maicerfields

My suggestions here won’t be quite as delicious as the one made the other week by Jon Hale of the Mockingbird, who figures J.P. Arencibia can improve his on-base by simply never swinging when the count is full, but there has been a lot of good debate on Twitter of late about just what the Blue Jays can do to improve themselves next year, especially given the obvious fact that– as I noted among my Assorted Weekend Thoughts yesterday– the Jays have had absolute black holes at four positions on the diamond this year, ranking last in MLB in wins above replacement for catchers and second basemen, 27th of 30 teams when it comes to third basemen, and 25th for left field.

They also ranked 27th in WAR for starting pitchers, though elsewhere things are brighter: 10th for relievers, 3rd at first base, 11th at shortstop, 4th in right field, 6th in centre, and 1st at DH.

Of course, some of these rankings are a little wonky [read: horribly imprecise]– they include all the value provided by the guys who’ve regularly taken turns at each position, rather than just the value provided while they were playing at the position, meaning Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion’s WAR totals are simply combined to create the figure for both 1B and DH– but apart from those two positions (where they should probably be knocked down at least a couple of spots in the rankings for each), they generally pass the smell test, I’d say. Meaning, then, that the Jays mostly really need a whole lot more out of C, 2B, 3B, and LF.

Which… obviously.

Right away, though, I think we all feel pretty safe removing third from the must-be-improved equation. If Brett Lawrie is healthy, even if his bat continues to trend solidly below expectations, defence alone will provide the Jays an upgrade on what they’ve seen at that position in 2013. (And if his bat carries on the way it has since he moved to a quieter, more upright stance following the All-Star break, hello!)

Left field is a different story, but not as dire as elsewhere. How the position goes will all depend on Melky Cabrera’s health, whether they decide to even keep him on the position (DH you very much?), and what the backup plan is (Rajai Davis or Kevin Pillar/Anthony Gose platoon you very much?). I’m as big a believer in Melky as anybody who didn’t put a $16-million contract in front of him, so I’m not entirely sure that they need to do something here, and with all that money invested and the likelihood of getting out from under the contract slim, for good or for bad, I think we can set left field aside for now.

From a positional standpoint, what can’t be ignored, though, is the total lack of production from J.P. Arencibia and the cast of characters the Jays have run out there at second base.

Behind the plate, it’s easy to quantify: J.P. Arencibia has been exactly replacement level in his 99 games, while Josh Thole has been 0.6 wins below replacement, and Henry Blanco, while he was here, was 0.1 below. As a group their WAR is -0.7.

At second, the dead-last-in-the-Majors thing is a bit misleading because all of the negative WAR produced this season by Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio, regardless of where they’ve lined up on the diamond, is included here. Disentangling the numbers is a bit tricky– not that it makes a whole hell of a difference with the completely unscientific place I’m going here anyway.

Let’s just say this: Izturis has been about equally bad by UZR/150 at each of the positions he’s played this year; he’s played regularly, if not always at second (Bonifacio, in fact, still has had more plate appearances while manning the position than Izturis has); and you’d figure he’ll be in line to be the club’s regular second baseman next season, should nothing change in the meantime.

This year his value, per FanGraphs’ WAR, is -1.9.

So… basically, by some fuzzy math, if the Jays continue on with the status quo, and neither player gets any better– which could go either way, but with each having declined at the plate for two straight years, I wouldn’t bank on it– they’re starting from a position of being about three wins above replacement in the hole.

That’s bad.

What’s good is, though, it sure isn’t going to be difficult to get better. In fact, practically anything is going to be better. A two-win guy at each spot and your looking at a 7 WAR swing!

Now, expecting to find a couple of guys like that just hanging around the bottom of a dumpster is probably a little much, but it’s going to be a lot easier to improve these areas of the club than I suspect a lot of people dreaming on the Brian McCanns and Howie Kendricks of the world are ready to believe. (The rotation, of course, is another story).

How easy?

Here is a custom FanGraphs leaderboard featuring all the free agent catchers available for next year, and here is another featuring all the second basemen and shortstops (minus a pair of guys who’ll surely have their club options picked up, Ben Zobrist ($7-million) and Derek Jeter ($8-million)).

The middle infield list is actually not terribly… uh… terrible. Clearly Robinson Cano and Chase Utley are expensive, backloaded, shitty pipe dreams, but even in the middle range of the upper tier you see lower-cost guys like Stephen Drew, who was a tidy pick up for Boston, and (think I didnttt?) our old friend Kelly Johnson.

Of course, you’d rather your team pick up next year’s Drew and Johnson, and not necessarily this year’s ones, but there is some halfway decent depth there, and definite options for a club that’s willing to guarantee someone an everyday job. Shit, even Alexi Casilla, Nick Punto, Clint Barmes (if you can bear his shittacular stick), and Mark Ellis (though he has a $5.75-million club option)– assuming they all actually make it to free agency without re-signing– would be likely improvements over what the Jays would run out there otherwise, scary as that thought fucking is, and I don’t think anybody on the list (save Cano, Ultey, and maybe, (maybe?) Peralta) would cost the club who signs him a draft pick, either.

Behind the plate things are a little uglier, especially given the fact that the negative value the Jays have accumulated in 2013 has entirely been from their backups, while J.P. Arencibia has been right at replacement level. Ramon Hernandez was worth 0.4 WAR in a very small sample, and while I’m still not entirely convinced I wasn’t wrong when I wondered if he was the best catcher the Jays had in their organization during the brief time he was in Buffalo, I don’t think the .229 ISO is a great indicator of his actual talent, and heading into his age-38 season, I can’t honeslty pretend he’s an option.

I guess the same might go for Yorvit Torrealba, too, who was briefly with the Jays last year– while they still had yet to come to the now painfully obvious realization that J.P. Arencibia needs to go (to put it as delicately as humanly fucking possible)– and is having a nice-enough looking season in terms of his slash line, as long as you ignore the fact that he plays his home games at Coors Field and his wOBA is like 140 points lower when on the road.

Ugh.

So… except for the prize that isn’t coming here, McCann, all of these guys have major questions, really.

Saltalamacchia could be a nifty pick-up– though much sought after, too– if the Red Sox for some reason let him walk, while John Buck doesn’t offer much more at the plate than Arencibia, and A.J. Pierzynski would definitely up the club’s douche factor (and not necessarily a whole lot else). Carlos Ruiz doesn’t strike me as a guy who’ll leave the Phillies, Dionner Navarro and Humberto Quintero are having pretty major outliers at the plate this year (in a tiny sample, too, on Quintero’s end), and… well… looking through the list of what’s available you get the sense of why the Jays have been so reluctant to part with the devil they know for some lesser-known bag of shit.

I took a look around the league at some backups who might be expendable, and shittily, one of the few decent guys who, while not a free agent, but not his club’s primary catcher either, and could therefore perhaps be pried away, is Yan fucking Gomes. The man who went, along with Mike Aviles, for Esmil Rogers, has been worth 2.3 wins for Cleveland this year, while putting up a .374 wOBA in limited action behind Carlos Santana. Shit, Aviles has been worth nearly a win (playing mostly at third) himself, meaning that the Jays could theoretically have been six WAR better in the overall had they kept those two, given a tonne of Arencibia’s at bats to Gomes, passed on signing Izturis, and found a way to get from elsewhere the 0.7 WAR of value that Rogers has produced.

Ugh.

I mean… good for Gomes– that’s awesome– but seriously… ugh.

Moving on, I don’t know… the Angels might be interested in moving one of their two backstops, Chris Ianetta and Hank Conger, each of whom have been worth about a win above replacement thus far in 2013– especially if the Jays send an arm they can slide into their rotation back the other way– while Rangers free agent Geovany Soto has been pretty OK in a really small (33 G, 133 PA) sample in his first year as a full-time backup since breaking in with the Cubs.

Really, though… it’s just… man. The state of the catching position right now is pretty goddamned horrific. So much so that, uh… maybe it’s time we should be seeing if Josh Thole can get into some kind of groove with regular at-bats? It looks now like he might have to be Josh Johnson’s personal catcher anyway, right?

And actually, I didn’t start out planning on coming to this conclusion, but… do we really want to watch another potentially not entirely terrible catcher slip through our fingers because of Arencibia’s too-long stranglehold on incumbency? Can I get a #FreeThole? Maybe?

Shit, I don’t even know anymore.

Comments (208)

  1. First!

    • Now that its looking like Brett Lawrie can hit again, I don’t think 3rd base is a hole. Especially given that he is more than fine defensively, and is still young.

      2nd Base and Catcher are both positions where I would like to see some new faces, or some old (Kelly Johnson, Yan Gomes). I wouldn’t mind Dioner Navarro behind the plate.

    • jealous^^

    • Congratulations. You have proven yourself to be the winnar of the interwebz. You shall now be honoured greatly for all eternity.

      I guess.

      Or you can fuck off.

    • I’m fine with Izturis at second base but we need a veteran starting catcher in the worst way.

      I was really hoping we would sign Russ Martin this past off season but he went to the Pirates instead. He’s been good for 3.6WAR so far this season with 9DRS and the best CERA (or catcher’s era if you subscribe to that kind of thing) at 3.03 in the majors.

      Aaron Cibia is good for 0 wins above replacement and is a -2 in defensive runs saved.

      • i never thought i would say this but…..FUCK DO I WISH WE HAD MATHIS STILL!!!! i cant fuckin stand either of those 2 useless tools behind the plate, cant we get a wooden cut out, kinda like that hockey goalie! CS% would surely go up as would OBP. fucking AA!!!!

  2. I have no problem removing 3B from the list of “holes”, but you’re probably going to want to add DH to the list of “holes” instead. Lind is OPSing around .600 over his last 40-50 games or so, and given his history, not sure we should think his early season hot streak was anything other than a blip.

    LF might have some hope of improving internally – Melky bouncing back due to better health, and Davis, Pillar, Gose all fighting to contribute.

    C we probably should replace Thole, and keep JP as the backup, with Jimenez hopefully picking it up and challenging for a spot soon..

    2B we have to do something. the Jays’ 2B ops (.537) is not only the worst 2B ops in baseball, but it’s the worst OPS at any position by any team in baseball – only the Yanks’ AAA-filler 3B slot has come anywhere close to as bad as the Jays’ 2B offensively this year. And to make it worse, Jays’ 2B are craptastic defensively, and have been crap on the basepaths as well. And it’s not like we could have expected much more, given that Izturis and Boni have been mediocre bench players at best over their careers. And there’s no hope for internal improvements anytime soon, either. We absolutely have to do something about 2B from outside the org.

    • I’m still OK with Lind as a platoon guy at DH.

    • The thing with DH is that no one is really good there… besides the Red Sox with David Ortiz. In fact, there’s only one other real DH in baseball who has passed 1 fWAR this year, Kendrys Morales with the Mariners.

      Next highest WAR among full-time DHs… Adam Lind, of course, at 0.9 fWAR.

      I agree with you that it’s hard to see Lind putting up numbers “this” good next year, but if the team is going to move on from Lind, the best option might just be not having a true DH, and leaving that spot to rest guys. I suppose the Melky to DH and looking for a left fielder idea may make sense as well.

      • Was talking about this in the office yesterday. Morales is a switch hitter and having a pretty good year. It would take a big contract, but would look pretty damn good on this club.

      • I’ve been wanting the jays to target Morales for a little while. He can’t run for shit but he can hit pretty dang good

      • What about a right handed hitter who can play a mean short and 2B, and allow Reyes to DH at times?

        • Huh?

          • #FreeMcCoy?

          • You’d be able to keep Lind in a platoon at DH, with Reyes, and basically get the extra RH bat onto the field at the SS position.

            • (thereby preserving Reyes’ legs a bit)

            • Reyes won’t go for that, for one. But who plays shortstop in this scenario?

              • Honestly, I am not sure there is anybody on the market that can fit the bill, after really looking at it. At the same time, I do think there are ways to use DH to platoon even a guy like Derosa or Jamey Carroll as a RHB vs. LHP, and keep a better bat in the game and sit Lind. Hundreds of years old as they are, they can hit lefties better. I don’t really like either of those guys at short, though.

                It does seem like Gibby does that to an extent – maybe more to rest a guy like Melky. I’d just like to see the DH position exploited even moreso to keep their best bats in the game. Not sure they have the players to do it at present.

                People talk about the TB model — easier said than done — but being able to take advantage of the platoon situations and matchups while retaining fielding ability is a good goal for AA, I think.

                • I just don’t know if you need to carry a guy who can only be a platoon DH, frankly.

                  • (Meaning Lind?) Probably true. His 1B has gotten marginally better, but Edwin has improved more at the position.

  3. Nelson Cruz
    Rangers have already said that he’s gone

    • He plays neither position that the Jays need to fix.

      • Can’t he play left field?

      • What about Melky and his bum legs to DH, Cruz to LF?

        • I mean, it’s a dream, but fans talk too much like these guys are items you can grab off a store shelf. Lot of variables that make it unlikely they’ll get anyone particularly coveted. They might, of course, but I don’t know. And I don’t know if they’ll be so quick to go after PED guys after getting burned by Melky, seemingly.

          • I agree Cruz may not be an ideal target with the PED questions, but would him having played on the Dominican team with Reyes and Edwin make this a little more appealing destination that for most other players?

          • PED questions: The new market inefficiency?

          • I can think of a few reasons Cruz isn’t crazy for the jays:

            1) he’s a bit older and coming off of the PED scandal he’s more likely to settle for a shorter deal.
            2) Skydome is one of the few places his power is likely to be maintained after leaving the rangers home run haven.
            3) Tons of Dominican players he has played with before.
            4) Jays clearly have no issue with giving a guy a second chance (such as melky).

            My real wonder is what the hell do we do if Cabrera’s days in the field truly are over. Can we move Lind at this point so Cabrera can go to DH?

            • I believe AA has an option on Lind after this season so he would be let go if they pick up Cruz. Leaving Melky as the full time DH.

  4. Question for Stoeten, and anyone else… would you sign Jhonny Peralta to the same deal given to Melky Cabrera (2 years, $16M) to play second base?

    • yes, as long as there isn’t some internal salary cap rogers has set for the jays that would limit the help pulled in elswhere.

    • Definitely. In fact, I’d sign him at SS and move Reyes to 2B. Would enhance the fielding significantly. Of course, signing Peralta will probably cost quite a bit more than 2/16 considering his performance level and the dearth of good shortstops available.

      • I’m not so sure Peralta gets more than that, especially coming off of his suspension. In his chat today, for what it’s worth, Dave Cameron pegged him at one-year, $10M this offseason.

        Also, surprisingly, there doesn’t figure to be too many shortstop jobs up for grabs. Obviously things change in the offseason, but as of now, here’s a division-by-division rundown of the shortstops that seem to be in place:

        AL East: Yunel Escobar, JJ Hardy, Derek Jeter, Xander Boegarts, Jose Reyes
        AL Central: Jose Iglesias, Alcides Escobar, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alexei Ramirez (Twins could use a shortstop)
        AL West: Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, Brad Miller, Jed Lowrie, Jonathan Villar
        NL East: Ian Desmond, Jimmy Rollins, Andrelton Simmons, Adeiny Hechavarria (Mets may need)
        NL Central: Zack Cozart, Starlin Castro, Jean Segura (Pirates and Cardinals will be in the market)
        NL West: Hanley Ramirez, Everth Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, Brandon Crawford, Didi Gregorius

        All that is a long way of saying that he may have no choice but to settle for a job off of shortstop.

        • Nice work. Interesting.

        • Just don’t see a single drug suspension cutting his value on the market that much. Over the last three seasons, he’s 2nd in the majors among shortstops in WAR (behind Reyes). He should be able to find a job at his position.

      • Peralta is a terrible defensive SS. Why would you move Reyes to 2B?

        • Defensive metrics actually rate Peralta as a much better defensive shortstop. So much so I would agree with adding Peralta and sliding Reyes to SS. Obviously he’s have to go for it.

          Check the numbers on Fangraphs, always thought the same about Peralta too, but he’s been positive (and well above 0) UZR for many years, while Reyes hasn’t posted a positive value since 2008.

          Defensive metrics take the longest to stabilize, but I believe we’ve got enough data now to say Peralta > Reyes in the field. And by a lot.

        • Reyes is brutal at SS defensively and has been for years. Hasn’t anybody noticed this when watching the games yet?

    • In a second.

  5. Let thole be the everyday and see what happens.

  6. I’ve been saying this Free Thole thing all year. You know what you’ve got in JP, let Thole play 3-4 games a week the rest of the year. I’m not convinced he’s the answer, but what the shit!

    • But you can’t do that to JP. He is a really nice guy with good hair, does that count for nothing anymore?

  7. In the ‘to hell with the cost’ category, here’s hoping that the Jays can reunite the Reyes-Cano-Encarnacion infield from the DR champs. Looked like fun, so maybe they can tempt him up to Toronto if he isn’t dead-set on staying in New York.

  8. The old addage of strength down the middle – the Jays are lacking here at every position. With little to trade, and a budget that is already spent, it would appear that the good guys will continue to dwell near the bottom. AA painted himself into a corner all by himself and there is nowhere to go. All the slide rules in the world won’t get you otta this one. Jays in 2019.

  9. Huh alexi casilla is an upgrade? Nick punto? Those guys are awful. No better than what they have now. As for catcher, i like the idea of calling the angels about ianneta or conger.

    • Read the piece, look at the numbers, then shoot your mouth off. Otherwise, the grown-ups are talking.

  10. “Shit, I don’t even know anymore”

    i don’t know if that was in regards to everything mentioned or just the catching.It’s interesting that whether you look at the problems either Saber or old school,the answers aren’t glaringly obvious ( except SP).
    Melky supposedly has been playing injured since ST,and played through it as best as possible.
    How many more behind the scenes,unknown issues, are there?
    You could make a case for staying with the current crew or wholesale changes and neither would be wrong.
    Somewhere in the middle?

    • I think so. I think it’s going to be closer to staying the course than a lot of people are comfortable, with, at least. But that’s totally just a guess.

  11. The problem with upgrading 2B is none of the realistic options look much better than Izturis did at the start of this year. I have a hard time believing Izturis doesn’t bounce back next year to be a 0-2 WAR player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the free agent MI options took a step back to being no better than that.

    I say AA should just focus on finding a real catcher (probably via trade).

    • I do wonder if some of the defensive issues are dragged down by him taking a while getting used to the turf. But then also it’s probably just that he’s awful.

      • His UZR has always been around 0, and this year it’s -15. I’m guessing it’s a random fluctuation that’ll (hopefully) bounce back up next year.

        Although he really has looked like shit in the field so maybe not…

        • Exactly, using a 2/3rd of a season’s defensive metrics as an evaluation of a player’s talent is pretty sketchy.

      • Well, he has only 2 fielding errors at home this season (only 1 of which is at 2B), the others are on the road, throwing errors and 1 error where he alligator armed a throw to 2nd on a DP ball. It seems like his range has really deteriorated (Range Runs have deteriorated at every position across the board).

        We’re not at a point where we have a luxury to wait to see for large sample sizes of data. He’s getting older and there’s an urgency to win soon. The Jays have to decide whether this deterioration of his is for defense is for real and move accordingly.

        Waiting for large sample sizes of data is for assessing his career retrospectively, not for making a decision as to whether he is likely to be a viable everyday second baseman next season.

        • Errors?

          • I assumed that “getting used to the turf” was going to the issue of weird hops and funny bounces which is why I brought it up, but I guess it can also go to a footwork issue.

  12. Add Kottaras to the guys stuck behind a true number one.
    I think he should be given a crack at an everyday job or at least a 50/50 platoon.
    Great numbers in the minors and has been stuck behind allstars Varitek/Salty, Lucroy and Salvador Perez.

    • Oooh. Imma look him up.

    • Moar Canadians

    • .273/.370/.450 career minor league numbers.
      .214/.326/.414 career MLB in spot duty.

      Hit .252/.311/.459 in 2011 in 49 games when he got to play semi regularly.

    • I see he’s only thrown out 17 percent of runners though.
      Ah fuckit, no one runs in the ALE anyway.
      Let this guy and AJ Jimenez platoon next year.

      • Defense is what’s held Kottaras back from being a starter as I understand it. Same career walk rate as Iannetta, though. Would be a good bargain bin addition.

      • I didn’t mention Kottaras because I was focussing on guys who might actually be, y’know, good.

        • He might be a nice cheap half of a platoon. As you yourself stated we are -0.7 WAR at catcher. He only need be replacement level to be better. Catching seems very slim pickens. Probably be better to focus on 2bag and the mound and find a warm body with upside for the dish. Plus, Canadian eh.

          • Replacement level is equal to JPA, so no.

            And fuck his passport in the fucking ass.

            • The Canadian part was just to get you fired up.

              I guess I agree, it would just be nice to have someone who gives you some hope at improving.

              Strike3bia makes me sad because he reminds me of the old adage about the man who keeps making the same mistakes but expects different results.

  13. Thole’s only played in 24 games, and not 24 games in a row, but 24 games spread over 110 games. Hard to get into a groove when you only play every 4th or 5th day, to say nothing of 24 games being an extremely small sample size. Next year, if AA absolutely can’t upgrade at C, it should be a straight platoon at C (except on days when Dickey pitches).

  14. The problem with the whole freeing Thole thing is that Thole kind of sucks. He’s a worse hitter than Arencibia and he can’t field for shit. Neither of them should be starting C options in 2014 if the team has any real choice in the matter.

    Stoeten’s right, though, there really aren’t any good options available unless you’re willing to pay. Iannetta (and his fantastic career 14.2 BB%) would work if the Angels were willing to move him. But other than that, you’re probably looking at some stopgap like John Buck.

    • If we upgrade on the mound and at second then we really only need replacement level and you still improve by .7 WAR.
      We don’t need the second coming of Johnny Bench just a solid backstop who can call a decent game and not K at astronomical proportions and occasionally can take 4 balls.

  15. Trade jpa to Seattle for morales
    Jack z might be fired as he is dumb enough to to that deal

  16. When are the gb podcasts back stoeten?

  17. With Yan in the lineup there would be alot more wok’s

  18. This title made me think there were easy fixes! Flummoxed! Ah well, makes the potential gm moves more interesting…

  19. No good options. I for one am fine with rolling out the same group as long as the rotation is fixed. As a team, scoring runs hasn’t been the issue. It’s been pitching (bullpen excepted).

  20. A minor correction, Derek Jeter has a player option, not a club option.

  21. I think a potential option would be to trade for Lucroy, he has experience handling all-star starters, and would provide enough WAR that maybe 2nd base wouldn’t have to be upgraded, or would require a small upgrade.

    • Why would the Brewers trade him?

      • Maybe we can take Braun and his contract/stigma off their hands in the same deal, throw in Rickie Weeks (because why not?)… A man can dream can’t he?

        • I wouldn’t even take Weeks if that deal was offered. Look at his numbers for the past 2 seasons. Not worth it.

  22. If you ever needed tangible proof that the Jays are cursed Yan Gomes putting up a 2.3 WAR as a back up catcher is it

  23. Catching is hard.

  24. Hey why don’t we just fire AA so we don’t have to figure out how to fix his mistakes?

  25. #freethole, he calls his own games if anything else.

  26. Stoeten you glorious geek, I love it. Bring back Charlie Moore.

  27. Btw guys on the Fan talking today about Zaun’s little expose on Arenshitia’s pitch calling. Seven sliders in a row at one pt during Johnson’s previous start. Seven. Sliders. In. A. Row. And we all know what happened that day. The guy has the baseball IQ of a spaniel. God I have never hated a player this much. And that’s saying A LOT.

  28. At second I still think Altuve can be pried loose. Houston has one of the most exciting guys in the minors Delino Desheilds Jr.
    Probably a year or two away but he became the first player in history last year to steal 100 bags and hit 10 homers.
    He’s having another good year this year and is rumored to be promoted to AA soon. (BA)

    They will suck again next year so if we offered them one of our stopgaps (bonny or izturis) plus obviously some prospects I think he could be had despite his new contract.

    • he just signed a longterm contract…..and hes not good

      • How is he not good? He’s only 23 and well on his way to another 150 plus hits this year.
        He steals bases and while not having a high OBP this year, he has in the past.

    • Actually, according to Baseball Reference he doesn’t have a new contract yet. I thought I had red that he signed an extension, all the better.

      Get on it AA.

      #BeingAGmIsEasy

      • Found the contract, I guess it’s not on Baseball Reference because the numbers are only rumoured. 12 mill for 4,

        Seems cheap.

      • He’s no better than a free agent you can get for dirt. And yes, he’s been extended.

        • You think you can get a dirt cheap second baseman who will hit .284/.325/.377 who will steal 30 bags and play good defense?

          • He doesn’t walk, defensive metrics don’t like him, and the career numbers are heavily influenced by last year’s OBP outlier. Thirty steals? Meh. His 1.0 WAR by FanGraphs puts him 19th among 2B this year. He was 18th last year, and that was WITH the .340 OBP.

            You can do just as well without giving up a thing but a cheap contract, yes.

            • But he’s so tiny! And scrappy!

              • pfft, he’s not allowed to be scrappy because he’s not white. He’s “firey”, and possibly a “spark plug”. Don’t you people watch The League?

    • Why give away more prospects?

  29. barky, jpa looks to the dug out for his pitch calls. he cant do it on his own.

    • So?

      • Your catcher knows best whats working for you on any given day better than someone sitting in the dug out.

        • You’re taking a little kernel here– JP’s supposed looking to the dugout for each pitch call– and trying to turn it into something way bigger. Sorry to say, it’s bullshit. We know for sure he’s not calling games? (No). JP can’t impart to the team between innings what’s working best? (He can). Couldn’t the team have asked for him to do this only temporarily, not as some permanent black mark? (Of course).

          Base things on evidence, please.

          • Get me the evidence, you are the one whose plugged in. Otherwise take it as an opinion with a basis just as valid as yours. Not once did Thole look to the dugout lastnight, yes i watch every game.

            • JP has been looking into the dug out since he started with the Jays, game calling was always a weak point of his with scouts.

              • Who is JPA looking at in the dugout to make the call? Shouldn’t we be blaming that guy? Why doesn’t Thole give him the calls from bench?

            • It’s not a valid opinion, because it’s based on nothing but looks to the dugout, from which you are extrapolating the idea that Arencibia is incapable of calling his own game– which might even be true, but the looks alone don’t tell us that. So don’t go talking like you know these things as certainties when there’s no way that you actually do.

              • i did say as valid as yours, Andy.

                • What would a blog be without talking points Andrew. No need to refute everything without reason, just as much as these opinions are passed simply by the naked eye.

                  • There are lots of great talking points here that aren’t completely pulled out of your ass, though. And I’m not even saying you’re necessarily wrong, just that you have no idea whether you’re right or wrong, so insisting that you’re right is pretty fucking dumb, and a non-starter as far as the talking point thing goes.

                • No, my opinion, which is that you have nowhere near enough idea to form one, is valid.

                  • I often think Stoeten dismisses peoples comments too quickly. But he’s fuckin bang on here. No real downside can be proven even if he was looking to the bench (since you can discuss between innings about stuff etc), and looks alone tell us nothing. Stoeten wasn’t making a point on JP being good/bad in anyway, just that you don’t have a leg to stand on with this argument (even if right)… which is true.

  30. Jays are 11-8 during tholes starts. nuff said

    • Hardly anywhere close to enough said. He starts consistently when one of the actually mostly-decent pitchers throws.

  31. I hate to say this but if Rasmus finishes the year strong it may be in the Jays best interest to trade him for SP or 2b. And give the CF job to Gose (and a platoon against lefties)

  32. Jays 6-7 during blanco’s starts

  33. since jul 1 JPA last month Jays 7-14

  34. Also Mesoraco, MIGHT be slightly better than JPA if he gets consistent atbats with the jays

    • I agree that Mesoraco has some big upside but find it funny that you are offering him as un upgrade when you just stated that hit machine Jose Altuve is no good.

      • I can make the argument that altuve is not very good because he has three years of data. As for Mesoraco he just doesn’t have enough PAs to make a definitive assessment of his abilities.

  35. Because I have to ingest way more of the Cleveland Indians than I really ever want to, I can tell you that the Indians fans and management are crazy about Yan Gomes. I doubt that he’d be very easy to pry away. Yan’s numbers have been off the chart. he’s gunned down an incredible percentage of would be base stealers, he’s had 12 multi-hit games in 38 starts behind the plate, he’s had 2 walk off home runs and just since the All Star break, he’s 14 for 24 with 1 home run and six runs batted in. Right now, they’re talking about him being the everyday catcher next year and moving Carlos Santana to DH. In short, good luck if you think you can pry him away. I’m not here to give a big thumbs down to the Esmil Rogers trade. Esmil had a kick ass year out of the Tribe bullpen last year and would probably have done the same in Toronto this year had the starting pitching not fallen apart at the seams. It is the sort of trade where Aviles and Gomes could regress next year, while Rogers goes back to the bullpen and has a lights out kind of year, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least. The Indians certainly have gotten the better of the trade this year.

    It’s a bit off subject, I know, but most of the Tribes success this year can be traced back to their dominance of the White Sox. The Indians are 11-2 versus Chicago, but only 51-49 against the rest of the league. If I remember correctly, the Indians are something like 6-28 combined against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Tigers. A team can look really good if they dominate bad teams. The Yankees are another good example. If you remove the Bombers 14-2 record agaist the Blue Jays and Indians, the Yanks are 43-53 against everyone else.

    • I just looked it up, the Indians are a combined 7-27 against the Rays(2-4), Red Sox (1-6), Yanks (1-6) and Tigers(3-11) .

  36. Andrew, you briefly alluded to it, and the part of me that likes to ignore sample size is wondering about it to. Do you think Johnson’s game last night had anything to do with Thole, even hypothetically? I didn’t watch the game too carefully, so I wasn’t watching pitch selection patterns. did you notice anything different?

    • Maybe Johnson felt better throwing to him? I don’t know, but I don’t put much into that stuff. It’s too small a sample to make a lot of grand conclusions about it.

  37. Nice blog bro. Not reading.

    #bluejays on efnet

  38. No need to Moderate me stoeten, I will stop making comments if this is how they are received. You are lucky I rather like your writing and podcasts.

  39. If were talking about no effort ‘fixes’ why have we not mention AJ Jimenez? he might be way worse but it costs nothing to try him out, and that’s what the rest of this season should be.

  40. im dreaming of Robinson Cano at 2b next year…

    to tell you the truth i dont think Izturis is a horrible option. I just want them to find someone and let them play an everyday role..

  41. Thole sets a better target, and has a better call game IMO. Ive watched both the catchers closely in the last month or so..

    I hope the Jays run Thole out there for every Johnson and Dickey start… Maybe even Happ too.

    Maybe the answer of the rotations shittyness this season lays on the guy behind the plate?

  42. Was it ever established whether Kelly Johnson was playing hurt the second half of 2012?

    Any news about that? Any offseason surgeries?

    I remember him being solid the first half of the year. And his defense was never an issue, even after his hitting disappeared.

  43. Cibia hitting 9th today. Good to see.

  44. If anyone at Rogers is finding they can’t comment, go ask Paolo about it.

    • You are harsh buddy. Who pissed in your corn flakes?

      • I remember your nonsense from before and don’t need it. Maybe call Cito and ask him if JP calls his own game.

        • Andrew stoeten has grown up since starting this blog…but no one else can.

          • You’ve grown up? So you weren’t talking nonsense, then saying that you accepted that your comments were getting moderated and were willing to leave well enough alone, all while prodding around for other ways to get your bullshit comments through unchecked? Come on, man. For fuck sakes.

            • Love you too

              • Aww. “paolo@effstoeten.com”? Now you’re all butthurt that I’ve called your bullshit out? Hilarious. Thanks for proving me right for turfing your nonsense, though. Call Cito and complain if you don’t like it. Or get your mom, the high up at Rogers, on the case. Hahahaha.

                • Just trying to get around moderation for fun. Andrew you need to lighten up. If I worked where you say I do, couldn’t I give these trolls your cell number? I wouldn’t do it because i respect your privacy. Everything I am doing is to try and make you lightnen up. I believe in you.

                  • Ps there is nothing wrong with my arguments against jp. This just escalated to something different. Don’t recall old blogging because you as much as I have grown up.

                  • You are a piece of shit for even making the suggestion, Paolo. Try it. You’re dumb enough to have used your real email address in making comments here, so I know your name and I can get you fired in a second if you do.

                    • Andrew I idolize you. I respect you and the pipe dream that you have made so successful. To take away from our jp argument for a minute, I never meant for this to escalate as far as it has. You mentioned where I work based on the email I provide for moderation which is privacy invasion which is why I commented about your cell number which is similar privacy invasion. I would never invade your privacy because I respect and admire you. Pointed discussions about baseball aside. I am sorry I upset you with my ranting, and I mean it when I say I will no longer comment out of respect for you. I suggest we just put this to rest and delete our thread of comments.

                      Paolo

                    • It’s not privacy invasion, because you openly said where you worked when you were talking about invading Cito’s privacy.

    • Wow. Not cool.

  45. first

  46. podcast please. I’m feeling needier than my ex girlfriend right now.

  47. Honestly…uh…Muni?

    There are better options but I think he could be a replacement level 2B next year.

  48. Where are Quiroz, Thigpen and Diaz when you need them? Seriously though, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to write off Kotteraras then say Muni is an option. Any catcher with a walk rate like his should be considered. Cincy has always seemed lukewarm on Mesoraco so it might be worth trying to pry him away too. Either Angels catcher seems like a decent option as well.

    As for second what about buying low on someone like Ackley? Other than maybe Beckham, anyone who might be available doesn’t seem like a huge upgrade on Izturis or Boni.

  49. Paolo, my take on Stoeten is he’s like a buddy of mine, he’s a math guy. He sees the word in that manner, metrics rule and he’s a guy that basically likes things backed up and based on evidence. That’s a very sensible approach in anything, including a baseball blog. By definition though, the public get to post things on his baseball Internet blog. We are not privy to information behind the scences, well, most are not, and thus, we make sweeping generalizations quite often. But what Stoeten, the evidence guy forgets or doesn’t value perhaps, I don’t know, just seems like that now and again, is baseball, like the blog, is more than metrics. It’s about imagination, timing, passion and a sixth, seventh or tenth sense. It’s alive, it has perception, feelings that come from observations, sometimes only from watching the team on television, but still valid to the viewer and okay to post on a baseball blog. Well, if they’re not backed up, he’ll chew you out. That’s his thing, that’s what makes him different in all the Internet static and thus, makes him interesting. He does what I call a really good impression of Mike Bullard without the toxic sacrasm that didn’t help old Mike on the national scene. When your audience, a Canadian audience, felt too intimated to set in old Mikey’s studio for a taping of a show, well, it kind of did him in. Stoeten makes a lot of posters nervous of embarrassment but just not enough to make them leave his blog. It’s quite the opposite. Stoeten’s response to this response to you will be “Fuck off” or “WTF?”

  50. I still wonder if, troubles aside, Romero gets brought up in Sept for a little showcase to other teams. Could backfire, but honestly, his value is at rock-bottom right now. I am not sure it could hurt to try to rebuild some trade value there. If he looks at all like a 4th or 5th starter again, you could see a team parting with a 2B or C about to cost a bunch of money (presuming the Jays ate a lot of RR’s salary).

    I am just feeling like there is not a place for RR here, mentally or otherwise, and he needs the change. I don’t expect him to be more than a 4/5, but he should be that by all rights.

    • The Herd spotted him a 7-0 lead after 3 innings last night.

      RR gave it ALL back in the 4th.

      I’m not even mad Ricky, that’s amazing.

  51. 2nd base – easy (ier) to fill
    LF – agreed
    Catcher – JPA…gone next year
    3rd…just bring your glove, everything else is gravy
    starters – overall there

    There will a couple of key trades, some internal options working out and a free agent will be in the mix

    I’m unsure of tomorrow’s weather though..

  52. If the money could be made available wouldn’t McCann be worth breaking the bank considering…….

    A) How scarce the position is.

    B) The commitment to Dickey keeps Thole on the 25 man mostly prevents a platoon type solution.

    C) The room for improvement of OBP by this edition of the Jays

    D) A little post FA hype to get the team marketable again after a tough year.

    E) Many teams would be hesitant to go crazy on offering years due to the position he plays, so there is an opportunity for more of a AAV play which apparently is the Jays M.O.

    F) The potential for a protected 1st pick.

    D) Catcher ERA, intangibles, game calling etc. (yeah I know I can’t rely or prove this stuff, but put all together I think it can be thought of as one decent point amongst many).

    Add these up.

  53. Raburn signed a 2 year extension w/Cleveland, which sucks because I thought he could fill the 2B hole.

    I like Navarro. He could be a 4th/5th switch-hitter in the lineup. Showing some pop this year with the Cubs. He’s also 29, so he might have a few more good years ahead of him.

  54. What about one the A’s catchers? Big fan of Norris if they’re going to hold onto Jaso.

  55. you can get a hashtag hope jiminez can be ready next year & trade jp

  56. I think you’re right, 2b is easier to upgrade. Keeping Izturis makes sense as a util infielder (which is honestly why I thought they signed him in the first place). He’s not an everyday 2b anymore, but positional versatility is good off the bench.

    I like Drew as a pickup there. If Boegarts (sp?) is ready in BOS, then Drew won’t be re-signed, and could be a good pickup for 2b and filling in at SS when Reyes is inevitably hurt for a period of time.

    As you point out, C is a tougher spot. I like the idea of targetting a younger guy who is blocked or not getting starts. Mesoraco fits this obviously, or Conger. Keeping Thole is a given with Dickey, so at least if you can pick up a slightly better than replacement RHH catcher there’s a natural platoon, and improvement on JPA.

  57. No mention of Omar Infante for 2B? He’d be a really nice option to hit hard while every other team is falling over eachother trying to get Cano and Utley.

    As for catcher, why is everything about offensive production Stoeten? Why not give the job to a defensively solid catcher that can command the respect of a pitching staff by calling a great game? For me, that is what is important. Sure offense would be nice but having a guy back there that can throw out runners, call a great game and just be a rock for the team at the position is the key here.

  58. That nice big kid form Brazil was a feel good story waiting to happen and it’s a shame it’s not happening here. With all the catching talent the Jays had last year they now find themselves going into 2014 looking for a starting catcher. Disappointing.

  59. [...] The Blue Jays have had a few holes in the line up this season (okay maybe an understatement), the most glaring of which are at catcher (J.P. Arencibia is really really bad) and second base (ugh). How easy are the fixes at these positions, and how much can that improve the Blue Jays? [DJF] [...]

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