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Let's dig into some projection systems for this team as we near the end of winter. I figure it is about time as the team is unlikely to change much now. I figure this is the best way to cause a trade/free agent signing to happen. Putting this together now when all seems quiet.

I'll use a few systems that are easy to grab - ZiPS, Steamer, Depth Charts (listed as D. C.), ATC, THE BAT (all from FanGraphs) and Marcel projections from BR which don't have WAR but do have OPS, ERA, IP, PA. Also mixed in is 2023 results by WAR (both BR and FanGraphs)

Pitchers first...
Pitcherb2023f2023ZiPS Steamer D. C. ATC THE BAT ZiPS Steamer D. C. ATC THE BAT MarcelZiPS Steamer D. C. ATC THE BAT Marcel
Kevin Gausman3.
Chris Bassitt2.
José Berríos2.
Jordan Romano2.
Tim Mayza2.
Yusei Kikuchi1.
Bowden Francis0.
Erik Swanson0.
Génesis Cabrera0.
Hagen Danner0.
Yimi García-
Trevor Richards-
Mitch White-
Nate Pearson-
Chad Green-
Wes Parsons-0.4-
Zach Pop-0.4-0.3-
Alek Manoah-1.1-

Now Hitters...
PlayerPositionb2023f2023ZiPS Steamer D. C. ATC THE BAT ZiPS Steamer D. C. ATC THE BAT MarcelZiPS Steamer D. C. ATC THE BAT Marcel
Bo BichetteSS4.
Cavan Biggio2B/3B0.
Ernie ClementIF1.
Santiago EspinalIF0.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.1B2.
Spencer Horwitz1B/DH0.
Danny JansenC1.
Kevin KiermaierCF3.
Isiah Kiner-FalefaUT0.
Alejandro KirkC1.
Otto LopezIF----
Nathan LukesOF-
Davis Schneider2B/LF1.
George SpringerRF2.
Justin TurnerDH2.
Daulton VarshoLF/CF3.

So it is interesting to see how things are predicted vs where they were last year. WAR last year for hitters ranged from 20.2-26.8, predictions for 2024 are 24.7-33.5. Pitchers reality was 12.8-18.2 vs projected 15.6-18.0. Lost guys were Brandon Belt (bWAR 2.0 fWAR 2.3, forecast 0.5-0.8) and Whit Merrifield (bWAR 0.7 fWAR 1.5, forecast 0.4-1.1). Pitchers are Ryu (bWAR 0.4 fWAR 0.4, projected 0.8-1.8), and a few relievers who were sub 0.5 and projected pretty much the same, none had 30+ IP here (Jay Jackson, Hicks, Cimber, Bass, Hatch, Thornton) - well, Hicks is seen as more than 'meh' - bWAR 0.8 fWAR 1.1, projected 0.2-1.8. Jackson was 0.8 bWAR but only 0.1 fWAR and seen as no better than 0.4 this year.

If these forecasts are reasonable (and I think they are) it seems clear the pitching should be as good or better, hitting pretty much equal (better vs BR, worse vs FG).

Note: Some forecasts had more guys listed but it was a crapshoot and just made things even messier for guys who probably won't have a big impact. Well, unless Orelvis or Barger can emerge and grab 3B in the spring I guess. But none of the prospects were listed as over 0.5 WAR in 2024, or with an OPS over .708 (Barger in both cases).
So how good is the team now? | 261 comments | Create New Account
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scottt - Thursday, February 08 2024 @ 09:29 PM EST (#442381) #
Hicks was a too months rental. I don't see him as a "lost guy".
Who knows who this year's rental will be.
krose - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 01:58 AM EST (#442384) #
Thanks for this John. Very interesting. Still think a big move will come once there is one worth making. Unless one of the newbies breaks through.
bpoz - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 08:27 AM EST (#442386) #
The team looks reasonably good right now.

We have good depth. Varsho gives us good D, SB and power so him batting near the bottom of the lineup makes sense. KK is the same but with less playing time for health reasons. IKF, Biggio and Espinal are about equal. None are really bad at O and should be ok on D. IKF won a gold glove at 3B. Early in the season there could be 4 of the 5 in the lineup which suggests scoring runs could be the weakness. Shapiro and Atkins probably know this as do the coaching staff.

SP depth #5-9 is Manoah, M White, Y Rodriguez, Tiedemann and B Francis. There are many options to round out the pen like Pearson, Pop, G Cabrera. There are many non 40 man roster pitchers like Tiedemann, Cooke, Burnette and others.

This lineup does not block any prospects that are doing well. For example Roden , Orelvis and others. We should not have to pick up a struggling P DeJong in case of injury.

I cannot see anyone dominating the AL but 1 or 2 will. Which ones? Either way the Jays have a good chance at the playoffs. Power prospects could really help the team if/when they arrive.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 09:41 AM EST (#442390) #
Jeff Passan: "This is just me trying to read tea leaves," Passan said on ESPN 1000. "I just feel like the Toronto Blue Jays need Cody Bellinger more than the Cubs do. There's been a lot of consternation up in Toronto, especially after the way the Ohtani situation played out. It was just a spectacular miss. And pursuing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they weren't even close.

"And they've made a couple of moves this offseason, but it's certainly not the kinds of moves that are gonna take you from a team that's on the cusp of playoff contention to one that's handly going to be in. The need is more acute in Toronto than it is with the Cubs."

Leaside Cowboy - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 09:47 AM EST (#442391) #
After signing Turner, it seems unlikely the club would circle back to Bellinger.
Mike Green - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 09:52 AM EST (#442392) #
I won't be able to post tomorrow, so here's the February 10 birthday team, which boasts no superstars but is a solid club with an excellent and deep pitching staff:

CF- Lenny Dykstra
LF-  Alex Gordon
3B- Randy Jackson
1B- Lance Berkman
RF- Max Kepler
DH- Curt Welch
C- Travis d'Arnaud
2B- Cotton Tierney
SS- Cesar Izturis

Bench- Omar Narvaez, Jim Keenan, Lenny Webster, Henry Kimbro, Jake Stephens

This is the starting lineup against RHP.  Against lefties, Curt Welch moves to the outfield (where he was very good), Travis d'Arnaud DHs and Keenan or Narvaez catches. 

Here's the rotation:

SP- Brandon Woodruff
SP- Herb Pennock
SP-Jim Barr
SP- Hiroki Kuroda
SP- Billy O'Dell

RP- Liam Hendricks
RP- Allie Reynolds
RP- Larry McWilliams
RP- Bobby Jones
RP- Cal Quantril
RP- Dane Johnson

Allie Reynolds would, of course, be the first man up to the rotation if a starter got hurt, and he'd be better than many teams' first or second starter.  In the "did you know?" department, Jim Barr was a 6 WAR/season pitcher from 1974-76.  At the time, W-L record was top of mind and he went 41-35 for bad clubs, and so very few realized how good he was. 
scottt - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 10:04 AM EST (#442394) #
Bellinger on a  1 year deal, like Semien, would have been interesting, but the QO ensures that only the Cubs can offer him that. He's still a good fit on a Cubs team that could trade him mid-year to plug  hole elsewhere.

Chapman could still be a possibility one a one year deal if he's unsigned at the deadline but he's already got 2 years in in Toronto to prove himself and so should just take the best contract he's offered.

scottt - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 10:18 AM EST (#442395) #
There are a number of question marks attached to Turner.
Will his age slow him down? He's 39.
Will he miss the Green Monster? He hit .293 at home and .258 on the road last year.
Can he hit clean up? The Jays need protection for Guerrero so Vladdy can take his walks and do damage on the pitches he can reach. Turner has mostly hit 3rd (2752 PAs) and has rarely been used as the clean up hitter (369 PAs out of 5772). Vladdy seems like a poor choice to hit clean up. He can do damage but he doesn't have a great two strike approach.

dalimon5 - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 10:45 AM EST (#442396) #
There was talk from Jeff Blair earlier in the season that the Jays wanted to move Springer. That's the only scenario where I can see Bellinger coming here, and if you're losing Springer and his potential bounce back (to career norms) season then it's a bit of a wash.
Gerry - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 11:12 AM EST (#442397) #
Gabriel Rodriguez signing confirmed by the Jays. Otto Lopez has been dfa'd to make room.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 12:12 PM EST (#442399) #
Corey Kluber retires.

Keegan Matheson reports the Yariel Rodríguez contract is 5 years / $32 M.  (Had thought it was 4 years.)
John Northey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 12:47 PM EST (#442400) #
More details on Yariel Rodriguez - the 5th year is a player option for $6 mil or if he rejects it then it is a team option for $10 mil. So basically he is getting paid similar to Garcia. If he can start and be effective then it is money well spent, if he can only relieve and does well it again would be well spent. If he flops it won't be a payroll killer ala Ohtani (if he gets hurt).
John Northey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 01:23 PM EST (#442401) #
Given what we have above what is the easiest way to give the Jays another win or two?
  • Sign Chapman - projected 2.6-3.5 fWAR vs Biggio 1.1/IKF 0.9 best case = 0.6-1.5 wins
  • Sign Snell - projected 2.9-3.3 fWAR vs Manoah 1.3 or Kikuchi 2.0 = 1.6-2.0 vs Manoah, 0.9-1.3 vs Kikuchi.
  • Sign Bellinger - projected 2.3-2.6 fWAR vs KK 2.0 = 0.3 to 0.6 wins.
Those are the big 3, biggest gain would be signing Snell and trading Manoah (or leaving him in AAA), gain of 1.6 to 2.0 wins. Next best is either signing Snell and trading Kikuchi, or signing Chapman to take over 3B. Bellinger is a minor gain at best. Of course, this all depends on how seriously you take the projection systems. I tried to take 'best case' for the guys here already to minimize the spread, thus reducing the potential value of any signing. This also doesn't consider opportunity cost - what if one of the kids is ready and the Jays sign Chapman, thus blocking them? What if Manoah gets back to his 2022 form? What if Snell trips on his shoelaces? All kinds of variables, but this was the easiest way I could think of to see which free agent would have the biggest impact and how big it would be. I was surprised it came out as Snell for Manoah.

Wonder if the Jays would consider a 6 man rotation? If you signed Snell that would help keep him healthy and might allow others to do better as well. Of course, then someone has to go from the current 8 man pen (Romano-Mayza-Green-Swanson-Cabrera-Garcia-Richards-White, no options left for White, Garcia, Richards, or Green) while Pearson-Pop and others stay in the minors.
Gerry - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 02:16 PM EST (#442402) #
Hey John,

I think you have mixed up the totals for hitters and pitchers in the first para under the table. They are reversed.
Gerry - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 02:26 PM EST (#442403) #
My worry for 2024 is the health of the starting pitching. Excluding starters and the last day of the season, the Jays used 6 starting pitchers last year. The big four combined for 740 innings and several times didn't get an extra day off as they worked around the missing Manoah. Sometimes that workload hits in the next season.

Tiedemann does provide some backup, as does Yariel Rodriguez, assuming Manoah is good to go. But the team would be hard stretched to cover two starters being on the IL.
Mike Green - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 02:28 PM EST (#442404) #
Dan Szymborski's AL projections based on ZiPS are almost exactly mine.  I don't know that I've ever had that situation.  Whether it's great minds thinking alike or fools seldom differing,  I will leave blowin' in the wind. 
Ducey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 03:11 PM EST (#442405) #
The CBT has to be considered in any additions too.

Say they add Chapman at $25 M this year on some kind of short term deal.

They are at $243 M. The base is $237 M. They will be a 2nd year payer.

So Chapman will put them at $268M. They have to pay 30% extra of that. And they have to pay a surcharge of 12 percent on anything over $257M. And they get much closer to the $277M tier that starts to impact their draft.

If my math is right it would costs them an extra $7.5 M for the 30% penalty and $1.3 M for the surcharge.

Is Chapman's benefit to the team over and above what another player would contribute worth paying $33.8 million? I'm guessing not.
scottt - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 03:22 PM EST (#442406) #
The biggest worry with respect to health was always going to be Manoah.
Minor leagues, then 111.2 innings than 196 innings.
Bassit threw 200 innings. A huge milestone for him.
Berrios is very solid. 2022 was his down year. Only 172 innings.
Kikuch threw 167.2 innings. It's pretty ordinary.
Gausman was up to 185.

Teams always use more than 5 starters and the extra starters are never as good as the top 5.
This is the era of the 13 pitchers staff. Every team has this problem.

It's a weird worry to have when in previous years, it never looked like they had more than 2 or 3 real starters.

When a guy is on the 40 roster, he's supposed to be good enough to call up.
This is the time to push guys like Pearson, Francis, Parsons,  Pop and Danner who will be out of options next year.
If they can't contribute now, it's probably the time to trade them for someone else who can.
White is out of options and need to make the team.

Mike Green - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 03:24 PM EST (#442407) #
I would hope that Yariel Rodriguez gets the first shot at 5th spot in the rotation, with Tiedemann/Francis/Manoah as the backup options.  Manoah needs to prove something first; there is no point in taking VGJ to arbitration if you are not going to follow through.  The club messed up last year in bending to his wishes and they ought not to repeat that.

Snell would help in both height (top end) and depth of the rotation. 
Nigel - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 03:34 PM EST (#442408) #
It's hard to quibble with those ZIPS forecasts for the AL - they all seem within the range of reasonableness (except maybe the Rangers). If I were betting with those lines I'd take the over on the Rangers, Astros and maybe the O's and I'd take the under on the Angels, A's and Jays.
Mike Green - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 04:37 PM EST (#442409) #
Yep.  I agree about the Rangers.  When you win a World Series and had 97 Pythagorean wins, and you are about to add a full season of a great player (Carter) and perhaps have another great player (Langford) up for most of the season, you have a lot of work to convince me that 86 is the right number. 
John Northey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 04:49 PM EST (#442410) #
Gerry - good catch - I fixed that now. DOH! Price of normally putting hitters first, but going pitchers first this time with the tables and my mind going 'pitchers were better than hitters last year so they should have higher totals'. Sigh. Dumb mistakes happen. Guess my pay will be docked for this from $0 to -$0 :)
John Northey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 05:02 PM EST (#442411) #
Ducey - good catch. That was something I was thinking too. That any additions now need to have the luxury tax factored in. They cost 30% more than their contract, plus the surcharge and if the Jays go high enough it hits the draft (10 slots down for their first pick).

Still, for a guy like Snell it might be worth it. Chapman I was sure would be, but the more I look the less I think he is needed. Guess this is why I'd not be a good GM - I keep flip flopping all winter on these topics. First I felt the kids would replace Chapman easily, then that we needed him back, now back to kids can fill in once ready but can live with Biggio-IKF until then. The rotation I felt was solid but a guy like Yamamoto would be great (long term gain) and that adding Yariel Rodriguez would be the long term gain we needed here. Now I'm seriously thinking Snell would be a smart add for the Jays. Could add 2 wins if he is reasonably healthy (130+ IP which is the ballpark he normally is in) plus a solid add for the playoffs with Gausman making a great 1-2 punch. Put Kikuchi and Manoah into positions where they need to be their best selves to hold a slot in the rotation or be traded (I don't see much point in keeping Manoah in AAA long term).

Phew. Crazy all the ways one can juggle stuff. But that is what the team has been trying to set up - an ability to shuffle in 1001 ways. 3B seems to be a hole, but Biggio/IKF should produce a league average combo (around 2 WAR) in the end. The OF is killer on defense, but we need Varsho to hit like we thought he would, KK to be at least a 90 OPS+ guy, and Springer to spring back. Vlad needs to get his bat going this year if he wants that killer deal, and we all hope Schneider is for real or that a kid in AAA steps up to grab either 3B or 2B. The pen is locked down along with the #1 guy to call up (Pearson), the rotation is locked in with newbie Yariel Rodriguez as #6. This is a lot like the 84-94 teams - going into spring very little was in flux most years, often 1 position and 1 or 2 slots in the pitching staff. It sure beats the 1995-2014 stretch when pretty much anything goes, and the 2015 spring when 2 20 year olds made the pitching staff and 2 rookies took over 2 positions (CF/LF) - zero chance of that this year.
Ducey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 06:35 PM EST (#442413) #
The Jays have a decent pitching staff and on the diamond they have multiple cromulent options at most positions.

Probably the best option right now is to run with what they have. They can see if they run into injury problems, or Vlad and Kirk and Springer return to form, whether Davis Schneider is for real, and what versions of Kikuchi/ Manoah emerge, etc.

If it looks like the is enough going right by midseason they can always add near the deadline, thereby reducing the CBT impact.

On paper they have a good enough team that there is not really a rush to sign Bellinger or Chapman or Snell. Given the CBT and the variability of the outcomes with this team, it probably doesnt make sense either.
John Northey - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 08:18 PM EST (#442414) #
A big rumor that keeps showing up is the Jays chasing Willy Adames from Milwaukee. He is a great SS but would move to 3B here. He was worth 3.4 fWAR last year, projected to be between 3.1 and 3.9 for 2024 (at SS) worth 7-11 runs at SS - Chapman at his peak was worth about 16 runs at 3B so it isn't impossible that Adames could hold his value there - reports are his arm and reflexes should move easily to 3B if needed.

So based on what I mentioned earlier - our current 3B is about 2 WAR in value (Biggio/IKF) so he'd be worth 1.1 to 1.9 wins vs current choices - about what Chapman would add (a bit better actually). He only makes $12.2 mil this year then is a free agent. Thus from a budget and potential win standpoint he would be a better choice than pretty much anything else the Jays are looking at (Snell-Chapman-Bellinger) with no commitment beyond 2024. Depending what Milwaukee wants for him, and how he'd feel about a position change, this might be the best option.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 09 2024 @ 10:38 PM EST (#442415) #
Where is this rumour showing up?
SK in NJ - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 12:30 AM EST (#442416) #
The Jays really need a long or even medium term 3B option. Chapman isn’t worth the money he’s looking for on a long term deal, and as mentioned even a short term deal given the CBT implications would be too costly. I feel like this would be the best time to try to find a blocked or underperforming player on another team who may have some upside and take a bit of a gamble. For example someone like Josh Smith on the Rangers who seems to grade out well defensively at 3B and is a LHB that hasn’t panned out. With IKF as practically the only real 3B anywhere in the org right now, it’s probably the best time to try this approach.
Michael - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 02:25 AM EST (#442417) #
Looks like the Mets were cheating over the last 2 years with fake IL trips. Former GM suspended.

It feels like lots of teams skirt issues with tired arm here or there, but sounds like this was more extensive than the norm. And an anonymous whistleblower; I wonder if it was a player since a reputation / history of injury might lower their value, so the fake injury might hurt them.
scottt - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 07:30 AM EST (#442418) #
Everybody does this. Including the Jays. It's mainly for pitchers. Pitchers are always hurt to some degree by throwing so many pitches so hard. The way around has been to tweak the length of the the minimum IL stint.
A fake injury, let say a sore neck, means 2 missed starts.

The Mets haven't been competitive when they were supposed to be. The punishment has no effect on them.
Manfred is banning for the year a manager who is already getting paid to say home as he was fired before the end of his contract. Is this a warning?

The Jays can fill them pen with guys who are out of options. A way to get a fresh arm is to send a reliever for 2+ inning and then put him on the IL with something minor. Doing this or not doing this could cost teams several wins over the season. The pen is limited to 8. It's very difficult to get position player to pitch now. Also players prefer a short IL stint and a rehab start to being sent down and losing money, seniority, etc...

It's a very gray zone. Is it OK to put a guy on the IL if the medical team recommend a couple of days off?
Any doctor will rubber stamp that.

John Northey - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 11:31 AM EST (#442419) #
dalimon5 - checking via google it seems to mostly be blogs with no sources. Price of reading too many blogs I guess, it starts to feel like a solid thing when it is just mist in the wind. Chris Black seems to be the biggest name to propose it, but that is all it was, mixed with strong rumors from other sources that Milwaukee wants to trade him (1 year from free agency, a cheap team, makes sense).

Using Trade Values I get a match doing Adams for Horwitz, Espinal, Garcia, Yosver Zulueta. So they get a 1B, a guy who can play anywhere in the infield (ex-All-Star), reliever they can flip mid-season, and a pitching prospect who won't make the Jays until his options are up most likely. The Jays get a guy for a year to play 3B who can play a very good SS. Odds are Milwaukee would want better prospects, but this would help them stay contenders in the weak NL Central today as well as giving them some guys who could help for a few years in Zulueta and Horwitz.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 11:33 AM EST (#442420) #
It doesn't appear that the Mets do very thorough background checks on their GM candidates. The last two before Eppler were Jared Porter, fired for sending sexually explicit texts to a female reporter, and Zack Scott, who was fired after a drunk driving arrest.
dalimon5 - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 08:26 PM EST (#442421) #
The Jays must be in on one of the top remaining agents. Soler for an OF to bat against LHP, Chapman on a short term deal for a 3B or Blake Snell to bolster the rotation. There's no way they let KK or Varsho start regularly against LHP.

How has this team not traded Cavan Biggio for an OF yet? Lane Thomas is waiting to be dealt on Washington. Would be a nice trade for the Jays to make.
John Northey - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 09:31 PM EST (#442422) #
dalimon5 - not a fan of signing Soler at this stage - he is mostly a DH and with Turner here he would be redundant or forced to play in the OF where he is a nightmare. Chapman on a short term deal I agree with, Snell could work too. I don't see Lane Thomas as a realistic piece at this stage - he has been playing everyday and is weaker vs RHP but not a disaster (just shy of 700 OPS vs them lifetime) while he hits LHP well with a 881 OPS. I can't imagine he'd be a happy camper as the RH half of a platoon in the OF. I'd have been happy if the Jays got him earlier, pre signing KK, but now it doesn't make a lot of sense. At $5.45 mil I don't think he'd be a big issue to the Jays fiscally but I suspect Washington would want more than the Jays would be willing to give up for what would be a 4th OF here. He'd land under 'luxury' imo. Schneider & Biggio sharing 4th OF duties (depending who they are filling in for) should be fine.

Now, if KK is just a 4th OF who won't play 100-130 games then Lane Thomas makes sense - put him in LF nearly everyday and things would be good - he was a 2.7 fWAR guy last year, projected between 1.2 and 1.5 this year. Funny, his numbers on defense look poor at FanGraphs, but he has been used a fair amount in CF (906 innings vs 491 in LF and 1719 in RF lifetime, vast majority of LF time was last year). Hrm... the more I look the more tempting he gets if the price is right, but I doubt it is unless Washington is going super-cheap and cutting everywhere they can (3 years until Strasburg's nightmare deal ends, this is the final season of Corbin's nightmare - both getting over $30 mil a year). Washington's current payroll projects to be sub $140 mil for payroll tax purposes. They also are in a big market but wasting it due to TV rights being mostly owned by Baltimore.
Paul D - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 11:04 PM EST (#442423) #
I listened to some unfounded speculation that the case against the Mets might have come from a player who just went through arbitration
dalimon5 - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 11:23 PM EST (#442424) #
Baseball Trade Values has Horwitz or Biggio as similar surplus value to Thomas. The Nationals have prospects waiting to debut in the OF.

mendocino - Saturday, February 10 2024 @ 11:58 PM EST (#442425) #
A couple more pitchers hoping to stick
RHP Johnathan Lavallee FB= 97

RHP Evan Elliott, from Toronto and another signed out of Tread Athletics

FB - 95-97 (Rapsodo - 95-99)
SL - 87-88 (Rapsodo - 88-91)
CB - 80-83 (Rapsodo - 80-83)
Affiliated/Pro experience, FB been up to 100.
scottt - Sunday, February 11 2024 @ 09:01 AM EST (#442426) #
Right now it's a  platoon of KK and Espinal.
Espinal can start at second against lefties while Schneider plays LF and Varsho moves to CF.
Varsho is fine against lefties because he can bunt himself on and just being able to get a single against a starter makes you a .300 hitter.

Sadly, the Jays as whole don't hit lefties well.
Against a lefty starter, a right handed batter will usually see a lot of change ups.
It might be good to have a few left bats in there regardless to force the pitcher to throw something else.

John Northey - Sunday, February 11 2024 @ 02:20 PM EST (#442427) #
scottt - good point. Hadn't thought of that aspect, that when Schneider is in LF Espinal often would be at 2B as Biggio vs LHP isn't the best idea. The old shuffle enough guys and holes appear. So odds are...
vs LHP: Springer-Bo-Vlad-Turner-Schneider-Kirk/Jansen-Varsho-Espinal-IKF - the last 3 would be problems, and if Varsho bunts more then not as big of one.
vs RHP: Springer-Bo-Vlad-Turner-Biggio-Schneider-Varsho-Kirk/Jansen-Kiermaier

I could really see a case for adding that RH bat so Espinal or IKF could stay benched vs LHP. But remember, only 35 times a LHP started vs the Jays in 2023, 32 times in 2022, and 43 times in 2021. There are bigger issues to chase.
bpoz - Sunday, February 11 2024 @ 04:53 PM EST (#442428) #
Small trades are happening but the Jays have not been involved. I don't know what the Jays are looking for if anything.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, February 11 2024 @ 05:20 PM EST (#442429) #
The club needs a 4th outfielder, but Schneider + Biggio + IKF probably serve that role.  So, the 13th position player could be a pure pinch hit / run option or 3rd catcher.
greenfrog - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 08:58 AM EST (#442430) #
New strategy for Rogers and the Blue Jays. Step 1: use matchmaking service to find superstar celebrity to become highly visible romantic partner of Blue Jays player. Step 2: rake in the revenue.
scottt - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 10:26 AM EST (#442431) #
The Baseball version is Verlander?
Maybe Cole Tucker.

On the other side, there's Kris Benson.
No surprise he ended up on the Mets.

Ducey - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 11:37 AM EST (#442432) #
Only 3 more sleeps 'til pitchers and catchers report. First game is in 12 days.
Glevin - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 12:05 PM EST (#442433) #
"Baseball Trade Values has Horwitz or Biggio as similar surplus value to Thomas. The Nationals have prospects waiting to debut in the OF."

Why do the trade? Biggio and Thomas have similar outlooks but Biggio can play 2B where Jays have uncertainty. If Jays want to actually upgrade, unless they are trading for a star, the only real place to do it is 3B. I would LOVE them to try to trade with the Reds. Cinci bafflingly signed Candelario and have him, McLean, EDLC, Steer, India, Marte, and Encarnacion-Strand. Steer will move to OF and India is mediocre but that's way too many INF and right now Candelario is slated to play at 1B which again begs the question, why sign a 3B and play them at 1st because you waste a lot of his value. Reds also have Edwin Arroyo who is a top-100 prospect and an infielder who should be up later this year or next year. Anyway, I doubt EDLC or McLain would be available and India is no upgrade anywhere but what would it take to get Encarnacion-Strand?
dalimon5 - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 01:23 PM EST (#442434) #
Thomas is better defensively in the OF than Biggio.

Thomas annihilates Left handed pitching, rest of this team not really.

Thomas has good pop against RHP and LHP, Biggio does not.

Thomas is a very good base stealer, better than Biggio who is more of an opportunist.

I like Biggio and would rather keep him and try to trade someone else to bring in someone like Lane Thomas. I wouldn't hesitate to trade Horwitz and Espinal for someone like Thomas.
scottt - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 02:28 PM EST (#442435) #
There's a lot of guys who seem willing to wait it out.
That might lead to a diminishing return for them.
Also, a competitive team does no necessarily want a guy who missed a good part of spring training and who might be more likely to have a slow start.

John Northey - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 05:05 PM EST (#442436) #
dalimon5 - I agree 100% that I'd trade Horwitz & Espinal for Thomas in a second. Those 2 have no real future here except as fill-ins when better options aren't available. Thomas would be a solid RH bat to mix into LF/RF when Springer needs a day off or KK or Varsho need a day off vs a tough LHP, or at DH to fill in for Turner when he needs a day off.

That'd make the bench extremely strong with Thomas/Biggio as the main bats (RH/LH) mixed with Jansen or Kirk. Clement could be kept on as the backup IF (Espinal's role) with IKF/Biggio manning 3B until a kid is ready or a trade made.

Yup, you sold me. The question is just what does Washington want for him and how well would he handle part time play when he has been an everyday guy the past 2 years. It is entirely possible he'd knock KK out of the rotation or at least into very reduced playing time. He isn't a free agent until after 2025 so that fits perfectly with the Jays timelines right now.
Ducey - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 05:36 PM EST (#442437) #
Lane Thomas was 3.2 WAR last year with a 114 OPS+ and 28 HR and 20 SB. He is relatively cheap and under control until 2026.

There is no world in which Horwitz and Biggio are acceptable returns for WASH. In fact, the Jays would need to look at Manoah or some of their better prospects for him.

I dont see it happening, as there are lots of teams that could put together a better package of prospects than the Jays.
dalimon5 - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 05:59 PM EST (#442438) #
It's not as hard as you might think. Biggio with the same plate appearances would be worth 2 WAR. Nick Senzel is a starting INF right now for the Nationals and as mentioned earlier they don't have a ton of INF prospects.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 12 2024 @ 10:46 PM EST (#442439) #
Just sign Robbie Grossman. He has absolutely mashed LHP the past 3 seasons, and I don’t think he’s getting a starting job anywhere else.
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 06:51 AM EST (#442440) #
Soler to the Giants for three years.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 07:31 AM EST (#442441) #
Good for SF and Soler. I am happy with J Turner as our main DH. For 2025 & 26 I think it is back to a rotating DH.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 08:24 AM EST (#442442) #
$42M for Soler.
scottt - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 08:32 AM EST (#442443) #
Meanwhile the market for Chapman looks pretty bleak.
Angels could use him but why bother?
He'd be an upgrade on the Phillies but they might want to stick with Bohm.
He'd be an upgrade in NY over LeMahieu but same deal.
He'd be a good fit on the Cubs, but they don't look like spenders right now.
Giants are probably fine with Davis.
Jays shouldn't offer more than a 1-year deal at this point.
I'm not really eager to take ABs away from Schneider/Biggio/whoever.

dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 08:39 AM EST (#442444) #
I'd argue Chapman is a better fit than Bellinger with the Cubs.

I can see the NYY signing Snell or Bellinger.
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 10:19 AM EST (#442445) #
I think I like Seattle's signing of Mitch Garver best amongst the DH free agents - Jays asking 39 Y.O Turner to be a productive DH is a risky gamble - hope is works out.
Glevin - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 10:21 AM EST (#442446) #
"Lane Thomas was 3.2 WAR last year with a 114 OPS+ and 28 HR and 20 SB. He is relatively cheap and under control until 2026."

One of the places where I don't think WAR is instructive for player value. Thomas' value becomes much clearer when you break it down more. ZIPS projects him for a 104 WRC+ and 1.3 WAR which seems pretty accurate to me considering his 3 years have been 104, 97, and 109. He is a lefty masher. 153 WRC+ against lefties and 91 WRC+ against righties which means, due to his poor OF D, you really want to be playing him against LHP only. Is there value in having a lefty masher? Absolutely. Is he going to be a 2.5 WAR player going forward? Extremely unlikely IMO. Is that someone I want to give up value for? No. Robbie Grossman or even Grichuk could play more or less same role. Maybe some team would give up meaningful prospects for him but that team would be making a mistake IMO and I sure hope it's not the Jays.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 10:47 AM EST (#442447) #
To no one's surprise Rob Longley is reporting that Ben Shulman will be the new radio voice of the Jays. Unlike Ben Wagner, who usually worked alone, Shulman will be paired with Chris Leroux.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 11:06 AM EST (#442448) #
Nice work Beauxites. Grossman does indeed make more sense, I've been sold after selling John on Lane Thomas as the solution.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 11:14 AM EST (#442449) #
Dan Shulman.

The Jays do not have a shortage of players who can DH if Turner declines rapidly. VGJ (with Horwitz playing at first). Jansen. Springer. Turner has done very well against LHP over the last 5 years and last year. If that ends up as his main contribution, it will be fine.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 11:26 AM EST (#442450) #
Heh. Grossman vs Thomas is an interesting one. Lets dig a bit... stats are wRC+ for offense, DRS for defense
  • vs LHP 2023: G-158, T-153; career: G-126, T-138
  • vs RHP 2023: G-75, T-91; career: G-94, T-88
  • Age: G-34, T-28
  • Defense: G-LF -3, RF -6 (523 innings total), T-LF 0, RF +1 (1339 innings total)
  • Cost: G-free agent who should be getting desperate about now, T-under team control in Washington for a few more years where competent players are desperately needed (likely to lose 100+)
So on offense pretty close between them. On defense, Thomas has it won by a mile and even had 46 0 DRS innings in CF in 2023. But in terms of price unless Washington is willing to send the Jays Thomas for Espinal (who is redundant right now with Clement either on ML roster or lost) it is hard to beat a desperate Grossman. It'll be interesting to see if the Jays do sign Grossman or trade for Thomas or do neither.
Nigel - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 12:04 PM EST (#442451) #
Even before Turner was signed someone to take DH ABs was down the list of club needs. Beggars can’t be choosers and all that so there was some sense to the signing, but still….
Gerry - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 12:22 PM EST (#442452) #
MLB is changing the schedule for the Florida Complex League. Last year the season ran from early June to late August. It will now run a month earlier, from early May to late July.

This means the schedule will be over before the 2024 drafted players get a chance to play. There will of course be unofficial camps and games in August.

MLB has also reduced the numbers of minor league players per organization from 180 to 165. There was concern among the clubs that they would have to release a bunch of players mid season to make room for the newly drafted players. And some of those newly drafted pitchers would not take the field if they had hit their pitch limits but would need to take one of those 165 spots.

A highly drafted college player could be assigned to Dunedin whose season is unchanged.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 12:33 PM EST (#442453) #
The 3 year commitment to Soler isn't ridiculous. But he comes with risk too.

But if you're going to think about that, why wouldn't you extend Jansen? He's a lot better and younger.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 12:36 PM EST (#442454) #
Right now there isn't much to change on the Jays...
C: Kirk/Jansen - 3rd option will be a defensive first AAAA guy sitting in Buffalo
1B: Vlad - Turner the backup as is Biggio and many others with Horwitz likely to be called up if Turner or Vlad go down
2B: Schneider should be the regular with Biggio/IKF/Espinal all backups with Biggio the platoon partner if needed. Clement and Orelvis Martinez are also options
3B: A mess - IKF/Biggio for now hoping Orelvis Martinez or Barger or some kid steps up quickly. Or Chapman gets desperate.
SS: Bo with IKF as the #1 backup, then Espinal-Clement-whoever, again the assorted kids could cover if needed but their defense is viewed poorly right now
LF: Varsho with Schneider as the RH backup
CF: Kiermaier with Varsho getting tons of time here too
RF: Springer who Biggio will cover for when he gets his needed days off
DH: Turner with Jansen/Kirk getting some time here too (when they try to play Turner at 3B) and Vlad (Turner to 1B)

Backups (4): one of Jansen/Kirk, one of Biggio/IKF, Espinal, then the final slot fight between a bat (Horwitz) and a glove (Clement) right now I'd bet on Clement as he is lost if not kept up (no more options vs Horwitz with a couple).

The rotation is probably set as Gausman-Bassitt-Berrios-Kikuchi-Manoah with White-Rodriguez as the top #6/7 guys while Tiedemann tries to stretch out so he can take a slot in 2025.
Bullpen is also set as Romano-Swanson-Green-Mayza-Garcia-Cabrera-Richards-White as White has no options left.  Pearson-Pop the top 2 in AAA for callups as injuries/ineffectiveness happen.

This is how it is with contending teams - very few openings as spring approaches and the club is trying to find ways to lock down even those slots.  Thus why all the Grossman-Thomas talk.  Next comes digging into prospects in AA/AAA who could come up in the event of injuries and who will be ready in 2026 if Bo & Vlad go away as free agents, not to mention dreams of what could be next winter - could the Jays go nuts and sign Soto? I don't see it myself unless they feel Bo &/or Vlad are certain to walk
bpoz - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 01:18 PM EST (#442455) #
Thanks Gerry about the schedule change. Dunedin's final game is Sept 8th.

Top 10 prospect Barriera should start in Dunedin if healthy and get to Vancouver if he is good. Nimmala could start in FCL or Dunedin. I imagine both have spent the off season in minor league instruction camps so an evaluation has probably been made. 19 year old Bo was incredible in 2017 so "wishfully" why not Nimmala ending the season in Vancouver. Both are top 5 prospects but young.

Toman was also young, 19 last year, but he spent all year in the FSL and possibly faced 22/23 year old Pat Gallager 52IP in FSL and 23/24 year old R Jennings types 33IP in FSL. Sorry about the cherry picking.

E Bonilla Just turned 18 and was good in the DSL last year. He is 2 months younger than Nimmala. I will use my "wishful" thinking on him as well but no Vancouver.

Ducey - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 01:33 PM EST (#442456) #
"SS: Bo with IKF as the #1 backup, then Espinal-Clement-whoever, again the assorted kids could cover if needed but their defense is viewed poorly right now"

Dont overlook Leo Jimenez. Will play AAA this year as a 23 year old. He hit 287/372/436 in AA with 32/53 BB/K. And he is a legit shortstop.
Michael - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 01:42 PM EST (#442457) #
It is interesting that of the 10 top players still unsigned free agents that are covered by the athletic (see, 4 of them were Jays last year.

Chapman (4), Merrifield (6), Ryu (8), and Belt (9). I wonder if there is any connection or any concern from other owners about the Jays (stats/culture/results?) or any common over value concern. Chapman is the second youngest player on the top 10 remaining, so maybe it is just age related?
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 01:53 PM EST (#442458) #
We know Belt is likely being picky. Ryu is a bit of a shock considering his strong return from injury.

Merrifeld would be useful on many teams...why no signing? What makes him difference from KK to sit out and wait for a team to become desperate?

Chapman hurt himself with his play through injury or simple decline. He is likely asking too much, but Soler just got the 3 years it was reported he was asking from the beginning.

If the Giants can add Snell then they would be as good as the Diamondbacks to me. They would have a rotation of Snell, Webb, Harrison, Cobb and Hicks with Robbie Ray joining them later in the year. That's pretty damn decent without Snell and very good with him. I'd put that up against the Jays rotation.

I would put early bets on the Giants to sign Juan Soto to a massive 400 million+ deal next off season. They sorely need to improve their offense.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 03:02 PM EST (#442459) #
Otto Lopez is now a SF Giant, for cash considerations.
Ducey - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 03:08 PM EST (#442460) #
Whit was (over)paid the last two years at $7 million per, is 34, so likely was/is looking for a retirement contract.

But he has OPS+ of 93, 90 and 94 the last three years. And its not like he is a defensive wizard. He had reverse platoon splits last year too, so not a lefty masher.

He always hits for average and "plays the right way" so he should be looking for an old timey manager who will play him every day. But its hard to see him getting even half the money that he made with the Jays.

Likely addition by subtraction for the Jays.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 05:27 PM EST (#442461) #
Ben Shulman.

The most PA Jansen has had in a season was 384 and that was 5 years ago.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 06:30 PM EST (#442462) #
Some of his injuries, like the one that cost him a month last year, were clear catching injuries. Others may have been affected by repetitive strain. He also missed many days when healthy, due to the desire to not overburden a regular catcher.

I am confident that Jansen would easily get 450PAs in a backup catcher/DH role if the club bought into it. As far as I am concerned, it would be a failure of imagination and/or an unwillingness to take a modest risk that would be at play. It's a shame because both Jansen and Kirk are very good players in their prime. And Kirk is the better defender.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 06:40 PM EST (#442463) #
Jansen should try to have a decent season with as much playing time as possible before anyone starts talking about using him as a full time DH or OF.
scottt - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#442464) #
They all looked terrible in the playoffs.
Well, Ryu wasn't there, but he's still a Boras client, so not going to jump on the first offer.

Groshans is now a Yankees.

mathesond - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 06:59 PM EST (#442465) #
"Groshans is now a Yankees."

Would the singular be: Groshan is now a Yankee?
scottt - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 07:21 PM EST (#442466) #
I don't know. I think they pretend there are no individuals in the Yankees.
It's kinda like the Borg.

John Northey - Tuesday, February 13 2024 @ 08:56 PM EST (#442467) #
Jansen is always interesting - he was a bat first catcher when he first came up, focused purely on defense for a bit, became a very good defensive catcher but then had questions about the bat. Kirk arrived same rep (strong bat, no D) and Jansen's bat started to come back to life, now Kirk is the defense first guy and Jansen the bat first in a lot of fans eyes.  Funny how things have gone with those 2.  We'll see if Kirk gets his bat going again like Jansen did. 

As to playing time - Jansen had 200+ PA each of the past 3 years, but could've had 400+ if healthy.  Should he be moved to a different position?  His defense is generally rated decently still - well, DRS isn't a fan (-2 last year, +8 lifetime thanks to a +12 in 2019) but the rest seem solid.  I could see him being given a shot to learn a new position in spring (3B/LF/1B take your pick) in an effort to get him more playing time and maybe to help stay healthier.  If you check his defense he has NEVER played an inning anywhere but catcher or DH since going pro in 2013 (age 18).  I'd be shocked if he even did in spring training (stats from that are few and far between - spring batting is at The Baseball Cube).  I agree the Jays should encourage him to try other positions, but if he has zero interest in it then it won't happen.  A real shame as he'd probably have a much longer career at 3B or at least extend it a bit with time in LF/1B.  The big issue with a contract extension is how to value him - if he is a full time player he is worth a LOT more than as a 200-300 PA backup catcher.

Btw, there is now under 200 PA between Jansen (1215) and Kirk (1031) career wise despite coming up 2 years earlier.
StephenT - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 01:41 AM EST (#442468) #
Cracka - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 10:17 AM EST (#442469) #
Jansen has been exclusively a catcher since he was 9 years old. He has "dabbled with first base maybe one game in a summer ball league", but otherwise has been just a catcher for the last 20 years (source: Jansen on the Ricky Romero podcast). It's a neat idea to try him elsewhere but doesn't seem very likely.
scottt - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 11:14 AM EST (#442470) # posted a top 10 for each position on Feb first.
Jays have Bichette 6th at SS, Guerrero, Springer and Kirk 7th at 1B, RF and C(Belt is 8th in 1B) and Turner 10th at 3B (Chapman didn't make the list).

Jays have no pitchers neither as starters or relievers.

On Fangraphs Depth Chart, Kirk is the starting catcher and Jansen is the backup.
Although, there,  Gausman is 4th in Power rankings and Romano is 8th.

ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 12:17 PM EST (#442471) #
Is Scott Boras actually good for baseball or harmful? It would seem that if a lot of his clients are unsigned at the start of spring training then maybe he's trying to extort too much money for them. These same clients must be getting antsy to know where they're playing this year, too.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 12:25 PM EST (#442472) #
Sounds like was a bit drunk to not have Gausman on the top 10 starter list (Max Fried, he of 14 starts in '23? Spencer Strider with his 115 ERA+?), and Romano really does belong on the top 10 closer list (89% save rate lifetime vs Rivera's 89.1% says it all, Pete Fairbanks? With 4+ BB/9 and 40 career saves? Didn't bother checking the others I suspect most are 12K/9+ but wild).

I really don't get putting Justin Turner ahead of Matt Chapman at 3B.
Michael - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 01:00 PM EST (#442473) #
Re: Boras - in any dispute between players and owners for money the default position should be on the side of the players, not the owners. So I'd default to Boras being good for baseball. Some players may end up worse overall, but most players will be better, and I bet even many of the "top" players not signed will still end up ok/better. Some of them may even like not needing to show up at the start of spring training (although there is always some small risk to freak non-sports related injury occurring costing them).
Ducey - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 01:14 PM EST (#442474) #
Boras is not good for baseball. But he is usually good for his clients. Greed. That's his only job.

He usually has a fallback position that is arguably better for his client than what they would have been offered previously.

In Chapman's case he needs to beat the QO and maybe whatever the Jays offered him previously ($100 M over 5 years?).

He often looks like he has overplayed his hand. In Chapman's case the signing team gets to pay big money, and take a hit in terms of draft picks and international signing money. All for a guy who struggled with the bat after a hot start.

I'm hoping that another team does sign Chapman (IKF and others can hold the fort until the kids emerge) and the Jays get an extra pick.

Ryu likely will get signed when a starter goes down. If Manoah shows up out of sorts I could see the Jays signing Ryu.
scottt - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 03:54 PM EST (#442475) #
Players want to get more than similar players got in previous years.
However, nobody wants to play 150-200M for  player who won't be hitting in the top 5.
IKF got a generous contract for a glove first player.

I think Boras is the guy who came out with the opt out clauses.
He certainly uses them often.
The opt out is a way for a player to settle for less and come back to free agency if he can up his game.
The Angels is the only team I remember losing draft picks on signing a guy to a one year contract.
Team signs guy on short contract so they can trade them not to lose draft picks and signing bonus.

Most of the clubs have spent when they intended to spend.
Now, GM are looking for bargains.
Later they'll be looking for replacement for injured players.

I give Chapman lots of credit for waking up the manager when facing the Angels.
It's too bad he was never able to make an adjustment after April was over.

Ducey - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 04:33 PM EST (#442476) #
Scottt. Here are the penalties for signing someone who rejected a QO (from MLB page):

Competitive Balance Tax payors: A team that exceeded the CBT threshold in the preceding season will lose its second- and fifth-highest selections in the following year's Draft, as well as $1 million from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If such a team signs multiple qualifying-offer free agents, it will forfeit its third- and sixth-highest picks as well.

• Revenue-sharing recipients: A team that receives revenue-sharing money will lose its third-highest selection in the following year's Draft. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its fourth-highest pick.

• All other teams: If a team does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the CBT salary threshold in the previous season, it will lose its second-highest selection in the following year's Draft, as well as $500,000 from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If one of these teams signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest pick and an additional $500,000.
Michael - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 05:29 PM EST (#442477) #
I thought it used to be that if the season started you could then sign a rejected QO without losing a pick, but looks like either I'm remembering wrong or it has changed as now you don't get penalized for singing a rejected QO pick only if you sign them after the draft has started. And I used to think the draft was in June, but now it is in July at the all-star break, so basically only if someone is signed just for the back half of the year would you avoid the QO (so unlikely this would occur).
John Northey - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#442478) #
As a reminder: Jays 2nd round picks - 53 picks all time, 23 reached the majors, 9 had 2+ WAR, 3 cracked 10 WAR (what I consider a success), 1 cracked 20 (actually had 53.4 - David Wells). 5th round picks - 47 picks - 16 reached, 8 cracked 2 WAR, 4 cracked 10 (Mike Timlin), 3 over 20 (Michael Young), 2 over 30 (Pat Hentgen), Dave Stieb with 56.4 leads the pack.

So there is a chance of a 'holy crap' pick with either, but odds are you'd only draft 2 guys who never make it. Jays have the 20th pick in round 1, 60th overall (Round 2), 9 picks between rounds 2 and 3 means it'll be pick #97 in round 3 I believe, 127 in round 4, 157 in round 5 - so the picks lost would be #60 and #157 at the moment (depending on if Chapman returns or goes elsewhere). 59 players picked 60th overall, 23 reached, 4 with 10+ WAR, Fred Lynn the best (50.2 but DNS with the Yankees thankfully) and #2 was Steve Garvey (38 WAR DNS with the Twins). Best who signed was Lynn McGlothen with 14.4 WAR. For pick #157 59 drafted, 17 reached, 2 with 10+ WAR - Tom Gordon 35.0 and Larry Andersen 13.9 (yes, the one traded 1-1 for Jeff Bagwell). Again, no reason to think either pick is likely to produce much of anything.

So with this very quick check I'd say signing a guy with a QO shouldn't be a 'oh god no' thing for the Jays. If you could sign Snell then it almost certainly would be a net gain long term (unless he gets hurt and is a pure burden on the roster). Of course, it is hard to measure the impact of the International Draft money. The Jays blew a fortune and got Vlad, but also got Kirk & Moreno for less than $50k total (combined!). $1 mill+ guys signed by the Jays from 2010 to now (via The Baseball Cube) include Enmanuel Bonilla, Manuel Beltre, Martin Gimenez, Rikelbin De Castro, Yosver Zulueta, Orelvis Martinez, Eric Pardinho, Lourdes Gurriel* (special case as a Cuban), Vladimir Guerrero, Juan Meza, Yeltsin Gudino, Franklin Barreto, Wuilmer Becerra, Dawel Lugo, Adeiny Hechavarria, Adonys Cardona.
scottt - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 08:14 PM EST (#442479) #
Maybe the penalties are relatively small, like moving from having the 20th farm system to having the 25th farm system, but you have to wait that against the benefits of signing someone, which might be 1 extra win over a full season. Also, the extra value in the farm system can later be used to make trades either later this year or the following years. The cost of Jordan Hicks was a third round pick (Kloff) and a guy signed with extra bonus money (Robberse).  Springer was worth it. Bassitt was worth it.  I'd rather they give Barger/Martinez/Palmegiani etc a shot before signing someone who doesn't hit to a long contract.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 08:49 PM EST (#442480) #
Rangers have gone on record to say they are not making more additions so Montgomery seems to have lost a suitor.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 14 2024 @ 10:43 PM EST (#442481) #
Montgomery wouldn't be a bad choice to add to the staff. Not a K machine, but very solid and has history in the AL East. 3 straight years of 30+ starts. Snell is more exciting, but Montgomery would be damn solid. Plus as a LHP he'd be a good mix in the rotation. Wonder if the Jays are kicking tires there or not. Either Snell or Montgomery would push the Jays into trading Kikuchi or Manoah most likely. I figure that would work out better than the at best 5% chance of a big win in the draft or the about 50% shot of getting a guy who even gets a cup of coffee with those 2 picks in 5+ years. Basically there is no reason to not sign one of them if the Jays have the budget for it unless the Jays feel the $$/years asked are too much (as they have been so far).
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 07:54 AM EST (#442482) #
After renovating the stadium and increasing ticket prices it's unbelievable that Turner is the big add. The Jays inexplicably went over the 2nd threshold last year (barely) which means they will be penalized as a 2nd breach team this year.

The only way this team can justify not adding imho is if they plan to extend Vlad, Bo and then sign Soto to a 15 year deal of 600 million. I think the situation is clear that Bo is testing the market and Soto will have likely multiple offers of insane $$$$ making it harder for Toronto to overpay. As for Vlad, he either is closer to replacement level and is not resigned or he breaks out this year and will cost over 300 million. In all of these situations it's a lose lose lose outcome for the Jays so why not just sign a Snell or Bellinger at a slightly reduced rate. It doesn't look like many potential free agents will make it to free agency as they are all getting rumoured to resign like Altuve, Tucker and Bregman.
James W - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 08:52 AM EST (#442483) #
so why not just sign a Snell or Bellinger at a slightly reduced rate

Perhaps those players don't wish to sign at a reduced rate.
Glevin - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 09:40 AM EST (#442484) #
"so why not just sign a Snell or Bellinger at a slightly reduced rate

Perhaps those players don't wish to sign at a reduced rate."

Scandalous! Akin to the why don't they just trade player A for player B suggestions.

bpoz - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 10:33 AM EST (#442485) #
Very smart move by Texas to not make any more impact/expensive moves. I read the article which gave details on the reasoning for this. The luxury tax financial penalties are bad enough to not do this. Unfortunately the article did not give the details on the lost draft picks and Int'l bonus pools.
Gerry - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 10:56 AM EST (#442486) #
Pitchers and catchers have reported.

There is video online of Alek Manoah throwing a bullpen. He definitely looks slimmer, he has lost some of his belly fat.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 11:13 AM EST (#442487) #
Snell and Bellinger will sign market fair rates at best.

Bo, Vlad and Soto will sign at fair market rates at worst. There's a big difference. If you don't plan to overpay then signing a free agent now makes more sense.

This team will be at 248 million for 2024.

143 million for 2025 before arbitration.

94 million 2026 before arbitration.

Who will they sign in '25 and '26?



John Northey - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 12:47 PM EST (#442488) #
Depends what the team feels it has in the minors and what options are there in trade. Neither of which we can fully know. We know the farm is poorly ranked, but if 2 or 3 guys (Tiedemann, Orelvis, Barger, Roden are all good possibilities for example) can break out then the rest is secondary outside of trades.

Free Agency is a big cost/risk thing. Snell has massive injury worries (twice over 130 IP) but massive upside (those 2 times he won the Cy Young). Chapman is getting old. Bellinger doesn't really have a slot on this team right now (bench KK after signing him? Seems a poor idea imo, or play Turner at 3B a LOT to open DH for Springer/Bellinger to share). Montgomery is more reliable than Snell but lower upside too, almost might as well sign Ryu in that case.

Next winter will be a tough one - or a 'WOW' one. Bo & Vlad either sign, trade, or cross your fingers. Soto - do you offer him $400+ million given he is likely a DH a lot of the time?
Gerry - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 01:23 PM EST (#442489) #
Scott Mitchell has heard that Manoah is 30 pounds lighter.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 02:05 PM EST (#442490) #
Angels owner now going on record to say he is not selling and will run a lower budget this there's another potential landing spot off the board for the Boras group.

Most likely Buyers rest of off season:

Red Sox

The timing is there for the Jays. You won't be able to get a pitcher of Snell's caliber again until next off season when it's Corbin Burnes who will be 2 years younger.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 03:18 PM EST (#442491) #
Seattle might make a pitch for Snell.  (His hometown.)
Ducey - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 03:31 PM EST (#442492) #
The Jays are not signing Snell, nor should they try to.

His ERA+ from 2020 is 127, 92, 112 and 182. For comparison, Kikuchi had an ERA+ last year of 110.

The reason Snell is still a FA is because Boras is doing everything in his power to get him paid like he will post an ERA+ of > 150 every year. He won't.

The Jays are likely quite happy to proceed with their 4 starters and a slimmer Manoah. If they are going to add to their CBT significantly (a big if) it should be on offense.
Ryan Day - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 03:52 PM EST (#442493) #
Even the Yankees apparently said "no thanks" to Snell's asking price, and signed Stroman instead. There are a few teams out there that could meet his price, but none of them have done it so far - hard to see that changing any time soon, unless someone gets hit hard by injuries.
uglyone - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 04:17 PM EST (#442494) #
Day 1 of camp and we already have to suffer through this excruciating Atkins Garble.

“At this point, additions that would be of significance would mean some level of subtraction.”

He added: “Now it makes more sense, operationally for us, if we consider an addition, that we should be subtracting.”
John Northey - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 04:50 PM EST (#442495) #
Well, Atkins is right - to add anyone you need to remove someone. Earlier moves were brain dead removals - no DH, no LF, so signing Turner and KK covered those, while IKF was to cover the hole at 3B - removing most likely guys like Lopez, Horwitz, and Lukes from consideration for the ML team. There is one slot left for offense (4 man bench of Kirk or Jansen, Biggio or IKF, Espinal, and ???) which at the moment is probably Clement or Horwitz depending on need.

Sign a Snell and someone in the current rotation needs to be traded. Sign a reliever and one of the 8 there needs to go. Sign a hitter and that last open slot is gone.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 05:19 PM EST (#442496) #
“Our hands our tied. It would be impossible to improve the team at this point, even if we wanted to. We think we’re as good as any team in baseball. Now we just have to go out and prove it. We feel a lot of urgency this year.”

(Not an actual quote—just summing up everything we’re going to hear in the weeks ahead.)
Ducey - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 05:43 PM EST (#442497) #
Improving the team and the team improving are 2 different things.

uglyone - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 05:45 PM EST (#442498) #
"to add anyone you need to remove someone"

Why can't atkins just say that.
soupman - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 06:23 PM EST (#442499) #
schneider/ikf/turner vs chapman/belt/merrifield

i like what i saw from schneider, but i see why many are not warmed by the lineup changes.

i think the team has a pretty high floor. i expect vlad's bat to be back (because i believe he played hurt), but i also expect he costs the team a few games with bad base running, bad decisions on throws, or other errors taking place between the cap and jersey.

it'll be interesting to see what the feeling is around the club after how they exited the playoffs.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 06:39 PM EST (#442500) #
" If you can't convince them, confuse them. "
bpoz - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 06:49 PM EST (#442501) #
When Atkins speaks I understand what he means. For example everyone was confused when he spoke of "years of control". The latest years of control concept occurred with the J Hicks trade we got a few months of control/use while giving up years by trading Robberse and Kloffenstein. The same happened with P DeJong for M Svanson.

This addition requiring a subtraction is also confusing many. I don't think he means adding Yariel Rodriguez meant subtracting Otto Lopez which is a 40 man roster restriction.. While that is true it is misunderstood IMO. My interpretation is financial. Add a $20mil/year contract probably means subtracting at least $20/mil.
85bluejay - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 06:53 PM EST (#442502) #
I read Atkins comment as the Jays are not adding to the current payroll, so if they make a significant addition that adds payroll then the team will need to move a similar salary.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 07:25 PM EST (#442503) #
I think that's about right, 85bluejay. Maybe Atkins has a couple of potential trades on the table that would add a major-league player or two in exchange for giving up one or more major-league players (plus prospects).

I don't expect the front office to add significantly to the team's payroll. But they probably don't want to come out and say that directly, as it could anger the fan base.
bpoz - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 08:10 PM EST (#442504) #
Might be wishful thinking that Atkins will not have to do a lot at the trade deadline.

In 2020 he practically rebuilt the rotation and did not give up much IMO. 2021 and 2022 are a bit of a blur for me. Merrifield was good. Berrios was great. Lucky Stripling saved us in 2022. 2023 was minor deals IMO.

We have hit the luxury tax wall which I suspect will block certain moves. But I suspect that there are more teams with luxury tax "handcuffs" than there were previously. Strategies are in play now.

John Northey - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 09:05 PM EST (#442505) #
The more I think about it the more the add salary, remove salary seems to be the current issue.  I suspect Rogers said 'this is how much you get' and if the Jays want more they need to prove they are worth it - ie: draw more fans, more viewers, more revenue.  Pull in an extra $50 mil then you can add $50 mil to the payroll.  Bo & Vlad reaching free agency will be a big challenge with that.  Chapman could be a big challenge come mid-spring training if none of the kids step up and he is still hunting for a deal.

Right now best case is Vlad has a 2021 type season, Kirk & Springer return to 2022 form, Varsho shows why the Jays wanted him, and Manoah gets back to the near Cy form he had in 2022 and the 'wow' in 2021.  Ideally one or two kids emerge too.  If that all happens we have a 100+ win team here which should go deep in the playoffs. The more that goes wrong though the lower that gets, I see 85 as the floor unless massive injuries and under-performance happen.  90 is the likely total for wins (I see 88-92 as the most likely range).

To make everyone feel better - in 1992 and 1993 the Jays started with a hole at 3B - 1992 was filled by a rookie in Jeff Kent for a few months before he was traded for David Cone, 1993 was filled by a near rookie in Ed Sprague.  2015 started with 2 OF holes (LF/CF) filled by rookies at first (Pillar & Pompey) with LF filled by a trade for Ben Revere (cost just Alberto Tirado (never reached) and Jimmy Cordero - 0.5 bWAR lifetime so far and now part of the Yankee pen).  Opening day in 2015 was started by Drew Hutchison who had a 74 ERA+ that year.  Crap happens, you just try to be as set as possible for it.
scottt - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 09:53 PM EST (#442506) #
We just saw the Mets blow through the luxury tax threshold and the result has not been good.

There are a few guys that are worth adding at any prices, but otherwise, it makes sense to avoid penalties.
I don't have any problem with the current payroll.

Biggio comes into camp with shoulder tendinitis and won't be swinging a bat for a while.
That is interesting.

vw_fan17 - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 11:17 PM EST (#442507) #
MLBTR reports the Jays are nearing a deal with Eduardo Escobar - presumably to play 3rd? Hopefully not for much..
uglyone - Thursday, February 15 2024 @ 11:36 PM EST (#442508) #
Presumably to play 3rd against LHP only, hopefully.
bpoz - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 06:49 AM EST (#442509) #
E Escobar will answer the question of to add we have to subtract. 40 man roster is full so someone has to be dropped which is not a big issue. It is the makeup of the 13 position players that is hard to determine.

So what kind of player is E Escobar? 35 year old switch hitter that has pretty good power. So potentially that will help the O.

IKF is a former gold glove at 3B I believe. Schneider considers the glut of IF players a "cool" challenge. I don't know who will make the choices.
Gerry - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 07:36 AM EST (#442510) #
Shi Davidi says its a minor league deal with Escobar.
bpoz - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 07:59 AM EST (#442511) #
Thanks Gerry. Maybe that is all he could get or there is something like an opt out?
Ducey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 08:13 AM EST (#442512) #
I am sure it's all he could get. He had an OPS+ of 67 last year.

It still seems a little strange. He is 35 and has not been good for a few years. The Jays have a ton of AAA infielders who need playing time.

But I guess they can just release him at any point. And who knows, maybe he turns it around.
Marc Hulet - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 08:51 AM EST (#442513) #
Escobar had a 66 wRC+ and was terrible defensively at both 2B and 3B in 2023... I assume he's "Break glass in case of emergency" in case someone gets hurt.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 09:49 AM EST (#442514) #
"dump·ster dive
gerund or present participle: dumpster-diving
search through dumpsters or similar trash receptacles for edible food or items of value."
85bluejay - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 10:30 AM EST (#442515) #
The Escobar signing a day after the report of Cavan Biggio's injury is interesting.
Glevin - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 11:34 AM EST (#442516) #
No bad minor league deal and Escobar hit 20 HR with a 2.2 WAR in 2022 so it's possible he could have something left. I don't think it's likely but possible.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 11:39 AM EST (#442517) #
By the time an infielder might be needed, the minor leagues will have been in swing for a while ( hopefully) and the Jays could call up Jimenez or Bargar or Martinez or anybody else who might be hot. I don't see the need for Escobar at all.
Ducey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 11:53 AM EST (#442518) #
I guess if Biggio is hurt, and Escobar looks very strong in the spring, and the kids are not ready, maybe Escobar makes the 25 man.

Thats a lot of ifs.

Perhaps more likely is that the Jays are thinking of moving Espinal. Maybe a resurgent Escobar makes them feel more comfortable doing that, as he could act as cover until the kids are sorted out mid season.
uglyone - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 12:05 PM EST (#442519) #
Zips is far from perfect, but at least it's not biased.

Zips top-100 prospects:

* #16 Tiedemann
* #28 Schneider
* #36 Martinez
scottt - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 12:09 PM EST (#442520) #
If Biggio can't hit, Escobar can get some playing time in the spring.
He becomes an option on opening day.
It's worth remembering that Ernie Clement is out of option.

Also, Genesis Cabrera is the only pitcher with options.
It will be interesting to see what they do with Yariel Rodriguez.

Escobar is possibly worst defensively than all the other options except maybe Turner.
He's a switch hitter but maybe just slightly better than average when batting right handed and not good when hitting left handed. Poor fielder. Poor runner with average speed.  Average arm--which is not what one wants at third base.

greenfrog - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 12:33 PM EST (#442521) #
I see that Atkins is already talking about the potential for trade deadline acquisitions. That could work out for the Blue Jays, as they may be in a better position to make a trade at that point. But it’s worth remembering that good trades can be tough to pull off at the deadline. There are typically lots of buyers, and potential trading partners haven’t seemed all that enthused about Blue Jays prospects over the last couple of years.
uglyone - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 12:43 PM EST (#442522) #
Even if they had signed a prominent free agent, they STILL would have needed to make trade deadline additions.

Signing another prominent free agent was necessary just to keep the team at the same level as last year. Now we have to hope for significant internal improvement just to stay at last year's level.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 01:18 PM EST (#442523) #
My tickets went up from 13,000k to 19,000k and Ingot moved back 10 rows. I feel this year I will likely walk away from my season tickets as it's not exciting.
scottt - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 02:11 PM EST (#442524) #
Last year, they needed to acquire an offensive player so they took a chance on Paul DeJong.

Genesis Cabrera was as good as Hicks. Nearly identical stats.
Hicks picked up 4 saves and  losses.

John Northey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 03:10 PM EST (#442525) #
Well, Escobar isn't projected to be much - 80-84 wRC+, negative baserunner, from -2.0 to +1.3 on defense, 0.1-0.5 fWAR.  But on a minor league deal you can't go wrong - he was a 2+ WAR guy in 2022 and 2021 with power.

Meh. I see hm as an Espinal replacement potentially - to be used when a LHP is on the mound and you move Schneider to LF so KK or Varsho has a day off.  Don't want Biggio facing too many LHP so right now it is Espinal in that role at 2B but Escobar could be a much stronger option with the bat.  Of course, Ernie Clement might be a better choice (stronger on defense, showed a bit on offense last year).  AAA depth is never a bad thing to have as long as it doesn't block real prospects.  In AAA I expect it to be Leo Jimenez at SS, Orelvis Martinez at 2B, Addison Barger in RF most of the time, but Barger and Martinez getting 3B time too.  Damiano Palmegiani should get a lot of 3B/1B time. Tanner Morris will probably lose a lot of playing time, Rafael Lantigua will be flip flopping OF/IF, Steward Berroa & Cam Eden both trying to earn a spot in the OF, Will Robertson was in the AFL and also will be fighting for a AAA slot in the OF. Alan Roden should grab a slot in AAA by mid-season if not earlier.

For a thin system there is a lot in AAA worth watching.
Ducey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 03:47 PM EST (#442526) #
"they needed to acquire an offensive player so they took a chance on Paul DeJong"

Yeah, that was baffling, eh? Gave up a prospect for 3 weeks of Dejong, who had an OPS+ of -62, then released him. I didnt even know OPS+ could go into the negatives.

If having Escobar in AAA prevents this kind of stupidity, then 2 thumbs up!
dalimon5 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 04:14 PM EST (#442527) #
Dejong had similar upside as Escobar prior to the trade. This is the same type of move.

This FO has really focused on the floor...again.

I'd rather have Bellinger for the same salary as KK, IKF and Turner . I'd rather they keep paying Bellinger because next year those 3 will be replaced with new holdovers one 1 year deals.

Replacing Turner with Martinez is not a gain it will just be a wash. This FO needs to accumulate more talent to go further and if you ain't refilling exiting players then there's something wrong with your strategy. This whole idea of "build around Vlad and Bo" with nothing beyond is crazy. It looks like they want to become the Pirates in 2026 after letting those two walk. Does anybody else see them going to free agency in 2026 and signing 150 million dollars worth of annual salary players?
Ducey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 04:50 PM EST (#442528) #
Whit is a Philly.

2 yrs. First year, $7 million plus a $1M buyout or club option at $8M plus some bonuses.

$8M per is pretty rich for Whit.

dalimon5 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 05:12 PM EST (#442529) #
IKF is making 7.5 million and on a two year guarantee.
Ducey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 05:30 PM EST (#442530) #
Yep, and IKF is 28 (not 35) and plays more demanding defensive positions (3B, SS, CF).
Gerry - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 07:01 PM EST (#442531) #
Manoah got married in the off-season. His wife is a certified nutritionist which helped him lose the 30 pounds.
bpoz - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 07:10 PM EST (#442532) #
I am expecting a Jays team that could struggle to score again. But we have a deep pitching staff. So a nerve wracking season.

3 strong contenders are Baltimore, Houston and Texas. Baltimore has to survive the early unavailability of Means & Bradish. Texas similarly has to wait for deGrom and Scherzer. Houston for Verlander. All these pitchers are ranked in the top 3 of their rotations so they will be much weaker than anticipated for possibly the first 2 months of the season. This should give the Jays and other contenders an early advantage.
John Northey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 07:11 PM EST (#442533) #
Lets look closer at those 2...
Isiah Kiner-Falefa: last 3 years fWAR 0.2-1.5-1.6, 0.2 is last year, all drop due to defense as he was used in the OF by the Yankees for 566 innings vs 249 at 2B/SS/3B and 4 innings on the mound.
Whit Merrifield: last 3 years fWAR 1.5-1.5-3.0, his drop last year was defense & baserunning (dropped from excellent to above average).  Like IKF he was used too much in the OF - 631 innings, vs 595 at 2B (negative DRS at 2B, positive OAA)

So the question becomes what to expect going forward.  Merrifield is projected from 0.4 to 1.0 fWAR, IKF 0.6-1.1 (limited to the ones I used in the article above).  IMO the biggest difference is Merrifield is limited to 2B/LF while IKF can play pretty much anywhere.  IKF has a lower offensive likelihood, but is 7 years younger which is a massive difference.  ZIPS has both at 79 wRC+ for 2024 (odd coincidence) and if the bats are equal then it is no contest, IKF is far more useful than Merrifield.  But at 79 wRC+ neither is that good.

The big issue is the kids.  IKF has shown he is OK with being a backup, Merrifield has never been one for more than short stretches.  I suspect once 2024 is done the Jays will look smart to have done the switchover from one to the other.  I do question it with Espinal on the roster but I suspect there is more to it than we know (wonder if he has issues behind the scenes?)

#1 to me though is how do the main guns do this year?  Is Manoah really in the best shape ever (reports are he lost a ton of weight thanks to his brother who is a trainer and his wife who is a nutritionist - given those factors I wouldn't be shocked if he actually is), is Vlad going to be closer to 2021 than 2023 in production (was working out a lot this winter early on, put on a show in winter ball at a home run competition with a metal bat - it was 'wow' Vlad Guerrero Jr. Crushes Homers With a Metal Bat, and how will Kirk & Springer & Varsho do?  If Manoah, Vlad, Kirk, Varsho, and Springer can have 3 of the 5 come close to expectations vs 2023's disaster the Jays should be laughing regardless of IKF vs Merrifield vs Chapman vs whatever.  If all 5 flop then nothing would've saved this season.
Chuck - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 07:57 PM EST (#442534) #
With Stott firmly entrenched at 2B, it would seem that Merrifield is ear marked for LF (with Schwarber presumably becoming a fulltime DH). Unless there is someone I'm not thinking of to make LF a job share, it would appear to be Merrifield's outright. If so, that doesn't seem like a great idea.
dalimon5 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 08:01 PM EST (#442535) #
This team clearly has a cap. Vogelbach signed...
Glevin - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 08:36 PM EST (#442536) #
I like the Vogelbach signing. He's a lefty who hits righties well.
vw_fan17 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 08:47 PM EST (#442537) #
Is there a HAR measure for Homeruns-Above-Average in a homerun derby? Pretty sure Vlad leads all comers.

Alas, I'm not sure that skill alone makes you a good slugger, in the same way that a 100m sprinter doesn't necessarily make a good base stealer, nor does being able to throw 105 mph make you the best pitcher ever.

Sure, those are all part of the required skillset for that task, and they can partially make up for a lower level in some of the other skills, but all of those activities require a mix of skills in order to actually be good: a good batting eye, being able to read the pitcher and pitch location/command, for example. If you have a 20 FV or whatever ranking in those latter skills, it doesn't matter how far you can hit that 1 out of a thousand pitches, how many feet ahead of the catcher's throw you were that one time you didn't get picked off or how helpless that batter looked on that one great pitch you made after giving up 7 runs.

vw_fan17 - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 08:49 PM EST (#442538) #
I like the Vogelbach signing. He's a lefty who hits righties well.

And, more importantly IMHO, he's not coming off a severe down year, HOPING for one last hurrah late in his 30s.
uglyone - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 09:12 PM EST (#442539) #
vogelbach can hit.

means no room for horwitz tho.

and might mean that they're actually going to play the 80yr old Turner at 3B.
Ducey - Friday, February 16 2024 @ 11:09 PM EST (#442540) #
Some of you have been advocating for a big addition...
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 01:02 AM EST (#442541) #
Daniel Vogelbach joined the Blue Jays for 10 days in late August 2020. He was acquired from Seattle on August 24th, made 2 appearances for Toronto, then was selected off waivers by Milwaukee on September 3rd. In his final plate appearance with the Blue Jays, against Baltimore, he drew a walk and Derek Fisher substituted as a pinch runner, and was caught stealing.
bpoz - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 07:29 AM EST (#442542) #
Escobar and Vogelbach are veterans who may or may not have anything left. I was basically convinced that the Jays were done after the Turner signing. Seems I was wrong.

Minor league deals and trades are still possible. Atkins is wisely saying nothing using his own style. All of Atkins moves have been unexpected except the Yariel Rodrigues signing was successfully speculated on as well as Turner a bit.

Atkins said he feels good about the last 5 off season and 4 trade deadlines activity. Those transaction helped the team to a good record. Personally I think the O was weakened in the last off season.

Our quality players like Bo, Vlad, Gausman and others have a track record that they can improve on or not. Atkins mentioned that all the players have worked at improving. Both veterans and near ready prospects in the off season. They were evaluated this off season and will continue to be evaluated in ST and throughout the year.

Since us bauxites cannot accurately "know" who will have a much better or much worse season, that is also the case for Atkins and the rest of the FO involved IMO.

soupman - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 10:54 AM EST (#442543) #
the team knows the medical histories and current status of players. it's a significant information gap.

i can't remember the last time a coach came out and said that a pitcher wasn't available for relief because he was too hungover or because he stayed up all night with a colicky baby, but we know that sometimes the reason the incompetent manager makes quizzical choices has less to do with the numbers and more to do with knowing what's going on off the field. we also know that you can perform well hungover or on an acid trip, but most people are going to (given full information) select the player who is not operating in an altered state until the numbers suggest they ought to.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 11:24 AM EST (#442544) #
I think a lot more of today's athletes take better care of themselves during the season than in year's past so I don't believe there are very many lineup changes do to hangovers. Most of the time when we see a player who we think should be playing but isn't, it's because they have a mild sprain or bad bruise that needs a little time to heal.

Marc Hulet - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 11:45 AM EST (#442545) #
I'm just not sure you can manage a team very well with two DHs... Turner can play in the field a bit but not much at the age of 39. And Vogelbach is a no-go in the field. Mets fans were screaming to get rid of him last year.
bpoz - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 12:06 PM EST (#442546) #
Grichuk to the D backs.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 12:08 PM EST (#442547) #
Plus you want to have everyday players a chance to rest by DHing occasionally. At 6 ft 270 pounds Vogelbach is a one-trick pony.
Nigel - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 12:11 PM EST (#442548) #
Vogelbach continues the list of offseason moves that in isolation you can understand when looked at through the lens of cost, length of term and!or ability but which make way less sense when looking at the existing roster and the pieces already in place and/or the roster needs. As Marc says, prior to signing Turner you could imagine squeezing some ABs out for Vogelbach now I’d assume the best case is AAA insurance.
bpoz - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442549) #
I think I know about 10 position players that will be on the opening day roster if all are healthy. The other 3 are mainly unknowns.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 12:27 PM EST (#442550) #
The front office is trying to build as high a floor as possible, so as not to fall out of contention early on in year 1 of Renovated RC. If they can’t add any 5 WAR players, they are sure as heck going to fill every nook and cranny of the roster (and AAA) with average-ish players.

Then maybe at the trade deadline, depending how the prospects are doing, they can make a big trade to make the team significantly better. The problem is that impact players have lots of suitors in the summer, driving the price up. The Blue Jays may not have the prospects and/or payroll space to make the trade they want/need to make at that point.
uglyone - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 01:42 PM EST (#442551) #
There's pretty much no room for a kid to crack the squad now, other than Schneider who already has.

And escobar will have to beat out Espinal for a spot.

On the flipside, an old roster should have plenty of injuries to give opportunities to the kids.
Gerry - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 03:18 PM EST (#442552) #
Turner, Kirk and Vogelbach on the bases will have the outfielders salivating.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 05:58 PM EST (#442553) #
The strategy for better base running and not running into outs is apparently to have more players that are base-to-base runners. Not ideal IMO.
Michael - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 06:41 PM EST (#442554) #
While it is a big step down in defense to go from Chapman to Turner, it isn't clear to me Turner at 3b is a disaster. He's marginally above average at 3b for his career in defensive stats, although over the past few years he's marginally below average. So yes, you expect he's below average defensively, but I don't think by that much. If you go by runs above average at 3b only from 2014 it goes: +6, +3, +9, +4, +3, -5, -1, -2, +1, -3. Only the last year was a truly miniscule sample size (7 games), the others varied but include a lot of 120+ games. Last year was his worst offensive year in more than a decade, but that was still an OPS+ of 114. I think you'd expect something like -5 runs on defense and an OPS+ of 115 looking at his trend lines and last few years which doesn't look unplayable. And obviously you can choose how much to play him at 3b versus 1b versus dh versus bench so you can mix and match a bit depending on how it shakes out. But bottom line I don't think it is a disaster if Turner plays 3b especially if it is something like 60 games there (and maybe some late inning defensive replacements even in some of the games he starts at 3b).
Petey Baseball - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 06:47 PM EST (#442555) #
Ironic that '24 for Atkins is looking a lot like '15 did for Anthopolous. Jays have great pitching in '24 built by Atkins'.....AA had a terrific offense starting '15 through good trades and success in free agency. Both have had close calls in free agency and a couple of questionable trades in their tenure. AA made his last stand at the deadline in '15, and it looks like the weak free agent class and lack of trade partners have forced Ross to wait until this July to make splashes.

Wonder how serious the Jays are about platooning Varsho if Schnieder gets hot in the Spring and carries it into the season. I also don't understand why the Jays would risk getting Turner injured playing the field. The guy is 39, and here's hoping he's only at first or third in a pinch.

Arden Zwelling had a good article up arguing Turner should lead off. It won't happen, as every opportunity will be given to Springer to have a good season in the spot he's most comfortable in. However, I'd rather have Turner batting 2nd with Bo 3rd and Vlad 4th.
John Northey - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 07:14 PM EST (#442556) #
I'd be shocked if they platoon Varsho.  I see it as platooning Kiermaier with Varsho going to CF when a LHP is on the mound. Then Schneider goes to LF, a RH bat at 2B, IKF or Turner at 3B, you get the idea.

Daniel Vogelbach is pure depth at DH in case Turner flops or they need a bat around so Turner can go to 3B vs RHP and Vogelbach would be the DH with IKF on the bench. Eduardo Escobar is the same idea but at 2B - to be the RH mix there when Schneider goes to LF so KK has a day off vs LHP.  The question becomes can you fit all of this on the roster?

Backups/Platoon partners: Cavan Biggio, Danny Jansen, Santiago Espinal, Daniel Vogelbach, Eduardo Escobar - only 4 of these can make the team, and I wouldn't be shocked if they kept Clement over Escobar & Vogelbach.
Out of options: Ernie Clement
Prospects on edge of majors: Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger, Leo Jimenez, Damiano Palmegiani, Rafael Lantigua (last 2 are kinda-sorta prospects)
Still kicking but unlikely to make an impact: Nathan Lukes, Spencer Horwitz

The staff is pretty set...
#6 and beyond starters: Mitch White, Yariel Rodriguez, Bowden Francis, Wes Parsons, Ricky Tiedemann, and a cast of many others. White the only one out of options, Tiedemann not on the 40 man, the rest have their final option year this year.
40 man relief help: Yosver Zulueta, Hagen Danner, Nate Pearson, Zach Pop, Brendon Little - Pop, Pearson, and Danner are on their final option year this year.
NRI Starters: Ryan Jennings, Devereaux Harrison, Chad Dallas, Paolo Espino (plus Tiedemann)

The NRI guys could make the team at some point this year, it certainly has happened before - but often they are up for a week or two then let go, especially relievers.

So yeah, there are a few guys on the bubble with the final slot an open battle between Vogelbach, Escobar, and Clement.  The pitching is more seeing if Manoah is ready and if so then it is purely a 'do we keep White or give Rodriguez a shot' question with Pearson waiting for a shot with Pop right there too.  This is VERY different from 2015 - then we had 2 20 year olds fighting for the closer job, 2 kids in LF/CF, and a mess in other areas. Lots cleaned up in the mid-season trading window but this year won't be like that.
scottt - Saturday, February 17 2024 @ 09:19 PM EST (#442557) #
Turner leading off? He ranked in the 1 percentile for baserunning.
The batting was still great last year. 17.5 Whiff percentage is elite. 17.% K rate is very good.
I don't want a guy who can hit but cannot run leading off.
Turner scored 86 times, batted 96 in and hit into only 10 double plays.
That screams clean up to me.

Springer scored 87 hitting lead off, batted 72 in and grounded into 20 double plays.
Guerrero scored 78 times, batted 94 runs in and grounded into 23 double plays.
Bichette scored 69 times, batted 73 runs in and grounded into 14 double plays.

I believe Manfred is trying to push for more stolen bases this year.
He wants infielders who block the bags (not the plate) to be called on obstruction.
Obstruction calls are not reviewable to make things even more frustrating.

John Northey - Sunday, February 18 2024 @ 01:13 AM EST (#442558) #
I'd guess the lineup will be something like...

I see lots of shuffling with the last 5 slots but 1-4 should be pretty much locked in.  If Varsho is on his power would work nicely after Turner, plus mixing in a LH bat as soon as possible.  I could see Biggio between Kirk & Schneider, but no question IKF will be #9 when he plays.  If he isn't playing and Santiago Espinal is then he bats 9th.  If Eduardo Escobar makes the team he could bat earlier, a lot earlier, vs LHP only.  Varsho then would move to the 9 hole as he'd probably be the only LH hitter vs LHP most of the time.

The idea of Turner leading off is quite humorous. Had to look up that article. He is mostly basing it on an OBP of 345 last year.  That isn't a wow figure that makes up for lack of speed.  The contact ability he put a ton of emphasis on but that is secondary on this team which has no trouble making contact, they just hit into TONS of DP's due to that.  For 2024 projections for OBP are ZIPS: Vlad #1 at 360, Kirk #2 344 - ain't no sane person asking for either of them to bat 1st. Turner is #8 by that method behind 2 who won't play (Horwitz and Roden) and Schneider and Biggio.  By Steamer we get Vlad 366, Kirk & Horwitz 359... #11 is Turner 330.  Depth Charts - Vlad 363, Horwitz 352, Kirk 351, ... #7 Turner 330.  You get the idea. 330 seems to be the best Turner gets from any projection system at FG, BR using Marcel has him at 339 (generally viewed as the simplest method of projecting based on just the past 3 years data with an age factor mixed in). Basically the author of that piece is 100% counting on the most recent years data exclusively to make his argument. I get it - he has a tight deadline and needs to produce to get paid, but c'mon - do better. Mix in that projection systems see Vlad as leading the team in OBP in 2024 and I'd have more respect for the piece (FYI: Marcel has Vlad at 364).
bpoz - Sunday, February 18 2024 @ 10:24 AM EST (#442559) #
Trades are still being made.

I expect a fair amount of pinch running for our slow players when they are on base.
jgadfly - Sunday, February 18 2024 @ 12:16 PM EST (#442560) #
I was watching a Blue Jay video on Arjun Nimmala and was surprised to see an amateur development team picture that also included Landen Maroudis on it ...
greenfrog - Sunday, February 18 2024 @ 12:19 PM EST (#442561) #
Couple of comments from Michael Baumann's recent Fangraphs article on Justin Turner:

"Turner’s bat has been slipping for the past four years or so — both in terms of results and in terms of quality of contact — but he was starting from such a high standard he still has a ways to fall before he’s no longer useful."

"Offensively, a player like Turner is going to keep hitting until he gets so old his bat slows down. And that could happen gradually — as it seems to be doing — or it could all collapse at once. If you went out looking for a worrying sign, I would point to his performance against four-seamers, which was below average in 2023 for the first time since Baseball Savant started keeping track of those stats. Against velocity specifically, Turner isn’t as good as he was five years ago, but that too seems to be a gradual decline."

We'll see how 2024 plays out for Turner. I see him more as a useful complementary piece than a full-time big scary bat. The projections have him as a slightly above average hitter this year.
jgadfly - Sunday, February 18 2024 @ 01:06 PM EST (#442562) #
I was on the Blue Jay site checking out the 100 level renos on a sliding before/after screen and it looks like players hitting hard ground balls over third base will be thrown out at second base by the shortstop more often than not. Also it appears that the backstop is about 10' closer to home plate and there is very little foul territory to catch pop ups. Maybe the before/after scale is wrong but it sure does look crazy small.
Jonny German - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 02:14 AM EST (#442563) #
I was watching a Blue Jay video on Arjun Nimmala and was surprised to see an amateur development team picture that also included Landen Maroudis on it ...

Why was that surprising?
greenfrog - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 09:06 AM EST (#442564) #
In Shi Davidi's latest Sportsnet article, Jansen talks about how much he loves catching. His comments also suggest that he's headed to free agency in the fall.
John Northey - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 10:51 AM EST (#442565) #
Not a shock.  Jansen wants to be an everyday catcher, Kirk wants to be that too.  Both are very talented, Kirk is younger and cheaper. It is rare a team gets to hold onto 2 starting quality catchers for a long period of time. The backup is normally a pure defensive guy or a pure offensive guy. Trying to think of when the Jays have had 2 as good as we have right now.  It wasn't often that is for sure, as normally they were hunting hard for 1 solid guy. Ernie Whitt had Buck Martinez (all D with some power), Pat Borders rarely had a decent backup outside of Greg Myers who wasn't that good his first go-around here. Randy Knorr had hope, but never developed.  Few starters cracked 2 WAR, fewer still 3 - Kirk, Martin, Zaun, Borders, Whitt all cracked 3, Fletcher & Navarro cracked 2 (as did many of the 3's). But I think Jansen's 2.9 in 2022 was the best #2 catcher WAR in Jays history by a mile.  I'd be quite surprised if any other time had 2 with 2+ WAR (Kirk was 3.9 that year with Moreno as the #3 guy and Heineman the #4 catcher - I think that will go down as the best catching combo we've ever had in Toronto for a year - Heineman's 0.1 bWAR was better than the starting catcher in 2013 (JPA), 2001 (Fletcher), 1995 (Parrish), 1994 (Borders), 1993 (Borders), 1978 (Cerone) and equal to Whitt 1980 and he was #4!).

Hopefully a good #2 is working through the system to help Kirk out next year (I can't think of one) or the Jays sign a decent backup next winter.  There often are decent ones around who sign for very little.
Marc Hulet - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 10:51 AM EST (#442566) #
I remain convinced the front office has set up the roster to go through a rebuild given their lack of contract lengths beyond 2025/6 and their low-to-mid market actions this winter (once their chase for Ohtani failed).
uglyone - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 10:59 AM EST (#442567) #
"set up" or "forced" ?
greenfrog - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 11:08 AM EST (#442568) #
I think the front office is trying to avoid a rebuild. They will try to add to the farm system while signing free agents on short-term contracts to maintain an 80+ win team in upcoming seasons (and the revenue that having a sort-of contender will produce).
bpoz - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 11:17 AM EST (#442569) #
This is a good but mature and expensive team. Last year 4 players earning $20+million. This year just 3 with Ryu leaving. Next year could be 5 if Berrios gets paid $20mil, Vlad certainly well.

For 2026 the farm is crucial as far as success goes. OR we just patch up with 1 year contracts like KK & Turner. Springer will be on his last year so he may be more DH than on the field.
jgadfly - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 11:22 AM EST (#442570) #
JonnyG ... Thanks for your interest... Its been a slooowww off-season. I live a somewhat sedentary life, slightly pastoral if not fully bucolic, bordering on boredom, while fondly recalling that 'afternoon of hope' where I excitedly watched a tiny airplane move across a map of North America for four or five hours. I'm a sardonic semantic in constant need of spellcheck ... someone with ADHD and single digit hunt & seek typing skills; thus the run-on sentences and getting carried away... Perhaps I watch too much David Feldman... I seem to be developing a distorted sense of my own humour ... Now, what was the question?
Oh yeh (sp?) ... I always thought that the youth development teams in the U.S. were more 'Regional' in makeup, like East vs West vs Texas; not Tampa Bay vs Orlando vs Miami and I had never read anything that reported that they were previously team mates (although I did know they lived within half an hour of one another... I just didn't put 2 & 2 together)... seeing a team photograph of a young Arjun Nimmala and then realizing that there too was Landen Maroudis actually caused an utterance of "oh" (no exclamation mark required) and a slight upward tick of my right eyebrow ... then I thought "That's interesting, I should share that with the guys @batter'sbox"... I then went on to the Blue Jays home page and looked at construction photographs ... which was a heck of a lot more exciting (or less frustrating ?) than sitting through two days of Donald Trump lawyers appealing Fani Willis love life (which made me ponder what a remake of Perry Mason-Della Street would look like) ... although the FW cross was a 'beaut'... I know, "Not much of a life; but still better than the alternative" AIAS ... Whoops, time for my medication... thanks NDP for Pharmacare becuz I don't have MyLegacy's penchant $$$ for Scotch (I know it isn't passed yet) ... should I OR shouldn't I press submit ... Oh, WTH, life on the Wild Side
bpoz - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 11:37 AM EST (#442571) #
jgadfly I expect to relive the back to back WS championship years in about a decade when I am senile enough. So I have 10 years to wait for this gift. Time is meaningless.
jgadfly - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 11:50 AM EST (#442572) #
bpoz ... It's a trip ! Good Luck ! ... gees, that's succinct ...for me
Ducey - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 11:57 AM EST (#442573) #
This team was always going to constructed around Bo, Vlad and Cavan. Cavan has stalled out. Bo has likely indicated he wants to go to free agency. Vlad may have too, but in any event has been unsteady enough that he likely isn't a good candidate for a long term deal.

So, yeah, management has most likely decided there is not enough left to build around, and will give it this year and next and then likely let Bo and Vlad walk after giving them a QO.

The reality is that the Jays are not a team that can just sign any free agent they want. Many dont want to come to Toronto and its too expensive anyway.

Of course the problem is of their own making. They talked about 'waves of prospects' which would allow things continue longer. That has not materialized.
scottt - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442574) #
I think this year's contracts are a reflection of what was available.
They needed players for the outfield, third base and the DH spot.
Does Turner rather than Soler mean a rebuild?

What would have been the outlook of signing Bellinger/Chapman?
Being potentially locked with long term bad contracts on marginal players?
That's what sent Baltimore into a long rebuild.

Right now they are operating like Yankees.
I'm  not too sure what Boston in doing.

The Jays should be chasing Soto in the winter.

bpoz - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 01:11 PM EST (#442575) #
2026 rebuild or not is a very interesting exercise.

1)Gausman will be 35. If still good then that means it was a fantastic signing because we got 4 good years out of him. Keep him or trade him for prospects to help the rebuild.

2)Romano will be 33 and a FA.

3) Bo & Vlad FAs.

4) Springer will be 36. So DH and maybe some OF.

Some of what is left can be extended like Kirk. If a full rebuild is needed we can trade kirk if he is still good and also trade anyone else that is good.

If we have a team with no talent because Manoah, Tiedemann, Barriera are #4/5 or even worse and looking for work like Aaron Sanchez is. Same with Orelvis, Jimenez, Barger all being failures. We should have a low payroll and be getting high draft picks. The high draft picks probably amount to nothing because with 2 years left before 2026 we picked nothing good in the draft and also no success with the Int't signings. So total disaster but we have a very well renovated stadium. Atkins and Shapiro are probably gone as well.

I think I have covered the worst possible case especially if have a few 100 loss seasons.

Please note that I am not mocking anyone but just creating a very bad situation similar to Oakland, Detroit & LAA. If somehow we can be Cleveland with plenty of young, cheap homegrown talent then that is a start. We also sign veterans for 1 year to trade at the deadline for prospects. KC is another example of a bad team who just extended Witt Jr.

soupman - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 01:12 PM EST (#442576) #
I agree with your assessment. I am looking forward to moving on - i hope that moving on includes moving on from the front office.

I would like to add that the relative failure of the system is not a surprise to me based on what i saw from the indians (deadname). Shapiro didn't draft well in Cleveland. His success was largely on the back of being the beneficiary of the Expos fire sale in combination with applying management best practices in the weakest division which allowed them to benefit from their competitors' poor owners and poor (antiquated) management enhanced by the schedule imbalance. Good enough was often all it took to get into the playoffs, and if it weren't for Ilitch trying to buy a pennant or two, they probably would have had even more results with the strategy.

Because they always were mediocre, they rarely had high picks. They had a handful of top-10 picks, and to their credit they did hit on Lindor. Ramirez got a $50K bonus as a 17 year old. I'm not sure i'd count that as a scouting 'win' so much as the sun shining on a dog's nether parts on occasion.

i don't know if mark's dad has retired. maybe escobar is a client? client of a friend? he was handing out deals to his dad's guys when he first got here, some of these moves smell like that to me.
jgadfly - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 01:12 PM EST (#442577) #
oh-oh, Bpoz ... I just remembered ! ... it's your fault ... I was standing outside of MLG with $20 in my hand... the year was 1967 ... the question in my head "Do I spend it all on a ticket to the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Final & watch the Leafs win yet again" OR "do I walk 150 feet to the west, to the Carleton Theatre buy a ticket for $5 to see James Bond's "You Only Live Twice", spend another $3 on a big box of popcorn and a large Coke and have $12 left over to put in my pocket" ... Times have changed, but I can still remember sitting alone in the dark, mesmorized by the flashing colours, how big that screen was and how great the warm popcorn tasted followed by a gulp of cold Coke ... I don't know where the 12 bucks went but 'je n'ai regret pas"... no regrets ... docility more than senility ... "so far,so good" ... "we still have Paris" ... even if the Leafs haven't won in almost 60 years
Dr B - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#442578) #
I remain convinced the front office has set up the roster to go through a rebuild given their lack of contract lengths beyond 2025/6 and their low-to-mid market actions this winter (once their chase for Ohtani failed).

That's certainly plausible. But I also think that their offseason has been driven by the type of free agent that were available. This free-agent class was heavy on the pitching front and fairly thin on pitching. It may simply be they did not want to commit to what was available and if they wait a year there should be a better crop of hitters.
Dr B - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 01:15 PM EST (#442579) #
Or what scottt said better above.
scottt - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 07:04 PM EST (#442580) #
There are no reason to think they wouldn't be able to sign pitchers like Gausman, Bassitt and Kikuchi because they've had no problem doing that.

Romano should be the easiest guy to extend. Why would he want to play anywhere else?
I don't see an urgency in extending him.

Bo is interesting because after 25, I see him moving to second base.
He's from Florida and the two Florida teams will never pay him.
Does he go to the highest bidder or does he try to sign with a team willing to keep him at short?

This is a lot like arbitration. For Bo and Vlad to price themselves out of the Jays roster they would need to have MVP type seasons. It's a lot more likely that they are good but not elite and possibly have the type of offseason Chapman and Bellinger are having. The Jays will have QOs on them as well which will turn some teams off.

krose - Monday, February 19 2024 @ 07:10 PM EST (#442581) #
Building a 2026 roster.
Starters: Tiedemann, Manoa, Rodrigruez, Francis, Barriera
RP: Cabrera, Danner, Pearson, Pop, Zulueta
C-Kirk, 1B-Horwitz, 2B-Schneider, 3B-Nimmala, SS-Bichette, LF-Soto/Barger, CF-Varsho, RF-Martinez,Rosen

A few holes that shouldn’t be too difficult to fill. LOL. Not a chance there’s a straight line from here to there. But lots of talent.
scottt - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 06:19 AM EST (#442582) #
Nobody took a shot on Ryu, so he signed with a Korean team.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 08:25 AM EST (#442583) #
I like the 2026 roster proposed by krose. All the players suggested can prove themselves somewhat in 2024 & much more in 2025 except Barriera and Nimmala who are very young and rocketing up the minor leagues suggests Bo like results. Bo & Soto being on the team seems a longshot to me.

All these players have surpassed AA and surpassing AAA is this years goal. By the All Star break we should know who is dominating AAA and who is struggling. Using Danny Jansen as an example, his bat dominated the minors in 2017 and 2018 especially the bb/k ratio. 67 ABs in AAA for 2017 & 298 ABs in 2018 before he was promoted. So V good and too bad we don't have a C in the minors that is that good.
Glevin - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 10:35 AM EST (#442584) #
"Of course the problem is of their own making. They talked about 'waves of prospects' which would allow things continue longer. That has not materialized."

Yes and no. The system has been not as good as it should have been but biggest issue has been the players Jays were (with good reason) trying to build around, have not been cornerstone players. In 2021, Jays had 11.4 WAR from 23 YO Bichette and 22 YO Vladdy. That looked like the best young duo in baseball.
2021:11.4 WAR
2022: 7.3 WAR
2023: 4.8 WAR

I don't know what you can do about that. You can't not build around those players. Even if they were as good as they were in 2022, that's 2.5 more wins last year. The Jays did a great job building pitching and complimentary pieces but if your core pieces decline enormously in their mid-20's, you are going to be screwed. Like, if Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson turn into mediocre players, The Orioles will have a hard time winning.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 11:29 AM EST (#442585) #
I argue this FO could have seen some red flags from 2021 then 2022 and then 2023. They could have tried to turn Vlad into an asset again. Trading him was one idea.

It's clear to me they moved him off 3B way too soon because now he's at risk of being just a good player, not somebody to build around.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442586) #
It's odd to include Bichette in that post, he's been exactly as advertised. WAR is being used way too granularly if Bo is in the discussion.

It's Springer who was the problem last year, he was terrible for what they are paying him. Hopefully he has a bounce back season or two in him.
Glevin - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 12:40 PM EST (#442587) #
"I argue this FO could have seen some red flags from 2021 then 2022 and then 2023. They could have tried to turn Vlad into an asset again. Trading him was one idea."

You have a 22 YO who is the best hitter in baseball and you think "Well, let's trade him in case he implodes"? That's just not realistic.

"It's odd to include Bichette in that post, he's been exactly as advertised. WAR is being used way too granularly if Bo is in the discussion."

Agree that Vlad is a much bigger issue. Bo is in the same range of player as he was, just was hurt last year. Don't agree with Springer being a huge issue though not because he didn't decline but because decline at age 33 is pretty expected and has to be factored into plans. Declining at 22 isn't.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 01:28 PM EST (#442588) #
You're focusing on one part of a sentence, ignoring the rest of the sentence and then reacting to the few words of your determined focus. Never did anyone say a 22 year old who is the best hitter in baseball might implode and should be traded.

What the sentence I wrote actually said was that there were flags over a 3 year span showing Vlad may not be the asset they thought he was, namely a "best hitter" type under 25. It's completely realistic for an analytics driven front office to see these things. It's the reason why many teams right now won't sign Bellinger...because there are red flags underneath his great 2023 numbers. Vlad was barely worth more than Danny Jansen in 2022. That's a major drop off of production and after 2023 2021 starts to look like the outlier. They've now has two off seasons to move off of Vlad and try to augment Bo and the rest of the core another way.

Some of the issues I did not mention but can specify in this follow up post:

* Inability for Vlad to stick at 3B, conditioning and base running issues.

* 2021 hitting out of a minor league park for half a year

* Chase rates going up

Sometimes I feel like people treat Vlad like a 2021 all world Messiah who has somehow had a tough go and will soon return to being an Acuna-esque type player in terms of value to a team. Reminds me of those few months when Josh Phelps was the next big thing.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 01:34 PM EST (#442589) #
I predict Vlad this season will end up somewhere between his 2021 and 2023 versions. Probably around 2-4 WAR.
mathesond - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 01:41 PM EST (#442590) #
Well, if we're doing WAR predictions, put me down for 6.5 for Vlad.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 01:41 PM EST (#442591) #
greenfrog that's a big swing. I see him having a solid season close to 3 WAR. His inability to play anywhere other than 1B limits his potential to go higher. So does his tendency the last 2 years to chase.

Daulton Varsho to me has a floor of 2 WAR and I expect him to be between 4 and 5 WAR this season.
krose - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 01:52 PM EST (#442592) #
Vlad will likely have a huge impact on the team in 2024. If his WAR is 3+, it will be positive. If less than 2, then Vlad should not be regarded as a mainstay going forward. Horwitz can manage 2 WAR for less cash. Horwitz also balances the lineup. Looking forward to the first half of the season to see the strengths and weaknesses of this squad.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 03:12 PM EST (#442593) #
With Vlad it is really a lot of 'Monday morning quarterbacking' here. His move to 1B was always seen as inevitable as his defense at 3B was HORRID. By all measures and how everyone saw it at the time, his OAA (Outs Above Average) in just 96 games in 2019 was -20, easily the worst performance by a Blue Jay at any position since OAA was recorded in 2016, in fact only 2 players in MLB since then have done worse - Nick Castellanos in RF for Detroit in 2018 (-23) and Jorge Polanco in 2019 for Minnesota at SS (-21).  By their overall Defensive score he was -15.0, the 7th worst by a Jay since 2002 when that measurement started.  The others were... Carlos Delgado (1B-2003), J.P. Arencibia (C-2011), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B-2023), Vernon Wells (CF 2003), Lyle Overbay (1B 2006), Dioner Navarro (C-2014).  Yes, Vlad was the 3rd worst by that measure last year in over 20 years of Blue Jays baseball.  So the idea of him still being acceptable at 3B is beyond belief, might as ask Kirk to play there (he has the arm & reaction time but little else).

As to his bat, 2021 wasn't that long ago. 2022 he slowed a bit, but was still very productive.  2023 was a collapse.  Can he be 2021 again?  Maybe, but 2022 for certain and a 133 OPS+ hitter is very useful.  A bit of work on launch angle and not letting himself get into a 'must carry the team' mode should help too.  IMO that is where an Ohtani or Soto would've really helped - no one currently on the team (Bo, Vlad) would've felt that pressure to carry it all.  That pressure has and will continue to mess up hitters.  You can't hit a home run every PA and trying to do so will result in a lot of bad results.
christaylor - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 04:01 PM EST (#442594) #
This thread could look silly or prophetic by October. I'm hoping for silly, but I'll settle for feeling less frustration day in and day out when watching the team. If they merely stomp the Red Sox when here (like in 2022), I'll take it.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 04:24 PM EST (#442595) #

How did Vlad at 3B compare to Devers at 3B? The latter was given the opportunity to improve and learn the position better at the major league level.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 04:25 PM EST (#442596) #
Agreed with Glevin about the core players (collectively) not living up to expectations being a far bigger issue than anything else during this run. Bichette has held up his end for the most part (2023 aside) but is closer to "very good" than "elite". Vlad was supposed to be the generational hitting talent that should have carried this roster for 6-7 years but other than 2021 when he played most of his home games in minor league parks, that hasn't come close to materializing. The fact that the Jays have averaged 90 wins over the past 3 seasons despite that is indicative to how good Atkins has been with free agency and MLB trades since 2020.

As far as the team preparing for a rebuild after 2025, I don't think that's true. They might have to do it depending on how 2024-25 shake out, but I don't think that's their intention. This free agent market was very bad, and there is such a large discrepancy in perceived value between teams and players that the best non-Ohtani/Yamamoto FA's on the market this season still haven't signed. There was no sensible FA signing this off-season that would have been worth hurting flexibility down the road other than Ohtani.

I think the Jays try to field the best teams they can in 2024-25 and retool from there while still trying to field competitive teams. Maybe that means sitting out free agency this season and then throwing a big offer at Bregman next winter. Or maybe it means they plan to give their AAA prospects a real shot to win spots either out of ST or during the season in 2024 and felt that was a more logical way to go (it probably is).
Paul D - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 04:42 PM EST (#442597) #
Devers OAA:

2017: -9
2018: -4
2019: 17
2020: -4
2021: -13
2022: -2
2023: -9
John Northey - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 05:12 PM EST (#442598) #
Good question dalimon5 - Vlad had a few years in the minors with it but clearly wasn't able to learn it.  Devers OAA has been from -2 to -13 outside of a freaky 2019 when he was +17 (!!!).  His Defense score was negative (-2.3 to -7.0) in all but 2 years, 2022 0.2 and 2019 +12.0.  By DRS Devers is negative every year, from -4 to -13 (Vlad was -3 in 2019 at 3B).

Neither is very good at 3B, but Devers has that one 'wow' year where everything went right (or maybe having Vlad at 3B that year lowered the standards enough to make him look good - only half joking).  Plus Boston has enough confidence in him to play him at 2B and SS sometimes (6 innings total all-time).  Vlad might have become better given time at 3B but I think it was smart to just say 'screw it' and move him where he could help the most.  The Gold Glove in 2022 helped make it look very smart, but last year he just did nothing right on defense or offense it seems.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 05:16 PM EST (#442599) #
I suspect the Jays primary focus is 2024/25, then to try to do a retool fast.  Mixing Schneider in last year, hopefully one of the kids grabs 3B this year, then Roden in the OF next ideally.  Get pitchers coming up to fill in holes there ala Tiedemann too.  Will it work?  We'll see.  If those kids can do the job the Jays could be in good shape.  Especially if Arjun Nimmala can climb quickly and by some miracle be ready for 2026 (get to A+ this year, climb through AA in 2025, wow everyone in spring 2026 and grab the job after Bo leaves).
Katie - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 05:41 PM EST (#442600) #
Amed Rosario signed for $1.5 million over 1 year with Tampa. I know he's a (poor defensive) shortstop and hasn't played third in the majors, but this makes the length/dollar amount of the IKF signing look even stranger.

Rosario put up the same Fangraphs WAR as IKF last year and had approximately one more WAR than him in each of 2021 and 2022. They had the same BR WAR over 2021-2023.
Ducey - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 06:10 PM EST (#442601) #

Not sure I can agree. Rosario is a lousy SS, and can't play third. He was decent a 2B last year, but with no bat, thats not worth much.

IKF has excelled at 3B and can play an ok SS, and CF. That has more value.

On Vlad playing 3B, he has the arm, but not the accuracy or agility for the position. That became pretty clear in a hurry.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 06:53 PM EST (#442602) #
It will be interesting to see what magic TB can work with Rosario, as they have done with so many other players.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 07:07 PM EST (#442603) #
Day 1 of camp.  Toronto has a good ballclub.  The team should be a contender to make the playoffs.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 07:32 PM EST (#442604) #
Vladdy says he was playing in "head-to-toe pain" last year, including wrist and knee issues, per Sportsnet.

That doesn't seem very bright on the part of Blue Jays management.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 07:57 PM EST (#442605) #
"He’s battled wrist and knee injuries in recent years. Nothing debilitating, but these things add up. It’s not just baseball, it’s life on the road, the travel, the time changes, the late hours. How these players feel in September is a different life entirely than early February. Guerrero has acknowledged now that he didn’t prepare himself well enough for 2023 and felt that discomfort “from head to toe,” but it feels different now."

Quote from Keegan Matheson for context.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 09:00 PM EST (#442606) #
It's comforting to see how many Jays players are in the best shape of their lives. ;-)
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 09:49 PM EST (#442607) #
I have long felt that the season is too long (especially when you add in spring training and the postseason). It’s basically a war of attrition. Players like Vladdy and Bo shouldn’t be trying to play 162 games a year. Teams should be resting and mixing-and-matching their players more, especially artificial turf teams like Toronto. Tampa seems to do this well.
soupman - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 10:53 PM EST (#442608) #
I haven’t heard from the Hives in a while but this Vlad wrist injury news makes me Hate to Say I Told You So.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, February 20 2024 @ 11:12 PM EST (#442609) #
That comment about resting Vlad and Bo is an original take nobody has said before. It actually makes a lot of sense. Does anyone think they could be more productive by playing something around 150 games a year?
Katie - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 01:35 AM EST (#442610) #
Ducey, to be clear, I completely agree IKF is a better fit for the Jays roster and holds his value better if he has offensive troubles, notwithstanding the fact IKF has only once had an OPS over 85 and Amed Rosario has been at 100 or higher three of his past five seasons.

What that signing makes me wonder is whether IKF was really worth an extra guaranteed year and five times the annual salary.

Arguably, you could say yes if the Jays decided a reunion with Chapman wasn't possible and IKF was preferrable to trying Rosario at 3B, having a Biggio/Schneider/Espinal/Clement combination of some sort at 3B (all of which is reasonable, particularly given how Biggio looked at 3B before) and what other alternatives remained.

However, it's a far cry from the beginning of the offseason where Fangraphs and MLB Trade Rumours both predicted $18 million over 2 years for Rosario, and IKF didn't make either site's list of Top 50 FA.

If nothing else, it shows the Rays finding potential value in free agency.
85bluejay - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 07:19 AM EST (#442611) #
I've always been a proponent of resting players adequately which is why I prefer to keep the DH spot open as a revolving door, having said that, Freeman (161),Acuna (159),Betts (152) all had great seasons - what I'm hearing from the Vladdy spin is a lot of excuses which I could understand from a rookie but not from a player with 4+ years of experience.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 07:40 AM EST (#442612) #
Steamer projects Rosario to have a 2.2 WAR season this year. That is good value on a one-year contract for $1.5m (up to $2m if incentives are met).

Steamer projects IKF to post 1.1 WAR this season.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 08:09 AM EST (#442613) #
Rosario is excellent platoon option. He hits LHP hard and can evidently play second base well enough at this stage, but his bat against LHP would also play in a corner OF role. I doubt that he will play enough to be a 2 WAR player, but the 300 PA and 1.4 WAR that ZiPS projects for him is about right.

The Rays know what they are doing, but that's been true for almost 17 years now.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 09:53 AM EST (#442614) #
IKF’s best defensive position is 3B, which is an organizational weakness. I don’t like the contract or years they gave him, but he made more sense for the current roster than Rosario would have. Unfortunately, 3B is not an easy position to fill, both in free agency or trade. They really need an internal option to present itself, whether it’s IKF himself improving offensively or a prospect taking over.
scottt - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 09:58 AM EST (#442615) #
Bichette has always wanted to be an everyday player, ever more so after playing one with Semien.

Guerrero gets his rest while DHing. That should be more than enough for him.
He doesn't play CF on turf.

Rosario should be great as the light side of a 2B platoon.
He probably doesn't see that many ABs in that role though.

IKF is a good defender and baserunner which is a different type of platoon.

92-93 - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 10:03 AM EST (#442616) #
Just bring back Chapman on a pillow contract and the problem is solved. He would really complete the roster.
smyttysmullet94 - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 10:04 AM EST (#442617) #
Interesting article in the Athletic today. Although rightly focused on the penny-pinching ownership, there's quite a lot of chatter about Cherington's failings from a player development perspective.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 10:14 AM EST (#442618) #
The Rays are quite amazing - their first stage they sucked hard, dead last every year except 1 (when the Jays royally sucked in 2004) from inception 1998 to 2008. Then they changed their name from Devil Rays to Rays, Joe Maddon took over managing in 2006, right after Andrew Friedman took over the GM role. After 2 years of work they righted the ship to put it mildly as they went from dead last to the World Series. They had a rough 4 year patch from 2014-2017 (note how the Jays made the playoffs 2 of those 4 years), Maddon & Friedman both left too. But their replacements were Cash & Silverman who did just fine ever since making the playoffs the last 5 years in a row. The big thing they are missing is a business manager who can figure out how to draw more than flies to their games. They last had 1.5 million in attendance in 2013, and only cracked 2 million in 1998 (their first year). It is quite pathetic.

FYI: the idea a new park will change anything attendance wise is foolish. Yeah, it'll help for 1 or 2 years but that's it. Miami had a big jump to over 2 million the year they opened their new park but were sub 900k the 2 years pre-pandemic, and sub 1 million 2 of the last 3 years, climbing to 1.1 million last year. The Jays, for comparison, cracked 3 million last year despite the most boring team possible and from 2005-now have been sub 2 million only 4 times in full at home seasons (2020 and 2021 don't count). Heck, the Expos never dropped below 749k and were over 1 million from 1977-1997 in all but 1 year (a year they came in dead last after dumping Tim Raines the winter before that season, little did fans know they lost a HOF LF but a young RF was a future HOFer).

Hmm... the Expos are kinda fun with HOF'ers - Gary Carter in 1975-1984 & 1992, Andre Dawson 1976-1986, Tim Raines 1979-1990 & 2001, Larry Walker 1989-1994, Pedro Martínez 1994-1997, Vladimir Guerrero 1996-2003. Basically a home grown (or nearly in Pedro) HOF'er from 1975-2003. Team folded after 2004 (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) after the league pretty much forced them to clear house. The only HOF'er on that 2004 team was their manager Frank Robinson.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 10:46 AM EST (#442619) #
In 1996, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. had absolutely destroyed Double A at age 21, and had defensive skills and speed his son could only dream of. He was one of those very few players who you thought "he's going to be very good and there's a decent chance he is a Hall of Famer" before he played a major league game.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 11:48 AM EST (#442620) #
Vlad Guerrero Sr. was famous for swinging and connecting with pitches at any height, even ankle level. I remember reading that as a kid, he and other children in the Dominican played a form of baseball where you swung at everything and I think that's where his ability to hit pitches hard that were out of the strike zone came from.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 12:34 PM EST (#442621) #
Island Boy - boy does that bring back memories of the 80's Jays with Alfredo Griffin, Damaso Garcia, and George Bell - all 3 could make contact with a ball no matter where it was thrown, all 3 rarely walked. Bell had the power, Garcia the speed, Griffin the charisma. Fans loved Alfredo despite the fact he really wasn't that good - ROY then ... well ... his best OPS+ was a 94, then an 89 in his ROY season, the rest were sub 80. He made an all-star team thanks to just being there (had a 48 OPS+ that year) when another guy got hurt, won a gold glove while making 30 errors, a 386 OPS in the playoffs but has 3 WS rings from making the playoffs 3 times.
Hodgie - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 02:54 PM EST (#442622) #
Of all the Vlad Sr. memories I witnessed over the years, his first career MLB homerun is still my favourite. Make sure you have the volume on.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 03:15 PM EST (#442623) #
Great one Hodgie. Love the announcers.  Little did they know, nowadays they'd know the kid had crazy power and not be surprised the manager is giving him a pressure chance.  Sep 21 1996. Next guy K'ed, then 2 singles before a final K to end the game.
mathesond - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 03:28 PM EST (#442624) #
Ha, the announcers seem so unimpressed.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 21 2024 @ 07:40 PM EST (#442625) #
MLBTR: "Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that Rosario will likely see time at both middle infield spots and in the outfield corners. Trade acquisition Jose Caballero, meanwhile, is still viewed as the starter at shortstop due to his superior glovework."
Gerry - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 01:24 PM EST (#442626) #
Ricky Tiedemann will start the first spring training game on Saturday and the game is on TV.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 02:56 PM EST (#442627) #
Sportsnet TV will broadcast 26 of 32 Grapefruit League games, including 15 home games in Dunedin.
Ducey - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 03:23 PM EST (#442628) #
Cue the Urshela v IKF comparisons.

It is curious that Urshela had to wait so long and take $1.5 M plus a plate appearance bonuse.

On the face of it he is a better choice than the Rosario fella the Rays just signed for basically the same price. And apparently they are not dumb.

Urshela had a bad year and then broke his pelvis in June. Perhaps there is concern that he may not be back to normal.
greenfrog - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 04:18 PM EST (#442629) #
For me the better comp is Rosario versus Espinal. I would rather have Rosario and he signed for about half of what Espinal received from the Jays.
John Northey - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 04:40 PM EST (#442630) #
I agree Ducey - one wonders if there is more to it than we know. Urshela looked like a good fit at 3B here, mixed/matched with others like IKF will be but more offense less defense. For him to get a double minimum wage deal from Detroit is surprising as I figured he'd fit in nicely with many contenders as a backup IF/OF with offensive potential up to 130's (reached in 2019/2020) but most likely in the 90's OPS+ range.

Maybe he only wanted a full-time job, maybe he only wanted to go to certain places. Maybe his injuries last year were worse than advertised. Maybe he isn't a great teammate (never read anything like that, but who knows?). Impossible to say, but in a few months we'll see if the Tigers got lucky or if the other 29 teams were dumb. MLBTR predicted 2 years $20 mil from the Jays or Tigers. Boy were they off.

As to Espinal - he was in arbitration and his sub $3 mil salary is less than 2% of the Jays payroll, heck it is barely over 1%.
Nigel - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 04:43 PM EST (#442631) #
Rosario, Urshela and IKF all offer different things so they fit differently into lineups but there's a pretty good chance that they all offer about the same value. You can't really justify what the Jays paid IKF - not that I think many people were trying to on the day of the announcement of IDF's deal.
85bluejay - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 05:01 PM EST (#442632) #
Listened to a segment of foul territory featuring the always interesting David Samson (former Marlins President) and he mentioned that the commissioner of baseball was so concerned about the famous 2012 Reyes/Buehrle deal from the Jays perspective that the commissioner actually called and spoke to jays ownership about the merits of the deal - also that pitcher Josh Johnson failed his physical but the Jays were so gung-ho for the deal having already leaked it to the media that the Jays still went ahead
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 05:08 PM EST (#442633) #
The Dodgers lead 12 - 1 over San Diego in the 6th inning of Cactus League action.
Ducey - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 06:05 PM EST (#442634) #
Espinal also has 2 options left, Rosario has none. That has value for a backup type player.
John Northey - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 08:21 PM EST (#442635) #
Ugh, if true that is a black spot on AA's record - if he knew Johnson was hurt before closing the deal. 

In the end the deal wasn't a disaster, even if it felt that way at times.  

Jays got cash plus Emilio Bonifácio (-0.6 bWAR then dumped for cash), John Buck (used as part of the R.A. Dickey deal), Mark Buehrle (3 years, 6.9 bWAR), Josh Johnson (1 year, -1.5 bWAR), José Reyes (3 years, 6.5 bWAR, key part of Tulo deal).
Gave up Henderson Alvarez III (3 years 5.9 bWAR), Anthony DeSclafani (-0.4, then part of a trade for Mat Latos who gave Miami 0.1), Yunel Escobar (flipped for Derek Dietrich 4.2 bWAR over 6 years), Adeiny Hechavarría (3.6 bWAR over 5 years then traded for 2 guys who produced 0.0 bWAR), Jake Marisnick (0 WAR for Miami, traded for multiple guys who did nothing much), Jeff Mathis (4 years -0.4 WAR) and Justin Nicolino (-0.7 bWAR).  

Net of 11.3 bWAR for the Jays (and 2 playoff appearances thanks in big part to Buehrle and Reyes being traded), 12.3 for Miami.  So by bWAR pretty even, but Miami didn't crack 500 from 2013-2019 before sneaking into the playoffs in 2020 (31-29 record) and it doesn't appear any of these guys were still there or the guys they were traded for.  Doesn't stop me from wishing AA had insisted on holding onto Alvarez or DeSclafani with Johnson being hurt.
85bluejay - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 09:09 PM EST (#442636) #
I would think the Jays could have more smartly spent that money over the next 2 seasons and used the prospect capital more wisely, so I think it was a disaster for the Jays.
scottt - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 09:36 PM EST (#442637) #
Rosario isn't a backup. He's the weak side of a 2B/corner outfield platoon.
The Rays love to platoon guys with deep split numbers.
He's a fast runner, so they can also use him to pinch run.

John Northey - Thursday, February 22 2024 @ 11:10 PM EST (#442638) #
The $15 mil on IKF is annoying but minor vs other issues ($20 mil on Ryu for less than half a season last year for example) or compared to real nightmares (Washington paying $32.5 mil for each of the next 3 seasons to a guy who is not going to play in Strasburgh, $35 mil this year to Patrick Corbin who has led the NL in losses 3 years running now with ERA+'s of 70-62-83, but hey, he takes the mound 31+ times a year at least).

But yeah, IKF made no real sense to me as he is a pure defense guy which can be useful but that should cost $5 mil max per year.  So the Jays are wasting $5-10 mil total over 2 years on a payroll that will be close to $500 mil over those 2 years, or 1-2% of the budget wasted.  That is far from the Jays biggest worry, but it was a self inflicted issue.  I'm hoping a kid (Orelvis Martinez specifically) can take it over instead and make IKF a very expensive backup.
bpoz - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 08:23 AM EST (#442639) #
I think each team has to really know "who" they are. LAD ownership & fans will never tolerate not making the playoffs or being out of contention with 2 weeks to 1 month before the end of the season. So they spend. NYY are similar but a bit less than LAD IMO. So the 2 most desperate teams. I don't know what Boston is doing but they should also qualify for desperate to win.

The Jays, Philly and others are less desperate but will give contracts like IKF's and also limit the number of Ryu, Gausman type contracts. Being in contention until the end of the season will provide high revenues for Toronto and Philadelphia.

TB & Cleveland have different revenue/expense models. TB winning 95 or 100 games somehow does not payoff in high revenues. Did the 92 win season for Cleveland in 2022 increase revenue? It probably did but by how much? The J Ram extension did happen but will Bieber also get get an extension? We will find out.
scottt - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 08:51 AM EST (#442640) #
MLB's vision is that every fan has "some hope" for his team on opening day.
Small markets have a definite advantage in draft picks, QO penalties, etc.

The system mostly work because players are usually better during their initial window of team control (around 7 years).

Boston fans aren't very happy right now.
They scapegoated the GM be he only did was he was asked to do.

NYY have a GM who has a strong relationship with ownership. 26 years and counting.
Revenues isn't really a problem.
They haven't won since 2009.

The Dodgers were owned by the O'Malley family who sold it to Rupert Mudoch's Fox Entertainement in the late 90s. Fox sold the team to Frank McCourt whom Bud Selig accused of putting the team in debts to pay for personal expenses. They were put into oversight in 2011, but it certainly wasn't anything like the Expos. So then the Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 and the team went for sale. The winner was a Chicago-based investment group which includes Magic Johnson and other investors.
I would think an investment group would be more concerned about year to year operation than a single owner--like say, Arte Moreno--who can change the budget to fit his whims.

Marc Hulet - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 11:44 AM EST (#442641) #
At the start of the off-season, I had Urshela and Brian Anderson flagged as realistic 3B stopgaps... and zero interest in IKF. They've now signed for $1.5M and a MiLB deal compared to IKF's 2 yr/$7.5 per... I will be very interested to view these three players' seasons in October.

I agree in a vacuum that IKF's contract is not the worst bad contract but if the money could have been spent on an actual need instead, such as an outfielder, then it was a poor decision... even someone like an Adam Duvall.
Katie - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 11:54 AM EST (#442642) #
To my mind, the difference between IKF and Ryu's wasted money is that Ryu's lack of contribution was not directly forseeable (in the sense that the Jays didn't know he'd get hurt; not in the sense that any pitcher is an injury risk).

While Ryu's money was wasted, if he'd been healthy, it might be reasonable to think he put up 25 starts at 4.50 ERA, which certainly isn't the worst use of that money and might end up as a 2 WAR player.

If IKF puts up a 75+ OPS and nets out to even a 0 WAR player due to plus defence, would any one be surprised? That seems entirely forseeable. And was that a good use of $7.5 million?
Gerry - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 12:15 PM EST (#442643) #
Ricky Tiedemann has a sore hamstring and will no longer start tomorrows game. Chad Dallas gets the start in his place.
soupman - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 02:06 PM EST (#442644) #
so many fans have pointed out how confusing the IKF signing is. who are the agents at ALIGND? might be a crony hire. i only suggest this because they (Shapiro/Atkins) have done that before - Gavin Floyd, for example, was a client of Mark's dad that got a big league deal and ended up retiring after half a season of low leverage appearances.
Katie - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 03:31 PM EST (#442645) #
Ben Wagner has joined the Orioles broadcast team.

I'm happy he landed another major league job.
scottt - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 06:03 PM EST (#442646) #
I guess he avoided talking about the Maryland flag patches on the O's uniforms.
scottt - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 06:11 PM EST (#442647) #
Gavin Floyd was signed for 1M in 2016.
He had an ERA of 2.70 with Cleveland in 2015, but was mostly injured.
He pitched in 28 games for the Jays going 2-4.

soupman - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 06:55 PM EST (#442648) #
Not bad considering he’d appeared in 21 games in the previous 3 years! Combined. Hey, I’ll take a million bucks to go pitch in no leverage innings (he had 10gf in those appearances for a reigning division winner). Oh and where did you say he signed the previous year? Who was the president and who was the agent? He wasn’t getting a major league deal anywhere else let alone 5mil to be the 8th man out of the pen.

scottt - Friday, February 23 2024 @ 10:00 PM EST (#442649) #
The bullpen was a weakness in 2016.
Taking a flier for 1M on a guy with some upside was not a problem at all.

Heck, Osuna was the closer, but behind him, Rule 5 mystery man Biagini was second in inning pitched by a huge margin. Third was Jason Grilli who was running on fumes. Then Jesse Chavez. Lefty Brett Cecil, Liriano, Drew Storen whom they got for Ben Revere could never get it going and was traded for Joaquin Benoit who was amazing but got injured in a bench clearing brawl, then Ryan Tepera, Bo Schultz, Scott Feldman, Aaron Loup, Danny Barnes, Chad Girodo, Pat Venditte, Franklin Morales, Matt Dermody.

8th out of 21 isn't too bad.

lexomatic - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 12:07 PM EST (#442687) #
<br>Anderson could have been used as platoon LF of a lod took over 3b too.
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