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Holy shit, am I doing this somewhat on time, for once? It sure as hell looks like it, because we’ve got a fresh-ish new Griff Bag in our hands, and I’m pretty sure you’re already about to get a taste of caustic hijacking of it, which, as I may have mentioned before, sounds kind of disgusting, flavour-wise. But I’m sure it’s all good, as it’s time for me to answer Richard Griffin’s mail bag from over at the Toronto Star! And if I can be perfectly honest with you, this is probably the best fucking one I’ve ever done– by an evil margin. Don’t believe me? Read it and find out.

As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers.

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

With Rasmus starting to look like the keeper we hoped he would be and with the continued development of some of our top prospects in Las Vegas, I started putting the pieces together for 2013. What I realized is that aside from a potentially potent offence, we may have the best defensive team in the majors next year. The Jays could potentially have a starting OF of Rasmus, Gose and Bautista, an infield of Lawrie (3B), Escobar (SS), Hechaverria (2B), D’Arnaud (C) and your pick between Lind, Cooper, Gomes, Arencibia, or Encarnacion at 1B. That’s a lot of youth in a starting side but would I be right in saying this would be the top defensive team in the league if you believe all the reports on Gose, Hech, and D’Arnaud?

All the best,

Aaron Hickey, Sydney, Australia

Sure, that would be a pretty good defensive unit, based on the hearsay we’ve… uh… heard, but who the hell’s to say it’d be the best? And furthermore, who really cares if it is or isn’t quite? Especially because I have a very hard time believing we’ll see anything like it come next year. Shit, I mean, even d’Arnaud isn’t a lock to be in the Opening Day lineup next year, and he’s got by far the best chance of the three guys in Triple-A you name.

Like, I get that people are excited to see some products of the Jays’ vaunted farm system, but I’m just not sure Hechavarria and Gose are the guys– not in 2013, at least. Playing Gose in left is quite a waste of his primary way of providing value, and as good as Rasmus has been over the last month or so, I’m not sure his bat plays in left in an ideal world, let alone Gose’s.

And that’s the thing with Hechavarria, too. Reports have been encouraging this year, but these are still guys who are really going to struggle to hit Major League pitching, in all probability. In the hitter’s wet dream that is Las Vegas the numbers look gaudy, but neither Gose nor Hechavarria can boast an OPS higher than that of David Cooper or Yan Gomes, and Gose is behind Moises Sierra, too– hardly a murderers row at the big league level. In fact, the .817 OPS Gose is sporting is behind the ones put up by d’Arnaud, Travis Snider and Adam Lind by 160, 231 and 298 points respectively.

Desmond Jennings of the Rays, for example (see what I did there?), was twice a higher rated prospect than Gose has ever been, according to Baseball America, and he played parts of three seasons in Triple-A, including the bulk of 2010 and 2011– when he was 23 and 24. Gose, on the other hand, won’t turn 22 until August.

There are plenty of ways in which the two players aren’t comparable, sure, but the point is, there’s no need to rush talent like Rasmus or Travis Snider, out of your organization just to find a place for someone because he might possibly be ready-enough to not completely fail.

Frankly, I’d be very disappointed if the Jays didn’t give Snider the bulk of playing time in left field for the rest of this season, with a view to determining whether he can be their Opening Day starter there in 2013, with Gose slated all the way to be back in Vegas until Snider, or whoever else may be brought in ahead of him this winter, is hurt or needs replacing.

 

Q-If the Jays continue to have bullpen issues, and can sign Marcus Stroman before the end of the month, do you foresee them bringing him up to the big club in August. Of all the college pitchers in the draft, Stroman supposedly is the most major league-ready.

Vladimir Guerrero seems to have overvalued himself. No other team has wanted his services ever since he decided to just leave and quit on the Jays. Do you think his career is over?

Why don’t the Jays call up Deck McGuire and/or Chad Jenkins? At the very least give Scott Richmond another shot. Jesse Chavez, Carlos Villanueva and Aaron Laffey are all guys who are better suited to coming out of the bullpen and being the long guys. You might as well see what you have with McGuire and Jenkins even though they have struggled in Double A. AA really messed up this offseason by not signing a veteran innings eater like Kevin Millwood or Hiroki Kuroda.

Jason Sinnarajah, San Francisco

Stroman’s ability to step into a Major League bullpen is impressive, and nice, but not a whole lot more than that, I don’t think. First and foremost I’d expect the Jays to do right by Stroman’s development. If they decide to set him on a path towards the bullpen, I’d expect him to work his way through the organization at his own pace, and if he gets to the point where he’s capable of pitching in the Majors, and the ‘pen here remains in flux, sure, I’d figure on him coming up to help out. But I don’t for a second think that their aim will be to sign him and rush him here as quickly as possible, in order to give the Major League team a boost– that’s looking a little recklessly far down the road, and not a very smart way to approach a developing player.

 

Q-Three starters gone in one week. Totally unheard of and two of them won’t be back until the 2014 season. AA is stuck. Getting a good ML starter for prospects isn’t going to happen so do you try and move Escobar and Arencibia for pitching because you have two top prospects waiting in the wings to take over their spots. I would rather see them rush them up than watch young pitchers not ready for prime time get battered about. Guys in the clubhouse will lose their will to win if they have to score more than 6 runs a game. So does AA have any other choices?

Dave Walker, Scarborough

Yes, Dave, Anthopoulos has one other choice that you’re trying hard to admit doesn’t exist: to sit back, wait, and possibly do nothing to help this year’s version of the club.

Look, the Jays were going to be tooth and nail to be competitive with Morrow, Drabek and Hutchison, and while their injuries don’t necessarily doom the entire campaign– crazy things can happen, and there’s still a lot of baseball yet to be played– they make it quite a bit harder to compete. Their losses make it so much harder, in fact, that it has become a far less reasonable action for Alex to try and trade off valuable assets looking for short-term help as his primary goal.

It just doesn’t make sense, at this point, to do a whole lot but look for low-cost options to help the rotation, or guys who will remain with the club for years to come. It shouldn’t be impossible to find a way to acquire guys like that, but it’s not going to be easy, either– especially as they stand to be the most sought after pieces, given the way changes to compensation for rental players in the new CBA will impact the way clubs approach the trade deadline.

We’ve seen enough of how he operates to know that Anthopoulos isn’t going to force anything, which means we may have to be content with him not doing a goddamned thing. It may not do much for the quality of entertainment every fourth and fifth day this season, but I’m capable of trusting that his reasons will be sound, should it play out that way.

I may be in the minority on that one, though.

 

Q-Richard Stoeten,

I am surprised that this question hasn’t been asked yet, but here goes nothing…During the offseason AA and Beeston made mention that Rogers wouldn’t have a problem supporting a larger payroll, when the players and fans show the support. It would seem to a fan that the players are really showing that they are ready to compete even after the loss of three starting pitchers in under a week, they have battled day in and day out for wins, and even when the lose they are right there in battle. So that is one point down, the players have shown they are ready to compete, AA has to stand up and now make his commitment to the team to take it to the next level. The second is the Fans. Aren’t the Jays 5th in the largest attendance rate increase in all of baseball? The Fans are supporting the team at the stadium, and one would think the TV ratings have dramatically increased, oh and by the way, how about Jays merchandise, I read somewhere they are in the top five of merchandise sales now. The Fans and Players have stood up and showed that Baseball in Toronto is ready to compete, when will AA and Beeston show their end of the deal? Let’s Go Blue Jays.

Scott Cochrane, Niagara-on-the-Lake

You can’t add much payroll in-season, so… this winter? Maybe next?

Now, that’s not to already start pre-jacking excuses for another frugal winter. Rather, it’s to make clear that if they don’t spend massive dollars between this season and next, there’s still no reason to believe they’ll never make good on their word.

It would certainly add a thick fucking layer of skepticism to the proceedings, but fans need to keep in mind that there are a variety of factors that kept the Jays from flashing more cash than they did last year. For example, we tend to believe that they made the biggest offer to Carlos Beltran, who turned them down to play on grass in front of thousands of fans for the World Series champs. Also, their spending, in ways that aren’t reflected on the big league payroll– the draft, the scouting and operations staff, international free agents– has been up dramatically since the Ricciardi era. And they remain very obviously willing and capable of re-signing their best homegrown players.

Whatever happens, I don’t think you’ll have an easy time finding traction with the notion that because attendance grew this year they owe it to the fans to piss money around. For one, asking them to start spending for the sake of spending, or just to appease the fans, is self-evidently fucking bonkos. Before they’re confident they can start putting shit-tonnes of cash back into the club, I would expect that the club would insist on seeing sustained growth in these areas.

I’m sure that’s not anything anybody wants to hear, but what we’ve seen this year is the start of growth, not the end of it, and I’d expect to see that fact reflected in any payroll increases, not some explosion based on wild expectations that the growth will from herein always be there. I wish it weren’t that way, but I suspect that’s reality of the parameters within which Alex Anthpoulos must operate.

 

Q-I have a sort of off topic question – Cito Gaston. I have had heard many people wonder why he hasn’t managed another MLB team since his World Series years in Toronto. Even Cito seems to wonder why this is.

 I remember during his first tenure with the Blue Jays as manager. In interviews and articles, he would always say that he never wanted to be a manager – always downplayed his desire to be a manager. Didn’t seem to care if he was fired or not.

 Do you think his attitude is what kept him from managing another team? What team would want to hire a guy that did not seem to care if he got the job? I have always viewed Cito as a guy that wanted to manage again – but never showed a strong desire.

 He never was a great strategic manager, but his handling of players (especially the veterans) was excellent – he would always bring out the best in his players.

Chris Hiuser, Tecumseh

Well… anybody who is a regular reader here knows that I do not belong to the subset of Toronto fans who fucking love Cito for good or ill and get defensive any time his many shortcomings are pointed out– or when it’s pointed out that much of the magical wonderfulness that’s ascribed to him is based on little more than narrative-based horseshit myth-making. I could give you a litany of reasons why I wouldn’t necessarily hire Cito, but it’s certainly worth pondering how many fucking unbelievably shitty managers continued– and continue– to get work, despite not having one fifth the success on their resume that Cito does.

Was it his reputation? His lack of desire? The fact that he eventually insisted that he would only accept a job from a club that hired him directly, without interview? His race?

I hope to fuck it wasn’t anything to do with the last one, but I don’t know enough about the circumstances to put myself into the heads of those who continued looking past him. Whatever it was, though, it was a damn shame. How awesome would it be to have a whole other fanbase to converse with about what it was like when Cito, our managerial icon, ran their club (y’know, shittily).

 

Q-Richard Stoeten,

As a Canadian who moved from Canada between the Blue Jays World Series wins, I really enjoy your column and insight. With divided loyalties, I was fortunate to be at Miller Park last night for one the wildest games I can remember since game 4 of the 93 World Series. I was hoping to see Lawrie face Shaun Marcum, but it was still good to see Garth Iorg coaching first base. Aside from the 5 lead changes, 3 walked in runs, 1 hit batter run, a grand slam, consecutive home runs (3 and then 2), a strike out/passed ball to keep an inning going, there was lots of Canadian content.

Well everyone is familiar with Brett Lawrie (who played in Appleton), John Axford, Gord Ash and Doug Melvin, there were also pinch hit appearances by George Kottaras and Taylor Green. That makes 4 Canadians to play in a major league game. Do you know if that is a record? 

I am looking forward to the Lansing Lugnuts coming to Appleton next month to showcase the Jays upcoming talent. It’s a nice park and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are a community owned team, similar to the Packers up the road in Green Bay. Let me know if you come to town and I’ll buy you a cold one at the Leinie Lodge.

Thanks
,

Scott Fraser
, Appleton, Wisconsin

No idea if it’s a record, Scott, but I’m with you in your enthusiasm for seeing those pitchers for Lansing right now. Unfortunately, to do so, I’d have to get myself to places like Lansing, Bowling Green, and Appleton. Pffft.

 

Q-Hello Richard Stoeten,

I want to thank you for including my daughter’s question about Brian Jeroloman and Koby Clemens in Mailbag. She was thrilled. I’ve never been a fan of Paul Beeston, not sure what he brings to the table. It is repugnant to read he is friends with a creep like Clemens, who has laughably escaped prosecution. And what ever happened to the story that Clemens was dallying with the underage girl? 
Good message to the youth of the country. Barry Bonds, LeBron James, Dany Heatley, etc…..

Thanks again,

Selby Martin, Toronto

That’s a clown question, bro. [Note: Sorry.]

 

Q-What does the recent spate of arm injuries mean for the Jays’ incremental arm development plan? We’ve been so careful not to overwork the arms, yet it doesn’t seem to matter, eh?

Tony Baer, Baraboo

It’s true. But… what are you going to do? Certainly I don’t think that truth ought to suggest clubs abandon attempts at keeping pitchers healthy through innings limits altogether, so… you keep on doing your best, examining which injury-prevention strategies appear to work and which don’t. Simply because of the unnatural, often violent motions that throwing entails, you’ll never devise a system that’s injury-proof– our bodies are just not designed to do the kinds of things things that pitchers do– but we can certainly strive to do better. Again, though, I think it’s important to be clear that that means not scoffing at how modern pitchers are coddled and throwing the baby entirely out with the bathwater.

 

Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

Two questions from me: 1) In my view, the team pile-on walk-off celebrations are getting out of hand. I thought streaming out of the dugout and jumping on each other was reserved for clinching a playoff spot, but now a Rajai Davis single in June will spark one. Is there an old guard vs new guard feeling about them in the baseball world? 

2) The Blue Jays voted to contract the Expos in 2001, and when they moved to Washington I boycotted MLB and the Jays by not buying game tickets. Will the Blue Jays ever apologize to Expos fans for that vote or should I see a therapist about learning how to let go? Thanks!

Seth Bernstein, Toronto

I have no idea whether regular season walk-off celebrations are divisive, but I don’t really have a problem with them, as long as nobody Kendrys Moraleses themselves in the process. It’s true that it’s a little fucked to watch a team dash around like they’ve won the World Series in June, but… I remember back in less optimistic days when folks absolutely fucking hated that the Jays didn’t seem appropriately sombre after a loss, so I’m sure if their behaviour was more restrained after walk-offs, they’d take shit for that too. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

As for Rogers and the Expos, I mean… sure, they could apologize for that vote, but what the hell is the value of an apology when we know it’s a flat out lie? I’m pretty sure all that was strictly business.

 

Q-Hi Richard Stoeten;

After a Jays game I go to their website and scroll through the box score. A batter that is hit by a pitch, or walks, or gets on due to catcher interference does not get credit for a base on the total bases line. But if the bases were full when this happened, he’d get an RBI. Someone like Bautista should be credited with over a hundred bases a year. Isn’t a walk as good as a hit?

No one should feel bad about Vladdy being released. Talk to the Orioles about the rally-killing, inning-ending double plays that he grounded into. This has been a bad year for former stars. Vladdy, Moyer, Ramirez, and Matsui doing little with the Rays. Even Thome is not earning his salary.

Thanks Richard Stoeten,

Art Hilderman, Winnipeg

Well… no, a walk isn’t as good as a hit. The big thing is, it’s a shitload better than an out. But… they’re so flawed that it’s been so long since I worried about things like total bases or RBIs as stats, so I don’t know how much it really matters.

As for Vlad, um… I get that he was bad last year, but again with the weak stats! Yes, Vlad was in the top ten (sixth) in GIDP last season, but you know who the other nine were? Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, David Ortiz, Matt Holiday, Yadier Molina, Starlin Castro and Victor Martinez.

So… grounding into double plays alone doesn’t say a whole lot about whether a player is good or bad. Now, Vlad’s bang-on replacement-level WAR, his .317 on-base and the ISO below Yuniesky Betancourt’s? Yeah, that’s some damn ridiculously good evidence he was shittacular.

 

Q-If Chad Mottola is so great at fixing broken Blue Jay swings (e.g. Lind, Snider, Encarnacion), why don’t we just make him the hitting coach? Lind’s recent statement to the Star that, when he gets recalled: “Chad won’t be there and I’ll have to be able to adjust by myself — is kind of sad, no?

Tony Baer, Baraboo

Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

One consistent pattern for the Blue Jay minor league hitters is that, on going from AA to AAA, they almost always hit better, often significantly. This year’s examples include D’Arnaud, Gomes, Gose, Hechavarria and Sierra while in the recent past, others were Arencibia, Lawrie and Thames. While there may be a ‘Las Vegas’ factor at work, I also wonder if the Blue Jays might improve by promoting Mottola to be the major league batting coach. What do you think? Also, in all the discussion of possible promotions, why isn’t Moises Sierra mentioned? He is reported to be an excellent outfielder with good power and is currently batting over .300.

Bill Reynolds, Toronto

People really get hung up on the performance of hitting coaches, which is pretty fucking absurd when you think of how little we understand of just what the hell they’re doing. Yes, we see the results on the field– though, when that field is the one in Las Vegas, no Bill, we can’t just dismiss the effect– but… I mean… it’s not like they’re working with blank canvases.

Another thing is, even if we do twist and turn ourselves into believing that Mottola is definitely a better hitting coach, does that necessarily mean he’s the better guy to be have in the Majors? Or is it maybe better to have one kind of coach working with developing players and another with more established guys.

Wherever the truth lies, there’s just not really enough evidence for anyone merely watching to have a valid opinion one way or the other, I don’t think. Not at this point, at least.

As for Sierra, again, PCL stats don’t tell us a whole lot even with proper context– and almost nothing without. He may be hitting .300, but his OPS in Vegas is still below that of Yan Gomes and David Cooper, and in New Hampshire last year, he was below Gomes and Mike McDade– and, of course, Travis d’Arnaud, whose .914 OPS to second-place McDade’s .785 put him in a class well by himself.  He’s about in the same range as the sub-par Eric Thames Vegas has seen this year, except he hasn’t been walking nearly as much. Pass.

 

Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

I’m already thinking about next year and was wondering if the best route for the Jays to put plus players in every position would be to move Bautista back to third and move Lawrie to second base.

 I have to think that finding an outfielder with a left handed power bat would be far easier than finding a quality second baseman. I also foresee the possibility of a very flexible line-up with multiple options at OF/1B/DH and catcher however without Lind we are still in need of some left handed bats.

Andrew Blakeney, Toronto

There is approximately zero chance that Lawrie ever moves back to second base, but that’s actually OK, because I don’t think pieces need to move around quite so much as you think anyway.

Granted, I’m possibly falling prey to the allure of the small sample size, but I think the Jays are pretty set heading into next year with the one-through-four hitters they have right now– provided, of course, they re-sign Encarnacion. As for five-through-nine, I think you have two very good core pieces in Escobar and d’Arnaud, and potentially a third in Travis Snider, depending on how he does in the second half, once Rajai Davis is inevitably moved (thanks for giving yourself some trade value, Rajai!). And at second, you’re looking at Adeiny Hechavarria on the absolute low end of the spectrum, which could actually be pretty decent, or at worst will be passable thanks to his supposedly-otherworldly defence.

To me, that means you’re really only looking at getting yourself a DH/1B and, if Snider falls flat again, maybe a left fielder– though I might be OK with going with him next year regardless, with Thames or Gose ready to be called into duty if it doesn’t work, and a trade always possible. That’s not the biggest hole to fill, especially with it being one of the easiest positions to fill on the free agent market– barring extensions, David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Lance Berkman, Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher, BJ Upton, and Melky Cabrera are all slated to hit free agency. And, if they choose to sell before the deadline, Davis, Arencibia, Johnson, Oliver, Cordero and Frasor could help them fill that hole, in addition to– along with a low-minors piece or two– netting the club some rotation help.

Shit, that doesn’t make it sound so bad at all, does it?

 

Q-When JP Riccardi came in he tried to implement an offence that had players work the count in hopes of getting to the middle relievers early. It failed miserably and Cito had to be brought back to fix things. Now Farrell comes in with the same mantra and look what has happened to the offence.This type of offence may work in Boston, New York or Texas where you have six all-star type players in your line-up but it has been shown that with our collection of castoffs it doesn’t work here.

Don’t you think it’s time to go back to a Cito-type of offensive approach because everyone is sick of constantly watching Jays players take first pitch fastballs down the gut and then striking out on a curve in the dirt. Yes the Jays may get to the bullpen earlier but usually they are losing 4-0 by then and the fans have either left the building or turned off their TVs and radios.

Gus Bolin, Keene, ON

This is pretty much the most ridiculous fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

Love the Keene Arena, though, if that softens the blow. Or… well… love is a strong word. I’ve had some good times there. Or… some times, at least. Um… I’ve been there.

Comments (85)

  1. Why not have Villanueva start tomorrow’s game instead of Chavez? He’s pitched well this year and will have the arm strength to start. Chavez disappointed last time, so keep him as a back up as a long man from the pen,

    • I’m also confused as to why he’s not getting a chance to start. I was pretty convinced he was scheduled to go Wednesday but scratched after coming in for Chavez on Tuesday.

      • I’ve always been a big fan of Charlie (sic) Villeneuva. I think he’d be a quality 4th arm on any team. He may not go much more than 6 or 7 innings, but he’s a way better option than the other fuckin’ castoffs (staring down Aaron Laffey).

    • Why are some of you people SO FUCKING STUPID?!

      Vil started some games last year and while he wasn’t great, he was definitely passable, all things considered. This is the part where your brain turned off….

      Vil tired himself out and was much less effective the rest of the year. (google is your friend) He’s also been apart of the backbone of what otherwise has been an awful pen.

  2. lmao! stoeten is always good for a good one!

  3. Nothing to do with anything written here, but I had always assumed the Brett Lawrie chugging Red Bull thing was just a running gag based on his boundless energy. But I was in Miami today, and got there when the entire team was stretching on the field and there was Brett stretching in the outfield with a Red Bull in hand. I was sitting 5-6 rows behind the Jays dugout and he was chugging at least one more Red Bull during the game in the dugout (around the 4th or 5th inning). Is this a common occurence? I hadn’t noticed it since my usual perch at the Dome is in the 500 level. I hope his heart doesn’t stop from all of that.

    • I’ve seen a lot of cans or Red Bull in the various dugouts this year. Ever since the ban of amphetamines which were supposedly quite prevalent, players are going for the next best legal thing. I’ve read in a couple of places that former players claim the amphetamine ban has more to do with the general decline in offensive numbers than anything else. Whether that’s true or not is another story but here’s a BP link about them.

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4740

    • Don’t be fooled. He isn’t doing it to play better, he is doing it to stay awake.

      I bet he was out all night in clubs in Miami and got zero sleep.

  4. Without Cito the Jays would have won 7 world series….right? I mean, can I have it both ways too — that managers don’t matter much to the outcome so fuck off all you myth-making bullshitters but Fuck CITO for fucking dicking around our team and Snider and everything else.

    • Dicking around Shawn Green was his worst move.

    • I was at the game last year where Alomar got his number retired (boy, was it ever fucking hot that day!) and Cito got a standing ovation. Sure he managed back-to-back World Series championships, but how many people forget the subsequent seasons of suck under Cito that followed those wins? His treatment of young players like Green and Snider? His actual in-game management?

      Cito can get some credit for those championship, but he ‘managed’ some extremely talented teams with consistently one of the highest payrolls in baseball at the time. Is there a chance that Cito was simply Toronto’s Joe Girardi?

      • Cito was the man the Jays needed at the time to win, and based on the results only, the best Manager we have ever had. If you want a players Manager thats OK, but his name isn’t Cito, and we havn’t won with anyone else.
        No one complained in 92 or 93, about our Manager. Green and Snider were mistreated? If so, thats a shame. As far as I know niether one has played on a WS team… maybe Cito knew something we didn’t

        • neither one was attacked by bears either, that I know of. Ever bear must be fucking terrified of them. Maybe they know something?

        • Snider was definitely mishandled, AA has admitted that more than once.. and shawn green wrote a book where he talked about cito’s bull.. come on.

          • Hahhahahaha… as bitter and brooding as Cito could be, you are all so much the more. For a group that so readily celebrates its own rationality and statistically-supported analysis, that is quite the mindfuck. If we’re going to discuss the past, I’d rather think about Roy and Stieb and Winfield. Hahahaha…

        • Wonderful commentary, but this is about winning, not whinning. Cito was a winner! Snider can’t hit, and Green is writing victim impact statments.

          As much as we like numbers to prove things here, many areas of baseball defy qualitative analysis. Leadership skills and what it takes to win can fall into this area. I don’t know what people here think winning looks like, but I will share with you that it isn’t found in players that you feel sorry for.

          • You…. you’re trolling, right

          • I enjoy the game, and when you read some of the comments here, I am sorry, but I just don’t get it. Cito, the only guy with WS wins to his credit, is the bad guy.

            Snider, who was last with the club over a year age is a god, and Green, abbeit with good career numbers, has only won only the sympathy of the fans here. No I ain’t trolling, just amazed by a contrary viewpoint that makes me think I’ve missed something – I have not!

          • Cito is known for his willingness to cave to veterans wants, ignore young players, and lack of ability to manage a bullpen. The Two World Series teams were replete with veterans and long armed starters, as well as bullpens with set roles. It’s been widely acknowledged, even by him, that he had trouble/did not enjoy managing the “developing” teams of the late 90s. A lot of people thought for this reason that, due to the teams talent level at the time, he was a strange choice to bring back, and that it had more to do with energizing the fan base than anything else.

            That being said, he was a good guy who won two World Series with the two of the highest payrolls in baseball at the time. Happy for him. But a good manager capable of actually helping his team along (like a Joe Maddon or Davey Johnson)? I don’t think so.

          • I must be on a different wave length here. I’m not saying Cito was beloved, smart, tacticlly brilliant, workered well with rookies or shrewd. Cito is the best solely based on his record. Sometimes if you want to win you need a guy with some abrasiveness, Look Billy Martin didn’t win any popularity contests but he won.

          • Cito rulez.

          • And while I’m at it Dave Stieb, you were a veteran in 92 and you failed to pitch to one single batter in the WS that year. You were excess baggage. You know Jack Morris was right about you.

          • I’m with birddawg on this one. Cito was the manager of two teams that actually won two World Series! His strength as a manager – the ability to manage/control egos of veteran players – fit perfectly with those teams from ’89 – ’93. He is NOT the guy you want for a team like the present. I didn’t agree with bringing him back a couple of years ago, but I also could not figure out why he did not get the White Sox job back when (I think Ozzie Guillen eventually got it, so the end result worked out for them). He would have been a way better hire than Bobby V for the BoSux this year (high payroll, big name talent that is dysfunctional), imho

            I have always thought of Cito as the baseball equivalent of Phil Jackson with the Bulls & Lakers…they know how to massage egos to get the best players to play at their highest level, and keep them interested in sustaining that level. Phil Jackson knows that is his strength, which is why he is not interested in taking over a team like the Knicks (too much drama, too many young players to work into the team at the present).

  5. “Now, that’s not to already start pre-jacking excuses for another frugal winter. Rather, it’s to make clear that if they don’t spend massive dollars between this season and next, there’s still no reason to believe they’ll never make good on their word.”

    I have to respectfully disagree with you Andrew. As you know the team provides broadcasting content to sportsnet which is a key source of revenue for Roger as well as gate receipts of around $40 million per year based on Forbes estimates.

    Rogers has spent more money this year upgrading the broadcast production, developed new merchandise & has spent a significant of money promoting its product.

    The Jays have been rewarded with a 20% increase in attendance & a 20 % increase in viewership which is now around 600K per broadcast up from 437K in 2010.

    Now that the Jays have these new potential customers, it would only make business ense to keep them by upgrading the product on the field.

    It is widely known that Toronto has trouble attracting elite free agents even if they overpay which is what they supposedly offered Beltran.

    Thus, the Jays have to at a minimum resign EE & Rasmus to buy out 1 year of free agency. AA should also upgrade the rotaion by getting a young mlb proven starter by trading prospects or agreeing to take on a bad contracts, like Teahan or Rivera to get the other team to give up a good pitcher.

    Beeston had the audacity to ask fans to show up before they would spend on getting better layers. Now that the fans have done their part , it would be foolish for Rogers to not keep their part of the deal & make the necessary improvements to the team.

    Baseball is a business, & if Rogers wants to lie to their customers, they will have to suffer the consequences of losing customers.

    ” Also, their spending, in ways that aren’t reflected on the big league payroll– the draft, the scouting and operations staff, international free agents– has been up dramatically since the Ricciardi era. ”

    The new CBA will not allow Rogers to outbid other teams for the players they draft.

    As for the other spending, yes it has improved but it’s not like the Jays spend more in these areas than the Yankees or Red Sox.

    “I’m sure that’s not anything anybody wants to hear, but what we’ve seen this year is the start of growth, not the end of it, and I’d expect to see that fact reflected in any payroll increases, not some explosion based on wild expectations that the growth will from herein always be there. I wish it weren’t that way, but I suspect that’s reality of the parameters within which Alex Anthpoulos must operate.”

    I fail to understand why you attack the fans who have a right to ask for a quality product to be put on the field.

    If the Jays fail to make significant improvements to the team in the offseason, then ratings & attendance will fall.

    Th lack of interest in the team , which was evident in 2010 will affect your blog as well.

    No business can afford to alienate newly acquired customers & fans.

    It isn’t about the Jays spending 150 million per year. It’s about having enough depth to put a competitive team on the field that on paper should be able to win 90 games per year on April 1 2013

    • way too long of a post to read completely, but beeston never told fans they had to show up before we’d spend more cash. it was AA.

      • Beeston has been making the same points. Beeston keeps making dumb comments like saying the Jays should be in the playoffs 2 or 3 times in the next 5 years.

        Beeston always brags that that Rogers can approve a payroll of 120 million but they have never come close to that since they owned the team.

        Beeston states that they won’t sign free agents to contracts in excess of 5 years when the best quality free agents routinely get 8 to 10 year contracts. If Roger sticks t that strategy it guarantees the Jays won’t get any top quality free agents.

        At least AA is very good at always keeping expectations low. AA knows that it is better to do better than expectations if you keep them low.

      • If it was way too long of a post to read, why would you comment on it then? ugh…

    • You’re still an idiot

    • .Sportsnet is not a “key” source of revenue to Rogers. Advertising revenues for cable television, especially on individual channels, has been declining in recent years due to PVRs, multi-platform broadcasting (and piracy) and the multiplicity of specialty channels available to viewers.

      .An increase of 165K viewers/game is nice, but as major sponsorships are more often than not long term deals (i.e. Home Hardware, Spitz) or negotiated via Major League Baseball (i.e. beer, car etc.) as multi-year deals, increases in their value are going to be marginal at best, especially given a 1 year, unproven bump.

      .As yoiu note, RSN has invested money on improving their onscreen production value. That money doesn’t come from nowhere, and likely has something to do with an increase in viewership (if its better to watch and easier to watch, more people will watch it). Thus some added revenue is already being spent.

      .If the gate Revenue, according to Forbes estimates, are around $40M, and increase by 20%, then you’re merely looking at an increase of $8M/season. If it stays steady, and to predict that is difficult. What if high gas prices and the economy are increasing the number of “stay-cations”, to drop next year? You need to see more long-term data to base spending around that.

      .Gate revenues are almost meaningless when it comes to ballpark revenues, as concessions ans souvenirs make up a much larger proportion of facility generated revenues, and are not publicized in this case.

      .Your conclusion about signing Rasmus and EE (though I don’t disagree entirely with it) is not really drawn from any logical set of premises, so the “Thus” portion of the statement is out of place. And there are 30 teams out there who want a young starter. The cost of doing so is what’s prohibitive.

      .Your statement about improving the team to ensure that the fans stay has two problems with it. The first is that adding an “All-Starr” caliber player has been proven, via research, to have next to no effect on attendance. Sustained winning is the only thing that accomplishes that. Which feeds into the second fallacy here, namely the assumption that the Jays are not improving the team. They are in the process of developing a system that will provide both high level talent to their big league club and, when the time comes, trade chips to fill the final holes.
      Think of it as a three stage process:
      1-add depth to the system across all levels, preferably high ceiling prospects
      2-develop these prospects while continuing to add depth, testing them out at the major league level as they are ready
      3-use excess prospects to acquire veterans/talent from other teams to fill holes and provide depth

      .The Jays actually spend much more in these areas than the Yankees or Red Sox have been in recent years. They have the largest scouting department in the League, and one of the most populated/talented front offices in history.

      .The quality of the on field product is, to my mind, the best it’s been in arguably the last 10-15 years. At every nearly position right now there is either a quality piece or an ACKNOWLEDGED place holder (1B, 2B, LF) who is either holding it down for a prospect or only there until a better piece comes along. Acquiring pieces of the talent to make a winner is not easy, otherwise we’d all be GMs instead of posting in the comments section of a blog. The pitching is coming around, slowly, but it takes time to develop a high end rotation, especially when the free agent classes over the last couple years have been overpaid and underwhelming, and the team has been nowhere near the point where it needed to be to make it worthwhile to acquire a player who will be in decline by the time the rest of the team is ready. Plus, proven
      “Ace” quality pitchers have a nasty habit (much like fans) of being attracted to PROVEN winning teams.

      .I disagree that no business can afford to alienate or disappoint customers/fans. Three words: Toronto Maple Leafs.

      .Besides that obvious rejoinder though, most fans, especially the ones who are coming back to the game, seem to be enjoying a combination of an entertaining, if not always winning, on-field experience, with a healthy dose of optimism for the future via an actual plan, something that no Toronto sports team has offered since arguably the late ’80s Jays.

      .Finally, predicting wins and losses on April 1st is ridiculous. The Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 were forecast to lose something like 95 games and finish last in the division. They went to the World series. The Giants in 2010 not, as of day 1, expected to make the playoffs. They won the World Series. The Marlins have done it twice. Baseball is unpredictable.

      .That being said, why are you shooting so low? The Red Sox won 91 games last season and didn’t make the playoffs. Your demand is for the Jays to almost make it? That’s just silly.

      • Thanks for your reply.

        Advertising revenues for sports related content has been increasing relatve to non sports properties because of PVR’s.

        People tend to watch games live & don’t fast foward through commercials as much.

        The fact that a mid market like the Cincinnati reds can get a large increase in tv revenue is proof.

        Rogers has the advantage of owning the content of the team so they can allocate a nominal fee to the blue jays.

        Other teams can get the FMV of the broadcast revenue & allocate it to payroll.

        Joey Votto doesn’t get 200 million from the Reds unless they get the broadcast revenue.

        The Leafs have an advantage over the blue jays because hockey is widely followed in the GTA.

        It’s also a salary cap league, so the leafs don’t have to worry about other teams outbidding them for players.

        Put the Jays in a salary cap league & they would make the playoffs more often.

        The leafs a lot have an easy job of selling 20,000 seats for 41 games per year, with total seats of 820,000.

        The blue jays have to sell out 45K*81= 3,645 000 seats. Much harder to do.

        All star players , help teams win games whic make it a better experience for fans.

        Watching jesse chavez blow games in the 3rd inning isn’t going to put fans in a good mood.

        It would be great if the Jays could build enough depth internally to build a perennial playoff team, but I am skeptical that it can be done in the AL East.

        You need a mixture of vets, core players & rookies to build a team.

        Building a 90 win team keeps the jays in a playoff race throughout the year.

        So far, the jays seem to peak around May 20th every year in terms of playoffs odds.

        In my own case, I enjoy watching the jays position players this year. There are no obvious scrubs like last year.

        However, it would be a mistake for AA to let the season go to waste & refuse to make a move to help the team by the trade deadline.

        It’s harder to get a customer than to keep them, so if the Jays tank the rest of the season, it’s harder to do marketing for 2013.

        They can’t do new uniforms every year.

  6. holy shit working on the weekend??? and actual answers to Griffs Mail Bag! Impressive. Travis Snider…I would like to think that he can be the every day left fielder, but I also would like to think that he can hit left handed pitching…any stats on how he has been fairing against lefties in Vagas.

  7. the jays have to at least make an offer for Greinke and Hamels, dont they? i dont expect them to get either one of them but how can they not try especially if things stay the way they’ve been going, and our offense continues to rake like we all expected it to.. the only question mark is the starting rotation, i dont see how AA can not push hard to land one of those guys

    • Hamels as a rental for what? You really think that Hamels is going to turn things around enough to make a difference in 2012?

      Hamels is gonna get PAID this offseason. He’s a California dude. Look for the Dodgers to make the best offer.

      As for Greinke, Toronto is one of the cities he has a no-trade clause in his contract. Why all of a sudden do you think he wants to play for the Blue Jays? And as a FA? Really?

      Remember that free agents can sign wherever they fucking want. AA will not back off from making a deal that will improve the team. I think AA will try to engineer another Rasmus like deal, getting a player who’s value is down for some bullpen arms or B list prospects. I would be surprised to see a major trade for a starter.

      Having said that, a guy like Garza would be interesting. But the Cubs have more leverage as it will be a huge sellers market.

      • That sounds right. greinke won’t pitch here.

        I think the best chance the Jays have at a free agent pitcher is Shaun Marcum, wwho wanted to stay in Toronto.

        However, he is injured now, so I wonder if AA would take a chance on him?

  8. I love the first question, because I’ve thought about the same thing, albeit with slightly different players. Even if the 3 AAA players named aren’t in the lineup but instead it’s Snider in left, Arencibia catching, and somebody that isn’t completely useless at second, I think the Jays will have one of the best defensive teams in the majors. Snider’s defence has improved to the point where I would say he is a plus defender and Arencibia has gotten much better since last year and I would assume it’s only going to get better.

    Not to mention, wait 4 years for when they have a Gose-Rasmus-Marisnick outfield… (or something like that)

  9. I think if there is going to be a position change, its got to be bautista to 1B

    Snider to LF, Rasmus to RF and Gose to CF.

    • How fucking wasted would Bautista’s arm be at 1B? Any fucking yahoo can play 1B, it’s the easiest position.

      On a side note how fucking amazing is Jose Bautista’s baserunning? He’s the smartest runner on the team. Now if he would only take Lawrie aside and teach him a few things about basepaths….

      • he’s a good baserunner, especially this year – but jose made several glaring baserunning errors last year if you remember. id say edwin is a better baserunner, he can steal bases too, unlike jose

  10. Just curious about the PCL numbers. Can’t we just use the hitters’ away numbers to get some sense of how they actually stack up – assuming the PCL numbers are as inflated as you suggest?

    • For the Record, here are Snider’s numbers this year:

      Home: 62 AB: 339 avg, 406 obp, 581 slug, 7/14 bb/k
      Away 63 AB: 333 avg, 430 obp, 651 slug, 13/9 bb/k

      Clearly there are some differences there, but they don’t seem all that overwhelming.

      • Not to mention, he is actually playing better during the away games…

        • Gose is also playing way better away than at home this year. (331 vs 261 avg and 874 vs 742 ops).

          So the question remains – why do you (and others) keep chanting the “Vegas inflates numbers” mantra? Is is the PCL itself that inflates the numbers? Because Vegas doesn’t seem to be doing it on its own.

          • I think there are a handful of parks like Vegas that are extreme hitters environments and a handful of parks that are more neutral. So you still can’t take their Pcl numbers without a massive grain of salt, but it is somewhat encouraging that they don’t have a massive home/away split.

          • It’s the PCL that’s the problem rather than just Vegas. For example, Colorado Springs is in the same league.

    • The majority of the 51′s division, if not the entire PCL, plays in parks where the park effect is extreme towards hitter, so the road stats (while less skewed) aren’t that much of a help. A second major factor is the quality of pitching, as the thin air tends to flatten out movement on breaking pitches, which leads to both pitchers being shittier while there and teams hiding their best young arms from it as it can be detrimental to their development, leading to a further hitter friendly situation.

  11. I’d have to agree with milduds to a dregree, although i’d put gose in right and keep colby in centre. Colby is one of the best defensive centre fielders in the game, and Gose has a cannon of an arm that would make a lot of sense in right. Snider, Rasmus and Gose in the outfield would provide enough defensive value that even if gose only plays as well as a better defensive Rajai Davis i’d take it. Jose takes up the gaping hole at first (and is protected a little bit, less wear and tear at that position), an issue may be his pride of moving from right field when he’s played respectable (not well, but i’d say fair to say respectable given his arm). Then we can use those trade chips you mentioned in JPA, KJ and a few relievers to get a young starting pitcher almost major league ready from a team who wants to contend now (easier then said i know… but something similar is possible). Or you know…we could invest in someone like Greinke this offseason. May be a bit early to spend big, but i think that Greinke or Hamels would make an unbelievable difference on this team, especially with hte much improved defence from changes i listed above. We’re one of the best hitting teams in baseball, i’m not too worried about that dipping slightly if we turn into the best defensive team (or at least one of the top few) with a starting rotation of Greinke, Morrow, Romero, Alvarez and Hutch. I’d say that team would be a legitimate playoff threat. Thoughts?

    • “”"”easier said than done”"”"

    • im not sure why you think it may be too early to go after a free agent ace, you only have so many chances to sign a playerl ike that and when you get a shot at it – you take it or miss out for good. the jays should definitely make offers to both hamels and greinke, though based on what the dodgers just paid ethier id be shocked if they dont offer Hamels a retarded, unmatchable contract.

      Also, whats with people saying Jose has been only been “ok? in RF? hes made several very nice catches and he’s always at or near the league lead in OF assists, what more do you want? i trust Jose in the OF more than Snider

      • i don’t have a problem with bautista in right. however if gose is a good defensively as suggested i’d move him to first in a heartbeat because by all accounts gose has a great arm as well and is a legit center fielder as far as routes and range go. i’d also not be opposed to thinking of moving snider to first. the speed and arms in an outfield of gose/rasmus/bautista would be pretty incredible and you could shift your outfield towards bautisita’s corner to make up for his lack of comparative range with the great range gose/rasmus have. of course both scenarios rely heavily on both gose and snider being competent major league baseball players.

  12. I am actually interested to see how the rest of the season plays out with Romero, Alvarez, Cecil, Morrow when he returns, and (insert 5th starter here). What I am saying is this not that I think the jays with the sp can make the playoffs, however often when a team, gets desimated this bad, they rise up together, pitching has not been great, but hitting has been good, since the 3 pitchers went down. I think the jays will be close to a playoff spot, even around season end. Having Rasmus, Bautista, starting to hit there stride, if Lawrie can start hitting a bit better (not just muscleing out hits), they could really make a push. Why make a pitching trade giving up heavy prospects, unless they are going to make that push. Remember the trade deadline is July 31st, lets, see how the jays together hold before making that trade, give them time to pull together.

  13. Shouldn’t AA try to get a pitcher that will be under control for 2013?

    A reliable innings eater would be helpful this year to take the pressure off the bullpen.

    I agree that it’s important to see how this team deals with adversity of losing 3 starting pitchers in 1 week.

    Other teams in the division, like the red sox & yankees are missing key players & still find a way to win games.

    • what the fuck is a reliable innings eater? we need a top of the rotation arm, our payroll is relatively low, we should be able to pay an ace to take us a step close to being a contender.

      • Show me an ace to buy, the time to buy is at the end of the season. Is giving up valuable prospects for a 3-4 pitcher for a year smart ? Some times players who u trade for dont live to there potential ie loiza

        Then the player u swapped shows ace potential. Ie dont sacrifice tomm for today

      • I would love to get an ace like felix hernandez from seatlle.

        Does AA have the ability to get a big deal like that done when it involves a significant payroll increase?

        However, it would be easier for him to find a pitcher than can give him 200 innings a year at 4.25 ERA.

        • Felix is not fucking available. Not to mention he’s having a down year with lost velocity — meaning his value is at an all-time low.

          Teams don’t fucking trade their aces.

          The options RIGHT now suck. What is available? Matt Garza? Trade away at least 2-3 top 10 prospects for that shit. I guarantee it. Granted, if Garza was extended in Toronto… or if the Cubbies extended him prior to the trade, it may be worth it.

          I’ve said it 100 times, the time to bolster the pitching staff was in the offseason. Ejax, Buehrle, etc. We knew this was a huge weakness going in and instead we were relying on McGowan? Get fucking real.

          This offseason will have a lot of FA pitching available. We know its going to be a MINIMUM of 2 years before we see the Lansing staff — and that’s rushing things. The other internal options are Deck and Chad, and they have shit the bed — hard.

          There are going to be multiple FA pitching options available this offseason. If AA hopes to compete next year, we’re going to have to pick some of them up. I can’t see any other way around it. Who are we fucking looking at if not? The same shit we have now with Drabek coming back mid-year (maybe) and that’s hoping that Hutchison doesn’t actually need TJ. Regardless, Alvarez/Hutchison need more time in the minors. Alvarez needs that out-pitch. Look how terrible he has been lately because he’s been rushed. Some of the names we see that will be hitting FA will probably be extended. But the class looks decent — McCarthy, EJax, Anibal Sanchez, Greinke, Hamels, Dempster, Colby Lewis… Not all these guys are going to break the bank. Pony up some fucking cash.

          • “Teams don’t fucking trade their aces.”

            Of course they do.

          • with regards to Garza, there is a 72 hour window that teams can take to discuss an extension, or a players willingness to sign with a new team, after a deal has been reached between the clubs, so the extension is a minimal issue really. I’d be more concerned with the cost but, given the amount of rebuilding the Cubs need to do, they will likely be satisfied with lower level (i.e. younger, not necessarily worse) prospects. We just don’t want to get Ubaldo-ed here.

          • Roy Halladay, wasnt he an ace for a team in the past that got traded away??? hmm…

        • I’m pretty sure Rogers would pony up for Felix. But the likelihood of the Mariners trading the only good player on their team? Minimal. And the cost to acquire him? It would be ridiculous.
          Plus his velocity is doing some odd things right now. Until he starts pitching like himself again, I think the risk vs cost is questionable at best.

    • Maybe he should try to do so. If the price is right. And the contract. And the talent level. And he won’t end up blocking other players. And he’s not a huge health risk. And he can pitch in the AL East. And regression/decline isn’t going to play a big part of the next phase of his career.
      So yeah, if all these things can be factored together, why not?

  14. Here is how one guy tries to account for PCL numbers – he says there are 5 extreme hitters parks (which is what I remember hearing): Salt Lake, Albequerque, Colorado, Reno and Las Vegas.

    http://futureangels.mlblogs.com/2010/08/02/splitting-salt-lake/

  15. SIGN ZACK GREINKE

  16. Thank GOD we have villanueva another start

  17. I didn’t think there was a salary cap in baseball.

    • The luxury tax is pretty brutal.

      • Let me know when the Blue Jays start paying the luxury tax.
        In sports with a salary cap it actually makes sense to care whether you are getting good ‘value’ from your players. Without a cap, talking about ‘value’ means trying to field a decent team in spite of cheap ass ownership.

  18. Crickets.

  19. Lind and Benny Fresh up Coop and McCoy down

  20. Here comes AAAAdam Lind ready to suck on the breaking balls of Boston.

    I really hope he doesn’t suck this time, but really, I have a hard time believing he did enough in Vegas that he couldn’t have done over the winter.

    Or was his back really that bad over the winter?

    • ? where is that from?

      • Christ I just checked Twitter. It’s is the truth.
        Fuck, well, this will be interesting.
        Shi Davidi “AA says all reports say Lind regained confidence in LV and forced his way back up”
        question: did he regain his ability to hit baseballs above ground level and not popped up to infielders? because we haven’t seen that in two and a half seasons.

  21. Lind is back, Snider is not. OK Snider lovers, where is your god now?

  22. now I’m trollin

  23. I’ve been reading this feature for a long time and the picture of wino Griffin still makes me laugh.

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