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Sorry, couldn't resist the misleading title.

International Free Agent Day has come and the Jays have made a few signings, but not the big one they planned due to 'reasons' (appears to be an eligibility issue of some kind which should be cleared up for 2025).

Via Baseball America... Available Cap: $5,152,200 The link here gives you summaries for each guy who was ranked.
  • Franklin Rojas, C, Venezuela - ranked #34
  • Junior Arias, OF, Dominican Republic - #42
  • Pascual Archila, OF, Venezuela - #45
  • Angel Guzman, SS, Dominican Republic - #50
  • Juarlin Soto, SS, Dominican Republic - #69
  • Esmeiquel Arreche, C, Venezuela
  • Javado Bain, SS, Bahamas
  • Endry Reyes, SS, Dominican Republic
  • Yohandi Medina, RHP, Venezuela

  • #8 is Joswa Lugo who was signed by the Angels and is the (much) younger brother of former Jay signee Dawel Lugo (signed in 2011 for $1.3 mil), and yes that type of spread does happen, I have 16 years from youngest to oldest (love them all, but dang it'd be nice to not have teenage girls in my house someday).
  • Jose Perdomo is #1 overall and was signed by Atlanta (of course - they love to get quality kids in and signed)
  • For the AL East the Yankees got picks #19, 44,and 74; Red Sox #37, 54, 85, 89, 99; Rays #21, 49, 95; Orioles #30, 38, 76, 80. Dang the AL East continues to be a beast.
  • 3-4 picks in the top 100 is 'normal' with 30 teams, more would be 'wow'. Jays & Red Sox at 5 each have done well.
  • Bonus pools are assorted sizes: Biggest ($7,114,800) for cheapskates in small markets D-backs, Guardians, Orioles, Pirates, Rockies, Royals; 2nd biggest ($6,520,000) also small markets A’s, Brewers, Mariners, Marlins, Rays, Reds, Tigers, Twins; next ($5,925,000) are bigger markets who didn't sign a QO free agent I think Astros, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Nationals, Red Sox, White Sox; Now the Jays bracket ($5,152,200) Angels, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs; and the guys who were luxury tax+ Padres, Phillies, Rangers, Yankees. Basically the less you have the more impressive if you get who you wanted. Yankees getting a top 20 prospect in spite of low cap is well done but probably limits them for the next stage - grabbing the best of who is left.

Past Jays results....
I love how each site has its own specialty - The Baseball Cube is great for IFA, and Spring Training stats - no one else seems to have either in a practical way to look at.  I have a membership there which gives a lot of extra stats and the like.

The Jays first ever IFA was Paul Hodgson, from Quebec, back when Canadians counted as IFA. The #1 IFA though is probably the class of '79 with Tony Fernandez (plus Luis Leal who was damn good for a few years).  1988 had Carlos Delgado.  1992 Kelvim Escobar, 1998 had Gustavo Chacin, 2000 a guy worth a ton in trade in Robinzon Diaz (traded for Jose Bautista), 2011 had Roberto Osuna and 5 more who reached the majors, and good ol' 2015 with Vladimir Guerrero, Max Castillo, and Dany Jimenez.

Fun going through some history there looking for the best guys the Jays signed that way. Far fewer than I expected in the early days to be honest, but part of the value then was in trades and rule 5 picks (George Bell being a BIG one).  Seems every 10 years or so the Jays hit the jackpot with it - Fernandez, Delgado, and Vlad.  Let's all hope for more 'wow' from this years crop.

As to the majors - the Jays are rumored to be interested in pretty much everyone left it seems.  From big guns Cody Bellinger & Blake Snell (plus good ol' Matt Chapman), to the 1001 DH's Justin Turner, J.D. Martinez, Joey Votto, Joc Pederson, Jorge SolerRhys Hoskins, and probably any other guy who can slug homers.  Heck, Brandon Belt could even return still.  Guess we'll see what happens as free agents get more and more nervous about being left out when the dollars are spent.  I suspect the Jays are playing the waiting game on all of them right now.  Of course, if a pitcher is added (like Snell or Jordan Montgomery) then a trade will almost certainly happen as well to open a rotation slot and hopefully fill that hole at 3B (few seem to believe that Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be the opening day 3B, even he seems to doubt it as in an interview he said he was told he'd be a universal backup).
Free Agent Signings - OK, just IFA ones | 317 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
85bluejay - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 05:51 PM EST (#441673) #
The Padres do a really good job with IFA - I've been hoping the Jays could pilfer the person in charge of the Padres effort, that would be money well spent.
mendocino - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 06:32 PM EST (#441674) #

01/15/24 signed SS Rafael Flores R/R 5'10 172 03/28/07 VEN
01/15/24 signed RHP Angel Rivero R/R 5'11 172 11/28/06 VEN
01/15/24 signed SS J.T. Bain R/R 6'1 160 07/02/07 Bahamas
01/15/24 signed OF Wilmer Blanca R/R 5'11 178 01/17/07 VEN
Gerry - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 07:18 PM EST (#441675) #
Signing 16 year olds is a lottery. Drafting 18 and 21 year old players in the US and Canada is very risky. Now take away at least two years of growth and it becomes even more unpredictable.

I like the idea of spreading the money around to buy yourself more lottery tickets. You need to be sure to give $4M to one player. The Jays did it last season to Enmanuel Bonilla. Was that the right way to go? Maybe its an alternate year strategy, one player one year then lots of players the next.

I like the spreading the cash strategy but I haven't studied it to know whats the best.
John Northey - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 08:54 PM EST (#441676) #
As to the spread it or focus it, I think it depends. If you have someone with clear skill (ala Vlad who was a 70 power from day 1 iirc) then it is good to put your eggs in that basket, but if you don't have one 'wow' then go for a lot of potential instead. Kirk and Moreno are great examples of that. The #1 trick is to have high level scouts who are great at seeing what is there long term.
John Northey - Monday, January 15 2024 @ 09:06 PM EST (#441677) #
Thanks mendocino for the link reminder there...

Other Jay things of note...
  • RHP Chad Green changed number to 57 (why?)
  • Toronto Blue Jays invited non-roster RHP Paolo Espino to spring training. - 82 ERA+ split between starting & relieving over 5 seasons over 257 IP, 2.2 BB/9 7.5 K/9 1.8 HR/9 - if he can keep the ball in the park he might be useful, but entering his age 37 season he is pure depth
  • Toronto Blue Jays invited non-roster C Payton Henry to spring training. RH hitter, 51 OPS+ over 51 PA in the majors, entering his age 27 season, has hit 264/331/410 in AAA so at the very least he'll be nice for Buffalo and a half decent 3rd or 4th catcher. He also has 3 games at 1B in the minors and 1 on the mound.
  • The other NRI vet is C Max McDowell (RH) entering his age 30 season and with 0 ML games. Lifetime 227/339/317 in the minors so a pure defense catcher I'd assume
  • 2 kids on the NRI list - Steward Berroa & Rafael Lantigua - both born in the 90's so they gotta get moving if they want a ML career. Scary that fewer and fewer players will have been alive pre-2000.
Joe - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 12:43 AM EST (#441680) #
Near as I can tell, Green wore 57 for the Yankees, but dearly departed Trent Thornton was wearing it for the Blue Jays until he was DFA'd to make room after the trade for Génesis Cabrera. Green was wearing 37 before that, and probably wanted his old number back!
John Northey - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 11:02 AM EST (#441681) #
Thanks Joe - that makes a ton of sense. Just seemed an odd number to choose as most guys want lower numbers, not higher ones.

Over at The Athletic today Jim Bowden guesses where the 10 biggest left will go. Basically, Jays get Chapman, listed as contenders for Bellinger, JD Martinez, Rhys Hoskins, and Jorge Soler. He doesn't list the Jays as being in it for any starting pitchers.

I suspect the Jays have a plan to sign someone - they are just waiting for the dust to settle and someone to give in among Snell, Montgomery, Chapman, and Bellinger. Once they get one of those big 4, then the focus goes to filling whatever hole is/holes are left. If they have to take a starter instead of a hitter then a trade has to happen to get a hitter, if Chapman resigns then a DH will be chased down, if Bellinger then a serious hunt for a 3B to put in the mix happens.

If the Jays go nuts and sign Snell & Bellinger then they lose 4 picks (2nd & 5th for first signing, 3rd and 6th if they sign both, plus $1 mil international pool money is lost if either signed but just that $1 mil regardless of 1 or 2 signed). In truth, if you are going to sign one you might as well sign 2 - those 2 extra picks lost are minor (3rd/6th) - out of 50 3rd round picks in Jays history 2 were 'WOW' (Jimmy Key & John Olerud), 4 cracked 10 WAR (Shaun Marcum, Adam Lind, Jake Marisnick, David Weathers, and 3 were OK (over 2 WAR). The rest were 'so what' (11 more reached, 30 others didn't). Less than a 50-50 chance of them reaching, 1 in 25 of 'wow', a bit better than a 1 in 10 odds of very useful. Basically a 1 in 5 shot of the person having 2+ WAR in their career. 6th round picks are worse - just Anthony DeSclafani cracked 10 WAR, Matthew Boyd over 5, with Pat Borders & Scott Livingstone the only others over 2. 7 others reached. So a 4 in 46 odds of being of value or less than 1 in 10. So the net odds of getting 2 WAR from the picks lost if you sign a second QO guy is about a 1 in 4 odds of getting 2 WAR and a sub 10% chance of 10+ WAR. The first FA signing is different due to the IFA money (hard to measure but looking at recent history you can see $1 mil doesn't go as far as it used to - spending that money on better scouting would be more valuable). The picks though - 2nd & 5th - 2nd round 3 guys cracked 10 WAR (David Wells, Bo, and Derek Bell - Wells cracked 50, Bo will crack 20 in 2024 or 2025). 6 more made it to 2 WAR. This is out of 53 players, 23 reached, 30 failed. 5th round is an interesting one - 20+ WAR for Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen, and Michael Young, 19 for Mike Timlin, 2+'ers include Biggio, Lane Thomas, Ryan Schimpf, and Marc Rzepczynski. For some reason the 5th round has been very good to the Jays. But even so just 16 reached out of 47 (31 didn't). So first QO signed costs a 17% shot at 2+ WAR and a 7% shot at 'wow' of 10+ WAR plus whatever the IFA money costs.

Is Bellinger worth a 20% shot at 2 WAR? Oh yeah. 7% at 10+? I'd think so. Sure makes a difference in my thinking when I run the numbers and see just how few draft picks actually do anything of note.
Joe - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 11:19 AM EST (#441682) #
Ken Rosenthal & Levi Weaver write that the Jays are still front-runners for Yariel Rodríguez, but that immigration issues might be holding back a deal.

But to me, the real news is this:

Brandon Belt, who had 19 homers and an .858 OPS in 404 plate appearances for the Jays last season, has indicated he wants to continue his career.
This is good for baseball, Ken.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 11:44 AM EST (#441683) #
I wouldn't be opposed to seeing Belt back but the Jays might rather someone different rather than running out pretty much the same team as last year and hoping for an improvement.
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 11:59 AM EST (#441684) #
IFAs really are a crapshoot... some prospects are identified early and turn out really well while others develop out of nowhere. MLB Pipeline Top 30 IFAs goes back to at least 2014 and there are only a handful that ever make it to the majors among those lists. 2015 was great with Vladdy, Tatis Jr., and Juan Soto. 2021 looks bleak even this early - Jackson Chourio being the lone standout.

The teams that seem to have the best output include the Yankees clearly no. 1 followed by the Cubs, Mariners, Guardians, and Astros.
Joe - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 12:37 PM EST (#441685) #
Totally agree, Island Boy. Belt was great for the Jays, and he'd probably be great again next year, but I do think some changes are in order for 2024 to really maximize their chances.

I'm just glad that Belt the character is still going to be in MLB next year!

dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 01:28 PM EST (#441686) #
Do the Blue Jays get picks back if Kikuchi leaves via free agency to sign with another team next year?
Nigel - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#441687) #
Hard to beat what the Astros have done in the IFA market (on the P side) and the overage IFA market to boot.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 03:05 PM EST (#441688) #
Marc - 2015 is funny for IFA. Just found the Baseball America article with the top 40 bonuses given out.

In a market with Vlad, Tatis, and Soto I know no one will guess who got the most cash. Lucius Fox $6 mil from the Giants (made the majors for 10 games with a -42 OPS+, only one year in the minors did he crack 700 for OPS, ugh). 2 others over $4 mil - Jhailyn Ortiz (32 games in AAA) & Wander Javier (7 games in AAA his peak), then we get to Vlad. Soto was 15th for bonus at $1.5 mil. Tatis Jr was #31 at $700k. Jays basically had to pick one due to the cap for IFA signings and even then had to trade to get more cap space iirc. A shame they didn't pick Tatis and Soto instead of Vlad but any of the 3 were solid choices especially if you read through the list of guys who never made the majors or even got as high as AAA.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 03:42 PM EST (#441689) #
Sportrac has improved their listing of MLB payrolls.  Here's the 2024 Blue Jays up-to-date.  The Blue Jays currently rank 8th in MLB payrolls. 
bpoz - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 04:02 PM EST (#441690) #
So $33mil before we hit the penalty mark.
bpoz - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 04:15 PM EST (#441691) #
Not a Jay's trade but they claimed C Brian Serven off waivers.
92-93 - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 04:28 PM EST (#441692) #
Spotrac looks a little off, they have Dejong's option buyout listed but the Cardinals sent the cash for that. Maybe Spotrac is just outlining the team's commitments though.

The Jays current projected opening day roster will cost 201MM, including the 500K for Merrifield and assuming a loss for VGJ in arb. They have only 3 pre-arb players who would likely make the team today - Schneider, Horwitz, and Barger/Lukes. It's wild that Pearson is already in arb with only 75 career IP.

The qualifying offer for '25 will be around 21MM. If Kikuchi is worth that it will be great for both parties. It would have been an interesting debate if the decision for a QO had to made this offseason for '24.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 04:57 PM EST (#441693) #
Thanks, 92-93.  Does the money sent by the Cardinals offset his salary for payroll tax purposes?  I should know, but I don't.

It's very true about Pearson being arb-eligible after only 80 innings.  His salary won't break the bank, but if by chance, it all clicks for him, he'll be a free agent much sooner than usual.  I am sure the Blue Jays would be OK with that. 
scottt - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 06:44 PM EST (#441694) #
Kikuchi signed for 3/30M.
If the Jays offer him a QO, he's probably going to take it.
It would be around 20M.
That's in a scenario in which he's very good in 24.
I don't think he can be so great that someone will sign him for multiple year and the QO penalty.

John Northey - Tuesday, January 16 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#441695) #
My favorite for payrolls is Cot's as they show various breakdowns - with everything factored in (buyouts, AAV for multi-year salaries, estimated arbitration, 0-3 year players, and team contributions to assorted things that count against the CBT) the Jays are at $231,138,453 for 2024 right now, leaving just shy of $6 mil before the tax kicks in. Basically sign anyone decent and the tax kicks in unless they clear out some payroll. The first cap hit is at $237, then it goes up by $20 mil for each progressive hit until you hit the max at $297 mil (Mets territory and probably the Dodgers soon enough). I also love how it shows when each player hits free agency, when they reach arbitration, etc. plus a LOT of detail on each contract signed.

A good thing to see is how the Jays payroll for CBT purposes has jumped. 2020 $133 mil, 2021 $166 mil, 2022 $198 mil, 2023 $257 mil, 2024 ??? - given right now it sits at $231 this suggests the Jays have $20 mil available still if they want to spend it. A $30 mil climb per year, then a $60 mil jump in 2023 suggests stable in 2024 - ah but if they signed Ohtani then it would've jumped to close to $300 mil. This says they can easily fit any of the guys left into the budget if they want, and possibly two if they were given an increased budget for 2024.

So for now I'll keep imagining a lineup with Bellinger added (rotation of OF to DH), and Chapman back at 3B. Doubt it'll happen, but fun to dream for now. If Bellinger goes back to the Cubs (as I expect) then the 1001 DH options get a closer look and Snell becomes a serious target. Chapman I figure if he goes elsewhere the Jays hunt hard for a good trade opportunity (I can't find a decent one and sadly the A's don't have a good one this time to give away).
bpoz - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 05:54 AM EST (#441696) #
Shapiro and Atkins and the rest of the FO know the calculations to stay below the luxury tax and what penalties they incur for going over. They have not said anything so we don't know. But by mid ST everything will be very clear.

They have to be happy with their regular season record over the last 4 years. Disappointed in the playoff results. Atkins I believe blamed Schneider. Shapiro blamed himself to shift the fault. Then transparency and adding more coaches have been talked about and done.

The goal is to keep the interest high by competing for the playoffs until the last game IMO. Similar to 2021. For that they need to improve the team. They have the stars and depth. The rotation and pen is V good.

Atkins has said he wants to add 1 good bat. He also said that trading a SP is possible because that is an area of strength. Trades have been slow, most likely because it is not yet time. Not yet time to sign DH types also it seems. The media is all over the place with rumors that seem to work on most fans. They don't seem to care that they are wrong almost all the time. They just start the next rumor.

The Jays could juggle the roster by using flexible players like Biggio & IKF in the IF and OF.
scottt - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 07:01 AM EST (#441698) #
The Jays are still expected to sign Kennew Blanco, the 9th ranked IFA who is now 16, but apparently they will wait to sign him next year.

Those players are identified and pre-signed years in advance, so when a team loses pool money, other teams can't just scoop down an grab them.

I remember the Jays using excess pool money to sign Robberse and Zulueta, guys who fall outside the normal latino scouting and drafting system.

John Northey - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 09:42 AM EST (#441699) #
I was thinking they weren't an issue - then I double checked and any bonus over $10k counts against the cap. Yikes. However, via trades you can gain up to 60% of your cap back - so the Jays could in theory get another $3,091,320 (60% of $5,152,200) via trades. I don't see that happening, but if they plan to sign a QO free agent (Bellinger or Snell) then they probably should do that so they can sign Blanco this year and not be tight next. To get $500k more in 2015 (to sign Vlad) they traded Chase De Jong and Tim Locastro to the LAD. Neither did much in their careers with Locastro still in the majors (43 games with the Mets last year). BA had Chase DeJong as the Jays #17 prospect that year, and Locastro as unranked. We had DeJong as #13 in 2013/pre 2014, can't find him on the pre 2015 lists though (might be blind or something).
Glevin - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 10:21 AM EST (#441700) #
It looks like Jays have signed Yariel Rodríguez and just are waiting for some immigration issues in order to make it official.

According to Ken Rosenthal
"The Jays are optimistic they will land Rodríguez, according to a source briefed on their pursuits. But hurdles evidently remain in his immigration, preventing the Jays from completing a deal."
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 10:57 AM EST (#441701) #
In business news:  (CP) " TORONTO — Two members of the Rogers family who had opposed their brother Edward's plan to replace former chief executive Joe Natale with Tony Staffieri have announced their retirement from the company's board of directors.  Rogers Communications Inc. says the decision by Melinda Rogers-Hixon and Martha Rogers is part of a private settlement between members of the Rogers family.  The sisters say in a joint statement that they believe it is the "appropriate time" to retire from the board "with our family differences now settled." "

The Chairman has fully consolidated power.  Hopefully, investment in the ballclub will continue.

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 01:22 PM EST (#441705) #
The Jays are reportedly in agreement with Yariel Rodriguez. Some good news on a mid-January day.
Glevin - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 01:38 PM EST (#441706) #
Like the Rodriguez pickup. A real wildcard but apparently his fastball was averaging 96.2 in his tryout a few months ago and has great stuff. His issue seems to be control. Now Jays have a number of legitimate options and depth for #5 starter with Manoah, White, Francis and Rodriguez all being potentially useful. Rodriguez seems most likely of those to start in pen.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#441707) #
Hopefully with this done the Jays can move on with the rest of their off season plan.

Who goes from the 40 man?

Who will they target to help at 3B if IKF has been told he will be a "universal back up?"

Which power bat will they sign?

Is there a trade that can work which nobody has seen?

Stay tuned, these questions will all be answered in the next 6 weeks?
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 02:06 PM EST (#441708) #
I would imagine Serven, O. Lopez, Clement, Lukes, and Parsons have thr most tenuous 40-man slots. Lopez, Clement and Parsons are out of options.
scottt - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 02:12 PM EST (#441709) #
Mitch White is out of options. Parsons still has one remaining.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 02:29 PM EST (#441711) #
Rodriguez' best pitch is apparently his slider.  Sounds like a late inning reliever. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 03:00 PM EST (#441712) #
The Fangraphs writeup on Yariel Rodriguez suggests that he's likely best suited to being a power reliever. "As a relief candidate, Rodriguez is exciting and has the stuff to pitch in higher-leverage innings. His vertical fastball/breaking ball combo looks similar to Pete Fairbanks’ stuff (minus a few ticks of velo) and is on par with the second- or third-best reliever coming out of a contender’s bullpen."
uglyone - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 03:19 PM EST (#441713) #
I'd have rather signed Hicks tbh.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 03:50 PM EST (#441714) #
It seems to me that he's a Hicks replacement, with a few less ticks on the fastball and perhaps a little better control.  I have to say that I have no opinion about Rodriguez' ability vis a vis Hicks until I see him.  All those things that are not in the scouting report matter.  Command.  Durability (Rodriguez didn't pitch much at all last year).  Holding runners. Fielding.  Confidence under pressure.
mendocino - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:01 PM EST (#441716) #
Rodriguez 4 yrs $ 32MM
Gerry - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:05 PM EST (#441718) #
The Jays promised Rodriguez he could start. Other teams told him he was a reliever. That seems to be the reason the Jays got him.
Gerry - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:06 PM EST (#441719) #
And the $32M was a factor too.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:25 PM EST (#441721) #
Rodgriguez starting? The plot thickens...
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:29 PM EST (#441722) #
There's no particular reason to believe that Rodriguez would be more effective as a 5th starter than Bowden Francis or Ricky Tiedemann.  He apparently was tried as a starter in the NPB and flamed out- with significant loss of velocity being a problem. 
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:38 PM EST (#441723) #
Unless Baseball Reference is missing Japanese stats, it doesn't look like Rodriguez ever started in Japan. Which would mean he hasn't started regularly since 2020; it'd be interesting to see what he's been doing for the last year, and what convinced the Jays he can be a starter now.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:48 PM EST (#441724) #
Ryan, the BBRef data is incomplete.  In 2021, Rodriguez was averaging about 5 innings per appearance.  I assume that he was starting then, which is what the report I saw said. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 04:57 PM EST (#441725) #
Although the report I saw said that he had an ERA of 5 as a starter and under 2 is a reliever.  Don't know where that is coming from.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 05:26 PM EST (#441726) #
The "Games Started" stat on BBref must be incomplete for the NPB - for example, they have Yusei Kikuchi pitching 24 games & 165 innings in 2018, but he's listed with no games started, which can't possibly be right.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 06:05 PM EST (#441727) #
There must be some flexibility in the agreement. If he flames out as a starter, surely the Jays wouldn’t be precluded from moving him to the bullpen.
Nigel - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 06:23 PM EST (#441728) #
I really don’t understand this offseason. The idea of a glove first infielder who can play multiple positions is a good one but why pay IFK the amount they did? Additional P depth in the 5th starter/multi inning reliever vein also makes sense but why pay this price for the pleasure? These seem like scouting gambles that maybe the player can be more than what they have been. If so, they’re expensive gambles.
mendocino - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 07:08 PM EST (#441729) #

01/15/24 signed RHP Angel Rivero R/R 5'11 172 11/28/06 VEN $
01/16/24 signed RHP Ismauri Bueno L/R 5'10 170 04/03/07 DR $
01/16/24 signed RHP Rafael De Jesus R/R 5'11 175 09/09/04 DR $
01/16/24 signed RHP Victor Espiritu R/R 6'0 195 12/03/04 DR $
01/16/24 signed RHP Pedro Tucent R/R 6'3 190 10/18/02 DR $
01/15/24 signed RHP Yohandi Medina R/R 5'9 174 03/30/07 VEN $
01/15/24 signed C Franklin Rojas R/R 5'10 176 03/20/07 VEN $ 998K (MLB)
01/15/24 signed C Esmeiquel Arreche R/R 5'7 152 12/21/06 VEN $
01/15/24 signed C Randy Soto S/R 5'10 160 11/16/06 VEN $
01/16/24 signed SS Angel Guzman S/R 5'11 160 12/07/06 DR $ 768K (MLB)
01/16/24 signed IF Endry Reyes R/R 5'10 168 12/13/06 DR $
01/16/24 signed SS Juarlin Soto L/R 6'0 170 12/23/06 DR $ 547,500 (MLB)
01/15/24 signed SS Rafael Flores R/R 5'10 172 03/28/07 VEN $
01/15/24 signed SS J.T. Bain R/R 6'1 160 07/02/07 BAH $
01/16/24 signed CF Pascual Archila L/L 5'10 172 01/23/07 VEN $ 847,500 (MLB)
01/16/24 signed CF Junior Arias R/R 6'4 180 10/06/06 DR $ 898K (MLB)
01/15/24 signed OF Wilmer Blanca R/R 5'11 178 01/17/07 VEN $
bpoz - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 07:11 PM EST (#441730) #
Yariel Rodriguez should report to Dunedin once his immigration papers are in order. He seems polished and probably has been working out so that he is in good shape. The advanced tech in the Dunedin complex with all the trainers and instructors should get him ready fast.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 07:17 PM EST (#441731) #
If the Blue Jays view Rodriguez as starting pitching depth, could they possibly be lining up a trade of Tiedemann? Tiedemann, Orelvis, plus a couple of other prospects for Jose Ramirez, maybe?
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 07:48 PM EST (#441732) #
Reporting dates:

Pitchers & catchers | Full squad
TOR: Thurs., Feb. 15 | Tues., Feb. 20
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 08:17 PM EST (#441733) #
We can only hope, greenfrog.

Marc Hulet - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 08:33 PM EST (#441734) #
I doubt the Rosriguez signing signals a trade of an existing arm... this is fortifying a weakness from 2023 and he likely won't do more than 80-90 innings this year with an eye to fully starting in 2025 when Kikuchi is gone.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 17 2024 @ 09:35 PM EST (#441735) #
No shortage of guys who could be cut, but I see Otto Lopez as the one in most danger - 0 options, not seen as the #1 IF backup (IKF), #2 (Biggio), #3 (Espinal), or #4 (Clement). He has to be seen as #5 or lower for utility infielder. He isn't in the picture for everyday player at 3B or 2B or SS or the OF. I'd love for him to stick around (love to cheer on Canadians - not born here but has spent most of his life here), but unless a couple of other guys are traded away he has no roster slot. Lukes is high risk too (defense first OF who barely got PA last year, who is probably no higher than 5th OF if he gets any shot in the majors this year). Parsons I'm surprised wasn't dumped long ago to be honest - he had a good year in AAA in 2023 and seems to be a AAAA guy like Casey Lawrence - very good in AAA, but can't be counted on for more than 1 or 2 innings in the majors - remove him from the 40 man and he'll probably still be in Buffalo.

Serven I see as probably safe (3rd catcher who can go up and down as needed), Clement I hope is safe (seemed pretty good when given a shot in 2023). Leo Jimenez is in danger too - last year with an option and has yet to reach the majors. Zach Pop is also on edge after a horrid 2023 in all respects but has that final option this year and guys who can relieve and go up/down/up/down are useful. Brendon Little is a depth piece like Pop who will probably be a yo-yo in 2024 as he has all 3 options.

As to the new guy - Yariel Rodriguez. I love the idea of adding him, but wonder how he fits in. Does he replace Mitch White as the 8th man in the pen/long man/6th starter? I doubt it. I could see him going to AAA for April to stretch out fully, then coming up in May to replace someone (injury or Manoah having major issues still or a trade to open a slot).
Joe - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 09:55 AM EST (#441738) #
Great article about Vladdy by Michael Baumann on Fangraphs today, in which he makes the case that Vlad's actually too good at making contact. Instead of only hitting the ball where he does the most damage, he's become less productive overall by hitting it everywhere in (and out of) the strike zone.
85bluejay - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 10:15 AM EST (#441740) #
Big thumbs up on the Yariel Rodriguez signing - A worthwhile gamble - I assume he has 3 options so having him start the season in Buffalo is an option.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 10:32 AM EST (#441741) #
It's a little more complex than Michael Baumann suggests.  He uses whiff%, as the marker for how Guerrero Jr. did in 2021 and 2023 in various zones.  But Guerrero Jr. now has two issues- many ground balls and way too many of his fly balls were pop-ups.  He's having trouble squaring up balls, and part of the problem is his strike zone judgment has deteriorated.  Both in swinging at pitches outside the zone and not swinging at pitches in the zone.  His strike zone judgment is a big part of what made him a great hitter in the minor leagues and in 2021.

He cannot give up on the bottom on the third of the zone.  He needs to be able to hit many of those pitches and he can do that.  But the slider on the low/outside corner with less than 2 strikes?  Pass.  Don't argue with the ump and just tip your hat to the pitcher.  With two strikes, there's no shame in him trying to take the low-outside pitch to right-field on a line. 

Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 10:59 AM EST (#441742) #
Incidentally, Guerrero Jr's swing profiles for 2021 and 2023 from Statcast are a much better tool.  In 2021,he swung at pitches outside the zone 45% or more in three zones (edge inside waist level and edge below the zone in the center).  He swung at pitches in the middle of the zone between 82-88% of the time.  In 2023, he swung at more pitches in more zones up, down and in (more than 50% in six zones) and fewer pitches down the middle (74, 78, 80 and 87%).  That's a big problem.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 11:15 AM EST (#441743) #
Here's the link to Vlad's 2023 swing profiles. 
soupman - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 11:25 AM EST (#441744) #
some interesting ideas in the article, but another one that doesn't even bother to mention that in 2023 he was dominating in April before his wrist injury which seems to me (a non-physicician that's merely had a wrist injury and seen its impact on professional athletes for ages) as a more proximate explanation for the sudden drop in max and average batted ball distance which doesn't require the less elegant psychologizing of a player to suddenly (and coincidently) decide to become a much less effective hitter after returning from a wrist injury.

i'm more impressed that stars like matthews on the leafs and vlad on the jays can produce far above average stat lines which playing hurt. matthews confirms that his wrist was bothering him and weak all year following the 2022 surgery. vlad hasn't said anything, so i suppose it's possible he wasn't hurt and is instead forgot what he was doing in April because he stopped playing for a few days and listened to the bad coaches/himself.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 01:40 PM EST (#441746) #
Here are Vlad's April/May splits for 2019-2023.  I wouldn't say he was dominating in April 2023.  He was a good hitter for a DH then, but nothing like an MVP candidate as he was in 2021. 

What's especially troublesome is that it isn't a 1 year problem.  Here's his swing profile from 2022.  Lots of chase on the edges, up, down and in, and much less swinging in balls in the heart of the plate than in 2021.  Plate discipline was a core feature of his game in the minor leagues and he seems to have had progressively more difficulty with it in the major leagues.  That isn't good. 
Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 01:57 PM EST (#441747) #
One of the remarkable things about Atlanta's year in 2023.  They were the club with by far the highest HR/FB rate at 19.1%; Minnesota was next at 15.4%.  At the same time, they had by far the lowest infield fly rate at 7.3%; Texas was next lowest at 8.2%.  To hit home runs on fly balls almost 3 times as often as pop-ups is really quite something.  There aren't too many players who do that- Belt and Bichette for the Blue Jays. 
John Northey - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 04:09 PM EST (#441748) #
I'm wondering if Vlad might need glasses. Pro athletes have far better eyesight than the average person and 20-20 won't cut it. You need Ted Williams level 15-20 iirc.
Chuck - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 04:09 PM EST (#441749) #
To a few of you, long enough in the tooth to remember, Bill James was a major force in getting people to view baseball differently. His first professionally published Abstract was in 1982, after several years of self-publishing. His Abstracts were certainly formative to the evolution of my baseball fandom and I eagerly anticipated them every year.

I have only sporadically purchased his Bill James Handbooks over the year, clearly feeling less urgency to have my thinking set straight. The analysis landscape had become quite robust by then with many voices in the field.

The point of all this is to mention that he has written his final Bill James Handbook. Well, he and a number of contributors. He still has interesting things to say even if they are now far from groundbreaking. Any fans with the original Abstracts on their bookshelves might want this new book to serve as the rightmost bookend.

Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 04:46 PM EST (#441750) #
Oh, Chuck. You are interfering with my Swedish death cleaning by suggesting a book that i cannot resist acquiring. Nevermind, I should support the bearded wonder in his dotage. But I do draw the line at my Shiva playlist. Any interference with that will see cuttlefish floating up on the Battersbox logo for eons.
scottt - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 05:14 PM EST (#441751) #
You mean 20/15?
christaylor - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 08:00 PM EST (#441752) #
He has a lovely piece from 2004 that remains a favorite. It is something that humans, in any situation of probabilistic reasoning will generally forget from time to time:

Hat tip to a night watchman who decided to use his time to work in the data mines when the tools were picks and shovels.
John Northey - Thursday, January 18 2024 @ 08:17 PM EST (#441753) #
I remember how the Bill James Abstracts drew me into baseball. Found them in the library, the 1983 edition, and became addicted to baseball stats. Bought the 1985 to 1988 versions off the shelf as they came out, then he quit for a bit, joined Stats Inc. iirc. I eventually got the 83 & 84 abstracts and found a 1981 one as well (on of his self published ones). It was a ton of fun back then - so few stats available, computers were insanely weak vs what we have today. No Microsoft Office, just Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets and using that in DOS was a nightmare but seemed wonderful at the time.

I need to look at putting together a version of his old tools in MS Access where I keep the latest databases (the Lahman one and I downloaded everything from FanGraphs that I could). For example, the Favorite Toy - a simple method to estimate the odds of a player reaching a target. If you add the %'s together for the league as a whole it tends to be reasonable in its estimate of how many will crack a target, be it 3000 hits, 300 wins, 500 HR, whatever. I've seen a few who added it all together for a whole league and it tends to work out fairly accurately as a group but doesn't always guess right as to who will do each achievement (injuries, etc. can screw things up for favorites). Right now for Vlad it gives a 16% chance at 3000 hits, 4% at 3500 hits, 27% at 500 HR 11% at 600, no chance at 700. Better than one would expect, but that is the big advantage of starting young (up at 20) even with the 2/3rds lost in 2020. Bo has a 16% shot at 3000, 4% at 3500 (weird how they match), 0% at 500 HR. The year later start (by age) is why Bo doesn't have the advantage over Vlad yet in reaching 3000 hits. A year is a big deal in projections.
soupman - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 09:45 AM EST (#441757) #
His 148 wrc+ in April if continue through the year would have made him the 9th best hitter in baseball behind Soto. That’s a dominant hitter in my books.
Mike Green - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 10:00 AM EST (#441759) #
In VGJ's case, a good wRC+ driven by OBP is actually worth less than for other players because he was such a poor baserunner.  But, anyways, I would be very happy if VGJ was a 148 wRC+ hitter in 2024, OBP heavy or not.  He'll need to have better plate discipline over the year in order to do that, though.  Maybe last year, he was distracted or frustrated by wrist pain and that affected his focus and plate discipline.  That's a kind interpretation of his issue, but why not aim for that?
ISLAND BOY - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 12:09 PM EST (#441763) #
" he's such a poor baserunner."

I think Vlad thinks that he is a fast baserunner.

Mike Green - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#441764) #
Vlad is not the only player to struggle with "disciplined aggression", whether on the basepaths or at the plate.  A few players have it at a very young age, and I (and many others) thought that Vlad was one of those players. 
John Northey - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 12:34 PM EST (#441765) #
The latest FanGraphs on Vlad was fun to read. Basically the issues come down to his being like his dad more and more - able to make decent contact on anything. The problem is by doing so he doesn't get as good a swing on those pitches he can murder over the fence. This leads to more double plays, fewer home runs, and a worse overall player. Weird, but it would help if he'd let himself strike out more by swinging harder and being more focused on the centre of the strike zone instead of keeping the K's low and making contact in all situations.

Basically the Jays need him to work on pitch judgement this winter and focus on finding the balls that are going into his power zone, then killing those. Do that 50-60 times and he'll be a HOF hitter again even if he K's 150-200 times a year as well.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 12:43 PM EST (#441766) #
So let me get this straight. Vlad's outlier single great season is what we all think he should be closer to. All of hiss poor results can be explained by his poor decisions which are excused because he's too good which works against him. Moreover, if he can use his elite skills and focus them better then he can be back on a hall of fame track, based on his single outlier season. Got it.

Sign me up for the guy with terrible skills and good results. Davis Schneider ranks as one of the best if not the best in MLB for plate discipline and behind only Aaron Judge in barrel rate. Small sample size, but if we're extrapolating and wishing on Vlad then why not do it with Schneider?
Mike Green - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 02:29 PM EST (#441770) #
There's no harm on wishing on both.  "Fan" is short for "fanatic", isn't it? 
John Northey - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 02:56 PM EST (#441772) #
Bingo Mike. I like to dream of Vlad smashing 50 Homer's, and Schneider hitting 40 in 2024. Odds are slim, but weirder has happened. Hey, I was at the game where Brady Anderson hit his 50th and Hentgen won his 20th. Things neither did before or after.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 03:09 PM EST (#441773) #
For VERY different reasons, though.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 03:17 PM EST (#441774) #
"There's no harm on wishing on both. "Fan" is short for "fanatic", isn't it?"

Well said, I can't argue that.
John Northey - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 05:01 PM EST (#441776) #
The big issue with Vlad is his power is real - his HR competition win, his 1000+ OPS in AAA, in AA, 930 in A+ all by the age of 20. Overall minors 331/414/531, majors 279/355/490 all before turning 25. In spring training even he is a beast - 329/402/615, again he was doing that from age 19.

The problem is his playoff line sucks 136/269/182 with 0 HR. This suggests his fitness could be an issue as many have suggested. He just gets tired towards the end. Pushing him to show his best in 2024/25 in order to get a monster contract is probably a good thing - we'll probably get that monster year ala 2021 as the talent is obviously there. It is rare for a guy to hit like he has then to flop right after without injuries being the cause. Hopefully the working out in Florida that we were shown in November kept going all winter and he will be in he best shape ever for 2024, then go out and do what he can do.

Schneider is a different cookie. His only level with a 1000 OPS is the majors, AAA 940, AA 844, A+ 819, overall minors 253/372/462. Very solid, but teen years were in rookie ball only (802 OPS) vs Vlad reaching AAA at 19 and smashing it. Age is a MASSIVE factor in guessing future success and Vlad has that in spades. Both are entering their age 25 season now, but Vlad still has a realistic shot at 3000 hits, 500 HR. Schneider...does not (now, a 240 hit, 60 HR season would change that, but that is about as likely as me winning LottoMax).

For Schneider I present Brett Lawrie - at age 21 he came up for a cup of coffee like Schneider did at 24 and in 150 PA was 'wow' 293/373/580. He never again reached any of those 3 numbers in his ML career. Heck, his 2nd best in each was 273/324/421 (ignoring playing time amounts). Luckily he held enough prestige to get the A"s to make him a cornerstone of the deal for Donaldson in the 14/15 offseason. I remember many here not being happy about losing him. His final ML game was further in the past than the Jays last playoff win. He was done at 26 while Donaldson still played last season and might in 2024.
dalimon5 - Friday, January 19 2024 @ 05:31 PM EST (#441777) #
I figure Vlad sucks in playoffs because its top pitching. Did he feast on bad pitching in the minors?

Ever since he hit that home run off of Gerrit Cole he got pitched differently and started chasing.
85bluejay - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 02:46 AM EST (#441780) #
Chad Green age 32 @ 2/21 or Robert Stephenson age 30 @ 3/33?
Marc Hulet - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 09:02 AM EST (#441781) #
Relievers are so inconsistent I don't know that either one is a better bet. Green had some bad luck with runners on base and still had good K numbers so as long as the rust is gone (as seen in his command), I like his chances to produce over the next two. Stephenson is more of a wild card - will his new cutter/slider continue to dominate?
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 09:25 AM EST (#441782) #
It would have to continue to be a Mariano Rivera level of pitch for that to happen. He was tossing it over 3/4 of the time. What made Mariano so special was he could do it time and time again without fail.

Anybody else see that Mike Petrielo article about the increase of pitchers learning splitters this off season and trying to replicate Kevin Gausman? Teams have been signing these pitchers to based on the hope they can develop a strong split.

I would link but I don't see it in the new feed anymore.

Marc Hulet - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 10:17 AM EST (#441783) #
Ducey - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 11:13 AM EST (#441784) #
Some video of the new guy's pitches:,his%20final%20season%20in%20Japan.

Looks pretty good.
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 12:03 PM EST (#441785) #
Thanks Marc!
John Northey - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 07:08 PM EST (#441787) #
Just read at USA Today that Chapman is pretty much down to the San Francisco Giants (by far his #1 choice) or possibly the Chicago Cubs. So the Jays get a draft pick out of him plus the 7.9 bWAR he gave us, for the cost of Gunnar Hoglund (climbed to AA barely with a 6.08 ERA and just 6.8 K/9), Zach Logue (56 ERA+ so far in 68 IP), Kevin Smith (52 OPS+ over 297 PA) and Kirby Snead (68 ERA+ over 56 1/3 IP). Yeah, that worked out pretty well I'd say. Sad that he is going, but IKF has his defense, and hopefully a kid will come up and produce more offense. Let someone else pay out $100+ mil to him. Jays cost was $25 mil for 2 years plus those prospects who didn't work out.

Oh, another thing they mention - Verlander has a $35 mil option that vests if he gets 140 IP and the Mets would have to pay half of it if he does that. Gotta love that one. Jordan Montgomery is widely expected to re-sign with the Texas Rangers, but if there was any doubt, Arlington-based Hurtado Barbecue is making sure it will happen by offering him free food from them for life if he resigns.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 08:17 PM EST (#441788) #
Chapman worked out well for the Blue Jays, but it’s also easy to see why he was the team’s second choice behind Jose Ramirez and his annual 5-7 WAR. 2024 has arrived and the team still doesn’t have a starting third baseman to take over the position.
soupman - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 10:37 PM EST (#441789) #
tim anderson is a free agent? i guess i missed that. talented guy. maybe he's this year's semien...other than all evidence being that he's a complete ass. of course, would also want to see bringer of rain invited to spring. what could possibly go right?
greenfrog - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 10:58 PM EST (#441790) #
It seems reasonable to assume the Blue Jays are still going to add a bat, perhaps from the following list:


Not sure which player the team would prefer from that list. Pederson, maybe (if he’s in good physical condition)? Soler, since he hits lefties well and has big power and could play LF from time to time? Hoskins, because he’s only 30 and has a demonstrated track record as a good hitter?

Turner seems too old, and Martinez’s political views and injury risk might rule him out for this front office.

Or maybe the team has a mystery trade up its sleeve?
John Northey - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 11:13 PM EST (#441791) #
Agreed greenfrog - the in house choices aren't exciting right now, but a year from now might look like the right move was done if any of the kids can step up and prove they deserve the job.
  • The Vets....
    • Isiah Kiner-Falefa - RH 78 OPS+ in 2023, 81 lifetime, very strong on defense, able to play pretty much anywhere including catcher. Ideally not out there everyday.
    • Santiago Espinal - RH 80 OPS+ in 2023, 96 lifetime, normally strong on defense but poor 2023.  Again, ideally a backup or right hand side of a platoon.
    • Cavan Biggio - LH 98 OPS+ in 2023, 102 lifetime, decent on defense but was ugly at 3B in '21 when given a shot at full time play, good at it in 2023 though. Nice as part of a platoon but again, not an everyday player right now.
  • The hype kids....
    • Orelvis Martinez - RH 243/340/496 in AA/AAA at age 21 (young for the levels). Killer potential, split between SS and 3B but lots of time at 2B late in the season. Potential break through candidate.
    • Addison Barger - LH  247/353/392 in Rk/A/AAA at age 23. Used at SS/3B for years, but lots of time in RF this year.  
  • More Kids but not hyped...
    • Leo Jimenez - RH 270/366/401 in AA/AAA at age 22. SS/2B with only 1 pro inning at 3B lifetime so unlikely to get a shot at 3B this year.
    • Damiano Palmegiani - RH 255/365/478 last year between AA/AAA. Used mostly at 3B with a fair amount of time at 1B/DH. A guy to keep an eye on imo.
    • Rafael Lantigua - RH 305/425/469 in 2023 in AAA.  Played all over, LF/3B/SS/RF over 100 innings each, plus CF/2B.  Basically a guy who can hit and play everywhere. Lifetime 783 OPS in the minors. Entering age 26 season
  • The very unlikely...
    • Ernie Clement - RH 64 OPS+ lifetime, 144 in 2023 (52 PA).  Had a 944 OPS in AAA in 2023 though so maybe... Mostly a SS but 9 games at 3B last year, 317 innings there in the majors, so he is a possibility.  A low one, but a 'who knows'.
    • Otto Lopez - RH 258/313/343 in AAA in 2023, but only 9 innings at 3B last year, 200 lifetime.  Played far more at 2B/SS/CF/LF/RF.  I don't see him as a real part of the mix but a wild card everywhere.
    • Davis Schneider - RH 175 OPS+ last year - we all know him. Over 900 innings at 3B in the minors but not seen as a guy to put there in the majors. More likely a LF/2B guy who fills in at 3B when needed (before Vlad slips over there).
Lots of guys who are either in the majors or on the cusp (AAA).  Only Palmegiani and Lantigua aren't on the 40 man.  Lopez and Clement are out of options so they make the team or could be lost. Jimenez is on his final option year.  Lots of choices for the Jays to make there come spring.  For a platoon only Biggio and Barger are LH options, the others are all RH.  IKF mixed with Biggio I see as the most likely combo at 3B to start, with the kids sorting themselves out in spring and in April/May in Buffalo.  If any of them emerge then they take over.  Schneider will probably get a few innings at 3B but not many.  I expect Clement to be on the roster as a backup, Lopez lost in waivers.  There is room for a trade to fill it here, but I don't see any practical options that would beat this crew at a reasonable price.

My bet?  Biggio/IKF to start, then Orelvis Martinez comes up in June and has a weak first week before taking off.  By the end of the season we wonder why we worried so much.  Of course, if his arm is very inaccurate or weak (given his move to 2B late last year) then so much for that thought.
John Northey - Saturday, January 20 2024 @ 11:27 PM EST (#441792) #
Gotta say, none of the free agent bats excite me enough to say 'yeah, lets blow $20 mil over 2 years on him'.  Jorge Soler has the best wRC+ projection at 119.  Rhys Hoskins has the most solid stats pre 2023 (injured all of 2023) with wRC+ ranging from 112-158, 3 times in the 120's out of 6 seasons.  J.D. Martinez had the best 2023 (135 wRC+) but also carries a LOT of risk (last 4 years 76-126-119-135 for wRC+, projected at just 107).  Joc Pederson is interesting  but a pure platoon guy.  None of them can play the OF at an adequate level, some can play 1B decently enough.  My bet right now is the Jays are keeping a slot open in case Cody Bellinger comes down enough in price/years to make sense, and watching the free agent hitters for who will be left at the alter with no one willing to sign them so the Jays can grab him cheap and on a 1 year deal.  IMO Spencer Horwitz should be a solid option mixed with assorted guys needing a DH day (Jansen/Kirk, Vlad, Springer) unless someone who is a perfect fit (very cheap, or better than these guys) comes along.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 12:15 AM EST (#441793) #
Apparently Pederson and JD Martinez have no interest playing on the east coast. Per Blair and Barker.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 04:18 AM EST (#441794) #
I think the Jays would benefit from having another good outfielder (an organizational weakness). There is a good chance Kiermaier and/or Springer will miss time in 2024 due to injuries. Even if Soler is a mediocre (at best) left fielder, he could step in and play the outfield in that situation. Whereas Hoskins or Martinez would be limited to DH duties (they would still be useful in that role, as the lineup currently looks easy to pitch to).

Bellinger would be a better option than Soler, but it seems unlikely he’ll be a Blue Jay in 2024.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 07:56 AM EST (#441795) #
There's no evidence that Soler is anywhere close to mediocre in the outfield.  He's played two full seasons over the last six in the outfield.  He's -40 by DRS, -13 by UZR and -21 by Statcast over those six years, and had negative numbers in every box.  His defence has been bad to terrible, depending on the metric.  And he will be 32 to start the season, so on balance, he's likely to be a little worse than that. 

Most players have a DH penalty- they hit worse when DHing than when playing a position.  Not Soler.  Over his career, he's hit .216/.304/.401 when playing left-field, .245/321/.438 when playing right-field,  and .251/.347/.524 when DHing.  Perhaps it's a load off his shoulders to not worry about playing the field.  Which would be understandable.  He's been a 6 bWAR player over his career, and probably replacement level or below when playing the outfield.  Cam Eden probably is a better choice to play the outfield, but yes, it would be nice to have someone else.  Perhaps the club will end up settling on Jansen as a part-time catcher/part-time left-fielder.  I'm pretty sure that Jansen would do better than Soler both from an offensive and defensive perspective.  The bar is low. 
bpoz - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 08:41 AM EST (#441796) #
There are still some off season moves to be made. FAs Montgomery, Snell and those DH types and soon the trades will happen. Miami has to use trades to improve because they are unwilling to spend money. Miami was bad last year but others were worse. Tasting the playoff too early does happen.

The fans of big contenders like NYY, Toronto, Houston, Seattle and Texas always worry too much. These teams should all contend for a playoff spot until the last weekend of the season. Not written in stone.

Atkins has said reasonably clearly that he will add 1 impact bat and trade a starting pitcher. I don't know why he has to say anything. Is he allowed to say nothing? No Jays caravan and ST starts in 3 weeks.

Adding Y Rodriguez is a good addition. Atkins could trade a SP for a good bat that is not a DH only player. St Louis & Houston are past good trading partners. Maybe LAD & SF will want rotation help. Ryu is still out there but I don't want to deal with Boras.

Atkins should have said nothing. He did make some useful small moves.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 10:28 AM EST (#441797) #
Beyond another outfielder to complement Varsho, Kiermaier and Springer, the team needs at least one (arguably two) middle-of-the-order bats. A lineup that includes Varsho (CF), Kiner-Falefa (3B), Springer (RF), Kirk (C), and a couple of rookies (say, Schneider 2B and Horwitz DH) just isn’t that intimidating. And we don’t know whether Vladdy is going to be a fearsome hitter or a hacker in 2024. As soon as there is an injury or three, the lineup is going to become completely milquetoast.

Bellinger is probably the best fit as a relatively youthful and competent LH bat who can play the outfield and run the bases well.
scottt - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 10:43 AM EST (#441798) #
I don't think Atkins has said he's trading a starting pitcher.
Rodriguez could have a role similar to Francis, but he's not starting 20 games in 2024.
I see him as a reliever who could go once through a lineup.

The pen has Romano, Swanson, Garcia, Mayza, Green and Richards.
Cabrera has 1 option left, but add Rodriguez and there is no room for Mitch White who was pitching better in AAA.

Snell had turned down 6/300M from the Yankees. Apparently he would have down 5/300M.
That's a 30M hit on the luxury tax. And then there's the QO penalty.

KK will be mostly a platoon player. They need a strong bat at DH. I don't see value in having a weaker DH so he can play the outfield poorly while an even weaker DH comes from the bench when KK sits.
Better just get a 4th outfielder who bats right. Maybe Otto Lopez could do.

The problem with the bench is that they don't run platoons. There's a couple of good defenders who hit poorly in Espinal and IKF. A good bat in Schneider and a left bat in Biggio. Horwitz is a better left bat but with nowhere to play and not good enough to be the DH.

scottt - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 11:00 AM EST (#441799) #
I'd rather have Soler than Martinez, but I'd rather have Pederson than Soler.

It seems that the west coast teams have limited interest in Pederson and Martinez or they would have signed by now.

Soler could cost 3/45M.
Martinez 2/40M
Pederson is in the 1/8M, 2/12M range, if that.

There's also Rhys Hoskins in the 2/36M range, but I'd rather have Soler's HRs than his contact ability.

dalimon5 - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 11:17 AM EST (#441800) #
"Beyond another outfielder to complement Varsho, Kiermaier and Springer, the team needs at least one (arguably two) middle-of-the-order bats. A lineup that includes Varsho (CF), Kiner-Falefa (3B), Springer (RF), Kirk (C), and a couple of rookies (say, Schneider 2B and Horwitz DH) just isn’t that intimidating. And we don’t know whether Vladdy is going to be a fearsome hitter or a hacker in 2024. As soon as there is an injury or three, the lineup is going to become completely milquetoast.

Bellinger is probably the best fit as a relatively youthful and competent LH bat who can play the outfield and run the bases well."

Somebody get this printed and pinned above Shapiro's door exit in his concrete office at the Dome.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 11:20 AM EST (#441801) #
The numbers Scott put out there for Snell don't seem to be accurate based on the reporting. The number the Yankees apparently offered was 150 million for 6 years which Snell turned down. It says Snell wants a longer deal with that term or high AAV if only a 6 year deal.

"Earlier this month, the Yankees reportedly made an offer to left-hander Blake Snell, the top remaining starting pitcher on the open market this winter. At the time, no deal got done due to what was reportedly a significant gap between the sides, which ultimately led GM Brian Cashman and his front office to pivot to a two-year deal for right-hander Marcus Stroman.’s Mark Feinsand provided an update on Snell’s free agency today, noting that while the Yankees offered Snell $150MM over six years, Snell is in search of either a longer deal or one with an annual salary of at least $30MM."

Source: Nick Deeds at
John Northey - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 03:15 PM EST (#441803) #
So lots of talk about 4th OF.  I guess it makes sense, as Kevin Kiermaier getting into 129 games was the 2nd most in his career, and George Springer's 154 was 2nd most in his.  Odds are at least 60-100 times a 4th OF will be needed.  Ideally RH to cover for the 2 LH hitting guys.  So who are the internal options?
  • ML roster, might be playing elsewhere most of the time but can cover it...
    • Davis Schneider - RH I see him doing the Whit Merrifield thing (84 games at 2B, 84 in the OF roughly 600 innings at each)
    • Cavan Biggio - LH I see him doing what he did last year, lots of time at 2B and RF (resting Springer, covering 2B for Schneider) plus time at 1B
    • Isiah Kiner-Falefa - RH he'll be there as needed if needed but ideally rarely as his offense isn't OF ready shall we say (and his D in the infield is great, OF not so much).
  • ML service time, not ideal for OF...
    • Nathan Lukes - LH didn't hit much when he had his few opportunities, clearly didn't have the faith of management for more than running/defense.
    • Cam Eden - RH same as Lukes, but younger with no track record in minors of an ability to hit (687 OPS last year, peak of 785 in A+)
    • Spencer Horwitz - LH really a 1B/DH but has 67 games in LF in the minors (and 7 at 2B for what its worth).
    • Ernie Clement - RH yes, he has time in the OF in the majors and minors, not much but some.
    • Otto Lopez - RH but not much of a shot at making the roster, has been used in LF and CF a fair amount plus a bit of RF
  • Prospects...
    • Steward Berroa - SH reached AAA last year, entering age 25 season (a make or break time) with a 258/368/390 AAA/AA line in 2023, 731 lifetime OPS in minors. Mostly a CF but has been getting time in LF and RF to prep him for a 4th OF role should he make it.  Has a spring invite (not on 40 man)
    • Rafael Lantigua - RH 305/425/469 in AAA at age 25. Has mainly been a 2B, but over 20 games at SS, 3B, CF, LF, RF. Would be a nice fit if that bat is for real. Has a spring invite (not on 40 man).
    • Addison Barger - RH 247/353/392 in AAA/A/Rk at age 23. Mostly a SS/3B/2B in the past but moved to RF for a chunk of last year. Again, a good fit if ready but I don't see him coming up unless there is an injury and he could play everyday for 2 weeks+. On 40 man roster
    • Alan Roden - LH 317/431/459 in A+/AA at age 23. LF/RF with time at 1B in college.  I think he is a year away, but could force the issue with a strong spring and AAA season. Not on 40 man yet, nor did he get a spring invite yet (but probably will get into a game or two at some point)
So lots of internal options.  I wouldn't worry about any bat signed being an OF as Schneider, Biggio, and IKF will easily eat up the needed time outside of injuries and if/when injuries happen then hopefully one of the 4 prospects I listed has earned a shot.  The others are more there if needed but I doubt any will get significant playing time in the OF.  I'm betting on Barger forcing the issue in 2024 with Roden being next (but due to 40 man roster considerations will need to REALLY force the issue). If Berroa can field well (no idea) then he might be a 5th OF in 2025 or 2026 - assuming Lukes is let go at some point (Lukes seems ideal for that role - makes no noise about being left on the bench and used just for defense/pinch running).
Mike Green - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 04:41 PM EST (#441804) #
Immaculate Grid hint.  If you're stumped, LaTroy Hawkins is a pretty good guess.  He only played with Minnesota until age 30, but made up for it after that.  He played for CHC, SFG, BAL, COL, NYY, HOU, MIL, LAA, NYM and Toronto until the end of his career.  Milwaukee and Colorado are tough teams for me to remember, for some reason, and once you commit to memory that LaTroy Hawkins for both of them, you've got a shot.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 05:00 PM EST (#441805) #
L-C scored 7 of 9.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 05:44 PM EST (#441806) #
There were 5 gimmes, where I tried successfully this time to go somewhat obscure.  Rockies 40+ WAR has two easy answers, and then some others where the figure is close to the line on either side or where the player did not have significant time in Colorado.  And then there is the LaTroy Hawkins issue. 
Mike Green - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 07:37 PM EST (#441807) #
For fun, I thought I'd learn more about how Blake Snell has fared against some key AL East players.  I came across this cool line- Juan Soto has faced him 12 times, walked 4 times and struck out 8 and has yet to put a ball in play.  That's the way Snell rolls...
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 09:42 PM EST (#441808) #
Poor Buffalo.
scottt - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 09:49 PM EST (#441809) #
Yeah, should have been 6/150M, 5/150M.
He's looking for 30M per year, No way he's getting 60M.

scottt - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 10:08 PM EST (#441810) #
Yeah, Snell is a lefty, so it would be bad if he couldn't handle left bats.
scottt - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 10:26 PM EST (#441811) #
Bellinger would mostly play DH and might not hit better than Varsho.
He was worse in 2 of the last 3 years.
Also, the cost is just insane.

They already got the competent LH outfield bat in KK.
Bellinger had reverse splits last year.
He also had OPS of .578 in May and .596 in June and he played only in 25 games of those 2 months.
A couple of months like that from the DH would be pretty bad here.

The Jays are at a point where they can get what they need for cheap.
I still think going after Soto next year is the way to go.
It will be very interesting to watch Soto and Vladdy when the Jays play Toronto.

greenfrog - Sunday, January 21 2024 @ 10:48 PM EST (#441812) #
Did you see what occurred with the bidding for Judge, Ohtani, Yamamoto? Have the Jays ever won the bidding for a young FA superstar seeking a long-term contract with multiple teams chasing him? The answer is no. No they have not. And why would Soto sign in Toronto just as the team’s current window of contention is coming to an end? It’s just not going to happen.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 08:52 AM EST (#441813) #
Yup, Soto not signing here if NY, San Fran, Chicago or LA have any interest in offering him a contract. Then you have Houston, Boston, Texas, Philadelphia, Atlanta.

Typically Toronto would need to outbid the second tier but has no chance outbidding the first tier.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 11:37 AM EST (#441814) #
All the more important to develop your own stars who have to play here, and who have the Jays graduated to the big club since Bichette and Guerrero? Manoah took a step back last year, Davis Schneider has only a partial season of proving himself, and Kirk regressed some last year, too. The Jays have landed some good free agents but you can't build your whole roster with free agents, especially with the salaries they are commanding now.

When I look at what Alex Anthopoulos is doing in Atlanta, it's like he's running circles around Atkins and Shapiro. He has his young stars signed to reasonable, long-term contracts, made clever trades and generally has the team in great shape for the future. It's barely 3 weeks before pitchers and catchers
report for spring training and the Jays as a team right now looks worse than last year.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 11:58 AM EST (#441815) #
Besides the Dodgers I don't see many teams that do better building their own players unless it's through a tear-down/rebuild with high draft picks than the Jays do.

They've done the same amount of good trades as AA in Atlanta. The major difference is twofold. Unlike AA, they inherited a farm far far worse than what he inherited in AA. Secondly, yes, you're right - AA has done a good job of resigning his players which this FO has not.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 12:28 PM EST (#441816) #
The Hall of Fame vote will be revealed tomorrow (Tues.) night at 6 PM Eastern.
bpoz - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 12:31 PM EST (#441817) #
Arizona extended Carroll. I will be very impressed if they extend Moreno. I would be impressed with Shapiro if he extends Kirk and Manoah also Tiedemann when the time is right. The "right" time will most likely be soon to extend future stars like Orelvis, Schneider, Barger, Palmegiani and Rodon if/when they change from good prospects to future stars.

I left out Bo and Vlad because they are already quite wealthy. I think Bo is getting $20mil total for the next 2 years. Vlad should get about $19mil this year. They can gamble with Kirk because he signed for a low amount and has not played enough for a big payday yet.

I don't know if extensions will impact the luxury tax thresholds and how Shapiro views that. His very fast rebuild was with big $ to Ryu, Springer, Gausman & Bassitt. Berrios was a pretty good extension that has not yet cracked the $20mil/year amount yet.
scottt - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 12:32 PM EST (#441818) #
The Jays were not bidding on Judge.
I saw that the Yankees couldn't get Othani or Yamamoto either.
Stroman for 2 years? The Jays could have done that if they wanted.
There is no room for Soto on the Dodgers.

We'll see how Soto likes it in NY and what the dynamic between him and Vlad is.
I'm sure Soto will take the biggest paycheck offered and the Jays could fit him in with the current payroll.
The window of contention actually works the other way.
It means they have some extra money to spend after 25 and overspending for one year wouldn't be the worse thing.

Judge is going to be the primary CF for the Yankees this year.
Let see how long that works. Stanton is already the DH for the next 4 years and Soto is bad in the outfield.

John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 12:53 PM EST (#441819) #
The current management took over in late 2015 (started revamping that offseason). The playoff teams that year were Jays-Yankees-Royals-Rangers-Astros-Mets-Cardinals-Cubs-Pirates-and Dodgers. What have they done since
  • Jays- 4 playoffs, made ALCS in 2016
  • Yankees - 6 playoffs, twice lost in ALCS (once swept), 19 games out last year
  • Royals no playoffs, never within 10 of division, best record was a 500 season in '16
  • Rangers - 2 playoffs, won WS last year, lost in ALCS to Jays in '16
  • Astros - 2 WS, 7 out of 8 playoffs, made the WS 2 more times as well.
  • Mets - 2 playoffs, lost in WC round both times(1-3)
  • Cardinals - 4 playoffs, 3 losses in WC (1-7), lost in NLCS once (swept), dead last in NL Central in 2023
  • Cubs - won WS in '16, 3 more playoffs, last playoff game won was in '17
  • Pirates - just 1 year at/over 500 (82 wins in '18). Ugh.
  • Dodgers - made all 8 playoffs, 1 WS win, 2 more times in WS, added Ohtani & Yamamoto & Teoscar this winter. Yikes.
So 4 of them won a WS (Texas, Houston, Cubs, and LAD), 2 haven't returned to the playoffs, 4 teams with fewer playoff appearances than the Jays out of the 10 teams. I'd say the Jays rank middle-bottom of the pack here, below the 4 WS winners but ahead of KC/Pit, Mets, but behind Yankees, Cardinals (but looking better for 2024 than the Cards).

Things obviously could've been better - 4 WS winners dictates that. But it could've been a LOT worse - ask fans in KC & Pittsburgh and Mets fans. A playoff team to full rebuild to playoff team in under 8 years making the playoffs half the time during that stretch sounds pretty good. I say full rebuild as not one player from 2015 was on the team in 2020 when they made the playoffs again, guys in the system with a significant impact in 2020-2023 would be Vlad, Rowdy Tellez, Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, Tim Mayza, Sean Reid-Foley (yeah, stretching it here). Jordan Romano I missed at first, he was in the system but didn't play in 2015 (easy to miss, same with Vlad). Vlad, Jansen, Romano are the key pieces with Mayza being significant. Borucki (good in 2020, meh in '21, bad in '22), Tellez (good in 2020, lousy in '21), and SRF (6 IP in 2020) are more guys who were here but mixed results. The rest were either drafted by, traded for, or signed as free agents by the current management team. Romano was almost lost in 2018/19 offseason (rule 5 pick by ChiSox, sold to Rangers, returned late March).

So that is worth thinking about when complaining about the team as is. The cupboard wasn't bare, but they did do a quick turnaround despite lots of heavy contracts sitting here. They messed up a few things, but also did a few really good things. Drafting Bo was probably the best thing.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 01:21 PM EST (#441820) #
Is it possible the Yankees might just release Stanton?
dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 01:29 PM EST (#441821) #
If you believe they use middling catch all stats like WAR, then yes. Otherwise no. In a year when he was playing injured and hobbled more than usual he still hit about the same amount of HRs as Vlad but in half the ABs. Power is a valuable commodity.
John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 03:06 PM EST (#441822) #
I'd be quite surprised if the Yankees did that. They owe him $32 mil this year and next, then $19 mil, $15 mil, the rest ($30 mil) is covered by Miami. Last year was his first (but I'd bet not his last) year with a sub 110 OPS+. In every possible way he was a negative in 2023, but odds are low that will be a complete repeat in 2024. The risk of letting him go is the Jays or Rays grab him and he hits like its 2021 or before again (130+ OPS+) and he helps them push the Yankees out of the playoffs with the Yankees paying his entire salary. I remember the Jays taking advantage of the Yankees with Doyle Alexander that way in the 80's (he pitched a complete game victory to clinch the title against the Yankees).
dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 03:35 PM EST (#441823) #
John, you're kinda reinforcing my point about WAR not being a great tool to determine a players value. Look at Kyle Schwarber and his 0.5 WAR and tell me there isn't a single MLB team that would love to have that LHB crushing 47 HR in the middle of their line up.

If there was a stat that determined in a simple numeric how many wins a player will help you get - that stat would change all the rankings. WAR is a relative stat to replacement level player. You can be a 3-4 WAR player and have zero offensive ability and that may or may not be valuable to a specific team based on their needs.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 03:58 PM EST (#441824) #
Makes sense. A healthy Stanton is likely to rebound, and the contract is just too much to dump.

Jon Heyman: " The hitting market — Jorge Soler, J.D. Martinez, Justin Turner and Rhys Hoskins — is heating up. The Jays are a front-runner for Soler, with the Diamondbacks and Red Sox also interested. "

So, Soler is the latest rumour. Something to talk about, anyway.

Mike Green - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 03:59 PM EST (#441825) #
Schwarber and Stanton are different cases.  Schwarber has some significant value beyond the 47 homers, and was a pretty good player overall in 2021 and 2022.  His projections are that he will be a 2 WAR player in 2024, with 40 homers and 100 walks the key reasons.  It's hard to be a bad player with those two numbers. 

Stanton has been hurt a lot in the last 6 years, and he's now 34 years old.  He might be healthy for most of the year in 2024, but I'd say that the odds are against it.  He had a decent year in 2021, but that's really the extent of things since 2021.  I'm pretty sure that the Yankees won't release him unless they are satisfied that he just isn't likely to recover enough to be useful player.  ZiPS projects him to hit .229/.314/.453 which would be a noticeable improvement from 2021 and 2022.  If he's hitting like that, I imagine the Yankees would keep him around and use him mostly against lefties and see if he can recover further.  Personally, I'm skeptical in light of the way he looked all season.  It's not his native ability, but the effect of injury.  There is definitely something sad about watching it, but he is a Yankee and there are limits to my sympathy. 
John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 04:12 PM EST (#441826) #
With Stanton one also has to factor in attitude. His pathetic stroll around the bases that got him thrown out at home was a massive red flag imo. He had the look of a guy who quit trying awhile ago. His negative WAR might overstate his value, much like with Dave Kingman in the mid 80s. He was still hitting 30+ HR in a league where 40 often led. But no one would touch him eventually as the bad attitude, zero defense, etc. added up to more than the dingers.
Mike Green - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 04:17 PM EST (#441827) #
That's true.  If he's mailing it in, he is truly a net negative.  Setting a bad tone and not performing usually would be enough for a golden pink slip. 
John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 05:55 PM EST (#441828) #
I'm not a fan of guys who are pure DH's unless they hit for something like a 150 OPS+, but Soler appears to be about as good as any who are available, roughly a 120 wRC+ type (119 by Steamer/ATC/FGDC), 116 by ZiPS, BR has him with a 236/324/458 line for 2024. Last year he had a 128 OPS+ which is very solid. However, Jansen OPS was in the 900's, Vlad 857 as a DH, while Kirk dragged it down with a 599 OPS, Springer just a 519. So maybe a rotating DH isn't best if 2 key pieces of one can't hit in that situation. A 2 year deal would be ideal, 3 if necessary as long as the Jays are willing to cut him if he flops (I get the impression the team would do that with pretty much anyone, vs the Yankees who seem to want to hold on no matter what).
dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 06:04 PM EST (#441829) #
Stanton was called out publicly by Cashman for never being healthy anymore. I think it's obvious Stanton was forced to play through injury last year. He's a massive human being like Aaron Judge and the injuries just pile up. I don't think "he's mailing it in." The dude basically plays through semi tears of his leg muscles every season.

Here's a good article that goes into details about his ability being limited by "failure of the legs."
John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 07:08 PM EST (#441830) #
Well, the YouTube video says it all imo. If a guy is that slow then the 3rd base coach needs to show a tiny bit of smarts and just keep him at 3B on anything that isn't off the wall or over it. I mean, my Dad at 90 can run faster than that.
greenfrog - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 07:49 PM EST (#441831) #
I think Soler would be a good acquisition as a means of adding a marginal win or two en route to a 90-win season in 2024 and 2025.

I doubt the team would have a lot of remaining cash left to spend after that, but it would be interesting to see them also acquire one more good player. I’m not sure who that would be — presumably Snell is off the table if Yariel Rodriguez was promised a shot at the rotation.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 08:34 PM EST (#441832) #
Aroldis Chapman signs a 1-year / $10.5M contract with Pittsburgh. A few weeks ago, the Pirates signed LHP Martín Pérez for $8M. Who knew the Pirates had all this cash?
greenfrog - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 08:48 PM EST (#441833) #
Sounds like Pittsburgh is acquiring trade chips for the summer deadline.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 09:05 PM EST (#441834) #
John, I guess we see different things from the same video. I see a player struggling through injury. You see a player with an attitude problem who isn't hustling.

Unrelated, is anybody else enjoying Boras not #Winning right now?
John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 09:21 PM EST (#441835) #
For Stanton if he is that hurt he shouldn't be playing at all, or at least tell the coaches to run for him if he ever gets on - there was a serious failure across the board, manager, 3B coach, player when that happens. If he can barely run faster than a retiree then odds are he shouldn't be playing. Used as a pinch hitter, then ran for? Sure. But that's it.

As to Pittsburgh - ugh, anytime someone gives Aroldis Chapman another shot I'm disgusted. Guys like him need to be kicked out of pro-sports. They are lousy human beings and deserve the treatment Wander Franco is getting or worse imo. Heck, Pittsburgh might as well sign Bauer now as well and be the scum team everyone can boo.
John Northey - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 09:48 PM EST (#441836) #
It is funny when mega ego's flop - Boras having troubles with his key guys so far is kind of funny for us as fans. Of course, he might still get them what they wanted. Chapman might get $150 mil from SF, Bellinger his $200 mil, Snell could still get over $200 mil as well. None of those are likely unless the few teams still after them go stupid after them, but it could happen. He did get Lee far more than expected ($113 mil vs the $50 mil he was expected to get). At this point though it is looking like they overplayed their hands (Chapman, Bellinger, Snell) as teams drop out of the race for them. I only see the Jays signing one of them if their price drops to a 1-3 year deal at $25 mil per or less which still is unlikely.
soupman - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 10:37 PM EST (#441837) #
Bauer is a jerk and an idiot, but isn't the worst thing he's done tattling on Cole and "breaking the code"? Chapman and all these guys like Osuna i agree on - but i'm not here to kink shame anyone.
vw_fan17 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 11:12 PM EST (#441838) #
Soupman - did you miss the accusations of sexual assault against Bauer? Or were you hinting at that?
soupman - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 11:23 PM EST (#441839) #
i watched her tell her side - i would encourage everyone to make up their own mind, bauer has told his side which it seems a lot of people may have missed:

dalimon5 - Monday, January 22 2024 @ 11:37 PM EST (#441840) #
Wow soupman. I never knew of any of this self defending that Trevor Bauer was doing. This is crazy that nobody seems to be reporting on this.
soupman - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 12:26 AM EST (#441841) #
I don't know if that's sarcasm. There are other accusations against this guy - I'm not trying to go to the wall for him. I am curious if anyone has followed the story more closely that knows more about the status of the other SA allegations and whether teams have access to the arbitrators reports?

soupman - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 01:20 AM EST (#441842) #
not that anyone cares, but i went down the rabbit hole. i take back the earlier remark that the worst thing bauer has done is badmouth Cole. i'll spare the details, and apologize for ruining anyone's evening/day that maybe didn't want to think of any of this stuff or didn't appreciate flippant remarks about it.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 07:46 AM EST (#441843) #
I wasn't being sarcastic. I did 't realize that the allegation from Hill were manipulative and extortionist. I did go down the Rabbit hole as well though after your comment and found an interview on Fox news and then learned about previous settlements, allegations and videos, so yup, full circle. No beisball for TB.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:29 AM EST (#441844) #
Bauer seems to be radioactive at this point.

Are PED suspensions too harsh?  In contrast with more egregious misconduct.
scottt - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:34 AM EST (#441845) #
Chapman was signed by KC last year and they were able to flip him for Ragans and Roni Cabrera.
That was quite a haul.

Chapman was one of the top closer in 2015 and was acquired by the Yankees, the Cubs, the Yankees again, the Royals and then Texas.

Both Cubs and Rangers won the World Series with him on board, so I am sure they are no  regrets, so perhaps another team will try to trade for him and win it all even if I wouldn't. 
scottt - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:37 AM EST (#441846) #
Soler has been very, very good at the plate when healthy.
He doesn't cost a ton and will probably produce a lot of runs as long as he doesn't take the field.

scottt - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:41 AM EST (#441847) #
Bauer is a creep.
I wouldn't want my kid to wear his jersey and I don't care to have to explain it to anyone.
I don't think his image will age well.

scottt - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:43 AM EST (#441848) #
Cashman is the guy who made the trade and should be calling anybody out.
He can release Stanton if he wants to.

bpoz - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:44 AM EST (#441849) #
Regarding the performance of Stanton recently we on da Box drew some conclusions about 1) Expensive long term contracts. AA labeled that albatross. He probably meant V Wells but smartly did not mentioned names. I agree that expensive contracts have a big risk. 2) There is an age curve where performance deteriorates and injuries pile up. That is another risk or related risk.
scottt - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 09:01 AM EST (#441850) #
The Rangers won it all last year, but that was the only good year they've had since 2015.
In 2016, the Jays wiped them out in 3 games and they remained pissed about that for a long time.

It only take that one good year to make everybody forget about the bad times.

Cracka - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 10:00 AM EST (#441851) #
I think Soler is a great addition if it's a short-term deal - no more than 2 years. MLBTR predicted he'd get 3yr/45M... but that feels too long for a soon-to-be 32 year-old DH who has only played a full season twice in his entire career. I'd rather give him $20M for one season than commit to him for three...
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 10:36 AM EST (#441852) #
Soler's best and healthiest seasons - 2019 & 2023 - both saw him DHing the majority of the time. Perhaps only having to hit keeps him focused and less injury-prone.
92-93 - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 11:41 AM EST (#441853) #
AA's Braves continue to employ and gave a World Series ring to wife-strangling Marcell Ozuna. We'll see what happens with his team option/free agency after this season.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 12:36 PM EST (#441854) #
Sportsnet has a nice profile of new Assistant Hitting Coach Matt Hague. Some interesting comments about how he works with players, such as success story Ernie Clement.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 12:57 PM EST (#441855) #
Thanks, Ryan.  Hague's approach seems pretty  much ideal to me for a coach in the high minors or major leagues in 2024- the coach digs deep using all the modern tools, filters out what might be usable for each particular player given their swing, explains in simple ways (with the aid of video) and reinforces with simple drills the usable stuff and keeps the player's head relatively clear.  That's what I would want if I were athletically gifted.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 01:48 PM EST (#441856) #
Hague may turn out to be a very good hitting coach, but it should be kept in mind that he's still relatively young and inexperienced (just as Anthopoulos was during his tenure in Toronto). Hague's peak as a coach might be 5 or 10 or more years away.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 03:11 PM EST (#441857) #
Well, two more off the board - Joey Gallo signs with Washington $5 mil plus $1 mil of incentives. Plus James Paxton signs with the Dodgers for $11 mil plus $1 mil if on the opening day roster and $1 mil more in incentives.

Sheesh - those Dodgers are going coo-coo with signings this winter. Rotation is now Glasgow-Yamamoto-Paxton (all new) plus Buehler and Miller. Meanwhile all-time great Clayton Kershaw who I suspect wanted to return has no slot left.
bpoz - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 05:04 PM EST (#441858) #
Quite a few big FAs still out there. Boras clients waiting for someone to blink.

Jays don't need to add pitching or D. The DH can be revolving with Vlad, Springer, Kirk. All in the top 5 of the lineup when playing. But the veteran DH bat will help. The OF is not solid because only Varsho is a full time regular. KK & Springer need rest. Biggio, Espinal and IKF are pieces to use to get by. Of course someone could produce a career year. I expect opportunity to be very available.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 05:04 PM EST (#441859) #
Rotation is now Glasgow

Don't tell me that they've lured Daryl Boston out of retirement to play the outfield, and Tyler Houston to catch or play third base.  And the phone is ringing in Ross Atkins' office about Chad Dallas. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 05:07 PM EST (#441860) #
I see that Kyren Paris got into a few games for the Angels last year.  Hall of Names anyone?
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 05:19 PM EST (#441861) #
Rudy York, Gary Sheffield, Joe Birmingham, Dave Bristol, Jacob Nottingham, Oscar Charleston, Cal Raleigh, Reggie Cleveland, Matt Hague, a whole bunch of Washingtons, quite a few Bradfords, Tim Wakefield, many Austins and Orlandos, Ray Durham and Bull Durham,  Denver Grigsby, Carmen San Diego.  Getting there.  How could I forget Al Alberquerque?
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 05:44 PM EST (#441862) #
Santiago Espinal!  And a bunch of pre-expansion players named Tex.
92-93 - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 05:48 PM EST (#441863) #
The Jays should have been all over Gallo at that price. They need the LH thump.

Al Alburquerque, great name. And great Francesa moment. Back after this.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 06:02 PM EST (#441864) #
Bo Jackson, Mississippi.
bpoz - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 06:13 PM EST (#441865) #
Means nothing in reality but the Jay's rotation seems more solid than LAD's

Lets review. For # 5,6,7,8,9 Manoah is not injured and got Cy Young consideration. Y Rodriguez has potential and will be able to prove himself. Mitch White pitched V well for LAD 100 innings but terrible for the Jays, so still a maybe. Bowden Francis was outstanding in whatever role he was doing with the Jays. Tiedemann could show that he is healthy and then also perform at his usual level which was high. If all goes right (I don't expect that) then this is a 5 man future rotation.
lexomatic - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 06:50 PM EST (#441866) #
I see that Kyren Paris got into a few games for the Angels last year.  Hall of Names anyone?

Rudy York, Gary Sheffield, Joe Birmingham, Dave Bristol, Jacob Nottingham, Oscar Charleston, Cal Raleigh, Reggie Cleveland, Matt Hague, a whole bunch of Washingtons, quite a few Bradfords, Tim Wakefield, many Austins and Orlandos, Ray Durham and Bull Durham,  Denver Grigsby, Carmen San Diego.  Getting there.  How could I forget Al Alberquerque?
YES! USA vs Europe vs South/Central America dunno if enough Canada place names.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 07:02 PM EST (#441867) #
Hall of Fame: Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, and Todd Helton.
Nigel - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 07:23 PM EST (#441868) #
I'd have been happy if the Jays did either of the Gallo or Paxton deals (or both:)). As 92-93 says, Gallo as your LH power add and 4th OF would have made a great deal of sense. Paxton as a play to potentially trade from a surplus of SPs to find a position player would have made sense too. Obviously, Paxton would be more of a gamble but a one year deal at that cost limits the risk and Paxton's underlying numbers with the Sox last year look better than the bottom line ERA. Rodriquez and IDK will make roughly the same next year as Gallo and Paxton.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 07:27 PM EST (#441869) #
Brexit just kills the European team!

Bo Jackson, Mississippi. That deserves a song. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 07:35 PM EST (#441870) #
Gallo might be done.  He's striking out 40% of the time, not hitting line drives.  And his fielding has deteriorated.  If he continues on the path he has been on the last 2 years, he'll be out of the game pretty quickly. 

Mind you at $5M, it's not much of a gamble.  If he seems to have recovered some, you can give him a larger role, and if he remains as he was, you can just use him in certain situations where you need a 3 run homer as your 26th man.  Earl Weaver would have at least one of those guys on his bench and he knew what he was doing. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 07:39 PM EST (#441871) #
Beltre, Mauer and Helton are all worthy choices for the Hall of Fame.  Nice job by the voters after a thin few years. 
John Northey - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:30 PM EST (#441872) #
Weaver also had 15-16 hitters on his teams vs 13 today. With 15 hitters you can easily carry a Gallo who might be toast just for that odd 3 run HR. Is Paxton any better of a risk than Manoah or Kikuchi? You'd have to trade one of those 2 to open a slot.
lexomatic - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:45 PM EST (#441873) #
Brexit just kills the European team!
We can go way way back to Germany Schaefer IF utility
lexomatic - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:47 PM EST (#441874) #
FWIW a languages hall of names might be fun.
English, French, German have a few names each.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 08:56 PM EST (#441875) #
A languages Hall of Names? Why not?

I can't help much.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 11:01 PM EST (#441876) #
I'm surprised Hoskins only got two years at seventeen even if there's an opt out. Somebody somewhere's gotta be whispering collusion.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 23 2024 @ 11:05 PM EST (#441877) #
That is surprising. I was sure he'd get more. Guess the lost year hit him hard. Puts the Jays in a bit tighter position as I saw him as one of the better options. Wonder if the Jays are holding out for a 1 year deal with someone.
scottt - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 06:04 AM EST (#441878) #
It's 1/17M or 2/34M which seems pretty much inline with predictions.

He's from Cali and might have wanted to play 1B rather than DH.

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 07:04 AM EST (#441879) #
The opt-out is pretty important. If he performs well, he can go out and get a sizeable contract next off-season (when he'll be 31). If he has a poor season, he'll have a solid guaranteed contract covering 2025.

My guess is that the Jays are willing to give Soler a two-year contract, but that they would prefer not to give him a three-year one.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 07:34 AM EST (#441880) #
Excellent point on the opt-out. That is a big value to players. A safety net if they flop, an escape route if they have a great year. I remember reading that was a big key for Stripling last year (the flop provision saved him as he had a bad year). Still seems weird seeing DH's go to NL teams, although he is said to be a decent 1B but his DRS and other defensive stats don't show it.

So Jays are down to Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, J.D. Martinez, Brandon Belt, and Justin Turner as choices for DH. Martinez appears to want to play on the west coast, I could swear I read Pederson does too (can't find it now). So Soler, Belt, Turner then - Soler the best choice, followed by Belt imo. Turner catches me as a guy who might rub a lot of guys the wrong way in the clubhouse which either would be very good or very bad. I suspect the Jays won't want to risk it and will not chase him. So I'd expect a deal with Soler to happen soon, or a reunion with Belt. I obviously could be very wrong, but that is my reading of the tea leaves right now.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 08:10 AM EST (#441881) #
I feel like it'll be a return by Chapman (ugh) or Belt and nothing else... cross fingers on the health of the SP and pray one of the AAA bats does something remarkable
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 08:43 AM EST (#441882) #
I think Soler has a decent combination of floor and upside. He could be a 2 WAR player (maybe more) in the middle of the order in 2023 producing 30-40 home runs.

As someone mentioned, Chapman might be a bit underrated at this point, especially if he had some nagging health issues that affected his production in 2023. I would be happy to see him return if the contract isn't too onerous. But the team would also need another bat like Soler or Bellinger to strengthen the lineup.
scottt - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 10:11 AM EST (#441883) #
Chapman is possible if he goes back to what the Jays originally offered him or just goes for a pillow contract to try again possibly with more consistent offensive numbers. Because of the QO, he's a tough sell on a short contract elsewhere. Also, Shapiro has an aversion to opt outs and player options.

The QO also makes Bellinger and Snell unattractive.
The Angels appears to be a dark horse on Bellinger.
It wouldn't be the first time their owner overpays for a position player. 

Belt would be fine.

dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 10:22 AM EST (#441884) #
If this FO signs Chapman and does not clear out INF players in a large trade to better the team then this off season will have made little sense with the IKF signing.

Still no clean up hitter, still no 3B, still no top 5 LHH for the (10th?) year in a row? Rowdy Tellez, Corey Dickerson, Brandon Belt don't count. Belt was the opposite of Chapman. Useless for about two months then hot the rest of the way...
bpoz - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 10:41 AM EST (#441885) #
The FO has done a fantastic job at keeping their plans to themselves. All their moves were surprises or unexpected by most of the fan base. All this speculation is being promoted by the media, player agents and also the fans.

ST starts Feb 15th.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 12:04 PM EST (#441886) #
Soler's floor is better than Joey Gallo's, but not that much.  The 20th percentile ZiPS projection for him is .214/.306/.411, which as a DH means that he should be restricted solely to the soft side of a platoon and he wouldn't be particularly good at it.  The 80th percentile projection has him at .263/.356/.520 and a solid middle-of-the order bat- like David Ortiz in one of his lesser years.

If they sign Soler, the best use of him, in my opinion, needs to take account of both offence and defence.  Horwitz is, according to ZiPS, a somewhat more valuable player in the lineup against a RH pitcher than Soler.  Soler is more valuable than Horwitz clearly against a LHP.  What I would do is have VGJ get 2-3 starts a week at DH when the opponent is throwing a RHP and the Blue Jays have right-handed ground ball pitchers Gausman, Bassitt or Berrios on the mound.  Horwitz would get the start in those games and Soler would be on the bench.  This has the advantage of giving VGJ enough time off his feet, optimizes the lineup and keeps Horwitz ready to go when injury strikes either Soler or VGJ. 

The projected splits against RHP are Soler (.237/.324/.455) and Horwitz (.264/.353/.401). These offensive lines have essentially equivalent value. However, Horwitz runs better than Soler and fields 1st base much better than VGJ. 
Joe - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 12:05 PM EST (#441887) #
IKF is a clear Merrifield replacement, though — how would re-signing Chapman not make sense in that world? (Earnest question.)

Belt, BTW, was only useless in April — by May 7th his 15 game rolling wRC+ was over 150.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 12:11 PM EST (#441888) #
My guess is that the Jays are willing to give Soler a two-year contract, but that they would prefer not to give him a three-year one.

Tough call. If the extra year gets the deal done, are we OK with that?

Soler slashed .270 / .282 / .514 / .796 OPS in 10 career games at Rogers Centre.

Cracka - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 12:26 PM EST (#441889) #
I'm not OK with a 3-year deal with Soler. I think he's a good fit for this season, but only as a DH-only / very occasional OF. His bad defense is only going to get worse and he's never been a consistent hitter... three years feels like a long-time for a very one-dimensional player. That's being said, I'd overpay for 2024 if it got the deal done. $20 million - not quite Teoscar money, but more AAV than anyone else is likely to offer.
scottt - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 12:42 PM EST (#441890) #
Not so clear. Merrifield was the 4th outfielder and a guy who could play 2B and hit better than Biggio and Espinal.
IKF is a guy who won a gold glove at 3B and who can play SS. He doesn't really hit enough to play LF.
He's not needed in CF. He's a useful bench player but he doesn't block prospects. And then there's Schneider who has probably earned some playing time at 2B.

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 01:29 PM EST (#441891) #
I don't get the IKF as Merrifield replacement.  IKF has played 1 inning at second base since 2018; I assume he'd be OK at it, but why you would want to move him to another position after he didn't make the CF transition successfully?  And I'm pretty sure IKF would be OK in left-field, but Merrifield was of almost no value when out there and I don't see why you would try to do that again with a player who has less of an offensive record. 

Maybe that is the club's intention anyways. They seem to value versatility to an unhealthy degree. 
Nigel - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 01:34 PM EST (#441892) #
If IKF turns out to be the Merrifield replacement then I will be really confused by this offseason. I've said this before, its not that having a glove first utility player is a bad idea its just that with Espinal, Schneider, Biggio on the roster why would you pay IKF what they did for the pleasure of what may or may not be an upgrade over what they already have? IKF's deal wasn't huge but as you are starting to see that kind of deal could have been used to fill another roster need. That signing only makes sense to me if you view IKF as the regular 3B and believe in some of his 2nd half underlying offensive numbers.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 01:47 PM EST (#441893) #
The issue for me with Chapman returning while IKF was signed is too many players for the infield, none of which addressing a LHB or clean up hitter.

IKF and Biggio are natural infielders with ability to play the OF, but not ideally since you want better offense from your OF unless elite elite defense. Espinal and Schneider are also infielders. Add Horwitz. So you have 5 infielders who all have drawbacks offensively and there are only 2 infield positions open.

Add Addison Barger, Orelvis Martinez and Damiano Palmegiani who are all ready in 2024 to contribute and you get 8 infielders. Sign Chapman and you have 9 infielders, 8 RHH and none with above average offense.

When IKF was signed I thought that at least two or three of Biggio, Espinal, Horwitz would be going out in a package for a controllable OF like Christian Yellich or Lane Thomas coming back. This way, IKF would be replacing the super utility/INF guys we had to give up to get an OF. Or at least an INF coming back like Willy Adames.

I suppose I just felt this FO was gearing up to trade a bigger quantity of of players for a better quality return player who was either on an expiring contract or a contract that the other team wanted to get rid of or simply just getting expensive.

I don't see the purpose of spending 7.5 million for him when you have all the aforementioned INF depth of mediocrity. That's 7.5 million that could have gone to signing Hoskins or Teoscar for a one or two year overpay deal.

Fathoming another year with depth and versatility for this team with no real power or clean up production is difficult. Here's line up that was run out mid season in 2023 when Bo was injured:

Guerrero Jr

What's the projected line up for 2024 after expected signing?

Guerrero Jr

Doesn't look much better to me.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 01:50 PM EST (#441894) #
*exclude "when Bo was injured" since I used a 2023 line up with Bo in it for better comparison.
Gerry - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 01:54 PM EST (#441895) #
Baseball America just announced their top 30 prospects list. If you compare the BA list to the Blue Jays list, there is little difference in the top 20, just two prospects. BA includes Davis Schneider and include Dahian Santos at number 18. we had Santos at 21. Batters Box has Spencer Horwitz and Cade Doughty in our top 20, BA has Horwitz at 22 and doesn't have Doughty in their top 30.

In the 21-30 range there are a lot of differences. BA includes Franklin Rojas, Fernando Perez, Nolan Perry, Mason Fluharty, Hayden Juenger and Sam Shaw. They do not have Alex De Jesus, CJ Van Eyk, Dasan Brown, Lazaro Estrada, Michael Dominguez or Adrian Pinto in their top 30. Rojas just signed for the Jays last week which was too late for the Batters Box list.
Gerry - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 02:33 PM EST (#441897) #
Hector Gomez is reporting that there are multiple IFA's for 2025 through 2027 whose ages have proven to be false. Many had signed big dollar pre-deals based on their claimed age. He hasn't given any names yet.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 02:56 PM EST (#441898) #
Merrifield in 2023 mostly played 2B and LF. Based on the current roster, his spot in 2024 is likely to be Davis Schneider's. Biggio stays in the same role, and IKF (for now) is in Chapman's spot.

With IKF, there are likely 3 scenarios in play. 1) He's the starting 3B who can provide some/most of Chapman's defense and they are willing to sacrifice the bat for it. 2) He shares 3B with Biggio and Espinal (assuming he's still on the team) depending on the matchup. 3) The team wants one of Barger, Orelvis, or Palmegiani to win the 3B spot and IKF is cover in case they don't.

I don't think 3 is a possibility or something the FO is strongly considering. It's more likely to be 1 or 2.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 04:18 PM EST (#441899) #
Evaluations of IKF's defence vary, but both BBRef and Statcast suggest that IKF has been fabulous at third base and indeed quite a bit better than Chapman has been over the last few years.  It's possible the FO agrees subjectively with the BBRef and Statcast numbers and believes that IKF will be an average third baseman or a little above without any significant improvement in his offence if they just leave him at third base.  Which would be quite a bargain at $7.5M a year. 
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 04:34 PM EST (#441900) #
The club seems to have 1 infielder too many and 1 outfielder too few.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 05:00 PM EST (#441901) #
Wins "Above Replacement" is great for a rotisserie recap. Fact is you need to win more games over the season than your opponent. I don't want a guy who achieves 75% of his WAR value in 2 months of a season (leaving a huge loss in the other 4) or who accumulates his WAR value in defense where the team already has enough.

Who's going to replace the home runs from Chapman who was, I believe, top 3 in HR production on the team?

A 2 WAR player who hits 30 bombs or more will contribute to more wins for this team in 2024 than a 4 WAR player who will hit 7 HR...
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 05:28 PM EST (#441902) #
The club seems to have 1 infielder too many and 1 outfielder too few.


Nigel - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 06:01 PM EST (#441903) #
And it’s a lineup short on thump, particularly of the LHH variety.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 06:05 PM EST (#441904) #
I would take the 4 WAR player over the 2 WAR one.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 07:55 PM EST (#441905) #
"I would take the 4 WAR player over the 2 WAR one."

So you basically prefer a Matt Chapman over a Lourdes Gurriel Jr or JD Martinez?

Under the scenario where the 2WAR player nets your team more wins and makes your team more difficult to play against? That's just silly.

To me it's like saying "adding this new front door to your home will increase the resale value. Adding a deck will increase resale value. Upgrading the bathrooms will increase resale value. Oh and don't forget about the kitchen remodel...that will really increase the value of your home." At a certain point you need to look in the mirror and realize you only have a two bedroom home and you have twins on the way and there's no amount of increasing the value of things that will address what is needed. You can increase the value of your home ten fold and still have a home that does not fill your need...

The Blue Jays similarly are scaled too far to the side of defense and pitching and the only thing that can change that is if FOUR! key players "bounce back," in Springer, Vladito, Kirk and Varsho. The team need is RBI, HR...Runs! Adding more WAR via defensive first players or pitchers is crazy.

BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 07:57 PM EST (#441906) #
A 2 WAR player who hits 30 bombs or more will contribute to more wins for this team in 2024 than a 4 WAR player who will hit 7 HR...

Then you literally don't believe in WAR as a stat or concept. Which is fine, but as written your statement makes no logical sense.
bpoz - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 08:09 PM EST (#441907) #
When we are 2 weeks or so before the season starts people should state their guess at number of wins.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 08:30 PM EST (#441908) #
The 4 WAR player must be doing a lot of things right (whether on defense, at the plate and/or on the basepaths) to get to that level of production, if his home run total tops out at 7. He sounds like a pretty good ballplayer.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 08:35 PM EST (#441909) #
It is possible to have a good season with a below average offence.  The 2005 White Sox had a team OPS+ of 95 and scored 30 runs less than league average, but thanks to good starting pitching and great fielding won 99 games, and went 11-1 in the post-season.  Mark Buehrle led the club with 5 WAR, and Aaron Rowand, Scott Podsednik, Joe Crede and Juan Uribe had good seasons leading with their gloves.  BBRef says that the position players were -50 with the bats and +42 with the gloves.  Which looks about right.  The pitchers were better, but it is a fact that they all had good seasons without striking out too many- just 1/10 of a strikeout over league average.  League ERA was 4.35 and League FIP was 4.33.  The White Sox ERA was 4.12, which was good, but their ERA was 3.61, best in the league.

It is unusual to win with a below average offence, or for that matter,  with below average run prevention; usually teams are good at both with the proportions varying.  Both help you win. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 08:43 PM EST (#441910) #
Let’s imagine the Jays currently have a lot to spend and they can add two more players in free agency. Which players should they acquire?

1. Snell + Bellinger?

2. Chapman + Bellinger?

3. Chapman + Snell?

I would probably choose door #1.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 09:20 PM EST (#441911) #
My sentence makes sense. WAR makes sense for individual stats in a vacuum, not for determining the overall value of said individual to a team overall. If it did that then the team wins would match the WAR numbers of all players that played that season. Kevin Kiermaier is worth twice the WAR of JD Martinez but if the Jays had the latter last year and moved Daulton Varsho to CF then chances are the team would have won more games, yet WAR says that Kevin Kiermaier and Varsho will give you more wins.

soupman - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 09:35 PM EST (#441912) #
I was under the impression that team wins and WAR do correlate fairly closely.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 09:54 PM EST (#441913) #
Paging Mr. Northey. What was the cumulative WAR of all Jays players who played last year? Was it more or less than their win total?
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 09:58 PM EST (#441914) #
I just heard a great trade proposal and signing suggestion. Jays trade Kirk, Schneider and Zulueta for Arias from Miami. Then they move Vlad to DH and sign Bellinger to play 1B.

Thats the type of activity I was expecting this FO to do this off season.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 09:59 PM EST (#441915) #
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 10:31 PM EST (#441916) #
New York Post: " Ex-Yankee Domingo Germán has offers for MLB return after seeking alcohol abuse treatment . . . in talks with six teams, a source familiar with Germán’s situation said, including AL East foes the Blue Jays and Orioles. "
Glevin - Wednesday, January 24 2024 @ 10:32 PM EST (#441917) #
WAR is a good very rough tool of player value.1 WAR difference between players is meaningless but a 4 WAR player is going to be good. WAR values defense more than teams do generally and defensive metrics aren't fantastic anyway. It's a useful but overused tool.
Katie - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 12:00 AM EST (#441918) #
Although it's not a perfect 1:1 ratio, team wins and WAR correlate quite highly.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 12:50 AM EST (#441919) #
FanGraphs article: " For 2009, the correlation between a team’s projected record based on their WAR total and their actual record was .83 . . . One standard deviation of the difference between WAR and actual record is 6.4 wins, and every single team is within two standard deviations. Only four teams were more than 10 wins away from their projected total by WAR, with Tampa Bay ending up the furthest away from our expectation (96.6 projected wins, 84 actual wins), and 18 of the 30 teams were within six wins of their projected WAR total. "
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 01:02 AM EST (#441920) #
cont'd: " For comparison, the correlation between pythagorean expected record and actual record is .91 . . . "
bpoz - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 06:59 AM EST (#441921) #
I am going to agree with dalimon5 about elite run scoring and elite run prevention. A long time ago when LAD's manager was Lasorda they had a team that was elite at run prevention but were the opposite at run scoring. Their pitching was incredible. The results showed that their hitting was V weak. Maybe they were loaded with utility players (lacked power) I can't remember. I think they came in 2nd in their division which was not good enough to make the playoffs.

The 2023 Jay's O was not as bad as the LAD O.

Speaking of weak O does anyone remember our hitting coach Gary Denbo I think was his name. He preached OBP "a walk is as good as a hit" I believe was the mantra. I am probably just being influenced by personal frustrations but I remember bases loaded no outs and that was followed with a strikeout and a double play resulting in no runs scored but a good OBP. Cito changed that. He said you will get 1 good pitch to hit in your AB so hit it hard. Cito did not bunt.
scottt - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 08:28 AM EST (#441922) #
Then they move Vlad to DH and sign Bellinger to play 1B.

Maybe you haven't noticed Vladdy's antics on the bench when he DH.

Belinger had a single rebound year with low exit velocity and he's seeking what would be a franchise contract for the Jays. Also he would cost 2 draft picks and enough international money to have a serious impact on the 2025 signings. The Jays have already promised lucrative contracts to their top selections, so that could mean not signing several low bonus players such as were Kirk and Moreno.
bpoz - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 09:04 AM EST (#441923) #
Thanks scottt. I hope the FO is aware of the luxury tax penalties and use some wise strategies to avoid this. I believe LAA DFA'd about 5 ML players to get under the luxury tax threshold. One was LHP Matt Moore who they just resigned.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 10:02 AM EST (#441924) #
Today might be the weakest birthday day of the year.  When Vern Ruhle is your best player in the last 100 years, it's going to be a long season for the January 25ths.  And I learned that Jose Berrios has the most normal fastball in the MLB.  The link in the article to one of his pitches illustrates how a normal fastball with pinpoint location is usually very effective unless, of course, the batter is sitting on a pitch in that location. 

99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 10:13 AM EST (#441925) #
Some buzz on Twitter about a brewing scandal re: IFAs lying about their age.
Apparently the Jays backed away from Kennew Blanco when they discovered he was 17 and not 16 as they previously believed.

Marc Hulet - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 10:39 AM EST (#441926) #
Note, German was also suspended previously for beating up his girlfriend.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:12 AM EST (#441927) #
Additionally, Germán caused a melee (turned over a sofa and smashed a television) in the Yankee clubhouse, which lead to his alcohol rehab.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:13 AM EST (#441928) #
" Maybe you haven't noticed Vladdy's antics on the bench when he DH."

I actually thought he toned down his antics a lot last season, partly because his partners in crime, Hernandez and Gurriel, weren't there, and partly because he seemed pretty frustrated with some of his at-bats at times.
85bluejay - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:38 AM EST (#441929) #
I am not against 2nd/3rd chances but each situation is different - the girlfriend that German was accused of assaulting is now his wife & said incident was part of his alcoholism problem - that he's taken steps to address that problem and is still apparently seeking guidance even after his program finished means that I would not be against German having another opportunity including with the Jays. That said, I think the Orioles offer him a great opportunity on a pillow contract.
Nigel - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:40 AM EST (#441930) #
This is a different point than the kind of odd 2 WAR player vs 4 WAR player discussion above (although supportive of dalimon's point about the lineup), but I do think that, collectively, an offence can be more or less than the sum of its parts (beyond the obvious impacts of luck). Some balance of long sequence offensive players and thump; some balance of handedness; some speed; etc. Nothing is a perfect blend of course. Right now, the Jay's projected line-up isn't particularly well balanced which should influence the kind of transaction that should be made (if any).
greenfrog - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 12:16 PM EST (#441931) #
Some pointed language from Bichette about the Blue Jays, reported on Sportsnet. He mentioned Turner and Martinez as two players he would like to see added to the team.

Also, I do not think Bichette will be on the team in 2026.
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 12:20 PM EST (#441932) #
Yeah when asked about contract extension he basically said something to the point of "yeah we haven't really talked and I don't think it's important to to think about that right now."

Sounds like he may be traded this trade deadline if this team isn't contending.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#441933) #
I don't want to speculate too much on German's personal circumstances, but here's a story from last spring where he talks about getting his life back on track, albeit in fairly vague terms. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have stuck.

I think we can wish him well in his recovery efforts, but maybe he doesn't need to work through his problems while wearing a Blue Jays uniform (or, indeed, any other MLB uniform).
John Northey - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 02:42 PM EST (#441934) #
I'd stay far, far, far away from guys with domestic abuse on their list - guys who beat women rarely stop. I know a few women who keep going back to guys who have hit them and EVERY time the guy reverts back to hitting them. I can't think of a single exception. Sadly, nothing you say can stop them from going back to these guys, it has to be from within themselves (seeing that they don't need to put up with it, that their own lives have value). As to how to get guys who beat women to stop...wish I knew what worked - I've seen them 'go to God', 'stop drinking', 'stop drugs', you name it.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 04:34 PM EST (#441935) #
Congrats to the DBacks, who are reportedly close to signing Pederson. Nice off-season for GM Mike Hazen.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 05:04 PM EST (#441936) #
Still, I think it'll be 85 wins and out of the playoffs for the D'Backs.  They actually were a .500 club on merit last year.   My favourite thing about them is prospect Gino Groover- too bad that he's a 40 fielder with those initials.

The D'Backs time will come again in 2 or 3 years. Maybe.  Zac Gallen avoided arbitration and signed for $10 M (congratulations to Hazen on signing him for such a modest salary).  He'll be a free agent after 2025. 

greenfrog - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 05:54 PM EST (#441937) #
This is Dan S back on Jan. 3 (before the Pederson signing): "Overall, the Diamondbacks project a little better than in 2023, in the 84-88 win range. It took some good fortune to get to the World Series last year, fortune that promptly abandoned them once they got there. But this remains a solid team that is poised to contend for a Wild Card spot, though it would still be a major upset if they made the Dodgers shake in their shoes, especially after the Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto signings."
Mike Green - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 06:04 PM EST (#441938) #
I remember that. I think it was the low end of that range, and Pederson only moves the needle a little. It is nice to make the World Series and then improve.
John Northey - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 08:35 PM EST (#441939) #
So of the list I had at the top of this page - Justin Turner, J.D. Martinez, Joey Votto, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Rhys Hoskins, Brandon Belt = Pederson gone, Hoskins gone, Martinez appears to want to stay out west somewhere, so we are down to Turner, Votto, Soler, Belt. I'm beginning to think Votto might end up here in the end - an easy to release if he sucks (1 year deal is all he'd expect at a low rate) even with the Canadian hero stuff, or Soler - if the Jays are willing to risk a 3 year deal (he seems to be holding out for that). I suspect the Jays aren't wanting a reunion with Belt for some reason (might think last year was a dead cat bounce, especially with the weak start he had - May 1st he was at 161/235/274 and I know I was thinking it might be time to write him off, then he hit from May 2nd to the end 274/396/538). So which is the real Belt? April, May-Sept, overall? Also his leadership was a bit odd - in interviews he seemed ... well ... I wasn't a fan lets just say that. No idea how that played in the clubhouse.

So now what? Who knows? I'm expecting Soler at 2 years $30 mil myself, MLBTR predicted 3/$45. Maybe 2/$30 with an option that vests at $15 mil if he is healthy (500 PA) and/or gets MVP votes, and/or gets to the ASG or something. There is always a way to make things work if both sides want it to.

Note: David Robertson signed with the Rangers, giving them a stronger pen for $11-12 mil for 1 year.
John Northey - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 09:18 PM EST (#441940) #
FYI: saw a post on Twitter mentioning how the Jays needed to upgrade their offense at 3B. My simple question (never answered) was with whom? By wRC+ the guys better than Chapman at 3B were 11 deep - Isaac Paredes (TB - pre-arb), Austin Riley (Atl - signed for 10 more years), Alex Bregman (Hou - just signed for 2024), Rafael Devers (Bos - signed for 10 years), Gunnar Henderson (Bal - yeah right), José Ramírez (Cle - signed long term), Jake Burger (Mia - pre arb), Max Muncy (LAD - signed for 3 more years), Jeimer Candelario (was a free agent), Manny Machado (SDP - signed for 10 years $333 mil), and Josh Jung (Texas - pre arb). Basically the only guy who hit better and was available was Candelario who played more at 1B than 3B last year and normally is in the negatives for DRS at 3B.

So not a lot of choices. Good luck trading for one of those pre-arb guys, and I don't see the Jays taking on that $333 mil contract for a guy in his 30's already.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 09:25 PM EST (#441941) #
The Pederson contract is supposedly for one year only. Seems like a good low-risk move for Arizona.
John Northey - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:12 PM EST (#441942) #
Just read the details on Pederson's deal - 1 year $9.5 with a $3 mil buyout of year 2 $14 mil (mutual option - so really a 1 year $12.5 mil deal). Good job by Arizona. I could swear I read that he wanted to play out west so the Jays couldn't have had him for the same deal. Good deal for Arizona imo. Before that deal they were at $178,262,667 for competitive tax purposes, and still will be well below the magic $237 mil mark where you start getting penalties.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:19 PM EST (#441943) #
He’s guaranteed $12.5m (including 2025 buyout). Looking at the Pederson, Hoskins and Teoscar contracts, we’re starting to have a pretty good idea what the going rate for a DH/OF type player is.

Turner and Martinez might be the best choices for the Blue Jays in some ways, but I might choose Soler over them because of his age. Turner would have been a good choice a couple of years ago. Martinez might have another good year or two in him but he’s getting up there in age as well.
dalimon5 - Thursday, January 25 2024 @ 11:56 PM EST (#441944) #
John, I had posted a comment here from the Blair and Barker podcast where Barker said JD Martinez and Joc Pederson wanted to stay out west.
John Northey - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 12:39 AM EST (#441945) #
Thanks dalimon5. Never thought to look back in the thread here. Doh!!! At least now I won't keep thinking I was going coo-coo on it.
bpoz - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 08:41 AM EST (#441946) #
Bo's comment about adding Turner & Martinez can be translated to "get some thump" into the lineup. We lost to the Twins 3-1 and 2-0 in the playoffs. These scores are consistent with how we lost all year. So Bo is right. You don't win often by scoring 1 run let alone 0 runs.

With that clearly proven (painfully) Shapiro/Atkins have not added anything to change/improve the O. There is still time however. But the luxury tax is threatening. Maybe it is written in stone "don't go over" because of the draft & Int'l bonus penalties. Also "be competitive & just get in" is also written in stone to me anyway. Trading Espinal for salary relief does not calculate but 1 less utility IF does make sense. Something to reduce payroll and add power is probably in the works or already done. The done may be that they believe in D Schneider. His Aug was not going to continue. His Sept was bleak but he did get 65 ABs. His .154 Avg was bleak but his 11bb, 6 doubles, 1 triple and 2 Hr and .304 OBP was good. Then there are a lot of close to ready AAA prospects with good O. If any can produce good O numbers in the 1st 200ABs with 10 Hr then they are probably ready.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 09:16 AM EST (#441947) #
Mike Green suggested Danny Jansen in left-field, which is an interesting idea, if feasible.  But, how about George Springer?  (He has 1 career appearance in LF.)  That could create another outfield arrangement with Biggio in RF.
Mike Green - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 09:40 AM EST (#441948) #
Biggio occasionally in RF is viable. Giving Springer a day off now and then against a RH starter makes sense.

The issue is that both Varsho and Kiermaier bat left, and Kiermaier needs some time off given his age and health history. It would be helpful to have a RH outfield bat so that only one of Varsho and Kiermaier are in the lineup against a LH starter. Jansen has turned into a good hitter overage last few years, and if he can play the position adequately, it maybe a way for both Kirk and Jansen to get 450-500 PAs in 2024.
Mike Green - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 09:43 AM EST (#441949) #
Autocorrect had a field day there.

*over the last few years instead of overage..

*may be instead of maybe.

A cold rainy day and typographical errors. Blah.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 10:05 AM EST (#441950) #
Good point about the balancing left / right handedness of the outfield depending on the opposing starter.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 11:13 AM EST (#441951) #
There's got to be at least one, if not two moves left for the Jays to make. If Bellinger signs with the Cubs as rumoured it might get things moving. Teams and free agents/player agents seem to be locked in a staring contest right now.
92-93 - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 11:34 AM EST (#441952) #
There are lots of veteran OF/DHs still out there on the market so there's little reason to be giving out 2 or 3 year deals. If the front office doesn't have a Chapman-esque trade up its sleeve it would be well served signing two presumably cheaper guys like Votto and Pham and then reassessing things at the trade deadline. I prefer signing 2 guys and hoping 1 can hit to signing just a JD Martinez/Justin Turner, though those guys would pair well with a Michael Taylor signing.
Ryan Day - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 11:52 AM EST (#441953) #
Presumably there are a bunch of teams hovering around Bellinger, Snell, and Chapman, waiting for someone to blink in negotiations but keeping a bunch of cash available just in case.

It wouldn't shock me if Boras took his toys and went home, with the aim of auctioning them off to desperate playoff contenders mid-season.

Hopefully someone's set some deadlines for making decisions and/or moving on with their lives.
Mike Green - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 12:09 PM EST (#441954) #
Here's a good article on Blake Snell's command and walk frequency.  The article deals with his ability to hit spots, ensuring that if he misses, it's not in the heart of the zone often.  I suppose like Tom Glavine.  Statcast tells us that his barrel % is a little less than league average, as is the average exit velocity but his launch angle allowed is a little above the league average and it's not surprising that his career HR/FB rate is 11.6%.  That's not outstanding. 

But the article misses something, which explains his sterling ERA over his career despite the walk rate and the home run rate.  Check out Snell's performance with runners on base over his career, and in the various leverage situations.  He's performed a little better with runners on base than with no one on.  And he's performed better still with multiple runners on base.  With the bases loaded, batters are hitting .141/.253/.266 and with two runners on, batters aren't doing much better than that.  In high leverage situations, batters are hitting .186/.283/.312 noticeably worse than in other situations.  Snell has been clutch.

Finally, Snell is a notorious slow starter.  He has a 3.82 ERA and a losing record over his career in the first half, and a 2.46 ERA and a 39-17 record in the second half.  Pitchers!  Gotta love 'em. 

John Northey - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 01:21 PM EST (#441955) #
Just looking at what is left at 3B - it ain't much. Chapman, Urshela, Longoria are listed as the best 3 still there. Longoria I thought I'd look at - on the cusp of HOF level (58.6 bWAR, I see 60 as 'OK, now we are serious'), 70 hits shy of 2000, 58 HR shy of 400, 119 OPS+ lifetime. Still a net + on defense (BR) at 3B but shouldn't play there too much. RH bat, just a 93 OPS+ last year, but 116 and 124 the 2 years before that. He basically plays about 50% of the time now but still has power (11 HR in 237 PA). Sadly the stuff gets worse now. His last month with a sOPS+ over 100 was June, sub 40 each of the next 3 months (yikes!), just a 74 sOPS+ in wins, 124 in losses. A 100 sOPS+ in high leverage, 107 in low leverage. Now some positives depending how you look at it. Sucks vs finesse pitchers (58 sOPS+) but hits average power/finesse guys well (122). Same with ground ball/fly ball - 63 sOPS+ vs fly ball, 98 vs ground ball, 122 vs guys who were a mix. Against teams sub 500 55 sOPS+, above 500 123 sOPS+. 4 for 8 vs the Rays.

I don't think Longoria wants to come out east or to Canada though. I got the impression he is wanting to stay on the coast (he is from California). But properly used he could be useful in a mix-match with IKF & Biggio at 3B. I only see him as a March signing - he'd need to be desperate and the Jays also.

As to Urshela we've gone over him a few times here. Basically a lot like IKF but weaker D and better O. Plays everywhere, when hot can shoot well over 100 for OPS+, but 103 lifetime, 91 last year. Could be a mix/match partner but really don't see it happening. Might as well just keep using IKF/Biggio/Espinal.

In the end there isn't anyone at 3B outside of Chapman who I'd see as worth signing. I could see a case for each of these 2 guys, but not a strong one. If the Jays want to upgrade at 3B they'll need to do a trade and the market is very, very, very thin as in I can't find a single guy I think is available who'd be worth trading for either due to contract (Machado) or would cost an insane amount (most other quality ones are pre-arb or signed to long term deals). Might be hoping Orelvis Martinez or Addison Barger is ready by May/June.
Nigel - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 02:38 PM EST (#441956) #
Given the meagre droppings left to be sifted through, I'd go for a Pham/Votto combo as well. I'd have low expectations of the outcome but it would at least attempt to address the roster's needs and sell a few tickets along the way.
SK in NJ - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 03:03 PM EST (#441957) #
I think the team's interest in Soler is real. They desperately need a power bat. All the DH or bat-first options have signed pillow contracts, either straight up one year deals or with opt outs (Teoscar, Hoskins, Pederson), so I would be surprised if Soler gets more than 2 guaranteed years, which would fit within the Jays existing timeline with Vlad and Bo. A two year deal for Soler would cover his age 32 and 33 seasons, whereas the other DH options you'll get ages 36 (Belt, Pham), 36/37 (Martinez), 39 (Turner), and 40 (Votto). Inconsistency would certainly be a reason to be cautious with Soler, but everything else lines up well for the Jays needs. I think it happens as some point, especially now with Arizona having moved on.
John Northey - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 03:17 PM EST (#441958) #
Votto is easy to see, Pham is interesting - 111 OPS+ last year, 114 lifetime, can play LF/RF but probably 'meh' at best on defense at 36 this season. 846 lifetime OPS in the playoffs is nice, lots of it last year.

Current 13 man batters...
C: Jansen/Kirk, 1B: Vlad, 2B: Biggio/Schneider, 3B: IKF, SS: Bo, IF: Espinal, OF: Varsho/Kiermaier/Springer, 11 players. For DH that leaves 2 open slots currently filled (in theory) by Horwitz, Lopez, and/or Clement (last 2 are out of options, Horwitz the best hitter left). Pham should outhit any of those 3 options, Votto vs Horwitz is more difficult. In theory, if healthy, Votto should easily outhit Horwitz but he is entering his age 40 season and is a significant negative on defense at this point so a pure DH pretty much.

Still, if a better option can't be signed I'd look at it, Votto at DH would be nice for a potential home town kick for his ending. 44 HR shy of 400, very unlikely to reach in 2024 but getting closer would help his HOF case. I don't think it'd hurt to try as odds are the two combined wouldn't reach much over $10 mil at this stage, and might be a lot under. Then if they suck it is easy to release and give Horwitz a shot with Jansen/Kirk/Springer/Vlad getting DH time too.
Glevin - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 04:08 PM EST (#441959) #
I love Votto but hard to see how he makes the team any better. ZIPS has him with a 91 WRC+ next year and Horwitz with a 105. Votto has been pretty bad for 2 years in a row and without any defensive value and at 40...meh Soler just a much better bat.
John Northey - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 04:15 PM EST (#441960) #
Agreed Glevin but the way this winter has gone I wouldn't be surprised if Soler signs elsewhere, then the Jays feel a need to throw a bone at the fanbase and sign Votto (incentive laced deal), hoping for a dead cat bounce.
92-93 - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 04:34 PM EST (#441961) #
Having Horwitz around is exactly why Votto makes sense. If Joey doesn't have it, you move on to the next. If you sign Soler and the '21 KC or '22 MIA version show up, you're screwed.

"Votto saw flashes of success as he managed a solid .219/.323/.533 slash line with 13 home runs in just 41 games through August 9 this past season, but ultimately ran out of gas down the stretch and slashed just .169/.298/.239 the rest of the way." - MLBTR

I don't think he ran out of gas, I think he was hurt. If he's remotely healthy I believe he will provide whoever signs him with good ABs.

"“I’ve said this over the last couple of years — if I’m healthy, I can play for basically everyone,” Votto told Rosencrans. “I said it in ’21, it was easy again, my game had evolved…it just so happened that the last couple of years, I’ve been working through a pretty serious injury. I thought I competed well. I’d like to enter the season fully healthy and play with confidence, knowing that my instincts were correct and that when healthy, I was still able to compete.”"
greenfrog - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 04:38 PM EST (#441962) #
I wouldn’t stake a key contending season on 40-year-old Votto still being good, no matter how good he used to be in his heyday.

Also, if he was injured last year at age 39, how healthy do you think he’s going to be at age 40?
Cracka - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 05:20 PM EST (#441963) #
If Joey doesn't have it, you move on to the next.

But this is my #1 concern with Votto. I think his intangibles make him much harder to cut mid-season compared to some other player who is not a future hall-of-famer, not a highly respected veteran, and not a local fan favourite. I think if we sign him, he's probably on the roster for the entire season unless he decides to retire. Now maybe I'm wrong and maybe this FO would treat him like anyone else... but I think his reputation would give him a much longer rope and I don't think that's a good thing.
John Northey - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 05:20 PM EST (#441964) #
Oh, I'd agree greenfrog. But the alternatives are shrinking by the day. No way I'd want to guarantee 3 years to Soler, or to anyone else still on the market (or even 2 years to anyone else for DH). Now, as to Votto - if the deal is set so you only risk April/May on him being a solid hitter still (ie: be small enough you can cut him without a large financial hit) so for something like $2 mil plus incentives based on playing time/health that could jump it to $10 mil let's say. Minimal risk, maximum reward. If he plays well he gets paid.
Nigel - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 05:30 PM EST (#441965) #
I understand all of the concerns about Votto but there are no other "low risk" options left. You're shopping in the broken toys aisle from here on out no matter what.
greenfrog - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 06:06 PM EST (#441966) #
Good point about the difficulty of cutting Votto if he performs poorly. The Blue Jays already have a track record of sticking with mediocre or underperforming players for a long time (Tapia might be Exhibit A of this; also Merrifield last year after he stopped hitting). I could see this tendency being even more pronounced in the case of Votto, especially if the front office felt that he was helping sell tickets.
scottt - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 06:24 PM EST (#441967) #
You don't bring a guy that's coming off  a bad year to dump after one month.
Belt took a long time to get going.
Chapman was great early on.
Remember Frank Thomas?

Soler has been good when healthy and is coming off a very good year.
Votto is more like a target for a bad team looking for someone to trade at the deadline.

dalimon5 - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 08:03 PM EST (#441968) #
When healthy isn't Votto the best option from a power and OBP stand point? He was on pace for a crazy HR total last year until injury and no he isn't "always injured." He had major surgery to repair damage from previous seasons. Not really dissimilar to Brandon Belt who everyone said was done but really need a massive leg surgery and recovery.

Votto is likely headed to the hall of fame and he just had a massive surgery to fix his ripped rotator cuff and biceps in his left shoulder. He didn't return from that until this past season, mid season and did well until he fell off a cliff. Probably not a bad idea to hedge bets that the surgically repaired muscles will bounce back better and hold up longer in the 2nd season off surgery if Mr. Votto puts the training in.

I know last off season he was part of an improve comedy class done virtually. One of my colleagues was part of the same class based in Toronto.
greenfrog - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 08:39 PM EST (#441969) #
Belt was 35 in his bounce-back year in 2023 (he also had a career-high .370 BABIP and 35% K rate, so he was somewhat lucky to have performed as well as he did).

Votto will be 40 next year.

I'm not completely opposed to adding him to the roster as a complementary piece, but my expectations would be significantly tempered. Probably he would post somewhere in the range of zero to 1.5 WAR if relatively healthy. Brilliant career as a player, but it's almost over.
Mike Green - Friday, January 26 2024 @ 09:06 PM EST (#441970) #
Votto turned 40 in September.  Over the last 5 seasons, he has an OPS+ of 108, and of course, less than that over the last two seasons.  It would be an upset if he were to be an above-average hitter in 2024.  He still can hit a home run for you, but that's about it.  If you're going to have an Earl Weaver style bench, then there's a place for him maybe. 
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 06:28 AM EST (#441971) #
Tropicana Field sold out 42,000 tickets!

. . . for tonight's WWE Royal Rumble.
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 08:31 AM EST (#441972) #
"If you fake it they will come."
dalimon5 - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 08:40 AM EST (#441973) #

Blake Snell - Giants
Jordan Montgomery - Rangers
Cody Bellinger - Yankees
Matt Chapman - Cubs
Jorge Soler - Jays
JD Martinez - Giants
Marc Hulet - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 09:09 AM EST (#441974) #
Jared Walsh would have been a good milb FA target but he just signed with Texas. Drew Ellis would be another good milb option with more upside than a Votto.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 09:22 AM EST (#441975) #
I'd be all in favour of an older minor leaguer to fill the role of corner outfielder/DH from the right side only.  It would be nice to have a player who one could count on for league average offensive performance in this role with limited defensive requirements.  Unfortunately neither Ellis nor Walsh are that.  I'd actually prefer Rafael Lantigua in that role to either of them. 
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 10:15 AM EST (#441976) #
Interesting predictions, dalimon.  A player or two might swap destinations, but you likely have the right teams in question.
bpoz - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 10:26 AM EST (#441977) #
Our AAA team should have a lot of prospects on it rather than AAAA players.

I only see SP being a bit short at the beginning. Bowden Francis, Paxton Schultz and eventually Tiedemann, C Dallas should be in AAA as starters. Wes Parsons I don't know his situation. Can he be optioned down? There should be a lot of multi inning relievers like Zulueta, Juenger and Danner. Paulo Espino could start. Then there are the 1 inning relievers like J Burnette and Connor Cooke.

The IF/OF also has decent prospects. But C really has no prospects.

Some of the championship team in Vancouver will start in AA like Doughty and Kasevich. They join Devonte Brown, Rainer Nunez.

It happens often that a player can advance 2 levels in the minors. Many of the names I mentioned are good prospects but not elite.

I hope Vancouver's roster is young. My feelings are that they will struggle.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 11:41 AM EST (#441978) #
Today's Immaculate Grid  is easy enough for veteran baseball watchers here to go for the rare ones.  Blue Jays/White Sox was pretty hard for the average BBRef Immaculate Gird player, but somehow I don't  think it will be tough for us.
scottt - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 11:42 AM EST (#441979) #
Sometimes you're just too old to recover from a long lay off.
Votto had a great start last year, but numbers in April/May can be very fluky.
By June, pitchers have shed the rust and teams have figured out how to pitch to each hitter.

If Votto can rake for 4 months on a bad team, he'll end up with a contender at the deadline.

It would be difficult to get rid of him in Toronto if he's struggling after a hot start.
Just a PR nightmare.

mathesond - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 12:20 PM EST (#441980) #
As opposed to the PR nightmare if his poor performance is holding the team back?
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 12:44 PM EST (#441981) #
There is an article in the Athletic about the rise of age fraud among young players from the Dominican Republic. ids who are supposed to be turning 16 and being eligible to sign contracts with MLB teams are being found to be a year or two older. In one case, a player the Red Sox were interested in was discovered to be 6 years older than thought. Altogether around 50 handshake agreements with these young players have been voided because of age fraud. I saw where the top kid the Jays were going to sign, I believe his last name was Blanko, was found to be 17 instead of 16. The Jays may sign him next year but their original offer of 1.5 million will be much less.
bpoz - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 12:58 PM EST (#441982) #
Hector Neris to the Cubs for $9mil. He is a bit better or so than Yimi Garcia I think.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#441983) #
I realize that I am more optimistic about the older players from last year's Bison team that most people here.  The ZiPS projections for Schneider, Horwitz, Clement, Lantigua are quite good and I actually think they'll do a little better on average than the ZiPS projections if they get a chance, having had Hague last year and with him this year.  ZiPS would naturally take a skeptical view on an improvement over 1 year in an older prospect, and it should do so.  When a series of older prospects however improves more than expected on the same club with a hitting coach arguably playing a role, that would be in my opinion less likely to be just a random fluke. 

Danny Jansen has a better offensive ZiPS projection than Jorge Soler, J. D. Martinez, Joc Pederson and equivalent to Justin Turner (but a better baserunner).  One of (John) Schneider's main jobs is to do everything he can so that Jansen's bat is in the lineup as much as possible.  Kirk started 84 games behind the plate and he's not yet 26.  There were six catchers who started over 100 games in the American League and Kirk should be one of them this year. 
Nigel - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 01:53 PM EST (#441984) #
Contrary to expectations, Kirk now appears to be the better defensive C so you can definitely see a pathway to Kirk being the primary C with Jansen DHing.
92-93 - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 02:02 PM EST (#441985) #
Jansen's injuries typically come from the offensive side of the ball, not behind the plate. Perhaps an argument can be made that catching makes him more susceptible to injury when he swings/runs.
SK in NJ - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 04:19 PM EST (#441986) #
Agreed about Jansen at DH. Since 2021, he has a 121 wRC+ and 43 home runs (.250 ISO) in 754 plate appearances. I don't think he would be miscast in a CA/DH hybrid role with Kirk getting most of the catching reps. In that scenario, signing Joey Votto would actually make sense as he wouldn't need to play everyday even against RHP, which would free up more DH days for Jansen, Vlad, and Springer depending on what lineup they want to put out there. They would definitely need a good hitting RHB off the bench in that scenario, though. I've seen Espinal + for Austin Slater suggested before, and that type of deal would make a lot of sense regardless of what they do at DH.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 05:24 PM EST (#441987) #
Today's Immaculate Grid is easy enough

L-C achieved a rarity score of 11, by far a personal best.

Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 05:24 PM EST (#441988) #
Votto's projections against RHP are not as good as Jansen's, Guerrero's and Horwitz', and it's not close.  You could have him off the bench and give him a DH day once a week, and use him as a pinch-hitter when you really need a home run- down 3 with the bases loaded and IKF up against a RHP would be a good situation for him. I don't know that the bench could reasonably accommodate a player like that. 
Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 05:38 PM EST (#441989) #
When Votto was younger, he was a line-drive machine.  It made me think of Manny Mota-  at age 39-41, Mota had 134 PAs total and hit .354/.434/.398.  It might be that Votto would be better off to aim to be Manny Mota, or at most Edgar Martinez.  Edgar makes one of Votto's top 10 comps and hit .294/.406/.489.  He didn't try to hit for the power that he had even a few years earlier.  That might work better for Votto. 
Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 05:43 PM EST (#441990) #
I checked Edgar's line-drive in his age 40 season- it was a very healthy 23%.  Votto was regularly in the high 20s during his prime and that might be the key for him- levelling out his swing. 
Chuck - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 05:44 PM EST (#441991) #
Blue Jays/White Sox was pretty hard for the average BBRef Immaculate Gird player, but somehow I don't think it will be tough for us.

You mean Tim Nordbrook, right?

Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 06:37 PM EST (#441992) #
I figured that it had been long enough, and named "he who shall not be named". Apparently, 0.8% of correct answers were from miscreants like me.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 06:55 PM EST (#441993) #
Votto wRC+ age 35-39 seasons:


Edgar Martinez wRC+ age 35-39 seasons:


The comparison is revealing. Most hitters, even outstanding ones, do not excel when they’re 40. Martinez is a notable exception.
Mike Green - Saturday, January 27 2024 @ 08:17 PM EST (#441994) #
I wasn't saying that Votto has any real shot at being Martinez. I was saying that he might have a more graceful decline if he tried to have a balanced approach at the plate, as Martinez did.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 09:53 AM EST (#441995) #
That makes sense, Mike.

For an idea of how good Martinez was, Shohei Ohtani is a career 146 wRC+ hitter. Martinez was a career 147 wRC+ hitter, and he exceeded that mark *seven* times in his thirties, including a 182 wRC+ high-water mark at age 32. Remarkable.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 11:58 AM EST (#441996) #
So, 18 more days until camp opens, and we're just waiting for Jorge Soler to sign?
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 12:25 PM EST (#441997) #
That and Groundhog Day.
John Northey - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 01:53 PM EST (#441998) #
Wow, Detroit just signed a minor leaguer - Colt Keith - to a 6 year plus options deal. Minimum of $28 mil, max of $82 mil over 9 years. At 21 in AA/AAA he hit 306/380/552 at 2B/3B. BA has him as the #28 prospect in baseball, MLB at #22. The Tigers had nothing worth noting at 3B last year (3 I checked all were sub 80 for OPS+) so no vet freed up due to this.

For the Jays 3B is pretty much IKF, Biggio, Espinal, and the kids. I'm guessing IKF gets most playing time to start, then we see which kid emerges in AAA to grab it in May or June. Unelss, of course, Chapman signs on the dotted line. There just aren't other options. I was hoping that Detroit signing that kid was going to open someone up but it didn't.

I think the Soler signing is delayed as the Jays might still be chasing Bellinger hoping for a 5 man OF/1B/DH mix where Bellinger plays a lot at 1B and in RF to give Vlad & Springer half days off and to give a break to KK where Varsho shifts to CF and Bellinger to LF. Maybe not, but that is all I can figure at this point. The market is close to closing down for most if they don't sign soon.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 02:52 PM EST (#441999) #
John, I think you hit the nail on the head. Jays waiting on Belly. Yankees likely getting Belly or Snell.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 03:03 PM EST (#442000) #
On The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal says that the Blue Jays are "one of several teams that still needs to do something big" and that Toronto "could use two bats, a DH and an outfielder. At this point, a continuing focus on left-handed hitters almost certainly would be too narrow."
greenfrog - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 03:07 PM EST (#442001) #
Maybe the Jays could take a page out of the Dodgers playbook and use deferred money to enable them to sign two quality players this off-season. This could be an outfielder and a DH. Or Snell and an outfielder/DH.
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 03:54 PM EST (#442002) #
The upside to a Snell signing is huge. Will teams ever get a chance to sign a Cy Young pitcher again in a "down" and cool market? He rejected 6 years at 25 million per which would have taken him to age 37.

New report out from Bob Nightengale saying he countered that offer with a request of 9 years at 30 million per. No wonder the Yankees pivoted to signing Stroman.

It's pretty clear the Giants, Angels, Jays and Cubs are waiting for the biggest Free Agents to bring their costs down (Chapman, Bellinger, Snell) which is holding up the trades of Cease, Bieber and delaying the signings of the likes of Soler, Montgomery, and JD Martinez.

I'd imagine a signing of Snell followed by a trade of Kikuchi or Manoah to bring in a LHH would be a net win for the Jays in the short term and long term.
Cracka - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 04:10 PM EST (#442003) #
The track record for giving guys ultra-early extensions isn't exactly stellar: Evan White, Jon Singleton, Scott Kingery, and perhaps the worst one of all... Wander Franco (if he is somehow ever reinstated).
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 04:16 PM EST (#442004) #
Thats a very small list compared to the guys who worked out.
scottt - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 04:20 PM EST (#442005) #
I'd like to see Jansen get over 400 PA as the primary catcher before slotting him for 600.
Since 2018, 95 PA, 384, 147, 205, 248 and then 301 last year.

scottt - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 04:25 PM EST (#442006) #
Soler is the best DH option left and the Jays are pretty much the only team still looking for a DH type bat.

Ottavino decline a 6.75M option with the Mets to resign with them for only 4M.
Here's a guy who misread the market.

Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 05:39 PM EST (#442007) #
Surprising that Ottavino went back to the Mets.  Read somewhere he wanted to join a legit WS contender.  New York is probably 3rd place in that division.
John Northey - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 09:55 PM EST (#442008) #
This is a frustrating time for baseball - a handful of good free agents still out there (Snell, Montgomery, Chapman, Bellinger, Amed Rosario the only ones projected to 2+ fWAR, Jorge Soler, Hyun Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, and Tim Anderson over 1.5), not much on the trade front. Very little that is helpful for the Jays that I can see. Snell, Montgomery both would be nice but not likely. Chapman, Bellinger both could help the team in 2024 but want so many years and $$$ they don't make sense yet. Solar fits but has issues. The rest don't fit at all. I read on another site a push for Kershaw but that is nuts as he wants to be in LA or Texas (where he was born and raised).

So trades.... ugh. I went through 3B options - they suck. Anyone better than Chapman is either very young (pre-arb) or signed long term. Only 32 hitters in all of baseball had a 130+ OPS+, 11 150+. Those 11 150's are not available. Best available is Brandon Belt (138 wRC+ last year). Yeah. So. Now what? Best options for DH/3B are probably Chapman/Belt. But bringing them back would not impress anyone.

At this point, as I've said 101 times, staying put is probably the best option. Save ammo for if any of the big free agents get desperate, or for mid-season trades. Hopefully Schneider and one of the many kids at 3B step up and hit in 2024, and that Springer/Vlad/Kirk/Varsho hit a LOT better as a group than in 2023 (shouldn't be hard). Then pray the ptichi9ng holds up (6th starter options are not horrid, but not 'wow' unless Tiedemann shows he can do something quickly)
dalimon5 - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 10:05 PM EST (#442009) #
I dont think they are staying put. They already offered Chapman a big extension. I don't see them spending 15 million on fringe guys like IKF and Rodriguez inless there is a bigger fish coming in.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 28 2024 @ 10:16 PM EST (#442010) #
John, you mention the “kids at 3B,” which I think is a reference to Orelvis and Barger, but aren’t those players ticketed for positions other than third base (Orelvis—2B and Barger—utility player)? And Schneider seems to be best suited to 2B/LF/DH. Biggio and Espinal aren’t really great options there except for an occasional start.

I assume the Jays paid what they did for IKF because he is a viable stopgap at third base, they don’t have anyone else who can step in at that position, and the trade and free agency markets for third basemen are not promising.
Mike Green - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 09:29 AM EST (#442011) #
The ZiPS projections are now posted on player pages at Fangraphs. IKF's projections were not on either the Yankees or Blue Jays posts because of the timing of his acquisition, and they are not a pleasant sight at all.  ZiPS has him as a 0.7 WAR player over 406 PAs, and a significantly lesser player than Santiago Espinal, and not as good either with the glove or the bat.  If you believe the ZiPS projections, the best thing the club can do is use an IKF/Biggio platoon at third base, Schneider at second base against righties and Espinal against lefties, and Schneider in left-field against lefties with Kiermaier resting most of the time and Varsho occasionally.  IKF would also back up shortstop.  

On this one though, I have to disagree with ZiPS, I don't think it has the defensive abilities of IKF and Espinal and Biggio accurately measured and it (properly) assumes that this bad offensive season in 2023 continues a downward trend, but takes no account of the poor decision to put him in centerfield on his offence.  When a player moves from an infield position where he is great to an outfield position where he is terrible defensively (and vice versa), that will regularly affect offensive production. 
Glevin - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 09:49 AM EST (#442012) #
I think IKF's projections are a bit silly but that's because data projections just look at data. He was sort of the same player as always but his WAR slipped because he was put into OF where his D isn't nearly as good. Play him just at 3B/SS as Jays plan on doing, I'm sure he's a 1.5 WAR sort of player again. I am fine with him as a stopgap at 3B and a backup SS but just don't understand why he and Espinal are both on the roster. I expect/hope Jays will trade Espinal before the season. He's an OK utility player but Jays don't need another 2B/SS guy and imagining lineups with him and IKF back to back is giving me an ulcer.
scottt - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 10:42 AM EST (#442013) #
Schneider/Biggio should get the bulk of 2B playing time.

Biggio and Espinal have played their share of 3B and the result wasn't great.
Clement can play 3B and SS and might be just as redundant as Espinal.

Barger was hurt last year but he's the best arm in the organization and played 30 games in RF, 20 at SS and 10 at 3B. I hear that Orelvis will have to move to 2B but I have heard the same said of Bichette every year.

On the hitting side, if they don't get a plus bat to DH and hit clean up, they will let Bichette hit and pitch around Guerrero and we'll be back to a lot of guys on bases getting stranded. Hitting is contagious.

bpoz - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 12:02 PM EST (#442014) #
Some Bauxites should make their hitting lineups (plural). I see Springer as #1 or 2, Bo #3, Vlad #4, Kirk #5. So #2,6,7,8,9 missing. Vlad protects Bo, Kirk protects Vlad. Both Vlad & Kirk are likely to still be slow runners in 2024 so double plays can happen.

John Schneider and the hitting staff still have a hard job IMO. We need a WAMCO batting order.
Katie - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 12:06 PM EST (#442015) #
I think that Keith extension is a great move for Detroit.
Glevin - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 12:29 PM EST (#442016) #
Rip Jimmy Williams
Glevin - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 12:30 PM EST (#442017) #
I. Meant Jimy Williams of course. That spelling always got me.
Mike Green - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 01:26 PM EST (#442018) #
Jay Jaffe has a review of the new Hall of Fame eligibles for 2025 in today's Fangraphs. In his review there's a chart that indicates Russell Martin was the definitive pitch-framer of his generation, and if you take framing into account, he was a little more valuable than Joe Mauer over his career and a little less valuable at his peak.  He's unlikely to be elected, but he should nonetheless be remembered as a great player. 
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 02:13 PM EST (#442019) #
I think that Keith extension is a great move for Detroit.

The Tigers could be a surprise team this year, especially in the weak A.L. central.

Joe - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 03:34 PM EST (#442023) #
I think IKF's projections are a bit silly but that's because data projections just look at data. He was sort of the same player as always but his WAR slipped because he was put into OF where his D isn't nearly as good. Play him just at 3B/SS as Jays plan on doing, I'm sure he's a 1.5 WAR sort of player again.
Not saying that you're wrong about what IKF will produce next year, but ZiPS isn't simply an extension of the previous year's results: it compares objective underlying metrics, like exit velocity, sprint speed, etc, and uses them to project a player's abilities at every position. For example, Dan posted that Rowdy Tellez would have been the worst-projected SS in baseball in 2022.
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