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The Jays are not winning the offseason at this stage, but can add parts to win the East still. Needs are a DH and a 3B (ideally DH is LH) and maybe a 4th OF if you don't trust Schneider/Biggio/kids to cover that. With the old thread well over 200 comments, time for a new one.

Sigh. So much for my Brantley idea (he retired). He looked like a really good fit but I guess he felt it was time to be with family instead. Such is life. He has made over $112 million in his ML career so he really doesn't need the money, and his stats are nowhere near what it'd take to get into the HOF, nor close to any milestones (344 hits from 2000, 71 HR from 200). He has a ring (didn't play in the 22 WS but he got a ring anyways). So really nothing left to play for.

So now what? 119 wRC+ projected (via Steamer - easy to sort and a decent system) for both Jorge Soler (RH) and Joc Pederson (LH) - they seem the best of the cheap options. Others projected at 110+ wRC+ are Rhys Hoskins (RH), Austin Meadows (LH), Jesse Winker (LH), and Daniel Vogelbach (LH). All of those guys are projected to hit better than Bellinger (108 wRC+ projection), J.D. Martinez (106), Brandon Belt (106), Teoscar Hernández (106), Justin Turner (105), Ji Man Choi (105 - always seemed a Jay killer to me for some reason), and Matt Chapman (103).

So depending on contract demands and what the Jays want out of the guy for flexibility Pederson is probably the best of what is left - bats left so can platoon with whoever isn't catching, can go into LF/RF in an emergency (horrid stats out there, but he could go out there - you'll find most of these guys have horrid defensive stats). Most of these guys had bad 2023's but high peaks before that so it'd depend on what the teams scouts say about them - is there life in those bats or not. Lets look closer at the LH bats (which I figure the Jays want most)
  • Pederson: can play LF/RF technically but is ugly out there (-5 DRS in 204 innings last year). -6 DRS at 1B lifetime in 154 innings. He is a pure DH really. 111 wRC+ last year, 146 in 2022, 96 in 2021. 125 wRC+ lifetime as a vs RH pitching. Basically he has his role, facing RH pitching almost exclusively as a DH.
  • Austin Meadows: was once a hot kid for Tampa (2019 4.5 fWAR at age 24) but has fallen since. Just 6 games in 2023 with a 38 wRC+ (yikes) after a 100 and 112 the 2 previous years. Mostly a corner OF his whole career, +5 DRS in LF, -13 in RF (-12 his first 2 seasons, then improved a lot). So he has some value outside of his bat if needed. But is he able to handle his anxiety issues which took him out the past couple of years? Very, very big question. Maybe playing here could work - less pressure as a DH mainly with lots of other guys as lightning rods for fans to attack if mad. He'd be a small part of a big team.
  • Jesse Winker: Had a quad issue that cost him most of last season but was on the WC roster for Milwaukee so might be healthy. Just a 65 wRC+ last year in limited time (that injury) after a 108 and a 148 the previous 2 years. If healthy he could be a MASSIVE asset. Has played a lot of LF, but not well (-16 DRS in 2022, -23 lifetime) so should be seen as a pure DH now.
  • Daniel Vogelbach: most stable than the others - 109 wRC+ in '23, 126 in '22, 102 in '21. Pretty much a pure DH now, no fielding time in 2023, 1B only before that with a -15 DRS lifetime there (1060 innings or around a season worth of playing time). Basically what you see is what you get. 102-126 wRC+ in his 100+ game seasons. Might be good as a balance to the variability we've seen in the Jays regulars outside of Bo.
  • ----others-----
  • Cody Bellinger: the big guy - he can hit, 134 wRC+ last year, peak of 161 in 2019. But he also can flop - 83 wRC+ in 2022, 47 in '21. If signed which do you get? Is he insisting on playing in CF or is he open to splitting time at LF/1B/DH? He wants $200+ mil over 7+ years, which entering his age 28 season makes sense, but with those 2 horrid years so recent I'd not want to risk. A complicated deal ala Green's last winter would make sense (after 2024 or 2025 both parties have an opt out where if the Jays want him badly enough he gets the crazy money he wants, if they don't he gets a decent compensation instead). But I see him holding out until deep into spring for that big deal with the Cubs giving in (they have the cash too). For fielding he has been solid in CF (+11 DRS lifetime, but -3 last year) and has limited time in LF (315 innings) with lots in RF (989 innings, most in 2019, his career year, overall a +19 DRS there). If signed he might even end up in RF with Springer going to DH/LF. That'd be interesting and make for a scary good defensive OF 4 high end defenders deep.
  • J.D. Martinez: many expect the Jays to chase him down, despite his RH bat and pure DH status (12 innings in the LF last year). His projections are really poor (106 wRC+) despite a good past 3 years (135-119-126 wRC+ for 23/22/21). I don't see a solid fit here, especially if he wants $20+ mil.
  • Justin Turner: seen as a clubhouse leader, he could either be a big help in that way or an irritant. Solid bat (114-124-126 the past 3 years) but expected to drop due to age (105 projected), can play 3B/1B if needed (289 innings at 1B +3 DRS last year, but just 57 at 3B with a -3 DRS). Might be a good fit with Vlad to split time (lets Vlad DH more if we have a competent 1B at DH). If he only batted from the left side...
  • Jorge Soler: another RH bat, but can sorta play LF/RF (241 innings in RF last year -5 DRS, -49 lifetime, 469 innings in LF in 2022 -1 DRS so not as bad there). 126 wRC+ in 2023, 95 in '22, 100 in '21. I'd put him far below most of the others I've listed.
  • Rhys Hoskins: RH bat, coming off a full season away due to injury but reported to be at 100% (was ready if needed for the playoffs). 122 wRC+ in '22, 127 in '21. Entering his age 31 season projected at 116 but if healthy I'd pencil him in for a 120+. Plays 1B, was a +3 DRS in '22, -7 lifetime. Was super ugly in LF when given a full season in '18 with -19 DRS. If he checks out as 100% he could be a very solid middle of the order bat who could give Vlad lots of time off at 1B.
I think that covers it for free agent hitters. For trade shots the market is very limited. Oakland could easily trade Ryan Noda (he won't be there anymore by the time they move to Vegas I suspect), a LH bat who plays 1B, projected at 108 wRC+ after a 123 ML debut. His DRS at 1B was 0, he also had 17 innings in LF/RF with a 0 for what that's worth. If the Jays can't get anyone else he'd be worth trading for in mid-April if in house options flop (Horwitz projected at 113 wRC+).

Given Horwitz is projected at 113, depending on if the Jays systems see him the same, I'd not touch any hitter below a 110 projection unless whatever the Jays use says they'll do better. I'd rank them Meadows (if his anxiety allows him to play here), Pederson (very good platoon guy), Winker (health issue). If Bellinger can be signed at a reasonable price then grab him (no way on earth he should be in CF with Varsho & KK here) and put him in RF moving Springer to DH/LF/RF letting all 4 OF have time off as needed and always having a killer defense out there.

3B seems to be either in house (IKF/Biggio/Espinal) or finding a way to get Chapman to give up on $150 million and move to a more reasonable price ($100-125 mil over 4 or 5 lets say). I didn't go over the 3B options as free agents are down to Chapman, Urshela, Donaldson, and pure crap it seems (Donaldson could be put into the crap pile now). Urshela is not really better than IKF so why bother imo. No matter how I juggle the stats I just don't see a solid option outside of Chapman on the market (trade or free agency). No, Ramirez is not being traded, and the Jays won't take on $333 mil to get Machado. The farm kids appear to be not seen as acceptable on defense at 3B as Orelvis (projected 87 wRC+) was mainly playing 2B by the end of 2023, Barger RF (projected 96 wRC+), Damiano Palmegiani looks interesting, but is projected at an 88 wRC+, Rafael Lantigua was playing a lot in LF instead by the end, projected 94. Others are too far down to be up for April/May/June imo. So I don't see any kids getting shots in April, they'll need to beat down the door. I could easily see Chapman resigned if his demands come down a bit as he would fit the defense first and always POV the Jays seem stuck on right now otherwise IKF will be the 3B for opening day.
So Now What? | 223 comments | Create New Account
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greenfrog - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 07:15 PM EST (#441372) #
I would be willing to give Bellinger five or six years (two good years to make a run at a championship in 2024-25, maybe a couple of decent years on a retooling Jays ballclub after that, along with a couple of albatross seasons).

My confidence level in that move is moderate at best, but I would like to see the Jays actually try to win a championship and I think he could be helpful in that regard — more helpful than some of the older and less athletic players available).

I’m not as bothered by the contract length since the Jays will likely be rebuilding after 2025 in any event.

I think the Jays should sign Yariel Rodriguez as well.
bpoz - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 07:23 PM EST (#441373) #
Thanks for the new thread John N.

In posting tried to be negative but my mind went blank. Our pen is strong but I don't know if our manager knows how to run a pen. He did well last year with help from Atkins (G Cabrera & J Hicks). Rotation should be ok but no guarantee. I think the D will be good but the O is unsure. Will a star position player prospect replace a good/decent utility player? Maybe because we have candidates.

I remember utility player Ryan Goins. I thought he did great (career highlight season) but nobody agreed with me since he took flack.
electric carrot - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 07:51 PM EST (#441375) #
I have a feeling that the Jays are going to overpay massively for Bellinger. It might work tho, at least for next year.
John Northey - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 08:18 PM EST (#441377) #
Yeah, electric carrot, I feel the same.  The Jays really have to be feeling the pressure to make a big move and that is the one of only 2 left (the other being resigning Chapman but that won't make a dent in the ticket sales).  Cody Bellinger is the biggest risk/reward guy left.  He could be an 8 WAR guy or he could be a 0 WAR guy.  Massive range.  I'd bet on a 3-5 window myself.  Valued at $30-$50 mil per year based on what we're seeing this winter.  On a 5 year deal (ages 28-32 so all prime potentially) that is a $150-$250 mil value.  If they pay $200+ then I'd hope for a 7+ year deal - even if he is just a 4th OF by the end at least you get something.  $150/5 years for Bellinger probably makes sense.  Chapman, being older, is a 3 year ideal, 5 year max for $90-$120 mil imo (9-12 WAR over 5 years seems reasonable to estimate for him).

Next question is what is Bellinger wanting for playing position.  Is he insisting on staying in CF?  If so then there is no match here.  He is a good CF, but not Varsho/Kiermaier level.  Is Springer willing to move to DH/LF mainly?  If not then a match could be hard from a clubhouse POV.  But I do loooove the idea of a 4 man OF where all 4 are solid to amazing centerfielders (I'm sure the pitchers drool at the idea too). 
soupman - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 08:24 PM EST (#441378) #
bellinger has played 7 years and been bad in most of them. i don't get why they don't just sign teo who is also basically a 120 career OPS+, more consistent and will cost fewer years and dollars, and presumably liked it here and would return to hang with his friends. the other bonus is you aren't paying for CF value you have already blocked twice
John Northey - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 08:41 PM EST (#441379) #
Teoscar has 2 years of 2+ fWAR vs Bellingers 4 years of that. Teoscar is a poor RF who bats right, Bellinger is a good CF who bats left. There really is no comparison. Odds are the Jays have no interest in bringing back Teo as he isn't a fit at all.
greenfrog - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 08:55 PM EST (#441380) #
Let’s be real. The window of contention most likely has two years left. The Blue Jays are going to be hard-pressed to seriously contend in the near term after 2025. The question is, how hard are they willing to try (which will require spending money) to win during the next two years? Do they want to upgrade the team, or run it back in 2024-2025 with a few patches?

I’m not saying there is an easy answer. But if the front office is too tentative, there is a risk they’ll end up with a mediocre team over the next two years and then have to rebuild after 2025 anyway.
vw_fan17 - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 09:15 PM EST (#441381) #
I agree with the idea that giving Teo a 3 year deal, say, would be better than throwing a huge deal at Bellinger.. Maybe sign another similar lefty bat (Pederson?) and work out some kind of platoon with LF / DH? And maybe a Cliff Johnson pinch-hitting expert to come in late and get a hit for one of our weaker-hitting fielders..
scottt - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 10:08 PM EST (#441382) #
Is Bellinger a good outfielder? That's very questionable.
He plays CF and 1B, that usually means a bad arm.
He's never played that much CF. He gets in there to increase the offense.
Bref has him at 0 dWAR last year.

Also, even though the result was good, his batting profile wasn't good.
He doesn't have split, so there is nothing there to exploit in a platoon.
He had very low exit velocity which suggest the HRs will soon turn into doubles and outs. 

He's also tied to a QO compensation that will cost the second and first draft picks and some international money.
I'd much prefer a 2 year deal on an older player.

Ducey - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 10:31 PM EST (#441383) #
Bellinger was -5 drs/season in CF last season. Not good compared to the options the Jays have.

He was +14 at 1B which is very good.

So unless you are going to boot Vlad to fulltime DH, he would be coming for his bat.
greenfrog - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 10:31 PM EST (#441384) #
Fangraphs “Player Notes” on Cody (#3 on their 2024 Top 50 free agents list):

“A change of scenery proved to be just what Bellinger needed after injuries — particularly a torn right shoulder labrum and a left fibula fracture — led to diminishing returns with the Dodgers. Cubs hitting coach Dustin Kelly and assistant Johnny Washington, both of whom had worked with Bellinger in the Dodgers system, focused on adjusting his mechanics, particularly with regards to his hand placement and back hip, allowing him to use his lower body better. Bellinger additionally adapted his approach, shortening his swing with two strikes to focus on contact. The result was his best season since 2019, as he hit .307/.356/.525 (134 wRC+) with 26 homers and 20 steals in 130 games. Coupled with solid defense in center field, his 4.1 WAR was the second-best showing of his career.

“Bellinger’s intent is worth noting when digging into his underlying metrics, as he sacrificed some power in exchange for contact, while cutting his strikeout rate from 27.3% to 15.6%. His 87.9 mph average exit velo, 6.1% barrel rate, and 31.4% hard-hit rate ranged from just the 10th percentile to the 27th, and his xSLG was 88 points lower than his actual SLG. On the other hand, his two-strike .279 AVG and .312 wOBA ranked second and seventh in the majors respectively. While he may not light up Statcast or challenge for another MVP award, his power and athleticism in center make him the top pure position player in this year’s market. – JJ”
greenfrog - Friday, January 05 2024 @ 10:41 PM EST (#441385) #
I get the arguments against Bellinger and I’m not strongly in favour of him. I also doubt the Jays are going to land him, as they no doubt want to preserve their draft picks and avoid completely bottoming out after 2025. Gotta fill those stadium seats.

But I think he’s a good fit for 2024-25, for the reasons already mentioned. Also, I think it’s impressive that he was able to successfully modify his hitting approach in 2023. That speaks to how talented a player he is (even if injuries and inconsistency may prevent him from fully realizing that talent).
John Northey - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 12:45 AM EST (#441386) #
The question is what is the best option for the Jays both today and in the long term. Bellinger is good for 2-5 years (his prime years remaining - generally speaking 25-32 are the prime of a players career). The problem is he expects to be paid for 7 at peak production when no one knows if his 4 WAR 2023 is his new peak or if he'll go back to 2021/22. A chunk of his value is his ability to play CF although I suspect he'll hold value nicely in RF or LF. As to his arm - the arm ratings for him in CF in 2023 were poor, but before that were fine (2020 was a horrid year for his arm in CF but otherwise a positive every other season outside of last year). In RF his arm was 3.2 runs above average the only year he played it regularly (2019), a negative rating (-2.5) his one year in LF. Springer was a negative for arm rating in CF one of his 3 years here, a +1 in 2022, +2.3 in 2023 in RF. So for arm strength Springer is the better bet.

Just once over 100 games in CF for Bellinger, and once over 100 in RF. Long term he is probably more of a 1B. Thus why I'm not horribly excited over him at this point. He looked ideal at the start of the winter but now... well... Still probably the best option, but too much $$$ and too many years. Not to mention the QO cost (draft picks and international cap space). If he comes WAY down in price and years then OK (ala Semien), but otherwise the Cubs can keep him.
vw_fan17 - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 01:44 AM EST (#441387) #
John - if I read greenfrog's comments correctly and apply your arm data, it seems he had an average arm BEFORE tearing his labrum, and then poor arm data afterwards. Am I reading that right?

If so, it seems to me, "poor arm" is the expected normal going forward, unless it needs another year to fully heal..
greenfrog - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 12:11 PM EST (#441388) #
MLBTR reports the Jays are interested in Soler. (As now seems to be the case every off-season, the Blue Jays are reportedly “interested” or “very interested” in a wide array of players.)

I think signing Soler and using him as the primary DH against most right-handed starting pitchers, and as the left fielder against LH starting pitchers, would be a reasonable move at this point. He turns 32 in a couple of months.

This is pure speculation, but I wonder if he’s asking for three years at a solid AAV (maybe a bit more than LGJ’s contract), while the Jays are offering a two-year deal.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 01:26 PM EST (#441389) #
I saw where Soler, or his agent, was looking for a 3 year deal worth $45 million.

I don't think the Jays are in on Imanaga. The top teams after him seem to be the Angels, Giants, Cubs and Red Sox. He has to make a decision by January 11.
Chuck - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 01:40 PM EST (#441390) #
Colour me as no great fan of Soler. He is a terrible defender, virtually limited to DH, so has to hit a ton to be of any value at all. And his track record is not one of a consistently strong offensive performer. Are we just pretending that 2023 is his new, reliable offensive level?
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 01:49 PM EST (#441391) #
"Colour me as no great fan of Soler. He is a terrible defender, virtually limited to DH, so has to hit a ton to be of any value at all. And his track record is not one of a consistently strong offensive performer. Are we just pretending that 2023 is his new, reliable offensive level?"

Sorry, I have to ask - just to be sure, did you mean to say Soler or are you thinking of another player that fits that description perfectly which the front office has built the core around?
greenfrog - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 02:06 PM EST (#441392) #
If you want a deeper analysis of Soler's appeal, I recommend reading his profile in the Fangraphs Top 50 free agents list. Here's part of that content:

Player Notes
Soler’s offensive upside intrigued people even before the Cubs signed him to a nine-year, $30 million contract in 2012. His results in Chicago were decidedly mixed, thanks to a combination of poor plate discipline, indifferent defense, and a variety of injuries.

Despite potential that tantalized prospect watchers when he came over to the US, the flaws in his game kept him limited to interesting role player status. After a trade to the Royals, he finally had a healthy season in 2019, hitting 48 homers, playing in all 162 games, and putting up nearly 4 WAR. Soler was unable to sustain that breakout performance, however, plagued by oblique injuries in 2020 and back problems in 2022. If not for 55 stretch-run games with the Braves in 2021, during which he posted 1.1 WAR and hit .269/.358/.524 with 14 homers, he might have been on the non-roster invitee trajectory by the start of 2023.

Soler didn’t match his 2019 numbers this season, but he stayed (mostly) healthy, hitting 36 homers and posting a 126 wRC+, enough to tantalize teams that need another bat and don’t want to spend $150 million. Soler’s not heading to a big payday, but he should at least get a little more money and security than the one year and $9 million left on the Marlins deal he opted out of. His plate discipline has trended upwards in recent years, and with twice as many teams in need of DH at-bats as there were a few years ago, there are more potential homes for him. ZiPS anticipates a 2024 similar to Soler’s 2023, with a .242/.336/.481 neutral-park projection that’s good for 29 homers and 1.9 WAR. – DS
Mike Green - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 02:07 PM EST (#441393) #
I'm with Chuck. Soler has value as a platoon player DHing or in the outfield, but little else beyond that. He's worth less than Kevin Kiermaier. If you using him as a DH against RH pitching, you are actually losing value as Horwitz at 1B and VGJ at DH is quite a bite better.

One year, $10M, and not a penny more.
SK in NJ - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 02:15 PM EST (#441394) #
Soler fits what the Jays need. It's just a matter of how much they are willing to bet on him and what type of player he's expected to be in 2024-beyond. He had a great 2019, then 2020 was a small sample due to the pandemic, then he had down seasons in 2021-22 before a bounce back in 2023. The consistency year to year isn't there. Although he battled back issues in 2022 which likely contributed to his down season. If 2024 Soler is what Steamer is projecting (2 WAR, ~120 wRC+, 30+ HR), then it would be worth it for the Jays, but again it depends on the type of contract he's looking for. A higher AAV two year deal would mitigate some risk, although that would hurt the Jays from a CBT standpoint.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 02:17 PM EST (#441395) #
I don't know where the 1.9 WAR ZiPS projection for Soler comes from, greenfrog. It's 1.5. ZiPS has platoon splits, and it's easy to compare how Horwitz and Soler fare against RHP and then factor in Horwitz large defensive advantage over VGJ.

Ducey - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 02:20 PM EST (#441396) #
Soler was terrible defensively (- 5 DRS in just 31 games/ -27 DRS/ 1200 innings) in LF last year.

Maybe the Jays can shift over the CF a bit to compensate. And the foul territory in LF is being cut down with the new design, so maybe that facilitates someone with less range?

Anyway, I imagine the Jays have a call in on just about any slugger right now, and so they should be.

Not worth worrying about until something happens.

I'm still hoping for a platoon of Joc Peterson and one of Hoskins/ Martinez/ Soler/ Teo/ Justin Turner
greenfrog - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 02:28 PM EST (#441397) #
Gurriel Jr. got 3/$42m, for what it's worth. Arizona sacrificed a bit of upside in order to acquire LGJ's overall consistency for the next three years. And maybe they saw a bit of growth last year in terms of his defense.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 04:17 PM EST (#441398) #
What gives the Jays a sliver of hope for Bellinger is that this F.O signed a Boras client to a long term lucractive deal four years ago in Ryu. It came out of nowhere, when the Jays seemed like they were not willing to spend, at least not yet. I think they will have to pay full market for Bellinger, but it's not like they didn't for Ryu.

I think another element present is that Atkins (and probably to a lesser extent, Shapiro, who seems to have cozied up the brass at Rogers) is another dissappointing year away from losing his job. It has got to be tempting for Atkins to break the bank for a player of Bellinger's ceiling, when he knows full well if things don't go well he'll be fired anyway.

It's why I still think the Jays might sign the guy.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 04:46 PM EST (#441399) #
Yes, and the Jays liked Bellinger as a free agent before the 2023 season. They have a history of persevering and eventually getting their man (see e.g. Gausman).
bpoz - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 05:07 PM EST (#441400) #
The expensive FAs successfully signed were Ryu which worked out ok/bad due to the injury. Springer is also ok/bad. Guasman and Bassitt were very good but so far only 2 & 1 year. Another V good/good year for Bassitt is a clear win. Gausman maybe2 years. The Semien for 1 year was incredibly good. Other expensive FAs that could be signed could be good. The 4 years after 2019 were very successful results wise. Too bad about having to play in Dunedin & Buffalo revenue wise.

But now we are paying the Luxury Tax. But this is a factor that I am not sure what ownership and the FO think about.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 05:08 PM EST (#441401) #
Interesting, though not a surprise, that none of Boras' clients (Bellinger, Chapman, Martinez, Ryu) have signed yet.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 07:55 PM EST (#441402) #
The question is, though, if they landed him... where do they see Bellinger playing on defense? Perhaps moving Varsho to the bench to be the fourth outfielder (considering his struggles at the plate especially against lefties) would be an option, since he can definitely play all three positions. He'd also be an excellent late game pinch run option for Kirk, Vlad, or Janssen. It would tough sell to a young player coming off a down year, but again, this is undoubtedly the GM's last shot.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 08:11 PM EST (#441403) #
Bellinger is arguably the best move they could make at this point, but I think the chances of it happening are pretty low. It’s much more likely the Jays will end up with one of the less expensive DH/OF types on a 1-3 year contract.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 09:55 PM EST (#441404) #
Agreed, greenfrog. History tells us Toronto has mixed results at best in attracting top free agents in the major sports. But as you mentioned, the fact they've been interested in him for multiple offseasons does bode well.

From a personal standpoint, I'd rather see them focus on Bellinger. If it requires an overpay, then do it. He's won an MVP and is still young enough to get 3-4 years of elite production. It amazes me that some fans get worked up about the "risk" involved in these types of things. To me, it's no less risky than signing Kevin Gausman or giving up prospects and a lot of cash for Jose Berrios, or even opening up the vault for George Springer.

Petey Baseball - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 10:02 PM EST (#441405) #
That last post should read "no more risky" than George Springer.

John Northey - Saturday, January 06 2024 @ 11:15 PM EST (#441406) #
If signed I see Bellinger on one of the corners - probably RF where he has had some success, Springer getting lots of DH time to spare his legs. Bellinger at 1B once a week to let Vlad DH.

I think that would work well. Keeps all 4 OF fresh and healthy, same for Vlad. Killer defense in the OF nearly all the time too.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 12:27 AM EST (#441407) #
Atkins is making the big signings with Shapiro's blessings.
John Northey - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 12:49 AM EST (#441408) #
For fun I thought 'let's see what they predicted for Bellinger last year' - ZIPs had him with a 94 OPS+ 2.1 WAR - in reality he had a 133 OPS+ and a 4.1 fWAR - seems odd that a 94 vs 133 OPS+ only added 2 WAR. Close to the same PA (525 predict vs 556 real) but -4.1 on defense in reality vs +4 predicted. Clearly his defense was the big cost there. Not a shocker as he did just 84 games in CF, 59 at 1B, and 3 at DH. Maybe he isn't as strong as I have been assuming he'd be in the OF if signed. In his last disaster year (2022) he was predicted to be 115 OPS+/3.1 WAR vs reality 81 OPS+ 1.8 WAR. So clearly he is a tough one to predict.

Given the Jays desire for stability and predictability I see Bellinger as even less likely to sign now that I did a few days ago. Jays might like his skills but with his defense dropping and his predictability being non-existent he really isn't the type of guy Atkins/Shapiro like. Well, unless the methods the Jays use saw some of these past few years coming for him and/or their defensive maps say he is a much stronger guy out there than we see via FanGraphs stats.

So, back to Chapman (very solid on defense, reasonable on offense with potential for 'wow' for at least a month) and the 1001 DH's I listed above. My bet is one of those LH DH's is signed in a month (once a few are weeded out who demand too much, and the rest are getting anxious thus sign a 1 year cheap deal), and if Chapman is still hunting for work come March he resigns here.

As always question #1 for the Jays has to be 'does this improve the team from where it is now'. Signing Bellinger makes it a solid 4 man rotation for the OF, but might step on some toes (Springers particularly, Vlad's possibly) as guys are asked to DH more than they would like. Who would be sent down? FanGraphs has Biggio/Espinal platooning at 3B with a bench of IKF, Horwitz, and Lopez while Jansen/Kirk share DH/CA (in reality it'd be Horwitz and one of Jansen/Kirk sharing DH with Vlad and Springer getting time there too). So any signing would most likely send Horwitz down (DH/1B) or (if Bellinger or Chapman) send Lopez down. Hard not to beat out Lopez (predicted 86 wRC+ with strong defense), Horwitz a bit harder (113 wRC+ prediction). So signing anyone for LH DH you need someone who can do a 110 or better wRC+ which I show above as being very few guys (Pederson, Meadows, Winker, Vogelbach). As much as I'd love to see Votto in a Jays uniform it really makes no sense from a baseball POV - 2021 was his last time with a wRC+ over 110 (140) then was sub 100 the past 2 years and is predicted to be around a 95 in 2024.

Funny, the more I dig the more I want the Jays to just stay as is and not bother signing anyone else. Horwitz looked good at times last year and he is the right age for a solid run (26 this year) if he ever is going to have one. I am a believer in Schneider and feel he'd be solid in the LF/2B role that was Merrifield's last year. Biggio/Espinal mix/match with IKF at 3B should do the job on defense with meh offense - mixed in at 2B with Schneider. Lopez and Clement have to be on the roster or put through waivers and both look like they could be decent given a shot. I'd keep an eye on Chapman in case he gets no decent offers, but otherwise just go with what is here at this point. Ohtani or Soto would've been massive upgrades of course, but the rest of the market ... not so much. Better to keep the cash & assets ready for a mid-season trade if needed than to blow it now on a DH that might not be an upgrade on what is here already.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 09:40 AM EST (#441409) #
In my opinion, Shapiro and Atkins don't really favour any type of top free agent especially bigger names. Their interest is making the team better and have shown to be pretty flexible once they get their man. It has

It's more likely they've gone after pretty much everyone, and the ones they've managed to get (Ryu, Springer, Gausman, Bassitt, Semien) have bought into what the Jays are selling. Which is why I believe they still are heavily involved with Bellinger, and would move some pieces around to fit him in. If it means Varsho goes to the bench, if it means Vlad has a few more DH days so Bellinger can play first, if it means having to flip Kiermaier even after signing him, they'll do it.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 10:10 AM EST (#441410) #
Changing the subject. Disrupting timing has always been a part of the pitching arsenal, and I wonder if we could measure it to some degree now. How do batters fare against pitches with a certain number of seconds left on the pitch clock? What is the variance in the time left on the clock when a pitch is delivered in a particular outing by a pitcher? How does that correlate with effectiveness? I am sure that there are many other questions that could be asked.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 10:33 AM EST (#441411) #
I am doubling down on my prediction of a huge Blue Jays trade.
John Northey - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 11:45 AM EST (#441412) #
Who or what do you think they'll trade for? It's tough to say imo. A 3B is ideal, followed by an OF with power. What pieces are they willing to trade? I figure all guys in the minors are up for grabs. Even Tiedemann. You'd need to find a team with a surplus at 3B with someone early in arbitration years but has kids coming up the ladder they want to mix in. Or the team is trying to pinch pennies. ChiSox Yoán Moncada is interesting - owed $25 mil in 2024 with a team option for '25 for the same, appears decent on defense, was a force on offense once but now around a 100 OPS+ hitter. Switch hitter. Might be a fit that wouldn't cost much in prospects. There isn't much out there.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 01:54 PM EST (#441413) #
I see Bo and Vlad both unsigned going into their final 2 years of control which means likely their last year in Toronto since this FO likely won't lose them for nothing. That means a trade next off season. So I can see a trade now to bring in another asset or core piece with more control to cover the eventual loss of Vlad or Bo or both. Then when one of them is traded for prospects or near MLB talent the Jays will still have young controllable assets like Varsho.

They are probably trying to trade quantity over quality which means Manoah + instead of Tiedemann +. Here's who I see them looking at in terms of trade target.

Ha-Seong Kim
Fernando Tatis Jr
Christian Yellich
Lars Nootbar
Pete Alonso

These players all have term or can be traded for and extended. The only free agent that can provide same value from WAR are Chapman and Bellinger. I've excluded pitchers.

dalimon5 - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 01:57 PM EST (#441414) #
Apparently Marcus Stroman went to the Yankees to express "serious interest," in joining them. They haven't reciprocated so far. Yuck.

ISLAND BOY - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 02:04 PM EST (#441415) #
Regina: " Oh, Lance, you're so strong and handsome! Do you think we could be an item?

Lance: (Stiffly) I'm sorry, Regina, but you're just not my type of girl."
Ducey - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 02:34 PM EST (#441416) #
Stroman once posted (in an attack on Cashman (Cashman said he was not a difference maker when ask why he did not trade for him)):

“Besides [Gerrit] Cole, there’s no current Yankee pitcher who will be anywhere in my league over the next 5-7 years,” Stroman tweeted. “Their pitching always folds in the end. That lineup and payroll should be winning World Series’ left and right…yet they’re in a drought. Lol.”

And he has torched the Mets and Cubs GM's too.

Thats just the stuff we know about. I imagine he might be kind of a difficult guy in the clubhouse (at least for management) given the well publicized "chip" on his shoulder.

Sometimes its impossible to come back across the bridges that you burned.

John Northey - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 03:40 PM EST (#441417) #
With Stroman getting desperate (if he did indeed call the Yankees and not his agent calling them - agents normally do this stuff) then should the Jays look at a reunion with him? Just 25 starts each of the past 2 seasons, but before that had 4 years of 30+ starts. He skipped 2020 and just 19 starts in 2018. He could be a very strong 5th man to put it mildly (still has #2 stuff with an ERA+ over 110 every year since 2019). No QO so he only costs cash. It'd free up Kikuchi or Manoah for a trade (contender would want Kikuchi, non-contender Manoah). Other quality pitchers with no QO are Montgomery (very pricey), Imanaga (has to decide in 4 days), Paxton (if healthy is good). Those guys are all projected for 2+ fWAR on Fangraphs Free Agent Tracker. I wouldn't sign an expected sub 2 WAR guy unless it is post-trade of someone in the rotation or if the guy takes a AAA deal.

I can't see the Jays tossing away a draft pick or 2 and international cap space to sign Snell right now (I expect the Yankees or Giants to do that - same for Montgomery, one of those 2 will be very desperate once one of them signs to get the other). Same for Hader (the closer who got a QO this year). Chapman & Bellinger are the others with QO's attached to them - Jays are certainly still talking with both for obvious reasons.

Given the Jays seem to be unable to add to the offense this winter, I suspect doubling down on pitching even more will happen instead. Stroman-Imanaga fit that, Paxton is interesting still but a big step down imo - just 96 IP last year (101 ERA+, 9.5 K/9 vs 3.1 BB/9 so solid for those innings over 19 starts) but just 6 starts 21 2/3 IP the 3 years before that. He has never had 30 starts in a season and never qualified for the ERA title (160 1/3 IP is his peak) - I'm surprised he is projected for 2+ fWAR as he hasn't done that since 2019, but he could be a good buy low guy for someone like KC, Pittsburgh, Oakland - a team that is going nowhere this year but would flip him at the deadline for a prospect.

My hope is the Jays trade 2 relievers and Kikuchi for 3B or OF help and sign Stroman or Imanaga (doubtful on Imanaga but we'll know in 4 days at the latest on him). Stroman or Montgomery would be solid fits - both are used to the insanity of the AL East, both are talented, Stroman won't need more than 3 years/$60 mil I'd think at this point, maybe less if he actually is calling teams himself instead of leaving it to his agent (2/$40 would be sweet). As to trades - I am really stuck finding ones that could work. I love the idea of Kim but he is only signed for 2024 (IFA tend to have deals where once it is up they are unrestricted FA - the mutual option for 2025 is useless outside of luxury tax purposes I think) and SD seems to be unwilling to write off 2024 at this point (sounds odd after they dumped Soto but seems the case).
John Northey - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 03:54 PM EST (#441418) #
That quote from Stroman was in Oct 2020. The Yankee rotation that year had Cole-Happ-Tanaka-Montgomery-Deivi Garcia-Paxton-King-Loáisiga-Schmidt. Of those guys Cole-Montgomery-Paxton have held up well, C&M better than Stroman, Garcia just 10 games since, King mostly a reliever but moved into the rotation in late August 2023 (1.88 ERA over 8 starts) and part of the Soto trade, Loáisiga under 20 relief games in '23, Schmidt a 93 ERA+ over 32 starts/159 IP in '23. Happ (retired) & Tanaka (in Japan) are out of the majors. Really, only Montgomery has had a better stretch than Stroman in that timeframe so I'd say he was reasonably accurate. Luis Severino was also there but missed 2020 and most of '21 - but with a 65 ERA+ in '23 and just 89 1/3 IP I'd say he is pretty much done too, but the Mets bet $13 mil he isn't for '24.

Seems the pitching market is weird. Severino getting that deal is bizarre imo - someone is really basing it on projections beyond what I'd do. And I do believe in projections. Stroman should easily get $20+ per for 3 if someone will toss that much after a guy who sucked in 2023.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 04:05 PM EST (#441419) #
Pittsburgh signed LHP Martín Pérez to a 1-year contract worth $8 M, which is rather exorbitant for the Pirates.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 04:12 PM EST (#441420) #
For what it's worth, I would be happy if they signed Snell. In my view, his expectation would be neck and neck with Gausman for the best on the staff. It would be worth about 2 wins over the regular season and even more value in the playoffs. That would be a worthwhile effort to go for it.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 04:20 PM EST (#441421) #
Question: why did Snell walk so many batters in 2021 and 2023, after having improved his walk rate in 2018-2020? He seems to be an outstanding pitcher apart from that flaw.
scottt - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 05:05 PM EST (#441422) #
Why would they suffer the QO cost for Snell?
That would be like buying something with a credit card and paying the exorbitant interest rate.

scottt - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 05:17 PM EST (#441423) #
With Bellinger there is no guarantee to get even 1 single year of elite production.

The comparison with Springer is interesting.

The first thing is Springer had OPS+ of 126, 129, 125, 141, 114, 150 and 141.
Bellinger had had year of 44, 81 and 112.
Varsho gave us and 85 last year and people were not happy.
I don't know what 44 looks like. Lukes and Luplow hit 64 and  67 for the Jays last year.

The second thing is that they also brought Springer's personal hitting coach in Dave Hudgens. (Major League Hitting Strategist might sound better).
There's no telling how Belliger would get along with the Jays hitting coaches. He seems like a special case.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 05:38 PM EST (#441424) #
I don't know, greenfrog.  Snell's home-run rate has been considerably lower the last two years, and it might be that with his great stuff, he's aiming to suppress hits and home-runs while striking out many and not worrying if he walks more than he should. Maybe it's no "get-me-overs".  It's an early Nolan Ryan profile, and it does work if your stuff is good enough. 

All I can say is that if you put a good defence behind Snell, and the Blue Jays have a good defence, you've got a really good chance to keep the opponents to 3 runs most days and 2 runs often enough.  Takes the heat off an offence. 
Nigel - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 05:46 PM EST (#441425) #
Having already started down this path (bolstering run prevention at the expense of run scoring) with the IKF signing, I think the FO should lean in thematically to it. I don’t really see any options (short of emptying the farm) to materially improve the offense but a Snell signing would materially improve the run prevention.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 06:17 PM EST (#441426) #
Agreed. It would be great if the team built a deep and powerful rotation to further support a pitching-and-defense team. This is one reason I wanted the team to sign Yamamoto.

Also, remember the last two postseason series the Jays have taken part in. Their current rotation hasn't been all that great in those series (Berrios 2023 aside, ahem). The team shouldn't be complacent about this component of the roster.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 07:08 PM EST (#441427) #
The thing is this FO can have both. Bolster offense, bolster defence, skip free agent big signing and keep the farm together. Trading for Corbin Burnes and Christian Yellich won't cost you any top prospects. Send a Roden or Barger along with Alek Manoah and you have yourself a done deal while bringing in a top flight starter for a year and an OF comparable to Bo in terms of WAR who is locked up.
bpoz - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 07:37 PM EST (#441428) #
I am high on Alek Manoah.
Gerry - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 10:04 PM EST (#441429) #
Teoscar to the Dodgers. one year deal, $23M.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 10:04 PM EST (#441430) #
LAD signs Teo, 1/$23.5m (some of the money is deferred)
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 10:50 PM EST (#441431) #
What a mockery.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 11:14 PM EST (#441432) #
What is the present value of the $23.5m? Maybe $18.5m? Nice contract for the Dodgers.

Seems like around $15m per year is now the starting point for a solid 2 WAR outfielder. LGJ got $14m x 3 from Arizona.

Where does Bellinger end up? 6/$150m? Maybe a bit more than that?
85bluejay - Sunday, January 07 2024 @ 11:51 PM EST (#441433) #
I hope the Jays continue to be patient - While the price for pitching has gone up with signed pitchers generally getting deals higher than most predictions, the hitters market has been lukewarm with most signing lesser deals (Jung Hoo Lee excepted) - I think there will be some good deals for clubs looking for offense as spring training approaches.
scottt - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 05:23 AM EST (#441434) #
Was predicted to get 4/80M.

Angels and Red Sox were offering 2 years, but apparently in the 2/28M range.

greenfrog - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 07:02 AM EST (#441435) #
The Fangraphs contract estimate (per Ben Clemems and also the median crowdsource) for Teoscar was 3/$45m. Not sure where that $80m prediction came from, seems too high.
bpoz - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 08:24 AM EST (#441436) #
Very nice deal for Teo. I wonder if he will hit before or after Ohtani?
Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 09:31 AM EST (#441437) #
Corbin Burnes, Christian Yelich and Teoscar.  I have no idea what the Brewers would want or might be offered for Burnes and Yelich, but we can at least talk about their value in relation to their contracts. Burnes is obvious- he has significant value for the year remaining on his contract.  He's been an excellent pitcher and for one year, there's a very good likelihood that he would be in the 3-4 WAR range.  Yelich is signed to a long-term contract through age 36 with $130M owing until then and then a mutual option for $20M with a $6.5M buyout for his age 27 season.  With a commitment of $136.5, the first question is whether on average he's likely to generate 13-14 WAR over the next 5-6 years.  His BBRef comps (which are batting comps) are illustrative- Gary Matthews, Reggie Smith, Andrew McCutchen, Bobby Murcer, Matt Kemp, Dwight Evans, Chili Davis, Chet Lemon, Vernon Wells, and Bobby Abreu.  You see some players with excellent careers from age 32 on and some real flameouts.  But, taking it account everything, Yelich has been quite a bit better so far than the "flameouts", save McCutchen. And McCutchen is not a spectacular flameout.  I think his contract is a fair one- with a reasonable possibility of a "light" flameout of 6-9 WAR remaining like McCutchen and an at least equal possibility of a good career ending of 15-23 WAR like Smith, Evans or Abreu.  If I were Milwaukee's GM, I wouldn't be treating Yelich's contract as a millstone. 

Teoscar's contract is of the pillow variety.  And what a comfy pillow it is to land in LA.  Last year, the Dodgers won 100 games, and were a true talent 101 win team.  And they've added Ohtani and Yamamoto.  Their closest competitors, the Padres, were a true talent 91 win team but have traded Soto and will be losing Snell to free agency.  You'd have to think that the Dodgers have a fantastic chance to make the playoffs and an excellent chance to win the division.  So, a song for today

Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 09:36 AM EST (#441438) #
I realize that the song is a bit of a cultural artifact, not really comprehensible to anyone under the age of 50.  By way of explanation, New York ran an extensive ad campaign to woo tourists back after the crumbling of the 70s with "I Love New York", and this was Randy Newman's retort. 
scottt - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 10:01 AM EST (#441439) #
MLBtraderumors ranked him 12th among free agents.

They noted that Schwarber got 79M and Ozuna 64M.
Nick Castellanos got 5/100M.

Teoscar is arguably better than these guys.
He was coming off a low "platorm year" but he's also facing relatively little competition.

scottt - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 10:06 AM EST (#441440) #
LA isn't a hitter's park. Teoscar had great road numbers.

In this lineup, Hernandez probably hits 7th between James Outman and Jason Heyward.
Betts and Freeman will hit before/after Othani.

Chuck - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 10:17 AM EST (#441441) #
Randy Newman

With Randy Newman fresh in the head of this particular geriatric, he has a fitting anthem for Marcus Stroman this off-season.

Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 10:25 AM EST (#441442) #
And for the benefit of young people, Newman was poking fun at prejudice.  They don't have a "/s" on song videos- is there anyone employing sarcasm in music now?  I am sure there is, but I am drawing a blank. 
jz6pwc - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 11:05 AM EST (#441443) #
@dalimon5: I have been on Corbin Burnes and Christian Yelich all along... well after Soto and Ohtani anyway. To me this makes the most sense. But I agree with @Mike Green, it will take more than prospects. I would say the prospects you mention + Manoah would do it. So it comes down to what you believe Manoah is. For me, based on this years fiasco, even outside of his performance, I would move on from him.

I would also do 1 more thing after than trade. Sign Chapman! There is no way I am going up against the Dodgers in the WS with Espinal or Biggio in the everyday lineup, let along my 3rd baseman. Good Lord! How can this be even a thing on this thread.

Or, if you have given up the prospect of being competitive with the Dodgers, then stay with what you have and let the kids play.
Ducey - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 11:43 AM EST (#441444) #
"I would also do 1 more thing after than trade. Sign Chapman! There is no way I am going up against the Dodgers in the WS with Espinal or Biggio in the everyday lineup, let along my 3rd baseman. Good Lord! How can this be even a thing on this thread."

There is a whole season to be played. By the July the Jays should have some answers on Vlad/ Kirk/ Manoah bounce backs, whether Barger/ Orelvis can help, whether Davis S is for real, and where they are in the standings.

There will be teams out of it looking at pending free agents, and trying to dump money. Hopefully the Dodgers will be one of them.

Its probably the most sensible time for the Jays to make a trade given the current situation.

I dont want Chapman on a multi year deal. He is guaranteed to decline over the next 4 years, and frankly his batting is not that good now.

There is a remarkable lack of patience in the fanbase. There is still, what, 6 weeks til pitchers report?
soupman - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 11:54 AM EST (#441445) #
i don't see a real reason for them to add payroll right now. chapman + bellinger gets them what? back to 2023 chapman and belt level production but with $300m+ in legacy costs for that purchase? if they do something like that...i'd be kind of dismayed because it doesn't really make sense and reeks of desperation.

the value on the free agency market is in starting pitchers. stroman will sign short term apparently, and bauer just wants a job. i guess chemistry is a thing, but breaking up the bario and getting rid of the jacket didn't seem to lead to an increase in that department. while we're at it, throw Donaldson at the wall as a decent chance to outperform Bellinger, play 3b, and not cost a fortune. i get that i'm risking "remembering some guys" - but donaldson was still bproductive 2 years ago and played a position the jays have a vacancy in. whether his legs are truly toast or not - i'm not a doctor. i would like to see him invited to spring and see where he's at. getting Belt back would be another decent move, imo.

with the addition of two top line starters, the jays can then trade one of the big contracts they have on the books AND see what happens with manoah/tiedemann.

i feel like fans are way too anxious for the team to "do something" when there's a lot of reason to just feel hopeful for regression from guys like VGJ and Manoah instead of trying to overpay FAs that sometimes show up to work (Bellinger, Soler, and the like).
ISLAND BOY - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 12:09 PM EST (#441446) #
Barrio - a Spanish word meaning "quarter" or "neighbourhood".
Gerry - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 12:28 PM EST (#441447) #
It has been a very slow off season. To relieve the boredom drop by Da Box tomorrow. Minor league fans will be happy.
jz6pwc - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 12:46 PM EST (#441448) #
I am anxious. Not because I want to see a move for the sake of a move, but because I don't think this team is better than last year.... and there is only 6 weeks before spring training. A lot of potential trade partners will maybe give the offers another 2 weeks at most and then sit on it until the trade deadline. If the Jays were better then I wouldn't be as concerned. But they are not and they had to get help to even make the playoffs on the last day last year, and the year before missed by 1. Margin for error is low in this division. It would be nice to go into the season with a better team and not be forced to make a big move at the deadline just to have a chance with the current core one last time.
soupman - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 02:22 PM EST (#441449) #
Belt played 86 games from May1 to the EoS. 18HR and 271/392/924 line. He signed Jan 10.

Evidently, he's still able to hit and the Jays deployed him well after a slow start in April. even his season line was like 136 OPS+ including going O'fer'April.

It's a bit concerning (to me, at least) that he hasn't resigned yet (either here or back in SF). The jays just saved something like a billion CAD and the IKF signing makes it seem like the could make a reasonable offer on a guy that can obviously still swing it.

The other area the Jays could make some moves is in relief. Matt Moore is an interesting name and would add another lefty to the pen.
John Northey - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 02:54 PM EST (#441450) #
Belt would be nice to bring back but last I read was he was looking at retirement. He has his ring, is just 6 HR from 200 so that's about it for incentive to return. He has 0% shot at the HOF and there really isn't much else for him beyond the $10 mil he'd probably get to play. He is at $114 mil lifetime so I doubt the cash is a big incentive.
Ryan Day - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 02:54 PM EST (#441451) #
Belt was talking about retirement late in the season last year. There don't seem to be any rumours about him and other teams, so that may be where he's landed. Or maybe he just told his agent not to bother him until January - he didn't sign until January 10 last year.
Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 04:40 PM EST (#441452) #
And Belt is obviously a smart (and funny) guy.  If he said that he wants to spend more time with his young family (his youngest child is 5), he'd be an MVP in my book. 
John Northey - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 04:45 PM EST (#441453) #
So how busy have the Jays been recently in Jan-Feb? Year is the year of Jan/Feb
  • 2023: Brandon Belt on Jan 10th; Chad Green Jan 30th, a few minor free agents also (Jay Jackson, lots of AAA depth)
  • 2022: lockout, nothing until March after December. March 14th: Yusei Kikuchi; March 16: Traded Gunnar Hoglund, Zach Logue, Kevin Smith and Kirby Snead for Matt Chapman; March 24th: Traded Randal Grichuk and cash for Adrian Pinto and Raimel Tapia; April 3: Traded Reese McGuire for Zack Collins; Apr 8: Traded Anthony Castro for Bradley Zimmer;
  • 2021: Jan 23: George Springer; Jan 27: Traded Yennsy Díaz, Sean Reid-Foley and Josh Winckowski to the New York Mets for Steven Matz; Jan 30: Marcus Semien; Feb 23rd: traded Kendall Williams and Ryan Noda for Ross Stripling.
I don't worry about 2020 or 2019 as the team wasn't expected to contend those year and before that things get messy imo as far as 'contend or not' goes.

So clearly important stuff does happen for this team in January/February - from Belt & Green to Springer & Semien for free agents, the Stripling trade, Chapman one *, and others happened in this window too (* for Chapman due to the bizarre winter that was).

This is going to be a crazy Jan/Feb this year with many big free agent pitchers still out there (4 projected to be 2.6+ fWAR) along with Chapman & Bellinger. No MVP level guys left, but certainly a few who could contend for an MVP in a great year.
Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 04:58 PM EST (#441454) #
Dan Szymborski has posted the ZiPS projections for the Dodgers.  They are not as overwhelming as I thought they would be, but just fine.  Their best pitcher is Yamamoto, with a #1 comp of Dave Stieb.  Memories. 
dalimon5 - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 06:37 PM EST (#441455) #
There is time left in the off season it's true, but it's getting late. The Jays need to poop or get off the potter. You can wait until the trade deadline to make a trade and give up less but you also risk not being competitive and ahead pf the NYY, BAL and BOS. You also would be trading for someone with only a year and change left of control over Bo and Vladdy. It's riskier to wait in my books than strike now. If you look at the acquisition cost of Jordan Hicks last trade deadline, what do you think a Corbin Burnes will cost?

This team is missing a clean up hitter and a strong hitter from the left side. Those two players need to be added at a minimum. If that happens and "the core," performs better and the pitching repeats, well then, then we have a contender.
John Northey - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#441456) #
It is interesting that even with Teoscar their LF is still projected to be sub 2 fWAR. Same for SS with 3B barely over at 2.2 (Muncy is no Chapman with the glove). It'll be interesting to see how the Dodgers do this year. Anything under 100 wins has to be seen as a poor regular season, and their fans will be disappointed with anything short of being in the WS.

Fans here I suspect are hoping for a 90+ win team, playoffs, and at least winning one round (or at least a freaking game). Btw, for sub 2 WAR positions the Jays have 3 - LF (pre-KK signing), 3B (pre IKF but I doubt he changes it), and DH. All 1.5 or better even with Lukes listed as the #1 LF. What is odd is the ZIPS projection for the Jays didn't have Schneider listed anywhere, even part time despite projecting 2.9 WAR (range of 4.0 to 1.8 for 80-20 percentile). Weird.

Gets me thinking about that 80-20 range for WAR for key guys - Bo 5.8-2.3, Vlad 4.7-1.3, Kirk 4.2-1.9, Springer 3.6-1.0, Jansen 2.7-1.2, Varsho 3.4-0.7, KK 2.6-1.0. So those 7 who should be in the lineup most days in some way/shape/form range from 27.0 to 9.4 - a 17.6 win spread if everyone does well or everyone does crappy.

Key battles...
  • 2B/3B: Biggio 1.9-0.0, Espinal 1.8-0.4, Clement 2.0-0.2, Lantigua 2.1-(0.2), Barger 2.0-(0.3), Jimenez 1.6-0.0, Palmegiani 1.8-(0.6), Orelvis Martinez 2.1-(0.7), Lopez 1.5-(0.5) - Others listed but I see these as the most likely to get a shot at any point of 2024, brackets indicate negative numbers
  • DH: Horwitz 2.6-0.5, Kirk/Jansen, Vlad, Springer, etc. (pretty much anyone above)
  • Free Agents who could return: Belt 2.4-0.4, Chapman 4.8-2.2, Merrifield 1.9-(0.6)
Right now given these ranges one has to expect Schneider to be in there everyday to start, Clement to make opening day somehow (no options), maybe losing Lopez (also no options) is not a big deal. I expect Biggio to get lots of playing time (he seems to be a manager favorite) at RF/2B/DH, I'd put Horwitz in at DH to start vs RHP unless a really good player drops into the Jays laps.
greenfrog - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 07:11 PM EST (#441457) #
It's tough for fans to wait but a lot of the players tied to the Blue Jays are still available (Bellinger, Chapman, Soler, Martinez, Hoskins, Pederson, Turner, Rodriguez). And those are just the free agents and IFAs.

The front office is definitely going to add at least one player. Presumably they're playing the waiting game in an effort to save some money that can be used to add a (better) second player as well.

I have low expectations for the moves to come -- I think they are likely to be budget-conscious ones -- but the front office's approach does make sense. Other teams are doing this as well.
Eephus - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 08:05 PM EST (#441458) #
I tend to agree with greenfrog’s last post on this: as somebody personally still very unenthusiastic about this upcoming 2024 Blue Jays season, it makes a lot of sense for the front office at this current moment to see which free agent blinks first. Frankly I hate it as a concept of roster building (these situations can change quicker than we think), but if the team is indeed playing poker with the many still useful players available to them… let’s just hope they prove they know when to hold ‘em, when to fold em.

That was sung by Kenny Rogers, the long time Texas Rangers lefty, right?
greenfrog - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 08:40 PM EST (#441459) #
If any Blue Jays GM fit the archetype of The Gambler, it was Alex Anthopoulos.
scottt - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 08:43 PM EST (#441460) #
The Jays gave 15M to IKF, potentially to play 3B.
The Yankees signed Kevin Smith to a minor league contract, potentially to play 3B--that's the only place where he's played a decent defense.

Eephus - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 08:56 PM EST (#441461) #
For the record, I’m just trying to be funny and blindly optimistic when such a rare wind hits my face. Frankly I find no reason to be confident thus far that the 2024 team won’t be as miserable to behold as its predecessor. I also hate this time of year so…. Take that as you will.

I’ll be back from my cave when we sign Votto. Please do that.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 08 2024 @ 08:58 PM EST (#441462) #
If any Blue Jays GM fit the archetype of The Gambler, it was Alex Anthopoulos.

" The Devil went down to Georgia . . . "

Michael - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 06:23 AM EST (#441463) #
Is there any AL East team that you think is a clear significant favorite to win more games than the Jays? I.e., would you bet on any team in the AL East where if they have more regular season wins than the Jays you win $40, but if they have the same or less you lose $60?

In terms of O/U Ceaser's released the AL East teams as:

Yankees 91.5
Orioles 90
Jays 87
Rays 83.5
Red Sox 80

If those O/U are true talent level of the teams I think that implies the Jays would be about 32.7% likely to do at least as well as the Yankees, 39% likely to do at least as well as the Orioles, 67.2% likely to do at least as well as the Rays, and 79.8% likely to do at least as well as the Red Sox - if you assume each teams wins are independent of each other. Because in actuality when the Jays win more that slightly depresses the wins of the other AL East teams I think this maybe slightly understates the chances of the Jays doing better than Yankees/Orioles (and slightly overstates chances of doing better than Rays/Red Sox). There's also the notion that the casino tries to somewhat balance the action rather than set fair lines so you'd expect popular teams to bet on over (like the Yankees) might be slightly inflated for that reason too.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 07:34 AM EST (#441464) #
It's Texas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Baltimore (after they trade for SP) that fans are concerned about, not the AL East.
99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 09:53 AM EST (#441469) #
I’m far more worried about the AL East than any other team
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 10:11 AM EST (#441470) #
This is a good article by Ben Clemens on the Sean Manaea signing (overlooking the pun in the headline).  The free agent contract positioning in the article is, I think, accurate.  All the people at this party are standing in the centre, giving to get something, with dollars and opt-out options the currency du jour. 

The Clemens article specifically addresses the post-season implications.  If you sign a pitcher, you do want to know whether he is likely to be one of your top 5 or 6 who become disproportionately important in the post-season. 
bpoz - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 10:35 AM EST (#441471) #
Thanks Michael. The Jays with 87 wins could be an acceptable team depending how many teams in the AL win more than 87.

"Just get in" is our mantra. Arizona won 84 games.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 11:18 AM EST (#441474) #
Steve Cohen changes the free agent market for elite talent in 2023.

Trickle effect leaves non-elite talent receiving massive deals to sku the market.

2024 LAD play copy cat but in a clever way to alter the market with their signings of Ohtani and Yamamoto.

Trickle effect leaves non-elite talent receiving no deals or below market term deals.

Net result - 2024 free agents wanting skewed market terms and dollars while teams balk, Mets included.
Nigel - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 01:06 PM EST (#441478) #
As of right now, I think the Jays are the 4th best team in the AL East (behind NYY, Orioles and Rays) and only a bit ahead of the Sox. But it wouldn't take a huge amount for the Jays to finish anywhere from 1st to 5th. I think Baltimore and the NYY (assuming Judge is back and healthy) are a step ahead (not a huge step) of the other three teams.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 01:49 PM EST (#441480) #
I expect Orioles to acquire Burnes, Cease or Bieber very soon at which point they will be clearly ahead of the rest.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 01:54 PM EST (#441481) #
They are so overloaded with talent but seem reluctant to move any or to spend any money to help core out for some reason.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 01:57 PM EST (#441482) #
The O’s will make a move to acquire pitching now and/or at the deadline. But they will do it on their terms. I expect them to win the division.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 01:58 PM EST (#441483) #
For what it's worth, Fangraphs has the Yankees ahead of the Blue Jays in the AL East with the other 3 teams trailing.  The Astros are just a tiny bit ahead of the Yankees, and the Rangers are, they have it, quite a bit behind the Blue Jays.  The Yankees' projection is based on 658 PAs from Judge and 679 from Soto.  I'll take the under on 1337 PAs between the two of them.  Anyways, I don't put much stock in the Fangraphs projection as I expect the Rangers to be the best team in the league in 2024.  As far as I am concerned, the Orioles, Jays, Yankees and Rays are in a knot (I'm giving the Rays credit for their superior ability to improvise) in the AL East  with the Sox trailing, as of today.  It isn't worth much to split hairs when the off-season isn't done. 
Glevin - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 02:31 PM EST (#441484) #
I think AL East is super close right now. Red Sox are worst team pretty easily. OK offense, terrible pitching, and terrible defense. I mean, I get people are down on the off-season, but Jays are still a good team and other teams have real weaknesses too.
Yankees are best team but offense is almost entirely dependent on 2 studs and Torres. Orioles still largely floating on potential. Rutschman and Henderson are studs but right now, they have a lot of OK/not great players like Santandar, Mountcastle, Hayes, etc...They likely need one or two of their young players to take step up. Pitching, even with a trade will be OK but not great and they will Bautista who was best reliever in baseball. They were also extremely lucky last year. Rays on paper are in trouble but they always find a way to get diamonds out of coal. Most of their rotation is out for the year and Franco is out for his career. They'll mix and match but team isn't as strong as it usually is. I'd have the Jays right now probably just squeezed in between Baltimore and Tampa not far back from Yankees and well ahead of Boston but no question, it's a brutal division as it is most years. Absolutely ridiculous watching central teams spend no money and make almost no effort and still win because the teams are so weak.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 04:08 PM EST (#441486) #
No question the AL East is a beast again for 2024. One wonders how many hits the Rays can take before finally sucking one year (Franco, Glasnow - basically their #1 player and #1 pitcher). Picture the Jays losing Bo & Gausman - that is what happened to the Rays. Yet they keep on rolling.

Baltimore is counting on 2 guys - Rutschman & Henderson - both projected over 5 WAR. Holliday at 2.6, Mullins 2.3, and Santander 2.1 are the only other ones over 2. Oh yeah, and 2 pitchers in Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish (2.7 and 2.5 respectively). If Rutschman or Henderson go down for any length of time their year could go south fast.

Boston is Devers and pray a lot. Casas, Grissom, and pitchers Bello, Giolito, and Pivetta are also projected at 2+ fWAR.

NYY: Soto & Judge both over 6 (!), Torres 3.9, plus Volpe & LeMathieu in the 2's. Cole & Rodon both over 3 for pitchers, the rest sub 2. Given past history odds are Rodon and Judge will miss a big chunk of the season each - and the Yankees can't afford that if they want to win the division.

Tampa: Diaz over 4, Paredes 3.4, then 3 in the 2's Arozarena, and the 2 Lowe's. For pitching it is Zach Eflin then use the whole eflin pen (he is the only one over 2 at 3.4)

Jays: 2 4's in Bo & Vlad, Kirk & Springer in the 3's, Varsho, Jansen, Schneider in the 2's. Pitching it is Gausman in the 4's, Bassitt, Berrios, Kikuchi in the 2's. More spread out that I expected, not complaining.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 04:15 PM EST (#441487) #
"Absolutely ridiculous watching central teams spend no money and make almost no effort and still win because the teams are so weak."

Yet the Jays seems to get spanked by the Twins and Guardians every year wherein pitching dominates them.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 05:53 PM EST (#441488) #
Here's a trivia game.  For today's birthday boys who played in a game after 1945, which one of the following amassed the most career bWAR.  In reverse chronological order, the birthday boys who had more than 5 bWAR are:
Alek Manoah, Kiki Calero, Stan Javier, Otis Nixon, Ivan DeJesus, Ralph Terry.

Tomorrow is too easy. Willie McCovey against Adam Kennedy and Richard Dotson. The next interesting one is January 12.  The contenders are:
Alex Wood, Ivan Nova, Dontrelle Willis, Bobby Crosby, Luis Ayala, Mike Marshall (the RF not the RP), Tim Hulett, Terry Whitfield, Bill Madlock, Randy Jones. 

Please give both answers at once. I'll tell you whether you got none, one or both right. 

92-93 - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 06:00 PM EST (#441489) #
Nixon and Willis.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 06:01 PM EST (#441490) #
Neither, 92-93.
Ducey - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#441492) #
Calero and Madlock?
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 06:56 PM EST (#441493) #
One of two, Ducey.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 07:20 PM EST (#441494) #
CHC have signed Imanaga.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 07:53 PM EST (#441495) #
Without knowing the answers, I wouldn't have done better than one of two, although it isn't close in either case.
lexomatic - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 07:55 PM EST (#441496) #
Guessing Terrry & Madlock
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 07:58 PM EST (#441497) #
The one I would not have got had his best seasons at age 26, 30, 31, 33 and 37.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 08:00 PM EST (#441498) #
One of two, lexomatic. Bill Madlock is correct.
Katie - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 08:01 PM EST (#441499) #
Stan Javier was a pretty good ballplayer for a while with the A's and Giants. I'll guess him.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 08:05 PM EST (#441500) #
Correct, Katie. Javier was indeed a pretty good player. He ended his career on a high note with the great Mariners club of 2001, amassing 2.8 bWAR in half-time play.
lexomatic - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 08:05 PM EST (#441501) #
Stan Javier
It was between him and Terry for me. Terry was a lot more meh than I remembered.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 08:22 PM EST (#441502) #
Javier spent his 20s as a 4th outfielder,  had an excellent year with the Dodgers in 1990 (4 WAR in half-time play) at age 26 but stayed in the very part-time role until age 30.   From age 30-34, he was a 3/4 time player and a very good one and then settled back into the part-time role. 

He did everything well- fielding, baserunning and stealing bases, avoiding the DP, and would take a walk. Funny that he never played for the Cardinals. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 09:04 PM EST (#441503) #
The Athletic (pre-Imanaga signing) works on off-season solutions for three slow-moving teams:

“Let’s draw up a successful path forward for all three of them: the Cubs sign Cody Bellinger and one of the top remaining starters; the Giants get Chapman and another at least mid-rotation starter; the Blue Jays trade for an infielder and sign Joc Pederson and Rhys Hoskins as platoon/bench bats with plenty of on-base and pop.”
Gerry - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 09:17 PM EST (#441504) #
The lack of free agent signings is interesting. You have to assume that there is a difference between what teams are willing to pay and what the players want.

It could be that its just normal negotiating between offers and wants. Or it could be revenue related. There is uncertainty around local TV deals. But it could be more than that. The 2023 world series ratings were less than half of what they were just six years ago. ESPN has an opt-out of their contract next year. I believe ESPN is losing money and is suffering the same cord cutting as the regional sports networks. A lot of free agent contracts will go beyond 2025 and owners could be reluctant to make financial commitments of that length (Dodgers excluded).

Or it could be just negotiating.

Finally, will Rogers see cord cutting and will it impact the Jays down the road somewhere?
John Northey - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 09:59 PM EST (#441505) #
Jays and Rogers have an advantage over other MLB teams and their TV stations. Rogers has Sportsnet+ which you can subscribe to - I've had one often (but lapsed right now - not renewing until spring) for about $180 a year you get all the Jays games plus whatever other they have. Not bad. has a couple of Dominican league games a day right now (nice), $25 US for the winter. Sadly used to allow us to watch Jays games but I think no longer do (at least not live) so no chance I'll subscribe to them again unless that changes.

That protects Rogers to some degree from cord-cutting. I don't have cable (technically I do for about 30 channels but never use it, came free with my internet service). I suspect many others are like me, if you want sports you pick your favorite and subscribe to the service that has it (TSN or Sportsnet). TSN would be nice sometimes but rarely (if the Raptors are doing well in the playoffs for example). There are, of course, hacks to get around this stuff and watch for free but I have no problem paying for the service if it has what I want (Netflix, Disney+, Crave, Prime, Paramount+ are all on my TV for example). I'd love to have Apple TV but can't justify it for the handful of games they have each year and the 1 or 2 shows that catch my eye. I'm a Trek fan so Paramount+ was mandatory, Disney+ as I have kids, Crave I had due to the DC content (but that has ended, but my 18 year old daughter loves it for Last Of Us and other shows), Prime I got for free shipping (and use way too much), Netflix has been on edge for me for a year or so.

Bottom line: Rogers/Jays safe from cord cutting, and might be able to make a good profit while other clubs lose out.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 10:21 PM EST (#441507) #
John, the key difference between the Jays and other teams suffering from cord cutting is in the wireless services. Rogers has lots of income from internet and phone networks which other teams do not. They also own a big part of the Raptors and Maple Leafs.
Gerry - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 11:02 PM EST (#441508) #
But will they be willing to use wireless money to fund the Blue Jays? With cable TV there is a link, the Jays drive ratings and subscriptions to Sportsnet. That link is more tenuous for wireless.

While John might subscribe to Sportsnet plus, the joy of cable TV subscriptions is that most subscribers who had sportsnet on their TV package, never watched it. How many people need to subscribe to offset the lost TV subs?
John Northey - Tuesday, January 09 2024 @ 11:28 PM EST (#441509) #
Well, the Jays get literally millions of viewers (peak around during good times, 2022 averaged 896k viewers, drop to 100k in bad. Lets assume the usual household size of 2.51 (shrinking as people have fewer children) and you get possible subs just due to the Jays of 40k-359k based on those numbers. At $180 a year that equals $7.2 million to $64.6 million before adding in advertising dollars (very significant as that used to be the only revenue for TV). In US dollars that'd be around 75% so $5.4 mil to $48.5 mil. So contender vs non-contender just in subscription fees could easily be $43 mil a year (or basically one Ohtani). I'd guess advertising revenue would be equal to that, so another $43 mil. That isn't factoring in late season bandwagon viewers (pay monthly fee for September/October), bars subscriptions, etc. I'd guess the spread from winner to loser is around $100 mil a year for the Jays when you factor everything in just for TV. Now, some of those viewers might subscribe regardless of the Jays but this is to get a (pardon the pun) ballpark figure to work from. The Yankees for example get $143 mil a year for their TV rights and get just 231k viewers - basically what a meh Jays team would get for viewers.

Bottom line: the Jays as a winner are worth a LOT to Sportsnet, even if everyone cuts out cable. Heck, if they cut cable the Jays might be worth MORE due to the fact few will subscribe to Sportsnet without them (1/2 the Raptors games, lots of NHL but might be losing that as the rights fees are insane). Now, if they suck the viewers crash (I recall articles from 20 years ago where they were selling games to CityTV for peanuts just to keep them on-air as they'd go sub 100k during those dark ugly early 00's years when Rogers first bought the club and stadium and were trying to cut costs until they figured out winning = profit).
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 10 2024 @ 07:17 AM EST (#441515) #
If you're cutting the cord to watch TV then you're using internet or cellular connection to consume your at home entertainment. If you cancel your TV but still pay a cellular fee for your phone and an internet subscription fee for then you're still paying Rogers. Internet and cell phone fees have gone up over the last 15 years. The only thing that can hurt Rogers is if government continues to force them to share their cellular networks with new and small start up companies who offer cheaper plans.
scottt - Wednesday, January 10 2024 @ 10:35 AM EST (#441518) #
Bellinger would be interesting on a short deal.
I read that the Giants could do 11/250M.
That does not interest me, so I can understand that teams are waiting on a resolution.

The Rays are shopping Harold Ramirez. I'd love to have his bats against lefties, but I would probably not like the cost.

John Northey - Wednesday, January 10 2024 @ 11:59 AM EST (#441519) #
11/$250 for Bellinger is nuts imo. In his career so far he has been worth 22.1 bWAR - roughly $220 million. If you pay him $250 mil then you are assuming he will produce MORE over the rest of his career - pushing him close to 50 WAR lifetime. That seems a big, big assumption. Yeah, he is 'just' 28 but realistically he has 5 years of prime left - the part where he should be 3-4 WAR per year, or $150-$180 mil of value. Age 33-38 though you'd need another $70-$100 mil or 7-10 WAR or 1-2 per year. Sounds easy but isn't. Basically you need him to be healthy for 11 years, productive for 5+ for a deal like that to work in the teams favor. If the Giants do that they are desperate, which is possible (they are competing with the Dodgers and a young strong team in Arizona) but IMO would be a big mistake for them long term unless Bellinger gets back to his 2019 MVP form (very unlikely).

I'd hesitate to do a deal with the Rays - they are built via trades, that is how they've stayed in contention despite no payroll for the past decade+. If you do a trade with them you better count your fingers afterwards to make sure they didn't take a few in the deal.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 10 2024 @ 05:11 PM EST (#441526) #
Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic sets the example for John Schneider.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 01:35 PM EST (#441538) #
Imanaga has signed with the Cubs, 4 years/53 million.
Marc Hulet - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 01:43 PM EST (#441539) #
Jays should have been on the Michael Busch trade... could have beat the Cubs offer although Ferris is a promising arm.

But it very likely takes them out of the Matt Chapman market what with Morel, Hoerner and Madrigal also on the roster.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 01:50 PM EST (#441540) #
New York Mets player/coach Bud Harrelson passed away at the age of 79. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Ducey - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 02:07 PM EST (#441543) #
Busch looks like a pretty good bat, but cant play defence. He only starting playing 3B last year and the scouts dont like him there, or anywhere. Arm strength is an issue.

Sounds like Schneider/Biggio/ Horwitz/ Orelvis, although maybe a better hitter?

Don't think the Jays would want to give up some higher end prospects for another defensively limited bat.
Glevin - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 03:20 PM EST (#441547) #
"Busch looks like a pretty good bat, but cant play defence. He only starting playing 3B last year and the scouts dont like him there, or anywhere. Arm strength is an issue."

Agree with this. He might end up being a good enough hitter to be good 1B but his D is bad which limits his upside. He was also absolutely atrocious in a cup of coffee last year. I'd still be happy to have him but feels like if Jays are going to trade high upside prospects, it should be to fill a real need.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 03:49 PM EST (#441548) #
Busch is an awfully good bat-only prospect.  There's a non-zero chance that he outhits Ohtani this year.  But it's true that you don't want to be backed up at that end of the spectrum. 
Ducey - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 04:19 PM EST (#441549) #
Not to plie on but it seems that if the Jays want a bat first guy they could just sign Soler (or a few other guys). These DH types are a little easier to find on the free agent market.
Nigel - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 04:28 PM EST (#441550) #
While you absolutely can't afford too many bat only players on the roster, this particular roster is crying out for a loud bat (whether it comes with defence or not).
Marc Hulet - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 05:07 PM EST (#441554) #
That was my thinking Nigel, plus Busch is a LHH... you can always find a spot for a good bat and it's not like DH is spoken for... I'd take the upside on Busch's bat over paying Chapman $20M+ for 4-5 years...
greenfrog - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 09:05 PM EST (#441556) #
Stroman is reportedly signing with the Yankees.

The Yankees are certainly not sitting on their hands this off-season.
Gerry - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 09:15 PM EST (#441557) #
Jays avoided arbitration with everyone except Vladdy. That would be an interesting hearing.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 09:51 PM EST (#441558) #
Is paying Espinal $2.7m a good use of the Jays payroll? He posted 0.1 WAR and was disappointing defensively and offensively in 2023. I guess he could rebound this year, but this seems like another example of Atkins and Shapiro being overly cautious by “securing” layers of mediocrity on the roster.

You could also question whether Garcia and Green and IKF and Springer will be worth what the Jays are paying them in 2024.

I guess when the farm system is weak, you have to pay more for bench players and 6th/7th-inning relievers.
Gerry - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 09:52 PM EST (#441559) #
For Guerrero the Jays filed at $18.05M, Vladdy is asking for $19.9, a Wal-Mart special.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 10:08 PM EST (#441560) #
Will the Jays mention the crushing baserunning gaffe in the postseason? Or would that be too alienating for Vladdy?
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 10:41 PM EST (#441561) #
Sign Bo already as your core piece and start signing players around him. No chance this FO retains Vlad.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 11 2024 @ 10:50 PM EST (#441562) #
I think Bo wants to test free agency. He’s only two years away. He is very confident in himself. And he’s already wealthy. Also, I don’t get the sense he’s all that impressed with the Jays management and front office.
bpoz - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:06 AM EST (#441563) #
NYY is having a nice off season. I don't know if they are done. They may still be interested in Snell.
scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 08:51 AM EST (#441565) #
Stroman is OK. It's a  2-year contract. There's a player option based on inning. (140 in 2025).
They wouldn't meet Boras' price on Snell.

Soto is great but not a good defender.
Verdigo had clubhouse issues in Boston. The Yankees are not known for putting up with crap.

Cole is pretty close to a sure thing. The rest of the rotation are harder to predict.
Lots of ups and down.

It's a team that depends on key players staying healthy which doesn't seem to happen a whole lot.

scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 08:57 AM EST (#441566) #
Bo will be a free agent and whoever signs him will want him to move off shortstop.

Guerrero is off a bad season. We need to see how he rebounds this year.

Mike Green - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 09:11 AM EST (#441568) #
Both VGJ's demand and the Blue Jay offer were lower than I anticipated. BBRef estimated his salary at $20.4M and both the demand and the offer are lower.  Maybe he does want to stay here after all. 
John Northey - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 09:28 AM EST (#441569) #
If I'm the Jays and I really believed in Vlad I'd be tempted to offer a 10 year deal for $200 mil. If he takes it you just need 20 WAR to break even, if not then in 2 years we'll see where he is. If he is a 3+ player (as I think he is) $200 over 10 would be a good deal. If he flops then not so much.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 09:38 AM EST (#441571) #
"I think Bo wants to test free agency. He’s only two years away. He is very confident in himself. And he’s already wealthy. Also, I don’t get the sense he’s all that impressed with the Jays management and front office."

Of course he wants to test. You keep him here by overpaying slightly. Give him 30 X 12 and if he decides to pass on that then trade him ASAP the way the Nationals did with Soto with two years of control.

What you don't want is one year left and you can't get a good return...essentially what happened with Teoscar and is happening now with Bieber and Burnes.
greenfrog - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 09:55 AM EST (#441572) #
I assume the front office has tried hard to find the “sweet spot of shared risk” with Bichette, to no avail.

As time passes, Bo will likely have more and more leverage (although he may have lost a bit of leverage with his leg injury last year).
Chuck - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 10:15 AM EST (#441573) #
I'd be tempted to offer a 10 year deal for $200 mil

No way he'd take that. His self-perceived value is surely much higher, and of course inflation in MLB is unrelenting. 20M per year is already looking like chump change. Imagine in a few years.

Ryan Day - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 10:25 AM EST (#441574) #
If the Jays are going to compete in 24/25, they're unlikely to get anything in a trade more valuable than a 26/27 year-old Bo Bichette. He'll quite likely be an All-Star, and possibly an MVP contender, and he'll want to be paid like that as a free agent. If the Jays want to compete, they'll need to ride that to the playoffs, and sort out anything else afterwards.
greenfrog - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 10:25 AM EST (#441575) #
Anthopoulos has been extended through the 2031 season. Ownership in Atlanta knows a good thing when they see it.
Glevin - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 11:38 AM EST (#441578) #
"Is paying Espinal $2.7m a good use of the Jays payroll? He posted 0.1 WAR and was disappointing defensively and offensively in 2023. I guess he could rebound this year, but this seems like another example of Atkins and Shapiro being overly cautious by “securing” layers of mediocrity on the roster."

Really don't get it. Fine, if you want to sign IKF. He can cover lots of places and is a great fielder at some of them but having Espinal and IKF on same team makes 0 sense. You need depth but Jays have good depth in AAA already. I mean, Ernie Clement might be better than either of them and would cost minimum salary.
92-93 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 11:44 AM EST (#441579) #
Guerrero's demand is high when viewed in the context of Alonso's '24 salary of 20.5MM. They should just sign him for 2/44.
bpoz - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 12:03 PM EST (#441580) #
92-93 how did you come up with 2/44? I ask with respect and this amount sounds good. 2/48 also sounds good to me but I don't know these things. Giving 2 years is a risk if he gets injured. Again I still don't know.
greenfrog - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 12:10 PM EST (#441581) #
Agreed that the Jays and Vladdy should find some middle ground and sign a two-year deal. Both sides could assume production of around 3-4 WAR per year over that span.
92-93 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 12:11 PM EST (#441582) #
It was a ballpark estimate. If the Jays win their arb case he will likely make around 2/42, and if they lose he makes around 2/46. Split the difference, it's hard to see a scenario they non-tender him.
Ryan Day - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 12:25 PM EST (#441583) #
I thought Espinal's value lay in being a) a right-handed, defensively superior complement to Cavan Biggio, and b) the backup shortstop. But the team doesn't seem to view either Espinal or Clement as a viable option at short, or else we wouldn't have experienced the Paul DeJong era. But the Yankees thought IKF was so great at short that they decided he should learn how to play the outfield instead. He could be a defensive replacement for Davis Schneider, wherever he ends up playing, but that's a pretty niche role to spend $15 million on.

Sometimes it seems like the Jays fetishize "versatility" at the expense of actually having good players. Yes, IKF can play virtually everywhere, but you'd really rather wish he doesn't have to play that much in the first place.
greenfrog - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 12:47 PM EST (#441587) #
There isn’t much point in prioritizing versatility across the roster if that feature results in zero postseason wins every year. The front office seems to be going back to that playbook in 2024, though.
Chuck - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 12:49 PM EST (#441588) #
But the Yankees thought IKF was so great at short that they decided he should learn how to play the outfield instead.

That's not a fair characterization. The Yankees gave the shortstop job to a rookie they hold in high regard, rightfully bumping IKF from the position. And they had a spate of outfield injuries requiring warm bodies, any warm bodies, like IKF's. I'd be surprised to see him play any OF for the Jays, at least not by design.

dalimon5 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:15 PM EST (#441589) #
" Ownership in Atlanta knows a good thing when they see it." I really hope this isn't a criticism of Rogers decision to pass on the middling AA they had who could never reach the post season until he realized he no longer was part of the future and changed his strategy. If it is, give it a rest, please.
bpoz - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:20 PM EST (#441590) #
Jordan Hicks to SF on o 4/44 deal.
Mike Green - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:20 PM EST (#441591) #
Let's suppose they are planning to run out an infield every day of IKF, Bichette, Schneider and Guerrero Jr.  Which seems reasonably possible.  Two back-up infielders of Espinal and Biggio who can competently back up the infield positions (perhaps with IKF sliding over to shortstop) and produce 1.0 WAR in 350 PAs each (which is where ZiPS has them) at a combined cost of about $7 M (or about 3% of the total budget) seems both reasonably affordable and a reasonable use of two of the twenty-six roster spots.  If they use 13 pitchers, that still leaves room for a DH/outfielder and a backup catcher.  Better yet, if they get creative and use a 12 man pitching staff (horrors!), it leaves room for a DH, an outfielder and a backup catcher on the bench.  Perhaps this is the year that they use one of their roster spots for long relief with Bowden Francis, Alek Manoah and Ricky Tiedemann all good candidates for the role.  Let's see what they do with the rest of the off-season. 
Ducey - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:23 PM EST (#441592) #
IKF is good defensively at 3B. He won a gold glove there (in a short season) and has good metrics.

And his offence was better than Chapman's last year when we take out the first 25 games in April when Chapman went nuclear and IKF was working on swing changes.

John Northey - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:44 PM EST (#441594) #
Hicks did well for himself - $44/4 seems high but he could be a closer with his stuff.

As to the infield - anything under $5 mil is 'so what' money in MLB nowadays. As things stand IKF/Bo/Schneider/Vlad is the starting infield with Biggio/Espinal the backups. Varsho/Kiermaier/Springer is the OF with Schneider/Biggio/IKF the backups (Espinal the emergency OF). C is Kirk/Jansen with IKF/Varsho the emergency guys (wouldn't be shocked if Espinal has some training there for emergencies too).

That takes up 11 slots leaving 2 open for Clement or Lopez (both without options who can play pretty much anywhere but catcher). A real 4th OF is irrelevant imo with Schneider likelyt o let a lot of reps in LF when Varsho or KK need a day off, and Biggio covering for Springer's days off. The final slot is for a pure hitter to DH from the left side ideally (thus leaving the right side for the backup catcher each day, or Vlad, or Springer depending who needs the AB's and rest from the field).

So from the LH side of the DH I see Horwitz as the placeholder (ZIPS has him at 103 OPS+, Steamer more optimistic at 113 wRC+) with many guys possible from free agency [Steamer forecast in brackets] (Joc Pederson [118], Cody Bellinger[108], Austin Meadows [116], Jesse Winker [113], Daniel Vogelbach [113], Brandon Belt [106], Joey Votto [95]) or trade or go with a RH bat which isn't ideal unless they can play LF and the Jays feel would be better than using Schneider out there (Soler [119], Rhys Hoskins [116], J.D. Martinez [106], Justin Turner [105] - note these are the best hitting RH left, and on defense they are solid DH's). For trades who knows who is available. The rumors are all over the place. Ideally they'd get a solid OF who could push Springer to the DH role more often (thus keeping him healthy) who has 3+ years of control left. Sadly for a quality one the price is quite high.
John Northey - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:46 PM EST (#441595) #
Funny, just read after posting that Hicks is being shifted back to the rotation. Seems like a bad risk IMO but hey, if he can do it with his stuff then 4/$44 could be a bargain. He has incentives for innings past 100 IP each season that could add $2 mil per.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:47 PM EST (#441596) #
Some interesting takeaways from a podcast and opinions on a podcast I was listening to:

NYM viewed Alonso at someone with a contract ceiling of Freddie Freeman at about 27 million/year. Alonso and his camp want Judge money. NYM have said Judge is an OF not a 1B and Judge is the exception not the standard.

Sean Casey left the NYY as hitting coach and he mentioned to someone that most players have the option of whether or not to take the advice of the hitting coach. Most of them have their own personal hitting coaches already. Giancarlo Stanton told him "thanks but I'm going to keep doing what I want to do at the plate," or something along those lines. DJ LeMahieu was one of the few receptive ones.

bpoz - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 01:48 PM EST (#441597) #
LAD is expected to be the class of the NL. The next 2 are Atlanta and Philly who will battle for 1st in the NL East with the other getting a WC. Then 1 spot for the NL Central which leaves 2 spots left. This sets up a good trade deadline because there are a lot of contenders.

The AL is not so easy for me to predict/analyze. 4 AL East (no Boston), 3 in the AL West (not LAA & Oakland) and 1 AL Central. So 8 teams but I expect 10 because 2 more could surprise. Good trade deadline also.

I like this season easy to follow.
John Northey - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 02:01 PM EST (#441598) #
FYI: Checked Cot's to see where the Jays are in payroll and they are _just_ under the luxury tax at the moment with arbitration nearly done (can shift by about $500k depending on Vlad's case). Raw payroll is at $205,842,500, factor in the stuff for CBT purposes and it is at $231,138,453 leaving $5,861,547 room to play with.

Not hard to see the Jays standing pat and staying under until mid-season then doing a trade and trying to stay under after that if possible. It wouldn't shock me at all if Espinal is dealt with Garcia and/or Richards to free up more payroll space for that future situation and reduce the risk of going over again. With Luxury Tax situations I see guys like them being squeezed as teams do what they have to in order to hold stars but squeeze middle guys. For example, right now you can see from my earlier post how many guys are there for LH DH - and how few are projected to be better than min salary Horwitz. So if I ran the Jays I'd be going 'why waste money and put us over the CBT level'. I'd be hunting for teams with very weak pens too and dump Richards & Garcia on them for anything (24 year old A ball reliever, sure why not) as we have Pearson sitting in AAA right now roster wise and could easily sign for near the minimum Jay Jackson who was very effective last year (other teams might not trust him as much due to his age/years outside the majors). I'd trust Pearson/Jackson more than Richards/Garcia for about $8 mil less.
bpoz - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 02:20 PM EST (#441600) #
You make a good case John N about salary. If we are under the luxury tax this year we are not over 2 years in a row which has a benefit regarding penalties.

Unlikely that Vlad does what Kikuchi did by making the 3 year contract uneven. Assume 2/44 then go $18/26 and make next year a lower payroll year by replacing Espinal/Biggio via trade or something with Schneider, Orelvis, L Jimenez and anyone else from the farm. Does Tiedemann, Cooke, Danner, Pop etc replace Garcia and Green. Mitch White missed ST last year which was the start of a bad year but he finished quite strong so he is possible as a starter, swingman, 1 inning or multi inning.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 02:37 PM EST (#441603) #
You can't really compare the LH DH free agents to Horwitz. Remember that WAR is relative. This line up needs power and those free agents like Pederson can provide that. It is much more valuable to this team than Horwitz's OBP and high walk rates.

It's like hockey, you can add up the independent value of all the snipers on your team and say cumulatively they make your team "this," good, but without a strong two way player and passer those snipers likely will be underperforming.
SK in NJ - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 02:49 PM EST (#441604) #
Agreed on Horowitz not being the type of DH the Jays need right now. They desperately need to add power, even more now than before the off-season started due to settling on Kiermaier and IKF as two starting players. Some of the home runs will hopefully come from internal improvement, but I wouldn't want to bank on that. Horowitz's skill set would have been fine at DH on the 2021 team. It's less desirable on the 2024 team.
Mike Green - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 04:28 PM EST (#441607) #
ZiPS projections for Blue Jay HRs:

VGJ               31
Varsho         25
Bichette       24
Springer      21
Schneider  19
Jansen       15
Kirk              12
Biggio           9
IKF                 6
Kiermaier    6
Espinal        4
(Horwitz)      9

That totals 181 without Horwitz and 190 with him.  And yes, that would be slightly below league average.  However, one can win with power like that, especially if you do a decent job getting runners around in other ways.  The Blue Jays failed miserably at that last year- with fewer stolen bases than league average, more caught stealing and leading the league in GIDP- with VGJ, Kirk and Springer leading the way. Whit Merrifield was 4th in the club in GIDPs with 15, which isn't great at all given his speed.   Springer's total was an anomaly for him.  He still ran well last year, but had his worst year by far in GIDP.  As much as Kirk was terrible last year in that respect, he had previously been not bad at all.  I expect him to find a mid-point of ordinarily bad in the GIDP department. 

Incidentally, the club led the league in GIDP in 2022 also. They led the league in OBP and slugging percentage, but only scored 775 runs.  It was a problem then too. 
dalimon5 - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 06:54 PM EST (#441611) #
Lets rely on projections because they're more accurate than ... history.
Mike Green - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:21 PM EST (#441613) #
The projections come from history and age.  If you use one-year data (for instance for Guerrero Jr.), you're missing a history that is longer.  How one weights performance last year, the year before that and the year before that, given his age, is the subject of very interesting discussions.  The projections are one system's way of accumulating all of that, and the system involved has no particular interest in understating or overstating any team's performance.  When ZiPS projects both Guerrero Jr. and Varsho to hit more home runs this year than last, it is looking at history and weighing all the elements together. 
John Northey - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:25 PM EST (#441614) #
So lets compare projections to history...

Who2023Proj 2024
Schneider8 (21)15
Horwitz1 (10)3 (159 PA, 13 over 600 PA)

Using Steamer for projections. Totals are not including minors or Horwitz as a full timer. No shock projections jump the totals.
scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:42 PM EST (#441615) #
Giants signed Hicks as a starter. That's a gutsy move.
That means they can get another starter later and move him to the pen.

Boras is really struggling to sign Bellinger, Snell and company.

scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:45 PM EST (#441616) #
Part of the history is the move away from Dunedin and Buffalo and the humidor being used everywhere.
Also, there has been some modifications to some AL East parks that are not in favour of right handed batters.

scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:53 PM EST (#441617) #
Kirk has a 2 strike approach in which he just put the ball on the ground.
I don't know if they can get him away from that, or even want to.
But they could put him behind guys who can steal a base and in front of guys who hit for power.
I don't think hitting 5th or 6th works for him at all.
I'd want guys like Varsho and Kiermaier hitting before him, not after.
Speedy guys get on base at the bottom of the lineup and are told not to run so the top of the lineup can bring them in. That's all part of the terrible baserunning.

scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:56 PM EST (#441618) #
Please don't remind me of AA's search for the next Blue Jays Manager.
scottt - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 07:59 PM EST (#441619) #
Veteran players have the option of take the advice of the hitting coach.
Bichette, for example, is a guy who does his own thing and the Jays fully support that.
Mike Green - Friday, January 12 2024 @ 08:50 PM EST (#441620) #
I'm eager to see what Hague can do for Schneider and Horwitz.  Varsho is another guy who I can see him helping- by all accounts, Varsho will listen and soak up what he can.  Last year, the hitting coach wasn't able to help anyone.  Or so it seemed.
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 12:12 AM EST (#441621) #
Vlad is a problem if he's supposed to be your best hitter and clean up hitter. If he's your #3 overall hitter, great. Kirk is a problem, I agree he shouldn't be hitting in the top 6 spots.

The problem with projections is they also use comps and analytical data which is not proven to predetermine results. I'm starting to wonder as well now if Blake Snell might be a valuable investment at this point.
John Northey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 12:56 AM EST (#441622) #
If he didn't have the QO then Snell would be sweet to add, but he does have it, and the Jays were in CB tax payments so 2 draft picks (2nd and 5th highest) plus $1 mil cut from the international free agent pool. Doesn't sound like much but that $1 mil could cost the Jays a really good player long term, and the 2nd pick could be a big cost too, the 5th one not as much outside of costing cap space in the draft. Example - Bo was the 3rd Jays pick in 2016, Biggio the 6th.

Nah, right now if they went for a pitcher I'd go after Jordan Montgomery - no QO, better fWAR in 2023 than Snell, 3 straight years of 2.5+ fWAR, so a stable above average starter with the ability to be a solid #1. He doesn't K as many as Snell but with the Jays killer OF defense it shouldn't be a big issue.

Now, if they are blowing money I'd go after Chapman first - he is by far the best option that is available by any means at 3B (trade or free agency - if you know someone better who is available let me know, and no Ramirez is not available, nor would the Jays risk $333 mil on SD's Machado). Bellinger again has that pesky QO and it is questionable if he will stay at the 3+ WAR level you need from a guy making $25+ mil a year or more - his demands for $250 mil are nuts but someone will probably give in. I think the Jays are not a team willing to do that. As far as DH goes, I'm not worried. Lots of guys here who can fill it (rotation of Vlad/Springer/Kirk/Jansen plus Horwitz and others).

Do the Jays need another big power guy? As is they are projected to be near 200 HR's. 13 times the Jays have hit over 200 HR's - scored from 693 to 891 runs those 13 times. But their highest run scored total was a year they hit 190 HR's - 2003 with 894 runs (279/349/455 line overall). Of the 10 highest Jay run scored totals 4 had under 200 HR's (2003, 1993, 2002, 1986). Huh, sure didn't expect to see 1993 on that list - the WAMCO team (White-Alomar-Molitor-Carter-Olerud) but they did have #1/2/3 in batting average that year (Olerud-Molitor-Alomar). That team also started weak in LF (Darrin Jackson with a 58 OPS+ for the Jays that year before being traded for Tony Fernandez) and with a near rookie at 3B (Ed Sprague 233 PA, 98 OPS+ pre 1993). So it can be done with a team like the Jays currently have, without a doubt, and that 1993 team had a MUCH weaker rotation to put it mildly (only 2 ended with an ERA+ over 100, 26+ starts for the big 5)
John Northey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 01:29 AM EST (#441623) #
Oh, btw, I'll take projections from professionals whose career depends on being at least within eyeshot the vast majority of the time over 'well, he did xyz last year so I'll expect the same this year'.  Could Vlad be a 2 WAR player only going forward?  Sure.  But odds are far higher that he'll be roughly a 4 WAR guy instead.  All indicators (xwOBA very high, lower than normal BABIP, exit velocity, max exit velocity, barrel %, hard hit %) say he is an elite hitter who had very, very bad luck in 2023.  Time will tell I guess but I'd take the over on 30 HR from him in 2024.

Bo likewise should be better (yes, he had a down year too - you'd never know though as it wasn't far below his norm), Kirk I'm more worried about as many of his stats went the wrong way in 2023 however, if Jansen is healthy then Kirk will just get less playing time.  Springer is on the decline phase of his career but dropped more on 'visible' stats then the others, Varsho's non-headline numbers also were about in line with his past so his stats should come back up.  Basically, outside of Kirk, I feel fairly confident 2024's team should be a LOT better on offense than 2023's even with no real changes.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 09:52 AM EST (#441625) #
Huh, sure didn't expect to see 1993 on that list - the WAMCO team

Game 4 of the WS is a good example, where Toronto won by a score of 15 - 14 without hitting any home runs.  (12 singles, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 7 walks, 2 stolen bases.)

Ducey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 10:19 AM EST (#441626) #
The Jays seemed to be really bad at baserunning last year. I'm not sure if there is a useful stat out there that measures it. But they likely score more runs if they can avoid the stupid head mistakes of last year. Vlad was atrocious. Bo also had issues.

A new 3B coach, so maybe that helps.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 02:03 PM EST (#441627) #
Agreed about the baserunning.  The Blue Jays were also quite inefficient, and the key point was actually just 173 PAs over the season with the bases loaded.  The club hit .222/.291/.307 with 2 home runs and 12 GIDPs in that situation.  Which is awful.  The league hit .274/.314/.458 with 69 homers and 105 GIDP in 2217 PAs with the bases loaded.  The big offenders were, of all people, George Springer and Kevin Kiermaier.  Springer didn't hit a lick and grounded into 3 double plays.  Kiermaier came to the plate with the bases loaded 12 times, had one SF, two singles, a double and struck out 4 times and grounded into 4 double plays.  Ouch.  That was anomalous for both of them, as they both have very fine career lines withe bases loaded over their careers.  I suspect that it is a random thing, but the combination of bad baserunning and grounding into a lot of double plays does give a feeling of perhaps being under extra stress for some reason. 
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 02:11 PM EST (#441628) #
Report is out that Yankees offered Snell 5 years and 150 and he wanted an extra year or more yearly. That's awfully tempting if the alternative to improve the team is about the same for Bellinger or 2/3rds for Chapman.
John Northey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 02:42 PM EST (#441629) #
Problem with Snell is you are likely to get under 130 innings a year. Only twice he has been over that - but when healthy he is WOW. Still a $150 mil is a lot to risk on a guy who might have 1 year of wow and 4 of if only he was healthy. A bad risk for the Jays, but for a team with major rotation issues not as bad a risk.
Nigel - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 03:42 PM EST (#441630) #
The Jays actually led all of MLB in non base stealing outs at 2B and 3B. They didn’t lead the league in non base stealing outs on the bases in total because the Reds and several other teams had a huge number of outs at home plate (which the Jays did not). The Reds were strategically being ultra aggressive on the bases which the Jays were not. Just a horrible base running club last year. Subjectively, I thought many of the Jays issues were of aggression but poorly timed aggression.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 03:43 PM EST (#441631) #
The more I look at the Jays contract situation, the more it looks like a hard reset is being planned after 2025. Only a few players will likely be left - Davis Schneider, Alejandro Kirk, and Jose Berrios - and he could very likely opt out after 2026 if he keeps pitching like he has. Plus then one more year of Gausman and Springer in 2016... and it explains why the Jays are being so stubborn this off-season... they don't want to commit to players for more than two years (probably three tops).
greenfrog - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 04:23 PM EST (#441632) #
Even if the Jays are planning a reset after 2025, I don’t see why this would preclude them from adding a free agent or two. If they added Snell, for 2024-27 (say), I don’t see how this would significantly impede a rebuild starting in 2026. Either he would be around for the start of the rebuild, or the Blue Jays would trade him after 2025.

More likely the team just doesn’t want to spend the money.
Ducey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 04:27 PM EST (#441633) #
On the base running:

The Jays were 3rd worst in SB% at 74.4%. That was just to finish 22nd in SB.

The best team was the Mets at 88.7%.

The decision making problems here are on the manager IMO.

greenfrog - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 05:04 PM EST (#441634) #
Can a manager who seems to have questionable instincts (like Schneider) improve in that department over time? Or is this more of a "knack" that you either have or don't have?
Mike Green - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 05:53 PM EST (#441636) #
More on Snell.  It's not true that his injuries have made him useless most years.  You have to ignore his first year up when he came up in mid-season and the pandemic year (when he was very good).  In an injury year, he has generally decently for 23-24 starts.  He has been essentially the same pitcher when he has pitched with xwOBAs comparable in his injury years and his non-injury years.  I ran a Stathead search to find comps for him using pitchers since 1950 with between 850-1050 innings pitched between age 24 and 30 and ERA+ between 120 and 134 (Snell is at 127) and K rate 8 and higher.  I got 4 comps- the 2 closest were Bob Veale and Corey Kluber; the next 2 (who were not nearly as good as Snell) were Anibal Sanchez and Patrick Corbin.  Corbin had been very good through age 29 and fell apart at age 30.  His situation is quite different. 
Veale had 4 pretty good years from age 31-34 and then fell apart.  Kluber had 2 great years at age 31 and 32 (14 bWAR total) and then fell apart. 

Snell's post-season line in 10 starts is wild: 48.2 innings, 38 hits, 18 runs, 18 runs, 7 homers, 23 walks and 61 strikeouts.  Good for a 3.32 ERA and a 4-3 record. 

Snell is unquestionably a gamble, but I do think that he meaningfully increases the chances of a World Series win in 2024 and 2025.  It's reasonably possible that he increases the chance of a World Series win more than Ohtani would.  How much that is worth to the owners is a very good question.  It seems that it is worth much less than the marketing value of an icon.   
greenfrog - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 06:13 PM EST (#441637) #
Rodon signed last off-season for 6/$162m. I would rather have Snell than Rodon on a contract in that range.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 06:32 PM EST (#441638) #
It's a tough call.  Rodon was better in 2021-22 than Snell was in 2022-23, but Snell had a better history prior..  In particular, Rodon's W/K rates were spectacular.  Rodon was a total gamble.  He could emerge as the best pitcher of the time or he could flop.  Snell is much more likely to not flop, but the upside isn't quite as high.  I'd go for 6/162 with Snell.  But it isn't my money. 
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 08:32 PM EST (#441641) #
So basically here is the BB vibe:

Jays may be looking to reset in 2 years or

They may just be looking to save money or

None of the above they are secretly planning to spend big and or trade big and have been waiting for a secret (unknown genius) reason or

This FO is dog poop and this is the offseason Shapiro and Atkins really live up to their prior reputation out of Cleveland.

What happens in the next 45 days (rather than during the season) will tell me which of the above is true. The baffling component is all of the above can be true and it would not be out of character from this regime's previous 4 years of direction.
John Northey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 10:18 PM EST (#441642) #
I'm amazed at how negative some are on the current FO.

YearsGMW-LWin%W/162PlayoffsPO first 8 years

This is why I get annoyed. I've been going to games since 1978 and only AA (in his final year) got to the playoffs in the first 8 years before Atkins. For wins/162 the current FO is #1. Ash was handed a 2 time champ with 6 (!) top 100 prospects including Shawn Green & Alex Gonzalez #1 both in the top 10, overall system ranked #3. Carlos Delgado barely didn't qualify as a rookie. I mean, Ash was handed a team on easy mode and blew it. Now THAT was painful. JPR came in with 5 top 100 prospects in the system (just 1 top 50 in Josh Phelps) plus Delgado-Hallday-Carpenter and others and he blew it, system ranked #13. AA came in with just 3 top 100 prospects (Kyle Drabek was #25) with a system ranked #19 and saved it in his last half season. Atkins came in with a playoff team, but just 1 top 100 prospect left (Anthony Alford) - Vlad was here but hadn't played as a pro yet, system ranked #22 overall (Max Pentecost was listed with Vlad as the high upside crew in the system to give you an idea of it then).

So today, we have a team that has won 90+ 2 of the past 3 years, made the playoffs 3 of the past 4. Gillicks final stretch was legendary but he wasn't popular in 1988 ('Stand Pat' was the nickname he earned by not doing much at the time) then came 1989-1993 with 2 WS titles and 4 out of 5 years reaching the playoffs in large part thanks to him killing off that nickname via big trades and gutsy moves. If the current crew can push into the WS in 2024/25 then this team could reach the same status, but that is unlikely even if they had signed Ohtani-Yamamoto like the Dodgers did just due to the randomness of the playoffs. I'm expecting 90+ wins in 24/25 (in each, not overall) and 2 more playoff appearances. Btw, for those saying 'but the wild card and watered down league' remember, the old Jays (pre AA) didn't have to contend with a legendary well run Tampa Bay team (how the heck do they keep doing it) and Gillick had the weakest period of Yankee baseball to face down in '87-94 (the NYY didn't win 90 in any of those seasons) and only cracked 90 without making the playoffs once (just like under Atkins but without that horrid, painful final week of 1987). Atkins made the playoffs twice with under 90 wins (plus 2020), Gillick once (1989). I could go on but you get the idea hopefully. Atkins is the #2 GM the Jays have ever had by any measure. Yes, AA will probably go to the HOF when he retires but that'll be mostly his Atlanta work just like it was for Bobby Cox.

Bottom line - enjoy what we have - we have a winning team that gives us hope every year from 2020 onward. The 2nd longest stretch of hope in Jays history outside of 1983-1993 (hope kept going in '94 and part of '95 but I try to forget 1994/5 thanks to that strike and what it did to the poor Expos, one could argue the hope in 83 and 84 was weak hope as they hadn't won anything yet).
John Northey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 10:47 PM EST (#441643) #
As to the vibe...
  • A reset in 2 years is possible if the Jays 1) fail to resign Bo or Vlad, 2) none of the kids emerge as solid ML'ers, 3) Rogers cheaps out (needed for #1 to happen)
  • Saving money - I tossed that out there when I noticed they are just under the luxury tax right now, with little of significant value out there (Chapman, Bellinger, Snell, Montgomery are the only pieces worth going over for)
  • Secret surprise trade coming or big multi-free agent signing - Hard to picture at this stage, but it could happen, no one saw Alomar/Carter for McGriff/Fernandez coming after all, but I'd feel more like that back when AA ran the place (he loved shocking people).
  • FO is dog poop - see my previous post for what I think of that

The next 45 days won't tell us everything. This has been a frustrating winter - appearing to be #2 on all big moves (being a perpetual bridesmaid sucks) hurts. But it doesn't change that the current club as is works out to a 90 win team which is a solid contender. We need a few things to improve (Vlad, Springer, Kirk, Varsho to hit close to like they used to for example, and Manoah to return to form also), a few kids to emerge (Schneider to show 2023 wasn't a fluke, one of the kids on the farm to force his way up to take over 3B from IKF), and not to have the pitching staff go all ER on us after a healthy 2023. All those happen and we have a 95-100 win team that is fun to watch. A few go wrong and they can still win 90 and get into the playoffs. A lot goes wrong and the naysayers win. I'm hoping for the best.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 11:41 PM EST (#441644) #
The off-season has been sluggish.  A big bat is coming.  Once that happens, we can all exhale.

Ross Atkins could be well-liked if he spoke plain English.

The Chairman of the Board has authorized a lot of spending.  However, there has been some difficulty 1) finding players to take that money, and 2) satisfying the risk-aversion of both the club president and general manager.
John Northey - Saturday, January 13 2024 @ 11:45 PM EST (#441645) #
FanGraphs does have a baserunning stat - not sure what all is in it.  The Jays were 27th out of 30 in it though which sounds right - only NYY, Miami, and Colorado were worse.  -12.4 runs due to baserunning vs -19.9 for Colorado (geez, glad I'm not a fan of that team).  #1 were the Cubs and Rays at +14.8, then Baltimore at 13.3.  The 2 others over 10 were Cincinnati and Atlanta.

Checking a few individuals the Jays are looking at - Jorge Soler -3.7, Joc Pederson -1.2, Rhys Hoskins DNP (-3.4 in 2022), Cody Bellinger +2.7, J.D. Martinez -3.6, I think you all get the idea - outside of Bellinger they suck as baserunners.  No shock as they are all being considered for DH outside of Bellinger.  Matt Chapman was a +2.2 so he was one of the few here who actually didn't run into outs.  Sigh.  I keep hoping the Jays find a way to make a deal with him.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 08:03 AM EST (#441646) #
John, you are remarkably upbeat considering the Jays’ postseason record under Atkins and Shapiro (seven seasons without winning a single postseason game, arguably due to a “not quite good enough roster and/or manager” and no improvements made yet this off-season).
bpoz - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 09:16 AM EST (#441647) #
Bobby Cox was in the playoff in Atlanta almost every year but only won 1 WS. I think he managed Atlanta for 15 years or more.

I hope that this team wins some playoff games.

Regarding managers Cito was very good both times. He is being considered for the HOF so not keeping him was a mistake.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 11:09 AM EST (#441648) #
It will be interesting to see how the Jordan Hicks starting pitching experiment works out for SF. Maybe he will put it all together in his ages 27-30 seasons. He was very good for significant stretches in 2023.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 11:39 AM EST (#441649) #
John, I agree with you that this FO has done well and built up some good will. They've done a lot of good and the only major drawback was the Atkins BS speak, which has been the norm for every Jays GM after Ricciardi. Sure they might have done better if some free agents took their offers, etc, but no complaints from me...up until 2023.

Here's where much of their good work has become undone for me at least:

Last year they saw their major core piece fall apart and regress in Vlad. He kept chasing pitches off the plate and missing meatballs down the middle. This after an unimpressive 2022 season. What was done to help him?

Superstar pitcher in the making Alek Manoah hit a wall and somehow FO helped to make the situation worse. Not entirely their fault but the best organizations get their players to buy into team philosophies.

Terrible trade deadline and playoff performance where system was further depleted for marginal improvements.

The stench of Don Mattingly...who is he, what is his role and why is he here...under John Schneider?

Frustration of watching 2 managers struggle to manage their teams to wins and to avoid fundamental errors. Is this the manager or a byproduct of "the team," which is the Shapiro formula?

Ticket price increases for stadium increases more so than on field product improvements.

Lastly, Greenfrog kind of nails it...who cares if they've made the playoffs 4 times if they haven't won a single game. That's kind of the issue with this office... colour me unimpressed and regressed, losing trust...kind of sounds like the performance of the players when I say it like that.

No acquisition of players so far to (at minimum) replace the value of the players who have departed.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 11:45 AM EST (#441650) #
The Blue Jay baserunning trailers were, no surprise, Kirk (-10) and  VGJ (-7).  Springer, Bichette and Kiermaier were all somewhat below average, and that is a surprise. Varsho and Biggio were the best baserunners on the club, but nowhere good enough to offset the Kirk and VGJ numbers. 
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 12:08 PM EST (#441652) #
Someone explain to me the rating for Kk. I know he played injured after July with a foot injury but he looked fantastic like Biggio on the basepaths.
bpoz - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 01:31 PM EST (#441653) #
I don't mind admitting that I cared about the Jays making the playoffs. The month of May was very demoralizing for me. All those low scoring games the Jays played were hand wringing for me.

I fear that 2024 could be similar to 2023. Especially if we have bad May again.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 01:36 PM EST (#441654) #
Another day, another rumour: " USA Today's Bob Nightengale, who reports that while several clubs remain interested in [Blake Snell] the prized left-hander, the Blue Jays have been "quietly monitoring" his free agency this winter. "

greenfrog - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 01:52 PM EST (#441655) #
Quietly monitor free agent…take note when he signs elsewhere…quietly monitor next free agent…rinse…repeat…
John Northey - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 02:31 PM EST (#441656) #
Quietly monitoring makes 100% sense with Snell.  He is the type who might have trouble getting what he wants (6+ years) due to his injury issues, but is very effective when healthy. I know I came out hard against but it all depends on price/years.  With his history no way I'd go over 5 years unless it was for the same money I'd be willing to give over 5.  Heck, I'd hesitate to go over 3 years if it wasn't for the compensation required (that IFA cap space is a BIG deal for a team like the Jays who count on that) - if you are potentially sacrificing a top prospect or two you want the guy here for as long as possible.  Still, he reads too much like Robbie Ray did - killer at K's, but issues and one bad injury could make the whole deal worthless.  But again, on the other hand, you have a team with a strong, fairly new, health set up for pitchers which was exceptionally effective in 2023 - could it help keep Snell healthy for 2024-2029?  If the Jays have strong confidence in that then maybe he is worth a 6 year deal at $30 mil per. I sure wouldn't want to be the GM risking his career on it though.

Montgomery is the one I'm more curious about at this stage, lower K numbers but 3 straight years of 150+ IP (vs Snell's 2 in his career), walks about half as many as Snell (from a fun POV I much prefer control pitchers to power ones).  Either would be nice though, assuming the Jays then trade Kikuchi to create rotation room.  I just have trouble trusting that Kikuchi will be as good in 2024 as he was in 2023 but at just $10 mil someone would pay well for him I suspect.

As to the 0 playoff wins by the Jays - I put that to dumb luck.  0-6 over 3 playoffs isn't that unexpected.  The 1985 Jays which won 99 games (most ever for a Jays team) had a 6 game losing streak, the 1992 WS winners had a 5 game losing streak, the 2023 WS winning Rangers had an 8 game losing streak in August (!).  Crap happens.  Heck, 3 teams had 100+ wins this year and they went 0-3 (Bal), 1-3 (Atl), and 0-3 (LAD) = 1-9 total.  Two of those 3 won WS in the past 4 years so it isn't like they were run by people who 'don't know how to win'.  The one win was thanks to the Philly pen blowing a lead (Jeff Hoffman who blew only 2 all season - go figure) and was a 1 run win.

To me the long game matters - how does the team do over 162?  Does it recover from problems? We had our ace forget how to pitch, our slugger forget how to slug, our April hero become a 200 hitting bum after that month yet the team still made the playoffs.  Out performing was the training staff with the pitchers, Davis Schneider, and Brandon Belt.  That's about it.  Yet the team did make the playoffs (barely) which the Yankees (who won the East in 2022) can't say, nor the Mets (who blew more money than anyone), nor the Cardinals (division winner to 91 game loser - their first last place finish in their division or 90 loss season since 1990).  Yeah, they handled the issues with Manoah poorly, yeah, they couldn't fix Vlad in season (underlying stats all say he was fine), nor Kirk/Springer/Varsho.  But with all those problems they still did get a shot.  I find that amazing and a real big plus for the manager and GM - they had to have done something right to get there anyways when so many very, very smart organizations couldn't overcome their problems.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 08:02 PM EST (#441657) #
Those are fair points. The front office assembled good teams from 2021-2023. But I think there are some valid counterpoints about the Achilles’ heel of those teams, whether it was the manager in 2021 (team missed the postseason by one game) or the exclusively RH lineup in 2022 (which opposing executives said was easy to pitch to) or the various issues in 2023 (very poor baserunning, lack of an impact LH bat, lack of a good RH platoon bat after LGJ was traded, team-wide power outage and hitting issues).

I said this after the 2021 season, but I think the 2021 team may prove to have been the best of the Blue Jays teams during this window of contention.
John Northey - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 10:03 PM EST (#441658) #
2021 had the best potential - 1 win from the playoffs, a few really good players who left after the season in Ray and Semien, with a solid guy in Matz who left. But it also had the horrid Espinal/Biggio mix at 3B (ugly), Grichuk in CF a LOT as Springer was hurt a lot, Tellez a disaster at DH (64 OPS+), Trent Thornton a key guy in the pen, as was Rafael Dolis. 38 pitchers used, 24 hitters. Don't forget there were a lot of reasons for that 1 loss that cost them the playoffs. 25 different guys had 10+ IP (yikes) with 18 over 20 IP. You can't hide that many guys pitching that many innings. 16 guys got at least 1 start, but just 7 had 5+.

For comparison 26 pitchers used this year, 18 gain with 20+ IP, but just 8 used as a starter including that one game at the end by Parsons (bad idea it turned out) with just 6 having 5+ starts (well, 6 with 11+). That is about as best case for a pitching staff as it gets nowadays. Ah for the days of a 4 man rotation and a 5 man pen. Yeah, I'm old.

Each of the past 3 years has had its own pluses and minuses. By fWAR the 3 best seasons were all in 2021 - Vlad, Semien and Bo all with 5+ fWAR that year. Then 2022 Bo at 4.5, followed by 2021's Teoscar 4.3. 10 players over those 3 years had 3+ fWAR - 2021 had 4, 2022 4, 2023 just 2. Among hitters that is. Pitchers - Gausman over 5 in 2022 and 2023, Manoah's 2022 4.1, Ray 2021 3.9, Stripling 2022 3.1, Berrios 2023 3.0. The top 10 cover 2.5 fWAR and up. 2021 has 3, 2022 3, 2023 4. Seems fitting, 2021 had the hitters, 2023 the pitching. For fielding #1/2/3 are all catchers - Kirk in 2023/22 is #1/2, McGuire 2021 is #3. The top 10 (5.1 runs of value or better) is 2021 3 (Semien and Jansen the others), 2022 3, 2023 4. Again, not a shocker.

Basically the Jays went from a star hitting team in 2021 to a star pitching/defense one in 2023. And I think we all know which is more fun to watch. Of course, the hitter is weird in 2021 due to the 3 stadium mess. COVID will always put a 'what if' beside 2020 and 2021 for us.

For best team, 2022 has the most wins at 92, but the spread is minimal - from 89 to 92. I'd pencil in 90 for 2024. 2020's was an 86 win team based on win%. I suspect we'll always feel in 2021 the team could've gone far just like we did in 1998, 1987, and 2008 - all had good pitching but came up short (very short in '08 but had Halladay-Burnett-Marcum-Litsch as a rotation which was damn good, and a lock down closer in BJ Ryan, sadly it took too long to bring in Cito to right the ship that year). 1998 they gave up mid-season which was a good thing because then they took off once the underperforming vets were gone but it wasn't enough thus wasting Roger Clemens 2 amazing years here, 1987 anyone who was there remembers all too well - but Jimy Williams deserved to be fired for having Garth Iorg get 342 PA with a 44 OPS+, and having an 87 OPS+ Willie Upshaw at 1B with Cecil Fielder and Fred McGriff platooning at DH (both had 130+ OPS+'s). Ah well, the past is the past. 2024 will bring new joy and new sadness to the Jays I'm certain. Hopefully more joy than sadness.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 14 2024 @ 11:49 PM EST (#441660) #
Bob Nightengale also reports: " If Cody Bellinger does not wind up back with the Chicago Cubs, the Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners are lurking. "

So, we have lurking and quiet monitoring -- the element of surprise! Happy hunting.

Mike Green - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 07:35 AM EST (#441661) #
Toronto- After the squirm-inducing Ohtani flight and restaurant tracking incident and the vaguely unsettling Bellinger lurking affair, Blue Jay GM Ross Atkins announced today the appointment of a special rapporteur on free agents Jorge Soler and J.D. Martinez. The rapporteur, named only Hal, will report by the end of November, 2024. Representatives for Soler and Martinez had no comment.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 10:28 AM EST (#441663) #
For the record I'm very content not to have Ohtani on this team for 10 years. I'd be happier with Bellinger, Chapman, Snell or ideally Yamamoto.
SK in NJ - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 11:44 AM EST (#441665) #
Since 2020, the Blue Jays have a 304-242 record. That would place them 6th in MLB over that time, 2 wins behind the Yankees for 5th. This run has been the best sustained Jays run since the Gillick days. It feels a lot worse mainly because of the 0-6 playoff record, in addition to the pandemic destroying nearly two seasons of baseball in Toronto. Ultimately it comes down to playoff success. The 2015-16 run was basically a 1 year + 2 month run and we can still look back fondly at it today nearly a decade later despite how fleeting it was. The current Jays run has been longer but without those moments. If the Jays did not blow Game 2 against Seattle, then Teoscar's home runs in that game might be looked at a lot differently historically, rather than largely forgotten about.

As far as the FO planning a reset after 2025, I don't think that's the case. They might be limiting the amount of deals that hit 2026-27 for flexibility purposes, but I think that's mainly to leave room for more free agent signings, not necessarily to clean house.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 10:02 PM EST (#441678) #
It's so slow out there that today I actually checked in on the NFL.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 10:34 PM EST (#441679) #
Poor Cowboys.

Philly blew this game, too.
scottt - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 06:54 AM EST (#441697) #
The Jays have claimed a catcher on waivers. Brian Serven from the Cubs.

Also, I hear that the Jays have an agreement with Yariel Rodriguez but the latter is still trying to get his visa sorted out.

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