We haven’t done this in a while, but it’s Friday and there were a number of Jays-related tidbits in yesterday’s chat between Keith Law and his readers at ESPN.com, so… uh… yeah. Let’s lay down some law!

Bret (Toronto)
I know you were never a big Bickford fan, but if the Jays don’t sign him, that would have to leave them with the worst draft relative to what was available to them, no?
Possibly – I haven’t looked at all of the classes now that we’re almost done with signings, but they will probably leave without a true first-round talent. By the way, I want to reiterate what I said on Twitter: The Jays have NOT specified or ruled out any reason for their failure to come to an agreement with Bickford. It could have been money, medicals, a change of heart by the player, or something unexpected. We just do not know.

James (WV )
What is up with the Jays? How could they pass on talents like Shipley, Peterson, and Renfroe to take Bickford, without being 100% sure that he would sign? Is AA’s job in trouble? Between this, the Jays season, and the Dickey trade, he’s had a bad year..If they finish below .500 is he toast?
You’re making a large assumption that they weren’t 100% sure he would sign. What if he agreed to a number and then changed his mind? Would you reward that by paying the player more, thus signaling to all agents and players that you will cave if challenged in that way?

Hard to disagree with anything here. Mike Wilner touches on the Bickford situation in a post up at Sportsnet, noting that at the bare minimum the Jays will have made an offer of $1.2-million– because clubs need to have offered 40% of slot in order to get a compensation pick the next year. Interestingly, that’s exactly the percentage of slot second rounder Clinton Hollon signed for– though, assuming there’s nothing wrong with Bickford’s arm, I’d have to believe they offered even more. Whatever the number, Law agrees with a real sharp cookie on Twitter about the whole mess:

Graham (Toronto)
What are your thoughts on the (stupid) possibility of moving Lawrie to 2b? Did he show anything in the minors with MIL that he couldn’t handle the position, or was he simply switched to 3rd when traded because Hill had 2nd locked down for the Jays?
Athletic enough for it, but man is that risky for a guy who’s already been hurt a bunch.

Also a bit of a waste of his arm (though he’ll be able to use it to his advantage when turning double plays). I’ve always maintained, in dismissing talk of moving him back, that the Jays moved him off the position in the first place for a reason, but… if that reason was because he was blocked or because he wasn’t as good a defender then as he is now, or even because they thought his bat would play at third and now they don’t, I guess I get it. Doesn’t hurt that they’ll probably have better luck finding an upgrade, both offensively and defensively, on the market for third basemen rather than if they limit themselves to looking at second.

James (CT)
What’re your thoughts on Noah Syndergaard? Read a report recently that said a scout compared him as a “Harvey Wheeler” type. Any truth to that?
Harvey Wheeler never did anything worthwhile after “Flagpole Sitta” anyway.

Andrew (Toronto)
On Syndegaard – any word on how the development of a breaking pitch is going?
Same. Nowhere near consistent enough. I’ll see him Sunday, when it should be better because it’s one inning and he can just air it out.

Law says in a later reply that a bigger report on Syndergaard from him is coming. With all the scout slobber on Nose Snygen’s balls we’ve seen lately, it’ll be nice– in a completely selfish way as Jays fans– to read something that’s presumably not quite so glowing. Even though, y’know, a lot of other people are high on him and, it seems, getting higher.

Doug (Waterloo)
Re: short starting pitchers, are your fears for Gray similar to what we see with Stroman in AA, where his numbers are all good expect for the homer rate? Do you think he’s ready for AAA or the majors?
Correct, that and the lack of swings and misses on Stroman’s fastball.

Do not like this one bit. Though, at the very least, it’s a reason to understand how minor league numbers can be misleading. Stroman’s ground ball rate, according to Minor League Central, currently sits below 40%, and he’s allowed fly balls 38% of the time (a rate which, were he a qualified pitcher in the Majors, would rank among the 25 highest), so… that’s maybe an indicator that he’s not keeping balls down the way you’d want him to. However, if you dig deeper, and look at his monthly splits this year, they’re at least trending in the right direction (44.8% GB and 31% FB through 51 batters faced in July).

Bob (Toronto)
Were you with the Jays when they drafted Arencibia? What were your thoughts of him at the time?
I was not. I thought he was probably a backup, had power and arm, looked like he would struggle to hit and receive. Had a year in there where it appeared I was too light on him, but he regressed after that.

He sure did!

Comments (9)

  1. (Re: JPA)He regressed lol his last year in the minors was his only good one and he fell right back to where he was ! He’s a backup with a swelled head and is apparently not very intelligent. My two picks for FA signings next year #1 Brian mc cann and #2 chase utley

  2. I’m just gonna try posting this again because I tried while the comments were still down and now it appears to be awaiting moderation. Sorry if it ends up as a double post.

    I just finished writing about the Lawrie thing over at my neck of the internet too. I don’t really buy the wasted arm thing because 2B is more difficult according to the defensive spectrum and his range is so good that his defense might actually be more valuable there than at 3B. I also think the biggest reason they moved him off 2B is because they needed a third baseman more. Even if he couldn’t hack it then, c’mon the guy had been a catcher. I’d say it’s a lot easier to go from 3B to 2B (even though it’s the tougher direction on the spectrum) than it is from catcher to pretty much any infield position other than 1B. He’s shown pretty spectacular defensive chops since, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he continued to do so at second.

    Also, with the whole defensive spectrum thing, if his bat plays at third it plays even better at second so you wouldn’t move a guy from second to third just because his bat can play there. You say “Holy shit! We’ve got a second baseman whose bat can play at third! Sweet!” and you leave him at second.

    The only argument against it that I buy is the greater risk of injury, so I don’t think it makes sense to gamble on that unless it also comes with an upgrade somewhere else. Swapping Lawrie and Izturis just for shits would be dumb. Even if the organization now believes Lawrie’s bat won’t play at third, it’s not like Izturis’ does either.

    So yeah, I say try it out and if he can hack it then AA’s job gets a whole hell of a lot easier.

  3. anyone notice Thole on the bases yesterday? and he can frame/call pitches!

    Keep JP on the bench please.

    • and of course JP waits out a walk in a 9th inning PH slot. You know the one time you want a guy to swing for the fences..

      what a useless catcher.

  4. we’ll all be happy once AA trades for cheadley

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