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The season is over, the Rangers won it all - sigh. Now time for the Jays and all others to dream big about who will sign and who will be traded.

Dates coming up...
  • The next few days are important, 5 days post-WS teams and players need to exercise their options, players become free agents now, teams have these 5 days to decide on offering a Qualifying Offer or not ($20.5 mil for 1 year guaranteed if the player wants it), all players on the 60 day IL must be moved to the 40 man roster.
  • November 7-9: GM meetings in Scottsdale Arizona - groundwork for deals will happen here, as will groundwork for free agents - teams will quickly find out a LOT during this time, but little will actually happen as far as we will see - possible a big deal happens but most likely it won't.
  • November 9th: Silver Slugger awards handed out -
  • November 13-16th: BBWAA awards handed out - 13th Rookie (Schneider might get some votes), 14th Manager (would be shocked if Schneider got any votes), 15th Cy Young (Gausman will get some votes), 16th MVP (AKA the Ohtani by default award unless someone has a historic season)
  • November 14th: Rule 5 protection deadline: Jays must decide who to protect and who not to by this date
  • November 17th: Non-Tender date - AKA the day Cimber is no longer a Blue Jay.
  • December 4-7: Winter Meetings - this is the time for the Rule 5 draft (December 6th), lots of deals happen, normally the first big free agent signings happen during this, these were the meetings that the McGriff/Fernandez for Alomar/Carter trade happened during (with writers applauding after the announcement due to it being 4 all-stars going back and forth). The MLB Draft Lottery will happen during this too (December 5th).
  • January 15th: new international signing period begins - normally a big rush day one to sign newly eligible guys to deals (Vlad was a day 1 signing for example, but Kirk & Moreno were signed months later).
  • February 13th: Pitchers and catchers report.
  • February 22nd: Spring training games begin and hopes and dreams can get into full gear.
  • March 20-21st: Dodgers vs Padres in South Korea start the regular season off with 2 games.
  • March 28th: Regular season fully begins with Jays in Tampa Bay for 4 games
  • April 8th: Jays home opener vs Seattle (Monday)
So which top free agents might the Jays go for?
  • Ohtani: everyone wants him, about 5-10 teams might be able to afford him. Luckily the Jays are one of those who also are obviously contenders. Sadly we are nowhere near the west coast so odds are he'll go elsewhere (Dodgers the favorites) but the Jays are reported to have a 'unicorn' budget and a normal one, so they are going to give it a shot.
  • Cody Bellinger: the best non-Ohtani hitter, plays CF/1B, bats left. Jays have chased him for a few years now, but will they risk the $150-$200 million it'll take to sign him? Will he be willing to move to LF? We'll see.
  • Starting pitchers: There are an assortment of star quality guys here all expecting $100-$200 mil plus deals - Yoshinobu Yamamoto (sub 2 ERA in Japan for years and will be entering his age 26 season next year), Aaron Nola (did well in the WS, 113 ERA+ lifetime, entering age 31 season), Sonny Gray (154 ERA+ in 2023, 121 lifetime, entering age 34 season so might come cheaper in terms of years), Jordan Montgomery (very solid 116 ERA+ lifetime, over 110 each of the past 3 years, 150+ IP each of those years too, entering age 31 season, 5 post seasons starts this year, 1 relief, 31 IP 10 ER = 2.90 ERA this post season), Blake Snell (limited endurance, but damn good when on the mound, has AL East experience with the Rays, lots of post season experience, likely to win his 2nd Cy Young award this offseason, entering age 31 season). The quality drops after that drastically.
  • Jays: Chapman would be nice to keep, but is looking at a 4+ year deal for $100+ mil - do the Jays want to risk that much on him?, Kiermaier - sadly doesn't make much sense to resign him with Varsho here, except as a plan D (ie: no other OF could be signed), Hicks I'd love to keep, but will probably cost $10 mil a year for 3 years and I can't see the Jays doing that. Hyun Jin Ryu (unlikely), Brandon Belt (unlikely), Jay Jackson (if he'd take another AAA deal but odds are he won't), Whit Merrifield (unlikely).
Really, this winter if the Jays go for a top free agent and can't sign the unicorn or Bellinger they'll need to make it a starting pitcher. The quality drops drastically and quickly after that unless they resign Chapman (I don't see that happening). Trades are a crapshoot, who knows who is available and why - SD has money issues, as do other teams (TV deals collapsed for 14 teams) but which ones and how big are those issues? We can't know the full scope unless they are dumb enough to publicly announce it (few would). Which players are pains in the butt to have around, which are really good team players? Again, we can't know unless they are gross publicly (or charged). Plus, of course, we have the background of the Jays needing to start thinking seriously about Bo & Vlad extensions as there are just 2 years left pre-free agency for them, and Jansen who is a free agent post 2024.

Mix in the kids who deserve a spot either now (Schneider) or soon (Orelvis Martinez, Ricky Tiedemann, Addison Barger, etc.) and we have a lot to debate. It'll be fun overanalyzing all of this as things happen.
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krose - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#439542) #
Looking forward to seeing all the player movements. New hopes and dreams are built in the off-season and dashed in the reality of 162 games. Hoping to contribute to the over analysis.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#439544) #
Perfect write-up, John.  Hope to see the club make a splash in free agency.
bpoz - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#439545) #
I expect that Chapman will be given a QO but I don't know if he accepts. But more important does the QO has an expiry date and when would that would be if so.

Nov 14 is plenty of time to decide who to rule 5 protect.

Kikuchi has 1 year left at $10 mil. That is a very good price if he can repeat his 2023. We could trade him or Bassitt (200IP) and get good prospects in return. Then sign a SP by using our large amount of money. If Manoah can become 2021/22 Manoah then we have a good 5 man rotation by keeping all our SPs. Caution says to wait till the trade deadline because we never want to be short of SPs. That 6th SP is great to have but no FA would sign if not guaranteed a rotation spot.

There is a very good chance that we don't get Ohtani or Bellinger. But a big bat is crucial to get. I don't know who. Atkins will have a hard time finding a good bat.

I am willing to use Espinal at 3B. Schneider and Biggio at 2B & LF. Cam Eden can be a defensive replacement and start a few OF games. Then let the kids have a chance. 200ABs in AAA by Orelvis, Barger, Palmegiani, Roden and Leo Jimenez could be enough to be ready.
Ducey - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#439546) #
Katie - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#439548) #
Having Santiago Espinal in a starting spot and trading Chris Bassitt seems like a good way to set the team up to miss the playoffs.
Michael - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#439549) #
I think Chapman is a no brain QO.

I think Ryu is a possible QO candidate if you think/know he's healthy now based on how he pitched from return. His past contract was $20M a year, and if you are only getting a single year the risk of aging/injury is smaller so I'm not sure 1/20.5 is a terrible price to pay for him. But my guess is they don't offer him the QO. I would probably (unless you had a line on signing him for less).

While I like what they did for the team, none of Belt, KK, or Whit are worth the QO unfortunately.
John Northey - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#439551) #
Michael - I should've mentioned, Ryu isn't able to get a QO as he had one from the Dodgers years ago, same for Belt. Chapman can and will obviously. KK and Whit aren't getting deals worth $20 mil even over multiple seasons most likely so it'd be dumb to offer them a QO.
John Northey - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#439552) #
If they really have a unicorn budget and could do this then my dream lineup is...
  1. R-Springer (RF)
  2. R-Bo (SS)
  3. L-Ohtani (DH)
  4. R-Vlad (1B)
  5. L-Bellinger (LF)
  6. R-Kirk (C)
  7. L-Biggio (3B)
  8. R-Schneider (2B)
  9. L-Varsho (CF)
I'd put the odds of that near 0% but it is fun to dream. Backups would be IF: Espinal & Clement; C: Jansen; OF: Eden or Lukes - odds are the Jays would be at any budget limits before the bench so it'd be a bit weak but in event of injury I'd expect Orelvis Martinez, Spencer Horwitz, Addison Barger, or whoever is hot in AAA to be called up rather than giving the bench guys much of a shot.

Rotation is obvious: Gausman-Bassitt-Berrios-Kikuchi-Manoah. But if they can't get one of Ohtani or Bellinger (very possible) then they might go doubling down on rotation strength by signing Yamamoto, Noma, or Snell depending on asking price/how strongly they want/don't want to be here.

Bullpen is locked down: Romano-Swanson-Garcia-Mayza-Cabrera-Richards-Green (if one of the 3 option situations is taken) with Pop, Pearson, Francis, White all fighting for a slot or two (if Green doesn't have any of the options taken, Richards is non-tendered, or a trade of someone else). I wouldn't be surprised if Cimber is re-signed to a AAA deal with a promise of ML time if healthy and effective. I would be surprised if Hicks is re-signed unless Green is gone in 5 days, in which case I'd expect the Jays to chase him hard.

For those wondering - the Athletic has Ohtani at 12 years, $520 million, Bellinger Six years, $162 million, Chapman Five years, $95 million (sounds low to me), Merrifield Two years, $19 million, Kiermaier One year, $10 million. Hopefully MLB Trade Rumors will do their summary soon too.
Gerry - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#439553) #
Shi Davidi reports that Dave Hudgens will be out as a BJ coach. Hudgens used to be the hitting coach but more recently was the hitting strategist.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#439554) #
Espinal would be perfectly fine as a platoon partner at third base (perhaps with Biggio or Barger), and also as a middle infield backup.

The four most valuable players on the 2023 club per bWAR were Bichette, Chapman, Kiermaier and Varsho. And they have to replace Kiermaier, Chapman and Belt. Tough off-season. The keys are probably Davis Schneider and Ricky Tiedemann. Of course, it would help if the "messianic bat" of VGJ that Fangraphs projected would show up to at least put in a cameo in 2024.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#439555) #
A new left-fielder could be serviceable as the back-up centre-fielder.
John Northey - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#439556) #
Mike Green - good idea checking BR for top players, for fun I checked fWAR too - top 4 in order Bo-Chapman-Belt-Kiermaier. Same 4.

FanGraphs has a projection pre-season set for 3 years going forward. What does it say about a few key FA's (not factoring in 2023) - 2023's fWAR in brackets?
  • Chapman: 4.7, 3.9 fWAR the next 2 years (3.5)
  • Kiermaier: 1.8 1.6 (2.2)
  • Belt: 1.1, 0.5 (2.3)
  • -----potential targets-----
  • Ohtani: hitting only 3.4, 3.1 (6.6)
  • Cody Bellinger: 2.5, 2.3 (4.1)
  • Soto: 6.6, 6.5 (5.5)
  • -----minor leaguers-----
  • Davis Schneider: 2.1, 2.4 (2.0) (remember, doesn't factor in his insane 2023)
  • Orelvis Martinez: 2.5, 3.1 (coming off a nightmare AA season, probably higher now)
  • Spencer Horwitz: 0.9, 1.1
  • Addison Barger: 2.8, 3.3
Those projections for Martinez, Schneider and Barger give me hope for 2024. I figure at least one of them has to be in the lineup everyday (Schneider in LF or 2B) while the others wait in AAA for a shot. Also remember a 2.0 is an average ML regular. Varsho & Springer were 2.1/2.2 this past season, Merrifield 1.5, Vlad 1.0.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#439557) #
The bWAR MLB leaders 2021-23: Aaron Judge 21, Marcus Semien 20, Mookie Betts 19, Austin Riley 19, Juan Soto 18, Jose Ramirez 18, Freddie Freeman 17, Paul Goldschmidt 17. 

Marcus Semien has a shot at the Hall of Fame.  Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, even if Al Gore has it in for him...
JohnL - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#439558) #
Gerry: Hudgens was never the Jays' hitting coach. He came here as bench coach, then became "hitting strategist" before the 2022 season when Schneider was made BC.

Whether or not he provided value in either role, I'm glad to see him "reassigned" at least for non-baseball reasons.
Gerry - Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#439559) #
Whit Merrifield's option has been declined.
bpoz - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#439560) #
Mark Feinsand has listed the top 25 FAs.

I have not heard what the off season plans/strategies are from Atkins/Shapiro. Too early I suppose. Improving the offense has to be the priority I expect.

D Schneider, Orelvis, Barger, Roden and Palmegiani are very close to being ready. As soon as 2 months into the season. I am unsure if they (except Schneider) will compete for a spot in ST.
mathesond - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#439561) #
"Of course, it would help if the "messianic bat" of VGJ that Fangraphs projected would show up to at least put in a cameo in 2024."

But that's just the problem with messiahs. They rarely, if ever, show up.
Chuck - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#439562) #
And sometimes what seems to be a messiah is really just a very naughty boy.
Paul D - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#439563) #
What about Gurriel for LF?
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#439564) #
If re-uniting LGJ with VGJ somehow unlocks the Messiah, by all means.
scottt - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#439565) #
I always thought they couldn't get rid of Gurriel and Teoscar because it would have a huge impact on Vladdy.
Is that what happened?
It's not like he went on strike or stopped trying.
It's just that he wasn't having as much fun.

Maybe Vladdy needs another Dominican in that lineup.

Espinal is getting expensive.
He's basically the backup shortstop and they didn't trust him went Bo went down.
Clement could easily replace him.

I see the Sportsnet crew keep talking about trading Manoah.
That would seem like a huge mistake.
Just make him earn his rotation spot and he's probably fine.
The Jays need proven bats and you don't get that for a risky starter. 

scottt - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#439566) #
Merrifield ended up with a 94 OPS+.
The biggest disappointment, for me, was the poor baserunning.
26 stolen bases but caught 10 times, matching his career high.
Not a good ratio.

greenfrog - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#439567) #
I recommend using Roden in LF in 2024.
bpoz - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#439568) #
Roden is very interesting. He has outstanding offensive numbers. He could earn an OF position in ST possibly. V good Avg, bb/k rate, SB, the Hrs started to come and I believe that someone said that he always hustles. His D is probably ok. He could be substituted for better D if Cam Eden is on the team.
John Northey - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#439569) #
Roden, like Barger and Martinez, needs to earn a spot - not be handed it. Pre-2023 ZIPS projected him as a 0.4 - 0.5 WAR player in 120 PA, or about a 2.5 WAR guy if playing full time. This year should enhance that a bit.

I see spring and April/May being a shake out time for the prospects. The Jays will leave a slot for them somewhere - DH/LF/3B - it is up to the kids to earn that slot. Schneider gets first crack, but Martinez/Barger/Roden all have a good chance of grabbing it. I'd put Roden lowest on the list as he has no AAA time and isn't on the 40 man yet (Dec '25 he has to be added) so to grab it he'll have to really impress, which he might (around a 150 wRC+ in A+ in 2022, about the same in 2023 in AA).

Obvious position openings year is the year these slots are wide open unless extensions are signed:
2024: LF/3B/DH, 2B/LF (Merrifield) - all free agents, 5th starter - held by Manoah right now, but he now needs to prove himself
2025: 4th starter (Kikuchi), assorted pen (Garcia, Richards), C (Jansen)
2026: 1B (Vlad), SS (Bo), 2nd starter (Bassitt), Closer (Romano), Utility (Biggio), LH pen (Mayza, Cabrera), RH pen (Swanson)
2027: RF (Springer), Ace (Gausman), C (Kirk), CF (Varsho), Ut (Espinal).

So there is the Jays plan for the next 4 years - fill in those slots at a reasonable price. It won't be easy but they need to plan today for at least 2025/2026. I could see signing guys today to deals with opt-outs after 2025 in an effort to do a full rebuild post 2025 (it'll be hard to replace all those key parts with a sub $300+ mil budget). Hadn't noticed that the vast majority of the core of the pen are free agents post 2025 (Romano-Swanson-Mayza) as we've all been worried about Bo & Vlad, plus to a lesser degree Biggio (who normally is listed as 'oh yeah, and'.

Replacements for 2026 have to be in the system by now by most reasonable measures as few shoot through the system in 1-2 years. Guys like Martinez (IF), Barger (IF/OF), Roden (OF), Tiedemann (SP), Juenger (Cl) will be keys to that. I'm sure the Jays want to sign Bo long term to give a stable base at a high level but will they be able to? Right now he'd be far more expensive than Vlad to sign long term and I don't see him being as strong on the "I want to stay in one place" thing. Vlad seems to want to be a Jay for life and has pretty much said so. Bo seems more a 'I want to maximize my career' guy. Can't blame him, if I was in his shoes I'd probably be the same.
Glevin - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#439570) #
The team can't really improve in free agency and don't really have much prospect capital to trade so I see 2 options.
1) Stand mostly pat with a couple of small ads and hope all the underperforming players from last year revert.
2) Make a big move or two from existing talent to change nature of team.

My guess is that the Jays will do 1. I think they should probably do 2.
Ducey - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#439571) #
I think the should probably do 1.

Most of the offence is due for a rebound, especially with some changes to coaching/ approach. Most of the same players were pretty good 2 yrs ago.

The Redditt rumours are that Vlad and Manoah are losing weight and working out.

They are likely good enough on the pitching side that they don't need to do much there.

They need a 3B and an OF. The 3B can be a place holder until he gets run over by the farmhands mid season. Should not be that hard to find.

I'd be happy with Lourdes or Teo in LF. They are not likely scared to cross the border into Canada.
John Northey - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#439572) #
Thinking on the unicorn... wonder if this could work to draw him here?
  1. Assume he is (when healthy) a $30 mil player on offense and as a pitcher
  2. Pay him $30 per as a hitter guaranteed
  3. Pay him incentives based on IP to reach $30 mil if he is healthy on the mound - say, $2 mil per 10 IP = $30 mil for 150 IP as the max (more innings = bonus for the team). By going with a $2 mil per 10 IP you avoid the issue of manipulation by the team to save money (vs say, $10 mil per 50 IP, then pulling him early to keep him sub 150 IP late in the season). You could go by starts but then you hit an issue of what if he has to be used in the pen for a bit to start out? Easy to adjust to $1 mil per 5 innings if needed, or $200k per inning.
So that would make a 10 year deal a guaranteed $300 mil, but potential to go to $600 if he is pitching and hitting. In 2024 it'd be 'just' $30 mil due to his arm recovering, and probably in the $45 range in 2025 assuming half a workload on the mound (limited to 5 innings max as he recovers). The last 3 years he threw 130-166-132 innings. Funny thing is he might win the MVP in the 130 years but not the 166 one (when he had a 2.33 ERA)

Ah early winter when we can dream anything. I suspect someone will be dumb and guarantee him $500 mil over 10+ thus paying assuming he'll pitch even though odds are low he will throughout the deal.
greenfrog - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#439573) #
This is from David Schoenfield's early ranking of MLB teams on ESPN (it never hurts to hear an objective viewpoint):

10. Toronto Blue Jays
2023 record: 89-73

2023 final ranking: 8

Is there more in the tank here? After seasons of 92 and 89 wins that both ended in two-game sweeps in the AL Wild Card Series, the Jays are kind of stuck between contender and pretender with no clear path to improvement. On the positive side, Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi all return after making 30-plus starts with ERAs under 4.00. If Alek Manoah can figure out what went wrong, the rotation should again be one of the best in the majors. On offense, Matt Chapman, Brandon Belt and Kevin Kiermaier are all free agents so this lineup could look different in 2024. After ranking eighth in the AL in runs, they'll need to fill those holes. John Schneider is back as manager after his dubious decision to pull Berrios in the playoff game that was questioned by his own players and front office. I'm not sure he's a strength here -- given the health of the rotation in 2023, it's hard to say he got the most out of this club.
dalimon5 - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#439574) #

1. Admit this new needs offensive improvement and you can't count on Vlad to have a "rebound" to an outlier season

2. Forget Bellinger and Ohtani unless you want to see a massive increase in payroll

3. Sign JD Martinez or Jorge Soler to bat clean up

4. Resign Ryu

5. Sell high on Kikuchi for an INF

6. Let Barger, Roden, Martinez and Tiedeman earn their way up through the season

7. Leave Manoah be, hope he returns and then trade him next off season

8. Pay high to resign Bo, Pay low to resign Vlad

9. I wish they could just hire a better manager instead of "cultivating" one during the peak window of contention.

10. Trade Romano at his peak for best player you can get

Bonus Step: Trade Kirk for any player of similar value who can run, play every day and is more consistent
JohnL - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#439575) #
I figure there's zero chance Ohtani would consider Toronto. Why the hell would he? After years of no-playoff Angels, why would he consider a team that's shown no ability to win anything?

If $$$$ are what matter to him, there's been zero indication that the Jays would consider that kind of money, especially if they were expected to cover other significant salaries.

He has lots of suitors that will spend really big bucks, and have credibility as serious contenders.
John Northey - Friday, November 03 2023 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#439576) #
The Arizona Fall League All-Star team was named and 5 Jays made it - Ricky Tiedemann, Damiano Palmegiani, Dasan Brown, Wil Robertson, CJ Van Eyk.

For comparison AL East: Rays 3 players, O's 2; Red Sox 2; Yankees 1. Rangers have 3, Twins 1, Astros 1 to cover the rest of the AL playoff teams. Cleveland, Detroit, ChiSox, & Seattle have 3 each. In the NL Phillies 4, Cardinals 3, Marlins 3, Rockies 3. So the Jays had the most make the team of anyone at 5 with only the Phillies also at 4 or more. Not bad. Tiedemann was voted in but won't play. Votes were by AFL staff, farm directors and writers. Damiano Palmegiani will participate in the Home Run derby on Saturday (9:30 PM - but I doubt it will be televised as even MILB has no sign of it online, which is a shame).
SK in NJ - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 12:36 AM EDT (#439577) #
The Jays will almost certainly do option 1 (stand pat with a couple of adds and hope for rebounds). They have five positions locked up (CA, 1B, SS, CF, RF). They need a 2B, 3B, LF, and DH. My guess is two of the positions will be filled internally, one by starting Biggio against RHP and the other by giving Schneider a spot. There are plenty of DH options like Hoskins, Brantley, Martinez, Turner, Soler, etc, available so that's probably the most likely position to be filled via free agency. How they fill LF will be interesting. Maybe that's where they go the trade route.

Either way, I do not expect a core shifting off season. My guess is it will be something similar to last season.
John Northey - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 12:38 AM EDT (#439578) #
A few downers here - dalimon5 that sounds a lot like a tear down/rebuild which I doubt Bo would sign on for, JohnL - by reaching the playoffs 3 out of 4 years the Jays are automatically 'contenders' regardless of playoff wins (crap shoot which was well shown by 2 of the weakest teams in the playoffs being in the WS this year. Ohtani has 2 things he cares about - money and winning. Whichever team gives him the feeling they can do that best will be the one he signs with. The Angels are out as they've proven they can't win, the Giants were 500 and sub 500 the past 2 years (net 51 games out of 1st) and made the playoffs ONCE in the past 7 years and were out after 1 round so I suspect they are low on his list, Seattle has made the playoffs once since 2002, yes, just once and those 90 wins is their peak in that time frame - their last playoff appearance before last year was with Ichiro as a rookie, Texas is a popular 'dark horse' right now but their payroll is right at the luxury tax and with the WS win they don't need Ohtani now to draw viewers/fans, the Dodgers have to be #1 at the moment with 11 straight playoff appearances, west coast, WS win in 2020, 2 other superstars in Freeman & Betts, projected to be $75 mil under the luxury tax right now in 2024. Sheesh - the more I look at it the more likely they seem - their DH is a free agent (JD Martinez) too which opens the needed slot.

The Jays have payroll space and contending status (IMO) so next is convincing Ohtani we are the best choice - he seemed to enjoy playing with Vlad in the All-Star game (there was video of the two of them fooling around with each other on the bench), having a whole nation of fans to go along with all of Japan might be seen as a plus or minus depending. 4 Jay regulars in the lineup are sub 27 (Vlad, Bo, Kirk, Varsho) suggesting the team has long term potential. The rotation is signed for 2024 and was great this past season (and healthy), with a strong pen. All signs say a killer bat would be the finishing touch needed, I suspect a strong medical staff with a proven track record will be a massive plus given his past/present arm issues. I suspect Ohtani wants to rewrite as much of the record book as possible but he can't do that from the IL.

In the end all we'll know for sure is who he does sign with and for how much. I could see the Jays adding an opt out for him if they fail to make the playoffs which might be a deal breaker.

More likely is the Jays need a different key hitter - JD Martinez is tempting but he is basically a RH Belt. Useful but shouldn't be more than a plan B or C. Bellinger fits damn well but could sign anywhere. Gurriel Jr, Hernandez we know quite well, both nightmares in the field but solid bats. Jung Hoo Lee (OF) has hit well in Korea but will that translate here? Jorge Soler is a solid OF entering his age 32 season with a 132 OPS+ last year, 113 lifetime (36 HR last year, peak of 48 in 2019) but is a poor fielder, Jeimer Candelario is a 3B/1B/DH who had a 119 last year, 102 lifetime OPS+ league avg on defense it seems, Justin Turner is very tempting at 3B but entering his age 39 season so a rapid decline is possible. Gets pretty thin after that, and I'd probably just stick with the kids then unless a scout for the Jays thinks someone lower down could break out in 2024. Trades are always fun, but who knows what price other teams will demand and the Jays will be willing to pay.
bpoz - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#439579) #
Anyone interested in bad trades in history?

Seattle trades Heathcliff Slowcom for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek.

Maybe not a bad trade. Miami trades Marcell Ozuna to St Louis for 4 prospects. 2 were Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen.

Interesting that the 2017 Maimi team had Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich and Realmuto on the team.
soupman - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#439580) #
speaking of of the hitters (like most of the 2019 Twins) that had an INCREDIBLE increase in output around the time of the sign stealing scandal only to fall back to earth. I'm sure these are just instances of fireless smoke.
Katie - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#439581) #
Mark Canha was just traded to Detroit for a non-prospect reliever. He has an $11.5 million team option for 2024, which Detroit will presumably exercise.

Depending on whether the Jays end up with Soler or Martinez (or Kiermaier, although I think that's not happening) and the sort of term and cost they involve, I wonder if the Jays will regret not acquiring him at a relatively affordable cost and term.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#439582) #
A big part of Canha's game is the HBP, particularly against RHP.  He turns 35 in February, and I'm not sure how that will work out for him.  As a platoon player and with 150 PAs against RHP otherwise, he might have a good niche, platooning with Roden and maybe giving a day off for Springer or Varsho when he plays right-field (with Springer moving to center).  That's probably worth 11.5M.  But the org likely doesn't want that- preferring a full-time player with Roden down in the minors getting seasoning. 
Mike Green - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#439583) #
And to be clear, Canha is exactly the kind of player I'd like to see them acquire for that limited role.  I much prefer him playing left-field when a left-hander is going to Whit Merrifield.  The org. of course prefers positional versatility.  I guess he could spell off VGJ at first base too, from time to time. 
greenfrog - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#439584) #
Yoshinobu Yamamoto line in game 6 of the Japan Series:

9 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 14 K

I don't love that his manager left him in the game for 138 pitches, though.

BA did a story on him about a week ago. Multiple MLB evaluators had high praise for all aspects of his game, saying that he's better than Senga and projects as a #2 or #3 starter in the majors. The only downside seems to be his size (5'10").

I think the Jays should go hard after him. The team needs to go big and not repeat the mistakes they've made in the last couple of off-seasons (failure to aggressively pursue some highly talented free agents).
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#439585) #
All evidence points to the contrary: they did aggressively pursue high end talent. As posted here many times, they got Ryu, Springer, Gausman and were very close on Verlander (source: Justin Verlander). They also were heavily connected to Freeman and Gerrit Cole.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#439586) #
Ryu and Springer were not signed in the last two offseason classes (which were heavily laden with talent and produced this year’s WS winner). And there is a somewhat worrying trend with Cole, Seager, Freeman, Verlander of being “always the bridesmaid.” But your points are well taken otherwise.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#439587) #
One nice thing about Yamamoto: no draft pick penalty for the team that signs him.
dalimon5 - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#439588) #
"The team needs to go big and not repeat the mistakes they've made in the last couple of off-seasons (failure to aggressively pursue some highly talented free agents)."

Okay, so narrowing your criticism to only the past two off seasons, who should the Jays have aggressively gone after which was a mistake that they didn't?:

2022 top free agents:
1. Aaron Judge
2. Jacob DeGrom
3. Justin Verlander
4. Trea Turner
5. Carlos Correa
6. Carlos Rodon
7. Xander Bogaerts
8. Dansby Swanson
9. Wilson Contreras
10. Clayton Kershaw

2021 top free agents:
1. Carlos Correa
2. Corey Seager
3. Freddie Freeman
4. Kris Bryant
5. Kevin Gausman
6. Marcus Semien
7. Robbie Ray
8. Trevor Story
9. Max Scherzer
10. Nick Castellanos

I think the list above clearly shows that the FO either:

a) avoided a terrible contract for a player that wouldn't have helped
b) signed the player
c) aggressively tried to sign

To call past two off seasons a mistake because they didn't aggressively pursue high end talent is not accurate in my humble opinion. Last year the only guy who would've helped who wasn't injured was Trea Turner and they already have Bo Bichette. The year before that they didn't need Correa because of Bo. They went after Seager and he wanted to stay in the US. Same with Freeman. They signed Kevin Gausman, etc etc... I guess if your point is that they should sign Corey Seager to a 10 year deal at 40 million per year then I can agree with you since nobody else will make that type of offer. For Freeman you'd have to go higher than 6 years and don'y forget LA is paying him for 12! years in deferred payments from 2028 to 2040 about 4 million per year.

John Northey - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#439589) #
Yamamoto's no draft pick penalty makes him very tempting - purely cash is the cost. The question becomes where do the Jays want to spend the cash they have? I suspect they'll do door knocking on Yamamoto but won't chase hard until they know they are out of the Bellinger sweepstakes as he fits the teams needs perfectly.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#439590) #
Bellinger is intriguing but a few things give me pause:

-OPS of 542 in 2021 and 654 in 2022

-10th percentile hard-hit rate in 2023

-The effect moving to an artificial turf home team could have on his health and defense (KK talked about this late in the season this year - basically said he'll sign with a natural turf team in the future)

I think he'll be out of the Jays price range because of the weak FA class, but I guess it could happen if the Jays plan on spending big on a free agent. They did express interest in him last off-season.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#439591) #
Agreed that it's hard to complain too much when the Jays nabbed Gausman and Bassitt the last two off-seasons, both of whom are quality pitchers.

Maybe spending a lot on players like Grichuk and Ryu limited their options a bit in free agency the last two off-seasons.

Anyway, as others have pointed out, nobody expected Vladdy and Manoah to be a combined 0.6 WAR this year. That was the biggest underlying problem this season.
Michael - Saturday, November 04 2023 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#439592) #
Justin Turner is a reasonable short term mid-level signing. I've seen people suggesting between $12M and $14M a year for either a 1 year or 2 year deal (or possibly a 1 year with a club option for a second). He opted out of a 1 year $13.4M deal with the Red Sox, but that was because he gets paid $6.7M for the opt out so as long as he can get a 1 year deal worth more than $6.7M he'll make more than the $13.4M deal. He's been primarily 3B in his career although he has non-trivial time at 2B/DH/1B. He was primarily DH/1B last year, but he played significant 3B in all years except last year (and even last year played 7 games at 3B).

He'll be 39 next year, but he has a career 829 OPS, 125 OPS+, 363 OBP. Last year his line was 276/345/455 800 for an OPS+ of 114 in 146 games played.

For the Jays next year he could play at all of 3B, 1B, DH - maybe the primary 3B for K-heavy or FB-heavy pitchers.

Seems like a decent fit to fill in for a year while waiting for kids to come up or Biggio to step up to 3b, and it sort of partially covers both Chapman and Belt's role on last year's team (obviously more O and less D than Chapman).
John Northey - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 12:51 AM EDT (#439593) #
If Turner is interested in coming here he would be a good option I'd agree. Shouldn't be too expensive ($10 mil range I'd guess) and isn't a bad option for DH if he can't handle 3B regularly anymore. LF is the headache with no obvious 'perfect' solution out there (IMO a guy who is here for 1-2 years who can hit and not be bad in the field).
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 07:48 AM EST (#439595) #
Turner had 54 XBH and .800 OPS in 2023.  The only trouble is entering age 39 season, but he has averaged over 140 games played the past 3 years.
lexomatic - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 08:35 AM EST (#439596) #
<br>speaking of Yelich

Had a horrific leg injury and has many back issues. He shouldn't be suspect without actual evidence.
Ducey - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 09:45 AM EST (#439597) #
Justin Turner played a total of 7 games at 3B last year,and will be 39. Not likely to be of much use.

Also, cue up the Votto rumours. His option was declined by the Reds. He hit .202 and had an ops+ of 99 last year. He will be 41. Not sure there is much tread left. But he would make an ok Belt replacement- although I like Horwitz
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 09:56 AM EST (#439598) #
"Anyway, as others have pointed out, nobody expected Vladdy and Manoah to be a combined 0.6 WAR this year. That was the biggest underlying problem this season."

I certainly felt like Vlad would continue to decline and always questioned his value beyond the bat which showed signs of disappearing and declining as season's went on.

John, I think there is a better fit than Cody Bellinger here. Juan Soto. Trade Tiedeman and Martinez for him with assurance he signs long term. Then go sign Yamamoto. Then trade from your pitching surplus to replenish a portion of the capital you lost trading away your top two prospects. Next year after Vlad hopefully rebounds you can trade him for a haul while having a core of Bo Bichette and Juan Soto.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 10:01 AM EST (#439599) #
People who say the Jays should pass on Yamamoto because the starting pitching is adequate need to think more than just one season ahead. What is the rotation going to look like in 2, 3, 4 years? Yamamoto would be valuable for years to come (after some of the current rotation members are in decline or injured), not just in 2024.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 10:02 AM EST (#439600) #
To make that happen Rogers just needs three things:

1. A new stadium that requires stars and wins to attract customers for expensive seats (check)

2. A willingness to defer payments for industry-best contracts likely overpaying for 10-15 years (Bichette, Soto) ...remains to be seen

3. A team builder that can follow this simple plan instead of being too cute with depth, "floor," positional versatility etc etc...(This is what this team does not have with Shapiro at the helm and likely why this won't happen).

Richard Griffin went on record this week to say that when he was in charge of the media at the Blue Jays, Mark Shapiro kept encouraging him to do interviews and put the spotlight on assistants and others who were disciples of Shapiro. He said he doesn't think James Click would ever be GM here because Mark likes that there is a line of GMs all trained under him throughout the offices of MLB. Talk about an ego.
scottt - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 11:00 AM EST (#439601) #
I am a bit surprised that Stroman opted out in a year where there is a lot of good starting pitching in free agency.

The Blue Jays are listed as one of the 10 teams interested in Yariel Rodriguez.

I'd love to have Soto, but he won't agree to sign anything.
I expect him to go to free agency after next year and there look for a mega 10 year contract.

I'd like them to move Espinal. I find Clement cheaper and more interesting.

The Jays need to start developing pitching. They can't keep paying top dollars for starters.

They need to replace Belt who had a 136 OPS+ as a let bat.
Soler could be interesting, but he's another right bat and he's injured more often than Judge.

greenfrog - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 11:06 AM EST (#439602) #
Overpaying for an MLB free agent made sense during the last two off-seasons when there was a much greater supply of exceptional talent. It doesn’t make much sense this off-season.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 11:20 AM EST (#439603) #
Belt could be re-signed, unless he retires.
bpoz - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 11:33 AM EST (#439604) #
We know that Shapiro and ownership always want to be competing for a playoff spot because that produces very good revenue. So being close right to season's end like 2021 Jays and 2023 Mariners is acceptable.

We also know that winning a WS is a "crapshoot". This year proves that with Arizona going further than anyone/most imagined. So building for the grind of a full season make a lot of sense. At the trade deadline it is best to add on to help get to the playoffs. I only know of LAD that trades for a star to win the WS rather than make the playoffs because they are always in the playoffs.

For the Jays 2023 was fine but too stressful. Our trade deadline deals were for 2 good relievers and a washed up SS to help with the Bo injury. The goal was to be competitive right to the end.

Going forward 1024-27 if at all possible we want to continue the same. Be competitive until the end of the season for the high revenues that would generate. To accomplish this we need to replace the O lost by trading Teo and Gurriel which was not properly dealt with last year.

I can see Vlad and Manoah being very good next year. Varsho having a career year within the next 2-3 seasons which would be 250-260 Avg, 30 Hr & 30 SB. Maybe not the SB. Chapmans O was very good until about the end of April. After that he was very bad if we are being truthful. However Chapman's D was great. Getting a good offense player from outside the org would be good. But we have power hitting prospects in Orelvis, Barger and Palmegiani that are about 2 months away.

Trying to win by scoring 3 runs or less in a game will be a very bad repeat of 2023.
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 01:30 PM EST (#439605) #
Put a better batter than Vlad behind Vlad in the line up and I bet you he becomes best hitter in baseball.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 02:07 PM EST (#439606) #
Here are the wRC+ leaders over the last three seasons:

Judge 179
Alvarez 163
Trout 163
Ohtani 157
Soto 155
Freeman 152
Harper 152
Acuna Jr. 149
Betts 149
Altuve 147
Goldschmidt 144
Olson 143
Diaz 141
Seager 141
Vladdy 139

If Vladdy can get back to who he was in 2021, he could certainly contend for the "best hitter" description. But the competition will be stiff. And Corbin Carroll and other young players should be in the mix as well.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 04:52 PM EST (#439607) #
Put a better batter than Vlad behind Vlad in the line up and I bet you he becomes best hitter in baseball.
Can you clarify your pronoun antecedents? Will Vlad become the best hitter in baseball, or this theoretical "BETTER than Vlad" batter? If Vlad becomes the best hitter in baseball, by definition, the batter behind him could not be "better than Vlad", could he? So, if we signed Ohtani to hit behind Vlad, and Ohtani was the best hitter in baseball, your statement would be true. But it would probably also be true of almost anyone NOT named Vlad..
dalimon5 - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 06:33 PM EST (#439608) #
Vlad is not the best hitter in baseball right now. If you take a better hitter than him, say Ohtani and bat him behind Vlad, well then I think after that happens Vlad will become the best hitter in baseball. I hope that clarifies it.

Vlad is one of the worst "good hitters" at chasing and swinging at balls outside the zone. If he can lay off that he's probably better than everyone on that list as he's ridiculous with balls inside and strikes. With Matt Chapman or Spencer Horwitz batting behind him he's probably trying to force the hits instead of walking like someone elite such as Soto.

John Northey - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 06:52 PM EST (#439609) #
If the Jays have a TON of guts, and determination and risk willingness they could get 2 of the top 5 this winter - if Soto is on the market and if Ohtani is willing to come here. MASSIVE if's. Heck, technically Trout is there too but that would involve MASSIVE MASSIVE risk given he hasn't played 120 games in a season since 2019, 150+ since 2016 and is entering his age 32 season with $260 mil still owed to him (7 seasons). Wonder if that would make Ohtani more or less likely to sign if a team traded for Trout first? Still, no way I'd trade for Trout unless the Angels ate a TON of cash, and/or included at least 2 very good prospects (they don't have much left).

Soto will cost a few high end prospects for sure, and will only be here for 1 year before free agency when he'll go to the top dollar. Seems a poor risk/reward strategy imo.

Goldschmidt might be available if the Cards go full rebuild but they never have done that in their history - their last time losing 90+ was 1990. 100+ was 1908 (Bugs Raymond was their #1 with a 2.03 ERA but just a 116 ERA+ - very different era, before anyone had hit 30 HR in a season or 100 in a career).

Basically the Jays only shots are Trout, Ohtani, or Soto if they want a proven hitter better than Vlad this winter. The others are not available. Each has problems (health plus insane contract, insane contract demands, one year then insane contract demands). The Jays need to look very closely at Vlad at the winter complex as he builds up for 2024 and decide if they want to sign him long term and then what will it take? This would be the cheapest winter to do it if he makes a comeback in 2024. Bo they should touch base with on a long term deal but safe to say he won't sign one until after 2025 as a free agent.

So yeah, #1 has to be chasing Ohtani and Yamamoto hoping to land one of the 2 big fish this winter. Then to do whatever else is possible. Offensive improvements most likely have to come from within. If Schneider can hit anywhere near what he did in 2023 even with the long hitless streak the Jays could be in good shape wherever he plays (2B/LF/DH). If Vlad's winter training goes well he could be a force again (he clearly is pissed at not being one). The more I read the more I wouldn't be shocked if Gurriel ends up here again (no QO, might relax Vlad, can DH him a lot more potentially, having a far stronger CF than before might limit his defensive issues as it did in Arizona).

But right now if I was betting I'd bet on the Jays doubling down on the defense/pitching combo going forward. Trying to find a solid defensive 3B to fill in until one of the kids is ready, who'd mix with Biggio (so a RH hitter) there. Schneider in LF or 2B depending on who they find for the other slot. If KK resigned late then Schneider at 2B, if not then Schneider in LF and someone who is glove first at 2B. Then we all cross our fingers that the offense comes back - Varsho, Springer, Vlad, Bo, Kirk all could up their wRC+ by 10+ points just to get back to normal levels, with some luck (opposite of 2023) by 20+ on average. Then one of the kids comes up and does a Schneider in August and the Jays are laughing. Don't see it working out that well, but it could. For now they'll chase the best hitters out there in a desperate effort to jump offense without hurting defense too much. If they can't get it there are lots of good arms out there to fill in the 5 hole and create the potential of using Kikuchi or Manoah in a deal for offense.
Gerry - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 08:17 PM EST (#439610) #
Three gold gloves for the Jays. Matt Chapman, Kevin Kiermaier and Jose Berrios each won.
Gerry - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 08:23 PM EST (#439611) #
Jay Jackson has elected to become a free agent.
John Northey - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 08:42 PM EST (#439612) #
As always there is a joke in the Gold Gloves - none for Varsho despite being the best OF by nearly every measure. Go figure. I expect him to win next year in CF. Leave him there for the full season and it'll be near impossible to not give it to him.
soupman - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 09:50 PM EST (#439613) #
KK has a hose and Varsho does not. His max throw speed has him as barely cracking the top 100 in baseball. There are only 2 guys that regularly get playing time in CF with worse arms - one is Corbin Carroll who i'm told can hit a lick and also is probably going to be in LF most of the time. Varsho is a nice bench piece - but I don't see how he deserves 600PA going forward.
Katie - Sunday, November 05 2023 @ 11:20 PM EST (#439614) #
Varsho may not be a Gold Glover, but one of the players we traded him for is.

Also, Berrios has never struck me as a particularly outstanding fielding pitcher. Am I wrong in that assessment? Stroman and Buehrle both seemed like really good fielding pitchers, the former likely due to his time at SS with Duke, but I never thought of Berrios as in the top tier of fielding pitchers.
Michael - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 05:09 AM EST (#439615) #
According to baseball reference on runs saved by pitchers the top 4 in baseball last year were:

Jesus Luzardo, MIA, 7 runs saved above average
Zack Greinke, KC, 6 runs saved above average
Jose Berrios, TOR, 5 runs saved above average
Taijuan Walker, PHI, 5 runs saved above average

There were another dozen or so at 4 runs saved and a bit more than a dozen at 3 runs saved.

In his career Berrios has 15 runs saved above average (counting the 5 from this year). Greinke has an amazing 93 runs saved above average and 6 gold gloves (every year from 2014-2019).

So Greinke maybe was likely the most deserving AL pitcher, but he did have less innings, and Berrios isn't a bad pick with the second most runs saved above average in the AL and an above average career fielding.

But yeah, I think Varsho not winning a GG is a bit of a problem, I guess because he wasn't 100% LF or CF it was possible to argue he shouldn't win either of those (in theory), but that seems dumb to me, and if you are going to give a player a utility award, nominate him instead of Merrifield to that.
Gerry - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:18 AM EST (#439618) #
The Jays have picked up the two year option on Chad Green.
85bluejay - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:33 AM EST (#439619) #
Happy that Chapman won a GG as it will hopefully aid in his search for a multi-year contract (not from the Jays) and that draft pick compensation that comes with the likely QO.
Chuck - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:38 AM EST (#439621) #
The Jays have picked up the two year option on Chad Green.

Interesting that they preferred 2/21 to 3/27.

soupman - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:46 AM EST (#439622) #
i assume the player would have declined his option (having shown his health) and would have elected free agency. at the same time it's a lot of money to spend on a reliever that (to my eyes) looked pretty hittable most outings. i think this is a real "paying for past performance" deal and the money could have been better spread around elsewhere. it's betting a lot on the last 5 outings over the first 6 coming off TJ. hope they're right.
92-93 - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 11:16 AM EST (#439623) #
Chapman accepting the QO (he won't) would leave the Jays in a much better position than getting an extra pick after the fourth round.

Hopefully picking up Green's option is a good sign that payroll is going up.
Gerry - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 11:52 AM EST (#439625) #
Stephen Vogt, former backup catcher, is the new manager of the Cleveland Guardians, replacing Terry Francona.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 12:01 PM EST (#439626) #
Formerly, 3 gold gloves were awarded for outfielders, without a distinction between positions.  A few years ago, it was changed to reflect LF / CF / RF for the 3 awards.  So, Varsho probably wins a GG under the old criteria.
soupman - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 01:12 PM EST (#439628) #
Here's my argument against Varsho being a gold slover: All 3 of the Jays regular fielders play CF. KK has multiple GGs and just won it. How much of the "value" Varsho produced was because he played with 2 other range-y guys? Of course, KK could equally be thanking Varsho for the assist in his win. We know that Varsho has a noodle for an arm, so I'm going to assume we see that exposed more next year if he is forced into CF full time.

Varsho does a good job running balls down efficiently, but once he has it, he isn't keeping anyone honest because you see teams run on him a lot. rARM seems mystified to me and leads me to question the entire metric. OAA seems to suggest that KK and Varsho shaded right all year since Springer had -4 OAA to his right but was otherwise a strong fielder. So KK can also thank George for the GG.

It's a team game and with the exception of the handful of actual wizards out there, the GG is mostly going to measure some component of teamwork more than individual accomplishments. I'm tired of hearing Jeter badmouthed for winning gold gloves for the same reason. Varsho is good, but he isn't in the tier of fielder that forces you to recognize him and a lot of that has to do with the fact he has a very weak and (in my mind) inaccurate arm.

Joe - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 01:58 PM EST (#439630) #
Quoting from the Fielding Bible runners-up writeup:
Left Field – Daulton Varsho of the Blue Jays was the runner-up to Steven Kwan, but just noting that would be an injustice to Varsho, who led all players with 29 Runs Saved in 2023. Unfortunately for him, he ended up with no Fielding Bible Awards to show for it because he split time between left field (where he finished 3rd in Runs Saved) and center field. He qualified for the Award in left field because he played more there but lost to Kwan in the voting. Varsho did finish 4th in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
This isn't a one-off; Varsho was 14th in all of baseball (across all positions) in DRS last year.

Whether that makes him a gold glover or not, he's going to accrue a lot of value with his glove next year, and I'm looking forward to seeing that.

Gerry - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 02:29 PM EST (#439632) #
Craig Counsell is joining the Cubs as their new manager. I believe David Ross is being fired despite the owner saying what a good job he had done.

Counsell left the Brewers and reportedly they offered him $5M per season to return. Everyone expected him to sign for the Mets at $7M per season. But the Cubs offered him an eight year deal for $40M, or $8M per season.

The Mets are signing Carlos Mendoza, a Yankees coach to be their manager.
Gerry - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 05:00 PM EST (#439634) #
Matt Chapman is the only Blue Jay getting a qualifying offer.
uglyone - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 05:03 PM EST (#439635) #

The Jays have given Matt Chapman the qualifying offer.

Also added Mitch White to the 40-man and paid cash to the Cubs for Brendon Little, who was added to 40-man.

— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) November 6, 2023
Michael - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 05:43 PM EST (#439637) #
One correction to the above, Varsho wasn't 14th in baseball across all positions last year in DRS. He was 1st. The top 10 players in baseball had 6 NL players and 4 AL players. The 3 AL players in the top 10 were.

1. Dalton Varsho 29 runs saved (including 6 runs saved from his arm)
3. Gimemez (CLE) 23 runs saved
7. KK 18 runs saved (including 2 runs saved from his arm)
10. Kirk 17 run saved

And yes Moreno was 5th with 20 runs saved 3 better than Kirk.

If you go LF only (I.e., only the time people play LF) the top 3 across all of baseball was:

1. Kwan 16 runs saved (including -1 from arm)
2. Gurriel Jr 14 runs saved (including 5 from arm)
3. Varsho 11 runs saved (including 4 from arm)

In the AL after Kwan and Varsho next is Marlowe from Seattle in just 24 games putting up 7 runs saved or Austin Hays from Baltimore putting up 6 runs saved.

If you go CF only (just counting CF time for people who played multiple) you get the top 3 in the majors are:

1. Brenton Doyle 19 runs saved (including 6 from arm)
2. KK 18 runs saved (including 2 from arm)
3. Varsho 18 runs saved (including 2 from arm)

So Varsho was tied for the best CF in the AL in runs saved while being 2nd for LF time alone, let alone combine both of these. He is clearly a very elite defender. And while he may not have the velocity on throws, clearly combining his first jump, positioning, range, and accuracy the arm is not a massive weakness to his defense. Maybe DRS isn't the end all of stats, but that is still very impressive overall (and it matches the eye test of everyone saying Varsho is a very good defender).

See for the list and splits.
soupman - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 06:09 PM EST (#439638) #
How can someone with a bottom 5 arm in baseball be the best fielder?
85bluejay - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 06:10 PM EST (#439639) #
I guess Brendon Little's 3 options made him more attractive to the Jays than Angel Perdomo with no options remaining - even with that I would have gone the other way and acquired Perdomo whom I think is the better pitcher.
SK in NJ - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 06:39 PM EST (#439640) #
In Mitch White's last 6 starts of the minor league season, he had a 1.78 ERA in 30.1 IP with 40 K, and was apparently hitting high 90's on the gun. Not surprised they decided to hold on to him. Hopefully it was a mechanical adjustment that lead to the improved velocity/performance. Doesn't hurt to keep him and see if it is.
Kasi - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 07:04 PM EST (#439641) #
Because he doesn’t have a bottom five arm in baseball? Sure his arm strength is average at best but his release is elite. Looking at sap baseball savant has him 40 percentile in arm strength but 90th in arm value because things like release, accuracy, decision making also matter.
99BlueJaysWay - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 07:08 PM EST (#439642) #
Kasi you beat me to it.

Here’s the link to support it:
Magpie - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 08:07 PM EST (#439643) #
Berrios has never struck me as a particularly outstanding fielding pitcher. Am I wrong in that assessment?

I think Berrios fields his position very well. It's possible Kikuchi is even better.
Nigel - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 08:13 PM EST (#439644) #
Stieb and Buehrle are my priors for "excellent defenders - Jays pitchers". Both Berrios and Kikutchi seem to me to be in that weight class (although measuring P defense is challenging due to the number of fielding plays).
dalimon5 - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 08:39 PM EST (#439645) #
MLBTR has their top 50 Free Agents predictions up (split by three people predicting) and lots of Blue Jays predictions:

Jeimer Candelario: Four Years 70 million

Jung Hoo Lee: Five Years 50 million

Jorge Soler: Three Years 45 million

Kevin Kiermaier: Two Years 26 million

Nick Martinez: Two Years 25 million

Tyler Mahle: Two Years 20 million

Gio Urshela: Two Years 20 million
soupman - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 08:44 PM EST (#439646) #
Statcast has his arm strength basement level. In game he makes good decisions but it isn’t accurate and he gets run on a lot. He never makes hood throws to home for example. He’s overrated - which isn’t to say he isn’t a good defender - simply he isn’t the best defender in baseball which is the discussion.
Kasi - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 09:02 PM EST (#439647) #
Sorry we can read the stats as well as you can. Yes his arm isn’t good but the stats actually don’t support your other comments. And yes I agree it’s been a bad trade for Toronto but we don’t need to exaggerate to prove a point. For example advance attempts has him 25th out of 120 qualified. Safe/attempts he also ranks well on. Arm value with stat cast is also good. So even with a “noodle” arm his arm values well.
Michael - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 09:05 PM EST (#439648) #
You are wrong about stat cast having his arm in the basement. Statcast has his velocity at 40th percentile (that isn't basement that is near average) and his overall arm value as 90th percentile that makes his arm actually a strength overall.

You can see from that over the last 3 years statcast views him as having 29 runs of value from range and 8 runs of value from arm. This also isn't a fluke as it has been the pattern for the last few years, around 40-percentile in arm strength but around 90+% in arm value. Accuracy and speed of release (versus velocity of release) matter. As does possibly opponents underestimating things based on arm strength and running too much to get caught. Or even ability to hit the cutoff man or throw to the right base/cut off man.

Note Varsho has about 84 mph on his throw on average. Someone like Laureano known for having a strong outfield arm averages about 90 mph on his throw. So that 6 mph difference is about what we are talking about.
johnny was - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:22 PM EST (#439649) #
Varsho's arm fails the eye test because we got used to Lourdes and Teoscar these past few years. The numbers are the numbers; accept them.
soupman - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:29 PM EST (#439650) #
Here he is 139 out of 150 for all outfielders. If you extend that to 300 throws there’s 2 cf with weaker arms.

He isn’t the best fielder in baseball. He wasn’t even the best CF on his team. The jays hired KK for a year they don’t owe him playing time there. So either fans and pundits are smarter than the team that stands to lose a lot of money for missing the playoffs or maybe some of the stats that say Varsho is the best fielder are perhaps a bit out dated. The eye test confirms that he often makes weak and off line throws.

soupman - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:36 PM EST (#439651) #

Velocity = distance.
~20mph less velocity is why Varsho couldn’t hold runners going home from left. You think he’s stopping anyone from centre?

The difference of just 10mph velocity is about 50ft (spin and trajectory impact this but let’s just ballpark it. So Varsho is never throwing home except on shallow flies. Teams know this and run in him already. It’s obvious if you watch him.

I feel like people are thinking I am saying he’s bad. He’s obliviously great. He simply isn’t close to the best outfielder in the game and stats dating he is are plainly wrong.
scottt - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:50 PM EST (#439652) #
Berrios went to a high school that didn't have a baseball team.
Instead, he was a middle infielder on his dad's travel team.
When he was drafted, at 18, he had only started pitching in January of that year.
He became the highest drafted pitcher in Puerto Rico history.

So yeah, he can field pretty well.
When Buehrle was with the Jays, he was past his Gold Glove days.

JohnL - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:53 PM EST (#439653) #
There's a great article in The Athletic about Geddy Lee's astounding baseball memorabilia collection, most of which is going up for auction next month.

Baseballs signed by 4 Presidents, Josh Gibson, one signed by all 4 Beatles (est value $300,000+), and another by every 3000-hit player. My favourite was the two final-out baseballs from Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no hitters!

One baseball he's not selling is signed by Bert Shepard who signed his name and “I lost my right leg being shot down over Germany in World War II. I got a new leg and pitched for the Washington Senators.” Story links the box score which is a highlight itself. Starter goes 3 1/3, gives up 4 hits, 7 walks, 7 runs. Reliever takes over with 1 on, manages to give up 7 runs, only one out, giving him a career 189.00 ERA (it was his only appearance.) Then Bert takes over, gets the third out, pitches 5 more innings, 1 run. It was his only MLB appearance.

Watch the 4 minute embedded video where Lee shows his collection to Dan Rather.

Auction page

ps: If you don't subscribe to the Athletic and have a New York Times account, you can use that. Or if you have both, you can cancel The Athletic (I did), because it's included with the NYT account.
scottt - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 10:57 PM EST (#439654) #
The Jays signed KK before they acquired Varsho.
We can agree that Varsho does not fit in right field, but arm strength isn't as much a deal in center.

Kasi - Monday, November 06 2023 @ 11:30 PM EST (#439656) #
You’re hyper focusing on one specific stat to try and construct a narrative. Varsho had 10 outfield assists this year which was only behind Lane Thomas at 18 and a few at 12. Yes he would not be a good pitcher. But he gets the ball from his glove to home fast enough. Would it nice nice if his throws were 90 instead of 85? Sure I’d like that and with that he would be the easy number one defender in baseball. But part of that is getting in the right space, setting up to throw on catch, knowing bounces, etc. So sure he won’t make that Teoscar type throw but he also will get to balls that they don’t and get them back in faster since he’s in better position .
Jonny German - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 06:04 AM EST (#439657) #
I really like Jung Hoo Lee for the Jays. There's obviously a lot of risk with KBO players as to how they'll handle the transition, but the Jays are in a position where putting together a contender in the short term is pretty straight forward but contending beyond 2025 is a big question mark. Lee has the potential to be an important piece for 6 years. I don't think they're going to get that elsewhere in the free agent market.

3rd base is clearly the toughest question this offseason. The MLBTR article has Candelairio and Urshela as potential Jays - I'd be happy with Urshela depending on what other moves are made, but I don't think Candelairio is a good bet at 4 years $70M.

Jonny German - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 06:37 AM EST (#439658) #
According to the FanGraphs player cards both Nate Pearson and Génesis Cabrera still have 1 MiLB option remaining. This is great news for the outlook of the 2024 pen.

Set relievers:

Taxi squad:

Prospects who could become part of the mix:

Presumed gone:

I expect that Mitch White will pitch as a starter in spring training and potentially head north if he looks good and there's a rotation opening due to injuries. Otherwise a minor trade or a DFA
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 08:18 AM EST (#439660) #
I recall Shawn Marcum being an excellent fielding pitcher. In fact, as I type this I'm thinking he was a shortstop in school as well?

bpoz - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 08:30 AM EST (#439661) #
Marcum and Key were 2 soft tossing SPs that had a lot of success. Key started in the pen for B Cox. I have been hoping for the Jays to develop another successful soft tossing SP. Maybe Ohashi can become that.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 09:15 AM EST (#439662) #
Shaun Marcum was indeed a shortstop in college.

Jonny's point is very interesting.  Let's step back and take an early look at your 2026 Blue Jays as they stand now with prospects who have made it as far as double A in brackets:

OF: George Springer, Daulton Varsho (Alan Roden)
IF: Santiago Espinal, Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz (Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger, Leo Jimenez)
C: Alejandro Kirk
P: Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Alek Manoah, Bowden Francis (Ricky Tiedemann)

If you like, you can add Arjun Niemalla and Alex DeJesus to the list of IF prospects for 2026 and C.J. Van Eyk and Brandon Barriera to the list of pitching prospects.

The Chad Green contract decision was, I think, indicative of the organization's approach to the short and medium-term situation.  Green is 32 years old and returning from TJ.  He pitched well in 12 innings this year.  The Jays had 3 choices with him this off-season- don't pick up any option, pick up 2/21 or pick up 3/27.  They chose door no. 2.  To my mind, it's questionable whether 2/21 is good value for what he offers, but if it is, 3/27 is certainly better.  It suggests to me that the club is prioritizing spending over the next 2 years to a very significant degree over medium-term spending (and makes a tear-down after 2025 more likely).  Whether this approach is warranted by the expected performance of Guerrero Jr. and Bichette and their salaries is a very good question.  Sadly, I think the answer is no. 

Jung Hoo Lee is indeed a very interesting player.  I would be interested and maybe the organization would be, in preference to giving Roden an early shot in 2024.  It looks like they have a similar skill set with Lee perhaps more advanced. 
Glevin - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 10:51 AM EST (#439663) #
"3rd base is clearly the toughest question this offseason."

Jays have a lot of 2B options. Biggio, Espinal, Orelvis, Jimenez, and Schneider. 3B is bad. Espinal can play there but ideally, he's not on the team at all next year and definitely not getting lots of playing time. Candelairio and Urshela are very meh. I think Jays need to get a bit creative in the off season even if that means moving established players. There is nobody on the team that is untouchable IMO. If the offer is right, trade Gausman, trade Vlad, trade anyone if the value is there. Dodgers need starters. Trade them a starter to get a position in need, sign another starter as a free agent. I just have a hard time seeing success on the path the Jays are going on unless there is a miraculous rebound from Vlad or some other miracle. Pitching and defense won't be better this year and Jays are losing their #1, #5, and #6 hitters by WRC+ last year.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 11:02 AM EST (#439664) #
As time goes by I'm thinking more and more the Jays are looking at a full tear down post 2025 as Bo & Vlad go to free agency. Scary as full tear downs carry big time risk of a 1994-2014 dead zone period, but not doing one risks a 2017-2018 one ala 1994/1995 where the team isn't in it but isn't out of it either (same with many periods between 1994-2014 where the team wasn't a real contender but wasn't rebuilding either). Half in/half out periods suck.

So if they do a full rebuild post 2025 then I'd assume all free agents leave that winter - Vlad, Bo, Bassitt, Green, Romano, Biggio, Mayza, Swanson, Cabrera. While post 2026 we see Springer, Gausman, Kirk, Varsho, Espinal, Pearson all become free agents. Post 2024 we only lose Kikuchi, Garcia, Jansen, Cimber, Richards - some of whom might be traded/dumped this offseason.

Given that massive wave of free agents a rebuild might be needed as the budget has an upper bound I'm sure and it ain't $500 mil.

So factoring that in, what do the Jays do to maximize their odds of winning in 2024/25 while keeping the payroll clean for 2026 and beyond? Checking MLB Trade Rumors Free Agent predictions for guys with 2 years or less and some 3 year deals
  • Jorge Soler: 3 years $45 mil - 128 OPS+ last year, 113 lifetime, a RH corner OF/DH so he could fit in nicely with a LH OF/DH, lots of power, turns 32 next year.
  • Lucas Giolito: RH SP 2 years $44 mil - solid inning eater the past couple of years who is just entering his age 29 season, but a 91 ERA+ last year, and an 81 the year before, 98 lifetime. He'd fill in the 5 hole and open up the option of trading Manoah or Kikuchi for help elsewhere.
  • Marcus Stroman: 2 years $44 mil - we know him, solid pitcher who can be an ace at times, see Giolito for why the Jays would go for him.
  • J.D. Martinez: Two years, $40M - very solid DH option, but their $20 mil per sounds high to me.
  • Kenta Maeda: Two years, $36M - a cheaper RH SP who missed 2022 due to injury 105 ERA+ lifetime, 102 last year in 20 starts, 1 relief game.
  • Rhys Hoskins: Two years, $36M - a RH DH/1B option who has a lifetime 125 OPS+ but missed 2023 due to injury
Lots of other options out there, but those are the guys in the top 30 who jumped out at me who might sign for 2 years thus fitting the window the Jays are after. Ohtani could be drawn in with silly money for 2 years, at which point he should be pitching full-time again and ready to go for a bigger longer term deal elsewhere but I doubt the Jays would toss away a draft pick and international money plus $100 mil for a 2 year deal for a DH who might pitch in year 2.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 11:28 AM EST (#439665) #
I confess that I don't understand why Bowden Francis is given fairly short shrift.  He added a couple of clicks to his fastball velocity in the off-season last year and when he returned to triple A, he was very, very good.  He was in the rotation and struck out 14 and walked 2.3 per 9 IP.  His 2.67 ERA was as high as that only because of a 21% HR/FB rate and a .386 BABIP.  The league ERA was over 5.  He came up to the Show and struck out 8.6 and walked 2.0 per 9 IP.  He had a 1.73 ERA which was as low as it was courtesy of a .195 BABIP (although his line-drive rate was 15%).  He's 27 years old and I am confident that if the club gave him a reasonable shot, he would do very well for them.  I like players who strike out more than 4 times as they walk. 
John Northey - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 11:33 AM EST (#439666) #
So who did the people at MLB TR think would sign here? They have 3 writers pick a team for each free agent.
  • Jeimer Candelario. Four years, $70MM: a switch hitting 3B/1B/DH with a lifetime 102 OPS+, 119 last year, entering his age 30 season.
  • Jung Hoo Lee. Five years, $50M: LH OF (CF/RF/LF) entering age 25 season, 340/407/491 lifetime in Korea - will the Jays give in and grab a young Korean this time? Sure missed out on Kim for no reason.
  • Jorge Soler. Three years, $45M: RH corner OF/DH entering age 32 season, 128 OPS+ last year 113 lifetime.
  • Kevin Kiermaier. Two years, $26M: we know this guy - 2 of the 3 picked the Jays for him, but I don't see him returning
  • Nick Martinez. Two years, $25M: LH SP/RP - 44 games in relief, 9 starts, 119 ERA+ overall, 97 lifetime - would be a solid choice for #6/longman replacing White
  • Tyler Mahle. Two years, $20M: RH SP coming off just 5 starts last year entering age 29 season 105 lifetime ERA+, will be out until mid-season or later with Tommy John surgery so would be like Ryu 2023 as a mid-season pickup by signing now.
  • Gio Urshela. Two years, $20M: 2 see him coming here again - RH 3B/1B/SS/2B, plays where you need him to - 103 lifetime OPS+, 91 last year, entering age 32 season. I'd put him as a plan C or D - worst case he covers 3B for April until a kid earns it, or ends up as a backup everywhere ala Biggio/Espinal.
An interesting group they see potentially coming here. Obviously some are more likely than others. I'm currently hoping for Lee to be signed - I have a thing for players from Korea especially after the Jays missed out on Kim, but the likely first year being a near write off before he adjusts to the majors could be an issue with a win now team but he could be very useful for 2025 and beyond with him covering 4th/5th OF duties this year. Urshela might be an ideal candidate for the IF - mix with Biggio at 3B until a kid is ready and you'll probably get 2-3 WAR between them there. If the Jays want to start prepping for 2026 and beyond then Lee and Yamamoto would be a smart pair to sign - young, and would be under control for a few years.
Glevin - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 11:36 AM EST (#439667) #
Jays add Mitch White to 40 man, extend QO to Chapman and trade cash for Brendon Little. No surprise with White or Chapman. Little just another fungible guy it seems.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 12:36 PM EST (#439668) #
More about Lee. He was a multiple Golden Glove winner in centerfield with the best W/K rate in the league by far, and has hit .340 most years. He has medium range pop and sometimes better than that. His line reminds me of Cesar Cedeno although he has never stolen bases the way Cedeno did at his best.

He had surgery on his ankle which ended his season in 2023, and before that he had not played at his best. Interested club's will want to make sure of his current medical situation.

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 12:40 PM EST (#439669) #
Damn persistent autocorrect. I repeatedly told it that "interested clubs" was the correct phrase but the machine thought it knew better. Does machine learning require drilling on the times tables and the rules of grammar? How do you discipline the thing when it obviously has not done its homework?
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 02:40 PM EST (#439670) #
Vlad is not the best hitter in baseball right now. If you take a better hitter than him, say Ohtani and bat him behind Vlad, well then I think after that happens Vlad will become the best hitter in baseball. I hope that clarifies it.

I'll take my chances with the lottery, thanks. I.e. IMO, it's VERY, VERY wishful thinking that Vlad could become the best hitter in baseball under ANY circumstances.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 03:31 PM EST (#439671) #
Not really, if you take out his tendency to chase balls that he used to take then he's elite.
Ducey - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 04:25 PM EST (#439672) #
Looks like Can Eden was removed from the 40 man and cleared waivers.
Cracka - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 05:18 PM EST (#439673) #
Carlos Febles is our new 3B coach. Spent last 6 seasons in that role with the Red Sox and his entire coaching career in their org. Interesting hire - going with experience and familiarity.
Paul D - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 06:41 PM EST (#439674) #
So Martinez will stay on as hitting coach, and Mattingly takes on the additional role of offensive coordinator.

Bold strategy Cotton
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 07:02 PM EST (#439675) #
Maintaining the coaching status quo is probably a combination of the desire to save money and the lack of other good options. Quality managers and coaches are getting expensive (Craig Counsell).
lexomatic - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 07:06 PM EST (#439676) #
At least Febles was a decent baserunner during his career.
Any way to source baserunning stats looking at thr coach?
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 07:07 PM EST (#439677) #
Teoscar Hernández did not receive a qualifying offer from the Mariners.
lexomatic - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 07:11 PM EST (#439678) #
So during the past 6 seasons, thr Jay's had the WORST baserunning stats -57.1 runs ( 2nd -52, 3rd -42). Boston was 7th worst during that time at -39 runs.
Slugging teams tend not to run that well, but it IS better. Just not significantly.
uglyone - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 07:25 PM EST (#439679) #
these bullshit corporate job titles they're handing out don't inspire confidence.
lexomatic - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 07:33 PM EST (#439680) #
Not much info. I found a few links but one of them tripped the spam filter. Never had that happen before.

2 bad blunders vs Jay's this year, and 2021. A few others where runners didn't pick him up, and 1 generally positive comment on Sons of Sam Horn. The real ceitic8sm seems to be aboit his infield coaching.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 08:34 PM EST (#439681) #
Schneider and Atkins and the coaches somehow managed to avoid an organizational purge, for now anyway. It’ll be hard for Shapiro to justify the same outcome if the team wins, say, 83 games in 2024. Although nothing would surprise me at this point.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 08:50 PM EST (#439683) #
Not really, if you take out his tendency to chase balls that he used to take then he's elite.

Sure, he was the best hitter in baseball that one year during a pandemic where he played half his games in minor league parks. He had an OPS of 875 on the road, and 1133 at home. And an "Offensive WAR" of 6.4. In 2022, Judge had an OWar of 10.4. Sorry, Judge's "best" season CRUSHES Vlad's, and he's also had a season of 7.2 OWar.

In 2022 Vlad's home OPS was 842. In 2023, 716. In 2019, 677. He's always hit SIGNIFICANTLY worse at home than on the road, EXCEPT for that one year he got to play at home in minor league parks. If you truly think that he is that hitter from that one half season that can never be repeated because they won't play at minor league parks again if he can just stop chasing so much.... 
dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 07 2023 @ 09:48 PM EST (#439685) #
It's not a discussion based on actual results of OPS or avg. It's based on the analytics which say he's already elite on balls in the zone. Combine this with the fact he was the best at laying off pitches in his minor league career, and the fact that pitchers are mostly throwing him junk and you can see how he can be elite.

If people told you that Robbie Ray (before his time in TO) could be elite and you countered "this guy walks way too many and he will never be better than X (choose a better pitcher at the time), then you're missing the point.

Vlad, with proper protection and a correction to chasing pitches can easily be an elite hitter. It's as simple as that. I've been the biggest critic of Vlad since day 1 before his down seasons, but even I have to concede he has no protection in the line up and has developed a bad approach. This is a guy who started the season with Daulton Varsho protecting him. I'd like to see how well Judge does with that. Varsho, Horwitz, Chapman...who else batted 4th this year...Biggio? On top of that 2/3 batting in front rarely got on...
bpoz - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 05:57 AM EST (#439687) #
It was very obvious that the Jays were bad at scoring runs in 2023. The pitching was very good except for Manoah. Manoah is working out hard so maybe next year he is good again.

I worry most about the managing. Managing looked very bad in the playoffs. During the season Schneiders offense options were poor. Calling Chapman and Varsho V good defensive players is accurate. IMO their offense cannot be considered good.

We obviously need better O in 2024. Retaining Green helps the pen be good.
bpoz - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 07:07 AM EST (#439688) #
39 players on the 40 man roster. Belt is still on the 40 man.
Joe - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 10:41 AM EST (#439689) #
It was very obvious that the Jays were bad at scoring runs in 2023.
This is a very common sentiment. Is it true?

  • By wRC+, the Jays were 8th in the league with 107.
  • By Fangraphs "offensive above average", the Jays were 12th in the league.
  • By runs scored, the Jays were literally the league median, 2 runs below league average, exactly tied with the Diamondbacks.
Therefore, I don't think it's true that the Jays were bad at scoring runs, let alone obviously true.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd like to see data to prove that I'm wrong!

bpoz - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 11:12 AM EST (#439690) #
I did not say it correctly. Our Runs Scored was 746. 7 teams in the AL scored more runs. These teams were the other 5 playoff teams and Seattle and Boston. We outscored NYY and the bottom 6 AL teams. So I accept my error and concede that the Jays were not bad at scoring runs.

The 2022 TB team had more runs scored than 4 teams. LAA the 5th from the bottom and the other 3 were the 3 worst teams. IMO TB was a weak scoring team. In 2023 TB was the 2nd best in the AL at scoring runs. They definitely made improvements to their offense in the off season.
Ducey - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 11:19 AM EST (#439691) #
"Therefore, I don't think it's true that the Jays were bad at scoring runs, let alone obviously true"

If you listen to Toronto media, the team was a disaster. In reality they were the 9th best team in baseball. The 8th best was the Texas Rangers. The 13th best was Arizona.

But to be fair, the expectation was that the Jays would be 'good' at scoring runs, not just average. Had they been above average as they had been in 2022, they likely advance further in the playoffs
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 12:35 PM EST (#439693) #
You're absolutely correct, Joe.  Indeed, with the new configuration of the RC, run scoring was suppressed at home.  It benefited the pitchers to a modest degree, but it really dinged the hitters.  The Blue Jays scored 342 runs at home in 2023 and 404 runs on the road.  The latter figure is quite good and 7th in baseball, behind only Houston, Baltimore and Tampa in the AL. 
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 03:30 PM EST (#439694) #
Toronto had plenty of base-runners and scored a lot of runs, but quite often squandered opportunities with so many GIDP and base-path blunders.  And the really big hit (a grand slam) was elusive.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 03:50 PM EST (#439695) #
The batters had a negative WPA for the season, and the second worst "Clutch" hitting in the major leagues by this measure.  Strangely, the relief pitchers (and the defence behind them) made up for this deficit posting the 3rd best WPA in the major leagues and were as good in the clutch as the batters were bad. So, if it felt like the batters weren't doing much to help the team win and the relief staff was doing well at that, you weren't imagining things. 

It's important to distinguish "batters" from "position players".  The Blue Jay clutch defence is not measured by WPA (or rather included in the pitcher's ledger). 
Ducey - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 07:23 PM EST (#439701) #
Question (because I dont know where it would be)

Did all teams have their offence suppressed in Toronto, or was it just the Jays? And how would you adjust the analysis for the fact the Jays had a better than average pitching staff/ defense?
John Northey - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 07:48 PM EST (#439703) #
The All-MLB team is being voted on (sigh) with 5 Jays up - Gausman-Bassitt-Romano-Bichette-Chapman.

Given how they are doing it I suspect we'll see fame over performance in 2023. Ah well.

I read somewhere that the Jays are apparently going hard to keep Chapman here. Seems odd as he really seems the most replaceable with kids in the system, unless the Jays aren't confident in those kids. Might also be due to difficulty in finding a solid bat for LF & DH so locking in Chapman means the Jays have one less hole to fill. Guess we'll see if that actually happens or not.

Regardless, at least the Jays aren't doing what the Twins are - they are planning on reducing payroll after winning the AL Central and winning the wild card series vs the Jays. Sadly I don't see anyone on their roster who is likely to be traded (IE: making $10+ mil) who fits the Jays needs. Ah well.
Magpie - Wednesday, November 08 2023 @ 09:42 PM EST (#439706) #
Did all teams have their offence suppressed in Toronto, or was it just the Jays?

It was mostly the Jays. The opposition scored 330 runs at the RC, 341 runs in other parks. They batted .252/.312?.415 in neutral parks, and .230/.305/.390 at the Rogers Centre. The difference, such as it is, is almost entirely down to the BABiP (.309 on the road, .284 at the RC.)
soupman - Thursday, November 09 2023 @ 12:41 AM EST (#439707) #
jays should hire bauer.
Gerry - Thursday, November 09 2023 @ 04:41 PM EST (#439713) #
Now that trading season is getting underway I need to repeat my concern about the off-season. Namely that Ross Atkins is on thin ice, and he knows it. His future rests on the major league team being successful in 2024. Prospects only value in this scenario are as trade chips. The Jays need bats and prospects can get you some of them.

The Jays may then do well in 2024 but will be faced with several years of mediocre farm teams thereafter.

I know flags fly forever but given there is only one champion, this would be a high risk scenario.

While I am at it I have another, longer term concern.

Rogers have traditionally had a tight grip on the Jays payroll, keeping it high-middle of the pack. They were focused on maximising Rogers profitability.

A year or so ago there was a boardroom revolution at Rogers and Edward Rogers has taken control. I don't think it is a coincidence that the Jays payroll exceeded the luxury tax threshold last season. Edward is a Blue Jays fan and what do rich guys want? A world series to show off to their pals in Toronto and at Mar-A-Lago. So Ted is currently willing to spend to try and win. Obviously this is my theory at this point.

But, cable subscriptions are falling and there is more cord cutting. Several US teams are looking at possibly having no cable deals in 2024 because cord cutting has forced the broadcast partner into bankruptcy. The thing about cable subs is that many subscribers who never watch baseball subsidise the ones who do. When people cut the cord it hurts Rogers bottom line. Will Ed Rogers be willing, or able, to afford to keep the payroll high for the next three to five years?

Anyway, those are my worries and a burden shared is a burden halved. Right?
John Northey - Thursday, November 09 2023 @ 05:02 PM EST (#439714) #
For less fear - remember, the Jays are a viewership goldmine when winning (90+ wins) and Sportsnet has a streaming option - I use it myself. $180 a year per household, or $250 for premium (adds in lots of out of market games of all sports). With the Jays winning they get more subscriptions and more $$$, but if the Jays stop winning... well... lets just say there would be zero reason for many to subscribe to that service. The profits from it (mixed with ad revenue) must be significant - I'd estimate a potential for well over $100 million a year (1 million subscribers isn't hard to imagine given Jay games alone get 1 million viewers often, and that is before factoring in ads).

Rogers, if they want to jump subscriptions on the west coast, would see $50 mil a year for Ohtani as a reasonable investment potentially to help them pound down TSN further. I guarantee they want to kill that service off so they would be the mandatory purchase for sports fans. I'd bet they push the government to get CBC out of sports too (outside of ones they feel no one watches).

As to Atkins - I think his job is fairly safe. His job is to keep the Jays at the 90 win range. Ideally they'd get to round 2 and beyond in the playoffs too, but I suspect most higher ups understand the playoffs are a crapshoot (see the Arizona/Texas final). His big problem is if the team is 'boring' - ie: pitching and defense but no power or speed. The Jays need 3 million fans per year in the park mixed with 3/4 of a million viewers+ per game. You won't get that with pitching/defense unless they are fighting for first place and even then it can be a hard sell. You need the fireworks to get the fans. Earlier I was thinking the Jays would chase more pitching/defense but the more I think about it the more I can see they chasing power far beyond what they have already. The question is how when Ohtani is about it on the market. I guarantee the bean counters saw Schneider mania in '23 and want more of that.
Gerry - Thursday, November 09 2023 @ 06:55 PM EST (#439716) #
Kevin Gausman was on the foul territory pod today and he was asked about Manoah. He started to say Manoah had shoulder problems in spring but then he stopped and went in a different direction.

I believe Manoah had an injection in his shoulder late in the year.
Michael - Thursday, November 09 2023 @ 09:59 PM EST (#439718) #
On the one hand, if there was an injury that you got better from there would be reason to think you could get back to previous year's quality. On the other hand, shoulder is one of the most dangerous areas that players sometimes never recover from and thus it could be career ending (and could also further depress the trade value of Manoah).

Personally, based on performance, I wouldn't be looking to trade Manoah as the value is too much of a sell low, and even if the chance of coming back to CY Young candidate is low, the value of that is so high, it would be good to keep that.
Jacob - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 06:51 AM EST (#439720) #
Jason Heyward has not been mentioned as a target for the Jays in any article that I have read with most recycling the same names. Yet, he's just months older than Kevin Kiermaier, is a left-handed bat that could help replace Belt and Kiermaier on the strong side of a platoon, plays excellent outfield defence and reportedly oozes team leadership skills. Unless he has previously stated a disinterest in playing in Canada, I think he should at least be part of a discussion.

Apology if someone has already made this case. Otherwise, feel free to poo-poo on this or simply continue the case.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 08:09 AM EST (#439721) #
Heyward played 7 games in left-field for the Dodgers.
soupman - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 11:22 AM EST (#439722) #
he got paid and turned into a pumpkin. is that the kind of guy you want around Vlad? for the tantalizing hope of league average-ish production, and playing him out of position?

just make the kids fight for a spot and sign some journeyman / non-roster invites to camp.

if you don't care about clubhouse dynamics or personal views, bauer is a good fit - he and manoah can bond over talking trash about gerrit cole and being out of baseball by the end of the next year.
bpoz - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 11:42 AM EST (#439723) #
I think soupman has the right idea. But does anyone win a spot in ST? Jordan Walker won a job in ST for St Louis. However he is an impact prospect. Great tools and results. He skipped AAA.

Orelvis, Barger, Palmegiani and Roden are looking very good. In 2021 the Jays did promote Manoah very fast. So maybe one of the above players gets promoted fast.

Jonny German - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 01:14 PM EST (#439724) #
I like Heyward a lot - as a platoon bat. That\s how the Dodgers used him last year. The question is wether he’s happy continue being platooned and if his salary fits with the bigger pieces of the offseason master plan.
Mike Green - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 02:10 PM EST (#439725) #
Heyward is fine. But he would be replacing Kiermaier and it's a step down. I think that it is likely to happen whoever they get.
greenfrog - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 02:37 PM EST (#439726) #
My ideal offseason would include one star addition to the pitching rotation (first choice Yamamoto, second choice Nola or Snell) and a couple of position player additions (say, Lee and Chapman/Candelario).

I prefer FA signings to trades, as the team seems to be stronger in that department.

By adding a front-rotation starter, the front office would be in a better position to avoid its perennial "patching" habit, where it doesn't address one component of the team (pitching, defense, offense) because it's already a supposed strength, only to have to address it the next offseason when that component turns out to be flawed.
christaylor - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 03:08 PM EST (#439727) #
I've processed my 2023 trauma and would be happy with either:

1. Open the vault for the unicorn who shall not be named. Get what you get. Fill the holes from within and hope.

2. Failing 1, overpay for KK and Chapman. Try 2023 again, hope for health from KK and give Chapman a short leash. Fire the manager if he refuses to sit him and trade him to whatever team gives you a lottery ticket prospect.

3. Both 1 or 2 will blow up spectacularly if there's not continued health from the starters and/or Manoah isn't MLB ready.

4. Unless there are flameouts everyone in the AL East is looking at chasing the O's for a good period. They're like that other Orange team in the AL West, except with bonkers ownership.

Jonny German - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 03:22 PM EST (#439728) #
Number 2 sounds absurd, frankly. Sign a guy for over $100M and then bench him and/or trade him if he struggles in year 1? I’ll be amazed if that has ever happened in any professional sport.

As for the Orioles, they were way over their heads in 2023. If they don’t spend serious cash on starting pitching this offseason, like $150M+, they’ll finish 3rd.
greenfrog - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 03:28 PM EST (#439729) #
The Fangraphs top 50 MLB free agents list is up.
Joe - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 04:16 PM EST (#439730) #
Exactly, Jonny — the Orioles hit a lot closer to their 80th percentile outcomes in a lot of cases, and I just plain don't trust their pitching. While last season goes into their projections for 2024 and beyond, you just plain can't be comfortable counting on Kyle Bradish or Aaron Hicks to help carry your team.

Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson and many of their other hitters are real, but the league will also adjust, and injuries will hit. They'll be there a long time, but not 100-wins there. (And thank goodness, say all their fans, having endured 100-loss seasons 4 years in a row.)

John Northey - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 04:33 PM EST (#439731) #
Always fun to go through Top 50 lists. In my notes below WAR is always fWAR.
  • Yamamoto is projected to have a 116 ERA+ 3.7 WAR while getting $196 mil over 7 years. For comparison only Gausman had more WAR among our pitching staff (5.0), Berrios at 3.0. Other free agent pitchers in the top 25 are Nola (4.3 WAR, $140 mil over 5 years), Snell (3.2 $140 over 5), Montgomery (3.2 $140/5), Gray (3.2 $78/3), Eduardo Rodriguez (2.8 $92/4), Stroman (2.6 $66/3), Shota Imanaga (3.1 $88/4 with a 121 ERA+), Lucas Giolito (2.3 $60/4), Seth Lugo (2.2 $39/3), Michael Wacha (1.6 $33/3), Kyle Gibson (2.1 $11/1). At this point it drops to 'if we can't get anyone better why not'
  • For LF we see Cody Bellinger (2.6 $150/6), Jung-Hoo Lee (2.2 $60/4), Gurriel Jr (1.5 $45/3), Kiermaier (1.1 $24/2), Soler (2.0 $45/3), Teoscar (1.6 $45/3), Bader (1.7 $13/1) - the variability for Lee is sky high (Korea) but the potential value to the dollar is also crazy. Easy choice after Bellinger imo. The rest I wouldn't bother with and just give low end free agents mixed with what we have in kids instead.
  • DH we get all LF options plus Ohtani (4.0 $527/13), Mitch Garver (1.9 $26/2, also a C), Rhys Hoskins (2.0 $45/3 also 1B), JD Martinez (0.6 $14/1 ranked #27)
  • 3B/2B we see Chapman (2.7 $120/5), Jeimer Candelario (1.9 $45/3), and that's it in the top 45 - Amed Rosario (2.2 $18/2) and Tim Anderson (1.4 $10/1) are SS's who are potential options (horrid offense, solid D) who barely cracked the top 50.
Yeah, the options drop off FAST especially at 3B. Snell & Imanaga are the 2 most tempting pitchers if Yamamoto can't be had (or is just too expensive) closely followed by Gray and Nola imo (factoring in years/cost vs production). LF I'm high on Lee (rated highly on defense would give us a KK/Varsho OF situation but with more youth and far more offensive potential) and would love Bellinger. DH outside of Ohtani I see not much of value beyond maybe Garver (backup C is always nice especially with Jansen being hurt all the time which seems to be a big issue with this guy too).
Mike Green - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 04:46 PM EST (#439732) #
In my view, it wasn't so much that the Orioles hit 80th percentile projections as their hyper-efficiency.  Their run-scoring was much better than its component parts,  their run-prevention was equal to its component parts, and they outperformed their Pythagorean projection by 7 games.  All in all, it amounted to 12 games. 

On the other hand, Jackson Holliday is 19, Henderson is 22, Colton Cowser is 23, Kjerstad is 24,  Rutschman is 25, Mountcastle is 26,  and Santander is 28.  The component parts of the offence should be getting better over the next few years, and their run-scoring should improve over where it was in 2023.  Their bullpen will suffer from the loss of Felix Bautista.  I don't think 2024 will be their year unless they make significant adds in the off-season, but it would not surprise me at all if they win 100 games again in 2025.  
greenfrog - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 05:04 PM EST (#439733) #
They have other very good prospects coming as well. For example, 21-year-old third baseman Colby Mayo hit .290/.410/.563 in AA/AAA in 2023.

I'm bullish on the O's. The composition of their MLB roster next year is still to be determined. I imagine they'll find a way to add some quality pitching, though. They have the prospects to do this via trade if they don't want to spend a lot in free agency. A trade similar to the Lopez-Arraez swap last off-season could make sense for them.
Ducey - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 05:16 PM EST (#439734) #
"LF I'm high on Lee (rated highly on defense would give us a KK/Varsho OF situation but with more youth and far more offensive potential) and would love Bellinger."

Last year the Jays made offers to Bellinger and they were after him even in previous years. Boras will do what he always does, use the Jays to increase the price for the team that Bellinger prefers.
Mike Green - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 05:36 PM EST (#439735) #
Apparently, Mayo's first name is Coby and yes, he too is a great hitting prospect.  Mayo was the Eastern League MVP for 2023 at age 21. 
John Northey - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 05:39 PM EST (#439736) #
Lots has gone right for the O's these past 2 years. Had to in order to jump from 52 to 83 to 101 wins. Much like lots had to go wrong to go from 89 wins (2016) to 75 to 47 (!). The last time the O's did 2 big jumps (10+ wins each year) was 1995-1997 going from 71-88-98 wins then down to 79 and 78 the next 2 years. Of course, the last year of that stretch they were counting on HOF'ers either in their prime or decline (Ripken, Mussina, Alomar, Palmeiro, Baines) plus HOVG guys who also were mid or late career (Jimmy Key, Scott Erikson, Randy Myers, Jesse Orosco) - I'd say the only good youngish player was Jeffrey Hammonds (26) so very different from this O's team. The O's best stretch was probably 1964-1983 when they won 2 WS, made the playoffs 6 times, 100+ wins 3 years in a row. That saw wins from 1962-64 77-86-97 (3 straight 90+), 1 year reload, then 91-109-108-101 then drop to 80, 97-91-90-88-97-90-102-100 strike year 94-98 (WS win) no more playoffs for 12 years. Wow. No wonder Gillick focused on growth via young players in the 70's/early 80's when that was in their division.

Normally a 10+ game jump is followed by a drop the next year. Cases like the O's going 52-83-101 are rare but often mean there is something real that changed. Sadly for us it is the development of kids who will probably be there a long time. Luckily, as Jays fans, the O's are run by a cheapskate right now so they are unlikely to sign free agents and even with that exciting young team and a nice outdoor stadium they still couldn't get even 2 million in attendance. But their ratings went up 63% (!) to 4.23 - about 10k viewers per rating point = 42k viewers, which for the Jays would be a disaster (even in their worst years they got 100k per game, now closer to a million per game). Safe to say the O's can't afford to improve, but if they don't then any gains they made will probably vanish.
greenfrog - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 07:33 PM EST (#439737) #
Coby — thanks, Mike.

The O’s do have a superabundance of young talent at the moment.
John Northey - Friday, November 10 2023 @ 11:03 PM EST (#439738) #
Well, the Jays won the Team Gold Glove award. Makes sense given the strong focus on defense this year and 3 GG winners (Chapman, Kiemaier, Berrios) plus the guy who was cheated out of it (Varsho).
uglyone - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 01:11 AM EST (#439739) #
scottt - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 06:45 AM EST (#439740) #
In my opinion, it would be insane to sign a pitcher who will cost 2 draft picks and signing money.
Only Othani and Bellinger would justify such a penalty.

It seems like Atkins is interested in an outfielder who bats right and can play center.
That looks a lot like platooning Varsho to me. Also the guy could be used as a defensive replacement, depending on who mans LF.

Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 07:54 AM EST (#439741) #
W. inspired L-C to quit drinking for good.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 12:09 PM EST (#439743) #
My off-season moves would be to shed Santiago Espinal and maybe Yimi Garcia to save money. Then sign:

Gio Urshela for 3B (1 x $5)
Rhys Hoskins for DH/1B (3 x $15M per)
Adam Duvall for LF/CF (2 x $8M per)
Brian Anderson for 3B/OF (1 x $2M)

Then MiLB FAs for AAA/insurance:
Drew Ellis 3B
Jared Walsh DH/1B
Cody Thomas CF
Alejo Lopez IF

And look to use some upper-level bullpen depth to acquire one of these two young players: Nick Loftin or Jared Triolo

And you can still eventually work in O. Martinez, A. Barger, A. Roden, etc.

And ideally another hard-throwing arm for the bullpen because I don't trust Swanson and Green as the 8th-inning/closer fill-ins.

None of the Soler, Candelario, Jung Ho Lee seem worth $15M plus over 4+ years. And the Jays aren't getting Ohtani or Bellinger (nor would I want the latter at the size of contract given his one good year in 3 seasons).
Mike Green - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 12:36 PM EST (#439745) #
None of the Soler, Candelario, Jung Ho Lee seem worth $15M plus over 4+ years

It's easy for me to figure out the reasoning for Soler and Candelario (I agree without question about Soler and Candelario is a tricky one at least at that contract size).  Jung Ho Lee is a different story; he's a younger player who if healthy seems to have a lot of upside.  What's your rationale on him? 

Urshela is 32 years old and his xwOBAs the last 3 years were .304, .323 and .288.  He has consistently hit LHP well over the last 5 years and I can see him as a platoon player, but if they're planning to use him every day at the start of the season, that will come with a cost.
John Northey - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 01:00 PM EST (#439746) #
IMO this winter is the one that will show which teams have the best scouts/analytics teams. With the top free agents all having injury issues or recent effectiveness issues (Ohtani injuries, Bellinger sucked in 21/22 and was meh in 20). Other top ones are coming from Japan (Yamamoto) or Korea (Lee). Pitchers are always a risk (one pitch from ending their career at all times), Chapman had that killer April then was dead with the bat after that.

Any team that jumps into the deep end this winter has to be a bit scared that they'll look really bad in 6 months or in 2 years.

The Jays big signings each winter...
  • pre 2020 Ryu: fantastic in 2020, meh in 2021, injured/ineffective in 2022, missed most of 2023 then very good. If when signed you told us in 3 of his 4 years the Jays would make the playoffs I think we'd all have say 'yes, sign him'.
  • pre 2021 Springer: missed half of 2021 but when playing was very good, 2022 was mostly healthy and very effective, 2023 healthy but just a 2.1 WAR player. Signed for 3 more years at $24.2 per which isn't bad for a 2+ WAR guy, but not great either.
  • pre 2022 Gausman: 31 starts both years, playoffs both years, Cy votes both years, excellent signing so far with 3 more years for less per year than Springer ($22-$23 per)
  • pre 2023 Bassitt: 200 innings in 2023, led the league in both Wins, and Starts which in the 80's would've got him a real shot at the Cy Young. 2 more years @$22 per is a good deal.
There were others signed for 1 year like Semien, Belt, Ray who were very effective. Massive long term deal for Berrios who was traded for. I think the current management team does an excellent job on free agents. They were said to be final 2 for Verlander in the past by the player himself, and reported to have offered Cole nearly identical money to what the Yankees did (over $300 million). It is rare we hear of strong Jays interest in flops (Ray being the exception for obvious reasons - he won a Cy here, but they were smart and got Gausman instead for the same money). I trust they will sign someone and it'll be a good signing in the end. We all have wish lists but we're limited by what we see in public forums. The team has tons of other information - from what players said to managers about certain guys (this guy is an ass, this one I'd love to play with, etc.) to what medical reports say (Ray's arm about to pop off for example). Sometimes they will make mistakes (Semien was well worth a 3 year deal when they signed him it turns out) but so far it is more mistakes of not signing rather than mistakes of signing (as Ray would've been).
Marc Hulet - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 04:58 PM EST (#439747) #
The big concern with Lee is that Korea is basically AA. Ha-seong Kim is really the only player to come over and hit well, unless I'm missing someone. And Kim has much more power and much more stolen base acumen.

Lee on the other hand has modest pop and good base running (but doesn't steal bases)... He doesn't really have an impact tool beside the hit tool. So you're more or less getting a singles hitter who might take a healthy number of walks - although the lack of power will ensure MLB pitchers will attack him.

So on the high-end maybe a .280 hitter with an above- avg on-base presence, 8-12 HR and 5-10 steals? And good OF defence... Is that worth $15M a season?

Given how putrid Chapman's bat was all but one month, I'd be fine with a steady glove at 3B (Urshela and Anderson) until Martinez or Barger takes over (or Triolo or Loftin, if acquired).
SK in NJ - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 05:05 PM EST (#439748) #
If they can't sign Ohtani (and let's be real, the odds are against it), then I wouldn't be against spending big on a starting pitcher and trying to find the best upside/value offensively with short term free agent signings. This is simply not the market to buy on bats long term, so I'd rather they be prudent with 1 year deals like they were last winter (Kiermaier/Belt) than to overpay for marginal upgrades that might hurt the team in future seasons. Of course if Ohtani is interested in signing here, then obviously you go for that. Bellinger is the other player, but he's far too risky of a player for me to be comfortable giving an expensive long term deal. I'd be fine with a player like Hoskins at DH for a year, and moves like that.

There seems to be some chatter about Manoah and the Cardinals. I wouldn't be a fan of Manoah for Carlson, but the Cards do have hitters who the Jays could definitely use (Donovan, O'Neill, Gorman). I don't think Manoah alone at his current value is enough for Gorman, and debatable for Donovan. O'Neill only has a year of control left so they would need more than him in return. The question is whether the Jays would sell this low on him.
scottt - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 06:33 PM EST (#439749) #
They can't punt 2024 because they don't like the market.
If they can't find the bats they need they might have to trade for them.

Pitching is not an investment. Pitching is the riskiest  part of the business.
Anybody can turn into a pumpkin. That's why the O's don't want to spend on pitching unless they're confident this is the year for them.
Remember 2014?

Now is not the time to sell low on Manoah.
If he struggles again, then they can sell and the price won't be any lower.
The "change of scenery" story will still apply as they can easily paint it as a player-management conflict.

Lee is interesting because he can hit bad pitches like Vladdy Sr.
I don't know if I'd call him a single hitter.  Out of 118 hits, 244 doubles,  43 triples and 65 HR.
He also has more walks than strikeouts.
Kinda like the opposite of Varsho who has power but can't make contact.
Power could show up in the AL East parks who are all lefty friendly.

I expect they will ink someone who has 30 HR potential even if it's a bad contract.
They are terrible on the bases.

Mike Green - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 06:36 PM EST (#439750) #
Lee hit .360/.438/.522 as a 22 year old in the KBO. If you show me a player who hits like that in double A at age 22 as a Gold Glove candidate in centerfield, I would normally treat that player as one of the top 5 prospects in baseball. Alex Rios might be a comparable.

He certainly has more power and defensive value than Luis Arraez.

Jung Kang came over at an older age and was good for 2 years. If you imagine him coming over at age 25, the Pirates would have done very well at 4 X 15M.

Personally I would be most concerned about his injury. If healthy, I think he has a decent chance to be excellent and indeed quite a bit better than Bellinger over the next 4 or 5 years.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 08:05 PM EST (#439751) #
Ben Clemens chat:

Appa Yip Yip: Would you trust Alek Manoah with a rotation spot, or should the Jays sign a starter and put Manoah in AAA to earn his way back?

Ben Clemens: Might be a spot for Nick Martinez, or somebody of that general skillset. Manaea?

Ben Clemens: I’d probably start him in Triple-A but make it really clear to everyone that if he is pitching well, he will be in the major league rotation sooner rather than later
SK in NJ - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 08:29 PM EST (#439752) #
Signing one year deals as opposed to bad 3-4 year deals is not punting 2024. The only thing it does is put pressure on existing talent to get better (Vlad, Kirk, Springer, and Varsho specifically) because a one year deal is likely to be an ancillary piece rather than a core one, but they kind of have to have that faith regardless if they are not changing the Vlad/Bo dynamic of the team. That approach was successful in 2023 with Kiermaier and Belt, it was just the existing core (and Varsho) flopped.

Pitching is risky regardless, whether it’s a free agent or Ricky Tiedemann. But if that avenue extracts the most value for the dollars allocated, then that should be a realistic route to take. The Jays have had some good luck with that in recent years.
John Northey - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 08:58 PM EST (#439753) #
'Some' good luck with pitching....

2020: Ryu signed as free agent, 3rd in Cy voting
2021: Ray signed as free agent (after being traded for): wins Cy, Berrios top 10 (traded for)
2022: Manoah comes in 3rd for Cy, Gausman top 10.0
2023: Gausman top 3 in Cy - we'll see if anyone else gets votes.

I'd say that is scary good over 4 years 4 guys traded for or free agents signed got Cy Young votes (1 win). It'll be interesting to see if the Jays go to that well again this winter as pitching isn't cheap. If so I think Sonny Gray might be the best bang for the buck (3/$78 at FG, 4/$90 at MLBTR). I also see Shota Imanaga as an interesting risk (Japan only, 4/$88 FG, 5/$85 MLBTR) depending on what scouts say. Luis Severino is an interesting rehab guy.

I'm guessing the Jays will want a guy on a 2-4 year deal to cover the Bo/Vlad years then deal with the nightmare winter of 25/26 when it hits (fresh start across the board or jump the budget through the roof).
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, November 11 2023 @ 10:24 PM EST (#439754) #
A pitcher like Jim Clancy is always useful.

Toronto has done business with Scott Boras.  The relationship between Boras and the Chairman is an intriguing question.  Can the agent privately persuade the owner?

J.D. Martinez is a Boras client.  Next year, he will be 36 years old.  Several posters have suggested Martinez, who could bat clean-up and protect Vlad.
John Northey - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 12:14 AM EST (#439756) #
Agents for top free agents...
Ohtani: CAA Sports; Bellinger: Boras; Yamamoto: Joel Wolfe; Snell: Boras; Nola: Paragon; Montgomery: Boras; Chapman: Boras; Hader: CAA Sports; Gray: Bo McKinnis; Imanaga: unknown (will be posted on Monday - 30 day window starts then); Teoscar: Republik; Candelario: Paul Kinzer; Gurriel Jr: Magnus; Jung Hoo Lee: Boras; Soler: MVP Sports; Stroman: Klutch Sports; J.D. Martinez: Boras;

I think that covers the key free agents and the ones the Jays might be chasing who could get significant contracts. Lots of Boras (Bellinger, Snell, Montgomery, Chapman, Lee, Martinez), CAA has a couple (Ohtani, Hader), the rest are pretty much one offs. I understand why Boras gets so many - if I was a MLB player I'd want him too.
christaylor - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 01:14 AM EST (#439757) #
Max Scherzer was signed for 3/$130M and was traded after just over in a professional sport. Was that absurd? Sure.

Chapman would likely be fine with a trade after year one and could get value if he wanted a trade because a rookie was deservedly taking playing time.

Also, I'd lay plenty of cuttlefish on the O's being as good or better next year than the Jays. Too much young quality in the pipeline. We can only hope ownership messes it up.

The O's weren't only good in 2023 but good after calling up Rutschman in 2022.
They'll have Means back and sure they'd be smart to take a run at a FA pitcher.

dalimon5 - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 08:49 AM EST (#439758) #
Perhaps 2024 is the year that's been eluding everyone in the AL East. The year that the fleeting stops. The year the TB Rays organization runs out of fairy dust and they finish outside of the top three.

I think Boston will load up this offseason after Bloom cut expenses. It will be a two team race for the top between Toronto and Boston. Baltimore will finish 3rd as they struggle to repeat the "5IP then hand it over to best bullpen in baseball," strategy without Bautista.

We need to imagine this front office is petrified about how to maximize the output of one "Impaler, Vlad." This is easily the most exciting and important off season for the Blue Jays since the Shapiro "program" opened its doors in TO.
85bluejay - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 10:32 AM EST (#439759) #
I don't see Ohtani leaving the west coast - Regarding the quality Japanese players coming over this winter, they usually want to play in the USA and not some outpost in Canada.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 11:10 AM EST (#439760) #
If Mike Green is correct that the Jays plan to downshift spending after 2025, I expect this off-season to be disappointing. This is because, for financial reasons, the front office will stick with patchy short-term moves (second-tier position player additions) instead of big, bold, excellence-chasing moves (Yamamoto).
John Northey - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 06:51 PM EST (#439763) #
Logically the Jays are planning for 2024/25 as contending and 2026-2028 as rebuild (like 2017-19 were). Bean counters won't want more than 3 years off as attendance (and I assume TV ratings) dropped badly after 2016. COVID messes up the numbers as 2020-2021 can't be factored into attendance (games in Dunedin and Buffalo). So 16-17 drop of 6%, 17-18 drop of 38%, 18-19 drop of 33% (even with Vlad, Bo, etc. showing up) then COVID so 19-22 +34%, 22-23 +12%. That 1/3rd drop each year while stinking up the joint shows how fast fans can and will leave. The WS years saw the same thing (but with a strike messing it up for 94/95 but those are easy to adjust to 162 games each year) sees a 1% increase in 1994 (after glow from 2 WS wins), 29% drop in 95, 24% drop in 96, 1% increase in '97 (signed Clemens and claimed to be contenders again), 6% drop in 98, 13% in 99 (post Clemens trade), 27% drop in 2000, 11% rise in 2001 (Buck as manager, some hope emerging), 17% drop in 2002 (it was false hope), slow increases until 2009 when a big drop happened (Halladay last year, drop to 87 losses, hope vanishing). 2010 25% drop as hope lost (GM fired pre-season, Halladay traded), 2011 18% jump (Bautista 50 HR year before), climbs of 10%+ in 2012 & 2013 with hope growing, 2014 7% drop as we figured out again, false hope. 2015 15% jump, 16 saw a 18% jump (playoffs both years).

You can see how it works - win and the crowds are there, lose and no one cares to come. 50 HR season didn't draw the crowds, but the year after they came. Most effects are a year trailing unless it is painfully obvious (dumping Halladay, firing GM - good combo to tell fans 'stay away', signing Clemens good sign that it might be worth coming, big trades pre-2013 a sign of hope). So this winter if nothing but negatives happen (Chapman leaves, Kiermaier goes, etc.) then it could hurt the crowds before a pitch is thrown, but add a positive or two and the crowds will come. FYI: old max was 50,516 per game (4,091,796 theoretical max season), current subject to change as they redo lower bowl is 41,500 (3,361,500 theoretical max). so last years 3,021,904 was 89.9% of capacity. 1993's record of 4,057,947 can't be reached (99.2% capacity - and it felt like it was that full when you went, it was crazy). TV audiences are no longer reported publicly which sucks but odds are we'll hear some tidbits now and then about it from 3rd parties (Forbes for example does an evaluation of franchise values annually which should mix that info in).
Mike Green - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 07:29 PM EST (#439764) #
I'm not sure that the Jays will cut payroll dramatically in 2025.  The terms of the Green extension are indirect evidence that this is their intention, and it wouldn't be the first time that the Jays (or most franchises for that matter) cut payroll after an effort at contention. 
John Northey - Sunday, November 12 2023 @ 11:15 PM EST (#439765) #
True enough Mike - I just wonder with so many contracts due post 2025 what the Jays will do. Vlad & Bo combined would be $50-60 mil most likely (or more). Romano would be over $10 mil, maybe $15. Plus Bassitt, Mayza, Cabrera, Swanson, and Biggio all would need to be paid or lost. That would add up to a LOT. The Jays could do it of course if they want, but I don't see it all happening. Instead they need some rookies to break in soon - ideally one or more starts by the end of 2024, another 1 or 2 in 2025, and so on. Obvious candidates are Davis Schneider, Orelvis Martinez, Spencer Horwitz, Addison Barger, Bowden Francis, Hagen Danner, Yosver Zulueta, as those guys are on the 40 man already. Tons of guys on the top 30 who aren't on the 40 man yet who will be getting shots in the next 2 years to show they deserve a shot, but will we see 4+ regulars (hitters or starting pitchers or key pen pieces) in time for 2026? Guess we'll see.
bpoz - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 07:31 AM EST (#439766) #
Our rebuild will definitely start if/when we are winning 78 games per season because we were not competitive. At 85 wins per season we would be competitive or close because of 3WC teams.

Assume 85 wins in 2026 with no Bo & Vlad. Questions:

1)Who replaced Bo & Vlad in 2026?

2) What is the make up of the team? Did Orelvis and Tiedemann and other home grown prospects make significant contributions? Were Berrios, Manoah & Gausman still on the team?

3) What is the makeup of the AL East? And also the makeup of the AL playoff teams?

The win target should be 90. Which IMO is the same as 2021 and forward. Miami and Arizona squeaked in with 84 wins. Then Arizona performed a miracle.
greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 09:39 AM EST (#439767) #
Wondering what it would take to pry Juan Soto away from San Diego. Although he's a marquee player, he's only one season away from free agency and he's set to earn around $33m next year. If the Jays were recently willing to spend big on a Verlander short-term deal, perhaps they would consider adding Soto for a serious WS run in 2024. He's close to a perfect fit for the Blue Jays. He would transform a "try" lineup into a "get it done" lineup.
scottt - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 10:32 AM EST (#439768) #
To get Soto, the Padres traded a shortstop who was good for over 3WAR last year, a pitcher who made 27 starts last year, 2 outfield prospects who are now in the Washington top 10 (2 and 8 by pipeline) and a pitcher close behind. (12 by pipeline).

Soto was worth over 5 WAR last year.

So what would the Padres possibly want?

If they were forced to sell him, they'd probably want to recoup some of those prospects.
Soto is their #3 hitter and the rest of the top 5 bat right.
Soto led their team with 35 HR and 109 RBI.
Not being forced, they'd want to replace his production and save some money as well.

SK in NJ - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 11:40 AM EST (#439769) #
A Soto deal would almost certainly start with Tiedemann. It really depends on what the Jays FO want to do. If they only care about the next 2 seasons then you could rationalize that move even if Soto leaves after 2024. If it’s to build a “sustainable contender”, which is what I’m assuming Rogers would prefer (85+ wins every year), then it would be harder to justify that move even with how risky Tiedemann is as a prospect. The sustainable model is going to need cheap, young, controllable talent filtering in. It’s going to be interesting to see which direction they end up going in.
greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 11:56 AM EST (#439770) #
Soto was a lot more valuable when SD traded for him (controllable for 2.5 years). Now he has one year of control remaining and that is going to be by far his most expensive year. In 2022 he earned about $17m. This year he earned $23m. Next year he's going to make about $33m.

One reason Ohtani wasn't traded in 2023 is because LAA was underwhelmed by what was being offered for him. SD faces a similar problem with Soto.
dalimon5 - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 01:09 PM EST (#439771) #
I think the easiest way to get him without giving up a top prospect is to trade Vlad for him and sign him long term instead of Vlad. You might be able to get some prospects coming your way as well. This move would require a "richest contract" in baseball type investment for Soto to sign before reaching free agency.

I expect this FO to sign Votto instead and hope his power numbers from last year were legit. I'd be fully on board with that. Basically unless Vlad starts hitting like Soto this team will be throttled.
Mike Green - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 01:54 PM EST (#439772) #
VGJ (+?) for Soto (+?) is an interesting trade.  I would do it from a Blue Jay perspective, which makes me think that the plus would be next to VGJ's name.  I think Horwitz is a 2 WAR player and VGJ is a 3 WAR player, while Soto is a 5+ WAR player.  And as for signing Soto long-term, let's say he wants 10 years @ 40M per.  I'd do that, too, even throw in a club option for 11th and 12th year at $30M with a buyout if he wanted. Or even 11 years @ 40M.    

I ran a Stathead for Soto using OFers with OPS+ between 150 and 164 and WAR between 25 and 32 for the period up to age 24 (he's at a 157 OPS+ and 28.6 bWAR).  I got 4 names aside from him- Eddie Mathews, Joe DiMaggio, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins.  Mathews and Collins played a little outfield when young.  It's a shame that there were no corner outfielders, but anyways, it does look to me like he's a got a pretty good line on being a Hall of Famer.
dalimon5 - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 02:04 PM EST (#439773) #
Mike, I would also sign that contract to sign Soto. In a way he's what everyone projected Vlad to be except from the left side which compliments Bo even better.
greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 02:05 PM EST (#439774) #
I would be willing to move Tiedemann in the right trade. I could see him being a bit like a (left-handed) Syndergaard, that is, really good for a while until the injuries pile up. His delivery and track record suggest that injuries are going to prevent him from being a durable SP. His stock is fairly high after earning 2023 AFL Pitcher of the Year.
greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 02:09 PM EST (#439775) #
One problem with Mike’s otherwise good suggestion is that the Jays seem unlike to carry two $35-40m players (Bichette and Soto) on the roster.
Jonny German - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 02:52 PM EST (#439776) #
the Jays seem unlike to carry two $35-40m players

Yaneverknow. They seemed unlikely to go into luxury tax territory too, until they went ahead and did it.
SK in NJ - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 03:01 PM EST (#439777) #
I would imagine Soto/Boras would want more than $40M AAV, but even at $45M/year I think I'd be okay with it from the Jays perspective. Everything in Soto's profile suggests he's going to age well with the bat and he's still super young so you can easily plan to build around him for many years without anticipating a huge drop off any time soon.

Whether Rogers would want to do a 10-12 year deal that will likely touch $500M (or close to it) is the question. If the Jays traded Vlad for Soto (which I would also be in favor of) and locked up Soto, then I'd be fine if they moved on from Bichette. As good as Bo has been in his career, I don't trust his offensive profile to age well, and aging well defensively likely isn't in the cards either.
Gerry - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 03:16 PM EST (#439778) #
The Jays have brought back DeMarlo Hale to be associate Manager. (whatever that means). I assume its a bench coach with a fancier title.

Don Mattingly is taking a bigger role on the hitting side, leaving the opportunity for Hale to return.
Ryan Day - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 03:28 PM EST (#439779) #
I wonder if bringing Hale in is a hedge against Mattingly leaving for Milwaukee, or whatever the next available opportunity is.
92-93 - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 03:32 PM EST (#439780) #
The second Soto trade should look a lot more like the Betts trade than the first Soto trade. The Dodgers took on $ (half of Price's contract) and didn't give up that much in prospects (Downs & Wong) along with Verdugo.

If the Padres are desperate to shed salary, it might not cost a lot more than, say, Kirk+.
Mike Green - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 04:15 PM EST (#439781) #
The Betts trade was a poor one for Boston.  They didn't get value, and Bill James indicated his disagreement with it at the time.  Since 2018, Betts has been easily the best player in baseball.  In fWAR, he leads 38 to 32 over Aaron Judge, and in bWAR, he leads 40 to 34 over Judge.  1 win per season better than the 2nd best player in baseball is just a huge difference.  Betts signed for 12/$365M for 2021-32, and so far he's earned  almost half the contract without even assessing any premium for hard-to-acquire superior performance. 

I don't think Kirk+ will get the trade done, as I imagine that about 15 other teams would jump to make a better offer.  I guess we'll see. 
Mike Green - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 04:30 PM EST (#439782) #
Bill James said that Betts was the closest player to Willie Mays he had seen.  And that's about right.  Willie was just a little better in all departments except range (quite a bit better) and throwing (not as good).  I am grateful to have seen both, although I missed Mays last great year in 1965 by a couple of years. 
greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 05:42 PM EST (#439783) #
Unless the receiving team (Toronto) is a place Soto really wants to spend the next decade or so, I can't imagine he'll agree to a long-term deal at this point. He'll have his pick of suitors in free agency in a year (at age 26).
bpoz - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 05:57 PM EST (#439784) #
I feel torn about the acquisition of Soto because Preller and Boras are not saying anything. I see 2 outcomes. He will be traded or not traded. So 50/50.

I have read that NYY are interested in Soto and Bellinger. But is it 1 or the other or both? Surprisingly NYM have not been mentioned. So I feel that they are in a full blown rebuild.

Atkins has not said anything and neither has Shapiro but I feel that they will do something this off season. I put a deadline of Jan 15 for Shapiro/Atkins to finish their moves. The Othani, Bellinger and Soto destinations may already be done by Jan 15.

So far the addition of Hale is huge IMO. Schnieder has to get this team back on track and competing. If not we have a backup manager in Hale.
dalimon5 - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 06:11 PM EST (#439785) #
"Unless the receiving team (Toronto) is a place Soto really wants to spend the next decade or so, I can't imagine he'll agree to a long-term deal at this point. He'll have his pick of suitors in free agency in a year (at age 26)."

This is why I wrote that the FO would need a record setting contract to have Soto forego free agency.
greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 06:36 PM EST (#439786) #
Wherever he signs, Soto is going to land an incredible contract (unless he gets injured next year). I imagine it will include an opt out clause.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 06:53 PM EST (#439787) #
Shohei Ohtani's contract will help set the market for Juan Soto.
Mike Green - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 07:23 PM EST (#439788) #
That's true, but neither Ohtani nor Soto have/will have the value that Betts did entering 2021.  Ohtani will turn 30 at the midpoint of the 2024 season; he's born July 5. Ohtani might get 6 or 7 X $45M, but if it's more than that, it is quite a gamble.  It is possible that Ohtani has his best offensive year ever in 2024 when he's not pitching and he doesn't end up going back to it. 
scottt - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 08:45 PM EST (#439789) #
It's not really comparable. Othani is also an elite pitcher, even though, Soto might end up at DH before long.

greenfrog - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 09:37 PM EST (#439790) #
No one knows how long Ohtani will be able to continue to pitch and stay healthy. He just had elbow surgery and he seemed to be having some other injury issue late in the season (described, perhaps charitably, as cramps). Just because he was a unicorn in his 20s doesn’t guarantee he’ll be one in his 30s.

Soto is about four years younger.

Given a choice, which player would you want for the next decade? Interesting question. I would probably take Soto.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 10:30 PM EST (#439791) #
List of free agents in 2024. " Gerrit Cole []* – can opt out of remaining four years and $144MM, though Yankees can void by adding a $36MM salary for 2029. "
Katie - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 10:48 PM EST (#439792) #
Gunnar Henderson won the AL Rookie of the Year, completely unsurprisingly.

The Orioles will receive an extra first-round pick due to his win. They really need the assistance in replenishing their farm system.
John Northey - Monday, November 13 2023 @ 11:35 PM EST (#439794) #
It'll be interesting to see what happens with Cole after 2024 as $144 mil is a lot of money, but so is an extra $36 mil, plus with a Cy in 2023 almost certain he'll probably be in line for $40+ per year for 5 ($200 mil) despite being 33 in 2024, so for ages 34-38 seasons. I'd be shocked if the Yankees don't pick up that extra year.

No question Soto is the class of 2024.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 09:06 AM EST (#439795) #
I ran a Stathead to find comps for Bo Bichette (who has an OPS+ of 126 and bWAR of 17.7 through age 25).  I used players who had been shortstops 60% of the time and had an OPS+ between 120 and 132 and WAR between 15 and 20 through age 25.  I got 3 players other than Bichette- Vern Stephens, Ernie Banks and Corey Seager.  Stephens is the poorest comp because his age 21-24 seasons were wartime ones.  If one loosens the criteria a bit to OPS+ between 116 and 136 and WAR between 14 and 21 through age 25, one gets Nomar Garciaparra and Joe Sewell. 

It's interesting that all of them were very good in their mid to late 20s and none of them (so far) had a longish prime into their early 30s and that none of them were any good at all in their late 30s.  Shortstops who lasted longer were either significantly better as a young player (like Ripken Jr. or Rodriguez) or started earlier and developed more slowly offensively (like Yount or Trammell) or who were significantly better defenders (like Ozzie or Fernandez).

dalimon5 - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 09:58 AM EST (#439796) #
Mike, that's a very interesting analysis. It also aligns with "eye test" in the sense that Bo has a lot of parts to his swing and moves with so much torque.

My mind tells me Seager has some extra insulation to a fast decline because he bats left and his swing path is a lot more fluid and smooth. Bo's swing is more of the "herky-jerky, gee golly I hope I don't rip up my obliques on this one" variety.

I find it fascinating that better players or defensive first players aged a lot better into their 30s.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 12:46 PM EST (#439797) #
Very interesting Mike - I'm putting together an entry on 10 year contracts as those are all the rage now it seems. My gut is they are a bad bet for teams, but we'll see as I put it together. My bias comes from being a Jays fan in '85 with the 'outfield of the 80's' who were all 25 in '85 and none were playing a decade later (Bell ended at 33, Moseby age 31, Barfield at age 32). Fernandez was 23 then, and played up to age 39 but missed 1 full year to injury (age 34) and another to being in Japan (age 38). Ace Steib had his arm fall off at 33 (pitched a bit the next 2 years but poorly then returned at 40 for a nice final run), Jimmy Key was just 24 in '85 and pitched until age 37 (108 ERA+ his final season split starting/relief due to a 2 month injury gap mid season).

Sure don't see a clear pattern there that a team could use to predict beyond 'don't have your OF be made of concrete'. Add in other stars like Vernon Wells (done at 34, last good year at 31), Delgado (final year age 37, 36 his last good year), Olerud made it to 36 as did Alomar (final good year at 33 - -0.3 bWAR after age 33). to cover a few big names in Jays history who were here at a young age. Obviously to get a good idea one needs to look at a lot more than that. For Bo we have his dad who played to age 37 with a 100+ OPS+ every season from age 28 up but just 0.9 bWAR from age 32-37 (horrid defense, bad baserunning). Vlad Sr made it to 36 with his only negative WAR season being age 21 (9 games). A 10 year deal after his age 25 season for Vlad Sr would've got you 39.8 bWAR (worth about $390 mil today). But his age 24 season (Jr's age in 2023) was a 4.0 followed by a 6.0 6th place MVP season. If Jr does that in 2024 we'll all be very happy and he'll be looking at a $300 mil deal.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 01:04 PM EST (#439798) #
Good long-term contracts:

Jose Ramirez
Trout extension #1
Tulo extension #1
Pujols extension #1

Depending how it works out, Corbin Carroll's recent extension might qualify as well.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 01:11 PM EST (#439799) #
The Orioles will receive an extra first-round pick due to his win. They really need the assistance in replenishing their farm system.

I wasn't sure if that was sarcastic, Katie.  They've got an average system now.

I had to laugh- I checked out the Board on Fangraphs to see how they rated the O's system.  Evan Carter is still there.  He's rated as the 30th overall prospect, with a Future Value of 50, an ETA of 2025 and low risk.  Um, they might want to update that.  It does make you wonder about the currency of other evaluations.   
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 01:42 PM EST (#439800) #
In the "Did You Know?" department.  Joey Votto has never received a Silver Slugger award.  I guess he was competing with Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt.  I wonder if any other NL first baseman won during his time.  Checks- Matt Olson in 2023, Rizzo in 2016, Adrian Gonzalez in 2014, Adam LaRoche in 2012, Prince Fielder in 2011.   In 2016, Votto and Freeman were neck and neck as the best offensive first baseman in the league with a Rizzo noticeably behind.  Votto played 2/3 of the season or less in 2012 and 2014.  He was neck-and-neck with Fielder in 2011.  In 2017, he finished 2nd in the MVP balloting behind Stanton and was far better than Goldschmidt offensively but lost the Silver Slugger award to him.  In 2010 he won the MVP award and was a little better offensively than Albert Pujols but lost the Silver Slugger award to him. 
Tough competition, one weird decision and some bad luck. 
Katie - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 02:08 PM EST (#439801) #
They may have an average system in many rankings. However, I would probably rank their system a little bit higher due to the fact that they have the #1 overall prospect and several of their other top prospects who don't have significant major league experience (Mayo, Cowser, Kjerstad, Norby, Ortiz) are all at Triple-A.

It was intended to be sarcastic and, you're right, they may need help replenishing the bottom of their farm system, but I don't think many, if any, teams, can match that collection of Triple-A bats.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 02:40 PM EST (#439802) #
That makes sense, Katie. I agree that the Oriole system has a lot going for it.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 03:47 PM EST (#439804) #
San Diego Padres majority owner Peter Seidler has died at the age of 63.
Michael - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 03:50 PM EST (#439805) #
There have been other good long term contracts like Alex Rodriguez (71.6 WAR over 10 years for $252M) or Manny Ramirez (36.6 WAR over 8 years for $160M) or Derek Jeter (41.2 WAR over 10 years for $189M) or Todd Helton (32.9 WAR over 9 years for $141M) or Carlos Beltran (32.2 WAR over 7 years for $119M) or Miguel Cabrera (46.5 WAR over 8 years for $152.3M) or Justin Verlander (35.7 WAR over 7 years for $180M) or several others.

That isn't to say long contracts always work out - far from it, you have a winners curse with free agent contracts and it seems at least as many are terrible as are good deals for the team. And even the ones that are steals for the team sometimes have a year or two that is an overpay either due to injury or fading effectiveness at the end or something else. But you certainly can have a good deal and work out well.

The key is to only sign long contracts with actually players who continue to perform like stars for most/all of their contract, not buying high on a guy who has a career year right before the contract and assuming he'll stay that guy or paying for the previous 5+ years rather than projecting the next 5+ years for a guy on his way down the aging curve.

Of course there's also the very high risk strategy of signing a bad contract with someone that is good for the first couple of years but then a disaster in the last half of the contract, but betting there will be a greater fool than you and that you will trade the player after a couple of years so the bad part of the contract is paid by the fool that needed your fading star player.
Gerry - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 04:32 PM EST (#439807) #
The Jays have added Adam Macko to their 40 man roster. That seems to be the only move for now.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 04:35 PM EST (#439808) #
Happy birthday, Spencer Horwitz. 
christaylor - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 07:02 PM EST (#439810) #
McGriff would have been an interesting 10 year contract. A different time.

I wonder if Olerud today would have been given a shot at being a two-way player.

Alternative Jays history is fun.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 07:26 PM EST (#439811) #
Max Scherzer’s 7/$210m contract from 2015-2021 worked out pretty well.
Gerry - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 07:54 PM EST (#439812) #
As if there was any doubt, Matt Chapman rejected the qualifying offer today. All other recipients of a QO rejected it.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 14 2023 @ 09:31 PM EST (#439813) #
McGriff is a good one - up at 23 (at 22 he had a 3 game barely there audition), played to 40. Free Agency would've hit after his age 28 season (appears he signed a 5 or 6 year deal just before that season but hard to say for sure) so imagine a 10 year deal from 29 to 39 - a 125 OPS+ over 1550 games, 25.3 bWAR - worth about $250 million in todays game (seems 1 WAR = $10 million lately), 4 All-Star games, once in top 5 MVP (different year than AS) so it sounds good - but over 2.0 WAR (normal regular) only 6 times (3 of 3+, 3 in the 2's). It would've been a tight contract to make work for the team giving it. And that is for a HOF'er who made it 1 year beyond that potential deal.

Basically my gut is if you do a 10 year deal plan on only getting value the first 5 years unless the guy is mid 20's or younger (IE: Vlad's age) and don't do it for a 30 year old like Judge (9 years for ages 31-40, injured for about a third of year 1 - that deal will look really bad in a few years I suspect).
dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 01:09 AM EST (#439814) #
I'm a bit surprised Cal Quantrill and Josh Staumont have been DFA'd.
85bluejay - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 02:14 PM EST (#439817) #
The death of Padres owner Peter Seidler could have significant consequences on the Padres payroll - Perhaps in part because he had cancer and wanted to win a chip while alive (like the late Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch) Peter Seidler spent freely on the team - his heirs may not share his enthusiasm (as with the Tigers) - If a team is interested in Juan Soto, I'd call in a few weeks.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 03:01 PM EST (#439819) #
They may also go all in yo try to win and commemorate him.
AWeb - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 04:07 PM EST (#439820) #
Mlb might reduce the man-on-base pitch clock a bit because games lengthened as the season went on. Not sure why this is the adjustment. The main thing I saw was that hitters were always using their timeout in longers ABs. Give them timeouts and ways to slow down and they will use them.

Easy solution I've wanted for time outs. Mound visits aren't reset by pitcher, but hitter timeouts are. Why not start at 3 per half inning, max 1 per atbat? I've wanted way fewer (9 per team per game), but loved the quicker pace this year, even if the Jays were not much fun to watch.

Nigel - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 04:22 PM EST (#439821) #
The thing that I noticed consistently as the season went along was the C's were taking longer and longer to throw the ball back to the P. Manoah starts (for example) had him pulling up his socks or turning his back to the plate after nearly every pitch. That substantially deferred the start of the timer. That's where the extra time really started to creep back in. They will need to fix that in the rule somehow.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 05:29 PM EST (#439822) #
Nigel - an easy fix is to have the timer start when the ump passes the ball to the catcher or to the pitcher. Heck, make it mandatory the ump gives it to the catcher only to make it simple and avoid that dumb spring training thing where the ump thought the catcher was pulling his glove away to show him up.

Any loopholes left in will be exploited. Athletes are amazing at finding those much like lawyers and accountants are.
Nigel - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 05:59 PM EST (#439823) #
John N - except that on 80% of the pitches the umpire isn't passing the ball back to either the P or the C. I think the best solution, from the perspective of keeping the games moving, likely ties to timing from the moment of C receipt of the previous pitch (where the ball isn't fouled off or put in play) but there are probably some other solutions. As you say, on the plays were the umpire is putting a new ball in play, then your solution makes sense.
Ducey - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 06:20 PM EST (#439824) #
Simple is best.

20 seconds from the time the ball is caught by the catcher, regardless of whether there are runners on.

And max of one timeout per hitter per game. Its always the same fellas taking timeouts every time they are at bat. This way they had better save it for a big situation, or when a bug might fly in their eye, or when the lady in the white hat and dress might appear.

Not sure on pitchers. Thinking max 3 per game for starters, and 1 per inning for relievers. This might cut down on openers too. This would mean a starter could slow it down an inning, but lets face it, they are the only ones working hard out there most of the time, and it can be pretty hot in July.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 07:22 PM EST (#439825) #
pulling up his socks

Do players still use stir-ups?

scottt - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 07:40 PM EST (#439826) #
Staumont had major surgery and will most likely not be ready by spring training.
He's only making 1M, so the saving is pretty marginal.

John Northey - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 09:01 PM EST (#439829) #
Well, Gausman came in 3rd for the Cy. Continuing a Jays trend since 2020 - 3 3rds (Ryu, Manoah, Gausman) and a win (Ray). Bassitt got a 3rd place and a 5th place vote putting him 10th overall. Full results are here. Voting for the Toronto region were Mike Wilner (Cole-Gausman-Bradish-Kirby-Bassitt) and Arden Zwelling (Cole-Gray-Gausman-Bradish-Kirby). An Oakland writer put Bassitt 3rd (Manolo Hernández-Douen for Skipping Gausman were writers from Baltimore, Chicago, and Oakland (the one who put Bassitt 3rd). All put Cole as #1. Wilner was the only one not to put Sonny Gray on his ballot - wonder if it had to do with Gray's racist views exposed on Twitter as Wilner has made it clear personal actions do affect his votes for the HOF, not sure if he said the same for votes like this probably lands in the same category (wife beaters, PED use, cheating all are no go for him so racism might be on the same level too) or I might be reading too much into it.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, November 15 2023 @ 10:07 PM EST (#439830) #
Scottt thanks for the update. I did not know that.
John Northey - Thursday, November 16 2023 @ 12:01 AM EST (#439831) #
For pitching this offseason an oddity I noticed on FG with Snell (Cy) and Nola.

Weird that Snell has thrown over 130 innings only twice, but both times he led in ERA, ERA+, H/9 and won the Cy Young. Sub 6 H/9 both those years, but 7+ every other season. 127 his best ERA+ in a non-Cy year, 182 and 217 ERA+ his two Cy years. Easy to see why FanGraphs has contract expectations at 'only' $140 mil over 5 - $28 mil per year vs the $40 mil that geezers Verlander & Scherzer are getting. Weird they have the same amount for Nola who seems a far safer bet for innings (3 straight 180+ IP, 3 times over 200 IP in his career) but worse recent performance (2 of past 3 years were sub 100 ERA+). Two very different pitchers, but both very valuable.

Yamamoto they have at the same per year rate but for 7 years (much younger) but he is a big ? due to being in Japan only so far. Montgomery is identical in expectation to Snell & Nola - Montgomery seems a mix of the two - 138 ERA+ 2023, 110+ each of the past 3 years, 150+ IP each of those years with 175+ the past 2 years in a row. so a bit worse than Snell on a peak basis, but not as reliable an inning eater as Nola.

I'd take any of those 4 for the Jays happily. With the deep pen I'd be tempted to risk Snell and his inning issues - good test of the Jays high performance team which helped the staff stay so healthy last year.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 16 2023 @ 07:46 PM EST (#439835) #
Snell's ERA fluctuations seem largely to be based on luck.  This year he had an ERA of 2.25 with xERA of 3.77 and xFIP of 3.62.  In 2018, he had an ERA of 1.89 with an xERA of 3.15 and an xFIP of 3.16.  His xFIP has been between 3 and 4 every year since 2018 and his xERA has fluctuated some between 3.04 (2019- a non Cy-Young year) and 4.82 (2021).  The main thing is that he was able to make more than 30 starts in both 2018 and this past year.  Over his career, he's had more than his share of injuries. 
John Northey - Thursday, November 16 2023 @ 10:20 PM EST (#439836) #
So the award season is done and here are the Jay results...
  • Manager of the Year: John Schneider came in 6th with 1 3rd place vote from Joe Reedy of the Associated Press voting for the Angels
  • Rookie of the Year: no votes for the moustache.
  • Cy Young: Gausman 3rd (on all but 3 ballots), Bassitt 10th with a 3rd and 5th place vote
  • MVP: Bo Bichette 16th with 2 9th place and a 10th place vote (from Tim Kurkjian-ESPN-BAL 10th; 9ths from Dave Skretta-The Associated Press-KC & Marc Topkin-Tampa Bay Times-Rays)
The Jays to win each...
  • Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox 1985 (Cito got votes 7 times but 2nd was his best finish his rookie managing year)
  • Rookie of the Year: Eric Hinske 2002 (3B); Alfredo Griffin 1978 (SS-tied)
  • Cy Young: Robbie Ray 2021; Halladay 2003; Clemens 1997 & 1998; Hentgen 1996;
  • MVP: Donaldson 2015 (3B); Bell 1987 (LF);
Note: No Jay pitcher has ever won reliever of the year (Romano has a shot with his 36-4 sv-blsv, no AL reliever had fewer blown saves who saved 25+ games). The only AL reliever with a better save % than his 90% was Gabe Speier (100% - 1 for 1 with 17 holds). His 11% inherited scoring was 14th, 8th for guys who had 10+ baserunners on. Félix Bautista won one award for relievers already (3 fewer saves, 2 more blown, half the inherited runners but none scored - Bautista did have the pretty 1.48 ERA and 16.2 K/9 vs Romano's 2.90 ERA and 11.0 K/9). Seems odd but back in the Henke/Ward and Eichhorn days they used a formula which didn't work well for the Jays relievers vs the voting they do now.
Michael - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 01:59 AM EST (#439837) #
Video of short interview with Kevin Gausman and cute family at Other than the family, Gausman gives a pretty humble, good guy, team first view of the question reflecting compliments back on the other starters and the defense.
Gerry - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 01:01 PM EST (#439840) #
Happy non-tender day everyone. Adam Cimber and Santiago Espinal seem to the Jays who are in jeopardy.
bpoz - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 01:51 PM EST (#439841) #
There is trade activity happening. Rockies get C Quantrill from Guardians for catcher Huff.
Mike Green - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 02:31 PM EST (#439842) #
I hope they don't non-tender Espinal. After a terrible first half, he was near his career norms in the second half. He's been a 3 WAR/650 PA player over his career. Even if he's a 1.5-2 WAR player now at age 29, he would be good value at the roughly $2M that I think he would get paid in arb. But I might be wrong about what an arbitrator would do.

The Jays don't have anyone else quite ready to back up Bichette. If it isn't Espinal, it will likely be someone else who will cost at least as much and probably not be any better.
85bluejay - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 02:40 PM EST (#439843) #
Given that Espinal can play a competent SS, I'd be surprised if he's let go and really it's his 1st year producing below expectations.
Ducey - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 03:25 PM EST (#439844) #
If they wanted to part with Espinal you would think they could trade him and get some kind of prospect.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 03:47 PM EST (#439845) #
List of possible non-tender candidates per Brandon Woodruff P, Rowdy Tellez 1B, Daniel Vogelbach DH, Austin Meadows OF, Kyle Farmer IF, Kyle Lewis OF, James Karinchak P, Joe Mantiply P, Jose Trevino C, Nick Senzel OF, Jorge Mateo SS, Nick Gordon OF, Dakota Hudson P, Spencer Turnbull P.
John Northey - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 04:00 PM EST (#439846) #
I'd expect the Jays to offer Espinal arbitration just due to the lack of decent SS backups that are ready, unless they are a lot higher than I think they are on Clement. Clement has no options left so he has to be on the roster or be let go and is still pre-arb. Espinal is on his 2nd year of arb and is a year older than Clement. Espinal is also the last of Vlad's buddies on the team I think (the Barrio, Springer is part of it too) - generally known as the 'party guys' who never seem to take things too seriously.

Logically keeping Clement and letting Espinal go to save roughly $2 mil makes a lot of sense. But before coming here Clement had a 50 OPS+ - 144 in his 52 PA here. Espinal's 80 last year was worse than his career 96 by a fair amount. So the question is - is Espinal unlikely to get back to his career norm, and is Clement also unlikely to get back to his? Plus, of course, is how Vlad would react to another member of the Barrio being dumped. My gut says he gets a contract offer and the Jays keep the option open of releasing him in spring (would cost, I think, 1/6th of his salary if they do it early enough). Given MLBTR only estimates a $2.5 mil deal for Espinal I can't see the Jays dumping him at this time. Cimber at $3.2 I can't see them keeping. Cimber also is on his last year of arbitration and has no options left so if they keep him he has to stay on the ML roster all season which seems silly given the pen depth as is (Romano-Swanson-Green-Mayza-Cabrera-Garcia-Richards-White is a pretty full pen as is with Pop, Francis, Pearson, and others deserving a shot. In my ideal world they trade Garcia & Richards to open slots for the optionable guys (Pearson on his final one as is Pop and Danner, plus I expect Zulueta and Little will get ML time at some point in 2024 and of course there is always a surprise or two in the pen at some point each year).

The bench on the other hand is so-so right now at best with Espinal-Clement-Horwitz-Lopez as options outside of the backup catcher (Jansen or Kirk depending on who is hot). Right now Biggio starts as does Schneider. The regular DH would be whatever catcher isn't playing with Lukes in LF according to FanGraphs (hard to argue given the current roster which won't be the roster come March). If the Jays get enough starting players to fill LF/DH/3B then a catcher is on the bench with Schneider/Biggio sharing 2B most likely. Espinal and Clement would fill the roster. Keeping Lukes-Horwitz-Lopez in AAA with the kids.

Now, if the Jays would just get Ohtani, Bellinger, and Chapman to all sign on the dotted line we'd be set ... OK, my odds of winning the lottery might be better than that happening, but still one can dream.
Glevin - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 04:22 PM EST (#439847) #
I don't think they will non-tender Espinal because no one else can play SS but I hope it's a position they look to improve. Espinal is fine as a AAAA fill-in type who is useful but have a look at his statcast page. It is blue blue blue everywhere except not striking out.
Mike Green - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 06:10 PM EST (#439848) #
The summary of Espinal's contributions offensively per Statcast are his xwOBA. It was down in 2023, but not as much as one would think.  From 2020 to 2023- his xwOBAs were .283, .307, .298, .290.  His defensive contributions in 2023 were off much more, most noticeably in range (95% to 90% to 88% to 14th percentile).  UZR suggests that most of that was the result of 5 fielding errors he made in 300 innings at second base and a .953 fielding percentage.  If one is concerned about his ability to field balls well, that's an awfully small sample.  To get a more thorough look, check out his fangraphs page.  He had a good season at third base in 160 innings, according to UZR and OAA (Statcast), but a poor one according to DRS.  He had a neutral time at shortstop according to DRS and UZR but a poor one according to OAA. 

Taking his 2023 defensive statistics as an indicator of his current defensive capabilities would be as unwise as treating his 2021 offensive statistics as indicative of his offensive capacities (he generated 1.9 fWAR in 246 PA that year behind a .311/.376/.405 line- a 5 fWAR pace).  No one gave him a full-time job then.  What I see from 2023 is a down year, but not one so out of step with his career to date that one can ignore the volume of his work prior. 
Mike Green - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 06:18 PM EST (#439849) #
In the "did you know" department.  Santiago Espinal had a higher xwOBA than Whit Merrifield in 2021, 2022 and 2023.  Espinal did his job of being a back-up middle infielder much more productively than Merrifield did his job being a mostly full-time player. 
John Northey - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 06:48 PM EST (#439850) #
Huh. Didn't notice that Mike. Merrifield was once a solid player but now is just hanging on due to his 'grit' and 'leadership' reps imo. At times I thought 'yeah, he is a solid guy to have' but now I don't see a slot on a roster for him. I'm sure he'll find a job somewhere (Oakland?) but not here. Espinal I was a fan of as a high quality backup infielder - most backup SS's are John McDonald types - 59 OPS+ lifetime or Ryan Goins (65 OPS+ - had a fair amount of playtime during the 15/16 years). Heck, the Jays won 2 WS with Alfredo Griffin as the backup - 266 PA those 2 years with a 44 OPS+ (0-2 in the playoffs those years but was on deck when Carter hit the home run - that was his final moment in pro-ball as a player).
John Northey - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 09:00 PM EST (#439851) #
So with a full pen (no options for anyone who would be optioned down, just for Romano-Swanson-Cabrera-Mayza) the Jays clearly need to trade someone to create space for it. Safe to say there is no chance of Romano-Swanson-Green-Mayza-Cabrera being traded unless it is a crazy lobsided deal for the Jays. The remaining 3 slots are Garcia-Richards-White. Cabrera might be optioned down if no deals happen just to allow the shuffling whenever the pen is drained. On the 40 man on their final option are Francis, Parsons (likely released when a 40 man slot is needed), Pearson, Pop, Danner. With 2 or more options are Zulueta, Little, and Macko.

For the bench both Lopez and Clement are out of options. I only see space for 1 or the other at most on the team so we'll see what happens as the winter roles along. Horowitz, Lukes, and Espinal both have 2 options left, Schneider & Biggio have all 3 of theirs (never went down once called up) as do many regulars. Once you have 5 years of service time your options expire automatically (Jansen, Springer, Gausman, Berrios, Bassitt, Kikuchi, Garcia, Green, and Richards land under that category).
Mike Green - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 09:22 PM EST (#439852) #
They just non-tendered Cimber.  Correct move. 
Mike Green - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 09:24 PM EST (#439853) #
Jose Trevino was non-tendered by the Yankees.  He'd make a fine back-up catcher for someone. 
Gerry - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 09:55 PM EST (#439854) #
I thought Espinal was heavier in 2023 which could impact defensive performance.
Mike Green - Friday, November 17 2023 @ 10:02 PM EST (#439855) #
I thought he was heavier too, but the numbers suggest that the major issue was making fielding errors at second base (and not at third base) and not particularly getting to balls. Fielding errors would not in my view likely result from some added weight.
Ducey - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 09:12 AM EST (#439856) #
Mike Ford was just non tendered by SEA. He had a 122 ops+ last season. Vlad was 117.

Not saying, just saying.
bpoz - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 09:58 AM EST (#439857) #
Last off season the Jays made a lot of moves. Some big and some not so big.
Bassitt was a big move because of the high salary. Poor showings from Berrios and Kikuchi was a motivator.

Not so big were Swanson, KK, Belt and Green. Varsho was somewhere in the middle IMO.

For this off season Little is a small depth piece IMO. So there could be some heavy lifting coming. Our O needs a big boost. Some of that could eventually come internally. We do have some candidates. This FO is very cautious so the O will probably be addressed in the off season through experienced players because of the uncertainty of youth.
scottt - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 11:58 AM EST (#439858) #
Lou Trevino is a relief pitcher who was on the 60IL.
scottt - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 12:10 PM EST (#439859) #
Swanson was pretty big move because they traded Teoscar.

KK was a relatively big move since they beat the market on him.
He certainly wasn't planning to play on the turf again.
It's just that the interest on KK wasn't that great and the Jays took advantage.

Belt was by far the biggest bat they acquire that winter.
It was a big gamble.
He had a very slow start and that led to the lineup being shaken several times early on.
Wasn't he supposed to be the clean up hitter?

Green wasn't a big move because it was mostly a delayed move.
We'll see the impact in 2024.

Varsho was the big trade that Atkins worked on all winter.
It's really weird that they were able to get Gurriel as well.
It would have been very dumb for them to pass on Moreno without Gurriel, but they knew that the Jays really wanted a good left bat in the outfield even after signing KK.
Signing KK might have ultimately pushed Gurriel out as the Jays already had 3 outfielders by then.

92-93 - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 12:30 PM EST (#439860) #
Merrifield hit significantly better than Espinal from the time he became a Jay. Drilling down their productivity to xwOBA, a stat that tells you expected production instead of actual production, completely misses the boat. And Merrifield's significant outperformance came despite the fact that he often started vs. RHP, whereas Espinal was shielded from that role as a bench player (and was bad at it as a starter).
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 12:45 PM EST (#439861) #
" Jose Trevino was non-tendered by the Yankees."

Looking at the list of non-tendered players, it is injured reliever, Lou Trivino, who is on it from the Yankees, Mike.
Glevin - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 12:57 PM EST (#439862) #
"Merrifield hit significantly better than Espinal from the time he became a Jay. Drilling down their productivity to xwOBA, a stat that tells you expected production instead of actual production, completely misses the boat. And Merrifield's significant outperformance came despite the fact that he often started vs. RHP, whereas Espinal was shielded from that role as a bench player (and was bad at it as a starter)."

Yeah, happy Merrifield is not back but he was definitely more valuable than Espinal. I think Espinal is likely a 90 WRC+ guy with decent D. To me, more of a AAAA guy who gets called up due to injury than someone you want to be giving abs too. Right now, he should be on the team but hope the Jays upgrade enough so where he doesn't need to be.
John Northey - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 01:00 PM EST (#439863) #
Ford would be an interesting guy to take a flier on with a spring invite - 122 OPS+ last year, but just a 89 for the 4 years before that (151 games 468 PA) a LH DH/1B would be a solid plan C or D imo. I suspect a bad team like Oakland might sign him though with a promise of playing time. Ducey - there is no comparison of him to Vlad, Vlad is coming off a bad season, Ford had his best, Vlad is 25, Ford is entering his age 31 season. Ford's xwOBA is 312 for last year Vlad's 374. When projecting 2024 and beyond I'd look a lot more at xwOBA and other xw figures than what they actually did in 2023.

FYI: by xAvg/xOBP/xSlg we get 291/444/494 for Vlad for 2023 vs the real 264/345/444 which suggests he had a LOT of bad luck. Mix that with him working his tail off this winter in the Jays complex in Florida instead of going home to rest and relax and one has to thing 2024 will be a solid season for him. Ford will most likely be who he is - much like Tellez - a useful bat for a team as a platoon or part timer. FYI: Tellez also released - he really collapsed in '23 215/291/376 xwOBA of just 303. Hopefully someone gives him a shot as I liked cheering him on but I wouldn't be shocked if he ends up going to Japan or Korea to get playing time/a decent contract.

On the rumor front - Seattle appears out of the Ohtani race. Current favorites are Angels, Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers, Cubs, with the Yankees, Mets, Padres, and Phillies listed as 'likely'. I don't see the Angels having more than 'I played for you so I'll listen' negotiations. The Dodgers are easily #1 but the Jays get listed more and more often on misc. sites as the dark horse in the race. Had a fantasy of the Jays having a press conference and saying 'we are going for it, we are proud to introduce our newest players - Chapman, Bellinger, and Ohtani' with the media gasping. Of course that would shoot the Jays payroll up into Mets territory over $300 mil probably which would be nuts. But boy would it be fun.
John Northey - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 01:16 PM EST (#439864) #
Oh, Fangraphs has Steamer projections for 2024 up. Most projection systems are in eyeshot of each other so this should be interesting...
  • 4+ WAR players: Bo & Vlad at 4.2 and 4.1 respectively. Gausman 4.4
  • 3-3.9 WAR: Varsho, Springer, & Kirk at 3.0
  • 1.5 to 2.9: Jansen (2.1) and Schneider (1.8 in 94 games = 2.9 over 150), Berrios 2.3, Bassitt 2.4, Kikuchi 2.2
  • 1.0: Biggio & Espinal
  • 0.1-0.9: Lukes, Horwitz, Orelvis Martinez, Barger, Palmegiani, Lopez, Clement, Heinemann, Manoah 0.9 (just 126 IP, 23 starts)
  • --------------
  • Free Agents: Ohtani is at 4.0 (143 wRC+), Bellinger 2.4 (108 wRC+), Chapman 2.6 (103 wRC+)
  • Free agent pitchers: Nola 4.2, Snell 3.2, Montgomery 3.1, Stroman 2.6 to give an idea of what is out there.
Bellinger and Chapman at those projection levels are not guys who should be top 5 in free agency, but it is a weak year. We'll see how the Jays act with the way the market is.
John Northey - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 05:02 PM EST (#439865) #
FYI: For Tampa...
  • 4+: Franco (5.2), Diaz (4.4)
  • 3's: Paredes (3.6), Glasgow (3.8), Eflin (3.4)
  • 2's: Arozarena (2.9), Brandon & Josh Lowe (2.6, 2.1), Civale (2.0)
  • 1's: Pinto (1.6), Siri (1.5), Margot (1.0), Baz (1.9), Taj Bradley (1.5), Fairbanks (1.1)
  • 4+: Judge (6.2)
  • 3's: Torres (3.9), Cole (3.6), Rodon (3.1)
  • 2's: Volpe (2.8), LeMathieu (2.2)
  • 1's: Trevino (1.9), Rizzo (1.4), Wells (1.2), Peraza (1.1), King (1.9), Cortes (1.9), Schmidt (1.5)
Boy the Yankees are counting on Judge being healthy to a big degree, Rodon too. Stanton at 0.9 with 27 HR (every other aspect of his game has gone kaput). Those 1's could go up or collapse. I'd be shocked if the Yankees don't sign someone big this winter.

The east will be a battle but it is interesting the Jays have more guys projected at 4+ WAR than either of them.
John Northey - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 05:28 PM EST (#439866) #
And least I forget...
  • 4+: Rutschman (5.5), Henderson (5.0)
  • 3's: none
  • 2's: Holliday (2.6), Mullins (2.3), Santander (2.1), Grayson Rodriguez (2.7), Bradish (2.5)
  • 1's: Westburg (1.7), Hays (1.7), Mountcastle (1.6), Kremer (1.3), Means (1.2)
Boy do they need more pitching. A very top heavy team. If either of those 2 go down so goes their hopes of a repeat.

  • 4+: Devers (4.7)
  • 3's: none
  • 2's: Casas (2.8), Sale (2.7), Bello (2.5), Pivetta (2.1)
  • 1's: Yoshida (1.8), Verdugo (1.7), Story (1.7), Duran (1.5), Abreu (1.2), Valdez (1.0), Houck (1.7), Crawford (1.6)
Easy to see why Boston isn't expected to contend unless they shell out a lot this winter.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 07:16 PM EST (#439867) #
Thanks, John.  The numbers show Toronto has a strong team.  Next year, the club can match and exceed the sum of its parts.  Atkins will need to boost the offence, as bpoz described.  An infielder, outfielder, plus DH.  We should have a clearer picture in about six weeks or so.
John Northey - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 07:47 PM EST (#439868) #
Agreed LC. This is more a picture of where teams are today without emotion mixed in. FanGraphs lets you export so I did that and summed up by team...
  • Overall: Tampa (44.1), Jays (41.5), NYY (39.4), Bal (37.1), Boston (32.7)
  • Batting: Tampa (28.2), Baltimore (26.0), Jays (25.3), Yankees (24.5), Boston (18.4)
  • Pitching: Jays (16.3), Rays (16.0), NYY (14.8), Boston (14.3), Baltimore (11.1)
Boy does that make it obvious where Baltimore needs to work this winter - dumb thing is there are so many high end pitchers on the market they could get a couple of good quality starters if they are willing to spend but all indicators are they aren't. Phew. Jays being 1st in pitching and 3rd in offence fits the view of where they need to improve.

For pure offense the best free agents are (by wRC+ projected)...
Ohtani (143), Michael Brantley (120), Jorge Soler (119), Joc Pederson (118), Rhys Hoskins (116), Austin Meadows (116), Jesse Winker (113), Daniel Vogelbach (112), Mitch Garver (112)

That's it for 110+ free agents. Notables: Gurriel (109), Bellinger (108), Tellez (107), JD Martinez (106), Belt (106), Teoscar (106), Turner (105), Jeimer Candelario (104), Chapman (103), Gio Urshela (99), Donaldson (98), Jurickson Profar (97), Gallo (97), Votto (95), Kevin Kiermaier (88), Paul DeJong (75), with the worst being Jose Arias (-18). They have 1218 guys listed as free agents - obviously many won't sign and will instead retire (willing or not). Chapman is the only free agent listed with a positive offensive score and a +1 or better defensive score this winter.

For 3B there are only 3 guys with a +1 or better WAR listed - Chapman (2.6), Candelario (1.8), and Urshela (1.1), all others are basically just filler.

Basically the Jays have to sign one of the big 3 to gain any offensive value from free agency this winter (Ohtani, Bellinger, Chapman) or do a mix/match with guys like Brantley, Soler, Pederson who have holes that require part-time work not full time. Jays have wanted Brantley for a long time but with just 79 games over the past 2 seasons combined will they still want him? He'd be a good filler if neither Ohtani or Bellinger can be signed and the Jays don't want to have a return of Gurriel or Teoscar. He could play part time with Schneider facing all LHP in LF or finding a RH bat to mix with him at DH/LF.
scottt - Saturday, November 18 2023 @ 09:37 PM EST (#439869) #
Brantley is getting really old.
At this point, they need a 4th outfielder who bats right to platoon with Varsho or replace him if he gets hurts.

greenfrog - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 07:45 AM EST (#439870) #
Yamamoto negotiations to start Tuesday.

I hope this isn't one of those "Yankees land Yamamoto and Soto, Jays land Manaea and Pederson" offseasons.
bpoz - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 09:00 AM EST (#439871) #
Thanks for the analysis John N based on Steamer 2024 projections.

I checked the 2023 stats. Chapman got high marks for his excellent D as did Varsho. After April Chapman was consistently bad on O. IMO he is a huge risk to a team desperate for O like the Jays. NYY rookie A Volpe had an up and down season by month 21Hr & 24SB was good but 209 avg was bad. He may improve or not. NYY should not take a chance in 2024 because there is a risk. D Schneider got his good projection on his Fantastic Aug but followed it with a V poor Sept. Fortunately the Jays are not fully committed to him IMO.

I looked at the Sept 2023 O stats for some of the Jays. The following players were bad or V bad on O Schneider, Chapman, Varsho & Merrifield. The following players provided V good O for the Jays in Sept Belt, Biggio, Vlad and especially Espinal. I did not check everyone. IMO the Jays were lucky to get into the playoffs.
John Northey - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 11:21 AM EST (#439872) #
I'm thinking more and more that free agency won't help the Jays this winter unless they get one of the big 2 or go for an ace to finish off the rotation. Not an easy winter coming up. The Jays are in decent shape with no moves based on fWAR projections from Steamer but it counts on a big rebound from Vlad (I think it is likely) and for no injuries (unlikely). Just because Texas won with a 113 OPS+ and 105 ERA+ as a team doesn't mean that is likely to do well in 2024. FYI: the Jays were at 106 OPS+, 113 ERA+ - so they were basically mirrors.

Part of me wants to see Barger, Schneider, Martinez all getting full time shots, part of me is petrified they will. Part of me wants Biggio to get a full-time shot at 3B, the part that remembers the last time he had a near full-time shot there is going 'yikes'. I'd love Manoah to earn that starting rotation spot again and then go on to a top 5 Cy year again, but betting on it? No way.

The Jays want to sell out the stadium and get 3 mil+ again and some playoff dates in the dome. They will make moves. But which ones? A trade for Soto will be very expensive. Signing Ohtani would be very, very expensive. By Steamer WAR the 5+ guys (ie: star level) are Ronald Acuña Jr., Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, Yordan Alvarez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Julio Rodríguez, Adley Rutschman, José Ramírez, Wander Franco, Corey Seager, Gunnar Henderson. Outside of Soto which of those is available? I'd think none. The 4.5+'ers are Kyle Tucker, Bobby Witt Jr., Rafael Devers, Corbin Carroll, Alex Bregman, Freddie Freeman, William Contreras. Nope, none available. 4's? Matt Olson, Yandy Díaz, Michael Harris II, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien, Mike Trout, Bo Bichette, Brandon Nimmo, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Jose Altuve, Shohei Ohtani, Will Smith, Bryce Harper, Austin Riley. Now we hit a couple - Ohtani obviously, Francisco Lindor could be if the Mets decide 'screw it' and rebuild this year, Mike Trout the Angels would give away if you take his contract (but you'd be insane to take that on - a Vernon Wells situation almost except he still can play but all those injuries have to add up at some point), Brandon Nimmo is the same as Lindor - only if the Mets decide 'screw it'. So really, for an impact bat beyond what we have in Vlad & Bo it will be very hard to get one. Soto & Ohtani are it at the high end unless the Mets decide to go full rebuild which I doubt will happen. No hitters with projected WAR in the 3's are free agents. Only Matt Chapman, Cody Bellinger, Amed Rosario (SS/2B who is around a 100 OPS+), Rhys Hoskins (1B/DH solid hitter) are free agents in the 2's.

Pitching wise there is a guy at the 4+ WAR level. Spencer Strider, Zack Wheeler, Kevin Gausman, Aaron Nola, Framber Valdez, Logan Webb, Pablo López, Tarik Skubal are projected there. Nola is the free agent. Yoshinobu Yamamoto could be there, but no one knows (projections from Japan are notorious for big error bars) - he gets posted tomorrow it seems. Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery are all solid 3+ WAR guys too.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 11:57 AM EST (#439873) #
In the past, it seemed like Francisco Lindor would be a natural target for Ross Atkins. Lindor's contract has 8 years and $272.8 M remaining.
Gerry - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 01:14 PM EST (#439874) #
Nola stays with the Phillies on a 7 year deal.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 04:52 PM EST (#439875) #
The Nola contract is reminiscent of last offseason. Big money being thrown around.
lexomatic - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 05:55 PM EST (#439876) #
Agreed LC. This is more a picture of where teams are today without emotion mixed in. FanGraphs lets you export so I did that and summed up by team...
  • Overall: Tampa (44.1), Jays (41.5), NYY (39.4), Bal (37.1), Boston (32.7)
  • Batting: Tampa (28.2), Baltimore (26.0), Jays (25.3), Yankees (24.5), Boston (18.4)
  • Pitching: Jays (16.3), Rays (16.0), NYY (14.8), Boston (14.3), Baltimore (11.1)
Forgetting that the Tampa numbers include Franco who is unlikely to play next year at least... if ever again. AND they traded Brujan. Not sure who will play SS for the Rays. This is likely to be a rough year for Tampa because of Mclanahan being unavailable too. I fully expect them to have some surprising unknowns
Mike Green - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 06:16 PM EST (#439877) #
It's true.  It isn't so much the AAV, but the years that Nola got (7).  His ERA+ the last 3 years was 90, 123 and 96 and he's 30 years old.   He has been durable though over his career.    Nonetheless when I read a Stathead using a favourable time-frame, the resulting comps weren't great in their 30s.  The Stathead search used age 25-30 with account for the COVID year 2020:  ERA+ between 110 and 122 and IP between 1050 and 1175- Nola is at 116 ERA+ and 1065 innings for his age 25-30 period.  I chose 25-30 because he had his great season at age 25.  Anyways, the comps begin with Gio Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Mario Soto, Dallas Keuchel, and Jim Maloney.  The first 18 (ending in Dock Ellis!) are all post-integration and none were good in their 30s.  Pat Dobson was solid at 28, 29 and 30 and then fell off a cliff.  Ken Hill was very good at age 28 and 30 and useful at age 29, but his 30s would be worth $40M in today's terms.  The best of the comps was Bill Hands, whose performance from age 31 would have been worth about $90M in today's terms.  Absolutely none of them sustained it. 

Nola does seem to have a better record of durability than the average of his comps and he does strike out 10 per 9 IP, so maybe you can expect him to do better than average.  But, I wouldn't be giving out 7 year contracts to pitchers of Nola's age and performance level.  I like him though, and can see getting a higher AAV for a much shorter term- say, 3 years at $35M. 

greenfrog - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 06:17 PM EST (#439878) #
After this year’s postseason disaster, I feel this would be a great time for Rogers/Shapiro to make amends with the fans by doing something big and exciting—Yamamoto, Ohtani, Soto. This would energize the fan base and change the narrative around the team. “Plugging holes” (I hate that expression) and bringing back the same cast of characters next year would be boring and likely inadequate in terms of on-field performance.
John Northey - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 07:11 PM EST (#439879) #
Can't believe I forgot about Franco's time with teens and how that has killed his career it seems. Without his 5.2 projected WAR the Rays drop a lot, behind both the Jays & Yankees. That makes the Jays the #2 offense and #1 overall for the AL East without any additions. Imagine if they sign or trade for improvements in LF/3B/2B/5th starter. For regulars & semi-regulars (300+ PA) Steamer has... Kirk (C/DH), Jansen (C/DH), Vlad (1B), Schneider (2B), Biggio (3B), Bo (SS), Lukes (!) (LF), Varsho (CF), Springer (RF), Espinal (UT - given playing time estimates it looks mainly at 2B or 3B with Biggio at 2B). Anyone who thinks Lukes is going to play 87 games 332 PA in 2024 is nuts imo (they estimate a 709 OPS). 200+ PA for Spencer Horwitz & Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger at 145, Cam Eden 92, Ernie Clement 72 and just over 100 each for Otto Lopez & Damiano Palmegiani. 1.5 WAR for over 1000 PA for the sub 300 PA guys. Now picture putting any of the top free agents into that slot instead, eating 500-600 PA from those guys.

Of course, Baltimore can shoot ahead of everyone with some quality pitching adds - they can sacrifice some of their kids for that or (gasp) pay out some cash. As I said earlier though, as Jay fans we are lucky - the O's are VERY unlikely to part with cash.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 07:20 PM EST (#439880) #
My understanding was always that Steamer isn't very reliable at predicting future value. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that.
John Northey - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 07:36 PM EST (#439881) #
No idea how good it is but it is an objective way to look at 2024 vs our WAG versions. If I was to guess at 2024 I'd be way too optimistic (I always am). Plus I haven't seen other projection systems out yet.
bpoz - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 09:37 PM EST (#439882) #
If we are talking about accuracy of projections then look at the 2023 projections. They may even be in an old thread. Could be fun.

I would like to stack them up with. LAD, Atlanta and especially NYM, SD, Miami and Arizona in the NL. AL Texas, Baltimore, NYY.
John Northey - Sunday, November 19 2023 @ 11:14 PM EST (#439883) #
An excellent question - I found a site that compared them for fantasy purposes and it has Steamer as 10th and ATC as #1. Sadly only Steamer and Depth Charts (#6) are up right now.

Now that I've set it up once it wasn't hard to get it a second time.
Depth Charts
Overall: Rays (46.5), Jays (42.4), NYY (41.4), Bal (39.3), Bos (34.9)
Pitching: Rays (17.5), Jays (16.3), NYY (16.0), Bos (15.4), Bal (12.4)
Hitting: Rays (28.9), Bal (26.8), Jays (26.1), NYY (25.4), Bos (19.4)

5+ WAR: Ronald Acuña Jr. (7.3), Juan Soto (6.6), Aaron Judge (6.1), Mookie Betts (5.7), Yordan Alvarez (5.7), Julio Rodríguez (5.6), Fernando Tatis Jr. (5.5), Kyle Tucker (5.2), Adley Rutschman (5.2), José Ramírez (5.2)

AL East...
  • 4+ WAR: Aaron Judge (6.1), Adley Rutschman (5.2), Wander Franco (4.9), Gunnar Henderson (4.8), Rafael Devers (4.7), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (4.2), Yandy Díaz (4.1), Bo Bichette (4.0), Kevin Gausman (4.4)
  • 3's: Gleyber Torres (3.9), Isaac Paredes (3.7), Daulton Varsho (3.1, Alejandro Kirk (3.1), Tyler Glasnow (3.84), Gerrit Cole (3.64), Zach Eflin (3.41), Carlos Rodón (3.13)
  • 2's: Anthony Volpe (2.9), Triston Casas (2.9), Jackson Holliday (2.8), George Springer (2.8), Brandon Lowe (2.7), Cedric Mullins (2.3), Josh Lowe (2.2), Danny Jansen (2.1), Anthony Santander (2.1), DJ LeMahieu (2.1), Jose Trevino (2.0), Masataka Yoshida (2.0), Grayson Rodriguez (2.7), Chris Sale (2.7), Kyle Bradish (2.5), Brayan Bello (2.5), Chris Bassitt (2.5), José Berríos (2.3), Yusei Kikuchi (2.2), Nick Pivetta (2.1), Aaron Civale (2.0)
A lot of similarities between this and the Steamer projections. Both see big rebounds for Vlad (over 4 WAR in both cases). Manoah isn't seen as likely to recover (0.9 WAR from both). Both put the Rays as #1 with Franco, #2 without. The O's pitching is their downfall in both cases.
Michael - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 01:18 AM EST (#439884) #
It is natural to expect some amount of rebound from Vlad both because he's still in the good part of the aging curve, he's had better years in the past, and he was somewhat unlucky last year in terms of results compared to underlying advanced metrics. You wouldn't bet on top 3 MVP candidate (although that is possible), but you would bet on better than last year's results.
Jonny German - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 02:23 AM EST (#439885) #
The Stathead search used age 25-30 with account for the COVID year 2020:  ERA+ between 110 and 122 and IP between 1050 and 1175

Nola's teammate Zach Wheeler falls well short on both of your criteria - only 535 IP and ERA+ of 106. But you can be sure the Philadelphia front office was thinking about how well the Wheeler contract has worked out when committing to Nola.

Which isn't to say I expect this contract to age well.

Bad news for all you Oriole fans, they're not going to get the pitching they need at these rates.

Kevin Gausman's contract is an absolute steal for the Blue Jays.

bpoz - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 09:48 AM EST (#439886) #
Any factor of a team can suffer in a given year. Usually pitching. But the 2023 Jays was obviously offense.

Teo was weak defensively so Montoyo visited him before the 2019 season to talk about improving his D. Teo's D probably cost us some wins in those early years. Jonathan Davis was used by Montoyo regularly to save a win.

Our FO and ownership were desperate to compete in 2021, 22 & 23. Same for 2024. LC is correct in that by Jan 10 most of the moves will be made by almost everyone. I don't know exactly what moves I am hoping for by that date. I try to be realistic and conservative. Gausman and the other big FA signings are not conservative.

One of my interests next year will be how our position prospects will break into the lineup. They have to get a lot of playing time rather than sit on the bench. The FO & manager had to play Chapman, Varsho and KK if they were healthy. KK's O was his usual and he had a more healthy season than usual. So a good signing. Chapman and Varsho really hurt the O IMO. A weak O opened the door for D schneider and he helped a weak O.

My unrealistic opinion is that some of our AAA position players will hit better than our ML players when on the Jays.
Ducey - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 12:46 PM EST (#439887) #
The Jays ought to be looking at Nick Senzel for 3B/ OF. He was non tendered by the Reds last week.

Former #2 overall pick. Aged 28. Career OPS+ of 77 in 5 seasons. Last year he hit 236/297/399 with 16 hr. Not great.

So why should the Jays care?

Well they need a 3B and some OF depth. Last year Senzel played 57 games at 3B (not sure how well) and 54 in the OF, including CF.

AND he mashed LHP: 348/389/619.

He could be half of a platoon with maybe Barger/ Biggio/ some other LH hitter at 3B, and spell off Varsho against tough LHP.

Who knows, maybe a change of scenery unlocks him further.

Leaside Cowboy - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 12:55 PM EST (#439888) #
Can we assume that Davis Schneider has earned a roster spot?
soupman - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 01:01 PM EST (#439889) #
the main reason, imo, to expect vlad to regress is that he had a wrist injury after which he lost about 20' on his batted balls and that cost him a lot in OPS. just like auston matthews is rebounding a year removed from his wrist issues, it is reasonable to expect that the distance returns to vlad's stroke, and with it the results (given all other underlying numbers look closer to his near-MVP year than anything since).

with that said, who knows with that guy? he is a father that we see yucking it up with rappers and reggaetoneros more than his kids. he obviously can't put the fork down especially during the season.

with that said, i strongly sense that this is the nadir of his value as a an asset. last year he continued to run into outs and looked terrible at first. a rebound year should do well.

short of landing Ohtani, the Jays should probably just see what they have. the East looks like it is going to be an even bigger mess next year than it was in 2023. Rebuild trade value on VGJ, and reassess in June.
dalimon5 - Monday, November 20 2023 @ 02:30 PM EST (#439890) #
I'd love for this FO to find a way to maximize value for Vlad and Manoah this coming season and then trade them away in the off season for very good prospects. In the mean time, invest Rogers dollars to Soto, Yamamoto or Shohei.

Vlad and Manoah are not of the "Seager" ilk where it's justifiable to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and to build your entire organization around for the next 10+ years.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, November 21 2023 @ 11:26 AM EST (#439906) #
I read on Jays Journal a few weeks ago that Vlad's mother was suffering from serious health issues during most of last season. Vlad always seems like the happy-go-lucky type but it could have been weighing heavily on the inside for him. Certainly this coming season might be the most important one of his career as far as determining what level he slots in at performance-wise.

Trading Manoah might be a very good or a terrible idea, depending how he bounces back from this year. Sometimes a talented guy with something to prove is not a bad thing.
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