After yesterday’s heavy dose of realism, Jays fans demanded that Keith Law, the obliterator of all their little hopes and dreams, come forth and defend his absurd views on Dustin McGowan!

Or… probably it was just his contract with TSN Radio. Or maybe they just asked.

Either way, KLaw hit the airwaves– the free, public airwaves that I can quote anything from with a clear conscience, I should add– this afternoon and elaborated on what he saw yesterday when he took in the epic Grapefruit League tilt between the Jays and the Astros in Kissimmee.

And, actually, he skipped a lot of the stuff about McGowan. Or… probably I just tuned in a little too late to catch it.

What I did hear was pretty seriously awesome, especially where two the players I’d like to see the Jays not dick around are concerned: Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider.

He also talked Anthony Gose, Travis d’Arnaud, about the back of the rotation in general, and followed up his piece from yesterday with some activity in the comments.

Law told Bryan Hayes that Drabek “showed me three weapons, showed me he was on line to the plate and could repeat that for three innings, and showed me he could throw strikes.”

He was pleased with the mechanical adjustments he’s made, and with the fact that Drabek began overthrowing at one point, and corrected the problem on his own. More impressive still, Law reported that Jays executives are saying that Drabek has been throwing even better than he did yesterday.

Rather than McGowan– who realistically is probably going to be relegated to the bullpen at some point, and can only have maybe 10 starts expected of him, especially with the way they’re going to have to be careful with his arm– he thinks Drabek is the Jays’ best option for their last rotation spot.

And as far as the back of the rotation goes, he thinks they’re in pretty good shape. They’re not as flashy as some of the prospects coming in behind them, but KLaw figures that Deck McGuire and Chad Jenkins could help at some point this year. “That’s what it didn’t make sense to me that they’d go out and get a guy like Gavin Floyd,” he says, unless it was for fifty cents on the dollar. The Jays have the back-end depth to be just fine, so unless they were getting a front-of-the-rotation guy, what’s the point?

When the conversation shifted to the left field battle, Law didn’t hesitate in saying that “this is a no brainer for me that it should be Snider.”

He noted that it wasn’t without risk, but the mechanical adjustments he’s made are giving him a better chance to get to balls he wouldn’t have previously, Law says.

Thames, on the other hand, is more of a mistake hitter– not to mention a below average defensive outfielder.

Snider should be getting developmental at-bats to see if he can be the star everybody thought he could, Law says. But even if he doesn’t, he doesn’t buy the notion that he gets dumped or traded. It’s a critical year for Snider, with guys coming behind him trying to establish themselves as well– something he hasn’t faced much over the last few years.

But Law says he thinks this mechanical change is huge for him, saying that if it impacts the way he can drive the ball to his pull side– which so far it appears to have– it will be big.

On that subject, he says that the Jays have a good track record of making mechanical adjustments to their prospects swings– as well as their deliveries (not arm action, however)– and he thinks that Anthony Gose, who he also saw yesterday, may be the best example of it.

In high school Gose was a big bag of tools with a messed up swing, which now looks refined, and is complemented, he says, by game-changing speed. Gose displayed that yesterday, bunting for a hit– and you’ll remember that last year he was asked by the organization not to bunt, so that he could work on other facets of his swing, which certainly would have depressed his on-base numbers.

If he can put it all together, look out. But Law says that he thinks he’s at least a year away. Right now “the recognition of off-speed stuff isn’t there yet to where he could hit more than .240 or .250 in the big leagues,” he tells us.

Moving to the situation behind the plate– which Law’s colleague Buster Olney touched on today at ESPN.com (Insider Olney).

“These guys are special,” an AL evaluator told Olney, referring to JP Arencibia and Travis d’Arnaud, “and they would have to be blown away to trade one of them.”

Law doesn’t think it will be quite that difficult to pry one away, saying that he thinks Arencibia is going to end up shipped out. But he does grant that “he’s going to be a tremendously valuable trade chip.”

We know that Arencibia is a likable catcher who has a rapport with fans, and seems to have the same with his teammates. He can hit for power, and he certainly is capable of getting on base more, but Law feels that after a year, or maybe two-thirds of a year, d’Arnaud will pass him offensively. “He takes better at-bats,” Law says of the Jays top prospect, and he notes that he’s already a better defensive catcher.

Not a bad problem to have.

Lastly, Law didn’t back away from engaging the commenters on his Insider Only piece yesterday for ESPN.com, in which he said that Dustin McGowan looked like “a shadow of what he used to be.”

He noted, as he did on the radio, that he thinks Drabek is a better choice as the Jays’ fifth starter, and that McGowan should go “to the pen in deference to all his arm problems.”

Confronted about how the negative report he gave on McGowan conflicts with “all other reports from Jays actual coaching staff and players in previous outings and side sessions,” Law told a commenter that he was “sorry if it doesn’t fit anyone’s preconceived notions, but given what he showed yesterday and his history of injuries, I’m not optimistic.”

But not before he dipped into his snark well, saying “yeah, because Jays coaches and players are absolutely objective sources on one of their own guys.”

Confronted on that by some poor soul who wondered what the motivation might be for the Jays to not be entirely truthful, he added, “because they’re not going to trash or denigrate the guy publicly. No execs, coaches, or players will ever do that.”

“If you want to swallow their propaganda wholesale, be my guest. I’m here for everyone else.”

Comments (79)

  1. Is this going to become like getting blanked in that the articles won’t be there in full on the main page anymore to get the site more page hits by making me click the link to read the rest?

    • Yea, I totally hate having to waste that half-second to read a full article. In fact, every time a new article is posted it should just automatically appear on my screen so to save me the trouble of clicking on the initial link or going to the website at all.

      ~~Sigh~~

      Re the article, it would surprise me if McGowan was able to bounce back to the extent that all Jays fans would like him to. I think he could fall into a relief role quite nicely, as it would enable Drabek to develop into the pitcher he could be and it would also take a cautious approach with an obviously tenuous arm. I like Drabek as the 5th.

    • Also, Is there a way to automatically post a comment complaining about the new site every time a new article is posted so that I don’t have to manually type one out?

      • Thanks for complaining Bob.. now they are likely going to hire someone to cut the article into Thirds.. and I was just starting to get the hang of this…geeez!

        • I didn’t complain.. well, I guess I kinda did. Whatever. Is it a big deal? No. It isn’t. It won’t stop me from reading everything here anyway, so in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

          And yes, I just inadvertently quoted linkin park.

    • i personally can’t stand this either, but i don’t blame the site, i blame the internet and whoever was the first douche to start doing this

    • You DO realize the site is free, right? And that they produce original content all day, every day, for you to read? And for that, you may have click one fucking link? Some people, SERIOUSLY.

    • It’s a pain in the ass on a phone, that’s why. I have to wait about 30 seconds on my iPhone before I can start scrolling. Not the end of the world, but I’d bitch. Hell, I just did.

    • I’m with you. I’ve always found the jump link to be a bit annoying and I enjoyed the previous DJF format better than the Getting Blanked one (or the one imposed on bloggers by the Score).

  2. The dumbest part of that whole interview was when Hay said the Jays would like to lock up Bautista long term. Really?! He’s only under contract for 4 more years until he’s 35, with an option for his age 36 season all well below market value. We better extend him!

    Stupid TSN Radio. It was so much better when Klaw was allowed on the Fan.

  3. Pretty strong opinion on McGowan considering it was only 3 innings. Others like Wilner said he struggled in 1st, but looked pretty good the rest of the way.

  4. anyone know anything about the Lawrie injury?

    • Per Wilner: Light strain, day-to-day.

      • this is what Wilner is qualified to discuss… injury reports, not scouting reports

        • thank god someone else agrees. wilner’s entering ludicrous speed territory with his opining on management and scouting decisions. not looking forward to his smug condescension on the broadcasts this year at all.

          • Do you guys not realize what happens when you complain about Wilner here. His Cat and Radar start fighting Stoeten, and then people complain about the foul language.

          • What Stoeten said.
            Ditto.
            Or am I supposed to say
            fucking ditto.
            Am I allowed to agree with Stoeten?
            I’m confused.

  5. Not sure if you caught it or not, but interesting article in the NY Post (of all places) yesterday, where Bryan Cashman and a couple Yankees players discuss the Jays as a legitimate threat in the AL East. A bit fluffy, but considering the source … kinda cool.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/with_talent_and_money_blue_jays_796LuKqhKbUBs1IzOyGrHK

    • Dont trust the Yankees, Dont trust the Yankees, Dont trust the Yankees!!!

      Last year they went into an ST game against the Jays and made out like JO JO Reyes was unhittable…with was essentially their opening day roster..

      The Jays then hung onto him til mid season.

      It sounds perposterous but they do things like that.

    • Was in an afternoon snack yesterday I think.

  6. Er, Brian Cashman, that is. Blame pre-St Patty’s festivities for that one. ;)

  7. When Cito kept playing Buck in 2010, everyone was waving and screaming, play the kid, play JPA. Fuck John Buck.

    JPA is entering his sophomore year and already, some fans are screaming, trade JPA and call up d’Arnaud. Some are even coining him a cute little name like Darno. Doesn’t come close to Aaron Cibia.

    Olney raises the issue of trading JPA or d’Arnaud at some point. But JPA needs to play at least this year and possibly next year to build value. I see nothing wrong with seeing both JPA and d’Arnaud share duties next year. Both can stay fresh longer, occasionally DH, and provide above average offensive output from a defensive minded position. You can also mix and match them (I believe one struggles more against lefties – JPA?)

    Its refreshing to see how our younger players are going to be pushing the big league guys soon. Its rather fucking awesome as compared to arguing who is the better platoon guy, Mencherson or Wilkerson.

    • This is how I look at it for C and CF as well. I think there is a good chance that all of JPA, D’arnaud, Rasmus, Gose & Marisnick are going to be more valuable next winter than at the present time.

      Of course, someone could easily get injured/underperform…but it’s hard to predict which one. If we traded one of the five now, the player(s) received in return could also get injured/underperform.

      Hence, why trade any of the five now when there is a good chance all will be more valuable in a year’s time AND Alex has more data to decide which guy(s) to keep.

    • Mencherson is Wilkerson + Kevin Mench combined. Not Mencherson and Wilkerson.

    • Building value is pretty much bunk. If he succeeds in building value, why are you trading him? This isn’t the NHL or NBA where you showcase a guy by giving him minutes you can’t give him with a full lineup.

      He has plenty of value now, and “building” it is just as likely to backfire if he doesn’t produce any better than he did as a rookie.

      I’m not saying trade him right away– I actually agree that they should probably play him this year, but it’s not because of building value, it’s because d’Arnaud isn’t ready yet.

      As for the sharing notion, I DO see something wrong with splitting them at C and giving them DH at-bats, because you’re just weakening the DH position that way. Arencibia’s .309 wOBA would have ranked second-last among DH’s this year. Even if he moves up to the .320-area most systems have projected for him, he moves to third-last.

      His bat just doesn’t play there– and neither would d’Arnaud’s. Plus, they both are far better off with a full season of at-bats. So… not a great plan, in my view.

      • I should have said that the whole sharing catching duties concept would be limited to 2013 at the latest. Catching can be a bitch and injuries are frequent at the position.

        All I am saying is that the Jays should take their sweet time before trading JPA. There is a steeper learning curve at catcher (handling the staff, etc). I wouldn’t mind seing JPA and d’Arnaud both with the big club to start the year in 2013. Once d’Arnaud is ready and assuming he’s the guy, JPA can then be looked at as a trade piece. With the other younger catchers in our system bound to be ready by 2014, its quite possible that JPA becomes redundant by the end of next season.

        I agree that neither d’Arnaud or JPA’s bat plays at 1B or DH. But you can give one of them a spot start at DH here and there to keep their bat in the lineup if it deserves to be there.

        I fully support the proposition that the Jays need a raking full-time DH to contend in the AL East (along with a raking full-time 1B).

        • People like to act like they are close, but the fact is that D’Arnaud is worlds ahead of JPA. I would argue at the current date, D’Arnaud > JPA.

          Just based on park factors alone we can expect D’Arnaud top OPS 1.000+ as a catcher (as he OPS’ed .900+ last season) this season in AAA. That’s absurd.

          Trading JPA now makes more sense because he is younger than he will be next year and if his power falls off, he is worthless. Players only have value during their controllable years, especially players like JPA.

          I’d rather trade JPA now and sign a FA catcher to back up Mathis for a year than to keep him and get less of a haul in return.

          • But d’Arnaud hasn’t done jack shit past double A ball. Park factors? Jesus, he hasn’t faced any MLB pitching and you’re citing park factors?

            I hope he does OPS 1,000 with the Blue Jays next year. If he does, then he’s likely be the ROY and an all-star. But there is no need to rush him. He still needs to work on his defence as he’s getting by on raw talent. Nothing wrong with d’Arnaud seeing the bright lights of Vegas and seeing JPA improve his stock with better production this year.

            JPA has made improvements in his defence and if he stays healthy, could post some numbers that will create more value this season. He’s still under control for a few years. The Jays value game receiving and game calling skills, which have steep learning curves at the MLB level.

            Notr saying that trading JPA now doesn’t make sense but the Jays would need to be blown away. I submit that a trade proposal would be better if JPA shows he can get on base at a rate north of .280.

            Its a he

      • Money comment right here. Right on point.

      • Unless of course Arencibia’s bat shows progression. 52 weeks ago, we spent a lot of time talking about his bat. Worries were arising because he was batting sub-Mendoza. His and the clubs response was that he was spending basically zero time on his swing. Everything was about his catching skills.
        Not saying it’s going to happen, but there’s a lot to think that his offensive skills could significantly improve over last year. Certainly has DH power potential. If he could raise his OBA 40 or 50 points (to near league average and slug 40 homeruns…

        Really think too many people have closed the book on Arencibia’s chance at improvement. Why not wait until July to worry about the catching situation. Perhaps, just perhaps, Arencibia’s bat improves to the point where you could justify him catching 60 games, and getting another 80-90 in a 1st base platoon/DH role.

        • J.P. Arencibia is not going to hit 40 home runs. And you say ‘raise his OBP by 40 or 50 points’ like thats easy to do. If he had that kind of ceiling, he would have the been a top five prospect coming up.

    • Agreed. I don’t see why everyon is in a rush to trade JPA. Wait till D’arnaud gets the backup spot next year & then see what happens.

      Prospects don’t always xcel at the MLB.

    • i totally forgot about that mench fucker

  8. What concerns me the most about Snider is that he has struck out 10 times in 30 AB’s this spring, vs. only 2 BB’s. It’s a small sample size but it doesn’t appear to me that Snider has figured anything out, and I don’t think there is much chance that he will make the team with those numbers. I don’t think the team cares about what other numbers he puts up.

    • Amazingly enough, there are actually some successful major leaguer’s with high K totals. Not saying it’s ideal but you can’t judge a guy based solely on that number, let alone offer your professional opinion he won’t make the team because of it.

      • Yes, but generally the successful players with high strikeout rates also have high BB rates.

        Also, since the very reason the Jays are frustrated with Snider is directly related to his plate approach, which doesn’t seem to have changed, why would they suddenly be be okay with it? Then again, maybe the team thinks that this spring has been a success and Snider can maintain a .500 BABIP against better pitching?

        • Agree with you on this one. He’s having a great spring but the K’s are still an issue. It was one of the reasons they made Lawrie go back to AAA last year too. I still have a feeling that Thames ends up starting but won’t get a ton of rope.

        • If ever there was a meaningless spring stat, it’s BABIP. A 30 AB sample size with 4 HR would make those numbers insane.

  9. If there is talk about possibly moving Escobar at the end of the year, and most likely for sure JP…I’m just gonna go ahead and be the first to say it.

    VOTTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    JP + Escobar + Hutch + Marisnick for Votto.

    That is probably too much for the Ninja to give u[.

    • Worst trade ever. I would throw darts at a picture of AA if he made this trade at the end of the year. One year of Votto for significant parts of our present and future??? Terrible … just terrible.

      • I’d do it.

        • Really? You’d trade an established, above average big league SS on a cheap deal for (potentially) 3 seasons, a decent young catcher for 4 seasons (not that Cin would want C anyway), AND Hutch and Marisnick for 1 year of Votto? That seems like a huge overpay and way out of line for what the market has looked like in recent years. The best comp would be Gonzalez, and all he returned was Rizzo, Kelly and super long shot Raymond Fuentes, none of whom was major league ready and two of whom weren’t close.

          • Sure, the Gonzalez thing showed all the signs of collusion with Epstein and Hoyer (especially when he said he wouldn’t discuss Gonzalez with anyone else if the extension talks fell through), but you still have that as the standard. Fielder was apparently drawing awful offers with 1.5 years left which is why Milwaukee decided to go all in last year instead.

          • @Joshua right on about where the market is at nowadays – major overpay for one year of control.

            An extension should make no difference here because it will not be below-market so you might as well give him that contract on the open market.

        • I’d do it, too, provided there’s an extension for Votto happening. Not for one year, obviously.

        • Not without a 5 year contract for Votto & even at that you are giving up way to much for Votto.

      • Dont like it. You change the entire face of the team for Votto and his mega contract. Doesnt matter anyway. It’ll never happen.

    • You sure you dont want to throw in RR and J Bau? I mean those are pretty team friendly contracts they’ve got.

    • Stick to football Argo’s. Hey have you been taking lessons from Burke? OMG is that you Brian?

  10. I don’t think the Jays should be sending Drabek to AAA, Vegas is a pitcher confidence killer.

    I’d prefer to see Alvarez go to AA to develop his third pitch better, or Cecil or McGowan to the bullpen all over Drabek being sent down to AAA.

  11. This is a building year still. Why not keep thames, promote snider to first and let lind go?

  12. I have to take a shit.

  13. Law sees McGowan for three innings in a ST game and he’s ready to make these kind of judgements about him?

    Yeah, I’m not taking his words as gospel quite yet.

    • Over the winter, Law mentioned at least once on Baseball Today how he couldn’t see relying on McGowan as a starter after all the injuries. Presumably nothing he saw in 3 innings made him change his opinion.

      It’s the most obvious position to take. Really, the chances are pretty slim that McGowan is going to be a quality starter annually going forward. But it doesn’t mean you don’t give him the chance.

      • McGowan’s already beat the odds by getting this far in his recovery. They have nothing to lose. And if he’s still somehow throwing 95-96, there is clearly something left in him.

        • While I certainly endorse the Jays giving McGowan the chance to succeed as a starter, there absolutely is something to lose. It’s entirely possible – heck maybe even probable – that McGowan provides negative value this year, burns the bullpen with short outings etc. And then he’s a free agent.

          I don’t agree with the Wilner notion that the “results don’t matter” for McGowan as long as he’s healthy.

          DM is on a one year contract coming off multiple years missed with serious injuries. He needs to produce this year.

          • A fifth starter is not going to have a tremendous impact on the season. Usually an inning eater guy< that can swing to long relief if needed. Jays will sacrifice some innings not eaten with McGowan, for a few more wins.

        • seeing some sizzle on the FB is nice…what concerned me about KLaw’s report was lack of bite on the slider…is that something that’s going to see marked improvement over the short term? kinda/sorta feels like it isn’t.

          being able to bring the heat is fine, but 95-96 is, without reliable offspeed stuff, or without significant movement/sink on those fastballs, pretty meh.

  14. Re: Item discussing the value of a veteran catcher vs. younger but more offensively inclined catcher.

    http://www.baseballcatchers.com/hanrahan.htm

    The item goes through some historical data and comes up with the following conclusion:

    CONCLUSIONS

    A typical catcher handles a pitching staff better over the course of his first few years in the majors with a club. This is evident by the rather dramatic drop in the team ERA of about a quarter to a third of a run per game from his rookie season to his prime years with a club.

    If you have a veteran catcher who has been with your team for some time, and you’re thinking of trading him and calling up the young phenom from AAA, you can expect your pitching results to get worse. Of course, you ought to call him up SOMETIME, but don’t expect the team to improve right away. How many catchers are offensively 50 runs a year better than their replacement? (Piazza begins and ends the short list)

    The differences in catchers’ stolen bases allowed are apparently LESS important than his other defensive abilities. The worst throwing catchers in the majors do not allow anywhere near one stolen base per game more than Ivan Rodriguez does.

  15. Well Balls, if we look at the Jays since 2000, they have had 20 catchers averaging 1.5 years. None of the catchers were notable, and most never got to their best years as they were terrible. There was a remarkable co-relation to a lower ERA when the pitching staff was experienced and earned more money.

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