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I think it's even on the television. Yusei Kikuchi will throw the first pitch of the spring.

Baseball - The Pretend Games Begin | 194 comments | Create New Account
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grjas - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 01:38 PM EST (#426762) #
I hope thatís there Kikuchi that shows up this year.
Magpie - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 01:47 PM EST (#426763) #
And not the Thompson.
John Northey - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 01:49 PM EST (#426764) #
Have the radio going plus TV (Pitt feed) mixed with Gameday.

Kikuchi having 2 IP, 5 K's, 1 H - so K'd all but 2 batters. Very nice.
Zach Thompson - 4 batters faced so far, walked two, hit given up to 3rd partially due to Capra being in LF (he isn't an outfielder), then a grand slam. Ugh. Guess he wasn't ready for spring yet - hopefully he does well in Buffalo.

Ah spring. Lukes had a sac fly to drive in an Otto Lopez triple so both of them helping their cause for the 26th man slot.
John Northey - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 02:07 PM EST (#426765) #
Well, Addison Barger certainly looks good - cranking a game tying home run off the Pirates closer. Jays might need to find a spot for him at some point this year - might end up in LF when each of KK and Springer go down for a couple of weeks at some point this year.

Oh yeah, and Vlad cranking one a mile too of course. Always fun watching the Jays doing batting practice vs a team that claims to be major league (2 years in a row 100+ losses and was on an even worse pace in 2020 after losing 93 in 2019).
greenfrog - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 03:11 PM EST (#426766) #
Kikuchi getting back on track would be a major development, potentially making the Jays rotation one of the very best in baseball.
85bluejay - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 06:44 PM EST (#426767) #
I had never heard of Wynton Bernard before checking the box score but if his defense is solid then maybe he can win the 26th spot - RHB, some speed, puts the ball in-play and will not require many at-bats.
Magpie - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 06:51 PM EST (#426768) #
The most noteworthy thing about today's game? It took just 2:47 to play, all the while scoring 16 runs. Last season, 31 of the 162 were completed in 2:47 or less and just one of them involved this much offense (almost all of which came while Thomas Hatch was pitching.)
Magpie - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 07:17 PM EST (#426769) #
And Davidi reports that Alejandro Kirk - the baby still hasn't arrived - has withdrawn from Team Mexico, a "collective decision."
JohnL - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 09:17 PM EST (#426770) #
Somebody needs to put the Kirk baby on a pitch clock. (If not, Schneider did remind people that he knows the Heimlich maneuver.)
JohnL - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 09:19 PM EST (#426771) #
Pretty interesting (and long) Twitter thread by Ryan Thompson of the Rays about how arbitration worked (or didn't) in his view.
AWeb - Saturday, February 25 2023 @ 11:59 PM EST (#426774) #
If the highlight package of Kikuchi's Ks is how games will look, I'm all in on thr pitchclock. No time for pacing around the mound, no time for taking a stroll after every swing. Yes please, another serving if I may!

A huge benefit I've mentioned a few times over the years...announcing should be way better (as a listener) with 20-30% less time to fill/kill every pitch. Old announcers have struggled to find something to talk about, because quite frankly between pitches there isn't usually anything interesting to talk about.

Broadcast producers can hopefully stop flipping through camera angles so much too. It has often seemed they have been bored in recent years too. I mean, I know I get sick of seeing dugout shots and fan shots and 15 second commercials between pitches. Shots of guys chewing gum or spitting seeds...please no. Baseball had lost its pace and rhythm, and I am curious if I will watch more games live if it gets some back.
bpoz - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 09:57 AM EST (#426775) #
That was a very promising outing by Kikuchi. Jansen was catching him. Hope Kikuchi can have a strong year.
bpoz - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 11:48 AM EST (#426776) #
Other than Kikuchi I don't see any of the other pitchers used making the opening day roster. It was good to see our depth options.

I heard that today would be a bullpen day against NYY. I hope one of Juenger, Pearson or Zulueta gets to pitch. Also who will catch.
jerjapan - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 02:56 PM EST (#426777) #
Buck talking up LJ Talley, saying the org, Devon white in particular, love the swing, and then kid hits a 3 run hr.

Barger follows up with a 2b. Kid is indeed a tank. 20 extra pounds of muscle in the off-season.
Parker - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 03:35 PM EST (#426778) #
I tell you what, Addison Barger just looks like a ballplayer.
lexomatic - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 03:52 PM EST (#426779) #
<br> I hope one of Juenger, Pearson or Zulueta gets to pitch

I wish that Juenger (yanger? Really? ) had fielded that topper. But Danner looked pretty good. Didn't look like a C to me.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 06:41 PM EST (#426780) #
Machado and the Padres are reportedly finalizing an 11/$350m contract.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Chapman between now and his potential free agency after the season. He's a cut below Machado in terms of performance, but he's still a very good third baseman (4.1 fWAR in each of the last two years, and that may be underselling his performance if the defensive metrics were skewed by all the shifting). And he's a year younger than Machado. The Jays might be OK without him in 2024 and beyond, but I think they would be wise to try to extend him for another five years or so.

Who is going to play third base in 2024 and 2025 if he departs? It sounds as if Barger may be more of a utility player (or left fielder). And it's unclear whether Orelvis will be an average MLB player, let alone the starting third baseman on a first division ballclub.
jerjapan - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 06:45 PM EST (#426781) #
Danger looked legit to me too. I see why the org likes juenger, results aside. I liked his approach.

Parker, a 23 year old prospect adding 20 pounds of muscle in the off-season is indeed news, and could easily explain his helium in the rankings. His power has been a talking point on both broadcasts, both crews
greenfrog - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 06:48 PM EST (#426782) #
Also, if the Jays extend Chapman and Orelvis shows improvement this year, the team can always Orelvis for a useful piece. Having depth and extra assets is always better than having no depth and gambling that a risky prospect will emerge as hoped over the course of the season.
John Northey - Sunday, February 26 2023 @ 10:35 PM EST (#426783) #
Machado's contract makes it harder to resign Chapman as he knows as well as anyone that he is now the best 3B option on the market this upcoming winter. But he will be entering his age 31 season - not a good time to invest in a player. I'd have trouble signing him for more than 3 years/$75 mil. He has been a steady 3 WAR player (3.5 each of the past 2 years, 1.2 in 2020 (nearly a 3 over 162), two years in the 7's at 25/26 (a players prime) and 3.2 in 2017. FanGraphs has him at 4.1 each of the past 2 years, 1.1 in 2020, 5.7-6.3 in 2019/2018 and 2.6 as a rookie in 2017. That basically is a $25-35 million a year player who is entering the decline phase of his career.

I figure most teams will be thinking like I am. 3 year max or a net of $75 mil over how ever many years he wants. If he performs at his current level you'd probably be ahead in year 1 and maybe 2, but year 3 and beyond would be a loser for the team most likely (ages 31/32/33).

Of course, he could be an exception ala Mike Schmidt (won an MVP at 31 and 36), George Brett (2nd in MVP at 32), or he could be more like Wade Boggs (115 OPS+ post 30, 151 30 and before, still a 3+ WAR player until he was 39 just not MVP level). But those 3 were consistent MVP contenders year in year out, Chapman isn't. Donaldson from 31-33 was 11.0 WAR, 34-now 6.1 (3 years). Still a good player but not a 'wow' one. Also note all of these guys were FAR better with the bat than Chapman is. So, what to expect? I'd expect a slow decline so if the Jays people figure he can hold on for 5 years then you can consider a 5 year $100-125 million deal but it is risky, especially with 2 kids almost ready in Barger and Martinez. Basically I'd risk his walking this winter and be solid on the price tag. I'd hate to see him go, but I see a long term investment in a 3B whose #1 asset is defense as he goes into his 30's as a poor choice unless you can get a great deal.
Michael - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 01:27 AM EST (#426784) #
Plus it is easy to make a QO on him which nets you something if he signs and/or lets you make a more attractive offer than opponents that discount the lost pick.
Parker - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 09:15 AM EST (#426785) #
Meet the new Blue Jays VP of baseball strategy, James Click.

Interesting hire; I like it. If the org needs to scapegoat Ross Atkins for some reason, now they have an in-house replacement.
Glevin - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 09:22 AM EST (#426786) #
See it as pretty unlikely Jays re-sign Chapman. Barger and Orelvis are both legitimate possibilities to move to 3B and the money saved would be probably better used elsewhere (Extending someone for example).

A couple of early spring notes. It's nice to see the Jays have a lot of bullpen guys who throw hard. Most won't start with the team but it feels like jays are in a much better position this year when relievers get hurt (which they will). I know spring doesn't matter much but starting to wonder if Barger can make the team outright. He might be Jays' best 2Bman right now. Also, trying to figure out what exactly Biggio's role on the team is. He's a decent player but he's probably the team's 3rd or 4th best 2Bman and 3rd best 1Bman. Where are his PAs coming from?
Glevin - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 09:28 AM EST (#426787) #
Jays adding James Click (former Astros GM) to front office. They do like to invest in bringing high quality baseball people to the front office which I think is probably a good thing.
scottt - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 09:38 AM EST (#426788) #
Given the state of the payroll, what the Jays really need is to find some cheap players.
The Yankees have a handful of rookie position players in their mix.
Not the time to pay more for less.
They will have a bunch of decisions at other positions soon enough.

Magpie - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 10:07 AM EST (#426789) #
I think CLick in Toronto will be like Anthopoulos in Los Angeles - a landing place to keep him in the game while he decides which GM gig he'll choose for his next stop.
bpoz - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 10:11 AM EST (#426790) #
James Click is a good hire IMO.

Regarding long term deals to Jays players, I will wait and see. The player should take as much as he can.
Parker - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 10:11 AM EST (#426791) #
Also like Ben Cherington in Toronto.
Gerry - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 10:51 AM EST (#426792) #
If you have a subscription to the Athletic you have to read the Joey Votto story in there today. Its outstanding.

Here is an excerpt:

Iíve got this huge book on art that Iíve wanted to read since I bought it, and Iíve promised myself: ďBefore you die, youíre going to read this book.Ē And, uh, Iím trying not to read it so I donít die.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 11:47 AM EST (#426793) #
I caught about 3 or 4 innings of both exhibition games ( Hey, with Kirk not in camp yet they needed another catcher), and I found a big difference being able to see the pitch clock in the Pittsburgh game. I hope the viewers can see it on screen during the regular season.
hypobole - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 11:53 AM EST (#426794) #
Don't know how transferable the Houston pitching development can be, but Click must have some insights that the Jay system seems to be lacking.
Ducey - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 12:00 PM EST (#426795) #
Given the state of the payroll, what the Jays really need is to find some cheap players.

Why? They are not close to the third tier, when draft picks start to be impacted. So its just money.

They have Ryu, the ghost of Randall Grichuk, Merrifield, Belt, Chapman, KK and Bass coming off the books. And the tax floor is $4 million higher next year.

Its possible that Berrios and Kikuchi stabilize the rotation for next year, with Ricky T waiting in the wings. So Ryu can walk - or maybe he will resign at a lower salary. Bass should be replaceable internally. A DH type like Belt should be easy to come by (or maybe Horowitz takes another step forward), and defense first OF like KK are not that hard to find either. Really the main question is Chapman. Maybe Barger is ready for next year and can play the position. He certainly has the arm and SS tend to be able to play 3B.

Overall, they seem to be set up reasonably well to stay under the first tax threshold if they want next year. Anyway, as long as they stay away from the third tier, there is not a huge impact.

Mike Green - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 12:34 PM EST (#426796) #
Two thumbs up for the Click addition to the FO. Obviously, he's a clever one.
jgadfly - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 01:23 PM EST (#426797) #
Great to see baseball again ... Even better to see a post from Mylegacy. Cheers, oh ever positive one.
On a second note (not a complaint but an observation) my Batter's Box page has been displaying much older headers under the Hot Topics banner which has inadvertently led me down the cobblestones of Memory Lane; ... revisiting old posts of the last 20 plus years and reminding me of the 'friendentidies' that I could always count on to discuss all things Jays & Baseball. ... A small respite of the positive and the ever hoped & longed for from the banalities of the day-to-day. Not only 'where have you gone Joe DiMaggio' but where have Named for Hank, robertdudek, Dave Till, the Southpaw, out in leftfield, Thomas and the many, many other posters of over the years gone ?
Gerry ... aka by me as 'the go to guy with the inside track with all the answers' ... would it be possible, as the guys with the drum in the 500 level used to do, arrange a get together, a face to face over a beer one night in one of the new levels of the SkyerrRogersDomeCentre where we could finally toast our over twenty years of comradery.
We are probably in sufficient numbers to pool some monies to possibly even rent one of those new private boxes ... even better, an official Batter's Box night where we could honour the hard work and dedication of those that keep this site going and to those that have stedfastly supported the Jays through the proverbial thick and thin over these many seasons.

Magpie - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 01:37 PM EST (#426798) #
I can tell you that Named For Hank is now a business tycoon, creator and proprietor of the astonishing Effin' Birds franchise. It may have begun as one of his Twitter jokes, like his endlessly amusing Swear Trek feed. It has since expanded to books, mugs, t-shirts.

I wear one with pride myself. It tells the world how magnificent I am.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 03:32 PM EST (#426799) #
I don't think there's any chance of a Chapman extension. He is represented by Boras, so forgoing free agency wasn't likely to begin with, but now with Machado extended in San Diego, Chapman becomes the top FA 3B on the market this winter. The more likely scenario is to hope for a big 2023 from him, offer the QO, and then move on after the season. I'm not sure Orelvis, even if he bounces back in 2023, will be a realistic 3B option by 2024, but Barger should be.
Glevin - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 03:45 PM EST (#426800) #
You don't usually see games like today when one team is putting out a world series calibre team and the other a pure AAA one.
ayjackson - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 09:41 PM EST (#426801) #
Thanks for that tidbit on Named For Hank, Magpie. Never knew it was the same person. That is cool.
scottt - Monday, February 27 2023 @ 10:24 PM EST (#426802) #
It's quite common, actually. In the first week of spring training, teams don't send their regulars to away games.
Boone didn't even make yesterday's game.
There is a focus now on guys who will be leaving for the WBC and prospects who are trying to show what they have.

Gerry - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 04:30 AM EST (#426803) #
There used to be a rule, or expectation, that teams would send at least four previous season regulars to an away game. Teams have ignored that rule in recent years, including the Jays yesterday, with no consequences.
Cracka - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 09:31 AM EST (#426804) #
Baby Kirk has finally arrived! Emilia Jolene Kirk Casteneda was born at 12:12 am this morning (PST). I'd expect that we will see Alejandro in Florida by this weekend. Congratulations to the Kirk/Casteneda family!
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 09:51 AM EST (#426805) #

Congratulations to the family.
Ducey - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 10:31 AM EST (#426806) #
There used to be a rule, or expectation, that teams would send at least four previous season regulars to an away game.

Richards, Espinal, Pop, Lopez

Chuck - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 10:37 AM EST (#426807) #

I'm begging you please don't take my catcher.

Spifficus - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 11:09 AM EST (#426808) #
Huh. NFH does Swear Trek, and also Effin' Birds (which I have also just learned about, and is apparently not the subtitle of the Jays media guide)? I've now learned multiple awesome things today.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 12:45 PM EST (#426809) #
Like Click, even if it is for one year. If he can add some ideas to the Toronto minors so we can crank out prospects like Houston, count me in.

I am on the Addison Barger bandwagon. I watched the game on saturday and I was very impressed. That kid is built! Kind of reminds me of Ken Caminiti
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 01:07 PM EST (#426810) #
Based on todayís Sportsnet article, it sounds as though Chapman is headed to free agency. Interestingly, he turned down a 10/$150m offer from the Aís before the 2020 season. If he stays healthy and has another 4+ WAR season, heíll undoubtedly receive a large contract from some team.

This would be a good year for the Jays to take advantage of the talent on hand and win a WS.
Joe - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 01:44 PM EST (#426811) #
NFH was also the photographer for my wedding, and adopted one of our cats (before we adopted the cat back!)
Magpie - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 01:55 PM EST (#426812) #
NFH was also the photographer for my wedding

Do not allow him to provide captions for those photographs.

I can not stress this enough.
Magpie - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 02:07 PM EST (#426813) #
I sometimes think of NFH contemplating how his life has turned out. Here he is, attaching vulgar captions to random Star Trek GIFs. He's pairing artistic line drawings of various birds to all manner of rude commentary. Does he wonder if this is any way for a grown man to spend his time? Is this any way to make a living?

And surely he answers - as I would - this is an awesome way to spend my time, a truly magnificent way to make a living.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 02:31 PM EST (#426814) #
Art and vulgarity. If he hangs out at (the appropriate) Balzac's, he'd achieve the trifecta with the addition of coffee.
BlueMonday - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 02:47 PM EST (#426815) #
Rickey Tiedemann! I know, TINSTAAPP.
jerjapan - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 02:53 PM EST (#426816) #
Kid just eviscerated Baez. Hit 99 at least twice and then ends the inning with that change. Really impressive
Spifficus - Tuesday, February 28 2023 @ 04:32 PM EST (#426817) #
It sounds like the best and only way to make a living, if you can get (or make) such a gig.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 01 2023 @ 09:31 AM EST (#426818) #
Albie Pearson died a week ago.  He was just before my time, but I knew something of him- shortest player in the league with terrific plate control and enough pop to keep pitchers honest.  He was an adequate defensive centerfielder.  His career line raises a question- why did he leave the game so abruptly at age 31 (3 PAs) after a successful age 30 season?  The answer according to Wikipedia was a back injury and a belief that the injury signalled a need to devote himself to religious matters.

scottt - Wednesday, March 01 2023 @ 10:34 AM EST (#426819) #
Hatch got shelled pretty bad.
jerjapan - Wednesday, March 01 2023 @ 10:52 AM EST (#426820) #
I've got Hatch on top of my 'next guy cut from the 40 man' list, followed by Richards and Thornton.  Hatch and Thornton still have an option. 

I guess Lukes would be the next guy on the list, but tbh, I feel like, barring a superior player becoming available for free, he will win the final spot on the roster.  I'm sure pulling for him!
I always read Tammy Rainey at BJN,  This is a fun read if you like thinking of the 17th man on the bullpen depth chart, as I do.
did she miss anyone? 
bpoz - Wednesday, March 01 2023 @ 12:38 PM EST (#426821) #
Zulueta only needed 7 pitches to get through 1 inning.

With 2 days rest Pearson may pitch today. Pearson and Kikuchi need to develop confidence. Their stuff is good.
#2JBrumfield - Wednesday, March 01 2023 @ 09:21 PM EST (#426822) #
The dinger jacket is no more. An 80-grade headline from Rob LongleyíNo Jacket Requiredí. He did not have a long long way to go for that one.
John Northey - Thursday, March 02 2023 @ 10:39 PM EST (#426823) #
So who will be cut when needed?  Ryu & Green obviously go on the 60 day IL first, then comes any other injuries (fingers crossed there aren't any), then comes the bubble guys.
Bubble in descending order of age: Trevor Richards (not really bubble, but I think of him as the most expendable of the 8 likely pen guys), Trent Thornton (has to be near the end, and should clear waivers easily), Zach Thompson (hasn't shown much yet, but it is early still), Nathan Lukes (I expect him to get the 26th man slot, but who knows?), Thomas Hatch (similar to Thornton), Mitch White (no way I see him cut, but some do), then we are down to 25 and under which lands under 'prospect' imo and I don't see the Jays cutting anyone with that label before all of these guys are gone.

Right now though the highest odds imo is a trade of a guy who they have no real spot for to get some new prospect(s) in - Cavan Biggio.  I'd hate to see him go though and he does have value as the LH part of a 2B mix and match.  But if lost they have Capra/Lopez and probably others who can fill in as a backup (LH/RH be damned).  But only if the Jays get a solid useful part for the future.  Richards they could trade for a B or C prospect I'd think if they have other relievers who look ready (Pop I'd keep over Richards myself).
John Northey - Thursday, March 02 2023 @ 11:56 PM EST (#426824) #
FYI: Just read that if you join the MLBPAA for $25 you get 50% off MLBTV. Plus MLBTV includes minor league games this year. Still has bloody blackouts but otherwise a decent value especially if you enjoy minor league baseball.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 03 2023 @ 09:01 AM EST (#426825) #
Schneider is talking about Biggio playing the outfield a lot this year:

If that's the plan, I imagine that reduces Lukes' opportunities for playing time.

Meanwhile, Otto Lopez is getting a lot of at bats, including time in CF & SS. That looks like he might have the inside track for a roster spot right now.
bpoz - Friday, March 03 2023 @ 10:11 AM EST (#426826) #
IMO the 26th spot has to fulfill a role.

Belt will get his ABs. He is a good and experienced LHH to play 1B/DH/PH. In key situations he most likely will be PR for. Lukes and Lopez can do that. Neither needs AAA development any more. So either can sit on the bench. I don't see either becoming a PH option because we have enough good hitters. Would Schneider PH for Jansen/Espinal/Merrifield/Biggio? IMO probably not.

I don't think anyone earns an Opening day promotion based on ST. But I could be wrong especially in the pen. This looks like a set roster to me other than the 26th spot.

Yesterday Manoah and Pearson threw a lot of pitches. Pearson had a positive outing. All the other pitchers threw 15 or less pitches for their 1 inning of work. So control was good. Romano, Pop and Danner threw under 10 pitches which is impressive. But the quality of the hitters faced was nothing great.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, March 03 2023 @ 12:21 PM EST (#426827) #
I only saw the last inning yesterday with Danner pitching and he looks to have great stuff. He definitely has the potential to be a closer. Also, if he had shorter hair he would look a lot like Dave Stieb.
Mike Green - Friday, March 03 2023 @ 01:13 PM EST (#426828) #
I've been an advocate for Biggio getting significant work in the outfield.  ZIPS has Biggio has a significant better hitter than Merrifield and a better fielder.  There's no reason for them not to be used in platoon fashion to back up the corner outfield and second base roles.  Both are good baserunners- Merrifield is faster and is good to have on the bench with a RHP for pinch-running purposes. 
jerjapan - Friday, March 03 2023 @ 01:32 PM EST (#426829) #
I agree On Biggio Mike. This roster feels like it might represent the sort os savvy, mix and match, TB model weíve been building towards.

I still think Lukes beats Lopez To start the season. It feels like the Org might have promise Lukes a shot out of the gate, TBH, just based on their history with him as a prospect and the renewed focus on CF calibre D in the OF.

Sorta feels unfair to keep a guy that age, never called up thus far, as AAAA depth
greenfrog - Friday, March 03 2023 @ 04:29 PM EST (#426830) #
Ben Nicholson-Smith

Vlad Guerrero Jr. considered day to day per manager John Schneider, who expressed optimism that Guerrero Jr. will be fine. Jays will evaluate Vlad Jr. tomorrow. No MRI planned. Slated to leave for DR & WBC Sunday.
StephenT - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 02:32 AM EST (#426831) #
fyi, a deluge of televised baseball the next couple weeks, from paging through :

Sun Mar 5: 1pm PHI @TOR

Tue Mar 7: 1pm TOR @PIT, 11pm CUB @NED (in Taiwan, 1st WBC game)

Wed Mar 8: 1pm MIN @TOR, 3pm Canada's WBC Team @ Cubs (SN1), (other WBC games 6am, 10pm, 11pm)

Thu Mar 9: 1pm ATL @TOR, (WBC games 5am, 6am, 10pm, 11:30pm)

Fri Mar 10: 1pm TOR @BOS, (WBC games 5am, 6am, 10pm, 11pm)

Sat Mar 11: 1pm BAL @TOR, 7pm DOM @VEN (1st Dominican Republic WBC game, in Miami), (7 other WBC games, all day)

Sun Mar 12: 3pm GBR @CAN (1st Canada WBC game, in Phoenix), 10pm MEX @USA, etc.

Mon Mar 13: 1pm BOS @TOR, 10pm CAN @USA (SN1), etc.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 09:16 AM EST (#426832) #
With a 162-game season (plus postseason) looming, is it really wise for Guerrero Jr. and his wonky knee to head off to the WBC?
greenfrog - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 11:42 AM EST (#426833) #
From ďmost eye-popping numbers this springĒ:

ďNate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays: 100.8 mph, 101.0 mph K's

ďPearson missed all of the 2022 season, but the 26-year-old flamethrower has returned with the same triple-digit fastball that once made him a top prospect. Pearson has recorded strikeouts this spring at 100.8 mph (Josh Donaldson) and 101.0 mph (Canaan Smith-Njigba), which bodes well for him in his new relief role.

ďRicky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays: 99.4 mph K

ďPearson isn't the only Blue Jays pitcher overpowering hitters this Spring Training. The 20-year-old Tiedemann, MLB's second-ranked left-handed pitching prospect, is doing it, too. Tiedemann blew away Javier BŠez with a 99.4 mph fastball in his spring debut, and also got Matt Vierling with a nasty 85.9 mph changeup Ö which might actually be his best pitch. It's a nasty combo -- there was a 13.5 mph velocity differential between the two strikeout pitches, but their movement looked the same, as both got 16 inches of arm-side run.Ē
bpoz - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 12:38 PM EST (#426834) #
2 ST outings for Nate. 1 for Tiedemann. Then there are multiple guys like Danner that get through 1 inning with under 10 pitches.

The Jays coaching and FO personnel are not talking that much about these guys. More generalities talk mainly which is the way I like it.

I don't know what the plan for the prospects is for opening day assignments. Minors probably. In 2 weeks march 18 I expect pitchers like Danner to throw maybe 40 pitches. That should be 2+ innings. Jeunger maybe 65/70 pitches so 5 innings. But where? We will see.
John Northey - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 01:21 PM EST (#426835) #
Vlad out of the WBC now - via assorted sources now. Biggest news is that he "underwent an MRI on his knee last night that revealed some minor inflammation, but no structural damage." via Keegan Matheson.
bpoz - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 01:40 PM EST (#426836) #
Hutchison seems good.
John Northey - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 02:19 PM EST (#426837) #
If Pearson earns a slot then Richards has to be gone imo (1 2/3 IP so far, 6 H 4 R 3 ER 1 BB 3 SO - he is who he is, can K anyone but also wild and unreliable imo). Pop clearly is next but will be in AAA as he has options.

Fun to look at spring stats - for catchers we have 4 NRI's plus Jansen so far, 7 NRI 2B/3B/SS vs 8 roster guys, 10 NRI vs 4 roster in OF, 3 roster vs 5 NRI at 1B/DH, RH starter 4 roster 1 NRI, LH starter 2 roster (Kikuchi & Mayza) 0 NRI, 25 RH relievers (12 NRI, 13 roster), 5 LH relievers (all NRI).

For comparisons...
  • 40 man roster: 5.02 ERA 10.3 H/9 5.6 BB/9 11.1 K/9 0.3 HR/9
  • NRI: 5.16 ERA 9.7 H/9 4.9 BB/9 10.6 K/9 0.9 HR/9
  • 40 man hitters: 272/357/426 - 783 OPS 4 SB 4 CS
  • NRI hitters: 252/354/431 - 785 OPS 1 SB 0 CS
First thing I notice is how the batters who are NRI are hitting just as well as the 40 man crew so far, and how the stolen base hasn't been a thing for the Jays (5-4 SB-CS). Pitching wise similar thing.

10+ PA: 284/361/442 - 803 OPS - a bit better for the guys getting more chances to play. These are Barger, Biggio, Espinal, Chapman, Eden, Varsho, Lopez, Guerrero Jr., Horwitz. Cam Eden is the only NRI to get 10+ PA so far (2 for 10, both singles, so not taking advantage of it). Guys facing the worst opponents (sub 5 quality - basically low A pitchers they are facing) are Orelvis Martinez, Kiermaier, Lukes. So take any of their stats with a MASSIVE grain of salt. Given Lukes has faced weak opponents and done poor (508 OPS) I think he is not the favorite for 26th man, Lopez has faced 7.7 quality (just shy of AAA) and hit 333/400/556 so he has to be seen as in the lead for that slot given his opportunity vs better quality opponents and doing more vs them.

It'll be interesting to see how this changes in a few weeks as the 'real' ML players get serious and the kids/NRI's vanish.
John Northey - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 02:25 PM EST (#426838) #
Of course, after I typed that I checked today's game. Lukes 2 for 2 against Detroit with a double. Lopez 1 for 2 with a walk and 3 runs scored. Spencer Turnbull started (a legit ML'er) and the Jays got 1 run over his 2 innings, then 12 runs off Will Vest (a meh at best reliever) and Jake Higginbotham (a meh AA pitcher, canon fodder). Those 2 guys got 0 outs and gave up 12 runs. Wow.
John Northey - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 04:03 PM EST (#426839) #
Looks like a 3 way battle for 26th man to me... Lukes (2 for 3 today with a double), Lopez (2 for 3, walk, 3 runs), and Capra mixing in (2 for 4 3 runs, 7 RBI, HR). Capra was 2 for 7 pre today (both singles) and has played LF/3B and now 2B. I see it as Lopez #1, Lukes #2, Capra #3 right now for that slot. Given pretty much everything else is set I see this as the fun battle of the spring. Next is Kikuchi - will he earn his slot or be given it - so far so good. Then White & Richards trying to hold their spots (I'd be surprised if they don't), then Pearson/Pop/etc. fighting to be the first called up when someone gets hurt.
Mylegacy - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 04:09 PM EST (#426840) #
John - you say above:

"If Pearson earns a slot then Richards has to be gone imo (1 2/3 IP so far, 6 H 4 R 3 ER 1 BB 3 SO - he is who he is, can K anyone but also wild and unreliable imo)."

Me agrees regarding Richards. However, me thinks - at this point in the state of the evolution of the universe, and the current evolutionary level of Pearson that he too shares a bit too much uncertainty to be an accountable arm at the major league level. Make him the closer at AAA or AA and let him prove me wrong.

Mind you, proving me wrong is not a big accomplishment. She Who Must Be Obeyed manages to do it several times a day without working up a sweat...sigh.
scottt - Saturday, March 04 2023 @ 09:48 PM EST (#426841) #
Hatch got lit up yet again.

Lopez will feature prominently in Team Canada.

They seem to have several options for the 6th, 7th, 8th starter and to cover injuries in the pen as well.
Ryu and Chad Green are coming back mid-year.

John Northey - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 12:59 AM EST (#426842) #
Yeah, I think Hatch is going to be the first off the 40 man after the IL guys. In 2 games 1 2/3 IP he has allowed twice as many earned runs as anyone else on the staff 8 vs 4, and 3 more runs than anyone (Paul Fry got 'lucky' and just 1 of his 5 allowed was earned). 10 hits is a team high as well (8 is 2nd for Drew Hutchinson).

IF anyone is making a strong statement in the pen it isn't Pearson but Julian Fernandez who in 3 IP has allowed 1 hit, 0 walks, and 6 strikeouts. He has 6 ML games with the Rockies in 2021 (6 2/3 IP 10.80 ERA) and is a RHP. He K's a lot and walks a lot (10 K/9 and 5 BB/9 in AAA last year), still he might be a good one to keep an eye on - guys at 27 sometimes pick up a new pitch or figure something out on the mound and can give you 2 or 3 good years before going pumpkin again. It'd be nice if he could do that for the Jays.

In the end it is still very, very early in spring and LOTS will change. I just find it fun to look for extremes. Most K's in spring is 9 so far (Max Fried for Atlanta), most walks 7 for Kade Strowd of Baltimore. Cimber has hit the most batters at 3 (ouch), Joey Krehbiel must have a sore neck after giving up 4 HR (Baltimore). Drew Strotman has given up 13 ER in just 2/3 of an inning for SF for an amazing 175.50 ERA. No one has won more than 2 or lost more than 2 so far.

For hitters, 5 guys have 3 HR, Christian Encarnacion-Strand (not related to Edwin afaik) of Cincinnati has 8 RBI (1 ahead of Capra and others), Juan Brito of Cleveland has 7 walks, Zac Veen of Colorado loves the big bases with 7 SB vs 1 CS (with 6 H and 1 BB not easy to have 8 attempts - I hope he makes it as I'd love a super-aggressive baserunner being around again). There are 2 500 hitters, with Henry Ramos of Cincinnati at 583 to lead the way (yes, batting average not Slg%), he also lead in OBP at 600. Jordan Walker (StL) is #1 in Slg% at 1167 (9 for 18 with 3 HR and 3 2B will do that).

Like I said, it is early. Fun stuff to look at but I doubt Zac Veen will have 30 SB in spring, or anyone will hit 500 over the month. But it is fun to see for at least a brief period.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 03:46 PM EST (#426843) #
Baron Radcliff is an excellent name, although I think of polo rather than baseball.
Magpie - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 04:46 PM EST (#426844) #
The Jays will be adding Jose Bautista's number 19 (previously worn with considerable distinction by Fred McGriff and Paul Molitor, not to mention Otto Velez) to the Level of Excellence. This is proper and fitting, of course.

Nevertheless, I prophesied almost twenty years ago that this team would never again achieve True Glory until appeasing those baseball gods that were offended by them running Tom Henke out of town. Obviously. this could only be done by raising Henke's number 50 up where it has long belonged.

I'm still waiting.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 05:27 PM EST (#426845) #
Josť Bautista to the Level of Excellence. Edwin Encarnaciůn is another lock.

Tom Henke is definitely the most worthy among historical Blue Jays, with perhaps Jimmy Key next on the list.

Buck Martinez & Jerry Howarth also deserve the honour.

I was wondering how the names will be displayed in the new outfield / stadium configuration . . .

* * *

Earlier today, I saw some dude with the Blue Jays logo tattooed on his neck!

Mike Green - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 06:01 PM EST (#426846) #
I have this thing about relief pitchers.  The truly exceptional (Mariano Rivera) make a huge difference in large part because of their increased importance and dominance in the post-season, but otherwise they aren't that valuable. 

Jimmy Key was a great pitcher, and was far more important to the Jays run of greatness in his time than (say) Tony Fernandez.  And, in my opinion,  he was also more important than Tom Henke.  I don't have any problem with Henke being elevated to the Level of Excellence; it's a vague honour, and it doesn't matter whether Key was more valuable to the club than him or not.  Henke did excel in his role, and if that's enough for the club, that's fine with me. 
John Northey - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 07:16 PM EST (#426847) #
The Jays have generally been stingy with the Level of Excellence when it comes to players. For non-players not so much.

Here is who is there.
  • Players: George Bell, Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Tony Fernandez, Roy Halladay, Dave Stieb.
  • Executives/Mangers: Paul Beeston, Cito Gaston, Pat Gillick
  • Radio/TV: Tom Cheek
So 6 players, 4 non-players. Seems a bit out of whack to me.

  • For the early years no representation (1977-1982) but for good reason, those teams sucked (dead last every year, 100+ losses or on pace for it 4 of those. Stieb is the only player one could say was here for that (79-82) and he was great but he belongs in the next category.
  • For 1983-1990, first great era - Bell, Stieb, Fernandez
  • For 1991-1993, 2nd great era - Carter (Fernandez was a key to both of these eras)
  • For 1994-2012, lost era - Halladay, Delgado
  • For 2013-2018, 3rd great period - Bautista shortly
  • For 2019-now, 4th great period - we are many years away from this one being done.

So who would I add? Pre 83, no one (one could argue Alfredo Griffin, our first major award winner with a ROY). 83-90 there are many candidates (Henke, Moseby, Barfield, Key, McGriff, Whitt) with others worth talking about (Damaso Garcia for example). 91-93 you have Winfield (yeah just 1 year but he was vital well beyond stats), Borders (WS MVP), Molitor (other WS MVP), Ward (no way we win in 93 without), Olerud, Guzman, Devon White. Lost years you get Vernon Wells, Shannon Stewart, and others I'm not thinking of right now. 2013-18 you have Encarnacion, Donaldson, Martin, Pillar, Happ, Stroman as worth thinking about. Current era will obviously be Bo, Vlad, Springer, and others but we'll see what happens as time goes by.

The current setup is just 1 or 2 per era it seems. Stieb is an oddity as he played in 4 eras (he was here for 1991/2 and 1998) and if it wasn't for that injury in 1991 he might have had a longer career and made the HOF. Sigh. So Encarnacion to go with Bautista for the 2015/16 teams (maybe Donaldson in the future but no time soon). And the current team will be Bo & Vlad and maybe Manoah.

I'd love the Jays to add a real team HOF with photos/displays and an annual celebration where someone is inducted each year (limit of 1 per year). Start with a group induction for the level of excellence, then add new ones annually. Have it be you need to be retired 2+ years for the team HOF, 4+ for Level of Excellence, and in the HOF for number retirement (5+ since retiring). The team HOF could then hold fan favorite guys like Ernie Whitt while the Level requires you to be a real star (very exclusive like now) with retired numbers being super rare. Hmm... will they retire Fred McGriff's given he did spend a big part of his career here and should've been on the Level of Excellence a long time ago but his #19 is shared with Bautista who won't ever get into the HOF (sorry 344 HR and under 1000 RBI for a slugger will never get him in) and Paul Molitor who is there but mainly for his time in Milwaukee. I doubt it but it has to be considered.
Magpie - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 07:45 PM EST (#426848) #
So I've been reading this ESPN piece about Oakland's machinations to get themselves a new ball park, and the city of Las Vegas trying to persuade them that Nevada is the place it ought to be. In the event, Las Vegas would become the fourth city that the Athletics had called home. Perhaps it might be time to adopt a new team nickname, like the Wanderers.

This would leave Oakland without a major league team. (You may argue that San Francisco-Oakland-Berkely is a single metropolitan area, I suppose.) What other city can complain of such a terrible fate?

 Montreal, obviously. Montreal is the only city since 1900 that had themselves a major league franchise, lost it, and never got it back. Kansas City lost their team, Milwaukee lost their team, Seattle lost their team. None of those cities had a team anywhere near as long as Montreal did. But each got a shiny new one (or a slightly used one, in the case of Milwaukee) to replace what had been lost. Washington D.C. has been abandoned by two franchises. Third time seems to have been the charm, for now.

There were a number of cities that had NL teams in the 19th century and haven't had one since - Indianapolis and Buffalo both have NFL teams (Indy's also got an NBA team.) Hartford had an NHL team for a couple of decades. Columbus has an NHL team right now - they had an American Association team in the 1880s. 

Louisville had an NL franchise right up to 1899, when they were contracted out of existence. Team owner Barney Dreyfus cunningly traded all his best players (including Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke) to Pittsburgh, while secretly buying a 50% share of the Pirates. The idea of a team called the Louisville Sluggers is immensely appealing, but alas the metropolitan population is even less than Milwaukee's.
Magpie - Sunday, March 05 2023 @ 10:05 PM EST (#426849) #
The idea of a team called the Louisville Sluggers is immensely appealing

So appealing that it's never, ever happened. After a couple of false starts (the Grays, the Eclipse) Louisville became the Colonels in 1884 and they stayed Colonels after becoming a minor league city, right up to 1972. They became the Redbirds when they were a Cardinals farm team, and they've been the Riverbats (or just Bats) since being affiliated with Cincinnati. But never Sluggers.

I suspect this may have something to do with the association of "Louisville Slugger" with the corporation that still manufactures the Louiville Slugger. It's still Hillerich & Bradsby, just as it was when they registered the name back in 1894. But they make them now for Wilson Sporting Goods, which is now a subsidiary of a Finnish multinational which is in turn a limited liability company of a Chinese retail conglomerate.
Mike Green - Monday, March 06 2023 @ 06:20 AM EST (#426850) #
It's one thing when China takes the lead in development of hypersonic missiles. But beneficial ownership of the Louisville Slugger is on a whole other level. Thank you for bringing this alarming situation to our attention, Magpie.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 06 2023 @ 11:47 AM EST (#426851) #
China should have put Louisville Sluggers in big letters on their spy balloons and then everybody would have thought it was just an advertising campaign.
johnny was - Monday, March 06 2023 @ 09:08 PM EST (#426852) #
As a expat resident of Kentucky, I can't tell you whether the ferocious devotion to college basketball here is as result of having been spurned by all the major pro sports leagues, or if all the major pro sports leagues passed Louisville over knowing that nothing can ever compete with our affections for UK, UofL, and the sweet pleasure of horse racing in the spring.

FWIW, Busch Stadium is now my "home" park and I have a full STL scouting report for anyone else here who's headed down for the opening series and looking for stuff to do between games.
Magpie - Tuesday, March 07 2023 @ 01:38 AM EST (#426853) #
Kansas City lost their team, Milwaukee lost their team, Seattle lost their team. None of those cities had a team anywhere near as long as Montreal did. But each got a shiny new one

And it rather belatedly occurs to me that the obvious reason this is the case is because Missouri, Wisconsin, and Washington all send senators and congresspeople to the other Washington.
Joe - Tuesday, March 07 2023 @ 10:24 AM EST (#426854) #
But they make them now for Wilson Sporting Goods, which is now a subsidiary of a Finnish multinational which is in turn a limited liability company of a Chinese retail conglomerate.
Which, of course, is entirely owned by the Sheinhardt Wig Corporation (corporate motto: "Not Poisoning Rivers Since 1997").
Glevin - Tuesday, March 07 2023 @ 10:44 AM EST (#426855) #
New stat on Baseball Savant on catcher blocking.

Jansen and Kirk both rate very highly.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 07 2023 @ 03:21 PM EST (#426856) #
Ricky Tiedemann and Hagen Danner are having a "learning" day.

Carlos Santana took Tiedemann deep for a two run shot.

Danner also gave up a home run.
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, March 07 2023 @ 08:10 PM EST (#426857) #
I understand the enthusiasm for Kikuchi's start to the spring but... Of his three starts, we have data for two (the other wasn't scored in Gameday). In those two games, he threw 84 pitches and only six fastballs in the strike zone. You can't get big league hitters out 4-6 innings every five days when you can't use your fastball.
Kasi - Tuesday, March 07 2023 @ 10:43 PM EST (#426858) #
Looking at the chart today I think thatís a little misleading. He only missed badly on a couple fastballs. One in the first against Santana and one in third with Reynolds. On the rest he was on or around the strike zone and if anything looks like he was squeezed a bit. Also saying only six fastballs doesnít mean much at this point when theyíre still trying stuff out. Heís working on a new slider release and I would guess thatís his focus atm.

Still obv something to watch but Iím more concerned about the amount Bassit and Manoah are down on their FB velocity. Also just as concerned that the new pitching rules on stops and how that affects Gausmans delivery. So that leaves Berrios and well I donít know if heís fixed anything so I hardly trust him either. Anyway to me Kikuchi right now is the only starter looking up in this rotation.
StephenT - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 01:57 AM EST (#426859) #
fyi, Sportsnet apparently is carrying the "World Feed Broadcast ... for viewers outside the U.S." (based on the first game from Taichung today).
First-round announcers are listed at .
Buck Martinez (with Rich Waltz) is doing the first-round games from Phoenix (including Canada and U.S. games).

Loud (if small) crowd for the noon (local) game in Taichung today.  Presumably will be bigger when the home team plays this evening.
scottt - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 09:03 AM EST (#426860) #
Kikuchi threw is fasball around 37% of the time in 20-21.
That was brought to over 50% last year but too many of those were balls.

I expect he'll be close to 35% fastball when it is all said and done.

Now, to go back to major leagues starters needing to throw lots of fasballs, there are a few things to keep in mind. Knuckleballers survive without it. The fastball is important because it's the pitch that's easier to throw for a strike. But that doesn't seem to apply to Kikuchi. He does throw a cutter, which is basically a low velocity fastball.
The Yankees have been pushing their starters to throw fewer fastballs. It was awkward when they acquired Happ because he was throwing his fastball over 70 of the time.

Marc Hulet - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 09:24 AM EST (#426861) #
Typically pitchers with low fastball usage either predominantly feature a cutter as mentioned or have a fastball they throw for strikes but it packs velo or movement and is used more when a strike or needed or its unexpected. With Kikuchi, his FB is almost useless because he can't throw it for strikes... In the regular season as the scouting report gets around, teams can sit on SL/CH since they're similar speeds, and look for location.

I still find it odd that they're not even trying get him to work on the fastball command in spring games given it's his greatest weakness.

For what it's worth, statcast has not identified a cutter for Kikuchi all spring.
Kasi - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 10:16 AM EST (#426862) #
It was hardly useless yesterday. His FB got both strike outs and got four whiffs on seven swings. And like I said on the chart it looked fairly solid as well.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 02:51 PM EST (#426863) #

Any chance they might use Kikachi as a funky change of pace reliever like Climber? Can't never have too much funk.
ayjackson - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 06:07 PM EST (#426864) #
"funky change of pace reliever"

And they were dancing and singing, and moving to the groving.
scottt - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 08:40 PM EST (#426865) #
They told him to shelf the cutter last year but he eventually brought it back.
He also has a splitter. 

I think it's still too early to study the pitch mix.
Experienced starters are expected to do their things. Whatever works for them.
The clock doesn't seem a problem for him which was one of the big questions.
Pitchers can now wear pitchcom and call their own game.
That's probably a huge plus for a guy who needs an interpret.

scottt - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 08:46 PM EST (#426866) #
Austin Martin shut down with UCL sprain, possibly heading to TJ surgery.

John Northey - Wednesday, March 08 2023 @ 09:18 PM EST (#426867) #
The more time that passes the more I think the Jays timed that deal perfectly with Martin. His value, if he does have TJ surgery, will drop drastically again. He won't be a top 100 prospect anymore as his power has vanished, the Jays already saw he wasn't a full-time SS and without power he won't survive as an OF unless he goes Tony Gwynn and hits well over 300 with speed.
bpoz - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 09:45 AM EST (#426868) #
Austin Martin falling to the Jays at #5 was ridiculous and shocking it seemed to everyone. I cannot remember the mood of da Bauxites at the time. I was elated. The Jay's pounced and grabbed him. They did not have a choice IMO. Being represented by Boras meant that the signing bonus would be very big. The Jay's drafting team had to adjust on the fly very quickly because their draft budget was drastically affected.

So with our 1st pick we got a potential star. Our 2nd pick was a polished University pitcher CJ Van Eyk who I believe got paid close to slot. IMO no discount. The other 3 picks IMO were lower ranked players to be signed at discounts so that A Martin could be signed for $7 Mil. So an excellent strategy financially. I don't count Shane Farell's 2020 draft as a proper evaluation of his performance. His 1st draft I believe.

I liked Asa Lacey and Max Meyer but both were gone before our pick. Robert Hassell III, taken #8 but ranked #16 was someone I liked but too low ranked for #5. The 5th pick was too high to take any of the players I liked like R Hassell III and Zack Veen. I had not even heard of Jordan Walker picked #21 but ranked #33.
Ducey - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 11:38 AM EST (#426870) #
Martin's BR picture is hilarious

I would not give up on him just yet. He destroyed the AFL, and although his OBP is inflated by a lot HBP, he could do well as a speedy, OBP infielder.

Having said all that, he doesn't look all that different from an Otto Lopez
Glevin - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 11:47 AM EST (#426871) #
I mean, Martin had an 89 WRC+ in AA as a 23 YO last year. Otto Lopez had a 136 WRC+ in AA at the same age. Very hard to see Martin as a major leaguer unless he makes some huge advances which are never a good idea to bet on. It's also just really really hard to be a good major leaguer now without any power at all.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 01:14 PM EST (#426872) #
Yankee's Carlos Rodon to start the season on the IR with a strained forearm. The Yankees are trying to downplay it, saying he had a similar injury last year, but with his medical history you never know how it will play out.
John Northey - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 04:44 PM EST (#426873) #
Agreed bpoz - I was among those very happy that a potential #1 overall pick fell to #5 for the Jays. Of course, I knew nothing beyond what was reported about him. The more I see the more I think of Gregg Jefferies. A guy who was super-hyped back in the late 80's, but never reached 20 HR in a season who many saw as a future HOF'er when he came up at 19 and at 27 had a career OPS+ of 117 while mainly playing at 2B/3B but moved to 1B at 25. From 25 to the end he was a 105 OPS+ hitter while splitting time at 1B/LF plus a bit of time at 2B/3B (under 50 games total). To be valuable he had to hit 300 (which he did often). That is the best case for Austin Martin at this stage imo. Nice, but nothing amazing. Except Martin is entering his age 24 season, at which point Jeffries was a 111 OPS+ ML'er. So that target is long gone. Glevin's comparison to Lopez is interesting as Lopez does look like a better prospect at this stage and I fully expect Lopez to get more ML PA's going forward than Martin unless something big changes soon.

Btw, Martin this spring is 0-4 with a HBP and a Sac Fly and a stolen base against 6.7 quality players (between A+ and AA quality). Lopez vs 6.9 quality (a tiny bit better competition but not much) is hitting 467/529/667 0 SB vs 1 CS with 3 games at SS, 2 in CF, and 1 in RF. I expect him to break camp with the team. He was an IFA in 2016 (no bonus listed that I could find, suggesting he wasn't a premium sign).
jerjapan - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 05:23 PM EST (#426874) #
Two hours, five minutes for the game today.  Sign me up for more of these please!
What is the measure of Bauxite enthusiasm for this season?
I find myself increasingly optimistic watching these Spring games. I like the pitching in depth in Buffalo for the first time since Shapiro and Atkins promised to stack the Bisons.  Intriguing arms in the pen, and plenty of length at least from the starters. 

I'm increasingly positive that Lukes is gonna be the 26th guy.  He looks good defensively to me, the big question mark, and given his age and history with Shapiro and Atkins, I think we owe him.  I mean, it's now or never for the guy.  keeping him as break glass in case of emergency depth in Buffalo wouldn't sit right with me. 

bpoz - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 06:54 PM EST (#426875) #
You make some very good points jerjapan.

Stacking Buffalo!! Casey Lawrence is a good example 35 years old who pitched almost 150 innings last year. He was very successful in Buffalo, helping them to a winning 2022. Keeping the fans in Buffalo happy will make for a long term commitment to the Jays. Very convenient. Regarding prospect development in Buffalo for 2022 I can only think of Groshans, Moreno and Max Castillo as top ranked prospects. Groshans developed in 2022 353 AAA ABs. Moreno was the clear #3 behind Jansen & Kirk in large part because they were good and Moreno missed all of ST basically, so opportunity did not knock. Castillo dominated AAA like Manoahish 5 games 27 IP 0.66 ERA. V good and V fast. We have more potential quantity of high ranked prospects starting in AAA and being promoted in 2023. For example Zulueta starts in AAA and maybe Tiedemann. 5 games and they are up? Robberse starts in AA IMO and then goes to AAA if he earns it. Then the Majors if he earns that.
John Northey - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 07:03 PM EST (#426876) #
I'm thinking we might finally have a 100 win team (Jays record is 1985 with 99 wins). This team has solid former all-stars at nearly every position and all 5 rotation slots plus closer. Only Varsho & Kiermaier among those players hasn't. 10 of them in the past 2 years, 13 in total. Going into a season that must be a Jays record or close to it.

Last year: Springer, Vlad, Espinal, Kirk, Manoah, Romano
2021: Bo, Merrifield, Gausman, Kikuchi, Bassitt
2019: Chapman, Berrios
2016: Belt (OK, it has been awhile for him, but MVP votes in 2020)

Checking obvious potentials: in 1992/3 Stottlemyre was part of the rotation and he never made an All-Star team, Hentgen made his first in 1993, same for Ward (their closer in '93), Guzman made his first in '92, Pat Borders (#1 catcher) never made an all-star team, Olerud's first was in '93, Manny Lee never did, nor did LF Candy Maldonado, Ed Sprague didn't until years later, I could go on, but clearly the 2 WS teams didn't have anywhere near the # of past all-stars that this years team does. 1985 was full of kids who would do it but hadn't yet (Bell, Barfield, Fernandez, Whitt wasn't a kid but would make that '85 ASG as Key did). Same in '87 with some kids who hadn't been all-stars yet but would soon (Gruber for example).

Scariest rotation was probably 1998's with Clemens coming off a Cy Young, Hentgen a year away from his, Guzman 2 years from winning the ERA title, a very young Chris Carpenter who hadn't done anything yet, an extremely young Roy Halladay who'd get his first 2 ML starts that year, plus Dave Stieb trying a very improbable comeback. They won the most games of the dead era (1994-2014) in the end but it was nowhere near enough.

I really, really, really like this teams chances. With health (always a big if) the potential is there for 2023 to be a very special year.
bpoz - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 07:31 PM EST (#426877) #
99 wins in 1985 was our best. I am sure that there were career years involved. But I don't know for sure. Henke arriving to solidify the pen was probably a big Key. Speaking of Key "do you want a guy that throws hard or a guy that knows how to pitch?"
John Northey - Thursday, March 09 2023 @ 11:26 PM EST (#426878) #
One thing that I don't think any projection system is factoring in is the drastic improvement in defense. From sub-par at all 3 OF positions (Springer really isn't an above average CF anymore) and with the 4th guy (Tapia vs Merrifield/Biggio) but a downgrade for emergency CF (Zimmer vs whoever they use) which is minimal in effect IMO. Especially when comparing Teoscar & Gurriel to Varsho & Kiermeier. What a massive gain on defense. Just insane.

The infield will probably see some progress (not massive) with Mattingly helping Vlad and everyone who backs him up (Belt, Biggio). Bo should improve too as he knows that was going to be the Jays #1 attack if he went to arbitration. Chapman had a sub=par for him year at 3B last year with the massive shifting so losing that should help him. Espinal will have fewer innings but with rest might be more solid when in the field and able to give Bo more rest. Merrifield isn't bad at 2B nor is Biggio but neither are Espinal level. Lopez should be a decent backup but no idea on his defense (promising that he is playing some innings at SS in spring).

I suspect the new pitch com for pitchers (so they can call the game themselves) will help veteran staffs like the Jays have (Gausman, Bassitt, Berrios, Kikuchi, and eventually Ryu) and not hurt young vets like Manoah.

The net effect is a much more solid rotation which should go longer thus saving the pen and reducing innings for guys at the back end like Richards. This is a massive net gain for the Jays. Massive. The 3.87 ERA last year was just over the FIP of 3.85 the Jays had in 2022 but this year I expect the FIP to be visibly higher than the ERA. Surprisingly the team ERA in 1992 and 1993 was higher than the FIP those years despite Devon White in CF probably due to Carter on a corner and Winfield (a DH) in RF often in 92 and other not so good defensive players around. 1985, the 99 win year, had a FIP of 3.92 vs ERA of 3.31 with a young fast OF (Bell-Moseby-Barfield all fast with 20+ SB that year, Tony Fernandez who made lots of errors but had crazy range, etc.). That '85 team is a lot closer to this years than others imo - this is a very good thing. If we can get a few great years this could be a super-fun time.
jerjapan - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 09:19 AM EST (#426879) #
I agree John.  And it's exciting to think of an elite OF D - when was the last time we had that?   For real?  No more Chris Collabello in LF. 

I grew up watching Barfield and White.  Honestly, an elite defensive play is as exciting as any.  A team that can steal some more bases too?  That can mix and match with legit depth everywhere?  Varsho has struggled this Spring, but his ability to be an emergency catcher and a legit elite CF?   Espy good all over in the IF?

The way I see it now, Merrifield backs up LF, Biggion RF, Varsho CF and Lukes is a legit 5th OF, the defensive replacement guy who can get on base, steal a bag.  His ceiling is likely the platonic ideal of that guy, and with Lukes' skills, his floor is likely closer to Tapia than Zimmer. 

All of those configurations look good to me.  Biggio lobbied Snider for more playing time at different positions and looked good on a catch in RF last time I saw him out there. 

Espinal will likely be playing a lot, pinch-hitting, pinch-running, defensive replacements.  He is the key to match-ups in the IF. I imagine Merrifield and Biggio both get some games, but Espy might run away with the job. 

The reason I like the Buffalo starting depth is that the guys are accepting of their place on the depth chart.  Hutch and Lawrence know they are back-end depth, the want to be in the organization, and while I still think these minor-league guys are underpaid and exploited, I think it's increasingly clear that our FO is making Buffalo an attractive choice for minor league FAs.  Guys with a future in coaching, or a a track-record of AAAA success.  Wynton Bernard has ties to the city and at age 32, chose to sign here. 

And no more more fringe prospects stalled in the starting depth cue.  Hatch and Kay might have lost a chance at a big-league income in the pen in they'd been shifted earlier. 

bpoz, I think you are right about making the Bisons competitive - cultivating an exciting AAA team, one that is close geographically and shares a fan base, feels something like what the Raps have been doing with the 905, and the Leafs with the Marlies and Growlers.   This can only help build the brand and the team philosophy.  And I love going to see the Bisons.

What a story Bernard is, by the way.  from Wiki, last season, 'after recording a base hit and a stolen base, he became the oldest player to do so in their major league debut since 1907'.  I don't wish for injuries to the big league roster, but dude is 6th on the depth chart, and I expect he will get time in the bigs this year.  I expect he expects this too. 

Adding Mattingly and James Click are great moves.  The players are certainly expressing the impact Mattingly has had on them so far this Spring.  (One of the few advantages of being cancelled - I can watch the Spring games this year).

Click is in a pillow-contract situation and is likely better regarded in the industry than Atkins - and that's not a dis to Atkins, who continues to look like another Shapiro to me.  Like, I could see him replacing a popular GM elsewhere, getting called Darth Vader and then gradually winning the fans around when smart, long-term planning begins to pay off.
And the wildcard of adding Green, (and to a lesser extent, Ryu), down the stretch all adds up to a sneaky-good offseason.  I will never predict 100 wins, but it doesn't feel crazy this year.  Probably the best potential since the championship teams. 

Gerry - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 12:42 PM EST (#426880) #
Pretty much a full minor league lineup for the Jays on the road today.
Chuck - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 02:54 PM EST (#426881) #
Raimel Tapia is doing his best Kevin-Pillar-in-spring-training impression. He conceded that he swings at too many balls out of the strike zone and he intends to correct that this season.

Gotta love the spring. Skittles and beer, all day long.

Magpie - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 06:37 PM EST (#426882) #
99 wins in 1985 was our best. I am sure that there were career years involved.

Actually... no. Well, Garth Iorg and Dennis Lamp. A platoon infielder and a middle reliever. But no one else. Strange perhaps, but there you go. None of the key players had their best seasons, and some would have much better ones at other times.
greenfrog - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 07:30 PM EST (#426883) #
The Yankees often find a way to win the division, but theyíve been hit hard by injuries in the early going this year. Montas, Rodon, Bader, Trivino, Kahnle and Effross (TJ surgery) are all hurt to some degree. And Cortes has had a hamstring issue this spring.

The Jays could put themselves in a good position this season just by staying relatively healthy.

Never count out the Evil Empire, though.
bpoz - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 09:24 PM EST (#426884) #
Thanks Magpie. So good luck is the answer?
John Northey - Friday, March 10 2023 @ 10:43 PM EST (#426885) #
Never count out the Yankees or the Rays. And the Red Sox are due for another up year after their big downer last year. The AL East has always been a beast.
bpoz - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 08:33 AM EST (#426886) #
I think TB will always annoy Jay's fans and NYY failures will delight Jay's fans.

NYY trading away relievers Chapman and A Miller in 2016 was odd because they gave up. That year TB was out as well. Boston did not make it to the WS. That was a good year for Jay's fans.
Gerry - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 11:08 AM EST (#426887) #
Hagen Danner has forearm soreness and is currently shut down.

Brandon Belt makes his debut today.
electric carrot - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 01:27 PM EST (#426888) #
Below is the current Vegas projected wins for each team. I think the Jays prognostication is pretty close. Yankees & Houston look a little high to me -- Cleveland & Boston a little low.

I think we're looking at a great hitting and fielding season from the Jays. If one of the youngster pitchers emerges up to near their ceiling this year, and all other pitchers hold to near expected results, then I think we got a good shot at first place. I'm hopeful but not optimistic either of both those will happen. If neither or only one happens, I think we'll be in dogfight with Yanks/Tampa and one of Boston or Baltimore all year for those top three spots in the AL East.

N.Y. Yankees 94.5
Toronto 90.5
Tampa Bay 89.5
Boston 78.5
Baltimore 76.5

Cleveland 86.5
Minnesota 84.5
Chicago White Sox 83.5
Detroit 68.5
Kansas City 68.5

Houston 97.5
Seattle 86.5
Texas 81.5
L.A. Angels 81.5
Oakland 59.5
greenfrog - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 01:41 PM EST (#426889) #
I think an important part of the Jays season (perhaps not captured in the Vegas odds) will be the reinforcements: Tiedemann, Zulueta, Barger, others on the farm, as well as Ryu and Green. If a few of those players can come up and produce when needed, the team should have a very good season.
electric carrot - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 01:51 PM EST (#426890) #
Yes, Tiedemann, Zul,Barg, potential big difference makers -- Ryu too. And then also (dare I say it) ____Pearson____ ???
Chuck - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 02:26 PM EST (#426891) #
Cleveland & Boston a little low

Funny, I look at that Boston roster and I can't help but see a last place team.

Katie - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 04:42 PM EST (#426892) #
The Diamondbacks have just signed Corbin Carroll to an eight-year, $111 million deal, with an option for the ninth year at $23 million. There are also some performance incentives that could raise the value of the contract by $20 million to $154 million.

This is another example of a team locking up a young player at a reasonable cost and buying out some free agency year. The Blue Jays inability, or refusal, to do something similar is something continues to stand out. Even if Bo, and maybe Vlad, are difficult to lock up, I've never heard anything that suggests the Jays are trying to do this with Manoah or Kirk or, heck, even Varsho. (Of course, I'm not saying the numbers would be the same and there'd be different considerations as to what makes sense value-wise.)
mathesond - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 04:57 PM EST (#426893) #
"This is another example of a team locking up a young player at a reasonable cost and buying out some free agency year. The Blue Jays inability, or refusal, to do something similar is something continues to stand out. "

Are you saying the Jays are in the minority of teams that refuse to/are unable to lock up young players to long term contracts?
Magpie - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 05:12 PM EST (#426894) #
So good luck is the answer?

Not really. The 1985 Jays weren't particularly lucky (26-21 in one-run games) and Dave Stieb was historically unlucky. But no one on the team was actually bad, and back in the Olden Times teams used to have players in the lineup who simply weren't very good. The Jays worst hitter was Damaso Garcia, and the other AL contenders had far, far worse hitters than Garcia - Bobby Meacham! Jackie Gutierrez! - in their every day lineups. The Jays also had the best pitching and defense in the league, even though the back end of the rotation and the front of the bullpen were both subject to revision along the way.
Magpie - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 05:34 PM EST (#426895) #
Surprisingly the team ERA in 1992 and 1993 was higher than the FIP those years

Interesting. How did that happen?

It wasn't a big spread in 1992 (3.80 FIP, 3.91 ERA) and was mostly the work of three pitchers - Key, Henke, Ward - who posted an ERA significantly lower than their FIP. Morris and Wells had ERAs higher than their FIP number. These were not enormous spreads as a rule, mostly in the range of half a run per nine innings. The largest by far was Henke, but he only worked 55.2 IP. Guzman and Stottlemyre were a wash.

1993 was similar in that the team ERA was slightly higher than the FIP (4.21 to 4.13). But the individual difference were wild. Stottlemyre's ERA was almost a run higher than his FIP (4.84 to 3.91) , Morris' ERA was 1.5 higher (6.19 to 4.51). Meanwhile Hentgen and Stottlemyre posted ERAs close to a run lower than the FIP figure, and Stewart was quite a bit below his as well.
earlweaverfan - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 05:57 PM EST (#426896) #
Strongly agree, grenouille verte. The AAA/AA depth is deep this year and if (fingers triple crossed) the injuries are kept to a dull roar, the first man up at each position and the available pitchers to call upon should be pretty strong. I also like the odds of a much better pen. If an improved rotation raises their average duration by half an inning or so, the pen should be better rested.

Maybe the thing I like the best about this yearís team is how every single member of the batting order (and their back-ups) should be a tough out, so that much of the time, our pitchers should be able to pitch with a comfortable lead or with confidence that any deficit can be readily overcome.

Yea, itís spring, but hope seems somehow more justified this year than for many a long year!
Katie - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 06:26 PM EST (#426897) #
"Are you saying the Jays are in the minority of teams that refuse to/are unable to lock up young players to long term contracts?"

The answer is they choose not to or unable to do so. I don't see another option? I suspect the answer is that they are not able to do so, rather than they are outright choosing not to.

If they cannot do so, either the players are outright refusing to sign these deals wherein they sacrifice any years of free agency or the Jays and the players are valuing these deals very differently.

I can see indications that suggest Bo and Vlad may be quite difficult players to sign, but I find it a bit hard to believe that every young player on the team (i.e. Manoah, Kirk, etc...) would not sign one of these deals, which suggests that there is a disconnect in how they value an extension versus the player. And, while we don't know the nature of that disconnect, it's certainly not a point in this front office's favour that none of these players have signed.

The one deal that did sign that is somewhat comparable, even if it's not signing a player with 0-2 or 3 years of big league service, is Berrios'. And we're all crossing our fingers that 2022 was an exception, not the new norm.
StephenT - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 07:11 PM EST (#426898) #
The first-baseman for the Dominican Republic tonight is Jeimer Candelario, batting 8th.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 07:43 PM EST (#426899) #
The ideal very-early-career extension candidate seems to be someone who is young, athletic, plays a premium position (CF or SS or 3B), and is an excellent two-way player with a demonstrated track record of performance. Examples are Longoria, Acuna Jr., and Franco.

Carroll also seems to fit that description. The contract will guarantee him a lot of money before he reaches his early-30s, despite a significant shoulder injury the season before last. Arizona may well end up with a bargain (no guarantees that itíll work out, but the odds seem pretty good that it will).

Bichette and Vlad Jr. seem to be in a different category. They presumably want much more money than Carroll signed for (even if they may be no more valuable than him over the next 8-9 years). Manoah (because heís a pitcher) and Kirk (because of his body type and diminished performance in the second half last year) seem riskier candidates for a long-term extension, despite being very good players.
John Northey - Saturday, March 11 2023 @ 10:48 PM EST (#426900) #
I think a massive factor is the Jays market size. Basically the Jays can afford to pay free agent prices when the situation calls for it (see Springer, Bassitt, Ryu, Gausman). Thus not the same urgency to sign kids to long term deals which can blow up in your face (Roy Halladay's looked like that at first when he was sent down after signing a contract early on - it wasn't a 10 year deal sadly but was to save some in arbitration or so Ash thought). I'm sure some of these big long term deals being handed out now will bite some teams in the butt in a few years, while others will be massive bargains. Predicting which will be on which side is hard.

Mix in that Bichette and Vlad both were rich when born and have Dad's who know MLB inside/out and you have 2 guys who have a massive incentive to hold off until free agency hits. Manoah and Kirk don't have that luxury but both are bigger risks than Bo & Vlad when you look at 10 year deals, plus right now the Jays literally hold all the leverage (pre-arb) so minimal need to do a long term deal in an effort to save a few bucks in 5 years.
scottt - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 06:08 AM EDT (#426901) #
Alex Rios and Ricky Romero are what comes to my mind with respect to early extensions and that didn't work out very well.

Guerrero is the only guy I would like to keep for another decade.
The important thing is to keep developing players.

greenfrog - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#426902) #
Apples and oranges. Rios and Romero were not the type of very-early-career career extensions Iím talking about (and that Carroll just signed).

The Longoria, Acuna Jr., Franco, and Carroll extensions were negotiated when the player was around 20-22, at the very outset of their careers, as opposed to age 25-27 for the Romero and Rios extensions. And they were all #1 prospect-type, truly elite two-way position players. Those are the types of player you want to bet on if youíre going to go this route.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#426903) #
Another nice thing (from Arizonaís point of view) is the way this contract allows them to get out front of salary inflation. Eight or nine years from now, the annual salaries paid to Carroll are going to look very modest, if he performs anywhere close to the way they expect him to.
bpoz - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#426904) #
The only org John Schneider has been with is the Jays. So maybe 20 STs? He must know how ST works. This also seems to be a veteran club.

I have not been able to get as interested in ST this year. It is often mentioned and we see it often that few regulars are in the lineup some games. I am sure this is by design. So the regulars are preparing without much media coverage.

A "good" prospect like J Kasevich has only had about 100ABs. All in A- yet he may face a AAA veteran that learned a lot of tricks to use against an inexperienced prospect. So the inexperienced prospect would look quite lost in the AB.

Groshans was interviewed last year and said AA pitchers ALL throw V hard but many have little control and command. Then he got to AAA and faced a lot of pitchers that were not overpowering but had V good control. So quite the adjustment.

The next level is the Majors where both hitting and pitching is V hard.

Mike Green - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#426905) #
From David Laurilia at fangraphs:

"Dan McGinn, a left-hander who pitched for three teams from 1968-1972, died on March 1 at age 79. Playing primarily with the Montreal Expos ó he also took the mound for the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds ó McGinn appeared in 210 games and went 15-30 with 10 saves and a 5.11 ERA. His only career home run, which came off of Tom Seaver, was the first in Expos franchise history."

I was watching that game which was definitely special.  Here's the game log.  Tom Seaver that year went 25-7 with a 2.21 ERA and the Miracle Mets went all the way, despite the Opening Day 11-10 loss to the Expos.  McGinn's homer was the Expos' first and it occurred in their first game. And for some reason, that homer and the Robert Service poem The Shooting of Dan McGrew are inextricably linked in my memory. 
JohnL - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#426906) #
Came across this video about Mark Eichhorn, and his historically great 1986 season - one of the greatest ever by a reliever. But among all the impressive stats, this one jumped out at me: 11 times that year, he pitched from the 5th through 8th. You get a snapshot of just how bad every reliever (beside Henke) was that year. So: starter just lasts 4, then Eichhorn for 4, Henke for 1. Simple!
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#426907) #
'21 was the trailer. †'22 was the feature. †'23 is the sequel.


And the Oscar Gamble goes to . . .

"Kier Minority Report" (2002)
"Love Is a Many-Splendor-Horwitz Thing" (1955)
"The Greatest Varsho on Earth" (1952)
"The Hound of the Bassittvilles" (1939)
"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Kikuchi" (1964)
"Ryu Only Live Twice" (1967)
"Zach Popeye" (1980)
"Billy Maddison Barger" (1995)
"Donnie Baseball Brasco" (1997)
"The Schneider House Rules" (1999)
"East of Dunedin" (1955)

The 95th Academy Awards! †Live! †Tonight on ABC.

StephenT - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#426908) #
Berrios pitching for Puerto Rico on SN1 now.
mathesond - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#426909) #
Nice, Leaside. I really liked East of Dunedin!

Perhaps there's room for Guerrero: The Wrath of God (1972)?
Kasi - Sunday, March 12 2023 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#426910) #
Berrios got smoked today. Heís still the starter Iím worried most about. Itís weird his velocity and such havenít changed itís just that he canít get through innings without taking a bunch of damage. It should be fixable but itís just weird how heís gone from steady and consistent to inconsistent and blowup prone.
John Northey - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 12:17 AM EDT (#426911) #
Gotta love the insanity of the Canada vs Great Britain 18-8 game. Sucks for Canada that their staff was used heavily, but ending "early" thanks to the mercy rule helps. Wonder how the game vs USA will go - given the tired staff it could get very ugly, but if a couple of pitchers are on for Canada then it could be fun.
Katie - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#426912) #
John, I don't know why you keep talking about 10 year contracts. We're talking about long-term extensions, but it's not 10 or bust. We just looked at Carroll, who signed an 8 year deal.

More generally, part of the advantage, aside from cost savings (which I'm not sure why you dismiss), is signing the player out of free agency. A 6 year deal for Kirk would buy out two years of free agency. A 6 year deal would buy out Manoah's first free agency year.

Finally, an obvious advantage to such a deal is that, in buying them out early, you are getting more prime years of their career. For example, a 6 year deal with Kirk would take him through his age 29 season. He's scheduled to hit free agency after his age 27 season (if my math is right). I'd rather the Jays lock up the age 28 and 29 season at an early stage, rather than trying to sign him the offseason before he becomes a free agent and having to sign him to a 5 or 6 year deal through his early 30s to prevent him from reaching free agency.

I agree who the ideal candidate for extension is, but the Jays don't have a Corbin Carroll (the closest candidate was probably, ironically, Moreno). They do have two other candidates in Kirk and Manoah. They liked Varsho so much to trade a consensus top prospect for him. He's the son of a major leaguer, but he might be another. He's certainly athletic and in his prime.

Maybe they've already tried and the dollars don't work. But the absence is noticeable.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#426913) #
I think we forget how young Vlad Guerrero Jr. is sometimes. He just turns 24 this Thursday and is 4 months younger than Kirk and over a year younger than Manoah. He will command more money obviously but if the Jays signed him to a 5 year deal this offseason, it would still only take him to his age 30 season when the Jays could either resign him or let him walk.
85bluejay - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#426914) #
I think that Rafael Devers contract is the benchmark for any Vlad deal.
John Northey - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#426915) #
The main reason I talk 10 year is because of who we are talking about. I don't see Vlad or Bo accepting less than that. Kirk & Manoah might go for a 6 year deal but how much savings for the Jays is there vs risk of a bad deal? Risk reward is everything.

For a smaller market team long term deals with young players is critical because they cannot/won't sign long term deals once they reach free agency. The Rays are a perfect example of this. These long term deals for kids started in the 90's with Cleveland having insane success thanks to doing it for Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, and others. Then it kind of died off after a few other teams tried and failed (Jays spectacularly so with free agent sized deals for Wells, Rios, and Delgado that all were poorly thought out but got bailed out by the Angels & White Sox for 2 of them). Now they are back in vogue but the challenge is when to sign them. IMO it is quickly or wait until free agency unless you feel it is the only way to keep them for even 1 or 2 years post team initial control. Right now signing Bo or Vlad doesn't make a lot of sense as they'd both want full free agency level pay ($30+ mil per year) for any post team control years, putting the Jays on the hook should anything bad happen. If the Jays feel prices are about to skyrocket (and the players don't think that) then it could make sense but Bo & Vlad are both very smart guys with families that are very knowledgeable about MLB finances.

Right now is a good time for Kirk & Manoah but both carry far more risk than Bo & Vlad. Catchers get hurt, pitchers REALLY get hurt a lot. By waiting the Jays might be able to get full value for 6-7 years out of them for minimal cost, then let someone else pay mega bucks for injury plagued years from them. I see the risk as too high in both cases right now for the Jays to risk losing a ton on them unless they accept a deal that could look crazy team friendly in a few years should they both stay healthy.

Long term deals are a big team risk. The player risks losing a few million to lock in potentially hundreds of millions. The team risks hundreds of millions to save a few million. Clearly risk/reward ratio is poor for teams in that pre-free agency. Once that hits then it is have the player and risk the hundreds of millions or don't have the player and no risk. If Bo or Vlad would stupidly agree to a deal taking them to age 30-32 then I'd say go for it, but both are NOT going to do that. They both want to become free agents in their 20's as that is the sweet spot to get a $200-$400 million deal. Ohtani will shatter the records this upcoming winter but he is a unicorn - a full time superstar pitcher and hitter - that has never been seen outside of 1 or 2 seasons of Babe Ruth so his deal will have minimal effect on the market as a whole I suspect.

FYI: If I ran a team no way I'd have signed that Carroll deal unless I was certain we had a superstar and I mean 100% sure, not 99%. That is putting $100+ million locked in which is in eyeshot of what he'd make anyways in arbitration over 6 years (first 3 ML minimum, then 3 arb at $10-$20-$30 if he is a star = $63 mil total - he doesn't have enough time last year to be a super-two) and a big FA deal ($40 in first year). In fact it is still not making sense even then. I really see that as not being super-well thought out. If he ends up not being a super-star level player then you lose money on this deal. Arizona might save $10-$20 mil in his 2nd free agency year (team option) IF he is a $40 mil player at that point. But that is a massive risk for potential savings 7 years from now. Now, if MLB changes how players are compensated (earlier free agency, or something like that) then it could make sense - that would mean stars would make more and 'meh' guys like Gurriel make less. Otherwise I really don't see the team's savings here.
scottt - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#426916) #
Yeah, I don't really see a path for Canada to advance now.

BTW, the tie-breaker is earned runs divided by defensive outs.

Ducey - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#426917) #
I can see why the Diamondbacks signed the long term deal with Carrol. They bought 2 years of free agency and have a club option. These are 2 or 3 years that they would never get, because he would be pretty likely to walk once he can.

On top of this they are trying to build a young core to keep players and stay credible with fans.

The cynical side of me figures they will just trade him once the contract starts to be expensive and then be able to leverage it for a better return.

The Jays are in a little different position. They dont have anyone that this will work well for, and can actually sign players as FA's.
John Northey - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#426918) #
Funny, Arizona should in theory be a bigger market than it has been. But only so many teams can be top 5 in revenue potential obviously and the Jays are one of them (the NY's, and the 2 LA teams also. Boston/Philadelphia/Cubs/White Sox are all top 10 I think, but Jays have more revenue potential thanks to the 30+ million viewers available exclusively to the Jays - heck, in theory the Jays have #1 potential for revenue due to that).

The Jays had that briefly in potential with Vlad and Bo when they first came up but that was a very brief window and they expanded it by not calling them up until a month+ into their first seasons vs Arizona calling up Carroll late last year (thus guaranteeing 6 full seasons plus 100 PA max potential control).
Mike Green - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#426919) #
I peeked in on today's spring training game.  Adrian Hernandez has struck out 4 of the 6 batters he has faced, and I saw a "4-seamer, 100.6 mph" on one of his pitches.  I was hearing 91-92 mph last year, and I know the gun may be hot, but I am wondering whether he has added velocity over the off-season.
John Northey - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#426920) #
Another insane game for the Jays - 15-3 as I type. Totally insane. 2 HR for Bo among many other hits. It's been a wild spring for the Jays. If this is any indicator of the season all we need is a batch of pitchers with ERA's under 5 to win. Can't imagine it'll be this easy come April, but nice to have the hope.
earlweaverfan - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#426921) #
John, of course it is great that none of our regular position players (except Jansen) has had a slow batting start, but what is even more heartening about this run is that the minor league call-ups and guys on the cusp to are often just as impressive offensively as the regulars. Britton, Barger, Martinez, Lukes, Lopez, and Brantly, to name just some have looked very comfortable. And besides Berrios, are any of the pitchers likely to pitch for the big club giving us queezy feelings so far?

Is there a special saint to pray to for baseball players health? When I find out who that is, Iíll be on my knees!
earlweaverfan - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#426922) #
John, of course it is great that none of our regular position players (except Jansen) has had a slow batting start, but what is even more heartening about this run is that the minor league call-ups and guys on the cusp to are often just as impressive offensively as the regulars. Britton, Barger, Martinez, Lukes, Lopez, and Brantly, to name just some have looked very comfortable. And besides Berrios, are any of the pitchers likely to pitch for the big club giving us queezy feelings so far?

Is there a special saint to pray to for baseball players health? When I find out who that is, Iíll be on my knees!
85bluejay - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#426923) #
The Jays were playing the Red Sox AA team which might account for the score. Also, the box score seem to indicate that Adrian Hernandez pitched to the minimum 4 batters but I'm probably overlooking something.
92-93 - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#426924) #
The only church that truly feeds the soul day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.
Kasi - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#426925) #
Itís preseason 85bluejay so theyíre loose with the rules here. Aka you can have a player pinch run multiple times and in the case youíre talking about Manoah hit a pitch limit in the second and was pulled but then came out again in the third. I think Hernandez relieved Manoah in the fourth and then pitched all of the fifth.
mendocino - Monday, March 13 2023 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#426926) #
Big hit for Jay's prospect OF Jaden Rudd (7r,2021) playing for Great Britain.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#426927) #
Looks like the FO attempted to resign Stripling until SF offered an opt out.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#426928) #
Fangraphs have published their Blue Jays top 41 prospects. No prizes for guessing who is #1.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#426929) #
Fangraphs has Dasan Brown as the club's #22 prospect behind both Nathan Lukes and Adrian Pinto in centerfield, as they think that he is unlikely to hit.  They may be right, but he's considerably ahead of where Addison Barger was offensively at this point last year (Barger is almost exactly a year older).  And of course, Brown brings a lot more to the table defensively and on the basepaths.

Incidentally, they comment that Brown posted a 130 wRC+ at both A and A+ levels.  Actually, if you take into account the post-season, Brown posted a 135 wRC+ in A ball and a line comparable to Barger's 2022 line in Vancouver (Barger hit .301/.366/.558 for a 149 wRC+ while Brown hit .313/.401/.488 which would be in the 140-145 range).   Somehow, I think that if they saw the .313/.401/.488 line in A+ ball before Brown turned 21, they would not be so quick to dismiss his hitting ability. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#426930) #
It has been quite the ascent for Barger (now #2 Jays prospect, 50FV). He wasn't on the 2022 Fangraphs list of Jays top prospects -- not even under the "Other Prospects of Note" section. It's refreshing when an unheralded prospect comes out of nowhere this way.
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#426931) #
Prospect list are always fun and have such poor predictive value that I take with a large grain of salt and to each his own - I like Yosver Zulueta, Otto Lopez and Tanner Morris more than their rankings - I like Dasan Brown especially if he can show improvement in his K rate.

On another note, I read that Tiedemann has shoulder soreness , Andrew Painter has a right UCL sprain - These phenoms that dazzle the radar guns at a very young age always worry me - I hope the Jays take it slow with Tiedemann and I think it would be a good thing if he doesn't see the show this year.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#426932) #
And yes, greenfrog, you were right about Barger.  I was somewhat of a skeptic in light of his K rate in 2021 (31-32% in A ball) and his age. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#426933) #
To put Brown's .313/.401/.488 line in context, the leading hitter in the Northwest League was Colin Simpson, a 26 year old first baseman, who hit .300/.370/.530; the second leading hitter was Casey Schmitt, a 24 year old third baseman who hit .273/.363/.474.  Brown would have had the highest OBP in the league by a mile and the second highest slugging percentage had he continued for a full season at that pace. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#426934) #
I can't really claim to have been an early adopter of Barger. More like an early noticer. I heard a radio interview with the Vancouver broadcaster who, when asked about players on the team, commented that Barger (like Bichette) was having success with an unorthodox approach at the plate. I checked out his stats and noticed the uptick in his performance (including his improved K rate). Barger then went on to excel at AA and AAA over the course of the rest of the season.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#426935) #
It will be good this year to have internal options in case of injuries like Barger, whomever loses the battle for the final roster spot between Lopez and Lukes, and even Wynton Bernard rather than relying on glove-only types like Zimmer and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Glevin - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#426936) #
"Fangraphs has Dasan Brown as the club's #22 prospect behind both Nathan Lukes and Adrian Pinto in centerfield, as they think that he is unlikely to hit. They may be right, but he's considerably ahead of where Addison Barger was offensively at this point last year (Barger is almost exactly a year older). And of course, Brown brings a lot more to the table defensively and on the basepaths."

I understand their critique that they don't think Brown's swing will allow him to hit against better pitching but I like him more than this as well. I also think Pinto is potentially a better prospect than listed as well. Jays do have a lot of high ceiling/low floor guys as mentioned in article. I expect most to bust but hopefully a couple make big leaps this year. The system is fine for how much young major league talent the Jays have but hoping and expecting it looks a lot better in a few months.
Ducey - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#426937) #
Scott Mitchell has a piece up at TSN about spring training so far.

About Orelvis he notes that "one scout has seen potential plus defence at the hot corner"

Marc Hulet - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#426938) #
Mike, Statcast had Adrian Hernandez touching 92.5 mph - perhaps up a tad from 2022 but def not what the gun might have said.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#426939) #
Thanks, Marc. I'll have to see what they had the other pitchers at.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#426940) #
For ex-Jays of note: Gabriel Moreno is hitting 412/474/824 over 6 games for Arizona. Gurriel Jr over 9 games has hit 391/500/609 so far. Varsho has hit 222/258/296 so far. Glad it is spring and it doesn't count eh?

Teoscar has hit 385/467/692 so far for Seattle over 5 games, but is 0 for 3 with 2 walks and 2 K's in the WBC.
Ducey - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#426941) #
Kevin Kiermaier

John Northey - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#426942) #
Howsabout that Otto Lopez? Triple and now a 3 run home run in a must win game for Team Canada at the WBC.
Cracka - Tuesday, March 14 2023 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#426943) #
Otto Lopez hit a three-run dinger and then gave post-game interviews in three different languages (his French is very impressive). I think he's our 26th man to start the season.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 12:13 AM EDT (#426944) #
When he was on the Deep Left Field podcast he said he speaks French better than English. Comes from mostly growing up in Montreal (he moved there when he was 9). Wonder if he plays hockey too.
StephenT - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 12:35 AM EDT (#426945) #
The most detailed statement of the WBC tiebreakers appears to be at .

Basically, just look at the games involving the tied teams, and the tie-breakers are Winning Pct, Runs Allowed per 27 Outs, ERA, Batting Average, Draw Lots.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 02:22 AM EDT (#426946) #
Well, with a win against Mexico it is academic. Mexico beat Britain 2-1 (wow, after Canada pounded them GB really put things together). So now Canada & Mexico & the USA are tied at 2-1. At 3PM Wednesday Canada vs Mexico will send one of them to the next round. If by some miracle Columbia beats the USA then things get interesting. If Canada beats Mexico and Columbia over USA then a 3 way tie and Columbia would advance having beat Mexico earlier then beating the USA. If Mexico beats Canada and Columbia beats the USA then a 3 way tie with all 3 teams 1-1 against each other so the next tiebreaker comes into play - fewest runs allowed basically vs each other, an 'oh crap' for Canada as right now it is Canada allowing 12, Columbia 5 plus whatever vs the USA, and the USA 1 plus whatever they allow vs Columbia.

Bottom line? Canada needs to win vs Mexico. Mexico/USA/Columbia all need to win to have any shot - Columbia advances if they win and Canada wins, USA advances if they win or if they lose and Canada loses. Mexico advances only if they beat Canada. So Columbia and Canada both are cheering on Canada at 3 PM, the US vs Columbia game goes at 10 PM Wednesday with both needing a win to have any shot at advancing (Columbia needing Canada to win also).

Important baseball in March. Great fun. I'm sure the US network with the rights and MLB are both crapping their pants over the fact the USA could be eliminated in the opening round. I figure Mexico and USA will win (sadly) but I'd love Canada & Columbia to win just to mess everything up.

Others who have advanced - Cuba & Italy (all 5 teams in their pool tied 2-2 so tiebreakers needed to clean it up), Japan & Australia advanced too (no tie breakers), Venezuela has advanced with the Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico at 7 PM tomorrow to decide who goes on (both 2-1).

China and Nicaragua are the only winless teams (both 0-4). Poor China was never in it - lost 8-1, 8-5, 12-2, 22-2. Ugh 50 against vs 10 for. At least Nicaragua was close some times (9-1, 3-1, 6-1, 4-1, net 22-4).
John Northey - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 02:24 AM EDT (#426947) #
Hmm... just hit me, Canada could advance even if they lose but only if the USA vs Columbia is a Columbia win in a wild game by a score of 12-11 or higher.
scottt - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#426948) #
The text are great reads. The scores are sometimes puzzling, but they say that most of the Jays prospects have high unpredictability.

I think Nunez should have made the cut, in the era of the universal DH, all teams can use a good right handed 1B/DH/LF bat.

Katie - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#426949) #
Canada can't advance with a loss, regardless of the US result.
Katie - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#426950) #
I stand corrected, there is some conceivable score Canada could advance, but it's just extremely extremely unlikely.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 15 2023 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#426951) #
12 to 10 roughly. Basically both pitching staffs tonight need to suck plus the US has to lose.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, March 16 2023 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#426952) #
It is peculiar . . . but I like the artificial coziness of cavernous baseball domes. Chase Field, however, appears less appealing as I watch the World Baseball Classic. Minute Maid Park seems a lot nicer. Marlins Park (loanDepot park) is my favourite stadium. As a matter of fact, I admire the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Nationals Park in Washington, and the New Comiskey Park (Guaranteed Rate Field) in Chicago. I champion the alleged gimmickry of those stadium designs, save the merciful riddance of Tal's Hill in Houston. And I agree with something Bob McCown once suggested, that is, having the roof closed at SkyDome (Rogers Centre) created neutral conditions that provided a true competitive balance, so to speak.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 16 2023 @ 07:54 AM EDT (#426953) #
Edwin Diaz. Wow. Iím happy VGJ wonít be playing in the WBC this year.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, March 16 2023 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#426954) #
Baseball players seem to suffer more freak injuries than other sports, at least when celebrating wins. Remember when Kendry Morales hit a walk off home run and broke his leg jumping on home plate?
Ryan Day - Thursday, March 16 2023 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#426955) #
If it's not the WBC, players would hurt themselves doing other weird stuff. I found a fun summary of this stuff:

Highlights include Zac Plesac breaking his thumb while taking off his shirt, and Archie Bradley breaking his elbow trying to get to a brawl. Also a surprising number of pitchers hurting themselves punching stuff.
grjas - Thursday, March 16 2023 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#426956) #
Iíve seen nothing in spring training so far to give me any more comfort in the starting pitching depth. I hope the top 5 all have fairly healthy years, as well as neither Berrios nor Kikuchi imploding.
StephenT - Friday, March 17 2023 @ 01:25 AM EDT (#426957) #
I'm sad that we won't get to see Vlad play for DOM at the Worlds this year.  It would've been better than when he's played a few innings in the All-Star Game.
StephenT - Saturday, March 18 2023 @ 01:01 AM EDT (#426983) #
I was curious and I think I've pieced together the itinerary:
Team Japan's playoff game at ~7pm Thursday in Tokyo ended ~10:30pm (game time 3:24).
It seems just ~4 hours later their charter flight left ~2:30am Friday Tokyo time (1:30pm Thursday EDT).
It arrived ~13 hours later at ~3am EDT Friday in Miami.
They were at their Miami hotel ~4:30am EDT Friday.
I can't find any reports of them intending to play a spring training game this weekend.
Their next playoff game is Monday 7pm EDT vs Mexico.
(I assume Team Cuba did something similar shifted 24 hours earlier.)
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