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As we head towards a new season I thought it would be fun to see how good/bad it can get at each position and when we had that.

Minimum is 81 games at a position (1/2 of a season).  I figured that is a safe measure to use to avoid weird results while still getting 40 or so per position.  Stats are via FanGraphs which I downloaded all the data from so WAR is FanGraphs version.  This gives us 173 player seasons to look at (limited to one position 120 games).  Just 9 times did a guy play 120+ games with under 1000 defensive innings, the lowest being Santiago Espinal in 2022 at 2B (945 innings).  1443 is the most defensive innings by Tony Fernandez in 1986 (163 games, only missed 33 innings on defense).

A few interesting stats on defense first (as we know the least about defense offhand)...
  • For OAA (Outs Above Average - 2016 and up) the Jays record is 13 by Kevin Kiermaier last year, also over 10 are Kevin Pillar 2016, Daulton Varsho last year (in just 64 games in CF) and 2022 Santiago Espinal at 2B.  The worst was Vlad in 2019 at 3B -20, others at -10 or worse were Vlad 2023 at 1B and Devon Travis at 2B in 2018
  • For DRS (Defensive Runs Saved - 2002 and up) the Jays record is 26 by Aaron Hill in 2006 at 2B (I think we've forgotten how good he was). Others over 20 are Orlando Hudson (2B 2004), John McDonald (SS 2007), Aaron Hill again (2B 2007), Kevin Pillar (CF 2016), and Brett Lawrie (3B 2012).  Worst is John Buck -19 as a C in 2010, others -10 and worse were (a long list) - David Eckstein (SS 2008), Vernon Wells (CF 2009), Adam Lind (LF 2009), Russ Adams (SS 2005), Aaron Hill (SS 2006), Vernon Wells (CF 2008), Vernon Wells (CF 2003), José Reyes (SS 2014), Eric Hinske (3B 2004), J.P. Arencibia (C 2011), Dioner Navarro (C 2014), and Bo Bichette (SS 2022).  Note: the overall record for the Jays is 29 by Varsho last year but it was split between CF (18) and LF (11).
  • Just 2 Jays are over 20 for Defense overall at FG (2002 and up), both catchers - José Molina 2010 (26), and Russell Martin 2015 (21.7).  Just 7 other seasons crack 15 with 5 of those being catchers (Kirk & Jansen both make that list in 2023 and 2019 respectively), the other 2 at 2B (Orlando Hudson 2004, Aaron Hill 2006).  Best SS John McDonald 2007.  Best OF Alex Rios (RF 2004), Vernon Wells (CF 2004), Reed Johnson (LF 2006) - also the only OF to crack 10 on this scale.  Worst season for the OF, strangely enough, is Vernon Wells 2003 in CF at -16.8.  The other 2 worse than -10 are Wells 2009 in CF and Jose Bautista 2011 in RF.  Gotta say this makes me question the overall defensive scores from FG.  Overall the worst Jay is Carlos Delgado at 1B in 2003 (no shock) at -18.2, 2nd is J.P. Arencibia at C in 2011 (no shocker) at -17.9, then Vlad in 2023 at 1B -17.2.
  • Total Zone covers 1977-2002.  Leaders are Devon White (CF 1992 33), Jesse Barfield (RF 1987 23), and Lloyd Moseby (CF 1984 20).  The bottom was José Cruz Jr. CF 2001 -23, the only -20 on the list. 9 others were -10 to -15: John Mayberry 1B 1978, George Bell LF 1988, Joe Carter RF 1994, Shawn Green RF 1995, Joe Carter LF 1996, Otis Nixon CF 1996, Tony Fernandez 3B 1999, Alex Gonzalez SS 2000, Carlos Delgado 1B 2001 which kind of helps explain the ugly play we old folks recall from the 90's.
Those defensive stats show how much variability there is in judging defense still. Vernon Wells having the best and worst scores ever for Jay in the OF in 2004 and 2003 respectively is nuts. No way he shifted that much in a single season, from worst ever here to best ever in one off-season.  That's like Kirby Puckett on offense - went from 0 HR in 1984 to 31 in 1986 playing full time both years (never bought that he did that without PEDs, especially if you look at him both years).  Other shifts one can understand.  Tony Fernandez when young was a wizard at SS, but old version was ugly at 3B (but nearly hit 400 that year - was over last on June 28th, peaked on June 21st at 414/491/573 then hit just 244/368/329 the rest of the way).

Now, on to the overall numbers by position including offense so we get fWAR leaders/losers at each position.  I bolded the 'best of the best' and 'worst of the worst' for ease in quickly seeing just how good/bad things can get. Stats are for the full season, not just time at the one position.

PositionPlayers WhoYearWARWhoYearWARWhoYearOPSWhoYearOPSWhoYearwRC+WhoYearwRC+
C 48 Russell Martin 2015 4.5 J.P. Arencibia 2011 -1.1 Greg Myers 2003 .876 Ken Huckaby 2002 .577 Greg Myers 2003 127.2 Ken Huckaby 2002 46.8
1B 42 John Olerud 1993 8.1 Justin Smoak 2016 -0.4 Carlos Delgado 2000 1.134 Doug Ault 1977 .692 John Olerud 1993 179.3 Doug Ault 1977 83.0
2B 35 Marcus Semien 2021 6.3 Carlos Garcia 1997 -2.2 Roberto Alomar 1993 .900 Garth Iorg 1987 .546 Roberto Alomar 1993 142.3 Carlos Garcia 1997 42.4
3B 44 Josh Donaldson 2015 8.7 Garth Iorg 1984 -1.2 Josh Donaldson 2016 .953 Garth Iorg 1984 .548 Josh Donaldson 2016 156.6 Garth Iorg 1984 44.9
SS 37 Bo Bichette 2021 5.1 Alfredo Griffin 1984 -1.9 Bo Bichette 2021 .828 Alfredo Griffin 1981 .531 Bo Bichette 2022 129.7 Alfredo Griffin 1981 43.6
LF 35 George Bell 1987 5.3 Joe Carter 1996 -0.6 George Bell 1987 .957 Dave Collins 1983 .671 George Bell 1987 143.4 Rajai Davis 2012 83.5
CF 40 Lloyd Moseby 1984 6.9 Vernon Wells 2009 -0.1 Vernon Wells 2003 .909 Rick Bosetti 1978 .645 Lloyd Moseby 1983 135.3 Rick Bosetti 1979 69.3
RF 41 José Bautista 2011 8.1 Bob Bailor 1979 -1.3 José Bautista 2011 1.056 Bob Bailor 1979 .585 José Bautista 2011 180.5 Bob Bailor 1979 56.8
DH 25 Paul Molitor 1993 4.8 Adam Lind 2010 -0.6 Edwin Encarnación 2012 .941 Rance Mulliniks 1991 .697 Edwin Encarnación '12&'15 150.2 Rico Carty 1979 88.0

Best Other
C Russell Martin 2015 23 Darrin Fletcher 2000 .320 Greg Myers 2003 .374 Darrin Fletcher 2000 .514 Ernie Whitt 1989 5
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 2021 48 John Olerud 1993 .363 John Olerud 1993 .473 Carlos Delgado 2000 .664 Willie Upshaw 1986 23
2B Marcus Semien 2021 45 Roberto Alomar 1993 .326 Roberto Alomar 1993 .408 Marcus Semien 2021 .538 Roberto Alomar 1993 55
3B Tony Batista 2000 41 Tony Fernandez 1999 .328 Tony Fernandez 1999 .427 Josh Donaldson 2015 .568 Kelly Gruber 1988 23
SS Bo Bichette 2021 29 Tony Fernandez 1987 .322 Tony Fernandez 1987 .379 Bo Bichette 2021 .484 Tony Fernandez 1987 32
LF George Bell 1987 47 Shannon Stewart 2000 .319 Reed Johnson 2006 .390 George Bell 1987 .605 Dave Collins 1984 60
CF José Cruz Jr. 2001 34 Vernon Wells 2003 .317 Otis Nixon 1996 .377 Vernon Wells 2003 .550 Otis Nixon 1996 54
RF José Bautista 2010 54 Shawn Green 1999 .309 José Bautista 2011 .447 José Bautista 2010 .617 Shawn Green 1998 35
DH Edwin Encarnación 2016 42 Paul Molitor 1994 .341 Paul Molitor 1994 .341 Adam Lind 2009 .562 Paul Molitor 1993 22

Worst Other
C 3 players
0 J.P. Arencibia 2013 .194 J.P. Arencibia 2013 .227 Alan Ashby 1977 .280 25 players
1B John Olerud 1995 8 Justin Smoak 2019 .208 Adam Lind 2011 .295 Willie Upshaw 1986 .368 13 players
2B 3 players
2 Aaron Hill 2010 .205 Carlos Garcia 1997 .253 Garth Iorg 1987 .284 Danny Ainge 1979 1
3B Garth Iorg '82&'84 1 Yangervis Solarte 2018 .226 Garth Iorg 1984 .244 Garth Iorg 1984 .304 8 players
SS 3 players
0 Alfredo Griffin 1981 .209 Alfredo Griffin 1981 .243 Luis Gomez 1978 .254 2 players
LF Dave Collins 1983 1 Daulton Varsho 2023 .220 Daulton Varsho 2023 .285 Dave Collins 1983 .328 2 players
CF Otis Nixon 1996 1 Lloyd Moseby 1989 .221 Randal Grichuk 2021 .281 Otis Nixon 1996 .327 2 players
RF 3 players
1 José Bautista 2017 .203 Randal Grichuk 2019 .280 Bob Bailor 1979 .287 2 players
DH Rance Mulliniks 1991 2 Adam Lind 2010 .237 Adam Lind 2010 .287 Rance Mulliniks 1991 .333 10 players

Note: Players who played on a different team as well as the Jays didn't count as the system merged them into one row which messed this stuff up a bit.  The only one I can think of it affected was CF worst - Bradley Zimmer in 100 games (104 PA) 'hit' 101/200/213 for a horrid 23 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR but he did hit 2 home runs, more than Otis Nixon 1996, and stole 3 bases (more than the 2 guys who were at 0).  Otherwise Zimmer would own CF and many Jay worst ever records here.  Those 9 games in Philly kept him from 'counting' when I put this together.

I find it amazing that Edwin Encarnacion had a first decimal identical season in wRC+.  Funny that only 1 guy ever had a single SB while playing 2B all season (Ainge) while all other positions had at least 2.  No shock a lot of the worst ever were in the 1970's when the Jays lost 100+ each season. Lots of high numbers for offense in the steroid era (1994-2004 roughly) despite the Jays never making the playoffs during that horrid stretch.  Some names I hadn't remembered (Solarte I totally forgot about) and some I remembered fondly even though they often stunk (Iorg - I used to try to imitate the bizarre stance he had).  I can just imagine how nuts this board would've been in '87 when McGriff and Fielder, two power hitting kids, were forced to share DH (with Fielder put in at 3B now and then which was quite entertaining) so Upshaw with a sub 400 Slg could play everyday at 1B.  Kind of interesting that Grichuk holds the worst OBP for 2 different positions here.

One oddity - the best Jays team by W-L record was 1985's 99 win team, but not one player on that team made these lists.  Other playoff years saw... 1989 had the worst CF Avg, best C SB; 1991 lowest DH HR, OPS and Slg; 1992 best Total Zone score (Devo in CF); 1993 Olerud at 1B best avg/OBP/WAR/wRC+, Alomar best avg/OBP/SB/OPS/wRC+ at 2B, Molitor the best WAR/SB at DH; 2015 best WAR/Slg 3B, best WAR/HR by a C; 2016 the worst WAR at 1B, best OPS/wRC+ at 3B, HR at DH; 2020 didn't count (60 games too few to use), 2022 best wRC+ at SS; 2023 worst Avg/OBP for a LF.  So the only playoff year to not have anything 'wow' good or bad happen was 1985.  When I do pitchers it'll be interesting to see if that changes (don't think it will thanks to Halladay)

Hopefully you all find this as fun as I did.
Best and Worst by Position Jays All-Time | 325 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 06:26 AM EST (#442650) #
I know he doesn't have enough at bats to qualify but Derek Fisher was a terrible player, at the plate and in the field.
dalimon5 - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 09:31 AM EST (#442651) #
This is great, thanks.
bpoz - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 10:03 AM EST (#442652) #
Jose Molina, Jeff Mathis and Russel Martin brought V good catcher defense to their teams. That type of player made the pitching staff better. This is something that maybe cannot be understood or calculated fully.
electric carrot - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 11:26 AM EST (#442653) #
Fun lists. I was surprised to see George Bell as top WAR in left field. I always remembered him as a poor defender who didn't walk much and so I expected his WAR to be less impressive.

Looking ahead to this season I ask myself which leaders may be usurped? I'm expecting an unrealistically great season from Kirk, so maybe he could find his way on the board if that happens (and Jansen plays more DH/1B.) And maybe Bo could surpass some of his own current top spots. (Also, Bo looks to be one of the greatest all time Blue Jays when viewed inside your grids John N.)
greenfrog - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 11:26 AM EST (#442654) #
Great post.

Although Moseby was excellent in 1983-84, I still think of Devon White as the superior player. Peak White (1991-1993) was basically every bit as good as Moseby, and he had a three-year run of excellence versus Moseby's two.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 11:36 AM EST (#442655) #
This post highlights what a great trade the Donaldson one (for Lawrie, Graveman, Barreto, Nolin) was.

The Blue Jays basically gave up nothing and acquired the best third baseman they've ever had, giving them 20.6 fWAR over the three seasons from 2015-17. Incredible move.
John Northey - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 12:00 PM EST (#442656) #
Moseby was far better than most remember. In his prime (83/84) he was great on defense, offense, and had few holes in his game.  In '84 he gained a lot from defense (20 runs, one of the best under the old systems recorded as a Jay), to go with a nice 280/368/470 line (126 wRC+), plus was 39-9 in SB-CS while batting in the 2 hole mostly.  So sad that Bobby Cox hadn't yet figured out that walks mattered then (Damaso Garcia led off with a 310 OBP (284/310/374) and Alfredo Griffin played everday despite having a future star in Tony Fernandez on the bench (Griffin 'hit' 241/248/298 that year).  3 guys played over 80 games each, 200+ PA with negative WAR despite better options being on the team (Willie Aikens DH, Garth Iorg 3B, Alfredo Griffin SS) totaling -3.5 fWAR.  Tony Fernandez in 88 games/254 PA was at 1.1 WAR - picture if Griffin was released or made into purely a backup - that could've been a 3+ win swing right there. Rance Mulliniks was platooned with Iorg but I can't believe he'd go from his 125 wRC+ to anything close to Iorg's 45 vs LHP, so that could've swung things another 2-3 wins.  Cliff Johnson at DH platooned with Aikens was the same thing - 144 wRC+ vs an 85 which would've added 1-2 wins.  So from easy choices you could've added 5-8 wins.  Of course, that was 1984 when the Tigers ran away with it early on and won 104 games vs the Jays 89 so the Jays would've been closer but not winning even with all of that. 

White was amazing - a shame we didn't have statcast numbers back then (or the tech to do it).  From 1991-1993 he was worth 20-30 runs on defense annually alone based on what we do have.  He was a big key to the Jays winning those years.  Thankfully Gillick got lucky with the Angels deciding White had 'attitude' and took Junior Felix for him (guess they bought his fake age).  Couldn't have worked out better but his best defense year was 1992 when his wRC+ was sub 100, his best offense year was 1991 (119 wRC+) when his defense was great but not 'holy crap' at 20 vs the 30 in 1992.  Mix 1991's offense with 1992's defense and he'd have led easily (6.4 fWAR was his peak in 1991, '92s defense with that offense would've pushed him over 7).
John Northey - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 01:04 PM EST (#442658) #
I think most forget how good George Bell was at his peak now.  He could steal 20+ bases, and had a good arm (his best throw was to Buck Martinez while Martinez was laying on the ground with a broken leg - hit him right in the mitt - Barfield-Martinez-Bell-Martinez DP).

Bell just dropped fast on his defense as his offense jumped.  I wonder if playing on concrete might have hurt his career a lot.  The Jays LF'ers have been good but rarely great.  Joe Carter's great moment doesn't affect these rankings btw.
Jays regular LF'ers...
Huh, a lot weaker than I recalled.  TONS of one year guys.  Snider was to be a long term solution, others moved like Cruz to CF, Hernandez to RF, Carter to DH/RF.  Varsho will probably get a second year as the regular in LF this year depending on KK's health/production.  For guys who were primarily LF here at some point the best WAR was Bell at 20.2, then Stewart & Hernandez in the 10's.  Joe Carter is sub 10 fWAR (playoffs don't count towards WAR).
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 01:09 PM EST (#442659) #
Play ball!
dalimon5 - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#442660) #
"The Blue Jays basically gave up nothing and acquired the best third baseman they've ever had, giving them 20.6 fWAR over the three seasons from 2015-17. Incredible move."

The Blue Jays didn't give up nothing, they gave up a serious haul AT THE TIME that was market price for Donaldson. I point this out because comments like "incredible move" seems to suggest that AA or the A's GM knew beforehand that this would turn out this way. The trade turned out to be an incredible steal for the Jays, no doubt.
John Northey - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 01:34 PM EST (#442661) #
Part of the trick of trades is to know what you are giving up. I suspect AA and the rest here knew the guys they were giving up were not as good as advertised shall we say - from makeup, injuries, etc.  But their reports on Donaldson suggested he'd stay at a high level, which he did for a few years.  I remember AA talking a LOT back then about the value of having internal scouting - scouting your own players and other pros, not just amateurs or advance scouts.  Sometimes (like here) it panned out well.
John Northey - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 02:28 PM EST (#442662) #
Well Pearson is not off to a good start to put it mildly.  Varsho hitting a double to start was nice to see.  Chad Dallas is a name to remember, wouldn't be shocked if he got a shot in September if needed or has a real shot at a rotation slot in 2025.
Michael - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 02:44 PM EST (#442663) #
Spring doesn't matter much... however after commenters said Jimenez is the best SS in the jays system, at least two very bad throws from him suggest maybe not.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 03:19 PM EST (#442664) #
A lot of people on this site were extremely positive about the Donaldson trade at the time (you can check the trade thread).

I thought it was a good trade for both teams, so what do I know.
Michael - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 03:34 PM EST (#442665) #
Donaldson trade was a great trade at the time. It worked out even better than popular expectation since Donaldson stayed at his high level and Brett Lawrie was worse than we'd have expected moving forward and none of Barreto, Graveman, and Nolin really developed that well (Graveman became league average reliever for them, Barreto made the majors in theory but was a black hole at ss bringing negative value). There was a contemporaneous poll of about 3500 Blue Jays fans at the time the trade was made that broke 44% Blue Jays big winners, 50% even trade, 6% Blue Jays losers which suggests a pretty favorable trade since 44/50/6 even with the friendly view of our prospects. In general, the winner of the trade is whoever gets the best player, and the Jays were clearly getting the best player in the deal.

It wasn't the best deal of AA tenure, but it was up there.
jerjapan - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 03:59 PM EST (#442666) #
Yeah, that was a great trade at the time and looks better in retrospect.  Barretto was the big get for the As, and he was a bust.  Lawrie imploded, and while loads of people thought he was overhyped and due for regression, nobody expected him to be out of the game a few years later. 

Nolin and Graveman were filler, and thank goodness for Graveman if you were an As fan. 

My goodness, there was a lot of Garth Iorg in that 'worst of' list.  He's the Brooklyn Brawler of Jays jobbers. 

Glevin - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 04:17 PM EST (#442667) #
Donaldson trace was good at the time. Getting an elite player for prospects almost always works out. Donaldson had 13 WAR previous two years before trade. Even trades where teams give up top prospects like Sale trade still almost always work out for team getting elite player. Where there's a problem is trades giving up top prospects for less than elite players (Shelby Miller, Chris Archer, etc.)
greenfrog - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 04:32 PM EST (#442668) #
So, which type of trade was Moreno+LGJ for Varsho?

I guess we’ll have a better idea in a year or two.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 05:12 PM EST (#442669) #
Game 1.  Phillies win 14 - 13.  Here come the Yankees tomorrow.
John Northey - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 06:30 PM EST (#442670) #
Interesting game in the end.
  • Almost 100% locks on the roster: Espinal 0-3, Bo 2-3, Turner 1-1 with a walk, Jansen 1-2 (double), Varsho 3-3 (double), IKF 2-3. = 9 for 15 for the regulars
  • Kids: 4 for 19, 1 double (Serven)
  • Pitching started well with Dallas going 3 up 3 down, but Pearson stunk up the joint (2 outs, 4 runs, 2 HR's), then mostly kids.  Pop had a scoreless frame, Zulueta stunk big time (2 outs, 7 runs, 6 ER)  No pitchers used who are likely to be on the opening day roster (Pearson had a shot, but that outing did him no favors).
Yeah, first game of spring is pretty much meaningless, but it is fun to have some stuff to dig into other than old stats.  I gave in and paid for a 1 year subscription to Sportsnet, just couldn't resist (old plan ran out months ago).
scottt - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 07:18 PM EST (#442671) #
Brock looked like a closer.

Fluharty looked really good as a lefty specialist.
Those cutters didn't look soft to me.

It really looks like they decided that Orelvis Martinez is the future at second base.
Berroa can really fly. I would have liked to see Eden try to take a base.

scottt - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 07:27 PM EST (#442672) #
Interesting to see Encarnacion instructing the Dominicans.

For the Phillies, there was the regular 9th hitter Rojas, and a couple of bench players in Sosa and Merrifield, plus some non-roster invitee in Kingery, Kroon, Dahl, etc.

greenfrog - Saturday, February 24 2024 @ 09:43 PM EST (#442673) #
Buck said the same thing — it looks as though Orelvis is ticketed for second base. So who is the Blue Jays future third baseman? I guess it’s IKF until the team figures that out.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 05:25 AM EST (#442674) #
Reports say Cody Bellinger re-signs with the Chicago Cubs.
scottt - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 06:25 AM EST (#442675) #
Just a pillow contract, but with 3 years guaranteed, with opt outs every years.
 3/80M? This is not 200M. This is either 3/80M for a player who isn't worth that or a one year deal if he keeps hitting. Neither scenario would have been great for the Jays once you consider the QO penalties.

The only worry I have is that Snell could end up with the Yankees on a similar deal.
But even that could be a bust.

The Chapman situation is quite different. Chapman doesn't have MVP upside and I don't think the Jays would want opt outs.

greenfrog - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 07:44 AM EST (#442676) #
Seems like a fair contract for both sides. The opt-outs create risk for Chicago, but the team benefits from the short-term nature of the contract (whether one, two or three years). The AAV is high but not exorbitant for a short-term deal. Bellinger is relatively young (28) so it's less likely that his career falls off a cliff at this point, although his injury history presents some additional risk for the team.

Good overall deal for Chicago, I would say.
scottt - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 08:12 AM EST (#442677) #
Bellinger already fell off a cliff at a younger age. I think he's finally made an adjustment in developing a contact first 2-strike approach. That's nice but the league could adjust to that. Arguably, in the NL Central he's less exposed to scouts finding a hole in his approach then he would have been in the AL East.

The Montgomery situation is the most perplexing to me. He's a good pitcher who seems healthy at a relatively low age. It seems like he wants to pitch in Boston because his wife is studying there to be a doctor. It might just be that the Red Sox are lowballing him.

Ducey - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 08:27 AM EST (#442678) #
No way the Jays could do the Bellinger contract.

Would have lost a 2nd and 5th round pick and $1M international signing room, for 1yr before he opts out. And it costs them the extra cbt.

That's assuming he is half decent. Otherwise he was hurt/ didn't play well and they Jays reget signing him anyway an are potentially stuck with him for 3 yrs.

I would guess teams are doing the same kind of calculations for Chapman. Maybe it makes it more likely Boras comes crawling back to TOR for similar contract.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 08:43 AM EST (#442679) #
If Bellinger gets hurt, the Cubs could be on the hook for $80m. That is a lot better than the $150-200m people were contemplating for him.

Imagine if Ohtani's injury issues (elbow, oblique) start to become a significant factor in the next few years.
Gerry - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 08:48 AM EST (#442680) #
Watching yesterdays game. Mason Fluharty's fastball topped out at 89 mph. He sets up on the extreme first base side of the rubber, as a LHP, so the ball is really running away from LHH. Will it work as well against major league right handed hitters? TBD.

TJ Brock topped out at 96 mph, not quite the 99 that was suggested. But he only threw a couple of fastballs, his cutter seemed to be his big weapon.

Chad Dallas used four pitches in his inning, 4 seam FB, sinker, slider, curve.
All three pitched well .
bpoz - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 09:40 AM EST (#442681) #
Just 1 game played. Orelvis 2B, Barger 3B and Jimenez SS. I am sure Jimenez will play SS in ST and AAA however Bo may want to play a lot in ST. Orevlis & Barger may play other positions in ST. Orelvis 3B and Barger OF. We will see.
SK in NJ - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 10:23 AM EST (#442682) #
The Cubs were the only team who were not going to lose a pick or international money for signing Bellinger, so they were likely the only team that was going to give him that sort of pillow contract with opt outs. The Jays are in the same boat with Chapman. Other teams are going to have to calculate whether it's worth losing a pick and international money on a short term deal for him, while the Jays wouldn't lose anything unless you want to count the pick after the 4th round which they would receive if Chapman signs elsewhere.

If there is a chance to bring Chapman back on a one year deal, even if Boras insists on a player option after that (and he probably will), then the Jays should go for it.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 10:32 AM EST (#442683) #
If the Jays signed Chapman to, say, a $60m two-year contract (with opt-out after year 1), what would the luxury tax implications be for the Blue Jays. Would they lose draft picks or IFA pool money?
Mike Green - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 10:57 AM EST (#442684) #
The six best defensive centerfielders over their career according to dWAR are, in order, Andruw Jones, Kevin Kiermaier, Paul Blair, Willie Mays, Lorenzo Cain and Devon White.  The best per inning (and it is not close) is Kevin Kiermaier, but that isn't a fair comparison because of Jones' and Mays' and Blair's downslopes in their 30s and 40s in Mays case. Devon White and Kevin Kiermaier are amazing because they didn't get a start until age 24 which is a couple of years past the peak for most centerfielders. 

The accuracy of dWAR is subject to a lot of doubt generally, but I am pretty confident that Jones had the highest peak from age 20-22.  The number of plays he made during that time while his pitchers were striking out 7 per 9 innings was astounding. Mays was in the army at what would likely have been his defensive peak.  It does seem that Mays and Kiermaier had better arms than Jones, and the career-long evaluation of their respective defensive abilities would be the subject of an undergraduate thesis. 

For what it's worth, I think we have had the pleasure watching two of the four best defensive centerfielders in baseball history, and Kevin Pillar wasn't bad himself. 
jerjapan - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 11:04 AM EST (#442685) #
Great post Mike, it is a genuine treat to watch KK out there again this year.  Those great defensive plays in the OF take time to develop, which to me is what's so great about this game. 

I missed Devon White's triple play because of a frosh house meeting or something, thanks very much university, but man, he was the first player who taught me to look past the back of the card stat line. 

We have been spoiled in great CF play, but KK still does stuff on the field that makes me shout at the TV. 
Ducey - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 11:06 AM EST (#442686) #
The Jays are at $243M for CBT. The third tier for CBT,where they have their first round pick moved back 10 spots, is $277M.

So they could sign Chapman, but that would be about it for the season.

It would cost them the loss of the extra 4th rounder as comp plus 30% of Bellis salary plus 12% of anything over $257M.

So $30M this year would be equal to $30 + 9 + 2= $41M effectively for this year.

That 30% goes to 50% next year is they are still over the base threshold.
Glevin - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 12:09 PM EST (#442688) #
"If the Jays signed Chapman to, say, a $60m two-year contract (with opt-out after year 1), what would the luxury tax implications be for the Blue Jay."

I think this kind of deal makes way more sense for Bellinger than for Chapman. If Bellinger has another solid year (3-4 WAR) he is going to get paid because his inconsistency is what's holding teams back. Chapman is consistent, he just is in decline so his age I think is a bigger factor there and being a year older next year makes better long-term deal unlikely.
scottt - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 12:11 PM EST (#442689) #
It looked better than 89mph.  He mixes it with an 81mph slider.
It's all about location and changing speed.
He could be really good against LH bats.
He just need to be able to survive against RH bats.
The key is to run it on the hands and break some bats.
It's interesting.

Brock was attacking the zone and the hitters (all the MLB guys were long gone) seemed overmatched.
He didn't seem to have great velocity but there was some deception in the delivery.

85bluejay - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 12:21 PM EST (#442690) #
I rooting for Ernie Clement & Mitch White to make the 26 man roster.
Ducey - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 01:02 PM EST (#442691) #
Ugh. Yankees telecast.
Gerry - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#442692) #
JP Ricciardi is no longer employed in MLB so he is starting a podcast. If he is as candid on it as he was when he was GM here it could be an interesting listen.
John Northey - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 02:39 PM EST (#442693) #
I'm sure JPR would harp on the budget limits he had vs what AA and Atkins have had since he left. It'd be interesting to know what his parameters were - ie: if the crowds come back or TV ratings climb then more cash or was it locked in stone?
Gerry - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 04:18 PM EST (#442694) #
Alan Roden looks to have reduced his starting position. His hands used to be over his head but today they were in a more traditional position.
scottt - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 06:11 PM EST (#442695) #

Kirk homered off Rodon.

Schneider had a nice diving catch in left field.

They were tried to get Soto to say how great it is to be a Yankees and he wasn't biting.

Not so great:

None of Francis, Mitch White, Richards were able to navigate through Soto/Judge.

Clement, Escobar, Vogelbach didn't show anything.

greenfrog - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 06:43 PM EST (#442696) #
Thanks, Ducey, for that luxury tax explanation.
dalimon5 - Sunday, February 25 2024 @ 09:43 PM EST (#442697) #
I guess I'm in the minority. I enjoyed Ricciardi.
bpoz - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 08:27 AM EST (#442698) #
LAA & Boston have not done enough this off season. Snell or Montgomery would help them a lot. I feel that they would be in the contender category. NYY probably should also go after one of them to increase their chances.
Glevin - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 08:48 AM EST (#442699) #
I do think there's some hope Chapman comes back and he'd be a pretty big upgrade. If Jays could do like a 3/$60, I'd be on board. Then jettison Espinal and make IKF the utility guy. Easiest and biggest way Jays can improve still.
John Northey - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 09:19 AM EST (#442700) #
Agreed Glevin that Chapman is easily the best move the Jays can make right now. No better 3B is available in trade, none of the kids are taking over 3B it seems with Orelvis at 2B and Barger likely going to RF. Given (very) early returns it appears the Jays want Orelvis to take over 2B pushing Biggio/IKF/Espinal to 3B (with Turner now and then too) while Schneider is mostly in LF (sometimes at 2B/1B).

Seems odd the only guys we've seen on the mound are minor leaguers and Francis, White, Richards, Pearson, Pop who are all #7/8 guys at best on the depth chart right now (Francis & Pearson near locks for AAA right now). A perfect trade imo would be clearing out some of the guys at the end of the pen and infield for minor leaguers who are pre-40 man types. IE: Espinal-White-Richards then have Francis/Pearson/whoever earns it get onto a Toronto/Buffalo shuttle in the pen while Clement takes over the last extra slot on the bench. The #7/8 guys in the pen are trash inning guys anyways most of the time (ie: 5+ run spread) and I don't see White or Richards finding a grove in that role. White needs to go somewhere like Oakland where he can get a lot of innings to straighten himself out.
greenfrog - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 09:23 AM EST (#442701) #
How about 3/$75m for Chapman with an opt-out after years 1 and 2 (or maybe year 2 only).

That seems like it could work for both sides.
Glevin - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 09:33 AM EST (#442702) #
"How about 3/$75m for Chapman with an opt-out after years 1 and 2 (or maybe year 2 only)."

More than I'd want to pay for Chapman but for 3 years, I think it's fine. It's hard to see him opting out so I don't mind giving him opt outs. If Jays were going to get a 1st round pick for losing Chapman instead of a 4th, there'd be more value in letting him go, but bringing him back just makes sense.
John Northey - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 09:47 AM EST (#442703) #
Considering the best 4th round pick ever for the Jays is Casey Janssen (a solid reliever but his career WAR is 7.4) with #2 being Sam Dyson, #3 Ryan Goins, #4 Xavier Hernandez with the rest being sub 1 WAR each (collectively negative). Total WAR is 17.8. Chapman as a Jay has 7.9 over 2 seasons. Basically there is zero reason for saying 'sure go away' if the Jays can fit him into their budget as there is a very, very low chance the draft pick will A) reach the majors or B) if reach, be worth more than a guy like Espinal, let alone 1 or 2 years of Chapman.

As to luxury tax - outside of the million dollar cut to the IFA budget (which is hard to measure in terms of effectiveness) 10 slots lower in the draft only shifts the Jays from #20 to #30 roughly. #20 has 3 50+ WAR guys, 61% reaching the majors, 11.7 WAR per player reaching. #30 has 2 50+ guys (one a Jay - David Wells) 57% reaching, 10.7 WAR per ML player. This isn't a massive shift by any stretch and again, shouldn't affect the Jays signing Chapman. Well, outside of Rogers deciding it isn't worth the cash (penny wise, pound foolish as the 2-3 wins he could be worth vs the alternative could easily be the difference in making the playoffs or not).
bpoz - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 10:24 AM EST (#442704) #
Miami has a lot of young pitching. They have done nothing compared to Arizona who have made pretty good moves. Right now I see them as challenging Pittsburg for last place in the NL. Fortunately their fans are used to being disappointed. I do expect them to make trades but that could come near the end of ST. The Jays have Espinal, Clement, Eduardo Escobar and Vogelbach. Not all can make the team. Horwitz is actually someone that could add offense to Miami. Horowitz has yet to fail in his career. An injured Miami pitcher and a low level prospect traded from Miami would not hurt them because they are surplus.
dalimon5 - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 10:35 AM EST (#442705) #
SF Giants need Chapman more than Toronto. I expect a deal there soon. Not sure what Toronto is planning to do with their glut of infielders.
Nigel - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 10:55 AM EST (#442706) #
I suspect their glut of INFs will be used as OFs given the shortage of OFs on the team. Schneider and Biggio look like the 4th OF to me. Weird roster.
uglyone - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 11:21 AM EST (#442707) #
There's no glut anywhere, unfortunately.

But there is one slot guaranteed to a borderline MLBer in Falefa, and then a second slot open to be battled over by other borderline MLBers like Espinal, Escobar, Clement, Lukes, and the prospects.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 11:28 AM EST (#442708) #
The Yankee announcers were pretty giddy to see Soto in a Yankee uniform yesterday's game. Their excitement only increased when he crushed a pitch over 400 feet to the opposite field. I'd be giddy to see him in a Jay's uniform next year, but there's not much chance of that I'm thinking.

It was interesting that at one point the announcers referenced the Berrios fiasco in the playoffs last year and commented how John Schneider said it was a strategy that came from management, and management said it was the manager's decision. Other teams have noticed the Jay's bumbling.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 11:29 AM EST (#442709) #
I think Schneider will get a lot of time in LF this season. It might be why the team for some reason doesn’t want to upgrade the 4th OF role for the 2nd year in a row (last season due to Merrifield’s versatility). A player like Grossman would make so much sense and improve the roster tremendously against LHP. Hopefully there’s still a move like that on the horizon but I doubt it.

Agreed that Chapman on a short term deal is the way to go, especially if the club doesn’t envision any of the internal options to be 3B (Orelvis, Barger, etc). If they want to sign Chapman and save money elsewhere then moving Espinal, Garcia, and Richards shouldn’t be an issue.
scottt - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 11:36 AM EST (#442710) #
I don't think Chapman will go for a short deal with opt outs.
The market isn't going to improve and he's only going to get older.
I wouldn't be shocked if he goes for a longer deal with a lower AAV.

scottt - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 11:46 AM EST (#442711) #
The Yankees announcers can be funny.
They always do a scouting report with 3 bullet points on the opposing starter, even in spring training when the guy is Bowden Francis. He's 6'5" and he's from Tall-ahassee.

The Yankees have 2 big outfield prospects coming up as soon as next year.
The actual contenders for Soto are likely the Mets and the Phillies.
However, Pete Alonso is also a free agent next year along with Alex Bregman.

electric carrot - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 12:06 PM EST (#442712) #
I'm not a fan of signing Chapman for 3/75. I would prefer to see how things play out with roster as is and then make a big move mid-season.
Ducey - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442713) #
"10 slots lower in the draft only shifts the Jays from #20 to #30 roughly. #20 has 3 50+ WAR guys, 61% reaching the majors, 11.7 WAR per player reaching. #30 has 2 50+ guys (one a Jay - David Wells) 57% reaching, 10.7 WAR per ML player."

The MLB draft is not that simple. Moving from 20 to 30 means losing ~$1 M in signing bonus money (plus the 5% overage allowed). That can have a trickledown impact on the ability to go overslot either in the first round or with later picks.

Plus if the Jays sign Chapman they lose the extra 4th rounder, which had a bonus of ~$490,000 last year.

As far as I can tell, dropping 10 slots would impact the 2025 draft. The Chapman compensation is in the 2024 draft.
scottt - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 12:43 PM EST (#442714) #
They've replaced Belt with Turner. I see Turner as a better RBI guy, that is a guy who is good at hitting with runners on bases. Belt had a great year but only 43 RBI.

They've lost something by replacing Chapman with IKF. Chapman had an OPS+ of 108 last year.
IKF had an OPS+ of 78 last year, but 84/85 the 2 previous year when playing regularly.
However, they might get that back with Scheider replacing Merrifield.
Merrified had an OPS+ of 94 and Schneider 175 last year.

The key thing is Guerrero, Springer, Kirk and Varsho need to bounce back to some degree.

bpoz - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 01:12 PM EST (#442715) #
Jays are using their position player A team.
scottt - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 01:25 PM EST (#442716) #
Jason Delay? I wonder if his nickname is Rain.
scottt - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 01:28 PM EST (#442717) #
In Japan, Kikuchi's change up would have been a split but it doesn't always work with the larger balls.
A new change up grip that actually works could be very useful.

dalimon5 - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 02:04 PM EST (#442718) #
Like most things on this team and salary/contracts...for me it all comes down to Vlad and Bo. Is potential Matt Chapman money the same money needed to keep one or both of Vladdy/Bo around? Are they both planning to walk no matter what. If I could use Chapman's money to find a way to keep them here then I wouldn't sign Chapman. If they are going to leave anyways then I would sign Chapman to a 3 year deal.

To be clear, I am not insinuating that they can use the 3/75 contract for Chapman to sign Bo or Vlad. I just mean that instead of spending, say 25 million in year 3 of Chapman's contract, I would rather they spend that money on Vlad and Bo. So if Vlad and Bo, for argument's sake want 30 million/year I would rather put that 25 million from Chapman's 3rd year towards the 60 million I'd have to pay my top two players.
Ducey - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 02:06 PM EST (#442719) #
Interesting article at MLB TradeRumors about Chapman.

Makes it sound like he doesn't have any options.

Maybe the Jays and Chapman would revisit the 5 x $20M but with opt outs?

The article says the Jays are at $249M for CBT (higher than I thought). So $30M would put them more than $40 M over the lowest threshold and cost them at 42.5% surcharge on anything over $277M and result in the first round pick being pushed back. Cant see that happening.
Glevin - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 03:03 PM EST (#442720) #
One of my biggest "minor" concerns of the new season is that the Jays get Schneider playing time. He had a 142 WRC+ in AAA and killed it overall in the majors. The guy deserves a chance to play regularly but I feel like he'll be used in a rotation with Biggio and Espinal. When he struggled mightily down the stretch last year, from September 21 to end of season he had 3 starts. It's another reason why it's hard for me to understand why Espinal is on the team. Biggio in the second half was great. 124 WRC+. He's a lefty who gets on base and can play a bunch of positions. What exactly does Espinal do? 3rd best 2Bman, 3rd best SS. I mean, Ernie Clement is in the minors should emergency strike and I might like him more than Espinal too. Would much rather his spot go to Robbie Grossman or something who can kill lefties.
Ducey - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 03:26 PM EST (#442721) #

Clement is out of options so he might not make it to the minors. Espinal actually has two, so he might be a guy who goes down to AAA and gets regular at bats to get himself on track.

One of my biggest worries is that D. Schneider is not for real. He came out of nowhere last year. There are lots of guys who went nuts for 2 months and went back to nowhere when the pitchers got the book on them. Its clear to me that he cant lay off or hit the high fastball. He went after one for a K yesterday and then bopped himself on the helmet reminding himself not to chase. Until he can master that, the jury is out for me.

Hopefully he can at least be a platoon guy. But if Orelvis steals his lunch at 2B there may not be a lot of playing time.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 04:01 PM EST (#442722) #
Blue Jays win 8 - 4.
scottt - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 04:15 PM EST (#442723) #
It took Jansen a long time before he started to hit.
Teoscar had to be sent back. Same thing with Gurriel.
Tellez went hot and cold.
Pretty much the same thing with Vogelbach.
Espinal and Biggio haven't done much lately.

In the current configuration, the manager should just play the hot bats until they cool.
Schneider has 2 walks in 5 ABs.

I worry more about tall guys chasing high fast balls than shorter guys.
Shorter guys can usually get to anything that will be called a strike.
Often enough anyway.

Marc Hulet - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 04:38 PM EST (#442724) #
It's early but watching Davis Schneider it looks like he bulked up and is more barrel chested than last year. His bat hasn't been quite as explosive and I hope he didn't fall into the trap of bulking up too much and losing flexibility and quickness.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 05:19 PM EST (#442725) #
I think Orelvis is definitely the preferred long-term option at 2B with the existing FO, it's just a matter of when they feel he's ready for big league pitching. Schneider's role with the team might be as more of a utility bat who can cover multiple positions. Hopefully they give him a chance to prove he's an above average big league bat who can play 2B/LF everyday. The current options around him (Kiermaier, Biggio, IKF, Espinal) shouldn't be enough to prevent him from playing regularly, although I suspect it might, especially with Biggio at 2B.
John Northey - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 09:29 PM EST (#442726) #
Here is the challenge - how to divide up playing time?

2B: Orelvis is the future it seems, and could be here early too. Until ready I expect Schneider/Espinal to share 2B with Biggio in the mix. Why 2 RH? When a LHP is on the mound Schneider to LF, either KK or Varsho to the bench, Espinal to 2B

3B: IKF/Biggio mostly unless a kid emerges who the Jays trust at 3B. Not ideal, but gives a defense/offense combo potentially.

Now, if Clement has a strong spring (not just stats but in other ways only the manager sees) and Espinal a weak one they could send Espinal to AAA and have Clement in the RH 2B/backup 3B-SS role instead.

What kids could take over 3B if we assume Orelvis is at 2B from now on? Barger they seemed to have ticketed for RF but he has been at 3B so far and gone 1-3 with 2 walks and 2 K's. Damiano Palmegiani hit well in AA/AAA at age 23, but doesn't seem to be on the Jays radar right now. Rafael Lantigua also looked good in AAA but was used as a super-utility guy and at 26 isn't likely to get much of a chance outside of that type of role. Eduardo Escobar they signed to a minor league deal but it is hard to see a role - meh to poor defense, just a 67 OPS+ last year, but he does hit LHP so maybe the role I see Espinal in he'd fill. Maybe.

Bottom line is 3B is a big hole right now. Yeah, IKF does the job on defense and maybe Biggio will provide enough offense to make it work, unlikely but maybe. None of the kids in AAA look likely to get a shot there, maybe Barger with IKF coming in for defense late. Maybe. Right now Escobar, Barger, IKF, Espinal, Biggio all have a shot at it - just need to get hot with the bat, and not make mental errors in spring to grab it imo. Or they say 'screw it' and sign Chapman (perfect world 2 year deal).
greenfrog - Monday, February 26 2024 @ 09:46 PM EST (#442727) #
Probably the Blue Jays will pass on Chapman, even if the marginal wins would be valuable and he’s available at a reduced price. The team’s payroll is getting pretty high.

Maybe the team is hoping IKF can rebound and give them a 2 WAR season at third base, in the same way they were hoping Kendrys Morales would replace most of Encarnacion’s value (that move didn’t work out, of course).
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:10 AM EST (#442728) #
I found it funny how much time the Yankees managers devoted to the Mattingly beard.. I mean, I feel asleep for half of it (dug up in-laws yard in the morning) and skipped through the second half, but it seemed like they were really reaching for stuff to talk about..
bpoz - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 07:35 AM EST (#442729) #
Assuming long term is 2 years and short term is 1 year the 3B possibility for 2023 & 2024 is IKF as a 29 & 30 year old with good D and Ok O except for the power. I like Kacevich as arriving in mid 2025 or so as a solid D with a strong arm to replace IKF but not much power. Palmegiani would potentially provide more power and O than IKF and Kasevich but his D if a liability would prevent him from being a regular. But provide potential trade candidates.

I would happily accept Olelvis and Barger as stars at 2B & RF with V good power.

The payroll is uncertain for 2025 & 26 depending on Vlad & Bo. Hopefully we have new stars at O, D, SP and pen that have been developed internally. If not then we buy them. Would we pay the going rate of $ & contract length for these new FA stars? I don't know.
scottt - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 08:52 AM EST (#442730) #
Chapman is asking for too much money for someone who ends up batting 7th.

Montgomery is in a funny situation because he's 31 and has no QO attached.
If he takes a one year contract or opt out next year, he's stuck with a QO next year at 32.

I think Boston is gambling that they can get him at a good discount.

Snell is great but 180 innings in 32 starts is a bit low.
That's part of the reason he has only 71 career wins.
Like Bellinger, he has many down years on his resume.

scottt - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 08:57 AM EST (#442731) #
Espinal bulked up after hitting too many fly balls.
Schneider showed a ton of power, so I wouldn't expect him to do that.
Especially since you consider that his defense is a very important in finding ABs.

It's way too early for the hitters, but it's nice to see Kikuchi doing well in his first start.

Mike Green - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 09:00 AM EST (#442732) #
If you believe bWAR, IKF is a significantly better bet to come back than Morales.  IKF was a 2 bWAR player (in 220 PAs) in 2020, a 3.6 bWAR player in 2021 and a 3.0 bWAR player in 2022.  All of this as an infielder.  The Yankees moved him to the outfield and he was a 0 WAR player in 2023.  He turns 29 later in March.  Morales was signed by the Blue Jays for his age 34 season.  At age 30, he delivered 2.9 bWAR; at age 31,  -0.9 bWAR; at age 32,  2.7 bWAR and at age 33 0.9 bWAR.   If you take the 4 year prior average, IKF was a 2.2 bWAR player (without accounting for the pandemic year short season) and Morales was a 1.4 bWAR player.  And Morales was 5 years older. 

Morales was, in my view, a very poor bet.  IKF is, in my view, one that can go either way.  The numbers say that IKF was a consistently good defender in the infield.  In his career, he has played 1200 innings at third base, including 300 innings last year.  He is +19 per DRS, +7 per UZR and +16 per Statcast.  A reasonable expectation for him is +10-+12 at third base.  IKF's xwOBAs have been remarkably consistent over the last 4 years- .294, .292, .290, .292.  It's not a good number, but there's every reason to believe that it will remain the same.  It is rare that I completely disagree with the consensus of the projections but it is so for IKF.  The offensive projections are entirely reasonable, but the defensive ones are not.  They presume that he will continue as an outfielder where he is below average, rather than returning to the infield where he is far above average.  I suppose that many of the comps for the projection systems would be players who had to move to the outfield in mid-career due to injury (like Robin Yount); that was not the case with IKF. 

Glevin - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 09:29 AM EST (#442733) #
"One of my biggest worries is that D. Schneider is not for real. He came out of nowhere last year. There are lots of guys who went nuts for 2 months and went back to nowhere when the pitchers got the book on them. Its clear to me that he cant lay off or hit the high fastball. He went after one for a K yesterday and then bopped himself on the helmet reminding himself not to chase. Until he can master that, the jury is out for me."

He had a 131 WRC+ in AA two years ago and a 142 WRC+ in AAA last year so I wouldn't say he came out of nowhere. Sure, he might not make it in the majors but he also might be a legitimate every day player somewhere. I just hate sitting younger players to play veterans. Still scarred from Cito sitting Delgado and Green to play Brumfeld and Juan Samuel.
mathesond - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 09:34 AM EST (#442734) #
I wondered if IKF had a similar hitting stat line to Rance Mulliniks, but was wrong, Rance was much better. However, IKF and Garth Iorg could almost be twins!

Garth: 2,450 ABs, 20 HR, .258/.292/.347 slash line, 72 OPS+
IKF: 2,213 ABs, 26 HR, .261/.314/.346 slash line, 81 OPS+

IKF has basically triple Garth's WAR, presumably the gloves have a lot to do with that.
Ducey - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 11:50 AM EST (#442735) #
Will Robertson had a good game yesterday. Buck was saying that someone in the org told him that Robertson had one of the best 2nd halfs last year.

April 116/296/302
May 231/287/487
June 145 260 258

July 318/361/455
Aug 300/371/659
Sept 353/378/824

So yeah, pretty nice 2nd half.

Overall he was 245/323/488 with 19 HR in AA. He was 25 so a little old. It was his second season in AA. He mostly played LF. He also hit 279/449/485 in the AFL.

Might be someone to watch. Maybe he found something in his swing in July. Maybe he just got luckier. Presumably he plays in AAA this year. Unfortunately is a lefty so may not be the platoon OF the Jays need this year.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 12:24 PM EST (#442736) #
Robertson might have a shot as a piece in a trade or as an injury cover whenever KK or Springer goes down for a few weeks (almost inevitable it seems with them). Buffalo will have an interesting OF with Robertson, Barger, Eden, Lukes, Berroa, Roden at some point (expect a bit in AA to start), and probably others. Barger will get time at 3B, but the Jays have pretty much made it clear they want him for RF long term. Lukes & Eden will probably share CF, Robertson in LF, Berroa in RF or Lukes in RF, Berroa in CF with Eden. Wouldn't be shocked to see someone of Lukes/Berroa/Eden used as filler in a trade.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 12:29 PM EST (#442737) #
Robertson hit 10 home runs in August and September, and 9 of them were on the road (so he didn't benefit from the short porch in right-field).  They all occurred between August 16 and September 12 when the season ended.  During that period, he walked 6 times and struck out 20.  

He turned 26 in December. My inclination is that it simply was a hot month.  He is a strong guy, I think, but it's hard to make a living from just hitting for power.  You usually need to do better on one of the other TTOs to have something.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:13 PM EST (#442738) #
Today is Alek Manoah day, for those who celebrate.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:30 PM EST (#442739) #
First inning done for Manoah. Two runs, two hits, two hit batters, a double play and a fly ball. FB was 92-94 mph.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:40 PM EST (#442740) #
All right.  Manoah hits his 3rd batter on a 3-0 pitch leading off the second inning of a 2-2 game.  I'm glad they're giving him an opportunity in spring training, but not looking good so far. 
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:43 PM EST (#442741) #
Might be time to send an inquiring text to Snell and Boras…
rikley - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:47 PM EST (#442742) #
Manoah still very much a work in progress…ugh…
soupman - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:52 PM EST (#442743) #
or big rick
Cracka - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 01:59 PM EST (#442744) #
That couldn't have gone worse for Manoah. 21 balls vs. 17 strikes but it's very ugly. Of the 21 balls, I only counted 5 as being close to the zone. And of the 17 strikes, 4 of those were swinging strikes at pitches clearly out of the zone. So the final math is something like:
- 38 pitches total
- 16 pitches out of zone & not close
- 9 pitches out of zone but close (incl. 4 swinging strikes)
- 7 pitches down the middle (single, foul, foul, foul, out, called, double)
- 6 pitches in the strike zone, but not down the middle.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 02:00 PM EST (#442745) #
He hasn't pitched much for nine months so I will give him a mulligan for today.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 02:35 PM EST (#442746) #
Home run Alan Roden.
christaylor - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 02:38 PM EST (#442747) #
Worth talking to Boras, but with the payroll parameters and the luxury tax they likely won't.

It's not just Manoah. Any one of their starters (except many Gausman) could throw up a clunker of a season or get hurt (probably Gausman). There is not just enough depth there in the rotation.

It'll be frustrating if the offense puts it together with the starting staff falling flat.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 02:40 PM EST (#442748) #
A quick reminder - it is spring.  Heck, it isn't even March yet. So some past spring stats to remind us of how spring isn't the regular season.  The Baseball Cube has the spring stats from 2006 to 2023.  Links are to TBC so you can see their lifetime spring stats.
  • Roy Halladay: for 2006-the end he had a 3.42 ERA in spring vs 3.38 in the majors
  • Gustavo Chacin had a great 2005, spring 2006 2.45 ERA, 5.05 ERA when the bell rang though.
  • Aaron Sanchez in 2015 had a spring ERA of 5.16 but 3.22 in the majors (92 1/3 IP) and won the ERA title the next year with a 3.00 (after a 1.35 ERA in spring that year).
  • Marco Estrada in 2015 had a spring ERA over 6, giving up 3 HR in 13 2/3 IP. But was solid all year with a 3.13 ERA
  • R.A. Dickey, on the other hand, in 2015 had a spring ERA of 1.50 but 3.91 in the regular season and was not trusted much by the years end.
You can see last springs numbers here. The top 6 hitters had OPS over 1.150 and none got to the majors that year (Orelvis Martinez played the most of that group and over 3 past springs has hit 333/423/778 over 45 AB's).  Danny Jansen had a 527 OPS on the other hand but did a LOT better once the bell rang.  Alek Manoah had a 3.10 ERA so had no signs of what was to come, while Chris Bassitt had a 5.60 ERA making us all a bit nervous about the Jays newest member.  But sometimes it is a clue about what is coming - Yusei Kikuchi had 31 K's in 20 2/3 IP with a sub 1 ERA last spring, the year before a 6.48 ERA before his bad year.

So spring is fun, and we should all just try to enjoy it for what it is. Guys getting ready for the season. A few are fighting hard for jobs, but mostly it is ML'ers trying new things.  We'll see if Manoah's game today was a sign of nightmares to come or just a bad start to the spring.
christaylor - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 02:49 PM EST (#442749) #
I'm all for taking spring in stride, but the starting rotation depth has seemed thin from the close of last season. 2023 seemed as anomalous as the health of the staff in 2016. That'll take a team a long way -- but healthy starting staffs like we've seen twice in the last decade are certainly the rarity and not the norm. The front four all have good track records, but that's been true of other pitchers until they wake up with a dead arm. My fingers are crossed, but we should all be very much bet the under on the number of starts and IP for the top 4 starters.
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 03:16 PM EST (#442750) #
Given how this site was founded basically because of the J.P. Ricciardi hiring and the sabermetric approach he brought in the early years of his tenure, I'm sure most Bauxites would be happy to know he's going to be in the public domain more doing a podcast. If I'm not mistaken, Coach and Gerry did some interviews with him in 2002 during the season which are still available to read if you go back in the archives, as well as one or two with Keith Law. I personally was a big fan of J.P. because he also coached basketball (I do as well) and I thought did a good job as the GM in Toronto in the years where New York and Boston were juggernauts. He also had a lot to do with bringing Cito Gaston back into the Blue Jay fold which symbolically was the proper move, and the team in '08 and '10 actually overachieved with Cito back at the helm.

Hopefully his podcast expands a lot on his years in Toronto because he seems to trot out many of the same stories about his tenure. He's expanded a bit recently on the Shea Hillenbrand/Ted Lilly stuff, but I'd also like to hear about the Ricky Romero/Tulowitzki stuff, why he thought Joe Lawrence would "blossom" as the everyday 2nd baseman. Maybe dish some honesty about what it was like firing a franchise icon like Buck Martinez (after a sweep in Detroit no less). Should be interesting.
Michael - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 03:22 PM EST (#442751) #
On our pitching staff it is worth noting the Jays starters last year - even with Manoah being a terrible pumpkin - were the 3rd best in baseball, and the complete staff of starters and relievers were 4th best. And we haven't lost much from last year given Ryu was a health question mark that did provide value at the end of the year, but we've also added Rodriguez this offseason.

I would want more depth too, and I'd want Manoah to be good and today's start suggests he isn't, but there are few teams in baseball that have as much quality as the Jays on the pitching side.

I mean how many teams do you think are clearly better than the Jays (say you'd pay $150 to win $100 that they'll have a lower staff ERA this season than the Jays)?
christaylor - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 03:43 PM EST (#442752) #
The thing is to get to that ranking they need to repeat a season that is just not the norm anymore. Last spring training the thought was the staff was good not great and not much has changed even with exceptional performance last season.

Rodriguez and Tiedman may be contributors, but all it takes is just money to allow those two pitchers to transition via the bullpen as bulk pitchers or as options for a six-man rotation stretch during the dog days.

I hope to be wrong about the starting rotation regressing to a 2022 level, but I hope the FO is still able to add if the contract terms come together with Snell or Montgomery. The "to add we need to subtract" comment makes me think they're out until the deadline. I wouldn't be surprised if we're watching a bubble team in July that needs to add a bat and an arm. The Jays don't look as if they have the farm system to do that.
Nigel - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 04:05 PM EST (#442753) #
Regression from the starters is highly likely - mostly because the chance of the top 4 starters taking the mound as often as they did last year is highly unlikley.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 05:01 PM EST (#442754) # " Toronto Blue Jays reliever Erik Swanson has left spring training to tend to his 4-year-old son, Toby, who was hit by a car and airlifted to a hospital on Sunday in Clearwater, Florida.  Blue Jays manager John Schneider made the announcement about the boy's injury at the team's complex in nearby Dunedin.  "Thanks to the incredible work from the Clearwater first responders, Toby is on the road to recovery and is surrounded by his family," Schneider said. "
Four Seamer - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 07:34 PM EST (#442755) #
Thanks John for this great walk down memory lane - very interesting to see what the numbers reveal versus what impressions have been retained over almost 50 years. This does call into question my decision as an 8 year old to go out for Hallowe’en as Garth Iorg, but in my defence I had no access to these fancy stats at the time (nor apparently did Bobby Cox or Pat Gillick).
Eephus - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 08:16 PM EST (#442756) #
Time to get something off my chest. I legitimately can’t take this anymore. The playoff futility is whatever, the bad Moreno trade is whatever. But Daniel…. Freaking… Vogelbach… instead of my man Joey V… who is still unsigned and so desperate to play ball he’s gonna mess up your shopping carts people! (Check his IG… if you’ve never been it’s wonderful).

Look. I want to like the Blue Jays. But at this point in time? I can’t. This team angers me: my favourite player of the 21st century, a hometown probable HOFer is just sitting there… and with an angry fan base dismayed at what’s happening you get Vogelbach instead? Come one. Even if Votto is toast (he isn’t ), the PR alone is worth the 4 million it would probably cost to bring him in. But no… let’s spend 14 million on Isiah Kiner-falefa because…. Well I can’t really explain that one.

These people are idiots. Maybe they’re good at building a team and maybe somehow the 2024 Jays win 97 games and go on a run. It’s not implausible. But personally I don’t care. I’m sick of cheering for laundry, and hopefully my fella does sign somewhere and I will cheer for that team wholeheartedly. This stinks. It was right there I front of you! And you had to be obtuse and clever about it. Whatever, goodbye.

(I’ll be back for the divisional previews and then… meh)
soupman - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 08:24 PM EST (#442757) #
Aren't we all hoping Manoah regresses? other than Kikuchi, the other 3 pretty much are who they are. There isn't a lot of room for regression. Aging curve and injury are my larger concerns.
bpoz - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 08:53 PM EST (#442758) #
The season is a marathon with the last 2 weeks deciding the whole season.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 27 2024 @ 11:10 PM EST (#442759) #
Vogelbach is just a AAA deal to see if there is any life there - yeah, he has played too much imo already and looks very washed up even with a walk and a single today - with his 'speed' you need lots of power.  A shame it wasn't televised so we could've seen if it was a solid single, a double for a normal runner, or a bloop.

Is Votto still solid?  Maybe.  I suspect the Jays looked at him but decided they wanted Turner instead as he can play 3B/1B  now and then.  Votto can play 1B, but his defense has fallen a lot in recent years and isn't likely to be any better in 2024.  He could hit with luck but again, at 40 odds are against it.  He'd outhit IKF, but that isn't the standard.  If I was to bring in a LH DH/1B I'd go for Belt first. 
christaylor - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 12:10 AM EST (#442760) #
What an odd hill for Jays fandom die on. Votto would be fine if he took a minor league deal. Nice narrative but I don't think he moves the needle or even makes the team (neither does DV).

I don't understand the "just cheering for laundry" mindset in any sports context. Maybe it's just me moving to another major league city with a more successful team, why wouldn't I just switch to the nicer cleaner better set of laundry.

We all have our own way to baseball fandom and no matter how frustrating or quite frankly lousy the Jays are in the present but my attachment (like all psych attachments) was formed early. I've seen plenty of good/great/bad baseball played by the org. Like the ship of Theseus the players/management may change but it is still the same team, my team the one I grew up with and saw win from my first memories of baseball through two World Series. Not laundry, but a connection to home, childhood, and continuing tradition.

Ducey - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 12:20 AM EST (#442761) #
I am quite confident that any of Horwitz, Biggio and Schneider can out-hit Votto at this point. Heck Lukes and Latigua likely can too.

I'm not interested in signing him to watch him struggle against father time.

bpoz - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 06:12 AM EST (#442762) #
Nolan Arenado believes (is convinced) that the St Louis team last year was too young. I read this in an article. He could be right. There is a learning curve.

The Jays are certainly not old but young still. D Schneider has just 2 months of ML experience. None for Orelvis, Barger, Jimenez, Palmegiani and Roden. Horowich has some experience but is still ML inexperienced. This is another wrinkle in the puzzle.

I am looking forward to the season.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 07:32 AM EST (#442763) #
I agree about Votto not being signed being a tough reason to tune out this team. Where I differ though is I think he's got power left in the tank, more than Vogelbach and more than Belt. I assume he would have signed here already if he was interested in fighting for a spot in spring training. Likely saw that as beneath him and now he's on the sidelines waiting for a team to give him a starting job.

With a full season I predict .230 average with 30+ bombs from Votto. Depending on who Vlad is that may be better or worse for better or worse.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 08:15 AM EST (#442764) #
David Laurilia has a fine interview with Jackson Holliday over at fangraphs.  He sounds like a batting champ in waiting to me, and I am reminded of Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly sitting down with Ted Williams.  I realize that's a lot to put on a 20 year old.
Paul D - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 09:25 AM EST (#442765) #
I think the big difference between Vogelbach and Votto is that it's a lot easier to cut Vogelbach than it is Votto.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 09:47 AM EST (#442766) #
"I think the big difference between Vogelbach and Votto is that it's a lot easier to cut Vogelbach than it is Votto."

100% and two more reasons. It's a lot easier to get Vogelbach to join on a minor league deal.

The third reason? His "Elite" clubhouse presence.
Glevin - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 09:51 AM EST (#442767) #
I love Votto but don't see why anyone would sign him. Good teams can do way better and bad teams should take a chance on someone with upside.

Last 2 years WRC+ Vs RHP:
Votto-85, 89
Vogelbach-119, 148

Ryan Day - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 10:10 AM EST (#442768) #
mostly because the chance of the top 4 starters taking the mound as often as they did last year is highly unlikley.

Not sure this is true - the Jays have assembled a very durable collection of arms. Games started over the last 4 non-COVID season:
  • Gausman: 31,31,33,17
  • Berrios: 32, 32, 32, 32
  • Bassitt: 33, 30, 27, 25
  • Kikuchi: 32, 20, 29, 32
Obviously any pitcher can get hurt at any time, but 2023 wasn't an outlier for the Jays' staff.
bpoz - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 10:47 AM EST (#442769) #
So far Springer, Gausman and Berrios have not played in any ST games. Biggio is injured so I understand his inactivity.
99BlueJaysWay - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 11:33 AM EST (#442770) #
A little late, but I have the feeling that Chapman doesn’t want to return.
He’s a much more intense person than many of the other Jays. Perhaps the Angels incident with Schneider wasn’t an isolated one, or perhaps he he was not happy with how the Jays were run more broadly.

I’m obviously speculating. Maybe I’m way off, but I feel like it’s more than just money separating him from signing here
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 11:34 AM EST (#442771) #
To be honest, I'm a "cheering for laundry" type of fan. I've been a fan of the Leafs for over 50 years through thick and thin, ( mostly thin) and the Jays since their inception. I've certainly had favorite players, but once they leave the team, they're dead to me. I wish them well and if they're in the playoffs and not playing against the Jays ( and not on hated teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers), I'll cheer for their teams.

As for Votto, I think your heart is overriding your head, Eephus. It would be a great story for one of the greatest Canadian players of all time to come to Toronto and lead them to a division title, or at least the playoffs. He could be a power bat and hit 30 home runs, but there's a better than average chance he could get injured early or sometime during the season and contribute little or nothing. The Jays rightly decided not to take that chance because they are in a win-now mode, and so far the rest of the MLB teams have decided that, too. Best of luck to Joey if he does land someplace though.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 12:32 PM EST (#442772) #
I do a mix - I cheer the Jays no matter what as then it'll be so much better whenever they win. 1992/1993 was great thanks to the buildup over years before. Cheering on individual players is fun too - Jay Jackson I really hope does well, many Canadians I'll cheer on too. Sometimes I go for guys who are weird (cheered on Randy Johnson when he was just a wild guy in the Expos minors), if they throw a knuckleball (always fun - I was so excited when Phil Neikro was a Jay short term, even was at his game in Exhibition Stadium) or sidearm/submarine style (loved Dan Quisenberry and Mark Eichhorn in the 80's). I miss characters like Oil Can Boyd - he was a lot of fun to watch play on TV, sadly never got to see him pitch live.

I feel sorry for fans who can't enjoy the weird ones in MLB. Baseball has more range than most sports. What other sport could a guy under 4' tall play in, even for 1 game, while also having a guy 6'10" in the game. Where you can have a guy like Kirk make an all-star team (5'8" 245 lbs officially).
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 12:59 PM EST (#442773) #
I'll do a little study using Stathead to see what reasonable expectations for the number of starts to expect from the top 4 starters.  I will use their total number of starts during 2021-23 (avoiding the COVID year) and look for pitchers who had made at least that number of starts (in Gausman's case I might need to used one or two less total to get any number of comparables).  I will then use an ERA+ range, with at the bottom the higher of their average ERA+ over the last 3 years and their ERA+ last year, and at the top 10 points higher than the bottom.  I will then take the 10 pitchers with the highest ERA+, and see how many starts they made the following year.  So Gausman was 32 last year, he's made 95 starts over the last 3 years and had an average ERA+ of 132 over the 3 years and 134 last year, so I'll use 134<ERA+< 144 and 95+ starts during the period from age 30-32.  So, what do people think the average number of starts Gausman's comps will made at age 33?
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:20 PM EST (#442774) #

So, I ran the comps for Gausman and got Gerrit Cole (who is the same age as Gausman), Jon Lester, Roy Halladay and John Tudor.  If I lowered the bottom no. of starts to 94, I got Cliff Lee and Curt Schilling additionally.   Lowering the minimum no. of starts to 93, left us with the same 6 pitchers, and five usable ones because we don't have data on Cole yet.  So let's go with those 5.  Curt Schilling made 29 starts in his age 33 year, Jon Lester made 32 starts, Cliff Lee made 30 starts, Roy Halladay made 33 starts and John Tudor made 16.  On average, they made 28 starts.  ZiPS projects Gausman to make 29 starts. 

What about Berrios?

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:22 PM EST (#442775) #
So, I ran the comps for Gausman and got Gerrit Cole (who is the same age as Gausman), Jon Lester, Roy Halladay and John Tudor.  If I lowered the bottom no. of starts to 94, I got Cliff Lee and Curt Schilling additionally.   Lowering the minimum no. of starts to 93, left us with the same 6 pitchers, and five usable ones because we don't have data on Cole yet.  So let's go with those 5.  Curt Schilling made 29 starts in his age 33 year, Jon Lester made 32 starts, Cliff Lee made 30 starts, Roy Halladay made 33 starts and John Tudor made 16.  On average, they made 28 starts.  ZiPS projects Gausman to make 29 starts. 

What about Berrios?
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:31 PM EST (#442776) #
The top 10 ERA+ comps for Berrios (using 116<ERA+<126) with 94+ starts between age 30 and 32 were Steve Rogers, Dave Stieb, Jack Morris, Adam Wainwright, Bruce Hurst, Mike Morgan, James Shields, Bob Tewksbury, Roy Oswalt and Javier Vazquez.  Somehow, I expect that the average number of starts is going to be less than 28.  Let's see.  The numbers are 36, 9, 34, 4, 31, 32, 33, 24, 23, and 26.  The average is 25 starts.  ZiPS projects him to pitch 30 starts. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:40 PM EST (#442777) #
Chris Bassitt made 90 starts between age 32 and 34 with an ERA+ of 120. There were 7 age comps with at least 90 starts and an ERA+ between 120 and 130.  Those 7 are Tom Candiotti, Jon Lester, Zack Greinke, Mike Mussina, Jerry Reuss, Ted Lilly and Lary Gura.  At age 35, they made 30, 31, 33, 27, 15, 33 and 31 starts.  The average is 28.5 starts.  And lastly Kikuchi.  
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:54 PM EST (#442778) #
ZiPS projects Bassit for 28 starts.  

Kikuchi is the tough one.  In the last 3 years, he has made 81 starts with an ERA+ of 94, and 110 last year.  I am going to use 100-110 ERA+ and 81 starts as a minimum.  These are pitchers who on average were better and more durable than Kikuchi from age 30-32.  The top 10 ERA+ pitchers were Rick Honeycutt, Pedro Astacio, Dave Burba, Bartolo Colon, Kenny Rogers, Mike Flanagan, Danny Jackson, Eric Show, Rick Rhoden and Elmer Dessens.  They made 24, 31, 32, 10 (Bartolo Colon, irony), 34, 15, 19,16, 34, and 10 starts.  They averaged 22.5 starts. ZiPS projects him for 26 starts, which I think is high.  

In total, ZiPS projects 114 starts for the top 4 starters and my study would suggest a figure 5-10 less.  Either way, they are very likely going to get fewer starts from the top 4.
Gerry - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 02:47 PM EST (#442779) #
Davis Schneider is off to a tough start. No spring hits yet and three strikeouts so far today.

Devereaux Harrison and Mason Fluharty both looked good today.
christaylor - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 02:50 PM EST (#442780) #
Thanks for doing this, Mike... informative comps.

In the "it's way too early to know" file. Today Schneider looked as hopeless against the fastball up and above the zone as he did in September. Still time, but he really did not look good in his last AB.
Ducey - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 03:14 PM EST (#442781) #
Groshans on waivers again.

The Jays sure won that trade.

Groshans for Bass, Zach Pop, and Edward Duran, a 19 yr old C who hit 315/422/417 over 2 levels last year.
Eephus - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 03:35 PM EST (#442782) #
I suspected few would be onboard with my "Votto or bust" stance haha, and to be perfectly honest I totally understand the sense in why the Jays went this route. I don't have to like it whatsoever, no sir or madam, but I get it in a very milquetoast kind of way. Vogelbach could be awesome, he's a likable type of player. He could also be released by May 3rd. It is what it is. 

It's hard to describe my Blue Jays fandom as "dead", but an indefinite hiatus seems to be the best way of saying it. I still like the team, will likely still check in occasionally to quietly root for certain players... but I just can't get into all of it at the moment.  This is as much my problem as it is the team's (although pointing fingers that their sad non-moves is surely a nice release value).

Baseball is awesome and I'll still be around to comment or write about whatever interests me, even if the home 9 is far from that. To quote the great poet Moe Szyslak: I'm a well wisher, in that I don't wish them any specific harm. Play ball, everyone. 
scottt - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 05:29 PM EST (#442783) #
I've read that Swanson's son was hit by a valet driving a Ford Expedition at a nearby resort.

That's the type of stuff that should never happen.

Hopefully he recovers completely.
In the meanwhile, that probably creates a bullpen spot which doesn't have to be high leverage.

scottt - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 05:38 PM EST (#442784) #
Right now it's sort of a race between Schneider who is looking for his first hit, Espinal who is now batting .167 and Biggio who isn't healthy enough to play.

scottt - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 05:40 PM EST (#442785) #
I don't see a path for Votto to play anywhere if he doesn't accept a minor league deal.
Nigel - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 06:18 PM EST (#442786) #
I accept that the Jays have collected starters with a history of durability. In fact, on the day of the Berrios trade I gave the trade a thumbs up primarily because of his history of durability (I got that part right) and his extraordinary consistency in delivering above average innings (I got that part very wrong). I'm not a huge fan of the Bassitt contract but if it has value its in his durability. However, even with their history of durability the fact that the top 4 starters essentially made every one of their scheduled starts last year was an historically lucky event. Even durable starters miss starts here and there. Having to find 10-15 starts this year from someone to fill in for the top 4 starters doesn't seem unlikley to me.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 06:25 PM EST (#442787) #
Do we really need to debate whether or not a 4 man rotation is enough to get through a season...? The history speaks for itself and small sample sizes does not that that.
uglyone - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 08:38 PM EST (#442788) #

Madison Swanson, Erik Swanson’s wife, shared an update on IG that their son, Toby, who was hit by a car last weekend, is out of the paediatric intensive care unit. She wrote, “we are continuing to take it day by day.” #BlueJays

— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) February 29, 2024
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 09:42 PM EST (#442789) #
Something odd hit me the other day:
Travis Snider
 Davis Schneider

Hopefully the latter will have a better fate than the former in Hogtown..
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 08:07 AM EST (#442790) #
Travis Snider, Davis Schneider, and Cory Snyder.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 09:34 AM EST (#442791) #
MLB network will profile the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at 4 PM Eastern.  (Part of the series 30 clubs in 15 days.)
lexomatic - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 11:32 AM EST (#442792) #
<br>Travis Snider
Davis Schneider

One was young and rushed, the other is not. There may be different reasons for not making it, but I'm less worried about Schneider having a few useful seasons.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 11:58 AM EST (#442793) #
" MLB network will profile the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at 4 PM Eastern."

They can just rerun last year's profile and at the end say, " Chapman, Merrifield and Belt are gone, IKF and Turner are in, and expectations will remain the same. Similar to last year, Manoah will struggle, hitters won't produce with runners in scoring position, and John Schneider will use analytics to mismanage. Ross Atkins is excited by the upcoming season and says the team has never been in a better position to succeed."
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 12:22 PM EST (#442794) #
Springer and Kiermaier make their debuts today.  IKF gets the start at shortstop- if they leave him at third base and occasionally filling in at shortstop, that would be a good sign in the player usage department. 

For what it's worth, the order of projected performance by ERA+ by ZiPS for the starting options: Gausman 124, Bassitt, 112, Berrios 105, Tiedemann 105, Francis 100, Kikuchi 98, Manoah 96, White 94.   I missed this while on holiday, but apparently the Blue Jays are building up Francis for use as a starter, according to Keegan Matheson.  It should also be noted that none of the performances of the bottom 3 would be bad for a 5th starter.  This is a very good year for the manager to take a very close look at all of the options in spring training for the 4 and 5 slots in the rotation without a pre-ordained idea, and ignore the general manager's unwise comments on the point (Manoah has a leg up...).
Ducey - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 12:23 PM EST (#442795) #
If they were really honest, they would say on the season preview:

"Even though we make our living talking about baseball, and see ourselves as experts, we really dont know anything. We said Manoah was an ace going into last year, we said the Boras four were gonna get big bucks, we did not pick the Rangers to win the World Series, we called Ohtani to Toronto, we continually list prospects in the top 100 in the game only to see them bust and guys we never hyped make it. If we really knew that much we would be an actual successful GM or zillionaires from betting correctly on outcomes."
Magpie - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 01:25 PM EST (#442796) #
"Even though we make our living talking about baseball, and see ourselves as experts, we really dont know anything."

Nobody knows anything.
bpoz - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 01:32 PM EST (#442797) #
Kirk missed part of ST last year. That may have affected his season negatively. I don't know of any studies that give weight to this. If so then Biggio (injured) and Chapman (unsigned) may be affected the same way.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#442798) #
Nobody knows anything

Epistemology made easy.  Thanks!
uglyone - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 02:17 PM EST (#442799) #

Héctor Gómez
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: "I have no grudge against the Blue Jays, despite the tense negotiations I had with the team during the salary arbitration. It's just business. I would like to be a Blue Jay for the rest of my career, but the team has not made me an offer", per
John Northey - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 03:11 PM EST (#442800) #
Makes sense - Hard to price Vlad right now. He could be a star (150 OPS+), a solid 1B (120-140 OPS with gold glove defense), or a poor DH/1B (sub 120 OPS+ ugly defense). All are possible still, but star is dropping fast. I think he can/should be a solid one for a 5-10 year stretch thus worth a $200 mil deal, but would I risk that right now? Probably not. If he has a star year he could demand $300+ mil. This past winter though has messed up expectations I suspect with real stars getting their money (Ohtani) while sometimes stars are fighting for a job after thinking they'd get the mega bucks (Snell, Chapman).
greenfrog - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 03:12 PM EST (#442801) #
Bo and Vladdy — they gone.
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 03:21 PM EST (#442802) #
I have no issues if these guys are traded for HAULS and ownership signs stars in free agency. I am okay with management pivoting to other players to build around.

Letting them walk for nothing is unacceptable.

Trading them and bringing the payroll down massively is also borderline unacceptable.

* what is acceptable based on perspective of baseball fan with little to no "skin in the game."
Glevin - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 03:58 PM EST (#442803) #
Very hard to see how you sign Vlad long-term. Maybe the hardest player in the majors to value and the gap between how he values himself and how team values him is likely enormous. Non-elite 1Bman, just don't get paid. In the last 5 years, there's been exactly 1 1Bman who got a big contract and that is Freddie Freeman who was (and is) a consistently elite hitter. It feels like any contract would contain too much risk for one side or the other.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 03:59 PM EST (#442804) #
Trivia question for today.  Which third baseman had the highest single-season bWAR total, and in what year? 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 04:12 PM EST (#442805) #
All right.  No guesses so far, so a little more information might help.  There have been 11 seasons by third basemen with 9+ bWAR, and one player did it twice (not who I would have guessed).  The seasons were in the 1910s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s (2), 1980s (2) and 2000s (4). 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 04:21 PM EST (#442806) #
Counting down the top 11- #11- Darrell Evans 1973. 
Michael - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 04:22 PM EST (#442807) #
A-Rod for one (or more?) of the 2000s/2010s for the Yankee years. The classic 3b choices would be Boggs, Brett, Schmidt. Then I'm not sure. Chipper? Rolen? Beltre?
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 04:24 PM EST (#442808) #
Well done, Michael.  You've identified the player who did it twice- A-Rod for the Yankees twice in 2005 and 2007.  Boggs, Brett, Schmidt, Rolen and Beltre all did it once.  But none of them have the most. 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 04:32 PM EST (#442809) #
A further hint.  Our man only saw 22 birthdays. 
Mike Green - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 04:44 PM EST (#442810) #
The answer is Al Rosen, 1953, born on this day 100 years ago and who lived to 91 years old. 
electric carrot - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 06:34 PM EST (#442811) #
If I am the GM I sign Vlad long term tomorrow. I think his value is as low as it will be for a while.
Ducey - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 08:01 PM EST (#442812) #
With Vlad I think of Prince Fielder. Signed to a big contract (9 yrs, $214M), out of baseball at age 33. Got paid four more years x $24 M a season.

He had to retire due to neck problems but he was never exactly in shape. Who knows if there was a correlation.
John Northey - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 09:31 PM EST (#442813) #
Freeman and Olson - his replacement in Atlanta. Olson signed for 8 years $168 mil for 2022-2029 plus a 2030 club option ($20 mil). He was entering his age 28 season and hadn't played an inning for Atlanta yet (was traded for after Atlanta decided Freeman was asking for too much). So it covers age 28-35 + 36* for $22 mil per year. He had 18.3 bWAR in Oakland over 3 full seasons, 2020, and 2 partials (5.0 bWAR per 650 PA). In Atlanta he has 10.8 over 2 years (a 4.9 per 650 pace - he hasn't missed a single game). Basically unless he is hit by a bus that deal has really worked out well for Atlanta. I don't recognize the names he was traded for either (Ryan Cusick, Joey Estes, Shea Langeliers, Cristian Pache) but given they play in Oakland who would've heard of them?

I could see the Jays doing a deal like that for Vlad fairly easily - $22 mil per for 8 years. Sadly Vlad will want at least $200 mil total. Of course his dad in his HOF career made 'only' $125.5 mil so an Olsen contract would give him bragging rights regardless (Vlad after this year will be over $40 mil career wise so another $168 would get him over $200 lifetime). It all depends on what he wants and how he does this year. A year like 2021 and $200 mil won't be enough, a year like 2022 and the $168 mil is reasonable, a year like 2023 and a 9 figure contract ain't happening. This is a critical year for his career no doubt. Hopefully he makes the $200 mil look too small.

Bo I could easily see getting $250+ mil given his steadiness (OPS+ ranging from 121-128 plus a 144 as a rookie), his health the past 3 years (just that one IL stint iirc), and just generally being the type of guy you want on a team. Of course, he'll be entering his age 28 season so a 10 year contract would be silly (few SS make it to 37, fewer stay productive to that age) but it takes just one fool to make it happen (ask A-Rod 2001 when Texas bid against themselves).

The smart move right now is to let the 2 of them play it out. You won't do better on the free agent market right now for a better price/lower risk. If they both walk, so be it. But by then you hopefully have a few prospects ready to step in. If the team falls out of contention then you can look at trading them but odds are if the team flops they have flopped too.
SK in NJ - Thursday, February 29 2024 @ 11:45 PM EST (#442814) #
I would have been fine with trading Bichette this winter (for multiple young pieces), and then maybe making a separate deal for someone like Adames to keep the team competitive in 2024. Whether that was realistic is another story, but some creativity in order to keep the option of long-term contention open would have probably been the right call over what actually happened. Trading Vlad this winter would have been selling low and not the best idea unless a team was willing to pay for his potential rather than his current value.

I suspect the most likely outcome is the Jays losing one or both Bo and Vlad after 2025 for comp picks, unless things really fall off the rails in 2024 and they sell at the deadline (unlikely but I guess possible).
ISLAND BOY - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 11:37 AM EST (#442815) #
Did anyone see Mitch White pitch in yesterday's game? He had two shutout innings but he didn't impress me. He has good stuff but his control was off (3 walks) and he seemed weirdly off balance after he threw some of his pitches. I don't know what the Jays are going to do with him since he has no options left. He may improve before the end of spring training, but I just don't like watching him pitch.
Marc Hulet - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 11:47 AM EST (#442816) #
I assume White will either make the club as the long man/innings eater in blowouts
... or will be traded late in the spring to a small market team in the market for low dollar wildcard they can stick in the No. 5 hole of a starting rotation... like Pittsburgh. The downside is that Atkins has been terrible at getting any kind of value for those types of players and usually just waives them or takes cash... whereas the really good orgs like LA or TB always seem to get an interesting lottery ticket from the DSL or Rookie ball.
Ducey - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 11:58 AM EST (#442817) #
Sportsnet has a story up about how White was throwing 98 mph yesterday.

Thats pretty good for early in spring training.

As people like to point out around here they are going to need some depth in case of SP injury.

Seems like White might be the best choice to reprise the Ross Stripling swingman role from a few years ago. The only other "long man" is Francis but he can be optioned and it would be best to have at least two of these guys on hand.
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 12:09 PM EST (#442818) #
Olson signed for 8 years $168 mil for 2022-2029 plus a 2030 club option ($20 mil)...I could see the Jays doing a deal like that for Vlad fairly easily - $22 mil per for 8 years.

In the 3 years prior to the contract, Olson amassed 12 bWAR and 10 fWAR (despite one of those years being the pandemic-shortened year).  He was entering his age 28 year, and was coming off an excellent year.  Unsurprisingly, he has delivered 10.8 bWAR (9.9 fWAR) in the first 2 years of his contract.  Vlad has amassed 12 bWAR and 10 fWAR in the last 3 full years, with the two most recent being duds.  He is younger, but I would say that Olson was a much better bet at that $ value. 

Anthopoulos let Freeman walk and chose a more reasonable and very good option.  There's a lesson there, and sadly VGJ is not Freddie Freeman.  I did not realize that Freeman has been a superior baserunner the last 2 years.  He's definitely been channeling Randy Newman. 
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442819) #
The problem is that Stripling had been a good pitcher overall to that point (with a career ERA+ of 108), whereas White has a career ERA+ of 82.  He might throw 98, but if he can't control it, you ideally want him in the minors and if not, in ultra-low-leverage situations.  It's hard to do that when you are trying to compete this year. 
Ducey - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 12:31 PM EST (#442820) #
I dont know Mike.

Stripling was pretty bad for a spell:
2020 with LAD ERA + 78
2020 with TOR (in 5 games) ERA+ 71
2021 ERA+ 93

Then went ERA+ 128 in 2022, before turning back into a pumpkin last year (ERA+ 79).

White was +116 in 2021 with LAD and +109 in 2022 then cratered with TOR. If you read the story I mentioned, injury etc was a factor apparently. He has never thrown 98 before. He unlocked something last year in AAA when demoted. He had an ERA of 1.89 in his last 7 starts.

You can discount him based on what we have seen, or look at the fact he was a top 100 prospect who had some success, who now seems to have made some real advances.
uglyone - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 12:46 PM EST (#442821) #
Love having management that prefers to overpay 35yr olds instead of 25yr olds.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 12:59 PM EST (#442822) #
Vladdy would never sign 8/168M. He's going to make a higher AAV than that next year.
bpoz - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:00 PM EST (#442823) #
Regarding who will make the team or not make it. IMO it is too early. A decision has to be made on Mitch White because he has no options left. Francis is healthy and would be needed if an injury happens. So far he has not shown that he is head and shoulders above the top 5 SPs. Tiedemann injured. Y Rodriguez is being evaluated, but probably has an inning limit. He could make the team. I don't think Chad Dallas is in the mix at this time.

Of the position players maybe Orelvis and Barger have a chance to make the Opening day roster. If so they will claim a regular spot.
Mike Green - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:06 PM EST (#442824) #
Up to 2020, Stripling had a cumulative ERA+ of 108, despite his terrible 49 innings in the pandemic year.  In 2021, he had an ERA+ of 93.  That's the profile of a fine swingman. 
scottt - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:27 PM EST (#442825) #
Blue Jays extensions haven't exactly been success stories.
Well, Rios, Romero and the like...

Teams don't trade star players to get "a haul" back. They trade them because they don't want to pay them. Chapman and Donaldson were available because they had good years before hitting arbitration, but the cost doesn't seem that high now. It's a lot like the return for Halladay.

Soto was traded entering arbitration because he turned down something like 440M.
King and Vasquez look like they might both make the Padres rotation. Higashioka is their back up catcher. Brito looks set to start at AAA and Thorpe at AA.

The Jays will give QOs to Bichette and Guerrero and then look at signing them back. That's what team with money do. It's going to be interesting to see what kind of market these two will have, but that's 2 years ahead.

uglyone - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:37 PM EST (#442826) #

Wonderful news from #Bluejays - Erik Swanson has rejoined the team. That means 4-year-old Toby's condition continues to improve after being hit by an SUV on Clearwater Beach on Sunday.

— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness) March 1, 2024
85bluejay - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:39 PM EST (#442827) #
I think the Jays would sign Vladdy for 8/168 but I expect both Vladdy & Bo value themselves differently, more likely in the 300m plus range, so I expect the Jays to move on.
greenfrog - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:43 PM EST (#442828) #
What happens is Vladdy has a 4+ WAR season in 2024 and then wants $350m+ for a long-term extension? It will be interesting to see what the front office does in that situation.
greenfrog - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 01:49 PM EST (#442829) #
* if not is
John Northey - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 03:01 PM EST (#442830) #
Yeah, Vlad's free agency in 2 years will be very interesting to watch. If he has 2 years of roughly 5 WAR each, he'll be looking at a $300 mil deal I suspect.  2 years of 1-2 WAR and he'll be lucky to get a multi-year deal over $20 mil per.  But 2 years of 3 or 4 WAR?  Ah, there is the tough one. Especially if his underlying numbers continue to be strong (exit velocity, xwOBA, etc.)

Bo will be more expensive most likely - shortstops who have a 120 OPS+ expectation don't grow on trees after all. He'll be getting starting offers at $250 mil and going up to $350 mil I suspect (assuming he stays consistent & healthy).  Wouldn't be shocked if he ends up at 2B sooner rather than later if he goes elsewhere ala Xander Bogaerts & Marcum Semien but like those 2 retains value.  If the Jays go hard after Ha-Seong Kim next winter then we know Bo isn't long for Toronto (could sign him to be at 3B year one, SS after that).  If Arjun Nimmala has a killer year though then things get more interesting as he is seen as a super-prospect type who could climb very fast despite just entering his age 18 season this year.  How the Jays handle him this year will be very interesting to see.  I don't see anyone as a clear Vlad replacement possibility right now - guy with tons of power - as the most power seems to be Orelvis Martinez who is likely at 2B sometime this year given the playing time he has been getting so far this spring (11 PA, the most on the Jays, tied with Spencer Horwitz but neither is doing much with it - Orelvis with a 686 OPS, Horwitz 364.  3 other kids with lots of play time are Steward Berroa (300 OPS), Cam Eden (200 OPS), and Will Robertson (744 OPS) - all with 10 PA apiece (more than any guy who will be on the opening day roster).  IMO playing time is a strong indicator of how the team is thinking right now so those 5 kids are all being looked at closely, not so much for opening day but for later in the season or even next season. I suspect the Jays braintrust might have some debates on each to see how valuable they actually are.  Many kids in spring get, at most, 30-40 PA so having 10 before March hits is noteworthy.  Last spring the most for a guy who didn't get a shot in the majors was Addison Barger at 37.  Nathan Lukes who did make the team had 49 PA and a 796 OPS.  Wynton Bernard got 38 PA as the Jays debated him as a backup but he didn't get it (531 OPS in spring, 753 in AAA before being sent to Colorado).  Orelvis Martinez had 25 PA last spring, after 12 and 15 the 2 years before - the Jays clearly are keeping a close eye on him for obvious reasons (dang would that power be nice, but he needs to make better contact) - each of his 3 previous springs he has had over a 1000 OPS but not this one so far.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 03:24 PM EST (#442831) #
Tiedemann threw a side session yesterday. Either way, he shouldn't make the team in April.

White seems like the best option initially.
Brendon Little has looked interesting. There is also Espino.

On the bench, Vogelbach is a bit more interesting than Horwitz because of the power.
It should be possible to get him to pinch hit once a game, provided that he can be productive in that role. I see Escobar as a depth option only. 

scottt - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 03:27 PM EST (#442832) #
Semien had to move to 2B. Is someone going to pencil Bichette as the shortstop for the next 10 years? That doesn't seem likely.
scottt - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 03:30 PM EST (#442833) #
Semien got 7/175M. Boggart got 11 years, but essentially the same 25M/year.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 04:32 PM EST (#442834) #
One great season is still likely to put Vlad in the Cody Bellinger zone - maybe a great player, but not reliable enough for big bucks. Vlad probably needs two great years to earn the mega-contract, along with perhaps a sustained focus on conditioning and fewer mental errors.
dalimon5 - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 05:09 PM EST (#442835) #
"Semien got 7/175M. Boggart got 11 years, but essentially the same 25M/year."

I think we can all see that the free agency off seasons of 2022 and 2023 were anomalies more than anything. There was a good mix of some of the best players entering the market in a long time, teams coming out of pandemic shut down and the biggest spending owner in the history of the game who spent, I think almost half a billion dollars.

This off season seems to be an over-correction but I don't think 10 and 13 year contracts for the top tier free agents is going to happen again. This will likely be reserved for the "Black Swans," like Ohtani and Soto.

To the point...players like Bogaerts won't be getting decade + contracts again...that's gonna be reserved for the Soto's of the world. I don't even think anyone would do an Aaron Judge deal of 10+ years for a player in his 30s.
greenfrog - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 06:42 PM EST (#442836) #
Devers might be a sort-of comp for Bichette and Vladdy. Relatively young cornerstone (but imperfect) player coming off 4.2 and 4.8 fWAR seasons in 2021 and 2022. He received a 11/$331m extension last off-season (including $17.5m in 2023 to avoid arbitration).

My guess is that Bichette would want a bit more than that. Not sure if that number is in Vladdy's sweet spot.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, March 01 2024 @ 07:35 PM EST (#442837) #
Yankees 6 - Blue Jays 2 - 3rd inning.

Daniel Vogelbach takes Gerrit Cole deep, but Anthony Rizzo answers with a grand slam.
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 12:24 AM EST (#442838) #
Chapman to SF. $18M x 3yrs.

That's about as much as IKF + that cuban guy.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 12:24 AM EST (#442839) #
Chapman to Giants for... a lot less than the Jays reportedly offered. Another big "oopsie" on Boras' part...
99BlueJaysWay - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 12:28 AM EST (#442840) #
Or Chapman wanted to be somewhere else
dalimon5 - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:08 AM EST (#442841) #
No, he just had a bad agent. He basically left 66 million on the table by rejecting the Jays offer.
85bluejay - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:24 AM EST (#442842) #
Boras and Chapman obviously misread the market, that happens occasionally - the Jays are said to have offered Chapman 5yrs/100m plus and I am happy he didn't accept - can't expect the Jays to have waited until now for his price to drop and I don't think Chapman would have resigned with the Jays for less than their best offer that Chapman turned down. If Chapman does not opt out after this year then the Giants are the loser because Chapman/Boras would have concluded that Chapman cannot better the 2/34 left on the contract. I think IKF's defence will be just fine so it will likely come down to Chapman's offence vs IKF - of course, I'm hoping that Ernie Clement wins the 3B job - I'm higher on Mr. Clement than most. Going forward it will be interesting to see what becomes of 3B because the potential 3B prospects all seem to be ticketed for other positions - Martinez 2B - Barger RF - Palmegiani 1B - Will be interesting to see who plays 3B in Buffalo.
Gerry - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 06:54 AM EST (#442843) #
Chapman, like Bellinger, has opt outs each year.
scottt - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 07:00 AM EST (#442844) #
He will likely try again without a QO to worry about but Bregman is also a free agent next year.
Players are excited to try the market but they don't even seem to look at what teams have openings for their position.

dalimon5 - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 07:06 AM EST (#442845) #
I also like Clement. He looked very good last year and seems able to handle the bat with a good approach at the plate. What I really like about him is he's a natural SS unlike the rest except Espinal who has lost a lot of his lustre.

Give me Clement, Biggio, Rosario, IKF and Vogelback for the rest of the INF and bench for infield and I'm happy. Move on from Espinal and put Horowitz and Schneider down in AAA to continue development.

Sign Adam Duvall, Tommy Pham or Michael Taylor as 4th OF with 400 ABs.

greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 07:45 AM EST (#442846) #
We don't know what happened with Chapman and the Blue Jays, but this feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for the team (even if Chapman's season after April last year was a major disappointment). The front office basically missed out on all the prime targets this off-season: Ohtani, Yamamoto, Lee, Soto, Bellinger, Chapman.

I'm guessing Chapman would have returned to Toronto at the right price, but that the Blue Jays weren't his first choice. I never got the sense that he loved playing here, and there was that run-in with Schneider after the manager decided to pitch to Ohtani in a key game.
electric carrot - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 10:13 AM EST (#442847) #
Zwwwwiiiannnnnng (that's my sound for Blue Jays dodging a bullet.)

Bye bye Chapman.

I'm not confident in his hitting and his defense at 31 is probably going to wane some more this year. I kind of doubt he'll opt out of any of those years in SF.
Ducey - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 10:26 AM EST (#442848) #
If it turns out to be a 1 yr (he opts out) then Chappy is making less than he would have made on the QO. Or he could have had more than $100M they offered him in the fall.

It will be interesting to see how Boras spins that. It wont be his fault, that's for sure.

We may never know if Chapman wanted to play in TOR. Im guessing it wasn't his preference. He was traded here, and went back to California where he grew up and went to college.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 10:39 AM EST (#442849) #
Even if Chapman opts out after the 2024 season, he is currently benefiting from the opt outs, which protect him in the event of an injury or severe downturn in performance. But there is no question that this contract is for a lot less than commentators predicted he would receive. Good job by the Giants to wait out Chapman and Boras.
Gerry - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 10:40 AM EST (#442850) #
Alek Manoah has a sore shoulder which is very worrying since he complained of shoulder issues last season. He is being bumped back by a day or two.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 10:45 AM EST (#442851) #
That is worrying. My expectations for Manoah this season are pretty much nil. If he provides any value at all, that will be gravy for the team.
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 11:17 AM EST (#442852) #
I'm pretty sure the "shoulder injury" is in his head, which is even worse news than an actual shoulder injury.
soupman - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 11:36 AM EST (#442853) #

“The Giants surrender their second-highest pick in the upcoming draft (#51 overall) and $500K in international signing bonus space to add a player who had declined the QO. The Jays were one of eight teams that paid the luxury tax last season, so their compensation is minimal. They’ll get an extra draft choice after the fourth round, roughly 136th overall.

It’s a bigger penalty for the Giants than it is compensation for Toronto.“
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 12:38 PM EST (#442854) #
Sights I will not miss this year: camera shot of Chapman walking back to the bench after striking out, gazing thoughtfully into the stands, wondering why he swung and missed yet another high fastball.

Sights I will miss: Chapman vacuuming up groundballs and delivering perfect chest high throws to first base. It will be interesting to see how Chapman fares this season. An injury suffered to one of his fingers in the weight room last year hampered him batting and throwing for the last half of the season.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 12:53 PM EST (#442855) #
So if Chapman posts 3.5 WAR and IKF posts 1.5 WAR this year, is everyone happy with the way things worked out?
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:01 PM EST (#442856) #
It's a high payroll for a playoffs bubble team that's for sure.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:08 PM EST (#442857) #
But nice and flexible for after 2025 thanks to short-term contracts. They can then pivot smoothly to a lower payroll for a while.
John Northey - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:09 PM EST (#442858) #
I do find it funny how the media and many fans (including ones here) felt that Chapman's injury 'excuses' his poor performance after April last year, and that he'll be 100% going forward.  He won't be.  Injuries of any kind can and do linger, while a player healing from them is likely expecting 100% performance pre-injury is a poor risk to take.  I wanted Chapman back, but clearly he wanted to go out west.  I am a bit surprised that the Giants were willing to do a 3 year/opt out every year deal with him though.  The raw dollars was a good deal for them, but in the end the Jays got a good deal - $25 mil in salary plus Gunnar Hoglund (minors), Zach Logue, Kevin Smith and Kirby Snead for 7.9 bWAR / 7.7 fWAR and a 136th pick. None of those prospects are working out imo (all 3 who have reached the majors have negative bWAR overall) and Gunnar has 1 game in AA so far (5 IP 3 ER), and 3 in A+ (12 2/3 IP 2 ER) but might still be something despite his 6.99 ERA in A ball (46 1/3 IP) but I wouldn't bet on it.

Looking more and more at it the more I feel OK having lost Chapman despite the likelihood he'd have added 1-2 wins this year (projections ranged from 2.6 fWAR to 4.0 fWAR) but IKF's defense at 3B suggests 1-2 wins from defense there in a full season so if his bat can be just league average he'd be in eyeshot of Chapman, but it won't be.  Trick is to do a good mix-match of him/Turner/Biggio and maybe a decent pinch hitter on the bench ala Daniel Vogelbach  for power or Spencer Horwitz for overall offense.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:16 PM EST (#442859) #
UO, it is not helpful to comment that you are pretty sure an injury is in a player's head.  Even doctors who examine a patient and review imaging results ought to be very careful about comments with this degree of confidence, although they will often arrange for a referral to ascertain if there is a psychological element which can be treated.  But you haven't examined him, and you may or may not be a health care professional, and you haven't reviewed imaging results and...In these circumstances, a person reading your comment can be forgiven if they just see it as a slur against the player, and an uninformed one at that.

Sarah Polley's book, Running Towards The Danger, contains a compelling story of a compassionate doctor who deals with injury with an element of anxiety that prevents a return to work/performance.  Recommended.  (I rush to add that I have no idea whether this is a factor with Alek Manoah). 

uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:25 PM EST (#442860) #
Team was pretty clear that they found zero shoulder issue when he complained about it last year.

John Northey - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:34 PM EST (#442861) #
While the team said that I recall in the early 90's the team saying they couldn't find anything wrong with Kelly Gruber, but he insisted he was in a lot of pain.  Then a few years later he finally found the problem and got it fixed but by then his career was over (it was a neck issue - forget what it was exactly).  The human body is a mystery especially when you push it to the limits as pro athletes do. It'd be a lot easier if they could find the problem and fix it, but there is just so much digging one can do.

Might be time for the Jays to look seriously at a plan B and chase down the 2 big pitching free agents left (Snell and Montgomery).  Jordan Montgomery is nice as he has no QO attached and is a lot more likely than Snell to give you 30 starts.  Snell's plus is he is a Cy Young winner with crazy top level talent but is injury prone and won't give you 6+ IP on a regular basis.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:44 PM EST (#442862) #
It would be helpful to grab one of those lefties. Having another quality SP would be handy not only this season but in 2025 as well.
85bluejay - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:48 PM EST (#442863) #
Manoah's injury represents an excellent opportunity for the likes of Mitch White, Bowden Francis and others to grab a rotation spot - I'm hoping that White wins the 5th spot to open the season.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:52 PM EST (#442864) #
The comment from Atkins last year appears to have been "that it was not structural in nature".  UO, I cannot imagine that you have any degree of confidence from something ambiguous Atkins said last year about what Manoah's situation is now. 

I might add that the combined messaging from Atkins is very unhelpful.  "Manoah performed poorly last year and got treatment in September that our doctors didn't recommend, but we think he has a leg up on a rotation spot before he throws a pitch in spring training." 
christaylor - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 01:58 PM EST (#442865) #
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

A sore shoulders / dead arms are relatively common in ST if he does start in a couple of days it's likely just that sort of thing. Manoah 2023 versus Halladay in 2000 in an interesting comparable given just public information. Halladay did the work and showed no ego by going down to rebuild himself and his delivery. At the very least we know Manoah is reluctant/resistant to taking that road.

I'm happy that Chapman is not coming back and wish him all the success in SF. He's a bad fit for the team. If IKF is a 1.5 WAR player that's OK. I'm hoping a younger player runs with the job or failing that several get extended looks.

If either of Boras' pitchers want the same deal, the Jays should jump (but likely won't).
85bluejay - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 02:00 PM EST (#442866) #
If a player says he's injured I tend to believe player even if doctors or test cannot define injury - I remember decades ago when J.R. Richards (Houston Astros) complained about his arm and it was given short-shift by the team/media/fans - Then he collapsed with a stroke (blood clot in neck) that I think ended his outstanding career.
dalimon5 - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 02:18 PM EST (#442867) #
"So if Chapman posts 3.5 WAR and IKF posts 1.5 WAR this year, is everyone happy with the way things worked out?"

If 3.0 or more of the total 3.5 WAR is from defense only (as was the case last year) then YES.

When Chapman is not useless offensively his rating is at least a 4 WAR if not a 5 WAR or 6 WAR.
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 02:29 PM EST (#442868) #
That doesn't sound ambiguous to me, Mike, tbh.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 02:52 PM EST (#442869) #
"Structural in nature" can refer to the structures of the shoulder and will refer to what can be detected on usual imaging.  For instance, to take an extreme example, a person might have pain in the shoulder from incipient cancer effecting the bone marrow.  Which cannot be seen on the usual imaging for a shoulder condition.  Or more commonly, a soft tissue condition that is not detected on the imaging that is done.  I have seen a doctor write on a report "the patient's pain does not appear to be structural in nature but I have no doubt that they are experiencing it  [from the objective clinical findings, or for some other reason]"
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 02:57 PM EST (#442870) #
I don't think it's out of bounds, based on the evidence, that his issues are more mental than physical.
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 02:58 PM EST (#442871) #
I also think it's an important thing to consider.
krose - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:00 PM EST (#442872) #
Bowden Francis had a good looking repertoire today. Buck really likes him. After today’s outing he might be in the lead for the #5 spot in the rotation.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:06 PM EST (#442873) #
Mental health issues are real.  And understandable.  But of all the things to make suppositions about from a far, far distance,  mental health is just about the last thing you want to be doing that for. 
uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:10 PM EST (#442874) #
But it's not even necessarily about "mental health".

Looking for an excuse when you can't do what you want to do out there is just a natural response.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:18 PM EST (#442875) #
Well, we differ about that.  I am pretty sure that Manoah wants to pitch.  He may or may not have issues of confidence or fear or anxiety, but it would be extremely unusual for a young pitcher in the major leagues to not want to get out on the mound. It's a long way from going into the mines or something.  
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:21 PM EST (#442876) #
Manoah hit the L.A. Angels player, Taylor Ward, with a pitch to the face. There may be some lasting effect that disturbs him. A psychological block. The former Atlanta pitcher Mark Wohlers for example.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:31 PM EST (#442877) #
Too bad that Ben Bowden's first name isn't Francis.  Just sayin'.
99BlueJaysWay - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 03:43 PM EST (#442878) #
I think it’s normal for players to experience soreness after a long lay-off. I find it very weird to leap to conclusions that assume the player is lying rather than taking comments at face value. Just because he doesn’t have a tear or something serious doesn’t mean he isn’t dealing with more inflammation than normal. He was off for a while and it’s early spring. Let’s just wait and see
Katie - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 05:09 PM EST (#442879) #
So if Chapman posts 3.5 WAR and IKF posts 1.5 WAR this year, is everyone happy with the way things worked out?

Assuming IKF posts that in full-time or close to full-time duty at 3B, nope. The Jays have a worse baseball team in 2024. I'm not sure why I would be happy about that.

Obviously, there may be opportunity costs and spending restrictions, but the Jays are saving $12.5 million this year by signing IKF over Chapman. Gaining 2 WAR for $12.5 million is a good buy. I'm not sure how close the Jays are to their budget restrictions so maybe the choice in essence boiled down to Chapman and Horowitz vs. Turner and IKF and we can debate whether Atkins should have seen exactly how Chapman's market cratered. However, as I pointed out with Rosario, I think Atkins has misread the market this offseason.

At the end of the day, the Blue Jays have the 5th highest payroll in baseball and a below 50% chance of making the playoffs. During what is supposed to be part of the team's core contention window. That's a failure on the front office.

uglyone - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 05:34 PM EST (#442880) #
I have to note that playing IKF as a full time 3B is STILL a bad idea, even without chapman.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 06:16 PM EST (#442881) #
Katie, I wouldn’t be happy with that outcome either. I asked the question because a lot of posters seem oddly happy to see Chapman depart. I don’t see how people can be satisfied with subtracting what could be an important couple of marginal wins this year — especially given how modest Chapman’s contract turned out to be.

Chapman has a strong track record and he’s not that old. It’s reasonable to expect that he’ll have a solid season in 2024.

I would like think Atkins has a plan for success this season, but I’m not sure he and Shapiro deserve the benefit of the doubt at this point.
electric carrot - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 06:36 PM EST (#442882) #
posters seem oddly happy to see Chapman depart.

I don't think he will be worth 3.5 WAR this year that's why I am happy he wasn't signed. Plus if we signed him for 5 years at 100 million I that's an overpay given what I expect. I never liked the IKF signing either (and said so here.) I want the Jays to use the money they saved from Chapman and spend mid-season on wherever they are weakest. To me it's not clear at the moment where that will be and it may not be 3rd base.

scottt - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 06:45 PM EST (#442883) #
I would have been happy if he had taken the 5/100M the Jays were offering, but I don't think he's shown he's worth more than that. He's hit some balls hard but he was striking out at a 30% clip.

I would imagine that Manoah would prefer to make the team than landing out on the minor league IL.
I thought his comments after his first outing were about feeling good and having his velo back where he wanted it.

Michael - Saturday, March 02 2024 @ 10:19 PM EST (#442884) #
A 3 year deal that is 20M, 18M, 16M with a player opt out after each season is IMHO clearly better than a QO from the player POV. Sure the first year is slightly less than the QO 1 year deal, but if you have a down year or injury or something you are still locked in for a fair amount of money in year 2 and/or year 3 and you can still opt out if you have a good or great year and expect more (and can also read the market of who have needs, who are other FA, who else in the league gets injured/turns into pumpkins/breaks out). So sure it guarantees less, but I think the EV from this deal is likely more than the $120/6 or $100/5 or whatever but still has more protection for the player than a 1-year QO deal would.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 10:06 AM EST (#442885) #
Jay Jaffe of Fangraphs has a piece on the weakest positions on AL contenders in 2024. The Jays are second-worst (just behind the Tigers) at third base:

"Blue Jays (24th, 1.6 WAR)

Instead of re-signing Chapman, Toronto is cobbling together a lower-cost solution via free agent additions Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Justin Turner and holdovers Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio. The 28-year-old Kiner-Falefa, the best defender of the group, projects for the most playing time, but his .261/.314/.346 (82 wRC+) line for the Yankees last year was thoroughly representative of his offensive “skills” even with a career-best 3.1% barrel rate. The 38-year-old Turner has been an excellent hitter, but last year’s 114 wRC+ (.276/.345/.455) was his lowest mark since his Mets tenure, and it included just a 105 wRC+ against righties; what’s more, he played just 57 innings at third base, and his metrics were trending downward even before that. Espinal has fallen from a 115 wRC+ to 100 to 80 since 2021; last year, he managed just a 1% barrel rate. Biggio, the only lefty of the group, hit for a 103 wRC+ but has played just 65 innings at third over the past two seasons. Signing Chapman would clean up this mess while providing a boost in the competitive AL East, but it would push the team past the $257 million second tier Competitive Balance Tax threshold."
greenfrog - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 10:23 AM EST (#442886) #
MLBTR poll: Which is the best team in the AL East?

Bal 52.46%
NYY 28.8%
Tor 7.5%
TB 5.89%
Bos 5.35%
John Northey - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 01:18 PM EST (#442887) #
FanGraphs has a new article - Sunday Notes: Daulton Varsho Goes Pull-Side, Thinks Low and Hard interesting to read how Varsho thinks about hitting the ball down instead of up. He clearly thinks a lot about how best to get results and what he says makes sense. Lets just hope it works well this season.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 01:54 PM EST (#442888) #
Yes.  That Varsho article is worth reading, and the comments by Kevin Cash on Jose Siri in the notes at the end are quite funny.

People say that Varsho has trouble reaching the high pitch, and Statcast doesn't exactly support that.  Here's the link to his zone charts.  What leaps out to me is not the pitches in the strike zone, but the ones up and inside that are either off the plate up or off the plate inside.  Varsho makes very little contact  on those pitches (42% whiff, 53% K) and when he does make contact, he has an average launch angle of 37 degrees and average exit velocity of 75mph.  Consequently his expected slugging percentage was an awful .075.  Yet, he swings at 37% of them.  With the result that his xwOBA on a pitch that is a ball is an awful .166.  It's very different for the pitch up and away and out of the zone.  He swings at a much better number (24%), his K and whiff% are much better and the quality of his contact is much better (28 degrees launch angle, 87 mph exit velocity).  His xwOBA on pitches up and away is not great at .325, but perfectly reasonable.  For what it's worth, Varsho swings at pitches up and in but in the zone a reasonable amount of the time  (72%) and does not miss too often, but rarely hits the ball hard.    He saw 199 pitches outside the zone next to the upper inside quadrant and only 131 pitches in that quadrant.  The key thing, in my view, is for him to lay off the ones outside the zone on the inside in the same way that he is able to do so for those on the outside.

In other words, the problem, in my view is not ability to reach the high pitch, but the failure to recognize the pitch up and in and out of the zone often enough. 

scottt - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 05:39 PM EST (#442889) #
When Franco put out a video to deny the charges against him, Siri was signing in the background.
That didn't impress me much.

scottt - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 06:31 PM EST (#442890) #
Chapman's contract is actually worded with player options, not opt outs.
For this year, he's getting a 2M signing bonus and a 16M salary.
He gets a 2M buyout on  a 17M option next year. If he's still under contract, he gets an 18M salary with a 3M buyout. There there is a mutual option that never gets picked up.

The player options count as guaranteed money, so the AAV for the contract works out to 18M.
Now, I'm not sure about the buyout money. I suppose it means that Chapman can choose between the buyout or the player option. So, he gets 20M if he's back on the market next year. Otherwise he gets 18M+18M+3M if he leaves after 2 years and 18M+18M+20M+1M if he leaves after 3 years.

He might have offensive upside, but the defense could decrease as well.

IKF looked solid at 3B yesterday.

scottt - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 07:01 PM EST (#442891) #
Fluharty had another interesting outing today.
He faced Devers. Bent but didn't break.

Kirk hit another HR. Might not be in the best shape of his life, but I'd take a return to pre-23 level.

SK in NJ - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 09:32 PM EST (#442892) #
Manoah's 2023 season makes it next to impossible to count on him for 2024. He was bad in every measurable way. Francis winning the #5 spot (assuming Tiedemann won't have time to be ready by then) would probably be the best thing to happen even if Manoah was healthy.
John Northey - Sunday, March 03 2024 @ 09:58 PM EST (#442893) #
I'm cheering on Francis but I'm getting the feeling the Jays are high on Paolo Espino right now from media reports and the like.  With another 2 shutout innings today he is at 5 IP 1 H 2 BB 9 SO and 0 R over 3 games, 2 starts.  Given 2 are starts it means he wasn't facing just A ball players but actual major leaguers too.  He is a 37 year old NRI with 257 IP in the majors over 5 seasons (2017, 2020-2023) mostly with Washington with an 82 ERA+, 2.2 BB/9 7.5 K/9 1.8 HR/9.  Clearly the home run is his nemesis.  Steamer sees him as a 4.49 ERA guy, ZiPS has him at 5.14 (0 WAR and 0.1 fWAR respectively).  I could see them using him early on and dumping him from the 40 man the minute Manoah seems ready.  At his age odds are low he'll find another gear or push beyond the projections but sometimes you get lucky.  If he can produce at a 0-1 WAR level as the #5 guy for a month or two it'd be acceptable, just don't go negative (ie: ERA of 5.50+, not lasting 5+ innings a start).  I think the Jays would be happy with a guy who goes 5 innings/2-3 runs a start out of the 5 hole.  Manoah obviously has the ability to be a LOT better than that, but Francis, Espino, and White?  White has shown he can do a LOT worse, but he has also shown he can do a lot better - he is the wild card.  Francis showed good stuff last year but mostly in crap time (eating innings in low leverage) - just 5 PA in high leverage situations (5 PA, 1 BB 1 SO, 0 H so he did well in his tiny bit of time) and just 19 PA in medium (giving up a 059/105/235 line).  White...well, the less said about 2023 the better, but his last 4 starts in AAA were solid (gave up a line of 160/259/253 in 85 PA, 21 1/3 IP 9 BB 30 SO - finally figured something out but a bit late) and I read it came after he learned a new pitch or refined one.

White is the one who has the option issue, Francis is the semi-prospect (at 27 he is pushing it) who did well in 2023, Espino is the vet who is probably easiest to count on to produce as a #5 should be expected to.  I see White as highest potential of these 3, Francis as most likely to impress, and Espino as the 'well, he won't embarrass us' guy.  Who the Jays pick will say a lot.  Obviously if Manoah is healthy he has it as he could win a Cy Young if he is back to 2022 form. 
scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 06:52 AM EST (#442894) #
At this point, Schneider is hitting .250 with and OPS of .857, ahead of Bo.
The guy not hitting is Espinal. Clement has looked much more playable so far with an OPS of 1.
Even IKF has an OPS of .875.
Escobar doesn't have a hit yet.
Also, Vogelbach has an OPS of 1.084  versus .267 for Horwitz. And getting Cole complaining about his homerun jog is worth extra points in my book.

greenfrog - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 07:16 AM EST (#442895) #
The Phillies are reportedly making a push to sign Snell on a short-term deal (like the Bellinger and Chapman contracts). I think the Blue Jays should try to
do something similar with Snell or Montgomery. It would be a good way to keep pace with the O’s and Yankees (or at least stay close to them).
greenfrog - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 07:20 AM EST (#442896) #
Here is a broader question. How will the significant divergence between the stagnant Canadian economy (zero growth in GDP per capita over the last six years) and the relatively robust US one affect the Blue Jays’ fortunes? This seems like something that could adversely impact the team over time, for various reasons.
Joe - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 08:05 AM EST (#442897) #
White...well, the less said about 2023 the better, but his last 4 starts in AAA were solid (gave up a line of 160/259/253 in 85 PA, 21 1/3 IP 9 BB 30 SO - finally figured something out but a bit late) and I read it came after he learned a new pitch or refined one.
I'm pretty sure that White was finally healthy for the first time at the end of the AAA season, because his fastball velocity was touching 97 — about where it's been this spring. That's why I'd be shocked if Espino made the team; White wouldn't make it through waivers again, which means you'd need to dump someone like Trevor Richards to make a 40-man spot for Espino. He feels more like the "break glass in case of emergency" NRI guy to stash in the minors.

BTW, to reinforce how little spring training results matter: Manoah's spring training last year was pretty good.

Chuck - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 08:40 AM EST (#442898) #
how little spring training results matter

Very sober words. It wasn't that long ago that Greg Bird's career was declared fully resuscitated thanks to a blend of some Grapefruit League success and unabashed wishcasting.

scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 08:49 AM EST (#442899) #
Ah, well. The GDP growth in the US has generally not benefited the middle class until recently.
They haven't fixed their social security deficit and the money is predicted to run out in 2033 which is now only 9 years away. Every retiree stands to lose around $500 per month.

A fifth of the Canadian population lives in the Toronto area which mean there is more than enough people to support the team. By contrast, several US teams have been impacted by the bankruptcy of a company which held their local broadcast rights.

Generally, the fortunes of Canada follows those of the US.
There are 2 major differences. The US is willing to use its power to bend the rule in its advantage but doesn't benefit from that long term as lower Canadian labor cost instantly makes Canada more competitive. Socioeconomic inequalities are rising much more rapidly in the US, meaning more people below the poverty line and most of the money in the hands of the top 2%.

Mike Green - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 09:39 AM EST (#442900) #
Where the spring results do matter is for the few players who are realistically fighting for a job on the big league squad.  Whether Bo Bichette hits .200 or .400 during the spring does not matter, but it does matter whether Alek Manoah or Bowden Francis or Mitch White has an ERA of 10 or 2. 
Not because it is predictive, but rather because it is the only up-to-date information that the club has on where the player is, as of the start of the season.  And a decision has to be made. 

99BlueJaysWay - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 10:31 AM EST (#442901) #
It seems that Gausman is also dealing with a sore shoulder.

Also, internet rumours say
“Chapman blames the changes in the Rogers Centre for his poor numbers in his contract year. He told them quite early in the off season he wasn't signing here.”

Huge grain of salt, but maybe someone will ask him about it.

bpoz - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 10:44 AM EST (#442902) #
Tiedemann threw to live batters yesterday. He expects to start running this week. Kikuchi threw to Biggio and Varsho yesterday. So Biggio may be healthy. The season starts March 28 so Biggio may be ready.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 11:14 AM EST (#442903) #
The Phillies have signed their ace pitcher Zack Wheeler to a 126 million, 3 year extension. He will be the 4th highest paid player in MLB behind Ohtani, Scherzer, and Verlander and will make more on this 3 year deal than he did on his previous 5 year contract (5/118 million).
Cracka - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 11:14 AM EST (#442904) #
At this point, with 24 days left, it's hard to see either Manoah or Gausman on the opening roster if they aren't throwing this week. It's suddenly very possible that Bowden Francis, Paulo Espino, and Mitch White will all make the team as the last two starters and the long man.
92-93 - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 11:25 AM EST (#442905) #
It did seem like Chapman hit quite a few balls very hard to right-centre last year and would come back to the dugout surprised that they weren't doubles/HRs. If true it's a real shame, because the Giants got him on a great deal.

The Jays are spending 44MM on Kiermaier, Green, Rodriguez, Kiner-Falefa, and Garcia. Yikes.
Mike Green - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 11:56 AM EST (#442906) #
FWIW, Statcast says that Chapman took small dings both in 2022 and 2023 (with wOBAs 10 points lower than his xwOBAs).  Over his career in Oakland, his wOBA was a little higher than his xwOBA (but that was due to one year- 2018).   If you look at his last year in Oakland (2021), he hit about as well on the road as he did in 2023 but significantly worse at home. 

Chapman might think that the park was a big thing for him, but if so, I think he would be incorrect in that.  On the other hand, his grievances about management...
Ryan Day - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 12:02 PM EST (#442907) #
Chapman hit 223/315/412 with 8 HR at home, and 254/344/435 with 9 HR on the road. So he was hurt at home, but it's not extreme. He also played more road games during his ultra-hot streak in April, and then was pretty terrible everywhere in May, June, August, and September. He actually had a higher strikeout rate on the road.
Glevin - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 12:33 PM EST (#442908) #
"The Jays are spending 44MM on Kiermaier, Green, Rodriguez, Kiner-Falefa, and Garcia. Yikes."

I don't think it's very much for a bunch of mostly short term contracts. 5 players averaging under $9M. No individual contract is going to be a big deal and my guess is that they will come out pretty close to even in value. I think every team except the super cheap ones have this and worse. I still do find the IKF signing a head scratcher though.
greenfrog - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 12:39 PM EST (#442909) #
I guess the front office had to pivot to IKF, given that Chapman indicated he wasn’t going to return. Probably they checked in on players like Adames but the asking price was too high. Same problem as with Soto — not enough good prospects in the Blue Jays system to make a deal.
Nigel - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 12:44 PM EST (#442910) #
In that $44m I would exclude KK as a "head scratching"/inefficient use of payroll. After all, at the time he was signed the team only had 2 major league OFs on the roster. As for the rest, at the time of signing (or in the case of Green and Garcia picking up options or allowing options to vest) they all appeared to be expenditures on marginal upgrades over what the team already had. In the long term, Glevin is right that they are all short deals without long term payroll implications, but understanding the plan for roster building for 2024 has me confused.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 01:08 PM EST (#442911) #
I think their roster plan was shaped by the free agents available this year. It was not a strong year for position players outside of Ohtani and they have a lot invested in the rotation already. It seems pretty clear the Jays didn't want to exceed the second level of luxury tax penalties and settled for signing lesser players for smaller salaries.

That's my take anyway. I'm kind of puzzled by the IKF contract though.
bpoz - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 01:47 PM EST (#442912) #
Zack Wheeler definitely proves that good pitching costs a lot. Robbie Ray proves that good pitching can also get injured. Payroll management is a huge challenge.
Magpie - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 02:06 PM EST (#442913) #
So [Chapman] was hurt at home, but it's not extreme.

It looks to me like he got a nice boost on his Balls In Play when he was on the road (.351) and was pretty much the same as always (.284) at home.
scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 02:23 PM EST (#442914) #
Obviously, I am not worried about Bichette.
I am not sure Espinal is the right guy to have on the bench at the moment.
Espinal has 2 options left and if there is one guy who would benefit from going back to AAA to get regular ABs, it's certainly him.

soupman - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 02:28 PM EST (#442915) #
Vlad cooked a ball at the knees 440ft to straight centre. Monster season incoming.
scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 02:31 PM EST (#442916) #
KK is the team not willing to take a huge gamble on Bellinger.
There were not willing to foot the QO penalty for 1 year of Bellinger either.
For the Jays, Bellinger was always a lose/lose proposition.

IKF is equivalent to what Chapman did in the last 5 months.
Chapman turned down the QO and a long offer from the Jays.
Yes, his contract with the Giants looks good, but the guy is from California, he clearly wasn't signing a deal like that with the Jays.

BTW, Barger is looking half-decent so far. I'm kinda bummed that he won't get a try at third.

dalimon5 - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 03:26 PM EST (#442917) #
"Vlad cooked a ball at the knees 440ft to straight centre. Monster season incoming."

This must be the sequel we were promised in 2022.
scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 03:36 PM EST (#442918) #
Rodriguez is dealing with back spasms.
Gausman has shoulder fatigue.
What's ailing Jansen?

Leaside Cowboy - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 04:46 PM EST (#442919) #
What's ailing Jansen?

Dan Shulman said he was under the weather.

SK in NJ - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 05:09 PM EST (#442920) #
Barger not being able to play 3B (or the club not feeling comfortable with his defense there) is definitely disappointing. A LHH 3B with pop would look nice right now, even if his defense was average. They must feel he's best in the OF defensively.

Hopefully 2024 is not the Baseball Gods seeing how healthy the rotation was in 2023 and trying to balance things out. The Jays really can't afford to lose any of their top 4 for a prolonged period.
John Northey - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 05:11 PM EST (#442921) #
If true, then Chapman did the Jays a favor by saying he wasn't coming back early on so they could move on. The market just sucked big time. The Jays were good back by never saying they were moving on from him, even right before he signed with SF, thus giving him some leverage.  I'm sure other players took note.  Respect and trust are big things for pro-athletes and the Jays showed that to Chapman even though they knew he wasn't coming back.  Of course, the way things went/are going with Manoah might give the opposite impression.

Really, who else was out there at 3B? Not much.  Chapman, Jeimer Candelario (poor defense, OPS+ by year 2018-2023: 91-70-137 (2020)-121-81-119).  Justin Turner - we signed him to DH.  Gio Urshela - more a utility guyIsiah Kiner-Falefa - we signed him too. Evan Longoria - no one signed him yet, Jean Segura no one wants (52 OPS+ last year).  Oh yeah, and the guy who just retired too - Josh Donaldson (paid $8 mil by the Yankees as a buyout for this year... love it - they paid $50 mil+ for 2 years 2.3 bWAR, the Jays paid under $60 mil for 4 years 19.5 bWAR).

Outside of a trade (I can't think of any 3B who switched teams in trades this winter but easily could've forgotten) I don't see how much more the Jays could've done given Chapman didn't want to come back and Candelario might be more of a 1B/DH than a 3B ala Turner but for a lot more money than Turner.
scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 05:29 PM EST (#442922) #
The CBA is very clear on what teams/owners are allowed to say.
There is some sort of protest from the PA against the Twins owner for saying that he's not paying anyone 30M per year.

Nigel - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 06:41 PM EST (#442923) #
Barger has an excellent arm but I'm not sure that the Jays have viewed him as a 3B for some time now. If he has any future I'm pretty sure its in RF going forward.
scottt - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 07:26 PM EST (#442924) #
Barger has played 88 games at AAA last year.
33 in RF, 20 at 3B and 20 at SS.
I've never heard of anyone moved from 3B to SS because he couldn't handle it.

In Buffalo, 3B was covered by Lantigua (34 games), Morris (32 games), De Los Santos (27 games), Barger (20 games), Talley (12 games), Martinez (11 games), Clement (9 games), McCoy (6 games), Schneider (6 games), Capra (4 games), Lopez, Palmegiani and Schwecke (1 game each).

To me, it looks like they see everybody as utility players.

John Northey - Monday, March 04 2024 @ 07:51 PM EST (#442925) #
If Barger is in RF then the Jays have a bit of a challenge with Springer.  He is settled in RF right now, I don't see him being happy going to LF or DH full time in 2025 with his contract running out after 2026.  But Barger, if he is to be a full-time ML player will need a spot in 2025.  The Jays might look at putting Barger in LF to start in 2025, then slowly move him to RF over the 2026 season.  This year he'll get a taste whenever Springer goes on the IL I suspect, or when KK does.  Hopefully the Jays have him play LF and RF this year in AAA so he can be ready for 2025 once KK is gone (probably) and Varsho goes to CF full time (I could swear I heard that a year ago).

The OF has a few options for 2025 and for injury cover in 2024 in Barger, Roden, Berroa, and Robertson. Not to mention guys who have ML time already in Schneider, Lukes, and Eden.  With all of those guys you should find someone to take over LF in 2025 and cover injuries in 2024 for a lot less than KK makes this year and at a good level of production.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 08:13 AM EST (#442926) #
Barger has an excellent arm but I'm not sure that the Jays have viewed him as a 3B for some time now. If he has any future I'm pretty sure its in RF going forward.

I have no idea what the organization is thinking.  Barger had 173 innings at shortstop last year with his last start there on September 2. This would be an unusual thing to do if you were planning to convert an infielder to a right-fielder.  He had actually made more starts at shortstop than at third base in 2022. At the same time in September, 2023, they seem to have decided that Orelvis Martinez was more suited to second base than third base. Ideally, of course, it would have been better if they had come to these conclusions somewhat earlier, knowing that Chapman was likely to leave and with Biggio/Espinal not likely to be a good medium-term solution at third base.  Frankly, I'm never really sure with the current Blue Jay administration whether these position assignment come from an assessment of a player's actual abilities or are a reflection of the organization's preference for positional flexibility.  Which sometimes reaches the level of spiritual mantra. 
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 11:31 AM EST (#442927) #
Lucas Giolita, whom the Red Sox signed this year to be their ace, has a partially torn UCL and will likely miss the 2024 season. Tough for him but it will be nice to see the Red Sox finish in last place again.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 11:46 AM EST (#442928) #
As long as Barger isn’t a butcher at 3B, then he should have been given a real shot to win that job, and whatever versatility he has beyond that would have just helped the team in general. Atkins has been obsessed with defense lately, to the point where he’s willing to sacrifice significant offense for it, but not every position needs a gold glover. If IKF has a close to league average bat in 2024 then he should be a really valuable player but I hope they are not betting on that.
Nigel - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 12:01 PM EST (#442929) #
From what I've seen, I think Barger would be a better defender at 3B than Schneider, but neither really strike me as adequate MLB defenders at 3B. Barger has apparently had some arm troubles over the years so who knows how that has factored into his defensive development/deployment.

It may be that Atkins has been obsessed with defence but that would be odd in that one of the legitimate criticisms of this front office in its early years was that it was willing to punt on defence (OF in particular) to field the best offensive team it could. To Mike's point, I think Atkins has been obsessed with optionality. There's merit in flexibility but secondarily to talent.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 12:15 PM EST (#442930) #
To Mike's point, I think Atkins has been obsessed with optionality. There's merit in flexibility but secondarily to talent.

Absolutely agree.  I'm always reminded of accounts of the difference of opinion in the Orioles' organization in 1981-82 about whether Cal Ripken Jr. should be a shortstop or third baseman.  The late great Earl Weaver knew that speed was one aspect of being a shortstop, but far from the most important.  Ultimately, it was his call and he wasn't exactly, um, indecisive. 
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 12:37 PM EST (#442931) #
I know that Paolo Espino is a "break in case of emergency" signee but he's having a nice spring - I wonder he if can be a one season wonder as occasionally happens.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#442932) #
Spring is always hope time.  I get as caught up in the stories as anyone. But lets look back a bit and see a few hope that didn't go so well...
You get the idea - sometimes guys who do well, keep doing well. Sometimes they don't. Predicting which will succeed and which won't from spring numbers is a crapshoot though in the end.  Last spring Vlad showed no signs of the nightmare year he'd have for example.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 02:11 PM EST (#442933) #
Gausman and Manoah played catch in the last 24 hours and both are reportedly fine.

Meanwhile Giolito, Verlander and Sonny Gray probably will start the season on the IL.
bpoz - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 02:22 PM EST (#442934) #
Thanks Gerry.

LAD has trimmed their ST roster. May happen here too.
scottt - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 02:47 PM EST (#442935) #
They'll cut down a few pitchers as soon as the regulars can go longer than 3 innings. Manoah and Gausman might have pushed the timetable here a bit.
scottt - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 02:50 PM EST (#442936) #
Pitchers can recover from arm trouble and so can position players.
Harper might be limited to first base now, but Barger is still the best arm in the organization and he made at least one nice throw to third this spring.

Joe - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 04:08 PM EST (#442937) #
I'd be surprised if Giolito pitches at all this season. Flexor strains and partially torn UCLs don't generally improve without invasive surgery.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 04:44 PM EST (#442938) #
No question #1 thing in spring is health. The Jays last year were very careful, to the degree it got annoying (short outings for example).  But if it keeps the pitchers healthy then woohoo.  I'm happy they are being very careful with Gausman especially - can't afford to lose him but if it costs 1 or 2 starts so be it.  Nice 3 innings from Berrios today - 2 H 0 R 1 BB 3 SO 48 pitches, 32 strikes vs 16 balls. Can't ask for much better.  White was solid, but not as good 3 IP 1 H 1 R/ER 2 BB 1 SO 1 HR.  Then Jennings punched his ticket for the minors I suspect with 1 IP 4 R/ER and Juenger didn't do himself any favors either (1 IP 1 R/ER on 2 hits including a HR).  I suspect the braintrust is loving what they have seen from Will Robertson - driving in a go ahead run in the 8th inning then throwing out a runner at 3rd in the bottom of the inning - he has had as good a spring as can be hoped for by a kid who isn't making the opening day roster (throwing out runners on the bases, clutch hits, showed some power now up to a 976 OPS in spring).  Espinal had an odd game for him - 3 walks, no AB's, 2 runs scored.  I could see him being called up mid-season as a fill-in if someone is hurt quite easily.
scottt - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 05:35 PM EST (#442939) #
I would have Espy in AAA getting regular AB for the first time in  3 years, but I don't know if they pay him 2.7M for that.
krose - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 06:00 PM EST (#442940) #
Share your concern Scott. Not at all sure about Espinal’s place on either roster. So this is my draft 26 man at this point in time. C-Jansen, Kirk; 1B-Guerrero; 2B-Biggio; 3B-Kiner-Falefa; SS-Bichette; LF-Varsho; CF-Kiermaier; RF-Springer; Bench-Luke’s, Clément; SP-Gausman, Berrios, Kikuchi, Bassitt, Francis; RP-Romano, Cabrera, Garcia, Green, Mayza, Richards, White, Pearson.
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 07:38 PM EST (#442941) #
Wheeler signed a three-year, $126m extension with the Phillies. So another pending free agent is off the market.
99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 09:56 PM EST (#442942) #
Krose: don’t forget Turner and Schneider. You were missing 2 position players on your roster.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 05 2024 @ 11:27 PM EST (#442943) #
For pending roster one thing to keep in mind is the 13 hitter-13 pitcher setup no matter what (technically you can go with 12 or fewer pitchers but no one does.

Hitters: Kirk/Jansen, Vlad, Schneider/Espinal, Bo, IKF/Biggio, Varsho, Kiermaier, Springer, Turner (Schneider to LF when KK has a day off, Espinal in at 2B).  Rest of bench (1 slot) probably Clement but could be Horwitz, Lukes, Escobar, or Vogelbach depending what the Jays want out of that slot.  Not hard to see Escobar making it and Espinal sent to AAA (Escobar has the better bat vs LHP).

Pitchers: Rotation: (5) Gausman, Berrios, Bassitt, Kikuchi locked in, then one of Francis, White, Manoah, or Espino (seems to have impressed everyone this spring).  Bullpen (8): Romano, Green, Swanson, Mayza, Cabrera, Garcia, Richards, and one more (White-Pearson-Francis-Pop, or a surprise possibly if White makes the rotation or there are injuries)

0 options left and on bubble: Mitch White, Ernie Clement
NRI 0 options so if on roster has to stay: Eduardo Escobar, Daniel Vogelbach

Everyone else who is a bubble candidate has at least 1 option.  Last option year players of note: Bowden Francis, Génesis Cabrera (can't see him going down but if he has a bad stretch it could happen), Leo Jimenez, Yariel Rodriguez (no idea why he'd be on his last option but that is how it is listed at FG), Wes Parsons, Paolo Espino (as a NRI he won't use it unless called up and sent back down), Hagen Danner, Nate Pearson, Zach Pop

Those final option year guys have this year as their last to be used as a yo-yo between AAA/ML but Jimenez has yet to reach and has used his all up while Danner has just 1 ML inning to his name. Pearson is on his last legs this year before he has to be up or let go.
Jonny German - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 06:32 AM EST (#442944) #
In my mind there should be 11 hitters with a guaranteed spot:

C Kirk, Jansen
1B Vlad
2B Schneider, Biggio
3B Kiner-Falefa
LF Varsho
CF Kiermaier
RF Springer
DH Turner

That leaves 2 bench spots, which I see as Vogelbach vs Lukes and Espinal vs Clement. Escobar looks toasty.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 06:56 AM EST (#442945) #
I don't think we can rule out a likely addition between now and opening day. I don't know if Schneider or Horowitz make this team with Clement and Vogelbach here.

Espinal is the question mark for me.

Mitch White I see making this team based on his help and end of last season.
scottt - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 08:27 AM EST (#442946) #
Schneider plays left field. Clement can play anywhere in the infield.
There is no overlap there, especially with Clement having little power.
I give the nod to Vogelbach over Horwitz for now, but that requires a DFA.
Vogelbach is a lot like Tellez. Easy power but streaky.

Many teams are interested in picking Clement on waivers.
He's looked good on both side for a long time now.

Escobar doesn't have a hit yet.
His defense at 3B is below average, so I don't see any reason to have his ice-cold bat in the lineup.
scottt - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 08:37 AM EST (#442947) #
This is Pearson's last option year. He could still stick in the pen next year or be traded during the year.
It's a bit similar with Pop, they love his heavy sinker but he hasn't had the results they wanted so far.
Danner has been a waste of a 40 roster spot for now 3 years.
Given the health, I don't see how he would have been picked on the rule 5 and not returned.

scottt - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 08:44 AM EST (#442948) #
Leo Jimenez is also on his last option and hasn't reached yet.
He's considered a better defender than Espy and has a career .388 OBP in the minors.

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 09:43 AM EST (#442949) #
Jonny, I agree with the top 11.  My question: what are the potential roles for Lukes, Vogelbach, Clement and Espinal?

My answers: 

Lukes- days off for Springer (but wouldn't Biggio be just as good?)/mediocre pinch-runner
Vogelbach- LH pinch-hitter, ideally to be used with runners on, maybe for Kirk/IKF
Espinal/Clement- backup IF; it seems that Schneider will be getting starts in LF against a LH starter with Varsho moving over to CF so there will be work for a backup RH IF.

I can't say that I'm in love with the options, and the roles they are to fill. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 09:59 AM EST (#442950) #
A rare confluence of baseball and politics in California.  Here's the story.  Turning the tables and objectifying Steve Garvey, he looks like you took a picture of him at the end of his career and mashed it up with a picture of Ronald Reagan in his second term.  Speaking of baseball players and former presidents, I love guessing Buddy Bell while doing the Immaculate Grid because the picture of him reminds me so much of Jimmy Carter. 
krose - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 10:22 AM EST (#442951) #
Kaitlyn McGrath has an articulate article on the roster at The Athletic.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 11:17 AM EST (#442952) #
ML season starts March 28 and AAA next day. I expect the AAA roster to be announced by March 27.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 11:26 AM EST (#442953) #
The Jays are making a mistake not picking up one of the right-handed outfielders sitting on the FA market.

Vogelbach and Clement are easy calls over Horwitz and Espinal. Keep the depth and let Horwitz play everyday in case he's needed due to injury.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 12:30 PM EST (#442954) #
For what it's worth, I think Vogelbach and Turner are about even as DH options against a RH starter.  You can give Turner the odd day off and have Vogelbach DH.  Between that and pinch-hitting, Vogelbach might get 200-250 PAs.  I'd have him on the roster, given the less than optimal choices. 
GabrielSyme - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 12:54 PM EST (#442955) #
The Jays appear to be treating 3B as being locked down with IKF, giving Schneider, Martinez and Barger no time there. I would rather use 3B to see what we have in Clement and the young guys.

There's a good chance the Jays leave both Vogelbach and Horwitz off the opening day roster. Vogelbach, I think, has to show he has more in the tank than he showed last season, and while he has an inside edge, a weak spring is likely to see him cast loose.
Nigel - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 12:58 PM EST (#442956) #
I just don't see how you can carry two DH only bats on the roster (Turner and Vogelbach). I'm with 92-93, the Jays should be picking up a RH hitting OF on the cheap and going with Clement. I think there's a decent chance that Clement is a more valuable player than IKF (let alone Espinal). The roster swings too heavily to the right in general but that's low on the list of this roster's issues.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 01:38 PM EST (#442957) #
I would obviously prefer to have Michael Taylor on the roster as compared with Daniel Vogelbach.  Taylor has so many uses.  He can play all three defensive outfield positions well, hits LH pitching and went 13-1 stealing bases.  He's probably good for 400 PAs.  Robbie Grossman is a bit of a different case, because his defence seems to have fallen off a cliff. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 02:14 PM EST (#442958) #
Today is Lefty Grove's birthday.  I looked at his BBRef page and it caught my attention that he led the league by almost every metric almost every year.  So, I thought I would try to get some historical perspective on him.  He was in the free(ish) minor leagues under the tight control of Jack Dunn in his early 20s.  Dunn sold him to the A's, he had one year of adjustment at age 25 and then was absolutely awesome from age 26-39.  How awesome you ask?  I ran a Stathead search for pitchers who threw 1500+ innings from age 26-39 with an ERA+ of 130 or more.  The top 10 by ERA+ are in this chart:

Pitcher IP ERA+
Kershaw 1530 166
Pedro 1910 160
Grove 3460 158
Walsh 2440 153
Maddux 3230 152
Big Unit 2940 149
Clemens 3040 142
Young 5110 141
Nichols 2540 140
Verlander 2560 139

So, he was about as good as Pedro Martinez and threw about twice as many innings.  Granted that pitchers would throw more innings then, but he was one of the top 6 starters in the league in innings pitched almost every year until he turned 38.  Or to look at it another way, he threw about as many innings, relative to the time (perhaps somewhat less) than Maddux, but was noticeably more effective. 

And he was facing the Yankees of Ruth and Gehrig.  And if you are wondering, great left-handed pitching does not necessarily stop superb left-handed hitting.  In their careers, Gehrig (.306/.380/.551) and Ruth (.311/.372/.526) did not hit their career marks, but held their own, thank you very much.  

And if you want to argue that the competition was a lot weaker than that faced by Martinez or Maddux or Randy Johnson or Clemens because of the colour bar, that is undoubtedly true. 
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 02:57 PM EST (#442959) #
I too would like to see Michael Taylor but he wants a two-year deal at $10M per.

Both Pearson and Danner could end up with fourth option years due to time lost due to injury.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 03:40 PM EST (#442960) #
Is $10M "cheap" these days?  /old folks questions
scottt - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 04:38 PM EST (#442961) #
Last year, Taylor had 112 PAs against lefties. Fitting him for another 300 PAs against right handed pitching is not a good thing. "Can play all three defensive outfield positions well" is a weird thing to say.
Are there any CF who cannot play LF out there? Taylor played 14 games in LF back in 2020, 1 game in 2016 and 38 way back in 2016.

Right now the backup for Springer is Biggio and either Lukes or Barger if he goes on the IL.
The backup for KK is Varsho. The backup for Varsho can be anyone since we're talking about LF.
I am assuming Schneider gets most of the extra work there.

Taylor can steal bases but doesn't get on base. It's not really that useful, otherwise Cam Eden would be on the team.

scottt - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 04:42 PM EST (#442962) #
I could see Danner getting a 4th option.
Pearson has been on the MLB teams in 3 of the last 4 years. Isn't he already on a 4th option year?

DiscoStu - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 06:18 PM EST (#442963) #
It seems Michael Grove of the Dodgers is not nicknamed Lefty. I know he's a righty but doesn't anyone have a sense of humour these days?
SK in NJ - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 10:01 PM EST (#442964) #
I also do not understand what Vogelbach's value would be as a bench player. He's the type of player you either platoon at DH or don't roster at all. Literally the only thing he does well is hit RHP. No defensive value or base running value. Might as well roster Nathan Lukes in that spot. At least he could play the OF.

My hunch is that the Jays see Schneider as more of a utility/role player, and he's likely going to be the one playing in the OF (LF specifically) against LHP and when a need arises. I don't agree with that direction. I feel they should try to get a RHH OF who can hit LHP to balance out Varsho/Kiermaier against RHP and use Schneider as the starting 2B, but I suspect after the way they used Biggio at the end of last season that he's going to be the primary 2B most nights against RHP, and that is the reason why they aren't trying to get a 4th OF. Either that or cost. Maybe both.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 06 2024 @ 10:05 PM EST (#442965) #
Yeah, weird but $10 mil is cheap - minimum now is $740k so it is 13.5 times minimum, which in 1985 when the Jays won 99 and the max was around $2 mil, minimum $60k would've been $810k which is in eyeshot of what Bill Caudill made as the closer ($833k).  For reference - Major League Baseball Minimum Wage by year.  In 2015 when the Jays won the East it was $570k - so 13 1/2 times that is $7.7 mil which is more than Russell Martin was paid that season (his contract was low that year, but averaged $16.4 per year over 5), better might be Dioner Navarro who was signed for a bit less ($5 mil that year, $4 mil per year over 3 years) but was the everyday catcher pre-Martin.

Basically, vs minimum it is a bit high vs the past but not crazy far.  1 WAR today is estimated to be worth around $7-10 mil and front offices are far more aware now than they were in the past of the value of that extra win off the bench and the depth it provides.
scottt - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 06:38 AM EST (#442966) #
The Rays have only 1 guy making more than 10.5M and he's making 11M.
Baltimore and Boston have 4 each. 3 of the guys in Baltimore are barely over.
Burnes, an ace on his walk year, is only making 15.6M.

It's way too much for the Jays because they are up to the luxury tax.
It's a hell of a lot for  a pinch runner.

Also, the Jays don't need another right bat.
The only lefty starters in the division are Rodon and Cortes.

scottt - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 06:56 AM EST (#442967) #
Vogelbach's value is as depth for Guerrero and Turner.
Turner started 98 games at DH and 35 at 1B last year.
That lines up with Vlad DHing once a week, but does Turner at 39 needs a game off here and there himself? Also, you can pinch run for Turner in the 7th and not worry about his AB in the 9th.
It works a lot better if they have at least one guy who runs well on the bench.
Now, if they pinch run for Kirk and bring Jansen, that leaves only 2 guys on the Bench which is another reason why Clement is a better fit than Espinal.
Turner had also 7 games at 3B and 4 at 2B which I'd rather not see.

The challenge is to find 300 ABs for Vogelbach which is probably not too hard if he hits.

bpoz - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 08:08 AM EST (#442968) #
Washington signed Eddie Rosario for $4mil. A lefty OF who had 21 Hr last season. I suppose the Jays budget is very tight at the moment.
scottt - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 08:23 AM EST (#442969) #
Left fielder, slightly below average defense. 21 HR, but 122 Ks and a .305 OBP.
Varsho had 20 HR with 135 Ks and elite defense.
Varsho ended up with 3.9 WAR and Rosario with 1.1 WAR according to Bref.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 08:56 AM EST (#442970) #
It's true that Blue Jay batters faced many fewer lefties last year (about 22%) than they faced a decade or two ago (about 31%).

So there is less need for the RH side of platoons. But Kiermaier can't be expected to get more than 400 PAs, which means that he will often be on the bench with a RH starter opposing. And Varsho will need a day off here and there, and Springer probably more than that. Assuming Scneider plays LF when a lefthander is on the mound, who plays the outfield when a RH is on the mound and one of the regulars needs a day off? Biggio?

I repeat. This is not a division of roles that I would recommend.
99BlueJaysWay - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 11:24 AM EST (#442971) #
I imagine IKF would play the outfield in such a scenario
Mike Green - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 12:08 PM EST (#442972) #
Francis gets another start. It looks like they are giving him a real shot at the 5th spot in the rotation. That's good.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 01:01 PM EST (#442973) #
When it comes to prospects, John Schneider said today that "it's the bat first then defensive versatility". Not defensive ability. Ugh.
Gerry - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 01:25 PM EST (#442974) #
Alek Manoah was scheduled to throw today but his shoulder was still sore so he didn't throw.

It's doubtful he will be ready for opening day at this stage.
Nigel - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 01:50 PM EST (#442975) #
As the Yankees learned last year, having IKF playing in the OF is not a plan that anyone should have. As a "break in case of emergency" plan, sure - but, as a regular thing, its a problem not a solution.
Gerry - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 03:26 PM EST (#442976) #
324 comments means it is time for a new thread.
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