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According to a team release, the Jays have avoided arbitration with Colby Rasmus, signing him to a one-year deal worth $4.675-million, or just a hair above what Matt Swartz projected for him over at MLBTR back in October.

The deal is what it is. It’s what Rasmus was going to earn in arbitration no matter what, so quibbling over the figure is pointless. What’s perhaps interesting, though, is the fact that the last two arbitration-eligible players the Jays have signed longer-term extensions with, Brandon Morrow and Casey Janssen, had already exchanged numbers with the club and were headed towards arbitration hearings when their deals took place.

What I’d say this portends, then, is that an extension for Rasmus isn’t in the cards this winter– which should come as a surprise to no one, save maybe those who lapsed into a coma at the All-Star break and are just now coming to.

Unless something happens in-season, or next winter, it looks as though Colby will head into 2014 as a pending free agent, with Anthony Gose breathing down his neck. Hardly the picture envisioned when Alex Anthopoulos supposedly stole him from the World-Series-bound St. Louis Cardinals, huh?

Eric Seidman of FanGraphs took a look at whether Rasmus was worth an extension back in mid-September, and didn’t see a whole lot of reason to think so– as anyone who has watched the Jays closely over his year-and-a-half tenure will attest– but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never get one. I dunno… maybe getting to work more frequently with Chad Mottola this season will help?

I mean, undoubtedly talent is still there. He was so good for a stretch that his overall numbers don’t look nearly as abysmal as they maybe should, and the 23 home runs and 8.5% first half walk rate are somewhat encouraging– as is the hope that, either because he mentally checked out on a lost Jays season, or was hampered by nagging injuries and insistent on playing as long as he could, given how so many others around him had succumbed to injury, the end of his 2012 wasn’t maybe as bad as it would have, in other circumstances, looked.

I’m definitely not as hopeful, or as willing to make those kinds of excuses as I was a year ago, but he’s still young enough and talented enough to not give up on him. I can still manage to tap a reservoir of hope that being on a team that’s actually playing for something helps. Or maybe even that something as seemingly small as his participation in the club’s Winter Tour has an positive impact– after all, here’s what he said to Atta Almasi of BlueJays.com:

“Everybody’s so pumped up about the moves we made in the offseason. Yesterday we got to go to a hospital and meet some of the kids here in Edmonton, which was great. They were so jacked up about meeting us as players and that put a smile on their face, and we were able to sign some autographs, so hopefully that’ll boost their spirits a little bit and make them want to fight a little harder because that’s what it’s all about. Being in this position, and to see those kids, it’s humbling. And it just makes you want to play hard for them and everybody else just to give everybody a boost of some excitement.”

I don’t know… but I’ll take whatever positive signs I can get. Though, I can’t lie, the fact that I’m much more comfortable with Anthony Gose than I have been in the past definitely soothes my jangled nerves in this regard as well.

So what I’ll say is, ultimately the Jays made the right move in not committing more than they had to in the enigmatic Rasmus today, but that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t be rooting for him to earn a bigger payday– or assuming yet that it’s a hopeless to think he one day might.

 

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Comments (108)

  1. ” I can still manage to tap a reservoir of hope that being on a team that’s actually playing for something helps.”

    Tony Larussa disagrees.

    • Yeah, but Tony La Russa is kinda the worst, so how could anyone take seriously what he thinks?

      • Oh I certainly don’t. I am completely indifferent to what Larussa says.

        But it’s a reach suggesting a better team will magically improve Rasmus’ performance. Espescially since he has been on a decent veteran-laden team and that didn’t work out.

        If anything, I’d argue there is more “pressure” in that if he doesn’t perform, there is a very capable replacement in Anthony Gose waiting to snatch his job.

        What effect, if any, will this have on Rasmus? Who the hell knows.

        • Not to split hairs too much, but he was pretty OK for the Cardinals back in 2011– .330 wOBA, 110 wRC+, much better walk and strikeout rates than since coming here. I get what you’re saying, though.

          • @Andrew

            I’m not a Colby hater so no need to use his 2011 stats to show he was fine in STL.

            Just pointing out that last year a lot of people were taking quotes by Rasmus as an indication that Toronto’s younger team would improve his performance.

            I suggested, if anything, that Colby not being able to perform on a veteran team in STL was not a good sign.

            And here Colby is again on a veteran-laden team with playoff aspirtations.

            Really, though, we have no idea how Colby’s surroundings impact his on-field performance.

        • He said he felt uncomfortable playing with the veteran-laced team in Cincinnati . When he came to Toronto and joined their youthful roster, he said he felt a lot more comfy in his new setting.

          So as of today, Colby’s improvement on the gross national happiness index has not improved his baseball skills.

          Maybe playing with people he likes, plus playing on a play-off calibre team be the perfect recipe to give him the WANT to succeed.

          • Or maybe he had a shitty crazy boss who never let him figure shit out and he never played for the Reds. When he came here saying ‘its nice to join this youthful squad’ is politically framing the sentiment “I couldn’t wait to ride the first flaming turd out of that shithouse in StL” Lets not play psychologists with pro athletes; least of all Colby Fucking Rasmus. We can rest assured that whats going on at the surface probably permeates all the way through with that guy.

      • I finally understand. It’s an inverse correlation between how many World Series rings a manager has and how much respect you have for their opinion/methods. Makes total sense.

      • Opinions of LaRussa aside, even you’d have to acknowledge that he’s been right so far about Rasmus.

  2. I agree in that I’m really not that surprised that there wasn’t an extension given.

    I’d like to hope Cletus has matured a little bit and I tend to think that he was hiding a nagging injury in the last 60 games or so. I have fuck all to back that up, its just what I think (hope).

    It’ll be interesting to see how moving down the lineup will affect him. Since he liked getting thrust into the 2 hole last year and the early results were positive to boot. Will moving down hinder him?

  3. I read somewhere, I think regarding JJ that AA said regarding extensions that when he first started as GM he would jump at the chance to extend a player but now he is more comfortable waiting to sign the extension, or something to that effect.

  4. Wow, total 180 here Stoeten, you had the biggest Rasmus-boner of anyone, ever, adding the children’s hospital statement does not alleviate the huge fucking disappointment this guy has been – his whole career. I’d say he’s in the minors before the end of 2013. Gose deserves the job.

  5. I’ll admit that I didn’t read the entire piece since I’m in class, but what I make from a lack of an extension is this:

    Rasmus still has one more year of arb eligibility. If he does great this year, he has much more value. If he flops, he flops. How things go forward is how Gose contributes at both AAA and with the Jays if, or when, he gets a call-up.

    • If Rasmus does well and Gose does well, Rasmus is traded.
    • If Rasmus does well and Gose flops hard, Rasmus might get a year of FA bought out.
    • If Rasmus flops and Gose does well, Rasmus is traded (albeit for almost nothing at that point).
    • If Rasmus flops and Gose flops, however unlikely this happens, I honestly don’t have a clue in this scenario. The Jays probably still trade Rasmus since Gose is cheaper and provides superior defense.

    Note: This is how I see things, and not at all claimed to be fact.

    • Rasmus on the trade market would be worth probably 30 cents on the dollar if your’e lucky

      • At the moment for sure. There’s no way the Jays trade him now, or even at the deadline though. It’s either increase that 30 cents as high as you can, or take another value hit and end up moving a player for the sake of salary relief – probably a non-tender.

    • If rasmsu does well I say keep rasmus and trade gose. Gose will likely never have as much power as rasmus and the speed difference is not substantial. Gose still has a lot of work to do with the bat.

      • Speed is substantial though, just not when talking about home runs. Speed will get you more triples, and more doubles, thus increasing your wOBA.

        Let’s not forget that while Rasmus hit 23 homers, he still only managed a fugly .297 wOBA, which wasn’t much better than Gose’s in a SSS.

        • afdg did not suggest speed isn’t substantial, he said “the speed difference” which im assuming meant the difference between rasmus’ speed and gose’s speed isn’t substantial, which is an arguable point.

      • I’d counter some of this, but it’s easier to just suggest you read the post I linked to re: Gose.

    • You really think it’s that unlikely that they both flop??

      • I suppose I shouldn’t think so because of one struggling for 1½ years and one being a rookie with question marks regarding hitting.

        I’m probably more in denial than anything that the Jays’ offense from CF is quite brutal right now. But, in the long run I’d bet an authentic free coffee from a roll up to win that Gose will be better offensively than Colby in 2 years.

  6. There’s seem to be a Psychic Reader on every block in Toronto. Can I go pay my 20 bucks, or whatever, and ask them how Colby is going to perform this year? Or do I need his palm for that? Has nobody thought of this idea before? ] Maybe if I print off that picture of Colby from above, that will be enough for him/her to perform their witchcraft. Or would the curling picture be better suited? I doubt they’ll be able to predict his 2013 OPS+ with just that picture, but I’m sure foretelling his AVG won’t be too difficult – give or take a few points – I mean, I’m not going to Madonnas personal psychic.

    • Are we not allowed to share our fucking thoughts about certain players here? No one is claiming to be psychic, just wildly speculating baed on personal bias, gut feelings and player preferences….

      • No, not at all. Not much else to talk about in baseball during the offseason – minus this year – since the Jays made so many intriguing deals. I was just making light of the situation. Wasn’t trying to be a dick.

  7. Before the curling, I don’t think I’d ever actually Colby with a big smile on his face. Almost as good as happy Edwin!

    Also, the last part of that last sentence makes no sense.

  8. I never got the whole ‘playing hurt thing’

    whats the point of playing hurt on a 4th place team? Its not like we were in a pennant race and needed him to fight through it.

    I admit, I’ve been largely let down by colby, i was so excited when the deal first happened. Hopefully with absolutely no pressure on him this year, batting 6th or 7th, will just allow him to relax and play ball. hopefully some good will come out of it

    • The play hurt thing certainly doesn’t make sense when you intellectualize it, but I think there are pressures to stay in there– real or imagined– from Zaun-like adherents to the tough guy jock code, to your own belief that someone like Anthony Gose may take your job if you give him the opportunity, etc. This stuff surely must happen all the time for a bigger reason than the fact that these guys are too dumb or stubborn to realize they’re actually hurting the team.

      • We don’t know how hurt Colby was and to what degree it affected his performance.

        But being on the field, and accumulating more counting stats, helped Colby to a nice pay raise through arbitration today.

        So there most definitely was a purpose to Colby staying on the field as playing 50 – 80 games (even at a higher level) likely would have cost him some money.

        • Excellent point.

          • I think that’s one way of looking at it…but I also think there is another way which is far more accurate:

            All major league players are ‘playing hurt’ to one degree or another at some point every season. What separates the good players from the average players is that they are either so talented or so smart (or both) that they are able to keep their performance high through it all.

            When your margin for success is so slim that a slight pull or strain takes 200 pts off of your OPS, the reality is that you’re just not that good. Most of these guys can rake when perfectly healthy. We’re not talking about debilitating injuries with Colby, we’re talking about stuff that can be played through. It’s not like he had surgery after the season.

    • whats the point of playing hurt on a 4th place team? Its not like we were in a pennant race and needed him to fight through it.

      Some of us actually pay to go to the games fucknard.

  9. Last winter, many of us were hoping AA would lock up Brett Lawrie to an extension, espescially after his massive debut. Could it happen during the spring? I think this could be a great time to do it.

    Lawrie’s “disappointing” year gave a good indication that he has a pretty high floor if he can stay healthy. But the “disappointment” could also lead to a cheaper contract.

    AA could offer a 5 year extension with 3 team options which keeps with team policy in terms of contract length (whatever that is worth).

    If Lawrie has another gear, which many think he does, it could be a steal. And Lawrie has enough of a track record where the chances of him pulling an Eric Hinske seem slimmer. Health is probably the greatest risk in an extension not working out for the Jays.

    Something like 5 years and $20 million with 3 years and $30 – $40 million in team options could be palatable to both sides.

    • AA has said that they don’t really have to take those kinds of Longoria- or Matt Moore-like gambles with their pre-arb players, and if they really think the money will be there when needed and can gauge it so that they get as much data as possible on a guy before deciding when it’s the right time to extend, I think that makes sense.

      It’s not like the pre-arb deals with Lind and Romero have worked out so swimmingly at this point.

      • I know AA has said that, but we don’t know to what degree he honestly believes it. I get that the Jays are not Tampa, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a good risk to take.

        And prior to last season, Romero’s extension looked just fine. Frankly, if the Jays wanted to deal him, I’m quite sure a team would absorb the entire contract. Durable #4 starters make quite a bit these days even if that’s all Romero is going forward (and he may be much more).

        From afar, I think one can make a case that Brett Lawrie has more of a work ethic than Adam Lind. It may make AA more comfortable in making this kind of investment.

        But fair enough that AA may not be in the same rush that I am.

        • AA wants to lock up JJ before lawrie for sure though

          • I’d buy that.

            • I also remember Johnsons agent saying he was open to working an extension before the season starts if the Jays were up for it. If your AA where do you start with a guy like JJ who hasnt pitched in the AL east and has suffered injuries in the past yet is one damn good pitcher when hes on.

              Ps Good post. I think sticking to 1 year right now makes complete sense. Im also a big believer in Gose and his future with the Jays. None the less hopefully Rasmus rips the tits off the ball this year.

              • That one’s above my pay grade. No idea where you even start to come together on that.

                • @stoeten

                  Dec 15 MLB TRADE RUMOURS

                  “Sosnick confirmed to Olney they have not had any contract extension talks with the Jays. THEY ARE OPEN TO IT HOWEVER”

                  • The Johnson extension is not something I’m that worried about after seeing the powerful effect qualifying offers have had on the market this offseason. With Hutchison and Drabek returning from injury, Nolin being one year closer, I think AA is in a win-win-win scenario with Johnson. Either he gets a reasonable extension, he gets him for another year at about $14 million or JJ declines a qualifying offer, leaves, and the Jays get the additional top 40 pick to start rebuilding the farm. I wouldn’t want to go to crazy on a Johnson extension and sacrifice flexibility next offseason.

          • If Johnson has a good year, he’s going to demand a MONSTER long term contract, I’ve already resigned him as a one year player. Not worth it.

            • That’s why they’d do a deal much, much earlier, when they can mitigate the cost with some mutual risk.

          • Guys, forget it, never going to happen. I outlined all the obstacles to a JJ re-signing a month or so ago. It makes no sense for either side. He’s one and done unless he accepts the Jays qualifying offer (which they will surely make, that’s win-win for them).

    • I caught an April (maybe early May) game in Toronto where the Jays were up big and Lawrie dove into the 5th row on a foul ball-nothing play that could’ve been a horrendous injury… The fuckin nut needs to calm the fuck down. Which I think he will, with age.

  10. “either because he mentally checked out on a lost Jays season, or was hampered by nagging injuries and insistent on playing as long as he could, given how so many others around him had succumbed to injury, the end of his 2012 wasn’t maybe as bad as it would have, in other circumstances, looked.”

    Stoeten, I nit-pick when I read your work a little bit (maybe because it’s worth reading most of the time), but how do you feel about not believing in intangibles some of the time, and other times using it as part of your reasoning? a sincere question – how is mentally checking out due to team-mates injuries & poor team prospects different from mentally buying-in when things are going good & you’re feeling great (isn’t this momentum as well)? It’s elementary, really, and I know what I believe & I know what I know, it’s just hard to swallow when I otherwise appreciate your writing.

    Wishing an enjoyable season for us all, can’t wait to finally have a solid winner in town again, especially for the Jays. Peace

    • Mainly I guess it’s because not all intangibles are created equal.

      To use your examples, I think it’s a lot easier to believe in something intangible dragging a player’s performance down than magically bringing it up. We know players are capable of playing worse than what their true talent is– I mean… obviously and for a whole host of reasons, mental or physical. They’re not robots (though I wouldn’t include, as so many people do, having a “bad” teammate or two as being one of those things that might in any tangible way change anything). But playing better? Like consistent, sustained, better play than you could ever expect given a player’s true talent, for long enough to not look like a statistical fluke? Because of great leadership or “momentum”? That I just don’t buy. Maybe there’s something to confidence, but… it’s all just a bit silly to give these concepts too much time, because they’re so unknowable, and there just aren’t many great reasons to think they’d be meaningful, once you really start looking at them.

      • Ok just a few real-life examples… I’ve been on teams down 7-1 in the last inning that have come back to win. I’ve hit something like 6 or 8 home-runs in 14 years of competitive play, all when my team was down or really needed a boost (otherwise I’m not swinging for homers). And I’ve seen guys step up in big situations & come through, yes, in the “clutch” when necessary, beyond even physical limitations (kirk gibson is an example).. I’ve grown up with guys from 3-4 years of age, and others I’ve just known through summer-times, but these guys are life-time friends, and we’ve been perennial winners in school & beyond, and then I’ve joined some other teams where that feeling & bond was missing, and believe me, I even quit a few of them, because of coaches, unfair playing decisions, etc… and my heart wasn’t in it in those times. If players can build a chemistry, it’s magical, like brothers going through thick & thin, it certainly makes a huuuge difference, and in MLB sure they get paid & are pros & have a high turnover, but if something magical can be created, like the etheric energy building up over these Jays right now, in the media, among the people, etc., it can build up & cause some surprising performances from places you might not expect at timely moments, I”m just saying, we’ve all seen it done before. Ed Sprague ’92. Derek Bell kept talking about the trenches. If it’s there, it’s there, and it’s hard to beat. spirit means a lot. All I’m saying.

        • Really good comment, noone.
          Well said.

        • I can’t deny that it probably seems like that’s a real thing, but unfortunately it’s scant evidence of this effect, in the grand scheme, not to mention entirely anecdotal evidence and perceptions that pretty easily can get skewed. I’m not going to say that if you can’t quantify it it doesn’t exist, but it’s not concrete-enough or a large enough amount of evidence to convince me that all those things wouldn’t better be chalked up to more realistic causes like coincidences and warped remembrances.

          The burden of proof on this stuff is a heavy one, and it falls squarely on the person trying to prove the magic. I’m not saying it’s not possible, or that there might not be some scientific way to confirm that these sorts of things do happen, and happen consistently enough to be considered even close to a real thing. But it’s not a whole lot different than trying to prove the existence of ghosts, and I’m sure lots of people have similar things that seem positively uncanny to them, but that don’t really hold up as evidence.

          Spirit may mean something, but talent means so, so, so much more.

          • @ Stoeten

            Love the circular arguments.
            “I can’t deny that it probably seems like that’s a real thing”
            Then say it doesn’t,at least in your opinion.
            Just because it isn’t measurable to your standards then it must not exist?
            Talent can be influenced by spirit and environment.
            Even when AA says it’s important,you choose to ignore it.
            Amazingly stubborn.
            Unless you think AA is wrong.

        • @ noone

          +1

          Ive competed as a professional since the age of 15 out west racing on the WPCA and have seen competitors countless times shine in low pressure situations at small rodeos and buckle under the bright lights of the Calgary Stampede when their needed most and vice versa. Usually its the same guys stepping up and the same guys choking.

          I know words like “clutch” and “confidence” or “momentum” dont hold much sway for many on here but I believe at times they are all intertwined in moments of victory

          I know my words dont share yer poetry
          Never the less
          cheers
          Go Jays

          • I’ve had this conversation a lot and I think where a lot of people get lost in this whole intangible/clutch conversation is between positive and negative intangibles.

            for instance, i believe that there is no player that is all of a sudden good in a pressure situation, that doesn’t exist and numbers have disproved it. Derek Jeter is good in ‘clutch’ situations, because he is a smart baseball player who is good in ‘all’ situations.

            I do believe however that certain players, for a variety of reasons, mostly there inherent need to be a hero or do too much, that are more likely to fail in percieved clutch situations. If you go up to the plate in a tie game and try to hit a homerun, chances are extremely slim, even for a profound homerun hitter, that they are going to hit it out of the park. Where as a walk, single or double is far more likely to occur.

            So while I don’t think there are players who all of a sudden rise outside of their regular play in a clutch situation, I can rationalize the fact that some players, based mostly on their strengths and weakness, are more likely to fail in those same situations.

            Not every player in the league is able to command the strike zone and take what the pitchers give them, those that do are far ore likely to continue success in clutch situations.

          • I think it’s very important here to distinguish between talent and performance. Everyone here, including Andrew, tends to interchangeably use the two which causes confusion.

            As Andrew correctly points out, talent is what it is. You are born with it and it dictates a window of performance for you.

            Perfermance is partially based on talent, and partially based on training, effort, motivation, focus, etc. Everything performance is based on, other than talent, can be affected by an individual or his surroundings.

            So while Andrew is right that talent is not affected by intangible things, he is similarly wrong that performance isn’t affected by those things.

            The error is caused by his underlying assumption that a player’s performance in baseball, overtime, will ultimately align with his true talent level because there are so many samples to include in the averages, but that assumption is flawed.

            Statistics never measure talent, they only measure performance.

        • You can’t cite successful “clutch” performances without also citing unsuccessful ones. Problem: we remember the successful ones. You remember 1992 WS Game 2. Do you remember who didn’t drive in key runs against the Twins in the 1991 ALCS? If you’re old enough, do you remember who, other than George Bell, didn’t drive in key runs in the last week fo 1987 that would have beat the Tigers?

          Team chemistry is a different question. I work in software, and have read The Psychology of Computer Programming, which has one key conclusion: we don’t know what makes people work together as a team. By this I mean that the enigma of team chemistry isn’t limited to sports teams — business teams behave similarly. We have examples of people who aren’t big individual performers, but who go from team to team within a company, and that department magically produces better. We don’t understand why it happens.

          Do intangibles affect the performance of individual players and teams? Of course they do. Anyone who claims otherwise is a total idiot. Can we quantify this effect? Probably not. Is this effect stable and sustainable? Probably not. Could we ever detect this effect and use it predictively? Almost certainly never.

          • @ JBR

            I’ve seen it in a business setting also.The answer could be “factors that motivate individuals”.
            It’s a catchall phrase.
            I concur with your comment.

      • I don’t think we can really talk about the impact of intangibles as being the same in all sports or even in all aspects of a sport. I used to play defense in lacrosse, and I remember big games where we were down by one with a few minutes left and I’d be able to find an extra gear where I’d just decide I was gonna take the ball away from a guy and there was nothing he could do about it. Same goes for a hustle play in basketball or hockey, going for rebounds or loose pucks. Situations (call it momentum if you want) can help guys find that little bit of extra energy and determination to outwork another player.

        Hitting a baseball isn’t a “hustle” play as such. I don’t believe that those same factors that help you work a little bit harder in some situations can make you temporarily better at hitting a baseball, or sniping the top corner or draining a three pointer for that matter. I believe major league batters are trying to get on base every at bat and pitchers are trying to get every batter out regardless of the situation, and “clutch” scenarios and “momentum” can’t impact it one bit. Things like hustling just a little bit more to beat out a double play or lay out for a fly ball may be another story, but if all it took to hit well was to think to yourself “OK I’m really gonna try hard to hit it this time!” I think there would be a lot more great hitters in the game.

        • Good point, Dillon; I hold a similar opinion. I do however, think players can ‘get in the zone’ in clutch situations- a better ability to concentrate when the pressure is on. I myself always has my best sports games when the stakes were highest. Too bad for me that I didn’t have the talent level to become anything more than a big fish in a small pond.

          The thing is though, I think that almost all players that have managed to make it to the Majors have the ability to perform under pressure- they wouldn’t be there if they couldn’t. If a 16 year old is told there’s scouts in the stands and goes out and has a bad game, he won’t become a prospect.

          Essentially, I think ‘clutchness’ does exist, but at the major league level, it’s a zero sum game. If all of your peers have the same ability, it does not confer any advantage to you.

    • There may not be any quantitative research done in baseball on the so-called “intangibles” but there is significant research done in healthcare, and I’m sure in many other areas as well. For example, it is known that people who have “hope” fare much better with pervasive mental illness than those who do not. I would bet that there is a scientific basis for this, just as there is likely a scientific basis for why people perform better when they are happy. You can’t discount positive psychology just because you have trouble measuring it. I think the challenge would be what to do with the data. I would guess that they have team psychologists to deal with the individual stuff, but team chemistry isn’t something that you can create. So it’s sort of like “so what?”.

      • @ karen

        I respect your opinion but disagree with your conclusion.
        Competition in general produces an adrenalin rush. A spirit to succeed.Individuals creating something special beyond the sum of the parts.
        I’ve seen players break bones from an increased focus, to not let his teammates down.
        I’ve seen players shunned by teammates in certain cliques to the point where it affects the individuals performance.
        Players who go 0 for 30 and break out with positive reinforcement.
        Players who can’t perform because of negative reinforcement.
        Environment can influence results.
        Team chemistry can be created and nurtured to produce success.
        In sports,in business,in life.

        • RADAR,

          I get what you are saying, there is a lot that can be done to support a cohesive team that plays well together. We also know of players that are really disliked on a team, yet perform really well.
          My point was really about the data. How do they collect it and what would they do with it? Without any supporting data it is all just speculation really.

          • I understand your need for a clintcal data set and the requisite control group, to provide proof positive.
            But isn’t that the definition of intangibles?
            Unmeasurable conditions that affect performance.?
            And with recognizing different personality traits and the end results from changes in environment.
            Introvert vs extrovert.
            I’ve seen many motivated grade B teams out perform unmotivated grade A teams simply because of support and playing as a cohesive unit.
            I’ve seen it,coached it,played it,lived it.
            That’s enough data for me.
            I know this is your area of expertise but I respectfully disagree.

          • Is this whole discussion a bit of a variationf on the “it takes 10 positive reactions to overcome the effect of one negative reaction” idea?

            i.e. it is more likely that a negative environment/lack of team chemistry will negatively affect a person’s performance, than a positive environment will boost someone’s performance? Just a thought…if it makes sense to anybody.

  11. If you could lock up Rasmus for 3 years $13M, would you do it?

    • Probably. Though I prefer keeping the flexibility, even a decent season, or one like this year, with totally empty HR and RBI numbers, he’ll go up to something in the $6-million range, which would mean either way you’ll likely pay him $11-million for two years. At worst he barely gets a raise and you get him around $9-million for those two. You’d be doing alright to get him for, essentially $2- to $4-million for the third year.

    • Rasmus wants 3 years 20 million at least. That would be cheap by his standards.

      Next year he will be almost 7 million dollars. The question is what is the third year worth.

      Successful he is worth 10 million dollars. Like a Shane Victorino contract. 3 years 39 million.

  12. Yep. Yep…

  13. Looks like a 7th uniformed coach will be allowed in the dugout next season. Fasano?

  14. -inspirational moments (John McDonald on father’s day, Brett Favre & others after deaths of loved ones)

    -inspirational speeches (Al Pacino :) .. win one for the gipper, many more…think of personal moments)

    -inspirational causes (Miracle hockey team, Lithuania vs. Russia basketball, the girl who swam across lake ontario, we’re going to win this one for MJ (or some other beloved team-mate) I’ve heard in interviews, etc.)

    national pride, personal pride, honour, love of a teammate like let’s win it this for Tim Duncan or something like that, or coach…. these things do make a difference- all I’m saying. they don’t have to be so drastic, but the energy within & around & permeating a team is real – Obi Wan Kenobi is no fool.

    That’s it for me, good night folks~

    • Lithuania vs. Russia basketball? Forgive my ignorance but I loathe basketball yo.

    • Having played sports my whole life, I can’t deny the role intangible things like those you mention can play in affecting people’s performance. But I think one of the issues here is the knowability of those effects and the consistency of them.

      Sure, we can look at Johny Mac’s home run or Favre’s performance as the result of some sort of performance boost due to the emotional circumstances. But that’s the reconstruction of past events through the lens of the present. We don’t really know that one things was due to the other. We’ll never know if Mac or Favre would have done the same thing had their fathers not died. They might have done the same thing anyway. We don’t have a counterfactual machine to test this out. But we like the story and want to believe it to be true. But the truth is that we just can’t know.

      The other issue is consistency. For every Johnny Mac and Favre, there may have been several others who withered under the emotional weight of the situation. You need only read Hayhurst’s second book to understand that there are a spectrum of reactions that one can have to different pressures. Hayhurst’s anxiety issues crushed him.

      This is the other problem with intangibles, we can’t really know how a person will react to different emotional stimuli. Some might have a personality that thrives on it, others might crumble under the same thing. But all we have is armchair psychological speculation to rely on when trying to figure out “What’s bothering him.” And that’s not something you want to base sound analysis on.

      • You can’t deny the role of intangible things but because you can’t quantify or measure them,they should be discounted and not included in the analysis?
        Take a look at Rasmus’s 2011 season. But instead of Fangraphs, examine his quotes during the year but especially at the end of the season.

        • People keep tossing around the terms “quantifiable” and “measurable.” I never used those terms. I said knowable.

          How do you KNOW that person x’s performance is being affected by whatever the intangible du jour is.

          How do you know that they will respond in the same manner you (or whoever) did? How do you know that the emotional stimuli was really the reason they performed the way they did? I mean, they might not even know that it’s affecting them.

          The reason I think you should leave it out of an analysis is that it’s far riskier to base a decision on inaccurate information that you believe to be accurate rather than basing your decision on knowledge that you know is accurate but that you acknowledge is not complete.

          The thing about intangibles is that they can easily be used to paper over holes in our knowledge that make us uncomfortable. When we’re a bit uncertain about why someone is struggling, we can pull out “the intangibles” to explain what we don’t know. Or, far worse, we can use “intangibles” to reinforce our preferred narrative and disregard opinions or evidence that contradict what we want to be true.

          • I understand what you’re saying. I disagree.
            I used Rasmus as an example.
            By all accounts,it’s universally accepted that Colby has the tools and the talent to succeed.
            Yet, between TLR, Colby’s dad, his newborn daughter and the trade,it affected the play on the field.
            He failed to take control in centre to the point where balls were falling in between fielders. His batting was subpar. He was unwilling or unable to adjust.
            He admitted to “playing out September” so he could come out refocused in the spring.
            That;’s the case of talent being affected by intangibles.
            If you don’t get it, I’m afraid you never will.
            We will have to agree to disagree.

          • “The thing about intangibles is that they can easily be used to paper over holes in our knowledge that make us uncomfortable. When we’re a bit uncertain about why someone is struggling, we can pull out “the intangibles” to explain what we don’t know. Or, far worse, we can use “intangibles” to reinforce our preferred narrative and disregard opinions or evidence that contradict what we want to be true.”

            Yep agreed. This is the concept of Bill James’ “Bullshit Dump”. You can pretty much throw whatever into it and get your desired outcome.

  15. Colby is this years “Hurlihy Boy”

  16. Well this is an interesting discussion about Colby & intangibles.

    Prior to the 2011 season, this blog had a post saying that AA should go after Colby.

    AA got him inJjULY 2011 & THIS BLOG WENT WILD.

    Colby’s defense has been excellent since he joined the Jays in 2011.

    he had a brilliant 6 weeks in 2012 where he helped carry the team. He got hurt & his performance went down.

    The team had virtually no regular players in August yet Colby continued to play while injured.

    I think a healthy Colby could easily hit 25-30 HR. with 270 average, some stolen bases & excellent defense.

    He’s a valuable player to have & with Gose as a backup it should motivate him to play even better.

    Colby is very likeable & you can’t go wrong with a players who’s willing to git a dinger so you can get some dough:)))

  17. I’ve been watching baseball for over 25 years (fuck I’m old), and a big time fantasy baseball player for the past 8-9 years. I can’t, for the life of me, understand how people can be so high on Gose, when he is absolutely horrific with the bat.

    Nothing, not speed nor defence (which, in CF is 95% speed anyways) make up for a severe lack of hitting ability. At the plate he’s a strikeout machine with no power. Thats what you call a major offensive liability. He’s fast. That’s it. Big fucking deal. Guys like Gose are a dime a dozen, and if they do end up in the majors, it’s a short career as a bench pinch runner and defensive replacement.

    I hope AA finds a sucker GM to take him for a decent return soon, before he becomes even more exposed in Buffalo this season.

    • He’s also just 22 this year, and was pretty lanky for his height… players can do this weird and magical thing called ‘improving’.

      I’m not even a prospect porn guy, but what exactly were you expecting out of his rookie year? It’s should be obvious he’s raw and was pushed very aggressively through the system.

    • He’s 22 years old. He is not ‘horrific with the bat’. He does not have ‘a severe lack of hitting ability’.

      What you have with Anthony Gose is an unfinished product. You are right in that he may never develop his hitting skills beyond where they are now- which is extremely highly unlikely- which means, as you say, he becomes a Juan Pierre or Michael Bourn type player (but with an arm that nobody will ever challenge). Hardly a dime a dozen. Yes, if he played any other position he’d be of little value.

      Devon White is considered a god in Toronto. Look at his hitting stats- not that great. If I were to hazard a guess right now, I would think that Gose will most likely end up with a comparable career. That is, I would set White’s career stats as the over/under line. Equal chance he underperforms and overperforms White’s numbers.

      (btw- Devon White age 22 season, 21 games- .143/.333/.143
      23 season, 29 games- .235/.316/.353
      24 season, 159 games- ..263/.306/.443 – four more years before slugging goes above .400 again.

      The corollary to this is that he does somehow improve his hitting ability as he grows into his body. Then what you have is a perrenial all-star roving centre field.

      Major league GM’s that trade potential all-star centrefielders before they develop usually end up becoming (poor) fantasy baseball GM’s.

      • That’s funny. I was taking the same stance with someone last night. Devon was a 6 win player with a .300 OBP.

        Gose doesn’t need to hit .270. My personal concern with Gose is his SB %. I’d think you’d gain more value working toward a 80 SB % than trying to add .020 to your batting average.

        36 for 63 in 2010
        69 for 84 in 2011
        34 for 46 in 2012 (minors)

        Actually, now that I’ve written it down the learning curve seems pretty clear. But I will leave my mistake for all to see.

    • Seriously? What year is this? Yes, defence and speed have a shit-tonne of value.

      Take these with the Ayers Rock-sized grain of salt needed, but…

      .274/.348/.391, .326 wOBA, 104 wRC+, 10.0 BB%, 22.0 K%, 22.5 UZR/150
      .262/.347/.393, .328 wOBA, 105 wRC+, 11.3 BB%, 23.7 K%, 55.3 UZR/150*

      The first set of numbers is Michael Bourn’s 2012, and the second is Gose’s Septmber (though the UZR/150 is actually his full season number for CF only).

      Yes, it’s a tremendously small sample size, and a generally unreliable September one at that, but what it shows you is that Gose wasn’t nearly as bad as you remember in September, and that, at least for a month, he actually provided the kind of value it was expected Michael Bourn was going to get someone to pay upwards of $75-million for (y’know, before the market cratered).

      Yes, it’s just one month, and I’m surely not saying Gose is definitely going to be Bourn, but it’s not a terribly impressive bat he has to have to provide a shit-tonne of value, and in that context, with your expectations at the plate lowered to a reasonable level, I think it’s pretty obvious to see how he’s very worth holding onto.

      • To add to Stoeten’s comment, have a look at Peter Bourjos:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=2578&position=OF

        Yes, we may quibble about whether or not UZR gives him too much credit for his defense.

        But the point is an elite defensive CF who can add value on the bases simply doesn’t have to hit a lot to have good value.

        Whether or not Gose is an average regular, above average regular or an all star pretty much comes down to one thing: on base percentage.

        He has shown an ability to take a walk. He’s probably a high BABIP guy.

        Contact skills are obviously very important. But he doesn’t even need to be that good of a contact hitter to have solid value.

      • Michael Bourn is one guy. September is one month. Look at Gose’s entire career, minors and majors (I think I’ve said this a few times :)). I can’t see him ever hitting close to .300 like Bourn has. I get what you’re trying to say though, considering Gose’s age, and certainly agree with the Ayers Rock sized grain of salt. We still need to see more from Gose to be able to compare his bat to other respectable center fielders. Lets just say if I had to gamble on it, I wouldn’t bet on much of anything from his bat, considering the strikeouts and lack of power. But I’ve been wrong before, and anything is possible, I guess.

        I think where we differ at a much greater level is the value we place on defense and speed, specifically from the center field position. To me, once you go into the outfield, the importance of defense drops considerably compared to the most defense oriented positions (specifically shortstop and second base). Of course, playing center field requires a certain type of player, and certainly not every baseball player can do it. And to me, the main skillset required to play sound defense in CF is speed. Blazing speed. After that, as long as you’re athletic (and if you have blazing speed, you’re likely athletic as well), there are no unique skills required to play great center field defense. Maybe a nice arm, but that’s more suited for RF. In CF, its a bonus. Marginal return for the added benefit. IMHO, I don’t think going from a decent arm to a great arm is in CF is so much of an added commodity that it boosts a players defensive value through the roof. Short and second, on the other hand, require all sorts of unique, hard to teach skills. Range, agility, quick hands, soft hands, etc. All of these things are a talent in and amongst themselves, and unlike speed, they’re not the easiest skillset to find in one package. So, you accept the poor hitting stats from these kind of guys because the last thing you need is a guy like Edwin Encarnacion trying to turn double plays. I just don’t buy the same argument for CF. Just fucking run, thats it. So, all things considered (all subjective and opinionated, no doubt) to say that all Gose has to do is be mildly ok with the bat and he holds great value is a huge stretch for me.

  18. Inbred looking baseball players are good for the game. It brings people out to watch from places like Windsor and such.

  19. It is hard to believe that the day Toronto traded for Rasmus – I thought it was one of the 5 greatest trades in Blue Jay history and Rasmus would be our CF for the next 10 years.

    Now after two seasons, Rasmus has become a “who cares” type of player. How the tide turns fast

  20. Dumb but serious question – is Kelly Johnson going to have a job next year? Terrible, terrible, terrible trade by AA, hey?

    • because the jays lost John MacDonald? Yeah, i guess you’re right

      • Well, they also lost AAron Hill in that trade whobatted 300 for AZ with power. However, I do think Hill was done here in Toronto anyway.
        That said, they made the trade, at the time, to acquire KJ just til the end of the 2o11 season, the idea being he would leave as a type A FA and the BJs would get 2 draft picks-that is the real reason they acquired him.
        However no one would sign KJ ( Much like this year) and he came running back to the jays as he had been offered arb.-so yeah the trade kinda bummed out in all aspects
        Johnson will likely sign on with someone for well below the 6.5 he got to play stinko baseball in T.O last year.Tthe LAD need a b/up second baseman to Ellis as the only weak spot on their infield so he may end up there
        All AA can say about the whole sorry KJ experiment is “won’t get fooled again”

  21. Good move, I don’t think Gose is ready to take on full duties yet.. Next year should be a different story for though.

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