Not the new Bisons logo, unfortunately.

The Buffalo Bisons unveiled their new uniforms today in Buffalo– as apparently we already know about– and Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston showed up for the party. And so did Mike Wilner, who has been providing invaluable tweets as the event has progressed– especially since today is the deadline for teams to exchange arbitration filing numbers. It’s the Jays’ policy not to negotiate one-year deals after numbers have been exchanged and the arbitration process has begun, so for the club’s arbitration eligibles, it was a deadline of sorts. After today they could only agree to a multi-year deal– assuming the Jays were offering one– or see the often nasty process through.

As we saw in Archi’s post below, both J.A. Happ and Emilio Bonifacio avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms with the club. Then, while in Buffalo, Mike Wilner laid this on us about Josh Thole– which has now been confirmed officially by the club, via a team release:

It’s very similar to the Jeff Mathis contract, which I do not believe was particularly well received in these parts, but I actually think there’s a lot to like about Josh Thole. In fact, I think there’s a chance– not a huge one, but a chance– that he could eventually supplant J.P. Arencibia, or at the very least find himself in a straight platoon with him.

For that to happen, Thole’s awful 2012 will need to have been an aberration, because his .257 wOBA is simply unplayable. Yet there are reasons to think that it might be. For one, Thole had a very good April, then went out with a concussion. It’s possible that the lingering effects may have impacted the rest of his year, even though he came back and was “healthy” enough to play 104 games in total.

Heading into last year Thole had a .315 wOBA and 98 wRC+ in his career– granted, through just 204 games. Arencibia now, through 242, is at .305 and 89.

It takes a leap to assume Thole will get back to where he was prior to this year, but not a terribly huge one, really. And if you look at them as potential platoon partners, it makes even more sense. Arencibia has a .326 wOBA and 103 wRC+ against lefties in his career so far, but a .298 and 84 against right-handers. Thole, even including his atrocious 2012, is better in the latter split, with a .307 wOBA and 92 wRC+. Those numbers improve to .328 and 106 when you exclude whatever happened last year.

Obviously we can’t pencil him in for doing that just yet, though. He’s got to improve, and it seems rather likely that he– along with fellow arbitration-avoider J.A. Happ– will be getting the chance to do that in Buffalo.

Maybe it’s not exactly the best news for the players, but it makes total sense– and I don’t think Happ and Thole have to worry so much about not seeing time in the Majors this year. Depth will be needed, and they’re very, very nice pieces of it.


Image via WNY Watercooler.

Comments (71)

  1. I need that logo printed on a shirt ASAP.

  2. I like the logo at the top of the page…. Awesome!

  3. Cut dat bitch off!

  4. “against lefties in his career so far, but a .298 and 84 against lefties.”

    Think you want that second ‘lefties’ to say ‘righties’?

    • Indeed I do! Thanks.

      • Stoeten: If Thole is good enough to supplant Arenciebia, why hasen’t he been selected to the American team for the world classic?

        • Not Stoeten, but here’s what I think.

          1. WBC rosters != the best of the best for america.
          2. He had a down year last year.
          3. maybe he didn’t want to play.
          4. Careful readers will note the use of the word “eventually”

  5. That logo is beyond epic

  6. I think the new Bisons logo is a perfect example of how new age vintage needs to be taken out back and fucking shot.

  7. How about signing Marlon Byrd to platoon with Adam Lind at DH? His splits are great against lefties (.327 BA and .761 OPS) vs. righties (.149 and .348 OPS). Lind actually wasn’t horrendous aginst righties (.276 BA and .796 OPS). And his PED issue was apparently from just a recovery surgery drug.

    If they can both put up those #s again, I’d take that platoon.

    • fuck no hes worse than davis

      • I’m excited about seeing Davis against lefties. I hope they do that. Just imagine you finally get Reyes off the bases and then you turn around and there’s Davis bouncing around looking to steal a bag? And you’re facing an amped up Lawrie? And Bautista’s beard is staring at you from the bench?

        It’s too much. These opposing pitchers are going to lose their minds.

    • Wanna stop posting this inane idea on every post?

  8. Not sure what you guys see in the logo I think it’s goofy…probably just me. On a side note, what’s with your sudden hard on for Wilner?

    • I’ve always been a big Wilner fan, but in this case and yesterday… was anyone else tweeting about this stuff?

      • No you’re right it’s probably just my hate for the guys dickishness getting in the way.

        • He is dickish for sure.

        • Wilner lost all credibility (whatever little that might have been left) for me last season when he defended Coco Cordero’s pitching. Then, about a month ago when he said that the pen should be well rested this season because the Jays rotation had five “aces”. Semantics maybe, but I’m pretty sure most people would consider “aces ” as top end of the rotation kind of guys.

          I guess as a Sportsnet employee he’s doing his job promoting the Jays, but if he wants to be considered an analyst he has to know where to draw the line. Oh and he’s also a major douchebag.

          He also defended Josh Towers in the past. I could go on. Fuck him.

          • He look stupid too

          • Cordero’s pitching needed defending, to an extent. So did Towers. And have you ever listened to the Fan guys like McCown and Blair dump on the team? And Zaun? Being a Rogers guy has nothing to do with anything, quite clearly.

          • Well, the only way I can make sense of his constant condescending douchebaggery and defense of absolute garbage players is that he is kissing someone’s ass up the chain (or in the Jays org?). I think McCown has enough of a long leash to not have to kiss ass, he’s their prime time guy, he’s their franchise player. His whole shtick is being the guy who rants (hence that cheesy “McCown moment” bullshit they do on Connected). Zaun is tool. fuck him too. He’s too caught up in his Zaun Cherry bullshit, saying off the cuff shit that doesn’t make any sense.

            Wilner, meanwhile, is the assclown that got suspended for getting into it with Cito a few seasons ago, so maybe his panties have been in a bunch ever since, and he doesn’t want to be put in the corner again.

            Regardless of his motives, IMO, there is no way anyone who knows baseball could have defended Coco the way he did. Towers too, for that matter. IAnd maybe the Jays have two or three aces, but five? That comment just proved how much of a tool he is.

            They should make him the Bison’s mascot, that would be the best fit for him.

          • @Stoeten

            It’s true. So easy to play the ‘he’s a Rogers employee, so he must be biased about the Jays’ card, but it’s blatantly not the case.

            Zaun was absurdly negative about the team last year. Brady usually shits on the Jays. McCown too, up until the Marlins trade.

            As for Wilner, I think he just hates it when fans call up and blindly say ‘this guy sucks trade him Mike’ about a decent/good player who had a bad game. So he’s often defending them.

            Overall, I’d actually say Fan hosts have been TOO negative on the team, in a sensationalistic, sky is falling, kind of way.

      • For all the Wilner hate, don’t forget how he got himself suspended for challenging Cito. He’s toned it down since, but it shows that he at least is someone that will call stuff out.

        When he is at his bitchiest is when he is trying to calm down the end-of-the-world rhetoric that YOU guys engage in any time someone is having a rough patch.

        Also, like him or not, he is a fan. He genuinely wants the Jays to win. Boston is not his dream job. He’ll be just as happy as we all are when September games finally mean something.

        • “When he is at his bitchiest is when he is trying to calm down the end-of-the-world rhetoric that YOU guys engage in any time someone is having a rough patch. ”

          This is true. And I honestly can’t really blame him for it.

        • Francisco Cordero. Enough said.

          • Cordero needed defending. Clearly. Apparently he still does.

            Yes, he was awful and a terrible signing and one with all kinds of red flags who should have never been given so much rope. He was bad enough to easily have a reasoned conversation about what to do with him, and yet when it was going bad, fans were exploding the size of his flaws and puking shit all over his face. It was ridiculous.

          • Ya, you’re right about the tenor of the response I suppose. But Wilner was often just as bad as the callers at giving any indication that he had actually watched the games. And I disagree that Cordero’s performance was defensible. He was awful. It’s not like Ben Francisco, who got a bad rap with some early blow ups then put it together when everyone stopped watching; Cordero was terrible.

          • Certainly a whole shit ton of nonsense gets spewed by the callers on Wilner’s post game shows. In no way am I defending that stuff. Half of them seem like they’re pissed drunk or smoking something. Really, anyone with even an average baseball acumen could see that, so to me, those calls are just a complete waste of time anyways. I wasn’t even going there.

            What was baffling was how Wilner gave Cordero a vote of confidence, not just defending him against the hate, but praising him by clearly cherry picking on stats. All you had to do was watch Coco pitch to know how ineffective he was. Everything was flat, everything over the plate was hittable. Hitters were sitting on his fastball and drilling line drives all over the place. Made me cringe every time. And in true Wilner like fashion, as soon as Coco had a small streak of not giving up runs, simply because the line drives were hit directly at fielders, Wilner used those stats to make it seem like Cordero was suddenly an effective pitcher. Zero analysis, all cheerleading for the man. Pretty pathetic.

          • ‘…fans were exploding the size of his flaws and puking shit all over his face. It was ridiculous.’

            I think as punishment Stoeten, you are should watch his 30 odd appearances last year. Agreed not as awful as was made out to by most….but holy fuck it was awful when it was awful.

            As Tom W, I’ve also noted the extra stroking of Wilner lately. I’m curious as to what his handle is on this board…don’t worry I won’t let anyone else know.

  9. Glad you’ve come around to the idea of a Thole/JPA platoon Stoeten.

    From here, it doesn’t take much to rationalize signing Kelly Shoppach and trading JPA before he confirms he is a backup catcher. And not a particularly useful one.

    • Come around?

      Also: yeah, no. Thole was brutal last year. Gotta see what’s there first before making other ridiculous moves.

      • I mentioned a Thole & JPA/Shoppach platoon weeks ago and you weren’t on board with the idea. IIRC, you didn’t provide a compelling reason as to why JPA should be a starter, other than the fact he is the incumbent.

        If people ignore WAR and simply look at JPA’s skillset, how his K/BB completely went down the tank last year and that he hasn’t shown he’s either a lefty masher or a good defensive catcher, it’s clear he simply isn’t any better than a Thole/Shoppach platoon would be and would not even have great value as a backup.

        Use the 50/30/20 method if you want to heavily emphasize Thole’s concussion year. I’m quite sure the numbers would still come out in favour of Thole/Shoppach in 2013 over 120 games from JPA.

        • Well, I wouldn’t have been on board with the idea from the outset, no. Because Thole has a lot to prove after 2012, but I certainly think he could earn more playing time as the season goes on, though it looks like that will be harder now in Buffalo.

          As for Shoppach, I get that he has historically hit LHP well, but he was considerably worse than JPA in 2012 (.328 wOBA/105 wRC+ for JPA, .309 and 92 for Shoppach), so… no.

          • Unless there is something physically different about Shoppach (i.e. leg injury/decrease in bat speed), I don’t think it’s relevant to only cite his 2012 numbers, espescially since he was much better in 2010 and 2011. And all the years before then.

            Not that this disproves any of your points, but AA signed Thole to a 2 year contract with an option to buy up his arbitration years.

            One could make the argument this is totally unnecessary for a guy who will start the year either as the backup or, more likely, in AAA.

            I suspect AA wouldn’t do this unless he felt by the end of the year Thole may very well be playing the majority of the games and this move will actually provide quite a bit of surplus value.

            I’m resigned to the fact that JPA will start the year as the primary catcher. But I also expect he won’t be by the end of the year and he will have little, if any, trade value left next winter.

    • Fuck all that. Wait for the Barves to be idiots and then go get McCann!

      ha!… riight.

      • I’m no JPA fan, but you’re really convinced that he’s worse than McCann at this point?

        • McCann had one down year (by his lofty standards) which may very well just be bad luck as his BABIP completely fell off the map.

          It seems more like an aberration and he should be quite a bit better than JPA in 2013.

          • I believe!

          • This is your shtick right, Jays2010? Every marginal roleplayer on another team looks like a diamond in the rough to you waiting to be plucked into our roster at the expense of someone who will contribute as much or likely more than the person you’re advising the acquisition of. What is it? Why can’t you be happy with what you have?

          • @OBP

            In what world is Brian McCann a “marginal roleplayer”?

            That’s precisely what JPA is. Except that he smacks taters, embraces hockey & has a twitter presence.

            I’m quite happy with the team. It doesn’t mean we should pretend JPA, Lind etc are better than they actually are.

  10. Thole and Happ are both option-able? I know Happ won’t be too Happy about that,

    • The Jays can stash Happ until some time in August I believe. Afterwards, Happ has to consent to the assignment. We will likely see Happ up way before August though. My guess is that Happ will be starting a dozen games or so, either to fill in for an ailing starter or simply to provide some innings to rest some guys.

  11. I think you are grossly overestimating how good thole is. Not that Arencibia is much better, however.

  12. Might the jays still trade for a bullpen arm?

    • Janssen, Santos, Oliver, Loup, Delabar and Rogers all have guaranteed spots in the bullpen due to overall competence and/or lack of options. If the Jays go with the standard 12 man pitching rotation that leaves only one spot for Cecil, Lincoln, Perez, Jenkins Happ, all of whom are major league caliber pitchers.

      And that doesn’t even consider Sam ‘best stuff in the org’ Dyson, Joel Carreno, Robert Coello (okay, I’m reaching now) or any of the myriad AA pitching prospects who presumably will be able to fill in after the bullpen is taxed.

      So the short answer is no, almost definitely not. Hold out hope for resigning Brandon Lyon if you want to be a greedy little piggy. Otherwise marvel in the majesty of the 2013 Blue Jays and count down the days until pitchers and catchers.

      • No, those guys do not all have guaranteed spots.

        Delabar has options, for one, though he’s a safe bet to make the club.

        But Loup? Yeah, he was terrific in a small sample in the Majors last year. So terrific, in fact, that his MLB numbers are considerably better than the ones he posted in Double-A. Maybe he figured something out mid-season and can keep it up from here out, but maybe let’s not go assuming he’s got a job all wrapped up just yet.

        • Thank you for totally missing the point. All I was saying is that on top of the locked-in rotation there are at least 11 more MLB experienced pitchers vying for 7 or 8 (at most spots). Why you’re pushing back on which ones are ‘locks’ so hard is beyond me.

          Point is, all of those guys will be in the bullpen barring epic collapses in production, in which case all bets are off anyway. If AA was looking for more bullpen arms, he’d be resigning Lyon.

      • MLB Trade Rumours says that Lyon might be a fit with the Giants. Apparently, Wilson and his beard has yet to impress.

        I think at this point, Lyon would be a nice to have but not a need to have arm in our bullpen.

        I think that Coello is gone BTW. But hey, don’t we still have Beck?

  13. so you’re telling me there’s a chance…

  14. Thole in Buffalo? I thought he was going to catch Dickey. Wasn’t that the whole point of getting him? If someone wants to enlighten me, go ahead. I think I may have missed the plot somewhere. But Thole to Buffalo sounds like horseshit to me.

    • We signed Henry Blanco who is presumably better at catching knucklers (I can’t confirm because I’ve never seen him do it but that’s his reputation). Give Thole a chance to not suck so hard in AAA until Blanco’s artificial hip falls apart.

      I know some people (Jays 2010) seem to think Thole is the second coming of Johnny Bench, but he was unconscionably terrible last year. Worse OPS than JPA against Righties AND Lefties somehow. AAA will hopefully let him recover to the mediocrity he showed in 2010-11

      • Please don’t use OPS to defend JPA.

        If Thole is back to his 2010-11 form and JPA is the same guy he’s been the last 2 years, Thole would deserve virtually every start against a RHP. This isn’t even debatable…unless you believe Cabrera should have won the AL MVP.

        • And if your aunt had a penis she’d be your uncle. You can’t just ignore 2012 because it doesn’t help your JPA vendetta. And while we’re on the subject, I didn’t realize OPS didn’t count as a statistic anymore? Are we only evaluating catchers by how many Ts are in their last names now?

          • I’m not ignoring 2012. I am suggesting that if Thole is back to his 2010-2011 form, he should be playing the majority of games over JPA (i.e. catching Dickey and almost all games vs RHP).

            Nothing out of the ordinary using a 3 year sample even if we acknowledge the most weight should be put on 2012.

            OPS overemphasizes slugging and underemphasizes OBP. The stats Stoeten uses above are more relevant and show that there is a pretty good chance Thole will be deserving to start against RHP by season’s end.

          • I was gonna crack a joke about “if Adam Lind and Bautista go back to 2009 form, Lind would deserve virtually every start against a LHP” but it turns out that’s somehow not true. The lesson; Lind is terrible & Jose is awesome.

            More importantly, it really doesn’t matter. I’m not fond of the habit of many in sabermetric community to just dismiss statistics like OPS, but you’re not wrong either – it’s entirely possible, even likely Thole winds up being the better batter vs RHP in 2013. I guess I’d like to see JP get another year’s worth of rope because of that awesome power he’s got, but the best part is that either one of them will bath ninth on this stacked team.

          • For both their sakes, I hope they get to change the water.

          • First world problems.

    • They’re thinking of Henry Blanco being the back up for some reason. I don’t understand why.

    • well they signed henry blanco recently, which gives them another option.

      I think you can pencil in a bunch of players as for sures, but the back up and bench roles for the most part are still up for grabs in spring training.

      and i know spring training doesn’t mean that much, especially offensively, but if blanco looks old and slow that will obviously change things.

    • If Blanco sticks, he would catch Dickey. RA said Blanco is the best catcher he’s ever worked with. Johnny Mac had some recent quotes about how great Blanco is in the clubhouse. Jays won’t carry 3 catchers presumably, so if Blanco looks good in ST, Thole could be the starter in Buffalo.

  15. And since someone brought it up . . . What exactly is going on with “best stuff in the org..” Dyson ? What was that all about anywy ?

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