Stoeten Hijacks A GriffChat!

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star missed his regularly scheduled mail bag feature at the end of last week, which was a rather disappointing thing for me, seeing as I’d believed it was his intention to keep shoving his bag in our faces ever year from here out. So imagine my excitement when I found out that, rather than having to wait a whole extra week to skewer his readers, he was holding a live chat yesterday at noon, which I’m so totally going to hijack (as always, without having read Griff’s answers). Starting… now!


Report card for John Farrell?

I can’t give him anything but a solid D. Not because of the record, not because of the reported issues with the clubhouse or repeated mistakes– since that stuff gets so overblown in a year like this when the finger pointing gets so ramped up, and because it was a young team by design that got crazily younger through injury– but because some of his in-game tactics have just been so eminently questionable. I still think there’s room for him to improve– and that it’ll simply feel like he’s improved next year, by virtue of having a better club– but there’s no way to go higher after this disasterpiece of a fucking year.


Even if the game means nothing in the big scheme of things, you can’t fault the Jays for celebrating getting a win like [Monday's]. Looking at it as a single game, seperate from the season at large, one can understand the exeuberance and joy.

I guess?


Hey Richard Stoeten – I submitted this to the mailbag, but figure I could ask you now that there’s a chat. What’s your take on the Omar situation from last week? HOF career withstanding, it seems hypocritical for him to criticize a lack of veteran leadership on the team publically considering he was brought in to act as a mentor. As someone who last week said that the Escobar eye black phrase wasn’t a big deal, it seems as if his motivations are more about making himself look good for a coaching gig next year.

I think you’re exactly right that it’s hypocritical and astoundingly self-serving that Vizquel would say such things publicly. I think you’re wrong to suggest it’s a HOF career, though. He might make it based on his reputation, but it’ll be a mistake. Just awful with the bat in an extremely favourable offensive era compared to Ozzie Smith, whose defence was considerably better, and whose career OBP and wOBA match Vizquel’s, with ten extra points of wRC+.


Hi Richard Stoeten, love your work and appreciate the time you give to your readers for these chats. With the managerial carousel about to begin–potentially even here in Toronto–and all the chatter that goes with it, why has Tony Pena’s name not come up more often? He is a former Manager of the Year, and has been part of a winning atmosphere working alongside Girardi in New York the last few years.



Gotta love Gomes coming up with another huge pinch-hit in the ninth. That kid is clutch.

He’s not very good, and while the hit was, he’s certainly not clutch. I don’t get the infatuation.


Should AA pursue a veteran manager like Jim Leyland?

Good lord no.


Hey Rich Stoet, would you rather see the Jays center a trade around d’Arnaud knowing you may get more back (David Price?) but give a guy who could turn into an catcher. Or do you trade Arencibia for a mid rotation guy?

I don’t think there’s a right answer here, because it really depends on what the offer is. I’d be entirely comfortable moving d’Arnaud in whatever kind of monster package it would take to get David Price, or someone Cy Young-calibre like that, but if they can spend money to land someone at the top of the free agent class, then get a mid-tier guy by moving out that Aaron Cibia guy in a package and keeping TdA, I’d much prefer it.


What’s your take on Adam Greenberg?

The cinematography in Terminator Two is fantastic.


Lind seems to be hitting well lately. Has it been good enough to get him a spot on the team next year? Or he is still on the bubble for next year.

I hate to say it, but you could do worse than a DH platoon featuring Adam Lind as the guy who faces right-handers.


Hi Rich Stoet - I think missing Bautista the second half was a key ingredient to these issues. He always seemed to be the filter between the players and coaches (and fans)…how important is it to have Oliver come back? ….is Loup ready? Cheers.

I really don’t want to overstate the importance of Jose Bautista’s presence, because, for one, we have no idea what it would have meant, and for two, it’s not like he’s capable of policing everybody on his own, but I’m with you on the suspicion that it may have made a difference. And yes, Oliver has been terrific and it would be great to have him back. They’ll find someone if he doesn’t, though– Loup, Brett Cecil… someone.


Report card on Hechavarria? To me, he’s been an exciting player to see in the field and his bat seems to be coming around.

The sample size has been too small for me to get very excited, but a .325 September wOBA for a guy who simply doesn’t take a walk is better than advertised, for whatever that’s worth, and I’ve been impressed with how hard he’s made contact– though I think coming in at the same time as Anthony Gose makes it easier to look impressive. In the field, obviously he’s terrific. Still, I’d be much more comfortable with him getting reps in Buffalo, here to fill in when needed, than being handed a job right away.


Will 2013 be THE defining season for AA in terms of getting this team to the playoffs? The “Wait till next year” is becoming a little sickening.

The constant refrain is, indeed, the worst, but it’s not like anyone can snap his fingers and change everything. It sucks, but we’ve got no choice but to be patient. And, honestly, as easy as it would be to say that 2013 desperately needs to be a playoff year, I think we just need to see some damn progress. If they fall short, it’ll still go a long way.


Richard Stoeten, question re: the Escobar situation lately and the talk of lack of discipline in the clubhouse etc., etc.,: Do you seen any of this occuring as a result of the Jays’ lack of competitiveness this season? I truly feel were the injuries not so devastating to the team this season and the squad in the hunt, that none of this would have happened. It’s just like what happened in my minor hockey days, when the team was bad, people stopped caring and goofed off. When we were competitive, everyone was focused on winning.

I suspect you’ve hit the nail on the head, yes.


Do you think AA will finally trade some of his blue chip prospects for established help this winter so he doesn’t misread the market again (i.e. latos, gonzalez). It seems like we’re forever waiting for young ‘studs’ who end up either injured, ineffective or both.

How did he possibly misread the market last year? He balked at the asking price, yes. And forever waiting for what? Jesus, next question. Fuck this noise.


Brett Lawrie was a 2B before Toronto … with a thin 2B free agent market, why hasn’t there been more talk of Lawrie at 2B?

Because there’s a reason they moved him off the position– after playing it for a whole two years, having been drafted as a catcher– and that the scouting consensus was that he probably wouldn’t even be able to stick at third.


odds on yunel being back next year?



A follow up to the d’Arnaud/Arencibia question…Do you keep both and move Arencibia to first considering Lind may not be in the long term plans anymore.

Arencibia hit worse than Lind in each of the last two years, and Lind has no business being an option as a full-time player, so… how the fuck does anybody figure that would work?


it seems like the most convenient road trip from T.O. is going to be Detroit if you want to partake in the playoff games this weekend? Any recos for a motown adventure?

Be sure to check out the statue of RoboCop.


are two batting coaches the answer for next year seeing as there may be quite a few rookies in the lineup?

Not sure why the number of rookies in the lineup would make the difference between one or two coaches being “the answer,” and let’s not go completely fucking ape goof in the suggestion that even the best group hitting coaches in the history of the world would be “the answer” if the club simply doesn’t have the talent. Mottola hasn’t been holding some secret ability to turn ordinary hitters into the ’27 Yankees that the Jays have been pissing away by having him at Las Vegas these last few years. That said, I’d be all for it.


who were the top 3 jays for 2012 – EE, CJ and ?

Darren Oliver, but only thanks to the injuries to Jose Bautista and Brandon Morrow.


If Ricky Romero has a similar year next year as he has this year, what’s to be done? Time in the minors? Stick it out? Trade him?

There’d be no sense trading him when his value is so ridiculously low, unless they become extremely confident he’ll never regain the form he once had, but there’s no way to keep running him out there pitching the way he did this year if the club has any kind of playoff aspirations, so I guess by default it’d be the minors.


your thoughts on Snider’s comments to Shi Davidi? Were they Jays at fault as much as he was on his failures?

I think the Jays undoubtedly mishandled Snider, but probably more to their own detriment than his. I mean, he’s had lots of opportunity to get himself right, working with several different coaches and approaches along the way, and it just hasn’t happened. Lots of prospects fail, or don’t haven’t quite figured it out by the time they’re his age, but most of them still have damn minor league options.


having your team make the playoffs should be irrelevant to MVP voting no?

Entirely. Anything attributable to the good fortune of having quality teammates ought to have nothing to do with whether an individual was the best player in his league– this means you, too, RBIs.


Follow up to the batting coach question: Collectively, the team has a brutal Batting average? Do they just go out swinging for the fences and do they need to alter their approach at the plate at all?

That’s a ridiculously glib, narrow way to think about it… but maybe.


Will Colby Rasmus be given as long of a leash next year as he was this year? He was terribly inconsistent for much of the year and his slumps were at times atrocious. Also where would you rank him among AL CFs?

I don’t think the leash will be anywhere close to as long, but only if they manage to find a way to keep Anthony Gose off the Opening Day roster and firmly planted in Buffalo until he’s needed. Otherwise, with whom are they going to replace him? Moving Gose to center and bringing up Moises Sierra? Not exactly championship calibre– which is what Rasmus at his best absolutely could be. Whether we’ll see next year, though, is anybody’s guess. Assuming he’s not dealt, that is– he could be an interesting trade chip, too, don’t forget.


Why were the Jays so cheap last offseason? Was it AA’s overconfidence (that every young player would pan out and stay healthy) or are his hands forever tied by Rogers’ focus on the bottom line?

Fuck sakes. Neither. Rogers certainly doesn’t do right by the Jays, but I tend to believe Anthopoulos when he said he’d prefer to give the chances to his young pitchers than block their path with middling veterans. Yes, it was a calculated risk and looks disastrous given how things panned out, but was it really overconfidence to assume he wouldn’t be asking starters eight, nine, ten names down the depth chart to log heavy innings? I don’t think so. And I think they’re earnest in their insistence that they’ll try to spend this year. Now they just have to damn well do it.


Why do people always want to move Brett to 2b. He’s a future gold glover at 3rd and that would leave a hole at 3rd base!

Well, Escobar could slot in at third– and with the value added to Lawrie by the shift, I don’t think he’d be a whole lot worse– which would open up short for Hechavarria, but that’s not really the point. Maybe they should move Lawrie back to catcher, too– he played there in high school!


If the Jays don’t compete in 2013 do you see Joey Bats asking for a trade to a contender? (Like Halladay did)

No. This manufactured panic that’s stoked by some of the local writers is plainly fucking dumb. Playoff run or not, Bautista, heading into 2014, will have three years left on his deal (including the 2016 option), and won’t be staring down the barrel of a rebuilding process he wants no part of.


Despote his age and relative inexperience, was management looking for more out of Lawrie offensively this year?

I’d hope so. I mean, clearly it was ridiculous to expect Lawrie to continue where he left off last season, and you have to expect some fluctuations from a player that young, but even so, he’s definitely disappointed.


Is it coincidence that Gose and Hech started to “get it” after Mottola arrived? Even Lawrie is starting to see some progress.

What kind of magic do you seriously, possibly fucking believe in?


What is your response to the Toronto Star poll: Do you think the Jays will make the post-season next year?

Impossible to say yes at this point, but it’s not impossible to foresee Alex Anthopoulos accomplishing what he needs to so that next spring, when we’re asking the question again, I can reply with a solid maybe. Ugh.


Of Escobar, Arencibia or Rasmus, who is least likely to be in a Blue Jays uniform next spring?

If it weren’t for d’Arnaud’s injury, I’d say Arencibia. Otherwise, it could honestly be anybody– though I’d figure JP and Escobar have a slightly greater chance of departing than Rasmus, if only because I think Gose has looked the least ready of the possible replacements (though, OK, we haven’t even seen d’Arnaud, but there’s no way he could be Gose level bad).


no one thought at this time last year Orioles would be where they are…Jays have good parts moving forward…

I entirely agree.


What is Henderson Alvarez’s ceiling. I see a young kid who who has handled himself well this year considering he should have been in either AA or AAA this year. To me he should have a spot in the rotation guaranteed.

I agree he’s handled himself well, but there’s no fucking way he ought to be guaranteed a rotation spot. In fact, I’d like to see him spend some time in the minors to hone his secondary stuff a bit more, outside of the win-first urgency of the Majors. Or traded. It’s no knock on him, but the Jays need to aim higher.


RG AS…I know that season’s not over, but this seems like a good time. Thanks for the year of reporting. I don’t always agree with you, but hey that’s life. Have a great off-season when it finally gets here for you. Steve

Right back at ya, Steve-o.

Comments (39)

  1. I’ve been following this blog for 161 Jays games plus spring training and finally figured out what the hell this feature is. I was wondering why Richard was crossed out every time and such. I need to read this blog more intently rather than quickly scanning through my Google Reader, I’ve missed some great features by Ol’ Reliable.

  2. I don’t know what to say about this team. This team either sucks or is good and the injuries ruined it. It is a bit of both. I am leaning towards they would have been .500 again if they had a full team.

  3. Nails on everything except the Alvarez comment. I don’t think the Jays should trade him he is 1,2,2 years older than the Lansing three and the same age as Hutch. Not saying sending him down might not be out of order but trading him…. He has not even hit his prime years give him another 2 years before trading him. Trading him at 22 would be stupid because are we really supposed to believe in 3 years that the Lansing 3 are going to have more impact in 2015 than Alvarez will?

    • I agree. Unless it is part of a package that brings an elite player, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Buffalo. I would prefer not to trade Alvarez.

      And watching this A’s game…wow, who the hell are these guys?

  4. hmm pretty mild one today.

  5. If in Detroit for a baseball game know that beer is cheaper, or at least how that’s how I remember it… I was there in May and had $2 beers at some bar or restaurant after showing my ticket (a deal that was thoroughly abused). I also remember beers at Comerica being a lot colder than I’ve ever had beers at Rogers Centre, there was even a bit of ice/frozen beer at the top of the can.

  6. My Google Reader is basically Ol’ Reliable Reader.

  7. I’m so clutch.

  8. LETS GO METS!!!!

  9. I’m so clutch.

  10. AA took over a system with nothing in it. He has drafted lots of high-upside high-schoolers and signed a ton of teenagers from around the world.

    The Jays didn’t get a Mike Trout out of the 2010 class…or the 2011 class…and probably not out of the 2012 class. They do have a solid system, but asides from TDA, it will take time for the talent to arrive.

    Let’s just be calm here. Last offseason there may have been some missed opportunities to add long-term pieces to the club through free agency. this year – i’m not certain that the top of the free agent class really mesh with where the team is headed.

    If the Jays end up trading their farm depth for players now – it might signal to fans they’re trying to win now, but someone explain how they plan on sustaining that success if the wins still don’t come. More than any other year, AA will be under a lot of pressure to spend money and make deals to improve the club for next year – i’m just not sure it’s worth mortgaging the future to do so. given the price of JA Happ…i don’t know that the trade route is going to make anyone happy with the 2015 or 2016 Jays…but my sense if most people that are impatient with the team will just go back to watching the leafs lose, or the raptors lose in that case, anyway.

    • *”sustaining the model of success they’ve been touting” – it should read

      • +1. How many years are fans supposed to wait for prospects to show up & dominate the MLB.

        I started following the team in 2008 & Snider was the can’t miss prospect.

        Lind & Hill were supposed to lead the team after 2009 .

        I don’t believe in this “sustained level of prospects” until thy can put a few of them in the roster & make hem contribute for a couple of years in a row.

    • I agree … this year some important questions were answered but in the 1 step forward 2 steps back (sic) dance … it would be hard to imagine that getting closer wouldn’t be a fine achievement and AA, the ninja-juggler-on-a-tightrope is going to have to learn to enjoy even hotter fires trying to roast him before this all has a chance … what this year has really shown is that assembling a winning team is FAR more complex than just buying players with great histories … I’m thinking Red Sox or even having spent mega bucks for years, Yankees … and there will be more Orioles and Pirates going forward. No one would have expected A-Rod to be this mediocre this soon in the “good” old days. I’m guessing there’s a lot of chemicals that used to be used routinely that now trigger unwanted positives, and there are now a lot less 35 + players performing well. Let’s keep the faith with our own development and hope that the focus shifting to the performance of the big league club will begin to ripen which will include how to juggle club-house chemistry. Veterans, sure, but I’m not sure the Scott-Rolen-Chipper-Jones-play-the-right-way guys would help our emerging young race horses.

  11. Why would having Chad Mottola around be considered magic?

    Is it not possible he has an impact on the player? He maybe says something that sticks with a player before an at bat? That he makes them feel like they don’t have to be pulling the ball that way Ol’ Murph would instruct?

    I get that you only believe in numbers and sabermetrics, but holy fuck. How can you not at all believe that a players daily lives, routine, outside comments, role models, or what you have can affect their performance, is beyond me.

    There has to be a balance, IMO.

    • +1.

      Baseball isn’t all sabermetrics.

      Baseball Players are human.

    • What someone thinks of the effect of a hitting coach has little to nothing to do with sabermetrics, but I suppose it’s fun to hurl what you perceive to be insults around.

      • And I see you’re one of the people contributing to the baseball talk and not trying to make people look/feel stupid online… 4chan is waiting for you, summerfag…

        Sabermetrics, IMO is good for looking back at a player’s previous years, seasons, games, AB’s, etc., but I fail to see how it allows someone to honestly evaluate a player’s future performance. Like honestly, WAR is the biggest sack of shit stat out there. Really, have player A in the line-up everyday over player B will allow the team to win 3 more games a year. Really? Thats horse shit. If it was a 1 player game, I could see how that would work, but come on…

        • You completely misunderstand sabrmetrics if that is your opinion. Some of the concepts that have come out of the research are things like aging curves, the statistics that have the best predictability of future success like FIP/xFIP for pitchers, etc.

          Look, no statistic in the world is going to be perfect at predicting the future. What they provide you is a starting point, where you can say that on average this player is going to do X because of his past performance and age. From that starting point, you can look at things like injury history, changed mechanics, etc. Even once you get to that point though, there is the inevitability that you are going to get some wrong in both directions.

          Finally, your comments on WAR are obviously because you either don’t comprehend the idea behind sabrmetrics, either because you don’t care to look into it or were too stupid to understand it. Either way, your opinion is wrong, and should probably be kept to yourself to help prevent widespread infection of stupidity.

      • I didnt hurl anything around…

        I know what I am. I have good days and bad days. I am a human, as are most baseball players. They dont have good and bad days?

        Like FUCK ME. Are you listening to yourselves?

        My beef was with the ‘If you believe having Mottola around is magic or something’. I simply dont understand it, thats all.

        Call me dumb, call me short sighted or unable to read a fucking article on fangraphs. But I totally get sabermetrics, but for those of you who dont consider the human element…may I present you with Yunel Escobar?

  12. Does anyone here think texas matches up well in a trade with the jays? If they lose Napoli and Hamilton to free agency and focus on getting an ace (greinke?) they would have a couple holes we could fill.
    Something like JP and Colby for Holland and Kinsler? I know we would have to throw more in likely, but doing this and then signing someone like Torii Hunter sure would fill most of our holes

  13. So many injuries this year. With a health team they could have been so much better. Thats the way the game goes though I guess.

    Did Zaun just say lolligag? Was he watching Bull Durham last night?

    Would be nice to see some guys get healthy and try out this line-up

    1B: Cooper
    2B: Hechavarria
    SS: Escobar
    3B: Lawrie
    LF: Davis
    CF: Rasmus
    RF: Bautista
    C: d’Arnaud
    DH: Encarnacion

    On the bench, Gose, Arencebia,

    Would be great to see Morrow, Villaneuva, Hutchison, Drabek, Laffey (or a couple of good starters picked up in the offseason)

    Any way, I am excited to see a healthy team hit the field next year.

    • It almost sounds as if Brett Hart took a few too many concussions during this wrestling days… good thing he’s not GM of this team!

  14. Really “thehitman?”
    You want to see a lineup with Cooper and Davis as everyday players? and Villinuava is your 2nd pitcher? So Ricky is in the bullpen? Laffey is a 5th starter and your 3 and 4 holes are filled by guys who arent going to be able to start the season? and one of those guys is Kyle Drabek?

    just wanted to make sure i got all that….

  15. Drabek will never pitch in MLB for the Jays. He is basically useless. Besides he has a sore fucking arm and no fuckin brain

  16. I dont know, Stoets. Is it the fact that its the end of a long ass season, or is it just you? You seem like you hate your job. Try and cheer up, It’s not fun to read every third answer of yours when you treat the asker like shit. And yes, you must get a lot of stupid questions all year, and shit heads like RADAR trying to make you look stupid at every turn, but for fuck sakes, try and give off the impression that you like things…

  17. An idea situation next year would see Gose, Sierra, and Alvarez in the minors for the whole year, later joined by Drabek and Hutch. Alvarez will be a frigging stud if he develops another pitch, but he has to develop it first.

    As far as hitting coaches, I feel it’s the same as at any work place – people respond differently to different direction. Maybe the Jays have a few guys on their roster who don’t respond well to Dwayne Murphy, while others Bautista, Encarnacion and to an extent Rasmus did well under his tutelage. Conversely, guys like Lind and Lawrie performed better when learning from Mottola. Who knows for sure, but it couldn’t hurt to have both coaches around all of next year.

    As far as lineups for next year, perhaps I can dream a little?

    3B – Lawrie
    CF – Rasmus
    RF – Bautista
    1B – Encarnacion
    DH – David Ortiz
    LF – Nick Swisher
    C – Arencibia
    2B – Jeff Keppinger
    SS – Hechevarria

    Bench – McCoy, Davis, Lind

    Rotation – Morrow, Romero, Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, JA Happ
    Bullpen – Santos, Janssen, Delabar, Lincoln, Loup, Cecil, Oliver, Frasor

    Minors – Gose, Sierra, Alvarez, Drabek, Hutch, Litsch, McGowan, Gomes and anyone else who doesn’t belong on a major league roster right now…

    I’ve painted a scenario above that involves signing 5 major league free agents, which would be effing expensive, but the Jays could always go the route of signing 3-4 free agents (I think they have 5 holes to fill (SP, SP, 2B, LF, 1B/DH) and trading a package involving Lind/Escobar/prospects to fill one or two of those holes. It’ll be an interesting off-season, and with some cash available and some clearer direction, I think AA will reprove his ninja prowess and get back some goodwill from the fans.

    Go Jays!

  18. Oh, and Stoeten – great job with the mailbag plundering this year, as always. Never change.

  19. what is with the love with swisher. The guy is looking for a 15-17 million payday, why pay him Jayson Werth money, when he is a 3rd to 4th outfielder (who can DH and 1b). Dude wants a 5 year deal and is 31, how about we look for someone younger.

  20. holy fuck, last day of the season and we get to view every idiots lineup for next year. Thanks guys!

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