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Football is over and baseball is back. Although it is not the required reporting date yet, many players are already in Dunedin along with several of the Blue Jays writers.

This morning I have seen shots of Vladdy taking BP. I saw Bo and Santiago Espinal arriving. And reportedly Jose Berrios now is blond.

Its also a beautiful spring like day in Southern Ontario, definitely a day to think of spring.

Spring Awaits | 93 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Cracka - Monday, February 13 2023 @ 12:20 PM EST (#426637) #
It sure does feel like spring training is starting today and not later this week. Very impressive to see a large group of veteran players reporting early; I don't recall this happening in past years to this extent.

I expect we will see some roster moves this week -- the 60-day IL becomes available once pitchers & catchers officially report (though spring training "days" don't count towards the 60 days) and we have two guys (Ryu & Green) that will definitely miss the first two months. This would open a spot for another OF - Robbie Grossman is still available - or leave room for future non-roster additions. Grossman seems like a perfect fit, but I think he's either priced himself too high (e.g. looking for a 2-year deal) or he already has a verbal deal (maybe with us) and is just waiting for a roster spot to officially open up.
John Northey - Monday, February 13 2023 @ 04:33 PM EST (#426638) #
Just for fun Here are 2022's spring stats. Trevor Schwecke had the highest OPS (2.667 by going 1-2 with a home run and 2 walks) but after showing up as best as possible he only hit 206/271/413 in AAA and 230/302/387 overall (A+/AA/AAA) - future coach? Seems like a guy who is willing to do anything asked of him as he played 1B/2B/3B/LF/RF/SS last year (7+ innings each).

For 10+ AB's you get Joshua Palacios with a 333/467/1.000 line. But for all that he ended up in Washington and got 29 ML games in with an ugly 213/245/255 line.

Otto Lopez was really ugly in spring 1 for 15 but when he finally was allowed to swing the bat in games that counted he was 6 for 9.

Bottom line - spring is fun, but don't read too much into it. I tend to pay attention to who is getting the playing time most - if the Jays are looking closely at a guy that means he has a shot at ML playing time. Nathan Lukes had 30 PA in spring with an 1147 OPS and I was quite surprised he never got a ML game in - Greg Bird was next at 28 PA but he was released so he could sign with the Yankees who he had a 679 OPS in AAA with. Orelvis Martinez and Spencer Horwitz were next at 15 and 14 PA's for guys who never got into a ML game. Gosuke Katoh was the big story of spring as he made the team with his 333/370/542 line but only got into 8 games going 1 for 7 before being sent to Buffalo and going 0 for 5. Then released and the Mets had him in 80 AAA games hitting 223/310/383.
soupman - Monday, February 13 2023 @ 04:55 PM EST (#426639) #
vlad looks like he's gotten his body into similar shape as he did going into 2021. my bet is it translates to improved performance again. i am more optimistic about this year than i was a day ago (which was already reaching post-2012 highs).
Ducey - Monday, February 13 2023 @ 05:19 PM EST (#426640) #
Matt Gage was claimed by HOU off waivers. The Jays had released him, so he wasnt coming back to AAA anyway.
Mylegacy - Monday, February 13 2023 @ 06:35 PM EST (#426641) #
Spring has spring
The grass is Riz
I wonder where
The pitchers is?

Go Jays!

Spring is the time we get to see, on the televised games, the minor league guys we might not see in the Show for years (if ever). A face and body to the name...
Mylegacy - Monday, February 13 2023 @ 07:07 PM EST (#426642) #
Spring has sprung... (DUH!)
Jonny German - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 07:41 AM EST (#426643) #
Who are the all-time Bizarro Blue Jays? I think this year's squad has some strong candidates.

C Benito Santiago
1B Paul Molitor (Brandon Belt?)
2B Whit Merrifield
SS Troy Tulowitzki
3B Scott Rolen (Troy Glaus?)
LF Jose Canseco
CF Kevin Kiermaier
RF Dave Winfield
DH Frank Thomas
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 09:33 AM EST (#426644) #
The Kathy Valentine and the Heartbreakers birthday club of players born today is awfully weak.  Pretzels Getzien leads in WAR with 18 and Tyler Clippard follows with 16.  Gabriel Moreno was born on this day and has a chance to be the leader of the Heartbreakers club in 5-10 years.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 09:34 AM EST (#426645) #
And welcome back, mylegacy.
JohnL - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 11:10 AM EST (#426646) #

And welcome back, mylegacy.

A bit early yet for a single malt toast to you, but I'll do it virtually for now.

JohnL - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 11:13 AM EST (#426647) #
If we're talking birthday HOF, I think WAR should take second place to names. Pretzels Getzien is a first-ballot pick for me.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 12:59 PM EST (#426648) #
I definitely thought of the late great Mick Doherty when typing Pretzels. 
Original Ryan - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 06:07 PM EST (#426649) #
Who are the all-time Bizarro Blue Jays? I think this year's squad has some strong candidates.

For starting pitchers, Roger Clemens would have to be the ace of the staff -- that signing is still a head-scratcher. In the bullpen, maybe Randy Myers?

John Northey - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 06:58 PM EST (#426650) #
Ah yes, the old Clemens signing - the team was rebuilding in 95/96  and had just 74 wins in '96 but Beeston was tired of losing and wanted to make a big splash so they traded 6 prospects for Carlos Garcia, Orlando Merced and Dan Plesac (Garcia a flop, Merced wasn't terrible for 1 year, and Plesac was very good in the pen for 2 1/2 years before being traded for Tony Batista and John Frascatore. Talk about a steal (Ash did do the odd good trade) then came back as a free agent and later was traded for Cliff Politte.  The prospects included Craig Wilson (8 WAR with the bat in Pittsburgh, but -6.1 with the glove).  The big name in the deal was Jose Pett who was 93rd on the BA top 100 list (had peaked at #75 a few years earlier) but never reached the majors.  I remember being excited when they signed Benito Santiago as a free agent, a 118 OPS+ the year before but dropped to a 73 his first year here and just 15 games year 2 then gone.   Then December 13th they shocked us all by signing Roger Clemens to a then record deal.  7 days later a contender for worst trade by Ash was done (John Olerud AND cash for Robert Person).  The team lost 2 players in the rule 5 draft and 1 in the minor league part (all 3 reached the majors eventually) - none did much but it was a sign there was depth in the system at the time. Blows ones mind how much talent the Jays had and squandered back then.

Bottom line - signing Clemens was in and of itself a good idea, but dang it really didn't make sense with a tight budget and the stupidity going on at the time mixed with the fact they were still in rebuild mode.  How they won only 76 the next year with Clemens over 10 WAR and Hentgen at 5.6 is hard to believe.  Garcia's 47 OPS+ at 2B helps explain a bit, Carter's 77 at DH also helps explain that record.  Carter was -0.8 bWAR, Olerud +4.1 - there was 5 wins thrown away that any baseball fan saw coming pre-season (that gets them to 500).  Garcia's -2.0 bWAR vs Alomar (who Ash could've resigned but delayed thinking prices would go down) 3.4 would shift another 5 wins the Jays way, putting them at 86 wins.  Of course even if both of those things had happened the Jays would've still been 10 games out of the playoffs (Yankees were the WC with 96 wins, O's won 98 that year with Gillick their GM - grrrrr).  Still, not hard to see how with a little better GM the Jays could've been a contender that year (and some luck) but instead blew it.  For 98 they brought in Jose Canseco (1.5 WAR), Tony Fernandez returned from the dead (2.8 bWAR after leaving Cleveland) but Hentgen flopped, Myers was brought in to close and was released mid-season (Ash got very lucky when SD picked him up and ate his contract).  However, we did get the 'wow' of seeing Roy Halladay come within an out of a no-hitter on the final day of the season (giving up a solo home run that was caught by Dave Stieb in the pen - how poetic was that).

After suffering through those years fans today have no idea what a bad GM is really like.  One who trades stars for scrubs, one who trades away a big chunk of your prospect capital for meh players, etc.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 07:59 PM EST (#426651) #
For bizarro - nothing reaches seeing Rickey Henderson in a Jays uniform in 1993. Just seemed so wrong to me. Canseco lands in a similar category. Shea Hillenbrand never felt right as a Jay either. Frank Viola, Lance Parrish, Dave Righetti all felt odd to see in the Jays uniform at the ends of their careers too.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 10:02 PM EST (#426652) #
And Phil Niekro and Dave Parker and John Candelaria...
lexomatic - Tuesday, February 14 2023 @ 11:05 PM EST (#426653) #
<br>Hope Gaudman doesn't have a hard time this year
92-93 - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 01:48 PM EST (#426661) #
David Eckstein would be a solid bench player for this squad.
mathesond - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 03:08 PM EST (#426663) #
Frankie Montas is gonna miss a wee bit o'time this season
Magpie - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 03:20 PM EST (#426664) #
And Phil Niekro and Dave Parker and John Candelaria...

And Ruben Sierra and Tony Phillips and Edgardo Alfonzo...
mathesond - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 03:29 PM EST (#426665) #
Don't forget Dick Schofield and Charlie O'Brien!
Chuck - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 05:34 PM EST (#426669) #
And Ruben Sierra and Tony Phillips and Edgardo Alfonzo...

In answer to the question, they shoot horses, don't they?, Blue Jays management has seemingly long been of the mind to desperately stave off much needed visits to the glue factory.

John Northey - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 08:32 PM EST (#426670) #
Charlie O'Brien was the first MLB catcher to wear the hockey mask while he was here. That automatically makes him not a bizarro but a 'true Jay' imo.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 10:17 PM EST (#426671) #
Gerónimo Berroa, Mickey Morandini.

Bizarro . . . Tim Johnson at shortstop for the 1978 Blue Jays.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 15 2023 @ 11:46 PM EST (#426672) #
And so it begins for deGrom and the Rangers. From

“deGrom, who signed a five-year deal with the Rangers in the offseason, felt tightness in his left side while throwing a bullpen session a couple days ago and will be held back a day or two as a precaution, general manager Chris Young said.”
grjas - Thursday, February 16 2023 @ 08:49 AM EST (#426673) #
Really looking forward to rule changes this year. Shorter games (by 25 minutes), less shifting, more running... bring it on. Plus our new stadium dimensions may give a few opposing outfielders the fits.

Now...robo umps please.
bpoz - Thursday, February 16 2023 @ 09:33 AM EST (#426674) #
I am impressed with what Atkins, FO and ownership have done this off season.

The high payroll is proof that ownership is willing to spend in hopes to make the playoff or at least be in the hunt. That should provide high interest hopefully all season and the related good revenue.

Our rotation is strong on paper and reasonably deep. #5-8 are Kikuchi, White, Thompson and Hutchison. They all have ML experience and have a chance to handle rotation issues.

The pen is also deep except for lefty options.

The position players are set. The 26th spot should never be an issue.

So far on paper we don't need help from our prospects including Pearson. Of course a prospect can always force his way onto the team.

A lot of money will come off the books at the end of the season. Ryu, KK, Belt, Merrifield and Chapman. So payroll for 2024 is healthy. Only Chapman will be hard to replace through FA or internal. This means we don't necessarily have to sign any expensive FAs for 2024.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, February 16 2023 @ 01:25 PM EST (#426675) #
Jim Bowden at The Athletic rated the top 45 catchers in MLB. Kirk was ranked 7th and Jansen 12th. Not a bad duo to have behind the plate.
Magpie - Thursday, February 16 2023 @ 08:44 PM EST (#426676) #
And farewell to Tim McCarver - he's probably best known these days for his long career in broadcasting, but he could play a little, too. He was one of those guys who appeared in four decades, having made his debut in 1959 when he was just 17 years old. He was the catcher for the Cardinals' champs in 1964 and in 1967, when he was also the MVP runner-up to his teammate Orlando Cepeda. The Cardinals traded him to Philadelphia in the Curt Flood deal after the 1969 season - they had Ted Simmons coming up fast (he'd just hit .317 in AAA at age 19), although Simmons would need another year and the Cards had to make do with Joe Torre behind the plate in the meantime.

After a few years in Philly, McCarver wandered the leagues for a while - traded to Montreal, traded back to St.Louis, sold to Boston - before latching on with the Phillies for his final act, as Steve Carlton's personal catcher and LH pinch-hitter. He retired after the 1979 season, but came back for the final month of the 1980 season to pinch hit a few times.
John Northey - Thursday, February 16 2023 @ 11:04 PM EST (#426677) #
Frankie Montas missing time due to a shoulder injury hurts the Yankees. While he sucked for them last year in 8 starts (62 ERA+) he is an excellent pitcher normally *(105 lifetime ERA+, 118 pre trade, peak of 164 in 2019, was 6th in Cy voting in 2021). He was viewed as the #5 starter, but easily could've been their #3 guy (behind Cole and Roden).

On the Jays side #6 starter Mitch White experienced a right shoulder impingement when he began throwing in early January and "is a little bit behind in terms of workload ramp up," said John Schneider via Shi Davidi. Let's hope that is as bad as injuries get this spring.
greenfrog - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 08:10 AM EST (#426678) #
Victor Martinez has joined the Jays baseball operations group as a special assistant. I wonder if he has any helpful IFA connections in Venezuela.
bpoz - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 08:51 AM EST (#426679) #
Expectations are 6-8 innings from our top 4 starters. From the 5th+ SP spot 6-8 IP would be nice but not expected at the moment. Kikuchi, White, Z Thompson and Hutchison IMO are competing for a rotation spot or long reliever bullpen spot. All 4 are stretched out to go deep (7th) in a game. Zulueta and Person are not stretched out to handle 7IP. In 2019 Pearson did an alternating pattern of 5IP then followed by 2IP which worked well.
Mike Green - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 09:16 AM EST (#426680) #
Tim McCarver was a thinking person's catcher.  There are many stories about that.  The one about him pointing out that bringing in the infield in with Mariano Rivera pitching and Luis Gonzalez hitting in the World Series was dangerous because of Rivera's use of the cutter in on the hands and the common result with a left-handed hitter being a bloop.  Here's another from a Slate article in 2016:

"When thinking back on mistakes he’s made, Neyer recalls a long-ago postseason game in which “Tim McCarver was raving about pitch framing and how important it is.” McCarver, who caught in the major leagues for 21 seasons before becoming an announcer, talked at great length about how a catcher could receive the ball in such a way—catching the ball in front of his body, making sure not to jerk his glove—as to influence an umpire’s ball and strike calls. Neyer says he “wrote a typically arrogant column mocking the notion that major-league umpires could be fooled by a catcher,” citing his own experience as an unfoolable Little League ump. (This column, it seems, got lost in some long-ago redesign.) Neyer wasn’t alone in pooh-poohing McCarver’s hobbyhorse. In 1999, Baseball Prospectus’ Keith Woolner did a convincing-seeming study showing that catchers had no influence whatsoever on a pitcher’s performance.

Nine years later, a writer named Dan Turkenkopf found what Woolner couldn’t. Turkenkopf, Max Marchi, Mike Fast, and other pitch-framing researchers of recent vintage have the benefit of Pitch f/x, a high-tech camera system introduced in major-league ballparks starting in 2006 that captured pitch speed, movement, and location with great precision. Armed with better data than Woolner and Neyer had at their disposal, sabermetricians found that the best pitch framer in baseball could save his team roughly half a run per 100 pitches while the worst would cost his team about half a run. As Lindbergh explained in Grantland, that’s an enormous difference: “For comparative purposes, Barry Bonds’s bat during the 2001-2004 seasons, when he basically broke baseball, was worth about 0.78 runs above average per game.”

McCarver was probably the key player in the 1964 World Series.  Bob Gibson won the MVP by going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA that year.  McCarver hit .478/.552/.739 including a game-winning 3 run homer in the 10th inning of the 5th game, and produced the most WPA of anyone in the series.  He had 103 post-season at-bats overall, going .273/.359/.432 with a 13/9 W/K.  This was much better than his in-season line and in the context of the 1960s awfully impressive.  

Fine, fine player. 

Magpie - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 09:46 AM EST (#426681) #
Fine, fine player.

Indeed he was. I don't quite understand why Carlton so much preferred him over Bob Boone, who was a very fine defensive catcher himself. Boone was the first one I remember talking in detail about the art of pitch framing ("you're not trying to fool the umpire, you're trying to help him see that it's a strike.") But Joe Torre replaced McCarver behind the plate in St.Louis, and Carlton's ERA jumped by more than a run.

I'm pretty sure McCarver was the last catcher to lead the league in triples, when he hit 13 of them (led the majors, actually) in 1966.
Mike Green - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 10:01 AM EST (#426682) #
Funny.  I was thinking about both the 1966 triples count and Boone taking over from him in Philadelphia, but didn't write it.  Catchers are a breed apart, from Yogi to McCarver to Boone to Russell Martin and Yadier Molina.  They do seem to find their way to the heart of great teams an awful lot. 
Magpie - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 10:02 AM EST (#426683) #
I've mentioned this before, but in the 1960s the NL was absolutely overrun by LH hitting catchers. Besides McCarver, you had Johnny Edwards in Cincinnati, John Roseboro in Los Angeles, Smokey Burgess in Pittsburgh, Tom Haller in San Francisco, Clay Dalrymple in Philadelphia, Jesse Gonder in New York. Ed Bailey was with at least three NL teams. The Cubs took a long look at Vic Roznofsky. Everyone had to have one.
Chuck - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 10:06 AM EST (#426684) #
Keeping with the theme of bizarro Blue Jays, McCarver was a bizarro Expo and, I suppose, a bizarro Red Sock.
Magpie - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 10:24 AM EST (#426685) #
The Phillies traded McCarver to the Expos straight up for John Bateman - who was a year older - in June 1972. I don't know why. Bateman could never carry McCarver's jock strap. Boone was almost, but not quite, ready. Bateman took over as the number one catcher for the rest of 1972, but Boone seized the job himself in 1973.

Steve Carlton's ERAs by catcher:
Tim McCarver 2.82
Bo Diaz 3.09
Bob Boone 3.22
Ted Simmons 3.24
Ozzie Virgil 3.36
Joe Torre 4.28
I suppose that explains things a little. But it was mostly Bateman (1.60 ERA) in Carlton's ridiculous 1972 season.
vw_fan17 - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 11:06 AM EST (#426686) #
Anyone else wishing the Jay's had signed Peralta instead of the Dodgers?
ISLAND BOY - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 11:40 AM EST (#426687) #
" McCarver was a bizarro Expo"

Well, to me, not as much as Pete Rose.

" He was one of those guys who appeared in four decades"

I wondered how many there actually was and looking it up, there was 31, counting two who also appeared in the Negro Leagues. Leaving out those who mostly played in the 1800's, they are: Eddie Collins, Satchel Paige, Bobo Newsome, Mickey Vernon, Ted Williams, Early Wynn, Minnie Minoso, Willie Mays, Jim Kaat, Willie McCovey, Bill Buckner, Rick Dempsey, Carlton Fisk, Jerry Reuss, Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, Mike Morgan, Jesse Orosco, Tim Raines, Ken Griffey Jr., Jamie Moyer, and Omar Vizquel.

There were actually more than I thought there'd be. To have a chance of doing it, the player would usually have to make their MLB debut near the end of a decade, be young when they did it, and, of course, be a good, maybe great player as there are mostly Hall-of-Famer's on the list. Bartolo Colon, for instance, played 21 years but he didn't make the majors until he was 24 and finished two seasons short of 4 decades.
Ducey - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 11:52 AM EST (#426688) #
Anyone else wishing the Jay's had signed Peralta instead of the Dodgers?

He is a LH batter who hit .154 vs LHP last year. I think the desire is to have a RH hitting OF to provide some platoon benefits vs LHP

Magpie - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 12:04 PM EST (#426689) #
the player would usually have to make their MLB debut near the end of a decade

Yup. And the three career leaders in games played - Rose, Yastrzemski, Aaron - all got started near the beginning of a decade.
John Northey - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 04:23 PM EST (#426690) #
The multi-decade player is a fun stat, but really fairly meaningless. But fun. Vlad has a shot as he came up in 2019 at age 20 so if he stays healthy a 21 year career would do it (2040 he'd need to last until, age 41, not an unreasonable goal, but his dad only made it to 36).

Stieb had a good shot - starting in 1979 at 21, but his arm blew out in 1991 at age 31 and he was never the same. I was hopeful his comeback in '98 at age 40 would make it happen but no such luck as he only had that one season (sure would've preferred to have him over Joey Hamilton in 1999 - 75 ERA+. Ugh, that Hamilton trade for Woody Williams & others - knew once that happened that only a fool would let Dave Stewart be a GM as that deal was all him iirc).
John Northey - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 06:15 PM EST (#426691) #
For more fun check Gordie Howe - first season at 18 was in 1946-47, his final was 1979-80. 5 decades, and legit in all. His final goal was in the playoffs of 1980 on April 9th assisted by his son Mark Howe in an 8-4 loss to Montreal (he also had an assist that game). His last regular season goal was in a 5-3 win on April 6th 1980 - first goal of the game so very legit. First goal was in October 16th, 1946 to put the Red Wings up 2-1.

In 1997/98 he played one game for the Detroit Vipers of the IHL at age 69. Just one shift, so purely a stunt, but a fun one. He tried earlier that decade to get into one game as a teammate of Gretzky's but the NHL wouldn't allow it due to insurance reasons iirc.

Minnie Miñoso also first played in 1946, but unlike Howe he retired in 1964 but was brought back in 1976 for some reason (can't recall why, but there was a legit reason iirc). He was 1 for 8 as a DH at age 52. Then in 1980 he was given another shot and was 0-2 as a pinch hitter. In 1993 St Paul in the Northern League had him play at age 69 when he went 0-1 (much like Howe's one game minor league comeback), and again in 2003 when he took a walk in his one plate appearance at 79. A shame he didn't get a game in in 2010 just to add another decade before he passed away but I guess by his late 80's it was pushing it too much.
Magpie - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 07:43 PM EST (#426692) #
I lived in Winnipeg during the WHA years and saw old Gordie play a few times. He'd lost a step, but he was still pretty good, and he was always quite funny about it. He was asked if he had anything left that he wanted to achieve in hockey. He said he'd like to go offside again. (He called himself "poetry in slow motion.")
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, February 17 2023 @ 11:04 PM EST (#426693) #
The late Mae Young was a female professional wrestler in 9 decades, or legitimately 7.

It warmed my heart to see 97-year old Dick Van Dyke on The Masked Singer this week.

bpoz - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 10:45 AM EST (#426694) #
R Grossman to the Rangers.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 12:25 PM EST (#426695) #
I was hoping the Jays would sign Grossman and the 2 million salary he's getting seems like nothing nowadays. Maybe he thought he wouldn't get much playing time with Toronto.
Magpie - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 01:33 PM EST (#426696) #
I was hoping the Jays would sign Grossman

Not me. Tapia's a better player, and no one wants that.
Magpie - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 01:56 PM EST (#426697) #
I wondered how many [four decade players] there actually was and looking it up, there was 31

I wondered about some of the other major sports. There probably wouldn't be as many, and there aren't. I found 14 NHL players, 2 NFL players, and just 1 NBA player.

Hockey: Gordie Howe (5), Patrick Marleau, Mark Messier, Joe Thornton, Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi, Chris Chelios, Ray Bourque, Mark Modano, Rod Brind'Amour, Stan Mikita, Mathieu Schneider, Rob Blake, George Armstrong

Football: George Blanda, John Carney

Basketball: Vince Carter

There's a truly excellent chance that I missed someone.
SK in NJ - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 05:07 PM EST (#426698) #
Over the last two seasons, including his bad 2022 season, Grossman has a 145 wRC+ in 355 plate appearances against LHP, so I think he would have been far more useful to the 2023 team than Tapia was to last season's team (or Tapia is in general), if used strictly in a platoon role. However, given what he ended up signing for, my guess is playing time (or what he perceived to be a path to playing time) was a factor in his decision, in which case he may not have fit what the Jays wanted/needed.

Lopez and Lukes are already on the 40 man roster, but given the rule changes starting in 2023 (the bigger bases and limit on pick offs specifically), as well as the dimension changes in the Rogers Centre OF, I think the guy who makes the most sense to get that last bench spot is probably Wynton Bernard. He has elite sprint speed and appears to be a good defensive OF. As a pinch runner and defensive replacement he should be very useful. Plus he's in his 30's and has limited upside because of that, so if he went many games without playing it wouldn't be a big deal, whereas they may want someone like Otto Lopez to be playing regularly. The only other option is Lukes, but as a LHB, he's not the best fit.
Magpie - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 09:06 PM EST (#426699) #
My thing is, I think Grossman's 2021 season was a 2021 fluke, and what he did last season is much closer to who he really is.
bpoz - Saturday, February 18 2023 @ 10:35 PM EST (#426700) #
Atkins and Shapiro are good at not telling us anything.

I did not like the Grichuk trade!! I did not know about the OF dimensions changing!! Now that I know it seems that Grichuk, Teo and Gurriel were not ideal for the 2023 team. So they were let go and replaced.

Future OF players/prospects are going to have different skill set IMO.
lexomatic - Sunday, February 19 2023 @ 03:57 PM EST (#426701) #
<br>So apparently Machado wanted an extension of 5 years/ 250 (=10/500) and SD offered 5/105 (=10 /255).
This game is throwing too much money around. Lower the salaries, the profits, and the prices. The money is so obscene .
Sal - Sunday, February 19 2023 @ 04:22 PM EST (#426702) #
"I did not like the Grichuk trade!!"

Really? I thought we clearly won the trade the moment it was made. Reallocate $5M in 2023 and get a prospect back without impacting product on the field. What's not to like?
Glevin - Sunday, February 19 2023 @ 09:11 PM EST (#426703) #
"I was hoping the Jays would sign Grossman and the 2 million salary he's getting seems like nothing nowadays. Maybe he thought he wouldn't get much playing time with Toronto."
That or maybe the Jays don't like Grossman that much. I mean, he is 33 and had a negative WAR last season. I do think they need another OFer though but it's also not urgent.
92-93 - Monday, February 20 2023 @ 11:28 AM EST (#426704) #
Grichuk handily outproduced Tapia last year, and would fit well as this roster’s 4th OF.

And save me the WAR arguments. I’m old school and actually believe runs and RBI still matter.
Magpie - Monday, February 20 2023 @ 12:08 PM EST (#426706) #
Grichuk handily outproduced Tapia last year

Handily? A 92 OPS+ and a 91 OPS+ is about as close to even as one could ask for.

What's odd though is that while the swap seemed to give Jays things they needed - a LH bat, some speed - as it worked out, what they gave up would probably have been more useful last year. The two players may have been a wash with the bat, but Grichuk is certainly a better outfielder in general and better in RF and CF in particular. But at this point, all this is surely the abuse of a defunct quadruped.

Grichuk's Home-Road splits last year are... interesting. They could be telling us he's toast, and being sustained by Coors Field. But I sometimes think that the very way Coors helps hitters at home then proceeds to hurt them when they return to sea level, and they hit worse there than one would expect.
bpoz - Monday, February 20 2023 @ 01:31 PM EST (#426708) #
Your 4th OF should get about 300 ABs? As a 4th OF Tapia and Grichuk would have got 400+ ABs in 2022 as it turned out. I suppose in 2023 our 4th OF will get the 300ABs or the 400+ ABs depending on injury. Grichuk could very well have been our best OF defender other than Zimmer in 2022. Which is the priority? Sort of a hard decision.

For 2022 we needed Zimmer (5th) as an elite D OF to preserve a potential win. Any game we use our 4th OF (Merrifield) as a regular it will not be in CF IMO so we save a Zimmer spot.

I have changed my opinion on short players. Jose Altuve is the same size as A Pinto. Stroman is a very good short pitcher. Pinto plays with a lot of intensity. He has a chance to get to the majors.
Ryan Day - Monday, February 20 2023 @ 09:50 PM EST (#426710) #
Interesting piece about the Astros going above-and-beyond in their waiver claim of Matt Gage, offering him a bonus and incentives so he didn't choose free agency instead:
Sal - Tuesday, February 21 2023 @ 02:39 AM EST (#426711) #
"Grichuk could very well have been our best OF defender other than Zimmer in 2022."
He was not even close to being good defensively. He was as bad as Tapia, Gurriel, and Teo. Our other OFs such as Springer, JBJ, and even Biggio were superior to him defensively.
Tapia and Grichuk were equally terrible in 2022. Two thumbs up on the trade that allowed the Blue Jays to reduce Grichuk's sunk cost in 2023 and actually move on from a replacement level player. Getting a lottery ticket prospect was icing on the cake. 
Joe - Tuesday, February 21 2023 @ 10:06 AM EST (#426712) #
And congratulations to Randal Grichuk for getting some earnings certainty by signing his contract in 2019. He and his kin are set up for life!
Glevin - Tuesday, February 21 2023 @ 11:34 AM EST (#426714) #
I think the Jays need another OFer but A) I will never pine for Grichuk. He isn't a good player and Jays got a legitimate prospect and saved money by trading him. B) The Jays' weaknesses right now are 4th OFer and 5th starter which means the team looks pretty good. We're not talking about lack of middle of the order bats or front-line starters but edge pieces. Right now, it would be Merrifield in LF and Espinal at 2B which is perfectly fine but I think Jays could improve their depth pretty cheaply there. (Ex-Jays prospects Thomas and Oliveres would both be good fits for example).
John Northey - Tuesday, February 21 2023 @ 11:55 AM EST (#426715) #
Agreed Glevin. Also a good way to decide if Kikuchi is a sunk cost or has value by not filling #5 right away, same for Mitch White (if healthy). Plus other #5's are in camp - 40 man: Hatch, Pearson, Zulueta, Thornton, Thompson, plus NRI's Francis, Hutchison, Lawrence, not to mention hot prospects who aren't on the 40 man yet like Sem Robberse and Ricky Tiedemann (who could force his way ala Manoah).

Most of those guys will not throw a pitch for the Jays in 2023, but if you have enough to toss at the wall hopefully one or two comes through in the event of injuries.

For 4th OF I'm good with Merrifield/Biggio splitting it for now. The Jays are going to give Nathan Lukes a good viewing in spring, see if Addison Barger can cover LF for a month if needed, safe to say Spencer Horwitz will get some time in LF as well (unlikely to work out for him, but certainly worth a shot). I see this as a slot that the Jays might need to upgrade mid-season if significant injuries happen, but lets hope not.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 21 2023 @ 07:22 PM EST (#426716) #
The 4th & 5th OF playing time will be a factor of health of the regulars. The 4th could get 400+ ABs like Tapia did last year. We will find out. I have seen terrible defense from Derek Fisher. Teo was a work in progress defensively in the early stages but we were not competing during his 2017,18 and 19 seasons.

Those potential 400+ ABs in 2023 hopefully will be given to an OF that can catch the ball when it is hit to him because we plan to make the playoffs.

The 5th & 6th SP spot? At the moment there is a contest for the 5th spot which probably is given to Kikuchi. I don't know how ugly it will get if he is bad. Kikuchi may actually be good. If Kikuchi is bad then I will be be trying to figure out who would replace him. ie #6. M White, Hutchison and Z Thompson are stretched out to give 100-150IP. Only Sem Robberse can give 150IP from a group including Zulueta, Pearson, Tiedemann and Juenger IMO due to recent innings build up. I don't count Hatch, Thornton etc... because I have lost faith in them.

I guarantee someone will shine. A stupid statement I know because there are no guarantees. We have the quantity of experienced mediocre pitchers and inexperienced hot shots.

John Northey - Tuesday, February 21 2023 @ 08:50 PM EST (#426717) #
Our 3 regular OF over the past 2 years
Last year the Jays OF'ers had a total of 1997 PA.  So those 3 over 2 years had 2443 or (divide by 2) 1221.5 PA per year leaving 775.5 PA for others.  Yikes.  Varsho one could see as a special case due to his catching duties so we could use his 2022 592 instead of an average which includes a year he was mostly behind the plate.  That adjusts it to 1360 PA or 637 for the rest.  Still a full time position equivalent. Plus of course, Springer spent a lot of time at DH which would add more playing time for a 4th OF.  Merrifield looks to be that 4th OF right now - he has the endurance (led the league in games played by playing every game for 3 years in 2019-2021) but his bat isn't a 'wow' with a 104 lifetime OPS+/90 last year.  His DRS lifetime in LF is 0, +2 in CF, -8 in RF.  rPM (runs +/-) for LF is -4, +4 in CF, -3 in RF.  Basically the more I look at the more I think he'll be a 'meh' in the OF who won't be ugly like Tapia, won't do 'wow' throws now and then like Gurriel, but also won't fall asleep out there like Gurriel did from time to time.  I suspect the Jays will make it clear to him if he is going to be the main 4th OF or main at 2B or a mix already.  That should lead to Merrifield working harder on his OF defense which should improve it.  Should. 

I see Addison Barger as the big variable this year.  Jays seem to like him a lot, given his rush though the minors last year (A+/AA/AAA/fall league) and they are reported to be having him work out in LF a lot already.  His bat looks good, if his fielding can be (SS/3B mostly pre-2023) then he could step in and steal the show. It should be interesting to watch him in spring. He bats left so not a natural fit but when an injury happens he could be the guy they call up to fill in for 2 weeks.  Nathan Lukes has shown a lot in the minors with the bat and appears good with the glove so he could easily be that IL fill in.  Otto Lopez has appears often to be a guy the Jays like but don't know what to do with so he also could be that, plus he is a RH bat thus could mix in right away if needed.  Guess we'll start finding out very soon.
Ducey - Wednesday, February 22 2023 @ 10:48 AM EST (#426718) #
We have a tendency to overlook Lukes because he is a lefty.

But he hit 327/412/460 vs lefties last year in BUF.

I might be between him and Otto for the 26th spot
Nigel - Wednesday, February 22 2023 @ 11:55 AM EST (#426720) #
4th OF's have fairly regularly had 350-450 ABs in Toronto over the last few years. With two of the regular OF's being Springer and KK, I'd be very surprised if the 4th OF didn't actually end up with the 2nd or 3rd most AB's of the Jays' OFs.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 22 2023 @ 02:07 PM EST (#426721) #
The decision by the Jays to sign Bo Bichette to a 3 year contract and avoid the arbitration process looks even better now than when it happened. MLB teams have won 13 of 19 decisions ( Teoscar Hernandez lost his case and is getting 2 million less than he asked for) and players and their agents aren't happy with the process.

One of them in particular is Corbin Burnes of the Brewers who got $750,000 less than he wanted and he's disgruntled that the Brewers essentially blamed him for missing the playoffs in 2022 during arbitration. Burnes's numbers were down somewhat from his 2021 season when he won the NL Cy Young, but he still threw 202 innings and led the league in strikeouts. If I was the Brewers I would have paid the extra money to keep him happy.
Magpie - Wednesday, February 22 2023 @ 03:00 PM EST (#426722) #
Plate appearances by Jays outfielders in 2022:

Hernandez 490
Gurriel 429
Tapia 416
Springer 393
Zimmer 96
Bradley 80
Merrifield 60
Biggio 30
Capra 4
Moreno 2

I'd forgotten Moreno played a game in LF.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 22 2023 @ 06:27 PM EST (#426723) #
For those wanting to feel good again watch this video highlighting Kirk in 2022. Lots of fun to watch him hit and throw out runners.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 22 2023 @ 09:28 PM EST (#426727) #
The 4th OF spot appears to be Merrifield's role given the current roster setup, with 2B being fluid between Merrifield, Espinal, and Biggio. I would expect the last bench spot to be used on someone who is closer to Zimmer's 2022 role than Tapia's 2022 role, but I guess we will see how it shakes out.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 05:39 AM EST (#426728) #
I haven't seen a projection system yet which has Merrifield better or equal to either Espinal or Biggio. In my view, the goal ought to be to get Espinal 550 PAs and Biggio and Merrifield 450. If Merrifield is the 4th OF, that would mean him just getting occasional work at 2B to keep him sharp (for instance if Bichette or Chapman are hurt and Espinal slides over and a LHP is starting).
greenfrog - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 07:24 AM EST (#426729) #
I could see the Jays acquiring another outfielder at the trade deadline. This could be a fourth outfielder or a more valuable controllable one (they will need one in any event if Kiermaier departs after the 2023 season).
Mike Green - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 08:07 AM EST (#426730) #
O ye of little faith.  Dasan Brown starts off 2023 in New Hampshire, tears it up and makes it to Buffalo where he hits well enough that he earns a September call-up and a spot on the playoff roster.

It's true though.  They are likely to need an outfielder for 2024.  What precisely they need though is very much in question.  Varsho can move to centerfield in the (objectively likely) event that Brown isn't yet ready, but finding an everyday leftfielder isn't the worst problem to have.  One season at a time.
Jonny German - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 09:17 AM EST (#426731) #
My personal projection has Merrifield - Espinal - Biggio all quite similar in total offensive output. They're a nice combination for the Jays to have, insurance against each other having a bad season. Merrifield and Biggio should benefit from the new rules that make base stealing easier. Biggio may benefit from the shift rules.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 09:39 AM EST (#426732) #
I agree, Jonny, that Merrifield and Espinal have similar expected offensive output. Significant difference with the glove though. As for Biggio, I have him better than either against a RHP. I don't see much of a role for Merrifield at second base if he's going to get 350 PAs or more as a 4th OF (with over half that coming against a LHP). I do think that it all works.
bpoz - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 09:43 AM EST (#426733) #
I agree with Mike Green.

We are going to do patch work acquisitions year by year. At the trade deadline in 2020 T Walker/Stripling and others. In 2021 Cimber/T Richards and others. Berrios was a big acquisition (non Patch work). In 2022 Bass/Pop/Merrifield. All this to make the playoffs and also make a championship caliber team.

In the off season after the 2020 season we had Stripling #6 SP and added Matz. Springer was not patchwork. After 2021 Gausman/Kikuchi and Chapman. After 2022 Bassitt/Varsho. All for a playoff and championship caliber team.

KK, Belt and Merrifield are all FAs that contributed a bit towards the high payroll. Bassitt also contributed as did the higher Arb payments. Arb will increase 2024 payroll for sure but payroll relief will come from Ryu and others coming off the books. This FO is doing a lot (trade prospects and spend money) to produce a playoff contender (top priority IMO) and a championship caliber team.

Mike Green - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 10:25 AM EST (#426734) #
Incidentally, I would be a lot happier if the club gave PAs to Biggio in RF (rather than Lukes or Lopez or anyone else around) when Springer gets a day off or a DH day against a RHP.  Having Merrifield on the bench also has the plus of having him available to pinch-run late in a base-stealing situation.

Ryan Day - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 11:16 AM EST (#426735) #
I don't think the Jays seriously consider Biggio an outfield option. He only played 8 games out there last year, when his competition was a lot weaker.

(I'm not saying he couldn't play the OF, but landing behind Raimel Tapia and Jackie Bradley Jr on the depth chart says a lot bout how the team views him)

The team only seemed to trust him at 2b & 1b last year, and I'd guess Brandon Belt will fill in at 1B when Vlad needs a day off this year.
Michael - Thursday, February 23 2023 @ 10:31 PM EST (#426744) #
I may be wishcasting, but I still feel like Biggio is possible a star player if they only get roboump strikezone. As a fairly called strikezone would make his eye much more valuable.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 12:32 AM EST (#426745) #
During the first week of the regular season, I anticipate a bit of bedlam with the new pitch clock.

I wonder . . . will the league tolerate loud complaints from the players? Are they prepared to weather that storm?
jgadfly - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 12:13 PM EST (#426750) #
ZiPS 2023 Top 100 Prospects as per FanGraphs Szymborski ... Jays have 2 prospects in top 15 with NYM & Orioles ... 3 in top 30 with NYY & Orioles. There must be a significant skew towards age & level as Martinez is unranked by FanGraphs in their Top 100 but shows up per ZiPS at #5 ... Would there be a ZiPS projection on Dasan Brown ?
jgadfly - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 12:22 PM EST (#426751) #
Tomorrow's game and Sunday's game televised on Sportsnet ?
scottt - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 12:29 PM EST (#426752) #
I've read that Kirk isn't in camp because his wife is waiting for a baby.
There seems to be real concerned that he will not be ready in time.
It doesn't help that he's listed to catch in the World Baseball Classic.

Mike Green - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 01:18 PM EST (#426754) #
The ZiPS projection for Dasan Brown is quite poor. I doubt very much that the post-season in Vancouver was taken into account, and that is a problem. Not that he should be considered projected to be much above-replacement level in MLB in 2023.

You can find the ZiPS projections for just about every Blue Jay prospect on Fangraphs website by searching under Projections and choosing ZiPS and then TOR. Brown is on the 2nd page for the batters.
bpoz - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 07:02 PM EST (#426756) #
I always explain my prospect ranking. 1) I take shots in the dark. 2) Miss very badly. 3) Get lucky. 4) Other.

lexomatic - Friday, February 24 2023 @ 11:50 PM EST (#426758) #
The ZiPS projection for Dasan Brown is quite poor. I doubt very much that the post-season in Vancouver was taken into account, and that is a problem.

I don't think any projection systems consider playoffs. Maybe scouting evaluations if they see someone or hear about a different level of play from someone. This doesn't feel like a big deal to me.
StephenT - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 01:50 AM EST (#426759) #
Saturday they are picking up the Pirates' TV broadcast.  The radio is BWagner and AZwelling.

Sunday the Jays' TV broadcast is BWagner and BMartinez (and HMae).  

cybercavalier - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 09:45 AM EST (#426760) #
This is off topic.
The Frontier League has Ottawa, Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres but its traveling team the Empire State Greys is performing badly big time. 6 wins in a 96 games.
Is it time to "buy low" and bring baseball back to Montreal? Rebrand the Greys into a new edition of the Montreal Royales. The original Royales lasted only one season, Wikipedia says.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 11:21 AM EST (#426761) #
6 wins in 96 games? That sounds like the team that plays the Harlem Globetrotters.
cybercavalier - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 09:23 PM EST (#426772) #
Well, how about more employment to better players?
cybercavalier - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 09:27 PM EST (#426773) #
My question: is there a database somewhere of all professional baseball players in the MLB, minor leagues, the MLB Partner League and other locations?
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