Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Three hundred comments? It's January!

In the immortal words of Deke Leonard (a cuttlefish to anyone who knows that name), "nothing is happening."

But a quick vaya con dios to Jimy Williams, who the more senior of us remember not so fondly. It wasn't all his fault. But Williams inherited a team that was supposed to win and he didn't win. History seldom smiles on such achievements. He was a very well-regarded coach while he was here, but the switch to the top job simply didn't work. As a manager he was a compulsive juggler, forever riding the hot hand, sending pitchers back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. It's an approach that has worked, in other places and other times. But not in Toronto. He was a baseball lifer, who got two other shots at managing (he was the AL Manager of the Year in 1999, for what that's worth) and collected a pair of World Series rings as a coach in Atlanta and Philadelphia. His major league playing career amounted to just 14 games with the Cardinals in the mid 1960s - he was a middle infielder who didn't hit at all. It's possible that I actually saw him playing with Winnipeg half a century ago. I have no idea if I did or not.
Overdue New Thread | 368 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 03:15 PM EST (#442021) #
Thanks Magpie - I couldn't think of anything but rehashing my old thoughts over and over and over again which I suspect everyone here is getting sick of. 

Baseball news is few and far between at the moment - ex-Jay Matt Gage taken off waivers by the Yankees, Aaron Hicks signs with the Angels.  Yeah, this is the yawn time for baseball.
Magpie - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 03:22 PM EST (#442022) #
Hey, I actually watched some football yesterday! That's a sport that normally attracts my attention slightly more often than golf. Or snooker.
Mike Green - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 03:38 PM EST (#442024) #
Snooker.  Is that what the cool kids are playing now? 
92-93 - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 04:07 PM EST (#442025) #
There's nothing like firing up the golf radio broadcast on a cold, winter day. So soothing.
JohnL - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 04:09 PM EST (#442026) #
My clearest memory of Jimy was being at the last game he won as Jays manager in 1989. Gorgeous May day that I had off work. Jimmy Key vs Mark Langston. Key gave up 2 in the first, and no more. But only Jay to get on base through 8 was Junior Felix, whose speed created an Omar Vizquel error.

Tom Lawless broke up the no-hitter, Bob Brenly, and not-so-Junior added hits & George Bell drove in the winner. 3-2 Jays.

Jays went on the road for the weekend, got swept. Jimy fired, Cito was in, & my next game was Cito’s first win.
dalimon5 - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 04:21 PM EST (#442027) #
This is the time of year for Ken Burns.
Magpie - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 04:34 PM EST (#442028) #
Jimmy Key vs Mark Langston. Key gave up 2 in the first, and no more.

You're probably thinking - "it was 34 years ago. He can't possibly remember all those details, he had to look it up."

I looked it up, and - hang on! Key did not give up two in the first. Seattle scored once in the fifth, once in the sixth. Your memory plays you false!

But just a little. Everything else was exactly right. Felix reaching on the Vizquel error, Lawless breaking up the no-hitter, the RBI hits by Brenly and Felix, the game-winner from George.

I can barely remember where I put my socks...
Mike Green - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 04:58 PM EST (#442029) #
Langston took the loss, but Mike Schooler gave up the game-winner. Langston made two more starts for Seattle before Dombrowski picked him up for the Expos. He was excellent the rest of the year, but the Expos ended up at .500 and the rest is history. Just imagine an Expos club with Pedro and the Big Unit and Wetteland and Walker and the rest and no lockout..
Mike Green - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 05:00 PM EST (#442030) #
Key vs. Langston was a fabulous pitching match-up in 1989.
Gerry - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 05:08 PM EST (#442031) #
Catcher Brian Serven has cleared waivers and been assigned to Buffalo.
JohnL - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 05:33 PM EST (#442032) #

Your memory plays you false! But just a little.

I like to think I waver between brilliance and total brain fog. It’s kept me going for many years. Of course, that’s the brain fog speaking.

Magpie - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 05:34 PM EST (#442033) #
Mike Schooler gave up the game-winner.

That definitely rings a bell. Almost exactly three years later...
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 05:39 PM EST (#442034) #
Omar Vizquel, who retired in 2012, was probably the last active player to have played at Exhibition Stadium.
Magpie - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 05:59 PM EST (#442035) #
It was definitely Vizquel. Jamie Moyer was even older, and Moyer also finished up in 2012, but Moyer's last game was in May. Vizquel hung on right into October.
Magpie - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 06:03 PM EST (#442036) #
As it turns out, Moyer never did play in the old Ex. He was in the NL for his first three seasons, and his one start against the 1989 Jays was in Arlington.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 07:47 PM EST (#442037) #
Buster Olney reports that Toronto "went hard" after Joc Pederson.  Mildly interesting, if only to offer a glimpse at the FO strategy.

Tend to agree with dalimon, there must be a bigger fish out there.  Mind you, as John N. has illustrated, the marketplace is slim pickings.

Thinking outside the box, Toronto could flex some muscle and throw around $50 M cash-in-lieu of players / prospects in a trade.

dalimon5 - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 08:28 PM EST (#442038) #
Here are my new predictions:

Alek Manoah used in center of trade package for Bryan Reynolds from Pittsburgh.

Matt Chapman returns on 1 year deal to Blue Jays because JD Martinez won't come here and Matt Chapman can't get more than the 120 million/6 contract the Jays originally offered him.
John Northey - Monday, January 29 2024 @ 10:36 PM EST (#442039) #
Interesting thought - is it worth it to Chapman to do a 1 year 'make good' deal here, then become a free agent again next winter with no QO (you can only be offered it once). His 108 OPS+ was lower than his career norm (117 lifetime), his injury pretty much screwed his season up (either was going to drastically cut his games played, or his other stats) - his April was "WOW" 1.152 OPS, but outside of a strong July (908 OPS) his year was a write off after that (585-633-908-532-633 OPS by month post April). But this will be his age 31 season making a long term deal harder entering age 32 (traditionally the age guys often go off a cliff with their stats) plus there is no guarantee 2024 will go better than 2023 did. I'm sure the Jays would be happy to sign him up for 2024 (one more year to figure out if any kids on the farm are ready to take over).

Not a fan of the idea of trying to get Bryan Reynolds - signed for 2024-2030, option 2031. $97.8 million guaranteed. He has 3 seasons of 120+ OPS+ (rookie in 2019, 2021, 2022) and a decent 2023 (117 OPS+) but if he is mainly going to be a DH/LF then his value drops (defensive stats make me think Grichuk - can play CF but not well). Now, $100 mil doesn't go as far as it used to but risking that on a guy for age 29-35 who is close to 'meh' and would be 'meh' as a DH seems a bad idea imo. Now, sneak Ke'Bryan Hayes out of there (3B with a GG signed through 2029 for $44 mil then option for 2030, 100 OPS+ lifetime) I'd go for it but I doubt Pittsburgh would trade him at a decent price (IMO they'd be nuts to).
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:21 AM EST (#442040) #
Jon Morosi reports that Toronto has "sincere interest" in both Justin Turner and J.D. Martinez.  We can bet Bo Bichette is listening.

The rumours have reached Shakespearean levels.  It's like being back in high school. Such drama.

vw_fan17 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:41 AM EST (#442041) #
You'd think the Jays would have been in on the Polanco trade? A switch-hitting 2B/SS who has an OPS+ of 115+ the last 3 seasons?

I don't know what would be an equivalent package, but I'm pretty sure we could have matched it.
#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 02:24 AM EST (#442042) #
In minor league news, Casey Candaele and Cesar Martin are managing Buffalo and New Hampshire again respectively. Vancouver and Dunedin coaching staffs are TBA. Donnie Murphy is the Bisons bench coach after managing Dunedin last year.
Ducey - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 04:24 AM EST (#442043) #
The Jays don't have to give up anything for Davis Schneider/Biggio, and they are likely just as good as Polanco.

Plus taking on another $10 million for Polanco likely would restrict their ability to sign a DH type.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 08:25 AM EST (#442044) #
If you look at Polanco's numbers on their face and the projections that follow from them, he looks like a good player, and indeed better than Turner or Martinez. But I wouldn't take them on their face without question.  The sites really should have a "strength of schedule" adjustment, and it is most important for the AL Central.  The AL Central teams lost 94 games more than they won; the average club went 72-90.  And for players on the Twins, that meant facing the worst 4 teams in a bad division often and precisely zero good teams often.  Nonetheless, he's hit better against teams with winning percentages over .500 than teams with winning percentages less than .500 each of the last 3 years. And his xwOBAs the last 3 years have been very good, reflective of a player who should be able to hit at approximately the 115 wRC+ suggested by the projection systems.  At his salary for 2024 and with the option for 2025, that's a useful player.

But the Mariners gave up a prospect I like.  Gabriel Gonzalez is rated a 40+ by Fangraphs, but I like him a lot better than that.  A short, powerfully built right-fielder with quick wrists and a controlled swing and a good arm.  I think that he'll make the major leagues at some point in 2025, and be a good player.  The Mariners will regret this one. 
Parker - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 09:14 AM EST (#442045) #
Other than some kind of video game-style trade, I don't think there's anything the Jays can do to significantly improve. If they were serious players for Ohtani and Yamamoto, they swung and missed. I get that. I don't buy into any optimism on a sarcastic air-quote return to form from Kirk or Guerrero Jr. Last year nothing actually went wrong for the team other than Manoah, and the handling of it was a disaster. The same way the handling of Guerrero Jr. has been a disaster. This year there'll be a regression to the mean with pitching health and another "down" year by Kirk, Manoah, and Guerrero Jr. The team will struggle to break .500 and maybe finally someone meaningful will be fired. Last year's playoffs and this offseason have been so... mind-bogglingly and unbelievably amateurish. Kinda makes me miss J.P. Ricciardi.

I feel horrible for Bo Bichette for having been stuck with this goddamn boat anchor of a franchise around his neck.

99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 09:26 AM EST (#442046) #
Looks like Bo got his wish.

Turner has reportedly signed with the Jays on a 1 year deal
99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 09:33 AM EST (#442047) #
$13M base, $1.5M in performance bonuses
Glevin - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 09:56 AM EST (#442048) #
For me signing hinges in whether Turner can play some 3B. In 2022, he played 66 games of decent 3B.last year he barely played and was awful when he did. If he can play 30-40 games with not terrible defense, that's very valuable. Otherwise, it's very meh. He's a help to the offense for sure but less than Belt last year. I do wonder if Jays were also pursing Polanco and since Seattle traded for him, they had to pivot. Still hoping for one more bat.
Joe - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:04 AM EST (#442049) #
Parker, I'm sorry to pick on you, but you're the latest to express this energy and so you're in my crosshairs.

I sincerely don't get the toxicity that this fanbase continuously engenders. To a certain subset of people, everything bad that happened to our players is real and permanent, and anything good an illusion that'll burn off like fog on a cool Spring Training morning. Opponents have all improved, with their overperformances a new permanent state, and all their acquisitions are the fruit of opposition management's genius. Our management is obviously incompetent, or worse, actively trying to sabotage, and all evidence to the contrary are exceptions, red herrings that distract everyone from the terrible truth.

I don't get it because the whole point of this endeavour is to entertain us. To paraphrase the great Sam Miller, we follow this sport to distract ourselves as we slowly die in front of each other; we like watching baseball because we're all on the slog to rigor mortis.

Toxic negativity isn't entertaining to me, and I'd bet it's not entertaining to the toxically negative, either, but it's somehow inescapable. I wish someone could give me an explanation that's not "social media has ruined discourse."

Marc Hulet - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:07 AM EST (#442050) #
The club needed to improve offense and Turner/IKF
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:11 AM EST (#442051) #
Something ate most of my post but basically: He was basically league average against RHPs in 2023, played only 7 games at 3B last year (that's not going up much on turf) and there aren't many players that are going to see production increase at age 39.

The club needed to improve offense and:
Turner/IKF is not better than Chapman/Belt
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:12 AM EST (#442052) #
FINALLY!!!!!! Something happened.

I agree Guerrero and Kirk are what they are. I don't see a "rebound" for them so much as them just being who they are. The two players I think who will improve the most are Springer (last year was a real down year for him after concussion and becoming a father). Also Varsho...he should be better at the plate and I believe he will improve and bring more power and contact.

Justin Turner...I never expected him to sign with the Jays but he has very competitive at bats which is something that this team lacked other than Bo Bichete. You can look at the stats overall and say Belt is better but man oh man did he ever swing through some highly located mid 90s fastballs that he wasn't even close on. Justin Turner will keep a pitcher honest and keep fouling those pitches off that Belt and Chapman couldn't seem to do. Thumbs up for me if he is the primary DH and 3B.

It's official, Jays and Matt Chapman moving on from one another. So Turner becomes the guy who will clog up the DH spot but can occasionally take time in the INF at 3B.

The Jays now need someone who can play OF and can spell Varsho or KK in the line up against a LHP. This must mean that the Jays are now going to sign an OF like Michael Taylor which would be good or someone like Soler or Pham which would be... meh since the DH slot will now be clogged up.

When and if that happens they will have Schneider, Espinal, Biggio, IKF, Clement all available for 2B, 3B...

Overall ... Jays must be okay with Barger or Orelvis Martinez joining the team later in the season so Turner and IKF are perfect combo of players to help cover 3B/DH until then.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:16 AM EST (#442053) #
"The club needed to improve offense and:
Turner/IKF is not better than Chapman/Belt"

I bet you it is better in 2024 if you compare the 4 players by seasons end, and that's before you factor in the big bump in pay the Chapman's looking for.

BTW, for the umpteenth infielder at Rogers center does not need to play on turf unless chasing down a foul ball in the OF and with the new renovations there will be less foul territory than before.

THE INFIELD AT ROGERS CENTER IS A REAL INFIELD LIKE THE REST OF INFIELDS IN MLB (except TB). It is not soil on concrete, it is about 8 feet of sand, clay and soil which is topped up every game.

Artificial turf only applies to OFs...
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:19 AM EST (#442054) #
For those wanting to learn more, here is a thread about the 2016 renovations that were done to remove field turf from the infield, dig down under the concrete and install a real dirt infield at Rogers center.

bpoz - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:42 AM EST (#442055) #
I agree with Parker. Stripling had a good year for the Jays in 2022, Matz & Ray in 2021. I can't remember any Bauxites that predicted those results but kudos to them.

Current Jays like Vlad & Kirk may improve from 2023 but I can't predict that because I simply cannot understand the math but I suspect that it is probability based. Also I cannot figure out how Arizona, Miami and SD performed as they did. I do enjoy reading about the opinions of the Bauxites but unfortunately can't remember them. Have we estimated our win total to be 82-91 in 2024? I personally feel that 86 wins or lower will be a huge disaster.
92-93 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 10:45 AM EST (#442056) #
Turner is a solid signing, one that I advocated for a few threads back. He raked against the AL East last season.

Now go get Votto and an OF and trade Espinal for a reliever and you're good to go. A Biggio-IKF-Kirk-OF bench is strong.
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:00 AM EST (#442057) #
I'd give Belt another go before Votto, make him the DH and have Turner starting at 3B with IKF coming in for defense if we're ahead.. At least in theory.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:04 AM EST (#442058) #
Sorry, Joe.  I promise that I won't make any more Swedish death cleaning references. For those musically inclined, getting on David Byrne's e-mail list is easy and you will encounter some good music you haven't heard before.

Justin Turner.  He's still a good hitter and seems to be equally good against lefties and righties (he had a platoon differential last year, but he has been slightly better against RHP over his career).  He just turned 39 and he was quite slow last year and not likely getting any faster.  On defence, his arm strength according to Statcast is in the 14th percentile, but he didn't play third base enough to have a number at that position.  The Red Sox signed him to be a DH and first baseman, and he suffered a concussion in March.  With Devers at third base, it's understandable that the Red Sox would just let him DH.  It may be that he can play some third base passably. 

As it stands, I've pencilled him in as a 3/4 time DH/first baseman.  But I guess that means Jansen won't be DHing much, and so if the club is going to make effective use of his bat, they'll need to have him in left-field a significant amount of time. I guess we'll see what happens in spring training. 

Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:05 AM EST (#442059) #
Always admired Turner's scrappy quality.  Looking forward to competitive at-bats.

Right now, this team should win 88 games.  One more addition could push that to 90 wins.
Ducey - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:17 AM EST (#442060) #
Professional hitter. And is known for his veteran presents.

Hopefully his approach rubs off on the some of the others.

Cracka - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:18 AM EST (#442061) #
I like Turner's postseason resume: 9 playoff seasons in a row, 19 playoff series, 86 playoff games, 3 trips to the world series (1 win), .830 OPS with consistency. He's also a college World Series winner (2004 Cal St. Fullerton with with Ricky Romero!).
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:41 AM EST (#442062) #
" but he has very competitive at bats which is something this team lacked other than Bo Bichette."

I would argue that Brandon Belt often had competitive at bats although he had a tendency to go after and miss high fastballs. That said, I don't see the Jays signing another DH baseclogger type like Belt or Votto.

I like the addition of Turner but I think he'll occasionally alternate with Vlad and won't see third base very often. Like dalimon, I think the club will sign another outfielder in case of injury to Springer or KK. There seems to be one too many infielders and looking at them, IKF is newly signed, Biggio can play the outfield if needed, Schneider is young and cheap, so that leaves Espinal as a trade candidate.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:49 AM EST (#442063) #
One other thing is that Turner turned down a 13.4 million option with the Red Sox to end up signing for slightly less with the Jays. Did he think he could do better than 13.4 million on the open market or did he just want to get out of Boston?
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:52 AM EST (#442064) #
And is known for his veteran presents.

Re-gifting is OK, but no stale chocolates in February please, Justin. 
uglyone - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:52 AM EST (#442065) #
Decent Belt replacement but unlikely to match what Belt did last year.

Still need to sign or replace Chapman to be comparable to last year's team tho.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 11:58 AM EST (#442066) #
Interestingly, Turner really tanked in the last month of the season - he was hitting 287/357/488 on August 30th, then went 221/286/295 the rest of the way. Maybe a sign that he needs a bit more rest, or perhaps just that everyone in Boston lost the will to live at that point of the season.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:02 PM EST (#442067) #
Turner turned down a 13.4 million option with the Red Sox

Turner collected a $6.7 M buyout from Boston.

mendocino - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:26 PM EST (#442068) #

“There’s no real remedy for a bone bruise,” Turner said. “You ask a medical person, they’ll tell you 4-6 weeks avoiding impact. Obviously, I don’t have that luxury.”
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:36 PM EST (#442069) #
I think the Turner signing is solid. He has been a very good player throughout his 30s. We'll see how healthy and productive he is at age 39. I would still like to see the team add another middle-of-the-order bat or possibly an elite SP like Snell.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:40 PM EST (#442070) #
Man if this team could sign Snell or trade for Yellich and have Varsho and KK sharing CF and spelling the other two OFs...that would really make this team come together.
Nigel - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 12:52 PM EST (#442071) #
If you had asked me right after the season ended whether Turner (a RH DH/1B - please no 3B) made any sense for this roster I would have said no. Given the current state of things its probably a solid add.

Unlike the past two offseasons where, regardless if you agreed or disagreed with the execution, the offseason strategic plan was clear, I have no idea what this offseason has been about. That isn't a comment about any particular offseason move, it all just seems extremely scattershot.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 01:00 PM EST (#442072) #
Nigel - it helps if we accept the whole thing about "balancing" the lineup with L/R hitters is largely meaningless and never mattered.
Nigel - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 01:07 PM EST (#442073) #
UO - its not about L/R its about the fact that the pieces that they have added are all sort of marginal upgrades on what the team already has in house and they haven't yet addressed what the team actually needs (OF, LH thump, etc.). Turner, if utilized appropriately as a DH/1B, is going to take AB's away from some combination of Vladdy, Springer, Jansen and Kirk. IKF similarly was replacing some other internal options for 3B/utility INF.
Nigel - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#442074) #
Oops, hit send too soon... As we saw last year, KK and Varsho's skill sets sort of overlap to the detriment of Varsho.

I like all of KK, Turner and IKF in a vacuum but I can't see the master plan.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 01:41 PM EST (#442075) #
I think the master plan is to try to contend most years (even if the team isn't elite), as contention drives revenue. So the team is probably trying to get to 85+ wins this year and next year, secure draft picks for Chapman, avoid giving up draft picks for a free agent, stay under the second tier luxury tax, and maintain contractual flexibility for 2026 and beyond. The team is staying "nimble" (to use Atkins's word) and signing players who fit with this plan.

There are pros and cons to this approach, as we've seen in recent years.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 01:45 PM EST (#442076) #
I don't agree fully, Nigel.  Varsho is a pretty good offensive player, in my opinion, who had an adjustment issue last year.  As for the defensive statistics showing that he was better in CF than in a corner, I believe that the career metrics are more reliable because of sample size.  Over his career, Varsho is +32 by DRS, +21 by UZR and +12 by RAA in 1500 corner OF innings while +23 by DRS, +16 by UZR and +18 by RAA in 1100 CF innings.  I think ultimately he'll grade out as better in a corner than in CF, but with slightly more defensive value in CF.  It's not a big deal for a player like him.  The major issue is whether he gets to the 109 wRC+ which ZiPS projects for him. I think he will, and actually a little better.

However, the plan for third base and the right-handed complement to Keirmaier is unclear. And it is especially hard to see how the club might be better.  I'm fine if they play Jansen in left-field for that purpose and run with IKF at third base, but the only way to get noticeably better left is to sign Snell or to make a trade.  In my opinion.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 01:51 PM EST (#442077) #
"So the team is probably trying to get to 85+ wins this year and next year, secure draft picks for Chapman, avoid giving up draft picks for a free agent, stay under the second tier luxury tax, and maintain contractual flexibility for 2026 and beyond. The team is staying "nimble" (to use Atkins's word) and signing players who fit with this plan."

I think you're generally right but don't think they care about Chapman's pick after the 4th round. Honestly, I think they should remain flexible as if things go downhill well this year, they probably need to retool quickly and trade assets. (and fire GM). Jays don't have a lot of negative assets at the moment that would weight them down long-term. Springer I guess but that's really it.
Nigel - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 02:16 PM EST (#442078) #
Fair enough Mike. I've been the low person around here on Varsho's offence - primarily because he subjectively appears to have easily exploitable holes in his swing and because his historical minor league numbers are inflated by the fact that Arizona's minor league teams play in the best combined hitting environments of any MLB team's minor league systems. Obviously, his major league track record suggests a 109 wRC+ is possible. Fingers crossed:)
bpoz - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 02:35 PM EST (#442079) #
I agree that Shapiro and Atkins have done a great job.

Their master plan was to ride the 2015 team. That team was good in 2016 but after that the results were bad for 2017 & 2018 with 76 and 73 wins. They decided on a very fast rebuild to get good revenue again. The rebuild started at the 2018 trade deadline and continued until the end of the 2019 season. For 2019 they paid a lot of salary for Tulo, Martin and K Morales who played for other teams.

The 2020 team made the playoffs and IMO the team got better the next 3 seasons. All this due to a very high payroll or increasing payroll. We will know by the end of 2024 and 2025 what the FO thought about the luxury tax implications.

Compare the slow rebuilds of Baltimore and Detroit. They lost for many years and got the high draft picks as compensation. So 2 types of rebuilding.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 02:42 PM EST (#442080) #
For what it's worth, Varsho had limited work in the high minors.  He had a 159 wRC+ in double A at age 22 in 452 PAs primarily as a catcher, and  then a 161 wRC+ in triple A at age 24 in a brief 87 PA appearance in triple A.  The hitting environments were good, but he dominated. 

I am excited to see if Matt Hague can teach him to lay off the pitch a little above the zone.  He's had a few years in the league and hopefully he'd get fair calls from the umpires on average. 
John Northey - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 02:56 PM EST (#442081) #
Interesting move imo. Turner I see as useful if he can still play decently at 3B 20-80 times in 2024. The mix of him and Biggio with IKF for defense late if needed is a good one. Turner can also cover 1B. Heck, he had 49 innings at 2B last year which surprised me (most he played there since 2014).

A LH bat for DH to mix with him would be ideal, and one rumor site online said the Jays are about to sign Votto for that (of course, they also said Ohtani was coming here so take it with lots of salt).

So now the lineup is C: Kirk/Jansen, 1B: Vlad, 2B: Schneider, 3B: Biggio/Turner, SS: Bo, LF: Varsho, CF: KK, RF: Springer, DH: Turner/whoever needs a DH day, UT: IKF, Espinal, one open slot

Open slot could go to a bat (Horwitz) or to another backup guy (Clement) right now. 4th OF would be a mix of Schneider (Varsho/KK days off), and Biggio (Springer day off).
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 03:13 PM EST (#442082) #
I agree Guerrero and Kirk are what they are. I don't see a "rebound" for them so much as them just being who they are.

This is an odd thing to say about Kirk, because I'm not sure anyone knows who he is at this point. He came up as a bat-first player who might not be able to stick at catcher; then this year he stopped hitting, but started looking really good behind the plate.

If he can find his power stroke again, he's going to look like an all-star. Then again, he might not. Oh, and he just turned 25 after the season ended. (Vlad won't turn 25 until March!)
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 03:36 PM EST (#442083) #
Kirk's projections from Steamer and ZiPS: 
Steamer- 122 wRC+, bad baserunning, very good defence, 375 PA- 3.2 WAR
ZiPS-        110 wRC+, less bad baserunning, excellent defence, 449 PA- 3.4 WAR

They get there different ways, but a very good player and if he can get to 500 PAs maybe better than that.   

Steamer similarly takes an optimistic view of VGJ's offence- 145 wRC+ to ZiPS 133 wRC+.  It is strange, though, about how optimistic they are about his baserunning.  In his career, his seasons are -6.6, -0.9 (COVID year), -2.1, -6 and -7.1.  Steamer has him at -2.9 and ZiPS at -1.1.  I don't understand the ZiPS number- regression yes, but to project him as likely to be better than any of his 5 seasons to date and hugely better than 3 of them seems awfully unlikely to me. 

In any event, these projections systems like both of them.

scottt - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 04:30 PM EST (#442084) #
Turn was very bad at 3B last year. 3 errors in 7 games.
He's 39. Priority should be to keep him healthy.
He's due for a large decline, but maybe he was still a good bat last year.
He should be particularly good against lefties.

So, now they only need one guy to play LF against lefties when KK starts.
That could be anybody, including Schneider.

It's a bit more complicated if they need somebody to play LF when KK is injured.
I see Biggio playing 3B rather than Turner.  
John Northey - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 04:40 PM EST (#442085) #
Biggio/IKF at 3B or Biggio/Espinal is certainly possible/likely vs Biggio/Turner. Or a mix-match of Biggio vs RHP, Turner vs LHP when we have a high K guy (Gausman, Kikuchi) on the mound, IKF when we have a lower K guy pitching (Bassitt, Berrios, Manoah). That'd limit him a lot for defense - Just 35 times a LH started vs the Jays last year, limit it based on who is pitching for the Jays and you might need Turner there just 10-15 times all year. Those days are when Espinal or IKF gets to start at 2B and Schneider in LF with KK or Varsho taking a day off.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 04:56 PM EST (#442086) #
"its not about L/R its about the fact that the pieces that they have added are all sort of marginal upgrades on what the team already has in house and they haven't yet addressed what the team actually needs"

unfortunately i don't see a team with any glaring "needs" that need to be addressed - issue is more that they don't have any great strengths.

I don't like the offseason as of yet, but IMO Belt obviously needed replacing, so signing Turner is a solid move.

Falefa works for me as a Whit replacement too.

To come out looking as good as they did going into last year, though, they definitely need to either sign or replace Chapman. They haven't done that yet. This could be a 3B or a corner OF, but they need to sign a similar caliber player.

If they can do that then imo they've had a decent offseason - they wouldn't be legitimately improved over last year but at least they'd be at a similar level. And if you think last year had more under than over achievement then there;d be resaon to believe they could be better this year than last.

If they can sign or replace Chapman i'll be ok with the offseason, but also still definitely expecting a midseason addition by the deadline.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 06:27 PM EST (#442087) #
Don’t forget that the Blue Jays will have Yariel Rodriguez, Chad Green, and Davis Schneider (in addition to Turner and Kiermaier and IKF) and for the entire 2024 season. Plus Manoah may be able to offer more than he did in 2023. And Tiedemann may be available to join the team at some point.

Agreed that it would be ideal to add one more strong player at 3B or LF, though.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 06:57 PM EST (#442088) #
In my view, it's important that Manoah earn his way back by performing well in the high minors.  The change in the timing rules affected him and pretending that the issue will go away is not a good idea.  Work to do to adjust. 
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 06:59 PM EST (#442089) #
Beauxites, which do you choose?

Blue Door
Blue Jays sign Soler or Martinez for 2 years

Red Door
Blue Jays acquire power bat at the deadline

*trick question
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 07:28 PM EST (#442090) #
The pitch clock may well have affected Manoah’s performance last year. But my guess is that there were other factors as well (physical and/or mental).
bpoz - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 07:38 PM EST (#442091) #
Justin Turner got the $6.5 mil buyout from Boston. The $13mil from the Jays and some performance bonuses based on something. So a nice $20mil.

Belt's 2023 339 ABs were better than his previous seasons. But Turner 558 ABs bears that and previous years 468 and 553 ABs. Hope he can do 550 ABs for the Jays.
scottt - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 07:56 PM EST (#442092) #
Against Kikuchi, they will load on right bats, so you want your best third base defense.

I'd take elite defense with Bassitt too. He's kind of an all or nothing guy who can't make adjustment on the fly with the pitch clock. With Gausman, the defense matters less.

I don't know who Manoah is right now and Berrios can have good and bad days.

This should be the year for Barger and Martinez to make their debut.

scottt - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 08:00 PM EST (#442093) #
I think they tweaked the pitch clock for 2024 so it starts when the catcher has the ball, not when the pitcher is back on the mound. Not going to be any easier.

It's not like Manoah has tons of pitches to think about.
Just let the catcher call the game and you got more time.

John Northey - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 08:13 PM EST (#442094) #
Red easily at this point. Once Turner was signed Soler and Martinez were no longer options. I suspect both were asking too much (2-3 years probably) so the Jays moved on to Turner who accepted a 1 year deal. Given the teams options I'd be leaning towards a trade for someone who can help more at 3B, but it might be someone whose main position has been 2B or SS in the past due to the lack of quality options at 3B that are available in trade/free agency.

ZiPS (projected wRC+ in brackets) had Belt as the best FA DH left (122), then Austin Meadows (118), Matt Chapman (117), Justin Turner (115), Joc Pederson (114), Jorge Soler (114), Keston Hiura (110), Daniel Vogelbach (108), J.D. Martinez (106), Jesse Winker (106), Cody Bellinger (106), Adam Duvall (104), Ji Man Choi (104), ... Gio Urshela (101), Josh Donaldson (101), ... Yuli Gurriel (97), Robbie Grossman (95), Tommy Pham (95), Jurickson Profar (94), ... Joey Votto (91). Many, many more of course, but that covers key names including many people have mentioned here the past few weeks and a couple that grabbed my eye as I scanned through. ... indicates many names between them. For realistic DH options Turner was pretty much the best available. Meadows is the sad case of anxiety issues keeping him from playing - I'd see if he'd be willing to be a 4th OF/DH here as a way to minimize the issues (less pressure might help) even though he is LH (works well for DH, not as easy mix/match for OF). Of course, there is massive variation in real life vs projections but I see ZiPS as one of the better methods and feel it is far better than using 2023 stats, lifetime stats, or just my wild guesses.

Btw, current Jays lineup with ZIPS wRC+
  1. RF: Springer 111
  2. SS: Bo 121
  3. 1B: Vlad 133
  4. DH: Turner 115
  5. LF: Varsho 107
  6. C: Kirk 110 / Jansen 119
  7. 2B: Schneider 112
  8. 3B: Biggio 98 / IKF 78
  9. CF: KK 89

Backups: Espinal 93, Clement 93, Horwitz 105, Lukes 95
Prospects: Roden 98, Barger 96, Lantigua 92, O Martinez 92, Jimenez 88, Palmegiani 87, Otto Lopez 79, Cam Eden 66

Obviously they list more players than that, but those are names I figure we'll hear about during 2024.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 08:42 PM EST (#442095) #
The Red Door.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 30 2024 @ 09:29 PM EST (#442096) #
FYI: Mets put Tyler Heineman up for assignment. Maybe the Jays should claim him back. He was a solid #3 catcher imo.

Rangers might be interested in Espinal as Corey Seager underwent sports hernia surgery today. Espinal could be a fill in for a few months if needed. Doubt the Jays will get lucky with the Rangers panicking, but one can hope.

Baltimore officially sold it seems. To private equity firms (which often tear things down for quick profit, then walk away with it destroyed). Cal Ripken is involved so I doubt they'll toast the team totally, but this sale could go the wrong way for O's fans.
mathesond - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 08:14 AM EST (#442097) #
What's behind the green door?
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 08:16 AM EST (#442098) #
Do we suspect Espinal is likely to be traded?
Paul D - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 09:01 AM EST (#442099) #
My understanding is that the Orioles new owners got rich through private equity, but are not a firm. They're just two super rich dudes, one of whom is from Baltimore.
Gerry - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 09:41 AM EST (#442100) #
Most of Justin Turner's bonus money is paid based on plate appearances, starting at 500 PA's. So I guess he expects to be playing every day and the Jays must have told him that.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 09:48 AM EST (#442101) #
I think a lot of us expect Espinal to be traded due to IKF basically taking over his role on the team. Why have both? Especially with Clement and Lopez out of options and pretty much being the same type of player? Backup infielders are a dime a dozen it seems, which made the IKF signing very odd.

My impression of this offseason so far - the Jays were swinging for the fences (Ohtani, Yamamoto, and to a lesser degree Lee) but couldn't get a deal done (both preferred the Dodgers). The market was weak after that. By projected fWAR just 2 guys were over 4 (Ohtani, Nola) and 5 more in the 3's (Lee, Yamamoto, Snell, Montgomery, Gray). At that point you are just filling in holes which the Jays did with KK, IKF, and Turner plus a longer term shot via Yariel Rodriguez. 3B is still a mess, but internal options might fill it (if one of the kids comes through - Barger, Martinez, Jimenez, Palmegiani, etc.) or a Biggio/IKF mix might do the job with Turner mixed in here and there.

To make the offseason as good as possible a solid 3B is needed. The only one really available though is Chapman and no way the Jays want to give him 5+ years. If he gets desperate he might sign for a 1 year 'punt' contract. Basically, pay him $25-$30 mil for a year, he goes back to free agency without a QO, and he is happy, Jays get one more year to evaluate their kids (they can come up for 2B/backup OF/3B/SS this year) and make a plan for next offseason. Win-win possibly.

Now, the Jays could make a big splash and sign Snell or Montgomery still but I really doubt that'll happen (would require trading pitcher(s) - Kikuchi and/or Manoah) but it could.
scottt - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 10:00 AM EST (#442102) #
Turner got 626 PA with Boston last year as the primary DH.
He started 35 games at 1B, 4 at 2B and 7 at 3B.
He also replaced the starting first baseman and the starting second baseman 6 times each.

I see him as the primary DH, playing first when Vladdy DHes and potentially having some starts at second or third when Springer DHes. On an off day, he can  come off the bench to face a reliever.

92-93 - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 10:38 AM EST (#442103) #
If Chapman's offers aren't that strong, perhaps the Jays can get him on a 2 year deal with an opt out. Something like 2/50.
scottt - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 10:55 AM EST (#442104) #
A large contract to Chapman would put the Jays over the Luxury Tax's second bracket.
That would had an extra 12% to the current 20% penalty.

If Turner hit all year round he sorta replaces both Belt and Chapman as one was struggling when the other was hitting.

John Northey - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 11:15 AM EST (#442105) #
I doubt the Jays care much about the 2nd bracket vs 1st. The penalty for being the 2nd year on it is 30% of any overage. Being the first year over bracket #2 I think it is 12% extra for any part over that. Go $40 mil plus over the limit and then the penalties hit draft picks and stuff. So a $30 mil deal for Chapman would be $30 mil + 30% = $39 mil + 12% for whatever goes over bracket #2 (Lets say $15 mil) so $1.8 mil roughly. Thus a $30 mil deal for him would be $40.8 mil - not really worth it I suspect. But a $25 mil deal might ($32.5 + about $5 mil over 2nd $600k so $33.1 mil). Really, I doubt it'll happen as I suspect Chapman wants that multi year deal right now and someone has to be willing to go 3+ I'd think at this late stage. If the Jays got him back I suspect some salary would be traded away (Espinal, Garcia the most obvious choices) even if the Jays got next to nothing in return.
Ducey - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 11:16 AM EST (#442106) #
I doubt Chapman is sitting around with no offers. He likely has something like 5 x $20 million sitting on the table (maybe even from the Jays).

Boras is just saying no, hoping the price will go up.

I am happy with IKF and Biggio at 3B to start the year, with one of Palmegiani, Barger or Orelvis getting at bats by midseason.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 12:44 PM EST (#442107) #
I very highly doubt that IKF got the contract he got to replace Espinal’s role. Maybe if Chapman is open to a one year deal (or one year plus a player option since it’s Boras), then they might circle back, but I think this was their Edwin to Morales style pivot at 3B. Hopefully one of the prospects ends up winning the job out of Spring Training. Barger being a LHB with high exit velos makes him the most appealing option to me in terms of readiness and realistically being able to handle 3B at least adequately.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 01:10 PM EST (#442108) #
Oh guaranteed Chapman has sitting offers - but none at the $150 mil level he dreamed of going into the winter. IMO he waited too long and now will be looking at worse offers. The Jays would be mean spirited in some ways and low ball him now I suspect if he tried for a one plus player option deal. Other teams are getting set. Bellinger is in the same boat - who wants to sign him now? Jays don't have a spot, same with other teams as they fill in holes. Snell? He can get away to some degree by waiting until the season is rolling ala what Clemens used to do - by mid-season contenders will be needing a starter and might pay more for 3 months plus playoffs than they'd pay now.
bpoz - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 01:31 PM EST (#442109) #
At this time of year it is getting clearer who the contenders are. I would say 10 teams in the AL. With 2 weeks to go in the regular season (12 games) the last 2 WC spots may or may not be up for grabs. Last year Baltimore & TB had the AL East championship and 1st WC locked up and Minnesota the AL Central locked up. So 4 teams were battling for 3 spots the 2 WC and the AL West. Toronto would not qualify for AL West.

If I remember correctly Bauxites were intensely working out the possible outcomes. I don't see the Jays having something locked up before the last 2 weeks but instead in the exact same position as last year. Which would be a revenue success. Also we could have unsure players succeed like Manoah & Varsho with O. Also some success from prospects like, Tiedemann, Olelvis etc...
92-93 - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 01:32 PM EST (#442110) #
Hopefully Snell signs soon and isn't available when the new Orioles ownership takes over.
uglyone - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 02:10 PM EST (#442111) #
I don't think anyone that signs for $7.5m expects to be more than a bench player.
Glevin - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 02:47 PM EST (#442112) #
"unfortunately i don't see a team with any glaring "needs" that need to be addressed - issue is more that they don't have any great strengths."

I agree with Ugly and that makes it harder. It is much easier to replace a dead position or two than to try to improve a bunch of OK positions. Every position except C and SS are projected somewhere around 2-3 WAR. No position is projected more than 4.1 WAR. In order to improve, Jays would need to get a 3-4 win player somewhere and that isn't easy or cheap. Bellinger is best remaining free agent and ZIPS has him at 2.8 WAR.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 03:34 PM EST (#442113) #
"I doubt Chapman is sitting around with no offers. He likely has something like 5 x $20 million sitting on the table (maybe even from the Jays)."

The Jays already offered him 6/120 during the season which he declined. I'd imaging the offer hasn't gone down from that.

Bringing Chapman back now would be a win for this team if on a 3 year or less term. Signing Snell would be the ideal move.

I guess we will have to wait until 2025 and start hoping for Soto to get a LHH here that matters since...Carlos Delgado? Frank Catallanotto? Surely not Adam Lind or Lyle Overbay.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 04:47 PM EST (#442114) #
From 2000 to now for LH hitters only (400+ PA) for the Jays you get...
  • Spots 1-4 Delgado (2000-2003) 143-179 wRC+
  • #5 is Adam Lind 2009 at 140
  • #6 Brandon Belt 2023 at 138
  • 130+ also are Matt Stairs 2007, Adam Lind 2013, Colby Rasmus 2013
  • 120's are Carlos Delgado 2004, Lyle Overbay 2006, and Eric Hinske 2002
Not much to put it mildly.

Older you get...
  • John Olerud 1993 at 179
  • 150's Fred McGriff 1988-1989-1990 (156 or 157 each year - dang talk about consistent)
  • 140's Delgado 1998, Shawn Green 1999
  • 130's Upshaw 1983, Moseby 1983, Delgado 1999
  • 120's Roy Howell 1977, Mulliniks 1985 & 1983, Olerud 1990/1992/1994, Al Woods 1980, Moseby 1984, Delgado 1997, Mayberry 1979
That's it for LH with a 120 wRC+ in Jays history (400+ PA). It just hasn't been common. Delgado, Olerud, Moseby, McGriff all had multiple seasons but since Delgado it has been few and far between. Lind the last semi-consistent one, Belt was sweet last year.

Btw, for switch hitter the only one with a 140+ was Roberto Alomar 1993. 130's Roberto Alomar 1992, Justin Smoak 2017, 120s: Melky Cabrera 2014, Tony Fernandez 1998 & 1999, Dave Collins 1984, Justin Smoak 2018

RH hitters peaked with José Bautista's 180 in 2011, then Vlad's 2021 166, Bautista has 2 more in the 160's (2010 & 2014). Josh Donaldson is the 150's (2015, 2016, 2017) with Edwin Encarnación (2012, 2014, 2015). Lots in the 140's (8), 130's (13), and 120's (18).

This should help put Vlad's big 2021 in some context from a Jays POV. That year was equal to Delgado, McGriff, Bautista, and Olerud's great years. A 130 or better is a great year (Vlad 2022) with Vlad's 118 last year nothing to be ashamed of. Yeah, he is no Fred McGriff for consistency. But only Bautista has had 2+ seasons of 160+ wRC+ here (3), 150+ for Delgado (2), McGriff (3), Donaldson (3), and Encarnación (3). Boy were we spoiled in that 15/16 timeframe with 3 of the best hitters ever here at RF/DH/3B.

Yeah, I'd love to have another LH hitter with a 150+ wRC+ again. But realistically that is not common and very hard to get. The Jays put a TON of effort trying to get one this past winter but the Dodgers got Ohtani and Yankees Soto. These types are not available often and afaik the Jays made real efforts to get them. As fans that is all we can hope for.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 05:08 PM EST (#442115) #
Steve Staggs died 10 days ago.  Staggs joined the Blue Jays on Canada Day in 1977 and hit a homer in his first game (an 11-8 loss to the Rangers).  He played most of the time at second base for the rest of that year; the following year he was traded to the A's for Sheldon Mallory in March.  He made 4 starts, but then was moved to a back-up role for Mike Edwards, stayed with club until June and was released. He was not picked up by anyone  The evidence that Edwards was a better player than Staggs has not survived.  Staggs hit .255/.351/.350 over his 428 career PA with an even 55/55 W/K.  Alas, he didn't run well or field well and that was his undoing, although he seemingly had made some defensive improvements in his second year.  This was before Bill James and the rise of sabermetrics, but I think today he would have had some more looks. 
92-93 - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 05:20 PM EST (#442116) #
Got a source for the 6/120 offer, dalimon5?

I would hope Chapman's offer went down after he hit worse than IKF over the final 5 months of the season.
Magpie - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 07:24 PM EST (#442117) #
I sincerely don't get the toxicity that this fanbase continuously engenders.

You should hear the hockey fans talk!
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 07:29 PM EST (#442118) #
They have 26 extra championship-free years. The toxic mould has an additional je ne said quoi after this seasoning.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 07:32 PM EST (#442119) #
*je ne sais quoi

M. Policier du language venez ici, svp. Je presente le batarde, Autocorrect.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 08:15 PM EST (#442120) #

Scott Mitchel was on a podcast last week where he specified the exact amount.

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 08:25 PM EST (#442121) #
It will be interesting to see how healthy the Blue Jays position players are in 2024. The roster seems kind of brittle, with players like Springer, Kiermaier, Turner, Jansen and Vladdy at significant risk of getting banged up to the point that their performance and/or playing time gets affected. Maybe Kirk, too.

As Bichette said, this is not a young team anymore.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 08:55 PM EST (#442122) #
The injury risk helps explain the need for flexibility everywhere.

OF: Varsho-KK-Springer starting, Backups:Biggio-IKF-Schneider, AAA:Eden-Lukes-Berroa Prospects:Roden-Brown-Barger
IF: Bo-IKF-Espinal-Clement at SS, IKF-Biggio-Schneider-Espinal-Clement-Lopez for 2B/3B/backup at ML level plus Turner at 3B, AAA: Palmegiani-Martinez-Barger-Jimenez, etc.
1B: Vlad-Biggio-Turner-etc.
DH: whoever, Turner-Vlad-Springer-Kirk-Jansen you name it

So an injury pretty much anywhere can be covered for 2 weeks but a major injury you can never really prepare for - you can only hope a prospect comes up and nails it ala Schneider last year in August.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 31 2024 @ 09:16 PM EST (#442123) #
There are also less visible injuries that don't sideline the player, but impact his performance while he's on the field. Remember when Springer was trying to play through an elbow injury? Injuries can impact a team beyond time spent on the IL. This may turn out to be a significant issue in 2024.
lexomatic - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:04 AM EST (#442124) #
"That's it for LH with a 120 wRC+ in Jays history (400+ PA)"

To be fair, Mulliniks did the wRC+ in 350+ AB a few more times. A strict platoon LH bat wouldn't be a bad thing.

1984 379 PA 125 wRC+
1987 372. 129
1988 399. 143

To go with 83 (126) & 85 (128)
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:49 AM EST (#442125) #
It's not a young team, but it's not an old team either.  Yes, Turner has been added but Ryu, Belt, and Merrifield are gone.  And Schneider and Horwitz should have (a lot) more playing time in 2024. 

Injury risk is not the issue with the club.  Atkins is cautious to a fault and has reasonable backup options everywhere.  The issue is that there are not enough good to very good players and no excellent players.  They need a significant number of youngish players to either return to prior form or to develop a little better than expected.  Wise management of players would help. 
Paul D - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 10:54 AM EST (#442126) #
No excellent players Mike? That seems a bit harsh. I know there's been some discussion about the split between defence and pitching, but even if you discount Gaussman and Romano, Bichette is clearly excellent.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 10:55 AM EST (#442127) #
Another way to look at the roster is that it has a number of good to very good full-time players (such as Springer and Kiermaier and Jansen and Turner) who are likely to underperform at a suboptimal level due to injury issues.
Glevin - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 10:58 AM EST (#442128) #
"Injury risk is not the issue with the club. Atkins is cautious to a fault and has reasonable backup options everywhere. The issue is that there are not enough good to very good players and no excellent players. They need a significant number of youngish players to either return to prior form or to develop a little better than expected. Wise management of players would help."

Agree with this. Yes, if Bichette gets hurt, the Jays are in trouble but every team has that issue. Jays have a ridiculous number of guys in the minors that profile according to ZIPS as passable major leaguers right now. Barger, Clement, Horwitz, Lukes, Lantigua, Palmegiani, Jimenez, Orelvis, Roden, and probably more. Issue is the lack of elite players. in 2022, 2023 combined, the # 1 Jays war is Bichette who is #30 in baseball. That's 1 top-50 position player and not an elite one at that.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 11:02 AM EST (#442129) #
A lot has been said about Davis Schneider's ability to hit certain pitches.  Here are his Statcast zone charts.  What I see is a player with excellent plate discipline who is dangerous in a number of zones and weak on pitches away and particularly up and away.  It is interesting that he was able to hit the pitch down and away hard a number of times (in fact, it's the zone where he has the highest exit velocity). 

Incidentally, if one is going to give Schneider a day off, do it in Baltimore.  That park is truly inimicable to his approach.  Ideally, he would in the next year or so, learn a different approach for Baltimore and perhaps New York.  Taking the pitch up and away to right-field can generally be a good strategy and maybe particularly so there. 
bpoz - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 11:03 AM EST (#442130) #
The Jays have competed from 2020 to 2023. I am quite sure that I am not in the minority in that I feel that they will also compete in 2024.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 11:35 AM EST (#442131) #
Bichette has clearly been very good.  Excellent is a matter of definition.  He's been the 15th best position player in the American League by fWAR over the last two years with 8.4 and the 16th best by bWAR with 8.5.  And that does not include Gunnar Henderson who was considerably better in 2023 in his rookie year. 

Is a 4 WAR player excellent?  I don't know; I'm usually a large Hall guy but somehow I feel like 5 WAR over 1 season, or better yet 10 WAR over 2 is the dividing line.  Rounding permitted...For what it's worth, Davis Schneider is projected by ZiPS to produce 3.1 WAR in 502 PAs.  If they gave him 600 PAs, that would be a 4 WAR player.  ZiPS projects him to be a 3.5 WAR player in 2026 at age 27 again over 533 PAs.  He has a chance to be excellent.  To give another example, Alejandro Kirk is projected to get 450 PAs.  His 80th percentile projection for 2024 is 4.2 WAR in those PAs.  He has a chance to be excellent, i.e. hitting .292/.374/.454 with good defence in 500 PAs.  Others who could be excellent in 2024 are Bichette (with obviously the best chance), Vladdy, and Danny Jansen among position players, and Gausman.  Tiedemann arguably does over a half season and the playoffs.  Romano, I don't know.  It depends on how you look at relief pitchers. I suppose if he is dominating a little more than he was in 2021-22 and can continue that into the playoffs, maybe that's an excellent player. 
John Northey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 11:50 AM EST (#442132) #
Glevin - yeah, 1 top 50, but 16 of the top 30 are multi-team guys including ex-Jay Semien, soon to be ex-Chapman, current Jay Springer. Not as bad when looked at that way. Remove all multi-team guys and Bo is #14. Vlad #37.

For the top 100 you get 29 on 2 teams, 6 on 3 teams, 5 each for San Diego and Houston, 4 each for Atlanta, Dodgers, Rays, and 3 each for ChiSox, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Seattle, St Louis. Jays are 1 of 10 teams with 2 guys, 2 guys were with 4 teams, then 3 with 1 each (Rangers, Royals, Brewers). 6 teams didn't have anyone (Colorado, Detroit, Miami, Washington, Oakland, Cincinnati).

For pitchers the Jays have 2 in the top 100 - Manoah (#79), and Ryu (#98) but the multi-team guys have a few who played here during that stretch in Gausman (#3, #1 among multi-team guys), Bassitt (#28), Berrios (#35), Walker (#53), Ray #91, Matz (#100). So current Jays are #3 Gausman, #28 Bassitt, #35 Berrios, #79 Manoah. Kikuchi is #118, Romano #112 (yeah, I was curious so I had to check).

So, not bad really. Factor in guys who come and go and the Jays have had a lot of premium talent in the past 4 years. They don't always hold onto it, but we've enjoyed them while they were here. We certainly have a few premium guys right now here. Yeah, Ohtani or Soto would've been WOW, but that's life.
bpoz - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 12:08 PM EST (#442133) #
I expect Seattle to compete for a playoff spot. AL West or WC. They have been cautious with spending money this off season but have made a lot of trades. Recently Polanco from the Twins and Samad Taylor from KC. So trading season is warming up.

I hope the Jays get into trades. For the future rather than 2024.
Glevin - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 12:12 PM EST (#442134) #
"Is a 4 WAR player excellent? I don't know; I'm usually a large Hall guy but somehow I feel like 5 WAR over 1 season, or better yet 10 WAR over 2 is the dividing line."

It absolutely is subjective. Bichette is only Jay's hitter that I think you can make argument for. Gausman leads baseball in FWAR over last two years so no question. What is not subjective is that the Jays lack elite talent. In 2020, Jays had 4 position players with 4+ WAR. Last year, they had 0.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 12:54 PM EST (#442135) #
This team's model is the 2005 White Sox, who I have spoken of before.  The only player who was arguably excellent was Mark Buehrle.  He was no better than what might be a 60% or 70% expectation for Kevin Gausman.  And the rest- Jon Garland was the Chris Bassitt of his time.  Paul Konerko was the 60% expectation for what Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could be.  Aaron Rowand and Scott Podsednik were about what Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier can be expected to be.  Davis Schneider is likely to be better than Tadahito Iguchi.  Shortstop Juan Uribe delivered 2.2 WAR and Bo will likely do a lot better than that.  Jose Berrios is as good as Jose Contreras or Freddy Garcia.  Kirk/Jansen are likely to be a lot better than A.J. Pierzynski/Chris Widger.  Jermaine Dye was a 2.5 WAR player that year.  Springer can do that.  Joe Crede at third base delivered 1.6 WAR; the Blue Jays can probably cobble together something about that good or better.  Their DH was Carl Everett who mashed to a 94 OPS+; I think Turner and whoever else the Jays put out there are likely to beat that. 

The White Sox bullpen that year was outstanding with three pitchers having the best year of their careers by far- Dustin Hermanson, Neal Cotts and Cliff Politte.  Their ERAs were 1 to 1.75 runs lower per game than their FIPs.  Having an excellent defence can bring out the best in a pitcher. 

The point is that one can win without excellent players, if one has lots of good to very good players. This is true even if defence is the key aspect in what makes them good.  Like Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho.  Isiah Kiner-Falefa was arguably a 3 WAR player in 2020-22 as an infielder. 
Nigel - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 01:05 PM EST (#442136) #
Mike, this isn't to really argue your point that it is possible to win with the anti "stars and scrubs" model (I agree in broad strokes), but the 2005 White Sox: played in the AL Central; had one of the easiest schedules in baseball; were one of the luckiest teams in baseball (their run differential was nothing special); etc. Although they won 99 games in 2005, they were probably "WC esque" in 2024 AL East terms of quality. It's hard to win without elite players when you play good teams.
bpoz - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 01:25 PM EST (#442137) #
Jays sign Jordan Powell a 25 year old RHP. Never played as a pro.
mendocino - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 01:44 PM EST (#442138) #
signed him out of Tread Athletics, the Jays just happened to hire new pitching coach Alex Kachler who worked for Tread.

Excited to be joining the Toronto Blue Jays organization as a Pitching Coach out of their Player Development Complex in Florida.

Thankful for the relationships, memories, and friendships developed at Tread Athletics over the past 2 years.

Thrilled for this opportunity!
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 01:44 PM EST (#442139) #
Don't agree, Nigel. In evaluating the club retroactively, you have to take account if the fact that they went 11-1 in the post-season against tough non-divisional opponents after winning 99 games against an admittedly lighter schedule during the regular season. I think that they were a true talent 95 win team.
Gerry - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 01:55 PM EST (#442140) #
I think Powell might be a knuckleballer.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 03:13 PM EST (#442141) #
Is it likely that the Blue Jays go over the luxury tax 2nd level? Are we underestimating this possibility? If they already offered Chapman a contract extension in-season and planned to go after Ohtani then they would have crossed two luxury tax thresholds at least as they still would have signed an OF and Merrifield replacement (remember they wouldn't have known Ohtani was willing to defer so much money).

I think I overthought the IKF signing and he is merely a back up and insurance coverage for the infield. He mentioned in his intro interview he was signed as a back up and potentially more. Same thing with Kevin Keirmaier. I am looking at the possibility of signing Matt Chapman as more likely than ever now.

Matt Chapman returns to play 3B, Justin Turner is DH and IKF is the super utility infielder and late defensive replacement.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 04:42 PM EST (#442142) #
Seems unlikely to me. I’m guessing the front office sees IKF as the primary third baseman at this point.

I would be happy to see the team add Chapman or Bellinger on a short-term contract, though.
Ducey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 04:49 PM EST (#442143) #
An Ohtani signing would have been a whole different scenario as it would have brought increased revenues on many fronts. There was some mention at the time that they had been given that specific option for him from Rogers.

It doesn't seem that helps us to figure out where the spending limit is otherwise.

My guess is that they know Boras is shopping Chapman elsewhere hoping some owner's ego gets involved. The Jays are probably rather ambivalent as to whether Chapman comes back, but if he does it wont be a long term contract.
John Northey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 06:19 PM EST (#442144) #
Early in the offseason I recall Atkins saying Chapman was a priority for them, and many reports also said that. Now, things seem different even though the Jays aren't really in much better shape there - IKF is great on defense but, well, quiet on offense might be the nicest way to put it.

In the AL East the others have (fWAR projection range in brackets) O's: Gunnar Henderson (4.1-5.2), Rays Isaac Paredes (2.3-3.6), Red Sox Rafael Devers (3.9 to 4.7), Yankees DJ LeMahieu (1.2-2.7). Jays are listed with Cavan Biggio (0.7-1.1). Yuck. IKF's range is 0.3-0.9. So yeah, the Jays are way behind the division at 3B right now. Chapman's range is 2.4-4.0 btw. So based on projections the Jays gain 1-3 wins if they sign Chapman - that's worth up to $30 mil roughly based on a $10 mil per win estimate and could be the difference between making the playoffs and not making it. I can't find anyone who is available realistically to the Jays (Jose Ramirez is unrealistic btw), so the only other option is a kid makes it and out performs year 1.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 07:14 PM EST (#442145) #
Someone on this site likened the Chapman:IKF situation to the to EE:Morales one. It’s an interesting comparison—replacing a proven productive player with a less expensive version that was supposedly undervalued. (In Morales’s case, it was his above-average exit velocities that appealed to the Blue Jays front office.) As we know, Morales was mostly a bust in Toronto.

Is the FO making the same mistake twice?
Ducey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:06 PM EST (#442146) #
On Chapman

Per MLB trade rumors the Jays are currently at $251M and past the first CBT level.

The second tier is $257M. The third tier (which I can't see the Jays crossing due to the cost and impact on their first pick) is $277M.

So Chapman at say $22M a year would put them very close the third tier and really limit their flexibility going forward.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:26 PM EST (#442147) #
Nobody go to
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:27 PM EST (#442148) #
I'm not saying the Blue Jays would necessarily want to do this, but could they give Chapman a backloaded contract, or one with some deferred money, to avoid that problem?
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:29 PM EST (#442149) #
It was only a matter of time, dalimon5. Baltimore has the trade chips and their time is now...
John Northey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:29 PM EST (#442150) #
Good point Ducey - going to the 3rd tier was worth it for Ohtani, but Chapman? Nah.

FanGraphs has a nice page summarizing payroll for each team. Jays are getting high, no doubt. While Chapman would be a good idea in the absence of a luxury tax, with one he might not be. The $277 mark is where your draft pick gets moved down 10 slots. So not a loss of a pick, just a shift of one. I don't see the tax itself ($$$) stopping the Jays, and even that 10 slot shift shouldn't be a killer. They might just be a lot pickier on raw dollars. We might also see them try to trade some dollars away - Garcia and Espinal being the most obvious choices at $6 mil and $2.75 mil but also having value to another team potentially. This is the point where IKF, KK, and Turner - all probably worth their contracts, but cause problems with the Luxury Tax. The middle of the road players like them are the ones who will be hit by this in the next few years as teams hit the tax hard. When it was a Yankee tax no issues, but now many teams are hitting it so expect the next CBA to be a lot tougher and a lockout likely.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:30 PM EST (#442151) #
Jays closest equivalent package would have been Ricky Tiedemann and Orelvis Martinez.

That's a hefty price but you have your "Ace" ace.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:37 PM EST (#442152) #
Here are a couple of BA snippets on the prospects the O's gave up:

Ortiz (50/medium): "While he didn’t get much of an opportunity on the Orioles in 2023, Ortiz still has an everyday major league ceiling, though on a championship-caliber team he may be more of a utility player. He’ll be competing for a regular role in Baltimore in spring training."

Hall (50/medium): "In a brief sample down the stretch in 2023, Hall showed he can be a potentially elite reliever, but the Orioles still believe his electric four-pitch mix from the left side is that of a starter. He’ll be in the majors in 2024 as long as he’s healthy, though the team’s offseason moves might determine his role."
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:40 PM EST (#442153) #
Tiedemann (#22) and Orelvis (#90) are on the BA top 100 prospects list.

Hall is #93 on the list. Ortiz did not make the list.

So, Tiedemann + Orelvis isn't really comparable to what the O's gave up.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:42 PM EST (#442154) #
The Brewers also get the #34 pick in next year's draft as part of the return for Burnes.
John Northey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:51 PM EST (#442155) #
Burns has been good, but Shortstop Joey Ortiz (#63 MLB) and left-hander DL Hall (not top 100 MLB but has some ML success already) in exchange, plus a Competitive Balance Round A draft choice is a high price. Burns has been very good, but has a few warning signs I see right away - his K/9 has gone from 'WOW' to 'solid' over the past 3 years - 12.6-10.8-9.3, that is never a good sign, the past 3 years his BB/9 has climbed 1.8-2.3-3.1, also not a good sign. His GB% the past 3 also has been dropping 48.8-47.0-44.1. His BABIP last year was amazing at .244 vs career .278 - something that rarely holds. Yeah, even so he is still an amazingly good pitcher in his prime but if you are looking for flaws they are there and it isn't hard to imagine this blowing up on the O's, especially given he is a free agent after 2024.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:55 PM EST (#442156) #
Burnes did better in the second half last year, 10.22 K/9IP and 2.81 BB/9IP, 0.98 WHIP, 3.27 FIP, 3.31 xFIP.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:56 PM EST (#442157) #
47.7 GB% in the second half in 2024.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 08:57 PM EST (#442158) #
2023, I mean.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:06 PM EST (#442159) #
Burnes is projected to be a 4 WAR pitcher by ZiPS, Steamer and probably any other system. It's a 1 year rental, and you never know with pitchers, but the O's made out like bandits in my opinion. I felt that they were slightly behind Toronto and New York after the loss of Bautista, but now I think they are ahead of both.

Ortiz and Hall were not major parts of their future.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:14 PM EST (#442160) #
Agreed, I like the trade for the O's. It's a good strategic "go for it" move without giving up the organization's top prospects. A clear upgrade.

Baltimore is also in position to make more trades (now or at the deadline) if they want to.
John Northey - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:23 PM EST (#442161) #
Agreed, it is a good trade for them, but as with all pitchers, the risk is there of it flopping. As a Jays fan that is what I was looking for - are there signs this might not work well for them? And yes there are. Sadly, odds are it will work well instead.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:24 PM EST (#442162) #
Burnes immediately becomes their best pitcher, greatly increases their chance of making the playoffs and meaningfully increases their chances of advancing in the playoffs. It's a big deal.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:30 PM EST (#442163) #
Greenfrog, Tiedemann and Orelvis is the closest, emphasis on "closest" package the Jays could have offered since there's a cliff in rankings after those two.

Joey Ortiz was on top 100 lists before being overtaken by the super prospects now ahead of him in the system.
Glevin - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:31 PM EST (#442164) #
Great trade by Baltimore but Milwaukee did well too. Burnes has one year before they won't resign him and they got two top-100 types and a first round pick. I prefer this package to what Padres got from Yankees for Soto.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 01 2024 @ 09:34 PM EST (#442165) #
Something to make Blue Jay fans feel better. Santiago Espinal has a better ZiPS projection than Ryan Mountcastle. It's hard to believe from the way he performs when he faces the Blue Jays, but Mountcastle hasn't been very good. Problem is that he's about #16 on the O's depth chart.
Joe - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 07:24 AM EST (#442166) #
but could they give Chapman a backloaded contract, or one with some deferred money, to avoid that problem?
Deferrals would help (look at Ohtani's CBT impact of ~$46 million/year, based on net present value calculations), but backloaded contracts don't change it: for exactly this sort of loophole-reason, CBT impact is calculated as the straight average annual salary in the contract.
bpoz - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 07:46 AM EST (#442167) #
The C Burnes trade was good for both teams. Baltimore got a #1 pitcher and Milwaukee decided to strengthen their future after a long run contending. Really happy to see trades happening. Miami should make a few trades soon.

The AL competition is still the same IMO. Baltimore was and still is a strong contender.
Parker - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 08:35 AM EST (#442168) #
Joe, if you're not a fan of negativity, you're gonna love this:

Your response was pretty offensive. My toxic negativity is the result of a deep emotional investment, and your facetious description of my fandom feels like an attempt to trivialize or discredit how I am feeling. I understand if you're speaking on behalf of the cabal or whatever you guys call yourselves these days and say please keep this stuff to yourself; that's fine. I'll do that starting right after this post.

How dare you try to tell me how to be a fan, though? What do you think gives you the moral authority to tell me that I'm doing it wrong?

I don't get it because the whole point of this endeavour is to entertain us. To paraphrase the great Sam Miller, we follow this sport to distract ourselves as we slowly die in front of each other; we like watching baseball because we're all on the slog to rigor mortis.

Yeah, and I'd like to be entertained by a championship season at some point before my rigor mortis sets in. It's closer for some of us than others. This organization frustrates the hell out of me; I doubt that's a secret to anyone, and I've actually tried harder to be positive here this season, admittedly with very little success.

Magpie, we don't all live in Toronto, and we don't all root for the Leafs. I thought you were from Winnipeg; you should be better than that. For shame.

That's it for me. See you guys on the other side, I guess. Sorry for the toxic negativity.
Parker - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 08:46 AM EST (#442169) #
Oops, I forgot the quote. It's from Mike Muir of Sucidial Tendencies.

"...just cause you don't like it, don't mean it ain't no good!"
Parker - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 08:49 AM EST (#442170) #
...and can't even make a Big Stomping Exit without typos, apparently.


bpoz - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:04 AM EST (#442171) #
Nice Parker. I liked it. But back to the negative. Y Rodriguez is waiting for his visa. He is in the DR I understand. I know that the DR and Florida are warmer than Toronto so he can still do his ST in the DR facility which I understand is nice.
John Northey - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:04 AM EST (#442172) #
Used to be a Leafs fan as a kid, but my daughter is a Jets fan (she grew up in Thunder Bay) so I've been cheering them on instead for a few years now. As to the Jays, after surviving the 1994-2014 stretch of pain - 2 major stars in Halladay & Delgado, plus the prime of Wells, Rios, and early 'wow' of Bautista & Encarnacion that were wasted on non-contending teams. I am a 'stars and scrubs' fan but if the GM can't fill the rest with decent players you are toast.

The team now has a clear hole (3B) and a star at SS, a possible star at 1B, insane defense in CF/LF, a guy who can be a star in RF, a rotation that is envious for others with a real ace, and a solid closer - 89% of saves converted lifetime is Rivera's lifetime figure. We have a kid at 2B who was otherworldly in August last year, a couple of kids with wow potential very close too. There is LOTS to be optimistic about. 3 out of the last 4 years making the playoffs is a great thing, only done in 1989-1993 before in Jays history (4 of 5). I encourage being optimistic - there is always bad stuff to look at in the world (just look at our premier for an example) so I choose to enjoy whatever we get from our sports. Hey, I grew up with the Toronto Maple Laughs where 2nd worst in the league often made the playoffs, dreaming that Wendall Clark would lead them to the promised land.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:19 AM EST (#442173) #
Happy Groundhog Day, folks. (Good news from Wiarton Willie & Punxsutawney Phil.)
scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:26 AM EST (#442174) #
I would feel better if the Jays managed to trade Espinal for a real prospect, maybe to the Marlins.

IKF is not a hole. When playing SS/3B he's been a 2-3 WAR player.
I wonder if he becomes the emergency catcher ahead of Varsho.
He started 35 behind the plate in 2018 and 31 in 2019.

By the way, it's not January anymore.

scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:47 AM EST (#442175) #
The front office is pretty good at estimated a player's market, but the players don't seem to believe so.
Encarnacion turned down 4/80 and made less than that in 4 years in Cleveland, Detroit and NY.

Donaldson made 5/105M + 8M in the opt out.
The Jays were paying him 23M in 2018. I don't think they would have offered him less than that.
I'm sure he wanted 200M, but in the end the Jays offer must have been competitive and probably better than what he ended up with.

Bautista was coming off a bad year and they basically just honored the QO he refused.

Looking at that, they probably made a decent offer to Chapman but having moved on, I don't see them offering him more than a pillow contract around the QO value and only if it's looking like nobody else will match that.

Gerry - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 10:08 AM EST (#442176) #
Baseball America and ESPN are both out with their farm system rankings. They both put the Blue Jays at number 24.
greenfrog - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 10:14 AM EST (#442177) #
Soto and Burnes are the kinds of moves the Jays should be making at this point on the win curve. The problem is that the farm system isn’t strong enough to allow for this. So the team is relying on free agent patches (in a weak market) instead.
bpoz - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 10:18 AM EST (#442178) #
C Burnes helps the rotation. Baltimore does not have much/any good pitching prospects but are overloaded with good position players. They can trade to get another good SP with their good farm. Their pen is probably fine. With no more high draft picks their supply of great prospects will dry up. I cannot think of a single good/expensive FA that they have added in growing this window. Will be exciting/interesting how they proceed from here.

I would like Atkins to trade for the future now or at the deadline. Y Garcia, C Green and Mayza are great trading chips if someone breaks through out of the farm before the trade deadline. Relievers are valuable at the deadline. Next off season we could have a surplus of relievers.
scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 10:33 AM EST (#442179) #
Soto and Burnes are rental players.
It would be surprising if Baltimore resign Burnes next year. They'll just get the QO and recover the draft pick they lost.
It's unclear what the Yankees will do after this year, but Soto isn't the ideal move for them. It forces them to move the often injured Judge to CF so Soto, who is a terrible defender, can man RF.
There are just waiting for Stanton to go to the IL so Soto can DH.

What the Jays should be doing, at this point on the win curve, is to sign a middle of the order left bat. Alas.
Signing Gausman was a great move.
Burnes is coming off a down year and moving to a new org with a new catcher into a different league in a tougher division which will put some pressure on him to perform since it's his contract year.

Joe - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 11:41 AM EST (#442180) #
I understand if you're speaking on behalf of the cabal or whatever you guys call yourselves these days and say please keep this stuff to yourself; that's fine. I'll do that starting right after this post.
Up front, I gotta make sure this is 100% clear: I speak for me and me alone.
Your response was pretty offensive. My toxic negativity is the result of a deep emotional investment, and your facetious description of my fandom feels like an attempt to trivialize or discredit how I am feeling.
I'm genuinely sorry, Parker — I don't mean to make light of what you're feeling, and I didn't intend to be offensive (but obviously missed the mark).

Your response is actually an answer to my question, in short: "Where is this coming from?"

Upon a bit of self-reflection, I think that what I'm feeling is actually a version of what you're feeling, only directed differently. I've placed emotional investment in finding an informed community to talk baseball in a friendly, constructive way, and when confronted with a fanbase (not just Batter's Box) that went so negative just as the team also started feeling like it was stagnating, it was like two sources of joy in my life (baseball, and talking about baseball) turned into pits of (at best) beige pablum, and at worst dark, red fury. That change had an effect on me, of course, and it's come out in various places, most recently right here.

I'm not asking you to shut up, or to be unflinchingly positive, or even to be constructive. There's a lot of ways to be a fan. I just need to work on accepting that myself.

Magpie - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 12:01 PM EST (#442181) #
you should be better than that.

Easy, big fella.

And I promise, the frustration and bitterness of the hockey fans in Toronto... well, it makes everyone here, even you, seem positively mellow, cheerfully resigned to never seeing a championship baseball team.
bpoz - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 12:20 PM EST (#442182) #
Being an old Blue Jay fan born in the early 1950s I got to see things young Blue Jay fans will/may not ever see like:

1) Complete games Stieb, Hentgen and Halladay.

2) Jesse Barfield throws (this could happen at present).

3) The red smartie commercials during the 92/93 WS championship playoffs. (may make a comeback).

I found the 1980 seasons quite nerve racking just like recent seasons. I had hope for championships then and I have hope for championships now.

John Northey - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:05 PM EST (#442183) #
bpoz - the 80's are a GREAT comparison point to now - teams that were consistently solid but not quite able to get over the hump. From 1983-1991 the team was over 500 but not able to win a playoff round. Fans were going nuts at times during that stretch, trust me, I was one of them. The amazing Bell-Moseby-Barfield OF, the Stieb-Key core of the staff, Henke closing them out with Eichhorn then Ward setting him up. Those teams should've won more and we were all angry they didn't. HOF GM Pat Gillick was torn apart by fans often - if there was an internet then I guarantee the 'Stand Pat' nickname would've been the nicest thing we'd have said about him pre-1991. He wasted draft picks, saw prospects wither and die on the vine (Campusano, Ducey, Steve Davis, assorted others) in a way we haven't seen from Atkins. For example, the 1983 draft, last before the team was moved to the lower part of the draft (9th overall pick that year), saw 1 (one) player get more than 0.2 WAR - Glenallen Hill who ended with 9.7. It wasn't until 1986's draft that a 10+ WAR guy was drafted - Pat Hentgen (32.6). From 1977-1989 only 1 first round pick had 10 WAR - Lloyd Moseby (2nd overall in 1978). 1990 saw Steve Karsay (11.1 as a reliever), 1991 Shawn Green, 1992 Shannon Stewart, 1993 Chris Carpenter so Gillick had a fine closing kick. The Jays system when Gillick left after 1994 was ranked #3 by BA, as it was in 1995. This screams that a high rank doesn't mean good times are coming, despite a HOF starter being in the system in 1995, a near HOF 1B, and lots of future All-Stars - all in the minors yet never filling in the holes around them.

Please try to enjoy these times - the Jays could go 10-20 years after this with nothing but sub 500 years ala Baltimore 1998-2011 (after 2 playoff runs), or Pittsburgh 1993-2012 (all sub 500 sandwiched between 2 sets of 3 playoffs in a row, now on an 8 year futility run with the highlight being an 82 win season). There are many other examples, but yeah, things could be a LOT worse. They could be better, but I'm good with being annoyed at our one weak position which has a few kids nearly ready to take over vs having 5 or 6 positions with no one ready to take over. For fun here is the 2015 preview where I was an optimist with a 90 win prediction. Others were around the 82-85 mark. Lots of excitement about Dalton Pompey as he and Pillar took over CF/LF to start the season. No idea who the closer would be (was a battle of 2 20 year olds). So yeah, a lot weaker Jay teams at the start have won.
Katie - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:22 PM EST (#442184) #
Great trade for Baltimore. Fangraphs estimates it adds three wins for the Orioles. It wasn't a particularly high cost for them and they'll either re-sign Burnes or get a pick back. Milwaukee did fine on the return given the position they are in.
scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:23 PM EST (#442185) #
Baltimore has its share of pitching prospects, they just haven't raised to the same level as their position players. This isn't really new. It was like that also in their last competitive window and some of those prospects eventually found success elsewhere like Jake Arrieta, Kevin Gausman and Zack Britton who became an elite reliever only after struggling as a starter for 3 years.
scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:29 PM EST (#442186) #
The Brewers got a SS to replace Adames next year and a pitcher with 4 plus pitches but a lack of control.
They are just as likely to sign Burnes next year as the Orioles.
uglyone - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:36 PM EST (#442187) #
I think we should remember that most fans wanted exactly what shapkins has given us - a perennial good team that rarely overpays for the risk of being great.

Those fans really shouldn't be upset with this shapkins decade at all, imo.
Magpie - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:40 PM EST (#442188) #
Please try to enjoy these times

Word. As I've said, I was mystified at all the angst and fury last year's team inspired. I saw the franchise go twenty freaking years without winning as many games, and I had an excellent seat behind home plate for most of it.

A championship season is a gift. It's a wonderful, wonderful gift, but it's still a gift. It's not something we're entitled to. It's not a transaction, it's not something we're owed because we've chosen to cheer for this set of laundry. We haven't been cheated if we don't get it. That's not how it is with gifts.
Marc Hulet - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:49 PM EST (#442189) #
I get the thought that Burnes is just a rental but the Angelos family is on the way out and the new leadership group, led by two billionaires, is on the way in. Money is very likely loosening up.
scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#442190) #
I get that too, but will Burnes sign an extension 1 year away from free agency?

I see that the Giants have dumped Stripling to the As.
Here's his chance to make more than 11 starts.

bpoz - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 02:24 PM EST (#442191) #
Thanks for the 2015 preview John N. I enjoyed it. In the 8 years since 2015 I have aged into my 70s. Will be 72 by opening day and been retired for 7 years.

I enjoy our pregame banter. Thanks Magpie for your writeups. I follow the first few innings and then go to bed and sleep. I confess. Then up early I check the scoreboard and the standings. I enjoy the minor league box scores before the writeup and post on yesterdays minor league post. My admiration to those bauxites that stay for the whole game. I used to and then listened to Mike Wilner and the Jays fans express their closing comments on the game.

"Please try to enjoy these times"? I did that as a Jays fan. The Seattle & SD fans are still waiting for their WS championship. Texas finally got theirs.

"A championship season is a gift not something we are entitled to". Very wise words!! NYY fans are still learning that!!

A very enjoyable afternoon. Bring on ST and spring!!
Magpie - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 02:45 PM EST (#442192) #
I've always been fascinated by the 2005 White Sox. If you weren't around, the Sox had been stuck in second place for several years, winning 81 to 86 games. They were built around right-handed power - Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Paul Konerko. In mid-2004 and through that off-season, Kenny Williams rebuilt the team on the fly, and in the process he essentially gutted his offense. He let Ordonez walk as a free agent, traded Lee for a baxe stealer, and Thomas would miss most of the 2005 season. Everyone saw what was coming, and everyone was right. The White Sox scored 123 fewer runs in 2005 than they had in 2004, going from third in the league in runs scored to ninth.

And of course they won it all. The lesson I took away from that was not that the off-season is meaningless - far from it - but that no one knows what it means. Until they start actually playing the games.
greenfrog - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 02:46 PM EST (#442193) #
BA farm system rankings: Baltimore (#1), TB (#7), NYY (#9), Boston (#13), Tor (#24).

You can see why the Blue Jays don't want to further deplete their farm system through trades or free agent signings. They are falling well off the pace in the division in the prospect talent acquisition arms race.

This is why they weren't able to trade for someone like Soto.
lexomatic - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 03:05 PM EST (#442194) #
Thr Jay's don't get a lot of respect, but it always seems like lots of their players make the majors for a bit.
Mike Green - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 03:07 PM EST (#442195) #
I took something different from the 2005 White Sox. That there are lots of ways to won. Some are maybe easier than others, but tout est possible.

It's true that winning a championship is a gift but somewhere around 60 years without a gift and the fans stop believing in Santa Claus. Just one though, and they start believing again. Precious fools.
John Northey - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 03:17 PM EST (#442196) #
lexomatic - very true, so lets take a quick look at drafts and how many reached.
  • 2020-now: Jays: 0, Rays: 1, NYY: 1, Red Sox: 0, O's: 3
  • 2016-2019: Jays: 23, Rays: 20, NYY: 20, Red Sox: 13, O's: 15
A bit surprising to see so many Jays there. Many are sub 2 WAR guys but they did get up.
Magpie - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 03:22 PM EST (#442197) #
somewhere around 60 years without a gift

WHite Sox fans, of course, had gone 88 years without hearing from Santa. Generations of fans born, lived, died.

This was karma, I realize, payback for 1919. But what did Cubs fans do to deserve their fate?
dalimon5 - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 03:24 PM EST (#442198) #
"BA farm system rankings: Baltimore (#1), TB (#7), NYY (#9), Boston (#13), Tor (#24).

You can see why the Blue Jays don't want to further deplete their farm system through trades or free agent signings. They are falling well off the pace in the division in the prospect talent acquisition arms race.

This is why they weren't able to trade for someone like Soto."

With the exception of the Rays, all of those teams had terrible seasons and teams or did not make the playoffs 4 of the last 5 years with the fifth year missing by 1 game. I'll take that over a few terrible seasons finishing near the bottom to give me a better farm system.

And what the Orioles did is definitely not something I would continue to support as a paying customer.
Mike Green - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 03:27 PM EST (#442199) #
As a devoted watcher of Shameless, I can confirm that Northsiders deserved everything they didn't get.
92-93 - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 04:03 PM EST (#442200) #
The Yankees make the playoffs basically every year and their farm system has nothing to do with last year's 82-80 season.

One of the big strengths of the 2005 ChiSox was only using 6 SPs, though the same can basically be said for the 2007 version that went 72-90. The 2016 Jays (and last year's, to a lesser extent) were similar.
Mike Green - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 04:17 PM EST (#442201) #
The good defence helps with that. It allows pitchers to treat a ball in play, and not out of the yard, as a good outcome. Which means fewer pitches and longer outings on average. Mark Buehrle would be the poster boy for this.

Keeping pitchers healthy is also a credit to the pitching coach.

greenfrog - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 04:18 PM EST (#442202) #
The Jays’ recent run of postseason appearances (albeit with no postseason wins) has been largely the result of free agent signings (Gausman, Springer, Semien, Ray, Bassitt, Kikuchi, Gurriel Jr., Kiermaier) and a few good trades (Teoscar, Chapman, Berrios, Swanson).

The farm system helped facilitate some trades, but overall it hasn’t been especially productive. And the dearth of prospects in the last couple of years has prevented the front office from making a transformative trade or two that could have really helped the team.

The Blue Jays have a high payroll and that has somewhat concealed some of the farm system issues.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 05:01 PM EST (#442203) #
Meh, you guys are way too low on the Jays farm system for a top 10 MLB team. They aren't supposed to have a ton of prospects to trade for transformative players. They have Tiedemann, Martinez and that's it. There's about 2 or 3 teams that have been as competitive as the Jays who are significantly better with their farm systems, and those teams did not trade top prospects in the last 3 years to acquire equivalent players to Chapman or Berrios.

It's unfair to look at Austin Martin, SWR, Hoglund or Logue and say after the fact that they didn't pan out. They were good prospects and ranked highly which is why they got Berrios and Chapman for them. Have the Yankees traded equivalent prospects in the last 3 years for two impact players like Berrios and Chapman? The Astros?

Teams like the Braves, Rays and Dodgers are the exception. Smartest run organizations in the league.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 05:23 PM EST (#442204) #
To clarify my first point, there are only 2-3 teams that are ranked higher than the Jays who have been as competitive and who have also traded the same number of higher ranked prospects or more in the last 3 years.
SK in NJ - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 05:29 PM EST (#442205) #
The Jays tried for Ohtani and Soto, the former clearly wanted to go to LA, and the latter likely required trade pieces that the team could not afford to trade (multiple SP options), so both options failed. Beyond that, I don't see another realistic avenue to add a middle of the order bat, LHH or RHH. The closest equivalents to that were in the DH market, but it seems the Jays clearly wanted a one year deal at a specific price point, and Turner was likely the only one willing to agree to that.

I have no idea if what the Jays did was the correct path in terms of the players they actually chose, but the direction itself was correct for the position that they are in, IMO. Go for the elite talent and if that fails, then find the best short-term value. Next year's FA market is significantly better than this year's, so if the Jays are a team that wants to spend big (and it appears that they are) then having that flexibility next winter will be huge. You have to take advantage of a competitive window when you can, but you really have to weigh whether 2024-25 is worth taking on a bad contract(s) for 2026-beyond. It would be a lot easier to retool post 2025, thereby either shortening or eliminating a down period, if there was financial flexibility to improve. Bellinger, Chapman, etc, are not worth going into 2026-beyond payroll.

I'm not super high on the Jays farm system, but I do think it's a bit underrated. Davis Schneider's development was a huge win for this FO, and might give us some hope that internal player development can possibly help some players take the next step.
Mike Green - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 05:53 PM EST (#442206) #
The Astros have done very well with their IFAs.

During the period 2016-20, the farm system has produced Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Manoah, Schneider, Jansen, Kirk, Moreno, Gurriel Jr., Biggio, Pearson, Noda, Danner, K. Smith, Barger, Horwitz, Martin, Van Eyk.  When you look at the list, you see some valuable players and many whose value is truly unknown, and that is doubly true for those drafted since 2020.  Prospect rankings are of only so much value.  Yes, it would be nice to have Adley Rutschman and Jackson Holliday but both were 1/1 picks. The Yankees prospects from the same period 2016-20 are much thinner- Judge, Volpe, Austin Wells and Clarke Schmidt and not much else.  They have truly built their club around Judge and mostly free agents after that.  The Red Sox have Casas, Duran and Houck from that time frame, and nothing spectacular after that. 

I would say that Guerrero Jr. and Bichette, the two jewels in the system, have cumulatively a little less productive than hoped for.  But Moreno was a hot item last year and they did the best they could with him.  The position where they have been deepest, catcher, hasn't netted them the production it might have- Kirk, Jansen and Moreno is a helluva grouping of catchers.  They are likely the best 3 catchers produced by the organization, and each of them might end up doing better than Ernie Whitt over their careers.  I hadn't realized at the time how old Whitt was.  He essentially produced all of his career value from age 31 to 37.  There aren't too many players like that.  But with catchers, there is something of a mileage rather than age issue.  One more Whitt piece of trivia: his closest BBRef age comp at the end of his career was Gregg Zaun.

85bluejay - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 05:58 PM EST (#442207) #
Yan Gomes had a solid career & I would list him as a product of the Jays system even though his big league success was elsewhere.
greenfrog - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 05:59 PM EST (#442208) #
Guerrero Jr. was signed during the Anthopoulos era prior to 2016.
Mike Green - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 06:00 PM EST (#442209) #
Sure.  That's a long time ago though.  Gomes is 36 years old now. 
greenfrog - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 06:04 PM EST (#442210) #
The Blue Jays currently have a lot going for them as an organization (including a robust payroll). If they can improve their acquisition and development of prospect talent, they should be able to field a consistently strong team in the majors.
Mike Green - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 06:04 PM EST (#442211) #
The point isn't to ascribe credit or blame.  Guerrero Jr. was in the system from 2016-19 and is not yet 25 years old.  The club had good reason to believe that Guerrero Jr. would be an organization centerpiece as Judge was.  Sometimes it turns out that way and sometimes not,  for all kinds of reasons (see Franco, W.).
scottt - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 07:25 PM EST (#442212) #
I take the Yankees farm system with a lot of salt.

Just look at what the highly ranked prospects did last year.
Volpe, OPS+ 81, Cabrera 58, Peraza 49.
Florial never amounted to anything.
Jasson Dominguez played in 8 games last year and hit very well, but got TJ surgery right after.

John Northey - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:06 PM EST (#442213) #
Good question on quality not just quantity lets do a fast simple check... Last 5 WAR, 10 WAR, 20 WAR player, etc. (has to be signed to count)
  • Jays: Alek Manoah 7.8 2019; Bo Bichette 17.7 2016; Marcus Stroman 21.7 2012; Orlando Hudson 30.9 1997; Roy Halladay 64.2 (best ever)
  • NYY: Garrett Whitlock 5.0 2017; Jordan Montgomery 12.5 2014; Aaron Judge 41.5 2013; (2006 4 10's, 2005 2 20+'s, then to the mid 90's for more 10's); Derek Jeter 1992 71.3 (best draft pick the Yankees made)
  • Rays: Shane McClanahan 8.6 2018; Brandon Lowe 13.7 2015; Blake Snell 21.1 2011; Kevin Kiermaier 35.5 2010; David Price 40.3 2007; Evan Longoria 58.6 2006 (best ever for them)
  • O's: Adley Rutschman 9.6 & Gunnar Henderson 7.1 2019; Cedric Mullins 12.2 2015; Kevin Gausman 23.0 2012; Manny Machado 54.9 2010; Mike Mussina 82.8 1990; Cal Ripken Jr. 95.9 1978 (Best obviously)
  • Red Sox: Tanner Houck 5.8 2017; Andrew Benintendi 16.1 2015; Mookie Betts 64.5 2011 (last 20+ other than Betts was Anthony Rizzo in 2007); Jeff Bagwell 79.9 1989 (tons of excellent guys in the 90s); Roger Clemens 139.2 1983 (8th best WAR all time but the Jays took Matt Stark instead before him - 18 players drafted before Clemens only 1 had more than 3.1 WAR and he [Tim Belcher] didn't sign)
Interesting eh? Red Sox hold the 'best draft pick' of the batch in Clemens. But also have the most embarrassing mistake - trading 100% of Bagwell's career for a couple months of a middle reliever (Larry Andersen - 22 IP 1.2 WAR, at least he pitched well for that brief time).
Eephus - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 09:34 PM EST (#442214) #
I’ll climb out of my misery hole to comment on one thing: I agree that expecting championship or bust with any season is almost always a losing endeavour. The 2024 Dodgers look like they could maybe win 125 games, but I’ll still easily take the field over them because long seasons and playoffs are unpredictable by nature. We don’t know nothing! I’m not a fan of statistical projections for this very reason: it’s a sound foundation but it only suggests value instead of delivering it, which is obviously most important.

My angst towards the 2023 squad was pretty loud but please don’t mistake it for them sliding in far below my expectations. Far from it. My issue was just how painful it was to continuously see a pitcher put up a wonderful game, while the offence continuously put fellas on base just to continuously strand them. If they fell behind by 2 after the 5th inning, the game felt over.

I’m not optimistic about 2024 either, as currently constructed. They have a better chance of finishing 5th than 1st. Significantly. The Orioles and Yankees have gotten much better on paper, but hey we’ve done that before too and maybe this is their turn to have to blow up ineffectively in their faces. We can only hope.

Which is where I’m at with this team and franchise. Blind hope. Blind optimism our hitters will bounce back (entirely possible… but also entirely not). Expecting the starting pitching to be as good as last year… a serious stretch, despite whatever injury-free projections think.

It beats the hell out of those 2000s teams sure, but some of those teams (2003 and 2006 especially) were fun in their fruitless endeavours regardless. I love those teams, and I want to love another Jays team as soon as possible. But the way this winter has gone? It’s gonna be real, real hard. The journey is more important than the result, and so…. This is a team adding around the margins while in a win-now situation, despite the core missing a piece or two. Even getting Yelich would be a serious boost, and they should try to do that.

Of course. They could also do one thing to rouse my pessimism from its slumber to enjoy all of this again…. You know his name, you know where he’s from, and for crying out loud check out his Instagram he still bangs, everybody.
mendocino - Friday, February 02 2024 @ 10:20 PM EST (#442215) #
BA said one of the reasons for the drop in rankings was because of the struggles of the '22 draft class.
Reading the scouting reports most of blame rests with Toman & Doughty's hitting this year compared to last. Wonder if the Jay's Lab had them change something and it didn't take.
Also why would they 8r Dylan Rock in AA his first full season? Is this the problem, rushing guys to fast?
No St Catharines, no Medicine Hat, just a revamped GCL
bpoz - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 08:48 AM EST (#442216) #
I always like your posts Eephus. You broke it down into paragraphs. Are you wallowing in some kind of misery because it is winter? I can relate.

Great explanation about how the season was painful. Especially down 2 after the 5th felt like the game was over. So I am guessing that we did not make many comebacks when down 2 or more after the 5th. How about the opposite how many games were lost with a 2+ lead after the 5th?

Not optimistic about 2024 because the Burnes & Soto splashes were bigger than our Y Rodriguez/J Turner splash is my take.

We will get to compare the 2024 performances of Burnes after 2 months in the AL East with Manoah in April/May and I will add Cole. Feeling that the debuts of J Holliday and co compared to Orelvis and co and NYY,s prospects "favoring" Baltimore is the expected wisdom. This should take all year to evaluate. Let me cherry pick Evan Carter, Davis Schneider and J Dominguez for 2024 and any other surprises.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 08:53 AM EST (#442217) #
Today's Immaculate Grid asks for players who had 2000+ career hits, 100 runs scored in a season and played second base for 3 teams. This has produced low average scores, which mystifies me. I guess the 80s and 90s are ancient history now.
Chuck - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 09:47 AM EST (#442218) #
I guess the 80s and 90s are ancient history now.

Only just now getting the memo? I induced a WTF eyeroll from my adult son when discussing Genesis, my favourite band. I told him that I wasn't a fan of the late stuff, after they had moved from prog rock to pop. When was that, dad? Oh, the late 70s and early 80s.

Old age just sneaks up on you. Any low scores I get in Grid are only because my long term memory is the only memory that halfway works for me. I am ready for Washington second basemen. My brain will shoot right to Ron Brand.

Eephus - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 10:23 AM EST (#442219) #
when discussing Genesis

Selling England By The Pound? Or Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. These are the important baseball questions, damnit!

With those two, there is no wrong answer.
Chuck - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 11:11 AM EST (#442220) #
Selling England by the Pound.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 11:16 AM EST (#442221) #
Yelich is an intriguing name. He had a good season offensively last season and his defense also took a step forward. He's expensive, but as long as the Jays didn't give up a ton back, it would be worth it.

It would leave the Jays in an awkward position with Kiermaier, whom they've just signed to be the everyday center fielder. Presumably Yelich would have to play a lot of left field, making Varsho the candidate to move to center.

Or, perhaps, the Jays can find some way to keep them all fresh and happy by firing up the playing time algorithm and getting creative.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 11:22 AM EST (#442222) #
Yelich was good last year but he's also 32 with five more years at $24M. That's just repeating the Springer contract and paying too much during the decline years.
John Northey - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 11:27 AM EST (#442223) #
I do wonder how that'd work - if they traded for Yelich. Yelich LF, Varsho CF, Springer RF, KK backup. Whenever Springer goes down, KK goes to CF Varsho to RF. Springer needs 20 games off a year at this stage, maybe more to stay fresh for the rest. Varsho might miss 10 games. Yelich misses about 10. So that gives you about 40 games there. Lets put Turner down for 10 missed, Vlad 5 = 15 more opened up (Springer or Yelich DH those days) gets us to 55 games for KK to play. Can't imagine he'd be very happy with that, plus a poor use of $10 mil. Of course, if any of those guys goes down for a month then he'd quickly earn his pay.
scottt - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 12:03 PM EST (#442224) #
Schneider will probably replace Merrifield in LF.
Biggio started 27 games in RF last year.

Yellich was intriguing in 2018-19, but isn't Schneider more intriguing right now?

Eephus - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 12:16 PM EST (#442225) #
Cinema Show is one of my favourite Genesis tunes. That progression...

I think of Schneider as more of the 2B solution. And I'll agree with Mike Green: he is clearly a solution. It would be dumb to not give him a worthwhile look, meh defense be damned. Hiding him in left-field can also be done cleverly, of course.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 12:21 PM EST (#442226) #
My son went off to university about 15 years ago. He came back after first year, and told me that he knew a lot of the older music other kids played then from home. But, baseball? Forget about it.

Bob Dylan. Joni Mitchell. Jimi Hendrix. He knows them all. Willie Mays, maybe. Frank Robinson, no...Please e-mail complaints or comments about my parenting to
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 12:27 PM EST (#442227) #
Am I the only one that is not completely sold on Davis Schneider? He had a terrific debut but then went 0 for 30 something afterwards. I hope he is good this season but there have been numerous players who started off hot ( JP Arencibia) and then cooled off considerably once major league pitchers realized how to get them out.
Chuck - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 12:48 PM EST (#442228) #
Cinema Show is one of my favourite Genesis tunes.

The instrumental passages in Cinema Show and Firth of Fifth are their very best ever. Hard to believe the lads were just 22 or 23 at the time.

Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 12:55 PM EST (#442229) #
Davis Schneider got squeezed a lot by the umpires.

Wondering who will be the 26th player?
johnny was - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#442230) #
SABR Day scuttlebutt from someone in my chapter connected a serious bid group: two expansion teams to be announced during Spring Training '25. Anyone else hear anything similar today?
vw_fan17 - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 01:17 PM EST (#442231) #
I think of Schneider as more of the 2B solution. And I'll agree with Mike Green: he is clearly a solution.

I would say he's clearly a POSSIBLE / POTENTIAL solution. It remains to be seen if he can actually out-hit any defensive shortcomings, adjust to the high pitch, etc..

Not that I think it's impossible - I have high hopes for him. But, I don't have him penciled in for 140+ games, like I do Bo, for example.
99BlueJaysWay - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 01:41 PM EST (#442232) #
I am also skeptical of Schneider, Island Boy.

His rolling xwOBA was a downward sloping line from start to finish. His start was extraordinary (over .400), but he finished at .241, which is not a viable MLB player. I’m also hesitant because his K% was 30% and his whiff% was 37%, and he really struggled with anything low & away, up & in, and down & in. Thats a lot of holes.

A lot of his success came on fastballs down the middle. When he stopped seeing those pitches, he fell off a cliff.

There are reasons for optimism, and I hope he’s awesome, but I see too many red flags to share the level of enthusiasm other posters have.
John Northey - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 02:05 PM EST (#442233) #
My main reason for hope with him is that insane start - it wasn't just hot it was Barry Bonds on PEDs hot. Few ever get a streak like that. His August (14 games) was 426/526/894. In Delgado's best year (2000) his best month was July 386/539/773. 2003 was his next best (only other year over 1000 for OPS) and that year his best month was 365/483/688. These were probably the best 2 months in a near HOF level hitter's career. In 1994 Delgado got off to a hot start - 275/373/765 over his first 15 games before going ice cold 177/340/228 the rest of the season (29 games). Sound familiar? He only had a 32 OPS+ the next year (99 PA) then a 112 in 1996 in full time play. Then 127, 151 and 143 for the rest of his career. Basically he had to get over the hump and the Ash run Jays were not good at making space for kids (they really messed a lot of them up, did a lot of dumb things - Vernon Wells was given 3 straight September call ups before given a real shot by the next GM for example.

Yeah, his 0-31 slump sucked but that hot start wasn't a Travis Snider type (803 OPS in 24 games) it was beyond that. Guys who do that to start off tend to have something that works. Maybe he is going to just be a 110 OPS+ guy like Gurriel or a 130s guy like Bo (first 14 games 394/444/742). But the potential is there for a 'wow' 140's like Delgado, and I see the sub 100 like Snider as a low possibility.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 02:35 PM EST (#442234) #
Schneider slugged .522 on sliders, .600 on changeups, .571 on sinkers, .636 on cutters and .533 on sweepers.  His barrel % was actually highest at the top end of the zone in the middle of the plate and at the bottom of the zone in the middle of the plate.  His weakest point was up and away, and generally he was much less effective on the outside 3rd of the plate.  Most players are like that.  Here's a link to his zone chart. 

As for the comparison with Arencibia, Schneider has had 141 PAs.  Arencibia had his 141st major league PA on May 11, 2011.  At the end of that day, he was hitting .206/.273/.435 with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 7 homers with 12 walks and 35 strikeouts.  Arencibia had below average plate discipline and swung with an uppercut, leading to high pop-up rates and low line-drive rates.  His HR/FB rate during those first two years when he hit all those homers was 14.6%.  Schneider had a 27% line drive rate (and his LD rate was very good in the minors) and he rocked a 21% HR/FB rate.

It's fair enough to be skeptical about a near-rookie with an exceptional start.  No one expect him to slug .600 over a season.  He might bomb out and he might be the best hitter on the club.  Time will tell.  But if they don't give him a fair chance, that would be foolish.  Steamer and ZiPS both have him as a 3-4 WAR player over full-time work.  That includes optimistic reads on his defence, and pessimistic reads on his baserunning (which I thought was very good).  Most importantly, the offensive line projected has barely moved from what it was when he entered the big leagues- i.e. it predominantly relies on his minor league work. 

Mike Green - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 02:43 PM EST (#442235) #
The comparison wouldn't be with Arencibia, but with Lawrie.  Lawrie's hot start was comparable roughly to Schneider's, and he had attributes that Schneider does not possess, such as a quick twitch.  What he did not have was Schneider's discipline.  They are, in that dimension, polar opposites.  Lawrie was amped-up and hell-bent for leather.  Schneider is very much in control of just about everything.  He's not going to try to run through a wall to catch a foul popup.  Odds are that he's going to have an easier time staying healthy than Lawrie did. 
Marc Hulet - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 02:48 PM EST (#442236) #
Schneider's struggles coincided with the umps deciding to squeeze him. I can remember quite a few ABs where he got rung up because of questionable calls... also keep in mind he went through a stretch where Mr. Schneider barely played him and sitting on the bench for extended periods doesn't make it easy on anyone.

I still expect a 2024 upside of 105-110 wRC+ based off strong OBP and HRs. Kind of a poor man's Brandon Lowe.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 02:56 PM EST (#442237) #
If he can be healthier than Brandon Lowe has been, that would be good. Lowe is an excellent player when healthy.
scottt - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 02:56 PM EST (#442238) #
I'm not sure how good Schneider will be but intriguing doesn't mean a sure thing.
It means a high ceiling.

He was drafted as a third baseman but over the last 2 years, he played more LF than any other position.
In 2022, 46 games, 2 errors, 5 assists, 2 double plays.
Last year, 33 games, 1 error, 0 assist.

KK should be in there most of the time. With a lefty starting, Schneider can be in left and Espinal can play second. If KK is hurt, Biggio can play second.

greenfrog - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 04:01 PM EST (#442239) #
Nick Frasso just had labrum surgery and may miss the entire 2024 season. Tough news for him, but it makes the Mitch White trade a bit less painful for the Blue Jays. A good reminder that the attrition rate for pitchers is high.
scottt - Saturday, February 03 2024 @ 07:11 PM EST (#442240) #
If I understand properly, Frasso had optional surgery in November to deal with a minor labrum tear.
The news, if there is any, is that the recovery will be longer than previously anticipated.

bpoz - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 09:24 AM EST (#442241) #
It seems the best unsigned FAs are all Boras clients. 4 of them I think. IMO Philly, NYY, SF and the Cubs probably sign 1 each. The trading action is heating up with Baltimore getting Burnes as the biggest yet.
uglyone - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 09:36 AM EST (#442242) #
Schneider seems Biggio-like to me. Though maybe with more pop.
Mike Green - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 09:51 AM EST (#442243) #
We sometimes forget how good Biggio was prior to his neck injury.  In his first two seasons, he generated 5 bWAR and 4 fWAR in 695 PAs.  His second season was 2020, the very shortened COVID year.  He's still an average player, despite the loss of power after the neck injury. 

And yes, there are a lot of similarities between the two.  Steady, disciplined players.  We'll see if Schneider can remain healthy. 
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 09:54 AM EST (#442244) #
Matt Chapman, Cody Bellinger, J.D. Martinez, Blake Snell, and Hyun Jin Ryu, too.  Rhys Hoskins is one Boras client who signed.  Agree the Cubs and Giants are likely destinations.
Mike Green - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 09:58 AM EST (#442245) #
It's a big day for Blue Jay birthdays:  Raimel Tapia, Tom Mastny, John Frascatore, Brad Cornett, Dan Plesac.  Happy birthday one and all. 

February 4 has not been a day for Hall of Famers are even Hall of Very Gooders to be born.  The only two players with more than 10 career bWAR are Doug Fister and Plesac.  And both are under 20. 
greenfrog - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 10:23 AM EST (#442246) #
Interesting comp (Schneider and Biggio). Davis had a bit more pop in the minors (.463 versus .418 slugging percentage; their OBP was identical at .373).
dalimon5 - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 10:41 AM EST (#442247) #
Angels expected to sign one or two of these free agents.
bpoz - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 11:13 AM EST (#442248) #
I would be happy if the Angels signed a big FA and continued to make trades to improve because of Mike Trout. Would love to see him in a Sept playoff race. See if he can dominate and get them in.
scottt - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 11:22 AM EST (#442249) #
Biggio has plus speed. Schneider is an average runner.
Biggio has an average arm. Schneider's arm seems to be below average.
Biggio is pulling the ball around 40% of the time lately. He has a big uppercut swing but the bat speed isn't great.
Schneider has pulled the ball over 50% of the time and most of his hits are on the pull side.
Schneider has shown more power but with a high barrel rate.
The data sample is very limited on Schneider.

John Northey - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 11:28 AM EST (#442250) #
That would be fun, outside of the Jays winning seeing the Angels go deep without Ohtani, and seeing the Dodgers get knocked out fast would be fantastic to see. Nothing against Ohtani, but when a guy leaves for insane money it is fun to see the team they left do well. Sadly it rarely happens. When Bonds left Pittsburgh they entered a very, very long stretch of horrid baseball for example (he signed for an amount that was crazy in 1993).
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 11:43 AM EST (#442251) #
That scenario would be nice to see but having your best player, who is also the best player in the league, leave and then be better seems farfetched. The Angels never seem to sign the right complimentary players so it is more likely that Trout gets hurt again and the Angels compete with the A's for last place in the division.
Mike Green - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 12:07 PM EST (#442252) #
How about comparing Isaac Paredes with Davis Schneider?  Last year, Paredes walked and struck out a lot less than Schneider and hit the ball on the sweet spot and barrel a lot less, but otherwise his modus operandi was the same- pull the ball in the air.  Paredes'  xwOBAs the last two years have been .297 and .315.  During that period (952 PAs), Paredes has hit .232/.333/.467 and good for a 124 OPS+ and a 127 wRC+.  The park really matters for a player like this- Paredes expected home runs over his career in Tampa Bay (55) far exceeds his expected home runs in Baltimore (21).  Toronto is a pretty good park in that respect.  Paredes' expected home runs in Toronto would be 50. 

One more statistic.  Paredes EV on fly-balls and line-drives 91.6 was a lot lower than Schneider's 94.6.  Schneider has quite a bit of play to become a reliable good hitter. 
bpoz - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 12:17 PM EST (#442253) #
Thanks for the analysis Mike Green.
mathesond - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 12:39 PM EST (#442254) #
And both are under 20.

Oh, I think they are both older than that, Mike!
John Northey - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 01:14 PM EST (#442255) #
ZiPs said its closest batting comparisons to Schneider were Denis Menke, Harlond Clift, and Wayne Gross. Denis Menke (SS-3B-2B) played from 1962-1974 with the Braves, Astros, and Reds. 104 wRC+ lifetime, Davis was 24 last year, Menke at 24 had a 98 wRC+ after a 136 the year before. His first 2 ML seasons were a 55 and an 83. Clift (3B) was active from 1934-1945 wRC+ of 114. At 24 he had a 131, after 3 ML seasons of 94-114-124 so a lot more established than Schneider. He had a 133 the next year, and stayed over 100 until age 30 (during the war) when he was traded from the Browns to the Senators (yeah, this was a loooong time ago). Gross was a lot more recent - 1976-1986 (still long ago) came up at 24 with a 62 wRC+, 116 at 25, lots of ups and downs but finished at 107 after a career split between Oakland and Baltimore (3B-1B). Funny, none of them seem particularly close to Schneider imo and given the age of the 3 it is obvious it couldn't be from batted ball data (very little detail exists for pre-2000 that way).
greenfrog - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 02:18 PM EST (#442256) #
I wonder whether it would help Davis to have a clear defensive role in 2024 (second base, for example). This would allow him to focus on one defensive position and also on elevating his offensive approach.

I imagine he will significantly benefit from having Turner on the team. I bet we see the two of them sitting in the dugout together a lot this year.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 02:58 PM EST (#442257) #
Keegan Matheson's projected 2024 Blue Jays lineup:

1. George Springer, RF
2. Bo Bichette, SS
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
4. Justin Turner, DH
5. Davis Schneider or Cavan Biggio, 2B
6. Danny Jansen or Alejandro Kirk, C
7. Daulton Varsho, LF
8. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 3B
9. Kevin Kiermaier, CF

He argues that "another bat is needed" and "a Matt Chapman reunion would fit this roster even better now than three months ago."
dalimon5 - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 03:43 PM EST (#442258) #
Hard to disagree with him there. Probably up to the Cubs and Giants to decide.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 04:26 PM EST (#442259) #
It's possible the Jays will be able to land a quality bat at the trade deadline. But it can hard to pull this off, as we saw last year (luckily Davis Schneider was ready to step up and contribute). And Toronto doesn't have a strong farm system to trade from at the moment. It's hard to say whether it would be better to pounce on Chapman now, or hold off and see where the team stands in the summer. I guess it all depends on what it would take to sign him.
John Northey - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 05:18 PM EST (#442260) #
For entertainment there is talk the A's might be in deep trouble as they don't have anywhere to play in 2025. Their lease runs out in Oakland after this year, new park in Vegas won't be open for years, so what to do? The current team in Las Vegas has a 10k seat ballpark, biggest capacity is in Buffalo at 16.6k, with Salt Lake City having the biggest in the west at 14,511, closely followed by Sacramento at 14,014, then Albuquerque, NM at 13,500. Logically Sacramento is best as they nearly relocated there multiple times, SLC might be tempting as it is a possible expansion city, I'm sure they don't want to deal with moving a team to Montreal (too few west coast teams as is) for a few years either. The A's owner had a December deadline, extended to January, now until who knows when to figure this out. SF sharing their park is out as the owners of the two teams are not on friendly terms I've read (it'd take the commissioner being tough to make it happen, and he ain't that). My guess at this point is them playing in the minor league Vegas park for a few years, tiny attendance and all, until the new park is ready, or going to Salt Lake City (see if there is support there or not before 2 expansion teams get rewarded - newest rumor there is an announcement in 2025).
bpoz - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 05:53 PM EST (#442261) #
I will keep track of the rumor results next year. I expect Soto to be good. But want C Bellinger and Chapman to prove that they are good offensively. Chapman was bad offensively. Did Bellinger have a career year? IKF has been consistent the last few years. He is a good utility player that is not a regular.
mathesond - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 05:54 PM EST (#442262) #
Don't forget their TV rights money is based on them playing homes games within the Bay Area:

"Further complicating the search is the matter of the team's local broadcast rights. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported in January that the team hauled in approximately $67 million in revenue last season from NBC Sports Bay Area, via a contract that runs through 2033. Passan says the deal would be good for $70 million for the upcoming season, with the enormous caveat that the Athletics need to play their home games within the Bay Area. The only non-Coliseum venue within that zone of coverage that is reportedly under consideration as a temporary home is, hilariously, the stadium of the San Francisco Giants, an arrangement that Shea says would pose "a logistical nightmare." The other stadiums under serious consideration are in Summerlin, Nevada, and in Sacramento, neither of which are within the RSN's strictly defined geographical limits, meaning NBC Sports Bay Area would be under no obligation to pay its rights fees. Shea and Passan agree that the Athletics and the RSN could probably work out a reduced rate, a potential lowering of team revenue that will cause the blood of all 11 remaining Athletics fans to run ice cold."
scottt - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 05:55 PM EST (#442263) #
Biggio has spent years and years playing only second base and then playing mainly second base before reaching. Schneider as never had a set position and has been playing more LF than anything else over the last 2 years. LF isn't a demanding position. You have to think where you're throwing the ball back before the hitter hits it, but that's pretty much it. Second place is a bit more tricky with the double play, the partial shifts, covering the base and applying the tag...

Not having Chapman, Biggio, Espinal, IKF and Turner can all take turn at third.
Signing Chapman would bring us back to  having 4 players fighting over 1 spot.

John Northey - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 06:25 PM EST (#442264) #
scottt - you say that like it is a bad thing - I like having 4 meh guys fighting over 1 spot. Biggio is the only LH, Schneider the power guy, IKF & Espinal are the defense first and always guys. So Biggio/Schneider would be the starters mostly, with IKF coming in late for defense while Espinal gets to watch a lot of baseball from the dugout.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 06:32 PM EST (#442265) #
Yeah, will definitely see one more game at the Coliseum next year to see the Jays / say goodbye to the As. My M-I-L is a longtime fan (born and raised in Bay Area), so we'll try to take her then.

Vegas really seems to be ramping up the sports teams - Raiders, As, F1, etc.. Wonder how long the water will last.
scottt - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 06:57 PM EST (#442266) #
Urshela is still out there, too.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 04 2024 @ 08:36 PM EST (#442267) #
Jay Jackson has signed with the Twins.
scottt - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 09:22 AM EST (#442268) #
Best of luck to him.
The Twins don't seem to be trying very hard but neither is the rest of the division.
Chicago seems to be selling from a 100 loss team.
Rebuilds in Detroit and KC don't seem to be going anywhere.
Cleveland still has a crappy lineup.

Mike Green - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 10:26 AM EST (#442269) #
The only Blue Jay born today was Roberto Alomar. He shares the day with Henry Aaron.

Also born on this day was third baseman Don Hoak. He was one of those rare late bloomers, and there must be a story there. I knew of him first as one of the beneficiaries of the Cincinnati newspapers write-in campaign for the All-Star vote in 1957, but he had quite a little run. He was called up by the Dodgers in time for their 1955 World Series run, played in Cincinnati for a couple of years and then was reacquainted by Branch Rickey for the Pirates' push that led to the 1960 World Series triumph again over the Yankees. He finished 17th in the MVP vote in 2959 and 2nd in 1960. The All-Star vote for him in 1957 turned out to be entirely reasonable in the context, if a little premature.
greenfrog - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 10:34 AM EST (#442270) #
"He finished 17th in the MVP vote in 2959"

Impressive precognition.

In other news, Keith Law has posted his top 100 prospects list on The Athletic. Here are the Blue Jays on the list:

52. Tiedemann
57. Orelvis
59. Nimmala

Law thinks that Nimmala "offers the upside of a true shortstop with 25+ homer power, with good actions at short and a plus arm, while he can show a powerful and efficient right-handed swing that should launch balls as he fills out."
uglyone - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 11:13 AM EST (#442271) #
heh even ESPN feels we didn't really make the playoffs this year.
92-93 - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 11:21 AM EST (#442272) #
Biggio has a career .362 OBP vs. lefties and actually hit them better than Espinal last season. It's possible that is the result of being shielded from the toughest southpaws, but with his eye he can be a tough out for a LHP with control issues.

It's easy to see a scenario where Schneider starts the season in Buffalo. Adames shouldn't be that expensive (and we have 3 Top100 prospects!), and Chapman is still out there.
greenfrog - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 11:23 AM EST (#442273) #
Looks like ESPN quickly scrambled to correct that flub by Olney.

“It really seems impossible that Toronto didn't win a playoff game last season…”

Which logically doesn’t make a lot of sense, as it’s not uncommon for a WC team to get beat 2-0. But Olney obviously needed to cover his tracks.
Ducey - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 11:57 AM EST (#442274) #
I see Quebec is gonna spend another $870 million to put a new roof on the Big O. It wont be retractable. Having seen an Expos game there, the lack of roof is just one of the problems. I expect it is dated in a multitude of ways now.

Not sure why they would spend that kind of $ on this. I guess maybe the costs of demo or someone's ego have factored in?

I suppose it offers the possibility of MLB returning someday (the chances seem less than miniscule), or the Jays playing some late spring training games there.
uglyone - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 12:10 PM EST (#442275) #
So we're about to go to arby with Vlad, eh?
greenfrog - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 12:26 PM EST (#442276) #
Law commented that Orelvis could be an above-average defender at third base, which would be good news for the Blue Jays if true.
bpoz - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 12:36 PM EST (#442277) #
As I mentioned before I am excited about Buffalo. Mainly prospects there. The AAA players will be pushed by AA players within 2 months. Chad Dallas, M Fluharty and TJ Brock. I expect Roden to start in AAA. I mean if Orelvis can go to AA to start 2022 then ... Will Robertson hit 300 in July, Aug & Sept. He also had 5 Hr in each of Aug & Sept.
John Northey - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 12:58 PM EST (#442278) #
IMO at this point, if Chapman won't sign at a cheap, short term price, the best option is to give Orelvis or Barger a shot at 3B.  Yeah, both are probably going elsehwere long term (2B/RF respectively) but much like Jeff Kent in 1992 (played at 3B instead of 2B) you gotta work with what you got.  3B as a kid being primary, with IKF for late innings defense isn't the worst idea.  If IKF is already playing at SS then you can bring in Espinal instead.  The RH OF is Schneider right now, who will also play a lot at 2B and probably DH now and then.  This team is a Rubik's Cube.  So many ways to shuffle guys it is insane.  Heck, if Barger makes it then he could start at 3B, go to RF late to give Springer a few innings off if the game is out of hand either way while IKF takes over at 3B.  If Orelvis is at 3B then late you could shift Biggio to RF and move Orelvis to 2B and bring in IKF.  Like I said, a 1001 options every game.

13 man hitting roster has 8 locks (C/1B/SS/LF/CF/RF/DH - 2 C locked in) with 5 open slots for 3B/2B/backups - those 5 are IKF, Biggio, Espinal (all locks), Schneider (near lock), and an open slot for Clement (extra IF with no options), Lopez (no options, don't see him making it), Horwitz (pinch hitter), or a kid to play everyday at 3B (Orelvis MartinezAddison Barger, Rafael Lantigua, Damiano Palmegiani all have shots as all played at 3B in Buffalo last year and hit decently or better - heck, add in Tanner Morris also).  Is there risk? Oh yeah, anytime you mix in kids you get risk.

Sometimes putting kids feet to the fire works (see 2015 Kevin Pillar in CF) sometimes it doesn't (see 2015 Dalton Pompey in CF).  2015 was a heck of a prove it year - those 2 in CF, plus 2 as closer in Roberto Osuna & Miguel Castro (both 20 that year).  In both cases 1 did the job to an amazing degree, 1 flopped.  FYI: Castro is now entering his age 29 season and led the NL in games appeared in last year while Osuna was in Japan and was effective (0.92 ERA 26 saves but just 7.7 K/9).  Time flies and careers change.  Pillar signed with the White Sox for 2024, Pompey last played as a pro in 2021 (LAA system), majors in 2018, in 2022 he played in the Intercounty League here in Ontario for Guelph (guys I played with played in that league - decent baseball but for a former ML'er it would've been just for fun while still dreaming of a ML career) he now is a police officer in Hamilton.
85bluejay - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 01:06 PM EST (#442279) #
I have no problems going to arby with Vlad and owners are doing well so far.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 01:07 PM EST (#442280) #
The trouble with mixing in youngsters on a contending team is that they need to play semi-regularly and if they don't produce then they get nailed to the bench. You'd almost rather see a veteran as the 26th man, but I suppose a youngster would still benefit from major league coaching even if they aren't playing.
85bluejay - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 01:16 PM EST (#442281) #
As someone who is more bullish than most on guys like Schneider/Lantigua/Martinez/Barger/Lopez etc., I'm ok with the Jays not adding any more position players.
85bluejay - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 01:20 PM EST (#442282) #
I just love how the Dodgers keep trading their bottom end talent for upside lottery tickets - wish the Jays would emulate.
mathesond - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 02:02 PM EST (#442283) #
Vlad's never going to lose weight if he keeps going to Arby's.
bpoz - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 02:15 PM EST (#442284) #
Good LAD/NYY trade. The young pitcher Christian Zazueta has not yet performed well but has promise being 19 years old. Brasier pitched great for LAD last year so they wanted him back. Ferguson pitched V well so NYY gets a good reliever.

LAD has done everything to have a great year in 2024. NYY is trying to improve from an 82 win season in which the last 2 weeks were probably meaningless.
Hodgie - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 02:22 PM EST (#442285) #
KC signs Bobby Witt Jr. to a big 11-year extension worth $288M. The extension reportedly includes a team option for another 3 years at $89M. Nice piece of business for KC.
Hodgie - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 02:51 PM EST (#442286) #
Waxing musical nostalgia, for those Bauxites that are of a late 80's high school vintage, Tracy Chapman's performance last night at the Grammy's was mesmerizing, even if it had to include Luke Combs. Even better, social media has since been flooded with her iconic performance at Wembley for the 1988 Mandela tribute, a nervous 24-year-old silencing 75,000+ plus raucous fans almost instantly. I may or may not have watched that footage a few times today. You can watch it here if you are so inclined.
greenfrog - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 03:10 PM EST (#442287) #
Thanks for that, Hodgie.

FG chat today:

3:01 do you think the bluejays are still looking to add this offseason?

Ben Clemens
3:01 I thought they were
but.... at this point, I do not
(sad emoticon)

I think they SHOULD
Gerry - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 03:49 PM EST (#442288) #
The Jays announced 24 NRI to spring training today. As you would expect its mainly catchers and pitchers. The non C&P's include Luis De Los Santos, Alan Roden, Cam Eden and Damiano Palmegiani.

The only surprise amongst the pitchers, who are drawn mainly from AAA and AA, are Devereaux Harrison and Ryan Jennings.
John Northey - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 04:17 PM EST (#442289) #
Long list on the Jays site of the NRI's

Phew. Lots of guys there.  Not much for the IF but that is probably due to the # on the 40 man (11) vs C (2) & OF (5) & DH (1).  You always need 1001 pitchers and catchers at the start of spring though.
scottt - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 04:20 PM EST (#442290) #
Witt has opt outs after year 7, 8, 9, 10.
The contract is heavily back loaded.
So, I guess KC buys 2 years and the cost is pretty hefty if his career takes a bad turn.

Mike Green - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 04:35 PM EST (#442291) #
Not of late 80s high school vintage, but that is a pretty remarkable performance.  Beautiful voice.  Thanks, hodgie.
Mike Green - Monday, February 05 2024 @ 06:43 PM EST (#442292) #
Dan Szymborski has his list of ZiPS 2024-27 gainers and fallers.  The gainers in order of total projected WAR:

Acuna Jr.        27.9
Betts               17.1
Seager           14.7
McLain           14.6
Hoerner         14.4
Schneider     12.9
Outman         12.5
Contreras     11.9
Moreno          11.8

Schneider's 4 year projection is a little better than Anthony Volpe's (he's a decliner) and a smidge less than Carlos Correa (also a decliner).  He's somewhat behind Bichette and ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  And as for Cavan Biggio, his projection for the next 3 years is 1.1, 0.9 and 0.8 WAR.  And Kiner-Falefa is at 0.7, 0.3 and 0.1. 
Michael - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 12:35 AM EST (#442293) #
A bit weird to mention the gainers and decliners without mentioning the only Jay to lead a list.

Manoah has a ZIPS war projection from 2024-2027 of 14.9 as of start of last year to 5.2 as of now for a decline of 9.7 WAR over that 4 year period. 5.2 / 4 years or 1.3/year is still servicable and not no value, but it is a long way from the CY Young candidate year of 2022 where he put up 6.0 WAR in 1 year. It is also significantly below even just averaging the last 3 years where he put up 7.8 / 3 years for more like 2.6/year. Although if you do the 3/2/1 Marcel like method of weighting 3 for last year, 2 for 2 years ago, and 1 for 3 years ago you'd expect about 1.9 WAR/year so ZIPs is even more sour on Manoah then that.

Hard to project when your last 2 years are 6.0 and -1.1 WAR.
scottt - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 06:49 AM EST (#442294) #
Technically Britton is also a catcher. They need all the catchers they can find in spring training.

No Van Eyk, He was decent in Arizona. He's obviously not a starting option.

scottt - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 09:10 AM EST (#442295) #
Vlad said he was "very happy" to go to arbitration.
Not because he expects to win but because either way he will beat the arbitration record set by Teoscar last year.

Much is said about players not wanting to hear negative things said about them by their team, but I don't think this is the case at all. People project arbitration results purely by looking at the numbers, so all a team need to do is present the numbers and compare them to historical numbers.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 09:14 AM EST (#442296) #
I didn't look at the pitchers beyond the risers, but it's pretty obvious that Manoah would be among the "leaders" in declining projections after his disastrous 2023 season following excellent 2021 and 2022. It is a bad sign that the organization is so far acting as though a spot should be saved for him- "he has a strong leg up on an opening day rotation spot".  If he performs as he can, he will easily earn a spot on merit, but so far the merit isn't and wasn't there.  When they called him back up last year, he had made 2 starts in the minor leagues- one for 2.2 innings, walked 2 and gave up 2 home runs and the other for 5 innings, gave up 3 hits, 3 walks and an HBP.  That was a ridiculously early call-up, and the organization so far seems intent on repeating its error. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 09:18 AM EST (#442297) #
From MLBTR a year ago:

"Brewers ace Corbin Burnes lost his arbitration hearing against the team this week and, upon being asked about the process in Brewers camp today, offered a rather candid assessment of the hearing. The two-time All-Star and 2021 NL Cy Young winner expressed 'disappointment' not in the loss itself but in the way the team approached negotiations and conducted itself during the trial. Most troubling for Brewer fans is that, asked specifically about his relationship with the team, Burnes admitted that damage had indeed been done."

Burnes has since been traded to the O's.
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 09:37 AM EST (#442298) #
Since I don't expect Vlad & Bo to sign longterm extensions with the Jays, moving them after this season (or in July if the team is not contending) seems a very defensible option.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 10:15 AM EST (#442299) #
I still enjoy re-reading this piece from May heralding the arrival of the New & Improved Superstar Matt Chapman, based on Zips projections based on one month of baseball. Perhaps Chapman & Boras do, too, and are still clinging to the idea of that $150 million contract.

Projections are fun, but also very, very silly.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 10:59 AM EST (#442300) #
There's an error bar with projections.  At the end of the linked article on Chapman written in May, 2023, there's a 5 year projection for him.  It shows 5 WAR for 2024, 4.3 WAR for 2025, 3.4 WAR for 2026, 2.6 WAR for 2027, and 1.8 WAR for 2028.  bWAR has him at 4.4 WAR for 2023, with better defence than ZiPS projected for him and less offence.  The projections for 2024-28 as of May, 2023 have understandably fallen since then, but not as much as one would think.  He ended up having a slightly better year in 2023 (at age 30) than he had had in 2022 and in 2021. That is a good sign for his ability to maintain performance in his early 30s. 

But tracking changes after one month is going to have a wider error bar than season-long changes.  The thing about Schneider is that ZiPS thought that he was good before 2023, and then improved noticeably by reason of his performance in triple A and then modestly by reason of his short period in the major leagues.  I'll grant that it is difficult particularly with the impact of the pandemic.  Schneider didn't play at all in 2020, and then had only 188 PAs in 2021.  If you look at his line, you'd think he had a very serious injury at the end of 2019 or something. 

For myself, I find the error bar on public scouting reports much, much larger.  In particular, I find the descriptions of where players in fact are to be wildly wrong on matters I can see, and so I trust less in the projections of where players can reasonably end up.  Like the presumption that all catchers are degrees of slow.  I'd venture a guess that Craig Biggio had a speed number of 45 or 50 when he was coming up as a catcher.  Only occasionally do I actually learn something.  When there is a consensus about the top 5 or 6 picks in a draft, they almost always are 6 very good prospects. 

John Northey - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 11:53 AM EST (#442301) #
With the Jays in contention trading Bo and/or Vlad would be counterproductive most likely. I don't see that happening. They are the types you trade FOR if you are wanting to win.

As to arbitration I wouldn't be shocked if the Jays limit themselves to the obvious in Vlad's hearing - he didn't perform as well in 2023 as in 2022 or 2021, thus making a decline in 2024 likely. His defensive numbers dropped as well. IE: no need to tear him down, just state what he pretty much has accepted happened.  The spread is less than $2 mil between them so even punting it - just accepting his price - isn't the worst that could happen if they fear he'll take it too personally.

As to long term deals - it is very hard to say, the Jays probably won't worry about it as Vlad & Bo both are in personal situations that allow them to wait it out, so if they want to sign here they will, if they don't they won't. Pushing hard now has no real value. Bobby Witt Jr is a similar situation - but the Royals came up with $288 million while he was pre-arb which is a mega risk on their part - 4 years of control and they put that much at risk hoping he stays near the 4.4 WAR level he was at last year and not the 0.9 level he was as a rookie. At the same age (post age 23) Vlad had a 2.1, 6.7 and a 3.9 season (plus 2020's whatever that was, equiv to 1.5 roughly).  Far more reason at the same age to think Vlad was worth nearly $300 mil in risk but few here thought that would've been a good idea for the Jays at that point, and then at 24 he was a 2.0 player.  So we'd have been going 'oh crap the Jays locked in at the wrong time'. 

Bo is a closer comp to Witt - up at 21 for a partial season, full 2020 (age 22), at 23 he was a 5.8 bWAR so risking that money then would've been a decent bet, but the next 2 years were 3.6 and 4.9 with the Jays having 2 more years risking just $30 mil then making the choice on a $300-400 mil deal for 10 more years or going with whoever earns the job in the system (Arjun Nimmala has a lot of hype now - seems everyone sees him as one of the top 3 or 4 prospects here after 9 pro games, potentially a long term solution at SS - the Jays have 2 years to decide).  The Royals now have SS locked down for a decade maybe, but if Witt flops (as does happen) then they are screwed fiscally for a long time.  The Jays aren't yet. 
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 02:10 PM EST (#442302) #
Kershaw re-signs with the L.A. Dodgers.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 04:11 PM EST (#442303) #
Glad to see Kershaw returning to the Dodgers. I love when HOF guys spend a whole career in one place. It'd be weird to see him in any other uniform.

On the other end of MLB I'm very happy to see Jay Jackson signed a ML contract with the Twins - hopefully he gets a full year of ML service time this year, every bit counts for a guy who has been up and down like he has. Soler is in talks with SF it seems as his options have shrunk a lot. Chapman seems to be going either to the Cubs or Giants right now - same teams are also after Bellinger.

At this point I think the Jays are mostly set. They might do a mid-season trade for 3B (SD's Kim the strongest possibility - a free agent most likely after 2024) if none of the kids are ready.

Next winter will be quite interesting - last year of Bo & Vlad possibly, do you go all-out to try to win with them or just say 'screw it' and clear them out. Soto the biggest FA, Alex Bregman (3B), Willy Adames (SS), Pete Alonso (1B), Shane Bieber (SP), Walker Buehler (SP), Corbin Burnes (SP), Yusei Kikuchi (SP), Danny Jansen (C), and many others will be free agents too.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 04:26 PM EST (#442304) #
MLBTR chat today:

1:54 The Jays have 6 INF bench pieces and only 2 everyday players. What could possibly go wrong?

Steve Adams
1:54 Yeah their infield mix is wholly underwhelming. There's just no getting around that it's been a really disappointing and lackluster offseason from them so far.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 04:50 PM EST (#442305) #
As of right now, does Cam Eden appear to be the 26th man / 13th position player?
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 04:58 PM EST (#442306) #
If the org were to sign Blake Snell right now, it would be a very productive off-season.  It has nothing to do with the infield particularly, they just haven't added very much talent across the board.  Yes, they signed Kiner-Falefa and Turner but they are short-term talents of moderate ability.  The Jays have plenty of average players, and the improvement from these players is modest.  Snell would be worth 1.5-2 wins over the course of the season, by taking away starts from Manoah, Yariel Rodriguez , Francis and Kikuchi, and would be quite significant in the playoffs. 

As of now, among the 8 top teams in the AL, they are the middle of the pack both in offence and in run prevention.  They need to get better at one or the other and run prevention happens to be easier for them because the #4 and #5 spots in the rotation are weaker than any position.  And as it happens, it has greater impact in the playoffs if you add a 1 or 2 starter.  There's a big gap between Gausman and Bassitt/Berrios, and Snell is a lot closer to Gausman, and maybe as good.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 05:07 PM EST (#442307) #
Eden isn't on the 40-man, so the 26th man as of today is likely Lukes. If they enter the season with both Lukes and Espinal on the roster this offseason was a disaster.
Ducey - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 05:38 PM EST (#442308) #
With IKF playing 3B and Schneider at 2B, the bench should be Kirk, Biggio, Espinal and Horwitz. Lukes as a LH doesnt make much sense, but who knows. KK or Springer could get injured.

By mid-season that could change to guys like Barger and Orelvis or Jimenez. The Jays have a bunch of guys at AAA who dont excite the scouty type people at BA, but are able to control the strike zone and get on base.

Remember that Schneider was nowhere on the depth chart this time last year.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 05:59 PM EST (#442309) #
Snell would be a nice addition to the team, but the Blue Jays know they need to restock the organization’s farm system. They likely won’t want to give up a draft pick to sign Snell (or commit the dollars required to sign him).

The team has been caught between a rock (weak free agent class) and a hard place (dearth of prospects to trade from) this off-season.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 06:27 PM EST (#442310) #
They do have to decide whether they are in it to win it in 2024-5.  They so far have been acting like they aren't.  Not really.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:00 PM EST (#442311) #
The Blue Jays were arguably in a better position than the Yankees entering the off-season, but the Yankees may have surpassed them with the Soto, Stroman and other moves they’ve made.

It seems like Toronto is trying to chart a course that simultaneously allows them to compete for a playoff spot, sell a lot of tickets and attract television and online viewers, and ensure that the team still has a decent core of talent and prospects in 2026 and beyond.

Whether it’s feasible to pursue all of those goals at the same time is debatable.
scottt - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:21 PM EST (#442312) #
I am glad they are not rushing to sign guys that the Yankees didn't find acceptable.
scottt - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:29 PM EST (#442313) #
"6 .. bench pieces and only 2 everyday players" that really sounds like the Rays.

Biggio and KK are platoon guys. I think that's fine.
Schneider seems like the other side of the platoon for both guys, so he will have to find more ABs at second while Biggio gets the rest of his ABs at third and all over.
Espinal might just play 3B against lefties and IKF is mostly a defensive replacement.

greenfrog - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:31 PM EST (#442314) #
You mean like Jordan Montgomery (5.7 fWAR in a season and two months after the Yankees traded him for Harrison Bader, who posted 1.1 fWAR over that same span)?

Maybe the Yankees aren't omniscient after all...?
scottt - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:40 PM EST (#442315) #
Horwitz sounds like the best bench option they have.
He's used to playing LF.

Lukes only makes more sense if what they need is mostly a pinch runner.

tercet - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:42 PM EST (#442316) #
Ex Jays draftee Clinton Hollon was on a Baseball America podcast today mentioning his drug issues with the Jays and since getting released in 2017.
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:49 PM EST (#442317) #
Don't forget about Otto Lopez... speed and versatility and has shown an above-average hit tool in the past. He started out well last year at the WBC but then got hurt and never looked right. If he's back to his old self, he might deserve a look as that final bench piece.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 07:58 PM EST (#442318) #
All the position players the Jays have acquired this off-season are basically 0-2 WAR players. What they needed was a 5+ WAR player (like Soto or Ohtani or Yamamoto) or maybe a 4+ WAR one (like Snell).

Maybe they can pry away Adames or Kim to play third base, although it might be better to keep him at shortstop and move Bichette to the hot corner.

After debating all of these ideas, all roads seem to circle back to "running it back and hoping for improvements from the existing players." It's not the most inspiring strategy, but it seems to be where we're headed.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 08:00 PM EST (#442319) #
If memory serves, bpoz has mentioned competing for a playoff spot right up to the last day of the season, and using that as a measure of a successful campaign. Certainly, that must be the goal for '24 / '25. A playoff contender would check the most boxes. Meanwhile, as greenfrog described, the club is stuck between a rock and hard place. The best case scenario is that 1 or 2 hitting prospects can break through.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 08:07 PM EST (#442320) #
For the last bench slot I see it as a battle between guys with no options on the 40 man (Ernie Clement & Otto Lopez) and the kids trying to take over 3B who are on the 40 already (Orelvis Martinez, Barger, Jimenez) plus the one bat (Horwitz). Now, if the Jays were feeling like ruffling a few feathers they could send Espinal down (2 options left) and keep Clement up plus Horwitz (also 2 options left). But I don't see that happening. Lukes is the only other guy on the 40 man who isn't a lock, but what would be the point of having him on the roster? To run now and then?

IMO the most likely thing is the Jays trading Espinal as part of a package for an improvement at 3B (assuming Chapman is gone which seems logical). A 4th OF really isn't needed with Biggio & Schneider likely to be on the roster, plus IKF - who cover RF/LF/CF respectively. If an injury happens to one of the main 3 then things could get dicey, but that is what you have a team in Buffalo for - Lukes, Lantigua, Berroa, Eden, and Roden are all down there trying to earn a call-up. Plus you have Barger who was getting a lot of reps in RF last year. Safe to say the Jays won't put a ton of effort at this point into improving the OF. Late in games if a PH is needed for KK or Varsho you have one of Jansen/Kirk on the bench (with IKF you have an emergency 3rd catcher with Varsho #4).
bpoz - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 08:46 PM EST (#442321) #
I agree with greenfrog. Win a lot of games so that interest is high thereby selling tickets, merchandise and TV revenue. Also compete in 2026 and forward. I don't think going for it is in the plans. No rebuild because you did not trade top prospects to get a "go for it" player.
krose - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 09:41 PM EST (#442322) #
I’d like to suggest an addition reason for the Jays lack of action this off-season. Aitkins has tried to acquire players who would have made a substantial difference. (Soto, Ohtani, Yamamoto) Other players available would not have an impact commensurate with their price and term. The greatest impact could come from players already on the team, and that includes rookies. But all the new players and former stars on the 40 man, except Bichette, are question marks. Perhaps Aitkins is waiting to see if Vlad, Springer, Varsho, Schneider, Kirk willcombiné for improved offensive. If those players are more productive, then more moves will be made as the season moves forward. Aitkins will know better what is needed and might have better access to players to fill those needs.
electric carrot - Tuesday, February 06 2024 @ 10:00 PM EST (#442323) #
Ok, fine, accuse me of homerism -- but I actually think the Jays offense and defense looks pretty good as is. I do not see the shadow selves of some of the players as they were last year coming back in 24. Here is my "true self" analysis of the lineup.

1. George Springer, RF (solid veteran hitter -- defense weak but playable.)

2. Bo Bichette, SS (one of the best hitters in his position in the game -- decent defense.)

3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B (great bat speed, excellent plate discipline, motivated after a crap year -- look out! Defense -- I'm confused.)

4. Justin Turner, DH (decent veteran hitter -- no d)

5. Davis Schneider or Cavan Biggio, 2B (I think Davis is the real deal and got squeezed by umps for some reason at the end of last year. I also think Biggio is underrated. Great batting eye -- but prone to slumps. As a tandem defense for position probly a little below average -- Biggio fine, Schneider below average.)

6. Danny Jansen or Alejandro Kirk, C (Jansen is a great hitter -- couple of freak injuries haven't helped. Kirk like Guererro had a crap year that was out of character of what he had done to that point -- look out! I see a big bounce-back for Kirk. Both have great D.)

7. Daulton Varsho, LF (I don't think his hitting will improve but the D will still be excellent.)

8. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 3B (I have no hope for K-Falefa. Let's play a the hot rookie whoever it is and cross our fingers.)

9. Kevin Kiermaier, CF (Great year last year. I expect less this year but nothing terrible. Great to good D and an okay bat.)

Overall, above-average offense and above-average defense. That coupled with an even a modest rebound from our former Ace, Manoah and/or the arrival of injury-prone Tiedemann and the rotation 1-5 should be one of the best again this coming year. So the potential for great starting pitching.

To me the weakness of this team isn't the starting nine (except for I K-F) but is actually depth at starting pitching. I don't see many good options after the top 5. If this team stays relatively healthy I think it's easily in the playoffs.

I'd love to see a better option for third and some starting depth but if healthy this "true-self" team looks good to me.

Ducey - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 12:23 AM EST (#442324) #
Groshans on waivers.

Pretty lousy last year. But still only 23. Might be worth a claim.
Jonny German - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 06:31 AM EST (#442325) #
It's been a bad offseason. The one obvious move was to sign Ohtani (they never had the capital for Soto), and good on them for making a real effort at that. But without Ohtani it was going to take some real creativity to make for a good offseason, and we haven't seen that yet.

I'm hoping they are ready to pounce if Snell or Bellinger or Chapman has to settle for a 1-year deal like Correa in March 2022. And my prefernce of those 3 would be Bellinger. When you consider best case and worst case scenarios for the starting pitching and for the outfield, the outfield needs more help. Especially since the 4th and 5th and 6th outfielders right now are actually infielders. And bonus points for Bellinger being a lefty bat.

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 07:44 AM EST (#442326) #
In the good news department, Jimmy Key and Russell Martin will be inducted into the Canadian baseball hall of fame in the spring. Well deserved.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 08:46 AM EST (#442327) #
Relievers are being snapped up over the last few days. NYM added 2 yesterday.

I am still waiting for Miami to trade a SP and CWS to trade Cease. 2 years of Cease should get some nice prospects. Miami has done practically nothing after gaining a playoff spot last year. They probably lose Soler so their O will suffer. I now think that they don't believe that they can compete. Last year was a fluke. So about bottom 5 in the NL IMO with or without the SP trade.
92-93 - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 11:37 AM EST (#442328) #
Horwitz doesn't make much sense for the bench. He's blocked by Guerrero/Turner, and you don't want him in the OF vs. LHP when Kiermaier sits. Best to have him playing everyday in AAA so he's ready if 1B/DH opens up.

Kiermaier, like Chapman, got off to a hot start last year and then was mediocre over the last 4+ months of the season. They need to bring another OF, and there are lots of RH OFs still out there like Grichuk, Grossman, Pham, MTaylor, KHernandez, etc. that hit lefties well. The 1.8MM discrepancy in Guerrero's arbitration case could affect the FA they target.

I'm still hoping that Votto wants to play here in a limited role, and that they sign him + an OF and trade/option Espinal.
Nigel - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442329) #
I don't think that you need to overthink this offseason. The team is in a very similar position to when this front office first took over in 2016. The team is good and sort of playoff caliber but its talent base is eroding. Then, as now, marketing reasons dictated doing very little, running it back, hoping for the best and selling tickets and, just like now, baseball reasons would dictate selling significantly or buying significantly to either reinvigorate the talent base or to start reloading for the future. They chose to do nothing then and they've chosen the same thing now. I don't blame them this is a business after all. I think the conflict explains some of the angst that is manifest in some of the posters. There is a real need to improve the talent base on the team but I think ignoring the marketing spot the FO is in does them a bit of a disservice.
scottt - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 12:35 PM EST (#442330) #
Having a guy who can hit on the bench makes a ton sense.
The Jays don't face a ton of lefties and Kiermaier will sit even against some RH starters.
Schneider can cover LF, so Espinal and IKF can cover 2B and 3B.
Otherwise, he can pinch hit late in games.

The problem with Votto is that there are no spot for him.
He can't play LF. As a pinch hitter he offers nothing over Horwitz.
Who could he pinch hit for? Pretty much just IKF and Espinal, 2 bench players.

scottt - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 12:57 PM EST (#442331) #
Baseball's Prospectus' PETOCA projections:

Yankees 94
Blue Jays 88
Orioles 87
Rays 86
Red Sox 80

With the Yankees it's all about forecasting health.
I don't think the O's will finish this low, but maybe this is finally the year the Rays come back to Earth.

92-93 - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 01:19 PM EST (#442332) #
They don't need the bench bat to play the OF, that will be the 4th OFs job along with IKF and Biggio. A productive Votto (like the one who returned from injury last season) would PH for 3 to 5 guys, depending on the lineup.

I was unimpressed by Horwitz's brief MLB cameo. Perhaps there's more there, but we haven't seen it yet.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 01:55 PM EST (#442333) #
Aaron Judge turns 32 in April.  He has had 6 full seasons (discounting the pandemic year).  In those full seasons, he has had 678, 498, 447, 633, 696 and 458 PAs.  If the number of PAs projected does not begin with a 5, you need to start over again.  ZiPS has him at 522, this is arguable.  I haven't seen any other that begins with a 5.  Steamer has 670, which is so bad it is funny.  Fangraphs depth charts have him at 658.  Almost as funny. Hopefully PECOTA has some reasonable number for him.

What's bad about this is Judge is a fairly easy player to project. When he's healthy, he plays.  But he has not been consistently healthy and the odds that his health is better at age 32 than it was from 25-31 on average are, um, not good.

Juan Soto is 25. ln his 4 full seasons ignoring the season he was called up and the pandemic year, he has 659, 654, 664 and 708 PAs.  ZiPS projects 660 PAs, Steamer 674 and Fangraphs Depth Charts 679.  ZiPS' figure is the most reasonable (any player has some risk of injury), but all are reasonably plausible estimates.

The other position player who is important is Gleyber Torres.  He's 27.  He has had 4 complete seasons with 604, 516, 572 and 672 PAs.  ZiPS projects 629, Steamer 638 and Fangraphs Depth Charts 644.  All the numbers are on the high side, with ZiPS the closest and arguably reasonable.

Gerrit Cole is the pitcher who matters the most.  Since he first made 32 starts in 2015, he has thrown 208, 116, 203, 200, 212, 181, 201 and 209 innings.  If you cannot look at those numbers and see that the number of projected innings for a very effective 33 year old starter should begin with 17, 18 or 19, I don't know what to say.  Arm problems sometimes crop up with no warning; it's just a fact.  ZiPS has him at 186, Steamer at 200 and FGDC at 202. 

ZiPS explicitly warns us to not take its' playing time estimates too seriously, but actually does the best job of it.  The Fangraphs Depth Charts numbers are uniformly too high, and in the case of Judge, laughably so. 

scottt - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 04:03 PM EST (#442334) #
The 4th outfielder is a bench bat. There's only 4 guys on the bench, 1 catcher, 1 outfielder, 1 guy who can play shortstop and whoever. We already have Schneider, IKF, Biggio and Espinal filling second, third and 2 of the bench spots. You only get another left bat if Schneider is the 4th outfielder.

Votto would never pinch hit for one of the top 4 hitters and the catchers can pinch hit for themselves.
Two or three of the remaining guys are left bats. That's just not happening.

If you don't stick to guys already on the 40 roster, you need to kick someone out to make room.
Lopez and Clement are 2 possible guys. I see Lukes more as an injury replacement.

Jonny German - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 04:04 PM EST (#442335) #
Very true Mike, about those projections being way too optimistic about playing time.

Every year I do my own projections for the Blue Jays, including assigning PAs and IPs to players such that they add up to a full season of playing time. I try to be conservative. One example - Vladdy the last 3 years has logged 698, 706, and 682 PA. I’ll be projecting him at 600 PA for 2024.

This conservative approach to playing time isn’t enough to contain my optimistic tendencies, every year my total win projection ends up being higher than most.
scottt - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 04:10 PM EST (#442336) #
Castillo has bounced from KC to the Red Sox to the Phillies.

The Twins have DFAed Jordan Balazovic who is from Mississauga.
I remember they offered him for Stroman before he was moved to the Mets.

92-93 - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 04:50 PM EST (#442337) #
There is little need to carry Espinal on a roster that has Turner, Schneider, Biggio, and IKF for two positions. Even if the plan is to never start Turner at 2B/3B he can still go out there late in a game.

Not sure why PHing for Kiermaier and Varsho with a lefty is that radical. They were both bad hitters for most of the '23 season.

There is always plenty of room on the 40-man roster for players that can help you win today. The bottom 5 (10?) spots are fungible.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 05:25 PM EST (#442338) #
Espinal in 2023 didn’t seem as lithe as he did in his first few seasons in the majors. Maybe he’s aging out of his utility role with the team.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 05:36 PM EST (#442339) #
It's hard to tell.  The club might decide that the best lineup has Schneider at second base everyday, a platoon of Biggio/Espinal at third base and IKF as a Tovar-style utility player. Or who knows, something completely different.  It's hard to know what the bench would look like if you haven't decided who's playing everyday and if you are running a platoon out there. 

The situation is muddied further by the playoff fiasco where decisions belonging to the manager seem to have been done by a kind of consensus.  When player roles are subject to a lot of uncertainty, this is not good.  Maybe it will all come clear at the end of spring training.  It would be a good idea if it did. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 05:51 PM EST (#442340) #
The muddled decision-making seems to be reflected in Atkins's muddled words at various junctures. It's not evident to me that clear thinking is occurring with respect to the team's decisions around player roles and usage.
christaylor - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#442341) #
Talking with a Red Sox fan: "Jays fans seem like a 90s kid upset that when their parents couldn't snag a Super Nintendo for Xmas they wisely decided on a comfy Sox, instead of spending money on a Neo Geo system." Hyper specific reference, but it's on point, I think. I suppose a pillow deal for the three out there (I have a preference for Snell because lest we forget bad Barrios or Kikuchi) would be snagging a cheap Game Boy during Boxing day sale.
scottt - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 06:57 PM EST (#442342) #
There was nothing wrong with the manager during the playoffs in 2023.
There was some bad calls made in 2022, but in both cases there were some very poor performances by some players.

There should be no doubt that IKF is the best defender at 3B.
They would probably prefer to get Biggio's bat in there.
Schneider should be given a good look in the first 2-3 months.

Biggio got 338 PAs last year. That's actually the second most he's ever got with 430 in his rookie year.
Espinal got 254, down from 491 the previous year when he was a regular until they acquired Merrifield.
IKF only got 361 last year, 677 and 531 the previous years.
Merrifield got 591, which is probably what Schneider should get in a similar role but it's too early to tell.
Chapman got 581 which will go to several guys now.

Biggio could still get some starts at first and RF.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 07:07 PM EST (#442343) #
Fangraphs' 2024 playoff odds are posted. Here are their current AL East "make playoff" odds:

Yankees 75.6%
Rays 57.8%
O's 55.0%
Blue Jays 48.2%
Red Sox 26.3%

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 07:19 PM EST (#442344) #
I was referring to the decision to pull Berrios which apparently was not made by Schneider, or with at most extremely limited discretion.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 07:27 PM EST (#442345) #
The FGDC estimates of playing time are very important in the odds. Those are, in my view, much more unreliable than the performance projections.

I don't think they are close to correct about the odds, in particular for the Yankees. The Yankee odds relies on overestimates of playing time for their 4 key players- Judge, Soto, Torres and Cole. It might be that they have the best odds in the division but they have the difference between the Yankees and the other 3 clubs noticeably too high.
scottt - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 07:30 PM EST (#442346) #
That wasn't a bad decision. Especially when you consider that Berrios could have pitched a perfect game the Jays would have still lost.

Vladdy won by the way.

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 07:38 PM EST (#442347) #
You are entitled to your opinion that pulling Berrios was the right decision, but I'm sure you're aware that many people disagree with you on that point. For example, this is what Ken Rosenthal wrote (in part) last fall in The Athletic:

No, my issue is with faulty decision-making based on analytics, as most recently demonstrated by the predetermined choice of Blue Jays management to pull right-hander José Berríos after he allowed a leadoff walk in the fourth inning of Game 2 of their wild-card series against the Twins.

Jays management — and that’s the proper way to phrase it, because heaven forbid manager John Schneider be permitted to act on his own — wanted lefty Yusei Kikuchi against a pocket of left-handed hitters. Never mind that the Jays signed Berríos to a $131 million extension less than two years ago, or that he had struck out five in three scoreless innings. Who he is, and more importantly, how he was pitching, did not seem to matter.

The decision backfired, leading to the Twins’ only runs in their 2-0 victory, but the result is almost beside the point. In a sport full of random outcomes, even well-conceived decisions can backfire. Most everyone understands that aspect of baseball considers it part of the game. The scrutiny in the postseason is greater, and that’s all part of it, too.

The decision also was not the reason the Jays lost, seeing as how they reverted to their paper-tiger form and failed to score. But the comments by Jays players afterward were revealing. Vladmir Guerrero Jr. said the team “needs to make better decisions on everything.” Cavan Biggio said, “It was confusing just because we hadn’t done that all year.” Bo Bichette said, “I think (Berríos) deserves some trust in the biggest moments.”
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 08:18 PM EST (#442348) #
a 90s kid upset that when their parents couldn't snag a Super Nintendo

In the past year, L-C built a collection of vintage SNES titles. It's been a fun challenge to search the city for retro video game stores.

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 08:46 PM EST (#442349) #
What are the odds that the only players with more than 10 WAR born on this day would be named Dobie, Fritz, Willard, Aaron, Bug and Hoot?  I kid you not.  February 8 is an inner circle Hall of Names day. 
Joe - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 10:00 PM EST (#442350) #
Kiermaier, like Chapman, got off to a hot start last year and then was mediocre over the last 4+ months of the season.
I don't think this is true: Kiermaier had exactly 2 below-average months, an abysmal June (34 wRC+) and a simply bad August (70 wRC+). All the other months were 100 or better (May 185 wRC+ the clear outlier), which might meet your definition of "mediocre" but doesn't meet mine.
Not sure why PHing for Kiermaier and Varsho with a lefty is that radical. They were both bad hitters for most of the '23 season.
As mentioned above, this isn't true for Kiermaier last season, but it is true of him more generally over a full season. I'd have no problem pinch hitting for Kiermaier in most situations, so on that I agree with you.

Varsho, though, has an established history of hitting better than KK, with 2023 being the clear outlier. If you think that an 80 wRC+ is Varsho's new normal going forward, that's your prerogative, but ZiPS doesn't agree, and his history of performance in the minors and majors makes me agree with the projections until proven otherwise. For that reason, it'd have to be a clear upgrade for me to be OK with a Varsho pinch hitting situation: one of the other regulars is sitting for some reason, or maybe Turner didn't start the game. In most other situations I'd ride with Varsho.

Katie - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 10:03 PM EST (#442351) #
Of the longest homers hit at each of the 30 big league parks, three were hit by former Blue Jays. Can anyone guess who? The actual names caught me completely off-guard.

While the list doesn't have 30 names (since, for example, Giancarlo Stanton has the longest homers at Coors, National Park and Dodgers Stadium), there are three former Jays, who each appear once.

None of them hit the homers while they were members of the Jays and none of them holds the record at the Rogers Centre.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, February 07 2024 @ 10:58 PM EST (#442352) #
L-C guesses José Canseco, Troy Glaus, and Fred McGriff.
92-93 - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 02:41 AM EST (#442353) #
Rowdy Tellez hit the longest HR at Fenway as a Jay, but then fans Zaprudered it so Ted Williams' record would stand. Funny how Statcast only counts when it's convenient.
mathesond - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 08:37 AM EST (#442354) #
Wonder if Raul Mondesi would be on the longest HR list.
uglyone - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 10:06 AM EST (#442355) #
Did they really take vladdy to arby over $1m ?
John Northey - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 10:14 AM EST (#442356) #
FYI: going through the prospect lists so far (still a few I'm waiting on) there is a very strong concensus on the top 5 - Ricky Tiedemann, Orelvis Martinez, Arjun Nimmala, Addison Barger, Brandon Barriera - shouldn't be a shock to anyone here. Tiedemann is #1 on all lists, Orelvis Martinez #2 on all, #3 is mostly Arjun Nimmala (one has Brandon Barriera there), both Addison Barger (lowest is 7th) & Brandon Barriera (lowest is 10th) are ranked by some lower than 5th. It appears 79 unique names have shown up so far (need to double check if some lists had accents and others didn't - that always screws it up, but I tend to clean that at the last minute not at this stage with Keith Law, BlueJaysNation, BlueBirdBanter still to come in, plus I'm missing all past the top 10 for Baseball Prospectus, thanks to a member here for sending me the top 30 for BA so their full list can be factored in). Right now 23 guys are named only once as 'honorable mention' including Cam Eden (kind of surprising given he got ML time last year - you'd think he'd get honorable mention more often).

I always find it interesting to look at the group think after these lists are made. You get oddities every year - right now the award for weirdest pick has to be FanTrax having Gabriel Martinez as #4 (ahead of Addison Barger, Enmanuel Bonilla, and Arijun Nimmala).
Ducey - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 11:32 AM EST (#442357) #
"Did they really take vladdy to arby over $1m ?"

$1.85 M.

I dont have a problem with it. It might be the first time in his life that he has been told there are some things that need to improve. If it lights a fire under him, so much the better.

There is the concern that he may walk away in two years, but that seems likely to happen anyway.

He is a tough one. Based on potential, skills, and lovability, you sign him to a 12 year, zillion dollar contract. But then the concerns about fitness and professionalism become magnified. He just does not look like a guy who is going to age well.
Katie - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 01:06 PM EST (#442358) #
Good guesses, but none of them is correct.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 01:16 PM EST (#442359) #
Katie, I wasn't going to guess because I didn't have a clue. I did look up the club leaders on two different sites and saw only one ex-Jay, somebody you wouldn't expect, for sure. I don't know why the difference, but maybe you are looking at a different list?

By the way, there were three Jays who were actually on the team when they gave up a longest home run for that opposing team. One of them was my most-hated reliever ever. And finally, does anyone know who hit the longest home run in a Toronto Blue Jay uniform?
mathesond - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 01:40 PM EST (#442360) #
Yeah, you'd think Vladdy would say, 'heck, it's less than $2M, I had a disappointing year, I can earn it back with a monster season.'
John Northey - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 02:31 PM EST (#442361) #
Vlad can certainly handle being told last year sucked for him - heck, he said it himself I'm pretty sure. He isn't an idiot. I'm sure the Jays made it as professional as possible, avoiding any personal insults (ie: Vlad didn't take care of himself or other crap like that) and stuck to 'his stats were comparable to player xyz who made under $18 mil with similar ML experience. If Vlad can't handle that then better to learn now and trade him ASAP than to wait until he hits free agency or after you sign him to a multi-year deal.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 02:44 PM EST (#442362) #
Canseco, maybe?
zeppelinkm - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 03:08 PM EST (#442363) #
Frank Thomas?
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 03:13 PM EST (#442364) #
Big Daddy?
Ducey - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 03:19 PM EST (#442365) #
I looked the HR question up like Island Boy.

There was only one name I recognized and he never played for the Jays. He was just in their system.
JohnL - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 04:27 PM EST (#442366) #
I'd seen the "longest HR in every stadium" info the other day, and noticed the 3 former Jays on it. Can't remember where I saw it (Twitter?), and can't find it now.

What I thought odd was the hitter with the longest HR at Skydome; not someone I even remember (if in fact, I remember that factoid correctly.)
Katie - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 04:41 PM EST (#442367) #
We must be looking at separate lists. I seem to have seen the one John N. saw.

None of the guesses are correct.
Katie - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 04:42 PM EST (#442368) #
Sorry. John L.
Katie - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 04:45 PM EST (#442369) #
Since I wouldn't have guessed these names in 100 guesses, and we should solve this discrepancy, I'll just reveal the answers.

The list I saw had Paul DeJong, Bradley Zimmer and Randal Grichuk on it.

I can't imagine anyone thought they'd see any of those names.
Joe - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 05:01 PM EST (#442370) #
Yeah, you'd think Vladdy would say, 'heck, it's less than $2M, I had a disappointing year, I can earn it back with a monster season.'
If he did settle for less, though, it wouldn't set arbitration precedent, and this way he sets new expectations for everyone who comes after him.
JohnL - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 05:27 PM EST (#442371) #
Katie: yes, you & I saw the same list, but where was it? I thought maybe it was a Codify tweet, but can’t find that. And who did the list say hit the longest Skydome HR?
Cracka - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 05:39 PM EST (#442372) #
The list with DeJong, Zimmer, and Grichuk is from BrooksGate and is based on StatCast data since 2015. The list without them (but with Jake Marisnick) was by Miranda Remaklus - but she used statcast + historically reported data that likely is inflated vs. StatCast: e.g. Adam Dunn at 535 ft, Dave Kingman at 530 ft, etc. Nobody has come within 30 feet these totals during the Statcast era.
Super Bluto - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 05:55 PM EST (#442373) #
Has anyone heard anything about who's replacing Ben Wagner? Or is Rogers, having learned nothing, going to simulcast again?
greenfrog - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 06:07 PM EST (#442374) #
The Athletic gave Toronto’s offseason a D grade, calling it “underwhelmingly unimaginative.” Maybe a bit of a harsh assessment, given the constraints the team is under, but probably not all that off the mark.
Nigel - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 06:13 PM EST (#442375) #
I would say D is fairly generous if looked at only from the baseball perspective. It probably gets at least a B from a marketing perspective and, as I noted yesterday, incorporating that lens is a more holistic way of assessing things from a front office perspective.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 06:34 PM EST (#442376) #
who's replacing Ben Wagner?

Ben Shulman would seem the most likely.

A grade of D is a bit low, if C is considered average.

greenfrog - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 06:38 PM EST (#442377) #
Acknowledging your point Nigel, I think a B for marketing is probably too high. There seem to be a lot of cranky fans out there who are unimpressed with the offseason moves. And the players added seem unlikely to wow the average fan (for example, with home runs or gaudy strikeout stats).
greenfrog - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 07:51 PM EST (#442378) #
Out of curiosity, why did Vladdy win his arbitration hearing? He was a 1 WAR player last year -- how does that net him a $20m salary for 2024?
Nigel - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 08:16 PM EST (#442379) #
The Ohtani affair generated a ton of coverage and buzz about the team regardless of whether it was real or not (or likely or not). The appearance of chasing Ohtani gave the FO and team cover as a response to "what have you done this offseason?". They had to sell tickets given the extensive stadium renovations and in that vein they will be (legitimately) able to say that the team still has the potential to be in the playoff chase. I think Rogers would almost certainly view this offseason as a plus.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 08:49 PM EST (#442380) #
Maybe. A lot of baseball commentators have been excoriating the Blue Jays front office in recent weeks, calling the team's offseason lackluster, underwhelming, severely disappointing, etc. They don't seem impressed at all with the failed attempt to sign Othani. I'm not sure the fanbase is any more impressed than they are.
scottt - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 09:57 PM EST (#442382) #
To be fair, they are over the luxury threshold, firmly in Yankees/Red Sox territory and it's the Red Sox who are underwhelming. Boston are improving their farm system but their team is getting worse and the payroll is still high. Also, Baltimore is the most underwhelming team as their payroll remain low even though they just won the division. None of their stars have signed extensions.

Othani and Soto are the 2 guys who could have made a huge difference.
It doesn't look there is anything they could have done to sign Othani.
Maybe Tiedemann and Orelvis would have brought Soto, but even then the fans would have complained about not signing him to an extension.

People were very excited in 2013 and they finished dead last.
2014 was a wasted year with no pitching to support the offense.
2015 was the great marketing coup of signing Martin who was a huge sell in Quebec and the pre-season games at the Big O, but they only had a .500 team in a weakened division until they loaded up at the deadline.

We'll see soon enough if not signing Bellinger is good or bad.
Chapman played some nice defense but I'm ready to watch some youngsters.

krose - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 01:42 AM EST (#442383) #
Concur Scott.Keep the powder dry.
greenfrog - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 07:25 AM EST (#442385) #
Russell Martin and the Blue Jays were very good in 2015, including in the first half when the team had a +81 run differential.

Has a Blue Jays catcher ever had a better season (by WAR) than Martin's 2015 season?
Mike Green - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 08:55 AM EST (#442387) #
In answer to greenfrog's question using bWAR, there have been 18 catcher seasons with 2+WAR. Alejandro Kirk 2022 leads with 3.9, followed by Gregg Zaun 2005, Ernie Whitt 1983, Russell Martin 2015, Pat Borders 1990 and Danny Jansen 2022.  After Jansen's year, there are a string of Ernie Whitt years.  If they give Kirk 450-500 PAs this year, I think he'll have the top two seasons.  I still hold out hope that Danny Jansen will get PAs in left-field and DH, as well as some behind the plate, and can get to the 450-500 PA mark as well. 
Ryan Day - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 09:22 AM EST (#442388) #
Out of curiosity, why did Vladdy win his arbitration hearing? He was a 1 WAR player last year -- how does that net him a $20m salary for 2024?

I remember reading a few years ago that arbitration hearings were still pretty old school from a statistical standpoint - I doubt they're considering WAR or anything else like that. It's also based on comparisons to other players with similar levels service time, not just an evaluation of the player in isolation.

I don't think I've ever seen details about who said what in a given hearing. I don't suppose either side has any interest in leaking detais.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 09:34 AM EST (#442389) #
Late reply on the longest home run at each park. Obviously we were looking at different lists so there was a discrepancy in results I guess. In reply to JohnL's question about the longest home run hit at Roger's Center, on the FanSided site it said Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox hit the longest at 491 feet. Nobody made a guess at the longest home run ever hit by a Blue Jay.

An interesting tidbit was a report of Mickey Mantle hitting a 565 foot home run, but they didn't measure where it landed but rather at the point it stopped rolling into someone's yard outside the ballpark.( Forget which one) Willie Stargell had the longest home run at Dodger Stadium and the ball, when it landed, actually hit a bus in the parking lot.
Mike Green - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 10:01 AM EST (#442393) #
I did see Willie Stargell hit a very, very long home run at Jarry Park.  I always thought of Stargell as a big-boned and thick guy, but he is listed by BBRef as 6'2", 188 and hit his peak from age 31-34 and won an MVP award at age 39.  I guess I had the same misconception as I did about Willie McCovey who is listed at 6'4", 198.  Which was presumably his playing weight in his younger years. 
ISLAND BOY - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 11:48 AM EST (#442398) #
Wow, I would have said Stargell was over 200 pounds but that would be based on the few times I saw him. When I grew up the only baseball on TV was the Expos a few times a week, and then the playoffs so the teams I remember most are the Pirates, Reds, Orioles and Yankees.

A few notes about Stargell I read include that he hit 7 of the 18 balls that ever went over Forbes Field's 86 foot high grandstands. Forbes field, the precursor to Three Rivers Stadium, had a 457 foot center field so Stargell probably lost a few home runs there although he did finish with 475 over his career. Stargell was the only MLB player to ever hit a fair ball into the club deck at Olympic Stadium which I presume is pretty high up. The home run was measured at 535 feet. The seat it hit was painted yellow and now resides in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Katie - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 06:24 PM EST (#442412) #
John L, the list we saw had Avisail Garcia with the longest HR at the Rogers Centre. I remember it was off JA Happ and I remember he actually showed up on the list twice (also at the Miami Marlins stadium).

I can't recall the distance though.
Overdue New Thread | 368 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.