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How young are you?
How old am I
Let's count the rings
around my eyes



Yes, "Unsatisfied" would also be a good choice.


You all know I didn't want it to end this way, I hope, despite my severe vocal dislike of the play this squad inflicted upon us for the majority of six underwhelming months. Hell, for the good of superstition I even convinced myself watching none of the playoffs, not a second if necessary... might unlock the full firing cylindrical power of this team.†

Sigh. Listening on the radio didn't work for Game One, so Game Two? Nothing fresh. Not radio, or television, or even Googling score updates. A day at the beach. My knowledge was informed by social media posts from friends and just occasionally vaguely asking Mags if things were looking good.

Alas, here we are. The result is settled. The process? Very open to discussion.

But! I'm not currently interested in that major question, either. Another day, surely. There will be plenty chilly ones for that discourse. The wounds are fresh, and saying a "I TOLD YOU THIS TEAM WAS RIDICULOUSLY FRUSTRATING AND UNWATCHABLE!" provides no value to anyone. Confirming a half-season long gripe/argument isn't my intention, nor is a deeper dissection of why this team yet again failed to even win a single postseason game.†

Honestly I'm not even sure exactly what I mean to say here. Last year after the *reference deleted* Game Two, emotionally I couldn't process what had happened. It was new to my palate as a Jays fan. As an amateur ballplayer, sure... these crazy things happen sometimes (a winless team up 14-0 in the playoffs, and blowing that lead for instance). This 2023 season was likewise different to my experience, and many of yours perhaps. My brain short-circuited just how excellently they succeeded at one side of the game... a rare and incredibly admirable feat from nearly every starting pitcher, among the best (if not the) tightest of rotations in the league. This after getting negative zero (and awkward) production from their best pitcher least season. †

And then: watching this team try to score runs. Especially with runners on base. Again and again and againandagainandagainandghshffhgfjhdfjfvbdfjdfd4734463834#$$%#

That's truly why this season was so agonizing, and sadly eventually predictable, right? How we could all set our watches to "We're down 4-1 in the 4th... Game Over". I'm personally most frustrated because... our starters pitched their damn butts off. Was there any moment (aside from Manoah) that we thought any of our starters needed to be moved out of the rotation? Even Ryu coming back! Slid right in seamlessly, debuted a hilariously fun slow curveball, and probably pitched well enough to earn a Game Three nod from multiple current playoff teams. That's just ridiculous. It's insane how much good fortunate shone upon this Jays starting pitching staff... and to me that's the reallllly annoying thing about this (yeah I'll say it again) stupid 2023 team.

Because they were stupid. Fine, I'll be kinder.... careless.... in baseball terms I mean. But constantly careless, and constantly unaware or unable to optimize situations. Even the tightest ballclub will make errors in the field, misread a ball or throw to the wrong base. It's inevitable. Physical miscues happen. It's baseball.

Baserunning mistakes, or bad hitting approaches at the plate in key situations... not taking extra bases or hustling hard out of the box... those are mental mistakes. Again, they can happen even to the sharpest veteran ballplayer.. but to witness such mistakes continually happen, over and over again... by certain usual suspects (and this team had at least four)... it elevates the explanation beyond youthful exuberance into: this is a genuine flaw in their game that has not been seriously addressed by coaches. And the excuse of "this is a young team, they'll learn to be tighter at the MLB level" is now completely underneath the lowest point of the ocean. Despite the age, the depth of experience now exists and these mistakes continually remain (and also not to just pick on the kids since Matt Chapman also deserves some flack here... he made some really bad choices on the bases, when he rarely got aboard after April of course).†

This season alienated me to the point I don't much care what the team does next*. Trade Vlad (meh, you're selling low and yet... and yet), trade Bo (interesting but good luck replacing that), blow it up, sign Bellinger.... young players (semi-interesting, but they never play em anyway)... just whatever. It all became such a joyless slog to an inevitable result, despite the "sleeping talent" of this Jays team "ready to break out at any moment". I didn't even watch a playoff game, not a second. This is nuts for me! 2013ish was when I started (very occasionally) writing here but I've been a lurker on Da Box since 2004. At that point in time... if you had told me that 19 years later this team (after enigmatically overcoming their long playoff drought the previous decade) had just made the playoffs 3 of 4 years, and yet it became the most aggravating experience you've had watching a good Toronto team? †

Well no! The Raptors getting swept by the Wizards in 2015 is probably my personal low point. That legit drove me totally bonkers for a while (and I still will never like Paul Pierce no matter what you say). Perhaps that's a good example of a fellow Toronto team that took a while to get over a hump... perhaps not. Those Raptors the previous year, a young and far more inexperienced squad in their first taste of playoff action, widely expected to be a roll over, pushed a veteran Nets squad to a final possession in a Game Seven. These Blue Jays still haven't won even a game in six tries... despite the weirdness of 2020, offseason bravado after barely missing the dance in 2021 and the new "apparent" accountability after 2022. It's baseball, sure... at the highest absolute level like this, losing six of six doesn't speak to your overall talent or quality. Maybe neither does scoring just 13 runs in those six games (4 runs in 5 games if you eliminate that unspeakable one). Maybe, just maybe though... with all those different big promises over a few years now bouncing hollow in an empty room... it speaks more loudly of your inherent ability to simply win the games. Especially when you keep getting in your own way... pulling your eight-figure pitcher in the 4th when he's throwing a good ballgame for instance. The results may matter more than the process, but the process means an awful damn lot too and I think this season was a failure on that front.


This was the "throw your hands up in the air" season where you just leave the room. Maybe you walk back in after a moment, maybe you just leave the house. No Jays team has ever had a lineup that made me dislike watching them this much, because of that dreaded sense of inevitable defeat they clearly could not counter once they fell behind. The pitchers deserved so, so much better... and there's no guarantee we'll see that type of quality and quantity repeat from our arms any time soon. A wasted year, ending sadly (and fittingly) with a whimper. Goodbye forever, 2023 Blue Jays. I stopped thinking upon this season just about a sentence ago.†






*see you all soon! Baseball is fun, I swear. And I do still greatly enjoy it. Just..... not this Jays team.† †




Thoughts on 2023 (While The Body Is Warm) | 131 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
92-93 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#438678) #
Just a reminder that this team couldn't hit all season and chose to essentially do nothing about it at the trade deadline. Belt and Varsho went 0/13 with 8K.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:59 AM EDT (#438679) #
My grades for the club contain absolutely no As or A-s. The pitching was not as good as it seemed, with the defence deserving a good share of the credit. Many B+ and Bs, some Cs and C-s, a few Ds, and one F (sadly).

The stars were not stars. The regulars and role players were mostly good or very good. The only players I had any question about were Bo Bichette and Davis Schneider. I mean, what do you do with a player who gives MVP level performance over 5 and 1/2 weeks of PAs, including a slump at the end? I settled on a B+.



Paul D - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#438680) #
If Guassman's not at least an A- I think you're letting recently negatively impact your grades.

In terms of this off-season, it's interesting to think about last off-season. Seems to me that the team identified 3 problems:

- Team wasn't serious enough
- Defence needed to be improved
- Team needed more left-handed hitters

I think that only one of those (defence was a problem), while the idea that the problem with the team was the home run jacket is laughable. I know we went back and forth on this last year, but the team didn't have any issues hitting RHP - although, solving their defence also gave them left handed hitters, so maybe that's a wash. (Not that those hitters were all that great).

So for this season, what's the problem? Next year's team is probable to get worse pitching and certain to hit better with runners in scoring position. That said, even if you believe it's all random, I think changing hitting coaches makes sense, to focus on different approaches and to show that you're not satisfied with how the year went.

I think you give Chapman a QO. The risk is that he'll accept it, but I don't actually think that getting an average ball player for a year at $20 million is that big of a deal.

The big thing the team needs to do is improve the hitting. The obvious way to do this would seem to be let KK go, and sign a left fielder, with Varsho moving to Centre. Some (I see you John N) are going to suggest going after Ohtani or Belenger, and sure, try that, but the reality is that neither of those players are signing here. The hitter free agent class outside of them isn't great - would there be any appetite to sigh Teoscar Hernandez to play left?

I also assume that Belt is gone, so there's another spot you could see about upgrading, with a Justin Turner or JD Martinez type.

The final option is a trade. Everyone is going to suggest that everyone other than Bo should be on the block. And I get that sentiment, but the question is, what could you get for Vlad? Are the Padres sick of Tatis? Would you want Tatis?

I also think that the odds of Vlad being traded are very very low. There would be a lot of interest, due to his underlying batted ball data, but that's also why the front office won't trade him. They think they can get 50 HRs out of him, and even more so, they fear him hitting 50 HRs somewhere else.

I'm somewhat agnostic on John Schneider. I know everyone thinks he pulls his starters too early, but I don't know that it's a coincidence that this team also had one of the best starting rotations it's ever had.

This might be somewhat callous to say, but I'd wait for the playoffs to end to see if Kevin Cash is fired. I'd also consider Buck Showalter, or Gabe Kapler. If they do choose to move on from Schneider, I think it's time to change the Blue Jays tradition of hiring someone who's never been a manager before.
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#438681) #
For frustration don't forget the Leafs taking what, 2 decades to get to round 2 then getting swept? And it's been over 5 since they made the finals.
This year 0 WS teams like the Rangers have a shot, as do teams with longer slumps than the Jays (Baltimore, Milwaukee, Minnesota). Sadly odds are a team with no real slump gets it - Atlanta, LAD, Houston). Arizona has just 1 title via Randy Johnson-Curt Schilling. The Phillies last won 1 year pre-Halladay.
Ryan Day - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#438682) #
Sportsnet has a bunch of reactions from players to the Berrios/Kikuchi switch, and there's a lot of surprise and/or lack of understanding. Most of the players are more diplomatic than Merrifield, but I imagine they were less so in the clubhouse. (and perhaps there'll be some leaked quotes later on)

This might point to a bigger problem - are players fully buying into what the organization is doing? Are the front-office or analytics staff communicating their strategies effectively? How many other things are happening in games that players don't understand or support? Does this help to explain some of the frustrating performances of the team over the season - that players are being asked to do X, Y, and Z without really understanding why?

If players like Vlad, Bo, and Biggio, who've been in the organization for their entire careers, are asking "WTF just happened?", there is, at minimum, a communications problem in the organization.
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#438683) #
Oops, Milwaukee is out, dumb mistake.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#438684) #
Gausman was hit quite hard and walked a few more this year, but the defence and the RC made his ERA look better than he pitched. His xERA was 3.82 which is a fair reflection in my opinion of how he would have fared with an average defence. He threw 185 innings which is good but not outstanding. A solid B+ from me. Somebody else might have him as an A-.
Paul D - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#438685) #
That's fair Mike... I think I'd have an ERA of 3.82 in the AL East with 185 innings as an A-, but I take your point.
Magpie - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#438686) #
what do you do with a player who gives MVP level performance over 5 and 1/2 weeks of PAs, including a slump at the end? I settled on a B+.

Pretty much what I'm thinking! (Also applies to Bowden Francis, Jay Jackson, Ernie Clement...)

At this still early stage, I'm contemplating three players who may lead the way with an A-, although I doubt all three will get there. And one big fat F (no, not Alek.)
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#438688) #
I've been highly skeptical of this FO since day one but even i'm not sure i thought we'd be here 9 years later without even one stud asset, without even one playoffs game win, a bloated aging payroll, and a weak system.

There is no doubt whatsoever that this regime should be fired into the sun. But i doubt it happens.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#438689) #
My other B+ players: Bichette, Chapman, Kiermaier, Belt, Davis Schneider. And there are a bunch of B players including several starters and relievers. The club's performance was flatly distributed.

FWIW, I would give Daulton Varsho a B-. His defence was outstanding, but not enough to get higher than that.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#438690) #
And for the more sensitive types here - no i did not mean that they should literally be fired into our sun to burn to death.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#438691) #
Personally, I wouldn't have Bowden Francis or Jay Jackson in the same vicinity as Davis Schneider. If he's a B+ for me, the very part-time relievers who pitched well could be no higher than a C+.
Glevin - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#438692) #
"Just a reminder that this team couldn't hit all season and chose to essentially do nothing about it at the trade deadline. Belt and Varsho went 0/13 with 8K."

After the trade deadline, Belt had 189 WRC+ and had a 107 with elite D (and 4th highest team WAR). An upgrade offensively would have been nice but it's hard to upgrade on OK players. Easiest place to upgrade offense is 1B/DH but Jays had Belt and Vladdy so not possible. Really, the only possible places to upgrade would have been 2B and LF and Schneider ended up being way better than anyone they would have traded for. Which players were traded who could have fit?
Pham-92 WRC+ after trade
Pollack-Hurt, only got 6 PAs
Canha-120 WRC+ after trade
Grichuk-80 WRC+ after trade


I mean, that's it. Would Canha have helped? Sure but he has less WAR than Varsho in the second half. The issue wasn't the trade deadline. It's the core isn't good enough. That's it. The front office did a great job in free agency. Belt, Kiermeier, and Bassit were all excellent pickups. You just can't win when the guys who are supposed to be your elite offensive players, just suck.
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#438693) #
I cannot help but feel extraordinarily pessimistic about the go-forward. This team needs to go out and trade-for or sign someone who will come in and be their biggest offensive contributor. They probably need two such talents.

I see no way for them to accomplish this.

Next year will very likely see dimished performance from the pitching staff (likely due to injury luck running out).

I donít know what they do. I canít see them fielding a more talented team next year than this one.

I have lost hope.
Dave Till - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#438694) #
Everybody has thousands of opinions - here are some of mine.

First off - the postseason is an exercise in randomness. Two games, or even a best-of-seven series, is nowhere near a large enough sample to determine quality. Despite everything that went wrong, the Jays could still have won either game if two of Matt Chapman's batted balls had gone a few feet in a different direction. In Game 1, he hit a 401-foot fly ball; in Game 2, he hit a screaming liner down the left-field line that went just foul. Sometimes, when you flip a coin, it goes tails; sometimes, when you flip it four times, it goes tails each time.

My thought on the 2023 Jays is that they overcorrected for the flaws of the 2021-2022 Jays. The 2021 Jays remain one of my favourite teams of all time because they seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. But that, at times, seemed to be paired with a lack of focus. So the Jays decided to repair that - and boy, did they. This year's team worked hard, mostly played sound fundamental baseball (the odd pickoff aside) and seemed intensely focused on winning. Unfortunately, this led to failures at the plate - everybody went up there desperately determined to succeed, gritted their teeth, and chased the first pitch and popped up. And, throughout it all, John Schneider stood, watching impassively and grim-faced.

I also think that the Jays assumed that the home runs would always be there, like rain in springtime. So it didn't matter if you got rid of a couple of bombers - there'll be enough power left over, won't there? The answer, we now know, is no. Which is why I am not that disappointed that the Jays didn't progress further in the postseason - they weren't going to hit enough.

I didn't have a strong opinion one way or another on John Schneider before yesterday's game, but his inflexibility and/or seeming lack of intuition worries me. The Jays obviously had a plan - switch to the left-hander in mid-game, force the Twins to pinch-hit, and then overwhelm their right-handed hitters with the Jays' late-inning righties. It could have worked, but Schneider should have noticed that Berrios was absolutely dominating the Twins' lineup and left him out there until he stopped dominating the Twins' lineup. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

For 2024, the Jays should figure out a way to work a little bit less hard - as Willie Stargell or somebody once said, the man says Play Ball, not Work Ball. And they really really should try to get Vlad to relax. He's obviously trying way too hard and is sinking under the burden of his expectations - his current job description requirement is to be Triple Crown candidate / Gold Glove first baseman / Team leader, and that's a lot to ask of someone who is (still!) the youngest player on the active roster.

It's not Vlad's fault that scouts saw him as a generational talent. And it's an odd universe indeed in which a player can hit 130 career home runs, compile over 700 career hits, earn a Gold Glove, and be an MVP runnerup before his 25th birthday and be considered a massive disappointment. And he's also a Roberto Clemente Award nominee and a Canadian citizen! The Jays need to figure out if they can unlock Vlad's talent. The worst-case scenario ish't that he never achieves his potential - the worst-case scenario is that he achieves his potential somewhere else.
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#438695) #
As Magpie said the other day - grading this team is entirely dependent on your view of what happened this year. Did the players merely underperform (in which case the individual player grades should generally be down) or was the roster less than presumed (in which case they should be higher). Varsho is the poster child for that problem. If you thought the Jays were acquiring 2022 Varsho then he should get a C-/D if you didnít buy 2022 Varsho then a B- feels about right. This also applies to the front office. If the players merely underperformed then the FO should stay (this was still an 89 win team in the AL East after all). If not, then fire up the rocket engines. Iíve made my views clear over the year.
Paul D - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#438696) #
Luis Rivera has retired.
Cracka - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#438697) #
If players like Vlad, Bo, and Biggio, who've been in the organization for their entire careers, are asking "WTF just happened?", there is, at minimum, a communications problem in the organization.

This was my biggest concern from yesterday's game. The players (except Berrios and Kikuchi) found out about the pitching plan at the same time as everyone else - during the top of the 4th inning when Yusei was obviously getting ready to come into the game. There was a shot of Bo & Vlad on the bench and they looked shocked & defeated - at the time, I wondered if Berrios had suffered an injury or something... but now it's clear that they were just figuring out what was coming despite not having been told. This is a massive, massive leadership failure. If you're going to plan a bold move, it needs to be communicated in advance and not impact the team's morale in the middle of the game. I said it yesterday, but this will be the defining moment of Schneider's managerial career.
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#438698) #
If you thought the Jays were acquiring 2022 Varsho then he should get a C-/D if you didnít buy 2022 Varsho then a B- feels about right.

I don't know that I can abide by this assessment strategy, grading a person not on their objective output but subjectively on how one feels they should have performed. I saw the downside of this in my stints in the corporate world where low performers would be unduly heralded for rare instances of surprising competence and the high performers would be taken for granted, measured against themselves, not the broader norm.

92-93 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#438699) #
It's silly when fans reduce the team's options to what transpired. Pham, Pollack, Canha, and Grichuk weren't the only players available, they were the only players who moved. Soto, Bellinger, and Hernandez are names that come to mind without any research. You also chose to leave out the players who actually hit well for their new teams (Bell, Burger, and Candelario) under the guise of them not fitting on a team that was starving for offense. Sometimes the core needs help.
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#438700) #
Luis Rivera has retired.

He's getting the wave home?

Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#438701) #
I'm not sure i thought we'd be here 9 years later without even one stud asset, without even one playoffs game win, a bloated aging payroll, and a weak system.

But what of the hipster bar in right field? You're going to just ignore that?

Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#438702) #
Chuck I agree with that but I think these have to be a combination of objective outcomes and subjective assessments otherwise the reverse problem is true - your top performers (and likely top earners) get over graded. An extreme example. Assume a fully healthy Ohtani signs a $60m a year contract and then mails in his effort and performance. That still probably racks up 4-5 WAR. That has to get marked down.
Dewey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#438703) #
I wish Casey Stengel was around so I could hear him talk about analytics. Or Sparky Anderson even.

Iím old. Really old. Saw my first MLB game in 1947 (Jackie Robinson was at first base). So baseball has changed very very much in my lifetime. As have all professional sports. Television --and, more recently, computer technology -- have facilitated our natural propensity to be greedy. (Too Much and Never Enough is the title of a good book by Donald Trumpís niece, about him.)

Greed. The besetting sickness of our times. Itís responsible for so many of todayís ills. And baseball reflects that quite clearly. Everything must be monetized. Everything. Wring every last penny from the suckers. There is scarcely anything about going to a ballgame in our times, or even watching a game on TV, that isnít tainted by greed. (Think gambling.)

Sorry if that strikes some of you as too Ďnegativeí. But, if so, show me how it isnít the case. Iíd happily be persuaded that Iím wrong.
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#438704) #
Chapman is perhaps an even better local example to my point. Based merely objectively on yearly output heíd get a pretty good grade. In part because of what we know heís capable of and in part because his output was A+++ in one month and C or less the rest of the year he has to get marked down in my view.
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#438705) #
That still probably racks up 4-5 WAR. That has to get marked down.

Sure, but now you are introducing a new variable into the calculus, salary. This had not yet been mentioned. It's certainly fair to make that an assessment criterion, as any employer would.

FG has Varsho and Springer each at 2 WAR. One earned 3M, the other 24M. Objectively, their output graded the same. Against expectations, both were disappointments (it's arguable who was the greater). On a per dollar basis, one would grade highly and one lowly.

Ryan Day - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#438706) #
If you thought the Jays were acquiring 2022 Varsho then he should get a C-/D if you didnít buy 2022 Varsho then a B- feels about right.

They did basically get 2022 Varsho, except he only showed up to road games. Unfortunately, 2042 Varsho showed up at the Rogers Centre. I don't know how you evaluate that. Did the renovations break some players, psychologically if not physically?

Interestingly, he also hit better on the road last year, though not to the same extreme. Maybe he doesn't like people cheering for him?
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#438707) #
"You just can't win when the guys who are supposed to be your elite offensive players, just suck."

you should be able to when those "elite" players make a relatively small part of your massive payroll.
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#438708) #
All very good points Chuck and because of the salary and the history of performance I would grade Springer lower than Varsho.
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#438709) #
Based merely objectively on yearly output heíd get a pretty good grade.

For me, personally, I would argue that this is sufficient criteria (ignoring the dollars, for now). Assessments need to be sober, not emotional, not coloured by player hot streaks and cold streaks, and not factoring in potential.

What if Chapman's big month had been September, not April, helping elevate the team into the lofty third wild card position? Surely the narrative about his season would be very different (hitting "when it matters"), but would he objectively have performed any better?

Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#438710) #
The other thing is that Varshoís employer may have set up the workplace to not use Varsho to his best effect - something that Varsho shouldnít be graded down for.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#438711) #
"As Magpie said the other day - grading this team is entirely dependent on your view of what happened this year. Did the players merely underperform (in which case the individual player grades should generally be down) or was the roster less than presumed (in which case they should be higher)."

I see the reverse exercise being more useful:

Do an honest player by player grade based on role and reasonable expectations, and that should give you an honest appraisal of whether the team actually underacheived or whether they just weren't as good as we thought.
Michael - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#438712) #
At a team level, in the regular season, the Jays had the 11th best offense in the majors by OPS. 746 OPS. The Braves were 1st with 845. Top in AL were Texas with 789. Jays were ahead of Baltimore's 742. By AVG the Jays were 8th with 256. By OBP also 8th with 329. By SLG the Jays were 13th with 417.

However, if you go by runs the Jays were tied 14th with 746. So they scored fewer runs than you'd expect by where they were in OPS or in any of AVG/OBP/SLG. Baltimore scored 61 more runs than the Jays despite the Jays having the marginal better team OPS. The Jays were the 16th team in HR (I.e., slightly *below* average with 188). The Jays were 7th in fewest team K with only 1303. They were T11th in BB with 550 BB. So it was only HR from the 3 true outcomes that were (marginally) below average. The Jays were 10th in TB, so the low HR hurt, but they did have hits/XB hits to make the TB still slightly ok. The Jays were 4th in GIDP (so that was something we were towards the worst in) with 129, but middle of the league would be 116 or 117 so we had about 12 or 13 more than average. We were 13th in BABIP so not particularly lucky or unlucky on that number. If you look for only when runners are in scoring position, the Jays OPS falls to 20th with 730 OPS (there are 7 teams over 800 OPS with runners in scoring position, compared to only 1 team over 800 OPS across all situations - teams usually are slightly better with runners in scoring position than overall).

The pitching we had the 4th best ERA in the majors on the 10th best WHIP. In terms of HR allowed our pitchers were tied for 18th with 198 allowed (so slightly worse than typical), so it isn't like we necessarily were playing in environments where our opponents couldn't hit HR against us (they hit 10 more HR than we did). The pitching was 9th in BB allowed with only 488 allowed. We were 2nd in K with 1528 strikeouts (trailing only Twins pitching that picked up 1560 K). Our pitching staff had only 1 CG, but there were only 35 total CG across the majors this year (that seems so small! I.e., the 4 Halladay seasons from 31-34 had the same number of CG for him personally as the whole of majors had this year). The Jays had the 2nd most IP with 1451.2 (2 behind Baltimore that were highest). Jays were 6th in runs allowed despite pitching more innings than all but Baltimore with 671 Runs allowed. In terms of ER Jays were even better with 610 earned runs. Jays were 2nd in HD with 106. 3rd in SV with 51. 6th in fewest WP (with 42). 8th in fewest hits batsman (with 62). They were tied for 28th (I.e., 2nd worst) in Balks with 12, but middle of the pack would have been 7 so that's only 5 more than typical. Jays were T19th for inducing GIDP with 112. Jays were 21st in GO/AO with more AO than GO and ration of 0.90.

Looking at all of that it would be hard to imagine that (multiple) pitchers shouldn't be A/A- given those team numbers. Pitching/defense was a real strength. Hitting was somewhere between middling and above average (but also unlucky/worse than the components would make you think).
bpoz - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#438713) #
Dewey thank you for saying that. I am figuring out the world as well. But slow.


Cannot blame Schneider for making any decision when HE did not make it.
92-93 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#438714) #
Springer is a huge issue moving forward. It will be tough to overcome spending 25MM on a mediocre bat.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#438715) #
"If you thought the Jays were acquiring 2022 Varsho then he should get a C-/D if you didnít buy 2022 Varsho then a B- feels about right."

* 2021 Varsho (24): 315pa, 100wrc+, 4.8war/650pa
* 2022 Varsho (25): 592pa, 107wrc+, 5.3war/650pa
* Carrer Varsho (25): 1022pa, 102wrc+, 4.5war/650pa
* 2023 Varsho (26): 581pa, 85wrc+, 2.3war/650pa

Don't see any reasonably expectations that would justify a B grade for Varsho this year.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#438716) #
"But what of the hipster bar in right field? You're going to just ignore that?"

truth be told, that damn hipster bar gave me my only jays-related feelgood experience this entire summer.
electric carrot - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#438717) #
I agree with Dave Till 100% -- especially:

Everybody has thousands of opinions - here are some of mine.

First off - the postseason is an exercise in randomness. Two games, or even a best-of-seven series, is nowhere near a large enough sample to determine quality. Despite everything that went wrong, the Jays could still have won either game if two of Matt Chapman's batted balls had gone a few feet in a different direction. In Game 1, he hit a 401-foot fly ball; in Game 2, he hit a screaming liner down the left-field line that went just foul. Sometimes, when you flip a coin, it goes tails; sometimes, when you flip it four times, it goes tails each time.

My thought on the 2023 Jays is that they overcorrected for the flaws of the 2021-2022 Jays. The 2021 Jays remain one of my favourite teams of all time because they seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. But that, at times, seemed to be paired with a lack of focus. So the Jays decided to repair that - and boy, did they. This year's team worked hard, mostly played sound fundamental baseball (the odd pickoff aside) and seemed intensely focused on winning. Unfortunately, this led to failures at the plate - everybody went up there desperately determined to succeed, gritted their teeth, and chased the first pitch and popped up. And, throughout it all, John Schneider stood, watching impassively and grim-faced.

and I agree with Dewey:

Everything must be monetized. Everything. Wring every last penny from the suckers. There is scarcely anything about going to a ballgame in our times, or even watching a game on TV, that isnít tainted by greed. (Think gambling.)


Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#438718) #
My view on Chapmanís year isnít prejudiced by when it happened in the year. I just donít view one short stretch of super nova production as being of the same utility as better production over a more consistent time period. Baseball is 162 games. I used to view Gurrielís production the same way.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#438719) #
"FG has Varsho and Springer each at 2 WAR. One earned 3M, the other 24M. Objectively, their output graded the same. Against expectations, both were disappointments (it's arguable who was the greater). On a per dollar basis, one would grade highly and one lowly."

might want to figure trade costs into that analysis tho.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#438720) #
Vladito HR AVG RBI WAR

2021 48 .311 111 6.3

2022 32 .274 97 2.9

2023 26 .264 94 1.0


He's still young but not getting younger.

His baserunning is declining.

His footwork is declining.

His effort wavers through season.

His plate discipline has declined.

We all know 2021 he played half his games in minor league parks. Ignoring Vlad's trending performance and fundamental issues is a problem. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Atkins has invested so much to bring up Vlad and coddle him. AA went and traded for Olsen and signed him long term and has the much better player.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#438721) #
"Cannot blame Schneider for making any decision when HE did not make it."

well, kinda, but the fact is Schneider could have just said "screw it, i'm leaving him in".

sure, he would have risked his job, but he might have done that anyways.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#438722) #
" First off - the postseason is an exercise in randomness."

I'd agree but in the Blue Jay's case, the team performed exactly as it did all season. Certainly if Chapman's foul ball had landed a few feet to the right we might be talking about game 3. On the other hand, Jordan Romano might have blown it in the ninth.

I got to say that the 2021 team was one of my favorites, too. I don't know if Marcus Semien would have stayed if the Jay's had matched Texas's offer, and then we wouldn't have been able to spend as much on pitching, but I really think he had a positive effect on the club when he was here.
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#438723) #
I don't need Vlad traded... I strongly think he needs to be batting #2 and a real clean up hitter comes in. Make him the DH and go after a Bellinger or Alonso or Soto...We need a version of Matt Olsen to protect Vladdy.

Springer
Vlad
Bo
New Acquisition


Now you can let Vladdy be Vladdy and hit 30 bombs with an average .280 or higher.
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#438724) #
The other thing is that Varshoís employer may have set up the workplace to not use Varsho to his best effect - something that Varsho shouldnít be graded down for.

Varsho seems poised and ready to slide into the Kiermaier role, playing CF and batting 9th.

Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#438725) #
Agreed. Although I think of that role as the Kevin Pillar role. And thatís who I think Varsho will be going forward.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#438726) #
I think that, as someone else pointed out, what bugs me the most about Vlad is that he acts like the really good Sandlot player, who can't believe that he's ever wrong. Like always asking for a replay because he's absolutely sure he was safe.
It's tolerable when you're the best player on the team. When you're one of the worst regulars, you need to act more like Espinal or Biggio and quietly do your best and forget the showboating.
Magpie - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#438727) #
It will indeed be interesting to see how Guerrero responds to yesterday's embarrassing screwup. He was calm and stoic and faced up to his mistake in front of the cameras. But his eyes were red. And wet.

Well, I always assumed he cared more than I do!
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#438728) #
Remember when the young and entitled Harper was strangled and called out by Harper?
dalimon5 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#438729) #
"He is the perfect piece on a championship team but not the central piece. I don't want to have to rely on him to carry me."

David Samson on Vlad, kind of sums up my opinion.

Interesting that David Samson also said that Mark Shapiro is the GM of this team and not Ross Atkins which is why Atkins won't be fired.
85bluejay - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#438730) #
I would not be upset if the Jays let all potential FA leave - especially if they give the lunch pail, not exciting players - Clement, Schneider, Horwitz, Lantigua etc. an opportunity - I know most consider them fringe, more suspect than prospect but I'm willing to give them a shot than spend on multiple year contracts on fragile veterans.






uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#438731) #
sure, but then we should also be trading Gausman, Bassitt, Berrios, Kikuchi, Springer, Romnano, Mayza, Swanson for whatever we can get.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#438732) #
and you probably want a different GM doing the trading.
92-93 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#438733) #
Or we can just let the old FAs go and find new talent. The Jays have no business bringing Ryu, Belt, Kiermaier, or Merrifield back unless they accept one year deals that reflect their age and skill. And they shouldn't pay for Chapman's glove.
bpoz - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#438734) #
I disagree with trading all those players. That means a rebuild.

I would keep Springer for 1 more year and then trade him. He would still have 2 years left. FA prices have increased so this could work.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#438735) #
The look on Biggio in the dugout after the VGJ mistake was something.  It's a while since I have seen a ballplayer that intense.  I wasn't that surprised about the collision with the pitcher after that. 

What does one make of George Springer?  He hit .258/.327/.405, way off his career slash line, with a huge drop in IsoP and HR/FB the big item. His pull rate was off 10% and that might be a significant part of the loss of power issue.  On the other hand, he moved very well in the outfield (both using eye test and the defensive metrics) and played 154 games, including 128 starts in the outfield.   And stole 20 bases in 25 tries.  It's strange that his double play rate went way up while his pull rate went significantly down and without any significant observable loss of speed. 
My thought on this is that it might be time for Springer to be out of the leadoff role.  The player I'd like to see there in 2024 is Alan Roden. 

Despite Springer's age and Guerrero Jr.'s youth, I have more confidence in a bounce-back year from Springer but I'd put the emphasis for him on regaining the pop, which can be done at age 34.  I'd have Roden and Davis Schneider in the 1-2 slots in the order.  None of the "core" players are well-suited to the first 2 slots in the order, and it would help to have players with the pesky patience that is ideal for these slots.  Strange that they are both young, but that is the situation. 



dalimon5 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#438736) #
I'd move on from Romano, Swanson and Kikuchi because they surely have great value on trade market. I'd move them to try to get one of two things or ideally both:

1) above average contact hitter that can hit top 5 in line up

2) clean up hitter to protect Vladdy


Aside from that I would like to see Bo resigned. He's the only core player that didn't have a down year and his defense is legit good now.
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#438737) #
Iím with you 92. Hicks is a high priority signing for me, Iím OK with a QO to Chapman. Otherwise, they need to look for substantial upgrades
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#438738) #
Go get Trout! Let the high performance team work their magic to keep him on the field. That would take care of a few issues!
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#438739) #
Trade value?

* Springer (34): $24.17m x 3yrs
* Gausman (33): $22.67m x 3yrs
* Bassitt (35): $22.00m x 2yrs
* Berrios (30): $20.91m x 5yrs
* Bichette (26): $14.83m x 2yrs
* Kikuchi (33): $10.00m x 1yrs
* Green (33): $9.00m x 1yrs
* Garcia (33): $5.00m x 1yrs

* Jansen (29): Arb x 1yrs (from $3.50m)
* Cimber (33): Arb x 1yrs (from $3.15m)
* Richards (31): Arb x 1yrs (from $1.50m)

* Guerrero (25): Arb x 2yrs (from $14.50m)
* Romano (31): Arb x 2yrs (from $4.54m)
* Biggio (29): Arb x 2yrs (from $2.80m)
* Mayza (32): Arb x 2yrs (from $2.10m)
* Swanson (30): Arb x 2yrs (from $1.25m)
* Cabrera (27): Arb x 2yrs (from $0.95m)

* Varsho (27): Arb x 3yrs (from $3.05m)
* Espinal (29): Arb x 3yrs (from $2.10m)
* Kirk (25): Arb x 3yrs (from $0.77m)
* Pearson (27): Arb x 3yrs

* Manoah (26): Arb x 4yrs (from $0.75m)
* Pop (27): Arb x 4yrs (from $0.74m)
* Clement (28): Arb x 4yrs
* White (29): Arb x 4yrs
* Heineman (33): Arb x 4yrs
* Jackson (36): Arb x 4yrs

* Francis (28): Arb x 5+yrs
92-93 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#438740) #
Hicks hasn't made any real $ yet, so he likely will be looking for length over term. Long-term deals for relievers is a bad idea.

If the Jays turn down their 3/27MM option on Green, he has a 6.25MM option for next season. My guess is that Green showed enough to turn that down, and that the Jays will think hard about then exercising their 2/21MM option.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#438741) #
To recap, the players I'd like to see for sure on the 2024 Blue Jays at the outset of the season:

C- Jansen/Kirk
2B- Schneider
IF- Espinal
IF- Biggio

OF- Roden, Varsho, Springer
SP- Gausman, Berrios, Bassit, Kikuchi
RP- Romano, Mayza, Swanson, Pearson, Francis, Cabrera (Green has a player option at 6.25 and there is a team option at 9, so he may be back regardless)

As for the others, it will depend on money/trade offers and so on. It may indeed be that Guerrero Jr., and Bichette are back because any trade offers don't reflect potential but actual performance.   I don't think either Tiedemann or Manoah are likely to be good options for the rotation at the start of 2024 and I don't believe that Orelvis or Barger will be ready either. 

What would Guerrero Jr. get in arbitration?  $20M?  Service time matters more than performance, but still. 
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#438742) #
Garcia's 2024 contract vested due to number of appearances (unfortunately) so he will almost certainly be back. I say unfortunately because, while Garcia is just fine as a middle leverage guy, you'd rather not be paying that much for what Garcia brings to the table.

I think you are stuck with Springer regardless (the cost to move him would be high to get someone to take on the rest of that contract after what he did this year) so there isn't really a choice there.

To me, the team is at an inflection point just like it was after 2016. If you believe in this core then you have to empty the bucket to improve it and give it another couple of years. That means trading whatever prospect capital you have and investing dollars in free agency or other people's expensive contracts. Or, you have to take a step back and look to rebuild/reload - let all the old free agent's go, probably look to move Bo (I'd wait to move Vlad and hope for a bounce back) Romano and Gausman at the very least. Doing nothing of substance other than changing manager and tweaking the edges of the roster is death just like what we have experienced once already with this FO.
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#438743) #
So how did the Jays do this year at each position? Using fWAR for now (100+ PA - fWAR is for the full season, not just that position)
  • C: Jansen #15 2.0, Kirk #19 1.6 (Moreno #18 1.7)
  • 1B: Belt #13 2.3, Vlad #29 1.0 (ouch)
  • 2B: Schneider #23 2.0, Merrifield #28 1.5, Biggio #36 1.0, Espinal #53 0.1
  • 3B: Chapman #7 3.5
  • SS: Bo #9 3.8
  • LF: Varsho #14 2.1, Merrifield #21 1.5
  • CF: Kiermaier #19 2.2, Varsho #20 2.1
  • RF: Springer #18 2.2
  • DH: Belt #10 2.3
Not sure what they used as their limits for each position but it is kind of neat that Kiermaier and Varsho are right next to each other in CF.

No question in my mind that Merrifield, Belt, Chapman have all played their last games as Blue Jays (along with Ryu). Slim shot at Kiermaier returning (plan C for the OF I suspect). I'd be quite surprised if any of them are resigned. Schneider should have first crack at 2B with time in LF and 1B penciled in as well, Biggio at 2B/RF/1B with time at 3B mixed in, Espinal a pure backup at 2B/3B/SS.

I see a lot of 'meh' there, no one was a real star. Bo & Chapman were close but 3-4 WAR is a very good player, not a 'must have'. Basically I'm open to any trades this winter.

Last winter I was hoping the Jays would get Alek Thomas from Arizona but looks like Varsho was the right choice (0.5 fWAR for Thomas). A couple years ago I hoped for Kim to be signed (Jays wouldn't guarantee a ML roster slot) and he had 4.4 WAR for SD at 2B...sigh.
Gerry - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#438744) #
I waited a while before putting my thoughts down, and it's still a jumble, but like eephus I need to get it off my chest, and my mind. I don't have much to add to the opinions of last nights game. I have been thinking about next season.

There are two ways to think about the playoffs. One way is to say a bounce here, or a bounce there, a couple of extra feet for Matt Chapman, and the Jays could easily have won. That is true.

The second way to think about the team is that this has happened a couple, or four, years in a row and when the team has fallen just short in the last four years, is there something deeper here?

The insiders might know if there is something deeper. Are the players not listening to the manager or coaches? Is there some bad apples in the clubhouse? Is the atmosphere too playful? Are there too many hitting coaches? Do players only relate to the hitting coaches who tell them what they want to hear? These are things we don't know and probably never will. Charlie Montoyo couldn't get it to work. John Schneider hasn't either. Don Mattingly didn't have any obvious signs of making a difference.

If you think this is just bad luck then you sign a few free agents to fill in for the departing players and you maybe change the hitting coaches, because hitting was the downfall of the 2023 team. There will be huge pressure on Ross Atkins and John Schneider to win, so don't expect much playing tme for rookies, unless they hit the ground running. Atkins will sign a free agent third baseman, a DH, and maybe an outfielder who can pinch hit. The starting rotation could be set, depending on Manoah, and the bullpen is set.

If that is what you want then fine, but are you confident it will all come together in 2024?

What is the alternative? First, fire the GM. If you don't fire him he will make a lot of short term moves, that could help in 2024 but could set the org back for years thereafter. Trade Tiedemann for a 2025 free agent, sure, we need to win. Trade Orelvis, sure. You can't let that happen.

I am not on the fire Schneider train, but you have to look at the hitting coaches.

You could trade off the roster. There are extra relievers on the roster. It was tough this year with very few optionable relievers. You need to have two optionable relievers on the roster to cover for heavy workload periods.

You could trade Biggio or Espinal, they are similar players in many respects.

Several hitters are getting close to free agency. I believe Jansen is one year away and Vlad and Bo two years. Jordan Romano is also two years away. Are you willing to commit to these guys? Are they willing to commit to you? Should they be traded now? Will Vladdy be worth his approx. $17M contract for 2024? Are you confident Vladdy will sort out his hitting issues?

Other than starting pitchers, those are your four biggest assets. You probably would need to trade one of them.
I should say I don't think Springer would bring much back as he has three years left on his contract. Kirk and Varsho had down years, but could still be traded.

In short, I don't trust that next year will be different. I see more of the same and I see Ross Atkins making short term decisions to win in 2024 and have the team be worse after that.

I would fire Atkins and appoint James Click, or someone else, and try to get them to make sense of the roster.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#438745) #
That's about right, Nigel.  What would be in character for this organization?  Hold onto Bichette and Guerrero Jr., let the FAs go and replace them with options not requiring long-term commitments (i.e. beyond 2 years) but don't "empty the bucket". 
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#438746) #
I would get to the same point as Gerry, but for a somewhat different reason.  The handling of Manoah has to be laid at the GM's door.  It wasn't easy, but his removal needed to be done quickly and firmly.  They did neither.  I say this as someone who believes still that Manoah will be a great pitcher at some point. 
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#438747) #
only thing i have to add re: "chapman was a foot or two away a couple times" line of thought is that my impression over the two games was that the bounces and ump calls were largely in our favour.
Gerry - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#438748) #
Here is the end of Jeff Blairs column today. Shapiro and Atkins have been here together since 2016. Theyíre on their third manager, havenít won a playoff series and have basically become the Toronto Maple Leafs: Big budget but shocking deficiencies in key on-field areas. Oodles of financial and intellectual heft. Possessed of generational players, and an engaged but increasingly frustrated ó and, maybe worse, confused ó fanbase that is looking for someone to blame before checking out how much tickets will cost in 2024. Shapiro and Atkins are now in consumer-confidence territory with one of Canadaís few true national sports brands. Uncomfortable place, that.
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#438749) #
Mike - that's exactly what I'm expecting. Why? Because I believe that Rogers and Shapiro will view 2023 as a massive success. 3m fans and large tv audiences. They would be extremely happy with a repeat of 2023 in 2024. Bringing the band back has a decent chance of doing that - although I think the band will be fighting for 3rd through 5th in their own division.

To me, this all comes back to the ownership's prime directive. I believe the number one directive for Shapiro is "don't suck". Doing nothing other than making Atkins or Schneider the fall guy and tweaking the edges of the roster achieves that. If you empty the bucket then there will be a price to pay 2-3 years down the road. A current rebuild with a 65 win team is death for viewership in the June-August time period when Jays baseball largely carries Sportsnet. So, I expect the same old same old risk aversion this offseason. Frankly, its hard to object to if you ignore actual baseball issues.
soupman - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#438750) #
I said at the start of the season that this appeared to be a make or break year for this franchise. I think the outcome suggests that the ship is about to sink, if it hasn't started already.

Ticket prices are skyrocketing, but can you see the average fan forking out as much for a lesser team? In 2015, this front office decided not to double down on its division winner, and not to start a rebuild/rejig. It has created for itself pressure to sell tickets, and reports from early this year was that sales were disappointing. With prices higher, and the team being so frustrating to watch all year...short of signing Ohtani - what are they going to do to attract casual fans? What confidence should fans have that this front office understands what it takes to win. Why should fans expect Boston and New York to be also-rans again next year?

So, I agree this is an inflection point. I foresee Rogers moving back towards its old model of operating the team with closer to league-average payrolls. Cutting spending on minor leagues, and generally pinching pennies. Since the Jays are never likely to be bad enough to net #1 draft picks, nor good enough to justify spending (given the demonstrable failures when they do), we can likely expect them to sell hope rather than results.
soupman - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#438751) #
How to "playoff" revenues work? The Jays didn't play either game at home. What is their cut from the gate?
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#438752) #
"have basically become the Toronto Maple Leafs: Big budget but shocking deficiencies in key on-field area"

The Leafs are a consistently elite top-5 team year after year, with no payroll advantage over any other teams, built around a legit elite young core with a decade of window remaining, with no major deficiencies, that have won a playoff series and been incredibly close in every series they've lost.

These jays, peaking at only a borderline top-10 team, with 0 playoffs games won, with a huge payroll and old roster, can only dream of being the Leafs.

And the Leafs are on their 3rd GM since Shapiro was hired.
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#438753) #
Because I believe that Rogers and Shapiro will view 2023 as a massive success. 3m fans and large tv audiences.

Yes, it's worth reminding ourselves that ownership measures success differently from the fans despite the imminent Atkins corporate-speak suggesting otherwise. Another season with a team good enough to chase a wild card spot is what I expect. Pay for an 86-win team and hope for 90. And tell the fanbase that you are chasing the brass ring.

Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#438754) #
"Possessed of generational players".  Supposed generational players, yes.  Marketed generational players, yes.  Actual generational players, no.  During the 2021-23 period, Vlad stands fifth among first basemen- miles behind Freddie Freeman, kilometers behind Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Olson and metres behind Yandy Diaz.  During the same period, Bo stands sixth among shortstops- with Trea Turner and Francisco Lindor easily ahead and Swanson, Bogaerts and Seager comparable.  And the 2021-23 period is the most favourable comparison period for them. 
Michael - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#438755) #
"the bounces and ump calls were largely in our favour"

I'm not sure the bounces were our way (I can think of several plays that could have been more our way around close plays, correa getting to the deflected ball to make the play at the plate, the two Chapman hits that a foot different would have been huge,etc.) but the umpire was definitely in our favour. I noticed it watching and the umpire score card agreed. It was odd, I don't remember seeing such favorable calls for a while.
Cracka - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#438756) #
There's a post-season award pool comprised of 60% of all ticket sales from all "essential" post-season games (i.e. first three games of a best-of-five series, first four games of a best-of-seven). Wild card losers get 3% combined (0.75% per losing team), with a minimum funding of $96,000. That amount is divided up into shares based on a vote of the players, which takes place before the post-season begins. I'd guess each player will get appx $3,000...

uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#438757) #
I dunno we seemed to get a bunch of squib hits this series due to quirks or fielding or both
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#438758) #
FAs the Jays have supposedly made serious bids on (or seriously considered making large bids on) in recent years:

Gerrit Cole
Corey Seager
Freddie Freeman

Maybe next time the front office really, really likes a generational free agent, they should bid massively and actually sign him. They often seem to have good judgment when it comes to these types of players (Semien, Gausman).
Chuck - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#438759) #
Possessed of generational players

Two terms I'd like to hear a whole let less of anytime now: generational talent and analytics. Way too many players are considered the former for the term to have any meaning at all. As for the latter, any hamfisted misuse of mathematics does not somehow magically qualify as deep thought.

Further to Dewey's rightful pushback on the relentless capitalistic assault on us weary fans, I would like to file a grievance of my own against the nonstop, inane PR that masquerades as information (see my previous paragraph). Perhaps it is part and parcel of the same mindset that sees us as little more than mindless consumers.

Yes, I am at the "get off my lawn" stage of life. No apologies.

dalimon5 - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#438760) #
Mike, where can I see the video of Biggio after Vlad's pick off?
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#438761) #
The first thing to remember is who owns the team and what their goals are. It is Rogers and their #1 goal is profit. Nothing else. Titles are nice, but only in the respect of how they work towards profit.

That said, how do you maximize profit? By making the playoffs. Jays miss the playoffs for a few years (ala 1994-2014) and TV ratings drop like a stone, attendance plummets, and profits go bye-bye. Jay fans are very much bandwagon fans. I remember digging into it a bit and 90 wins seemed to be the magic number between 'who cares' and 'full house'. 3 million tickets sold this year, most since 2017 (hangover from 15/16). Pre-COVID that dropped over 2 years to 1.75 million in 2019. So the ownership knows how fast fans will flee if the team isn't a contender. You get 1 years grace then kaboom. You bet they will factor that into any decisions made this winter.

So how to stay at the 90-ish win mark and avoid having payroll go to Mets level? You need to mix in kids, ideally 1-2 a year, be it rotation, everyday player, or closer.
  • 2019: Vlad, Bo, Biggio, Tellez (had a callup the year before for 23 games), Thornton, and others who didn't get much time.
  • 2020: no one jumps out to me, Kirk got a brief shot
  • 2021: Espinal gets his first fullish-time opportunity, more time for Kirk, Manoah emerges and wows.
  • 2022: A few guys who had brief chances getting more time (Espinal now full time, as is Kirk)
  • 2023: Schneider goes nuts for a bit, then gets put into the heart of the order and slumps badly, then is forgotten.
IMO the Jays are overdue to get kids into the lineup in a serious way for the first time since 2019. If that means 2024 is a sub 90 win team, so be it. You need to mix in the kids sometime and with the openings that are happening in LF/3B/DH you have natural openings for kids who look to be ready or almost in Schniender (LF or 2B), Orelvis Martinez (3B or 2B), Addison Barger (RF/3B), and others. Plus a few who could take backup roles like Otto Lopez, Ernie Clement, and more. Basically it might be time to do some deadword cleaning and trades to open slots for these kids and free up cash.

So what cash is cleared? Ryu ($20), Chapman ($12.5), Belt ($9.3), Kiermaier ($9), Merrifield ($6.75), and Cimber ($3.1). Total $60.65 million. That is a lot. Other costs being removed include DeJong ($1.3), Luplow ($0.9), Thornton ($0.64), Bass ($3 mil), Grichuk ($4.33) = $10.17 (new net of $70.82). Other spots to shave cash could be Espinal ($2.1 and now in arb 2), and Richards ($1.5 arb 2) - both of whom seem very replaceable imo, even if Espinal is one of the few to get hits in the playoffs. Costs going up - Gausman ($3 mil), Bassitt ($3 mil), Berrios ($2 mil), Garcia ($0.5), Bo ($8.1), Green ($4+ depending on option, could even go down if released by both him and the Jays) = increase of $20.6+ with Green a variable. Then you have arbitration - Vlad ($14.5 arb 3), Romano ($4.5 arb 2), Jansen ($3.5 arb 3), Varsho ($3.05 arb 2), Biggio ($2.8 arb 3), Mazya ($2.1 arb 3), Swanson ($1.25 arb 2), Cabrera ($0.95, arb 2), Kirk (arb 1), Manoah (maybe arb 1, depends how much time he lost this year). Net 2023 was $34.09 (assuming $720k for Kirk & Manoah). Lets assume that doubles with arbitration (some jump more, some less, but lets go high) so net new costs of $34.09 + built in raises of $20.6 = $54.69 mil. Mix that with savings and you get $16.13 mil of space left over. Ouch, a lot less than I expected. Now, if arbitration "only" goes up 50% you pretty much double that to $33.175. Still not enough to do everything we'd love to see, plus in 2025 you can see Bo going up by $5 mil, Berrios by $1 mil, and more arbitration with Kikuchi ($10 mil), Jansen, and Richards free agents. Post 2025 is where we hit the nuclear issue with Bo, Vlad, Biggio, Bassitt, Romano, Mayza, Swanson, and Cabrera all becoming free agents. Thus why I say we need some kids to break in for 2024 and 2025 or the team will be empty and/or broke after 2025.
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#438762) #
John N - I'd push back a bit on "how do you make a profit? playoffs". I agree that a team will make you more profit by making the playoffs but I think its far more complex in the Jays situation where Rogers is both the owner of the Jays and running a cable sports station(s). Regular season tv viewership is a massive issue for Rogers (not the Jays directly because of the ridiculous tv contract) and I believe more important than additional "playoff profit". Don't get me wrong they would dearly love both. But at the current inflection point where you will be making a choice between actions that might make making the playoffs more likely but also significantly increasing the risk that you will have a period of regular season "uncompetitiveness", I think Rogers would choose "don't risk sucking" over "go for it for playoff revenue".
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#438763) #
I don't know where one can access the archived video of Biggio in the dugout after  VGJ's flub.  Sorry.  It's not on youtube.com.  If you have a Sportsnet Now or MLBTV subscription,you can find the entire game there. 
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#438764) #
As to free agents, the Jays seem to be after 1 big one per winter. 2019/20 Ryu ($80 mil over 4), 2020/21 Springer ($150 mil), 2021/22 Gausman ($110 mil), 2022/23 Bassitt ($63 mil). Berrios was traded for in 2021 and signed to his $131 mil deal that winter (1 year before free agency). There were others (Kikuchi for $36 mil for example) but those are the biggest ones.

Cole himself said the Jays were very close and his #2 choice. I don't recall Seager being that close, Freeman seemed an odd rumor at the time given Vlad being here at 1B. Do the Jays keep this up this winter? Just 2 significant offensive players on the free agent market in Ohtani and Bellinger (Bellinger would be a great fit especially if he'd go to LF so Varsho could be everyday in CF). The rest of market not so much. Hernandez would be nice in some respects to bring back but his 106 OPS+ and 2.1 bWAR don't impress me much, mixed with going into his age 31 season as a poor defensive OF. I could see the Jays going nuts on another starting pitcher but I don't think that'd be the best investment right now - tons are out there, so if one drops in price as the winter wears down OK, but otherwise they should be seen as a luxury.

Hicks would be nice to resign to mix with Romano in 2024, as always depending on price.
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#438765) #
Nigel - oops, not quite how I intended it. Playoffs do add profits, but it is contending seriously for the playoffs all year that draws eyeballs to Sportsnet and bodies to SkyDome. That means a 90 win team is the goal. If the Jays were in the Central then it'd be 85 wins, but sadly they are in the East which is a beast.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#438766) #
Imagine if the Jays had had Freeman (.331/.410/.567) as a 1B/DH in the middle of the order this year. His contract (6/162m) is a bargain. He has posted an incredible 15 total fWAR in 2022 and 2023.

Freeman is exactly the type of bat the Jays needed in 2023.
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#438767) #
Fair enough John and I agree with that but I'll reiterate that I believe Rogers would rank "do everything to avoid ever being a 60-70 win team" ahead of "do everything to be a 90-100 win team" when those two goals might conflict (as I believe that they do to an extent this offseason).
Lylemcr - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#438768) #
The last two years had such promise and not delivered. A big THUD...

Option 1- We can do what the Leafs do, and roll out the same people next year with minor tweaks. Maybe make the playoffs and get knocked out of the first round. Do the same in 2025. Then Vlady and Bichette walk or get worse, and we are left with a bunch of old players. The fact that Biggio was the #5 hitters just tells how bad the depth was in the hitting was this year. Does one bat take them over the top?


Option 2. Right now, I see what Baltimore and Tampa have going on. I don't see the Jays beat them in the next 5 years. You know the Yankees and Red Sox will throw money at it and be back in contention. Blow it up. Kind of like the Mariners did. Get some good young assets from the players you got. I definitely don't trust this front office to do it. We should fire them and get people in there with fresh ideas.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#438769) #
There are two legendary GMs in Jays history: Gillick and (to a lesser extent) Anthopoulos.

The current duo are likely to fade into "average to above-average" GM historical status unless circumstances change in the next couple of years. They do get some points for the Dunedin and RC renovations/overhaul and securing a higher team payroll. I think the game 2 Berrios decision is going to follow them for a long time.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#438770) #
Freeman is almost 10 years older than VGJ but light years better as a baserunner and a lot better as a fielder.  After 2021, if they had traded Vlad and signed Freeman, they would likely be in great shape.  Alas, no one would have done that and the organization was, at the time, committed to Guerrero Jr. as first baseman. 
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#438771) #
One question I'd like answered is whether Atkins was texting Schneider (or Mattingly) during the game, confirming that the front office wanted Berrios pulled at that point.
hypobole - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#438772) #
Job security:

Shapiro 95%
Walker 95%
Atkins 80%
Schneider 50%
Martinez 30%
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#438773) #
"Report: Blue Jays Have ĎRemained Aggressiveí in Pursuit of Freddie Freeman" (Sports Illustrated, 14 March 2022)

It seems the Jays were pursuing Freeman, despite already having VGJ on the roster. Which (in hindsight) was a good choice. But, as with Cole and Seager, the Jays pulled up short in their pursuit. Perhaps they got nervous about spending that much money. Or maybe this was just a rumour to stoke fan interest or higher bids.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#438774) #
The Jays may have been offering Freeman a DH/1B role.  He has played first base exclusively the last 2 years, and been remarkably durable. 
Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#438775) #
hypobole - I'm generally there on that though I'd tweak it to Shapiro 100% and Atkins 65%. There is going to have to be a fall guy(s) and I presume that to be Schneider and Martinez but there is a growing public realization that they keep firing the manager and there is neither a discernable W/L impact nor an actual on field decision making impact. So, Atkins might have to take a bullet for PR reasons.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#438776) #
You have to hand it to the Dodgers front office. They traded for and extended Betts, and signed Freeman to a very favourable contract. Those two players produced 16.2 fWAR this year. That is more than the combined 2023 WAR of Bo, Vladdy, Chapman, Springer, Belt, Biggio and Kiermaier.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#438777) #
This is what I wrote on 14 March 2022: "Couple of sources saying the Jays are being aggressive on Freeman. It's kinda crazy that they would pursue him, but I still hope it happens. It would be a huge splash and make the Jays a really excellent team over the next two or three years."
soupman - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#438778) #
Skydome hasnít been fixed. Springer is just the latest example of a guy in his 30s being ground down by the cement ďfieldĒ. I suspect he misses 1/3 or more games next year with the usual knee/ankle/leg issues. Glad we got more places to binge drink instead of a solution to turf toe.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#438779) #
I know you did, greenfrog.  What I am saying is that Freeman may not have been interested because of the job description rather than the $.   He's had the 2 best years of his career at age 32-33.  That doesn't happen too often.  Joe Morgan was 31-32 when he peaked.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#438780) #
It should be said again that this Minnesota club is pretty good- certainly better than the one that won the World Series in 1987.  It wouldn't shock me at all if they face Texas in the ALCS. 
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#438781) #
The buck stops with the Chairman of the Board.††L-C believes in the Chairman.† The money is there.† Go Astros.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#438782) #
"Option 1- We can do what the Leafs do, and roll out the same people next year with minor tweaks."

The Leafs have precisely 5 players remaining on their roster from even 4 years ago. Also new coaches and GMs. That moves all the way up to 6 players remaining if you look at just 3 years ago. And up to 8 of you look at 2 years ago.

Not sure what the definition of "minor tweaks" is.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#438783) #
In summer 2022 Keith Law commented that the Dodgers have an impressive developmental track record of bringing out the best in the position players they acquire. He was diplomatic about it but clearly implied that the Jays are a less impressive organization in that regard. His observations are certainly reflected in the on-field results weíve seen this year.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#438784) #
From SI.com:

Merrifield, who is a pending free agent assuming his mutual option for 2024 isn't picked up, also added he's looking to sign with a team that "understands baseball" this offseason.

"It's definitely gotta be a team that's focused on winning and understand baseball," Merrifield said on where he'd want to land in the winter. "We're getting away from that a little bit in this game. So looking forward to some conversations to have with different teams."

Ouch.
Gerry - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#438785) #
Another thought on yesterday. The analytics might have said the pitching change was the right decision.

But, it probably gave a boost to the Twins hitters. And as it seems that it wasn't communicated to all the Jays hitters, it probably was demoralizing to the Jays hitters.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#438786) #
How many FA starting pitchers are going to want to sign with Toronto after the Berrios fiasco? The message sent by Schneiderís precipitous move is that when the SP is on the biggest stage, in the biggest moment of his career, the Jays will severely curb the pitcherís outing in the name of analytics. If I were a starting pitcher, I wouldnít want any part of that.
Eephus - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#438787) #
I think Iíve made how I feel about the current state of the team fairly clear in this very article. However, and I donít think Iím telling the intelligent discourse here on Da Box a whole lot of anything newÖ but analytics are great and all, but like any tool itís how you utilize it. This regime has seemed to miss that most important second part.

It just occurred to me that the Reds arenít likely to bring back Votto and since the Jays probably donít bring Belt backÖ. The wheels in my mind began to turn. Oh man! But thenÖ. Rationally, Joey is already 40, very unlikely to even provide the limited (but good) production Belt gave us, andÖ. well they shouldnít do it but man it would bring me back into whatever this is.

Alas, fun is a vibe and ability Votto can bring. But I suspect he just retires if the Reds donít want him. Sigh. GoÖ. Phillies? Dodgers?
Eephus - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#438788) #
(The 0.01 percent chance we sign Votto, he ends up heathy and amazing, and we win in the playoffs would be a mighty fine balancing of the pain weíve endured these past few years.)

Nigel - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#438789) #
To me, that Merrifield comment cements something that I thought yesterday - the knock on, management/player impacts, of that Berrios hook will reverberate for a while and definitely not in a good way. I'd be surprised if the relationship with Berrios (and maybe some of the other starters) will withstand that decision - notwithstanding what a class act Berrios was (and has been historically) yesterday about it all.
Magpie - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#438790) #
Gillick and (to a lesser extent) Anthopoulos.

Legends? Okay, but it's also true that Anthopoulos was two months away from being another Gord Ash. He probably owes Edwin Encarnacion his career.
scottt - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#438791) #
For a while they were the 3rd best in the AL East and the 3rd best in the AL.

Kiermaier finished with an OPS+ of 104.
His career is 98 and that's the best he's put out since 2017 (113).

Merrifield was brought over last year to cover Espinal's weak second half, Biggio's struggles and injuries in the outfield. He was an All-Star but struggled badly in the second half to finish with a .700 OPS. He stole 26  bases and was crazy at some point with stealing third. He wasn't really good in left field. It sure looks like he gets replaced internally.

Now about understanding baseball, he was with a KC team that won, 80, 58, 59, 26 out of 60, 74 and 65.
They won 56 this year.

I can't say I like Bo as a clean up hitter. He was on fire for a while but he finished with a 123 OPS+.
That's lower than last year's 128 for a career of 123. Not really close to Vlad's 167 OPS+ of 2021.

Vlad finished with 26 HRs which isn't that far from last year's 32.

Maybe Varsho bounces up and maybe he doesn't but I think he starts as the 9th hitter next year.
I don't think Biggio should be hitting higher than 7th.

Overall, the pitching is mostly intact for next year.
They lose Hicks but they didn't have him starting up.
They need some optional guys for the back of the pen. That's Pop, Pearson, maybe Cimber, maybe Zulueta, maybe Tiedemann.

I'm still puzzled about Francis.
He threw only 30 innings in 8 AAA starts, I'd be curious to see if he can be a normal 5th starter, provided Manoah doesn't get his job back.

Chapman is an easy QO.
The draft order is based on the playoffs finish, so a bit of silver lining here.

They need to either bring elite bats or play the AAA kids.
I don't see any point in signing or trading for guys who don't move the needle.


Mike Green - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#438792) #
I was thinking about the 1985 ALCS and remembered that Dick Howser had used Charlie Liebrandt unconventionally.  In Game 7 of the Series, he took out Bret Saberhagen after 3 scoreless innings and put in Liebrandt.  I had forgotten that Saberhagen had taken a batted ball off his pitching hand in the first inning, and this likely influenced the decision.  Throughout the series, Howser had used a left-hander to try to clear out the left side of Blue Jay platoons, but I doubt that he would have taken Saberhagen out so early without the blow to the hand. 
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#438793) #
AA was creative and he had formidable powers of persuasion. Remember when he convinced multiple players on the roster to chip in a couple mil each so that the Jays could sign Ervin Santana, when ownership wouldn't provide the necessary funds?

I think he did a great job as a very young GM of rebuilding the farm system, learning on the job (and yes, making some mistakes along the way), assembling a very strong roster in 2015, and then getting out of town with his reputation in great shape -- which ultimately allowed him to land on his feet with the LAD.

And, of course, he's now a legendary GM across MLB, not just in the history of the Blue Jays.
John Northey - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#438794) #
Votto is a no chance imo as the last 2 years his OPS+ was 89 and 99, while he is a part time 1B/DH now. I hope he returns to Cincinnati for a final year or at least a proper send off ala Ichiro with Seattle to finish off his career with 2 games in 2019. Ideal to me would be for him to be with the Reds in August so he could have a final set of games here in Toronto (they play here Aug 19-21).

Belt was a good choice for vet DH with WS experience to help push the kids here over the top. Sadly it didn't work like Winfield did 31 years ago. What would help? Cody Bellinger is the answer that screams out (134 wRC+ 307/356/525 while in CF/1B) hopefully he'd be willing to shift to LF. That left handed bat would be ideal anywhere from 2 to 5 in the lineup (depending on Bo, Vlad, and whoever else earns a slot up there). Teoscar I have no interest in having return - he was fun while here, but his horrid defense and up and down offense is not something I want to see again. Same with Gurriel. Another OF free agent is Michael Conforto (100 wRC+ in LF/RF bats left) He was a top hitter years ago, but now not so much. He'd be a 'plan D' or lower imo. J.D. Martinez is out there, but is nothing more than a bat now (his fielding is rare and poor, just 12 innings in LF last year). Lots of others but every one has flaws that make me think 'why not give the kids a shot' instead.

Wild cards are players from Japan - but it seems much like the majors, most of the quality available will be pitchers not hitters. Sometimes quality comes from Korea too, but I haven't heard of any that are coming over this winter, but that could change too.

I suspect trades are the Jays best bet, but who to trade for and who to give up? We have relief pitching up the wazoo, Espinal and Biggio could be mixed into a trade but neither are core to a deal, nor would be any reliever outside of maybe Romano. It isn't hard to imagine the Jays trading Bo or Vlad for the right package but dang would that be a risk - the Jays would need to be 100% certain they win that deal or fans will scream louder than they did when Vlad was picked off. A starter could be made available (such as Manoah or Kikuchi) but that'd surprise me as there aren't any ready to step in at this point in time.

IMO the Jays will chase Bellinger (or maybe Ohtani but low odds there) to fill in the LF gap. Then put kids at 3B with Biggio at 2B and try to trade Garcia, Richards, & Espinal for prospects to help restock the minors a bit more while saving cash too. Expect Lukes or Eden to be the backup OF in 2024, Lopez or Clement the backup IF, with Schneider at 2B, moving Biggio to 3B with Martinez & Barger fighting to grab one of those positions all year. DH might be filled by Horwitz or a mix/match of everyone (I see more DH time in Vlad's future with Biggio, Schneider, and Horwitz getting time at 1B). Jays might even look at trading Jansen as he will be a free agent post 2024 if they feel he won't resign at a decent price.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#438795) #
I would go hard after 25-year-old Yoshinobu Yamamoto (career: 75-30, 1.72 ERA, 967.2 IP, 669 H, 36 HR, 216 BB, 986 K). As Mike Green pointed out, Gausman's underlying stats were good but not brilliant this year. The Jays may need a new #1 SP as soon as next year.

Yamamoto
Gausman
Berrios
Bassitt
Kikuchi

With Tiedemann waiting in the wings.

Keep in mind that there will be attrition in the pitching staff. Yes, the team will need to improve its offense. But I think it would be a significant mistake to be complacent about the pitching staff. The team should continue to aspire to excellence on that front.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#438796) #
While Whit rings true in that quote it's also true that he was the worst fulltime player in all of baseball in the 2nd half.

If they understood baseball a little player he would never have played.
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#438797) #
A little better not a little player.
soupman - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#438798) #
ACCOUNTABILITY

It is a story about accountability. No one is held to account, so no one has to change or improve.

Manoah's demotion and how it was handled is a great example of how this isn't just an issue related to what's between these players' ears. We have an org that is roundly being mocked for pulling a guy that was DEALING in the fourth inning for...did we get an explanation? Something about "analytics" as was pointed out a meaningless term outside of the specifics which, to my eye, serves only to obfuscate who is to be held to account.

For some, it was merely the old black box of "luck" at work. I suppose when bastardized maths fail, it becomes soothing to invoke mystified nonsense. I certainly don't think so. The Jays lost for a lot of reasons, but when you look at the questionable "decisions" (Bo running through a stop sign, Vlad wandering off base, Schneider putting in Kooch in the 4th while Jose was dealing...) it's hard to argue, imo, that the Jays deserved to win. There is always uncertainty, of course, that's what makes it interesting to play and watch sports - but when players and personnel do completely asinine things that thumb the scales without account...it overshadows and likely minimizes the apparent role of chance.
Magpie - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#438799) #
he was the worst fulltime player in all of baseball in the 2nd half.

Someone should have said something, like "don't be fooled because he just hit .356/.375/.622 in July - he's about to go into the tank. Bench him, now."
uglyone - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#438800) #
"did we get an explanation?"

I'm not sure they think we're smart enough to understand their explanation.
Michael - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#438802) #
Put me down as the +1 on QO for Chapman. I'm closer to saying you should QO KK (you shouldn't) then I am to saying you shouldn't QO Chapman.
Marc Hulet - Thursday, October 05 2023 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#438804) #
I can't stand the thought of watching Chapman hit for another season but I understand the business side makes sense... and the market is lacking in better options. He couldn't make an adjustment at the plate to save his life (at least Springer finally did 3/4 of the way through the year).

I, for one, would hit up Pittsburgh and try for Jared Triolo, who's a good defensive 3B with an on-base approach and good base running... but he's blocked by Hayes. Down side is that he's RH. He's also versatile enough to be moved around if Barger or Martinez deserve a look later in the year.
Joe - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#438808) #
No one is held to account, so no one has to change or improve.
What does "accountability" mean? Should Schneider be put on a performance improvement plan by his manager? Would fans like it if Manoah was written up by his union lead? What if Vlad had to pay a fine to kangaroo court?

And, more importantly, should all of those "accountability" measures be publicized?

Like grit, and hustle, and "wanting it too much" or "trying too hard" or "swinging for the fences", "accountability" feels to me like "I'm mad and I'd like someone to be sad so I feel better."

dalimon5 - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#438813) #
Bladdy runs the clubhouse not any of the vets. How many more cooler dumps did he have vs HR?
soupman - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#438815) #
I said I donít know how you convince Vlad or any star to change. As supporters of the club so much is opaque and I donít know what other organizations do.

Evidence: repeated behaviour that harms the team

Missing: How has the org communicated to the player a need to change? With Vlad we donít know. With manoah we know he refused assignment. Much remains unclear.

Without more info, without a sense of what other teams do itís meaningless for me to speculate what they ought to do or what would work. I can only point to what is in front of me, and to me that looks like ďaccountabilityĒ- control? Power? You can describe it however you want. The notion that analytics has removed agency from the manager is just the most recent example.

The team doesnít have to lose for me to post this- Iíve said this stuff about Vlad for ages. The front office did what it could to mitigate his worst tendencies.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#438825) #
" It is through error that man tries and rises. It is through tragedy he learns. All the roads of learning begin in darkness and go out into the light. "
krose - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#438841) #
Agreed LC. Perhaps this season will provide an impetus to those who could do better.
Michael - Friday, October 06 2023 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#438846) #
On the team performance, it is hard to judge from outside, but I'm not sure accountability was needed so much as fun being needed. Watching the team through out the year, I think the offense in particular performed better when they were looser with the jacket celebrations last year than the "more serious" this year. If you look at opposing teams, most teams now have some sort of silly celebration props on HR. The Jays only have the uppercut fist pump and at times during the summer folks looked like they were lacking fun. It is hard to know if good results => good club house energy or good club house energy => good results, but I'm not convinced trying to hone in on "more serious" is the right approach.
bpoz - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#438952) #
Regarding acquisitions that would have to replace Ryu, KK, Belt, Chapman and Merrifield, good FAs may think twice about joining the Jays after the playoff disaster. Players talk among themselves.

We may not have to replace Ryu if Manoah recovers.

For Chapman, Biggio and Espinal can cover until Orelvis or Barger are ready. KK can be replaced by Biggio with Cam Eden getting semi regular work until Barger is promoted. He is playing a lot of OF. Biggio can also spell Vlad. Belt as DH can be replaced by giving rest to Vlad, Kirk and Springer. Schneider and Horwitz probably start on the team in some role with the close to ready AAA prospects pushing them.

I would not mind a semi rebuild with youth. Orelvis, Barger, Palmegiani and Roden are very close to ready. Tiedemann can be added at some point if 5IP is what they want him to do. All the above names also provide depth. There are also a lot of hard throwers for the pen. Some may succeed. Luck also helps. As does being smart. This kind of youth movement also saves money. Belt and Merrifield had one of their better years and may not repeat.
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