On most days around this time, I’d be tossing up an Afternoon Snack post, but let’s be honest, right now there are really only two things in the Jays-a-verse worth discussing, and everybody’s already talking about them: Ricky Romero’s continuing struggles, and the talk Alex Anthopoulos gave to assembled reporters before last night’s game. So I’ll focus in on those, beginning with what we all saw take place last night…

As we all can see from the picture above– and the GIFs in Archi’s Post Game Graph– there is more to the story of last night that merely what I call “Ricky Romero’s continuing struggles,” as his eye-rolling, petulant reaction to being pulled from the game may have sent other managers *COUGH* John Gibbons *COUGH* into a frothing, punch-throwing rage.

The look of disbelief on Farrell’s face says it all, doesn’t it? Sure, maybe it’s a bit too much to ask a pitcher who so badly wants the ball to fully process what was going on in the heat of the moment– that his manager was trying to spare him, and trying to take him out proactively at a point where, once the dust had settled, he’d be able to look back on the game in about as positive a light as possible– but… seriously, Ricky?

Yes, Farrell showed quite a lack of faith, and I guess you could maybe argue he could have kept him in there, but given how the pitcher’s season has gone, the manager sure as shit is a long way from being the one who’s most out of line here.

As is usually the case when he weighs in on a topic, at the Mockingbird Jon Hale provides easily the best analysis out there, starting out by pulling the covers off of the conventional wisdom, asserting, “I don’t get why everyone is stuck on the narrative of Ricky Romero having some kind of mental issue involving his command.”

“Maybe Romero is trying to pick out the corners and/or overthrow because he is completely correct that he gets hit hard when he catches too much of the plate,” he writes (emphasis mine). “And on that subject, there’s an elephant in the room — namely Romero’s AWOL changeup.”

Among his most interesting bits of analysis, Hale notes that there has been an additional two to three inches of downward movement on Romero’s changeup this season, and suggests that “one plausible explanation is that Ricky managed to improve his changeup movement to the point where it is very nasty, but not as enticing to swing at, and the league has adjusted to just lay off it at all costs.”

And in Romero’s recent good start in New York– one we’ll later see that Alex Anthopoulos lauded in his lengthy scrum– Hale says that the changeup didn’t have nearly the same downward bite as most of this season, and the Yankee hitters were more inclined to swing at it– which in turn made Romero throw it more. Hmmm.

Others talking about Romero today include Mike Wilner, who recaps what happened, writing for Sportsnet that “to hear [Romero] speak in post-game interviews, it would appear that Ricky is just as much out of answers as everyone else, but surely he has to understand that this wasn’t an unfair or early hook from Farrell.”

The game story from Eric Koreen of the National Post speaks to that, as he quotes Romero as explaining that “I know [the manager] has confidence in me and he wants me to get out of this as bad as anyone. I’m sure, speaking for him, he wouldn’t want to see me fail out there, which I appreciate.

Mike Rutsey examines the performance last night for the Toronto Sun, in a post that includes a poll showing users are split on whether Romero will ever regain his form.

“Even if Romero theoretically posted three solid starts to end the season, would that be enough to silence the doubts about him moving forward?” asks the Blue Jay Hunter– a question that I’m sure Alex Anthopoulos, who continues to use Brandon Morrow’s 2011 season as evidence that a quick turnaround can happen, would answer yes. Or… OK, maybe not silence, but it would sure make things feel a whole lot better.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi writes that “In the coming days Ricky Romero and the Toronto Blue Jays will return to the drawing board, wipe it clean yet again, and try once more to come up with a plan to rescue the left-hander from his season of woe.”

“The problem,” he says, “is there’s not much left that they haven’t tried already.” [Note: How about throwing a less sharp changeup, for starters!]

Davidi also points to the fatigue angle, which was behind the club’s decision to give Romero so much rest between last night’s start and his previous disasterpiece.

“Though he’s only 27,” Davidi writes, “he’s the same age Roy Halladay was in 2004, when his stuff wasn’t as sharp and his season was eventually cut short by right shoulder problems. No surgery was needed, but Halladay’s entire routine was adjusted because he was simply running himself too ragged.”

As I noted in yesterday’s Afternoon Snack, Romero has faced the 10th most batters in all of baseball since 2010, and is in the top 25 in pitches thrown. So, the fatigue stuff isn’t just some convenient excuse, it’s just… it means we probably can’t know for sure who the hell Romero is until we see him on a mound again next spring.

For a club so thin on pitching already, with so much work to do this winter to fix it, that really fucking sucks. But it’s not like you can sell him this winter for pennies on the dollar. So… what the hell else can you do but keep rolling him out there and hoping for the best? I guess just… maybe try to pick up some Aaron Laffeys who can cover for him if things go south. Because this off-season wasn’t going to be busy enough on the pitching front, right? Ugh.


Image via @james_in_to.

Comments (54)

  1. And what of all the other AA comments? He even spoke of payroll! And it was confusing and full of qualifying statements! I thought you would be all over that.

    I think Romero can get back to being a solid starter. He’ll figure it out eventually. He should be thankful to Farrell for putting in our best strikeout reliever to keep those 2 runners off the board. Delobar was shaky but still got 3 k’s (and another next inning). If Farrell went to someone like Cecil there I think Romero gets at least another run added to his total.

    Delabar and Lincoln are both looking like decent trades right now. Snider is in a funk again last I looked.

    • I think there is another post forthcoming.

    • Snider is still healthy? That’s gotta be a new longevity record for him. Must be that Allegheny water.

      • He just came back from injury 3 days ago, and has pinch hit in all 3 of those games.

      • He seems to be just batting once a game for a week now. I guess he lost the starting job already? Any one following that? But his stats are actually worse now since leaving the Jays.

        I’ll take Gose with his elite D and speed and hope he gets on base here and there.

        No offence Snider. Best of luck.

        • I’m almost there, but I still need to see more from Gose’s bat over an extended period of time.

        • I saw a guy at the game two days ago who had a Snider Pirates jersey.

          Snider will recover & I hope he does well next year.

          Gose was impressive with his speed & almost got to 1B in the 9th inning.

          It seems that AA wants GOSE in LF on opening day 2013.

          If his hitting improves , he’s got a shot.

  2. how much rope do they give Romero next year I wonder? Obviously, they’re going to give him a starting spot coming out of spring… but he’s been dreadful this year. So bad, that he’s been unfit to pitch in the majors this year. If his first 2 starts are anything like what we’ve seen of him this year, I wonder how much time they will give him next year before sending him down to AAA to work.

    • They will certainly give him until the trade deadline. After that, it will be based on where they are in the standings probably.

  3. I’m guessing the organization will have to go with the assumption that Romero will be good to go for spring but I’m hoping they will allow for the possibility of a Steve Blass kind of thing because it’s damn near that ugly.

  4. One of the problems inherent in the RR situation is that other teams now know our ace is on the ropes as well as most of the rest of the rotation being held together with spit and chewing gum. Which means that the trade price AA will have to pay for a decent starting pitcher has just gone up by lots. The Jays desperately need pitching in order to move forward. Any other GM will take advantage of that.

    • That makes no sense whatsoever. The price of a player is still the price regardless what we have already.

      • Yep.

      • I believe you are incredibly mistaken.

        • That was for dgapa

        • If a team is willing to trade a player, they are going to command the most they can from that player from any of the teams willing to trade for his services. If the Jays are more desperate to get that player, they may be willing to pay more (in terms of players traded away) than their opponents are. But the selling team is going to take as much as they can. If the Jays are willing to make a deal, the price is going to have to be only slightly better than what any other potential buyer is willing to pay. The fact that the Jays need to make the deal more doesn’t mean that anybody is going to hold out any longer than what it will take to get a marginally better deal than they would from any other team.

          • You articulated what I did not want to spend typing out. The price of your gold bar does not change because I have a bar or silver.

          • A team in desperate need of a limited commodity will be targeted in the hope that they would be willing to give up more for said commodity opposed to a team who is trying to compliment their rotation. At least that’s the way I see it.

          • Your point is that the price is determined by the buyer not the seller and you are correct. However I think the initial price named by the putative GM will be extremely high. The GM will be interested to know how desperate AA is. AA declines the price and says he won’t pay. OK. Another team might pay it, or the GM might lower his price. But I doubt he will lower his price until he has tested the market elsewhere, why would he. If other teams won’t pay, then AA can negotiate. However there are other teams desperate for pitching. So another team might pay what the happy pitching-rich GM wants or might get into the war with AA. Either way it makes a straightforward stealth trade more difficult and will, I believe, lead to very expensive trades. It’s always down to what the buyer will pay. So far AA has refused to pay what he thinks is too much. But now, with most of the rotation in shreds and the ace on the ropes, I’ll be interested to see if he revises his position. A buyer who already has most of what he needs will generally not pay as much for an add-on as a buyer who has very little of what he needs.

      • Price is most certainly a function of both supply and demand.. An increase in demand shifts the demand curve right and results in a higher price.

        Do blue jays pitching woes affect the market demand for pitching? Yes. QED.

        • But the demand on the Jays part does not exist within a vacuum. Demand is aggregate through the entire economy (in this case the MLB). Supply is the same. If only one team needs a short stop, and four teams have one to spare, then the value of those four short stops is low relative to other positions where demand is higher. The subjective quality of the need does not change the quantity of players needed to fill the spot.

          • Of course, this assumes the value of all short stops is equal where obviously that is not true. An overall increase in demand will exaggerate the value of the better player. But again, demand is league wide.

          • Yes, Tony Rage, demand is aggregate. But, as it’s pretty god damn clear, you have no fucking idea HOW one aggregates a demand curve.

            Basically, you ask everyone in an economy how much of a good they would want for a certain price. For high prices, many wouldn’t want any buy, with a high marginal benefit, would be willing to buy. At a low price, virtually everyone would want to buy.

            If the seller KNOWS this, then he can set his price in a way that maximizes his profit. If he has only one object to sell, he goes to the one guy willing to pay the most and sells it to him.

            Ian, you’re also an idiot. If AA’s willingness to pay is higher, then that means it’s stupid to “hold firm” and risk losing to someone else who’s also willing to pay a lower price.

            Not to mention that it’s not a matter of money, but players, which are difficult to break into cents.

        • Shut up.

          We have no need for you, what with your advocating government spending and all.

      • Jesus Christ, dgapa, have you never heard of the concept “willingness to pay?”

        It should be an easy idea to understand. If you’re starving but have a bar of gold, you’re willing to trade the bar of gold for a loaf of bread. While, if you’re full, you would never consider making such a deal.

        Likewise, if you’re a team with plenty of depth in the pitching department, the marginal benefit of adding another arm should be small, and thus you’d probably not be willing to pay as much as a team that is dealing with a dearth of quality pitchers.

        While advanced statistics have given us some idea how to price players in “absolute” terms like in dollars for free agents, simple economics tells us it is not just the absolute that matters.

        It’s the relative – marginal – contribution that must determine a team’s willingness to pay. A team must factor into not only how good the player they are acquiring is, but how much better the player is compared to the person he is replacing.

        So, as it should be clear, the Blue Jays SHOULD have a higher willingness to pay than many other teams in the league.

        This hurts them in negotiations, because other teams know that. Bargaining is different than going to the store – it’s not simply a matter of getting the price you post. Both sides are determined to get the best possible deal and, when dealing with the Jays, a lot of teams will figure they don’t have to accept their absolute floor price, because the Jays’ willingness to pay should be much higher than other possible trade partners.

        • Supply and demand ;)

        • +1. The Jays only have 1 solid pitcher in the rotation. His name is Morrow & he tends to get injured every year.

          Ricky should bounce back , but no one thought he would be this bad.

          The Jays need more pitchers than other teams if they plan to compete.

          Unfortunately or AA Hutch & Drabek won’t be available till late 2013.

          It will be hard to convince fans that they are serious about competing in 2013 if they don’t get at least 2 new members of the rotation.

          I am puzzled by AA not wanting to resign Carlos V.

          • +1

            Assuming Romero bounces back is a big leap of faith right now. I would be thrilled if he could contribute 12 wins next year. If Morrow is good for 15 to 17 wins next year, we’re still looking for a top 1/2 and a 4/5 arm.

          • Christ, what a nonsense discussion. AA may be willing to pay more. That doesn’t necessarily mean the incoming pitcher will cost more. If AA holds strong, the cost will be equivalent.

            I can’t believe that someone actually stated that the BUYER determines the price. Where the fuck are you shopping?

            • Let me use easy words. The seller has widgets for sale and establishes the price he wants. The buyer decides whether he wants to pay it. A widget-poor buyer who desperately needs widgets may pay more for a widget than a widget-rich buyer. The seller will first approach the desperate buyer because he thinks ‘this guy may pay more for my useful widgets and I am going to see how much I can get so I will offer him an exclusive opportunity to buy my best spare widget before taking it out on the open market but I will name a high price. If he demurs, my nice widget will go out on the open market and will find its own level of price which may turn out to be even higher than the price I quoted at first.’. Now if you are exceptionally, horribly widget-poor and you need a really nice high-functioning widget, do you take the exclusive but expensive offer or do you let the widget you need float on the market in which case other widget-poor people might bid on it and drive the price even higher.

          • I think we should leave all the deal-making in the hands of Bud Selig

          • @Isabellareyes

            I understand that AA may have an offer that overprices the ‘widgets’. Why would he accept such an offer? There are 28 other teams he can deal with and, y’know, pay MARKET PRICE for the talent he’d like to acquire.

            Will they start the negotiations at a higher price, knowing that AA is more desperate? Likely.
            Will AA accept their overvalued offer because he’s desperate? I sure as shit hope not. I see no evidence of that in the moves he’s made since he took over.

    • Maybe there will be another Japanese pitcher being posted this year. Yu2.

    • I completely disagree with that theory…

    • Of course other GM’s are going to try to maximize what they get back in a trade. That is pretty obvious, I think. So what if the starting point in the negotiations is high? I don’t see that as a major stumbling block since nothing in AA’s transaction history suggests that he is willing to overpay, so it just may mean negotiations take longer to conclude.

    • Also, I think you are over dramatizing the situation a bit. Romero is a lock for the rotation next year despite his struggles. Sure, there will be concerns, but they are not going to fill his spot through trade or acquisition. Morrow and Happ are also locks at this point too (Happ as a #4/5 is a solid option as he is about an average starter). That leaves 2 spots to fill, needing a #2/3 and a #4/5. A lower end free agent like Villaneuva would be a good option for the #5 spot, so that just leaves one #2/3 starter. Sure, they don’t exactly grow on trees, but it’s not like they have an entire rotation to fill.

  5. Theory: Maybe it’s not that Ricky has regressed, but maybe every single one of the select group of major league hitters that Romero has faced this year have some how managed to all get better at the same time. Every single one of them.

  6. I believe he will right his self what i find apalling is he’s showing up the manager with his antics when he is pulled. The team has called him the ace for 2 years now and maybe its time he showed respect back

    • It’s in the heat of the moment, but yes I tend to agree. Farrell did him a favour with Delabar. Any usual “5th inning reliever” would be likely letting at least one of those runners score.

  7. Yo Ricky, you’re getting nice and close to my streak. Keep doing what you’re doing Brah

  8. Don’t forget about me punks

  9. “Here ya go John. I need a few more days rest”

  10. Have the Jays ever had a year in their histiry-even when they were pure shit as opposed to semi shit like this year where they likely won’t have one pitcher even win 10 fucking games? Christ, even in some shit years we had guys like mark eichorm or dennis lamp fluke their way to a bunch of wins. Romero has definitely sunk to being a fukstik and there is a real risk he is turning into a steve blass or a Dontrelle willis.
    In my book, he gets next April to figure it out but they fn better have a provisional plan in case he shits the bed beccause he is now like adam lind-untradeable

    • Hmm guess it proves that the pitching win statistic is flawed and should not be a measuring stick of performance…

  11. Man I hope Ricky finds his mojo next season. There is no way the jays can make a playoff run with a repeat performance from Romero.

    I wonder if this situation will factor in to AA’s decision to extend Charlie V. Just saw that interview and dude did not sound happy

  12. “Mike Rutsey examines the performance last night for the Toronto Sun, in a post that includes a poll showing users are split on whether Romero will ever regain his form.”

    About as useful as tits on a nun.

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