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After a less than optimal homestand, a road trip is called for. Two fourth-place teams meet for three games in the District.

I'm going to talk about "swing decisions." (WARNING - Magpie rant, possibly imminent.) Now I know people say "swing decision" all the time - it's become part of modern baseball terminology - and I understand why, but still... It's not really the best way to think about what's going on. A major league fastball travels the 55 feet from the pitcher's hand into the hitting zone in roughly 350 milliseconds. That's about the same amount of time as a human blink. The baseball is actually travelling at a speed beyond what the human eye can properly track in real time. The hitter is obliged to take what are effectively a series of snapshots at where the ball is at various moments in its - nearly instantaneous, I remind you - path. And of course the assessment of where the pitch is going to be and how fast it will be travelling is necessarily made very early on, in the first 100 milliseconds or so, while the ball is still closer to the pitcher than the hitter. The hitter makes his best estimate, based on all the pitches he's seen in a lifetime of hitting, as to where the baseball will ultimately end up. In a very real sense, everybody is a guess hitter.

Television distorts things, and makes the outlandish and impossible - like hitting a major league fastball - seem comparatively normal. If you're far enough away - and the camera is always very far away - you can sometimes see more and see it more clearly than the person on the ground, with the limitation of human eyes. Novak Djokovic whips in a serve at 115 mph, and it looks quite ordinary on my television. I'm not the poor sod who has to leap after the damn thing and hit it back to him. Formula One cars zip around corners at speeds approaching 200 freaking mph and if you're watching on television it doesn't look enormously different from cars cruising down Lakeshore. Up close it's a little different. And it's not just television, of course, as anyone who's ever watched the leisurely course of an airplane passing overhead. Up close it's very different.

So is it still a "decision" when the front part of the human brain that is normally involved in the decision-making process isn't even engaged? It doesn't really seem so, and there may be implications to a phrase like "bad swing decision" that may not be intended. I've made some bad decisions in my day, but they were actual decisions - I thought about it, and messed up. What we're seeing on the diamond isn't really a decision at all- it's a motor reflex, from somewhere else in the cerebral cortex.

Blink... and you miss it. And you're hoping it doesn't hit you in the face. Or as Ted Williams once said "don't you know how hard all this is?"


Fri 3 May - Kikuchi (2-2, 2.94) vs Corbin (0-3, 6.82)
Sat 4 May - Gausman (1-3, 4.50) vs Irwin (2-2, 4.28)
Sun 5 May - We Don't Know vs Gore (2-3, 3.19)
Toronto at Washington, May 3-5 | 199 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#445463) #
Tonight's game is on Apple TV+.
mathesond - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#445464) #
If I do wind up watching Apple TV+ tonight, it'll probably be one of their sitcoms.
Nigel - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#445465) #
Surely a Jays v. Nationals game qualifies as a sitcom?
mathesond - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#445466) #
I don't trust the writers :)
scottt - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#445467) #
My hate and loathing for Apple grows every time this happens.
On the bright side, their phone sales are down across the board.

dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#445469) #
Who has access to update the web site banners? Might be a good time to replace Vlad with a better pic...looks like he's throwing his helmet away after a ground out.

Perhaps a photo of AA will go over well.
John Northey - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#445472) #
Oy, the banner - I remember last time it was changed the gang of admins had a looong talk on that. So many guys we debated, so many options. Agreed a new header would be nice though.

Fun game to start - even if I can't watch it. 2 runs already in the 2nd.
Nigel - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#445473) #
I am watching and its a small ball extravaganza! Jays sac bunting with both the number 8 and 9 hitters in the 2nd inning.
Joe - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#445475) #
I've got a not-terrible photo of Varsho I took in Dunedin this year!
Nigel - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#445476) #
Schneider doesnít seem to realize that Swanson should be close to the lowest leverage reliever that he has right now.
Mike D - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#445477) #
Why in the blue hell was Swanson in the game? I started typing this *before* the homer.
Nigel - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#445478) #
Well that was predictable
Four Seamer - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#445479) #
Why is Swanson even on this team, never mind the game? He should be in Buffalo or on the IL.
Gerry - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#445480) #
The hitters have been struggling, now the relievers are joining them.
Mike D - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#445481) #
Gerry, some relievers are doing just fine these days, such as the ones that should have pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth today.

There was an off day yesterday!
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#445482) #
Watching the bullpen regress is pretty much the death knell of the '24 season. Without at least a decent bullpen, this team is cooked.
Mike D - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#445483) #
Oddly, Washington went to a reliever with an ERA in the single digits with a two run lead.

Bold strategy - letís see how it compares.
Marc Hulet - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#445485) #
The fact Schneider keeps trotting out Swanson in key spots when every run and win matters so much speaks volumes about his decision making (as does keeping Springer at the top of the order).
Eephus - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#445486) #
greenfrog - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#445487) #
So, the top of the order is 1/11 with no walks so far tonight. With Corbin the SP for Washington. Plus ca changeÖ
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#445488) #
They're going to be better, don't worry, right John?
Eephus - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#445489) #
Yeah... watching this team for the three minutes I just did tonight kind of insulted me as a person who still actively plays baseball. They surely aren't this pathetic... but my confidence in even their ability to be average is wavering.

I don't really have any ideas or solutions either, apologizes for being a just peanut gallery hurling tomatoes at such an easy target. But they're playing terrible baseball and I'm not particularly enthusiastic about watching it.
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#445490) #
Yeah it doesn't take advanced pitching metrics to see Swanson hasn't been right this year. He's been lit up multiple times even before tonight.

Not sure why it wasn't Richards there in the 7th with Garcia in the 8th and Romano in the ninth. They're clearly the best 3 relievers right now. Given Schneider's pre game comments about urgency and winning now, that decision just makes no sense.
Four Seamer - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#445491) #
Schneiderís firing canít come soon enough for me but itís surely only a matter of time. Pretty confident heíll be the latest in a long line of Jaysí managers who held a grand total of zero other managerial jobs both before and after the Toronto gig.
greenfrog - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#445492) #
Make that 1/12 (with a sac fly) for Springer, Vladdy and Bo tonight. Zero walks, three strikeouts.
greenfrog - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#445493) #
The Blue Jays were up 3-0 in this game after two innings. Nine unanswered runs for the Nationals after that.
Gerry - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#445494) #
Luis Arraez traded to the Padres.
John Northey - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#445495) #
This was a painful one. Leading late and lost bad. No clue on Swanson being used in a tight game with a rested pen - pure stupidity. Vlad seems ok on offense, but Bo & Springer need to be shifted down already. If those decisions were all Schneider then he might be the weakest link right now. If group think then it is an organizational issue. Just plain old ugly.
Eephus - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#445496) #
Springer's sharp decline is the most concerning to me. The danger in his bat isn't there anymore (nor was it last year) and I don't think he's found a way to adjust quite yet against his athletic skills fading with age now that he's in his mid 30's (tell me about it). Bo and Vlad Jr? Again, the consistently terrible at bats we see from these guys (who while relatively young aren't inexperienced anymore) don't fill me with any kind of assurance this offense will become the juggernaut the team desperately wants to believe. 

Sometimes a good pitch will make the very best hitter look silly in a big spot. When it happens constantly... I change the channel in the third inning to basketball (go Shai and the Thunder, but I love Jokic, Murray and the Nuggets too). 
greenfrog - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#445497) #
If the Blue Jays are headed for a serious rebuild starting with a series of trades this summer, I do not want Atkins to be in charge of that process. There should be a new GM to chart a new course for the organization.

Any chance Mike Elias is feeling unappreciated in Baltimore?
Gerry - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#445498) #
Is James Click still in the org?
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#445499) #
Shapiro has admitted he doesn't do the day to day but he basically decides and approves of any major decision. I think you need a new president to cure the Atkins approach.

This team should fire Schneider and should have traded for Arraez as I brought up in the past. If that didn't improve things quickly then trade Vlad or Bo before the end of May. If that don't improve things then trade your best players leaving soon to restock the farm. Kikuchi, Jansen, Bo or Vlad, Romano, Garcia etc.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#445500) #
James Click is worse than Shapiro in my books. Expect more focus on analytics, cost certainty and asset control.
Eephus - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#445501) #
Iím generally indifferent to the ďfire SchneiderĒ ideaÖ Iím not particularly impressed but better managers have gotten much less out of much better teams.

Atkins? Kind of the same thing, but also I think Iíve seen enough. I doubt they make a change in-season, and I doubt that would juice anything regardless. This is the team concept weíre stuck with for the summer. Heck, it might even work out in the end if some hitters start actually hitting. I wouldnít bet on it, but it isnít completely insane I suppose.
uglyone - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#445502) #
Shapiro is too perfect a Rogers type. They'll never ditch him.

Just like AA was so much not a Rogers type.

It's all about ownership.
SK in NJ - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#445503) #
Shapiro's contract ends after 2025. I can't imagine a scenario where he gets to decide on a new long-term GM. Maybe if he signs an extension, then it would make sense, but my guess is it's more likely that both Shapiro and Atkins stay through 2025, and then whatever happens with Shapiro will decide the org's next steps. Maybe I'm missing something, but I really don't see why Shapiro would stay. He's already accomplished some big projects (Dunedin, RC renovations), and the team looks headed towards a multi-year rebuild. I'd be shocked if he stayed on, and honestly, after 9 years and limited success (with the highest payroll in franchise history no less), I don't think it would be a huge loss.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#445504) #
I'd agree if this wasn't one of the highest payroll teams in the sport, paying luxury tax penalties. They could be profitable and all about ownership without spending so much and sucking so much.
Petey Baseball - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#445505) #
If they were serious about contending after moving on from Montoyo, why did they hire a guy with zero big league managing experience. It made sense midway through '22,the firing was defensible and John Schneider was the natural interim successor since he was already around. But the mistakes in the playoffs left them a golden opportunity to move on from Schneider and demote him back to bench coach, a position he had earned and was more suited to.

The analytically driven Rangers knew an experienced, battle tested manager could make a difference.

Atkins probably had learned from the end of John Gibbons tenure that having an old school manager who wanted more autonomy meant lots of give and take and wanted no part of that.
greenfrog - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#445506) #
Rogers almost hired Dan Duquette before they pivoted to Shapiro/Atkins. Iím not sure Rogers has the requisite judgement to make a good decision when it comes to the new GM and president.

The annoying thing about Anthopoulosís departure is that not only is he now a top-tier GM, but heís *Canadian*. Rogers pushed aside a local rising star in favour of a couple of American carpetbaggers.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#445507) #
Get the facts. AA went on the radio in the wake of his departure and a said Rogers were fair and made a very strong offer to retain him with Shapiro and he declined.

The problem is the core. They bet on the wrong horses. The reason they signed the free agents they did was to build around Vlad and Bo. The reason Montoyo was fired was to placate Vlad and Bo. The reason Schneider was hired was because he was the manager of Vlad and Bonin the minors. The reason most of the salary gets reset after 2025 is because of Vlad and Bo. The reason this ownership is spending so much right now is because of the window from Vlad and Bo.

AA signed Vlad. I doubt he builds this team much differently if he decided not to leave on his own. He'd still be building around these two players.

Time to move on Greenfrog.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#445508) #
*typing from a moving vehicle
greenfrog - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#445509) #
I guess I would say that Rogers *effectively* pushed AA out, because there was no way he was going to work under Shapiro with Shapiro as the key decision-maker. And of course AA was going to say all the right things on the way out of town. He was re-entering the job market.
Nigel - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#445510) #
The pitching choice was poor but that may not have been Schneiderís worst decision of the night. They played for three runs in the second inning. Bunting twice in the second inning with a reeling starter, up two runs with a runner on second and none out and then again first and second none out - sometimes you get what you deserve.
uglyone - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#445511) #
they didn't "bet" on those two players - those two players came free and cheap.
John Northey - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#445512) #
This season is looking worse now - I was holding hope, that Vlad, Bo, Springer, Kirk all could start to hit like they can. But now the pen is leaking like mad which adds a second big issue and one that also isn't easily fixed as it is the middle guys who are flopping. We have the closer (Romano), setup (Garcia & Green once he comes back), 2 LHP who can be good but have had some issues in Mazya & Cabrera, then the crap - Swanson-Richards-Pearson-Little-etc. with Pop possibly being good but after a horrid 2023 I hesitate to trust (much like with Manoah), especially after starting to trust Pearson then seeing him go back to 'oh god no'.

Any rebuild would need to be super fast with the money invested in the park and the pressure that puts on Shapiro & Atkins. Safe to say if a rebuild is started this summer Atkins neck is on the line as is Shapiro's if the team doesn't look like a contender come April 2025. Who could be traded? Free agents to be who are performing have to be first - Kikuchi, Jansen, Turner. Next would be free agents to be who aren't doing well, but have uses in Kiermaier & Richards (many teams could use one of the best CF of all time on defense and a guy who has shown ability in the pen but the Jays might need to send cash to get anything of consequence). Then comes post 2025 free agents - Vlad, Bo, Bassitt, Green, Romano, Biggio, Mayza, Swanson, Cabrera, IKF. If anyone wants Springer the Jays probably would be happy to send him away with his $24.1 mil per year deal for 24/25/26 but I can't imagine anyone would unless he gets very hot, and another team gets very desperate.

Seeing that long list of soon to be free agents you can see the Jays have a big choice to make before the deadline. Is this team in 24/25 going to contend and be worth investing more into, or do you cut bait and prep for 2026 while trying to have a decent 85+ win team for 2025? If they didn't have so many core players hitting free agency post 24/25 then waiting would be fine (ala 2021/22/23) but now we are down to sub 2 years left. With a minors that has very little to offer a quick rebuild by not making the 2017/18 mistake again might be smart (holding Donaldson far too long and getting peanuts for him).

If they cut bait, then what do we have for 2025?
  • C: Kirk; 1B: Horwitz; 2B: Orelvis; 3B: Barger; SS: Clement; LF: Schneider; CF: Varsho; RF: Roden, DH: Who knows?
  • SP: Gausman; Berrios; Manoah; Tiedemann; lord knows
  • RP: could be anyone/anything - I doubt Romano goes anywhere though, I'd expect a long term deal - closers can be reasonably priced and he is Canadian thus extra value in marketing still.
Now, do I see that happening? No. I fully expect a repeat of 2017 where they keep holding on hoping for a comeback. Then we lose Kikuchi & Jansen for nothing but maybe a sandwich pick. Again, I've been wrong a lot lately on what will happen, but right now many are looking at the Jays as potential sellers (The Athletic had an article on that today, when I read it I was 'no way' but tonight really hit home how this team is flawed). A sneak into the playoffs is possible and lord knows once in anything can and does happen. An 83 win team won it all (St Louis 2006), 90 wins did the trick last year (Texas). Sigh. By this time tomorrow I might be back full of hopium if anything goes right, who knows.
John Northey - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#445513) #
Ah yes, the bunting early - rarely a good strategy, especially with a starter on the ropes and as the saying goes, play for 1 run and that is probably all you'll get. Walk-double-double-single, then a sac bunt? What the hell? Yes, that made Springers sac fly work, but Clement doesn't K much and with IKF at first a double play would be hard to turn so it might have been the same situation, or he might have gotten a hit. Instead they gave a gift to a struggling pitcher and got exactly 1 run from a 2 on 0 out situation.

Doesn't help that we have a near automatic out in Bo batting 3rd (538 OPS after tonight), and another one leading off (Springer at 596). FYI: Alfredo Griffin's career OPS was 604 - and he was NEVER thought of as a decent hitter, but like Springer was used as a leadoff hitter far too much (592 times to be exact with a 289 OBP there - 94 more times batting 2nd with a 557 OPS there - managers in the early 80's often did dumb stuff like that to put speed at the top).
SK in NJ - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#445514) #
This FO was in a similar position in 2017 and decided to keep everyone in order to contend in 2018. I see it playing out the same way here. Theyíll trade the impending free agents but keep the players controlled through 2025 and take one more stab at it next year. That scenario would suck and probably hurt the team as much as doing it in 2017-18 did, but I donít think this FO is going to usher in a rebuild. Theyíll leave it to the next FO.
dalimon5 - Friday, May 03 2024 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#445515) #
Shapiro's contract is up after next year.
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 12:08 AM EDT (#445516) #
I think this past offseason was more like 2017 than this upcoming one. Like 2017, the last data point was a playoff team but with a Declining talent pool. You have to invest or start selling but they did nothing - same as this past offseason. This offseason may be considerably easier - this team may play its way into a sell off.
Magpie - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 03:01 AM EDT (#445517) #
On the one hand, one should never over-react to a losing streak, to a bad week. Even a bad month is not necessarily fatal. Yes, it's still early.

On the other hand... I am getting a powerful sense that it's 2008 all over again. The team is playing badly and they don't know why. Everyone knows they're doing their best and their teammates are doing their best. Trust me, they want to win a whole lot more than you and I want them to win. But it's just not working. And as the losses accumulate, the life just drains from the enterprise.

The only thing that will fix this terminal malaise is something radical, and the easiest radical move is to change the manager. Whether or not he's the problem doesn't even matter. You have to do something, to change the mood. You could always trade one of your assets, while their value is particularly low - vultures will be circling soon enough, if they're not gathering already - but I'm assuming you want to improve the team right now.

Atkins is certainly not going to want to make a mid-season managerial change - he just did that, two years ago. This would certainly be his last chance to hire a Blue Jays manager, and it's not the kind of decision you want to be making in mid-season. But he may have no choice.

Ricciardi clearly waited too long, 74 games in, to replace Gibbons back in 2008. Cito Gaston got the ship turned around, and fairly quickly, but there were only four AL post-season spots back then. The six spots available now maybe buys Schneider an extra week to play around with.

Taking a long view - by which we mean the rest of May! - I would think that Schneider needs to get the team above .500 by the end of the month. That's not a very big ask, they just have to go 14-10. Taking a short view - well, you're three games underwater right now. Don't fall any further in the next week or so.
Michael - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 03:46 AM EDT (#445518) #
If you do want to change managers mid-season you have to know who you want to change to. And then if you are cynical you make the change May 16 after the Baltimore series where the next series are White Sox, Tigers, White Sox, Pirates as that gives you the best chance for change of manager plus soft schedule to get you change in direction.
85bluejay - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 06:22 AM EDT (#445519) #
Paging Shea Hillenbrand!
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#445520) #
Magpie, I had a long post about the '08 Jays queued up. You beat me to the punch. I tend to agree they waited too long to can John Gibbons. Their team was similar to this one; it had very good starting pitching but the offense led by veterans was really underachieving. I recall one of Cito's first moves was to give Joe Inglett playing time over Howie Clark and hit leadoff (seems the most marginal of marginal moves, but it sparked the offense) and let Marco Scutaro play everyday at shortstop hitting second. There wasn't really a major turnaround by anyone, Vernon Wells didn't turn back into the all-star he was a couple years previous...but they all (Rios, Rolen, Overbay, Wells, Hill, Barajas, Zaun, etc) collectively got a bit better and they played good baseball that summer. They had a ten game win streak in late August and early September. Travis Snider showed signs of being the next big thing. It saved J.P. Ricciardi's job..... for one more year.

Roy Halladay got smoked in the head by a line drive in Cito's first game ....and STILL threw out the runner.

It's what I rememeber.
scottt - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#445521) #
It has always seemed like Mattingly is there if they need an interim manager.
bpoz - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#445522) #
I agree with what Magpie said about it being too early to panic but that it is getting close to that time.

Also agree with John N's always good analysis. But nobody knows or can predict everything.

All off season I wondered how much Schneider's decisions are his or he is following instructions from someone else. Atkins bringing back KK makes a strong D stronger in case of injury to Varsho but does not help the O which needed a lot of help last year and still does. Whoever made that decision misused $10mil. IKF's role is a utility player which he was signed for and is doing.

Vlad is on a 6 game hitting streak but he is not getting much love for that IMO.

Mike D - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#445523) #
I recall a few weeks ago that Cal Raleigh said postgame that John Schneider is widely disliked around the league.

That isnít necessarily a negative if an externally hated manager fosters a rally-around-the-flag esprit de corps, but as there isnít much evidence of that, his personality likely isnít helping.

Further to the Swanson debate, Schneider said he strongly suspected he has been tipping pitches, which makes going to him with a rested bullpen in a 3-1 game even less understandable.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 09:23 AM EDT (#445524) #
Yimi Garcia is day-to-day with a sore back. So the bullpen may have been a bit short on leverage relievers last night.
Magpie - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#445525) #
It has always seemed like Mattingly is there if they need an interim manager.

Or DeMarlo Hale. But while it took him too long to get there, one of the things Ricciardi did get right in 2008 was realizing he had to go outside. He couldn't promote one of the coaches on staff. Been there, done that, not working. It's how Gibbons then, like Schneider now, had been given the job in the first place (a mid-season replacement for a carefully selected manager who wasn't working out.) Atkins now, like Ricciardi then, will need to turn the club over to someone who was not involved in bringing them to their current predicament and shared none of the blame.

So if this is a similar situation, and I'm beginning to think it might be, Mattingly or Hale would just be the proverbial reshuffling of deck chairs on a doomed boat.
SK in NJ - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#445526) #
"I think this past offseason was more like 2017 than this upcoming one. Like 2017, the last data point was a playoff team but with a Declining talent pool. You have to invest or start selling but they did nothing - same as this past offseason. This offseason may be considerably easier - this team may play its way into a sell off."

This past off-season was definitely (eerily) reminiscent of the winter prior to the 2017 season. Atkins misjudged the market by striking early (Morales/Pearce = IKF/Kiermaier). He signed a Cuban player with no MLB experience (Gurriel = Rodriguez). The team was coming off an 89 win season and playoff berth largely due to exceptional SP health and an offensive core that looked like it was collectively on its last legs (2016 = 2023). Then 2017 started off awful and so did this season, in different ways.

Of course, the 2017 team made a sell off look like a no brainer as well, but the issue was the team never sold off. They kept Donaldson, Osuna, Happ, Stroman, etc, and tried to contend in 2018. I will be thoroughly disappointment, though not at all surprised, if history repeats here. They will trade impending FA's because they are not controllable through 2025, and give this core one last chance in 2025. I'm already preparing myself for that.
jz6pwc - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#445527) #
Have you ever seen a team play without the availability of so many players not put on the IL? Every game there are relievers or bench players not available do to something... On top of that they bring back injured players that have not had enough time to getting into playing shape, taking up a roster spot. This could be justified if these were stars but none of them are. This team is filled with replacement level players so put them on the 10 day and bring someone up from AAA or AA. There is plent to choose from on the 40 man who are healthy.

This is the one thing not on the Manager. There are some very questionable decisions being made by Atkins. I would not trust him to rebuild this team. He and Schneider need to go ASAP giving the team a chance to bring someone up to speed before the draft and the trade deadline. There is no point in doing one without the other. Just firing the manager will solve nothing.
dalimon5 - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#445528) #
Best way to shake things up is have Shapiro make a trade (not Atkins). A trade to shore the offense up like the Padres just made. Then fire Schneider and Atkins and put yourself in charge for rest of season as the GM. Put Hale as manager and there you have a shake up without admitting you failed at your job. Then pray the team contends this year and turns it around if you're Shapiro. Make a push at the trade deadline. Then in the offseason you have to trade Vlad or Bo and resign one of them. If it fails then you don't get your contract picked up after 2025 but at least you pivoted and didn't just keep sailing straight into the iceberg.
dalimon5 - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#445529) #
Correction, fire them first then make trade addition after making yourself interim GM.
Magpie - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#445530) #
Have you ever seen a team play without the availability of so many players not put on the IL? Every game there are relievers or bench players not available do to something...

It actually makes perfect sense to me and it's exactly what I would expect to see with the way the modern game has evolved. (I'd obviously have to see if the same thing is happening everywhere else, and I'm not doing that. Life is too short!) But teams now use more relief pitchers for more of a team's innings than ever before in the game's history. At the same time, they also have far fewer players available on the bench.
Joe - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#445531) #
Have you ever seen a team play without the availability of so many players not put on the IL?
Yes, every team every year.
Magpie - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#445532) #
I would not trust [Atkins] to rebuild this team.

Atkins turned a 95 loss team into a 91 win team in two years, which suggests he just might be able to manage the actual rebuild. The real issue would be convincing him that a rebuild is what's required. He tried to ride the decaying corpse of the 2015 team (assembled by someone else) for three whole years before getting on with the tear-down. I expect there's a pretty good chance he'd be even slower when it comes to blowing up his own handiwork.
Joe - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#445533) #
He tried to ride the decaying corpse of the 2015 team (assembled by someone else) for three whole years before getting on with the tear-down.
i've read somewhere, I'm not sure where and I can't back this up, that Shapiro and Atkins really wanted to rebuild after 2015, but that Rogers didn't allow them to.
John Northey - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#445535) #
It is a good question - there are clear parallels to the 17-18 teams right now with contracts expiring and big contracts that'll still be here no matter what. You don't want to waste Gausman & Berrios on non-playoff teams, nor do you want to lose tons of talent for nada. But few, if any, GMs are willing to trade close to the majors talent for expensive contracts/near free agents.

Also of note: How rarely trades of stars for prospects works - for every Mark Langston for 3 Expos pitching prospects ends up working (Randy Johnson was one of those 3), there are dozens of Roy Halladay for Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor deals - d'Arnaud gave the Mets 7 seasons 1.9 bWAR, nada to the Jays (also was part of the RA Dickey trade before reaching the majors). The days of the Jays sending 2 relievers to the Yankees for McGriff, Dave Collins (team MVP in 1984), and Mike Morgan (2532 IP post trade with a 99 ERA+) are long gone.

Yeah, for Soto the Padres got a package that looked great on paper but all guys they got are negative WAR right now or in the minors with 0 minutes of ML time. That is a best case package right now and it'd take pretty much all our free agents post 2025 and 2024 to get it - Soto was a generational talent being traded to a desperate contender.

Probably the best thing for the Jays to do now is to keep their ears open on the trade market - if someone is desperate they know how to contact Atkins. And to invest heavily in IFA scouting/signing and the draft. Prep for the 2026 and beyond teams just like they did for 2019 and beyond before. It took just 1 great draft (2016's with 3rd round Bo & 5th Biggio) and 2 great IFA signings (Vlad & Kirk) plus very good free agent signings (Ryu, Springer, Gausman, Kikuchi, Bassitt) while accepting loss in the bad ones (Tanner Roark). A bit of luck with old guys in the system (Romano & Jansen who both developed better than expected), and a few good trades (Berrios an obvious one). Cot's has a nice listing of all free agents the past 30 years, for 2019 to now the Jays signed for $10+ mil total George Springer, Kevin Gausman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi, Tanner Roark, Marcus Semien, Yimi Garcia. Only Roark was a flop. Strange as they have Belt, Kiermaier, and Green all sub $10 mil for some reason (maybe the guarantee was sub $10 if the broke their leg in spring). Going back to 2016 you get the ugly signings and a few more good ones - J.A. Happ (125 ERA+ that stretch), Kendrys Morales (-0.1 WAR), Marco Estrada (5.3 WAR on that deal over 2 years), Jose Bautista (-1 WAR in his goodbye year), Steve Pearce 0.6 WAR, traded for Santiago Espinal). Generally the Jays during the 2016+ stretch have done well in free agency. The question is what now.
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#445536) #
That was Shapiro in an interview in 2020 or 2021. That ownership prevented a rebuild in 2017/18 may be tue or it may be awfully convenient. Same as the rumours of the Jays pursuit of Ohtani. Like most things, I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. I believe the first commandment for any Jays FO is to avoid being terrible. If thatís the ground you till, then that makes a tear it down to the studs rebuild impossible but that also doesnít require you to just ďrun it backĒ as they did.
Joe - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#445537) #
That ownership prevented a rebuild in 2017/18 may be tue or it may be awfully convenient. Same as the rumours of the Jays pursuit of Ohtani. Like most things, I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.
I definitely buy what you're selling on the preventing a rebuild part, but Ohtani being pursued by the Jays is as close to fact as you can get. Keegan Matheson quoted Schneider: "If anything, just tell him we want our Blue Jays hat back that he took with him after our meeting."
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#445538) #
Oh I believe the Jays met with Ohtani and expressed interest. I just donít believe they were ever close. I donít believe anyone but the Dodgers were ever close. As I said at the time, the rumours that the Jays were close worked for everyone involved except the Dodgers. But it could be true.
Ducey - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#445539) #
Jays are now behind the A's in the standings.
Joe - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#445541) #
Oh then we actually totally agree. I believe that Ohtani (or his representatives, which is him by proxy) led the Jays and their fans on in order to extract the highest number out of the Dodgers. I also think the Jays were willing to pay, but that didn't actually matter once the Dodgers met the Jays' number.
uglyone - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#445542) #
I don't think there's any meaningful seperatio between shapiro's mindset and rogers' mindset. Saying one took precedence over the other is probably wrong.

And i don't think an aggressive teardown and rebuild would ever be something Shapiro would want to do. He likely fancies himself too clever to need to do that.
Gerry - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#445543) #
Nathan Lukes, we hardly knew ya. Kiermeier activated, Lukes dispatched.
uglyone - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#445544) #
Manager finaally does something.

Varsho #2

Bo #5
uglyone - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#445545) #
"Nathan Lukes, we hardly knew ya. Kiermeier activated, Lukes dispatched."

um, FO is starting to look flat out bumbling now, no?
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#445546) #
Joe I canít speculate about whether Jaysí management was led astray in meetings. Obviously, thatís entirely dependent upon what was said and when. Absent that, I donít have much sympathy for the Jays front office on that score (unlike the fans who were clearly led astray). For three years, every report I read was that every industry expert expected Ohtani to stay in LA and, more likely, to sign with the Dodgers. I think those reports were supported by what happened. The greatest player of his generation and none of the other big market clubs ever appeared to be in the late running? There were semi/sort of interested reports coming out of SF and Seattle. If signing Ohtani was THE offseason plan then it was a ridiculous plan. Full points to them for showing interest and investigating the opportunity but as a plan? Buying lottery tickets isnít a retirement plan and all that.
Gerry - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#445547) #
Alek Manoah is in Washington, presumably to start tomorrows game.

Manoah has been up and down on his rehab in Buffalo. Last time out was good. Some people think he needs another good start in Buffalo to make sure he is fixed. Others think lets capitalize on his positive mindset after his last start.

Manoah's rehab expires on Monday so if the Jays were to give him another start in Buffalo it would use an option.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#445548) #
The Dodgers did extensive preparation over one or more years, including clearing significant payroll in 2023, to sign both Ohtani and Yamamoto last off-season.

Even if the Blue Jays had signed Ohtani, Iím not sure what else they would have done to improve the team. It doesnít seem like Toronto had a comprehensive plan the way the Dodgers did (adding Yamamoto, Glasnow, Teoscar, etc).

My guess is that the Blue Jays were a legitimate backup option for Ohtani if the LAD negotiations fell through. But they probably were never more than that for the player.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#445550) #
The Blue Jays have dropped Bichette in the lineup from third toÖfifth. Springer still leading off. So management has decided to make a (very tentative) change.
SK in NJ - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#445551) #
"Atkins turned a 95 loss team into a 91 win team in two years, which suggests he just might be able to manage the actual rebuild. The real issue would be convincing him that a rebuild is what's required. He tried to ride the decaying corpse of the 2015 team (assembled by someone else) for three whole years before getting on with the tear-down. I expect there's a pretty good chance he'd be even slower when it comes to blowing up his own handiwork."

Atkins will probably prolong the rebuild by a year, but he literally can't prolong it more than that as most of the roster is coming off the books after 2025. One way or another, the team is going to be very different in 2026. It's a matter of whether he wants to be proactive and learn from 2017's mistake, or prove the definition of insanity correct. My guess is the earliest the rebuild starts (as long as Shapiro and Atkins are still on board) is July 2025. They'll give it one last go with Vlad/Bo in 2025, and then go wherever the team takes them. He won't have the luxury of trying to push it beyond that.

Now, maybe he's learned from past mistakes. If 2024 continues to go south, then maybe he will trade Bichette and Vlad (plus others) in an attempt to start the rebuild earlier, but given that they just made stadium renovations, and a rebuild is an admission that they failed with this current group, it seems like a non-starter.

I think best case scenario based on how this team operates is Atkins does trade Vlad and Bichette, and still tries to compete in 2025. Is there an avenue for that to happen? I'm not sure, but it's better than status quo again. I can't imagine Shapiro, Atkins, or ownership is going to want to a prolonged rebuild. Even if they hire a new GM/president, the mandate will likely be to expedite a contender.
Gerry - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#445552) #
The lineup change worked!! (we wont mention the two errors)
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#445553) #
Dude in the front row (behind home plate) is dressed up as Captain Kirk on Star Wars day.
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#445554) #
One good start and heís back. Groundhog Day.
Petey Baseball - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#445555) #
The way this season has gone so far, even a four run inning has a head scratching, concerning, frustrating event; Guerrero failing to run out a ground ball. I can understand guys who don't run hard on a grounder back the pitcher, or a sharply hit ball to first with the first baseman two feet from the bag. But in the first inning when you're trying to turn things around? That's embarrassing.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#445557) #
Bo Bichette ejected. Aaron Judge also got tossed during the Yankees game.
99BlueJaysWay - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#445558) #
Nigel, what would you do instead ? They donít want to roll with a 4 man rotation, so who else would you have used to cover the starts they need?
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#445559) #
They have three off days in ten days. I would have run a bullpen day tomorrow.
Nigel - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#445560) #
But, in general, if the team was one injury away from having to force feed Manoah a start then they did a lousy job of acquiring AAAA pitching depth.
Mike Green - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#445561) #
Use the option on Manoah. The team's handling of him for over a year has been very poor. One good start is not enough, with this history.

It's good that Gausman is rounding into form. Gausman and Kikuchi is a start.

soupman - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 07:16 PM EDT (#445562) #
I didn't watch it. Vlad is not your typical slugger: he believes he is fast. That's why he makes so many great plays on the base paths using his speed and cunning. /s

Show me the guys on the Braves that get away with this kind of stuff. Show me the guys on the 2015 Jays that pulled that kind of crap. The guy is a loser and I just hope that he can get on enough of a heater that he regains some trade value. I hope one day we hear about what kind of packages they got offered for him when he was thought to be a world beater. I remember thinking even a year ago you might use him to pry Soto out of SDP. Imagine thinking you could do that today?

I also think it's funny how many people wanted to hand him half a billion dollars to stay here as recently as last (2022-2023) offseason. Since we're all here trying to ACK-centuate the positive, Atkins did well by at least not turning a half season of results into an albatross the likes of which we've yet to see.
greenfrog - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#445563) #
This management team seems to make erratic decisions at times, like their up-and-down treatment of Manoah, the Gausman pull (2022 postseason), the Berrios pull (2023 postseason), their use of Davis Schneider, and the Barger late-night callup and sleep-deprived debut in left field.

bpoz - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#445564) #
Jays won 6-3.
Mike Green - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 07:35 PM EDT (#445565) #
Meet VP Mike Shapiro.  His first move-fire GM and Manager.  Install himself as interim GM and hire veteran Manager like the Marlins did in 2003 when they replaced Jeff Torborg 38 games into the season with Jack McKeon, hopefully agreeing that Matt Hague ought to be batting coach.   Trade Guerrero Jr. for whatever he can get (a pitcher would probably be best), and call up Horwitz.  Extend Jansen.  That would be a good first week. 

BB does not have a You Be the VP Topic, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 
jerjapan - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#445566) #
Vladdy is many things, but a 'loser'? 

I mean, this is a stats-driven sport, and a stats-driven site.  Surely we know that some players exceed their predicted performance levels, and others fail to reach them.  I like the steel-man concept, not the straw-man.  Presumably, the player is trying, the staff, the teammates, the leadership. 

Players, like people, underperform.  Teams, like groups of people, underperform.  Twenty-nine per year, in MLB, fall short of the goal. 

So let's not judge the people involved here, as people?  Let's judge them as players, management, etc?

I truly dislike long-distance social science being deployed to analyze individual behaviour.   Social sciences don't work like that. 

We 'get' stats when it comes to baseball, but when it comes to humans, we forget that each individual is only one data point in a set of thousands? 

greenfrog - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#445567) #
VP Mike Shapiro, how dare you be decisive. Around here we have a thing called The Process. It is powerful and mystical, and does not permit bold, creative or even commonsensical decisions by a mere mortal. The Process guides us. It nurtures us. It allows us never to have to make a decision of our own. We have all learned to love The Process. In time, you will too.
Magpie - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#445568) #
they replaced Jeff Torborg 38 games into the season with Jack McKeon

Trader Jack is still alive and hopefully well at age 93, one of 25 living humans to have managed a team to a World Series championship.

See, I was thinking that the only credible managerial replacement (as far as I was concerned) would be someone who had already done it and has a nice shiny ring and everything. So I started looking them up...

Six WS winners are currently managing somewhere - Bochy, Hinch, Cora, Martinez, Roberts, and Snitker. McKeon is ancient, and another six - Manuel, Gaston, Piniella, Johnson, Cox, and Torre - are in their 80s, which is surely too old to manage a major league team (President of those United States is another matter.) I think Trader Jack himself was last octogenarian to take on the job. And these fellows have all been out of the game for a decade or more in most cases.

Another half dozen are in their 70s - Maddon, Brenly, Kelly, Baker, LaRussa, Leyland - and Maddon and Baker were certainly both managing quite recently.

There are five youngsters in their 60s - Guillen, Farrell, Francona, Scioscia, Yost - and the baby of the group is 59 year old Joe Girardi.

But they won today's game, so all is well. I've moved on to other things in my mind. For now I must shrivel into a corner, whimper piteously, and watch Stanley Cup hockey.
soupman - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#445569) #
please tell the social scientist more about epistemology as if all social scientists share one.
vw_fan17 - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#445570) #
Haven't finished watching the game yet (on replay) - just in the 3rd. But, 2 thoughts from that first inning: batting their hottest and arguably best overall hitter (Jansen) 7th is a fireable offense.

And after VGJ not running out that grounder, Schneider should have immediately put IKF in his place and moved Turner to 1st. When you and the team are scuffling and pull that crap, you should be taken out of a game in progress. If that means VGJ doesn't resign here, so be it.
scottt - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#445571) #
The starters like the extra days off. A bullpen day is not an option because Garcia is day to day and they barely have enough pen to get through 4 innings if Manoah can take care of the first 5.
Pearson threw 15 pitches to get 1 out. Romano needed 25 pitches for 1 inning in a non-save scenario. Richards threw 12 pitches, Little 15. Cabrera threw 28 pitches yesterday. Then you have Mayza who threw for the second day today and Pop and Swanson.

Francis, Rodriguez and Green are on the IL. That only leaves Danner, Macko and Espino on the 40 roster. Pop has been better than Danner. Espino has an ERA over 6 in Buffalo.

This is a decent test for Manoah and they can still go with a bullpen day in 5 days.

Also, the game could be rained out.

Bichette from 2nd or 3rd to 5th isn't enough of a drop. 7th would have been better.
Again, they only score 6 after Bichette gets ejected.

Relievers walking the 9th hitter annoys me more than runners not hustling ground outs.

StephenT - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#445572) #
I'm enjoying hearing Sean McDonough, who did the play-by-play for the Jays World Series games in 1992 and 1993 on CBS (carried on CTV here),
now doing hockey for ABC (with Ray Ferraro).

Clever of Rogers to quietly simulcast the ABC broadcast on CityTV so they can substitute their own commercials.
John Northey - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#445573) #
Joe Girardi is an interesting one - 14 years as a manager (once a partial season), fired 3 times, manager of the year once (fired), came in 4th for it in 2017 and was fired. Got MOY votes 10 times out of 14 seasons so obviously very well thought of. Over P W/L 6 times, dead one once, under 6 plus 1 I'm unsure of (fired mid-season). His teams tended to steal 2B more than most (30% more), 19% more likely to steal 3rd, 25% more likely to sac bunt, 5% more likely to intentionally walk someone, 63% more likely to pinch run, but less likely to pinch hit, and used fewer relievers per game. Since the Phillies fired him part way into their surprise WS year (appearance, not win) in 2022 he has been mostly on TV with the Yankees.

If the Jays decide to fire Schneider then bringing in Girardi might not be a bad idea. His brand of baseball certainly would fit the new rules for base-stealing thus be more fun to watch. As a former Yankee manager he certainly knows how to work with big egos (he had A-Rod & Jeter after all) and I'm sure would know how to kick them in the butt if needed.

It is funny looking at the list Magpie provides - I remember when Scioscia was seen as the next great manager but after 16 years with the Angels no one has touched him for a managers role. He did manager Team USA in the Olympic qualifiers in 2020 but he was known for managing by instinct and gut feel vs statistics so odds are the team wouldn't touch him, although that might work well mixed with the analysis.

Nah, odds are the Jays won't change a thing. Heck, if they haven't figured out that Vogelbach is a wasted roster slot yet, I can't picture a big move like replacing the manager will happen anytime soon. It is fun to think about though. Although wins are more fun.
Michael - Saturday, May 04 2024 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#445574) #
At least watching the replay condensed game Vlad flashed some good leather with a decently tough catch up the foul line, and covering for a couple of off line throws to first with good catch and tags. I wouldn't be selling Vald right now as I still think the secondary analytic suggest he'll improve.
John Northey - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 12:50 AM EDT (#445575) #
Major trade - the Jays got Joel Kuhnel for cash. Okay, maybe not major. Maybe not even minor. More a 'who'? He has been optioned to Buffalo already. 5 years in the majors, 71 ERA+ over 85 2/3 IP in relief. 2.5 BB/9 7.6 K/9 - basically some depth in Buffalo who hopefully will never come up.
Leaside Cowboy - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 07:08 AM EDT (#445576) #
I'm enjoying hearing Sean McDonough

He announces a lot of college football, too. (And ESPN takes over SEC broadcasts next season.)

Joe - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#445577) #
Buffalo was looking at doing 3 bullpen games per time through the rotation after the Manoah reactivation, so I think Kuhnel is more a practical trade than a strategic one.

I was more surprised that they had a 40 man spot for him, actually!

Mike Green - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#445578) #
The Blue Jays moved back to the RC on July 30, 2021. Since that date, their position players lead the American League in fWAR trailing only LAD and ATL.  During that period, Danny Jansen has had 657 PAs essentially a full seasons worth.  He has hit 38 doubles and 41 home runs, walked 60 times, struck out 121 times and grounded into only 5 double plays.  He has slashed .256/.336/.533 for a wRC+ of 140.  He has produced 7 WAR when in the lineup.  I know he's been injured a lot, but there are many games where he has been out of the lineup not due to injury at all.  Shame to waste that bat. 

Jansen said around that time that he had discovered who he was as a hitter. 
dalimon5 - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#445579) #
Yeah It's said he saw Mike Zunino pull everything and go to the all star break so he decided then he would try to do the same.
electric carrot - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#445582) #
I am predicting some chaos for the Manoah start. I don't necessarily agree with the decision to start him today, but I have to say I am quite interested as a fan to see how this goes down. It's a bold move.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#445583) #
The fact that the opponent is Washington and not, say, LAD, probably has something to do with the decision to start Manoah today.
Gerry - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#445584) #
Manoah activated, Little optioned.
Joe - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#445585) #
Rain delay; no further info available though.
Ducey - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#445586) #
Manoah hasn't given up a run yet. The offense is still stalled though.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#445587) #
Way to help out your struggling SP...Bichette commits a throwing error on the first batter allowing him to reach base. Now first and third with one out.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#445588) #
Hey, Vlad can still do that.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#445589) #
To be fair, most major leaguers annihilate that pitch. It was an 85 mile an hour changeup with no movement. But...I guess it's a step in the right direction.
uglyone - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#445590) #
Hello there alek
Nigel - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#445591) #
Manoahís velocity looks to be up noticeably from his starts last year. Thatís a definite plus. The control is still terrible. Maybe with a 4 run lead it wonít matter.
99BlueJaysWay - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#445592) #
Boy did Kirk really steal a strike there against Abrams.
electric carrot - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#445593) #
I would be in favor of a early pull for Manoah so he can use this as a confidence builder and also so that we don't lose the game because he is prone to the big inning.
Petey Baseball - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#445594) #
He doesn't look much better than he did last year. It appears the velocity is back, but that just could be the fact he's in better shape physically. The mechancial/control/command issues remain.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#445595) #
Yeah...three walks, a hbp, and a hr in 3 innings. Very much still a project.
99BlueJaysWay - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#445596) #
I would not be in favour of that. Garcia is out. Romano threw 25 yesterday. Richards pitched two days in a row, so heís out. Same with Mayza.

I trust Manoah more than I trust Swanson and Pop, who are the freshest arms
Michael - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#445597) #
Manoah has 39 strikes in 70 pitches through 3 innings. 6 KO but 3 BB and HBP. They will not be pulling him "early" by pitch count, but it isn't that likely he finishes any more than 5, and even that is not that likely given his current pitch count and control.
Nigel - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#445598) #
A very predictable outcome.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#445599) #
Definitely will echo the sentiment that Manoah is far from fixed. The stuff looks great, but it simply isnít going to work if heís this erratic. Did he always fall off the mound so wildly even in his good days? You keep putting guys on with walks, eventually itís gonna burn you (like blowing a 5 run lead).

Is it sad that Iím not even surprised at this point?
greenfrog - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#445600) #
electric carrot, you were a step ahead of John Schneider and Ross Atkins. Schneider hesitated whether to pull Manoah and made the wrong decision as a result.

Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#445601) #
If I may be positive, Davis Schneider continues to impress me. Great at bats, the defence is what it is (not great but not horrible) and that steal of third earlier in the game was nifty (with two outs you better make it and he did).
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#445602) #
Good response from the bats, although geez the Nationals are an awful defensive squad.
uglyone - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#445603) #
Look at the big brain on Nigel!
Nigel - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#445604) #
Whatever uo.
Kasi - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#445605) #
I want to root for Manoah since this team desperately needs him to be at least be an average starter but I canít help the part of me that just has never liked the player. Least favorite player since Donaldson to me. (Well Osuna too but that was in retrospect) I just never got behind me cussing players out in meaningless mid season games. Iím not even a respect the game type I like emotion in players but it was never positive to me. Just a lot of anger.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#445606) #
The horrible side of Schneiderís defense peeks out from behind the curtain. Ughhhhhh. Lucky thing Winker is slow otherwise heíd be standing at third.

This is feeling about as much of a Ďmust winí game as any on May 5th could seriously be. And on cue, hereís Swanson.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#445607) #
For ďinsert expletive hereĒ sakes.
Mike D - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#445608) #
This game has been so, so poorly managed.

Hated the squeeze play too.
uglyone - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#445609) #
A+ managing today

Beginning with the decision to not just start the good starters on regular rest.
uglyone - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#445610) #
Wasn't sarcasm Nigel! That was a compliment!

Great take by you as opposed to my silly homer take getting excited by two strikeouts like a dummy.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#445611) #
9th inning comeback to save the managerís bacon? The frying pan is getting awful hot, one figures.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#445612) #
Another punishing game for Bichette (among other Blue Jays players). 0-4, each out coming with a runner on base. Plus the error to start the bottom of the first that led to a high pitch count for Manoah and an unearned run. He did draw a walk.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#445613) #
Well... at least as far as 11-8 games go it was a quick one.

BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#445614) #
The pitch clock is a very good thing.
Eephus - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#445615) #
Positive takeaways: I think Vlad is looking a lot better at the plate (agreed that the pitch he hit the slam on was a total cookie but you still have to hit it) and he's looking far more disciplined lately, all the stuff I said about Davis earlier, and generally the lineup up and down put up several terrific at-bats today. If Jesse Winker of all people (an objectively bad outfielder) doesn't make a nice play on Turner's laser beam in the 8th inning we might be contemplating a different outcome here.

The negatives: basically everything else. Which is plenty.  
Magpie - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#445616) #
It's too bad Schneider couldn't bring in Kiner-Falefa to pitch instead of Swanson but there's a rule against it that didn't anticipate this type of thing.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#445617) #
Manoah staying in the rotation, apparently (from Schneider via Keegan Matheson)
greenfrog - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#445618) #
On a non-Jays note: Ohtani is such an incredible hitter. He is hitting .364/.426/.685 (wRC+ 212 and wOBA .474). 10 HR so far. He might post 7 or 8 WAR this a DH.
The_Game - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#445619) #
Why did Manoah start this game with Berrios available on regular rest and two off days this week?

Why did Manoah continue pitching into the 4th inning of a game with a lead where it was clear he had no command of anything he was throwing the entire time?

Why is a guy with a 18 ERA (Swanson) on the season over 9 appearances continuing to be given the highest leverage innings on the team in every game he pitches in?

Why did the team's best hitter (Danny Jansen) get used as a pinch runner with RISP in a tie game with Kevin Kiermaier/Cavan Biggio on the bench and the bottom of the order up (and not for the first time this season)?

Why am I still watching this anymore?
Four Seamer - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#445620) #
In fairness to Swanson, he did manage to lower his ERA today, giving up just the one run in his one inning appearance.
John Northey - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#445621) #
Why did Manoah start? Jays want to give the starters some rest so they aren't burnt out later.

Why did Manoah pitch into the 4th? Because there is no one in the pen they could count on who was available. Also why Swanson was used again.

Jansen as a pinch runner was to use just 1 guy instead of 2 - he'd have to come in for defense regardless. Plus the bottom of the order is the better hitting part of the order lately.

So that covers The_Game's questions, next is why is the pen a disaster right now? Garcia hasn't pitched in a bit and seems unavailable - he should be on the IL. Swanson should've been left down longer to rehab properly. Of note: Swanson does have an option left so he could be sent down, which right now might be the right move. A big issue too is Bo - he has nothing good going right now - his stats, both normal and underlying, are ugly. Vlad at his worst was still hitting 100 mph outs (right at someone), but Bo isn't doing that, he is swinging at the first pitch and making weak outs. The questions become how to deal with Bo, how to deal with the pen, and how best to use Manoah - I suspect he'll be in a 3 inning start with someone lined up to go 4-6 after after next time (as it should've been this time).

Right now I have zero trust in Pearson, Swanson, and little in Pop and Cabrera. Mayza makes me nervous, as does Richards - both can do the job but it always feels like a crapshoot. Garcia & Romano I trust but neither would've helped today. The Jays needed a long man in the pen today and didn't have one. Pure stupidity on the GM's part - none of the guys who pitched in Buffalo today would've helped it seems, they sucked in AAA. But once the idea to use Manaoh was set they should've had a long man who was half decent ready to come up as well and send, say, Pop back down or put Swanson back on the IL or something. Sadly Paolo Espino has sucked in AAA (6.06 ERA), Hagen Danner is on the 40 so he might have been OK (12 2/3 IP in 12 games, so not really a long man though). The depth pieces seem to have fallen apart with IL stints and injuries this year. Sigh. When Rodriguez comes back him and Manoah might be a good tandem start, 3-4 IP each, but will the Jays do that? Probably not.
Gerry - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 10:59 PM EDT (#445622) #
I have some thoughts on The_Games questions.

The Jays have four starting pitchers. Yes, they could have rolled with four for the next nine days. But....teams look at the regular season as a marathon, not a sprint. In a marathon you need five starters and until Yariel or Bowden come off the IL, Manoah is what you have. That's why Manoah will likely get another start.

You could have optioned Manoah down to AAA. Would that have fixed him? Who knows but it would have kicked him while he is down. I don't know how to handle Manoah but he does seem to have a high opinion of himself and he seems to need to have it proved to him.

Last season the Jays rolled with four starters for a while, but the starters look forward to the extra day of rest and they started to grumble last season when they missed a couple of those rest days.

Obviously the Manoah call did not work, and using Berrios would have been better today but there could be a fatigue cost for all four other starters that would have to be paid down the road.

The Jays need a decent fifth starter and both Yariel and Bowden have issues as to whether they can give the team 150 innings. They need Manoah.

Manoah stayed in the game because the bullpen is overused. Yimi seems to be still not available and several of the other guys were heavily used in the last few games. They were hoping for more from Manoah than what they got.

Who do you trust more than Swanson? Pearson, Cabrera, Pop and Mayza have been hit and miss. Romano might not have been available today and it seems that Jimi was not either. That leaves Trevor Richards who could be in danger of over use. Teams look at past performance and they know Swanson can get better. They throw Swanson out there for the same reason Bo is out there, they know they are better than this.

Schneider likes to use Jansen for Kirk as it only burns one player. A pinch runner would burn two players.

I am not trying to defend Schneider. If it was me I would not have started Manoah, I would have rolled with four starters through one round, but the challenge there is that you would still need Manoah within ten days.

I think the bullpen is in a bad place right now, their best pitcher is unavailable, several pitchers are on the IL, and the back half of the pen has been disappointing.

The other issues are coin flips for me.
SK in NJ - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#445623) #
The Jays are in trouble. I don't think replacing Schneider (which should have happened after the Seattle WC series, IMO) is going to change much of anything for 2024. The regression from the pitching staff is happening, and the offense actually got worse from last season, so it's going to be really tough for this team in its current form to reach the post season again regardless of who is managing.

I don't think it's the end of the world for this team if they have to sell at the deadline, but I have no faith that they actually will.
Mike D - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#445624) #
Gerry, to your question about who I would trust more than Swanson, my short answer is ďeveryone.Ē

But my longer answer is that itís really unfair not only to the team, but to Swanson, to pretend that he is still an above average short reliever. He had essentially no spring training and was consumed by an extremely traumatic near-tragedy. And Schneider thinks he is tipping pitches at the moment!

If Garcia has been unavailable this many games now, itís a failure by the front office not to provide more options in the bullpen in the meantime. ďDonít worry, we still have SwansonĒ is just blind to reality at this moment in time.
Mike D - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 11:29 PM EDT (#445625) #
SK, I do think there is value in the organization holding Schneider accountable. He is getting the very least out of many key players and making very poor tactical decisions.

I donít think that there needs to be an ironclad guarantee of an immediate turnaround directly attributable to the manager to hold a bad manager accountable.
greenfrog - Sunday, May 05 2024 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#445626) #
I think loyalty is likely a factor in this situation. Schneider has been in the organization as an up-and-coming manager for a long time. The Blue Jays probably donít want to fire him if (a) it likely wouldnít change the teamís overall fortunes this year, and (b) there is still a nontrivial chance he can grow into a better manager.

Baseball is a funny game. For the last few years, many of us have been operating under the assumption that the Blue Jays are in the midst of a robust five-year (more or less) window of contention. But it may be that the window was actually a shorter one, with 2021 the only championship-calibre team of the bunch. And that team didnít even make the postseason!

The bottom line is that this organization needs to earn its way back to a position of strength. I donít know what this would require. Maybe one or more of: better president, GM, manager, MLB coaches, scouts, analytical team, minor-league development coaches and other staffÖ?

I do think leadership matters. The organization had this under at least one former GM (Gillick) and arguably also he who shall not be named. Iím not sure it has strong leadership at the moment (it does have a lot of buzzwords and euphemisms).
dalimon5 - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:52 AM EDT (#445627) #
I'm going to use this week to take a 4 day break from this team. The Blue Jays are supposed to be my outlet but lately they aren't providing the escape. I'm in a vicious cycle watching this team, listening to negative media coverage, reading negative fan reaction ... I've reached the limit of negativity and toxic positivity. Need to reset and just start watching old fashioned baseball again. Wish I could just put Vin Skully on a Jays broadcast and hear nothing about exit velocities and pitch counts.
dalimon5 - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#445628) #
And let me add that I've been right in the middle of that negativity and toxic positivity on this site! No more of that from me.
Eephus - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 04:03 AM EDT (#445629) #
just start watching old fashioned baseball again.

Now we are in my wheelhouse! Dunno if Slo-Pitch is your jam but summer Tuesday nights at Kew Gardens here in Toronto/East York are usually when the top tier east end leagues play and these fellas are legit ballplayers. Tight defense, Ontario champions many of them. Avoid the Sundays when the 'F' division plays (it resembles the Jays too much for objective enjoyment).

Back into hardball... the TMBL (a beautiful tree born from this very site) continues on strong into its current 19th season, still at Smythe Park in Etobicoke but the level of play has leap-frogged dozens of levels since its inception. We genuinely play mostly errorless ball now, the vibe is unmatched, as is the charm. Miraculously, I remain a competent playing participant two decades in. I don't ask "how???" either.

Nothing can really match watching a ballgame at, all Toronto options considered, Christie Pits though. It's perfect. The hill, the view... the easy 'bring a bottle of wine to share with a date' aspect... I've been stupidly fortunate to pitch on that mound a few times (I know right) and it was an unforgettable experience. The Blue Jays might hit a little bit better if they played there, I suspect...
Magpie - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 07:17 AM EDT (#445630) #
the [TMBL] level of play has leap-frogged dozens of levels since its inception.

Word. (I was present at the inception!) This past Saturday, I saw some defense that was not merely competent, but downright impressive (special shout out to Brewers shortstop Gillies for that sliding backhand stop, and then the whirl to get the lead runner at second.)
Magpie - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#445631) #
My brain exploded when Swanson came in, but there weren't a lot of alternatives. With Romano, Mayza, Richards, and Garcia unavailable, Swanson and Pop were the only arms left once Pearson and Cabrera had pitched, with at least two (and ideally three) innings to get through. Schneider sent both Pearson and Cabrera back out to the mound for a second inning or to at least try to squeeze some additional outs of them, and they both instantly gave up a leadoff double.

In retrospect, it would have made more sense to keep Little on the active roster and give yesterday's start to Berrios on normal rest. It might also have made sense to put Garcia on the IL - everyone clearly thought it was just a day-to-day thing, but he hasn't pitched since the 28th.
scottt - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#445632) #
Schneider likes to use Jansen for Kirk as it only burns one player. A pinch runner would burn two players.

Yeah, that's not good. There's no need to have players on the bench to have players on the bench.
If somebody gets injured and you need to use a guy Vogelbach is there. 
Kirk is a terrible baserunner, but Jansen is not a good baserunner. Biggio is in a slump and wasn't going to pinch hit for anyone, use him.

Also, with Jansen at third, let Clement hit.

The bullpen is a terrible place right now.
bpoz - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#445634) #
Manoah struggled last year and so far this year in 1 ML game. We can hope that he improves.

Gausman gave up 11 earned runs in 5 IP April 6th & 12th. So as bad as Manoah. We all hope that he improves.

Bassitt has been "not good" Mar 29 and April 3 and horrible April 26. His other 4 games he has been ok/good. We hope that he stays healthy and is mostly good. His 200IP 3,60 ERA last year was impressive.

I can't read the future so I will not. I could cheat about reading the future and say that we will win some and lose some. Also some Bauxites will express their frustrations in the future and others are trying to not be devasted so far. A big opportunity to study human nature.

Mike Green - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#445635) #
My brain did not explode when Swanson came in.  Like Manoah, he's a good pitcher underneath it all but not ready at the moment for the role the club is assigning him. And likely not for quite some time.  If you bring Manoah up to the big leagues to start and go for 4-5 innings with little relief support, you are obviously asking for trouble.  If you call Swanson up to the major leagues and install him in a medium to high leverage role, you are equally asking for trouble.  Both pitchers ought to be still be pitching for Buffalo, and the GM should have had tolerable options available for the Manager.  Is it that hard to find a pitcher who can go 5 innings and give up 3 runs with this defence behind him?  Is it that hard to find a relief pitcher who can put up a run every other inning in a medium leverage role? 

Fangraphs has the Blue Jays with the worst pitching in baseball so far.  I don't know if that is right, but that it is even in the conversation for this dubious honour does not speak well for everyone involved on the management side this year.  It should be noted though that since the Blue Jays moved back into the RC on July 30, 2021 (which is the date I am using for a longer-term view), the Blue Jays starting pitchers have led the American League in fWAR (and third behind Philadelphia and the Dodgers in baseball).  The leading groups of position players and of starting pitchers over a period of years will usually lead to more glory than they have seen.  A Manager doesn't affect much about the results of games, but at the margins, he matters. 
scottt - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#445636) #
I don't think the "leverage" matters. Young pitchers might get nervous when pitching in the late innings.
It should make no difference to Swanson who has been there before.
He's just not making good pitches. Is it better to have him give up a 2 run bomb in the 5th than in the 8th? What I remember most from him is splitters high in the zone resulting in fly balls. Now he's throwing them in the bottom of the zone, notably inside to lefty where they can just golf it over the fence.
That pitch has to be outside. He's just not locating.

Rosario was the 8th batter, now hitting .117. That is not high leverage.

92-93 - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#445639) #
The pitching has been even more pathetic when you consider that they spend 115MM on it, which is more than they spend on offense. Is there another pitching staff that is as expensive? The Mets are paying Scherzer and Verlander to pitch elsewhere, and the Dodgers only get to 115MM if you include Ohtani. Maybe the Rangers with Degrom.

Christie Pits is a fantastic place to catch a ballgame on a nice sunny Sunday.
Mike Green - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#445640) #
Christie Pits is a fantastic place to catch a ballgame on a nice sunny Sunday

It is.  A day just like today would work. 
GabrielSyme - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#445641) #
Amidst a fair bit of gloom around here, it's worth taking a look at what Davis Schneider has been doing this season. After a spring training that had some here worrying, he's fundamentally improved from what he did last season.

Firstly, he's significantly improved his contact rate without sacrificing his strike-zone judgement. His overall contact rate is up from 65% last year to 74% this year. That moves him from being in the bottom ~5% of hitters to being slightly below-average. That's a strong and rapid improvement, and it's paid off with his strikeouts falling from 30.5% to 25.6%.

The other encouraging sign is that Davis is hitting the ball harder than last year. He's not an exit velo star, but he hit his hardest-ever ball yesterday on his double, and his average is up this year from 89.5 to 91.2.

The thing I'm most encouraged by Davis is how quickly he seems to be improving his fundamental skills. He's still not playing everyday, but he's one of the Jays' best players right now, and only seems to be gaining more consistency as the season rolls on, and he really should be somewhere in the top of the lineup every day right now.
uglyone - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#445642) #
Would be cool if Toronto got a city connect as nice as this one:

Chuck - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#445643) #
In light of how their sports teams are faring, perhaps Moaner City. In green, of course, the colour of envy.
uglyone - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#445644) #
Plausible "Best Lineup" using only current year stats, and blindly looking at numbers at not player style:

* 1. LF Schneider 86pa, .347babip, .372obp, .203iso, 146wrc+
* 2. C Jansen 44pa, .286babip, .409obp, .378iso, 204wrc+
* 3. DH Turner 122pa, .321babip, .361obp, .189iso, 139wrc+
* 4. CF Varsho 120pa, .264babip, .325obp, .236iso, 129wrc+
* 5. 3B Clement 65pa, .275babip, .302obp, .186iso, 115wrc+
* 6. 1B Guerrero 154pa, .286babip, .338obp, .134iso, 111wrc+
* 7. SS Falefa 102pa, .303babip, .314obp, .086iso, 92wrc+
* 8. 2B Biggio 93pa, .319babip, .326obp, .090iso, 90wrc+
* 9. RF Springer 147pa, .229babip, .279obp, .098iso, 72wrc+

* X. PH Vogelbach 33pa, .158babip, .242obp, .071iso, 34wrc+
* X. OF Kiermaier 66pa, .268babip, .246obp, .082iso, 53wrc+
* X. IF Bichette 134pa, .223babip, .254obp, .081iso, 55wrc+
* X. C Kirk 82pa, .217babip, .293obp, .071iso, 69wrc+
uglyone - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#445645) #
Based on Past 1 Calendar Year stats only:

* 1. LF Schneider 227pa, .360babip, .392obp, .279iso, 165wrc+
* 2. C Jansen 267pa, .257babip, .345obp, .292iso, 147wrc+
* 3. DH Turner 597pa, .307babip, .343obp, .201iso, 122wrc+
* 4. 3B Clement 117pa, .330babip, .339obp, .156iso, 128wrc+
* 5. 2B Biggio 376pa, .329babip, .360obp, .123iso, 112wrc+
* 6. 1B Guerrero 687pa, .268babip, .333obp, .162iso, 108wrc+
* 7. RF Springer 691pa, .289babip, .328obp, .146iso, 105wrc+
* 8. SS Bichette 586pa, .323babip, .312obp, .141iso, 103wrc+
* 9. CF Kiermaier 380pa, .307babip, .309obp, .148iso, 97wrc+

* X. PH Vogelbach 275pa, .244babip, .309obp, .175iso, 95wrc+
* X. OF Varsho 567pa, .255babip, .287obp, .186iso, 93wrc+
* X. IF Falefa 402pa, .302babip, .318obp, .110iso, 94wrc+
* X. C Kirk 410pa, .256babip, .315obp, .104iso, 88wrc+
Mike Green - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#445646) #
True, GabrielSyme.  If you look forwards, ZiPS thinks that the top 11 position players will all be average or better overall, with Varsho, Jansen, Schneider and Kirk all being very good.  Jansen has a considerably better offensive expectation than Turner (who I am nonetheless impressed by for his ability to age with a lot of grace); he should be DHing quite a bit. 

Guerrero Jr.'s sprint speed is up to 27.  Not great, but near average.  Given his ground-ball tendencies and ability to reach base, maybe having him hit leadoff would be for the best.  Expecting him to hit a lot of home runs is probably not the right approach. 
Mike D - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#445647) #
Agree with everything my friend Mike Green has said today.
Gerry - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#445650) #
I was wondering about whether the manager needs to be replaced. There is the old adage that you change the manager before an easy part of the schedule. The Jays have a tough couple of weeks coming up, 2 vs Philly, 3 vs each of Minny, Baltimore and Tampa. Tampa don't have a great record but I still think of them as tough.

So do you change the manager now, knowing the "new guy" has a tough schedule ahead of him, or do you change him before the Tampa games or after Tampa and before the White Sox?

The Jays next eight games are against good teams, the Jays need to show up or Schneider could be gone.
GabrielSyme - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#445651) #
Guerrero leadoff would be an interesting approach. It might be a way of getting him to concentrate more on his plate approach and strike-zone judgement.

One thing I didn't mention about Schneider: statcast has a comparable-hitters metric, which (I think) looks only at batted-ball characteristics. Schneider's top comps are Rhys Hoskins, Adolis Garcia, Aaron Judge, Austin Riley, Mike Trout, Willy Adames, Tyler O'Neill, Bobby Witt Jr. and Pete Alonso. That's pretty good company.
Glevin - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#445653) #
Worst case scenario for me is like a 79 win team. If the Jays are bad, fine, trade players, hoard prospects, get high picks. If they are good, even better. Compete. That middling almost making it is a killer. If Jays don't get anywhere this year, then Atkins needs to go. I think he's been completely fine as a GM. He's done some things well and some things could be better, especially player development, but the overall Jays lack of success is a rarity where the young core players got unpredictably poor. I don't really know what you can do about that from a management perspective. Still, at some point, you need to move on. My fear though is that Rogers doesn't want to rebuild at all so will keep trying to push for that 83 wins and get lucky thing which doesn't lead to long-term success.
Ducey - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#445654) #
Before you can the manager, the GM ought to look a little harder at the players.

Bo is worse than replacement both on D and offensively. He is walking around with a cloud over his head too.

BR says he has less than 5 years of service time. So I think he can be optioned? He should be sent down. He could spend 2 or 3 weeks sorting himself out.

During that time the team would benefit from someone who can play D better and can hit at least .200 (IKF, Clement).

The rest of the team, including the manager, would also get a jolt that might wake them from their doldrums.
GabrielSyme - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#445656) #
Taking a quick look at Bichette's struggles at the plate, you can see the immediate problem: his line drives have gone missing, just 11% this year vs. 22% for his career, and his fly balls aren't going over the fence. But his underlying metrics aren't that bad: he's actually making more contact than ever, and his plate discipline looks marginally better. His average exit velocity is down, but not dramatically. It's a weird sort of slump where you're making more contact, but almost never squaring the ball up.

Looking at all of that, I think Bo's just in a rather deep, but pretty ordinary slump, and that he'll come out of it in time.

As for his defence, Bo has been a slightly-below-average shortstop over his career, and that's what he's looking like this year. Maybe his errors and missed plays look more bone-headed or fundamentally unsound than other shortstops?
Glevin - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#445657) #
"The annoying thing about Anthopoulosís departure is that not only is he now a top-tier GM, but heís *Canadian*. Rogers pushed aside a local rising star in favour of a couple of American carpetbaggers."

Anthopolous does some things very well. Contract extensions he's a genius at. I don't know how gets players to agree to those That draft pick manipulation at Toronto was brilliant. But I'm tired of this deification of his time here. He was here for 7 years, made a bunch of great moves and a bunch of terrible ones, drafted very poorly, left the Jays in a complete mess, went to L.A. and learned a lot and went into maybe the best possible situation for any new GM ever. (Normally, GMs take over troubled teams, not teams bursting with talent). Just as a comparison, I did some quick math. The prospects in the Jays system when AA left have given a total of around 30-35 WAR. That's around 4 WAR per season. Vlad is highest with 12, then Jansen, then Lane Thomas with 5.3. The prospects in the Braves system when AA took over (in a year less) have produced a total of around 110 WAR which is around 15 WAR a season. In other words, The Braves are getting around 11 extra WAR from the previous management's prospects over what Jays are getting. (Contrares isn't with Braves and Thomas isn't with Jays but counting anyone still under original contract). Give the Jays Acuna, Albies, Fried, Riley and William Contrares and give the Braves Vlad, and Jansen and who do you think the better team would be? I think most of us agree that the Jays haven't done a great job of drafting/signing under Atkins but still, Just the 5 of Bichette, Gurriel, Biggio, Manoah, and Kirk have produced around 44 wins for the Jays. And there will be much more as well. None of these numbers are perfect I'm sure because some guys don't appear on lists and what not but I'm very confident the point is accurate. AA left the Jays with a horrible system and the Jays were not able to get any value from prospects for years and overall got very little in total. (The lack of MLB talent under 30 YO, the lack of even passable major leaguers in AAA are other issues but for another team).
John Northey - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#445658) #
Right now with Vlad hitting well I wouldn't touch him - leave him in #2 and see where it goes. Leadoff though - Springer needs to be shifted down for sure. If Biggio is in the lineup using him as leadoff makes sense (patient, good OBP), logically I see the case for Schneider but with his power batting #4/5 makes more sense. Turner is locked in at #3 right now, Jansen needs to be up there too. Varsho is nice in #4 to split up the RH bats a bit.

So Biggio-Vlad-Turner-Varsho-Schneider-Jansen/Kirk-Bo-Springer-IKF might work. KK on the bench most days, Clement in when possible (LHP). Bo and Springer can move up once they start to hit again. Although looking deeper - Biggio has become ice cold again - April 17 to now 063/250/094 (2 for 32), just hasn't been obvious as we've all been looking at Bo & Springer & Kirk. So maybe he gets benched to get KK and Clement in more often as a sorta platoon with Schneider covering either LF or 2B depending on situation.

Phew. I guess I see why John Schneider might be at the point where being fired would be a blessing in disguise. With the pen issues and so many good hitters forgetting which end of the bat to use he must feel cursed at this point.
John Northey - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#445660) #
Well, the Jays just locked up the playoffs - they signed Aaron Sanchez to a minor league deal. Last year he had a 5.54 ERA in AAA for Minnesota & Arizona over 89 1/3 IP, walking 6.3/9 K 6.9/9. Ugh. Well, Buffalo needs arms so maybe he can help there at least.
uglyone - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#445661) #
hope they make sure to keep him on an innings limit. use a 6 man rotation if needed.
uglyone - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#445662) #
"left the Jays in a complete mess"

* 2015: #5 win%, ALCS, #16 payroll
* 2016: #7 win%, ALCS, #13 payroll

System rankings - Offseason 2015-2016-2017

* BA: #9 - #27 - #20
* BP: #10 - #22 - #18

System - Top 50/100 prospects 2015 - 2016 - 2017

* BA: 3/4 - 1/1 - 1/5
* BP: n/a - 1/1 - 1/4
GabrielSyme - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#445663) #
I'm not sure that Anthopoulos' drafts were below-average. The best resource I could find for average draft value found that the average WAR for a draft was 14.3. Eyeballing more recent drafts from the chart there, the average might be more like 18 WAR. Just adding up the 5+ WAR guys AA drafted, his drafts totalled 147 WAR, and he never picked higher than 9th. That's an average of 24.5 WAR, and there's a fair number of guys still active and more or less in their prime (Jansen, Romano, Stroman) who could still add to that total.
uglyone - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#445665) #
Plausible Best Lineup using Rest of Season combined Fangraphs Depth Charts Projections:

* 1. LF Schneider: 340pa, .338obp, .191iso, 122wrc+
* 2. 1B Guerrero: 521pa, .357obp, .211iso, 141wrc+
* 3. SS Bichette: 505pa, .324obp, .167iso, 121wrc+
* 4. C Jansen: 274pa, .324obp, .226iso, 127wrc+
* 5. DH Turner: 434pa, .334obp, .153iso, 117wrc+
* 6. CF Varsho: 461pa, .307obp, .205iso, 115wrc+
* 7. RF Springer: 488pa, .322obp, .168iso, 114wrc+
* 8. 3B Clement: 209pa, .310obp, .125iso, 102wrc+
* 9. 2B Biggio: 324pa, .328obp, .128iso, 101wrc+

* X. PH Vogelbach: 33pa, .337obp, .172iso, 115wrc+
* X. OF Kiermaier: 329pa, .298obp, .127iso, 92wrc+
* X. IF Falefa: 269pa, .308obp, .087iso, 89wrc+
* X. C Kirk: 278pa, .345obp, .137iso, 117wrc+

* X. PH Horwitz: 16pa, .361obp, .126iso, 120wrc+
* X. OF Barger: 66pa, .306obp, .147iso, 100wrc+
* X. IF Martinez: 126pa, .285obp, .180iso, 95wrc+
* X. C Serven: 10pa, .246obp, .119iso, 60wrc+

* X. PH Votto: 137pa, .311obp, .151iso, 97wrc+
* X. OF Lukes: 55pa, .318obp, .116iso, 100wrc+
* X. IF Jimenez: 16pa, .313obp, .102iso, 90wrc+
scottt - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#445667) #
Bichette has taken a page from Kirk in maximizing weak contact.
Exit velo this year is 88.9, his lowest. Career is 90.9mph.
He's not barreling any pitches.
In 2023 he was hammering the 4-seamers. He only had problems with the sliders.
In 2021-22, he was crushing the sliders, the change ups and the curves.
In 2020, it's the sinkers he was feeding on.

I guess, he's in between. Still searching for his timing.

It's a similar story with Springer, Average is 87.2mph.
Career is 89mph. He hasn't hit anything over 109.5 mph yet. He's reached 113-115mph every other season.  Just like Bo, he has negative run value on 4-seamers although, in his case, it's a continuation of last year. The 3 years before that, he crushed those fastballs.

Could be timing, but in his case, could be age related decline. 

Marc Hulet - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#445668) #
It's not difficult to see part of the problem is the players' inabilities to make adjustments.

I do think Bo is playing hurt (that neck issue). But he's also swinging pretty much at every single first pitch unless it's two feet or more off the plate. He's constantly behind in the count - often 1-2 or 0-2.

Springer has lost bat speed and he can't get to the pitches on the outer edge of the plate anymore. Pitchers know that and exploit it because he won't lay off them or shoot a few the other way.
John Northey - Monday, May 06 2024 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#445669) #
Marc - good idea there but...
  • Ahead in count: 2024: 259/444/259;  Career: 358/489/585
  • Behind in count: 2024: 174/188/326; Career: 226/230/368
  • Even count: 2024: 180/180/240; Career: 319/323/512
I thought 'hmm, maybe if he is behind a lot then that would kill his stats' but looking at his career, yeah it hurts but he is sucking when ahead or even too.  No power when ahead in the count is sad to see (literally no power - no extra base hits when ahead in the count this year).  Overall his 195/254/276 2024 line is worse than his career behind in count line.  Ouch. I was hoping for better results here, but sadly this just reinforces the idea that something is seriously wrong with him. Is he hiding an injury or some kind maybe? At this point that would actually be good as it would explain a lot (like happened with Chapman late last year).  A reminder that the ego based 'I can play hurt' crap hurts the team.
Michael - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 02:16 AM EDT (#445670) #
Has anyone tested his vision lately? If he is so down across the board, and also his defense seems a bit worse, maybe he's had some subtle vision loss?

Of course it could still be small sample size luck, but the later in the season it gets the more it seems like something is off.
bpoz - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#445672) #
I agree with Glevin that AA inherited more talented players in Atlanta. I also think Snitker is a good manager. His bench coach is Walt Weiss. Acquiring Ozuna, S Murphy and M Olson were good moves by AA.
92-93 - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#445674) #
It's very annoying when you hear after the fact that players were playing through an injury. It hurts the team. Used to happen with Vernon Wells.

As uglyone is always quick to point out, the idea that AA "left the Jays in a complete mess" is utter nonsense.

Shapiro/Atkins were responsible for putting together the Jays draft/sign and development system. Certainly some of the lack of performance from AA's assets, and then subsequently all the players the new FO brought in, falls at their feet.

Nigel - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#445675) #
I don't deify AA (his early years record cannot be ignored) but the idea that he left the franchise in a mess just isn't true. Shapiro himself has acknowledged that following AA's departure he was in favour of starting a rebuild and trading what were still valuable veteran assets but he was unable to do that. A choice to do nothing for business, not baseball, reasons was made after AA left. Comparing the two regimes really isn't a useful exercise anyway because the payroll resources that the two regimes have operated under are very different. Shapiro deserves a great deal of credit for getting the significantly greater resources but there must be questions related to how that money has been spent.
John Northey - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#445676) #
What AA did or did not do matters little today.  Vlad, Jansen, Mayza, Romano (arguably - lost in rule 5 briefly, then returned under Atkins) are the left overs from the AA era
The rest were trades or free agents.  So yeah, not a lot left over from the AA era, you'd think more picks would've been hanging around for cups of coffee at least right now. Especially IFA's who take longer to be ready due to signing so young.  Yeah, AA could've left more (his 2015 draft was a total flop, none over 1 WAR) but it has been more than long enough for the first few drafts and IFA's signed by Atkins to have developed (see Kirk, Bo, Biggio, Moreno).
  • 1st round: Atkins only has Manoah with any success - the rest are negative WAR or not reached.
  • 2nd: Bo and that is really it. 0.0 WAR for the rest with only Hagen Danner reaching (1 batter faced).
  • 3rd: 2 reached, Riley Adams  (1.7), and Zach Jackson (1.5). Not really anything to be proud of. Most expensive was Adam Kloffenstein who was part of the Jordan Hicks trade
  • 4th: 2 negative WAR guys again: Joshua Palacios & Kevin Smith.
  • 5th: Biggio  the only one to reach. He is the best 5th rounder for the Jays since 1997 (Michael Young).
  • 6-10th: a handful of negative WAR guys, no one who has made a positive contribution yet.
  • 11-20th: positives from Ryan Noda  & Josh Winckowski, Ty Tice (barely), plus a few negatives again. That's it.
  • 21-40: discontinued in 2020: Spencer Horwitz (24th in 2019), Davis Schneider  (28th 2017), Jake Fishman (0.1 WAR), a few negatives too.
And that is it for draft success. Clearly not a lot of success.  The draft team needs to be changed if it hasn't already, post 2016 the results are poor/pathetic outside of Manoah & Schneider. Given Tiedemann is the only top 100 outside of Orelvis Martinez (IFA) it is clear there isn't a ton coming up that the Jays properly identified and developed. Any real prospect from pre-2020 should be obvious by now if they are to make any impact.  Guys who come out of nowhere like Schneider did last year are rare nowadays with the heavy analysis of minor leaguers vs when I was a kid and it was Baseball America and that was it (thus why Gillick was able to do so many great trades back then).

I tend to be an apologist for Atkins but he really screwed the pooch on the draft so far, IFA haven't impressed post 2016 (Kirk & Moreno).  His free agent choices have been very good, trades solid (no wow, no oh crap even if many felt that way about the Varsho deal). I'd say his #1 problem is an inability to draft well.
Glevin - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#445677) #
"I'm not sure that Anthopoulos' drafts were below-average. The best resource I could find for average draft value found that the average WAR for a draft was 14.3. Eyeballing more recent drafts from the chart there, the average might be more like 18 WAR. Just adding up the 5+ WAR guys AA drafted, his drafts totalled 147 WAR, and he never picked higher than 9th. That's an average of 24.5 WAR, and there's a fair number of guys still active and more or less in their prime (Jansen, Romano, Stroman) who could still add to that total."

Except you are not counting the fact that AA had WAY more picks. The Jays had 16 picks in the 1st and compensation round in 5 years. Shapiro has had 9 picks in 8 years. You can and should give AA credit for gaming the draft system but you can't do that and give him credit for drafting well. Also, never picking higher than 9th is true but he had 4 first rounders at 9-11.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#445678) #
The franchise wasn't a "mess" when AA left, but it was an org that sacrificed long-term for a 1-2 year window, so it wasn't the ideal scenario for a new GM to have to try to keep the money train moving rather than rebuild when they should have rebuilt. What Shapiro and Atkins did in 2017-18 left a lot of long-term damage to the organization. If you want to blame Rogers, which might be where the blame should lie, then that's fine, but it doesn't change the end result. AA had he stayed would have had to rebuild post-2016 as well, and it's impossible to say how he would have done without those two years in LA that seemed to have changed him for the better. Obviously what he inherited with the Braves, and Atlanta being a better sell for FA's than Toronto, certainly helped.

Regardless, the current Jays situation is firmly on Shapiro and Atkins. I was willing to give them a chance based on their plan, but "sustainable contention" built around signing free agents and not developing any talent internally is simply not a realistic model. If anything, what Atkins did from 2021-24 was just as short sighted as what AA did in 2013-2015. The difference is AA was short sighted on purpose, while I'm not sure that was the case with Atkins. It's not like Atkins traded a whole bunch of prospects or anything. He just couldn't develop any, and if you build almost entirely through free agency to supplement a few cheap players on the roster, then eventually the money is going to dry up.

If you look at the trades Atkins made from 2017-19 combined with the lack of drafting success, it's actually remarkable the team was as good as it was from 2021-23. Atkins really does well in free agency. Unfortunately, the thing you sort of need in order to build a sustainable contender (prospects) is the org's weakness.
Glevin - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#445679) #
""left the Jays in a complete mess"

* 2015: #5 win%, ALCS, #16 payroll
* 2016: #7 win%, ALCS, #13 payroll

System rankings - Offseason 2015-2016-2017

* BA: #9 - #27 - #20
* BP: #10 - #22 - #18

System - Top 50/100 prospects 2015 - 2016 - 2017

* BA: 3/4 - 1/1 - 1/5
* BP: n/a - 1/1 - 1/4"

lol. I am showing you how good the players actually were not looking at projection systems from 2017. I'm literally showing that the Jays got almost zero WAR out of the players AA left. Here's another way of looking at it.

WAR from players AA drafted or picked up coming up from minors
2016: 0
2017: 0
2018: 3.2 (Borucki with more than half of this)
2019: 1.5 (Mostly Jansen)
2020: 1.1
2021: 9 (Mostly Vlad)

The Jays literally got ZERO value out of the system for two years which is difficult to do and was only possible because there was basically no talent at all in the upper minors and it took 6 years for the Jays to get anything more than marginal numbers. The issue wasn't just that AA didn't leave an Acuna or Albies type in the system, it's that he didn't even leave a Davis Schneider type. There was nothing the Jays could use for years and only 2 players who made any impact at all.

And yes, the Jays were positioned well for 2016 offensively but their pitching got extraordinarily lucky in order to compete. They got 29 starts from 5 different starters. They traded for Liriano late which made a huge difference but if any of those starters had been hurt, the Jays were screwed because their depth in AAA was Hutchison, Lawrence, Diamond, and LeRoux. Had those guys had to start, the Jays would have not made the playoffs. But the issue isn't that the 2016 team didn't have depth, the issue is that beyond 2016, the team was in massive trouble. Leaving a team in good shape doesn't mean, maybe they can compete for one year. They had zero good young offensive players. All of their offensive core was over 30. Bautista and Encarancion were both free agents. Martin's contract which was amazing up front was going to start to sour quickly and Tulo had one of the worst contracts in baseball. And in 2017, you saw things fall apart because there was literally zero talent from the minors and apart from Stroman (and Osuna) no starting level talent under 30 years old. So even when things fell apart, the only guys that were possible to trade for any value were Stroman and Donaldson. Donaldson, they held on to too long trying to thread the needle and compete and it is one of their biggest mistakes but you're talking about almost no trade pieces. Compare that to if the Jays had to rebuild now. Jays have tons of pieces that other teams would want.

Did AA leave the Jays with a good system? Objectively no.
Did AA leave the Jays with good young major league talent? Objectively no.
Did AA leave the Jays with good trade pieces to start a rebuild? Objectively no.

I don't know what else there is to say but we're at the point where we have enough numbers and data to conclusively show this.
92-93 - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#445681) #
Are you seriously trying to argue that Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, Dickey, Estrada, Cecil, Travis, Pillar, Stroman, Sanchez, and Osuna were not excellent trade pieces with which to start a rebuild?
Nigel - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#445682) #
Particularly when none of those players was on an "underwater contract".
SK in NJ - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#445684) #
Only July 31, 2017, the Jays were 49-56, last place in the AL East, and 8 back in the loss column to the 2nd WC team. That was with an old team and a farm system that didn't have anything in the upper minors. The fact that Shapiro wasn't able to convince Rogers to rebuild at that point is borderline irresponsible, and a huge black mark on their tenure because at that point they were in a much more favorable trading position with their inherited players (Donaldson, Happ, Stroman, Osuna, Pillar, etc). The 2021-24 window might have looked dramatically different if some of those players were traded earlier rather than for peanuts a year or more later.

The fact that I'm almost positive history is going to repeat itself this season if the team is a seller at the deadline makes things even more frustrating.
uglyone - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#445697) #
look at the mess the next FO would inherit if these jokers were finally fired now.

a bad team, massively bloated payroll, without even one overly valuable contract, and no prospects.

after 8yrs and 0 playoff wins.
greenfrog - Tuesday, May 07 2024 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#445711) #
It's actually not that bad of a situation. The team doesn't have any albatross contracts (apart from Springer). They can run a high payroll and there is a lot of fan interest across the country, so a competent front office should find Toronto an appealing destination. The organization has a few interesting young players in Orelvis, Bonilla, Schneider (among others). An incoming front office could trade Gausman, Kikuchi, Bo and other players for some decent prospects, field a bad team for a couple of years, and then face a bright future of contention backed by a strong payroll, a decent stadium, a decent spring training facility, and good fan turnout and viewership.
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