Leading off, as always (or usual), it’s today’s edition of the Getting Blanked Podcast– which for the duration of the season will be coming at you daily! We’re not double posting this year, but I’ll be sure to include the link in the first Daily Duce or Game Threat that follows the post going up over at Getting Blanked. Otherwise, you can find the podcast at Getting Blanked on iTunes, get it via the RSS feed we have setup, or like Getting Blanked on Facebook in order to get each day’s podcast straight into your news feed (if we bother to post it). While you’re at it, go ahead and like DJF on Facebook, too.

Stop the presses– and I don’t even say that sarcastically, though… good luck finding presses in twenty-effing-thirteen– as Mop Up Duty digs into some ESPN Stats & Info data and finds that J.P. Arencibia has… actually been a good pitch-framer.

Via an old SB Nation post, here’s the defensive wizard the Jays will have on the mound tonight in Chicago. Uh…

Don’t get me wrong, Andy LaRoche is no great shakes. And I guess I get how the Jays’ front office thinks it’s putting one over on the league by having a bunch of “versatile” (read: not very good at anything) infielders, “allowing” them to have carried eight relievers most of the year– an obsession I called “alarming” back in late March, while trying to defend it as acceptably temporary madness. But they’re really going to ditch a nice depth piece who can actually defend well at third base, while Brett Lawrie is in a damn walking boot with no timetable for a return, just to cling to Neil Wagner, Juan Perez or (dare I say it) Dustin McGowan? Because that’s what they did today, according to a team release, D’ing LaRoche FA, releasing Henry Blanco, adding Chien-Ming Wang, and not using an option that was still there to be burned on Wagner, according to a great piece of work from Bluebird Banter back during the off-season. I know Wagner’s been alright, but… don’t they have seven other relievers at this point?

TheScore.com (heard of them?) has a collection of great photos from last night’s fog bowl in Chicago.

Can’t-miss stuff from a notebook post by Gregor Chisholm and Teddy Cahill at BlueJays.com, as they tell us that Brandon Morrow is getting better, throwing, but still two to three weeks away. We’re also informed that Roberto Osuna– who had an elbow ligament scare last month– is back with Lansing and didn’t miss a beat, plus, reported “tough sign” Phil Bickford, the Jays’ first pick in last week’s draft, says he’s optimistic a deal with the club will get done.

Shi Davidi also has a Bickford piece up at Sportsnet, while his colleague, Ben Nicholson-Smith, notes that the Jays have used more starters this season than any other team. Recipe for success! Oh, and one of their consistently healthy ones has been shitty R.A. Dickey. Recipe for even more success!

MLBTR notes that Evan Crawford has cleared waivers and has been outrighted by the Jays to New Hampshire. Phewf!

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star writes that Edwin Encarnacion, despite being kinda fucking awesome, is in danger of being snubbed in the All-Star Game again this year. Because… y’know… first basemen.

Kennedy’s Star colleague, Richard Griffin (heard of him?), had a chat today with readers which is probably a thing I’ll get around to reading eventually.

Erika Gilbert of the National Post looks at how the Jays have fared in the draft in recent years.

Elsewhere in the Post, John Lott gives us another one on first-round draft pick Phil Bickford.

Please tell me this Jays Journal piece is just a joke and not actually the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. This one, too. What kind of mindless clickbait sub-Damien Cox horseshit is this, seriously? Probably the last links that way for a while.

Lastly, great stuff from Parkes over at Getting Blanked, as he dives into MLB’s PED quandary.

Comments (47)

  1. There is no way JP is a good pitch framer. The authors have clearly not performed the analysis correctly. When you look only at pitches at the edge of the zone, as is the standard procedure, he ranks 23rd of 30 catchers. The authors have instead looked at all pitches out of the zone and have given JP credit for calls that have nothing to do with his ability to frame.

  2. He’s really bad

  3. Re: Fog bowl in Chicago

    I know managers can only do so much so long as they use their players properly, but I can’t shake the feeling that Gibby would have found a way last night.

  4. I seriously wonder if that jays journal piece is cox

  5. Also: Rehabbing P Luis Perez made his 1st appearance yesterday – 2 perfect innings in Dunedin

  6. I don’t know what is a bigger pile of horseshit, those Jays Journal articles, or the Post’s 5 article/month limit which I’ve apparently hit.
    no wait. I do… It’s the Jays Journal article. Possibly the worst thing I’ve ever read about the Jays.
    But still… fuck you National Post.

  7. I’m more than happy to keep Perez and Wagner, who were both held down way too long in the first place given the quandary of the major league staff. I think the bigger question is why the hell they bothered calling Laroche up in the first place (or why they rushed Mcgowan, for that matter). The time to call up Laroche was the day after the Lawrie injury, but instead they burned him for a single game in a pitcher’s spot. They might as well have kept Gose around for an extra week and given Eddie that start at third if they had no intention of using Laroche.

    And those articles are why I tend to pretend Jays Journal doesn’t exist.

    • Jays Journal can be good, but some of the stuff they’ve put out recently has been like that. More for shock value than actual writing.

      With the internet, trolling while you write works, though (see: Damien Cox, Jon Morosi, Jon Heyman)- more people talking about it for it being crappy, and they’ll get comments and outrage and “UR DUMB LOL” responses out of it.

  8. Is anyone really suggesting that Encarnacion has played like an all-star this year?

    Even if just talking about his bat he has no business at this point. Then consider that he has a -0.8 Dwar (bRef) and a -2.9 fld (fangraphs) and his case is a complete mystery to me.

  9. I couldn’t disagree with you more on the bullpen depth question. I mean, in a world where the pitching staff is performing as expected, or even in a world where the team is carrying 5 starters on the fucking roster? Sure, carrying 8 relievers is stupid.

    But in the past month we’ve had Jenkins (who maxes out at 5 innings) make 3 starts. We’ve started Esmil Rogers, we’ve played an 18 inning game, we’ve had countless blowups from our starters resulting in 5+ innings of relief work. Fuckin A we need 8 relievers! Plus, shitty corner infielders really are dime a dozen. O no! We’re going to lose Andy LaRoche! If only Scott Rolen, Jim Thome and Matt Damon were all available!

    • Yeah, Laroche has never been great shakes since his prospect days, but: a) he’s actually showing something in Buffalo this year; b) our starting third baseman is currently Maicer Izturis; and c) for a team that has expended so much effort in micromanaging assets all year, it’s an awfully short-sighted waste of a player.

  10. Oh fuck, that’s Jays Journal article. Best part has to be when he calls himself a ‘smart Blue Jay fan,’ right?

  11. Damien Cox on PTS just now…I can’t even….
    Holy fuck what a moron.

  12. One thing on Morrow that occurred to me the other day is that he is a diabetic. I spoke to my wife who has diabetes and she informed me that diabetics generally have a tougher time not only staying healthy but healing once an injury does occur. This is especially problematic if the diabetic’s sugar’s are not well managed or are being affected by an infection or even stress which can make the sugar levels fluctuate. This might be something to keep in mind with Morrow in general that is not spoken about very much as the vast majority of us do not have any experience with diabetes.

  13. I had a dream last night that AA flipped Lind, Oliver and Nolin to the Pirates for Jamieson Tallon at the deadline.

    In my dream for 2014 Dickey had a sub 3.50 ERA, Bud Norris is our #4 starter and Shin Soo Choo was batting second.

    Did I mention this was a wet dream?

    • You must have had a maple boner…

      granted Taillon is really a Texan who was just born in Canada, but close enough.

  14. This team needs some kind of spark.
    Dangle one more prospect and get us a second basemen that can hit.
    Daniel Murphy, Evereth Cabrera, or Chase Utley.
    I’d even be willing to take a chance on Neil Walker or Rickie Weekes.

    Jays aren’t going to win games unless they score a lot of runs the way the starters are performing. And the price for starting pitching is ridiculous if you’ve been reading about the bidding for Rickey fucking Nolasco. Get a bat and try to outscore everyone else like Jays of the early 90′s

    Trade Gose and Izturis for Utley.(I know he’s seriously injury prone)

    Phillys old and tired, they need a rebuild.

    • Rickie Weeks: Because if you don’t want to pay Maicer Izturis 10 million for three years you can pay Rickie Weeks 11 million for 1!

      (Not to mention that whoever acquires him will need to bench him at times to avoid triggering the option.)

      I like Utley a lot in a vacuum, but does this team really need to trade any more prospects for diminishing assets?

    • Cabreras going nowhere. Doubt Walker is either. Utley is old and hurt a lot of the time. Weeks is ridiculous ex

  15. I love the Duce, and rely on it to keep me updated on decent writing about the Jays from other sites. But please, please make the bar for inclusion higher than those two Jays Journal pieces.

    Holy shit, those are two awful articles – I can handle (and in fact, I welcome) points of view that I don’t agree with, but those pieces (of shit) don’t have even some baseline degree of logic, reason, or humour which would make them worth reading.

  16. Congrats Jays Journal

    you just made the LIST

    you are joinging BlueBirdBanter and TSN

    enjoy that baseball web blog wilderness

  17. What particularly bothered you about my article at Jays Journal today. I wrote the piece on panic. I can explain myself better. I felt the article had gone a little long, but maybe I left some important parts of my thought process out. I wouldn’t necessarily call it horseshit. How many wins would you feel is the benchmark to get into the playoffs? Because this team was suppose to be a World Series contender and 93 wins seems to be the benchmark for a team out of the AL East over the last 5 years. That would mean the Jays would have to go 66-33 over the next 99 games. You must feel this team has it in them. Obviously I don’t. I’ll be happy to explain though. Some other writers from Jays Journal will be rebutting these articles tomorrow. Dan George is pretty good. He’ll be rebutting mine.

    • Are you too small minded to realize that we will also have a baseball team in 2014? And 2015? And so on.

      Most of our best players are under contract for the next couple years, so if 2013 doesn’t work out we can just make some minor changes and hope to win in 2014, minus the ridiculously high amount of injuries, and adding some developing players

      • Not small minded. I looked at the numbers of the contracts and ages. Some say the centerpiece in the Marlins trade was Johnson more than Reyes. Johnson is $13mil right now. He’s a free agent after 2013 (not breaking news to anybody.) Between Reyes and Buehrle alone, their increase in pay in 2014 eats up Johnson’s loss. Look at their ages in the next couple of years, Buehrle’s and Dickey’s in particular (spare me the “he’s knuckleballer” bullshit. Even Wakefield had a couple of good years) $30 mil between a 35 yr and 39 yr old pitcher that aren’t very good in the AL East. Do you see them improving at their ripe young ages?

        Reyes and Morrow can’t stay healthy, that’s $18 mil right now that jumps to $24 mil next season.

        Hutchison and Drabek are coming back, but Tommy John surgery is hit or miss (see McGowan, Chacin, and Litsch.) And which of our developing young arms will be ready for next season? Nolin? Stroman? Our “best” pitching prospects are possibly 2 years away.

        And speaking of prospects, is it coincidental that Marcum, Litsch, McGowan, Chacin, Janssen, Drabek, and Hutchison were all young prospects with major arm injuries? Thinking outside the box, did you ever think maybe it’s some “mechanical?” Or is that too small minded of a thought? It’s another reason I thought maybe bringing in a guy from a proven pitching developmental system like St.Louis, Washington, and Atlanta might be a good idea.

        Lastly, outside of Wells, when was the last time AA’s moves have panned out? Really think about that and get back to me.

        • Look, I don’t mean to sound insensitive from a player’s perspective. I’m just looking at it business wise. It’s things that have to be considered. It’s an unfortunate way of how it works.

          Sometimes as writers, we lose track of how the players react. I watched enough games to know that they’re trying hard out there. Maple Boner in particular brings it every night. I love his intensity and I think it does great things, and occasionally not-so-great things, for the team. I watched enough to know that Buehrle tries to bring it every start. Same with Dickey, Bautista, and Lind.

          And I know they want to succeed more than we want them too. Talking with some of the Jays players taught me that.

          In my article, I was just looking at it from a management and fan perspective.

  18. Team has played badly no doubt about it. But core players are pretty solid and most are signed through 2015. Doing stuff just for the sake of doing stuff is counterproductive.

    If all you care about is winning this year sure. Panic away. But good GMs don’t.

    Panic from your GM will make you do stuff like give up assets to take on Vernon Wells’ contract. Or hand Brandon League $24 million/3 years because you’re not sure you have a ready replacement.

    No doubt there are some issues that need to be addressed. But an all out tearing down of the team is not one of them. Doubt Bautistas leadership is either.

    • Great points! The bats will be fine, but the pitching isn’t. So as far as core players go, we don’t have them on the pitching staff. The Dickey trade was not a good one, before he even threw a pitch in Toronto. It also made the Halladay trade practically worthless, which is one of things AA has been living off of.

      The whole point when these trades were made was winning this year. Acquiring a 34 and 38 yr old is not thinking about the future. It’s about winning now. The perception was the AL East was vulnerable because the Yankees are old, Boston’s pitching went to shit, Baltimore was a fluke with all those 1-run victories, and Tampa Bay didn’t have the offense. So make the move to win now. They’re not winning now. They’re going to win next year being another year older?

      As far as MVB’s article today, the idea was interesting. I don’t agree with the reasoning because I think what we see at the plate is different than what Bautista does in clubhouse… plus, I’ve met and talked baseball with the guy for a few hours in Tampa and he’s got a solid take on things and is very mild mannered (I was drunk and asked him some really offensive questions… he still answered them and kept talking with me. That says a lot.)

      I think I did a poor job of conveying that there are certain elements of the team that need to be torn down. I’m not saying Bautista has to go, but I am saying that it’s worthwhile looking into getting rid of some aging players before their contracts become similar to that of Vernon Wells. It was hard enough getting rid of Wells the first time.

      • No mate, you can’t backtrack like that and hope to get away with it. Your article called for blowing the whole thing up. The whole thing, top to bottom, not “it’s worthwhile looking into getting rid of some aging players before their contracts become similar to that of Vernon Wells”. That’s the definition of trying to weasel your way out of it.

        Even two months into a bad season, it’s still too soon to make judgements about this team – certainly about panic buttons.

        Were last year’s Pirates, who were tied for the NL Central lead on this day in 2012 contenders? No … it was far too early to judge.

        What about last years Detroit Tigers? Where were they on June 11th, 2012? They were at 28-32, and a whopping 1 win. Yes – ONE WIN – ahead of where the Jays are today. (Sure, easy division, etc, etc …) Would you have blown up the 2012 Tigers? You know – the ones who went to the World Series? The same team pretty much that is 35-27 so far this year?

        Will the Jays come back this year? I doubt it very much, but that doesn’t mean that this team, which has hardly managed to put its best players on the field for more than a week, isn’t a team to stand by, and isn’t a team with a potential for a huge amount more.

        • Exactly the point Ben! When are they going to have their actual team on the field at the same time? And it’s not backtracking or pussying out.

          But you’re a walking fucking contradiction mate. “even 2 months into this bad season” you’re making a judgement call by saying the Jays won’t bounce back from it. So you essentially agree with me that the Jays are 1/2 past dead, but figure that, because of injuries, they deserve a second chance for things to get better… as they get older. Tell me how that makes sense. Why don’t we just trade for Brian Roberts to play 2nd base with that kind of philosophy? He’ll get healthier eventually!

          And as far as your balls-strikes analysis goes, something Arencibia does? Seriously? How bout the constant cross up? How bout the fact that he’s not fully prepared for the speed of an incoming pitch, which is often why he catches a ball in the strike zone, outside the strike zone?

          As far as who can measure just comes down to simple observation. Some umps are liberal with the zone, others are conservative. This isn’t politics but it pretty much comes down to just watching the game. If you do watch every game, this isn’t even a topic worth debating because it’s obvious the JPA sucks at framing pitches.

          Total pitches caught? Seriously? How bout if pitchers just made their pitches. How bout if Morrow just threw 95 MPH like he’s capable of instead of 90? What if Dickey could throw that hard hybrid knuckler in the mid-80s? If hitters are hitting the fucking ball, how many pitches has JPA actually caught? That statement is almost as dumb as me saying we should blow up the entire Blue Jays roster… if that was what I was trying to weasel my way out of….

          • My point about Arencibia was in response to an article that said he was a good pitch framer – in fact the best in the league. I was asking whether the statistics used in that article were actually valid, and suggesting that they probably weren’t. If you read that as some sort of defence of Arencibia, then you need to brush up your basic English comprehension skills a bit.

            As for the rest. This team is basically 2 months old, and two months older than they were two months ago. Age-wise, only Buerhle and Dickey are seriously old. Buerhle is a candidate to get traded, Dickey the normal rules don’t apply to. And even a bad Dickey is value for money … people need to remember he’s not being paid ace money, so if he’s not an ace, it’s not the end of the world.

            What you’re arguing for is for the Jays to pull a Jeffrey Loria two months into the team’s existence. That is the very definition of idiocy.

      • Agreed the pitching needs to be better. Some additions in the off season would definitely help.

        Easy to say the Dickey trade was bad now but if he’s rocking a 3.25 ERA next year while D’Arnaud is rehabbing another injury it may not look so bad. Also not sure how it makes the Halladay trade useless. Dickey, Gose and Drabek are certainly more valuable at this moment than Halladay and Syndergaard.

        And I know the “weakening AL East” is often brought up as the reason for the Jays mive, but I don’t buy that as the main motivation. It’s not like payroll and opportunity for a move like this have always been there but “oh well” the Yankees and Red Sox were unbeatable…., so we’ll take a pass. Focus on improving your own team and if the competition gets weaker…. So be it.

        Jays insisted on an extension for Dickey before making the trade. This isn’t a one year thing.

        Based on comments I’ve seen from other execs I have no doubt AA will explore every option to make this team better. If/when someone calls for Bautista, EE or anyone else he will listen. I’m sure of it. But based on the moves made last year a kings ransom would be needed to pull those 2 guys away. Doubtful anyone will overpay to meet AAs rightfully astronomical asking price.

        If we get a complete tear down of this team it will be ordered by Rogers on high. And even they know that’s bad for business after all they’ve invested this year.

  19. What I’d be interested in knowing is when do statistics on balls into strikes vs strikes into balls become statistically significant?

    What the article in essence records is bad umpire calls per catcher. On this basis, you could just argue that Arencibia causes umpires to make a lot of bad calls, as this total of 554 looks near the upper end of bad calls made. Could something Arencibia does make umpires miss the strike zone? It seems as likely an explanation as good or bad pitch framing, when the ‘good’ calls are only a small amount larger than the ‘bad’ ones.

    Whichever way you cut it, over the course of three months, Arencibia has ‘won’ 44 strikes for his pitchers, or I guess 14 outs that the pitchers should not have gotten. That said, given the random nature of when those strikes occurred, who can say if a measurement of 14 outs is anywhere near accurate, or completely misleading.

    What about other stats omitted from the article? Has a bad pitching staff meant that Arencibia has caught more pitches than catchers on better teams, thereby inflating his framing stats? You need to know total pitches caught, and then treat the good and bad pitches as percentages of that total.

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