Welp. So we’re back in business, a little later in the day than we’d like to be, so… yeah, pretty much par for the course. Happy New Year, and I hope everybody had as lazy a holiday season as I did. And now, today’s links (plus ones from a whole bunch of other days that I didn’t bother doing anything with)…

Bob Elliott’s yearly 100 most influential Canadians in baseball list is out over at the Toronto Sun, and we’re still not quite yet even at the San Diego Chicken level of one of the umpteen-dozen honourable mentions, but one day we’ll get there… one day. Paul Beeston tops the list.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks the Jays’ roster as being the fifth-best in baseball, though he oddly writes that “We’ve learned from experience that injuries almost always derail this team. But if they can avoid them, watch out.” Uh… OK?

Similarly, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider Olney) has been ranking teams by the various elements of their roster, with the Jays having the seventh-best infield (excluding catchers), per his calculation. The club’s x-factor, he says, is Brett Lawrie, as the people he’s spoken to “have doubts about whether he can ever be reined in and refined in a way that allows him to become an elite player. ‘Totally out of control,’ said one longtime rival coach, noting that at times, it looks like Lawrie will just keep running on the bases until somebody tags him out.”

Olney also says the Jays have the seventh-best rotation, while he places their outfield outside the top ten, noting that it could be one of the best, but that there are significant questions about Bautista (wrist health), Cabrera (suspension) and Rasmus (shittacularness).

At Getting Blanked, Drew breaks down the Rays’ one-year agreement with David Price in today’s URL Weaver, while Scott Lewis delivers what looks to me like the perfect cover for the 2013 version of MLB: The Show.

Earlier in the week the crew put their heads together and named their 2012 Getting Blanked Man Of The Year… Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

In a lengthy piece, Mike Tierny of the New York Times writes that Ryan Freel’s wife thinks concussions had something to do with his suicide.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes that Sergio Santos is still the key to the Jays’ bullpen.

Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com looks at reliever Steve “Sometimes You Eat The” Delabar, and the throwing technique paying dividends for him.

The Tao Of Stieb notices that people got seriously amped for Sportsnet’s re-broadcasting of the 1992 World Series over the holidays, and took to podcastery to break it all down.

Joshua Menzes of Jays Journal is getting anxious having to wait for the season to start, while Charlie Caskey does some thinking about David Cooper, because… well, because it’s January.

At Grantland, Jonah Keri thinks the local TV bubble is about to burst.

Matthew Leach– Matty Leach-bomb!– of MLB.com looks at how a couple of blockbuster trades (hint, hint) will shape division races in 2013.

At MLBTR, Ben Nicholson-Smith checked in on teams who were in the market for pitching this winter and… hey, would you look at that! Seems like the Jays might have done something to acquire some. Why the hell is this the first I’m hearing of it???

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the non-pitching value of pitchers, including a mention of Jays RA Dickey and Mark Buehrle, as a couple of guys who can be very helpful when it comes to run prevention, thanks to their defence.

Lastly, here in Toronto the guys at Bluebird Banter and Tall Boys Craft Beer House are screening Knuckleball!, which, of course, features RA Dickey, at 7 PM on Thursday night. That’s, like, tomorrow.

Comments (88)

  1. Oh thank the lord. First day back at the office and I was starting to get the shakes waiting for some baseball news. When do pitchers and catchers report again?

  2. Steve “sometimes you eat the” Delabar is sheer brilliance.

  3. I’m getting pretty damn tired of this “Lawrie bonehead baserunning” meme.

    Yeah he made like 4 or 5 stupid baserunning moves. In essentially his rookie season. Big deal. The season was a loss anyway. He got years of mistake experience in one season. Good. Next.

    • All well and good… so long as he actually learns from it.
      I think that’s all people are concerned about.

    • I agree, generally… though the test will be this year and whether or not he improves.

    • Lawrie actually scored positively on baserunning according to Fangraphs metric, so the bonehead baserunning opinion is also wrong – or, at least, it ignores the numerous times that Lawrie’s aggression pays off.

      The much bigger issue with his baserunning (and his fielding) style is that it beats his body up. He missed a lot of time, last year, most of it because he was careless and hurt himself. That’s a lot worse than making a few bad outs.

  4. Anyone know if Cooper has any options left?

    • Dunno but could he push Lind in 2013?

      • I predict the Jays’ season at whichever of 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion isn’t playing will go like this:
        - Lind gets a chance
        - If/when he fails, Cooper gets his chance. He hit like .300 – and clutch – until his back did him in
        - The Jays turn to somebody else

        Waivers be damned

        • I think Cooper had a neck problem … although I suppose the neck is just the upper part of the back :^)

          From that Jays Journal link in the post above:

          “Organizationally, both the manager and gm are paying lip service to Adam Lind’s place in the team. Both have him pencilled in as the full-time DH. While this is all well and good during the off-season, as soon as spring training begins and Lind shows up either out of shape, or with a back complaint from ‘working out too hard’, a replacement will be sought.”

          Totally. My sentiments exactly. I like this guy (the writer, Charlie Caskey). Yes, let’s just put Cooper in there and leave him in as 1B/DH spelling off Edwin. Platoon shmatoon. Cooper has a good chance of improving with more MLB experience, and as you mention he was actually playing decently until injured.

    • They can not call his chin up from the minors without it clearing waivers first.

    • Winnie Cooper > David Cooper

  5. I love this line: “…it looks like Lawrie will just keep running on the bases until somebody tags him out.”

    So true, and because he doesn’t seem very bright nor very accountable for his actions, I would say that Gibbons’ treatment of him (and his ongoing development) will be a top 5 Jays storyline this year. Enough with the Farrell kid-gloving that saw him run into dozens of outs last year without consequence.

    Other top 5 storylines:

    - RA Dickey, because he’s a story in and of himself
    - Romero and his need for a bounce back season
    - JJ’s health and possible extension
    - Bautista’s wrist

    Honourable mention: EE’s production. Will he even come close to repeating what he did last season?

    On another note, I was disappointed to see your name absent from the Elliott list, Stoeten. We don’t always see eye to eye, but credit should be given where it’s due. You do a hell of a job around here.

    • “- JJ’s health and possible extension”

      I see this as a total non-story. As much as it breaks my heart as a long time JJ fan, I think with the acquisition of Dickey there is no chance that the Jays are looking to extend Johnson. They are committed to Dickey, Buerle, Romero, and Morrow for the next 3 years at a pretty reasonable total cost. I don’t see them ponying up the dough for a 5 or 6 year deal with JJ at 100 mil plus (which is what it will take if he returns to form). It’s far more likely they let him go, bump everyone up a peg and fill in the 5 spot with one of their many back of the rotation starters (Drabek, Hutchinson, etc.) until Sanchez, Norris, Nolan, or Osuna rise through the ranks and take the spot.

      JJ’s got compensation pick written all over him. And I’m strangely okay with that.

      • You raise a good point re the extension, though I do think if there’s mutual risk taken it may not be out of the question.

        That said, the health is a big concern. If he gets injured, The Trade looks a hell of a lot different than it does now, which is why I think it’s a big story.

        But yea, I could see them just “moving everyone up a peg” depending on how they perform, then supplementing JJ with a FA signing or trade next year as opposed to spending grossly to retain him. And the pick wouldn’t hurt either.

      • I hope you’re wrong

      • Fuck JJ, he’s basically a rental player.

        Accept this and move on,

        • Thanks man, I appreciate the insight.

          Quick question, in the Rogers’ executive boardroom do they have a fridge where you’re able to help yourself to beverages, or do they just lay out a spread on the table for each meeting that occurs in there? I can only assume you’ve been there by the confidence with which you can speak of the team’s inner workings.

      • Johnson’s agent said that they’d be into a deal that appropriately shares the risk. I don’t think it’s out of the question at all that an extension gets done– and done before Johnson makes it clear one way or the other what kind of market there’s going to be for him.

        They dealt in-season with Edwin, they’ve announced a lot of extensions in the spring in recent years. Why not Johnson? Why wouldn’t there be a way to come up with a deal that works for both sides, and pays Johnson handsomely but keeps cost down enough for the Jays?

        You’re right that taking the pick and bringing Hutchison (or Nolin or whoever) in 2014 might make more sense, but hardly enough to be ruling anything out at this point.

        • I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think the timing and money will work in this case. You are right that an extension would have to happen early on to happen at all, but that’s the problem. This is the Jays first season with JJ (unlike EE who they had in house for 4 years), and if they’re unwilling to extend him right now I don’t see why they would based on only a month or two of data after the season starts. Conversely, if they don’t do it by that point, why would JJ bother accepting? If he gets to the all-star break with no extension and feels good, he’ll have 100 million reasons to not sign an extension.

          I think it’s fair to say the Josh Johnson has already accomplished enough in his career for someone to offer him at least an Edwin Jackson level deal. He would have to absolutely implode this year for that not to happen. That sets his floor at 4 years, $52 mil. Right around the one year amount the Jays would have to offer him to get a compensation pick if he left.

          His ceiling is Zach Greinke. He has shown that he’s as good as Zach when on, but doesn’t have nearly the history of durability. So I can’t see him getting more than Zach. That makes the ceiling 6 years, $144 mil.

          So basically, he’s probably going to end up getting 4-6 years at $13 to $24 mil per season from somebody. I am sure that he and his agent are aware of this, and I can’t imagine them agreeing to anything mid-season too far from the middle of that range, i.e. for less than 5 years, $90 mil.

          So what’s the best case scenario for the Jays here? Do they really want to offer him that kind of deal after seeing him make 6-10 starts? Probably not even if he’s going well, and if he’s doing poorly why would you want to? The only way the Jays get JJ on the cheap (i.e. less than 13 mil per) is if he pitches so poorly that he’s not even worth a qualifying offer, in which case, how does that make sense for the Jays?

          I just can’t come up with a scenario that results in JJ pitching well and the Jays signing him to a below market deal.

          • JJ on a 1 year deal is perfect for Toronto. Johnson is playing for an extension and so you know his effort will be 100%. Keep him this way for as long as possible. Don’t extend him too soon – if the donkey eats the carrot, the cart stops

          • They should just extend him now for Anibal Sanchez money (5 yrs/ $80 plus an option)

          • My fear is that JJ will come down with a sudden case of AJ Bernett bursitus as soon as he signs the extension. Make JJ feel he has to ear his next contract till September.

    • I don’t think Gibbons will be quite as laisser-faire as Farrell was when it came to boneheadedness on the basepaths, in the batting box and every where else it abounded last season with the Jays.

      In other words, I think he will be a decent coach. You won’t have players stealing with 2 outs and Jose up to bat in the 9th with the club one run down, you won’t have multiple consecutive innings with multiple players recording 1st-pitch outs, and you won’t have players running through stop signs, missing signs or not wearing sunglasses when they’re patrolling the outfield in a day game. Not, at least, without being benched for a few games. Lawrie was definitely a poster child for the “consequence free clubhouse” idea, but he was far from the only guy who did really stupid things without the coach getting involved.

      Lawrie definitely needs to temper his aggression with a bit more intelligence, but I don’t think his attitude is anything worse than what a couple of games on the bench could cure. The kid wants to play, and he’ll figure it out.

      • Agreed. Although accountability is more of a hockey used term I think it fits well with Lawrie coming into this season. Like you said Military Gibbons wont be the pushover dooshbag Farrell was. Not to mention the veterans all hitting ahead of him in the lineup.

        Minus Lind of course

  6. Coop (and Sierra for that matter) has 1 option left.

    I’m less concerned about boneheaded mistakes on the basepaths than the actual failure to realize them. Stealing home with two outs and the bases loaded and Bautista batting is seriously idiotic. But to say afterwards “good play, I’d do it again” is the major concern. Here’s hoping Gibby and a competitive environment will make him realize he can be a better ballplayer by thinking.

  7. Wat hed the doc Knuckleball online the other day. Its truly a great watch.

    Dickey has an incredible story, and its pretty much impossible not to admire the guy. Like, as a person.

  8. Why didn’t he just tag him?

  9. Cafardo has hit the ‘Jays get injured’ thing before. He mentioned it last week. Either he thinks that turf will always lead to injuries or he’s trying to hex us!

  10. This blog is great and all, but not “influential” in the slightest.
    Dream on.

    • Certainly not at the level of the San Diego Chicken.

      • The Chicken was named one of the 100 most powerful people in sports for the 20th century by the Sporting News.

        So, no. Not quite at that level.

        • Despite the narcissism it’d require, I’d engage further here… except I just checked out your commenting history (under a variety of names of course), which makes it very clear you’re a shithead not worth my time. Thanks for playing.

          • Oh shit. you can do that?
            I guess I’d better stop trolling!

          • The Chicken thing has been driving you bonkers for years now,can’t say I blame you.
            Your time will come Stoeten.
            Allthough, knowing how your ego is now,I’m afraid to see what it’ll be like when you do start making these lists.

          • Well, it’s just funnier to bring up the Chicken than to rag on the third base coach of the Rockland Boulders or whoever.

          • But worth enough of your time to write that.

            And yes, I change my name about as often as you change your tampon. So what?

            Did I hurt your poor widdle feelings? Awww. Cuz your not as influential as a guy in a chicken suit? Poor baby.

            • Blue Balls, I’m actually more upset at myself for not ever noticing that you have a bunch of dickless comments directed at me like the tampon one you just made.

              It’s been a slice!

          • Just buy Elliot a beer and get yourself on next year’s list.

      • Or jacqueslanciault.com/category/baseball/

        I mean, thats where us Canadian baseball fans go for into.

    • Can’t say I’m a fan of you kinda/sorta stealing my name and then making a big brown smudge with it.

    • I`d have to disagree with you BB…I think that with sabremetrics etc. the fanbase of baseball in Toronto has changed and DJF it it`s unofficial (yet still relatively small) spokes-blog.
      This blog gets mention (often without official recognition) in the rest of the media now, meaning the mainstreamers are reading it.

  11. Guys like Olney and Cafardo have to write something. Now that most of the free agents have signed there is not much to write about, barring some sort of blockbuster trade. I’d take everything they write with a large grain of salt…at least until spring training starts and there might actually be something to report.

  12. I’d put the Jays rotation ahead of LAD, PHI, CIN, and TB, though for the playoffs I’d take PHI’s.

  13. Yes but our bullpen is going to be mediocre this year however

    • The Jays bullpen sucked last year due to injuries and to the inability of the starting rotation to provide consistent quality starts. Don’t matter if you have all-stars in your bullpen. If you have to call the pen after 4 or 5 innings 3 nights out of 5, your bullpen is going to be burnt out by July.

      I have more confidence in this year’s bullpen than any other bullpen composition from the past few years. Lots of power arms and versatile guys who can get more than 3 outs, and hopefully, a healthy duo of Janssen and Santos to finish games.

    • Not having Coco is already a vast improvement over last year’s early season pen. Look for AA to add a big arm at the deadline.

    • The bullpen certainly carries the most question marks however there is def a lot of upside in the pen. Lack of experience and injury ?? marks linger but theres enuff talent to surprise many of the nay sayers

  14. Do you think that Adam Lind sucks so bad in spring training and Mr cooper hits so average that he steals the job from him on opening day?

    I could see it.

    • Not in spring but if by may he’s still sucking badly then maybe

    • Sure. That’s what spring is for.
      We’ll get an idea of what Lind and Cooper have to offer. We’ll see Bonifacio and Izturiz fight it out for 2b…. We’ll see if Rasmus can get his shit together. We’ll see how the bullpen is going to shake out.

      … and we’ll see someone get hurt and change everything anyway :)

  15. Isn’t Buster “Only the Lonely” Onley they one who was first bringing up (mainly by retweeting obscure articles to a larger audience) all of the tax implications crap and generally shedding a negative light on the Miami trade? Seemed as if for some reason he had it in for the Jays. Maybe he encountered a bad poutine on a road trip to Niagara Falls one day, who knows.

    As far as his rotation rankings go, I’d certainly put the Jays ahead of the Rays after they traded Sheilds, and maybe even up a few more notches. I’m not sold on the aging Phillies, the back end of the Dodgers staff, or Matt Leake and Homer Bailey (need to see more from him to be convinced) having prolonged success in Cincinnati. I don’t think that’s being a homer, I think that’s being realistic. But hey, I guess good ol’ B.O. must know what he’s talking about, after all, he’s the “insider”.

    • He hates the team

    • Lots of people were bringing that stuff up. I don’t think he at all has it in for the Jays. I could put the rotation higher too, but I’d say it’s hardly an unfair ranking. There are big questions with the Jays’ rotation too.

      • My gut reaction was “wow, way too low”. But then when I actually read the list and saw who he listed above the Jays I kind of get it. I mean, I could argue for a different order, but his list isn’t crazy.

      • Yeah, there was alot of discussion on the tax stuff, but I thought B.O. was the one who started the fire by tweeting it to his mass audience of followers. Then the shit storm began. I could be wrong… that was how I first heard about it. His larger audience and his status amongst baseball reporters really pushed the story.

        And I did say maybe… certainly agree, lots of questions on a lot of rotations, as there always is. I do think he should’ve at least put them ahead of TB. Let’s see Moore/Cobb/Hellboy gain more consistency first. A solid full season out of each of them and then I’ll be convinced. Jeff Neimann (who by the way I think looks just like Dumb and Dumber star Jeff Daniels) is pretty ordinary (not a bad 5th guy though). Compared to 2012, Sheilds has left some relatively large shoes to fill there.

        In the end it’s all opinion – just stating mine.

    • Who is going to be at the back-end of the Dodgers rotation? Beckett for sure, and even in a “horrendous down year” he was worth 2.3 fWAR. I’ll take that from my 4th/5th any day. Ryu is probably going to get the other spot and he’s a total question mark, but even if he falls on his face, they have (at least for right now) Capuano who was worth 2.1 fWAR himself. The back-end of their rotation looks fine to me, and given the fact that they probably have the best 1-2 in baseball in Kershaw and Greinke at the top, I’d probably take the Dodgers staff of the Jays staff for 2013

      • I’m not sold on Billingsley, Capuano, Lilly or the Harangutan. Each of those guys could be decent, but all certainly have enough risk for me to question whether they’ll have a good 2013.

        Billingsley has had some ups and downs (more volatile than typical middle of the rotation guys) over the past few seasons. He’s now the type of gy who you’d be satisfied with if he gave you a basic quality start (6IP, 3ER). Nothing to tap dance about. Capuano is a savvy veteran, but he’s also getting long in the tooth. Wouldn’t surprise anyone if he declined in performance. Lilly’s health has to be a concern now, and he’s even older than Capuano. Harangutan probably has to fill in at some point, and he just sucks, aside from swinging from trees and collecting low hanging fruit.

  16. Anybody know where you can watch Knuckleball online?

    • Frickin hell. Oh well. Those sneaky Indians… I think they’ve quietly had a pretty good offseason with some of their moves.

  17. Pretty slow news days in here until Oliver makes up his mind I guess ?

  18. Bring back Cooper. Fuck Lind. We need some baserunners to cash in.

  19. Bah seventh ranked rotation based on what? And what is the separation from say second place? Beyond the Tigers and Nats I would say it is all a toss-up.

  20. No question, the Jay’ rotation probably lags behind the Tigers, Nats and that Dodgers 8 man rotation. However, one cannot ignore the Dickey effect. Last season, the Mets went 14-6 when playing a team Dickey had faced the previous day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *