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Time for a new spring training thread. A spring training that is about to get biz-zay. The Jays play 13 games in the next 11 days. There are split squad games on the next two Sundays.

The next 11 days will take us to March 17. After an off day on the 18th the Jays will have eight spring training games before the season starts in Tampa.

The objective for the next 11 days is to get everyone healthy and ready to really bear down in the final week.

That plan has hit a few speed bumps. Alek Manoah continues to be shut down with a sore shoulder. Kevin Gausman had a sore shoulder too and the Jays are hopeful he can throw off a mound on Monday next. Ricky Tiedemann will start on Saturday. Bowden Francis, Mitch White and Paolo Espino will each be auditioning over the next week.

In other news the Ernie Clement vs. Santiago Espinal contest is heating up with Jeff Blair reporting that several teams will select Clement if he goes on waivers.

There is baseball tonight, Thursday, on Sportsnet at 6pm.

Spring Training Rolls On | 305 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
christaylor - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 05:12 PM EST (#442977) #
From MG in the other thread:

"When it comes to prospects, John Schneider said today that "it's the bat first then defensive versatility". Not defensive ability. Ugh."

I guess we'll see if the strategy pays off but I recall years ago in discussions surrounding why teams didn't develop more players like Zobrist the claim was prospects weren't trained that way, which makes it difficult to create Zobrist in the majors.

If it means another year of development time, I'm OK with a player who doesn't have outstanding tools on D take time and become around average at 2 or more positions.

The current prospect group isn't outstanding but if the team can get 2 or 3 flexible cost-controlled players then filling the other positions with FA becomes that much easier.

On the face of it the approach seems like sound process, but then closer by committee sounds the good on the face of it too, so you never know.

scottt - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 05:36 PM EST (#442978) #
This is basically what the Orioles are doing.
Their prized shortstop isn't going to be playing SS this year.
Last year's SS might be their 4th outfielder or something.

Biggio started 27 games in RF last year.
I didn't really notice anything about the defense.
If he hits it's good, if he doesn't it isn't.

Lukes has a good spring so far. They can call him up if someone is on the IL.

scottt - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 05:53 PM EST (#442979) #
Speaking of Biggio, he's supposed to debut in 15 minutes.

They have a pretty competitive lineup for an away game against Detroit.
Only missing Guerrero, Bichette and Turner.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 07 2024 @ 10:21 PM EST (#442980) #
Francis recovered nicely after a rough start against the Tigers A lineup. 55 pitches in 3.2 innings is a very solid early March outing.
Mike Green - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 08:52 AM EST (#442981) #
Moving a shortstop to second base because you have a better shortstop playing the position already isn't valuing positional flexibility over positional ability.  Holliday is a good defensive player, and likely a more than adequate defensive shortstop, and Henderson is, perhaps, a better one. Collecting good defensive players who hit superbly is a great strategy, and moving one of them down the defensive spectrum slightly is an excellent approach to a wonderful problem.  Valuing players who play third base well and theoretically might play centerfield well for their flexibility rather their defensive ability is an entirely different thing.  
greenfrog - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 09:12 AM EST (#442982) #
I am not inspired by the Blue Jays’ approach to team-building this year. I think the team will end up just above or below .500, more or less.
jerjapan - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 10:12 AM EST (#442983) #
Kaitlyn McGrath has a nice piece up at the Athletic on IKF, who walks her through his experience with each position played in his career.  
I had no idea 'He was the first Yankees pitcher to homer in a game since Lindy McDaniel, in 1972'.
IKF is clearly a student of the game, defensively, and has played every position but first in the bigs. 

It's clear by now that this FO is committed to the positional versatility model.  Personally, I like it - I always loved guys like Tony Phillips and Ben Zobrist.
But they could play on the offensive side of things.  IKF? 

He does sound like he got in his own head in NY.  He talks about that, the NY pressure.  I've seen that place destroy careers in my time as a fan. 

It's a great read.  I'm still cautiously optimistic on his signing, as I think he unlocks a lot of match-up, pinch-running and offensive/defensive advantages.
Anyway, it's a great read, the kind of personal / old school journalist vibe she gives me in her best writing.  Spring training is a good time for storytelling!

I think Clement has the edge for the final roster spot given his defensive value at SS and his lack of options. He's already played 3B, SS and 2B this spring. Similar to Lukes last year in that he offers particular tools nobody else does. 

Vogelbach's power is attractive though.  Horwitz is on the outside.  Barger's looking good so far, Tough spring for Lantigua, likely his most important one yet.  Lukes, with his options left, will be on the Buffalo shuttle all year long, and he deserves it, IMO.

I would be happy if the club entertained demoting Espinal, short term, in order to protect a asset like Clement. 

Lots of big-armed relievers in the high minors, with those juicy 'years of control' Atkins loves so much.  And, fair enough.  I really do like the relief depth they've built up here.

Bowden Francis looks to be making the team.  And who the heck is Paulo Espino?
What storylines are you guys following?

scottt - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 10:23 AM EST (#442984) #
Team-building usually means something else.

As for team composition, take the Yankees for example.
They've been terrible when Judge isn't on the field.
So they added some bats in Soto and Verdugo but that forces Judge into CF unless they ditch Stanton with over 100M left on his contract. Also now the rotation looks like Cole, Rodon, Stroman, Schmidt and Cortes which seems a bit light.
They have a bench of Peraza, Cabrera and Grisham.

In the end, it might be Rizzo's performance that determine where they finish.
Or it could be a dozen other things.

Mike Green - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 10:26 AM EST (#442985) #
From the neighbourhood. My local public school has two diamonds in the field outside. Today on March 8, there are some kids in winter coats but enough in their shirt sleeves for games with 8 players in each diamond. I don't remember seeing that before.
scottt - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 10:28 AM EST (#442986) #
Espinal hitting a ton at AAA after a demotion would not be the worst thing.
It would be nice if they could cash on the guys who are low on options rather than just lose them.
That could happen at the deadline, like when they moved Groshans.

bpoz - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 10:30 AM EST (#442987) #
Nice post jerjapan. I am shocked by the lack of improvement by Boston and Miami. Teo Epstein will probably influence the Red Sox next year. Maybe spend money on FAs. Miami is wasting the great pitching depth in their system. Outstanding potential SP pitching quality and it is cheap.

The Jay's SP depth will be tested this year. Starts missed or under whelming by Gausman, Berrios, Bassit, Kikuchi and Manoah will have to be supplemented by Mitch White, Francis, Tiedemann, Y Rodriguez and anyone else like Chad Dallas for example. Plenty of opportunity.
christaylor - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 10:53 AM EST (#442988) #
I don't think your prediction is unreasonable, but how much is it colored by 2023? This is more or less the same team as last Spring. 3B is a little more in flux and we have one fewer question mark in the rotation. The competition is a little better, in the AL East, but not much with TB/BOS taking a step back.

88-89 wins and a playoff bubble team seems likely with a different set of good breaks and bad breaks than 2023. That said, a few more bad breaks than good I can see a .500 team.
John Northey - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 11:00 AM EST (#442989) #
To me the infield backup / starting battles are fun. 
  • 2B: Biggio/Schneider/Espinal/Clement/Escobar in a big battle for who gets how much playing time
  • 3B: Kiner-Falefa is the starter almost for certain, with most guys in the 2B battle also hoping for time here (esp. Biggio, Espinal, Clement, Escobar)
  • All losers of the starting job will be in the battle for backup slots.  The 3 who are locks for the team are Biggio/Schneider/Kiner-Falefa while Espinal/Clement/Escobar are fighting hard to make it.
  • 11 slots are locked in - starters at all 9 positions plus the backup catcher and at least one of B/S/KF.  Just 13 slots are available so 2 left for Espinal/Clement/Escobar and a bat possibly - Vogelbach looking good, Horwitz not as good right now.
  • Of note: Vogelbach & Escobar are not on the 40 man, thus can easily be sent to AAA but their deals might have an opt out clause (in fact I'm certain of it).  Espinal & Horwitz have options, Clement doesn't.  So in theory that should give Clement a big leg up.
Marc Hulet - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 11:34 AM EST (#442990) #
The Dodgers are likely in the market for a SS with Gavin Lux having throwing issues while coming back from major ACL surgery so there's a possible fit for Espinal... and the Dodgers can probably help him rediscover his previous form. A change of scenery deal for Miguel Vargas makes some sense... Jays have big on Cubans in recent years, too.
Nigel - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 12:13 PM EST (#442991) #
I like positional flexibility (and it's reason that the team is doing it) when the player can hit (eg Phillips and Zobrist) and the team is finding creative ways to get that bat into a lineup. The problem with the Jays' model is that they are working really hard to find players who bring positional flexibility but in a number of cases those players can't hit (and, frankly, offer little other than positional flexibility).
scottt - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 12:21 PM EST (#442992) #
I don't know. He's one of those guys who can mash in the PCL but that doesn't really prove anything.
Not a great fielder. Poor arm. Will be out of options next year.
Scouts like his ability to barrel balls in the lower minors/PCL but he can't hit .200 in MLB.
Honestly looks like a AAAA guy to me.

Would have been valuable last year, but already got an extended look.

GabrielSyme - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 12:31 PM EST (#442993) #
Two things about positional flexibility.

First, it has diminishing returns. The first guy who can fill in at multiple positions gives you a range of options; the second guy only needs to fill in where the first guy can't or already is filling in, etcetera.

Second, I worry that it comes at a cost. By spreading playing time and instruction across multiple positions, a player might never develop the skills to be as strong a defender than if they stayed in one spot. And by increasing the defensive demands on players, you risk the player losing focus on offence.
John Northey - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 12:52 PM EST (#442994) #
I think it depends on a lot of things - if you have multiple guys who can play everywhere then any injuries just results in guys moving to their stronger positions rather than calling up minor leaguers to cover.  Key is each having their own specialty.  Escobar is good hitting vs LHP, IKF great on defense, Espinal solid on defense, Clement very good on defense (hmm, getting a theme here), Biggio the lone LH hitter in the group, Schneider Mr. Power of the group.  So Schneider, Biggio, Escobar provide offense, IKF, Clement, Espinal defense.  

The last 3 also cover SS.  315 1/3 innings at SS were non-Bo time in 2023, 67 innings in 2022, 134 in 2021, and 307 2/3 in 2020 (Bo hurt a lot). 2019 Bo didn't come up until well into the season (Freddy Galvis had most of the playing time).  So basically 100-300 innings to be covered at SS, or the equivalent of 11-33 full games, or roughly 33-132 PA if you prefer.

Having 2 options in the majors for SS after Bo is a luxury as odds are if one plays for Bo someone will hit for them late, thus making the 2nd one useful (unless you want to see Biggio there again).

My ideal world is Schneider & IKF the regulars with Biggio mixed in when Schneider goes to LF or to avoid overexposing IKF's bat at 3B.  Clement on the bench would be nice as he covers all IF positions well on defense and a bat on the bench to hit for IKF or Clement in late innings if close.  Espinal would be acceptable but I think Clement is stronger on defense and for a last guy on the bench I want someone who is VERY good at one thing.
scottt - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:07 PM EST (#442995) #
Escobar was good against LHP, but had an OPS of only .769 against them last year.
He looks done. He had a bad spring last year and a worse one this year.
19 PA, 1 hit, 1 BB, 9K.
He's 35. Tons of guys who aren't elite fall off at that age.
Heck, Solarte was done at 31.

Gerry - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:16 PM EST (#442996) #
Buster Olney is reporting that Joey Votto has a non roster invitation to the Blue Jays.
uglyone - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:21 PM EST (#442997) #
Play him.
Cracka - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:29 PM EST (#442998) #
Votto must really, really want to play this season. There aren't many hall-of-fame caliber players that would accept a minor league deal at the end of their careers.
dalimon5 - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:32 PM EST (#442999) #
Love love love it!
92-93 - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:39 PM EST (#443000) #
Attaboy Ross. Absolutely love it. A free call option and a great interview.
Hodgie - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:43 PM EST (#443001) #
"There aren't many hall-of-fame caliber players that would accept a minor league deal at the end of their careers."

To that end there haven't been many people like Votto in the history of the MLB. Unique is grossly overused, but in Votto's case ....

Gerry - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:54 PM EST (#443002) #
Is he willing to go to Buffalo for a while to get ready? Vogelbach and Votto are going for the same job.
Eephus - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 01:56 PM EST (#443003) #
Shopping carts in the GTA rejoice!

Unsurprisingly, I approve of this deal.
Mike Green - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:12 PM EST (#443004) #
Zobrist was a shortstop who really didn't play that position well, and didn't have the arm to slide over to third base.  He hit well in the minors at age 23-25 with excellent batting averages and plate control.  At age 27, he looked like a 4A player, but added pop at both the minor league and major league level so that his bat would carry him.  Tampa tried him everywhere that year (mostly at shortstop and he wasn't good except at second base.  He didn't get work in right field.   The next year, they moved him to second and gave him some PAs in right-field where he was good. Tampa didn't get value him for his "positional flexibility".  What they did was wait for improvement in his bat to the point that he had value even with his defence needing work and then tried to find a position for him. 

Phillips was a shortstop who really didn't play the position well, and didn't have the arm to slide over to third base and be an above-average defender.  He hit decently in the minor leagues with excellent plate control.  His bat  came alive at age 26 when the A's first gave him regular work at second base.  He was tried all over the diamond, but was only above-average at second base and in left-field.  When he moved to Detroit in 1990 at age 31, his bat took another leap forward.  I doubt that the A's liked him for his positional flexibility.  In fact, they saw him mostly as a utility infielder.  In the 8 years he was there, he got 3000 PAs.  It was only after he moved to Detroit that he would be a full-time player. In the following 8 years, he had 5300 PAs.  With his bat improving, the Tigers rightfully tried everything to get it into the lineup. 
scottt - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:15 PM EST (#443005) #
It's already 2 weeks into camp. He will get to ride the bus to away games.
It will be interesting to hear the comments from the away broadcast teams.

He might be competing with Vogelbach but the guys he will be taking playing time from are Horwitz and Sosa.

uglyone - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:17 PM EST (#443006) #
$2m base + $2m incentives.

that's not nothing.
Eephus - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:20 PM EST (#443007) #
Fun facts: Votto is your active MLB leader in hits, total bases and walks (the least surprising one). He’s third in home runs behind Stanton and Trout (Springer is 21st) and third in runs scored behind Freeman and McCutchen.

If indeed he makes it and gets an AB with the Blue Jays, I wonder if the team has ever had the active leader in hits before?
James W - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:53 PM EST (#443008) #
Winfield or Molitor would spring to mind, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone was ahead of either at the time.
Magpie - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:54 PM EST (#443009) #
Number 19 has a pretty proud history with the Blue Jays, from Otto the Swatto Velez to Jose Bautista with a couple of Hall of Famers in between named McGriff and Molitor. Joey will fit right in.
dalimon5 - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 02:59 PM EST (#443010) #
Votto and Turner as regulars strengthens this line up significantly. They really move the needle in terms of how to attack a line up from the opposing side. I still think Votto is legit good when healthy. When healthy. WHEN HEALTHY. I saw him healthy for a stretch last year and he went off. Hew's similar to Turner in that he is not an easy out and will battle. If you are not painting corners or blowing hitters away then these two guys are hard to get out. They don't make the brain fart mistakes other guys do like chasing balls out of the zone or letting mid 90s fastballs down the middle because they guessed wrong. I am referring mostly to Vlad and Chapman here...

I expect Turner to DH against lefties while IKF/Clement goes to 3B. Against righties I expect Turner to play 3B. That lets Votto play 1B and moves Vlad to DH. Vogelbach becomes the bench bat.

Biggio shifts to 2B/OF full time duties.
James W - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 03:00 PM EST (#443011) #
Winfield finished his Toronto stint with 2866 hits but Robin Yount had more, and Molitor finished with 2789 hits (he would go on to lead the AL in hits in 1996 at age 39) with George Brett having more in 1993 and Winfield having more in 1994-95.

Best I can tell, no Blue Jay has been the active leader in hits before.
Chuck - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 03:14 PM EST (#443012) #
The timing of this Votto deal is very odd. Why now? Why not at the start of the spring? What has changed? Was Eephus's threat to hold his breath all season treated that seriously?
Petey Baseball - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 03:22 PM EST (#443013) #
Could it be that Votto was waiting to see if a team would give him a major league contract? When no offers came, he took the most attractive (to him) minor league deal.
Eephus - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 03:27 PM EST (#443014) #
“Was Eephus's threat to hold his breath all season treated that seriously?”

Hey, glad to know it still works sometimes.

The fit is dubious with Vogelbach lurking about, but there’s no harm in taking a look to see what Joey has left. I’ve also watched a lot of Reds games and Votto remains a solid defensive option at first-base. Good instincts, knows what he’s doing and is a little more agile than you’d expect a 40 year old first baseman to be. Obviously he isn’t particularly fleet of foot, he never was, but neither was Belt and (sorry to keep picking on him, he’s a decent player) even at a decade older he’s probably faster than big Dan Vogelbach.

Mike Green - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 03:28 PM EST (#443015) #
ZiPS projects Votto to hit. .212/.321/.397, and precisely replacement level.  But he will put a few bums in seats and eyes on screens, and maybe enough to make it worthwhile for Rogers. 
Cracka - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 03:31 PM EST (#443016) #
I though Omar Vizquel was a sneaky good answer - his 2877th and final hit came as a Blue Jay in 2012. But Derek Jeter was also still active then and was over 3000 hits. Looks like Vizquel had the 2nd most active hits at the time.
scottt - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 04:02 PM EST (#443017) #
That compares to .232 .343 .416 for Vogelbach.

The Blue Jays had Frank Thomas at that age.
I don't think he was the leader in anything but it didn't end well.
To think of it, he might have been the leader in walks unless Jim Thome had already passed him.

Votto is the leader in hits, but Freeman will pass him in a couple of months.
Freeman is also a lot younger and had about 700 PAs less.

Stanton is the active leader in strikeouts ahead of Goldschmidt.

Ah, well, that could be a tough one for Schneider, for sure.
Do you play the replacement level player to please the fans who lives close to the stadium or do you try to compete. Pulling Berrios has nothing on this.

85bluejay - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 04:42 PM EST (#443018) #
A big Thumbs on the Joey Votto minor league deal - I think if healthy he can help the team - You are unhappy with the Jays offseason?, injuries to the rotation - look over here, we've got local hero Joey Votto!
Marc Hulet - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 05:59 PM EST (#443019) #
If you think a 40-year-old with a below average wRC+ over the past two years can help... well, stranger things have happened but it's not likely.
85bluejay - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 06:12 PM EST (#443020) #
The Jays are giving Joey Votto the chance to showcase himself to 30 teams and benefitting from the PR - win-win.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 06:29 PM EST (#443021) #
85 bluejay I 100% agree! I came on here to post Exactly that.
Katie - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 06:35 PM EST (#443022) #
Whether or not he can "help" the team, I'd rather watch Joey Votto hit .212/.321/.397 than Daniel Vogelbach hit .232/.343/.416, and that's no disrespect to Vogelbach.

If the Jays had an option that would be a difference-maker that would be a different consideration. However, since this team is likely going to stumble towards maybe the 5th or 6th seed in the American League, I'd rather watch a Torontonian break the record for most hits by a Canadian major leaguer, particularly someone who is going to have fun and be a welcome presence around the team while doing so.
92-93 - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 07:11 PM EST (#443023) #
In Votto's first 38 games last season he hit .203/.307/.526 with 13hr and 31rbi. He homered in 4 straight starts before the All-Star break and drove in 9 runs. He then went 7/37 with 0hr and landed on the DL with weakness in his shoulder, the one he had surgery on in '22. If he looks healthy and the bat speed is there, he can definitely still help this club in a limited role.
vw_fan17 - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 07:34 PM EST (#443024) #
I don't know how to easily check on active hits leaders. My mind immediately went to Al Oliver.
Magpie - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 07:46 PM EST (#443025) #
My mind immediately went to Al Oliver.

Good idea, but Pete Rose was still active. Barely.
Gerry - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 08:47 PM EST (#443026) #
Votto says he expects to start the season in Buffalo. He says he needs time to sharpen his game.
John Northey - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 09:53 PM EST (#443027) #
And that is what makes this make sense - Votto for a month in Buffalo - if he pounds the crap out of the ball then he can help as the LH bat on the bench hitting for IKF late.  If not, then no harm no foul.  Fangraphs assorted projections have him between -0.5 fWAR and +0.2 - no much either way. wRC+ of 81 to 98. Of course, if you assume he was hurt the past 2 years and is 100% again for the first time since 2021 then a 140 wRC+ is kinda possible (he did that then) which would be very, very helpful off the bench.  Realistically he is no better than a 100 wRC+ guy now and unlikely to add much, but a clutch hit here and there instead of watching IKF flail away might be nice.

As for Vogelbach - his projections are wRC+ of 105-115, fWAR of 0.1 to 0.8 - better bat than Votto, but his speed makes Kirk look fast and his defense doesn't exist.  He'd be a 100% hit for IKF, the odd DH game, and that's pretty much it.  Still more likely to be useful than Votto.  I could see the Jays taking Vogelbach up to start the year, then see if Votto has it at the end of April and then make a choice between them.  If Votto comes up and flops and Vogelbach is gone then you have Horwitz as the option for LH bench bat (proj 95 to 112 wRC+, 0.1 to 1.7 fWAR).  Basically all 3 are dancing around the replacement level for obvious reasons.  None are horrid, none are 'wow'.
Ducey - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 09:53 PM EST (#443028) #
Lots of speculation on what Joey will do.

He had shoulder problems the last few years. He hurt it tagging a player running to first in 2015. He rehabbed it but it started to deteriorate until he had surgery in August 2022. He didn't come back until mid season 2023.

So the 2022 and 23 seasons may not be indicative of his ability.

Maybe with a healthy shoulder he can be better than he has been the last 2 years.

For a minor league deal, the Jays can afford to find out.
uglyone - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 11:12 PM EST (#443029) #
Eephus - Friday, March 08 2024 @ 11:35 PM EST (#443030) #
He does. And will. It’s an Eephus guarantee.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 12:18 AM EST (#443031) #
I would have liked the Turner and Votto signings if their combined ages had been in the 70-72 range instead of 79 (almost 80). Those two are going to produce a whole lot of Buck Martinez yakking and less than 2 WAR per 800 PA.

And I'm not ageist (I'm a Biden supporter!).
Mike Green - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 08:44 AM EST (#443032) #
"I'm not ageist; I'm opposed to hubris in all its forms"

Should I have this on the cake when I turn 65 not so long from now? Does "I bid 4 notrump" have a secret meaning for the very underground bridge resistance?

Bill James said that there was something quite sad about a great ballplayer who didn't know when it was time to hang them up.

bpoz - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 08:57 AM EST (#443033) #
In Votto Buffalo will have a very famous player. If Votto has the characteristics and personality to positively influence the AAA prospects I see this as a positive to their development. Votto has a lot of ML hits, good bb/K and seems to have learned to play intelligently in the ML so his advice would be valuable.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 09:10 AM EST (#443034) #
Someone like Gretchen Whitmer might well be a better candidate for the Democrats. The practical problem is that she might not be able to build enough brand recognition between now and November to win the election.

It's good to be opposed to hubris. But that doesn't produce an obvious solution to the problem of choosing a strong candidate who is also likely to prevail in the election.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 09:42 AM EST (#443035) #
Jon Heyman says the Blue Jays made a late offer to Chapman before he signed with the Giants. The offer was reportedly for two years.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 10:23 AM EST (#443036) #
We're closing in on the halfway mark of spring games and I haven't seen anything yet (I've watched most of the games) that screams "massive improvement over 2023" on offense.

Bo and Vladdy have looked locked in but no one else has looked explosive or dangerous. Lots of pop-ups, seeing-eye singles, etc. None of the AAA-destined hitters are knocking down the door - with the exception of quad-A Lukes.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 11:29 AM EST (#443037) #
Addison Bargar does have 4 hits in 10 at bats but also 4 strikeouts.

In the comments about Joey Votto, it was mentioned that Freddie Freeman was second, 21 hits in arrears. I looked up the list of active players and was surprised by the guy in third place. Does anyone have a guess for who it is?
scottt - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 12:00 PM EST (#443038) #
Yeah, Barger has looked quite playable.

The following players have been re-assigned to minor league camp.

Andrew Bash
Zach Britton
TJ Brock
Jimmy Burnette
Chad Dallas
Deveraux Harrison
Damiano Palmegiani
Alan Roden
Andres Sosa

Also, Adam Macko has been optioned to Buffalo.
I guess that means he's skipping AA.

Mike Green - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 12:58 PM EST (#443039) #
Ricky Tiedemann throws today. It's probably the most significant element of spring training to date. If all goes well, he will build up his innings some in spring training, make starts in Buffalo until May and then join the big club.

The 80th percentile ERA per ZiPS for Tiedemann is 3.38, and that would make a huge difference for the club.
soupman - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 02:09 PM EST (#443040) #
I cheated. My first guess was 4 and my second guess was five.
jerjapan - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 02:20 PM EST (#443041) #
Do we not send broadcast teams to spring training games now? Maybe it’s just me, but every time I’ve tuned in, it’s been the other teams broadcasters.

At least these Phillies guys know something about the Jays. Last game I caught., Yankees maybe, it was no Jay’s content whatsoever.

Mike,Green, great post on Phillips and Zobrist. You’ve got 15 years on me and a better historical perspective I think, has the role changed or were there D only utility guys back in the day?

Reading Kaitlyn McGrath‘s piece, I really got the sense that IKF Is a new breed of utility guy.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 02:26 PM EST (#443042) #
It's good to be opposed to hubris. But that doesn't produce an obvious solution to the problem of choosing a strong candidate who is also likely to prevail in the election.

Correct.  It's not a Biden problem or a Trump problem, but rather an institutional problem.  In 2016, the Democrats had Clinton vs. Sanders; whatever you think of their political positions, they were both too old.  

US presidents must be at least 35 years old under their consititution.  It is ridiculous that there is no upper limit.  Personally, I think mandatory retirement at age 65 is an excellent idea for such a responsible job; I could easily be persuaded that age 60 ought to be the limit.  The horrific consequences that can ensue from early onset dementia at that point more than offsets the benefits of experience. 

Of course, this applies equally well in Canada.  Joey Votto is not yet 60, and has plenty of time for a political career if he wants it...

Mike Green - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 02:37 PM EST (#443043) #
There definitely were many D first utility guys back in the day.  If you look at the playoff teams that the Cardinals (say) had in the 20th century, inevitably there were gloves on the bench- Mike Gallego in 1996, Mike Ramsey in 1982, Ivan DeJesus and Tom Lawless in 1985, Jose Oquendo in 1987 and so on.  I did not realize until checking this that Jimy Williams was on the 67 Cardinals briefly. 

Earl Weaver's clubs would usually have one, but he would be backed up at the power-hitting bench role. 
jerjapan - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 02:37 PM EST (#443044) #
I’d vote for Votto over anyone we’ve got now if he doesn’t make the team.

Ruben Amaro is a much better announcer than he was GM. Buck is a super nice guy and I love the whole Jay’s nostalgia vibe, but enough with these grandpa announcers. There are a lot of young, smart sports casters out there these days.

Is it too much to ask for a guy that is conversant in modern baseball concepts?
92-93 - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 03:24 PM EST (#443045) #
Shulman is quite well versed. The last thing I want when I'm watching a baseball game is to hear about a player's WAR and his ZIPS projections. Different strokes for different folks.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 03:59 PM EST (#443046) #
Daulton Varsho seems to have a better handle on the strike zone this year. Maybe he's been working with Matt Hague on that.

I am optimistic that he will perform at his career norms or better this year.
85bluejay - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 04:13 PM EST (#443047) #
Ricky Tiedemann pitched 44 innings last season plus 18 innings in the fall league - I think the Jays should be very conservative with his workload this year - I'm hoping that the pitching staff performs well enough that Tiedemann doesn't see the show until September at the earliest and maybe not at all this season.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 04:52 PM EST (#443048) #
Tiedemann turns 22 in August. It might be best if the club puts him in the bullpen in 2024 as the White Sox did with Sale his first year. A 2 inning reliever can be very valuable in the post-season if the Blue Jays make it there.

With 6 starts in Buffalo and 50 innings in Toronto in the pen during the regular season, that would be a reasonable progression given his age.

These are unquestionably tough calls for an organization.
soupman - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 06:42 PM EST (#443049) #
Workload management is pseudo scientific. IMO, the only metric for whether a pitcher ought to throw another inning is effectiveness.

Teams are just as guilty of group think as they ever were and this is just the current thing.
scottt - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 06:45 PM EST (#443050) #
John Schneider said at the start of the camp that "the team has a general idea of Ricky Tiedemann's projected workload for 2024; the club would love to optimize those innings in the majors"
scottt - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 07:36 PM EST (#443051) #
The Giants have put J.D. Davis on waivers.
He's owned about 7M. He's been a 0-1WAR third baseman, so I don't think he's actually an upgrade on IKF. On the bench, I prefer a left bat.

scottt - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 07:56 PM EST (#443052) #
Interesting. Because he won arbitration he can be released and the Giants are on the hook for only 30 or 45 days of his MLB salary. Had he settled with the Giants, his full salary would have been guaranteed. The Giants were always a favourite to sign Chapman so he should have settled rather than go to a hearing over 350K.
Marc Hulet - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 10:16 PM EST (#443053) #
I actually couldn't stand Amaro Jr. on the broadcast today talking about the importance of pitcher's wins... Reminded me of Buck.

I'll take either Shulman any day.
Joe - Saturday, March 09 2024 @ 11:58 PM EST (#443054) #
Do we not send broadcast teams to spring training games now? Maybe it’s just me, but every time I’ve tuned in, it’s been the other teams broadcasters.
For away games, it's been the home team's broadcast for at least the last couple of years, but it's been the Jays broadcast for all home games they've shown this year. And yes, the Yankees spring training broadcasters are so jingoistic you'd think the other team didn't even exist!
SK in NJ - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 12:35 AM EST (#443055) #
It's only Spring Training but it does feel like the offense will be similar to 2023 in terms of needing to string together a bunch of hits to score runs with no big bopper anywhere in sight. Hopefully, Vlad becomes that player again, otherwise it's going to be a pitching and defense team again. I'm sure some people found the 2023 Jays to be exciting to watch, but I definitely wasn't one of them, so hopefully we see more home runs and a better offense in general in 2024.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 08:04 AM EDT (#443056) #
I seem to recall in the past (maybe 2013) the Jays actually did some road spring training broadcasts due to the excitement brought on by the Reyes-Buhurle-Johnson trade and getting Dickey.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#443057) #
The Mantle-Mays comparison for Trout-Betts has lasted remarkably well.  Betts had has first full season in 2015, and did not come out of the chute as fast as Trout, but injuries have taken their toll on Trout.  Since 2015, Betts has been a slightly more valuable player than Trout and both have been quite a bit ahead of the rest of the league.  Neither was quite as fabulous as their 1950s predecessors, but that is a very, very high bar. 

There have been 8 players who have scored 2,000 runs in their careers-  Rickey, Cobb, Bonds, Hank, Ruth, Rose, Mays and Alex Rodriguez.  Betts has 996 through age 30 and so he has work cut out for him, but I think he's got to make it.  He hasn't yet hit in the post-season, but I think he's going to change that also in the next few years. I have marked down the Dodgers for 3 or 4 World Series championships in the next 10 years, which obviously is an unlikely number given the role of luck in the post-season.  Now I've got to live long enough to see whether that turns out to be wrong, completely wrong or somewhat close to right.  Nothing like putting a few targets in front of oneself. 
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#443058) #
Ladies and Gentlemen . . .

* * * The 3rd Annual Teoscars * * *

presented by the L.A. / L.C. Academy.

" And the Teoscar goes to . . . "

Vladito's Way (1993)
The Chad Green Mile (1999)
I.K.F. (1991)
directed by Oliver Stone
Mitch White Christmas (1954)
The Schneider House Rules (1999)
My Cousin Yimi (1992)
Viva Las Vegas (1964)
starring Orelvis
Pop Fiction (1994)
Eduardo Scissorhands (1990)
A Streetcar Named Shapiro (1951)
Vogelbach to the Future (1985)
Planes, Trains, and Vottomobiles (1987)

* Bonus * Yimi Awards for achievement in television:

As the World Turners (1956-2010)
Three's Company (1977-1984)
starring J. Schneider, DeMarlo Hale, & Donnie Baseball

* * *

The 96th Academy Awards.
Live! Tonight on ABC.

ISLAND BOY - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#443059) #
Nobody except Soupman bit on my trivia question on who was third on the active player list for most hits behind Votto and Freeman. The answer is .. Elvis Andrus. It's easy to forget Andrus entered the league at age 20 and while never topping 200 hits, has had solid seasons until his last few years.( He's now 35) Others that many would have thought of first include Andrew McCutchen, Jose Altuve, Nolan Arenado and Evan Longoria.
uglyone - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#443060) #
"Workload management is pseudo scientific. IMO, the only metric for whether a pitcher ought to throw another inning is effectiveness.

Teams are just as guilty of group think as they ever were and this is just the current thing."


Especially since nobody bothers to include practice innings, spring innings, rehab innings, etc etc when calculating their "ideal" innings projections, even though they're the same as any other workload.

And it never made sense to me to waste a pitcher's supposedly limited innings in the minors instead of the majors.
scottt - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#443061) #
Effectiveness is subjective.

The pitchers who are limited by effectiveness are the relievers.
Nobody is concerned about the number of innings thrown by relievers.
And yet, most of them throw only 1 inning.

As for starters, the injuries are very expensive.
Teams don't want to pay a guy 30M to recover at home.

Rehab innings don't count because the guy is already injured.
A guy who normally throw 150 innings isn't going to throw that many if he missed time and has to rehab.
Guys don't throw at 100% during spring and practice innings.
It's a gradual process.

Innings thrown by starters is down but the number of injuries isn't.
The leagues limited the number of pitchers to 13 to limit the number of pitching changes, but a side effect is to make the number of innings thrown by a starter more valuable.
And yet, managers are afraid to push their starter.
The Jays starters were healthier than most last year and yet most of them were unhappy about missing extra days of rest. Nobody complained about being taken out too early. 
Starters can tell when they start what is probably their last inning and empty the tank.

greenfrog - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#443062) #
A lot of pitchers seem to be finding ways to significantly increase the velocity of their pitches, even mid-career. That could be contributing to number and/or severity of pitcher injuries.
John Northey - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#443063) #
Given the high number of pitcher injuries every year and the rapidly decreasing innings from starters it might be past time for teams to start looking at knuckleball pitchers again. Guys who can throw 200-300 innings without their arms falling off, who don't count on velocity. It'd provide a different look at the very least. If I was an Oakland or KC who is going to lose 100+ anyways I'd sure try to develop one or two anyways. The potential ROI is huge. Same with guys having 1001 pitches - like Bassitt and Ryu. Both have had success, and I'm surprised no one gave Ryu a guaranteed contract in the $10 mil range this past winter (I'm guessing that'd have kept him in the majors) given how many flame throwers seem to get that even if they are unlikely to throw 100 innings - see Luis Severino (last threw 103+ IP in 2018, got $13 mil), Kenta Maeda (last 110+ IP was 2019, got 2 years $28 mil), Frankie Montas ($16 mil 1 1/3 IP last year, just twice over 100 IP in his career), Michael Wacha (his 134 IP last year was his peak since 2017, got $32 mil over 2 years). You get the idea. Teams are going for potential (even with free agents) over performance and imo are wearing rose colored glasses when evaluating these guys.

Jays used to do this with Robbie Ray ($9 mil when he looked like a wild child who'd never put it together, then won a Cy), and others. But this winter was a very odd one - lots of those 1-2 year deals, but only 3 guys cracked $100 mil in free agency (Ohtani, Yamamoto, and Nola). Bellinger got a max of $80 mil, Snell still sitting out there, Montgomery still sitting too, Chapman maxed at $54 mil, Hader $95 mil as top closer. That covers the top 8, beyond that few had any shot at a $100 mil deal even in their dreams. It'll be interesting to see if the market repeats like this next year - the top few get their deals but the rest get treated poorly outside of the ones seen as having 'potential unrealized' who get 2-3 year deals at more than their past performance would dictate. One could argue IKF lands under that category, but his deal feels more like a 'this is what the market was for good backups so we paid based on that'.

I wonder how closely the Jays will look at the new free agent - J.D. Davis - only once worth 1+ bWAR (2019), but fWAR had him at 2.2 last year. FG has him as a positive on defense in 2023 (negative in all other seasons). FG projections range from 0.1 to 1.8 fWAR, 102-108 wRC+ (114 lifetime, 104 last year). $6.9 mil is his arbitration won salary - the Jays could grab him off waivers or offer SF something in exchange for him (perhaps Espinal to be a backup there - $2.7 mil), or if they need to balance salary more offer Garcia for their pen ($6 mil) which would free up a slot for rotating guys between Buffalo and Toronto (the other 7 in the pen are no option guys or 'no way he goes down' guys outside of maybe Cabrera). He'd provide a bat first option at 3B which would allow Turner to stay at DH and end the LH pinch hitter mess with Horwitz, Votto, and Vogelbach - could keep 2 in AAA for a month or so to see if they can fill in and go from there.

Note: SF has just 1 IF on their projected bench (vs 2 OF), and their pen looks weak to me (projected to mostly be guys with projected 3.8+ ERA's and a NRI) with 5 pitchers on the IL to start the season (2 TJ guys). So it might just work - shifting $6 mil from the pen to 3B, getting more offense there with IKF for late innings. I could see it working. Not ideal, but net cost could be virtually nothing in ML terms.
soupman - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#443064) #
By effectiveness I simply mean if the pitcher is still dealing and getting outs and whiffs then you leave them in. That’s the manager’s job - maybe you add some watch’s data on arm angle and velocity to assist, but if the pitches are missing bats then what more do you want?
soupman - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#443065) #
Watch’s is my phones attempt to interpret statcast
Mike Green - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#443066) #
Since 1950, there have been 15 pitchers who at age 21 threw at least 150 innings with an ERA+ of at least 125.  Seven of them were hard-throwers- Vida Blue, Frank Tanana, Kerry Wood, Dwight Gooden, Denny McLain, Clayton Kershaw and Sam McDowell.  All of them had thrown 150 or more innings in a season before age 21.  Tiedemann threw 78 innings in 2022 and 44 innings in 2023.  Most of the other great hard-throwers- Seaver, Randy Johnson, Clemens, Pedro, Koufax, Gerrit Cole, Verlander, Nolan Ryan, DeGrom- were not in the major leagues or just arriving part way through the year.  Some were many years away.   And all had thrown more innings than Tiedemann has to date. 

You don't have to believe that there is a direct correlation between workload and injury to take the view that large increases in innings pitched at a young age, combined with a move to the big leagues, is not desirable.  It doesn't seem to have worked for any hard throwers.  The closest I could find is Vida Blue who threw 152 innings at age 18, 146 at age 19 (42 in the major leagues), 171 at age 20 (133 in the major leagues) and 312 in the major leagues at age 21. 
scottt - Sunday, March 10 2024 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#443067) #
Today Clement is 2 for 2 with a homerun against Burnes meanwhile Espinal had a non competitive AB-watching 2 strikes and chasing a ball.
soupman - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#443068) #
He was hurt last year so maybe he isn’t the best example of a guy to bank on for career durability. Remember when the experts said Stroman was destined for the bullpen because he was short and there were no real historical antecedents? Your 125 mark conveniently omits Stieb (122) who hadn’t even pitched at all until he turned 20 and was in the majors the next year throwing 250 innings at 21 - then threw 180+ innings for 12 years.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#443069) #
Stieb wasn't a hard thrower. I was trying to compare young players with 95+ fastballs.

Stieb had thrown 120 innings in the minors in just over 1/2 a season in 1979. Without injury. What the Jays did with him was a risk, but even with just 1/2 a minor league season under his belt, he had a better durability record than Tiedemann. He also was less than month from his 22nd birthday when the Jays called him up.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#443070) #
Here's a fine piece at fangraphs. 

My take: increased velocity over 95 while maintaining control is a winning formula.  I think Tarik Skubal will be a leading Cy Young candidate if he can stay healthy for a season, but that Mitch White's increased velocity is very much a work-in-progress and not indicative of much unless he harnesses it. 
soupman - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#443071) #
i'm not trying to get into a debate about what is fast or how radar measurements are not always reliable (at least back in the day) but he was a slider pitcher. sliders seem to be the hardest on the elbow, but that's my anecdotal assessment of 'guys that come to mind' and not based on any numbers. there will always be guys like ryan or verlander that throw high velocity but without (much) issue to their bodies. the sports science (jobe, andrews, etc) almost always start their publications with some line that sounds something like "human beings are not adapted to the overhand throwing motion, and therefore injuries are virtually inevitable".

in other news, the dodgers are allowing trevor bauer to hang around camp.
92-93 - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#443072) #
I'm with uglyone. If Tiedemann is one of your 13 best arms, just call him up and manage his innings at the big league level. The team could definitely use a multi-inning RP/opener.
scottt - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#443073) #
It doesn't make a lot of sense to call him in April just so he can accumulate service time while pitching 3 innings every 5 or  6 days.

They should start with the other options while ramping him up.
Come mid-May, we'll see where the need is.

bpoz - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#443074) #
I would like to see a S Marcum type pitcher emerge for the Jays.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#443075) #
I am pretty sure that Tiedemann is one of their 13 best pitchers. They however don't want to use a year of service time. Which is perhaps a reasonable thing given his age and potential. Calling him up in early May wouldn't be the end of the world.

If you are trying to win a World Series, one also has to bear in mind the long post-season, and the workload there.
92-93 - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#443076) #
Fine, wait two weeks if you think he has no shot at ROY or finishing Top3 in Cy Young voting before arbitration (which would earn the Jays draft pick compensation).

Playing Super-2 shenanigans is just wasting bullets, and doesn't make sense to me for a pitcher that can help a good team today.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#443077) #
Absolutely.  They shouldn't be worrying about Super 2. 
christaylor - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#443078) #
Didn't this also happen favorite Reed Johnson in 2008?
ISLAND BOY - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#443079) #
It's hard to imagine Tiederman ever throwing enough innings to ever qualify for ROY this year given his limited innings thrown last year and recent injury history. I think it would be wiser for him to pitch in some lower pressure games in AAA and then get called up when the need inevitably arises.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#443080) #
Not as far as I can see. Reed Johnson's first game was on April 17, 2003.  He did play in 26 games in Syracuse that year, presumably was sent down.  He was also 26 years old, and so it's a very different situation; one ought not to send down a 26 year old to gain a year of service time if you think he will help you.  Johnson is a classic example- he was a good player from age 26-29 and barely above replacement level for the rest of his career. 
dalimon5 - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#443081) #
Gerrit Cole going to see a doctor...
Nigel - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#443082) #
Normally I would be on board with this discussion about having Tiedemann break camp with the big club. Take you best players and try to win. I think that this might be the rare exception and not for any super 2 status reasons. Tiedemann was hurt for much of last year. He's been "hurt" already this spring. Ease him back into action first. If he goes to AAA and can stay healthy and effective down there through April then bring him up. A Jimmy Key type first year after that seems ideal to me.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#443083) #
I agree. But to be clear, the service time deadline is in late April. The Super 2 deadline is in late May.
scottt - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#443084) #
From "Next Level" to "To the Core". Meh.

Anybody here in marketing? Maybe just let the players pick the next slogan?

I'm not worried about the super-two.
However, results in April are total flukes. Just play the hot bats rather than wait for them to cool down and play the old guys who are spinning the ball well while their fastball still play.

greenfrog - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#443085) #
I can see the headline if they get eliminated again early on: “Excoriated.”
scottt - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#443086) #
Ah, yes. The budget Rays.
Player lineup on a whiteboard. That's okay.
But what's the deal with the shaky camera?
I think I'm going to hurl.

Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#443087) #
Ernie Clement is making a pretty solid case for himself.
scottt - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#443088) #
And here's another Clement bomb.
Yesterday's was off the Orioles Ace.
Today's is off the Rays Ace.

krose - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#443089) #
Clément hits a 2 run HR. He has been taking advantage of his chance.
krose - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#443090) #
Biggio not to be outdone.
Gerry - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#443091) #
I am not sure Tiedemann is ready. I think he needs more time. I saw his start on Saturday and his command wasn't great. He did give up a home run and the Phillies hit two others to the warning track.

I know you cant scout just one start but I would give him some time in AAA to refine his command.
krose - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#443092) #
Clément’s arm looks really strong. 3B…maybe?
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#443093) #
Clement's play there on Siri was very good.  It didn't look like much, but very quick release and a solid accurate throw. 
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#443094) #
krose and I have traded Cokes.  We're watching the same game!
krose - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#443095) #
Hi Mike. This team of backups looks really good.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#443096) #
It does.  And the Rays look like they could use a nap

Nice to see Danny Jansen's bat wake up. 
85bluejay - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#443097) #
I don't mind Tiedemann working some innings for the Jays this year but I want the team to prepare Tiedemann to take a rotation spot in 2025 and I think he needs not only to build up his workload but work on his secondary pitches and command/control. Over the next three years the Jays have a member of the rotation eligible to become a free agent each year - it would be very beneficial if the Jays can replace them internally.
krose - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#443098) #
Roster ~ SP- Berrios, Bassitt, Kikuchi, Gausman, Francis.
RP- White, Romano, Green, Garcia, Cabrera, Mayza, Richards, Pearson.
C- Kirk, Jansen, 1B- Guerrero, 2B- Biggio, 3B- IKF, SS- Bichette, LF- Varcho, CF- Kiermaier, RF- Springer.
Bench- Clement, Luke, Schneider.

Not sure of Swanson’s status.
I like Barger too. 357/500/929 in 14 spring ABs. 353/403/756 in 340 AAA ABs last year.
dalimon5 - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#443099) #
Switch Lukes for Vogelbach until Joey Bats (the 2nd) is ready.
krose - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#443100) #
If a power lefty is needed, I like Barger.
Glevin - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#443101) #
Don't see how Clement doesn't make the team. 136 WRC+ in AAA last year, 144 in brief stint in majors, killing it in spring. Excellent D and never strikes out. Espinal has options, Clement doesn't.
Nigel - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#443102) #
How can you leave Fluharty off the roster? (kidding) (mostly)
uglyone - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#443103) #
Spring OPS

* RF Springer 18pa, .856
* SS Bichette 27pa, 1.000
* 1B Guerrero 20pa, .979
* DH Turner 24pa, .695
* C Kirk 20pa, 1.000
* LF Varsho 26pa, .883
* 2B Schneider 27pa, .855
* CF Kiermaier 15pa, .600
* 3B Falefa 21pa, .962

* C Jansen 22pa, .723
* UT Biggio 10pa, 1.475

* IF Escobar 28pa, .292
* IF Clement 26pa, 1.143
* IF Espinal 23pa, .570
* IF Orelvis 20pa, .566
* IF Barger 19pa, .929

* 1B Votto
* 1B Horwitz 28pa, .297
* 1B Vogelbach 22pa, .897

* OF Lukes 26pa, 1.208
* OF Robertson 22pa, .943
* OF Eden 22pa, .692
* OF Roden 20pa, .932

* C Serven 13pa, 1.553

Clement and Lukes making the bardest charges for roster spots, and the team is giving them lots of chances. They also both have intriguing track records that could easily project to quality mlb hitting with good defense. I wouldn't mind these two on the team at all.

Horwitz, Espinal, Escobar getting lots of looks too but flopping so far.

John Northey - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#443104) #
No question, if spring counts for anything Espinal goes down while Clements stays up. Lukes is basically auditioning for that final slot and for a call up whenever an outfielder goes down (inevitable with Springer and Kiermaier out there). The 13 man staff is locked except for 5th starter (White-Francis, with Manoah getting a slot once ready). A pen slot only opens if White wins a rotation slot or Swanson isnt ready opening day, with Francis likely getting it then or Pearson (if he can show more than he has).
scottt - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#443105) #
Escobar looks done. Might have to go play in the Mexican league or something.
Espinal needs to get a few months of regular ABs.
The thing there is that they also have Jimenez who is 7 years younger, so a trade would also make a lot of sense but it can wait.

The thing with the pen is the lack of options if they need  fresh arms.
Cabrera is the only guy they could send down.
Brendon Little is also a lefty, so they could rotate him with the right handed pitchers.
A bad outing from a starter or a couple of extra inning games and they could be forced into that.

greenfrog - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#443106) #
I know it would be a temporary blow to Espinal’s ego, but I hope the team goes with Clement to start the season. I would like to see how he does in the majors this year, and I note that Sportsnet recently quoted someone (an exec or scout with a rival team) who predicted Clement would get snapped up by another team if the Blue Jays let him go.
Mike Green - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#443107) #

Clement and Lukes making the bardest charges

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
greenfrog - Monday, March 11 2024 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#443108) #
Could be a midsummer night’s dream season.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#443109) #
Subjectively, Alejandro Kirk looks worlds better this spring than last.  It's understandable in light of his easier personal situation.  I can easily see him catching 120 games.  Which would free up Jansen to do a lot of DHing (he is projected by ZiPS to be quite a bit better than Justin Turner).  My opening day lineup (assuming a RH starter opposing) would be:

Springer RF
Bichette SS
Varsho LF
Guerrero 1B
Jansen DH
Schneider 2B
Kirk C
Keirmaier CF

The club has set up Schneider to act as the platoon LFer, and perhaps to get some PAs there with a RH starter.  I don't agree with this approach, but at this point, they don't have a lot of options.  Biggio can get some PAs in LF, RF, 3B, 2B and perhaps 1B.  Clement or Espinal can get some PAs at 2B and SS.  Turner can get PAs at DH (when neither Jansen nor Guerrero Jr. nor Springer are in the role) and play first base when Guerrero Jr.  is DHing or getting a rest (Turner is actually a perfectly fine option there- a better defender than Vladimir and a pretty good hitter). 

I don't think they are going to do this, and I fear that they won't optimize Kirk and Jansen, who in my opinion, are two of the top 6 players on the club right now.  Nor have they set up Schneider with the best chance to be what I think he can be.  I'm not sure if this John Schneider's decision, or one of those collective responsibility things that led to the Berrios/Kikuchi situation last year.  Instead I expect to see Davis Schneider flip-flopping a lot, Kirk and Jansen getting a little over 1/2 time work, and Justin Turner in pretty much every day.  Turner is a good player, but at 39 and with diminished skills, he ought to be playing no more than 1/2 time. 

bpoz - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#443110) #
First Cole now judge are having MRI's done.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#443111) #
Yankees having injury issues was expected and welcomed.
85bluejay - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#443112) #
Kirk has had a good spring but I think who's on the mound will probably determine who's behind the plate at least to start the season and the team is not sitting Turner on opening day. Last year Varsho struggled hitting near the top of the lineup to start so I'd hit him sixth with the hope that he earns his way higher up and eventually I'd like to see Biggio in the #2 slot if he hits well - also personally Lukes/Schneider in LF & Varsho in CF is my hope.

My preference as of today:

Springer RF
Bichette SS
Guerrero 1B
Turner DH
Kirk/Jansen C - depends on starter
Varsho LF
Clement 3B
Biggio 2B
Keirmaier CF

christaylor - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#443113) #
I hope Kirk doesn't get 120 games. He wore down in the 2022 season and while he looks better, I don't think he can handle the workload and maintain good production. If he has 120 games at the end of the season it likely means Turner got injured and Votto flamed out.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#443114) #
Or Jansen got injured?
Magpie - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#443115) #
I can easily see [Kirk] catching 120 games.

I can't, mainly because that's a lot of games and every year only a handful manage that many.

Trivial question! Who was the last Blue Jay to start at least 120 games behind the dish?
zeppelinkm - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#443116) #
I feel like Russell Martin is too obvious an answer, but I';ll go with him.
Ducey - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#443117) #
Im gonna go Borders on the trivia question as he seemed to play every day.

Also, Clement is near the top with respect to ABs but has yet to strike out. Escobar leads the team in Ks. With Clement, IKF and Biggio seemingly playing well, they likely can cut Escobar soon.
Magpie - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#443118) #
There's been one guy since Borders in 92-93, but it wasn't Martin (started 119 games in 2016.)
92-93 - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#443119) #
The answer surprised me because I think of him as a platoon guy. My guess was Fletcher.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#443120) #
Projecting Evan Carter is not the name of a movie, but it does have some interesting aspects. 

Here are the basic facts.  He's 6'4", 190 according to BBRef, and he turned 21 last August.  Fangraphs describes him as having plus-plus plate discipline and speed, and below average game and raw power.  Bruce Bochy did have him batting cleanup nonetheless in the playoffs.  His IsoP in A+ in 2022 was .189.  In 2023, he had 462 PAs in double A, 39 in triple A, 75 in the regular season in MLB and 72 in the post-season (the post-season does not appear on fangraphs website).  His IsoPs were .167, .029 (triple A), .339  and .200.  If you take the MLB regular season and post-season together, you get an IsoP of .271 in 147 PAs.  ZiPS projects him to have an IsoP of .152, and I'll take the over on that, thank you very much.  And if you want to decide for yourself whether he has below average game and raw power, here's his Statcast spray chart.  If you click on the red dots, you can watch his home run swing in action. 

The other thing is even harder to project.  BABIP.  His BABIPs have been .360 in double A, .429 in triple A, and .425 in the major leagues so far.  He has a level swing and his line-drive rates are high, and he's a left-handed hitter who is very fast (29.6 ft/sec).  ZiPS projects him at .343.  That is reasonable, but I'll take the over on that too. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#443121) #
Last year,  only Realmuto caught more than 120 games but 5 catchers caught 116 games and 1 catcher caught 114 games.  I would be more than satisfied if Kirk caught 116 games as Heim, Ruiz, Langeliers, Diaz or Maldonado.  Or even better if he caught 114 games and hit like Cal Raleigh did last year.  All of them caught about 1000 innings. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#443122) #
Actually, as I look at the defensive numbers over the last decade, it is common for catchers to log between 950 and 1050 defensive innings and make 110-120 starts.  So, yes, 120 starts was a smidge high. 
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#443123) #
I guessed right about the catcher who did start 120 games behind the plate (at age 34). 
Magpie - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#443124) #
Besides Zaun in 2005 and Borders in 92-93, there was also Rick Cerone in 1979. Borders set the all-time highs for starts (134) and innings caught (1,182) in 1993, beating Cerone by one start and 14 innings caught.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#443125) #

* RF Springer 21pa, .985
* SS Bichette 30pa, .966
* 1B Guerrero 20pa, .979
* DH Turner 27pa, .862
* C Kirk 23pa, 1.043
* LF Varsho 29pa, .938
* 2B Schneider 27pa, .855
* CF Kiermaier 18pa, .611
* 3B Falefa 24pa, .889

* C Jansen 22pa, .723
* UT Biggio 10pa, 1.475

* 1B Votto
* 1B Horwitz 31pa, .303
* 1B Vogelbach 22pa, .897

* IF Escobar 28pa, .292
* IF Clement 26pa, 1.143
* IF Espinal 26pa, .685

* OF Lukes 26pa, 1.208

* C Serven 15pa, 1.323
uglyone - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#443126) #
dropped all the guys who have been dropped, including Barger and Orelvis who just got cut.
scottt - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#443127) #
They need Jansen on the bench so they can pinch run for Kirk.
Vogelbach/Votto should get the all the extra DH duties.

92-93 - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#443128) #
Jansen won't DH on Opening Day (unless Turner/Guerrero are hurt), but the need to PR for Kirk will have little to do with the decision. Losing the DH isn't a big deal when you're trailing/tied late in the game, and Varsho and IKF can catch in a pinch.

I expect Biggio at 2B and Turner at DH to open the season vs. a RHP, and wouldn't be surprised if it's Schneider in the minors over Espinal and Clement.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#443129) #
I expect Biggio at 2B as well, but I don't see them demoting Schneider. They still need someone on the bench capable of playing the outfield, and Schneider has been the only bench option that has been used in the OF in Spring Training. Unless they demote Schneider and carry Lukes instead of Vogelbach/Votto, which wouldn't be an ideal fit since Lukes is a LHB.

I think it's more likely that the team carries all of Schneider, Clement, and Espinal, even though that's a less than optimal roster construction. Hopefully they can find a trade partner for Espinal and his salary, but given how the market has been this winter, he looks grossly overpaid now.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#443130) #
I haven't followed this spring at all, I just assumed that IKF was seeing time in the OF as well. He played more in each of CF and LF than 3B last season. If the Jays don't like him out there then Schneider will have to stay.
mathesond - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#443131) #
Jim Bowden predicts a 4th place finish in the AL East for the Jays. Suddenly I'm a little more optimistic about the upcoming season.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#443132) #
ZiPS has Schneider as .226/.330/.431 against RHP and Biggio as .226/.332/.378.  Basically 50 points of slugging percentage difference.  Schneider has no platoon splits and Biggio has modest ones. 

People complain about the lack of pop on the club and then advocate for Biggio over Schneider.  I don't get it.  Incidentally, the data suggests that Biggio is the one player for whom positional flexibility makes sense.  Over his career, he's been acceptable defensively according to the numbers (and my eyes agree) at 5 positions- LF, RF, 3B, 2B and 1B. 

One thing Tampa does really well is player optimization.  They can't afford to mess things up; the Blue Jays on the other hand don't spend enough so that they have great players to take on roles but do spend enough so that they have a number of plausible options and therefore many opportunities to make bad choices.  I wonder if Kevin Cash gets bored sometimes and thinks about what he would do differently with other rosters.  He does seem attuned to player personalities and perhaps finds that part of managing challenging. 
uglyone - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#443133) #
personally i don't think there's a chance in hell Schneider doesn't break camp with the team.

that's not to say I don't think there's a chance he flops, but I'm pretty pretty sure he's a lock to make it.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#443134) #
the averaged projections look like this:

Projected for full time at bats:

* 1. Guerrero 665pa, 138wrc+
* 2. Bichette 644pa, 122wrc+
* 3. Kirk 361pa, 116wrc+ / Jansen 350pa, 114wrc+
* 4. Springer 623pa, 113wrc+
* 5. Turner 546pa, 108wrc+
* 6. Varsho 595paa, 106wrc+

Projected for part-time at bats (mostly v RHP):

* 1. Vogelbach 7pa, 114wrc+ / Votto 266pa, 98wrc+ / Horwitz 35pa, 109wrc+
* 2. Biggio 399pa, 98wrc+ / Lukes 98pa, 95wrc+
* 3. Kiermaier 441pa, 90wrc+

Projected for part-time at bats (mostly v LHP):

* 1. Schneider 315pa, 112wrc+
* 2. Espinal 224pa, 95wrc+ / Clement 140pa, 93wrc+
* 3. Falefa 385pa, 83wrc+

the slashes represent the only real battles of the spring imo.
Glevin - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#443135) #
"People complain about the lack of pop on the club and then advocate for Biggio over Schneider. I don't get it. Incidentally, the data suggests that Biggio is the one player for whom positional flexibility makes sense."

Well, I think both should likely make team but if Schneider is a spot where he's playing twice a week, I think he should be in AAA because there are things he needs to work on. (We can't ignore the the 0 for 34 with 13 Ks to (almost) end the season) Biggio last year looked great. His March April was atrocious with a 16 WRC+ but after that his months were 130, 114, 107, 100, 128. Ideally, there'd be a lot of Biggio at 3B for me VS R and Schneider playing a lot of 2B but we shall see.
Nigel - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#443136) #
That’s my hope too Glevin but I really don’t know if Biggio can handle semi regular 3B stints defensively. If he could then that would achieve one of the primary goals for this year - to keep IKF’s ABs to a minimum (that reasonable defense allows).
SK in NJ - Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#443137) #
I don't think anyone is advocating for Biggio over Schneider, I'm certainly not, but that is what I expect to happen. It wouldn't shock me if Schneider ends up playing more LF than 2B depending on the health of the OF.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 03:24 AM EDT (#443138) #
Health is a big issue. Games/Innings for the past 3 years
  • Kiermaier: 314 / 2358 1/3
  • Varsho:404 / 2538 2/3 (innings just for OF, not C where he played an additional 494 innings)
  • Springer:365 / 2210 1/3
Note: games includes all games played.  Max is 486 /  4298 1/3 (Jays innings for OF are maxed at 1405 1/3 + 1441 1/3 + 1451 2/3 for 2021-2023 respectively) for one OF position

Now, this might not be fair to Varsho who has been extremely healthy the past 2 years and was used as a catcher a lot in 21/22 plus had time in the minors in 2021. However, I am trying to estimate a 'likely time off' without going into deep, deep nitty gritty crap.

So over 3 years we get 1083 games between the 3 of them = 120 per year for each position = 42 games per position lost = need to be ready for 126 games potentially.  Innings gets worse due to DH time (Springer mainly) and C time (Varsho) = 7,107 1/3 = 790 per year per guy (roughly - that 1/3 extra messes it up so I rounded up to be nice).  That leaves 643 innings per position per year to be covered (again, that extra bit means I needed to round). or 1929 innings overall to cover potentially or a full season plus worth of OF time.

Now, factoring in Varsho playing more than this (very) rough estimate suggests we are looking at a full season worth of play for a 4th OF potentially.  Given Springer & Kiermaier's ages (33 each) one shouldn't expect either to play more than they averaged from 30-32.  

That means TONS of playing time (potentially) for Schneider & Biggio depending how the Jays want to do it.  Varsho might find himself playing all 3 OF positions instead of having Schneider go LF/RF as he had played a fair amount in RF (83 games 620 innings) while Schneider hasn't played in RF yet in the majors, spring, and just 5 games/30 1/3 innings in the minors.  Depends on if they want to put Biggio out in RF on those days when Springer needs a day off with Schneider at 2B but we'll see (Biggio has been in RF 71 games covering 527 innings so he wouldn't be lost at least).

Yeah, I could see that working, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and others being emergency covers for CF as needed (injury would give time for Lukes out there or a kid depending who is hurt and how well either Biggio or Schneider is doing at the time).

So many variables - if an OF is hurt and Schneider/Biggio (depending which OF) is playing well then do you call up, say, Orelvis Martinez to play 2B if he is doing well in AAA, or do you call up LukesBargerRodenRobertson (970 OPS plus showing off a strong arm this spring) to give them time depending on who is playing well, who is hurt, etc.)

If an infielder is hurt it gets more complex - who do you bring in?  Last years emergency trade flopped horribly but Clement stepped in and did fantastic after that, but he is out of options so could be lost if the Jays can't figure out the roster.  Espinal used to be the backup everywhere but his defense and offense flopped last year so what to do?  Escobar has sucked this spring (292 OPS - yes, OPS) so I don't see him as a real option unless his avg reaches the level his OPS is at.  Leo Jimenez has also flopped this spring (his defense didn't look good when I've seen him on TV, his OPS is 452 so far, so he'd have to really do well in AAA to get people excited).  The assorted NRI's haven't impressed in the infield yet, so they too would need to wow to get a 40 man slot given to them, then to be given a real shot during an injury.

At catcher Brian Serven has been very impressive and facing real ML pitching (8.1 Opponent Quality is a touch over AAA level which is hard to reach in spring, and hitting for a 1.323 OPS over 15 PA helps make him a solid #3 choice behind the plate)  Max McDowell also has faced higher level pitching (7.9) but not fared as well 452 OPS in 7 PA.  Tiny sample sizes, but when a player gets hurt and the GM asks the manager who impressed him in spring they will matter.

Daniel Vogelbach has been good this spring - his dingers look very solid, not cheap.  897 OPS vs 8.1 quality.  Horwitz though has hurt his cause with a 303 OPS over 31 PA - lots of chances, not taking advantage of them.  Votto is lurking and has to be scaring both guys who want that 26th man slot (pinch hitting, sometimes DH/1B).

Pitching has little open - just the #5 rotation slot and maybe a pen spot (depending on who wins the 5 role).  Paolo Espino has been doing well and needed to - 8 IP 5 H 2 R/ER 2 BB 12 SO 8.0 OQ.  Alek Manoah was being handed it but got hurt and sucked in his 1 2/3 IP.  Mitch White has 9 IP 7 H 5 R/ER 7 BB 4 SO - I see him being the 8th man in the pen, mop up duty.  Bowden Francis might grab it - 8 IP 7 H 3 R/ER 2 BB 10 SO 7.7 OQ.  I see it as a tight race between Francis and Espino right now. Tie goes to Francis who is already on the 40 man I suspect.

Lots of variables we don't know are there too - who is getting along with others in the clubhouse? Who has been working with coaches/listening to them?  What about in simulated games/minor league games (guys could be playing in those without us ever knowing) In close battles that stuff matters a lot and some of these battles are close.  It also matters for who gets a call-up to be on the bench for 2 weeks when a guy is hurt.  Ideally it'd be all about performance but the little things affect it too - you don't call up a trouble maker unless he is hitting like Bonds on PED's for example.  And seeing how the Jays aren't appearing to care one iota about Trevor Bauer despite his being desperate for a shot with anyone says a lot about both him and the Jays (the Dodgers appear to be debating it by letting  him use their facilities right now).
scottt - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#443139) #
They pinch ran for Kirk every time he got on base late last year and they will do the same this year.
They might also do the same with Turner.

Last year, Belt was the DH, so they could use the extra catcher as DH against a lefty.
This year, Turner is the DH, so they need a left bat to play DH when he doesn't.

IKF has looked very good at 3B so far. He's making tough plays effortlessly.
I'm expecting he's good for 3 WAR just on the defense there but he's only replacement level in the outfield, same a Schneider and Biggio who need to produce offensively.

Espinal could use regular ABs in AAA because he hasn't been a regular over the last  3 years.

Schneider and Horwitz have nothing to learn at AAA because they use an automated strike zone there. At the MLB level, the hitter has to protect against balls getting called strikes.

I expect one of Schneider or Biggio will have a big year.

92-93 - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#443140) #

"“I liked it,” Schneider said. “I’m 5-foot-9. The zone is small. It does set pitchers back a little bit. It’s really tight, when it comes to up and down, but as a hitter you love it. You want to have a tight zone.”

Even though the ABS isn’t utilized presently at the Major League level, Schneider’s ability to visualize the strike zone traveled with him to Toronto.

“The ABS helped out a lot -- more than people realize,” Schneider said. “You look at the numbers in Triple-A. The OPS was an .800 average. It jumped up a lot. I think that helped me hone down my zone a lot more, and it helped me in the big leagues ...

“I don’t have to chase pitches outside the zone ... I feel like that’s what hitters are missing sometimes these days: They’re trying to hit everything. Good hitters make sure they can hit the one pitch they like to hit and don’t miss it.”"
bpoz - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#443141) #
I and most others don't expect another major move this off season by the Jays. Of course I could be surprised.

The team actually did not make any major moves most likely because of luxury tax implications. Turner and Y Rodriguez I consider the only big moves and neither qualifies as major.

So what were they thinking and expecting? With the high payroll IMO they just wanted to compete for a playoff spot (88-91 wins). I see them as 1 of 9 teams in the running. The 9th is for a surprise team.
uglyone - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#443142) #
and not only do i think schneider is a lock to make the team, but I'm guessing they give him every chance to be a full time player (tho he likely splits time at different positions).

He's their best internal chance at being the kind of impact offensive player they weren't able to add this offseason.

ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#443143) #
" I expect one of Schneider or Biggio will have a big year."

My money is on Biggio because he hit really well after a dismal start. I really don't know what to expect from Schneider.

A player I do expect to improve batting-wise is Dalton Varsho. He looks confident in what limited at bats I've seen and is hitting the ball well. I think he put a lot of pressure on himself last season coming to a new team and that hurt him at the plate.
electric carrot - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#443144) #
Definitely getting those spring vibes -- I know it's partially the time of year but -- whatever! I am expecting great bounce back years from:


More of the same from great stuff from:


And I think we get pleasantly surprised by one of these below and unpleasantly surprised by one also:


Lower expectations mixed with concern about:


No expectations from:


And just hoping the starting pitching can be close to what it was last year. Fingers crossed.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 03:03 PM EDT (#443145) #
Cole is going to be out for at least 1-2 months. No UCL tear detected but he’s going to consult with a surgeon in LA.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#443146) #
In 2012, Brett Lawrie exploded on to the scene with a .293/.373/.580 line in 171 PA at the MLB level. ZIPS projected him to hit .275/.333/.498 in 2013, and he finished at .273/.324/.405.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#443147) #
That's true. Dan Szymborski would probably treat that projection as not particularly bad. There is a wide error bar in projecting 21 year old players. One of the things he does now is give the 20% and 80% projections, which gives a pretty good sense of what a player could reasonably do. So, if you look at a 20% projection and you still have a useful player That's a good sign. Lawrie was probably a little better than the 20% projection and still useful despite disappointing.

For what it's worth, the Blue Jays have 4 position players who are useful at their 20% projection: Bichette, Kirk, Schneider, and Jansen.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#443148) #
The Blue Jays play the Yankees 10 times from April-June. It seems quite possible they won’t face Cole in any of those games.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#443149) #
Interesting - San Diego is closing in on a trade for Dylan Cease.
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#443150) #
At least it's not the Yankees.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 08:06 PM EDT (#443151) #
Wonder if Cole's holiday baskets from Snell and Montgomery will come with extra care and attention?
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 13 2024 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#443152) #
If the Jays really wanted to hurt the Yankees, they could go out and sign Snell or Montgomery now.
dalimon5 - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#443153) #
If the Yankees sign Snell for 35 million per year they would have to pay him over 70 million annually when you factor luxury tax penalties plus losing a high draft pick. Then signing him would hurt them more than the Jays signing him.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 01:08 AM EDT (#443154) #
That is crazy eh? Yankees and Dodgers both have the 2x penalty now so signing anyone is crazy expensive. Magic figures are $237M, $257M, $277M, $297M for the luxury tax - 20% penalty first year cracking it (Jays last year), 30% year 2 (Jays this year), 50% year 3 (Dodgers, Yankees) PLUS a 12% surcharge for going over 2nd bracket, 42.5% for going over 3rd bracket (45% year 2 going over it), 60% surcharge for 4th bracket (Yankees, Mets & Dodgers both have that). NYY/LAD are year 3+ and over 4th bracket so they are not taxed at 100%, they are at 110%. Thus a $35 mil deal now is a $73.5 mil deal. Yikes. More than Ohtani is being paid (even not factoring in deferrals reducing the value).

Jays are looking at 30%+12% for the first portion of any deal, and 30+42.5% for any part that is more than $20 mil. So a $35 mil deal for Snell would cost $35 mil + $8.4 mil + $10.875 mil = $54.275 mil for year one. So then it makes sense why the Jays didn't try to sign Snell or Montgomery. Neither is worth that much. Snell would also cost two draft picks (2nd and 5th highest ones - round 2 and the pick they get from losing Chapman between rounds 4/5), and a million dollars from the IFA cap.

Phew. The more I look at it the more it makes sense to let Snell sit. Sucks for him though - pre-Luxury Tax he'd be looking at the Yankees charging hard at him right now, with the Dodgers considering him and others like the Jays making offers. Instead he sits at home wondering how this winter went so wrong for him as no one should be willing to pay $50+ mil per year to have a guy who can't be counted on for more than 130 innings, max 180.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 06:43 AM EDT (#443155) #
Luxury tax is a factor, for sure. But I can't imagine that Yankee ownership would be OK with missing the playoffs for a second straight year.
bpoz - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#443156) #
Nice trade for Cease.

Bassit, Berrios, Kikuchi, Francis and White are all up to 55-75 pitches in their ST preparation. This is good. Gausman, Manoah, Tiedemann and Y Rodriguez are all behind.
scottt - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#443157) #
The Yankees aren't missing the playoffs in March.
There are heavy penalties for signing Snell beyond just the salary tax.
What are the odds Snell would be a strong contributor all the way to October?
We're 2 weeks away from the first game and Snell is not a guy I would rush.

The Montgomery situation is more puzzling since he dodged the QO.
There are no better conditions in the future for him.
It seems his market is solely depressed by his own team preferences.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#443158) #
For what it's worth, with realistic playing time estimates, the Yankees are no longer noticeably ahead of the Blue Jays; I haven't looked closely at the Yankees vs. Orioles yet, but I suspect the Yankees are behind.  Schadenfreude seems  most suited to a bitter Canadian winter, but early spring will just have to do. 

Glevin - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#443159) #
"Luxury tax is a factor, for sure. But I can't imagine that Yankee ownership would be OK with missing the playoffs for a second straight year."

Especially after the Soto trade. Maybe they re-sign him but maybe not (can't see how they can with their salary issues TBH) but either way, you can't waste a season of one of the best hitters in baseball.
85bluejay - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#443160) #
Surprised the Yankees didn't top the Padres offer for Cease - nice trade for San Diego.
Marc Hulet - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#443161) #
Duvall to Atlanta for 1yr/$3M... personally thought he'd be a good option for Jays as a fourth OF and money is reasonable.
Nigel - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#443162) #
Agreed Marc. In fact, it would have made more sense to have a Duvall/LH DH (Vogelback/Votto) roster than Turner/Back up INF playing OF roster as appears to be the current plan.
jerjapan - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#443163) #
Matt Hague is one interesting guy.  
Some of you guys know my love of underdogs and journeyman, the Barry Horowitz's of baseball, and Hague's career path is fascinating.  Drafted in the 11th round out of HS, went to college, played three years, transferred for his senior year, drafted in the 9th round, got himself all the way up to AAA.   Repeatedly playing a full season per minor league level, he clawed his way to a few cups of coffee, including the stretch drive of the 2015 playoff run. 

A year in Japan, along the way. 

And now he makes the bigs, as a coach who is younger than some of the players on the team? 

I mean, that's HOF journeyman stuff.  Props to you Matt Hague, I was pulling for you to get called up back in your Buffalo Ironman days, and here you are, hot young coaching prospect who only needed four years of coaching to make the bigs? 

There is a genuine generational aspect to coaching and mentoring that I think Hague brings to this team.   And he seems like an interesting, thoughtful guy in Kaitlyn McGrath's latest at the Athletic. 

Do you guys think he'll make a difference?
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#443164) #
Duvall would indeed have been a good choice. FWIW, his Fangraphs page is instructive. The Steamer projection for him is ridiculous and has The him as a replacement level player. ZiPS projection is entirely reasonable and has him as a solid backup. Fangraphs averages the two and has him as a poor backup.

I am with ZiPS, Marc and Nigel. He's a particularly good fit for the Jays because he's right-handed albeit with no platoon splits, and a solid defensive outfielder in a corner.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#443165) #
The Twins have sent out their A lineup, and the Jays have sent out Schneider, Clement, Horwitz et. al. Buffalo evidently had a pretty good team last year, after all.
85bluejay - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#443166) #
Just checked the boxscore - looks like Bowden Francis has locked up the 5th spot in the rotation.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#443167) #
Francia keeps making it hard nor to give him #5. 6 IP 2H 1 R (unearned) 0 BB 2 SO 47 strikes vs 20 balls. Excellent performance.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#443168) #
Watching MLB network, Shōta Imanaga pitching for the Cubs.
SK in NJ - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#443169) #
Francis looked like a better rotation option than Manoah last season (obviously after Manoah proved he was broken) but the team was reluctant to give him any starts. Looks like that will change this season. Would be nice to see the Jays develop a SP out of no where.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#443170) #
Deploying Francis as the #5 SP instead of Manoah could be a lot less stressful for the team, if he can maintain his low walk rate from 2023 and this spring. I could see him producing a lot of workmanlike 5-6 IP outings with a respectable ERA. He'll get hit hard at times, but I'm guessing his overall numbers would be end up being pretty solid.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#443171) #
Take it with a grain of salt (it is spring training, after all), but Stroman’s velocity was down 1.3 mph on his sinker and 2.8 mph on his curve in his recent start, compared to last season. The Yankees rotation definitely has some question marks at the moment.
Ducey - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#443172) #
Richards and Francis for Rowdy is looking pretty good right now.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2024 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#443173) #
Milwaukee dumped Tellez this past winter (released) and got only 0.5 bWAR from him (Jays got 0.4 in 95 fewer games) so that side of the ledger is closed. The Jays got Richards - -0.3 bWAR and still on the roster, and Francis 1.0 bWAR in just 37 IP. So a slight win as is (0.2 bWAR) depending on how Francis and Richards do. Francis won't be a free agent until after the 2029 season so he can add a LOT if he becomes a solid starter. Richards is a free agent after this season (meh). Funny, as at the time I'm sure I wasn't a fan of the trade, but probably felt Tellez wasn't going to get playing time here (roster issues with Kirk, Vlad, and others). Figured I should find the trade to see what was said then - really not much said there about it surprisingly. Guess we'd all soured on him by that point (he was having a terrible year).

It'd be fun to put together a list of all of Atkins trades and see how he did (so far) in them. Not tonight though. I'm off to Toronto Comicon tomorrow with my 9 and 18 year old daughters. The 18 year old is very excited. Should be fun. Anyone else here going? At the Convention Centre next to the dome.
dalimon5 - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#443174) #
There's a lot more I'd put into the equation than WAR. Richard's provided much needed bullpen help at the time. Last year he also was lights out to help carry the staff for a big chunk of the season (or was that 2022?)
Mike Green - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 06:35 AM EDT (#443175) #
Immaculate Grid learning for today. Tim Salmon was never an All-Star. He won the Rookie of the Year award, finished 7th in the MVP race twice, ended up with 40 bWAR over his career and yet...Other lesson: don't get cute- I know lots of Angels who were All-Stars.
bpoz - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#443176) #
Reports are that Cole may not return until June which is bad enough but he may not be good. IMO he probably should not opt out of his contract.
Gerry - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#443177) #
Danny Jansen was hit by a pitch on Wednesday and has a chipped bone in his wrist. He is likely to miss the start of the season.

The Jays do not have a third catcher on the 40 man roster.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#443178) #
Unfortunate, but not unexpected. The only consistency in Jansen’s production are his trips to the IL.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#443179) #
Brian Serven and his 1.389 spring OPS is ready to jump in. (Granted, he's more likely to bring his .562 career MLB OPS with him to Toronto)
Katie - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#443180) #
Removing Wes Parsons for Brian Severn won't be a big loss.

Getting Vogelbach (and, hopefully, later, Votto in his place) onto the 40-man will be a bit trickier.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#443181) #
This is where a trade involving Espinal would be useful.

Tiedemann isn't on the 40 roster either and will need a spot eventually.

Hagen Danner is on his last option and doesn't seem ready to contribute.
Or maybe Pop if they try to get an extra option for Danner.
Brendon Little looks playable.

Ryan Day - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#443182) #
Brendon Little is still hanging around, and I'm not sure I see the appeal. Mitch White is probably on thin ice, if he doesn't find some control to go with his new velocity. I suspect Espinal is likely to be moved one way or another, and if you're going to go with Vogelbach/Votto, do you really need to keep Horwitz on the roster? I could see a trade or two to clear out some roster spots before spring training ends.
Marc Hulet - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#443183) #
Lots of teams looking for relief help, which Toronto has lots of... that's where I see possible trades. I'd be hesitant to remove Parsons given the starting rotation's issues.

Danner throw gas and likely is eligible for a 4th option next year so I'd hold him - he's looked better than Cooke, Pop, Zulueta, Brock, and Pearson in a small sample this spring.

Colorado has a pretty lousy development track record so Serven could have a little more upside than his MLB numbers might suggest - especially if there's some Hague influence there.
Mike Green - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#443184) #
The Blue Jays start the season on the road facing Tampa, Houston and the Yankees before returning home for the opening series against series. Best to be ready right from the outset.
jerjapan - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#443185) #
Ryan Day, Little is the third lefty, a power arm with pedigree and options.  Nothing more or less, until a better depth option shows up on waivers. 

Wes Parsons is the same thing, in terms of the SP depth chart.  Brian Severn at catcher.  The third string catcher has the advantage of not being on the 40 man, as far as the org is concerned.

I see Espinal's options as more valuable that his trade value. 

Honestly, I think those last three or four slots on the 40 man should be viewed differently.  The value in those slots is not finding the next Kelly Gruber, it's depth.  All about those options. 

So I don't even see a relief surplus.  I see a fluctuating depth chart, and this is one of the few areas, the marginal, incremental improvement areas, where I see clear wins for Shapirokins. 
Chuck - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#443186) #
I don't know what to make of the AL East this year. The Orioles seem like the obvious favourites. As for the rest, injuries are compromising everybody. TB, the division's resident alchemists, are hobbled by a decimated rotation and the absence of a HoF calibre shortstop (if anything but a HoF calibre human). NY and Boston have seen blows to their rotations and a Yankee offense that needs 150 games out of Judge might get only 120. On paper, Toronto seems like the best situated of the four non-Oriole teams, but won't be able to bank on the good health of the rotation like they did in 2023.

Nothing seems very clear to me how this will all play out.

Chuck - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#443187) #
Today's lineup looks like the official one vs RHP.
Mike Green - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#443188) #
Probably. Which means Davis Schneider gets about 150 PAs at second base and about 270 in left-field. I won't express my opinion about that again.

I think Mick did teams with All-Johnson, All-Jackson, all-Smith, all-Davis. Jackson Holliday and Davis Schneider might be the only first-namers on their clubs.
krose - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#443189) #
Looks to my eyes like Tiedemann has a ways to go before his control and command are big league ready.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#443190) #
I don't see Espinal's options as having any value.
The Jays have never optioned him.
They are a lot of guys on the team with worthless options because they will never be used.
From Bichette and Guerrero to Romano and Mayza.
Options are only valuable on players who haven't reached their potential and pitchers.
Teams need a lot o pitchers, so pitchers with options get sent up and down.

The Jays have too many infielders on the reserve.
Barger, Jimenez, Martinez to go along with Espinal, Clement, Horwitz, Biggio and Schneider, not counting Bichette, Guerrero and IKF.
They are not going to use all of these guys before they run out of options.

The Jays will likely need the pitchers this year.
Horwitz is ready and can be called upon an injury.

jerjapan - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#443191) #
For sure Scottt, options only have value if they use em.
To me, Clement is more valuable than Espy, and if the team insists on a lefty power bat on the bench, the only way he Clement makes the team, and doesn't get grabbed by another org, is if they option Espy.  None of Bichette et al are in the same category here.

So, option Espy or forego the lefty bat.  Losing Clement is my worst case scenario. 

I prefer to think of Espinal in the same category as the guys you list, minus Biggio.  As in, valuable till they run out of options or prove their big league value.

It's mercenary, but that's the way they play the game. 

Nigel - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#443192) #
I've only seen 4-5 games so far this spring but, on the positive side, Kirk looks like the 2022 version of himself again. On the negative, IKF's bat looks exactly as advertised.
Marc Hulet - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#443193) #
I have a hard time believing IKF will be getting regular ABs by June.

And Turner has looked fairly pedestrian.

Not loving the off-season additions TBH...
I'm sure Turner will be fine but I think the age is catching up.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#443194) #
Vlad, Kirk, and Springer looking like they've re-discovered how to hit is probably the best thing about spring so far. Everything else is can be figured out along the way.
Nigel - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#443195) #
I don't think that you can judge Turner on what he does in the spring but whether he's really a fit for this roster is a different question entirely.
GabrielSyme - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#443196) #
Regarding Turner's spring, it would be interesting to know if older players have weaker springs - either because it takes them longer to get back into game readiness, or perhaps because they are working on other things.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#443197) #
Turner is a high OBP guy who gets the ball in play and bats run in.
That's exactly what they need in the clean up spot.
A guy who strikes out 150 times would need 40+ hr in this lineup.

Now, he's near the end. There's no denying that.

scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#443198) #
Bo being Bo, they need plus defense at third base.
IKF has looked solid there.
Of course, if they're behind late in the game, they have to pinch hit for him.

The only guy who could challenge at third is Clement.
I don't want to see Biggio or Schneider there.

GabrielSyme - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#443199) #
I am unconvinced that there's anything significant about having weak defenders playing next to each other. The number of plays that are at the margins of two both defenders range has to be pretty small.

If Jansen doesn't look like he'll miss much time, I wonder if the Jays would be willing to roll with Kirk and IKF at catcher for a week or two, saving a roster spot, putting off a Clement/Espinal decision and surely exasperating Brian Serven.

I see Wes Parsons as the kind of starting pitcher who is easily available during the season at minimal cost. And if we are getting that far down on the depth chart, I'm not sure Wes Parsons is much of an upgrade on Chad Dallas or Luis Quinones or whoever else is having a half-decent year in AAA.
85bluejay - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#443200) #
The Pirates got Michael Taylor at a bargain 4M and should be able to flip him in July.
greenfrog - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#443201) #
How can a wrist fracture result in only a two-week absence? I imagine it would take much longer than that for the fracture to fully heal. I hope this doesn't end up being another lost season (or partially lost season) for Jansen.
greenfrog - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#443202) #
I like Kiermaier, but Taylor at $4m seems like better value.

I would probably rather have Taylor + Chapman + Clement (total 2024 cost: about $25m) than Kiermaier + IKF + Espinal (total 2024 cost: $20.725m).
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#443203) #
The Pirates could also be contenders in June. This is one of the weakest divisions.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#443204) #
There is zero chances IKF catches. I believe Vasho is still the emergency catcher.
greenfrog - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#443205) #
Houston is in “serious pursuit” of Snell.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 08:53 PM EDT (#443206) #
This is Jansen's walk year. A lost season would impact his market as a primary catcher.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#443207) #
J. D. Davis, 2.5M + 1M in incentives for ... Vegas, I guess.
scottt - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#443208) #
Well, Houston will start the year with an entire rotation on the IL.
Also, Bregman is walking at the end of the year.
This is the situation the Jays will contemplate next year.
Not a bad time to overspend.

vw_fan17 - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#443209) #
I guess partly because i have a new job and so haven't been able to watch much, but this whole offseason and spring training just feels more "meh" to me than any in a long time....
uglyone - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#443210) #
Nigel - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:31 PM EDT (#443211) #
Time hasn’t been kind to the early offseason decisions of the front office. That happens sometimes so you have to have some acceptance - sometimes you jump to the left and the market veers right. The part that is less understandable is that the moves on the whole have lacked a coherent plan.
BlueMonday - Friday, March 15 2024 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#443212) #
Given the high number of pitcher injuries every year and the rapidly decreasing innings from starters it might be past time for teams to start looking at knuckleball pitchers again. Guys who can throw 200-300 innings without their arms falling off, who don't count on velocity. It'd provide a different look at the very least. If I was an Oakland or KC who is going to lose 100+ anyways I'd sure try to develop one or two anyways.

How about your Toronto Blue Jays, who now have (count 'em') two knuckleballers in their system? Getting mentored by none other than RA Dickey.
This is a great read.
Chuck - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#443213) #
This is a great read.

Yes it was! One thing to consider about knuckleball pitchers is the need to carry a suitably skilled catcher. That can be burdensome to a roster.

Ryan Chasse is a lefty. Has there ever been a southpaw knuckleballer? I can't recall any. He'll need to get past walking a man an inning before he can be taken seriously. The odds seem awfully long for he and Powell.

Joe - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#443214) #
Ryan Feierabend was a LHP with a knuckleball who appeared in one game for the Jays in 2019, so it has happened!
BlueMonday - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#443215) #
Yah, the personal catcher for the knuckleballer is certainly an issue - remembering Josh Thole during the RA Dickey years. I wonder if they’ll assign Chase and Powell to the same affiliate to share a catcher.
Chuck - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#443216) #
I have been reminded that Wilbur Wood was left-handed. Memory's a bitch. I certainly remember Wood but had it in my head that he was a righty.
Chuck - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#443217) #
More on Wood...

Sub-2.00 ERAs are cool, like Wood's 1.91 in 1971 (334 IP, 22 wins). His catchers took a lot of heat to make that ERA possible, however, as 25% of his runs allowed were deemed unearned, presumably due to a high number of wild pitches being called passed balls. For most of his career, save for 1973 and 1976, his unearned run percentage was in keeping with the league average.

ISLAND BOY - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#443218) #
I didn't see the game yesterday but saw the highlights which included Vlad hitting a double to the wall that had an exit velocity of 113 MPH and later launching a 437 foot home run. If Power Vlad is back, it will be a big boost for the Jays.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#443219) #
The leader in IP in a season over the last century is...Wilbur Wood 1972 with 376.2, just edging out Mickey Lolich.  If you look at 3 consecutive seasons, Wilbur Wood's 1971-73 total of 1,070 innings is by far the highest 3 year total during that period, ahead of Gaylord Perry's 1009 innings and Phil Niekro's 1006. 
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#443220) #
Wilbur Wood's middle name is Forrester.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#443221) #
Varsho seems to be a different hitter this year. Less upper-cutting, fewer home runs and much better plate control. The trade-off is working. He might end up being the best lead-off option on the club, but Springer has that job unless injured.
Chuck - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#443222) #
A little birdie who is either shy or does not have an account here informed me of another LH knuckler, Mickey Haefner, who pitched in the 1940s.

Hopefully this birdie, with such a knowledge of the game's history, can make his voice heard here directly. He would certainly be a welcome addition.

Mike Green - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#443223) #
Thanks, Chuck and Birdie. I had no idea about Haefner. It's quite a story. He came up at age 30 for the Senators during the war, and was one of four knuckleballers in their rotation. He remained effective through 1946, and was chosen to be one of the "unofficial" All-Stars who played the AL Champ Red Sox, while the Dodgers and Cards fought in a playoff for the NL crown. During the game, one of his knuckles plunked Ted Williams on the elbow. Williams hit .200/.333/.200 in the only World Series action he would see in his career as the Cards prevailed in 7 games. How typical of those franchises during the last 80 years of the 20th century.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#443224) #
Circa 1900, were there any spitball / knuckleball pitchers?
Marc Hulet - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#443225) #
Those relievers battling to be next up from Buffalo have not been looking good...
Magpie - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#443226) #
Circa 1900, were there any spitball / knuckleball pitchers?

Big Ed Walsh of the White Sox was a spitballer and one of the great pitchers of the first decade of the 20th century - he was my choice as the MVP of the 1906 World Series (2-0, 0.60) and he went 40-15 and pitched 464 innings for the Sox in 1908. Around 1910 or so, led by Russ Ford, pitchers generally discovered how much was to be gained by scuffing and defacing the baseball and soon got so good at it that the practise was outlawed within a decade.

The first great knuckleballers I can think of emerge during that period, around 1915 - Eddie Cicotte of the Black Sox, Eddie Rommel of the A's. The pitch was often part of a "regular" guy's repertiore - pitchers like Early Wynn and Bob Purkey threw it along with their curves and fastballs.
uglyone - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#443227) #
* RF Springer 31pa, 19.4b%, 9.7k%, .300bip, .280iso, 1.052ops
* SS Bichette 40pa, 2.5b%, 17.5k%, .484bip, .179iso, 1.015ops
* 1B Guerrero 26pa, 7.7b%, 19.2k%, .471bip, .292iso, 1.170ops
* C Kirk 26pa, 0.0b%, 7.7k%, .333bip, .423iso, 1.193ops
* LF Varsho 39pa, 20.5b%, 5.1k%, .414bip, .100iso, 1.013ops
* DH Turner 35pa, 14.3b%, 17.1k%, .318bip, .138iso, .814ops
* 2B Schneider 35pa, 11.4b%, 31.4k%, .235bip, .241iso, .762ops
* 3B Falefa 32pa, 15.6b%, 21.9k%, .444bip, .080iso, .869ops
* CF Kiermaier 27pa, 3.7b%, 48.1k%, .250bip, .115iso, .454ops

* C Jansen 26pa, 7.7b%, 7.7k%, .200bip, .217iso, .743ops
* UT Biggio 19pa, 21.1b%, 21.1k%, .545bip, .200iso, 1.126ops

* PH Vogelbach 28pa, 10.7b%, 21.4k%, .118bip, .280iso, .690ops
* PH Horwitz 35pa, 17.1b%, 20.0k%, .182bip, .034iso, .458ops
* PH Votto 0pa,

* IF Escobar 36pa, 2.8b%, 38.9k%, .150bip, .171iso, .425ops
* IF Clement 33pa, 3.0b%, 0.0k%, .333bip, .250iso, 1.019ops
* IF Espinal 32pa, 18.8b%, 6.3k%, .261bip, .120iso, .766ops

* OF Lukes 34pa, 8.8b%, 14.7k%, .500bip, .167iso, 1.071ops
* OF Roden 25pa, 8.0b%, 24.0k%, .200bip, .304iso, .802ops
* OF Robertson 25pa, 16.0b%, 36.0k%, .364bip, .286iso, .884ops

* C Serven 18pa, 11.1b%, 11.1k%, .182bip, .688iso, 1.389osp
Gerry - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#443228) #
Not a good start to the prospects game. Adam Macko and CJ Van Eyk have each given up two run home runs. 4-0 Jankees in the second inning.
John Northey - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#443229) #
Found it impossible to watch the prospects game with the Yankee announcers - just too annoying as it feels like the Jays are only there to be the Washington Generals to their Harlem Globetrotters. The ultimate homers.
Ducey - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#443230) #
Same John. Disappointing. MLB should not be playing favorites.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#443231) #
MLB network has the prospects game blacked out.
John Northey - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#443232) #
Which is why I subscribed to Sportsnet instead of MLB. No cable so I made sure to pick the one that would let me see as many games as possible (outside of Apple TV games of course).
Gerry - Saturday, March 16 2024 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#443233) #
The Jays prospects used seven pitchers today, five of them threw at least 96mph. Adam Macko and Franklin Perez were the two exceptions. Landon Maroudis, who is being tipped as a rising prospect was one of the hard throwers. Encouragingly, Brandon Barriera was one too.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#443234) #
Votto's spring training debut is this afternoon facing Zack Wheeler.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#443235) #
Etobicoke Joe.
scottt - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#443236) #
There were some positives.
Barger's throw from the outfield to the plate was a bullet, only a handful of players can throw that hard.
He still need to hit the target, though.

Brown played some great CF defense.
Still need to work on getting on base, but I definitively see room for him as the 14th position player in September, eventually displacing Cam Eden.

Lots of pitchers with upside.

BlueMonday - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#443237) #
Joey hits a first pitch home run!
mendocino - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#443238) #
Votto homer, not a homer off the wall?
Vogelbach answers with a double
uglyone - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#443239) #
P.s. Joey Votto is Canadian fyi
Gerry - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#443240) #
Joey Votto is out of the game after one inning. Not sure if that was the plan, seems fast though.
Gerry - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#443241) #
Joey stepped on a bat in the dugout and rolled his ankle a bit.
dalimon5 - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#443242) #
Who knew the title of this thread was foreshadowing?
Gerry - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#443243) #
With the way Mitch White is pitching I think he might get through waivers.
uglyone - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#443244) #

I think he can still bang.
Mike Green - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#443245) #
I watched the video of Votto's home run. He looked uncomfortable as he pulled up into second base, thinking that it was a double. We'll see if he is ready in a couple of days.

Yariel Rodriguez looked good to me in the other game.
Gerry - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#443246) #
Eric Pardinho looked good today, fastball up to 96 and good secondaries. It has been a long road but hopefully the injuries are behind him.
Nigel - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#443247) #
I saw Pardinho multiple times last year in Vancouver. I don’t remember a single FB above 90. Interesting.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#443248) #
Just going by last year's stats, I thought Pardinho was done and was surprised to even see him pitching today, even more surprised that he was quite effective, albeit against minor leaguers.

Clement hit another home run today. It's going to be hard to cut him now and Espinal's claim to a roster spot is getting weaker.
scottt - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#443249) #
Pardinho is only 23. It's extremely young for a pitcher.

Votto isn't going to be ready for opening day no matter what.
Perhaps the real challenge will be to remain healthy long enough to be called up.

Josh Lowe has an oblique injury.
The Rays have lots of injuries considering the age of their players.

Rodriguez looked pretty good.

uglyone - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#443250) #
The one hitting prospect that seems to be impressing, and getting lots and lots of chances, is Alan Roden.
Ducey - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#443251) #
Watched the game today.

The new Cuban dude looks promising.

White looked good after a rough first inning.

Pearson hit 100 and the split looked sick.

Pardhino had good velo and has some good movement.

Rainer Nunez looks like a better athlete than I suspected. Looks like he has a nice swing too.
scottt - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#443252) #
I think White is looking better than he has the last couple of years.
He just needs to thrust the defense and cut down on the walks.
Not expecting him to rank higher than the end of the pen.

Edouard Julien looks like a tough out and that first rounder, Lee, looked better than anyone that was on the Twins 2023 roster.

ISLAND BOY - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 07:41 PM EDT (#443253) #
I have no trust in Mitch White. He can be effective at times but is just as capable of throwing gasoline on any fire the opponent has going.
John Northey - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#443254) #
With White and Espinal I'm expecting a dump trade by the end of spring. I'm sure the Jays are trying to find a partner who is desperate and will give something of value for them. Richards might be on that list too but not in as desperate a 'gotta get rid of him' state. Pearson might be a part of a trade too - clear out the disappointing guys for new kid(s) with some promise who is in A or something and could be part of a mid-season trade to get a part needed then. Tigers might be a target as they seem to be dreaming of contending in 2024 (Central divisions are easy to do that in) and are weak in the pen and infield backup areas. I don't expect any deals for another week though. When we are down to the final week of spring that is when I expect some real movement to happen.
Ducey - Sunday, March 17 2024 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#443255) #
Getting rid of White now would be a mistake.

After the big 4 starters they have Manoah, Francis and who? Parsons?

If Manoah cant get right and someone else gets dinged, or Franics flops, its Mitch White. Maybe in 2 months Rogriguez or Ricky T will make him expendable but even then starter depth is important.
scottt - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#443256) #
Gausman might start the year on the IL.
They are working to stretch Rodriguez to 5 innings.
Otherwise, it's back to the opener with a bulk guy.

greenfrog - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#443257) #
Snell is available, if the team wants to spend around 2/$60m with an opt-out after 2024. It would be a good investment, if the Blue Jays sincerely want to win a championship this year.
Ryan Day - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#443258) #
I don't think White even qualifies as "starting depth" at this point - does anyone believe he could pitch 2-4 innings in the majors without letting the game get completely out of hand? Paolo Espino provides a similar level of emergency-starter competence without requiring a roster spot; I would guess Chad Dallas may be headed for that role, too. That's certainly not exciting, but would probably be at least as good as anything White has done in a Jays uniform.

Maybe you could try to hide White at the back of the bullpen while you give him one last chance to fine-tune his stuff over the first few weeks of the season, but that would be more palatable to a bad team than one with serious playoff aspirations.
Mike Green - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#443259) #
Starting pitchers by confidence level given current state of health:  Gausman (pending further results, just barely), Bassitt, Berrios (gap), Francis (gap), Kikuchi, Rodriguez, Manoah.  Tiedemann isn't on the list because I don't see him joining the rotation, if at all, until much later in the season.  Kikuchi was a lot better last year than the year before, but was hit very hard.  He's a good 5th starter. 
Glevin - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#443260) #
"Gausman (pending further results, just barely), Bassitt, Berrios (gap), Francis (gap), Kikuchi, Rodriguez, Manoah."

Francis more than Kikuchi? I like Francis as a #5 but he hasn't started a single game in the majors and only started 7 games last year in the minors. Kikuchi has an XFIP between 3.77-3.85 3 of the past 4 seasons. Maybe Francis ends up better, who knows, but spring stats just don't matter THAT much.
Mike Green - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#443261) #
Nothing to do with spring stats, Glevin.  xFIP does have a major weakness- it doesn't take into account quality of contact against, and as I indicated, Kikuchi has been hit very hard.  His average exit velocities the last 3 years have been 91.9, 91.6 and 90.5 (league average 88.4), leading to well-above-league average barrel rates, expected slug and expected ERA.  His expected ERAs the last 3 years were 5.23, 5.63 and 4.30.  I anticipate that he will have an xERA of about 4.8 and an ERA of about 4.4.  As for Francis, I anticipate an xERA of about 4.6 and an ERA of about 4.2. 
dalimon5 - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#443262) #
"Snell is available, if the team wants to spend around 2/$60m with an opt-out after 2024. It would be a good investment, if the Blue Jays sincerely want to win a championship this year."

This is the type of investment and move that would change the narrative of this front office and sentiment of ownership (even though Rogers gets an unfairly poor rep).
dalimon5 - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#443263) #
Also, is it too soon to anoint Mr. Votto to the Batter's Box banner?
scottt - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#443264) #
Snell is the type of move that affects the team negatively for several years.
Also, he hasn't thrown a single pitch this year.
Next year would be the right time to overspend with the uncertainly over 2026.
Might as well just stick with Rodriguez, who is the Jays' biggest acquisition this year.

dalimon5 - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#443265) #
I just found out that the Rockies are the only team in baseball without an Analytics department. I found this a bit refreshing yet sobering.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#443266) #
Also, is it too soon to anoint Mr. Votto to the Batter's Box banner?

L-C was thinking the exact same thing.

scottt - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#443267) #
The Rockies are a terrible franchise.
Colorado is a terrible place to play baseball, but the ownership there has made awful moves for no apparent reason.

The list is quite long.
Bryan Shaw.
Wade Davis.
They gave 121M to Mike Hampton which was the richest contract in MLB history at the time.
Ian Desmon. I have no words for that signing. They overpaid a defensive shortstop to play first base.
Darryl Kile.
Jake McGee.
Daniel Murphy.
Denny Neagle.
And of course they traded for Jose Reyes who played only 47 games for 29M.
And there's the Nolan Arenado extension. Unlike Mike Trout, Arenado was vocal about wanting to be traded. They got almost nothing when they traded him and had to add 50M.

jerjapan - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#443268) #
Maybe it's just me, but I do love the stories this time of year.  All these young journalists, writing interest pieces before the games count and while fan interest is still high. 

That article on Sportsnet, props whoever posted the link, about the young knuckleballers?  Charming. 

This today on the backup catcher scenario?

Crazy Brian Serven story. After a half-dozen seasons grinding his way up the Colorado Rockies minor-league system, Serven finally earned a big-league call-up in mid-May 2022 and, a day later, was in the Rockies starting lineup. Naturally, his family scrambled to Denver to see it live.

Stepping into the batter’s box for his first MLB plate appearance, Serven toe-tapped and took a huge cut at the first pitch he saw, fouling it off towards Coors Field’s first-base side where it landed directly into the pocket of seats his family was watching from.

“It’s a little questionable as to whether they caught it on a line or if someone had to go get it — depends who’s telling the story,” Serven says. “But we’ll go with they caught it. Yeah, my brother caught it one-handed. Unbelievable grab. Tossed it to my dad, they chugged a beer. And the rest is history.”

jerjapan - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#443269) #
I do like seeing these AAAA guys get some career certainty, knowing that if they have options, they will at least get some call-ups. 

The NHL is ahead of the curve, paying their minor leaguers well.  
The NBA added the G League and continues to evolve with these new contracts that offer bonuses for reporting to the minor league team, games played, that sort of thing.  Exhibit 10, I think?

The Jays lead the charge on raising minor league play for baseball, which to me is like, the platonic ideal of outcomes for corporate ownership.  We can profit by doing the right thing.  Everyone wins. 

But the NHL is still the gold-standard. 

You get major leaguers like Rich Clune, signing major-league-paying minor league contracts to be a developmental force.  Toronto has an advantage in terms of non-payroll market factors, and the Leafs leverage that.  The Jays should, too. 

It blows my mind, tbh, how poorly treated minor league ballplayers are and were.  The lefty cynic in me assumes it's been like NAFTA for ballplayers ... the lowest quality professional standard is the one they choose to observe.  And there are lots of ballplayers in Latin America. 
soupman - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#443270) #
i expect snell to sign with the dodgers unless they reunite with bauer whom they allowed in their facility already and said he'd pay for league minimum. the dodgers need a fifth starter since ohtani, kershaw, may, and gonsolin all had surgery and they just named some guy i've never heard of fifth starter. now, it's the dodgers so watch 'some guy soupman never heard of' be a first ballot HoF'r in ~20 years.
Marc Hulet - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#443271) #
Dodgers might sign Snell but Stone, Grove, Hurt, Knack, and Ryan all have high ceilings and are near-MLB ready.

Glad to see Yankees pitchers are in mid-season form... for substances. Cody Poteet (29 yr old career milb hurler) has outstanding numbers this spring with unusually low walks and unusually high Ks but is pitching with a dark stain on his pant leg where he keeps wiping his hand.
Mike Green - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#443272) #
Stone, Grove, Hurt, Knack, and Ryan

Five pitching prospects with those names?  Are you serious?  Hall of Names standout prospect list.

Two Hall of Fame power pitchers.  Hurt (duh!).  Knack (feel for pitching). Cy Young winner.  TINSTAAP? Pshaw.
Chuck - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#443273) #
They refuse to sit at the same table as Walker Buehler.
Marc Hulet - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#443274) #
And Ryan's first name is River.
soupman - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#443275) #
i just saw that John Coppolella was reinstated last year. too early to talk about him as the next GM?
dalimon5 - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#443276) #
He built a good system and foundation for the Braves.
John Northey - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#443277) #
Dodgers signing Snell would be nice, or SF signing him. Just keep him far away from the AL East. Same with Montgomery.
bpoz - Monday, March 18 2024 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#443278) #
Snell to SF. 2 years $62 mil with opt out after year 1.
Michael - Tuesday, March 19 2024 @ 02:46 AM EDT (#443281) #
It might be stressful but the late signers still got paid. Snell and Chapman with the opt out contracts have a good deal that a great year will opt out and earn much more, a bad year will still have guaranteed money. As often those criticisms of the player's agent were often premature imho.
Jonny German - Tuesday, March 19 2024 @ 04:35 AM EDT (#443282) #
Stone, Grove, Hurt, Knack, and Ryan all have high ceilings and are near-MLB ready.

5 pitchers between 25 and 27 years old, collectively they spent more time in AA than in AAA in 2023, and in the 102 innings they pitched in the big leagues they put up an ERA of 6.88.

I'm trying to picture the level of excitement if these were Blue Jay prospects.

bpoz - Tuesday, March 19 2024 @ 06:33 AM EDT (#443284) #
Shapiro said when our stars leave we will replace them. The question is how.

They signed expensive FAs starting with Ryu. Which continued. Bassit being the last expensive FA. Prices have gone through the roof so I wonder how he will replace departing stars. To avoid the luxury tax trap/penalties will mean fewer expensive FA signings I suspect. 3 years for Bassit at $21mil/yr is a lot less than what Snell signed for but more than what Stroman signed for.

Berrios is a nice all round acquisition IMO because the prospect capital was not bad and the 7 year deal was also not bad depending on how Berrios performs. Every other top pitcher like Gausman and Manoah also have the risk of poor performance/injury attached to them. Ryu was an example of injury and Manoah poor performance. But Ryu's effect on the payroll was more significant than Manoah's. Berrios has an optout that he may use.

I suppose a payroll reset is most likely to occur.

Hoping for home grown stars is also in play.
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