oakland A's, Manaea now hits the free agent market as a buy low option for teams hoping to unlock the form he showed in Oakland. His home/road splits are deeply concerning (considering the friendly pitcher's parks he has enjoyed his entire career) and RH batters simply pulverized him in 2022 (25 HRs against). Normally I'd be all for this type of high-risk high-reward gamble with a talented LH starter, but we've already got one of those here on the books and that didn't go so well last year, did it? Heck, Manaea's first half of 2022 was pretty decent also (sound familiar?).

The upside is tantalizing, but let's allow someone else to take this particular chance.

#29. Corey Kluber (SP-TB) 10-10, 4.34 (0.7 WAR)

After an uncharacteristic hiccup in command while with the Yankees, In Tampa Bay Kluber rediscovered his trademark strikezone control, walking only 21 in 164 innings. While the days of Cy Kluber have long passed, at 37 he remains an effective MLB starter... the type of guy who could slot in and provide good innings for a team with a few established starters already at the top of a rotation. Probably agreeable towards a one year deal with incentives/options as well. 'Hmmmm!' he says aloud. Hmmmm indeed.  

#30. Michael Conforto (OF) - career OPS+ 124

A true wildcard of the market. From 2017-20 Conforto was an exceptional hitter for the Mets, and even in his "down" year of 2021 he still posted a 100 OPS+ thanks to his strong OBP skills. However, he was never a great outfielder to begin with and after sitting out 2022 because of a shoulder issue... I can't imagine that time away from the action will have helped sharpen his abilities out there. While in theory he could play any of the three outfield slots, I imagine it would be ideal to keep him in right-field where he's most familiar.

It's an interesting one. The upside with the bat is mighty tempting (he brings a lot of what the Blue Jays surely need) and being a free agent with so many unknowns swirling around him, there may possibly be a short-term bargain to be had. It's even an interesting question which of these Mets outfielders one would rather take a shot on: Conforto or Nimmo? One gives you more power upside and less financial commitment one thinks, the other a more well-rounded player profile plus the elite plate discipline. Both have serious uncertainties about them as well. Not gonna lie, I'm hoping we score at least one of these guys... as for which one I'm honestly undecided.

#31. Trey Mancini (1B-BAL/HOU) .239/.319/.391 (1.4 WAR) - 101 OPS+ (career 113)

Postseason struggles aside, Mancini's recovery and return from colon cancer is truly one of MLB's better stories of the past few years. There isn't a fit for him on the 2023 Blue Jays, but I imagine at worst somebody will offer him an almost full-time DH/1B gig as a veteran presence and influence for their youngsters.

#32. Johnny Cueto (SP-CWS) 8-10, 3.35 (3.5 WAR)

Not a whole lot went right for the 2022 White Sox, but the return of The Shimmy was one of the more positive storylines on the south side of Chicago.

After signing his big six year free agent deal with San Francisco in 2016, to say Johnny Cueto experienced some ups and downs would insult a roller coaster. In his first year he pitched great (18-5, 2.79), making his second all-star team and finishing 6th in NL Cy Young voting. A good beginning in the deal for the now 30 year old, although the wild card winning Giants themselves could not extend their bizarre streak of winning titles in even numbered years (2010, 12 and 14). 2017 was a much different story, as Cueto (8-8, 4.52) never seemed able to get on track and then missed a couple of months down the stretch due to blisters and later a forearm strain... not that it mattered since the Giants cratered to 98 losses.

The 2018 season came around and right away he looked like the Cueto of old: he only allowed one run in his first four starts and just 13 hits in 26 innings. After beating the Dodgers on April 28th, he was 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA. He wouldn't pitch again for the Giants until July... and on his return pitched rather poorly (0-2, 6.86 and an 1.050 OPS against) until finally having the plug pulled. Cueto's elbow had started barking at him, and despite initial hopes of evasion the Tommy John knife was calling. He wouldn't make it back onto a major league mound until September 10th (good day) 2018, where he beat the Pirates with five shutout innings.

Cueto managed to remain healthy and make all of his starts in the shortened 2020 season... problem was he wasn't very good (2-3, 5.40 with a heightened walk rate, unusual for the typically stingy right-hander). He corrected this glitch in 2021 but despite a quietly decent season (7-7, 4.08) with the Giants, the contract was up and Cueto had to settle for a minor league invite to spring training with the White Sox. On May 16th, Chicago called him up for a start in Kansas City...

...and he pitched just brilliantly that night and onward, of course. His only bad run was September (which was just a bad time for the White Sox in general... nobody likes an eight game losing streak when you're in a playoff race). Aside from that, Cueto was consistently stellar in every other month he appeared. 37 in February, one figures this time around Cueto will get a deal with an actual MLB guarantee, although the obvious diminishing strikeout stuff (just 102 in 158.1 innings) suggests the amount won't break anyone's bank.

At this point you might be asking: "why the heck is this guy going on about Johnny Cueto so long?". Well, (shocker) I'd love to see Cueto as a Blue Jay... he is just so marvelously funky and delightful to watch. Plus, the dude can still pitch it seems. He could help! Cueto throws what seems like 120 different pitches and speeds, with that constantly shapeshifting delivery to throw the hitter off even more. Maybe his raw stuff isn't lethal or devastating anymore, the 97mph fastball long gone... but so much of pitching is disrupting timing and few are better or more unique at it than Cueto. Exhibit A: he allowed a lower than league average HR/9 rate despite pitching his home games in dinger friendly New Comiskey Park (I don't give two hoots what it's actually called), and he allowed half as many home runs on the road in a similar amount of innings. Dude knows what he's doing, always has. Sign me up.

#33. Andrew Heaney (SP-LAD) 4-4, 3.10 (0.7 WAR)

110 strikeouts in 72.2 innings certainly grabs the eye, which has to be one of the more painful sounding idioms. With Heaney, I see a lot of Robbie Ray parallel: both lefties with elite strikeout stuff and problems with the long ball. Heaney has been better at limiting free passes, Ray better at preventing hits and actually staying on a mound (pretty important point for Ray I'd say). They're also about the same age (Heaney is five months older), which surprised me. I guess since Heaney has been something of a project for a while, I forgot he actually, you know, ages.

The tasty upside is definitely the appeal here, but getting even 100 innings out of him seems hard to guarantee. It's a signing I'd be okay with, within reason I suppose. Definitely the type of high-risk move that at multiple years can look reeeeeal bad if it goes sideways... and that home run rate really concerns me.

#34. Ross Stripling (SP-TOR) 10-4, 3.01 (2.7 WAR)

We know this guy pretty well, and I'm extremely in favour of bringing him back. He doesn't possess anything resembling the tantalizing stuff of pitchers higher on this list, but Stripling just knows what he's doing out there. A true thinking man's pitcher and player. Aside from a big splash like deGrom, Verlander, Rodon... or the sheer fun of Cueto... I like Strip quite a bit better than anybody else on the list. Eovaldi would be close. Bring him back!

#35. Michael Brantley (DH-HOU) .288/.370/.416 (1.3 WAR) - 125 OPS+ (career 117)

Betting on a 36 year old coming off a major season ending injury should surely fill folks with more caution than it seems to. He really isn't an outfielder anymore either, and his addition to the Blue Jays will certainly require some other pieces moving out (as it would've when he almost joined the team in 2020). EDIT: that prediction sadly aged well.

Still... Brantley is a terrific gap hitter with great contact and discipline skills, the exact type of hitter a contender can make plenty use of. While a LH hitter with better versatility (and health record) would be ideal, there's no denying the offensive ability he brings would be a seamless fit in Toronto. Instead of an Astros steal, maybe this time they seal the deal for real thanks to help from Bradley Beal over a meal dressed in teal. *bows* Thank you, thank you... 

#36. Jurickson Profar (LF-SD) .243/.331/.391 (3.1 WAR) - 111 OPS+ (career 94)

Profar is one of those guys who is only versatile in theory: he has significant experience all over the infield and outfield, but isn't especially adept at any one of those positions. It is fairly telling that the Padres finally just planted him in left-field for the entire season, which did seem to agree with his bat at least. He also has an odd habit of alternating good years with meh ones, and even so the ceiling is a low average hitter with moderate on base skills and okay home run power. If left-field is truly his permanent home... aside from being a LH hitter (he actually hits both ways and his splits are pretty even), I think Toronto has to aim significantly higher. In his good years Profar is useful but not a lineup changer.  

#37. Brandon Drury (IF-CIN/SD) .263/.320/.492 (2.6 WAR) - 122 OPS+ (career 93)

No doubt he unlocked something in his swing since mercifully leaving us in Toronto. His numbers as a Padre were merely okay (compared to his great run as a Red) but good enough that some team will guarantee him a job at some position. Even if he really is now the guy he was in Cincinnati... I'm still scarred from watching all those ABs of him as a Jay helplessly flailing away at pitches like an uncoordinated kitten. No thanks.

#38. Josh Bell (1B-SD) .266/.362/.422 (3.0 WAR) - 128 OPS+ (career 120)

Verrrrry interesting. Aside from 2020 (which has to be considered an excusable outlier for many players) Bell has been a consistently terrific middle of the order bat. He brings strong plate discipline, doesn't strikeout excessively and is a switch hitter (career-wise a bit better from the LH side, .827 OPS versus .767, though in 2022 that was reversed). Sounds like the perfect bat to add to this RH Blue Jays lineup, right?

Well... he can only play first base (he's played a handful of games in the OF sure, but he's listed at 6'4 261... you really wanna see that?). Adding Bell likely means you're bringing him in to mostly DH, which likely requires moving other guys out (again written before the Teo trade) and hoping Springer can last a full season in the outfield (good luck). His rather bad performance in limited time as a Padre certainly gives one some pause as well. Damn... I really love that bat at its best though. If right, he'd surely mash in the AL East. Maybe just sign him up damn it, ask questions later.  
#39. Michael Wacha (SP-BOS) 11-2, 3.32 (3.3 WAR)

The body of work when it comes to Wacha is far from sexy: after starting his career as the Next Great Cardinals Pitcher(TM)... Wacha wandered through mediocrity and badness (even the Rays couldn't figure him out. The Rays!) until somehow figuring it out with the 2022 Red Sox. The trick seemed to be becoming just slightly harder to hit, which could've been entirely BABip luck as none of his other stats (HR/9, walks or strikeouts) changed all that much. Has he figured something out to finally become a consistently good MLB starter at age 31? That's the gamble a team will take. Not here though I hope, please. I wasn't impressed from what I saw.

#40. Kevin Kiermaier (CF-TB) .228/.281/.369 (1.1 WAR) - 89 OPS+ (career 98)

I think at this point after nearly a decade of him torturing us, bringing in Kiermaier would have a poetry to it. You're certainly not signing him for his bat though... he's never been adept at getting on base (a shame considering what an insane and wonderful baserunner he is) and he hasn't hit for any notable power in half a decade. At 33, you'd be bringing him in as a spare part: hoping his elite CF defense is still intact and maybe shielding him against tougher LH pitchers. It'd be interesting... if healthy (another big question with Kiermaier) he provides a lot of stuff this team sorely lacks. I can see the logic of giving it a shot.

#41. Chad Green (RP-NYY)

He's recovering from Tommy John surgery, which considering the injury happened early in the 2022 season, gives him a very outside chance of returning to help a team down the stretch run of 2023. Certainly an excellent reliever with a power fastball and is no stranger to multiple inning outings (at least before the injury), he'd be exactly what the Jays pen could use if he wasn't hurt (whereas the Blue Jays need help and now). Someone will bet on him with a two year incentive filled deal, no doubt.

#42. Mike Clevinger (SP-SD) 7-7, 4.33 (0.6 WAR)

San Diego's trade for Clevinger back in 2020 didn't turn out too well for the Friars. When able to pitch (133.1 innings in two and a half years) Clevinger was somewhat close to his excellence with Cleveland, just with substantially fewer strikeouts... meanwhile the Guardians enjoy the very affordable employment of Josh Naylor, Cal Quantrill, Gabriel Arias, Owen Miller and Austin Hedges. Yikes.

Clevinger will be 32 next season and seems a good bet to be a useful arm in a big league rotation... assuming his strikeout rate doesn't continue plummeting and he can actually stay on a mound. Both are significant questions... 2022 was his first real season pitching significant innings since 2019, so it's possible some of the "stuff" concerns were part of shaking off that rust... for his sake that is hopefully the case. Otherwise... uh-oh. Worth a flyer, perhaps? Maybe you can get 120 useful innings from him, but relying on him to fully return to his previous levels would be quite unwise.

#43. Matt Carpenter (OF/1B-NYY) .305/.412/.727 (2.4 WAR) - 217(!) OPS+ (career 124)

I don't care if it's all because he got hot for six weeks and was completely a Yankee Stadium mirage... make it happen Toronto. He was the best hitter* on the Yankees!

*obviously not true

Vintage Carpenter would actually be the perfect LH compliment to the big RH Blue Jay sluggers. That version of Carpenter hasn't existed since 2018 (mirages aside) and even in his prime he was a bad defender everywhere... goddamnit I still don't care. Sign him! What a bench bat/platoon OF that could be. This has been Eephus' Annual Dose of Extreme Irrationality, non Votto category of course.

#44. Kenley Jansen (RP-ATL) 5-2, 3.38, 41 SV (0.9 WAR)

Jansen appears to be aging gracefully into the sunset of his fine career. He still strikes out plenty of batters, isn't easy to hit and isn't exceedingly generous with the free pass (although strangely that has been a notable part of his game that has worsened into his mid 30s). Looks like an excellent choice for set-up man and occasional closer for Jordan Romano to me (his presence would be great so to not work Romano into the ground for instance), but I imagine Jansen probably still wants to save games for somebody and he's still good enough that the opportunity will present itself somewhere else. Besides, he doesn't throw 100 anymore and that's what we really need according to everybody apparently.

#45. Omar Narvaez (C-MIL) .206/.292/.305 (0.2 WAR) - 71 OPS+ (career 100)

He's a good hitting (for a) catcher coming off a big down year. We have plenty of those, except none of them are coming off down years.

#46. Christian Vazquez (C-BOS/HOU) .274/.315/.399 (2.0 WAR) - 99 OPS+ (career 85)

Watching the World Series I was a bit surprised Houston kept playing the feather-light hitting Martin Maldonado over Vazquez, who isn't exactly a defensive slouch either. Of course, the Astros just won the World Series while the very idea of catching a single inning in the TMBL makes my shoulder ache in protest.  

Vazquez is a quality everyday catcher and blah blah blah we all know the Blue Jays don't need that at the moment.

#47. Mitch Haniger (RF-SEA) .246/.308/.429 (1.3 WAR) - 114 OPS+ (career 123)

Anybody who can launch 39 home runs out of that park in Seattle (as Haniger did in 2021) is certainly worthy of attention. An ankle injury robbed Haniger of half the 2022 season and staying on the field has been his biggest obstacle since his breakout 2018 season. He's a very good hitter when he can get out there, but the profile (RH with plenty of power, loves to swing, so-so defensively in the OF corners) sounds awfully darn familiar. Hard to see it happening beyond a bunch of other moving pieces and Haniger's market completely craters...

...and then we traded Teo to those same stupid Mariners, so maybe we steal Haniger from them? At least get something out of that damn trad--- I mean Eric Swanson is going to be the new Kirby Yates, of course! In seriousness, that splitter does look darn nasty I gotta say...

#48. Joc Pederson (LF-SF) .274/.353/.521 (1.3 WAR) - 144 OPS+ (career 116)

*written before Pederson accepted the Giants qualifying offer

Not a model of consistency by any measure. Well, I suppose he consistently bats left-handed, which will appeal to fans in these parts.

I like Pederson and can forsee a situation where he fills the Corey Dickerson role from 2021 (ideally without having to start him ever in CF). He can be a great hitter (especially if you hide him from lefties) as he was for the Giants, and is patient enough to get on base at a respectable rate. He isn't a good outfielder anymore, if he ever was, and while San Francisco isn't an easy place to roam Pederson never had top-notch speed to begin with. I figure you can stick him in the SkyDome left-field the majority of the time and he'd be okay-ish... looking more comfortable than Tapia at the very least (few don't... oh Tapia).

As for Pederson's bat? Who knows. Dude has had all-star level seasons with the stick, and yet the one time he played in a great hitter's ballpark (Wrigley) he was underwhelming. I'd approve of the gamble, but if he isn't hitting it over the fence there's not a lot else he gives you.

#49. Zach Eflin (P-PHI) 3-5, 4.04 (0.9 WAR)

Eflin is your prototypical "very average" MLB starter when healthy. Prone to giving up hits but walking almost nobody, and unfortunately has struggled in recent years to stay out there consistently. Hmmmm...

Reminds me a bit of Collin McHugh, who actually was a very good and healthy starter for a few years until injuries shifted him over to the bullpen full-time, where he's been just absurdly excellent ever since. McHugh was 31 when this happened and while Eflin turns 29 close to Opening Day 2023... well I think you see what I'm thinking here. It'd probably be a tough sell: you'd have to convince Eflin this is best for his career, and at this point and age it honestly might not be yet. It's still an interesting idea.

Looking at him as a starter for the 2023 Blue Jays... if you can keep him out there I can see a path where he's reasonably effective. He misses enough bats and the dude really doesn't walk anybody. But, Eflin has been so hittable I wonder if those positives would matter in the DOOM like brutality of the AL East. I like my first idea better.

#50. Craig Kimbrel (RP-LAD) 6-7, 3.75, 22 SV (0.2 WAR)

A heck of a name here at the last spot on the list, and possibly one willing to sign relatively cheap.

There's a reason: Kimbrel has been mostly bad the past four seasons. Take away his 39 games as a Cub in 2021... it's possible he doesn't even earn an MLB deal this winter. The explanation is simple: in his Atlanta days (where he was the greatest reliever who ever lived for a while) his lightning fastball was so overwhelming to opposing batters that it didn't matter where he threw the ball... nobody could even touch him. This meant it never mattered if he walked a guy every other inning, because the other team would have to somehow align together the base hit they'd also get every other inning against him to have any hope of scoring a run. Now? Teams are batting .220 against him instead of .140, while his walk rate has remained consistently poor (3.7/9). His once absurd strikeout rate (14.8/9 in Atlanta) fell to 10.8/9 as a Dodger, which can't be helpful either.

At 34, he isn't going to fundamentally change. This is who he is. Is that worth Toronto taking a look? Their bullpen needs swing-and-miss stuff, which is basically the only thing Kimbrel has! You know... I'd actually be tempted. Installing him as the closer instantly would be beyond stupid of course... Romano has been a far better pitcher than Kimbrel since 2020. But maybe you take a cheap look, maybe see if there's a way to recover some of his lost fastball velocity or tweak his breaking pitch. On a cheap, no role guaranteed flyer? Sure why not.

Objectively though... Kimbrel is approaching cooked territory and if a team gives him a big deal because he's a name (*cough* Colorado probably *cough*) it'll almost certainly be a serious blunder.


I'll make these quick, we're already 300,000,000 words into this darn thing.

Carlos Estevez (RP-COL) -Never heard of him. Also, those numbers look like Anthony Bass except bad. Big fastball? Sure but little else impresses.

Andrew Chafin (RP-DET) -The moustache is killer, and he's a lefty. Hmmm... don't approve of his Bart killing policy but I do approve of his Selma killing policy...

David Robertson (RP-CHC/PHI) -Robertson has always been fun to watch with that big curveball, and Sweet Home Alabama is his entrance music (very hilarious). Gotta cut the late career flirtation with walks out though.
Adam Ottavino (RP-NYM) -Remember when the Yankees gave him away for nothing? He was actually really good for the Mets. And he's gonna be 37. You could do worse.

Chris Martin (RP-CHC/LAD) -He's just been a good reliever for many years now when healthy. And the jokes right themselves! Fine, I'll keep them in my place.

Drew Rucinski (P) -Who? A journeyman arm potentially coming back after success in the KBO. He'll be 34 next season. Okay then.

Elvis Andrus (SS-OAK/CWS) -Thanks but this Elvis has already helped out the Blue Jays plenty.

Brandon Belt (1B-SF) -I love Belt (it's a LH NL first baseman thing it seems) but he isn't ever leaving the Giants

Aledmys Diaz (UT-HOU) -If we have to lose Trent Thornton as compensation then lets do it.

Michael Fulmer (RP-DET/MIN) -Hey, why so low? I thought this guy was a lights out reliever and *checks numbers* oh. Oh.

Joey Gallo (OF-NYY/LAD) -When right, Gallo's specific skills fit perfectly here. Make this happen if only to make Drew Fairservice happy.

Evan Longoria (3B-SF) -Ask me next year if Chapman walks

Seth Lugo (RP-NYM) -Aside from the dingers... sure I guess?

Wil Myers (1B-SD) -I legit thought Myers would be a star. Decent career overall I guess. Doesn't fit here though.

Matt Moore (RP-TEX) -If you're left-handed, somebody will give you a chance to pitch forever. Still walks way too many guys, but a nice year all the same.

Drew Smyly (SP-CHC) -He's pretty darn good when you can get him out there, which has always been the problem of course.

This doesn't cover all of the potential non-tender candidates of course, the headliner among those a former NL MVP in Dodger outfielder Cody Bellinger. Now there's a roll of the dice right there... Bellinger has been completely awful the past two seasons (he posted the worst OBP of any qualified National League hitter)... like seriously he's been comically bad. And yet, he's a LH hitting outfielder (who by accounts plays CF quite well) who is only 27 years old with multiple 4 WAR seasons on his resume. Even if Bellinger could provide something similar to his 2020 season (.239/.333/.455) while playing good defense... the 2023 Blue Jays would have to be pleased to have that. There's also the very real possibility he's completely cooked as a hitter... making any kind of long term investment a Heyward-like problem (J-Hey is a free agent too, if anybody is morbidly interested in that stick). It will be fascinating to see what Bellinger gets, if he winds up as a free agent at all (if he does, you really have to take a look).

Anyhow, so ends another exhaustive look at the 2022 MLB Free Agent pool. Odds are the Blue Jays will sign a few of these names... I darn well hope so this was a lot of work! If there's anybody under the radar I missed, let me know and have at it.   

Window Shopping The 2022 Free Agents | 242 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 08:56 AM EST (#424344) #
I'll keep them in my place.

I saw what you did there, like a rush of blood to my whatever...
bpoz - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 09:59 AM EST (#424345) #
The FA list has too many expensive FAs for the Jays IMO. The others don't really do that much for me.

Atkins is quiet about his big moves. Ryu, Gausman, extend Berrios and trade Teo. Springer signed late so there was a lot of time for speculation. I also don't think Toronto was at the top of Springers list.

Another quiet Atkins move may be an extension for one/some of Vlad, Manoah and Bo. So he had to free up money. Also 2 Cs may be extended. Long and expensive contracts like Tatis Jr are dangerous for any club. Lucky for Seattle K Lewis did not sign one.

I am still high on Leo Jimenez. His D is very good. He has asked to spend this off season in Dunedin to work out at the complex. He has an apartment in Dunedin. D Santos stayed in Dunedin for most of last off season. Barger I believe lives in Florida. I am very high on Barger & Orelvis who both have big power.
jerjapan - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 10:28 AM EST (#424346) #
Great rundown Magpie.  You have officially convinced me of how great Blue Jay Verlander would be.  That's up there with scoring Clemens in the 90s. 

I hope we are going for these elite guys.  Sign Nimmo and Verlander, fill a few holes from some potential value signings, and improve the pitching with a deal for a catcher?  perfect. 

Nimmo obviously has multiple red flags, but so did Springer, and if the org medical staff believe they can get a similar outcome with Nimmo, I'm game.  It's just too obvious a fit, as Magpie noted.  swapping Nimmo in for Teo would dramatically change the dynamic of the lineup. 
Mike Green - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 10:55 AM EST (#424347) #
Great rundown Magpie
Magpie - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 11:23 AM EST (#424348) #
Great rundown Magpie

Get the right guy!
ISLAND BOY - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 11:33 AM EST (#424349) #
I'd imagine a lot of the top players and their agents are waiting to see what Judge signs for before committing themselves to anything.

I asked what people thought of Johnny Cueto last spring and if he'd be a fit for the Jays but got crickets in response, so it's nice to see someone else sees value in him as a backend starter.
Shoeless Joe - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 12:10 PM EST (#424350) #
I really want the team to target Carlos Rondon, but Tajuan Walker would be a nice mid tier option. I really think he provides a lot of value at the 4/52 million mark.

All things considered would most people go for A or B?

A.) Rodon for 5/140 and Conforto 1/15


B.) Nimmo for 5/110 and Walker for 4/52,
Mike Green - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 12:15 PM EST (#424351) #
Or Nimmo 5/110, Conforto 1/15 and Stripling 3/39? 

There are so many permutations and when you don't know what the budget is, it's hard to guess what they might do. 
bpoz - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 12:58 PM EST (#424352) #
Johnny Cueto out pitched Kikuchi in 2022. However Kikuchi was more durable in the previous 3 seasons. Stripling was also not so good in the previous 3 seasons. But Stripling and Cueto had good 2022 seasons and Kikuchi did not.

Given the above facts about the 3 previous seasons, Kikuchi made sense. So much makes sense to me OR does not make sense to me. So I cannot fault Atkins or any other GM for signing someone that does not work out.

At the moment I am fantasizing that for 2024 we will have 3 good rookie SPs. I pick Zulueta, Pearson (not rookie in 2024) and Tiedemann. This makes no sense except that in 1977 we had J Garvin +2. Then Stieb, Key and Clancy (not inexperienced). Guzman, Hentgen & Stottlymyre. Carpenter, Halladay and Escobar. Stroman +4 maybe. Therefore Manoah +3 may happen. Visiting memory lane in the off season is enjoyable to me.

Atkins got lucky in 2021 Ray/Matz. In 2022 Stripling. So this is a long post which is about guesswork.

dalimon5 - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 01:06 PM EST (#424353) #
Rodon. I’m not remotely interested in Nimmo because of the contract it would take to get him. Would prefer Peralta or Brantley at the end of their careers on a one year deal or two.

If the FO does not plan to trade a C for a LHH player of the same calibre of Kirk or Moreno, if that is the case then I would sign Nimmo to a 5 year deal, but Rodon would still be my top pick.

Gausman, Manoah, Rodon would carry your team most of the way.
lexomatic - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 03:21 PM EST (#424354) #
Conforto 1/15
I don't think Conforto is going to get a big deal. He was badly injured and had a terrible last season. And missed the past season. There are serious questions about health and effectiveness.
I see minimal 1 year guarantee with playing time and performance bonuses with maybe a decent option for the team and a minimal buyout. Or full-on 1 year contract. He'd be looking for 3 years max on his next contract.
I don't see 15 as being reasonable here, even for 1 year.  He's not a star anymore he's a bundle of questions.
Mike Green - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 03:32 PM EST (#424355) #
I thought that I'd run a Play Index to find a comp for Trea Turner.  I used players who player at least 80% of their games at either 2B, SS, 3B or CF up to age 29 with .282<BA<.322 (Turner's career- .302), 168<SB<368 (Turner 268), 115<OPS+<129 (Turner 122) and 3000<PA<4500 (Turner 3733).  I got 5 names- Lenny Dykstra, Kenny Lofton, Ginger Beaumont (a deadball era centerfielder), Ed McKean (a 19th century shortstop) and Del Pratt (a deadball era second baseman).  There really hasn't been a player like him.  He reminds of Molitor, but Molitor was not durable at all in his 20s. 

I think that Turner is going to be a very fine player in his 30s, with the balance of skills making him more adaptable than most. 
jerjapan - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 04:48 PM EST (#424356) #
Sorry Eephus!
Gerry - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 06:19 PM EST (#424357) #
Cody Bellinger about to be non-tendered and become a free agent.
Cracka - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 06:21 PM EST (#424358) #
Cody Bellinger is indeed going to be a free agent after being non-tendered and I think there will be interest from the Blue Jays. As Eephus noted above for 2 years he's been "completely awful" & "comically bad". But I'll add this - there might not be a bigger rebound candidate with the new rules against shifting. This season, Bellinger was shifted on ~90% of time, 3rd most in MLB, and was frequently "doubled shifted"; where SS plays in the 2B infield spot and 2B plays shallow RF; both of these shifts are now illegal. And he's a massive pull hitter - 46% - which is 10th highest in MLB. He can't hit breaking balls anymore, but I wouldn't be surprised to see an uptick in BA/OBP with the ban on shifting. He's defensively sound at one of the most sought-after positions -- I bet he ends up making more than the 1yr/$18M he was on track to make in arbitration. At the very least, he'll get a "prove it" deal like Marcus Semien in 2021.
Magpie - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 08:07 PM EST (#424359) #
The possibility of somehow fixing Bellinger, of restoring the 2019 MVP to his former state - it's almost impossible to resist. He's still just 27. (He's younger than Cavan Biggio!) If one can just figure out what went wrong...

There are those who say the crackdown on sign stealing was responsible. I don't buy that, not even a little. The Dodgers, and possibly Bellinger himself, seem to think his troubles stem from the dislocated shoulder in the 2020 NLCS. I did read a fascinating article about a month ago that believes it all began with the leg he injured in April 2021. He was out of the lineup for two months with a hairline fracture, but continued to work out and, crucially, continued to take BP. And swinging a bat on a broken leg - that had to hurt, right? - caused him to slightly change his swing mechanics, a change so subtle a very deep perusal of the video is required to identify it.
Gerry - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 08:34 PM EST (#424360) #
Capra non tendered as well as Tapia and Zimmer.
Magpie - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 08:59 PM EST (#424361) #
I originally went on that Twittering thing because I wanted baseball news in real time, as it happened, dammit! And in the midst of all the weirdness it's currently providing - it's where one still gets baseball news as it happens. And I saw a response to the Teoscar trade that said more or less that none of it mattered so long as they were playing Bichette at shortstop - they needed a better defender, Bo needed to move elsewhere.

But wait, thought I. Didn't I see the Yankees win five championships with Derek Jeter at shortstop? I'm pretty sure I did, and Captain Intangibles was not that great a defender himself. And five seems like a lot. Has there even been another shortstop who collected more of those rings? I had to find out. There are a couple of such shortstops as it turns out, and now I know the starting lineup of every World Series team. Maybe I'll do some future off-day time waster with the information.

I do have a Trivial Question. There have been 21 repeat World Series champs. Just three of them started the same eight position players in both seasons - and one of those three actually started the same nine guys, starting pitcher and all, both years.

Who might it be?
BlueJayWay - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 09:08 PM EST (#424362) #
What if the reserve clause were brought back...
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, November 18 2022 @ 09:49 PM EST (#424363) #
I guess one team is The Big Red Machine. Another is the Yankees -- the pitcher in question perhaps Lefty Gomez or Whitey Ford. And maybe the Athletics with Reggie Jackson?
Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 12:13 AM EST (#424364) #
I guess one team is The Big Red Machine.

Nailed it. The pitcher was Don Gullett, who started Game One of the WS for the winners three years in a row - for the 1975-76 Reds and the 1977 Yankees. Allie Reynolds (1951-53 Yankees) and Ken Holtzman (1972-74 A's) also started Game One for the winning team three years in a row.

The 1929-30 A's and the 1998-99 Yankees both repeated with the same group of starting position players, but changed up their Game One starting pitchers.

And of course the 1992-93 Blue Jays were the repeating champs with the fewest number of holdover starters.
Chuck - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 08:04 AM EST (#424365) #
for the 1975-76 Reds

One memory those 70s Reds conjure for me is fairly random. Bill Plummer was the team's backup catcher, and he was dreadful. He only had to bat around 150 times a year subbing for Bench but he must have been a beloved clubhouse presence because he got to keep his job for many years when the numbers screamed out to find someone better.

ISLAND BOY - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 11:27 AM EST (#424366) #
A great personality will take you a long way in baseball and life. John MacDonald was a great example of that. He only once had over 300 at-bats in a season with the Jays and had a career average of .233, yet he was regarded as one of the most beloved Jays ever, even edging out Roy Halladay one year for most popular in a fan vote.

That being said, Bradley Zimmer may be the nicest person ever but I hope to God to never see him in a batter's box again wearing a Jay's uniform.
soupman - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 12:09 PM EST (#424367) #
i think a lot of why he got talked up so much had to do with jerry and john sharing a bunch in terms of faith.

Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 02:03 PM EST (#424368) #
Let's see if I can generate another Trvial Question out of my tour of the World Series winning lineups.

The most common name in WS winning lineups was a centre fielder (Joe DiMaggio started 9 of them.) At the other extreme, the position leaders are tied - a Designated Hitter (David Ortiz 3 times) and another position.

What is that position, whose leader in championships played for so few winning teams? You know it's not CF or SS (because I already mentioned Derek Jeter a while ago.) It's one of the other seven spots on the diamond.

But which one? Bonus points for the player (or players, who knows. Could be a tie after all.)
John Northey - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 02:21 PM EST (#424369) #
The rumor mill seems to be Mets vs Jays for Nimmo. Appears to be up to 5 years $130 million right now in bidding with the Jays the most determined to win with Cody Bellinger as a backup plan. $26 mil a year sounds high, but FanGraphs has Nimmo at $143.4 mil of value over 7 seasons with 3 seasons worth $26+ million including the past 2. When healthy he is a great one. Mixed with Springer as a CF/RF combo I think this could work well as Nimmo is above average in both CF & RF based on FanGraphs methods of measuring although his arm isn't the best so he'd be more a LF/CF combo ideally. For comparison, Hernandez had 1 year of 3+ fWAR,2 of 2+ so far. Just 2021 was valued at $20+ mil ($34 mil). This would be a clear upgrade, by 2+ wins potentially (projection is 4.5 for Nimmo, 2.3 Hernandez in 2023).

To me, 5 years $130 sounds reasonable. Just needs 2 1/2 WAR a year to be worth that, and he has that if he plays 100+ games. I'd just do a strong physical first to be sure he is healthy, then make sure he gets regular time off at DH/LF/RF and same for Springer. Getting both of them 140 games a year plus playoffs is ideal imo. This also could open up trading Gurriel and doing a LF/3B/C/DH mix for Moreno to allow all 3 catchers to stick around. LF/RF becomes a mix of Springer-Nimmo-Moreno-Merrifield-Biggio depending on situation then. The OF basically is a rubics cube of possibilities for the manager, mixed with DH where Kirk and Vlad mix with Springer and Nimmo, plus the odd time Bo, and who knows who else. Nimmo would work well with him and Springer 1/2 before Vlad/Bo/Kirk 3/4/5, Chapman 6, 7/8/9 being 2B/DH/LF with Merrifield-Biggio-Espinal-Moreno-Jansen all in the mix plus whoever else is on the bench (likely 2 of Lukes, Lopez, Horwitz depending on need). I like it. Then all focus can shift to the rotation and pen.
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 03:47 PM EST (#424370) #
Hmmm...that's a huge investment. I'd prefer a cheaper option.
Kasi - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 03:50 PM EST (#424371) #
I assume they’ve talked to both St Louis and Arizona about their OF. If those trade talks aren’t progressing then I can see jumping on Nimmo. Not a lot of LH OF of quality out there.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 04:03 PM EST (#424372) #
Hell, Magpie, do we really need to review how dominant the Yankees have been?  Berra, Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig and I've got to think about how many WS champions Tony Lazzeri was on.  Like pulling my fingernails out one by one. 
Mike Green - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 04:12 PM EST (#424373) #
OK.  I will guess third base with Sal Bando and Gil McDougald.
SK in NJ - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 04:28 PM EST (#424374) #
I think Nimmo is the guy the FO wants. He fits everything they are looking for (CF, LHB, high OBP, can bat 2nd in the lineup), and CF is becoming one of the hardest positions to fill in the league. I'm not sure if it's the best use of payroll if the contract is as high as some are saying, though. It would limit how they can improve elsewhere, and eventually all these big FA contracts are going to impact their ability to extend Vlad/Bo. I think the more sensible approach might be to try to turn one of the catchers into the team's next CF, but Nimmo is more likely help the team over the next 2-3 years than anyone they trade for in all likelihood, and that might be their mindset.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 05:17 PM EST (#424375) #
I confess that I am a bit confused about the trivia question.

[ferociously bites cuttlefish]

Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 05:34 PM EST (#424376) #
All righty then...

cf - Joe DiMaggio 9
c - Yogi Berra 8
ss - Phil Rizzuto 7
1b - Lou Gehrig 6
2b - Joe Gordon, Tony Lazzeri 5
3b - Red Rolfe 5
rf - Hank Bauer, Paul O'Neill 5
p - Red Ruffing 5
dh - David Oriz 3

And finally...

lf - Duffy Lewis, Bob Meusel, Joe Rudi, Lonnie Smith 3

It's just another reason to hate the Yankees, and I never get tired of finding more. They have most of the second place guys, too (Dickey, Skowron, Crosetti, Mantle.) And third place guys (Posada, Jeter, Williams.)
Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 05:39 PM EST (#424377) #
Gil McDougald.

The king of the multi-position champs - three times at 3b and once each at second and short. Reggie Jackson and Gene Tenace both played on four WS winners (Reggie missed the 1972 WS with an injury) but at three different positions.
John Northey - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 05:57 PM EST (#424378) #
Hey Magpie how about the most at each position non-Yankee edition? I'd expect some Cardinals and Reds to show up, maybe Dodgers too.
Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 06:28 PM EST (#424379) #
Non-Yankee Edition!

c - Forrest Cady, Mickey Cochrane, John Roseboro, Buster Posey- 3
1b - Frank Chance, Harry Davis, Stuffy McInnis, Dick Hobitzell, George Kelly, Jimmie Foxx, Jim Bottomley, Gene Tenace, Tony Perez, Chris Chambliss, Keith Hernandez, Kent Hrbek, Albert Pujols, Brandon Belt, Yuli Gurriel - 2
2b - Eddie Collins - 4
3b - Larry Gardner - 4
ss - Jack Barry - 3
lf - Duffy Lewis, Joe Rudi, Lonnie Smith - 3
cf - Tris Speaker, Devon White - 3
rf - Harry Hooper - 3
p - Chief Bender, Ken Holtzman, Jack Morris - 3
Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 06:36 PM EST (#424380) #
Forgot to type some shortstops - along with Barry, it should also have Marty Marion, Maury Wills, and Bert Campaneris.
Magpie - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 06:55 PM EST (#424381) #
Dominated by very old-time A's and Red Sox. I guess it was easier to win a championship when there were just 16 teams, and there were Browns and Phillies among them.

I got fascinated by the case of Jim Gilliam, the old Dodger second baseman who did indeed play for four WS winners. But three times he was playing 3b (where he had played most of the 1959 and 1965 seasons anyway) and the other time he was in LF. In the 1955 WS Alston was platooning 2b Don Zimmer and LF Sandy Amoros, with Gilliam switching positions depending on who was playing that day.

Probably saved the WS for them too. Amoros took over in LF after Zimmer was pinch hit for in the final game, and was immediately called on to make that famous catch of Berra's shot down the LF line. It definitely would have tied the game and would have put the go-ahead run in scoring position with no one out. I doubt Gilliam makes that catch.
John Northey - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 07:16 PM EST (#424382) #
It says a lot that so few have 4+ WS wins at a position that aren't Yankees. Weird how the Yankees were able to stay so strong over so many generations. From Ruth to A-Rod. 90 years almost, plus staying in contention year in-year out since A-Rod. Not easy to do.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 19 2022 @ 09:02 PM EST (#424383) #
LF was my other guess. I knew Rudi, but didn't remember Lonnie Smith's various adventures. That isn't really excusable.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 08:27 AM EST (#424384) #
Should a separate trivia thread be started?
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 08:46 AM EST (#424385) #
maybe in the sidebar, like the polls
Mike Green - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 09:20 AM EST (#424386) #
I thought that Musial started in LF for the Cardinals 3 times in the 40s. I remembered him and Rudi, and struggled with how many times each Yankee left fielder got a ring.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 09:25 AM EST (#424387) #
Selkirk and Keller both got 5 rings, but between injuries and moves from right to left, didn't make the leaderboard.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:15 AM EST (#424388) #
My original point of departure was winning championships with an offense-first shortstop like Bichette, but Jeter is really the only one of that type with multiple WS wins. Rizzuto, Crosetti, Scott, Barry, Kubek, and Marion were all very much defensive players above all. Wills and Campaneris were mostly famous for stealing bases, but they were probably better defenders than hitters as well.
bpoz - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:28 AM EST (#424389) #
What about Ozzie Smith? He is possibly the best defensive shortstop that I know.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:34 AM EST (#424390) #
Ozzie Smith, Luis Aparicio, Mark Belanger, Rabbit Maranville - some of the greatest defensive shortstops ever - each won one championship.

Dick Groat - signed by Branch Rickey and coached by Red Auerbach - won two, and he was the Jeter of the 1960s. Without the bat.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:40 AM EST (#424391) #
Off topic(s), I would be interested to know the average age of Beauxites compared to other posters from competing sites. The discorse here is certainly light years ahead of other sites. Is it because the average age is 50+ compared to other sites with lots of teenagers and younger fans?
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:54 AM EST (#424392) #
Has there been any heat around the suggestion that the Jays could sign one of the shortstops and move Bichette to 2B, and take the cheaper option for CF?
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:56 AM EST (#424393) #
52, but contribution waning (not just around here)
bpoz - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 11:44 AM EST (#424394) #
70 years old and waiting for a grandchild. I find the different personalities interesting. Also the skills. Some understand probability and financial statements.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 12:15 PM EST (#424395) #
My average age? How would I compute that? Add up all the ages I've been and divide it by the number of years I've been walking around?

I seem to be averaging 34, which would make me younger than Eephus. There's a neat trick.
Kasi - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 12:25 PM EST (#424396) #
44 here.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 12:43 PM EST (#424397) #
I am older than Mags.
mathesond - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:04 PM EST (#424398) #
ayjackson and I are the same age. But, I was in my early-ish '30s when I first discovered the site (pours one out for Coach, Mick, Craig Burley and a bunch of other names I've long forgotten)
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:06 PM EST (#424399) #
coming up to my 17th anniversary too, mathesond. probably lines up with the winter meetings.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:21 PM EST (#424400) #
I'm 63, and have been around here about 20 years. Coach, Jordan, Craig Burley, Mike D, Scott Lucas, Mike Moffatt, Gitz, Robert Dudek and the late great Mick Doherty were all here when I arrived.

Gerry McDonald is the Cy Young of Bauxites, here before me and still contributing mightily after decades-long may he post.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:26 PM EST (#424401) #
I’ve been around to remember most of those names, as well as the late Richard SS. I must have started around 18 years of age or so.
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:27 PM EST (#424402) #
we've resigned vinny capra
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:39 PM EST (#424403) #
I see Mike Green joined Jan 3, 2005, two days after Magpie.

Chuck and John Northey both joined February 19, 2005. Coincidence or alter egos?
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:57 PM EST (#424404) #
Do not trust anyone over 30.


Glevin - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 01:59 PM EST (#424405) #
"I see Mike Green joined Jan 3, 2005, two days after Magpie.

Chuck and John Northey both joined February 19, 2005. Coincidence or alter egos?"

I joined December 07 2005. Not sure why 2005 was such a big year for joining.
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:03 PM EST (#424406) #
Given MLB Trade Rumors tends to be in eyeshot here are some of the OF free agents with years/$ from the top 50 free agent listing. OPS+ is 2022/lifetime
  • Aaron Judge : 8 Years $332 mil OPS+ 211/163 - $41.5/yr
  • Brandon Nimmo : 5 Years $110 mil OPS+ 130/130 - $22/yr
  • Andrew Benintendi : 4 Years $54 mil OPS+ 120/109 - $13.5/yr
  • Mitch Haniger : 3 Years $39 mil OPS+ 114/123 - $13/yr
  • Michael Brantley : 1 Year $15 mil OPS+ 125/117 - $15/yr
  • Michael Conforto : 1 Year $15 mil OPS+ --/124 (injured in 2022) - $15/yr
  • Masataka Yoshida : 5 Years $85 mil ceiling (no actual estimate given) OPS 1008/960 - $17/yr
The $100 mil club is...
  • Judge & Nimmo (see above)
  • Carlos Correa. Nine years, $288 M - $32/yr
  • Trea Turner. Eight years, $268 M - $33.5/yr
  • Xander Bogaerts. Seven years, $189 M - $27/yr
  • Dansby Swanson. Seven years, $154 M - $22/yr
  • Carlos Rodon. Five years, $140 M - $28/yr
  • Jacob deGrom. Three years, $135 M - $45/yr
  • Justin Verlander. Three years, $120 M - $40/yr
So if you had $100+ mil burning your pocket which would you take? Jays probably are OK spending $100-$150 on a free agent, so that cuts out a lot of them. But they did indicate they were willing to crack $200 for the right player (Cole for example). For outfielders there is also Cody Bellinger (78/117 OPS+) who was non-tendered (expected to get $18 mil in arbitration).

I figure the Jays have around $30 mil to $40 mil to spend this winter on a per year basis. Nimmo would eat most, but leave enough space for Stripling (2/$18 is the estimate) which would work well imo. Or you put it all on Judge (who I think will hit $50 per personally) or Verlander or deGrom. Yoshida if his defense is solid could be a decent risk but isn't a CF. Bellinger will probably want a 1 year with player option deal but the Jays would rather a 2 year fully locked deal I suspect.
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:09 PM EST (#424407) #
"On the morning of December 6, 2005, at the Baseball Winter Meetings being held in Dallas, Texas, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Burnett to a five-year, $55 million deal"

that explains why I joined during that December week. BJ Ryan signed a week earlier. feel like there was one more key signing or trade that offseason
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:21 PM EST (#424408) #
For me (53 years old - born in the summer of 69 - I'm just that great that a whole song was made about it). 5 grandkids as my oldest 2 just couldn't wait to have kids (sigh) while I still have an 8 year old at home and a teenager. Have pity for me, I'm in the middle of 20 years of perpetual teenage daughters in the house.

As to the joining - I did participate in BB before 2005 - won a contest in 2004 (found the old email from Craig Burley letting me know I won). Cool going through old emails from then - I had baseball ones in a folder on my Hotmail account and saw old ones from Dan Szymborski, Jack Cooney, Ryan Adams - all I knew on the old newsgroups group. Stuff about Rotisserie baseball, the SABR meeting that was in Toronto in 2005, Mick Doherty letting us all know BB was back after a down period, the old Toronto Baseball League via Batter's Box (I hit 400 and got to pitch with my fastball that everyone thought was a knuckleball).

Ah, memories.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:23 PM EST (#424409) #
I see Mike Green joined Jan 3, 2005, two days after Magpie.

I think all those fellas were here before me - there may have been some kind of software reset. My rookie season was definitely 2005. For the record, I have somehow managed to go around the sun 68 times although I don't feel a day over 80. No grandkids yet - I think Eephus knows what that would do to my self-image. I've worked long and hard to preserve my essential immaturity.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:24 PM EST (#424410) #
When did I join (and how does one go about finding out?)
ayjackson - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:30 PM EST (#424411) #
"When did I join (and how does one go about finding out?)"

December 14th, 2006

Click on your name to see your profile.
lexomatic - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:37 PM EST (#424412) #
Friday, December 09 2005 Huh. I keep forgetting it's been that long
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:48 PM EST (#424413) #
Just did a google search (time limited) to find the oldest article posted by me - appears to be a NL West pre-season breakdown for 2012. Predicted Rockies-SF-Arizona-Dodgers-San Diego and it ended up Giants-Dodgers-Arizona-Padres-Rockies - boy was I off on the Rockies but otherwise reasonable - the Rockies that year had 1 guy get 100+ IP (113) barely. No wonder they stunk it out that year. Ah well, guess it is lucky I don't gamble on sports eh?
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 02:52 PM EST (#424414) #
DOH! Just noticed on that same page - a 2010 article on the NL West by me too. Sheesh.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 03:06 PM EST (#424415) #
I remember my first piece was a little bit on World Series shutouts. Bor-ing. (Gosh, I was doing World Series Trivia even then?)

Hey, I've got a shiny new Data Table!
JohnL - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 03:43 PM EST (#424419) #

Chuck and John Northey both joined February 19, 2005. Coincidence or alter egos?

Coincidence or conspiracy? My profile says I also joined Feb. 19, 2005. But like others, I know I was on the site before that - 2003, I'm sure - though just a very occasional poster.

I seem to recall there was an overhaul of some sort way back. People had to register again, and often under different usernames, I think. Who knows? I'm older than anyone has else has posted above... (72)

Gerry - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 04:25 PM EST (#424422) #
Looking back through the history coach got things started in 2002 and for a while it was a small community. Blogs were relatively new at the time. For some reason that I don't remember membership seemed to take off after the 2004 season. I joined in late 2004, I think Jonny German preceded me by a month or so. He seems to be the longest serving regular poster.
Magpie - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 05:34 PM EST (#424430) #
membership seemed to take off after the 2004 season.

It was the Season From Hell. We sought out community, to provide comfort and solidarity in a dark, dark time.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 05:40 PM EST (#424431) #
I am pretty sure that it was a little before that, Gerry. My first article, a minor league update, was in the summer of 2004, at the time of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Coach was very forgiving of my rookie mistakes- he wasn't Coach for nothing!

2004 was of course the Season From Hell and while in hindsight, it was nothing like 1987 or even this season's finale, it did make an impression and I was part of it.

There was indeed a software update in late 2004.
bpoz - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 06:05 PM EST (#424433) #
The Mets off season is interesting. They are picking up pitchers off waivers and traded for 2 ML pen arms from Miami for 1 P in the low minors. Their 40 man has only 33 players.
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 06:48 PM EST (#424435) #
In retrospect, I'm certain my first article was a guest one (before becoming a regular writer here). Can't recall what it was about though. Ah well. I did find my real first as a full member of the cabal (there is no cabal). Career Jays vs Began as a Jay vs Finished as a Jay. Maybe I should do a follow-up on that someday as Halladay was still a career Jay at the time. Ugh the table is a mess, might be due to updates to the site over the years or just me being sloppy with the html (I do that sometimes).
John Northey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 06:53 PM EST (#424436) #
Mike Green - Looks like your first official post was Boston Red Sox preview roundtable - in fact your first 3 are all Red Sox related... are you a potential traitor? :) Then the Jays pre-season round table for 2007, followed by a 3 parter on Barry Larkin's defense, a 3 part Bullpen Project (boy you loved doing multi-post stuff back in the day and I thought I was long winded).

Kind of fun digging into history (I just used the admin functions to dig in - only 223 screens to go through).
Dewey - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 08:16 PM EST (#424437) #
John L and Mike Green are correct. The dates given do not reflect activity before the Great Software Change. Whoever compiled the archives also did some editing/deleting. My name-click says I began in August 2006, which is at least 2 to 3 years later than my actual joining.
Dr B - Sunday, November 20 2022 @ 10:37 PM EST (#424440) #
Coincidence or conspiracy? My profile says I also joined Feb. 19, 2005.

Yes, it is a conspiracy! I apparently joined in Feb 19, 2005 too...

Yet, there are strange posts from a _Dr B as far back as 2003 and I found a post from a _JohnL back in 2004. Strange doppelgangers stalk this world; beware the underscores!
ISLAND BOY - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 07:54 AM EST (#424441) #
I'm 62 and joined February 2008 so I'm a relative newcomer. I really appreciate the daily discussions during the season, the minor league coverage and contributions by the many knowledgeable posters on here. Also Magpie's and others delves into past baseball history. This is easily the best Blue Jay online site available.
Mike Green - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 08:49 AM EST (#424442) #
It's funny reading that the Boston 2005 roundtable that John Northey linked to.  Occasionally I get things right. 

In March, 2005, I wrote about the gems in the Red Sox minor league system " We'll start with two shortstops- Hanley Ramirez and the fresh-faced Dustin Pedroia. They're both 21 years old, and Ramirez is considered to have the better tools. Pedroia has marvellous control of the strike zone and some doubles power. With Renteria locked in for several years and Bellhorn getting a little older, it's my guess that Dustin Pedroia will be playing second base for the Sox at some point in 2006, and that Hanley Ramirez will be with another organization. He'd make a nice trading chip."  In November, 2005, Ramirez was part of a trade to the Marlins that netted the Sox Josh Beckett (who was instrumental in the Sox' 2007 World Series championship).  And the Sox did indeed move Pedroia to second base with good results to say the least.

Note: the links no longer work.

Mike Green - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 09:01 AM EST (#424443) #
Kevin Kiermaier is interesting to me.  He's actually been a decent hitter the last 3 years.  He had surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip in August with an expected time lime for recovery of 6-7 months.  He might be ready on Opening Day.   It's a gamble, but with the Rays having declined his $13 million option, he's not likely to be signing a large contract.  I'd be in. 
Joe - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 09:11 AM EST (#424444) #
I remember talking about how I was surprised the first time a major leaguer was my age on Da Box in the early naughts.

Last season, there were precisely five in MLB older than me, and I expect the number to be either 1 or 2 in 2023. Time flies.

Mike Green - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 09:33 AM EST (#424445) #
This is a good article from Ben Clemens on the victims of unjust strike calls. The Blue Jay leaders were Matt Chapman and Santiago Espinal.  Yep.  And the player most likely to complain about a correct strike call was indeed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

Glevin - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 09:44 AM EST (#424446) #
"Kevin Kiermaier is interesting to me. He's actually been a decent hitter the last 3 years. He had surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip in August with an expected time lime for recovery of 6-7 months. He might be ready on Opening Day. It's a gamble, but with the Rays having declined his $13 million option, he's not likely to be signing a large contract. I'd be in."

As a 4th OFer, I guess the Jays could do worse (JBJ and Zimmer both worse so obviously they can) but would not want to be giving a lot of playing time to Kiermeier either. He'll be 33 next year so I expect his D to decline pretty sharply soon (it's already declining) and his offense is anywhere from bad to not very good. Steamers' prediction of 85 WRC+ and decent D seems pretty accurate to me. He'd be good for a 4th OFer but would much rather they got someone good who can play CF rather than go shopping for a bargain there.
99BlueJaysWay - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 10:03 AM EST (#424447) #
I seem to be among the youngest/newest here. Unsure when I joined (I would guess around 2013). I’m 38.
bpoz - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 10:21 AM EST (#424448) #
It looks like Teo is the biggest trade of the whole off season so far. Our FO meetings and GM meetings led that decision and Atkins moved fast.

For continuing moves, I see 1 SP being our greatest need instead of replacing the offense of Teo. Realistically I don't know who can replace Teo (I know that Judge can). C Bellinger has dropped too far down to strongly expect him to replace Teo's bat.

There are 5 OFs on our 40 man roster. 3 are Merrifield, O Lopez and N Lukes. So pretty weak and no real depth. I expect the state of our OF to generate a lot of talk this off season and probably next.

I still believe the SP is the higher priority.
Cracka - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 11:14 AM EST (#424449) #
Bellinger seems like the hottest free agent right now - sounds like there are at least five teams with active interest and apparently he has already received multi-year offers. According to Jon Morosi and the Jays are one of them and even had prior trade discussions with the Dodgers about Bellinger. It sounds like his preference is a guaranteed one-year deal to re-establish his free agent value -- his agent is Scott Boras, and Boras recently benefited handsomely from Marcus Semien's one-year stay in Toronto... I could see this happening, especially if the alternative is offering 5yrs/$125M+ to Nimmo.
JohnL - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 12:25 PM EST (#424450) #

Last season, there were precisely five in MLB older than me, and I expect the number to be either 1 or 2 in 2023. Time flies.

Joe Niekro (at least in one sense) was one of my favourite players ever - because he was the last MLB player older than me. And he retired when he was 43!

Gerry - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 12:31 PM EST (#424451) #
Baseball America is out with their top 10. They are: Moreno; Tiedemann; Zulueta; Barriera; Barger; Orelvis; Toman; Doughty; Juenger; Pearson.

Chat is at 2pm for subscribers.

Zulueta is much higher than on my list. Also interesting to see Barger now ahead of Orelvis.

Three new draftees on the top ten as well as three likely relievers shows that the Jays system is not a strong one.
lexomatic - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 01:32 PM EST (#424452) #
This is a good article from Ben Clemens on the victims of unjust strike calls. The Blue Jay leaders were Matt Chapman and Santiago Espinal.  Yep.  And the player most likely to complain about a correct strike call was indeed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

I commented in the thread, but my recollection is that Guerrero got a ton of early bad calls putting him in a hole. Whole AB was tainted, leading to correct call that shouldn't have been an out. related to my problem with Umpire Scorecard, that didn't consider prior bad calls in the same at bat. A blown call, after another blown call allowed the at bat to continue shouldn't be worth more than the first blown call just by virtue of having higher leverage in that at bat. Someone getting tons of  incorrect early calls but correctly getting called out on a 3rd strike would not rate highly in this system even if they were a victim of more blown calls leading to unjust strikeouts by volume of blown calls.

Anyway. hope there's a follow up, or a response to my comment. Sometimes these types of things get shouted down or ignored, when I think it's a flaw in any argument. May not have been considered at the time. These types of thoughts have always been my strength as an editor.... which is probably why i don't do get to do it a lot.
Cracka - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 02:17 PM EST (#424453) #
I'm 45 and 2019 was the last season with a player older than me... and there's a big cohort of people in the same boat. Ichiro (b. Oct 1973) retired after 2019 making Pujols (b. Jan 1980(?)) the oldest player in the league. There are rumours that Pujols is older than he claims, potentially making his 154 OPS+ age "42 season" even more impressive.
Mike Green - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 02:50 PM EST (#424454) #
I will be forever grateful to Julio Franco for setting the gold standard for longevity in the non-knuckleballer division.  He made me feel young until 2007.

Why I like Kevin Kiermaier, expanded edition:

1.    he's not losing speed at the usual rate- at age 26-28, he averaged 29.3 ft/s; at age 29-32, he averaged 29.3 ft/s, including 29.2 last year.  He was the 7th fastest player of his age at age 28 and he's been the second fastest of his age the last 2 years
2.    I don't buy the 85 wRC+ projection; he has a 97 wRC+ over his career and it was 94, 101 and 90 over the last 3, and his xwOBAs over the last 3 years were almost exactly his career average
3.    he's been a fabulous baserunner over his career, and the metrics suggest that he has lost nothing in that regard
4.    there is the promise that the surgery will improve his functioning for a year or three; the hip has been a lingering issue. 
5.    last year, Kiermaier had a 5.0 IFFB rate and a 17.5 % HR/FB rate; it's the first time a ball in the air was an effective weapon for him; I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that he blows by his personal bests entirely and becomes one of the very few players who is considerably   better at age 35 than at age 25.
Michael - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 04:36 PM EST (#424459) #
I'm also 45 and also have the supposed account creation of Feb 19 2005, but have been posting longer than that as there are _Michael posts from before that date.

I saw a twitter claim that the Jays signed Bellinger for a 1 year $10M contract with a 2nd year club option at $15M which seems like it would be a good contract for the Jays if true since the 2nd year captures some of the upside potential.
Four Seamer - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 05:12 PM EST (#424462) #
I too am 45 (same age as the Blue Jays themselves), and while I don't post all that much, am a regular reader. I have been here since at least 2004, as I was on the scene when Tom Cheek was diagnosed and had to step away from the booth.
Magpie - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 05:55 PM EST (#424464) #
I've been seeing those Bellinger rumours on Twitter as well (when I'm not too busy blocking the fascists and racists.) If they could get him for $10 M, even without the option - I'm down for that. He's also apparently one of those guys who's been getting absolutely destroyed by all the shifting. Him and Biggio can share their sorrows. I think his MVP year was a fluke, I don't think he's close to being a .300 hitter - but he's a helluva player if he hits .250, with everything else he does.
Nigel - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 06:25 PM EST (#424466) #
I have zero idea what's wrong with Bellinger (injured shoulder or something else) but he's certainly worth a flyer (if you consider $10m+ a flyer). Man its a risk though. I watch a ton of Dodgers games here on the West Coast (M's and Dodgers are pretty much the standard for 7pm PT starts). He hasn't been able to hit any kind of velocity for two years now. His strike zone control, which was excellent for his first three years, is now completely gone because he's noticeably having to sell out to hit even average velocity. Its the kind of thing that you would think would be fixable with good health or better mechanics (unless PEDs were the reason he could previously hit velocity). It's been like watching a late career slugger trying to hit right before ground zero.
92-93 - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 06:29 PM EST (#424467) #
Kiermaier is indeed a good fit on a cheap, 4th outfield contract, but the Jays do need to check with the clubhouse before adding him to the squad. Bases aren't the only things he steals.

Montoyo did say the matter was "aqua under the bridge", which is a great quote.
Kasi - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 06:31 PM EST (#424468) #
Yeah the downturn has been long enough that I’d be loathe to give him more than one year. Maybe if there was some doctor report/analysis that shows his injuries have finally healed or something. But he’s been an awful hitter for a long time now. One year/10-12 with a mutual option/buyout maybe?
Kasi - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 06:40 PM EST (#424469) #
Hmm I guess Bellingers numbers were a bit better last year than thought. So maybe same thing but 15-18 instead.
Eephus - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 07:00 PM EST (#424470) #
Despite my ten year anniversary of being a BB contributor coming up in January, I still really consider myself a relative newcomer in Da Box's waters (I was a long time lurker in the old days before ever gathering the nerve to post any comments... and it was under a different moniker thankfully since I'm certain teenage me said some dumb things). As Mag's 'interesting' math previously noted I am indeed older than 34, but only by a couple of months. Man, those were the good old days lemme tell ya.... as in at least it was warmer outside. 

I wrote above in the piece how Cody Bellinger is a fascinating free agent. To be entirely unscientific (my specialty), don't the odds of him bouncing back to a near all-star level seem 50/50 with the chances he's simply become (due to injuries or whatever) another Bradley Zimmer with just a larger award shelf? It's such a "who the heck knows" especially considering how young he still is. It's a wild gamble I'm still all in favour of, especially if Nimmo is looking at getting a Springer-level contract. Any team that can even unlock Bellinger's modest 2020 production for a full year I think would have to be pleased on their wager.
Magpie - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 07:35 PM EST (#424471) #
OK, on Twitter I'm seeing someone say that since 2020, in 305 PApps against normal infield alignment, Bellinger has hit .328/.382/.463.

In those three seasons, he's hit .203/.272/.76 in 1143 PApps, which suggests he's hit something like .156/.229/??? (I'm not even going to try to approximate the SlugPct) against the shift. It suggests they've been shifting against him in almost three-quarters of his at bats.

I dunno. It really seems hard to believe. That big a difference? But if it's accurate, sign him now. Give him all the money.
dalimon5 - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 07:45 PM EST (#424472) #
How many people have bet against Andrew Friedman and won?
SK in NJ - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 07:48 PM EST (#424473) #
I'd rather have Bellinger on a one year deal than give Nimmo a Springer type of contract. Turning one of the catchers into Varsho (unlikely) or Thomas (more likely) would be the most ideal from an asset standpoint, but if they want to go the free agency route, then I think Bellinger is the better investment. I want the Jays to add as many 2023-25 wins as possible, so Nimmo would obviously be the better option from that standpoint, but at some point the team is going to have to take it easy on the big free agent contracts and focus more on extensions to existing young players and trying to incorporate more cost effective long-term options either via the farm system or trade (ex. one of Arizona's outfielders).

Of course, if they sign Bellinger, then they'll still need a CF for 2024 and beyond, so maybe they could sign Bellinger and trade for an outfielder with more control.
ayjackson - Monday, November 21 2022 @ 11:00 PM EST (#424474) #
I know there's context, but Bellinger was last in the majors for qualified hitters over the last two seasons with a .611 OPS.

Are we going to hang our hat in a mended shoulder?
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 06:03 AM EST (#424475) #
Whipper snappers, all of you, talking about when you registered. Ha! I've been posting since before there was registration! Since January 29, 2003, to be precise.

And speaking of a time before registration, that's why registration took off after the 2004 season - because that's when it first became a thing. October 2004. Before that you would just fill in your name (errr... a name) each time you posted.
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:16 AM EST (#424476) #
Along with their top 10 prospects Baseball America does a fun exercise each year of projecting a starting lineup and rotation for the team 3 years out, if there were to be no player transactions. Here's what they've got for 2026:

C: Gabriel Moreno (26)
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27)
2B: Addison Barger (26)
3B: Orelvis Martinez (24)
SS: Bo Bichette (28)
LF: Lourdes Gurriel (32)
CF: George Springer (36)
RF: Gabriel Martinez (23)
DH: Alejandro Kirk (27)

SP1: Alek Manoah (28)
SP2: Jose Berrios (32)
SP3: Kevin Gausman (36)
SP4: Ricky Tiedemann (24)
SP5: Yosver Zulueta (28)

CL: Nate Pearson (30)

My take has a few differences:

C: Gabriel Moreno (26), Alejandro Kirk (27)
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27)
2B: Cade Doughty (25)
3B: Addison Barger (26)
SS: Bo Bichette (28)
LF: Orelvis Martinez (24)
CF: Dasan Brown (24)
RF: Gabriel Martinez (23)
DH: George Springer (36)

SP1: Alek Manoah (28)
SP2: Jose Berrios (32)
SP3: Kevin Gausman (36)
SP4: Ricky Tiedemann (24)
SP5: Sem Robberse (24)

CL: Nate Pearson (30)
SR: Yosver Zulueta (28)
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 09:10 AM EST (#424479) #
I remember a phrase "Zombie Like Cult" or ZLC from Battersbox.  I think it predated me, maybe from 2003. 

As for BA's fun 2026 projected lineup, it's possible but unlikely that Springer is their everyday CFer.  Dasan Brown is as good a guess as any, and it would make me happy to see.  I don't know what to make of Orelvis Martinez- the reports on his defence at third base and even at shortstop have been surprisingly good. 
bpoz - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 09:16 AM EST (#424480) #
The Top 10 BA list was interesting. Thanks Gerry. Also nice evaluation about our system not being strong. Your reasons 3 new draftees I agree with. 3 relievers seems correct but I am hoping Zulueta is developed into a starter because I saw video of him and he was very close to the strike zone.

If I looked back in time to the 2018 list or at least prospects. Vlad, Bo, Gurriel, Jansen and Biggio should be somewhere in the top 30, with Vlad and Bo high on the 2018 & 19 Top 100 list. And of course Romano would not have made any list. The Top 100 is nice but I don't care much for it.

My top 10:

1) Zulueta. Throws hard, 4 pitch arsenal with possible decent control. I expect he will spend the off season in Dunedin because he is Cuban.

2) Tiedemann. A great season as a starter.

3) Robberse. I value good SPs. He has good projectability IMO. He knows how to pitch, is young and can adjust when any of his pitches is not working.

4) Orelvis. Young for AA. His power is elite.

5) Barger. 2022 was very successful for him. Moved up 3 levels and hit over 300 in each with elite power.

6) Leo Jimenez. 2022 was a bad year. Injuries and non performance. He is spending this off season in Dunedin so hopefully his hitting improves. His defense seems elite.

7) H Juenger. He pitched many 3 & 4 inning games in NH, but less/game in Buffalo. 89 IP in 2022. Incredible progress for a 2021 draft pick. He was #22 last year for me.

8) Dasan Brown. Incredible speed and hit well in Dunedin and Vancouver. Then dominated in the playoffs.

9) Gabe Martinez. Turned 20 in July. Hit for good Avg in 2021 & 22. 22/22 bb/K in 2022. Developed power in 2022.

10) D Palmegiani. 2021 college pick that moved up 2 levels and hit for V good power.

All are young or fast movers. Only Orelvis and Leo Jimenez have big strides to make against their weaknesses.

I never include new draftees in my top 10 because I need to see some results first. Both quality and quantity.

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 09:23 AM EST (#424481) #
Over on Twitter, I learn that there is an under 18 player named Ichiro Cano. Definitely a Hall of Names entrant already and so far from his peak!
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 10:38 AM EST (#424482) #
Shi Davidi on a talk show yesterday said he heard from multiple rival GMs at the GM meetings that they think the Blue Jays would be more than happy and even prefer to keep the 3 catchers on their roster.

I don't get it when they have gaping holes in OF and LHH/ overall line up balance.

bpoz - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 10:51 AM EST (#424483) #
That is interesting that the Jays want to keep all 3 Cs.
Kasi - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 11:15 AM EST (#424485) #
Were you expecting to hear otherwise? If they said they’re desperate to trade a catcher that just devalues their own assets. Now they can fall back to a reasonable choice that they’ll do a trade if the offer blows their socks off and pass otherwise.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 11:27 AM EST (#424487) #
I think Verlander to NYY is a better move for them than Judge. 3 expensive years for Verlander I suspect compared to double that or more years for Judge.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 11:29 AM EST (#424488) #

It wasn't the Jays saying that, it was other GMs in the industry telling Davidi what they really think the Jays will do, so yes, I did expect a different answer. I would have expected to hear that other GMs anticipate one of the 3! above average to elite catchers would be dealt in a market where everybody is short on good catchers.

Why would you wait for Jansen to get more expensive?

Why would you risk losing playing time for 2 out of the 3 catchers EVERY game?

FO traded from a strength (Right handed power) to balance out the team by adding bullpen help and a SP prospect. CHECK

FO still needs to get a LHH and more contact. UNCHECKED.

FO still needs a SP if it hopes to win a WS. UNCHECKED.

FO dealt Teoscar, released Tapia and Zimmer in order to free up some $$$. CHECK.

Smells like a signing is on the horizon and hopefully that brings a LHH or SP to the Jays. You would still be left with 3 catchers for 2 positions.

Before anyone tells me that Kirk can DH, that is not a solution in my books. He hasn't shown an ability to play every day through a full season without dips in performance. He's also not that great if he's just employed as a hitter in the DH position.

I want answers damnit!
Cracka - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 12:28 PM EST (#424490) #
I want answers damnit!

Gabriel Moreno becomes an everyday player taking turns at LF/RF/3B/2B/C. We give up on him as the catcher of the future but get his bat in the lineup nearly every day for the next 6 years, perhaps as an everyday outfielder in a few years. Kirk keeps his C/DH full-time role for the next 4+ seasons and having Moreno on the roster gives us a permanent 3rd/emergency catcher for extra flexibility.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 01:37 PM EST (#424492) #
Okay, that solves the log jam at C. Now how do they trade for LHH to add to the core? How do they trade for SP to add to the core? Do you think they can sign both from free agency?
Kasi - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 01:49 PM EST (#424493) #
I assume any insight that other teams are getting from the Jays is because that is what the Jays are telling them. Which goes back to my initial comment. Why would the Jays devalue their own trade value by saying they have to do a certain type of trade. If you signify to others that to make things work you have to trade a catcher well that’s a weakness other teams can build on to give the Jays less value.
Kasi - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 01:52 PM EST (#424494) #
I would guess they do this.

2 mid level FA (say Bellinger plus I dunno say Syndergaard)
1 high end FA plus trade/bargain bin (Nimmo plus ?)
bpoz - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 02:07 PM EST (#424495) #
The other teams seem to know who is available and who is not.

I believe everyone knew that Chapman was available last off season. At the trade dead line everyone knew that Soto and Louis Castillo were available. In all 3 cases it was not a secret. Ramirez in Cleveland it seems was not available but the rumor was that the Jays kept trying. I also think many of these rumors are made up by the media.

Our 3 Cs are all different. 1) Years of control. 2) Hitting ability. 3) With the bases getting bigger and no/less shifting a great throwing C has a big edge. Atkins has not tipped his hand at all IMO.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 03:29 PM EST (#424497) #
"I assume any insight that other teams are getting from the Jays is because that is what the Jays are telling them. Which goes back to my initial comment. Why would the Jays devalue their own trade value by saying they have to do a certain type of trade. If you signify to others that to make things work you have to trade a catcher well that’s a weakness other teams can build on to give the Jays less value."

Kasi, you can't go back to your original comment because you are assuming wrong. The Jays are not devaluing their own trade value because they are not involved whatsoever in the discussions referenced in my original post. They did not tell other GMs who is available. The discussion was a question asked to other GMs "what do you think the Jays will do with their 3 catchers?" not "what are you hearing from the Jays as to what moves they will make?"

Here are some snippets of the interview:

"I do think in an ideal world they do move one of their young catchers... there is some logic to carrying all three catchers but I do think in an ideal world they flip one of those guys for an asset."

"I talked to a couple of GMs there and they were not wholly convinced that the Jays do move a catcher. They all felt that they would instead move an OF which is what they ended up doing."

I think it goes without saying that of course, obviously, the Jays will not share intel that would bite them in the ass. The bottom line is that there is a consensus among front offices that the Blue Jays will hold onto their catchers, and not because that's what they are being told.

I recommend you listen to the full interview where they talk about the challenges of having Moreno learn the staff while trying to contend. It's the Bob McCown podcast from yesterday if you're interested.

Kasi - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 03:38 PM EST (#424498) #
Then that info is not worth being upset over. Who cares what other teams think of what the Jays will do. We should know by now that Atkins just sprouts some stuff to obfuscate and other FAs likely do the same. We know they need another OF and a SP. it doesn’t matter to me that they go the trade or FA route. I’d prefer a trade in ways because I don’t think signing two FAs when we need to think about extending Vlad, Bo and Moanoah is smart. Sure we lose Ryu off the books next year but we still have years of Springer, Gaussman and Berrios. Who knows maybe they really do trade Bo. We have no idea what they’ll do but I am fairly sure that Toronto will spent up to that 233 million CBT.
electric carrot - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 03:38 PM EST (#424499) #
I was in favor of trading Moreno. But my second favorite option was keeping all the catchers and turning Moreno into a center fielder. I really don't know if that's possible -- but if they do that and it works -- well all power to the Blue Jays.

I joined BB in Dec. 2006. At the time I was 38. Now I'm older. I know most of you on the site are good at math.
Chuck - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 04:00 PM EST (#424500) #
turning Moreno into a center fielder

In a league where so many teams need catching help, wouldn't Moreno carry much more value as somebody's catcher than as the Blue Jays' CF? It seems like an indulgence to move him off a position that he can probably handle. This isn't Dale Murphy or Cliff Johnson here.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 04:35 PM EST (#424503) #
My point exactly. Moreno and Kirk slot under Bo and Rutschman but not by a ton. Massive surplus there to get an elite or close to elite player or prospect back.

It’s a nice problem to have hit still a problem.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 04:40 PM EST (#424504) #
Let the records show that I am in favour of trading Kirk, letting Jansen handle the C position with Moreno catching and DHing 3 times a week.

I think Moreno will be as good as Bo Bichette. Aside from the bat, he JS everything Bo is working to be and everything Vladito cannot be. Defence, baseball acumen and sense and leadership.

Two biggest surprised this year for me:

Seeing the impact a C can have on an organization via Adley Rutschman.

Seeing Bo go to elite level at end of year and opening up the idea he can be the more important player to sign between he and Vlad.

Chuck - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 04:52 PM EST (#424506) #
I think the Jays will move a catcher and the one that goes will be predicated on the destination team's current needs. A win-now team like St. Louis might prefer Jansen. A developing team like Arizona might prefer Moreno. A team like Houston, looking for a C/DH, might prefer Kirk.

It is understood that the returns for these three wouldn't necessarily be the same.

uglyone - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 05:21 PM EST (#424507) #
Always remember that Kirk will forever be undervalued cuz short and fat.

in general, it's better to trade overvalued assets not undervalued ones.
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 06:07 PM EST (#424512) #
"I joined BB in Dec. 2006. At the time I was 38. Now I'm older. I know most of you on the site are good at math."

well, we were in December 2006 at least
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 06:42 PM EST (#424516) #
"Always remember that Kirk will forever be undervalued cuz short and fat.

in general, it's better to trade overvalued assets not undervalued ones."

I could see this being true maybe 5 or 10 years ago. I don't think that's the case anymore with the Harvard, MIT and Yale grads running front offices now. They don't care about physical attributes nearly as much as the previous regimes. It seems that 100% of their judgements are based on numbers like spin rates, exit velocity, BB/K etc.

I guess it's really subjective because the reason I prefer trading Kirk is because I personally think he is most overvalued right now. My rationale is simple, though I do understand why many others can feel the opposite:

Kirk just came off an amazing first half season. He has always had elite eye and contact for a catcher. Since the all star break he has demonstrated limited power which really exposes him as a real DH option. So it really comes down to how good he can be defensively along with a good contact bat with patience.

Moreno hasn't had a chance to be a regular yet. He is higher rated than Kirk ever was and he's backed it up with numbers similar or better than Kirk's in the minors. Defensively he's on another level. I think moving him now would be selling low. I can't remember another C with the type of profile that Moreno has. He has similar hit tool to Kirk but with more rated power and elite D. Before his thumb injury last year he was batting .373 with an OPS over 1100.

Jansen makes sense at the guy to keep around imho because he will bring back the lowest return.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:09 PM EST (#424518) #
Regarding SPs Manoah, Gausman and Berrios generally give you 170-200IP each season. 2022 was a great year for Stripling 134 IP. When starting he gave you 4-6 innings and threw 60-90 pitches. This is his very good 2022 year. So at least 3 innings for the pen to hang on for the win.

So Stripling was "not a horse" but something else. His consistently "pretty good effort" still required 3 innings from the pen. I wonder what contract he gets.

Regarding SP pitching help. I did a test in 2019 in which I said only 2 of 4 prospects would be good. My candidates were Pearson, Mize, Kopech and Whitley were all in the top 50 prospects in baseball. None have succeeded. So I definitely know that successful SPs are hard to develop.

Regarding payroll in 2022 and in 2023 both Ryu and Gausman will cost $20mil each. Can we/anyone afford a 3rd or 4th? Obviously only the rich teams.

Atkins said he needs innings. If one of our top 3 gets injured then there is a situation to be compensated for in that a 7 inning pitcher has gone down. If you cannot get another 7 inning pitcher then you have to get a 5 inning pitcher like Stripling.

So with 2 good 7 inning pitchers and 3 "good" 5 inning pitchers we need good long men in the pen for 2/3 innings before we get to our good setup and closer. This would be ideal and cost effective IMO.
scottt - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:16 PM EST (#424519) #
Had Stripling been able to throw 6 innings repeatedly, his value would be much higher.
He often required 4 innings from the pen.

scottt - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:21 PM EST (#424520) #
Moreno should have high value, too much in fact for a developing team.
Developing teams like veteran catchers to anchor their developing pitchers.
Moreno is best on a team that doesn't need him to produce out of the block 5 days a week.
A team that has veteran pitchers who don't need a catcher to tell them what to do.
A team like the Blue Jays.

scottt - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:31 PM EST (#424521) #
Bellinger is interesting. Not as a replacement for Teo's bat, of course, but as replacement for Tapia/Zimmer/Bradley.

He has a .100 OPS split which means he could be a platoon option.
He has something like a .250 OPS difference between Power/Finesse pitcher that suggests he's been having trouble with the high heat. So maybe pitch hit for him when trailing in late innings. Tapia was often used as a lefty bait that way.

He has a weird .260 OPS difference between Day (good) and Night (bad) games.
He's good in away games? That seems totally random, but it's not a tiny sample. Relatively speaking.

scottt - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:34 PM EST (#424522) #
Also, at this point, Bellinger is an elite defender and Kiermaier is merely average.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:45 PM EST (#424523) #
Sheesh, I don't check for 2 days and the comments explode after a week of almost nothing..
My profile says I joined Dec 8, 2005. I'm 51 as of this summer (of '71). Seems like there's a batch of us all within 4-5 years of each other..
IIRC, I was active on the usenet group at the time and I was specifically invited to join Da 'Box (or is it 'da Box?) via email from someone who was a member of both locations at the time.
John Northey would be my first guess, and Chuck my second. But I would not be surprised that neither is correct.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 07:47 PM EST (#424524) #
Why I would not be that excited to get Kiermaier:
-he represents "peak" Rays (House of Horrors, random fluke games that we somehow lose, etc)-in my video game (Super Mega Baseball with altered rosters), over 15 seasons (60 games) Kiermaier has ruined more leads for me than I can count on my fingers and toes..
Other than that, sign away :-)
Gerry - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 08:26 PM EST (#424526) #
I heard today that Manoah is one of the slowest working pitchers in MLB. He will have to adjust next season with the pitch clock.
slitheringslider - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 09:12 PM EST (#424527) #
Just checked, been a member since August 2005 when I was 19. Now 37 and nearly been a member for half my life.
BlueMonday - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 09:16 PM EST (#424528) #
I’ve been mostly been a lurker since 2005. Great to hear personal stuff about this intelligent and thoughtful group. I’m 62, I should retire so I can research and contribute posts more.
CFs and Leftie hitting outfielders are in high demand this offseason. Nimmo will be too expensive. I’ll be ecstatic if we can get one of Arizona’s for Kirk or Moreno (whoever gets it done).
Kasi - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 10:00 PM EST (#424529) #
Yeah I read some article back in September about it and he was the only one I think on starters who had pitch timing issues. I forgot who was questionable for relievers. Tried to find the article it was likely on jays nation or something.
Cracka - Tuesday, November 22 2022 @ 10:14 PM EST (#424531) #
BaseballSavant has the full pitch timing data under the category "Pitch Tempo" including a category called "Timer Equivalent", which is an apples-to-apples comparison using the new pitch timing methodology. Manoah is the slowest worker on average, but it looks like he should be fine with the new rules. His average times are within the new limits: 14.7 seconds (vs. 15 limit) with bases empty and 19.3 seconds (vs. 20 limit) with runners on base. For context, there are 75+ regular pitchers across MLB that work slower than him.
Jonny German - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 03:52 AM EST (#424532) #
Why I would not be that excited to get Kiermaier

I hear that. And yet he may be a good fit as 4th outfielder.

There is also a scenario wherein the Jays trade Espinal (for Ian Happ, for example) and thus are in need of a backup shortstop... and the best free agent fit is Elvis Andrus.

Keirmaier and Andrus in Blue Jay blue, is that the darkest timeline? Or maybe Darren O'Day needs to join the fun?
dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 09:04 AM EST (#424533) #
KK is not a Jays enemy. Consummate professional. So he took a strategy card that fell on his lap, not a big deal. He didn’t do anything out of bounds.

He hasn’t done anything to disrespect anyone. He is a glue guy and quiet leader.

bpoz - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 09:42 AM EST (#424534) #
St Louis has not yet made any moves this off season.

TB has made a lot of moves. Just cleaning house it seems. Added a lot of pitchers.

Both teams seem to know how to win.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 10:21 AM EST (#424535) # has an article right now about Verlander and the most likely landing spots according to Feinsand:


They have Scherzer's contract from last year as a starting point.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 10:53 AM EST (#424536) #
Kirk just came off an amazing first half season. He has always had elite eye and contact for a catcher. Since the all star break he has demonstrated limited power which really exposes him as a real DH option. So it really comes down to how good he can be defensively along with a good contact bat with patience.

But all of this is pretty obvious, and probably has been for most of Kirk's career, so I don't think it makes him "overvalued". Can he handle being an everyday catcher? Can he hit enough to be a full-time DH? If you don't think the answer to either question is "yes", he's not a particularly valuable player. I'm sure there's a pretty wide range of opinions among other teams.

Personally, I'm more confident in his ability to hit, particularly without the wear-and-tear of being a catcher.
hypobole - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 10:55 AM EST (#424537) #
Schoenfield article up at ESPN making one and only one move for every team. Doesn't think the Jays raise payroll much. so no Nimmo. Jays move is one that has been brought up many times - Moreno to Zona for Alek Thomas.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 11:27 AM EST (#424539) #
Verlander would be sweet as the Jays would have possibly the best top 3 in MLB and maybe in the teams history. Manoah, Gausman, Verlander. Yikes. Berrios #4 and a mix-match for #5/6 (White/Kikuchi/Hatch/Pearson/other kids). That would make it necessary to do a trade instead of a free agent signing for the OF though as I'd think the Jays budget would be at its limit. We'd be looking at $40 per for 3 years most likely to get him (I'm certain others will offer $40 for 2 without issue, but getting that 3rd year will be hard at his age - entering age 40 season). It would be great for Manoah giving him a HOF'er to learn from (he has been seen listening closely to every pitcher on the staff trying to absorb everything he can).

Scherzer signed for ages 37-39 for $43.3 per year. So yeah, Verlander wants more but I can't imagine many teams will offer it due to it being for 40-42 instead. So few have pitched at that age at a high level... we are looking at (past 30 years)...
  • Best Cases: Randy Johnson (119 ERA+ over 102 starts, but year 3 was a 90 ERA+), Roger Clemens (148 ERA+ over 98 starts), Nolan Ryan (118 ERA+ over 99 starts... forgot he first pitched for Texas at age 42 and had a 116 ERA+ with them over 5 years, his best for any club), Phil Niekro (112 ERA+ over 104 starts 2 relief)
  • Decent situation: Greg Maddux (100 ERA+ over 101 starts), Tom Glavine (100 ERA+ over 79 starts), Don Sutton (101 ERA+ over 102 starts, 1 relief), Gaylord Perry (105 ERA+ over 87 starts, 2 relief),
  • Great but limited: Tom Seaver (122 ERA+ over 61 starts, 2 relief, no games at 42)
  • Worst cases: Steve Carlton (84 ERA+ over 69 starts/11 relief), Bert Blyleven (84 ERA+ 24 starts 1 relief, only pitched at 41 not at 40 or 42+), Fergie Jenkins (88 over 29 starts, 4 relief at 40). I'm sure I could find more but limiting to HOF'ers and past 40 years that seems to be it among starting pitchers. Lots of others didn't reach 40 (Jack Morris, Jim Palmer, Catfish Hunter, Pedro Martínez, and Roy Halladay among others), while others moved to the pen (Eckersley for example) thus aren't relevant for this.

    More of them did well than I expected, of the guys who made it to 40 in the majors. None have had what I'd consider $40 mil of value per year for 3 years though outside of Clemens but we have to put an * beside him. Lots of power there - Johnson, Clemens, Ryan all members of the 4000k club, but so is Steve Carlton. Verlander is in that power club without a doubt (over a K per inning) - if he was a decade younger he'd be getting a $200+ mil deal for sure. These aren't uncharted waters, but very high risk/high reward ones. Clemens was worth 17.2 WAR and that has to be the very best case possible - at $9 mil a WAR that is worth $154.8 mil. Johnson is more realistic at 15.9 ($143.1 mil), or Ryan/Niekro (both 12.4 = $111.6 - how often do you see those two in the same group?). But of course meh's are possible (Glavine 4.6 WAR = $41.4 mil) as are nightmares (Carlton -1.3 WAR - negative value).

    I'd put Johnson as the closest comp due to his winning a Cy Young at 38 with a 195 ERA+, then dropped at 39 to a 110 before recovering at 40 to come in 2nd with a 176 ERA+, which sadly was the dead cat bounce. He did reach 125 at 43 but wasn't a Cy contender after his age 40 season. Clemens was an All-Star all 3 years and won a Cy and came in 3rd for it but with a very big * beside his name.
  • scottt - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 11:28 AM EST (#424540) #
    TB has been really good at developing pitching and they don't mind running platoons.
    That's pretty much their "how to win" recipe.

    electric carrot - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 11:49 AM EST (#424541) #
    Boy do I ever feel skeptical about the chances of the Jays landing Verlander. I put the odds at about 1 in a million.
    Kasi - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 01:04 PM EST (#424542) #
    I’d be happy enough with first half Kirk as our DH. Second half Kirk not really. Obv he is a good catcher but if he can’t stick there due to fitness then sure DH and backup catcher is okay. Either way he has to get his fitness under control. Obv he’s not ever going to be like Moreno but he needs to be able to maintain himself over say 135-140 games played. Not tank in the second half like last year.
    SK in NJ - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 02:33 PM EST (#424544) #
    Kirk had a 129 wRC+ in 2022 (even factoring the 2nd half struggles), and has a 142 wRC+ projection for 2023. If a team wants a DH with 20-30 home run power, then he's probably not the right fit, but as an overall hitter, he's perfectly fine at DH. The offensive skill set is very good. The question with him is durability and his aging curve due to his size. If he remains this out of shape, then I wouldn't trust him past his current years of control.

    If the team ends up keeping Moreno and Kirk, which is what I expect to happen, then I think that alleviates some of the risk as I would expect Moreno to get the bulk of the catching duties in that scenario while Kirk is a back-up catcher and mostly DH. They would just have to plan the DH days for Springer, Vlad, etc, on the days when Kirk catches. If they end up trading Moreno, then best case scenario would be for someone like Varsho who could also act as a 3rd catcher, but if I had to guess, I'd say neither side wants to trade either of those players.
    John Northey - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 04:33 PM EST (#424545) #
    Back in 1996-7 offseason no one thought seriously about the Jays landing Clemens, then they did and it created lots of great memories during that dark time in team history even with the cloud over it now. That is why I wouldn't be shocked if the Jays land Verlander. It is far from likely (Houston has to be viewed as the #1 contender to have him in 2023) but it is possible.

    As to the catching situation I think we need to take note of what Atkins and the rest of the Jays brain-trust has been saying over the past year+ - namely that they like balance and want guys who don't strike out a lot but will take their walks. Kirk is exactly that, thus another reason why it'd take a LOT to get him out of here. Jansen K's almost twice as much as he walks, and Moreno is very similar. So based on that Kirk is the only safe one, with the other 2 being at risk - given the Jays watching their budget I wouldn't be shocked if Jansen ends up getting the short stick in the end. But #1 is what comes back I figure. Arizona being the obvious trade partner - their weaknesses are C and SS plus RH power outside of Christian Walker, strength LH CF. They also need relievers, and more starters (who doesn't?) but at this stage wouldn't mortgage the future for pen help but it would help seal a deal I'd figure. Also safe to say they want out from Madison Bumgarner's contract (2 years $37 mil left on it). For the Jays we could use lock down relievers and more starting depth. So what can the Jays chase there? Joe Mantiply is a LH reliever who last year barely walked anyone (6 BB in 60 IP) and K's a fair amount (61 in 60 IP), but is entering his age 32 season so probably won't be there for Arizona's contending years, so he could be part of a package as long as the Jays send 2 half decent guys back for their pen (eat innings, help keep them decent). Lots of potential moving parts... but I see a potential of Arizona: Thomas, Maniply for Jays: Gurriel Jr, Jansen, and Pop. They get RH via Jansen & Gurriel plus a solid reliever for a long time in Pop, Jays get their desired LH CF (high end defense but not so good SO-BB ratio but tons of offensive potential). THe Trade Simulator says it is almost dead even (36.4 vs 36.5) and would address both teams needs without creating too many holes. Yeah, Jays would still need another OF but those tend to not be too hard to find especially for LF (low defensive skills required vs CF, not as good an arm needed as RF). This would also remove another potential free agent post 2023, leaving just Chapman as a major one to worry about. If the Jays want a bigger fish (Carroll) then they would need to take on Bumgarner's contract to balance it out or give up a few good prospects.

    For a trade that doesn't cost as many players - Carroll, Maniply & Bumgarner for Moreno - clears payroll for Arizona (makes owners happy) and gives them the catcher they need (RH hitting) and the Jays get a star LH CF, a solid LH reliever, and a #5 starter who can eat innings at least (plus tons of playoff experience which the Jays desperately could use). 51.3 to 53.7 so a very fair trade again but one that keeps Gurriel in LF, and makes the pen super deep. I like this one a lot, but it would depend on Rogers willingness to eat that contract.
    92-93 - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 06:05 PM EST (#424546) #
    MLB DHs in 2022: .236/.313/.397
    Alejandro Kirk: .285/.372/.415
    Kirk's career: .278/.362/.426

    With the NL adopting the DH, there simply isn't that much offensive talent to go around.
    dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 07:09 PM EST (#424549) #
    Kirk is just a very unique guy. He basically was hitting clean up for the 2nd half which was a byproduct of him being terrible on the basepaths and not able to bat 1,2 or 3rd in the line up. He’s not strong enough to be a clean up hitter imho and is better suited to bat 5th or 6th.

    You could really improve this line up by trading him or Moreno for a player of equal value who is fast, LH and young. It really should happen if this team had serious plans on contending because they’ll continue to be mowed down by SPs going down and away on all our RHH.
    Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, November 23 2022 @ 07:21 PM EST (#424550) #
    Old enough to remember the grand opening of SkyDome. And the World Series glory.

    Mister Named For Hank used to post awesome pictures that I put on my desktop wallpaper.

    I miss the live chat room, which I think disappeared before 2010.

    The voting polls were more common back then. I endorse more votes. And I brazenly end sentences with prepositions.
    vw_fan17 - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 01:00 AM EST (#424551) #
    I did the live chat back in the day a few times. These days, being in the PST + family, it's more difficult. I watch MOST Jays/Leafs games on "replay" after they finish. I often exercise while doing it. And I skip commercials as much as possible to cut it down to ~1 hr of watching. Just can't find time to slowly watch 2.5-3 hours of content these days. In 10+ years, when the kids are out of the house and I'm retired? I'll probably be able to go back to it..
    bpoz - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 09:09 AM EST (#424552) #
    What is a good strategy for batting lineup? Which spots are most important and what skills are required there. Just in theory.

    My version is:

    1 leadoff Go with OBP. Kirk .372 Gurriel .343

    2 & 3 2 of the better offensive talent players.

    4 a pretty good hitter that can drive in players on base.

    5 & 6 the next 2 best offensive players.

    7 the next best offensive player.

    8 & 9 2 worst offensive players.

    dalimon5 - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 10:40 AM EST (#424553) #
    Jays need the following for their line up"

    Top 5 hitter with speed (think Jazz Chisholm)
    Top 5 LHH (think Jazz Chisholm)
    Top 5 LHH for pure balance (think Cody Bellinger)

    That would transform the Jays from a top offense in baseball that is flawed and vulnerable against the best pitchers to a top offense with much more balance which is harder for opposing pitchers to navigate through. They need variety and balance.

    Think of guys like Chisholm and Bellinger - yes of course they are hot commodities and likely difficult to bring up North,, however there are lots of other players. Here are some names that help to balance out the line up and change the look of the offense, though not ideal candidates they would help to get it done:

    Cedric Mullins
    Jazz Chisholm
    Corbin Carroll

    Brandon Nimmo
    Bellinger (bounceback or bust)

    Jake McCarthy
    Gavin Lux
    Ian Happ
    Alek Thomas

    Joey Wendle
    Kevin Keirmaier
    Andrew Benintendi
    Michael Brantley
    Charlie Blackmon
    Josh Bell
    Kolten Wong
    Christian Yellich
    David Peralta

    I advocate for trading Kirk because he's so good right now that he may help net you someone from the dream category which I don't think Moreno can get yet. If that can't happen then I would advocate for signing Bellinger and someone else from the realistic targets list.

    So something like Bellinger or Brantley to TOR on a one year deal then trading Espinal for Wendle and Berti from MIA... something like that would shake this attack up.

    dalimon5 - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 01:33 PM EST (#424554) #
    Looking at the MLB free agents expected to be available next offseason and holy smokes...Gurrie, Chapmanl and Teoscar are going to get paid.
    BlueJayWay - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 05:19 PM EST (#424555) #
    Boy do I ever feel skeptical about the chances of the Jays landing Verlander. I put the odds at about 1 in a million.

    So you're saying there's a chance!
    Paul D - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 07:53 PM EST (#424556) #
    Last year's Jays had a better OPS versus RHP thna LHP. I think the need for balance is overstated
    dalimon5 - Thursday, November 24 2022 @ 09:48 PM EST (#424557) #

    Did you watch the same team??? Using a generic stat that covers 162 games is not the best way to measure how successful a team will be when it counts. Look at the splits against RHP in games that counted and you can throw an OPS over 162 out the window.

    Teo couldn't hit the curveball, Vlad can't lay off the slider or fastball away, Bo couldn't hit the ball away until August started...that's practically half the line up right there. I watched Kyle Bradish mow down this line up too many times last season to believe an OPS number inflated from lop sided games against Boston.
    Paul D - Friday, November 25 2022 @ 06:52 AM EST (#424558) #
    I did watch the games and both my observations and the numbers suggest that the offence was not the problem.

    Don't get me wrong, if it's possible to improve your cf defence and get a lhb go for it. At minimum, and lhp 4th of to spell off the regulars would make sense. I think both the starting pitching and bullpen should be higher priorities
    bpoz - Friday, November 25 2022 @ 07:29 AM EST (#424559) #
    Atkins has mentioned getting 1 maybe 2 SPs and bullpen help. E Swanson seems to be a boost to the pen. But that cost us a corner OF. As well Zimmer and Tapia were let go. So the team needs OF help it seems to me.

    At the moment our OFs are Springer, Gurriel and Merrifield with ML experience. O Lopez and Lukes don't have a ML track record.

    Teo's expected offense is going to be almost impossible to reproduce IMO. C & IF are all offensively pretty good except 2B Biggio/Espinal and 3B Chapman. Moreno I believe is a good bat that can help 2B/3B and possibly OF.

    CF seems the best position to add an OF. LH or RH does not matter to me. Elite defense with mediocre offense is acceptable to me. Zimmer & JBJ fall short of mediocre offense but are easy to get. I understand that some Bauxites are keen/very keen that the CF has to be a LHH.

    BTW I am not sure that Chapman will not be traded this off season.
    dalimon5 - Friday, November 25 2022 @ 10:37 AM EST (#424560) #
    I don't think this offense is balanced enough as is but I certainly agree with you that BP and rotation is higher priority to address first.
    John Northey - Saturday, November 26 2022 @ 02:26 PM EST (#424561) #
    The Jays budget is close to being an issue now - it appears they won't go into the luxury tax unless late in the season and feel like it is for a final piece or something. At an estimated $201 mil they have $32 mil left before that is an issue. That takes out Verlander and his likely $40 mil per year deal, and Judge (duh). I'd say Correa/Turner/Bogaerts are also out of the Jays budget now among others. Nimmo is on the fringe ($130/5 expected to be the price now or $26 per which is pushing it) unless the Jays do the accounting juggle that the Yankees did with LeMathieu (extra years but not much extra cash to drop the AAV thus slipping in under the tax).

    On the bright side it ups the odds of resigning Stripling (expected to be $9-10 per) and doing a trade for a kid for CF (like Thomas in Seattle if they'd take Jansen in exchange - 6 years of control would be sweet with elite defense - as an FYI: he was drafted in the 2nd round in 2018, when the Jays took Griffin Conine 11 picks before Thomas went...sigh - Conine now in AA with Miami after being traded for Jonathan Villar in 2020). I'd be happy with that set of changes - best CF defense in years with Springer in RF a lot thus skyrocketing the defense out there vs Hernandez. The pitchers would be very happy to see that.

    Like most I'd love the Jays to make a big splash but also am realistic - every team has a budget of some kind, even the Dodgers. If the Jays can dance near the tax level in 2023 they should have enough talent to win, and $20 mil comes off the books after 2023 (Ryu) plus Gurriel ($5 mil). Just checked and that tax barely moves - $233 for 2023, $237 in '24, $241 in '25, $244 in '26. If they go over it is 20% on any overage but it takes $40+ mil over to get hit with loss of draft picks (shifted down by 10 slots). Bigger penalties if you keep going over ala the Dodgers and Yankees. It isn't a cap but teams treat it like one mostly.
    Dr B - Saturday, November 26 2022 @ 04:22 PM EST (#424562) #
    For want of better place to put this, the following article opines Tanner Morris as a potential hidden gem.

    He can sure hit, though he might be not have much of a glove. Tanner Morris is exposed in the Rule 5 draft. I would not be upset if he is taken, but I reserve the right to be upset in a year's time if he is taken and turns out to be really good.
    bpoz - Saturday, November 26 2022 @ 04:45 PM EST (#424563) #
    Excellent accounting John N. If Vlad is extended does that harm the payroll accounting? If so that is a serious issue to deal with IMO.

    The Teo trade had it's flaws and benefits. One benefit is that the pitching prospect depth has improved. Next year Adam Macko should get to AA and pitch a lot possibly dominating hopefully.
    John Northey - Saturday, November 26 2022 @ 11:08 PM EST (#424566) #
    Good question on Vlad and Bo and any others who'd get an extension since they base the CBT on average annual value, not actual pay each year. Vlad would be less of a nightmare this year due to his being in 2nd year arbitration thus getting nearly $15 mil anyways. So lets say Vlad gets a 10 year deal, $300 mil - $15 this year, $20 next, $25, $30, $30, $30, $30, $35, $40, $45 mil. I doubt he'd get that, but lets go with it. The luxury tax hit is $30 mil each year of that, so an extra $15 this year roughly. Given that the Jays might try for a 13 or even 15 year deal but reducing the AAV given those last years will probably not be pretty. So lets go 15 for $400 with the last 5 going $30, $25, $20, $15, $10 - you get an AAV of $26.7 so this year is hit by about $12 mil extra, but you know you have him for his age 24-38 seasons - basically a career locked in as a Jay. At that point you might try for a 20 year deal so he can brag about the longest MLB contract ever for $410 mil - last 5 going $2 mil per and he is signed through age 43. Silly, but it would shift AAV to $20.5 which would reduce the hit this year to $5-6 mil vs arbitration and 100% guarantee he would be a Jay for life. But I can't see that happening as it'd be a bit silly and odds are MLB would say 'no, you can't do that' as a way to avoid the luxury tax (I suspect there is a limit to the number of years, if not on paper then a 'gentleman's agreement' on it or you could make it a 100 year contract with every year after the first 20 at the ML minimum of $700k thus making it lower AAV - around $4.7 mil a year).

    Bo is just hitting arbitration so his hit would be bigger, while Manoah & Kirk are both pre-arb thus maximum hit. Hmm... wonder if the AAV is to discourage the big money teams from doing what small market ones do - locking up top young players for years at a bargain price as that bargain might push you over the tax limit a few times before it settles down. It wouldn't shock me if the Jays plan on being just shy of the tax for the next 5 years or even plan on going over as the revenue and cost/benefit should be there. I suspect they want to make someone the long term face of the franchise and Vlad certainly could be that (he has been groomed for that from the time he was signed at 16 pretty much). Bo I don't think they are as sold on, same for Kirk. Manoah I see as the other likely one for a long term deal but not for a few years unless he is willing to sign for way less than he should (unlike Vlad and Bo he isn't from a rich MLB generational family so the money might be more tempting to lock in). Regardless it will be interesting to see how the Jays deal with it as they are finally hitting a payroll that is big enough to be worth worrying about for the first time since the glory days of the early 90's imo.
    scottt - Sunday, November 27 2022 @ 08:15 AM EST (#424568) #
    I think people draw the wrong conclusion for the reverse split of the Jays.
    Because they can field 9 right handed hitter, they rarely face any lefty starter who has normal splits.
    Also, the Jays hitters seems to struggle with lefties because they don't face them regularly.
    They see lots of change ups which end out of the strike zone.

    The Jays are not good at producing runs against good right handed pitching either.
    They get pounded in the part of the strike zone where they can't drive the ball and they see balls being called for strike consistently.

    It wouldn't make any sense to go get a starting pitcher who would push Gausman or Manoah out of the 2 starting playoffs spots. That would be like going all in hoping to lose in 3 instead of losing in 2. They need to win those games that Manoah and Gausman start and that means a more balanced offense.

    bpoz - Sunday, November 27 2022 @ 08:47 AM EST (#424569) #
    A well thought out response to the future payroll issue by keeping Vlad John N.

    I need to see more decisions by this FO to form a conclusion.

    1) M Chapman: Do they trade him this off season? Montoyo had him hitting near the bottom of the lineup. Schneider had him hitting a bit higher. Chapman's D was elite but his O was adequate at best. If Espinal replaces a traded Chapman, D suffers a bit but O is not affected that much IMO. I am not bothered by the payroll benefit of the exchange because it is not back breaking. I also don't think Chapman gets a QO.

    2) Vlad getting an extension with opt outs to entice him to sign and somehow the Jays get a better financial deal by giving that.

    3) Bo if unwilling to sign gets traded before becoming a FA. Will the farm produce an adequate replacement in time?

    Since a popular Teo was traded without much fuss then other popular players can be traded as well which will establish for me what kind of spending this team is limited to.

    lexomatic - Sunday, November 27 2022 @ 11:36 PM EST (#424588) #
    RE Chapman. There is zero point to trading him this off-season unless there's a bunch of injuries or terrible performances that take the team out of contention.
    I would expect any decision on a qualifying offer until later in the season and depending on how Barger and Orelvis do. If they're having bad seasons then I think a QO is pretty likely, just for 1 more year at a reasonable price to give prospects a chance or better players to come on the market. I don't think next year's 3B are any good, but I haven't looked in a while.
    I would have no problems giving him a QO even if the 2 prospects do well because it gives you options.
    bpoz - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 07:52 AM EST (#424589) #
    With the rule changes next year some players will be hurt and others helped.

    Pitchers will be hurt by a faster pitch clock, bigger bases and limited number of throws to 1B.

    Bigger bases means easier and faster DPs? Bigger bases makes it easier for the 1B to stay on the base for fielding, but the runner has less distance to cover.

    Shifting rules will hurt some hitters and help others I suppose. But how? Fielders will cover territories differently I think.

    Now I am overthinking this with no answers.

    Flyball VS ground ball pitchers.

    I am guessing higher OBP? Then less solo HRs but more DPs?

    This started with my evaluation of Chapman's value. How does he gain or lose value? I don't know.

    Sorry about the long post with many questions and few answers.
    Cracka - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 09:36 AM EST (#424590) #
    Chapman's D was elite but his O was adequate at best.

    He has too much swing & miss for my liking, but as a 3B, Chapman's offense is above average (115 OPS+) and has been every single year of his career. If you were to "stack rank" the 3B across MLB, Chapman would be ~12th in offense and ~7th in defense; overall, Jays 3B were worth 1.5 WAR, 9th best in MLB. Is that worth a QO? I don't know, but his entire package is going to be difficult to replace. That being said, he turns 30 in April and is more likely to regress than improve at this point in his career. So perhaps now is the time to "sell high"?
    dalimon5 - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 11:03 AM EST (#424591) #

    Trea Turner is the first SS to sign, Xander Bogaerts signs 2nd and Corea is again left waiting because he wants too much money.

    Cody Bellinger and Justin Verlander sign early right before the GM meetings on Sunday, thereby setting the market and creating an exciting GM meetings weekend.

    Blue Jays target LHP in the bullpen and sign one of Matt Moore or Jose Alvarado.

    Seattle and Philadelphia outbid San Francisco and NY for major star talent.

    Blue Jays sign a top SP but do not address the imbalance of their line up. They go into 2022 with a wicked bullpen, top rotation in the league and extremely vulnerable unbalanced line up against good RHP. They hedge their bets on “great pitching wins you championships.”
    scottt - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 12:03 PM EST (#424592) #
    Closer Romano
    8th Swanson
    7th Garcia
    Middle inning Bass,Mayza,Cimber,Richards
    Long relief White

    Mayza is the only lefty, but both Cimber and Richards are tough on left bats and Kikuchi is a second lefty if they don't start him.

    What they could use is another multi-inning guy, but they do have several internal options. Pearson, Zulueta, Hatch,  Merryweather, Thornton, etc...

    They are happy to pay Chapman 12.5M per year. They have a couple of guys who could slot in at third in Barger and Martinez. Would Chapman accept a QO? Maybe not if he understands that he wouldn't be playing full time. At that point they could trade him at the deadline. Not a terrible waste of money.

    John Northey - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 01:34 PM EST (#424593) #
    Chapman is what the Jays need right now so I don't see him being traded. He was worth 3.5 bWAR in 2022, 4.1 fWAR. That ain't cheap to replace, especially when he is making 'just' $12 mil (roughly what it costs to buy 1-2 WAR on the free agent market). FanGraphs projects him to be 3.5-3.7 fWAR in value in 2023. Now, after 2023 as he hits free agency going into his age 31 season I'd probably let him go (QO or not, I'd offer one) if a kid on the farm is ready (a few possibilities) or if the Jays feel Espinal can shuffle over to 3B everyday and Biggio can handle 2B - I don't feel good about that, but it is an option. Merrifield is also a free agent post 2023 (unless the Jays and him both agree to his $18 mil option). So it is up to the kids to show they can take over or we are seeing a big hole in the team post 2022. I'm liking Addison Barger (entering age 23 season, 308/378/555 between A+/AA/AAA last year). Orelvis Martinez is still a very good prospect, entering age 21 coming off a AA season where he hit 203/286/446, tons of power but really needs to work on making contact. Both guys played a lot at SS and a lot at 3B so clearly the Jays are hedging their bets with both as to which position they will play if they reach the majors. It'll be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses.
    Gerry - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 02:10 PM EST (#424594) #
    Jose Abreu is reportedly joining the Astros.
    scottt - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 03:51 PM EST (#424595) #
    At 20M a year. They just won it all and the owner feels like spending.
    John Northey - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 06:19 PM EST (#424596) #
    An interesting thing - multiple spots now are talking about an Arizona - Toronto trade. Took them all long enough.

    Seems the current thinking is a 1-1 deal of Moreno for Alek Thomas. Not a fan of the idea - Thomas is a great fielder and might be Devon White II in a lot of respects long term and with 6 years of control would be here a long time, but his wRC+ was just 71 and he was sent back to AAA late in the season. His wRC+ in the minors was great everywhere but A+ - ranging between 89 (A+) and 129-168 (peak in AAA in 2021 over 166 PA). Arizona's minors are known for being hitters parks to an extreme degree (think Vegas for fans who remember when that was the Jays AAA team). There is potential but 1 for 1? Moreno is a top 5 prospect in MLB, Thomas never reached that (18th was his peak). I'd want Arizona to add some sweetener in that deal like Joe Mantiply (a very good LH reliever) at the very least. However, a 1-1 deal would still probably work out due to having the 3 catchers here and Thomas being able to shift Springer to RF thus making the OF much better defensively thus making all the pitchers better. Gausman and Berrios would like that (both give up a lot of fly balls, while Manoah gives up even more.
    bpoz - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 06:51 PM EST (#424597) #
    I look forward to an exciting winter meetings. The big money being spent will be thrilling. The reporters hustling and finding hidden gems of info from unknown sources.

    Rumors and more rumors!!
    Cracka - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 08:42 PM EST (#424598) #
    I don't like the Moreno for Alek Thomas trade proposal at all, even if Arizona sweetens the deal. I can't fathom trading a Top 5 prospect for an unproven hitter with a lower pedigree. If we're dealing with Arizona, Daulton Varsho is the target, even if he costs us more than just Moreno (and he will). Four controllable years of near-certain production is far better than 5-6 controllable years of uncertain production. If Moreno gets moved this off-season, I expect it will be part of a bigger 3-4 player deal that nets a stud, not another prospect.
    dalimon5 - Monday, November 28 2022 @ 08:50 PM EST (#424599) #
    Agree with Cracka but I would want McCarthy or Carroll as the piece coming back rather than Varsho.
    dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 29 2022 @ 11:17 AM EST (#424602) #
    This board is quieter than the rumours!
    Marc Hulet - Tuesday, November 29 2022 @ 01:02 PM EST (#424603) #
    I don't really understand the McCarthy love. He's more of a fringe regular, likely better 4th OF, without a real impactful carrying tool. And his statcast numbers show he really doesn't hit the ball with much authority... not worth Gabriel Moreno or Kirk.
    scottt - Tuesday, November 29 2022 @ 04:46 PM EST (#424605) #
    Anyone bored can have a look at the steamers projections which seems to be all there.

    According to those, Kirk is a 4 WAR catcher, Jansen tops around 2.5.
    Kirk is cheaper, but maybe not for long and Jansen would probably be easier to extend, but not as a backup.
    They predict some regression from Manoah and a rebound for Guerrero.

    dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 29 2022 @ 06:51 PM EST (#424606) #
    I would want McCarthy + if it’s Kirk or Moreno going back.
    BlueJayWay - Tuesday, November 29 2022 @ 08:04 PM EST (#424607) #
    Looks like Don Mattingly will be hired as bench coach.
    JohnL - Tuesday, November 29 2022 @ 08:52 PM EST (#424608) #
    If it’s from the NY Post (, the headline “Don Mattingly deep in talks to join Blue Jays’ coaching staff” is not backed up by the story at all. He’s deep in talks with some team; the authors *speculate* the Jays, not based on much, but the headline writers “confirm.”
    Gerry - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 09:13 AM EST (#424610) #
    Don Mattingly is official. Casey Candaele back to AAA manager.
    dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 09:39 AM EST (#424612) #
    I actually love this move. I wasn't a fan of re-signing Schneider. He did well during the season mostly off the back of Bo's legendary 2 months. He's extremely likeable and received lots of credit for keeping players like Bo and Vlad in line. Other than lowering Bo in the line up I don't think he did anything to challenge Vlad other than telling the media that his lack of hustle was not going to be tolerated... not a real challenge to me.

    His performance during the playoffs for me was an epic mismanagement. I am glad he got a 2nd chance from the front office but I'm still unsure if he is the right coach. I don't dislike him but I like FO's that are tough on their staff as it helps set the tone. Mattingly is likely brought in for two reasons: 1) insurance for a slow start under Jon Schneider and 2) to start weeding out some of the "unprofessional" fun behavior of the players. This smells a lot like Atkins priming for a potential managerial move.

    I don't care what anybody says - Springer, Manoah...anyone will listen to a former player of Mattingly's calibre. Potential HOF and legendary bat. The best part is that the Yankee world was lining him up as a replacement for Aaron Boone and now he's with us.
    bpoz - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 09:41 AM EST (#424613) #
    I read the news about Mattingly on the Jay's website but I don't know who wrote it. A wonderful history of his coaching and managing career.

    The only quote is from J Schneider in which he says that he likes this move. I have a feeling but no proof that Schneider did the interviewing and made the decision.
    dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 10:00 AM EST (#424614) #
    For the record, I don't think Don Mattingly has done a wonderful job managing the Marlins. I feel that most managers today have to work within boundaries set by the front office suits, and because of that it is becoming more important for the manager to be a buffer between the analytics upstairs and the common sense eye test approach on the field. Someone that can take orders but also try to maintain that old school approach of managing. Mattingly wold strike that balance because of his stature. The issue I find is the model of the past doesn't work.


    Pre-Analytics: Relief pitcher didn't perform out of the bullpen so his playing time is getting cut down.
    Today: His spin rate or velocity is elite so he knows he will be run out there many more times as the data will support him

    Pre-Analytics: 1B doesn't put the ball in play or continues to ground out chasing borderline pitches. He is moved in the line up.
    Today: He still has the best eye, patience and power and elite exit velocity so he stays in the clean up spot even if he's making bad decisions.

    I don't think Don supports elite talent over bad or immature decisions. Interesting.
    Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 10:31 AM EST (#424615) #
    Mattingly is an interesting addition, though it's obviously had to say how much influence a bench coach has. Given his experience, though, is he going to look like the Manager-in-Waiting every time the team slumps under Schneider?
    Cracka - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 10:57 AM EST (#424616) #
    That was my first thought too -- Mattingly is an excellent addition and would be the obvious interim manager when required... and he probably makes Schneider's job a little less secure. Interestingly though, Mattingly has still never been to the World Series after 33 years as a player, coach, and manager. That's quite something given the teams he was associated with.
    bpoz - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 11:07 AM EST (#424617) #
    Mattingly was a hitting coach so that could be useful.
    scottt - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 11:10 AM EST (#424618) #
    He's the guy who will coach when Schneider is tossed or suspended.

    I've seen a few posts from other teams' fansites and the guy who pops up in trade is Bichette.
    It's like people are confusing the Blue Jays with the A's or the Rays.
    There are a lot of good shortstops in the market but there are lot of small market owners.

    dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 01:31 PM EST (#424621) #
    I like Jon Morosi's strategy/recommendation of what may happen with the Jays FO:

    Jays need to extend Bo and or Vlad this offseason or it will become a distraction during the season. They've already waited too long on Vlad since he is now a gold glove caliber first baseman.

    If Bo doesn't want to sign with Toronto then trade him for a pitcher like Zac Gallen and sign one of the top SS on the market.

    bpoz - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 02:11 PM EST (#424622) #
    Shapiro and Atkins are not saying much this offseason. Atkins has said he wants pitching 1 SP at least and then add pen help.

    So what is an SP? 3-4 innings is not a SP. 4-5 maybe? 5-6 innings is a SP for sure.

    Berrios 5.1IP 5ER against NYY May11th. This was his 3rd best of 5 May starts. So ok I guess. Jays lost 5-3. 172 IP for the year is decent/good I suppose.

    Kikuchi had 1 good start in both June & July. So 2 in 8 starts. His 1st 3 Aug starts were all bad and he was then put into the pen.

    Mitch White had 10 starts with the Jays and only 3 were good.

    Max Castillo pitched 1-4 innings/gm with Toronto and 1 very good 5 inning game with KC. Max pitched 3 of 4 good games for Toronto. They were 3-4 innings each. Those stats are very good for a bulk innings pitcher.

    Clevinger got $8mil for 1 year. If he can give 3-5 innings/gm then that may be good enough. Of course "that" will not get him a good contract for 2024. Also $8mil may be expensive for a bulk pitcher.

    So what is expensive? The Judge offer is. The Jays are not shopping there.
    Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 02:49 PM EST (#424623) #
    Mattingly can whisper 1st baseman knowledge to Guerrero Jr.

    Ross Atkins needs a clean shave, short neat hair, and dark rimmed glasses. He looks very sharp that way.

    Mattingly needs to clean up this team. Hernández was the most handsome player, but now he's gone.

    It's important to look good on TV. Like that hysteria about Lisa LaFlamme's hair was overblown.

    Ultimately, we need a field manager like Monty Burns. Schneider did not get tossed or suspended enough.
    jerjapan - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 03:46 PM EST (#424624) #
    We got pop and bass because we were willing to give up the best player in the deal. Moreno for thomas and Brandon pfaadt or Blake Walston - 4th and 5th ranked prospects in the system. Either guy is 6th on the starter depth chart.

    We would have to add some lesser pieces.

    We need elite D up the middle. That’s not varsho.
    lexomatic - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 05:47 PM EST (#424625) #
    We need elite D up the middle. That’s not varsho.
    By the numbers Varsho has been pretty good in both CF and RF by statscast OOA. and UZR/150 (in partial seasons) are outrageous in the corners and very good in CF (last year in the range of Myles Straw, Lorenzo Cain, Michael Taylor, Harrison Bader, Lane Thomas...). I haven't seen him play so I can't comment. Anyway. Varsho seems to have a higher floor with power, steals, and outperformed Thomas at AA in different seasons (2019 vs 2021) so no idea how much of a difference that makes. Varsho is 4 years older though, and Varsho and Thomas were pretty comparable in AAA in 2021. It's hard to tell who has more potential to hit for average.
    I think that's when maybe scouting gives you some insight, and any in person "character" stuff. Varsho has more defensive track record, and didn't have D numbers boosted by framing, but ARZ put Thomas in CF most of the time.
    How much is range a component? Doesn't look like Varsho played much OF in the minors. How much is stadium or pitchers style?Thomas seriously hit the ball into the ground though. How much does elevating mess him up or help? Him and Varsho hit the ball about as hard as each other.

    This was a fun exercise. I don't konw anythign about those pitchers, but I'm okay with that.
    Marc Hulet - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 06:48 PM EST (#424626) #
    Have always been a big fan of Varsho... He came up as a catcher but is very athletic and was previously blocked at catcher. Thomas is ok... Plus raw power but he's never been able to stop hitting the ball on the ground way too much... Kinda like another hitter we know well. Not sure the Jays have a great track record at adjusting swings...
    John Northey - Wednesday, November 30 2022 @ 10:31 PM EST (#424628) #
    Jordan Groshans doesn't catch me as a guy who is a 'wow'. 61 ML PA and 1 extra base hit, over 1116 PA in the majors and minors he has a line of 284/363/398 which would require excellent defense to be useful at 3B in the majors. I always saw hope in him but this past year he lost all power without adding to his average and his 120 total games this year (ML/minors) is his highest total ever. I had and still have no issue with trading that for 2 solid ML relievers plus a prospect (Edward Duran added at the end of August as the PTBNL, an 18 year old C/1B who hit well at 17 890 OPS, but poorly at 19 632 OPS) - he got a $450k bonus to sign in 2021.

    Agreed I'd like elite defense in which case we need Thomas (finalist for NL Gold Glove in CF), not Varsho. The trade simulator has Moreno down to 53 in value, Varsho at 74, Thomas at 29.6, Mantiply 6.8 (another LHP for the pen), Merrill Kelly (solid RHP signed cheaply for 23/24 option 25) 8.5 (seems very low to me). It says the Jays are ripped off in that deal, but I'd take it - Moreno for Thomas, Mantiply, and Kelly - get a solid defensive CF, a solid starter (200 IP last year), and a solid LHP for the pen. 53.7 to 44.9 according to the simulator. If I was the Jays that is the least I'd ask for, and not worry about Carroll or Varsho - both are near untouchable anyways. This would fill in 3 holes for years at the price of one very highly regarded top prosect who plays at an overstocked position here while also not jumping the budget (Kelly signed for $8.5 for 22 and 23 option $7 mil $1 mil buyout).
    bpoz - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 08:28 AM EST (#424629) #
    Russ Martin brought something to the teams he played for. LAD/NYY would make the playoffs without him lets say. But Pittsburgh and Toronto? Well Pittsburgh continued to do well in 2015 without Martin but the Jays were successful in 2015/16 with Martin. Martin's 1st season was 415 ABs in 2006 so by 2017 or so he had a lot of wear and tear due to catching. Martin was very durable until 2017.

    So just my opinion: 1) How can you predict durability? 2) There is probably evidence for a C making a pitching staff play up to potential. What ever that is. Halladay did fine without Martin. Were Halladay's Cs any good or was it just him?

    I am beating around the bush. Sorry. If the C can make his staff better then he has incredible value. Pillar was our CF in 2015/16. The pitching and defense equation now becomes important. Bring back Zimmer?
    dalimon5 - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 10:35 AM EST (#424630) #
    Interesting to read right now that it appears Sean Murphy is the best C on the market right now via trade. Kirk, Moreno and Jansen look to be back up plans.
    Gerry - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 07:30 PM EST (#424637) #
    Zac Eflin to the Rays, $40M, 3 years. It looks like there is lots of money in baseball if the Rays are handing out these big contracts.
    dalimon5 - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 07:49 PM EST (#424638) #
    Gerry, you’re making a bold assumption that the Rays won’t be dealing Glasnow to clear payroll space…
    dalimon5 - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 08:15 PM EST (#424639) #
    Eflin is slated to make $11, $11 and $18 million for the contract while Glasnow is slated to make $5 and $25 million the next two years. My guess is Eflin will eat up the innings that Glasnow vacates once he is moved at the deadline if not sooner. Still a bad signing.
    bpoz - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 08:19 PM EST (#424640) #
    A very interesting off season so far. Very quiet except for Seattle.

    The winter meetings could be active.
    John Northey - Thursday, December 01 2022 @ 10:10 PM EST (#424641) #
    For catchers influence on pitchers lets check Halladay...

    Age 22 - first season in majors (outside of 2 starts the year before) - Darrin Fletcher was the Jays #1, Mike Matheny the backup. Halladay had 18 starts - 3 bad ones (sub 5 IP), 15 of 5+ IP including a shutout (Matheny caught it), he had an 8 IP game with Fletcher, overall a 3.97 ERA as a starter in the midst of the PED era.

    Age 23 - the disaster 10.64 ERA Fletcher still the #1 with Albert Castillo the #2

    Age 24 - the recovery (145 ERA+) with Fletcher still #1 and Castillo #2

    Age 25 - led league in IP, 157 ERA+ but no Cy votes (voters still stuck on W's). Ken Huckaby #1, Tom Wilson #2, Fletcher hurt a lot and #3 catcher.

    So 4 very different seasons, all with Darrin Fletcher as part of the catching crew, #1 in all but 1 season. Clearly who was catching wasn't an issue for Halladay. In 2003 when he won the Cy Young at 26 the #1 was Greg Myers with Tom Wilson the main backup and Kevin Cash the 3rd guy (yes, that Kevin Cash).

    So do catchers make a difference? I'd think so, but I have no idea how one would measure it. ERA with each guy catching gives a clue, long term how a staff does can too, but I can't imagine how you'd measure it beyond pitch framing and stopping the running game. Hrm... maybe measure pitch usage in the first inning, and in later innings - if it doesn't change then odds are the catcher isn't reading his pitcher the best (as each game some stuff will be working better than others). For example, if a guy gives up a few hits in the first inning on fastballs, then fastball use should reduce the next inning or so before being slowly ramped back up if he gets it under control. Hard to say how you'd measure that though. Plus of course, teams now have full computer teams behind the scenes checking spin rates, velocity, movement during the game I'm sure and feeding that to the manager/coaches to pass along to the pitcher/catcher so they can adjust. At least I know I'd have that going on (would cost much less than any other method to improve performance I'd think). I'd have them doing that for the other teams pitchers too so you can feed that to the hitters - his curve is not spinning like normal today so be ready for it, or it is spinning crazy high so lay off it.
    John Northey - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 12:14 AM EST (#424642) #
    FYI: Verlander its reported is having issues with Houston - they won't offer more than 2 years, $70 mil (which makes sense imo). He is wanting $130 over 3 (same as Scherzer). I'd be tempted if the budget space is there (I don't think it is) - hopefully if he leaves Houston he goes to the Mets. Keeps him far away.
    bpoz - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 07:43 AM EST (#424643) #
    I looked at our 3 catchers in last years games.

    Moreno was replacing Jansen due to injury Jun 7- July 12.

    If Manoah had a bad game which was rare, Kirk caught all his games.

    Gausman had bad games and good games with all 3 it seemed.

    During Jansen's injury Moreno caught Stripling. Moreno did quite well. Kirk was also good. And Jansen did well too.

    The other SPs were bad and Berrios was hot and cold. All 3 Cs did equally bad/good. So I believe none of our Cs could make these pitchers better/good.

    My personal conclusion is that all 3 have about equal C defensive skills and managed the pitchers equally.

    scottt - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 09:00 AM EST (#424644) #
    Kirk is great catcher and a decent DH.
    Jansen is an average catcher and a poor DH. He's been on the IL a fair bit.
    Banning the shift might help him a bit but he's going to be 28 and catchers can age fast.
    Moreno has a lot of potential and should never DH.
    He looks like a young Russell Martin.

    Jansen has been better with some pitchers, Ryu, Stripling come to mind.

    This will be a very difficult year for catchers.
    We expect more steals. A limit on pickup throws. Larger bases. 
    There is a pitch count, so you better get on the same page fast.

    Paul D - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 04:29 PM EST (#424645) #
    Pat Tabler won't be back next year. Decision appears to be mutual? Hard to entirely tell from the statement
    bpoz - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 05:15 PM EST (#424646) #
    Seattle has been busy. Traded for Kolten Wong.

    Boston signed FA reliever Chris Martin.
    dalimon5 - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 08:14 PM EST (#424647) #
    And the off-season has officially begun with the Rangers starting things first.
    bpoz - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 09:34 PM EST (#424648) #
    Jacob deGrom to Rangers. Buckle down Bauxites.
    Shoeless Joe - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 09:34 PM EST (#424649) #
    The Rangers committed a lot of money to somebody who has hardly pitched in the last three years. I do commend them continuing to commit to winning.
    dalimon5 - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 09:42 PM EST (#424650) #
    I’d be a bit disappointed if I was a Rangers fan. Of course these signings are incredibly exciting but I imagine the fans won’t be experiencing any extended windows aka Cardinals, Rays or Guardians clubs. I prefer what the Jays appear to be doing which is competing without resets.
    John Northey - Friday, December 02 2022 @ 10:40 PM EST (#424651) #
    The Rangers have had few strong periods and 0 WS wins in their history. Formed in 1961 as one of the first expansion teams (as the Washington Senators) they moved to Texas in 1972, and finally made the playoffs in 1996 winning just 1 playoff game. They were swept in both 98 and 99. In 2010 and 2011 they made it to the World Series, in 2011 one win away from winning it all - leading 3 games to 2 then losing 10-9 in game 6 in extras blowing 2 run leads in the 9th and 10th innings - 96% chance of winning in the 9th (BR) was their best moment in their teams history. In 2012 they lost in the Wild Card game, and we all remember 2015/16 as the Jays knocked them out both times and they haven't reached 500 since.

    So their fans would be perfectly happy to risk having 4 years of injured expensive pitching for that moment of glory I'd figure. Much like how we all lived with the crappy Jack Morris in 93 and craptacular Joe Carter in 95-96-97 for those 2 WS years. Clearly they are hoping for the 17-19 form (31/32/32 starts 157 ERA+ 200+ IP per year) vs the 20-22 (38 total starts, 224 total innings, 198 ERA+ - when healthy he was wow, but wasn't healthy much)

    The Jays right now though - that deal would've made no sense. $37 mil per for 5 (maybe 6) years? For a guy entering his age 35 season after 2 injury plagued years? No thank you. In 2015 sure (we were desperate for anything), but today? Nope.
    dalimon5 - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 07:48 AM EST (#424652) #
    Rumour out there right now is that the Yankees have offered Judge 300 million for 8 years. He’s waiting to see if the Giants are op the offer and the Dodgers are still a possibility as well though less so.
    jerjapan - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 09:40 AM EST (#424653) #
    I like Pat as a person, an ex-Jay, and one of the voices of the franchise, but this move was overdue.  He duplicates too much of what Buck brings to the table.
    what's the name of the radio guy in Buffalo again?  He's my in-house choice.
    85bluejay - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 10:03 AM EST (#424654) #
    DeGrom is probably the best pitcher in baseball but because of injury and age concerns I think signing Carlos Rodon for less would have been a better bet, but I guess they like to do things big in Texas. Having committed over half a billion dollars to three players last year and losing, the Rangers are doubling down like a gambler trying to win back lost money - if it goes sideways, then just build another taxpayer funded ballpark and rake in more money.
    bpoz - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 10:22 AM EST (#424655) #
    deGrom improves the Rangers a lot whenever healthy during the contract. They also have good pitchers in their farm.
    ayjackson - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 02:03 PM EST (#424656) #
    Ben Wagner, @jerjapan?
    John Northey - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 02:53 PM EST (#424657) #
    Bryan Reynolds has asked formally for a trade from Pittsburgh now so odds are that will start moving. He'd be a high want item for the Jays. His 126 OPS+ last year was below his career average of 127 so not coming off a career year, peak was 145 in 2021, but had a 130 in 2019. 2020 was his flop year (71 OPS+) but that year was bizarre anyways. His dWAR hasn't been the best (negative the years he has been in CF). Under team control through 2025, entering his age 28 season. I'd personally rather the Jays chase down a high end defensive guy whose bat isn't as good like Alek Thomas as defense is an issue here. But the advantage of Reynolds is you are getting an immediate all-star whose switch hitting bat can fit anywhere in the lineup (batted mostly 2nd, sometimes 3rd). A Springer-Reynolds-Vlad-Bo top of the lineup sounds quite nice imo. Odds are he'll be very expensive to trade for though.

    So we have lots of options out there - from Arizona (many options) to Reynolds, to free agents (Nimmo). Even getting a corner OF and letting Springer stay in CF another year and hope (sign Zimmer or another cheap option to cover his days off).
    bpoz - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 07:09 PM EST (#424658) #
    I too feel that Atkins will get an OF defense specialist. But late in the off season. Zimmer & Jonathan Davis types are easy to get. Reggie Pruitt can't hit but he qualifies as a D specialist late in the game.
    The key is to get one that can also hit decently like Devon White. Pillar did that. TB has no problem finding that type of OF.
    jerjapan - Saturday, December 03 2022 @ 07:16 PM EST (#424659) #
    Ben Wagner! Thanks man. He’d be great. The tv guys need to speak to a younger crowd too, and Wagner hits that.

    Reynolds ticks all the boxes except elite D.

    Is it a must to add a CF, or would you guys be okay with some of the lefty corner bats?
    jerjapan - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 09:02 AM EST (#424660) #
    Not sure who dm fox is, Stoeten linked to him and his newsletter is great.

    Here he interviews minor league pitching coordinator Cory popham, who talks about a lot of the off the radar types the org is high on - Eisert, TJ Brock, Dominguez. Hernandez needs a bit more velo, but the change is ready. juenger. They still like Francis.

    And some interesting bits on developing bulk relievers.

    No mention of Kay or hatch despite a bunch of no-name relief guys getting talked about

    ISLAND BOY - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 09:46 AM EST (#424662) #
    Ken Rosenthal is saying that Aaron Judge is likely to get a 9 year mega-contract now. Well, if you have the Yankees and Giants bidding against each other, I guess you can name your price.
    John Northey - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 10:16 AM EST (#424664) #
    If a lefty corner bat is acquired then a solid CF is still needed to start about 30-50 games depending on Springer's health. Nathan Lukes might be that - he has 2525 innings in CF vs 1587 in RF and 801 in LF - the Jays (and Rays-where he played before) like most teams rotate outfielders a lot so they can be ready to cover any of the 3 spots in the majors if needed. No idea if he is strong on defense, but his games played in CF suggest he is at least adequate.
    jerjapan - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 12:02 PM EST (#424665) #
    John, I gotta think Lukes is a place holder. Get keirmeyer, or another 4OF upgrade, I could see him dropped. I mean, we needed that type of player all season and he never got a sniff.

    To me, we need one elite add, minimum. The OF market seems deeper than the pitching market to me, so I could see them mixing and matching there.

    But if we just fill out the team with value purchases? That don’t fly in the ALE.

    What’s your dream off-season?
    bpoz - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 01:21 PM EST (#424667) #
    It looks like the non competitors in 2023 will be Oakland who is probably going to trade S Murphy. As well Washington, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Colorado in the NL.

    Everyone else wants to compete.

    Texas by spending money. I expect a few more big contracts handed out by the other rich teams like LAD, SF, NYY, Boston...

    TB signing Z Eflin has made their rotation one of the best in the AL. They moved fast. Their pen will be V good as usual. They are in the process of improving their stadium so they want a guaranteed good team. They are spending it seems.

    Detroit had the weakest RS and KC the most RA. Both teams fired their GMs. I don't see great movement up by either in 2023. But then Baltimore surprised/scared me.

    In the NL LAD is LAD. Atlanta had the 3rd best run differential in 2021 and 2nd best in 2022.

    SF is desperate to be back near the top again. NYM and Philadelphia will spend money to improve. St Louis knows how to succeed, but now they have to do it without Y Molina. Preller in SD is usually active and he knows that his team had the 5th best record in the league. Close to not making the playoff. However at 89 wins that is quite good and B Melvin is a good manager.

    The Jays are in their window and want to continue to be good. Shapiro said that winning will get a good payroll. I don't know how high the payroll will be. Atkins has said little but he has acted. The Teo trade is the biggest this off season so far IMO. Why it was made I don't know. Atkins seems to want to add 1 SP. JV is the only good SP IMO. Rodon has had injury issues in his career and will get a 3-5 year contract which is too risky IMO.

    We don't know if Atkins tried for Clevinger who was low risk, 1 year and could not harm the future budget. There may be others like this out there. Then FAs like Taillon and T Walker. Bulk inning pitchers 2-5 innings can help. We already have Kikuchi and M White. Maybe Thornton and Pop. Maybe Pearson. All struggled in 2022.
    Shoeless Joe - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 07:32 PM EST (#424668) #
    A Moreno for Bryan Reynolds’s trades makes a lot of sense for both sides at this point.

    The Jays would then have the budget to throw big money at a starting pitcher.
    dalimon5 - Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 08:30 PM EST (#424672) #
    I think the Jays lose that trade.
    jerjapan - Monday, December 05 2022 @ 10:05 AM EST (#424685) #
    Agreed, but Moreno and some lesser pieces for reynolds and Bednar would work for me
    bpoz - Monday, December 05 2022 @ 10:14 AM EST (#424686) #
    Shi Davidi is doing a bit of speculation as well on what the Jays could do. I have not heard Shapiro say anything yet. Atkins has spoken a bit but other than getting pitching help he has only said "they are trying to improve the team".

    I have heard talk about rich teams being interested in Verlander.

    Not sure if Judge is being talked about much but apparently he has a few offers and is considering them.

    I remember AA saying "if you hear about it then it most likely will not happen".
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