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The games go on...

You may have noticed that the four teams that won the most games this season - two in the AL, two in the NL - have pristine records so far in the post-season. Completely unblemished by any victories. No wins whatsoever.

That situation is unlikely to persist much longer, although Tampa Bay will definitely have to wait until next spring for the next W,† so let's revel in the moment.

If I try to put them in rooting order... oh, this will be desperate work. But I'm a pro, I will try.

8. Houston - Don't really have anything against them but they won it last year.

7. Atlanta - Don't have anything against them either, but they won it the year before.

6. Los Angeles - And they won the year before that. Now it gets complicated.

5. Baltimore - On the one hand, 1983 was a long time ago. On the other hand, if you don't like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, you just don't like baseball. On the other, other hand this is an AL East rival and good things should not be permitted to happen...

4. Arizona - It would be amusing if a team that allowed more runs than they were able to score actually knocked off the mighty Dodgers, and 2001 seems sufficiently far away, I suppose.

3. Minnesota - I'm over the Wild Card Series. I'm over 1991, which was the last time this team won a championship, behind grumpy Jack and roly-poly Kirby.

2. Texas - Marcus Semien deserves a championship as much as anyone active, and the franchise has never - repeat, never - won a title. But I can't, not for them and not for the Cowboys and the Mavericks either. It's a Dallas thing.

1. Philadelphia - Bryce Harper deserves a championship as much as any player still active. And† while 2008 may seem too soon, if only when compared with everyone else, it's long enough.

The Divisional Series | 159 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Marc Hulet - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#438954) #
My rooting order: Baltimore, Arizona, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta... then my hopeful eliminations: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Texas
uglyone - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#438955) #
the better Moreno looks, the hotter the toronto hot seat gets.
Nigel - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#438956) #
Moreno hit 137 wRC+ from August 1 on.
uglyone - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#438957) #
Postseason Career

* Gabriel Moreno: 11pa, 2hr, 4rbi
* Vlad/Bo/Kirk/Biggio: 86pa, 0hr, 2rbi
Marc Hulet - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#438958) #
I posted this on Twitter back in late March:

Bold predictions for 2023 AL East #OpeningDay

Alek Manoah misses 2 months with an injury.

Gabriel Moreno makes the Jays regret trading him instead of A. Kirk, who struggles, spends time in AAA

It wasn't quite to this extreme but I wasn't actually that far off.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#438960) #
Fangraphs numbers suggest that Moreno was a very poor baserunner this year (at a Kirk/VGJ level) despite having average speed and going 6 for 8 stealing bases. If he fixes that and adds a little power, he's a very good player. Hmm.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#438962) #
Ranked by dislike:

Minnesota - Revenge.
Baltimore - Rivals.
Philadelphia - Cut of their jib.
Atlanta - A.A. comeuppance.
Texas - Retribution.
Houston - Fools.
L.A. Dodgers - Fools.
Arizona - Chase Field is nice.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#438963) #
Magpie, Houston doesn't have the scarlet letter that Dallas has? Have I got that right? Why?

I remember Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis driving in a semi-circle to avoid Texas en route to the Grand Canyon. No, it was not a Bull Durham/League of Their Own mash-up. Thelma and Louise, for young'uns. Susan had her reasons. But Dallas, specifically? I don't get it.
Magpie - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#438965) #
But Dallas, specifically?

I don't know. I'm guessing that my intense dislike of the football team managed to both linger for decades after I stopped watching football while infecting any other franchise in the same area code.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#438966) #
Thanks, Magpie.  The curse of Staubach. 
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#438968) #
" Dallas " (1978) starring Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy.
Kasi - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#438970) #
Donít see Baltimore getting anywhere with their woeful pitching. They smoke and mirrored through the regular season but just no horses for a playoff run. Add in a weakened bullpen and itís a lot of pressure to outscore it.
electric carrot - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#438974) #
Pulling for Os. Small market team with a bunch of fun young players in a city that could use a boost. Go Os!
John Northey - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#438975) #
Well, the O's are showing that not having pitching or defense can be deadly in the playoff regardless of offense - lost 11-8 today and now are 1 loss away from being swept into the offseason. Twins scored 6 today (more than they did in their 2 games vs the Jays) and beat Houston 6-2 to tie up that series. So far Houston is the only team with a bye in round 1 to have a win. Go figure.
John Northey - Sunday, October 08 2023 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#438976) #
Didn't notice how bad Baltimore's pitching situation was - 9 different guys had 1 or more starts, just 3 had ERA+'s over 100. Means in 4 starts a 157, Bradish a 146 in 30 starts, and Tyler Wells 25 starts 5 relief with a 113 ERA+. Doesn't help that their closer is out for the playoffs and 2024 (TJ) but he wouldn't have mattered given how they lost both games. Looks to me like the O's this winter need to invest in a free agent starter or two if they want to contend in 2024 and beyond. Their runs for/against suggested a 94-68 record vs their actual 101-61 but outdoing your runs for/against is rarely a repeatable skill, more a dumb luck one like RISP is.

In short, don't expect the O's to be a 100 game winner in 2024 unless they improve their pitching. Much like the Jays decided to chase down more pitching/defense the O's should do the same this winter and hope for their sakes they don't have every hitter flop like the Jays did.
John Northey - Monday, October 09 2023 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#438981) #
Seems some are annoyed about the upsets or potential upsets. How to adjust. I see a few methods...
  1. Best of 7 rounds every round, reseed after each, add 2 more teams per league so everyone plays all the time.
  2. Go back to 1 game winner takes all WC round so the teams getting a bye don't get stale from too long a rest, best of 7 DS, LCS, and WS.
  3. Round robin to cut down to 4 teams then best of 7 LCS and WS. RR would be 6 teams per league, so each plays the 5 others twice lets say - Tue/Wed, Fri/Sat, Mon/Tue, Thur/Fri, Sun/Mon - that covers 5 rounds, higher ranked team gets home field for each 2 game set. So ignore division winner except as tie breaker #1, then use same tie breakers as done now. The RR could've been Baltimore vs Minnesota, Tampa vs Jays, Houston vs Texas R1; R2 Baltimore vs Jays; Tampa vs Texas; Houston vs Minnesota; R3 Baltimore vs Houston, Tampa vs Minnesota, Texas vs Jays; R4 Baltimore vs Texas, Tampa vs Houston; Jays vs Minnesota; R5 Baltimore vs Tampa; Texas vs Minnesota; Houston vs Jays. Jays get 1 home series, Minnesota gets none, big incentive to keep fighting for positioning there if you believe in home field advantage. Baltimore plays all their games at home. Best 2 records go to LCS to face off for WS, with the days off your #1 catcher could catch all the games, you use 4 starters still but could go with 3 if you have a horse who can pitch on 3 days rest (if you have only 2 good starters then the temptation would be sky high). Ties broken by record vs tied team, best run diff vs tied team, then best run differential in RR, then best regular season record, then tie breakers from regular season. I see it as a potential crazy fun time.
Realistically I see #1 being the option taken. Best of 7's all around. More revenue for owners, just cut back the regular season or start it even earlier each year (cut back on spring training). My personal preference would be a Round Robin where chaos could reign - picture a team out of it half way (losing every game) then deciding to not really try in their final games or going all-out to try for at least one win and some pride. What happens if one team wins their first 8 so their last 2 don't matter so they try to rest up a bit for the next round but those games matter to the other teams? I could see it being a ton of fun to watch.
Nigel - Monday, October 09 2023 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#438985) #
Watching Moreno and Gurriel lead the charge to beat the Dodgers is a double edged sword.
Michael - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 02:22 AM EDT (#438986) #
My favorite is to add +2 to the best of to each round (or each round less than B7, maybe), but make it fit the schedule by eliminating off days. Why let teams rest under the pressure of playoffs? Make the full roster work and make the decisions on starters and relievers and management even more impactful, and make the playoff roster slightly more like the regular season where you need more depth. Plus more baseball for everyone, more playoff tickets, more TV time. And more of a reward for finishing a series early instead of dragging it out.

This year the wild card round was best of 3 and started Tue Oct 3rd. If you instead made it best of 5 and have it scheduled for Tue 3rd-Sat 7th, you'd still have a good run. Start the division series Sun 8th (1 day later than they actually started) and have it a best of 7 going Sun 8th-Sat 14th (which is the same day the current best of 5 division series ends).

Have the league championship, if a 7 game series, start Sun 15th-Sat 21st (which today is only game 5 of the NLCS, and an off day between day 5 and day 6 of the ALCS). Have the world series, if a 7 game series, start Sun 22nd-Sat 28th (which today is game 2 of the WS).

So that gets you extra days in the schedule and still ends earlier.

If you want you could add an extra day off between each series and that only puts you at the WS ending on 31st of October (which is game 4 of the WS on this year's schedule).

Alternatively you could make the league championship a best of 9 and the world series a best of 11 and (without the extra off days) that would take you six extra days from ending on Sat 28th to ending on Friday Nov 3rd (again, only if the WS goes the distance to a full 11 games). Today's WS schedule has a game on Friday Nov 3rd (game 6) and Sat Nov 4th (game 7). So you could fit in the same time as today's 3, 5, 7, 7 playoffs a best of 5, 7, 9, and 11 all in 1 fewer day. Add a scheduled off day before the WS and you take up exactly the same number of calendar days as it does today (and actually probably less as I think an 11 game series is less likely to go to game 11 than a 7 game series is likely to go game 7) and you get in theory an extra 8 games in the first round, 8 games in the second round, 4 games in the 3rd round and 4 games in the final - so 24 extra playoff game possible! A single player would go from having the possibility to play 22 playoff games (3+5+7+7) to 32 playoff games in a single season (5+7+9+11).

So that's my proposal to make the playoffs both more "fair" and also more lucrative and (arguably) more exciting. When teams are changing locations you may need to make the last day at a site a day game to give some travel time (but it is only like 6 hours from plane from SDN to BOS or the like, which is the worst commute, +3 hours for time zone - that is doable in a single turn around with flights), and there may need to be double headers if there are rain outs, but that all adds to the excitement from my POV. If you really want to you could add a man to the roster to help (or add a pitcher that is only allowed to come in during extra innings and/or double headers).

That's my pie in the sky idea. With all the rule changes, I think this would be a good one (but I'd go for robo umpires calling balls/strikes as the most needed rule change remaining).
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#438988) #
If you missed the Phillies-Atlanta game, you missed some good hitting, some good pitching and some sloppy defence (particularly from Philadelphia)

Now that the Guardians are here, can Atlanta please change their name to the Peaches or the Peanuts or the Outcasts or something and stop that stupid chop.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#438989) #
It's not Moreno or Gurriel but a stud like Corbin Carroll who has arrived and seems poised to give ARZ what TOR thought they would be getting from Vlad. It shows you the impact one player can have if hitting like a superstar the way Vlad did once before.
scottt - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#438990) #
Anybody can put an OPS over 1 over a couple of days.

The Jays had trouble scoring runs and beating good teams all year, so the outcome shouldn't be a surprise.
Tampa was beaten up and the injuries were piling pretty high.
They finished so high because they had an incredible start.
The Jays were really good in April but it didn't feel like it because Tampa was beating weak teams and hardly ever losing.

Twins won the second game because of defense and pitching and a lucky home run from a guy who came at plate 0 for 12 in the postseason.

Every series is pretty much a toss up.
It's easy to rationalize why so and so beat so and so but only after the fact.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#438991) #
a lucky home run from a guy who came at plate 0 for 12 in the postseason

Are you sure you mean "lucky"?  Farmer's home run off Valdez was a no-doubt blast (100 mph, 377 feet) to left in a park where you can get away with a cheapie.  The Twins had earned the home run by wearing down Valdez; Correa's double off him in the first could just as easily have been a home run and they were making him work.  He was taken out after 91 pitches and 5 runs with one out in the fifth inning. 

Farmer had 11 home runs in 336 at-bats this year.  He hit home-runs at about the same rate as Bo Bichette or George Springer this year. 
mathesond - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#438992) #
"He hit home-runs at about the same rate as Bo Bichette or George Springer this year. "

And we were lucky to see Bo's & George's home runs!
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#438993) #
Thanks for the explainer, mathesond.  Twins'  fans were lucky to see Farmer's.  Angels' fans were lucky to see Ohtani's.  Appreciate the good!
mathesond - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#438994) #
Heh, I found the game much more enjoyable when I didn't take it so seriously!
bpoz - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#438995) #
If you look at the regular season standings the AL had 2 good teams as did the NL. With 6 teams making the playoffs there were 4 teams in the AL fighting for 3 spots. Seattle was the odd team out but their record was 2 wins less than Houston and Texas and 1 game less than Toronto. In the NL Milwaukee and Philadelphia had 90+ wins each. Which is a good record. A poor record of 84 wins got Arizona and Miami in. Close behind with 83 wins was the cubs and Cincinnati and SD had 82 wins.

So something weird will happen every year IMO. Then there are the playoffs where the weirdness quite often increases.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#438997) #
Oh, this settles it. I already had a problem with the whole Dallas aspect of the Rangers. But this is not to be tolerated.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#438998) #
The proof is in the Zapruder film.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#439001) #
yeah, the Orioles were never actually good. No idea how they won 100 games. Probably mostly because they got to play the sadsack jays so much.
soupman - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#439003) #
The Texas series in september was instructive to me. they didn't just beat the jays, they pummelled them. I didn't post it, but i predicted rangers/braves. i want the braves to win because i think it serves the jays right for firing aa and will help silence the 'crapshoot' crowd by adding another 100+ game winner to the trophy. but one of my colleagues is a rangers fan, and he deserves nice things to happen.

bpoz - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#439004) #
Texas may win tonight and eliminate Baltimore.
scottt - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#439005) #
Tampa got crushed in 2 games.
Baltimore is getting crushed in 3 games.
Does that make you guys feel any better?

And of course, if it comes to Jordan Alvarez vs Kyle Farmer, I know where my money is.

uglyone - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#439006) #
AL Least
Kasi - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#439007) #
Yeah so who was more disappointing us or Baltimore? Like neither of us won a game but at least we were close.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#439009) #
That is terrible for Baltimore - 101 wins, but 0 in the post-season. Ugh. The Rangers flopped around in September 15-13 but with crazy streaks, 3 games out Sept 10th, up 2 1/2 on Sept 27, then won the west via a tiebreaker with Houston. Just crazy. The O's were 1st or tied for 1st in the East from July 19th on.

Sucks as a Jays fan to be swept, but there is some comfort in seeing the O's and Rays get swept too.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 10 2023 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#439010) #
Oops should've been lost the west in a tie breaker. Now on the edge of an all Texas LCS. Baseball is weird isn't it?
Jonny German - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 04:44 AM EDT (#439011) #
The Orioles getting bounced by the Trash Rangers is much less suprising than their 101-win regular season. Here's hoping their owner continues to hold them back and doesn't recognise that they're unlikely to come close to repeating without major upgrades to the pitching staff.
Baltimore with Aaron Nola and Blake Snell will be a problem.
Baltimore counting on Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells will finish 3rd.

bpoz - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#439012) #
It seems that in this thread we are talking a little about the quality of competition for 2024.

In the NL I expect St Louis, SD & SF to compete next year. That leaves Washington, Pittsburg, Colorado and possibly the Mets as noncontenders. I cannot figure out the Mets but the other teams should have good farm teams.

In the AL I expect NYY to do something and improve. I don't know about Boston. Baltimore will improve their rotation and also have a strong farm. TB should be fine and better health will help. Texas and Seattle I expect to make improvements. Houston will be good unless they lose some players to FA. Minnesota is good this year and should continue. Cleveland dropped a lot from 2022. I don't count them out.

They Jays should have V good pitching in 2024. Injuries and poor performance from any of Gausman, Berrios, Bassit and Kikuchi could happen. Manoah, Tiedemann and others will probably get their opportunity. The pen is very good now, without adding anyone. Many AAA bullpen prospects are pretty much ready or very close. The OF could be improved but I don't think it will be. I am sure that discussions will take place regarding the D/O being balanced in the OF. Cam Eden provides elite D in the OF and was drafted as a SS. Biggio from July onwards was much better. Biggio's D is good enough I think. When Springer is not in the OF Eden/Varsho/Biggio should be able to do OK. The big problem is can this team improve the in game management.
greenfrog - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#439013) #
You never want to get swept in the postseason but the future is bright in Baltimore, with some excellent young players on the cusp of (or just breaking into) the majors. The team will eventually have some payroll challenges, though.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#439014) #
The Rangers' creed- batters who hit good, not batters with good hits. Apologies to Strunk and White and Charlie the Tuna.

With everyone healthy, it's truly a devastating lineup. Absolutely no rest for a pitcher. If you're facing 7/8/9, that's Lowe, Jung and Taveras with Semien and Seager waiting if one reaches base. That's a pretty tough inning by anyone's standard. I have always enjoyed teams that beat the opposition into submission, and that is the 2023 Rangers.

Evan Carter elevates the entire club, and Bochy has introduced him with the skill you would anticipate.

Fangraphs prospect report at the beginning of 2023 says: "not enough power for stardom" He was 20 and 6'4", 190, and that level of certainty for a young player is more for entertainment than anything. We'll see if it ends up merely incorrect or an egregiously wrong projection. He's got a level swing, but I wouldn't be surprised if he slugs .550 next year and is the MVP of the league.
uglyone - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#439015) #
Gossip season!

"I have never covered a team in my life where there was as much whispering about dissatisfaction with the GM, with the information, with some of the coaches." - Jeff Blair on the Blue Jays on Blair and Barker

— Brandon Wile (@Brandon_N_Wile) October 10, 2023
bpoz - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#439017) #
Bochy is a good and proven manager. He did not want to leave SF. He may win the WS. Melvin in SD is also good and proven. I don't know what went wrong there.
hypobole - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#439018) #
This may say as much about the players as what they're complaining about.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#439019) #
What Ugly One leaves out is that for the next 10 minutes after that statement from Jeff Blair he goes on to wax poetic about how respected and amazing Mark Shapiro is by other GMs and players and how much respect he commands etc etc...
soupman - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#439021) #
bobcat used to do pretty good PR for beeston, i assume blair has learned from his buddy how to navigate these waters.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#439022) #
Rangers also may have best prospect in baseball in Wyatt Langford. Just ridiculous first year in pro ball.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#439023) #
L-C placed a wager on the Houston Astros for tonight's game.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#439024) #
That's true, Glevin.  Langford had positive W/K (which was a surprise), power and line-drive ability from A ball to triple A.  And 12/3 stealing bases.  He's older than Evan Carter though!  Fabulous outfield prospect. 
uglyone - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#439025) #
hey I didn't leave it out THE TWEETER left it out.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#439026) #
Wow Glevin you weren't kidding - Langford has hit 360/480/677 between A+/AA/AAA this year with more walks than K's even in AAA (just 5 games in AAA).  Looks like he was limited to LF/DH in the minors but caught in summer leagues, played a bit at 1B, CF, RF as well in college.  It'll be an interesting spring for Texas with him vs Evan Carter (182 OPS+ in 23 games in LF with a few games in CF/RF at age 20).  I get the feeling Texas is going to be a powerhouse offense for awhile.  Mitch Garver was their DH this year mostly, also a catcher with time at 1B but is a free agent - might be worth the Jays digging into - 134 OPS+ , 123 lifetime, going into his age 33 season - a right handed bat who could semi-platoon at DH with Horwitz and be a backup for Kirk/Jansen during the inevitable injuries Jansen gets thus giving the Jays 4 catchers for emergencies potentially but I'd have him focus purely on his hitting as his assorted defensive rankings suggest he is a poor defensive catcher (like Varsho) and should be a pure emergency guy.  He only once has played over 100 games (way back in 2018, and barely) so making him a DH/1B who can emergency catch would be a good idea imo - he has played 2 games in LF (2017) but I wouldn't count on that. 
scottt - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#439032) #
Buxton might get a chance tonight.
You never know.

I wouldn't mind a rematch of Houston vs Philadelphia.

scottt - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#439033) #
Baltimore has Jackson Holliday who seems to know what to do with a bat, plus Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad in the outfield and several other guys.

I wouldn't worry too much about their payroll.

John Northey - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#439034) #
Baltimore has a cheap owner so odds are they won't touch the free agent market event though their #1 need is starting pitching which the market is flooded with in quality. As a Jays fan I'm happy about that, but if I was an O's fan I'd be pissed. Their payroll was sub $100 mil this year and projected to be the same for 2024. They have enough payroll space to easily add 2 high end starting pitchers (say, Snell & Nola) and would instantly be overwhelming favorites, plus would be set up for the post season with strong starters to get them through. They won't though, I could see them adding Ryu or someone like that who'll be cheap with fewer years needed.

I think the Jays are more likely to add a high end starter than the O's are despite the depth already here. I doubt they will, but they could (the Jays seem to add someone each winter)
greenfrog - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#439035) #
The Oís have the prospects to trade for young controllable starting pitching if they want to.

If the Jays want to make amends with their fans, they could make a big bid for Yamamoto. Iím guessing the Jays will focus on offense instead, but it might make more sense to go for quality first (Yamamoto), even if itís in the pitching department, over adding a couple of average-ish position players. As Mike Green pointed out, the current Jays pitchers are probably a bit overrated.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#439036) #
Yep, I agree greenfrog - a top Japanese league starting pitcher could be a big plus, build up more fans from that community across Canada (big boost in BC I'd assume) on top of the usual help a top starting pitcher would give the rotation. Being from Japan he'd be more used to a 6 day rotation but given some of our current starters (Gausman) do better that way anyways then it could be a big boost.  Might encourage the Jays to resign Kiermaier too as strong defense is a key with strong pitching.  Let 3B/2B/DH be kids mixed with Biggio/Espinal/cheaper free agents and the team might be in good shape.  Yeah, doesn't address the offense, but again one has to expect Vlad/Bo/Varsho/Kirk/Springer as a group to play better as this year was well below what anyone expected for all of them.  Plus we'll have a full year of Schneider at 2B/LF/DH vs Merrifield.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#439037) #
Also think it makes good strategic sense generally speaking for this team to add pitching in free agency and trade from a strength (pitching) to get offense.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#439038) #
Feels satisfactory that Toronto's foes have been mostly dispatched.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#439039) #
Philly leading their series 2-1 now, while Arizona might end theirs tonight (leading 4-0 as I type after 4).  Astros vs Rangers for the AL title.  I hate cheering the Rangers but Houston got Dusty his title last year so they can lose from now on.
John Northey - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#439040) #
FYI: The payrolls left (start of season): Philly #4, LA #5 (but might be done tonight), Atlanta #8 (last team with $200+ mil payroll), Texas #9, Houston #10, Arizona #21 ($116 mil).  Baltimore was #29 ($60.7 mil), the Rays #28.  Lowest was Oakland of course. So 2 of the bottom 3 payrolls made the playoffs, 0 of the top 3 did (Mets, Yankees, Padres).
Gerry - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#439041) #
Moreno and Gurriel playing well in the playoffs is another thing that doesn't make Ross Atkins look good.

Remember Shapiro is talking at 11 tomorrow.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#439042) #
There is some speculation happening right now that Schneider will be given his walking papers due to the fact that his GM left him hanging on Saturday...
John Northey - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#439043) #
Reading on Twitter (yeah, yeah) that Atkins might be dumped instead. If I was betting my bet would be nothing of significance most likely, second most is Atkins being shifted to VP or something and someone else becoming GM, with Schneider going away being least likely of the 3. The only way I see Schneider going is if they get a big gun in to run it instead like Joe Maddon (he is pushing for the Mets job but unlikely to get it, it seems). That I could get behind. Maddon has a WS title with the Cubs of all teams, was the guy who managed the Rays when they shifted from 100+ losses to perpetual contender, and came as close as anyone to getting a 500 season out of the Ohtani/Trout Angels. He'll be 70 next year but if he is up for it I'd chase him down.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, October 11 2023 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#439044) #
" Mister Speaker, the President of the Toronto Blue Jays. "
85bluejay - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 06:11 AM EDT (#439045) #
Everyone was saying they couldn't wait for the Braves-Dodgers showdown - Life!
scottt - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 06:26 AM EDT (#439046) #
No one has won a game and scored less than 3 runs so far.

Jonny German - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#439048) #
IIdly wondering what the discourse would be if John Schneider left his starting pitcher in to serve up 4 home runs in a playoff game.
mathesond - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#439049) #
"Idly wondering what the discourse would be if John Schneider left his starting pitcher in to serve up 4 home runs in a playoff game."

Well, obviously it would be Atkins' fault.
mathesond - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#439050) #
It does seem to be sweeps week...the Aces are up on the Liberty as well, after last night's blowout.
Glevin - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#439051) #
Man, I really dislike the expanded playoffs for this reason. If Atlanta gets knocked out, it means the WS winner will not have won more than 90 games. The Diamondbacks had a Pythagorean record of 80-82. The biggest worry about the expanded playoffs, aside from allowing not very good teams to win, was that it makes teams not try to be great because all that matters is making the playoffs. Dipoto made it very clear when he said that the goal of the Mariners was to have a 54% winning percentage over 10 years. That's the goal of pretty much every team. Make the playoffs and anything can happen.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#439052) #
Well, obviously it would be Atkins' fault.

Or, it was a 15-4 blowout and Schneider was a genius for keeping a starter, who wasn't afraid to give up the 4 solo shots through 7 innings, in the game and thereby sparing his bullpen for the next day.  Is this accentuating the positive too much?  I feel OK about it and we'll see if Shapiro helps keep me that warm glow in 20 minutes.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#439053) #
Glevin, I agree.  It's not unique to baseball though.  Teams make money off the playoffs in the long-season sports with multiple games per week, and so there is pressure from teams to expand the playoffs.  The casual fan is more important financially than the committed one. 

Personally, I would prefer to have two leagues of two divisions each broken down by geography, with two new teams so that each league has 16 teams and each division 8 teams..  Eastern League and Western League.  Northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest divisions.  One three-week period in the middle for interleague play and the All-Star game in the Midwest.  Not happening at all.   Winners of each division play off in the League Championship Series and the then the World Series. Traditionalists probably wouldn't like it.  Team owners definitely wouldn't like it.  Players might though- less long travel.  For those of us who enjoy the ebb and flow of the season, it would be great.  And maybe there would be some reduction in GHG emissions.  I am sure that MLB is laser-focused on that issue. 
Mike Green - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#439054) #
In terms of actual team quality, the base run standings do probably  provide a better summary of where the teams were:

ATL 103,  LAD 101, TB 100, TEX 97, PHI 94, MIN 92, SEA 92, SD 91, CHC 91, BAL 89, HOU 89, TOR 87, MIL 85, ARI 80

It is worth noting that three of the top 5 clubs were wild-card clubs.   Baltimore, Houston and Milwaukee were quite far down the list, and Minnesota was probably in the same range once you adjust for strength of opposition.  If we end up with a Texas- Philadelphia World Series, that will not be the worst thing that has happened. 
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#439055) #

Ross Atkins will return as #BlueJays GM, Mark Shapiro says, citing his belief in the value of stability and continuity.

ďThe body of work to me is undeniable.Ē

— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) October 12, 2023
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#439056) #

Mark Shapiro on the Moreno & Lourdes for Varsho trade: "I still feel like that was a good trade" & it takes multiple years to assess a deal properly

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 12, 2023
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#439057) #

Mark Shapiro on Ross Atkins:

"Ross needs to get better, but he's done a good job"

Specifically, Jays need to score more & be better on bases. Plus: "a higher level of communication of transparency" with players & staff.

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 12, 2023

"He has to be much better in both on field and off field decisions, but other than that his body of work is undeniable!"
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#439058) #

Mark Shapiro not expecting major philosophical shifts in Blue Jays payroll. ďI expect us to stay in the same area,Ē he said.

— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) October 12, 2023
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#439059) #

Shapiro says that repeater CBT constraints won't affect their decision-making. Where the team is at competitively and where revenue is are bigger determinants.

— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 12, 2023
hypobole - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#439060) #
Rather blunt assessment of Atkins by Shapiro.
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#439061) #

Asked about possible extensions for Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr. & others, Mark Shapiro declined to get specific but says "the priority is just to sustain the opportunity to win" #BlueJays

— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 12, 2023
Mike Green - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#439062) #
The body of work is indeed undeniable.  Atkins has done some good things and some not-so-good things.  Some, but not all, of the body of work is reflected in the team performance to date.

The value on stability diminishes with time.  It's good to have people who are doing at least a fair job for a number of years, but at some point you do have to make an overall assessment and you don't want to be doing it every year.  Shapiro will probably wait until the end of 2025.  That fits with his organizational values, but not everyone sees it the same way. 
Gerry - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#439063) #
Everything is rosy according to Shapiro, the team is doing great, playoffs in three years out of four, Atkins and Schneider are doing great.

However, behind the scenes he knows the fans are angry and he knows 2023 was a disappointment. What will he do or say behind the scenes to make it better?

He also said he knew that the plan was to bring Kikuchi into the last game to turn around the left handed hitters. He just didn't know when. I assume that means Atkins knew that too. Last Saturday Atkins should have said that instead of saying it was all Schneiders doing.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#439064) #
It was a poor plan.  Turning around the lefties is a good thing, but the idea that it had to be Kikuchi was not.  If Berrios was pitching well, the plan ought to have been to use the short-term relievers.  As it happens, Kikuchi would have been a better choice in game 1 than the short-term relievers.  The better plan was to put Kikuchi in the long-relief role, and for use if one of the starters did not have their best stuff on that day (which was more likely to be Berrios than Gausman, but far, far from certain to be the case).  And to use him to begin an inning, in a role that bore some relation to the work he had done during the season.  Ideally, you wouldn't use him at all if both starters were on their game. 
greenfrog - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#439065) #
Some weaknesses that need to be addressed:

-Clarifying chain of command for on-field decisions

-Baserunning and other execution issues

-Hitting coaching

-Need for clear communication between front office, manager and players

-Willingness to make sufficiently aggressive bids for game-changing free agents (Cole, Seager, Freeman)

-Prospect acquisition and development

Hmmm...the list is getting long.
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#439066) #
I'm sure they'll get those lines of communications sorted by year 9.
bpoz - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#439067) #
Of course Shapiro is not going to air dirty laundry.

Gerry is right the important thing is that these issues will be addressed in private. The analytics dept cannot predict how the hitting and pitching will play out inning by inning.

Chuck - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#439068) #
The better plan was to put Kikuchi in the long-relief role.

Agreed. If a RH starter gets into trouble early, you may as well switch to a LH long man to also gain the advantage of flipping the platoons. But if your RH starter is not struggling, why impose your "solution" on a non-problem? In that situation, as you said, you can wield your LH relievers with precision, later in the game, to address the Twins' platoons.

Any mathematical modelling, if done well, has value for macro-level decisions, not for micro-managing. This is a misapplication of mathematics and sullies the term "analytics", which in baseball, is the broad term used whenever numbers are involved, even poorly. (Truthfully, the corporate world does the same thing. I was there.)

The Berrios/Kikuchi game was macro information implemented in a micro setting, carried out sledgehammer style.

Nigel - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#439069) #
So Shapiro knew about the plan but Atkins didn't? Umm ok. In the past week Shapiro hasn't checked with Atkins to see if he did know? Umm ok. Atkins has many things to improve but he's doing a great job? Umm ok. That was a master class in disinformation.

I'll reiterate something that I said a few days ago. I suspect that Rogers is extremely happy with the way 2023 went. That makes Shapiro bullet proof for the foreseeable future. So, expect 2024 and 2025 to look at lot like 2023. It really could be a lot worse, you really can do a lot worse than Shapiro and Atkins and we could be fans of the Tigers or Angels - but don't expect the Jays to be reaching for the stars any time soon.

At least Shapiro acknowledged that the team's baserunning was God awful! Progress.
Chuck - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#439070) #
Shapiro and Atkins are so inextricably linked, to my mind, that I don't see one leaving without the other.
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#439071) #
Lets see...

Aggressive bids for game-changing free agents - done for 2019/20: Ryu (2nd in Cy the year before signing), 20/21 Springer (All-Star 3 of 4 years before signing, MVP votes in 3 of the 4 years), 21/22: Gausman (all-star, 6th in Cy voting year before, smart to let Ray go 1.8 bWAR vs Gausman's 6.5), 2022/23: Bassitt (All Star, 2 time Cy votes in past 3 years). All 4 of those guys were ranked in the top 15 free agents their respective winters (Bassitt #13, Gausman #5, Springer #3, Semien #15, Ryu #9). Rankings from MLB Trade Rumors.

So since the Jays shifted from 'give the kids a shot' to trying to win they have signed 5 guys in the top 15 - 1 or 2 each winter. Given that the Jays should be expected to do that again this winter if they want to keep payroll roughly where it was this year - requires around $40-50 mil to be spent. Who qualifies? has a Top 10 from late September. Ohtani (DH/P), Bellinger (CF/1B), Chapman (3B), Snell (LHP), Hader (LHP), Nola (RHP) Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP), Lucas Giolito (RHP), Jordan Montgomery (LHP), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (RHP - won MVP & Cy in Japan 2 years in a row).

Keep an eye on Shōta Imanaga (LHP Japan) who the Jays were known to be scouting - seen as a solid 2/3 starter entering his age 30 season 10.6 K/9 vs 1.4 BB/9 last year, his last 3 years were all ERA sub 3, BB/9 sub 2. He could be a good 2-3 year option for the rotation vs someone like Yamamoto who'd be a 5-10 year option (safe to say the 25 year old wants a long term high dollar deal, or a 4-5 year deal big per year but lets him go for a massive one at 29/30).

Could be a fun winter again. I expect the Jays to chase a slugger for LF/DH while letting the kids take over 3B/2B with Biggio/Espinal as the safety net. #1 target almost certainly is Bellinger, I expect a lot of tire kicking on all of the top 10 by the Jays though as 1 more high end starter would be nice and opens up trading Kikuchi (cheap contract which is highly valued by all teams) for help elsewhere.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#439072) #
Not to belabour the point, but had the Jays signed Freeman to his current deal (plus 10% premium to entice him to come to Canada), it would have solved most of the Jays problems in 2022 and 2023 and maybe 2024 as well.

Also, the Jays reportedly considered a four-year deal for Semien, but went with a one-year deal instead. That was a situation where the front office may have been a bit too clever in chasing value moves. They identified the right player, but were overly concerned about limiting medium-term risk.
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#439073) #
Yeah I wouldn't count on any big changes in the FO. Shapiro is here to stay. He's the perfect GM/prez as far as Rogers is concerned.

We should pretty much expect to continue what we've had - a good not great team that will always be in the mix for a playoff spot but likely not ever a true favorite. A team that in any given year can win if things go mostly all right.

And to be fair - this is exactly what many wanted to happen, so really they should be mostly happy to have an FO that can give us a team that should be able to get in the playoffs "lottery" as often as not, and hope to get lucky at the right time.

Myself, it's also what I expected as soon as they were hired, but for me that was more of a negative than a positive. But I could easily be wrong, and as long as they can make the playoffs they'll have a shot.
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#439074) #
Nigel - agreed 100% on Rogers being happy. Jays have by all reports sky high TV ratings that slaughter any other ML team (500k-1 million every game, no other team comes remotely close) to go with 3 million tickets sold. To the bean counters that is all that matters. Keep the team in the playoff race every year and those numbers will continue. Fall out and those drop fast (attendance dropped sub 2 mil in 2019 when the team was out of it from day 1 after a bad 2017/18) - the new maximum crowd for a season is 3,361,500 depending on any seat gains/losses from this winters changes to the lower bowl. Pre-renos the max was 4,057,947 in 1993 (above listed max possible of just shy of 4 mil - trust me getting any tickets to a game was hard back then).

Shapiro is safe as a church mouse right now. Atkins not so much. If the Jays fail to make the playoffs in a manner like the Mets/Yankees this year (vs 1 game out like 2021) it is safe to say Atkins is gone fast, probably followed by Schneider and a full fast rebuild.

Prospects? What matters most is are we getting high end ones who can fill in everyday roles? Schneider looks very promising, O Martinez really jumped his status this year (#88 MLB) as has Tiedemann (#31 MLB). But the Jays need more to climb up and prove themselves. Schneider was an unknown until he made it (made only 2 top 30 lists that I know of - ours and Blue Jays Nation with mentions on TSN and Prospects 1500 - FanGraphs had 41 for example without him, same with other big names). Yeah, a system like the O's have at the moment would be sweet but I'd rather not watch 100+ losses for 3+ years to get there. We need to steal more front office talent from the Rays imo - how they stay in contention despite no budget and no tanking since 2007 (2016 was their only season since then that fits into the Devil Rays era of 90+ losses) is amazing.
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#439075) #
uglyone - after living through the Ash and JPR eras I'm very happy with 'playoff contender'. Not everyone can win 100+ and under Gillick (HOF GM) the team never did. Be good enough to get 90+ wins and I'm happy. Playoffs are a crapshoot - the top 2 teams in the AL won as many playoff games as the Jays did this year - 0. The 2 100+ game winners in the NL have 1 win between them with Atlanta having a shot at more but they are in win or go home status now vs Philly.

Odds are the WS will be a Texas team with 90 wins vs Philly or Arizona (90 and 84 wins respectively). Just get in and hope your team gets hot.
Nigel - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#439076) #
A playoff contender for the next 2-3 years is by no means assured - it would take next to nothing for the Jays to be the 5th best team in their own division. As for the state of the team 2-3 years from now? The current prospect pool doesn't make that outlook promising - but a lot can change in that time.
Magpie - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#439077) #
Shapiro might want to consider taking a page from fellow team president Masai Ujiri's handbook and do all the public speaking himself. It's not something Ross Atkins does particularly well.
Ducey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#439078) #
Im reasonably happy with the team they put together this season. The pitching was pretty good (5 actual SP and strong bullpen). The reality is that if Vlad and Kirk carried their weight (pun intended), this team likely generates enough offense to go somewhere.

I'm not so excited about the farm system. They have not hit on a lot of top drafted players and they seem to be pulling too many smurfs on the international side.

They have gone too analytical in game management and likely player acquisition. They can stop watching Moneyball every week. The reality is that if you draft 6'3" outfielders who have lots of tools you can always trade them as other teams covet them. Signing a 5'8" infielder isnt exciting anyone and he is going to wind up being Rafael Lantigua or Vinny Capra most times if you're lucky.

It will be an interesting off season. There are some big decisions to be made with Manoah, Vlad and Kirk. They all have to come back healthy and in much better shape. I dont know if Atkins has the communication skills to make that happen.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#439079) #
I expect the Red Sox and Yankees to be serious bidders for Yamamoto. I hope the Jays are right there with them.
soupman - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#439080) #
i don't see the need. they already have 74million dollars tied up in their starting rotation with the assumption that Manoah will be in play.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#439081) #
a) it doesnít matter how much money is tied up in the rotation if itís not good enough to support a 90+ win team.

b) do you feel comfortable assuming that Manoah will be a durable and good starting pitcher next year? Iím assuming no production from him in 2024.
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#439082) #
Of note for those dreaming of what if the Jays got Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman - their team won as many playoff games as the Jays did. 0. Betts was 0-11 with a walk, Freeman 1 for 10 (single) with 2 walks. Jays saw Bo go 4-8, Vlad 1-7 (a double) with a walk. Belt was the killer at 0-8 with 5 K's. Kirk had an 833 OPS.

Gurriel has had a good playoff but not a 'wow' (238/238/429). Moreno has been a 'wow' (250/294/813) but might be hurt (left hand hurt) but seems OK according to reports.
Ducey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#439083) #
"i don't see the need. they already have 74million dollars tied up in their starting rotation with the assumption that Manoah will be in play."

Agreed. They have Manoah, Ricky T and even Bowden Francis lined up internally. They could get a backstop rebound candidate for cheap.

SP isnt likely where they need to blow the budget unless Manoah isnt progressing during the winter.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#439084) #
I think resting complacently on the status quo would be a mistake. This year was at or near a high-water mark for Gaus/Berrios/Bassitt/Kikuchi in terms of performance and health.

I similarly advocated for Darwish when he was posted. I expect the same outcome next year (Yamamoto signing with a US team).

Just my opinion, I could of course be wrong.
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#439085) #
The question becomes how to maximize wins with a $250 mil budget? If another starter (then trading Manoah or Kikuchi) does it then why not? You ain't getting much via offense in free agency this winter (Bellinger or resigning Chapman are the best options) so spending on a pitcher might be best. After all, 4 starters with 30+ starts is rare (3 in 2022, 2 in 2021, 0 in 2019/18, 2 in 2017, 3 in 2016 (plus 2 with 29 - wow, now THAT would be hard to duplicate), 2 in 2015, 3 in 2014, 2 in 2013). In fact the Jays have had 4 with 30+ starts 3 times before this year - 1983-1984-1989 all with Dave Stieb a part of it to give you an idea of how long ago it was (Stieb once completed 19 games in a season at age 24, at 21 when first called up he had 7 complete games out of 18 starts - imagine doing that to a 21 year old today - yeah, his arm eventually blew up ... at age 33).
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#439086) #
Part of the reason they invested on guys like gausman, berrios, Bassitt was their firmly established durability and consistency. None of them had years much out of line with stuff theyve done before.
uglyone - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#439087) #
"do you feel comfortable assuming that Manoah will be a durable and good starting pitcher next year? Iím assuming no production from him in 2024."

But didn't you assume the same of Berrios, Kikuchi, and Ryu heading into this season?
Rich - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#439088) #
Of course having a competitive team beats the crap out of having a middling or lousy team.
But if Shapiro is satisfied with 3 playoff appearances in 4 years without a single win (plus a narrow miss), boneheaded coaching decisions at crunch time, and lots of regression from almost all of the team's top young talent (no, not you, Bo) then he is in the wrong job.  I'm sure Rogers is thrilled with him but just like Atkins, he's now had his chance to show some accountability and he's also refused to do so.  Not surprised but also not impressed.
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#439089) #
Thus why the Jays went out and signed Bassitt and tried to keep Stripling around (not counting on Ryu, Kikuchi, or Berrios).

One can never assume health - you need backup plans. Right now we have 4 starters who we can sorta rely on, but Kikuchi is coming off his best season ever and Manoah is a total question mark now (could be a Cy contender, could be in AAA all year, impossible to know which right now). I know if I ran the Jays I'd be looking to get value from Kikuchi this winter by making him available in trades and try to find a starter who is reliable to fill in that slot. Do you go for 'wow' but might get hurt (high variability but high potential) via someone like Snell (Cy Young potential every year, but also gets hurt a lot)? Do you roll the dice on Yamamoto? or go for a guy who has shown he can eat innings like Aaron Nola (3 years in a row of 32 starts, 180+ IP but twice with an ERA+ in the 90's and a 123 in there).

As I said before - there aren't many hitters out there so improving the pitching more could both help the team and get you a trade chip (adding a starter lets you trade Manoah or Kikuchi for help elsewhere).
scottt - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#439090) #
You cannot stash up free agents and you can't trade a starting pitcher to help you during the year either.
The teams willing to acquire a pitcher would sent prospects, not valuable hitters or relievers.

You don't acquire pitchers just because they guys you have are great and healthy.
The predictions for next year will be higher, not lower.
Of course, they will likely regress because regression goes towards the mean, but that doesn't mean they can't sustain this level next year either.

The challenge is to make use of the guys they have on the 40 roster.
Last time they offloaded a bunch for Merrifield and Chapman.
This time, it might be more important to slot a bunch on the 26 roster so they can afford the clean up bat they're missing.

I don't know if Francis can start. For some reason, they've drastically shrunk his innings total.
He can probably survive a couple of times through the rotation.
Not a lot of guys can hit curveballs these days.

greenfrog - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#439091) #
Ryu provided pretty much what I was hoping for. A modest but valuable late-season contribution post-TJ recovery.

I did have relatively low expectations for Berrios and Kikuchi entering 2023.

I think the current Jays quartet is a starting point (although I'll be surprised if they are this healthy and effective next year). I guess where I disagree with others is that they would be fine with adding a pitcher to the back end of the rotation, whereas I would think it would be smart to add one to the front end. That is what Texas did in the off-season and at the trade deadline, and what Houston did at the trade deadline.
Magpie - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#439092) #
he's now had his chance to show some accountability and he's also refused to do so.

Talk is always cheap, and no one is obligated to believe a word Shapiro says. But "Accountability lies at the top. It lies with me, that responsibility" isn't exactly a refusal.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#439093) #

Agreed. If a RH starter gets into trouble early, you may as well switch to a LH long man to also gain the advantage of flipping the platoons. But if your RH starter is not struggling, why impose your "solution" on a non-problem? In that situation, as you said, you can wield your LH relievers with precision, later in the game, to address the Twins' platoons.

Any mathematical modelling, if done well, has value for macro-level decisions, not for micro-managing. This is a misapplication of mathematics and sullies the term "analytics", which in baseball, is the broad term used whenever numbers are involved, even poorly. (Truthfully, the corporate world does the same thing. I was there.)

The Berrios/Kikuchi game was macro information implemented in a micro setting, carried out sledgehammer style.

Very well said, Chuck.  I particularly liked the contrasting phrases "wield your LH relievers with precision" and " the Berrios/Kikuchi game was ...carried out sledgehammer style". Scalpels not sledgehammers. 

John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 08:04 PM EDT (#439094) #
I'm thinking the Jays are at a crossroads - there are solid, if unspectacular guys all over the place on the roster and no real black holes. For guys with 50+ PA (14) only 2 had OPS+ in the 80's (Espinal & Varsho) both known for high end defense. 3 in the 90's (Kirk, Merrifield, Biggio) - one is going away, the other 2 have given reason to hope for better (both via pre-2023 stats and late 2023 stats). DH could be a hole, but Horwitz despite limited sporatic ML playing time had a 102 OPS+, while future 2B/LF (Merrifields spot) is Schneider (175 OPS+ in 141 PA). I see lots of hope there. But few dead zones. 3 guys in the rotation had ERA+'s in the 110's, one at 134, one at 72 and one who is leaving at 123. The 72 of course was Manoah who was 3rd in Cy voting in 2022. So the only dead zone in the rotation is Manoah who we have lots of reason to think will be better in 2024. The pen (who is returning) had lots of solids - Romano (36-4 in Sv-Bs), Swanson (144 ERA+, 29 holds, just 2 blown leads), Mayza (22 holds, 2 blown 281 ERA+), Cabrera (6 holds, 1 blown, 162 ERA+), Green (2 holds, 3 wins, 0 losses, 0 Bs high ERA due to a bad game in a 10-0 loss, FIP 2.67). A couple who didn't impress me much in Garcia (19 holds, 4 blown, 104 ERA+, just 21% of inherited scored) and Richards (86 ERA+, seemed to never know which version we'd get, good Richards who stranded all but 1 baserunner or bad Richards who twice allowed 5 runs to score, 10 out of 56 games allowed 2+ runs to score.

Of note: for Inherited Runners the Jays did great - only Adam Cimber was worse than the league average of 32% scoring (45%) while everyone else was below 30% with Jackson, Hicks, and Bass all at 0% scoring. Richards the best of full season guys at 1 of 15 scoring (!).

FYI: Romano is at 97 saves so he should crack 100 next year. He'll easily pass Billy Koch (100), and Osuna (104) with Ward in his sites (121) in 2024 but Henke is still a ways away for the Jays team record (217). No Jay pitcher has 100 wins to his name, let alone 100 as a Jay.

For hitters: Bo should get to 100 HR (at 89 now), Vlad 150 (130 at the moment), Biggio could get to 100 doubles (73 at the moment). In no shock to most Vlad is at 92 for GIDP and should crack 100 in 2024 and with 20 could catch George Bell for 3rd in Jays history (not hard to imagine) leaving Bautista at 127 and Vernon Wells at 146 as future 'targets' he doesn't want to reach but probably will. Vlad is #11 all-time for the Jays in HR's with #8 Lloyd Moseby in eyeshot (149) but #7 would require a very strong year (Barfield 179) and an MVP historic season to get higher (#6 is George Bell with 202 - needs 73 to pass him and catch Bonds) He'd need to sign a long extension to catch Carlos Delgado for #1 (336).
John Northey - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#439095) #
Good bye Atlanta. Down to no 100 game winners and just 1 division winner in Houston (barely).
Kasi - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#439096) #
Yeah good donít have to hear more about AA. Playoffs are definitely a crapshoot it seems.
hypobole - Thursday, October 12 2023 @ 11:25 PM EDT (#439097) #
So 5 teams won more than 90 regular season games this year and went a combined 1-13 in the playoffs.
dalimon5 - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 02:37 AM EDT (#439098) #

You can absolutely add a SP and trade one for a good bat. Look what Miami did by trading Lopez for Arraez. Sign a SP then trade Manoah and Kikuchi to teams that need the lower cost asset. A team like Milwaukee or Cincinnati for example.

Jays were in on Gerrit Cole with a big offer according to reporters.

Jays were in on Seager according to reporters hut he had no interest in playing in Canada.

Jays were in on Verlander and he almost signed here according to Justin Verlander.

Jays were in on Freddie Freeman according to Carlos Baerga who accurately called many signings. Apparently his wife wanted LA or Atl.

Apparently Cody Bellinger didn't want to sign with Toronto last season and won't sign with them this season. Kinda like Springer and Russell Martin, the Jays will need to overpay in years to sign these guys.
scottt - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 06:34 AM EDT (#439099) #
Kikuchi is a starter and took 3 innings to warm up. You can't wait and bring him up with 2 or 3 runners on bases.
You can't use Mayza or Cabrera because the Twins had good right bats to pinch hit with.
You don't want to bring Garcia to face lefties either.
It's really the walk to the first hitter that screwed everything.

The real problem was not scoring runs. Nobody has won without scoring at least 3.
Any other team in the postseason would have been happy with those 2 run allowed.

scottt - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 06:43 AM EDT (#439100) #
Over the winter you can do anything.
Once the season start, you can't trade productive guys for productive guys.
All trades will involves low cost controllable players.

Manoah isn't worth much right now, he's worth even less if the Jays shop him around.
Kikuchi is a 4th/5th starter. There's no need to move him and there's tons of pitchers on the market.

Maybe they need to do another Semien type deal. Overpay on a short contract or front load massively with opt outs. They'd be little risk for Othani on a 1 year deal if he isn't pitching or playing the field. The sponsorship opportunity is intriguing. Canada is a huge market.

Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 07:21 AM EDT (#439101) #
The Evan Carter draft story is interesting. Let's guess that the scouting bias against young thin guys played a role in his lack of prospect status at the time of draft (check out the picture of him). Kudos to Texas.
bpoz - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 08:02 AM EDT (#439102) #
On da Box we have used the words "boneheaded and dumb" to describe the decision to pull Berrios. That language is ok with me. "Communication and transparency" is nice if everyone knows the plan/strategy. Except when the plan/strategy is "flawed" or "seriously flawed" which most likely makes key players "strongly disagree" with the plan/strategy and lose faith in the decision making.

If you have Pedro Martinez (V good) and S Marcum (pretty good) both lose a lot at the 7 inning mark. Also compare Juan Guzman and Pat Hentgen. Hentgen did a lot of complete games if I remember correctly Guzman did not.

So basically smart strategy is needed for the players to have faith in the FO/managing. This is my point because the Jays will find a way to lose rather than find a way to win. Which means that "player acquisition" IMO is not as important as many on da Box feel. I am fine with people disagreeing with me.
bpoz - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#439103) #
The CBT constraints was mentioned by Shapiro as well as payroll being similar philosophically. I take this to mean that the team is willing to spend to get the revenue benefit.

No questions were asked about stadium renovations. Also more importantly no questions were asked about the shift to better D at a cost to O.
dalimon5 - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#439105) #
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that Shapiro said something along the lines of "we lost because we didn't score snd runs and we made a baserunning error." He was referring to Vlad's pick off and I thought it was strong of him to acknowledge that Vladdy's decision also led to losing.
hypobole - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#439106) #
This is the Shapiro quote that struck me, as he echoed what Nigel and others kept bringing up as the year went on:

ďThis season was a grind,Ē he said. ďIt was not ever easy. It was extremely frustrating and it was challenging. Iím not sure why. We still won 89 games. But, you know, Iíve been in the game 32 years and I canít remember a season that felt like it was more of an effort.Ē
uglyone - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#439107) #
I just can't quite get over the irony of shapiro starting his jays career by reaming out Anthopolous for trading prospects, only to be here now facing the possibility of just having made one of the worst prospect trades ever.

Note also that Moreno was discovered by two AA hires - Plasencia and Rosario - back in 2015 when AA was still in charge, even though they didn't sign him until 2016 when he was 16.
bpoz - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#439108) #
That was a great quote by Shapiro hypobole. The season was definitely a grind. Also there is a lot of pressure for the Jays to make the playoffs and that is not going to change. Hopefully we will have easier seasons.

In Baltimore I thought Peter Angelos was willing to spend money. We will have to wait and see.

At one time Detroit had 3 potential HOFs on their roster at the same time. Scherzer, Verlander and Miggy.
Chuck - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#439109) #
At one time Detroit had 3 potential HOFs on their roster at the same time. Scherzer, Verlander and Miggy.

They also once had Trammell, Morris (ugh) and Whitaker, the latter of whom the VC should damn well rescue. (And they should do Grich at the same time.)

Ducey - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#439110) #
"only to be here now facing the possibility of just having made one of the worst prospect trades ever."

Thats Trump level hyperbole.

Moreno bWAR 4.3
Varsho bWAR 3.9

uglyone - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#439111) #
hey i defended the trade. but it's starting to look scary already.

Nigel - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#439112) #
Worst trade ever isn't right because Varsho's defence is likely to make him a 2 WAR player (plus or minus) and that will prevent it from being a disaster under any circumstance. I liked the idea behind the trade (a C for a good defensive OF with some years of control) but not the execution (the actual parties involved). But I do think the trade is going to age very badly (Moreno is looking every bit like the top 5 prospect he was and the Jays bought high on Varsho's bat (plus the critical extra years of control on Moreno)).
uglyone - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#439113) #
I am pretty hopeful that Varsho bounces back to an above average bat but if he doesnt and Moreno is a playoffs mvp at 23....hoo boy.
Ryan Day - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#439114) #
...the Jays bought high on Varsho's bat...

Not sure I see that - he hit 239/308/441 over the past two years in Arizona, and had solid minor league numbers before that. Then he hit a very similar 255/313/448 on the road this year, while completely cratering at Rogers Centre.

I don't know how to explain that, but I don't think the issue is a fundamental issue with his bat.
metafour - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#439115) #
I love how Moreno's extremely small-sample playoff hot streak is now confirmation that this trade is "scary". Is it? Is Ranger Suarez now a Top 5 starter in the league because he made the best offense in baseball look stupid over two outings and out-pitched Spencer Strider in both outings?

Moreno does look very good now, but it's still small sample size. Perhaps he is a true All Star. But it's also not outside any realm of probability that Varsho himself hits another gear. Yes Moreno had prospect pedigree, but so did Varsho which I think people easily forget. He was also a Top 100 prospect who had a 161 wRC+ in AAA (small sample) and a 159 wRC+ in AA. He was actually a very elite hitter all throughout the minors. This wasn't Kevin Pillar or some other basic "grinder" who worked his way to above-average MLB performance on defense; he was the 68th overall pick in 2017. Perhaps he has some catastrophic flaws in his swing that will forever limit him as a low BA guy, but it's interesting to look at his MiLB numbers because he was never that type of hitter coming through Arizona's system.

I think this trade still has a lot of potential to even out going forward, regardless of Moreno's 2023 playoffs. If we're going by just playoff samples, I guess the Diamondbacks are simply a categorically better team than the Dodgers?

uglyone - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#439116) #
And i love how people who massacred AA for trading crap prospects are now poopooing a rookie vying for playoffs mvp.
soupman - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#439117) #
It really isnít. Teams that win 100 games do better. That will remain true Eve as the playoffs get more watered down. Thinking otherwise is why the jays got away with hiring middle management people twice now who think ďgood enoughĒ and ďbest practicesĒ are sufficient for this market of fans with little grasp on Americaís pastime.
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#439118) #
Re: Grich and Whitaker and the VC. The VC has been replaced by the Eras Committees. Grich would likely be in the pre-80 Committee as his major contribution to the game was in the 70s, and Whitaker in the post-80 Committee.

The structure of the pre-80 Committee is particularly weird because it is composed of veteran media types. How this experience qualifies you to decide whether Bobby Grich or Billy Herman (say) deserves induction is beyond me. You may or may not have seen Grich play, but you didn't see Herman. What you want is people who are knowledgeable about the history of the game. Some media types might be but most aren't. You need to get 3/4 of the votes, and that seems to be a recipe for poor decision making.
metafour - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#439119) #

I think people massacred AA for trading prospects for old and decrepit, overpaid, and injury prone "assets" which ended up cratering his team by burdening the payroll with players who were in many ways no longer even producing up to their inflated salaries. This by the way was a very real mistake of his, and it's one that he never repeated once he left this organization.

Not sure what that has to do with Moreno or Varsho at all.

Varsho is at least still young, controllable, and makes peanuts. Sure, it was a great idea for AA to trade "crap prospects" for Josh Johnson (who it turns out had actually FAILED A PHYSICAL prior to that trade) and Jose Reyes. And then he traded "crap prospects" to get rid of Reyes while at the same time needing to pick up Tulowitzki's shit-tier contract, but hey, Tulo's defense guided us to the playoffs that one year or something (haha).

Maybe AA should have traded more crap prospects this past deadline given how soundidly his team just got slapped by the Phillies. Their offense looked as futile as ours.
mathesond - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#439120) #
"I am pretty hopeful that Varsho bounces back to an above average bat but if he doesnt and Moreno is a playoffs mvp at 23....hoo boy."

I remember Pat Borders as World Series certainly was a harbinger of things to come.
metafour - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#439121) #
I remember Pat Borders as World Series certainly was a harbinger of things to come.
Let's not forget the time we traded 35 year old future HOF'er Steve Pearce and "didn't get enough back" because he ended up hitting like Barry Bonds for the Red Sox in the playoffs on way to winning World Series MVP lol.
John Northey - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#439122) #
For Varsho vs Moreno.. (I see Gurriel as a throw in who is secondary to the trade) Fangraphs has their pre-season ZIPs projections up still for 2023/24/25 and they show...
Varsho: 3.5-3.4-3.4 fWAR (2.1 in real life in 2023)
Moreno: 2.0-1.8-2.0 fWAR (1.7 in real life in 2023)

So Varsho underperformed by 1.4, Moreno by 0.3 in 2023. The big question is 2024/25/26 (Varsho under control those years) and 27/28 (Moreno under control those as well). If Varsho gets back to the 3 WAR level expected for him while Moreno stays around 2 per year then it'll be a close trade in the end, slight edge to Arizona. No where near the 'disaster' so many want to call it. Mix in the high odds of Moreno losing time to injury (see the playoffs - hit in the head by a swing, and ball off his hand, miracle he didn't miss more than a few innings each time) and it isn't hard to see this going the Jays way.

A big key for 2024 will be figuring out why the Jays hitters sucked at home. Home park was a slight pitchers park overall (97 where 100 is neutral for 1 year park factor). Here are key guys who are returning...
  • Varsho: Home: 182/254/323 vs road: 255/313/448
  • Vlad: H: 238/324/391 vs r: 289/364/494
  • Springer: H: 249/326/393 vs R: 266/329/416
  • Bo: 287/324/443 vs R: 325/354/505
  • Kirk: H: 285/348/441 vs R: 215/321/274 - the exception.
So why did so many suck at home? What did Kirk (and non-regulars Jansen, and Biggio both of whom hit better at home) do differently from Varsho, Bo, Vlad, and Springer? Figure that one out and things could look up in 2024. Something was screwy in 2023 with the hitters - many far below their norms, and not due to age outside of maybe Springer. Jays need to figure that out this winter. Vlad going to Dunedin for the winter to work on his fitness/swing is a very good thing. Lets hope Kirk isn't having any more kids pre-season. Can't blame the WBC as Berrios was in it and was A-OK as was Horwitz - Vlad & Kirk were supposed to be in it but both had to pull out.
soupman - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#439123) #
Can we stop with the WAR? Varsho mostly played left field and has range with a pretty weak arm. Virtually no team has a glove-first player in left because you arenít actually getting 3 wins in the standings because he runs down a couple balls. Varsho has a bay that would be unplayable at a position up the middle and the drop off from Springer to Varsho in CF is more like a crater. Moreno is a better bay and will add power plus you lost three years of team control to get Varsho while also giving up a win-now piece in Gurriel.

I understand the trade and my immediate reaction was: I donít like it but I see why they did it.

Itís going to look worse as time goes on because Varsho looks clueless most abs. Alex rios got waived while hitting better than Varsho did because they didnít want to pay him.

If he plays like he did again this year they need to move on. Itís that simple.
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#439124) #
Moreno, Varsho.  Oh boy.  Maybe can we cool the temperature on this one at least until we have more data?  I like both players- Moreno since he was not even a known prospect in the GCL and was batting .400 by hitting line-drives pretty much every second AB. 

It's been much discussed what we have seen from Varsho this year- fabulous defence, excellent baserunning and disappointing batting albeit with medium-range pop.  Here is what we have seen from Moreno this year.  His throwing arm is unquestionably excellent.  His CS rate was the best in the league over a much larger sample than last year, and it has become more important with the new rules.  Throwing out about 40% of baserunners is a big, big deal., and the ERA when he was catching was 3.94 (over a run better than when the other catchers were in the game) The power which he showed in single A in 2019 and in double A in 2021 seems to have returned.  It's not clear yet whether it will be medium range pop or better than that.  He continues to hit in the .285-.300 range, and doesn't walk much.  Durability remains an issue- he has not yet had 450 PAs in a year.  To put Moreno's catcher's ERA in perspective- Kirk's CERA this year was 3.40 despite an CS% of under 20% and Jansen's was 4.03 despite a CS rate of under 15%.  How much of the catcher performance is due to quality of the defence and pitching as opposed to framing is subject to reasonable debate. 

Finally on the numeric side, bWAR and fWAR are in significant disagreement in the same way about Moreno and Varsho.  Evaluation of defence vis a vis replacement level seems to be a source of large disagreement between BR and fangraphs.  The fwAR figures for Moreno and Varsho are 1.7 and 2.1; the bWAR figures for Moreno and Varsho are 4.3 and 3.9.  Both systems rate them as comparable, but BR as very good players and fangraphs as average ones.  I'd be inclined to take an average of the two and say that they were both good this year. 
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#439125) #
Varsho's arm is not weak.  His ability to cut the ball off in the corner or take it off the wall and fire to second base to hold the runner to a single was superior.  Most of all it was the positioning and quick release, but his arm is strong enough to make competitive throws from a variety of body positions.  This is a significant asset. 
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#439126) #
Immaculate Grid story.  White Sox MVP.  I clicked on Frank Thomas.  No, I was told.  What?   Wrong Frank Thomas. 
Paul D - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#439127) #
The Yankees played a glove first left fielder for over a decade in which they won a world series and he accumulated over 40 WAR
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#439128) #
FWIW, when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, Gardner was a centerfielder and did not play in left-field at all.  Not that it matters.  The Yankees won 95+ games from 2010-12 and 100+ games in 2018-19 with Gardner in left-field.  In 2018, Gardner was 34 years old and batted .236/.322/.368 and generated 3.3 bWAR as the Yankees won 100 games, despite weak performances from catcher Gary Sanchez and first baseman Greg Bird.  Gardner wasn't the star of the team (that would be Aaron Judge, duh, even before he grew into his man strength) but was a significant positive contributor.  You need those. 
hypobole - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#439129) #
Worse catching prospect trade:

Moreno/Gurriel for Varsho
Gomes/Aviles for Esmil Rogers

Leaside Cowboy - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#439130) #
Daulton Varsho had .645 OPS in the 1st half and .718 OPS in the 2nd half.† Perhaps he just needed some time to adjust.
Nigel - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#439131) #
Varsho isn't still young - he's 27.3 years old. Moreno's BB% this year was 7.6% and improved significantly as the year went along.

There are absolutely things to like about both Varsho and Moreno and there are multiple ways that this can go. But Varsho has to outperform Moreno over the next 3 years (fairly significantly) to make the trade a good one from the Jays's perspective due to the extra years of control. Odds are against that but not impossible - the most likely way for that to happen is Moreno being a C isn't able to get on the field nearly as much as Varsho. I think its very unlikely that this ends up being a terrible trade for the Jays but its also nearly as unlikely to be a good trade.
bpoz - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#439132) #
I think Shapiro said it best about Varsho vs Moreno that it takes years to make an evaluation.

Moreno and Varsho provide superb D for a C and a CF. The Moreno arm is elite and Varsho's speed is elite.

I am thinking a bit that the Jays may be modeling themselves after LAD. LAD does very well in the Latin market I believe. The Jays could be doing that if prospects start arriving in the next 2 years. Kirk and Moreno have already arrived. Regarding the draft IMO the Dodgers philosophy is to pick high ceiling rather than low floor. Barriera and Nimmala are high ceiling as was Manoah, A Martin and Groshans. With Bo they got lucky but that too counts. Logan Warmoth and Zeuch were probably high floor.

Also I don't know if LAD has done a rebuild in the last 30 years. They trade decent players like Stripling and M White for unknowns that may never work out. The Jays have had to make trades to just get into the playoffs but LAD got Scherzer exclusively for the playoffs. So both LAD and Toronto have to win/be competitive to attract the fans.

Chuck - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#439133) #
Immaculate Grid

This game presents an interesting insight into the way old farts think, or at least this particular old fart. SD/BOS. With a minimal amount of time in Winnie the Pooh's thinking spot, I could come up with the new SD shortstop -- it wasn't that long ago that he played for BOS. But no, the brain starts conjuring names from decades ago and I land on Fred Lynn almost immediately, not even trying to be cute and playing the rarity game.

hypobole - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#439134) #

Armed robbery at the Cards DR complex.
John Northey - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#439135) #
I think the trade will end up pretty close to even, until people factor in time post free agency stage. If Arizona, say, signs Moreno to a 10 year deal (unlikely but could happen) that doesn't change that only his first 6 were guaranteed to be under team control. Likewise with Varsho and the 4 years the Jays have him locked in for.

Another factor is where would Moreno have played here? If he was a meh LF (due to Kirk/Jansen being locked in at C) then his 104 OPS+ mixed with, lets be generous and say league average fielder in LF would've put him pretty low, around 1.2 bWAR, while Fangraphs appears to push even lower around 0.7 fWAR I think - his offense gets knocked down a bit by his poor baserunning (not Kirk level, but poor none the less) and I'd have to figure if he was left in LF that would hit his numbers hard. He might have had tons of DH time, or who knows? Jansen's injury wasn't until late and I doubt the Jays would've benched Kirk or Jansen to get Gabby more playing time. Odds are he'd have been in AAA most of the year instead.

On the scale of bad trades by Jays GM's this isn't anywhere near the top 10 at this point and probably won't ever be. David Wells after a 20 win season (just 1 year of control left) for an injured pitcher who never played here has to be near the top (or his release pre-free agency the first time pre 1993 with 192 wins left on his arm). We also have Woody Williams (6.9 bWAR for SD, 18 overall post-Jays) and others for Joey Hamilton (0.3 bWAR as a Jay), Michael Young (17.2 bWAR first 6+ seasons, 24.7 overall) for Esteban Loaiza (2 1/2 years, 3.7 WAR and painful to watch pitch). Those ones came to mind immediately (yeah Ash was a nightmare GM). People like to spit on the Dickey for Syndergaard trade for obvious reasons, but Dickey did give us 7.1 bWAR vs Syndergaard's regular injuries and total of 13.7 bWAR for the Mets. Yeah, a net loss but not as lopsided as it felt when Syndergaard emerged (just 3 full seasons for the Mets and a 4th near full vs Dickey's 4 full seasons here of 29+ starts each time, last year fewer due to the Jays not trusting him enough). Now, all of those are FAR, FAR worse than Moreno for Varsho to this point (by bWAR Varsho is ahead of Moreno, but not Moreno + Gurriel with Gurriel a free agent once the Diamondbacks are done).

IMO anyone claiming this is the worst trade ever haven't paid any attention to Jays history. Could it end up bad or even worst ever? Sure it could. But it'd be hard to reach the Wells for nothing or Williams for Hamilton, or Young for Loaiza deals.
SK in NJ - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#439136) #
I could see a scenario where Varsho is a 3-4 WAR player next season at CF full-time. It really depends on whether he is a 80 wRC+ bat moving forward, or closer to the 100-110 wRC+ player he was prior to the trade. If it's the latter, then I don't think it's unreasonable at all to see Varsho come close to what he did in 2022 with Arizona (in terms of WAR). If he's closer to the 80 wRC+ player long-term, then that's still valuable as a CF given his defense, but you better hope the rest of the offense is good enough to compensate. As I've said before, I think the biggest issue with the trade was it came after the Kiermaier signing. That's "run prevention" on steroids, and it was overkill. They should have had Varsho in CF and a better offensive threat in LF. I suspect that's the plan for 2024.
Mike Green - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#439137) #
The range of outcomes for Moreno is very wide. He could end up as Guillermo Quioz, but with one good major league season, or he could end up like Buster Posey. This book has chapters, and enough has happened in the first one to read some more.

And if he has some middle outcome, the trade will ultimately be judged on how Varsho does, and, to some degree, on how Jansen and Kirk do.

I promise not to argue Davis Schneider's Hall of Fame case until at least 2026...
dalimon5 - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#439138) #
The way I see it, the trade looks bad because Kirk turned into a pumpkin. Move Varsho behind the plate and who do you like better?

Atkins should have traded Kirk or Jansen not Moreno. Detractors of the trade just felt the Jays could have had Moreno and a new OF acquired via trade using another player.
Ducey - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#439139) #
While we are sitting around litigating the past, how about:

Vlad 2.0 bWAR 117 OPS+ $14.5 million
Ryan Noda 2.3 bWAR 121 OPS+ $720,000

greenfrog - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#439140) #
It feels like the Diamondbacks will come out ahead because

a) Moreno seems to be a better hitter than Varsho

b) Varshoís elite defense will probably start to taper off in a year or two

c) Moreno is several years younger and therefore has more upside

d) Moreno has more years of control

If Varsho can make some hitting adjustments, the trade could look a lot better for the Jays (Iím not optimistic based on what I saw in 2023, but you never know).
dalimon5 - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#439141) #
Greenfrog I think you're bang on. Ducey, nobody talks about your point on Vlad enough.

Every team left in the playoffs except Arz have minimum "5 performing studs."

Jays only had 4 studs performing (Gausman, Berrios, Bassit, Bo). They need Springer and Vlad to perform better to get to 5 or 6 studs. What's more, TOR only had 1 hitter vs 4 from HOU, 3 from Philly and 4 from TEX.

Phillies - Nola, Suarez, Wheeler, Castellanos, Harper, Schwarber

Astros - Bregman, Alvarez, Tucker, Altuve, Verlander

Rangers - Semien, Seager, Scherzer, Carter, Garcia
John Northey - Friday, October 13 2023 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#439142) #
What is frustrating is Vlad was 14th in xwOBA which is estimating production from how hard he hits the ball and other factors. For some reason it didn't translate into BA/OBP/Slg this year unlike every other year of his career. In the top 20 for xwOBA only 2 others were as far off as he was - Bobby Witt Jr (almost identical 343 wOBA 373 xwOBA) and Fernando Tatis Jr (332-368) vs Vlad's 340-374. And even that doesn't catch how far off Vlad was - use their offensive runs and you get Vlad at 7.5 and you need to go down to #28 Bryan Reynolds (359 xwOBA) to get another guy sub 10 at 9.9, to get lower than Vlad you need to drop all the way to #42 Spencer Torkelson (349 xwOBA) with his 6.0 offense. Yeah, Vlad had a TON of bad luck with hitting it hard at people or hitting it deep in big parks or to the wrong part of a park - basically everything that could go wrong did.

The top 3 for the Jays, Vlad, Bo, Chapman all were lower wOBA vs xwOBA by 10+ points, then Belt was over by 32 points. Springer down 12, Biggio dead on, Jansen up 19, Kirk down 9, Varsho down 10, Kiermaier up 19, Merrifield up 30. Can't say it was speed given Varsho down and Jansen & Belt up so it seems more random chance. Lots of big variances of 10+ points.

2022 for comparison saw Teoscar & Kirk down 3 & 4, Vlad up 4, Springer up 10, Chapman down 10, Bo up 13, Gurriel up 6, Espinal up 7, Tapia up 3, Biggio up 14. Just 3 guys off by 10+, none by 15.

So for 2024 what do I expect? I expect guys to be closer to their norms. To perform at the expected levels not way off - random means just that, random. Vlad's year should've been between his 2021 'wow' and 2022 'nice' not a flop. Kirk by any measure was a flop, but should've been a bit less of one (I suspect like most his late spring screwed up a lot). Guess we'll see in a few months and a year from now hopefully we'll all be happy watching the Jays tie our guts into knots during the playoffs.
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