Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
With not just free agents, but some of our own home grown stars this is becoming a big question for the Jays - do you lock in a player for a decade or do you say 'screw it'?

Let's dig into some data - I downloaded all the raw data I could from FanGraphs (surprised how easy they made it). So all WAR figures are fWAR. Baseball Reference didn't have a simple method to do this without paying (and even then I don't think they have it without doing lots of stuff that would give me headaches). This is all for hitters only first.

Going by age, there are a handful of players who played pre-18 (109 player seasons, youngest was 14) but none had 502 PA, nor did any get 2 WAR (expectation of a full time player) so we'll ignore those children. 2,677 player seasons had no age, just 13 were full-time, 76 had 2+ WAR, peak of 6.97 for George Shafer in 1884 - the most recent player was from 1948 with the majority (including all 1948 players) being Negro Leaguers (thus never 500+ PA), with all 500+ PA players being pre 1890 (IE: when MLB was more like fast pitch softball). Thus eliminating that data shouldn't affect anything. The oldest full-timer was 43 (Cap Anson) with Carlton Fisk 1 PA shy in his age 43 season (how the heck did a catcher do that?). The oldest to get 2+ WAR was 45 (John Henry Lloyd in the Negro Leagues in 59 games - 365/416/525, WOW, sadly no stats pre age 37 for him as stats are only there for 1921-1929 when he started in 1905). From age 46 on only 11 player seasons exist, with none getting 2+ WAR, so we'll just ignore the post-age 43 data for this exercise (fun, but not really useful).

So of all players playing - what percent are worth 2+ WAR (ie: enough to be worth playing everyday)? It goes from 0% at age 18 to 17.2% at age 31, then dropping to 2.2% by age 43. Limit it to 5+ WAR guys (stars) and compare to full time (as few can do that in under 502 PA) and you go from 0% at 18/19, peaks at 26.4% at 20 (if you get a ML job at 20 you obviously are damn good and forced the issue), and hovers in the 10-20% range until age 36 and hits 0 at 43. At 42 Luke Appling cracked 5 WAR and Carlton Fisk nearly did (4.96) while PED Bonds was at 3.2 for 3rd place. So it is possible, but highly unlikely to be a star at 42. Note: If I compare 5+ WAR seasons to all players it drops to a peak of 3.2% (age 29 - no shock as that generally is seen as the core of a players peak years, with 3.1% at 28 and 30, sub 1% at 39 and beyond).

How many 5+ WAR seasons have occurred? 2331 for hitters all time (2 by Ohtani with just his bat). To be worth $70 mil via bat only that is what he needs to produce - well, actually he'd need to be up to 7 WAR but that ain't happening as a DH. 601 seasons of 7+ hitter WAR seasons have happened, but most had a lot of defensive value. For pure offense you'd need 70+ runs created - only 84 of those have happened ever, fewer than 1 per year of ML history with many being by Bonds, Gehrig (7 each) and Ruth (10). 6 times each for Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby, 4 for Cobb. Basically only Bonds* has more than 3 of these since integration in '47 (3 of Williams were pre, 3 post inc '47). So yeah, his odds of being worth his deal by just his bat is very, very low.

So, for star level players (5 WAR at least once before age 30 - 766 players) how long do they last after each age and what do they produce? Obviously with each year we get more players added in. FYI: only 26 players have 10+ 5+ WAR seasons with Hank Aaron and Ty Cobb leading the way at 18 each. Bonds the most for guys who played at least 1 game in the 2000's at 17, Rickey Henderson at 12, Ken Griffey Jr.-Miguel Cabrera-Alex Rodriguez-Albert Pujols at 10 each covers all 10+ 5+ WAR season guys who played at least 1 game in the 2000's. All the rest who reached 5+ WAR 10 times played the final game of their career in the 1900-1999 era. This table is all guys with 5 WAR seasons by age, who started in 2013 or earlier (so we have 10+ years of data for them). Bust post 30 is under 10 WAR at 30+, Wow 30+ is 20+ WAR from 30 on up.

AgePlayersWAR Pre AgeWAR after ageYears of 5+ WAR leftWAR Age 30+Bust 30+Wow 30+Example Player
20131.279.89.729.148Mike Trout
21221.964.36.720.9128Ronald Acuña Jr.
22482. Guerrero Jr.
23813.638.23.115.04026Bo Bichette
24804.332.82.615.03424Fred McGriff
251155.324.41.612.56427Matt Chapman
261186.022.01.313.45534Shohei Ohtani
27907.915.20.712.04419Vernon Wells
28768.617.10.913.93920Marcus Semien
29679.013.20.615.12520José Bautista
304611.310.60.516.91315Aaron Hill
312716.311.20.420.2412Moises Alou

By 31 we are seeing more and more retired, so not much point in pushing it further. Just 40 guys had their first season of 5+ WAR post 31 (Jeff Kent an example). Only an idiot would sign a 10+ year deal for a 32 year old anyways (outside of trying to game the luxury tax of course).

So what do we see? When a guy has his first big year it is critical in deciding how many more he'll have. A 20 year old having a 5+ WAR season is a miracle - sign that guy for life, as you likely have 10 more of those coming and a HOF career with a with a 30% chance of a bust - but 2 of the 4 sub 30's are Mike Trout and Manny Machado who both are still young (Trout has 9 WAR and is entering age 32, Machado is entering age 31 season and has 3.5 WAR in his 30's so far) The other 2 were Griffey Jr (injury issues after a great age 30 season) and Vada Pinson. At 21 you have a very good player who might be a HOF'er. Age 22 you have a HOVG player (this is Vlad's slot), age 23 is Bo's spot and not much different than Vlad's, Age 24 still is likely to be solid, but by 25 things start dropping fast. For example players I tired to use guys with either a Jays connection or who everyone knows. From age 21-29 if a guy has his first 5 WAR season he is less likely to be 'wow' in his 30s than a bust in his 30s.
Now for pitchers

AgePlayersWAR Pre AgeWAR after ageYears of 5+ WAR leftWAR Age 30+Bust 30+Wow 30+Example Player
1977.422.71.31.170Dwight Gooden
20112. Blyleven
21183. Valenzuela
22203.425.91.72.8181Lary Sorensen
23434.727.62.06.5335Roger Clemens
24375.629.52.111.3228Pedro Martinez
25577. Stieb
26546. Buehrle
27457.516.61.07.9298Pat Hentgen
28409.413.40.68.02310A.J. Burnett
29309.719.11.215.01010Randy Johnson
302211.819.10.819.1312Chris Carpenter
312013.19.60.315.127Kevin Gausman

Note: there was a 16 and an 18 year old who had 5+ WAR but they were Jim Britt & Larry McKeon (both done by 1886 when Louisville had a ML team and running starts were still a thing with the mound still just 50' away...imagine modern baseball that way). At 19 you get Dwight Gooden who many here have heard of, and many saw pitch live, plus Gary Nolan who some saw live too (he retired the year the Jays started) and a few guys who pitched in the majors before the AL existed. Gooden was almost a Blue Jay but Gillick liked Augie Schmidt more. Sigh.

One thing that jumped out at me was how pitchers were less likely to have a 'WOW' career than hitters by having a 5 WAR season young. The best average outcome was at age 20 with 42.6 WAR left, but no other age had 30+ left vs hitters at 20 having nearly 80 left, 64 at 21, and 3 more years in the 30's (22/23/24). My quick thought from this is pitching greatness for a single season is more likely fluke than it is for hitters, plus pitchers are also FAR more likely to blow their arm out and thus end or shorten their career (see Ohtani for an example of hitter and pitcher at once and how that injury can stop a pitcher but a hitter just keeps going).

Also of note: 783 hitters who had a 5+ WAR season vs 404 pitchers. Much harder for a pitcher to do it than a hitter, but starting at age 26 the pitchers are likely to have a slightly better career than the hitters who first have that type of year then.

FYI: at 25 you get a LOT of Jays - Dave Stieb, Roy Halladay, Mark Eichhorn, Juan Guzman, Bill Singer, Erik Hanson, Mat Latos, Josh Johnson.

So what does this all tell us? If the Jays sign Vlad & Bo for ages 26-35 they have a good shot at getting value. Guys who had a 5 WAR season by age 26 averaged over 20 WAR for those ages - so $200+ mil of value (after this winter I have to think a WAR is worth about $10 mil). Vlad's year (age 22) average 24.0 WAR, Bo's (age 23) average 27.1 for that window. So even a $300 mil over 10 years deal might work out, but I'd be more comfortable with a $250 mil deal. Someone like Soto (age 20) averages 45.2 over those years, thus a $400-500 mil deal should be coming his way next winter. Gives us a ballpark to start from at least. As a rule ages 36 and beyond are write offs - only Barry Bonds from 36 on had over 40 WAR (54), with 4 others in the 30's (Ted Williams the most recent), most recent with 20+ WAR was Carlton Fisk (20.1) with Edgar Martinez at 19.8 next. For all 5+ WAR guys, the average is sub 10 WAR for age 36 up. Bottom line, don't count on any player being worth much post 35 unless PED fueled.

Looking at pitchers post 36 you get a different story - #1 is Randy Johnson at 52.9, with 40's by Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, and Phil Niekro (talk about 3 very different pitchers!). 5 guys in the 30's, 17 more in the 20's (Verlander is still shy of 20). Wow. Pitchers can do it late on, especially today with the modern surgery and the like. Despite that I'd still not sign pitchers to 10+ year deals even if they established themselves as aces since their WAR Age 30+ is not that impressive for any group outside of those who first do it at age 29 (age 29 averages are goosed by Randy Johnson, a unique talent).

Future questions I think worth asking are how does multiple 5+ WAR seasons affect things? What about position for batters? I'm sure many other factors exist to be dug into. Hopefully everyone here found this fun to look at as I did digging into it. Next challenge is getting all the draft data (no one seems to have an easily downloadable list of all draft picks for all years) and IFA data (when signed by whom).
Long Term Deals - How Risky Are They | 261 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 13 2023 @ 08:45 PM EST (#440785) #
It feels like the Jays are going to wait until next off-season to decide what to do about Bo and Vladdy, which seems reasonable. But at that point it may be too late to sign them to long-term contracts. I could see Bo wanting a contract in the $350-400m range (might as well aim high), which would probably result in his opting for free agency. This isn't a Jose Ramirez-type discount situation.

If the team is going to be rebuilding in 2026-2028, then it may as well not extend Bo and Vladdy, as those are likely to be the best seasons of their new contracts. Better to accept the draft picks and use them to rebuild the team.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 13 2023 @ 11:09 PM EST (#440786) #
Lets dig a bit deeper.

Vlad: 10.1 fWAR through age 24. Lets see what guys with 8-12 fWAR by that age did for 26-35 (the 10 years covered by a potential free agent contract)...

Players: 172, 16 played pre 1900 only so lets ignore those. 36.9 WAR lifetime, 22.0 for the 26-35 age.

Divide more - those retired pre 1950 vs 1950-2000 vs 2000-up.
  • 1900-1949: 60 players: 33.2 WAR lifetime, 19.4 for 26-35, 2.4 for 36+ (just 25 guys played at that age)
  • 1950-1999: 65 players: 37.7 WAR lifetime, 22.6 for 26-35, 4.2 for 36+ (25 players)
  • 2000-2023: 29 players: 42.1 WAR lifetime, 25.4 for 26-35, 5.7 for 36+ (16 players - only using retired guys, Freddie Freeman otherwise qualifies)
FYI: The most recent grouping includes Tony Fernandez, Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, and many others we'd all recognize.

  • 8 had negative WAR for 26-35 with Ruben Sierra the most recent.
  • 32 had 0-9.9 WAR - Ozzie Guillen, Tony Kubek, Gregg Jefferies
  • 41 had 10-19.9 WAR - Wally Pipp, John Mayberry, Mike Greenwell,
  • 26 in the 20's - Tony Fernandez, Troy Tulowitzki, Will Clark
  • 22 in the 30's - Jim Rice, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Andre Dawson
  • 15 in the 40's - Keith Hernandez, Ernie Banks, Mark McGwire (a few 1B here)
  • 8 in the 50's - Barry Larkin, Rod Carew, Chipper Jones
  • 2 60+ - Jeff Bagwell & Mike Schmidt
Interesting guys there. Lots of 1B in the 40's and up area (Banks & Carew spent a big part of their careers at 1B for example). Thus hope for Vlad to be one of the 30+ guys thus worth a $200-$300 mil contract. Of course, we all hope he doesn't resort to what McGwire did.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 13 2023 @ 11:10 PM EST (#440787) #
FYI: 2 were not retired yet so I yanked them from the data but forgot to remove them from the 172 I started with. Oops.
Mylegacy - Thursday, December 14 2023 @ 01:00 AM EST (#440788) #
John, Yoda will never forgive you for missing:
"Long Term Deals - Risky They Are"
Despite the inadvertent insult, he wishes that "The Force Be With You." Yoda, what a mensch!

Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, December 14 2023 @ 06:36 AM EST (#440789) #
Thanks, John.
John Northey - Thursday, December 14 2023 @ 10:59 AM EST (#440792) #
After doing that quick look at Vlad, lets see about Bo for ages 27-36 as he'll be entering his age 27 season as a free agent.

Bo: 15.7 fWAR, so lets check 13-17 through age 25 as a range.

111 players - 9 retired pre 1900 so we'll cut those out (baseball just too different then to be of any value) so 102 to work with, but 2 are still active (Anthony Rizzo & Freddie Freeman) so we'll remove those also, cutting us down to an even 100. Years are when they retired.
  • 1900-1949: 31 players: 39.7 lifetime, 20.5 in the window, at age 37+ 1.2 for the 14 who made it, players included Johnny Evers, Max Carey, Cool Papa Bell among many others.
  • 1950-1999: 43 players: 39.4 lifetime, 20.4 in the window, at age 37+ 2.5 for the 15 who made it, players like Joe Gordon, Bill Mazeroski, Joe Morgan, Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield, Andre Dawson, Dave Winfield.
  • 2000-2022: 26 players: 41.4 lifetime, 21.0 in the window, at age 37+ 3.0 for 10 who made it, players like Tony Fernandez, Delino DeShields Sr, Fred McGriff, Carlos Baerga, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin
So similar patterns to Vlad (no shock) with nearly no value after age 36, roughly 20 WAR on average during the 10 year window we are looking at.

So who lands in each range during the 27-36 window?
  • Sub 0: 4 players: Ruben Sierra, Carlos Baerga, Zoilo Versalles, Whitey Lockman - Baerga was on a HOF path it seemed early on, then lost it totally quickly - at 24 he was among the best, then never did better than a 2.2 with negative WAR at 27. Sierra also was once though of as 'wow' and also at 27 dropped to negative WAR. Zoilo Versalles had back issues flare up after an MVP season which dogged him the rest of his career. Lockman was a solid 1B/LF but wasn't great so it didn't take a lot to drop him to negatives.
  • 0-9.9: 31 players: Ellis Valentine, Bob Horner, Tony Kubek, Gregg Jefferies, BJ Upton, Garry Templeton, Lloyd Moseby, Terry Puhl, Delino DeShields Sr, Mike Greenwell - Greenwell & Jefferies were opposites of Bo - sweet swings that didn't age well for some reason. DeShields, Templeton, Kubek all middle infielders who didn't age well.
  • 10's: 24 players: Travis Fryman, Chris Speier, Bill Mazeroski, Troy Tulowitski, Jesse Barfield
  • 20's: 12 players: Tony Fernandez, Johnny Evers, Dustin Pedroia, lots of 1B/DH types too.
  • 30's: 13 players: Joe Gordon, Fred McGriff, Russell Martin, Ernie Banks, Dave Winfield.
  • 40's: 10 players: Lou Whitaker, Carlos Beltran, Jim Thome
  • 50+: 6 players: Rod Carew, Ed Delahanty, Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, Dan Brouthers, Joe Morgan (66.6)
So for infielders you could go from a nightmare Baerga to a dream of Morgan (both 2B). For 30+ WAR ($300+ mil player) you have 29 players, for sub 10 (nightmare) you have 35 players. Scary risk to take if you are the Jays. But the nightmares all showed clear signs before turning 27 although injuries are near impossible to predict (Versalles). Going over $250 mil for ages 27-36 is a massive risk to take unless you see prices continue to climb in MLB. Basically a Xander Bogaerts deal but starting 3 years earlier - IE: forget it, he is getting $300 mil minimum unless he declines in 24/25 and if he improves a $400 mil deal isn't out of the question.
Glevin - Thursday, December 14 2023 @ 11:21 AM EST (#440794) #
"Vlad: 10.1 fWAR through age 24. Lets see what guys with 8-12 fWAR by that age did for 26-35 (the 10 years covered by a potential free agent contract)..."

I think Vlad has a lot more concerns about aging over the average 24 YO with 10 career WAR. His body type almost certainly will not age well. Also, most of the players on the list that did well, didn't had way more consistency than Vlad who has had 4.5 years in the majors. One superb year, one good year, and 2.5 mediocre to bad years. 2/3 of his career WAR was done in 2021. It's an odd career arc that doesn't instill long-term confidence. Bo, I'd be happy to sign long-term though.
John Northey - Thursday, December 14 2023 @ 06:39 PM EST (#440803) #
People talk about body type all the time, yet some of the longest lasting didn't have great ones - guys like David Wells, Babe Ruth, Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia are all examples. Yeah, lots of pitchers there. Frank Thomas was a horse, all muscle it seemed, but very, very large and more limited on defense than Vlad from the start (just 3 times had 100+ games at 1B vs Vlad 3 times already plus a year of 96 at 3B).

Could body type be an issue? Sure. But also look at the guys with the poor aging - Ruben Sierra, Carlos Baerga, Zoilo Versalles all looked to be in far better shape than Vlad ever has been, and far better than most MLB players imo. Sierra looked like a gazelle in the OF and by all logic should've aged well based on body type, but he sure didn't - from 30-34 he had an OPS+ of 72, less than half his age 23 OPS+ of 146. Yet due to his athleticism he kept getting chances until age 40 despite his final +1 or better fWAR season being at age 26.

I suspect a lot of the fear is due to guys like the Fielders who both were done by 34. But athletic guys like the Jays outfield of the 80's were done by 33. There is a lot more than body type involved in determining how long a guy lasts and how well he produces. I think Vlad working his butt off this winter is a great sign for his future - if he is indeed still in Florida working away to be prepared for 2024. However, there are examples of guys who didn't work out who succeeded (David Wells). Loving the game I think is important, can't think of guys who lasted at a high level who hated it - there was one but I forget who it was.
92-93 - Thursday, December 14 2023 @ 07:50 PM EST (#440804) #
Adam Dunn would fit perfectly in this lineup.
Glevin - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 11:27 AM EST (#440812) #
"People talk about body type all the time, yet some of the longest lasting didn't have great ones - guys like David Wells, Babe Ruth, Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia are all examples. Yeah, lots of pitchers there. Frank Thomas was a horse, all muscle it seemed, but very, very large and more limited on defense than Vlad from the start (just 3 times had 100+ games at 1B vs Vlad 3 times already plus a year of 96 at 3B)."

Some bigger pitchers have had good longevity but not too many hitters. Thomas didn't actually age particularly well, he was just such an amazing hitter than even with declining, he was still mostly great. He started to get hurt more and have some up and down years. At 24, Thomas had a 175 WRC+ which left him tons of room to decline and be a super valuable player. At 24, Vlad had a 118 WRC+ which leaves him zero wiggle room to decline at all.
John Northey - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 12:02 PM EST (#440815) #
Did Thomas crash though? At 29 he had a 181 OPS+ to lead the league, at 32 a 163, at 36 a 156 (only 74 games), at 38 a 140. So pretty damn good all the way through. Yeah, he had bad years in there too, but his final full season was here at age 39 with a 125 OPS+ - yes, he was at a higher level than Vlad (22-24 had a 177 OPS+ vs Vlad's 139, peak of 167) but Vlad also can actually play in the field (Thomas had a lead glove to put it mildly) which is an asset. In the end the Jays have a 2 year period to decide if they want to, but right now I'd say a 10 year $200 mil deal isn't insane for Vlad or Bo. The warning signs for them are size/body type (Vlad) and crazy swing (Bo) but looking at history of guys who produced at their levels at their ages those don't appear to be the deciding factors in who sucks and who 'wows' during the late 20's/early 30's period in question. In truth those are very hard to measure as teams don't report weight every season for every player (BR has Vlad at 245 lbs, which I doubt any of us buy, and David Wells at a laughable 187 lbs). Bo's swing type is hard to measure, but I remember few thought Julio Franco could last as he had a crazy swing but he played until he was 48 with an OPS+ over 100 at age 46 (over 265 PA even), of course his last 1+ WAR season was age 45, and his last 2+ (3 actually) was at age 37 - this was a guy who was NEVER at Bo's level outside of a wild 3 year run at 30-32 (18.3 WAR, 135 OPS+ but with Texas at a time it had Sosa, Palmeiro, Kevin Brown and a few coaches known to be PED friendly so read into it what you will). So, bottom line is how does one measure the likely future of players? I'm using what they did pre-current age to what others who did similar achieved. Maybe at some point I'll try to mix in weight and other factors but the numbers are small (nature of the beast with ML players) which makes further cutting down messy as we could have just 2 or 3 to use as a comparison if we go too tight.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 01:29 PM EST (#440816) #
A conversation with an A.I. chat-bot suggested a 10-year contract for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could be valued at $270 M.
Mike Green - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 01:36 PM EST (#440817) #
So, I ran a Stathead using quite favourable criteria for Vladdy.  He had his big year at age 22.  From age 22-24, he had an OPS+ of 139 with over 2000 PAs, many of them as DH.  I used players who spent at least 60% of their time at first base and had 1800 PAs during the ages 22-24 with an OPS+ between 134 and 144.  I got five comps for Vladdy- two of which were deadball players Vic Saier and Ed Konetchy.  There were three modern players- Orlando Cepeda, Eddie Murray and Kent Hrbek.  Cepeda came up at age 20 and was very good from the get-go.  After age 26, he had one great year in 1967 at age 29 and won an MVP award, leading the Cardinals to a pennant.  He amassed the grand total of 20 WAR after age 26 including that great year, and was basically done by 32.  Cepeda was solid, but 30 lbs. lighter than Vladdy Jr.  Eddie Murray came up at 21 and was very good from the get-go and by age 26, he was (justifiably) winning Gold Gloves.  After age 26, he amassed 43 WAR and coasted (justifiably) into the Hall of Fame.  Eddie was solid, but lighter than Cepeda and much lighter than Vladdy Jr.  Hrbek had a cup of coffee at 21, and was very good from age 22-24.  From age 27 to the end of his career at age 34, Hrbek amassed 21 WAR, picking up a fair bit of weight along the way.   He wasn't a great fielder, but considerably better than Vladdy Jr. so far. 

There's a reasonable chance that Vladdy Jr. is very good between age 27-30.  After that, I'd say the odds are stacked pretty strongly against him.  I can see a career like Cepeda's or Hrbek's, but there were so many qualities Eddie Murray had that Vlad does not have (discipline, fielding ability, body shape) that I'm just not seeing a Hall of Fame path as very likely at all. 

Incidentally, when I loosen the criteria a little bit further, I get two additional names- Prince Fielder and Freddie Freeman.  Prince was very good at ages 27 and 28, but not after that and generated 12 WAR after age 26 until the end of his career.  Freeman has kept getting better and better and having just turned 34, is a likely Hall of Famer.  Freeman is taller than any of the others, and certainly doesn't have a weight issue at all. 
soupman - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 02:03 PM EST (#440818) #
Vlad can hit. Whether the body holds up on the turf...i wouldn't bet on it. That said, this is probably the nadir of his value given the injury issues he fought all season that led to the statistical down year andI think now would be the best time to sign him. It also is a way to splash cash which isn't going out and over committing to an aging vet whose best days are almost certainly behind them (Bellinger). If they don't sign VGJ now, then by the time the ASB rolls around, it will likely be a lot more expensive (if my hypothesis about the wrist is accurate).
greenfrog - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 02:25 PM EST (#440819) #
Aging vet? Bellinger is only 28.
soupman - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 03:55 PM EST (#440820) #
28 is over the hill (aging curve) last i checked, anyway. Fangraphs crowdsourced Bellinger at 6 years, so for the Jays special rate, let's assume 7 years which puts him at 36 when the contract runs out. this is a guy the dodgers let walk. the dodgers that just exceeded the best guess of the crowd on contract for ohtani by about 300million dollars. last year was the first decent season he's had since before the pandemic.

smells like jacoby ellsbury mkii.
vw_fan17 - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 04:49 PM EST (#440821) #
Can we sign Vlad to a 6/7 year extension? He'll probably want 10 years, so by the end, he's the same age as Bellinger after a 6-7 year contract.

Vlad's only had ONE 4+ WAR season, 2 if you round up his 3.9 WAR season. He's averaging 3.7 WAR per 162 games.

Bellinger has had 3 4+ WAR seasons, including an 8.6(!) WAR. He's averaging 4.1 WAR per 162 games, despite all those awful seasons he's had.

Going out on a limb, I'm going to guess their careers the rest of the way look more similar (up and down seasons) than different. I don't expect Vlad to top 4 WAR more than once or twice the rest of his career - I think he's just not that amazing. Sure, he'll continue to have super high EV and all that, just keep hitting into outs, and running into outs, and getting worse and worse at defense. Not that 4 WAR isn't a good player but I don't think he's worth a $30M+ contract.
greenfrog - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 05:02 PM EST (#440822) #
Guys the Dodgers let walk in the last couple of years have done pretty well:

Bellinger (2023): 4.1 fWAR
Seager (2023): 6.1 fWAR
Turner (2023): 3.8 fWAR
Mike Green - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 05:18 PM EST (#440824) #
I have no idea what I would do with Vlad. He's shown up out of shape twice. If you believe that last year was the last time, you could offer to buy out the last two years of arbitration at $25M apiece and a 6 year extension at $27-30M per annum. I doubt he would go for it. But I don't think he's going to do better than Cepeda or Hrbek after age 26, and he might reasonably not do as well. I would not be worried if he said no and walked. He might do better in free agency, but that doesn't mean that the purchaser will do well on the contract.
John Northey - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 05:33 PM EST (#440825) #
As much as I like Bellinger - no way would I trust him for a 5+ year deal. At 25 he had a -1.0 fWAR year over 350 PA. Only 170 players have done that before. If we go with -0.5 or worse over 250+ PA we get 169 players. 66 pre 1950, just 34 from 2000 on. A few names on that list we'd recognize quickly.

Jays - José Bautista (he did pretty good after that - his first good year after that was age 29 with 54 HR after an age 28 with 1.8 fWAR over 404 PA). Melky Cabrera (2 years around 4 after it, then a negative, then a 3, then 1.8 the rest of his PED fueled career), J.P. Arencibia (never reached 1.0 fWAR in a season), Russ Adams (same as JPA), Justin Smoak (4 years of being within 1 of 0 WAR, then at 30/31 was 3.4 and 2.3 before falling back again, funny his best years here were post 15/16), Eric Thames - 3 years in Korea, then 2 out of the next 4 years was a 2+ fWAR player, the other 2 sub 1 then done. J.D. Martinez who the Jays are looking at - 6 straight years of 2+ WAR (inc 2 5's) before a negative again, then 2 in the 2's and a 1 and we are up to today.

Others of note were Kenny Williams, Mike Stanley, Darnell Coles, Hubie Brooks (ex-Expo), Cito Gaston (often forget he was a ML player), Sandy Alomar Sr. (dad of Roberto), Sparky Anderson (see Cito), all the way back to Blondie Purcell (1879, the first 25 year old with a -0.5 WAR).

Lots of guys who didn't do anything, but 2 'well, it is possible' there in JD Martinez and Jose Bautista. If I was the Jays or any other ML team debating him I'd be digging into deeper stats to see if he is one of those 2 or a Cabrerea/Smoak type who won't carry much value, or a disaster like Adams, JPA, and most of the older guys.

Checking all of these guys for age 28 and up I see 112 lasted that long, the rest were retired. Of those 112 only 2 had a 4+ WAR season at 27 - J.D. Martinez (5.2) and Melky Cabrera* (4.5). Four had 3's - Sandy Alomar Sr., Hick Carpenter, George McBride, and Dan Wilson. 15 in total had 2+ WAR at 27. Of those 15 Lou Bierbauer was the only one with 10+ WAR before age 27 but his career was 100% in the 1800's so hard to use him as a guideline. Bellinger is by far the best player pre-27 to have a nightmare age 25. The next best guy was Jerry Browne (7.6 pre 27) who had just 3 WAR post 27 but also sucked at 27 (negative that year). The best wasn't even Bautista, but Brett Butler instead at 37.4 post 27, Bautista was 'just' 36.8. In the low 20's was Mike Stanley & Charlie Jamieson. 7 guys in the 10's (J.D. Martinez, Jose Offerman, and Harold Reynolds people here might have heard of) the rest were done pre-1940.

Phew, not much to work with here. Adjust to anyone with negative WAR at 25 gets me 358 players - and finally someone who did better than Bellinger pre 27 - Matt Kemp (17.7 vs Bellinger's 17.5). Tommie Agee at 15.0, Lou Bierbauer, Greg Gross, and Corey Patterson all over 10. Tommie Agee easily the best post 27 at 5.7 fWAR. Yikes! At 27 he was at 5.2 so he certainly seems a comparable. He turned 27 in 1970 and his final year was 1973 who was mainly a CF who moved to LF a lot in his final season with a fair amount of RF too. Oh boy - we have a good comp and it sucks. Just 24 of the 358 had 10 WAR left post age 27. Another 'oh crap'.

So basically whoever signs him should limit it to 5 years and pray a lot. Tommie Agee screams 'avoid', Jose Baustista and Brett Butler (80 CF/leadoff guy) say 'sign' (both OF). It'll be interesting to see what happens. If I was the Jays I'd be chasing the trade route though after digging in like this unless my scouts said 'he is 100% and we see Butler/Bautista type production coming' and even then I'd go 5 MAX.
greenfrog - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 06:01 PM EST (#440827) #
Bellinger would be a risky signing, to be sure.

But the Jays are in a bit of a pickle. The last three years have been something of a disaster (in terms of making and advancing in the postseason). Vladdy no longer looks like a star. The farm system is depleted. And this year's free agent class isn't great (apart from Ohtani, Yamamoto, Lee, and a few others). Some of the best players are now off the market.

Not sure how the front office is going to play this, but the team needs an injection of talent (and excitement).


1. Yamamoto (then trade Tiedemann for a bat)

2. Bellinger
SK in NJ - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 06:14 PM EST (#440828) #
If the Jays do sign Bellinger (something I don’t want to happen but it’s very possible), then I think they need to move Varsho in a separate trade. Adding another CF with an unpredictable bat and putting him in a less valuable defensive position is simply not the best use of resources. Maybe sign Bellinger and then see if the Cubs would do Varsho for Morel, or something like that. Bellinger in CF would at least add some value even if his bat dips from his 2023 numbers. As a LF, I’m not trusting him as much.
greenfrog - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 06:38 PM EST (#440829) #
dalimon’s idea of trading for Ramirez (and maybe also a SP) from Cleveland is an interesting one. It would align well with the Blue Jays’ current window of contention. The team would have to empty their farm system to pull that off.
BlueJayWay - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 08:34 PM EST (#440831) #
In order to manage risk we must first understand risk. How do you spot risk? How do you avoid risk and what makes it so risky?
Mike Green - Friday, December 15 2023 @ 08:37 PM EST (#440832) #
Long-term deals have risk- even Wander Franco's deal had some risk, but the benefits more than outweighed them.  Joaquin understood- youneverknow. 
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, December 16 2023 @ 09:39 AM EST (#440833) #
" The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty. "

A quick Bible study tells us that it's okay to take a risk, but with careful planning and hard work. And faith or belief provides a counter against the fear of failure.

ISLAND BOY - Saturday, December 16 2023 @ 11:24 AM EST (#440835) #
Numbers 5 verse 27: Do not payeth an abundance of shekels to a man whose body weakens with age, so much so that he cannot plow with oxen or hit the high fastball, for the result will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 16 2023 @ 12:04 PM EST (#440837) #
Careful, Island Boy. If you keep this up, it will be Bardcore all week for music.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 16 2023 @ 07:18 PM EST (#440842) #
No Bardcore, but spiritual music nonetheless. Mercy, mercy, mercy from Joe Zawinul and Take Me to the River from the Reverend Al Green, interpreted by the Talking Heads.  The recording quality on the latter isn't great, but the lineup for that concert in Rome was so good that it's worth the sacrifice.
ayjackson - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 10:57 AM EST (#440844) #
Tull, Hymn 43, verse 2:3-5

And then he made his name in Hollywood
To set the white man free
Oh Jesus, save me.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 12:35 PM EST (#440847) #
Bill James once wrote that the Houston Astros were an "acquired taste" like jazz and Steve Sax.  He said that everyone has an acquired taste or two and that his included Jethro Tull.

From age 20-22, Shohei Ohtani threw 329 innings in the JPPL.  He allowed 205 hits and 113 walks, while striking out 404.  His ERA was 2.16.
From age 20-22, Yoshinobu Yamamoto threw 469 innings in the JPPL.  He allowed 311 hits and 114 walks, while striking out 488.  His ERA was 1.80

Ohtani arrived in the major leagues at age 23, made 10 starts and had arm problems that led to surgery and no starts at age 24.  From age 26 to 28, Ohtani made 74 starts for 428 innings and threw to a 2.84 ERA, but has a second surgery after last year. 
Yamamoto made 60 starts at age 23-24, averaging 182 innings per year and was even more effective than he had been at age 20-22. 

I see no reason to believe that Yamamoto will be any less effective than Ohtani has been as a pitcher, and there is every reason to believe that he will be much more durable. 

We are going seriously Old Testament this Sunday. I thought that the young women were going to be backup singers, but they are the 80s versions of go-go dancers.  Next up will be either Regina Spektor's Samson or Tom Jones' Delilah.  Kidding. 
John Northey - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 02:51 PM EST (#440854) #
For insanity - rumors now are that Yoshinobu Yamamoto might get a 14 year contract, that is a lifetime one basically, for over $300 million. The Mets & Yankees are going nuts with the Dodgers also fighting hard. Talk about a dream for any agent.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 03:13 PM EST (#440856) #
So far, the off-season seems like the 10 plagues of Egypt.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 03:15 PM EST (#440857) #
Not insanity at all, in my view.  What matters is the total contract value and in something this long, the present value.  Yamamoto might very well have value in his age 35-39 years, but even if he doesn't, there's a very good chance that he averages 3+ WAR over the next 10 years.  He's that good.  See my comments about Yamamoto and Ohtani as pitchers from earlier today.  All indications are that Yamamoto is a better pitcher than C.C. Sabathia was when he signed his long contract and that was signed when Sabathia was entering his age 28 season. 

Indeed, I'd sign on for well more than $300M for Yamamoto.  But, it aint my money. 

Mike Green - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 03:18 PM EST (#440858) #
the off-season seems like the 10 plagues of Egypt

A request for "Exodus", LC?  Personally, I'd prefer if the Jays outbid the Yankees for Yamamoto to run "The Harder They Come". 
greenfrog - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 03:25 PM EST (#440859) #
Now is not the time for the Jays to cheap out and look for mediocre patch solutions to their issues. I would support a 14-year deal for Yamamoto at $300m+. He’s only 25.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 03:34 PM EST (#440860) #
" If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied. "
ayjackson - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 03:57 PM EST (#440861) #
Are the Mets done with Bonilla yet?
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 04:01 PM EST (#440863) #
The payments to Bonilla continue until 2035.

Ichiro was another contract deferred through 2032.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 04:22 PM EST (#440864) #
The Mets haven’t seemed too financially constrained by Bonilla’s deferred money in recent years.
bpoz - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 05:33 PM EST (#440870) #
IMO until the last FA is signed the media is just going to push rumors. Trades too. Thankfully the GMs are not feeding the media.
85bluejay - Sunday, December 17 2023 @ 09:29 PM EST (#440875) #
Given how many innings Yamamoto has thrown at such a young age I expect him to be a prime candidate for TJ surgery over the next few seasons and together with the escalation in his expected contract, it has dimmed my initial excitement over the possibility of the Jays signing him. Seems to be trending towards one of the New York teams signing him, hopefully it's the Mets.
Michael - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 05:26 AM EST (#440879) #
A 14 year deal for any pitcher seems crazy (or at least anyone who can only be a pitcher) - at least if you are paying anything large per year. Feels like most pitchers have something like a 20% chance of a season long injury each year and a 5% chance of a career ender. The odds that you get even 10 healthy and effective years out of a pitcher on a 14 year deal seems quite unlikely to me.
bpoz - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 07:21 AM EST (#440880) #
I agree with Michael that SPs get injured. Halladay, Verlander and Scherzer had/have long successful careers but did get injured a bit. Stieb was good and a not so good pattern.

C Mize in Detroit is a good example of injury risk. As is McClanahan, D Rasmussen and Springs currently.
greenfrog - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 07:40 AM EST (#440881) #
I was thinking of a 14-year contract as essentially a deferred payment plan.
Mike Green - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 10:03 AM EST (#440884) #
Pitchers are definitely risky. Signing Gausman for 5 years was risky. But a good risk. Similarly Ryu.

Yamamoto is a high risk/high reward proposition. I tried to find comps for him . Greg Maddux didn't make the list because he pitched even more at age 20 and 21, and wasn't as effective. But Maddux is the one he reminds me of - the apparent ease of his delivery, the way he looks on the mound and the exquisite command of his pitches.

Anyways, there are lots of ways he can deliver value on a long-term contract even if injured some of the time. The Blue Jays wouldn't sign Jimmy Key to a 4 year contract in his early 30s after 1992. Key delivered value to the Yankees for that same period despite missing a year to injury and indeed would have been good value on a 6 year contract.

The rewards for signing a pitcher like this for a period including age 25-30 are very high. He might be great and earn more than his contract whether or not he adds much after that, or he might need surgery young, but come back and have a good late career like Tommy John did.

Teams routinely will draft pitchers in the top half of the first round. It's risky, but in a different way. One thing is that $25M in 2038 will probably be the equivalent of $13M now. Which doesn't seem quite so daunting.
John Northey - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 12:44 PM EST (#440887) #
Excellent point Mike on how the value per year drops over time. A-Rod's $250/10 year deal in 2001 now seems quaint. But at the time it was insane. Maybe in 20 years the Ohtani $700 mil deal will be a normal thing.

I look at 10 year deals and remember how Gillick had a strong 2 year for pitchers, 3 for hitter policy with one exception the Stieb 11 year deal. Turns out Stieb was still getting $500k a year until 2015 - who knew?

The Dodgers have set themselves up though with an ugly future debt situation - in 2040 they'll be paying out $84 mil to 3 guys who by then will be long retired - or just over the highest ever Rays opening day payroll ($83 mil in 2022). Crazy. Of course by then odds are even the Rays would have a $100+ mil payroll if their stadium isn't underwater (the Antarctic ice shelf is close to collapse - which could increase the worlds oceans by a meter or more, maybe as much as 3 which would put much of Tampa underwater)

As to signing a kid with 0 ML days of experience to a lifetime deal for $300+ million... I'd need to be very, very confident in his health and skills to do that if I was a GM. He also brings a chunk of the Japanese media with him which could have extra value for the Jays. Enough to be worth the risk? Maybe. There is the Yankee factor too - if you fear the Yankees will grab him then it could be a self defense move too. Still... hrm... no draft pick/international bonus loss if you sign him vs Snell or Montgomery. Frees up Manoah, Kikuchi, or Tiedemann for trade. Lots of factors.

Right now though the #1 thing for the Jays is figuring out 3B imo. LF/2B you can work with what is here, but 3B could be a mess - Biggio/Espinal everyday there didn't go so well last time it was tried. Jonathan India could cover it (he played more 3B than 2B in the minors, but 0 innings at 3B in the majors) but he doesn't seem the ideal choice by any stretch. Chapman would be nice to hold onto but his price needs to come down a bit. Same for LF with Bellinger.
Mike Green - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 02:07 PM EST (#440889) #
I am not as negative about Biggio/Espinal.  The last time it was tried was in 2021 which was coming off the pandemic year at a new position. Biggio did not look great.  On the other hand, Biggio looked very good at third base last year.  I think there is no reason that he wouldn't be average there.  ZiPS projects Biggio to hit .226/.332/.378 against RH pitching and Espinal to hit .276/.338/.386 against LH pitching.  Both slash lines are right around league average, with higher OBP and lower slugging percentage, and with average defence, you can live with that. 

Speaking of youneverknow, today's music is from Jason Isbell and the Beach Boys
Marc Hulet - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 02:49 PM EST (#440892) #
India is quite possibly the worst defensive 2B in baseball and lacks the arm for 3B. If you're acquiring him, it has to be as a DH or OF project... but his bat has only been average or below the last two years...
Nigel - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 03:33 PM EST (#440893) #
That's where I'm at with Biggio/Espinal. That job share wouldn't be ideal by any means, but I think they might fight 3B to a draw on the whole. Someone like Urshela might do better but, based on his last couple of years, he might also not. I certainly wouldn't pay large FA dollars just to bring in a "maybe league average 3B". The roster has other needs ahead of that.
Glevin - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 04:08 PM EST (#440894) #
No idea why they'd have interest in India. Would rather have Biggio and Schneider and Espinal ahead of him. What does in India give you? Hopefully just smoke.
greenfrog - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 04:10 PM EST (#440895) #
Apparently Ohtani helped recruit Glasnow to sign an extension with LA. That is yet another advantage to landing a superstar talent like Ohtani.
85bluejay - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 04:45 PM EST (#440896) #
Posters not giving the time of the day to Ernie Clement - I hope he gets a shot at an active roster spot in the spring.
85bluejay - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 04:51 PM EST (#440897) #
I'm skeptical that Ohtani played any meaningful role in recruiting Glasnow to sign an extension, that's just good RP for everyone - that's a solid contract for an often injured pitcher - it's almost always "show me the money."
John Northey - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 04:55 PM EST (#440898) #
Agreed with the crowdthink on India - no need for him here unless the Jays think they know why his bat dropped a bit and think they can unleash a LOT more out of it, but I sure wouldn't be doing risks like that when trying to contend.

For 3B what does Steamer say (the only projection system I can easily filter by position right now)?
3+ WAR: significant asset: Henderson, Ramirez, Devers, Bregman, Royce Lewis, Austin Riley, Paredes, Machado, Arenado

Of those only Lewis and Machado might be available, then only due to teams trying to save money. Lewis if the Jays ate some salary from Minnesota (Christian Vázquez C owed $10 mil per year for 24/25, 65 OPS+ last year; Byron Buxton a DH only in '23 but a CF every year before that, played just 85 games last year, last cracked 100 in 2017, owed $75.7 mil over the next 5 years, ouch, but had a 171 OPS+ in 2021, 133 in '22, 98 in '23). I found this article on his injuries which was interesting.

So is a trade possible? Trade Values has Lewis at +74, Buxton at -24.2 (Correa at -45.7 but I'd bet on him having a no-trade clause). So almost $50 mil in value. Odds are the Jays would need to part with high value - Ricky Tiedemann & Orelvis Martinez makes it work according to Trade Values, but I'd expect the Twins to demand another kid too - maybe Leo Jimenez would work to give them more infield depth (plus with his running low on options the Jays might be wanting to clear him out soon if he isn't ready) which makes it a 'minor overpay' on Trade Values. This could jump the Jays in LF if Buxton is close to healthy, and at 3B if Lewis is (he had injury issues in 2023 or he'd be untouchable). The cost is high in prospects, but it depends how determined the Jays are to win now and if those guys are healthy they'd have 2 solid pieces for a few years. Or you call up SD and offer nothing for Machado (his contract is a millstone) and get a massive 3B upgrade for lots of future cash (not ideal on defense, but on
Petey Baseball - Monday, December 18 2023 @ 07:44 PM EST (#440899) #
If the Jays can get Joc Pederson on a one or two year deal to play DH, it would be an upgrade over Brandon Belt. Not sure what his splits against lefties are but was an all-star in 2022, and an elite hitter in '18 and '19.

Count me a believer on Bellinger, but I would not go more than six years. I could see him still being productive at 35 in a corner outfield spot or DH.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 12:06 AM EST (#440900) #
Generally I like Clement. He'd be a decent backup IF but I see it as him or Espinal and Espinal has seniority and Vlad support. Plus before last year the best Clement hit at any level for a season was 732 OPS (2018 A/A+/AA). His lifetime ML OPS+ is just 64 even after his 144 effort for the Jays in 2023. Options listed in brackets

IF (5): Locked in stone: Vlad-Bo; On roster for sure I'd think Biggio (3)-Schneider (3)-Espinal (2);
OF (3): Locked in stone: Varsho-Springer; Backups: Lukes (2) the only other OF on the 40 man.
C (2): Kirk/Jansen with Max McDowell (3) as the backup 3rd stringer (37 PA for the 3rd guy last year)

So that leaves at least 3 more slots to fill. Tons of room for Clement (0) right now.

40 man others: Addison Barger (2), Spencer Horwitz (2 - real shot at starting as DH/backup 1B), Leo Jimenez (1), Otto Lopez (0), Orelvis Martinez (2)
NRI: Steward Berroa (3), Rafael Lantigua (3) (both listed as OF)

Given the tendency to hold guys rather than lose them I could see Lopez and Clement as having real shots at making the team. But the question becomes who will be traded to get a LF, 3B, DH, and maybe 2B? Right now those would be a mix of Lukes, Schneider, Biggio, Espinal, and Horwitz. With Lopez, Jimenez, Clement all fighting to be backups and Martinez, Barger, Lantigua all fighting to earn starting slots. If the Jays weren't expecting to contend that'd be a great situation, but they are so it isn't.

Trades give very little from what we've heard rumors on - Jonathan India is a 'why' as he doesn't look to be any better than the guys we have already, and few guys project to be 3+ WAR players who are available (any of our guys could be that - Biggio has done it, Schneider was easily on pace for it, and Espinal is a former all-star with 2 seasons of 2+ WAR). It is an odd winter that way, very few good players on bad teams who aren't in their first 3 years of control or are on long term decent deals. Teams are getting smarter/cheaper it seems. Machado is the only really bad contract for a guy who could help, maybe Buxton if the Twins are ready to throw in the towel and save some cash. Anthony Rendon & Mike Trout in Anaheim are super-available because both are owed insane money ($115 over 3 years for Rendon who over the past 3 years has a 94 OPS+ over 148 games - so is hurt and can't hit anymore, Trout is $260 mil over 7 years but over the past 3 years has played just 237 games with a nice 162 OPS+ so at least he provides value when healthy but is entering his age 32 season). Brewers have Christian Yelich who is owed $130 mil over 5 years and still hits (124 OPS+ last year, 112 over past 3 years) and is reasonably healthy (144 games last year, 154 in 2022, 117 in 2021) but is hitting his age 32 season while playing in LF with negative defensive scores. I'm sure there are others, but those ones hit me first. Yelich could be a nice one for LF/DH (bats left too).

I really need to stop doing this over and over again. I need the Jays to make a blinking move already!!! I'm glad our GM isn't doing a panic move (logical mind) but my emotional mind is going nuts.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 07:32 AM EST (#440901) #
Ken Rosenthal says the Jays are "kind on the periphery" of the Yamamoto chase. So the nervous nellies can take comfort that he'll likely end up with another team, like the Yankees.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 08:12 AM EST (#440902) #
Our rotation is Ok as it stands. But injuries would hurt. The pen is deep and good. The O needs a strong reliable bat. A veteran FA signed for 1 or 2 years should do it. I cannot figure out D and the OF. Springer is DH/OF and not a full time OF. Varsho is the only reliable OF. Good D but not strong O. So very thin on OF.

There is lots of room on the 40 man for a proven ML player. I like that many of our 40 man prospects/young players have not yet failed. Bowden Francis, O Lopez, A Barger for example. Someone like Barger is so close and has the potential to be an impact player.

Regarding trades: Atkins has mentioned trading a veteran SP because that is our supposed surplus. That could happen but a replacement has to be found because this FO is afraid of being caught short which would hurt our chances of contending for a playoff spot.

LAD and Arizona have improved a lot on paper. Seattle, Miami, Toronto, SD and others have not improved at all.

I am not convinced that we don't contend for the last WC in 2026. 3 WCs is a lot of playoff spots.
scottt - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 09:41 AM EST (#440904) #
Springer looks fine in right field.
Because of the arm, Barger could do right field/third base. Like Bautista.

Would they sign Bellinger, he would probably play some first base.
I'd rather have Varsho in center. I don't like giving someone that much money to play centerfield on the turf.
That didn't work for Springer who didn't have an injury history.

Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 10:22 AM EST (#440906) #
Keeping up with the latest rumours and deciphering the qualified free agent compensation rules . . .

If Bellinger signs with Toronto, for example, then the club forfeits: " $1MM in international bonus pool money, as well as two draft picks — their second- and fifth-highest selections in the 2024 draft. "

If Chapman were to sign with the Cubs, for instance, then Toronto would receive: " their second-highest pick of the [2024] draft, and also $500K from their bonus pool during the next international signing period. "

Toronto paid into the Competitive Balance Tax.  Chicago did not pay the CBT or receive revenue sharing.

ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:19 AM EST (#440908) #
So if the Jays signed Bellinger and someone else signs Chapman, then there won't be too big of a net loss. If Bellinger signs elsewhere, then Chapman might be resigned but as it has been discussed, there are equivalent internal options. I thought Chapman would have signed somewhere by now actually as he is still a Gold Glover, even if his offense has declined.
Ducey - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:25 AM EST (#440909) #
Cowboy, the Jays would not get the Cubs picks. They are forfeited. The Jays get a compensation pick after the 4th round for Chapman
scottt - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:27 AM EST (#440910) #
They wouldn't get the Cubs's second highest pick.

As the Jays were over the CBT threshold, all they could get for Chapman is a compensation pick after the 4th round. Meh.

A revenue sharing recipient can get a pick after the first round if the player signs for 50M or more, otherwise, it's a pick after Balance Round B, which is what the Jays normally receive, but not this year.

scottt - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:34 AM EST (#440911) #
I'm pulling for the Mets to get Yamamoto.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:38 AM EST (#440912) #
Thanks for clarifying.  The rules can be confusing.
scottt - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:41 AM EST (#440913) #
The protection for the rotation is Tiedemann, Francis, Wes Parsons and Mitch White.
There's always the possibility of adding at the deadline, but here's hoping Manoah bounces back.

greenfrog - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 12:16 PM EST (#440914) #
I think the odds are good that (after a couple of more injuries) Tiedemann ends up becoming a power reliever.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 12:21 PM EST (#440915) #
Even if Manoah bounces back somewhat, how many innings can they expect to realistically receive from him?
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 12:36 PM EST (#440916) #
Just a reminder about the ERAs and xERAs for the 2023 Blue Jay starters:

 Pitcher   ERA
 Gausman  3.16  3.87
 Ryu  3.46  3.93
 Bassitt  3.60  4.04
 Kikuchi  3.86  4.27
 Berrios  3.65  4.55
 Manoah  5.87  6.24

With the departures of Kiermaier and Chapman, the xERAs are more likely to provide a baseline of what to expect from the existing starters than the ERAs in my view.  It's obviously more complicated than that.  You have to look at career patterns. So, yes, the expectation for Manoah is likely better than either the ERA and xERA, but in the case of the others, xERAs likely capture it.  And Kikuchi might have a worse expectation than either his ERA or xERA given his history (he's the opposite situation to Manoah). 
dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 12:42 PM EST (#440917) #
Okay, verdict is in: baseball off season officially sucks. I'm bored. Do something Atkins! Me no like Yamamoto holding up the market.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 01:54 PM EST (#440918) #
With 2024 close at hand, I thought it might be better to change things up in the music and baseball department.  I will profile one player from the World Series champion and one song from 1974, 1979, 1984 and so on.  It's hard to believe that 1974 is almost exactly 50 years ago.  At least for someone who lived through it. 

The Oakland A's won their third World Series title in a row in 1974.  Catfish Hunter led the team in bWAR, making 41 starts and throwing 318 innings, including 23 complete games.  He did not lead the league in either department (5th in innings pitched and 6th in complete games).  Times were different then.  It wasn't as though the A's lacked an ace- Rollie Fingers and his mustache were twirling away.  But I don't want to focus on Catfish, but rather Reggie Jackson, the younger version.  Bill James once said that Reggie was a track star in college but I had forgotten that he was fast as an A.  In 1974, he hit .289/.391/.514 with a 25/5 SB/CS.  Here's the best video evidence I could find of the way he was then.  Watching him running out the ground ball to the second baseman briefly fumbled is something.  And of course, he had all that power.

I could play a Tower of Power song from 1974- they were an Oakland band and a good one.  But instead, Stevie Wonder.  He wasn't the little Stevie of Motown fame singing Fingertips or the later version who often slided into sentimentality.  He took all his childhood talent, studied and emerged fully-formed in the early 70s and produced a bunch of great records including 1974's Innervisions including Living for the City

Next up: 1979, Dave Parker and, of course, Sister Sledge.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 01:56 PM EST (#440919) #
*slid into sentimentality

Geez, it's a baseball website and I can't get that right...
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 03:00 PM EST (#440920) #
A young MC Hammer worked for the Oakland A's at the time.  (Reggie Jackson gave him the nickname "Hammer" because he resembled Hank Aaron.)  Charlie Finley had the youngster serve as his top lieutenant, and he became the owner's "eyes and ears" around the clubhouse.

Back in the early 90's, veteran Bauxites used to wear parachute pants.
hypobole - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 03:33 PM EST (#440921) #
Max Castillo has been DFA'd by the Royals,
JohnL - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 03:55 PM EST (#440922) #

"slid into sentimentality" Geez, it's a baseball website and I can't get that right...

Geez, it's a baseball website, Mike. You can evoke Dizzy Dean. "He slud into sentimentality."
John Northey - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 04:46 PM EST (#440923) #
Sad for Max, but I think he'd be a nice grab by the Jays - should still have an option left.  4.58 ERA in AAA which isn't good but just 2.2 BB/9 so still has solid control. Didn't do hot in the majors but would be decent AAA depth. Odds are he'll get an opportunity with someone who sucks like Oakland though - and if I was in his shoes I'd be after teams like that first. 
John Northey - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 05:11 PM EST (#440924) #
With how the Bellinger thing seems to be going I'd be working on trades if I was the Jays right now. If Bellinger falls into their laps ala Semien back in 2021 did, great, but if not then screw it. Plan on how to win otherwise. Trades being about it, ones that you eat a lot of bad contract from someone to get the guy you want. I suspect once Yamamoto signs other pieces will quickly fall. If he signs in SF or LA then SD might just finally say 'screw it, what is the point' and start the full on dumping at which point the insane Tatis/Machado to Toronto for very little (or a lot if they eat some of Machado's contract) could happen. If Yamamoto goes to the Yankees then things get more difficult for the Jays - if the Yankees become a force again and the O's stay one (say by signing Snell or Montgomery - their rotation looks shaky right now to me) then the Jays have tougher choices to make.

Right now though the Jays need a splash of some kind to make Rogers happy - a trade or signing someone significant. Yamamoto, Bellinger, Snell all have enough 'wow' to satisfy a portion of the base. For trades it is a heck of a lot harder unless someone is desperate to dump salary (SD as I mention above, Minnesota might too, but their players don't have the name value, Mets could if Yamamoto goes anywhere else). The free agents that could move the dial a bit are Snell (Cy Young winner), Teoscar (returns always seem to get positive media), Bellinger (the best hitter left), Chapman wouldn't move the dial but would be nice to get back. And that about covers it for difference makers in the media. Any other signing we'd be digging into but the media would most likely be yawning at.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 05:25 PM EST (#440925) #
I think it could be a while before we see any significant moves by the Blue Jays. One lesson teams may have learned from last off-season is that Atkins will cave if you hold out long enough (Moreno and LGJ for Varsho late last off-season).

Also, free agents in recent seasons may have been more excited to join the Jays for 3-5 years of contention. The window of contention may be shorter now, and players may also be wondering about the debacles of 2021, 2022 and 2023, and whether the Jays front office and manager know what they’re doing.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 07:41 PM EST (#440926) #
Very interesting points. Also to consider, any money spent on a Bellinger needs to be factored into any Vlad or Bo extension. In hindsight, these guys should have been resigned 2-3 years ago.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 08:21 PM EST (#440927) #
One more thing. (Callis and Mayo) calls the 2024 draft “flat-out loaded.” If that is true, there will be an extra penalty for teams that decide to sign top free agents (like Bellinger) and give up draft picks/pool money this off-season — namely, missing out on the chance to add some especially good prospects next summer. Which makes the Soto trade and Japanese IFA acquisitions, and the non-QO free agent acquisitions like Arizona’s this off-season, look that much better.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 08:29 PM EST (#440928) #
Looks like the Yankees are interested in Jorge Soler. Seems a bit crowded with Soto, Judge, Verdugo in the OF and Stanton at DH.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 10:35 PM EST (#440929) #
I just don't see the point in signing Bellinger. As mentioned, the Jays already have a better defensive CF, so he doesn't add anything there, and his bat is too risky to count on in a corner OF spot or 1B. For a player who is holding out for $200M based on the rumors out there, I just don't see why the Jays are all that interested. Just sign Teoscar Hernandez and Mitch Garver to play LF and DH respectively (or some equivalent of that based on what's available). It won't be the big splash that will sell tickets but would likely help the team a lot more than Bellinger.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 19 2023 @ 11:30 PM EST (#440930) #
The later the winter goes, the more I think Bellinger will just end up back with the Cubs. Teams that might sign him see the cost in IFA money and draft picks as too high while the Cubs gain by losing him is too small (a pick well after the first round). Same with Chapman - he might not be worth the cost to other clubs so the Jays might end up with him returning on a 1 year deal or at most a 5 year. That is how it feels right now, but things can change (and often do). Other QO still on the market are Snell (injury fears), and Hader (a closer) - both of whom might find the market a lot less welcoming than expected.

The more I look at it the more I'm thinking keeping Chapman and not bothering with the remaining high end free agents makes sense. Sure didn't think I'd feel that way but here we are. I could see Chapman wanting a 1 year deal to try to do better with a market where he has no QO to drag him down. Next winter Alex Bregman is a free agent at 3B as well, so that could hurt Chapman's market then if he tries to punt to 2024/25. The rest of the winter should be interesting for free agents. I get a laugh as the Yankees seem to be chasing Soler, a poor defensive OF who is mainly a DH now given their OF/DH is overflowing already.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 12:33 AM EST (#440931) #
I think Bellinger and Chapman would be decent fits for the Blue Jays. But they would be expensive moves (big contracts and foregone draft picks and pool money).

There is no easy solution to the Jays’ predicament, assuming that they’ve missed out on Ohtani, Yamamoto, Soto, Lee.

As mentioned, I like the approach Arizona has taken this off-season. Solid moves to bolster an interesting roster, while maintaining long-term financial flexibility.
bpoz - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 07:11 AM EST (#440932) #
I would find Machado/Tatis being moved very interesting. There is a list of teams that sign expensive long term contracts knowing full well that the contract will become an albatross. That should be a 10-15 team list.

J Rod in Seattle is not that because he is V young. W Franco in TB is also not that except for the behavior situation. The $25mil 1 year for T Glasnow was a risk I did not expect TB to take because he could have had a down (injury) 2023. The 5 year Glasnow extension is a LAD thing to do.

Bellinger & Yamamoto are next on the expensive (risky contract) FA list.

I am sort of happy & intrigued with what the Jays are thinking of doing. Be it nothing or something big.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 07:38 AM EST (#440933) #
The whole Ohtani thing left a sour taste, but it shouldn't spoil our fun. Toronto has been more aggressive in recent years, starting with Ryu's contract. Perhaps we need more of a devil-may-care attitude. Agree with greenfrog that either Bellinger or Chapman would be a good fit.

Seems like the collective confidence is reasonably high for Tiedemann, whether he sticks as a starter or moves to the bullpen. Orelvis Martinez might be the key prospect, if he can deliver at the MLB level. The next step for Toronto is becoming more than the sum of its roster parts.

Tampa Bay will be weaker. The Yankees / Boston don't scare anybody. The stadium make-over is well underway. Things are looking up.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 08:05 AM EST (#440934) #
Just trade Tiedemann and Martinez for a star under control ti play infield (Tatis, J-Ram) and then sign Ryu, Hader, Rhys Hoskins or Soler all in that order with the money you would have spent on Bellinger or therabouts.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 08:25 AM EST (#440935) #
Going through baseball trade values, I don't think the Jays have the capital to trade for J-Ram.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 08:59 AM EST (#440936) #
Ramirez is controllable for five more years at relatively low cost. He's their marquee player. I doubt Cleveland would move him. But he is starting to enter his decline years and his wRC+ fell off a bit in 2023. Maybe they would consider a package along the lines of Tiedemann, Orelvis, Cooke, Bonilla.

Marc Hulet - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 09:35 AM EST (#440937) #
Jose Ramirez signed an under-market deal to stay in Cleveland as their star... he's not going anywhere unless he wants to. And with the division quality, he has a better shot at the playoffs in the central...
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 09:56 AM EST (#440938) #

The Pirates had a nice run in the 1970s- six playoff appearances and two World Series championships with the second one in 1979.  The common element was Willie Stargell, but the best players on the clubs were the rightfielders- Roberto Clemente from 1970-72 and Dave Parker from 1973-79.  Dave Parker came up at age 22 in 1973 for a long cup of coffee.  He was a fine raw talent- a five tool player, as they say- but with a 2/27 W/K in 147 PAs, he had work to do.  And he did.  He had his first big year in 1975 at age 24- hitting .300 with 35 doubles, 10 triples and 25 homers and evening out his W/K to 38/89.  From 1977-79, he was widely considered to be the best player in the game.  He won three Gold Gloves, he hit .300 with power and would take a walk and could steal bases.  The way he did it- everything was on a line and with force. I remember a home run that appeared to reach no more than 12 feet off the ground at its apex- what would be the exit velocity required assuming the ball traveled 350 feet, physics people?    His batting style involved considerable torque, and hence the nickname "The Cobra".  Here's a throw from Parker in the 1979 All-Star game.  It's fun to watch him and Gary Carter in their primes on both ends and to hear Tony Kubek's commentary. 

And the song of the time was We Are Family.  Corny, yes.  And underneath it, there was considerable dysfunction waiting to happen not just with the Pirates (although they were the standardbearers).  But for one season, it all worked for them. 

In hindsight, 1979 was the year that the monetarism period began with the election of Thatcher in Britain with Reagan to follow the next year.  We still live in that time.  As with the Pirates of 1979, I had no idea what was coming.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 10:07 AM EST (#440939) #
Tatis is only available if you take on a big contract as well (Machado or Bogaerts) unless they feel his skills were PED driven after the suspension but even then they'd demand a LOT for him. J-Ram has a ton of excess value as he signed a below market deal to stay in Cleveland and he has full no-trade protection which would complicate any deal significantly - safe to say he'd demand a $10 mil per year bonus to waive it or a drastic extension of the deal.

I can't see the Jays resigning Ryu unless they get a deal they just can't resist for Manoah or Kikuchi while failing to sign any of the big arms (Yamamoto, Snell, Montgomery - even guys like Imanaga, Giolito [killer peak then collapse still only entering age 29 season], Stroman - all I'd rate higher than Ryu). Hader has a QO and I don't see the Jays giving up draft picks and IFA cash for a closer when they already have a deep pen. Hoskins or Soler could fit in at DH at a reasonable price. Martinez could work at DH depending on his demands. Kiermaier might end up coming back as I haven't read any rumors about him to this point, which seems weird as he'd be a massive upgrade for many teams on defense and has a decent enough bat still to play everyday. Turner still makes some sense as a DH-backup 3B/1B. Joc Pederson is out there (many here wanted him last year - LH DH/LF who kills RHP) 116 OPS+ lifetime, 111 last year - certainly a decent option depending on price, entering age 32 season.

Bottom line - there are TONS of decent DH options, some of whom can cover 3B/LF/1B here and there as needed (ala Belt in 2023). Few decent 3B options via free agency or trade, lots of solid starters for 5th role if demand is there for one of the Jays 4/5 guys (Kikuchi, Manoah) but to get Manoah a team better be willing to give up far, far more than trade values says he is worth.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 10:13 AM EST (#440940) #
The ZiPS projections are up for Jung Hoo Lee-  .288/.346/.416 in 524 PA with a +1 on defence, good for 2.5 WAR.  That's a good player to have from age 25-30, with the big item being recovery from his injury last year. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 10:31 AM EST (#440941) #
If I were a 25-year-old center fielder coming off a broken ankle, I would choose a team with natural grass (like SF) over one with concrete and artificial turf (like Toronto).

Bellinger (who has a history of injuries) might be thinking along the same lines.
soupman - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 11:22 AM EST (#440942) #
Devo had three 6+ WAR seasons and then never broke 4 again after 93 he was 30 iirc. Vernon Wells was done at 31. Pillar hasn’t produced 1 WAR in a season since 2018 when he was here and 29.

The sky dome turf toe epidemic also appears to chew up 3b. Bodies don’t last long here. Bautista only started as a regular in 2009 here and seems like a huge outlier. Also he’s a known fitness maniac. Most vets that come here seem to explode after a year or two: glaus (autocorrect wants to call him glass), rolen, Donaldson….you get the idea.

I don’t want to re-litigate the turf debate - suffice to say I remain unswayed. I
Laughed when I saw the floor and parking garage torn up.
soupman - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 11:24 AM EST (#440943) #
Just in case it isn’t clear I am lumping all physical deterioration/production decline that outpaced the aging curve together under “turf toe” in case anyone felt the need to be a pedant about that.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 11:49 AM EST (#440944) #
I don't know about aging and injuries at the RC. I do know that I wouldn't want to be playing on concrete with turf over it for a number of reasons. Hard to believe that the RC is turning 34 this year. It is perhaps old before its time.

Unfortunately, the Pretenders Middle of the Road was released in 1983/84 and doesn't really fit the timeline...
Ducey - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 12:14 PM EST (#440945) #
Bellinger hurt his shoulder in 2019 celebrating in the playoffs. He got spiked at 1B in 2021 and broke his leg. He hurt his knee with the Cubs running into the wall. Not a lot of turf caused injuries there.

Glaus played primarily DH the year before he came to the Jays. He was starting to wear down when the Jays got him. He was done playing when he was 33. He played 2 years on AstroTurf.

Rolen had lots of injury problems before he came to Toronto. A quick review of his stats show he never played 162 and played 160 games once.

Both were big, big men. That likely had more to do with injury than turf.

3B dont tend to age well generally. In any event they are playing almost all their time on dirt.

If Bellinger does not want to come to Toronto it will be because he wants to be in a major American market.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 12:39 PM EST (#440946) #
Tatis would be a great pickup but I don’t think they move him unless it helps them significantly from a financial standpoint. Maybe if you want to try an Alomar/Carter core altering trade (with the same team no less) then try for something like Tatis and Bogaerts with Bichette and others going the other way, but that would be a massive financial commitment for Rogers over the next decade without the guaranteed influx of cash that Ohtani would have brought in with a similar long term investment.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 12:44 PM EST (#440947) #
Infielders at Rogers center play on natural sand and clay like all other stadiums in baseball except Tropicana field which is dirt on top of concrete. Rogers Centre dug down 6 feet to make an infield with real clay on top of soil on top of sand. There is no turf toe or artificial turf for players playing in the infield unless you count the rare times they run into foul territory to make a play.

The artificial turn used now is light years better than what was used before 2020.

ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 12:54 PM EST (#440948) #
The Jays were all in on Ohtani but I feel they're just doing " due diligence" on Yamamoto. I think they're in on Bellinger to a point but aren't going to throw crazy money at him, which they shouldn't. I wouldn't be surprised if they're cooking up a trade because things have been very quiet around Jaysland since Ohtani signed.
scottt - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 12:58 PM EST (#440949) #
Bellinger has played 3 games in Toronto. He did hit well, for what it's worth.

He's played 444 games in CF, 125 in RF, 38 in LF and 303 at 1B.
I would certainly manage his load by having him play some first base.

He played 130 games last year and 144 the year before.
Sure looks like a guy who can use a day off here and there.
He had a sizable reverse split last year, so not looking like a guy who gets platooned.

I still don't like the QO cost but the biggest problem comes from Boras who talks about a contract well north of 200M. That's from the agent who doesn't mind if his client is not signed on the first day of spring training.

greenfrog - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 01:07 PM EST (#440950) #
I don't know, dalimon. Late in the season Kiermaier specifically complained about the RC turf and said he wants to play for a team with natural grass.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 01:36 PM EST (#440951) #
Two points in response.

1. My argument is that infielders at Rogers Center play on natural clay and soil. This excludes 3 OF positions, so Kiermaier does not apply.

2. I read KK's comments as a view more on his time in Tropicana than Toronto since he said "I've played on artificial turf my whole career."
John Northey - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 03:16 PM EST (#440952) #
Looking at MLBTR I see the Pirates have a glut of young IF and need pitching. If the Jays could sign a starter (regardless of whom) might that make a deal with Pittsburgh possible?  They list Nick Gonzales, Jared Triolo, Liover Peguero, Alika Williams and Ji Hwan Bae as being available for pitching.  Gonzales & Bae both are mostly 2B with some time at SS in the minors (Bae also in CF, Gonzales at 3B).  Triolo really is interesting as  he is a 3B who has played SS and CF with a consistent 800 OPS in the minors post-COVID and a 116 OPS+ last year in 54 games in the majors.  Peguero is a SS/2B only with a 755 minor league OPS, 795 last year but a 78 OPS+ in the majors over 201 AB's.  Williams is the same - SS/2B 741 minors OPS, 814 last year, but 44 OPS+ over his first 101 AB's in the majors.  No question Triolo is easily the best fit, but in any deal for pitching (odds are they'd be after Manoah) I'd want a lot more (well, I'd do a Kikuchi for him but again, only if the Jays have a replacement signed and I don't see Pittsburgh going for a 1 year control vet).
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 04:21 PM EST (#440953) #
Troy Glaus was a big dude, for sure.  If memory serves, with the Jays he got hurt running to 1st base in Detroit.
soupman - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 05:56 PM EST (#440954) #
Glaus had plantar fasciitis and blamed the turf for making it worse.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 06:04 PM EST (#440955) #
Rasmus was another player who disliked the RC turf. He said his whole body ached after playing on it.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 07:59 PM EST (#440956) #
It wasn't only the home team. The Rangers liked to DH or rest Beltre in Toronto to keep him off his feet here.

I believe players who say that it is more painful for them. As a fan, I don't want any player to be in pain because of conditions of the playing surface. And, it annoys me no end that a multi-billion dollar employer can't take the basic steps to protect its workers from aggravation of repetitive strain injuries. Doesn’t surprise me, but annoys me.

You'd think that an employer paying its "field" employees $200M per year would find a way, but evidently not.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 08:04 PM EST (#440957) #
FWIW, I opined at the start of the off-season that Triolo would be an intriguing target.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 08:33 PM EST (#440958) #
All complaints about astroturf carpet on concrete. I recommend you guys search for articles on the field and turf improvements done over the past 10 years since these players played.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 10:06 PM EST (#440959) #
The Buffalo Bills play on turf (" A-Turf® Titan S-50 ") created by a local company in Cheektowaga.
soupman - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 10:47 PM EST (#440960) #
reading up on how astroturf 3d was going to help in 2010, and then astroturf 3d Xtreme (actual name) was going to help in 2015, but i'm sure this time the new new new astroturf is somehow actually better, and i'm sure players will be leaping to take a discount to act as lab rats.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 20 2023 @ 11:09 PM EST (#440961) #
You must be very well informed in grass species and artificial turf. 50% of NFL teams use synthetic grass. Jays have great turf and NATURAL INFIELD. I wonder if critics have been to a game and seen it in person or even ever walked on it.
bpoz - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 06:58 AM EST (#440962) #
Rumors are that D Cease may be traded this off season. If so this means that the CWS are in full rebuild. Eloy Jimenez and others could also be on the trading block because their window is 2-3 years away and it is in the weal AL Central.

I don't know what price Cease or Jimenez would command. I also don't know their contract situation. The Jays do make big moves every once in a while so it is possible.

I am not looking forward to the rumor circus which I expect to blossom in a week or so.
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 07:26 AM EST (#440963) #
You would need a package like what the Padres gave the Nationals. Tiedeman, Martinez, Manoah + + +
bpoz - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 09:38 AM EST (#440964) #
Nice trade package for Cease. At the 2017 trade deadline J Quintana was traded the Cubs for 4 players. 2 of which were Cease and Jimenez. The Cubs were contending but CWS was not. At the 2021 trade deadline Berrios was traded for A Martin & SWR. IMO Quintana was the best of the 3 SPs, with Cease and Berrios about equal.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 10:54 AM EST (#440965) #

The story in baseball in 1984 was the Detroit Tigers.  After a hot spring training, they went 13-0 to begin the year on the way to a sizzling 35-5 in their first 40 games.  They coasted to 108 wins and a division championship, swept the Royals in the ALCS and then defeated the Padres in 5 games in the World Series.  It was in truth a team effort, with the club's strength down the middle- Parrish, Trammell, Whitaker and Lemon- the core.  But there were other elements, Kirk Gibson, of course. An excellent bench, headed up by Dave Bergman, Ruppert Jones, Johnny Grubb and Rusty Kuntz (don't ask, young 'uns, he was truly named that).  The MVP though went to Willie Hernandez, their closer, who died very recently.  I am skeptical that any reliever can be the MVP of a club, let alone a league, but I thought that I would take a closer look at Hernandez' season.  He amassed 4.8 bWAR which is very high by current standards, but ranks 25th among seasons by relievers.  The leaders (and the only ones with more than 7 bWAR) are Goose Gossage 1975, John Hiller 1973 and Mark Eichhorn 1986.  Was there a case for Hernandez?  His ERA that year was 1.92- very good but not world-beating.  He threw 140 innings, which is a lot.  Drilling down a little further, the Tigers outperformed their Pythagorean by 9 games with a 25-11 record in one-run games the key.  Perhaps Hernandez contributed more to that than his ERA would suggest.  His splits suggest that was so- in high leverage situations (221 PA), opponents hit .153/.219/.168 (!), in medium leverage .181/.239/.219 and in low leverage (212 PA), .241/.294/.359.  When the margin was greater than 4 runs either way, he was entirely ordinary (.288/.333/.405) but in all other situations, he was great.  I'm sold that he was worth more than 5 wins to the Tigers that year and was a viable MVP candidate. Here's Hernandez closing out the World Series. 

Checking this, I remembered that Jim Palmer had never surrendered a grand slam in his career and I wondered how he did with the bases loaded- were there doubles and triples galore?  Answer: no.  In his career with the bases loaded (213 PA- a few less than Willie Hernandez' high leverage appearances in 1984), opponents hit .196/.230/.234.  Palmer walked fewer, struck out more, gave up fewer extra base hits and a lower BABIP with the bases loaded than in other situations.  How do you do that?  Palmer was and is a smart guy, and here's my theory.  He knew that many players can't resist the temptation to overswing and try for a home run in that situation.  And he would take advantage of those players.  For the more disciplined ones, he took advantage of the club's defence and simply let made sure that the ball stayed in the yard.  For much of his career, he had Robinson and Belanger and Grich and Blair around to gobble up what could be had.  I have long held that defence and pitching are symbiotic and this might be an instance.

The definitive pop song of the year was Prince's When Doves Cry, but the song that I will remember is Nena's 99 Red Balloons.  The world had narrowly avoided a nuclear holocaust in 1983 (statues of Stanislav Petrov should be in every city and town for not reporting incorrect information of an attack to his superiors), and yet talk of winnable nuclear wars and first-strike capability was still hanging over us in 1984.  About 200,000 marched in Toronto, and millions more around the world,  a week after the World Series ended.  Gorbachev was chosen leader of the Soviet Union in March 1985, disarmament negotiations began and that bullet was dodged for the next 40 years and counting.  
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:28 AM EST (#440966) #
Should we start a music/baseball thread?
John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 05:33 PM EST (#440967) #
Hrm... trying hard to think of trade targets...

Going by Steamer projections for OF for 2024.
  1. Tatis Jr - if SD really wants to clear out salary they might need to give up Tatis to get rid of an ugly contract (Bogaerts or Machado) but how far would the Jays go on that front is a big question, as is how desperate is SD to clear out payroll?
  2. Mike Trout - Anaheim is in full rebuild now I'd have to think, and no way Trout wants to be stuck there for another 5+ years waiting for a 2nd playoff appearance. But entering his age 32 season with tons of injuries and $260 mil owed over the next 7 years makes him a massive risk, but the reward if healthy is massive too. Maybe a shift to LF would help keep him healthy?
  3. Brandon Nimmo - if the Mets find no one will take their money this winter then they might go to full rebuild and offer him up - I really doubt it though.
  4. Randy Arozarena - if the Rays are really into 'lets cheap out early', but again doubtful as he is just into his first year of arbitration, there were rumors they might though - horrid defense, solid offense, plays LF/DH.
  5. Christian Yelich - Milwaukee is also tight on cash so they might want to clear out one of their few expensive players - Yelich is owed $130 mil over the next 6 years, which is very reasonable for a guy who had over 6 WAR the past two years total.
All of those guys are projected to be better than Bellinger by Steamer (2.4 fWAR). It all depends on how the Jays project each of these players and what fiscal risk they are willing to take. If Bellinger is demanding $200 mil and has a significant risk of being no better than Trout over the term of the contract maybe pay a bit more cash, minimal prospects (vs the draft pick and IFA cash) and get the guy who, if healthy, could slaughter any projection Bellinger has? Or see if SD is willing to really take a risk and get Tatis and one of their infielders who are overpaid instead? Y'know, the more I think about it the less insane a Trout to Toronto deal seems - the cost in prospects should be minimal while the potential is scary good. Imagine him if he felt he had a real shot at a title at long last?
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 05:43 PM EST (#440968) #
I think you would need to offer Tiedeman, Manoah, Barger, Nimmala and a few more lower prospects to get Trout out of Anaheim.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 06:31 PM EST (#440969) #
If you want to get your feet wet with the Immaculate Grid on Baseball Reference, today is a nice warmup.  Don't have to worry about whether somebody played with Houston and San Francisco (Bob Knepper is my go-to) or Houston and Oakland (Joe Morgan). 
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 06:40 PM EST (#440970) #
The 1984 Tigers.  The 1985 Bears.

1974 / '79 / '84 / next up 1989 and the Bash Brothers!
lexomatic - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 08:36 PM EST (#440971) #
Really enjoyed the Fangraphs article on how AA has improved thr Braves through innovative trading.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 09:00 PM EST (#440972) #
Hall Watch player- Jose Ramirez.  He has 45 bWAR through age 30.  There are 12 other third basemen with 40-50 WAR through age 30 and the list goes like this from top to botttom: Buddy Bell, Evan Longoria, Scott Rolen, David Wright, Home Run Baker, John McGraw, Adrian Beltre, Chipper Jones, Nolan Arenado, Brooks Robinson, Sal Bando, Harlond Clift.  I think 8 or 9 of them will eventually make it, so maybe he has a 2/3 shot of getting there.  Buddy Bell has 66 bWAR, with more value defensively than offensively.  He won 6 Gold Gloves, but somehow I think that he may not make it.  Who knows what the gatekeepers will be thinking in 2035.  Similarly with Sal Bando (61 bWAR) and Evan Longoria (59 bWAR so far).  David Wright is likely to be on the outs as happened already with Harlond Clift.  

Ramirez has 6 top 10 MVP finishes through age 30.  I think he is widely considered to be one of the best players in the game, more so than Buddy Bell was in his 20s or even Bando was in his.  If he makes it to 65 bWAR, I think he'll get in, and it would be reasonable. 
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 09:13 PM EST (#440973) #
The thing people forget when they assess Anthopoulos’s performance as Blue Jays GM is just how young he was at the time. After all these years in front offices, he’s still only 46. He was brilliant and precocious 10-15 years ago. Now he’s brilliant and experienced.
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 09:20 PM EST (#440974) #
I would argue his stock is up in relation to Shapiro Atkins who are on thin ice and have not been able to make the leap with ample budgets than AA never had. I've been critical of the easy praise for AA and I don't like how his entire tenure in Toronto was rewritten by half a season...but lately I am changing my tune and I'm souring on this current front office.
John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 09:55 PM EST (#440975) #
News on non-MLB players...

Giants Out Of Bidding For Yoshinobu Yamamoto - Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Blue Jays, Phillies, and Red Sox are all still in. Current bids are at $300 million (no mention of any Ohtani type clause shifting cash out a decade or more).

The Blue Jays, Pirates, Astros and Yankees are still in the bidding for Cuban RHP free agent Yariel Rodriguez (26) - he had a 1.15 ERA in his one year in Japan. Mostly used as a RH reliever it seems but was a starter in Cuba. An interesting case who didn't pitch in 2023 and is entering his age 27 season, but if signed and used in the pen then who goes to make room? Richards, White, Garcia the weakest ones there right now. This is a guy I hadn't heard boo about until now. But could be a useful piece, seems teams are waiting for Yamamoto to make up his mind before settling on a deal.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 10:05 PM EST (#440976) #
The article says the non-New York/Dodgers teams are “technically” still in on Yamamoto. Until the facts disprove my hypothesis, I’m.assuming that the elite FAs like having the Jays as bidders because it drives up the price they can ultimately command from the team the player wants to sign with.

Good for the Jays for trying, though.
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 10:37 PM EST (#440977) #
Rumour is Yankees put offer of $326 million for 9 years and Yamamoto is on the verge of signing him.
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 10:40 PM EST (#440978) #
*on the verge of signing with them
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:00 PM EST (#440979) #
Shapiro Atkins are playing checkers. AA is playing chess.
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:03 PM EST (#440980) #
Ben Nicholson Smith saying Blue Jays are not expected to land Yamamoto.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:11 PM EST (#440981) #
…and never were.

(That’s the part Sportsnet journalists are not allowed to say.)
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:12 PM EST (#440982) #
LAD have landed him. What an offseason for them! Wow.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:12 PM EST (#440983) #
Hearing it's the Dodgers
John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:15 PM EST (#440984) #
If that Yankee offer is real and not massively deferred (thus cutting the value down to $200 mil) then the Jays would be smart to walk away. 9 years $326 mil for a pitcher sounds insane. $36.2 mil a year for a guy who has no ML track record, just threw 137 pitches in his last start in Japan. Just sounds way too risky to me. I hope the Mets beat the Yankees though as he might be that good in which case I'd rather he was in a different division than the Jays.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:18 PM EST (#440985) #
Nightengale confirms it’s LAD who landed Yamamoto.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:20 PM EST (#440986) #
Ohtani, Yamamoto, Glasnow, Margot, Heyward, all acquired by Dec. 21. Merry Christmas to you, Dodgers fans.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:22 PM EST (#440987) #
12 years, $325m
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:35 PM EST (#440988) #
What a great deal. Age 25-37 at 27 million per year. Dodgers are crushing it.ARZ, SD, SF no chance...
John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:43 PM EST (#440989) #
Holy crap. The Dodgers are really doing everything they can. Thankfully they are the ones doing it, not the Yankees who 'only' got Soto for a year so far. Of course, if I was Soto's agent I'd be licking my chops right now as the Yankees, Jays, Red Sox all will be desperate next winter most likely - especially if Bellinger signs with the Cubs. Get those 3 into a bidding war and watch out.

12 years $325 mil = $27.3 per year. Only 8 deals had more cash in baseball history (tied with Stanton & Seager for #9). The most money ever given to a pitcher by $1 mil over Gerrit Cole.

Not a massive shock the Dodgers got him, but the raw dollars is insane. As a warning - #3 for pitchers all-time in dollars is Stephen Strasburg at $245,000,000 which was for nothing as he produced -0.5 bWAR over 31 1/3 innings.

Pitchers are always a pitch away from their career being over. Kind of glad the Jays didn't win that one, as fun as it would've been, as that is the type of deal that can screw up a club long term - just ask Washington fans. The story here is the Mets matched the Dodgers offer for Yoshiobu Yamamoto at $325 million. Yankees offered $300 million, no mention of what the Jays and Phillies offered (both said to still be in the race to the end).
dalimon5 - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:50 PM EST (#440990) #
Yankees offered 30 million per year for 10 years.

Mets offered same as Dodgers + $50 million dollar signing bonus.

He just wanted to go to the Dodgers.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 21 2023 @ 11:54 PM EST (#440991) #
The key takeaway for Blue Jays fans (apart from missing out on Yamamoto) is that he didn’t end up with the Yankees. The Yankees could be good in 2024, but not having Yamamoto definitely makes life more difficult for them. They have a number of expensive/aging players that come with red flags (Stanton, Rizzo, Rodon, Cortes). They lost some useful players in the Soto trade. And we’ll see whether Judge can play 140+ games coming off his toe injury from last year.

The O’s should be excellent (bolstered by their elite high-minors talent), though.
John Northey - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 12:01 AM EST (#440992) #
So given the status out in the NL West I'd have to think the Padres feel they have no shot for a few years. The Dodgers clearly have to be the favorite for the next few years.

Arizona has a killer cheap young core. SF has money to burn but cannot find anyone to take it. The Rockies...well...someone has to come in last. The Padres have no TV deal, were barely over 500 last year (82 wins) and FanGraphs has an NRI listed as their everyday LF right now. So now is the time to strike - start talks on taking a few of those ugly contracts (Yu Darvish signed for ages 37-41 for $83 mil, Machado ages 31-40 for $333 mil, Bogaerts ages 31-40 $255 mil, Tatis Jr ages 25-35 for $325 mil) - Only Tatis is listed as being a net positive over that contract vs dollars owed. The old owner who wanted a title more than anything died so his kids have to decide if they love money or trying to win more. I'm betting they love money more. Soto is gone, Snell (Cy winner) & Josh Harder (closer) will be officially gone at some point soon (both free agents).

So see if they'll go for a Tatis & Machado deal (each making about what Yamamoto will) which would solve the 2 biggest issues (LF/3B) for a long time (I see Tatis in RF, Springer to LF, Machado at 3B with Espinal for defense late and to give him days 'off' at DH). Taking their 2 biggest contracts away should make the prospect cost a lot less, maybe get them to toss in some cash then give up a really good prospect or two instead to keep Rogers happy. I still doubt they'll want to, but their ownership will be pressuring the club to cut payroll drastically at this point I'd have to think. The NL West is like the AL East - go big or go cheap and smart (Arizona vs O's, Yankees vs Dodgers, SF vs Red Sox). The Jays are trying to go big and smart, the Rays are pure smart, Colorado is doomed, SD seems cursed.
bpoz - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 06:40 AM EST (#440993) #
The Jays getting Ohtani had me going. I admit this. But Yamamoto signing with the Jays did not fool me. At the moment I don't think the Jays will sign a big FA. Teo is all I see as possible. This means that the Jays on paper will be in a battle all season for a playoff spot.

I feel that the AL will have a 9 team battle for the playoffs. 4 in the AL East (no Boston), 3 in the AL West (no Oakland & LAA) 1 AL Central and 1 mystery team.

greenfrog - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 06:50 AM EST (#440994) #
The total financial commitment by the Dodgers in this deal is pretty big. Per MLBTR:

“Los Angeles is reportedly in agreement with Yoshinobu Yamamoto on a 12-year, $325MM contract. The deal, which is pending a physical, includes a $50MM signing bonus for the Wasserman client and does not contain any deferred money. It comes with a near-$51MM posting fee to the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball, bringing the overall commitment north of $375MM.”

It sounds as if the contract includes a couple of opt-outs as well.
scottt - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 07:00 AM EST (#440995) #
The Dodgers didn't really need  a DH and Yamamoto hasn't thrown an inning in MLB yet.
It's a team that has looked invincible for long stretches but hasn't been good in the playoffs.
And they still hang to the same manager.

There is so much money for baseball in California and so little in Florida.

greenfrog - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 07:05 AM EST (#440996) #
I have a theory about the Dodgers acquisitions this winter. In addition to pursuing the goals of adding the very best talent and the extra revenue associated with superstar international signings (Ohtani and Yamamoto), the Dodgers may be betting on improved training, therapeutic and medical approaches in the coming decade to keep those players healthy and productive. We have seen impressive longevity in some players in recent years.
dalimon5 - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 08:20 AM EST (#440997) #
I'm working on a different theory. Oakland is moving to Las Vegas and will become a very popular team in California. I've lived in California and driven from LA to Vegas and it's similar to Toronto to Montreal. LAD want to dominate the market and grow their brand...not lose any fans to any surrounding markets. The amount of Dodgers fans in SD, ARZ, Anaheim, Las Vegas, etc is huge. Kind of like the Maple Leafs and all of Ontario vs just Toronto.
Mike Green - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 08:51 AM EST (#440998) #
The Ohtani deal will probably be fine for the Dodgers because of the marketing advantages and the contract structure.  The Yamamoto deal will likely work out from a baseball perspective.  I think they've added 70 WAR to their club, 45-50 of it from Yamamoto.

It's an excellent diversion from the realities of wildfires, rising sea levels and earthquakes.  I imagine the Dodgers have their premiums paid, but we'll see how that all works out. 

Glevin - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 09:38 AM EST (#440999) #
"I'm working on a different theory. Oakland is moving to Las Vegas and will become a very popular team in California. I've lived in California and driven from LA to Vegas and it's similar to Toronto to Montreal. LAD want to dominate the market and grow their brand."

Doesn't really work like this. Second teams, even in the same city are never as popular. White Sox, Angels, Mets. I can't imagine any Angelenos becoming Vegas fans unless they start to win and Dodgers don't and get some bandwagon ones. I think the Dodgers were just saving up and are going for it. They have the money and it's good to see teams spending. There are way too many teams (almost all) who are entirely driven by profit.
electric carrot - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 10:06 AM EST (#441000) #
Congratulations to the LA Dodgers! It's so nice to see the the plucky underdog team with few resources win for a change.
Mike Green - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 10:21 AM EST (#441001) #

Another A's year, this time the second of three straight World Series appearances but the only victory of the three.  We think of the club as the Bash Brothers, but the five WAR leaders were: Mike Moore (!), Rickey Henderson, Carney Lansford, Dave Henderson and Dave Stewart.  But Rickey arrived in Oakland from New York on June 22.  He was the overall WAR leader on the league in 1989 among position players (and was again in 1990), and he's our guy for today.

In high school, my nickname was Mickey (or the Mick) although I could neither mash like Mantle, nor run like Rivers, nor for that matter swagger like Jagger.  But, Mickey for Rickey has a ring to it, and it's about time that I do something with the nickname.  Rickey came up at age 20 in 1979 for the A's.  In 1980, he had one of the greatest age 21 seasons of all time, with 8.8 bWAR ( Rogers Hornsby 1917, Mike Trout 2013,  Eddie Mathews 1953 and Cesar Cedeno 1972 were the others with 8 WAR or more).  At the time, the media focus was on his 100 stolen bases, but it was actually the least of his accomplishments.  He wasn't a particularly effective base-stealer as a young player- he was caught 26 times that year and regularly led the league in caught stealing.  What he did do was hit .300 in Oakland, walking 117 times and striking out 54 and played stellar defence in left-field.  By 1983, he was 24 and had improved his base-stealing efficiency, but the power had not yet arrived.  One afternoon that summer, I went with a friend Warren to watch a game at Exhibition Stadium from the metal benches on the first base side.  It wasn't comfortable, but for $5.50 it was a great deal.  Warren said "Raines or Henderson?"  Of course, I said Raines, and told him that I thought Raines would develop power.  He said "Nope, Henderson", and I said that we'd know in 15 years.  Warren was right.  I knew by 1983 the importance of having a leadoff hitter who (most importantly) got on base and (secondarily) could scoot once there.  Henderson was the best at that ever and consequentially holds the career record for runs scored.  Very important record.

The A's were in first place by 2 games when Henderson arrived.  He was great in July, but Oakland did not lengthen their lead.  He was good in August, but did not Oakland did not lengthen their lead.  Finally in September, with Henderson not at his best, the A's pulled away.  But the A's got their money worth in the playoffs.  Henderson was the MVP of the ALCS against your Toronto Blue Jays.  He walked twice in Game 1 and stole 2 bases.  He reached base in all of his 4 plate trips in Game 2 and stole 4 bases.  He doubled and walked in 5 trips and stole his 7th base of the series in a Game 3 loss.  He hit two two-run homers (and walked) in Game 4 to stake the A's to a 5-1 lead and they hung on for a 6-5 win.  He tripled, walked and stole his 8th base without being caught in a 4-3 win in Game 5. 

The 1989 series was the earthquake series in the Bay area.  Henderson dominated again, although Dave Stewart was the MVP.  In Game 1,  Henderson singled twice as the A's jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and Stewart coasted with a shutout.  In Game 2, Henderson went 3-3 including a triple, and walked, as the A's took an early 5-1 lead and Mike Moore coasted.  After the earthquake forced a delay of almost 2 weeks, the A's again jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the middle innings and Dave Stewart coasted.  Dave Henderson was the hitting star.  Rickey did double and walk.  Rickey led off Game 4 with a homer, later tripled again and singled, as the A's had another large lead (this time 7-0) by the 5th inning.  They won 9-6 and that was that. 

Here's Rickey in the 1989 ALCS.  REM's Green was released in 1988, but hit the pop charts in 1989.  It's a great record and fitting for the times.  Awareness of planet heating was becoming more commonplace by then, although denialism was at an all-time high.    Here's Stand.  The band takes it a little briskly for my taste, but there you go. 

I can't leave 1989 without thinking of it as the beginning of a wonderful time in Toronto.  You can draw the starting line in a number of places, but for me, it began after a 13-1 loss on May 14. when Pat Gillick had had enough with a good club floundering.  Jimy Williams was fired and replaced with Cito Gaston, and the good times began to roll.  Gillick drafted John Olerud in June and Olerud made his major league debut in September.  After a year of treading water, Gillick had one of the best weeks a GM ever had in December 1990.  On December 2, he traded Junior Felix for Devon White and 3 days later traded McGriff and Fernandez for Alomar and Carter.  Olerud, Alomar and White would be the core of a great club.  And fitting that it would end with the acquisition of Henderson in 1993 as the final piece for a second World Series championship before 1994, but that's a story for another day.  

dalimon5 - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 10:25 AM EST (#441002) #
"Congratulations to the LA Dodgers! It's so nice to see the the plucky underdog team with few resources win for a change."

I think this will be a very popular sentiment for baseball fans and front offices outside of LA this year. It's good to have villains.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 10:45 AM EST (#441003) #
" It's so nice to see the plucky underdog team with few resources win for a change."

A thick slice of sarcasm garnished with the condiments of disgust, envy, and bitterness. Serve me a big piece because I have the same sentiments, and yet bozo sportswriters like Jon Heyman think the big city teams from New York and L.A. scooping up the premium free agents every year is good for baseball. ( I'm not forgetting Texas went on a spending spree and won the World Series )
bpoz - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 11:19 AM EST (#441004) #
LAD visit Toronto April 26, 27 & 28. Should be a sellout.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 11:30 AM EST (#441005) #
Rickey was also a rare player who throws left and bats right.
John Northey - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 04:22 PM EST (#441006) #
Agreed, 1989 was a big year - the transition from the Bell-Moseby-Barfield & Stieb-Key team to the future 2 time WS winning teams began this year - Fernandez showed he was clutch in the playoffs, but not at Rickey level. Cito took over as manager and after a month or so of speculation was left in permanently (Gillick wanted Lou Piniella so bad, more than the current Jays wanted Ohtani it seemed at the time). Junior Felix emerged and was a WOW ala Schneider in Boston with an inside the park grand slam and other homers that made him a fast favorite at just 21 (who knew at the time he was more likely 31?), a mid-season trade for Mookie Wilson seemed to energize the team in a much needed way. Then came the playoffs where they were knocked out fast showing the team had a way to go still. Then came the 2 key trades as Mike pointed out. The next year they were again knocked out fast so more free agents were brought in (Winfield & Morris primarily) while Ward was showing he was ready to close but Henke was still 'the closer' with good reason. Post 92 the Jays cleared out some older more expensive players for younger (Henke gone, Ward takes over, Gruber gone, Sprague takes over) with free agents being 2-3 year solutions at most (Stewart & Molitor). Then it all fell apart as Gillick left with a deep farm and lots of ML talent but sadly a replacement GM who should've been better than he was.

It was an odd time, the Yankees were falling apart, the Red Sox also (they moved on from the owners son as primary catcher - he had a lifetime 33 OPS+ - but still, they'd fail to win 90+ until 1998), the AL East was pathetic then - no one cracked 90 wins, the Jays who won the East would've been 4th in the West.
John Northey - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 04:31 PM EST (#441007) #
The Dodgers still have a SS who didn't play last year and could use more bullpen help so they aren't done yet. I suspect they also want to upgrade the OF - so don't be shocked if they go after Bellinger too. Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes. I'm just glad if a team had to go nuts it was the Dodgers and not the Yankees (bad enough they have Soto).
greenfrog - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 05:23 PM EST (#441008) #
One less-heralded but rising star GM I have my eye on is Mike Hazen. He seems like he could be a good one. Interestingly, he took a leave of absence in June 2021 to care for his wife, who had brain cancer. She died just over a year later.
lexomatic - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 06:25 PM EST (#441009) #
Apparently Snell is asking for 200 million, nd no way would I go there.
John Northey - Friday, December 22 2023 @ 11:22 PM EST (#441010) #
Can't blame him - a guy with no track record got $325 mil (plus another $50 mil posting fee to be paid to his old team). Snell just won his 2nd Cy Young. Logically he should be seeing 2/3rds of what the kid got. Of course, he isn't just a lot older (turning 31 next season vs 25 for Yamamoto) he also is a lot more fragile (twice had 180 IP - his Cy years, all other seasons were under 130 IP each). I could see him being a mid-March signing by a team that has a serious pitching injury or waiting until the season gets going and he finally panics and signs for whatever he can get.

I'm wondering if we'll see a few guys caught by this - elevated expectations thanks to Yamamoto's deal, which will lead to some nice deals come mid-March as guys start panicking.
bpoz - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 07:41 AM EST (#441011) #
Atkins is usually good at filling holes. At the trade deadline he did not get a bat but said that there were better internal options. D Schneider proved him right.

Last off season he wanted an OF with stronger D. So Teo & Lourdes were traded and KK and Varsho added which addressed the need for better OF D. Merrifield also played a lot of OF. C Eden promoted for OF D late in the season.

IMO current holes are a stronger O and a possible shortage of OFs.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 09:50 AM EST (#441012) #

I had a longer version of this, but it was lost so please forgive.  If this series began in 1969, it would have started with the Expos first game on April 7- a stirring comeback against Tom Seaver and the Mets, whose miracle year did not start auspiciously.  Watching Rusty Staub and the Expos that afternoon was the start of a beautiful thing- through joy and heartache. 

The Expos of 1994 were a great team.  They were 74-40 when the season ended due to the lockout and were 6 games clear of Atlanta in first place in the NL East.  Atlanta had the second best record in the league at that point, and LA led the NL West with a 58-56 record.  The Expos had a stellar outfield of 27 year olds- Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou, with 22 year old Rondell White waiting in the wings and Vladimir Guerrero getting his first pro action.  The infield wasn't as great, but it was adequate and young.  The pitching staff was very good that year and featured a 22 year old Pedro Martinez.  Nuff said.  And the closer was John Wetteland.  The fans were slow to take to the team but by August, they averaged 34,000 fans on a weeknight.  It was a team bound for glory, if there was any justice in the world.  Sigh. 

Here's Vladimir Guerrero's first home run- love the call from Atlanta announcer "Alou got lucky".  Huh.  And for music, first Big Yellow Taxi.  It resonates for me on quite a few levels.  In 1994, my young family would go to Ontario Place where there was no admission, a fantastic playground and a good waterpark, and the only cost was a couple of bucks for the baby bumper boat ride that the kids loved.  And now there is a plan to turn it into a spa with a 6 storey parking lot.  And the sad lament that is "don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" repeats itself over and over again. 

In April, 1994, Kurt Cobain killed himself.  Here's Nirvana doing Leadbelly's Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
krose - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 12:23 PM EST (#441013) #
Didn’t know Curt Cobain did that song. Had to go back to a 1971 version by Long John Baldry. It Ain’t Easy was the name of the album. Heard it on CKUA here in Alberta. Song was called Black Girl.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 12:42 PM EST (#441014) #
1994 was also the beginning of the central division.  Tony Gwynn Sr. posted his famous .394 batting average.  And Pat Hentgen lead the 1994 Blue Jays with 5.4 bWAR.
John Northey - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 01:23 PM EST (#441015) #
The list of who the Jays are interested in keeps growing it seems, but few of real interest imo.
  • Michael A. Taylor - a backup OF imo who is a decent CF - 96 wRC+ last year, 82 lifetime so not much of a bat, but solid defensive ratings. Plus some power (21 HR last year), entering age 33 season. RH bat
  • Joc Pederson - LH bat, corner OF/DH poor on defense,111 wRC+ last year, 117 lifetime, entering age 32 season.  Solid as a 4th OF/platoon DH option
  • Justin Turner - RH bat, 3B/1B/DH but at stage of career where defense is not a strong point, 114 wRC+ last year, 127 lifetime, entering age 39 season, would be nice mixed with Pederson at DH, both used here and there in the field to give other guys a semi-day off at DH, or full day off (Vlad, Springer, whoever is everyday LF)
  • Rhys Hoskins - RH bat, 1B/LF in a pinch. Missed 2023 due to an injury that seems fully recovered from (was available for the playoffs but not used) - listen to Deep Left Field Podcast to hear an expert's opinion on his health (it is very good).  122 wRC+ in 2022, 126 lifetime, poor on defense so a DH who'd spell Vlad at 1B here and there.
  • J.D. Martinez 135 wRC+ last year, 132 lifetime but entering age 36 season. RH bat, pure DH now with just 12 innings in LF last year.
  • Joey Votto - 98 wRC+ last year, 145 lifetime, entering age 40 season, LH bat. DH mostly, but 374 innings at 1B last year. Hard to imagine him being good enough with the bat to justify a roster slot at this stage, but would be fun to see him play in Canada at the end.
  • Cody Bellinger - LH CF/1B 134 wRC+ last year, 119 lifetime, entering age 28 season.  The best fit of anyone right now, but wants $200+ million. Jays might have to bite the bullet and pay up at this point unless a big trade happens.  There just isn't anyone else left in free agency who can approach his potential impact.
For projections - only 4 guys are projected as hitters to be worth 2 WAR+ - Chapman, Bellinger, Amed Rosario (SS/2B), HoskinsJorge Soler & Mitch Garver are on the edge so it isn't unreasonable to chase either of them. Everyone else I'd see as a backup/platoon player at best,including Teoscar Hernández.  If the Jays want to push it on pitching there is Snell, Montgomery, Imanaga, Stroman, Julio Urías, Lucas Giolito, James Paxton, and Sean Manaea all at 2+ fWAR projected for 2023.  Only Snell has a QO, as does closer Josh Hader.  For hitters only Chapman & Bellinger have QO's attached to them.  Those have to be viewed as the primary guys the Jays might sign soon.  Pitchers I figure they'll wait and see in March, if Manoah or Kikuchi don't look like they'll be effective then sign one of them (whoever is left) otherwise just stick with the 5 we have (very nice 5 too)

Where is help needed?  We have focused on LF/3B/DH due to no one being there right now, but are all other positions solid? Lets take a look at Steamer projections fWAR to see.
  • C: Alejandro Kirk & Danny Jansen - ranked 9 & 15 totaling 5.2 fWAR between them.  Only Rutschman is worth more as a single player, I doubt many teams have as good a 1-2 punch behind the plate.
  • 1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - ranked #4 at 4.1 fWAR (4.4 leads in a tie between Freeman, Olson & Díaz).  If true then phew.
  • 2B: Schneider - ranked #23 @1.9 fWAR, Espinal #33 @ 1.0, Biggio #36 @ 0.9 - their combined 3.8 is nice but still would only be 6th in the majors and that includes a LOT of playing time at other positions.
  • 3B: Espinal #34 @ 1.0.  Chapman is #11 @ 2.6 - yeah, this position is a nightmare especially if they can't sign Chapman back.
  • SS: Bo Bichette #8 @ 4.2 (no idea why they have Semien listed at SS at #7 and Tatis Jr. at #1 when he is now a RF, and Franco who is suspended indefinitely at #3, I get listing Henderson at #2 as he split time 3B/SS).  Remove those 4 and Bo is #4 among actual full time SS who will be playing in 2024
  • LF: Varsho #4 @ 3.0 but he won't be in LF in 2024, Cam Eden is the only other Jay listed at #131 @ -0.1.  Yikes.
  • CF: Varsho #6 @ 3.0
  • RF: Springer #8 @3.0, Lukes #47 @0.5
  • DH: all kinds of guys here - Kirk #6 @ 3.1, Horwitz #39 @ 0.6 (just 55 games, so full season would be closer to 1.5, which is where they have Pederson in 117 games)
  • SP: Gausman #3 @ 4.4, Bassitt #50 @ 2.4, Berríos #55 @ 2.3, Kikuchi #60 @ 2.2, Manoah #160 @ 0.9 in 126 IP, Tiedemann #168 @ 0.8 in 65 IP
  • RP: Romano #42 @ 0.6, Mayza #59 @ 0.5, García #77 @ 0.5, Pearson #110 @ 0.4, Swanson #132 @ 0.3, Green #148 @ 0.3, Richards #150 @ 0.3, White #189 @ 0.2 - for relievers fWAR is not a good measure but at least none of these guys were negative.
Yeah, it is clear LF/3B are the nightmares.  Sadly the easiest to sign are DH's where we've got tons of guys to rotate in and out.  I could see a mix of Pederson & Turner working as a platoon DH where both get time in the field to give guys days off. But that doesn't solve the big issue in LF or 3B.  A trade is almost certainly needed.
scottt - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 01:44 PM EST (#441016) #
Martinez and Barger can play 3B. It would be fun to see them at the position whereas Votto is 40 and would be interesting on a minor league contract only. He's very much like 2018 Bautista. Maybe there is something left, probably not. Would fit on a non contender where he could be traded at the deadline and have a shot at a ring, if he cares.

They seem to like Taylor as a 4th outfielder in a defensive/platoon role.
It would be warranted if they sign a guy like Pederson in LF.
I don't see the use for him if they ink Bellinger instead.

This is the front office that got tired of waiting on Encarnacion.
They will put their best offer with a deadline sooner than later.
I'm not even sure that the Cubs are serious here and could end up forced to sign him because nobody else is.  Kinda like Bautista in 2017.

greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 03:51 PM EST (#441017) #
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk reports that the Jays have expressed interest in Cronenworth. He speculates that the Jays may have been willing to take on the bulk of Cronenworth's remaining contract to facilitate an acquisition of Soto (before the latter was acquired by the Yankees).
Mike Green - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 04:04 PM EST (#441018) #
When the Padres signed Bogaerts and moved Kim over to second base, they shifted Cronenworth to first base. It worked out well enough for Kim but nor for Cronenworth.

The Jays could do a complicated arrangement with Schneider platooning at second with Cronenworth and then playing 3B or LF against RHP. Perhaps in tandem with someone like Michael A. Taylor.

I wouldn't do it. Schneider is fine at second base. They should try to cobble together something for left-field, maybe a Pederson/Taylor platoon
John Northey - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 04:26 PM EST (#441019) #
Interesting one Greenfrog.  Cronenworth is interesting - 1B/2B last year, but SS/3B in the minors (with Kim/Bogaerts/Machado the Padres couldn't put him anywhere else really), he'd be a solid guy for the Biggio role (bats left, 111 OPS+ lifetime, but a 92 last year, signed for ages 30-36 for $80 mil (why did SD do that when they had team control via arbitration through his age 31 season, yeah a 122 OPS+ at 27 his 1st full ML season but that is trying too hard for cost certainty).

Dug through Trade Values and came up with an interesting one - Padres need to cut payroll, but Machado is just too nuts to take ($333 mil ages 31-40) so how about to get Tatis, you also take Cronenworth ($80 mil 7 years), Darvish ($83 mil 5 years), Suarez ($20 mil 2 years plus $16 mil 2 more years of player options - a reasonable back end of the pen option who in 2022 was a solid setup type guy) for Tiedemann, Orelvis Martinez, Jimenez, Barger, Biggio & Kikuchi (to clear space and a tiny bit of cash, SD would trade Kikuchi mid-season for prospects most likely).  Yeah, there goes all the top farm prospects but also we'd have a super-star in RF (move Springer to LF) a solid rotation guy in Darvish, a decent reliever, and a solid IF backup who could cover 3B potentially.  Taking on roughly $199 mil over 4-7 years in order to get Tatis ($325 over 11 years).  Could work, but that is a lot of payroll to take on ($63 mil per year for 4 years, $7 mil less this year due to how Cronenworth is set up), $53.7 after Suarez is done.

Or the Machado/Tatis for whatever deal ($56 mil per year hit) - BTV has the 2 of them combined as -0.10 value ($100k to the bad) but no way the Padres dump them together for nothing - maybe a few less big name prospects (Leo Jimenez, Yosver Zulueta, T.J. Brock for example).  In truth I like that better.  Yeah, Machado will require eating a lot of cash at some point but for the next few years... wow for offense and would piss off Yankee fans to no end (always a nice bonus).
greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 04:47 PM EST (#441020) #
Tatis and Machado might be nice to have for their near term performance. But what about Tatis’s PED and extensive injury history? What about those players’ makeup issues (to the extent there are any)? Those could adversely impact the organization in the long run.

Shapiro Atkins seem to prefer high-character players (hard to blame them).

I think NYY made the right trade with SD.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 05:10 PM EST (#441021) #
As I’ve said before, the only real pathway to long-term success for the Blue Jays is building a strong farm system. All the good Jays teams were built on that foundation. As we’ve seen this off-season, elite Japanese players, and many American free agents, just aren’t interested in signing with Toronto (and if they are willing to sign here, it’s at the cost of an extra contractual year or significantly more cash).

Strong farm system + good front office + high payroll is a great formula for winning.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 05:30 PM EST (#441022) #
By the way, if it were my club, I would attempt to sign Jansen to an extension of 3-5 years and tell him that he was going to be my everyday leftfielder. And go looking for a backup catcher.

I think that Jansen would stay healthier if he was moved out from behind the plate.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 06:42 PM EST (#441023) #
I wouldn't mind if the Jays signed Imanaga. He could be pretty decent in the majors.

Plus, I find it annoying when the Jays get complacent about one area of the team (current area of complacency: starting pitching), only to have to belatedly scramble to patch it during the season or next off-season. Why not build in a bit of redundancy now?
Mike Green - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 07:22 PM EST (#441024) #
Sure. There's nothing wrong with being 8 deep in starters if 4, 5, 6 and 7 are Kikuchi, Francis, Manoah and Tiedemann.

I'm sure the Orioles would be interested in Imanaga.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 08:52 PM EST (#441025) #
Jansen as left fielder is an interesting idea. He seems to be a good enough hitter to play the position. And maybe he’s athletic enough to pull it off. He’s still only 28.

I’m guessing there would always be the temptation to re-install him as catcher (for example, when Kirk gets hurt). He seems to be a competent and respected defensive catcher. Leaving his hand exposed, though…that was an unfortunate error on his part last year. You don’t want to see him become the next Travis d’Arnaud, continually getting sidelined by injuries.
dalimon5 - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 09:29 PM EST (#441026) #
You guys have seen him run, right?
dalimon5 - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 10:48 PM EST (#441027) #
A signing! Who is Paolo Espino?
John Northey - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 11:09 PM EST (#441028) #
Jansen actually isn't bad for speed - 27.1 ft/sec - league average is 27.  Faster than Espinal, Vlad, Belt, Heinemann, Horwitz, and Kirk (slowest on the team at 23.7, I'm sure that is totally shocking to everyone).

His speed is the same as Gurriel's, and faster than Soto's. Kyle Schwarber was the slowest LF last year at 25.0.  It is quite interesting to look at the sprint speed stats.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, December 23 2023 @ 11:22 PM EST (#441029) #
Paolo Espino is from Panama, entering age-37 season, and listed 5 ' 10 " - 212 lbs.
lexomatic - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 12:20 AM EST (#441030) #
IF Jansen could switch to left, you could get Gary Sanchez for cheap as backup.
bpoz - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 06:44 AM EST (#441031) #
Lots of players that are good at O are available. Getting one is a certainty IMO.
Ducey - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 07:07 AM EST (#441032) #
Espino must be a backup 3b coach or set up a mean brunch

It's a minor league signing, but there doesn't look to be any upside.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 07:09 AM EST (#441033) #
The Mets just received a $101m luxury tax bill, for a team that finished in fourth place in their division (75-87).
85bluejay - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 08:24 AM EST (#441034) #
Paolo Espino is a guy with ML experience who in a pinch the team can use and abuse with out worrying about losing him on a claim - a prudent signing.
Evair Montenegro - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 08:33 AM EST (#441035) #
Paolo is from Panama, we played together since we were 5 years old, he just won the triple crown in the Dominican Winter League.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 09:09 AM EST (#441036) #
Thank you, Evair. It's always great when you post.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 09:53 AM EST (#441037) #
Here are Espino's 2023-24 Dominican Winter League stats:

4-3, 2.40, 48.2 IP, 34 H, 1 HR, 10 BB, 49 K

Nice performance by him.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 09:56 AM EST (#441038) #
ESPN: "Ohtani gifts Joe Kelly's wife a Porsche after number swap."

Lifestyles of the rich and famous...
bpoz - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 10:12 AM EST (#441039) #
I am looking forward to the Buffalo roster for 2024. Other than SPs it will be dominated by prospects.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 10:38 AM EST (#441040) #
The Mets just received a $101m luxury tax bill

San Diego's tax bill came to nearly $40 M.

Mike Green - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 12:57 PM EST (#441041) #

I'm afraid that this has to be about the Yankees.  There's really no choice if I am going to be true to the concept.   Our player for today is Mariano Rivera, but before we talk about him,  let's look at how the game has changed by virtue of the expanded playoffs between the 1960s and 1999.  In the 60s, the big thing was winning the pennant.  Eight teams played and there were usually three or four teams that were competitive.  So, in 1964, the Yankees won the pennant (their last until 1976) with 98 wins by 1 game over Chicago and 2 over Baltimore.  The Cardinals in the stronger NL won the pennant famously with 93 wins, 1 game ahead of the Reds and Phillies and 3 games ahead of the Giants with Milwaukee only 5 games back.  When they faced each other in the World Series, they were well-matched and the series was essentially a coin-flip.  The Cards won in 7.  By 1999, the game had changed for some teams, with the Yankees in a class of their own. Eight teams made the playoffs.  The Yankees had won 96 and 114 games the previous two years, and their best players were young.   There were 4 teams that ended up with more than 87 wins- New York led with 98, then Cleveland with 97, Texas with 95 and Boston with 94.  The Yankees led the AL East by 7.5 games at the end of August and were essentially guaranteed of a playoff spot.  And they made the playoffs 13 years in a row.  This, for them, was the relatively easier part.  The harder part was winning it all, and while there is a large element of luck, it certainly helps to have certain players.  And Mariano Rivera would be top of the list. 

In Rivera's regular season career, he threw 1284 innings with a 2.21 ERA in an extreme hitters environment of the late 90s and aughts.  His career ERA+ of 205 is the best ever by a pitcher.  And then came the post-season, he threw 140 innings against tougher competition and somehow managed a 0.70 ERA.  No one has come close to that performance, without adjusting for leverage.  When you do, there is one player who stands out among all others and that is Mariano Rivera.  Cumulative WPA in the playoffs is 12.  I haven't been able to find another player with more than 4.  To give a sense of scale, Derek Jeter had an excellent offensive career and a fine batting line in the playoffs.  In the regular season, Jeter has 33 WPA and Rivera 55 WPA.  In the playoffs, it is Rivera 12 and Jeter 0.  WPA has its faults, but over the long haul, it does give a fairly good indication of which players contributions meant the most.

Rivera basically had one pitch, a cutter.  It had movement and he had pinpoint control of it.  And it was enough to get just about everybody out.  Who were the players who succeeded against him in more than 15 PAs?  Edgar Martinez (.625/.700/1.188), Aubrey Huff (end of Rivera's career), Roberto Alomar, Magglio Ordonez, Rafael Palmeiro, Vernon Wells, Nomar Garciaparra, Marco Scutaro and Evan Longoria.  It helped to be a great hitter and better to be right-handed than left.

Here's Rivera closing out the 1999 World Series. The song of the year was TLC's No Scrubs, which isn't my favourite of theirs (Waterfalls is).  So instead, we've got Scar Tissue, with the sweet guitar tone.  It was a fabulous year for movies- and Aimee Mann's soundtrack for Magnolia was particularly memorable. 

Mike Green - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 01:07 PM EST (#441042) #
I found this fine performance recorded at the Edmonton Folk Festival of Save Me and Wise Up from the Magnolia soundtrack.  The scenes from the movie with these tunes were so much more powerful on the big screen.
John Northey - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 06:33 PM EST (#441043) #
For the Jays 1999 was a nightmare. Roger Clemens demanded a trade after 1998, the manager was fired mid-spring training despite his issues being very well known during the 1998 season - guessing Ash hoped if he buried his head deep enough it'd all go away. It didn't, so the Jays were stuck with Jim Fregosi as manager which wasn't ideal by any stretch. Despite having 4 guys with 120 OPS+ the team only had a 105 OPS+ and 5th in runs scored. It was a messy year, and the team ended 10 games out in spite of David Wells doing great as a replacement for Clemens (2.9 bWAR, 17-10 record - he led the league in wins the next year with 20 and was traded for literally nothing). The late 90 were a bad time here in Toronto. The Jays were mediocre year in - year out with a GM who didn't have a clue and ownership that wanted to dump the team. Halladay in 2000 had his nightmare season, Carpenter was dumped a few years later, the payroll was eaten by Delgado's contract and the cheap owner. Trust me, nothing we've gone though these past few years is close to the disaster of that time frame. Not even close.
Gerry - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 07:48 PM EST (#441044) #
Mitch Garver is going to the Mariners, 2 years, $24M.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 07:52 PM EST (#441045) #
In 2000, they won only 83 games, but finished 4.5 games out of first place.  They traded Green for Mondesi in the off-season.  Green had been a 6 WAR player in 1999 and would be a 7 WAR player in 2001, but had an off-season in 2000, so I can't really say that trade alone cost them a good shot at a divisional title.  It didn't help.  But what actually killed them was a trade made after 1998- Woody Williams for Joey Hamilton.  Williams came up at age 26 to the pen, moved to the rotation and was an effective 3rd/4th starter.  And he just kept on trucking in San Diego and St. Louis and pitched until he was 40.  In 2000, he was a 3 WAR pitcher.  You wouldn't have thought that they would have needed him with the young guns Halladay, Carpenter and Escobar around, but they did. 

You do want to have at least 7 and ideally 8 viable starting pitching options.
scottt - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 08:56 PM EST (#441046) #
That's not bad. I'd rather have him in Seattle than in Texas.
Obviously, the Jays had no interest there.

scottt - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 09:04 PM EST (#441047) #
The key word is option.
Right now the Jays have 4 starting pitching commitments and a number of options.
It's rather easy to sign a starting pitcher but that only add a commitment.
Options are hard to stock and they often get pried out in trades.

The 2000 Jays were too cheap to sign reliable starting pitchers.

John Northey - Sunday, December 24 2023 @ 11:05 PM EST (#441048) #
The killer for 2000 was Woody Williams being traded for Joey Hamilton - Hamilton had a 75 ERA+ over 98 innings for the Jays who signed him to a multi-year deal after trading for him (all on the advise of assistant GM Dave Stewart). Williams that year had a 96 ERA+ over 208 1/3 IP. I suspect Hamilton sucking hard is a big part of the reason the Jays traded for Loaiza who actually was very effective for the Jays that year (141 ERA+ over 92 IP) but he cost Michael Young (yikes!). This was the year Halladay had a 10.64 ERA over 67 2/3 IP. It was an ugly year which they were 10 out after games on September 13th, then with zero pressure went out and won 6 of the next 7 to get back in eyeshot but it was far too little, far too late. 4 1/2 back after games of Sept 23rd then went 1-7 to finish the year - a 6-2 record would've forced a one game playoff for the division title and would've screwed up the Yankee dynasty of that time. Sigh. So many what if's.
Mike Green - Monday, December 25 2023 @ 11:22 AM EST (#441049) #
Merry Christmas to those celebrating.


You can call me the Grinch, but this year belonged to the Red Sox.  The best player on the team by a fair piece was Curt Schilling.  Theo Epstein, a Democrat, famously courted Schilling in the off-season and it paid of; Epstein was never one to let politics get in the way of a necessary baseball move.  I did not know that Epstein sat on the 2022 Hall of Fame committee that was to address the candidacy of (among other controversial candidates) Schilling. But the best player on the Sox team over his career was Pedro Martinez.   Over his prime from 1997-2003, he threw 1400 innings, went 118-36 with a 2.21 ERA (213 ERA+).  He led the league in ERA+ for 5 of the 7 years.  Martinez threw hard and located his fastball very well and had a great change-up, and like most great pitchers, had a clear idea of what he was doing out there.  He was 5'11", 170 lbs, but somehow that didn't seem to get in the way.  I'll grant that his career wasn't as long as some of his taller colleagues, and he wasn't as durable as some.  At that level of performance, I'd take it.

But for video, I won't choose any Pedro or (save my soul) Schilling, but the 9th inning of Game 4 of the ALCS. It's almost 20 years ago, and some may not have seen it or forgotten it.  Can we revel a bit in the details?  The Yankees led the series 3-0 after delivering a 19-8 thrashing in Game 3 the previous day.  Derek Lowe and El Duque were the starters for the Sox and Yankees.  In the 3rd inning, Alex Rodriguez went deep off Lowe with Jeter aboard to stake the Yankees to a 2-0 lead.  El Duque walked three in the fifth inning and with a couple of singles thrown in there, the Sox had a 3-2 lead.  The Yankees responded with a couple of their own in the top of the sixth on a triple, a walk and three infield singles.  And the score remained 4-3 until the ninth.  The Yankees brought on Tanyon (known as "Tenrun" when he came here a few years later) Sturtze who got 6 painless outs with the help of a double play, and then Mariano Rivera, on 3 days rest, for the 8th and 9th.  Rivera got the heart of the Sox order in the 8th- Manny singled, but Ortiz struck out and Varitek and Trot Nixon struck out.  So, we get to the bottom of the ninth with the Yankees ahead 4-3, Kevin Millar comes to the plate...and then the clock strikes midnight (you couldn't script this any better).  Millar rips one foul and Rivera uncharacteristically walks him on 5 pitches.  Dave Roberts pinch-runs and there's a wonderful cat-and-mouse with him and Rivera.  Finally he runs.  A good throw  would have had him, but Posada misses on the third base side.  And up steps Bill Mueller.  One thing: on the broadcast, they say that Mueller was 3-12 in his regular season career against Rivera, BBRef says that he was 3-8 for his career to that point and 5-11 over his career.  They have the receipts....With the game tied,  and runners on first and third and one out, Orlando Cabrera strikes out and Ortiz pops out and Rivera escapes.  The game goes to extra innings.  In the 12th, Ortiz homers off Paul Quantril and the Sox have life. 

There were so many bitter Sox moments in the second half of the twentieth century- the 7th game loss to the Cardinals in 1967, the 7th game loss to the Reds on Morgan's bloop in the 8th inning in 1975 after Fisk's homer in Game 6, the Dent homer in the 1978 playoff game against the Yankees after a 9 game lead in August disappeared, and the Wilson/Buckner ground ball in 1986.  A little sweet seemed fair, but frankly three World Series championships between 2000 and 2020 was overdoing it. 

For 2004 in music, I remember the first time I heard Rebellion (Lies).  What is that, I thought, and turned up the radio...

Glevin - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 12:51 PM EST (#441050) #
Jays resigning Kiermaier for 1/$10. He was one of Jays' best players last year and seems like a good guy geberally so contact is fantastic just want to see some more moves that add offense somehow.
Nigel - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:09 PM EST (#441051) #
Resigning KK and moving Varsho for help elsewhere was my suggested offseason plan if the club’s resources for moves (prospects and budget room) are as thin as they appear. So, thumbs up on this part. Moving Varsho for value would be the tricky part I’m sure. If Varsho sticks around then I’ll feel exactly as I did last year - a very good idea, poorly executed.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:18 PM EST (#441052) #
MLBTR reported that the Dodgers were after Teoscar, so I guess Atkins has decided the Jays can't compete with the LAD..

And, in theory, this doesn't preclude a Bellinger deal - he and Springer could trade off DHing and fielding. Unless we can ALSO persuade Belt to return for another year?
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:22 PM EST (#441053) #
Excellent.  Kiermaier has become a better hitter in his 30s, and he's very useful even if his defence declines from superb to merely good. 

If they acquire a right-hand hitting corner outfielder, that would be good.  I don't agree with Nigel about Varsho; he was a good player last year even in a down year and that's more than you can say for other players on the club. For instance, when Kiermaier was getting one of his many days off; Varsho was in centerfield and was helping the team win.  The leftfielder, usually Merrifield, was not. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:28 PM EST (#441054) #
It could be that the current plan is to sign Kiermaier (CF), Chapman (3B), and another capable OF/DH bat (Martinez, Soler, Hoskins, Teo).

Then maybe another SP (Imanaga?) and RP (Hicks?) to strengthen the pitching staff for this year and beyond.

Kiermaier at 1/$10m does seem more appealing than Bellinger at $200m+.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:33 PM EST (#441055) #
The fact that Kiermaier re-signed with Toronto could also be positive in another sense, namely, that he feels positive about the club’s expressed intention to make further moves this off-season to improve the team.
scottt - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:38 PM EST (#441056) #
One year of Kiermaier at 10M is a good deal.
A bit strange that no other club thought so.

This either closes the door on Bellinger or might give the Jays a chance to circle back to him on a more reasonable rate. A 4th or 5th outfielder who bats right and play LF or CF to platoon with KK would complete the outfield. Bellinger has reverse splits and could still work out if he plays some RF and 1B why they cycle him, Springer and Vladdy at DH.

Polite Nate - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:45 PM EST (#441057) #
I almost talked myself into Bellinger but I really do think that's a landmine contract. KK at one year will do just fine. I don't think there's anything to be done to fix the team in free agency with Ohtani off the board. Maybe there's a big trade out there, but I'm inclined to roll the dice and trust the bounce back is coming.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:48 PM EST (#441058) #

Another Yankees win.  But they haven't won another since.  So we'll keep this short and sweet, and hope the streak continues for another decade or two.  The Yankees had had defensive problems in centerfield and at shortstop for quite a few years prior to 2009. That's not a recipe for a World Series winner.  The problem in centerfield arose from Bernie Williams, a great player in his prime, not moving to a corner or to DH when the time had come for that.  The problem at shortstop arose from Derek Jeter, a great player in his prime, not moving to a corner (outfield position) or to DH when the time had come for that.   Age is a cruel taskmaster.  Melky Cabrera replaced Bernie Williams, but didn't help the defence and Jeter kept on watch balls go by (Pasta Diving Jeter was a great Primer handle, wasn't it?).  In 2009, both problems were solved.  Jeter worked on his hip mobility during the off-season, and for a year or a year and a half, he regained his range.  And Brett Gardner arrived and played spectacular defence in centerfield. 

Kevin Cash got into a few games for the 2009 Yankees.  It seems to me that the best Managers were more noted for defence than offence.  I'll have to study that for another day.  No baseball video from 2009.

In music, there was this- I would never have imagined a song that moves with a harp.  I don't usually care for highly orchestrated music of any type, but this is an exception.  Heard it, and turned up the radio. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:49 PM EST (#441059) #
I like the idea of a mix-and-match group of four 3/4-time outfielders — KK, Varsho, Springer and TBD. Someone like Soler or Teo (who are very good hitters against LHP) could be a decent choice, although Teo has been gently declining and Soler had some poor seasons after his high-water mark of 2019. Maybe the Blue Jays can find a better option on the trade market.

bpoz - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 01:52 PM EST (#441060) #
I am being cautious and not reading much into the KK signing. He is a depth piece for OF Defense. He will be 34 in April. He may or may not be the CF when Varsho is playing. I don't know details of his deal. He can sub for both Springer and Varsho if injuries occur especially to Varsho. I expect the improved O to come from a good veteran bat at DH. The 4th OF will play a lot due to the age of Springer and KK. He has to be decent like Merrifield was. Biggio is a veteran and Schneider is a rookie but that is more depth and a competition for playing time.

We are going to need help from AAA. Orelvis, Barger, Palmegiani, Jimenez and Roden are all very close to ready and none are blocked. Our O is still sort of weak. This is fixed with improvement from Vlad and Kirk. Also the above kids have V good O.

Jimenez is the replacement if Bo gets injured. His D is V good apparently.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 02:34 PM EST (#441061) #
Love this move. Great transaction. KK was one of the few Blue Jays that carried his weight and was fun to watch from an entertainment perspective.

So much for the "astroturf is unbearable to play on" narrative.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 03:12 PM EST (#441062) #
It could be that the current plan is to sign Kiermaier (CF), Chapman (3B), and another capable OF/DH bat (Martinez, Soler, Hoskins, Teo).

Yes, especially the DH spot. J.D. Martinez would be a nice fit.

John Northey - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 03:19 PM EST (#441063) #
KK returning suggests we are looking at a similar situation to last year, except with Schneider replacing Merrifield. The big questions now are 3B and DH.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 03:29 PM EST (#441064) #
Two things can be true. Natural grass is generally more preferable than artificial turf to play on, and a 1/$10.5m contract (plus incentives) to play for a contender was more appealing to Kiermaier than whatever alternatives existed for him.

I am pleased that the artificial turf was not a huge deal for him in the end.

Another good thing for the Blue Jays is that KK is now two years removed from his hip labrum surgery.
Magpie - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 05:19 PM EST (#441065) #
It seems to me that the best Managers were more noted for defence than offence.

The greatest hitters didn't seem to be interested in managing, and very few of them even tried. Tris Speaker did well, in 1920 at least. Of the top 25 winningest managers, I would regard just Joe Torre and Lou Piniella as mostly offensive players. Fred Clarke and Dusty Baker were good enough defenders (when they were young) but provided most of their value with the bat. John McGraw was an offensive force in the 19th century. No idea how he was at third base.

Of the other 20... a couple of platoon guys (Stengel and Francona), a good two-way catcher (Scioscia), and a veritable host of guys who didn't have much of an MLB playing career at all.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 08:04 PM EST (#441066) #
The managers I was thinking of were Leo Durocher, Red Schoendienst, Kevin Cash, Bruce Bochy, Al Lopez  Joe Girardi and Billy Martin.  Earl Weaver was apparently a slick fielding second baseman in the minor leagues, who couldn't hit a curveball.  Whitey Herzog was stretched in centerfield but played a good rightfield and hit quite well in the Rance Mulliniks style (even had the glasses).  Sparky Anderson played second base for 1 year, couldn't hit a lick but fielded decently.  Billy Southworth played rightfield well, but was a better hitter than fielder.  Tony LaRussa was a second baseman who didn't hit much in the minor leagues as a young man,  got a shot in the major leagues and didn't hit, went back to the minor leagues and hit pretty well from age 27 to 32 but didn't get a shot and immediately became a successful manager in double at age 33. 

There are lots and lots of second basemen and catchers on the list, and by and large, they weren't great hitters. 

The Blue Jays do have another option for a platoon partner for Varsho- Danny Jansen.  If Jansen plays left-field when a left-hander starts and catches a couple of times a week when a right-hander starts, both he and Kirk can get a good amount of work.  Brian Downing split his time between left-field and catching in 1981 at age 30 as he was being moved out from behind the plate.  If Jansen is in left-field and Kirk is catching, and Kirk reaches base in a tight game, you can bring in Varsho to pinch-run and play left-field and move Jansen behind the plate.  Quite efficient. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 08:46 PM EST (#441067) #
Since the team is not adding Ohtani or Yamamoto or Soto, my hope is that the Jays can find a way to field good teams over the next two years while continuing to restock the farm system, so that the team can remain a contender after 2025. Adding Kiermaier seems consistent with this approach.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 09:13 PM EST (#441068) #
Not a fan of the Kiermaier signing. The contract is fine, but this likely means they are running back the same outfield configuration they had last season, and that simply isn't the right way to go. Varsho should be in CF everyday with a better offensive player in LF. My guess is that Kiermaier was the only player they wanted who was willing to sign a one year deal.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 09:19 PM EST (#441069) #
It's always hard to evaluate defence.  BBRef says that the most valuable Blue Jays in 2023 were Bichette, Chapman, Varsho, Kiermaier and Gausman in that order.  That might not be correct, but I don't think the outfield alignment was the problem save for when Merrifield was out there.  And they will hopefully be replacing him with a better hitter. 
dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 10:27 PM EST (#441070) #
KK practically has the same WAR as Chapman. He's a bargain and theres likely 50 games in the OF that wont be covered by Springer or KK. Varsho still has ig upside. Basically by saying KK wasn't the right move you're advocating for Bellinger or Teoscar or Soler...all players with issues preventing me from being comfortable with them signing. Soler is a DH, Teo strikes out too much and Bellinger is too risky to sign long term. Which LF did you want them to sign?

I like this move because it means they will improve the roster at 3B, DH or 2B which is where they need to improve.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 10:46 PM EST (#441071) #
For offense in 2024 it seems the Jays feel they are in a situation now where they need to hope for rebounds from Vlad, Kirk, Springer, Varsho, etc. which actually is very likely.
Checking 2023 projections (via ZIPS) vs reality for 2023 OPS+
  • 10+ Over: Schneider (93-175), Clement (77-144), Heineman(86-129 here, 98 overall), Keirmaier (83-104)
  • Over (barely): Belt (132-136), Bo (119-123), Jansen (109-115), Horwitz (95-102), Merrifield (87-94)
  • Dead On: Biggio (98-98)
  • 10+ Under: Vlad (140-117), Chapman (118-108), Springer (130-102), Kirk (116-93), Varsho (117-85), Espinal (96-80), Lukes (85-67)
  • Under 15 games - who cares: Luplow, Eden, DeJong, McCoy - all sucked royally 64 OPS+ for Luplow was the only one over 0.
I listed more than really needed as anyone with under 100 PA really is close to meaningless (easily could be random data via dumb luck, or dumb bad luck). Chapman is the only under who might not be here in 2024, the 10+ over crowd only had Kiermaier as really over and playing regular in 2023 (Schneider did play regular for a month+). So by the dumb luck rule the Jays should see significant improvement on offense as odds are Vlad, Springer, Kirk, Varsho, and Espinal are not anywhere near as bad as their stats were in 2023. Lukes might be (4th/5th OF at best). Belt I was surprised to see that high and it was just via a comment as the projection for him cannot be found (by me at least) anywhere else.

So now 3B & DH are left to fill. I'm expecting an announcement on Chapman coming back any day now as the Jays really are limited in their options there vs what I thought at the start of the winter given I thought the kids might take it over (Rafael Lantigua [91], Damiano Palmegiani [87], Orelvis Martinez [93], Addison Barger [96] all looked like possibilities but none seem to have the Jays confidence at 3B - ZIPS projection for OPS+ 2024 in []). I could still see a Biggio [96]/Espinal [93] platoon of sorts at 3B and one of the kids coming up to play 2B mixed with Schneider [111] who'll alternate between 2B/LF like Merrifield did last year but none match Chapman [117] in projections at 3B. So yeah, it seems bringing Chapman back is the best option, ideally 3 years at $25 mil per imo. His demands for 5/$150 mil seem crazy unless the Dodgers decide they want him.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 26 2023 @ 11:31 PM EST (#441072) #
I don’t have an issue with Kiermaier in general. Just that he’s not a good fit in the same outfield as Varsho. But yes, there was a severe lack of other options so you could argue this was the best value deal they could have made.
Ducey - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:59 AM EST (#441073) #
In reality there are 480 man games in the outfield. That's 120 games split between 4 players, with some OF playing some DH and some games lost to injury.

So they have room to add a Teo type. Or Bellinger, but Belli seems less likely now. Not sure that's a bad thing.

Intrigued by what the fix at 3b will be.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 03:34 AM EST (#441074) #
While not exactly an impact bat, Gurriel Jr, would actually have fit pretty well with this group of outfielders, especially if his defense has improved.

I would not be a fan of Jansen as both a left fielder and catcher. It’s too much to ask of him. I think he should play one position or the other, with catcher most likely at this stage of his career.

Is there a good two-way RH corner outfielder available via trade? Maybe an upgrade is available via that route.
Glevin - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 09:24 AM EST (#441075) #
I like the Kiermeier signing because he's very good value and I think Bellinger would be a long-term drag on this team. You need to try to win but signing what would likely be a dumb contract doesn't help. That being said, Kiermeier signing doesn't stop them from doing anything. DH is still open so players can easily rotate through there. My favoured move now would be a trade for Jorge Polanco and then signing a DH who can hit (Hoskins, Martinez, Soler, Belt, Pederson) . Then signing a backend starter or even someone like Stroman. I think the regression of Vlad and Kirk and Manoah means you can't really push in all your pieces for the next two years and have to try to keep some longer-term pieces. I am also fine with Jays taking on money (Yelich for example) or doing massive trades (I would personally trade Romano if you could get big piece back. I think you almost always win trading closers) to shake things up. I just don't think Bellinger and especially Chapman move the needle enough to make sense for long-term expensive contracts.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 10:45 AM EST (#441076) #
I feel like the next signing will be a Michael Taylor/Adam Duvall signing.
85bluejay - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 10:59 AM EST (#441077) #
The Jays are in a tricky situation with the future of their 2 core players (Vlad & Bo) up in the air - If you sign guys like Bellinger & Chapman to longterm contracts and Vlad/Bo leave in 2 years you'd be stuck with an aging expensive roster when you may need to pivot to a retool - also if you are going to extend Vlad/Bo then how many more significant contracts will ownership greenlight.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:27 AM EST (#441078) #
IKF signed by Blue Jays
85bluejay - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:30 AM EST (#441079) #
Jays sign Isiah Kiner-Falefa 2/15 - probably goodbye Chapman. I expect the Jays to stick to mostly 1-2 deals to line up with Vlad/Bo years of control remaining.
Cracka - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:39 AM EST (#441080) #
IKF at $15 million seems awfully expensive. Six seasons but never once over 700 OPS. OPS+ has decreased from 93 to 85 to 84 to 78 during the last 4 years. Demoted to a utility player role last year with on a bad Yankees team... On the plus side, he's an elite defender in the infield and could replace Chapman's defense and he can play anywhere on the diamond. But this seems too generous and too long for a role player (why give him two years???).

Eephus - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:42 AM EST (#441081) #
Blue Jays fans: "The offense was unwatchable last season!"

Blue Jays front office: "Hold my beer."

(and I like Kiermaier a lot, for the record. IKF I don't get at all)
Gerry - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:43 AM EST (#441082) #
What will his role be? If its as a defensive sub, with a game here or there, thats fine. But if its as a regular starter that seems to be not ideal. He is right handed but didn't hit better against lefties last year.
85bluejay - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:45 AM EST (#441083) #
With IKF in the fold, the Jays can move off of Espinal as the backup SS.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:47 AM EST (#441084) #
Guessing the front office got spooked by Bichette’s injury last year. IKF provides some insurance in case of injury.

I doubt the plan is for him to start games on a regular basis. Although as we saw with Tapia, backups can end up playing a lot more than is ideal.
christaylor - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:48 AM EST (#441085) #
The IKF signing seems exactly the sort of deal this teams make if the idea is to let the kids play their way into starting jobs. He acts as a floor for their bats and can slide in for whoever needs to be sent down at 3B/2B.

Jonny German - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:49 AM EST (#441086) #
The vibes, they are bad.
Nigel - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:50 AM EST (#441087) #
As good as the KK signing is, the IKF signing is bad. Running it back with a slightly lesser roster seems the current plan. This feels like a repeat of the FO’s first year or two. There’s still time though.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 11:54 AM EST (#441088) #
I, too, like the Kiermaier signing with his great defense and he seems like a great teammate, also. Say what you want about Atkins/Shapiro but they seem to avoid bad long term signings. I would say Bellinger's cost and term is too rich for their liking, and maybe for Chapman also. I haven't heard Chapman linked to any team yet.
scottt - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:02 PM EST (#441089) #
Defense! Defense!

IKF is a UT infielder who once won a gold glove at 3B.
He bats right but he doesn't hit lefties.
I don't think he can hit a good fastball either.
They won't need to play him in the outfield at all.

Provides a floor at 3B. Possibly a defensive replacement.
Possibly opens up the option to pinch hit with a bad defender and then bring him in.
They probably need to trade Espinal.
I hope the plan is to give Schneider, Martinez, Barger even Jimenez, some playing time.
In that scenario, he could be a defensive mentor.

Still need a big DH bat.

scottt - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:05 PM EST (#441090) #
Springer is still the biggest contract in franchise history and Bellinger is asking for more even though he has not been a steady contributor.

I'm totally fine with trying the ready prospects this year and saving the money to go all out on Soto next year.

greenfrog - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:14 PM EST (#441091) #
The other day I suggested doubling down on pitching and defense (while looking for an offensive upgrade or two). I’m pleased to see the Jays seem to be following that approach.
Nigel - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:16 PM EST (#441092) #
The idea of a a glove first INF who can play multiple positions isn’t a terrible idea. In fact, it’s a useful run prevention role. But a) why would you pay someone $7.5m plus incentives to do that when there’s very very little evidence of that player being materially better than Espinal (or a number of other options); and b) that role probably isn’t in the top 5 of the current roster needs.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:23 PM EST (#441093) #
Agreed that the signing is kind of pricey, but let’s see where the Jays stand at the end of the off-season.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:23 PM EST (#441094) #
There is no way to spin this to make this a good move. Way too much money (more than twice what he's worth) and too much term... for what seems like (in their mind) the starting 3B for 2024... they might as well trade Bichette.
bpoz - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:28 PM EST (#441095) #
37 players on the 40 man roster. 39 when KK & IKF are added. We can still drop someone if needed. The team and bench will be experienced except for Schneider. Hope they sign a big bat. No trades means that we lose no prospects. With the additions so far and whatever the big bat addition is, it seems that our payroll will likely be reduced.
lexomatic - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:49 PM EST (#441096) #
I like IKF, but I don't see a meaningful improvement over internal options. But I guess the Jays can be like the reverse Marlons and look for a bunch of Catchers. It would be kinda funny to convert Jansen and sign Sanchez to have a 5 C ML roster
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:49 PM EST (#441097) #
I’m mentally adjusting my expectations for 2024-2025. I think the front office is going to try to stay competitive beyond those years (if not in 2026, then not long after that) by not going overboard now. I’m guessing they’ll make some strategic trades while trying to hold on to their best prospects (and draft picks and pool money). It’s not worth it to tear down the farm system to supplement this roster after the failed contention years of 2021-2023 (sunk cost).
Glevin - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 12:55 PM EST (#441098) #
Don't get this move at all. He's fine as a backup but why do 2/$15 for a backup? I think Steamer's 1 WAR in 350 PAs is pretty accurate. I would get a one year deal to start until some young guys are ready, but 2? Anyway, need to see what else Jays do. This move doesn't really prevent any others.
Ducey - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 01:00 PM EST (#441099) #
I am not sure this is an overpay. While IKF bats like Espinal, Espinal never looked like he could manage 3B. IKF won a gold glove there (in a short season). He also played 41 games in CF for the Yanks last year.

IKF made $6 million last year, and there were a few teams after him (as per MLTrade Rumors). There has been pretty high salary inflation and the market for 3B is not strong.

Chapman wants big bucks, Urshela had a 91 OPS+ last year and was paid $8.4 M. After that?

In any event, this is just money, and they could easily trade IKF, even if they need to eat a little money.

This allows them to get a DH platoon with two bat first players and let the kids try and beat out IKF sometime this season.

I'm hoping we get two sluggers, otherwise, yeah, this doesnt fix the offensive woes of last season.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 01:24 PM EST (#441100) #
IKF is related (second-cousin) to Ralph Kiner.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 01:30 PM EST (#441101) #
The metrics suggest Kiner-Falefa is best as a third baseman, with DRS and Statcast suggesting that he's a +17 per 1350 innings.  I suspect that he's signed to be their everyday third baseman.  He's probably a 2 WAR player there.  I think that they would have got 1.5- 2 WAR out of Biggio/Espinal. 

As many have said, it's hard to fathom why one might spend that kind of money for such a marginal upgrade.  I guess I'll wait until the off-season is over to give an overall thumbs up or thumbs down. 
Chuck - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 01:47 PM EST (#441102) #
I suspect that he's signed to be their everyday third baseman.

It looks like he was signed to replace Chapman's glove, if not his bat. I agree that he'll start at 3B and serve as a placeholder until someone is ready to bump him. Espinal looks especially expendable now, though would fetch little in a trade.

Is 2B going to be Biggio and Davis (though not necessarily platooned)? Is the infield done now?

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 02:14 PM EST (#441104) #

The Giants won their 3rd World Series championship in 5 years, and if there was an occasion to give a Manager an outsized share of the credit for a championship, this year would certainly qualify as a top contender.  Bochy's management of the pitching staff in the playoffs was masterful.  So, if you look at the top line of the Giants' BB Ref page for 2014, 665 runs scored, 614 runs allowed, 88-74 record, 87-75 Pythagorean, you'd think that this wasn't a great playoff team but it had good pitching and an entirely mediocre offence.  Not the case.  There was an Astrodome/Petco effect going on with the park disguising the nature of the club.  Every member of the starting lineup was average at least with Posey, Mike Morse and Pence quite a bit better than that.  Conversely, the rotation was below average with only Bumgarner being better than average until Jake Peavy was acquired at the deadline.  Bumgarner wasn't that great in the regular season either (a 116 ERA+ with a good defence behind you won't lead to a quick trip to Cooperstown). But he's been aces in the playoffs, going 8-3 with a 2.11 in the playoffs in 102 innings.  But it was a save that he is likely to be remembered for.  The record of pitchers coming on with two days rest is not wonderful, but Bochy's use of a long opener was just the ticket. 

In music, 2014 was when the year of women and electric guitars for me.  St. Vincent's self-titled record was eye-opening. The year before I learned of the existence of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, courtesy of Ana Ege at a show at the Dakota Tavern.  Little Richard learned from Sister Rosetta, and Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and many other learned from Little Richard.  And for a new generation of female guitarists, including Annie Clark, Sister Rosetta is a favourite.  
Katie - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 02:30 PM EST (#441106) #
For what it's worth, Ben Nicholson-Smith proposed 10 hypothetical scenarios for the Jays offseason back in October. In a few of them, he had the Jays signing IKF.

He predicted a one-year $7 million contract, so he had the cost it would take to sign him approximately right.

Thumbs up on the KK signing.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 02:47 PM EST (#441107) #
This looks to me like the FO conceding to include Cavan Biggio in trade talks. They sign KK and IKF so they can make a big trade by including Biggio and Roden as ancillary pieces going the other way. I expect them to be part of a package for a Yellich or J-Ram.

There's zero chance this FO signs KK, IKF and one bat like JDM or Soler and calls it a day...not if they plan on returning themselves to run this team next year. There's a big move coming.

JohnL - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 02:47 PM EST (#441108) #
Sister Rosetta...

The last concert I saw pre-Covid was at the Horseshoe: Yola headlined, Amythyst Kiah opened.

Later, Yola played Sister Rosetta in the Elvis biopic, and I discovered Amythyst boosting Rosetta as the founder of rock & roll.
christaylor - Wednesday, December 27 2023 @ 06:10 PM EST (#441125) #
Vlad was already traded for J-Ram.

The Yellich contract is bad, especially with the deferred money and 2029 option. Maybe if Burnes comes too then that'd be OK.

I'd rather not see a trade. JD (Jays woul likely have to give a two year deal) and a creative front-loaded with a an opt out after two for Snell would be good.

The FO is safe even if they do nothing. Rogers just doesn't seem to have those vibes anymore. Baseball Ops has had a good process for years and if they were entrusted to court Ohtani and take the hit on ticket price hikes... they're good until at least after 2025 when you may want new faces to sell extensions.

Long Term Deals - How Risky Are They | 261 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.