griffbag

Another week, another dip into the ol’ mail bag, as we’re about to embark on a journey together, hijacking the latest edition of Richard Griffin’s mail bag from over at the Toronto Star. Hold me.

As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers.

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, email it to askrich@thestar.ca and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

This might be one of those pointless ‘what if’ questions (and I’ll get hammered by DJF I’m sure), but I’m curious to get your opinion on what the state and future of the Jays might have been if the Florida and Dickey trades had not been made in the off season. There would have been some tinkering with the lineup of course, but would we have been in a better position going into 2014 if they had never happened? I was really buying into the build for the future concept, but also bought into the trades.

Rob Brander, Sydney, Australia

Certainly not a question anyone around here would bash, Rob, because the answer is exactly the key to understanding why they Jays did what they did last winter.

Thing is, the guys the Jays gave up in those trades, while terrific prospects to varying degrees, for the most part cannot be expected to be impact MLB players until after Jose Bautista’s contract expires, after Edwin Encarnacion’s contract expires, and after Colby Rasmus, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, and Adam Lind all hit free agency. There may be some overlap in 2015, or because of additional option years on some of those deals, but, for example, Noah Syndergaard is only 20, and has pitched just 114 innings this year, so even if he does make a big league rotation next year– and, out of Spring Training, that’s hardly a guarantee– he’s not going to be able to put in a full workload as a starter anyway. He’s looking like he could be a terrific piece beyond that, but I think it’s safe to say it would have taken some exceptional circumstances for him to be a difference-making arm for the Jays in either his age 22 or age 23 seasons. Meanwhile, Justin Nicolino is 21 and has struggled since moving up to Double-A at mid-season, and Adeiny Hechavarria reached the Majors this year hitting about as poorly as advertised.

Travis d’Arnaud and Jake Marisnick are closer to providing value at the big league level, but had he remained in the Jays system, Marisnick would next year be battling with Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar to maybe win a roster spot in the outfield, depending on what happens with Melky Cabrera (assuming he’s even still on the roster in this hypothetical). Of course, given how poorly J.P. Arencibia has played this year, Travis d’Arnaud is the one who really hurts, but again, that’s one of those prospects who might be a really impactful guy– if he can stay on the field– and that’s more likely to be in Bautista’s age 34 season of 2015.

Why does Bautista’s age and contract status matter so much? It’s not just him, but he was the club’s most important player and also the one farthest along the aging curve. By the time you’ll be starting to maybe, if you’re lucky, see truly impactful seasons from the prospects dealt away, Bautista will either be in a pretty solid decline, or heading towards one last big free agent payday. Encarnacion will be 33 in 2016, himself, and without those two guys at the height of their powers you’re relying a lot then on the development of the kids. It might have worked, and the team certainly could have dealt the likes of Jose, Edwin, Morrow and Rasmus along the way for other, younger pieces to help the full-on Cubs-like rebuild, but those folks who were once pencilling in Travis Snider, Anthony Gose and Kyle Drabek for stardom right about now know that’s hardly an exact science. Neither is building a team through trades, obviously, but the route the Jays have taken has at given them a much better shot in the near term, with Bautista and Encarnacion in better places age-wise, innings eaters in Buehrle and Dickey helping the rotation, and their other core pieces still here– plus they’ll have financial flexibility following 2015, with big dollars only guaranteed to Jose Reyes beyond that point, especially given the new commitment from an ownership that finally has been forced to see winning, not its slice of the revenue sharing pie, as the most savvy method of doing business.

Had it not have been for the deals of last winter the lineup going forward would still look pretty alright on paper, but maintaining the status quo in the rotation would mean something like Morrow-Happ-Hutchison-Drabek-Redmond, with Romero, Rogers, and eventually Nolin and Stroman as depth. Not a lot of hope there.

Sure, the Jays appear to have made a pretty giant misstep in terms of when and how they spent their money and so much of their prospect capital– Mat Latos, Gio Gonzalez or Yu Darvish would go a long way right now towards making that rotation look downright respectable– but that doesn’t mean at all that the cupboard is now bare, and in the meantime the club will have a couple of years to really make a push. Now it’s just… hopefully the next two chances at that don’t go as feebly as this year’s try has.


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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

Love your column — a must read for Jays fans!

This team is built mainly based on trades (and a couple of lucky pickups in Bautista and Encarnacion). Besides Arencibia and Lind, no one else on the field is developed from our farm. This tells me two things: 1. Our farm is so over-rated, AA took advantage of it and turn our farm into stars (Reyes, Dickey), which means our farm isn’t really that good, and; 2. We can’t develop anyone or scout properly. I am trying to think of an all-Jays team, and members of this team must be drafted and/or developed by the franchise since Day 1, and have decent contribution to the franchise (i.e., reasonable stats for 2-3 years with the franchise). Here is what I have:

1B: McGriff, Delgado

2B: ? (maybe Hill)

SS: Fernandez

3B: Gruber, Sprague

C: Borders, Whitt

OF: Bell, Moseby, Green, Wells

P: Hentgen, Halladay, Stieb, Guzman, Key

Am I out of my mind in trying to come up with such a team? It feels like ever since Wells left, we really had nobody from our scouts. I understand part of it has to do with Riccardi destroying our scouting department, but is it this bad? I feel after this three-year competing window, we will be so pathetic again for an extended period of time . . .

Concerned fan,

Thomas

Yeah… this is nonsense. I mean, make up any list that you want, but what in the world do guys that were scouted twenty and thirty years ago have to do with anything that the current regime is doing?

Alex Anthopoulos brought in a tonne of new scouts when he came on board, and really changed the club’s infrastructure in that regard. That was four years ago, but his first draft wasn’t until June of 2010. By the end of last season, of the players picked in the first ten rounds of that draft (325 picks total), only 20 had played at all in the big leagues so far, and one of those guys was drafted by the Jays– Sam Dyson. Sean Nolin was also picked in 2010 and, of course, made his debut this season. Only 5 players from the first 10 rounds (331 picks) of the 2011 draft had made their big league debuts by then, and the Jays have also graduated Kevin Pillar from that draft (round 32, have you heard?). So, while not necessarily stars, the Jays are graduating players to the Majors from those drafts at a fairly typical rate, which might even be impressive given how heavily they’ve gone after high school players who are much farther away from Major League duty– ten of the 16 players they selected in the first ten rounds in 2010 were high schoolers, and in 2011 the number was 13 of 15.

So, talking about the team’s inability to scout and develop is, at this point, laughably premature. And by the way, as for teams made up by players acquired in trade, if I may borrow a point from a recent Effectively Wild podcast, take a look at the Oakland A’s active roster. That team is 71-53 right now, and the guys drafted and developed by them active now, if you don’t count Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes, numbers just four: pitchers Dan Straily, A.J. Griffin, Sonny Gray and Sean Doolittle.

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Q. Richard Stoeten,

Why do the Jays’ managers when fired, find no other jobs managing in MLB? Cito could not get a job elsewhere. Gibbons was managing beer league in Texas. Only the much-maligned John Farrell seems capable of gaining employment elsewhere. Maybe it’s time that the Jays consider hiring a major league manager. Or at least one the rest of baseball considers major league.

John Lake

Gibbons was managing in fucking Double-A, for fuck sakes, for one, after being a big league bench coach in Kansas City for three seasons. And Cito failed to get jobs because he, rightly, found the interview process an affront to his record and didn’t like the idea that he was sometimes being interviewed as a token minority candidate, and stopped going, which hurt his chances for those teams who may otherwise have been genuine.

Maybe it’s time that Jays fans consider remembering Jim fucking Fregosi, the fact that Farrell was sought after, and that managers aren’t goddamn magic.

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Q-Hello,

I just caught The Ray’s hidden ball trick against The Dodgers. This is an uber rare play, so all other teams can be forgiven for not doing this in the last five years or so since it last happened. But it got me thinking about teams/players whose heads are (or are not) 100 per cent focused on the game. I do not think that it is a coincidence that a Joe Maddon team pulled this off — whether or not he actually called the play. To me it speaks about a collective mindset of a team, and it seems to me that said mindset is not as razor sharp within the Blue Jays clubhouse.

I believe Ron Gardenhire is managing without a contract right now. What are your thoughts on the Jays going after him? I realize the Twins are not tearing up the league this year, but the Twins don’t seem to have the horses this year — and after 12 years on the job, tuning out the manager to some degree is inevitable. Now John Gibbons seems like a heckuva nice guy, and blaming the field manager is always the easiest thing to do. And, true, there have been some injuries, and half the team seems to be performing under career norms, and that perhaps there’s a lack of leadership in the clubhouse from a player perspective, and the core of the team being away for WBC in spring training wasn’t ideal — but we’re not dealing with a small sample size. This is Mr. Gibbons second go-around. And there’s got to be a reason why he didn’t get another sniff as an MLB manager after his first Blue Jay stint. And not to be overlooked is that he wasn’t even thinking about managing in the big leagues again. If the reports are true, AA basically dropped the offer to manage this team on his very unsuspecting lap. To me, that’s not how you look for a field general.

Cheers,

Adam — Barrie, On.

A field general? Really?

Like, you obviously understand why it’s ridiculous to believe any of this nonsense. I mean… magic Ron Gardenhire somehow gets a pass for not being able to conjure wins out of thin air when his players aren’t good enough, but Gibbons needs to go?? Because he injured Morrow and Lawrie and Reyes and Cabrera and made Dickey and Johnson horrible disappointments? Because he wasn’t able to stop Izturis and Bonifacio and Arencibia from taking big steps backwards?

Does the need to lay blame really need so badly to outstrip the need for damn common sense?

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten

In a recent letter to you regarding AA you replied in part “Since Pat Gillick, the Jays have never had a GM move on from Toronto to become a GM elsewhere, nor have any of their top assistants or farm directors. Tony LaCava is reported to have turned down an offer from the Orioles two winters ago, staying with the Jays because he wanted to finish the job here.” Would you not agree that this is a serious indictment of Blue Jays management. If other teams in baseball have such a low opinion of Blue Jays hires and obviously the way they run their organization then it shouldn’t surprise anyone why they have been mired in the basement and out of the playoffs for so long. Is it not time for a major managerial rethink in Blue Jays land? With all due respect to Paul Beeston but if Stan Kasten had been hired as president I think things would be very different in Blue Jays land.

Stan

Good fucking lord. For one, there are 29 other GM posts in all of baseball, and they don’t change hands all that often. That LaCava was reportedly offered the Orioles job, that Gillick had success all over the place, and that Gord Ash and J.P. Ricciardi are both assistant GMs who may yet get another chance to run teams– it all speaks pretty alright to the club’s process, doesn’t it?

And are you serious with the Stan Kasten stuff? You think he could have figured a way to get Rogers to up the payroll to $300-million that Beeston has somehow failed at? Really?

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

I really liked your explanation to the question about why left-handed throwing infielders have a disadvantage playing these positions. I really hadn’t noticed this rarity. Are there currently any major league lefties throwers playing the infield? Another odd combination seems to be right-handed batters that are left-handed throwers. The last really good player with this combination that I can remember was Ricky Henderson. Why do you think this combination is so rare? As always, love your work.

Charles Adam, Manitoulin Island

There is an excellent recent piece on this exact topic at Kotaku, after a reader there noticed that MLB: The Show doesn’t even have animations for left-handed infielders except at first base (and pitcher). It’s just so extremely rare, because of the awkwardness of the required motions in the field– though there is also the suggestion, I think from Bill James, as I failed to mention last week, that any left-hander with a strong enough arm to play behind the plate will be made a pitcher anyway. That may also explain the dearth of Rickey-like position players who bat right and throw with their left hand– there are a number of pitchers, if you believe their Baseball Reference profiles, who play that way, and some left-throwing switch hitting position players as well, I believe.

It’s definitely a rare combination– I know this personally, in fact, as I throw left and bat right, and haven’t come across all that many others who share that quirk.

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Q. Hello again from Japan, Richard Stoeten. Here’s a possible question for your mailbag:

Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka just set a new NPB record with his 16th straight win from the start of the season. He’s 16-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 19 starts and has not allowed a run in his last five outings. Ma-kun is doing things that no pitcher has ever done over here — not Darvish, Kuroda, Iwakuma, Nomo, Daisuke . . . no one. He has a chance at a perfect season.

Teams like the Yanks, Rangers and Angels have scouts following Tanaka’s every move. The Jays? Nobody. Tanaka is only 25 years old and will likely be available for posting at season’s end. His fastball tops out at 96 mph and his slider is thought to be the best in Japan. He certainly looks like an ideal MLB prospect. My question is, why don’t the Jays pay more serious attention to top-flight players in Japan like Tanaka? (I don’t mean backup players like Kawasaki. I mean front-line stars). Players like this could seriously help them.

Sincerely,

Mike DeJong, Tokyo, Japan

The Jays certainly should pay attention to the best players coming out of Japan, as I think the posting system, with its blind bid process, gives them an advantage over traditional free agent wooing, given their less-than-desirable division, reputation, and turf. But I don’t know why you’re so sure they’re not paying attention or don’t have scouts in attendance watching Tanaka– they’re not exactly an open book about that stuff. Plus, Alex Anthoupoulos himself went twice to see Yu Darvish in 2011, so I really don’t know where the notion they aren’t serious enough in that market is coming from.

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Q. Hey Richard Stoeten,

Five members of the Blue Jays went to this year’s all-star game. That is surely evidence of the some of the talent on this team. Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie can’t be far off. Like you, I’ve watched a lot of baseball and this team is bad. Poor starting pitching and poor defence is the norm.

Players who have played their entire lives; are making defensive errors that don’t make sense. I hope it is a result of trying hard to pick each other up or is frustration the cause? The A’s make three errors and it’s infield practice the next day?? I think you’re right, playing on grass at home is one of the intangible improvements moving forward. Can’t understand such poor play from such a talented group.

Thanks for any insight.

Dave Van Norman

It’s certainly confounding just how bad it’s looked, but I think you’re right that one element is that sometimes the players have tried too hard to do too much at times. More than that, though, I think there are just some bad fundamental baseball players on this club and they shouldn’t be excused for it. That said, I think they can immediately be better with a more sure-handed option at second base.

Also, I tend to think a huge thing is simply that the errors this season have seemed so much more glaring because the club’s margins for error have been so razor thin due to the starting pitching having been so poor and the offence having been so top-heavy. I mean, if errors float your boat– though they’re hardly an accurate portrayal of the kinds of fundamental issues you’re referring to– it’s worth noting that the Pirates and Dodgers have overcome committing more errors than the Jays, for example.

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Q. Hi, Rich Stoet,

Lately, it has been the hot topic of speculation whether John Gibbons will/should/must take the “fall” for the Jays’ 2013 mess. Thinking about it recently (while tending to my infant son in the wee hours of the morning), I actually believe that there is a larger question to be asked. That is, if/when Gibbons gets fired, will AA be shown the door with him? My line of thinking is that AA stuck his neck out in bringing back Gibbons, making him “his guy” and invariably hitching their wagons together.

If Jays’ upper management (Beeston) and ownership believe Gibbons is not the right guy, then doesn’t it follow that AA must take the fall with him? Indeed, you alluded to as much in your recent post on thestar.com(in regards to Farrell) where you stated that AA’s attitude was that the manager would simply need to write in the lineup and call it a day. Clearly, that hasn’t worked out. So isn’t it just as much the fault of the GM as it is the fault of the manager? I am thinking that, while there will no doubt be “tweaks” made to the roster this offseason, the true dismantling/housecleaning will occur with the GM and manager both being ousted and the ushering in of some battle-hardened veterans in their places. (Like maybe Mike Scioscia for manager if he is fired by the Angels?)

Love the mailbag.

Corey Perrin

Fredericton

Holy fuck. There is zero chance Anthopoulos goes, and zero chance anybody above him would tie it in to anything to do with the manager. For one reason, they probably understand that managers aren’t magic. For another, they probably get that Gibbons had shit fucking all to do with the injuries and underperformance of Morrow, Johnson, Dickey, Cabrera, Reyes, Lawrie and Izturis– seven players who accumulated 21 wins above replacement in 2012, per Baseball Reference, and this year have been worth -1.6 combined.

Hold on– wait a second. Seven guys worth 21 wins combined last year have produced at less than replacement level this season??? And people want to blame the manager??!?!!?!

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Q. Well, Rich Stoet,

I cheered when AA got these guys and got cramps when the rotation went south, but it doesn’t seem to me that we’re that far away. Second seems a key. Who knew that Izturis was over the hill that much? Not AA, not anybody. A substantial journeyman all of a sudden got old. With a limited range at short and fill-in for 50 games at third, the pitching staff was in trouble even before injuries.

So: Who’s available? Let’s get next year organized.

Peter Thomson

Elizabeth City N.C.

I think the up-the-middle defence has obviously not helped, you’re right, and that Izturis is certainly better suited to the coming off the bench than being a starter– and I think Anthopoulos saw that maybe when he acquired Emilio Bonifacio in the hope that he’d play second. Still, though, it was a misstep and it needs to be rectified. Howie Kendrick of the Angels was the trade target we were all drooling over around the time of the trade deadline, but for the price and the skill set, I’m not sure he’s really the best fit. Kelly Johnson is slated to hit free agency, and I really don’t think revisiting him is as bad an idea as a lot of fans probably do. There are a few more middling names on the list of free agents– Stephen Drew, anyone?– but nothing to spectacular.

Not that’s realistic, at least. There is Robinson Cano, but the idea that he’s into coming here, and the Jays are ready to break the bank and lock him and Jose Reyes into their middle infield until their mid-30s is pretty far fetched. I’d do it though!

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Q. Hello Richard Stoeten,

You never know what you will see when you head out to the ballpark. Just the other night I was walking home from the Rogers Centre after attending a Jays game when I came across a rookie Toronto police officer; he was pulling a dead cow by its tail and dragging it along Roncesvalles Ave. He was sweating profusely and he looked exhausted. It was a very strange sight to say the least, so I asked him “What was going on?” He seemed flustered and told me that he was walking his beat when he came across this dead cow lying right in the middle of the street and when he started to write up his report he realized he did not know how to spell “Roncesvalles” . . . So he decided to move the cow over to King Street!

Go Jays Go!

Fred from Toronto

Juh?

Comments (92)

  1. The hell was that last email?

  2. Your first answer is just beautiful. Nails!

  3. I know you haven’t read them Stoeten (or maybe you do after you answer them), but a lot of Griff’s answers in this one made it sound like he was souring a bit on AA, and especially Gibbons. He said straight up that Gibbons was the wrong hire and that Beeston should have stepped in and said no to AA when he proposed it.

    He also threw AA under the bus saying that no other GMs were lining up to give Izturis three years so they “obviously” knew he was about to fall of a cliff. Completely glossed over the fact that there were plenty of GMs willing to give him two, and that AA only did the third to put the Jays over the top. So “obviously” there were GMs that figured he could be a useful contributor for at least this year and the next.

    I don’t always agree with Griff, but usually find him smarter than his answers to this particular Mail Bag were.

    I tried to troll him on Twitter about it. He didn’t engage. I was crushed.

    • I don’t even read Griffin’s answers anymore. He , like Cox, has obviously been instructed to placate the lowest common denominator in order to combat declining newspaper sales. Or maybe I just outgrew those guys; hard to say. Certainly it seems they are getting less thoughtful, more ignorant, crazy and less interested in nuance and critical thinking.

      • Ya I find he’s usually way better than Cox for that kind of thing, but has been dipping a toe in those waters lately. I just like reading the casual fan’s thoughts and MSM’s talking points as it often gives me fodder to write about. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the more rational, analytical blogosphere and get out of touch with the common fan :)

    • How does Griff know no one wanted Izturis? Did he ask all 29 other GMs.

      AA probably put the extra year on the table to get the deal done. Clearly it was a mistake, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

      • That’s exactly how it went down according to reports at the time. It was the third year that got it done. Griff knows that, or at least he should. He’s doing AA an injustice and I don’t think it was cool. It’s not like the casual fan needs help finding reasons to call for AA’s head. Pretending AA just offered Izturis three years for absolutely no reason than because he thought it was the right move is unfair and very poor journalism in my opinion.

    • Griff has been down on AA for quite a while now. Hiring Gibbons was the real kicker for him from what I can tell.

  4. I love these. Its so fun to see how people just NEED to have someone to blame or “take the fall” Hey, sometimes things don’t work out, why does someone need to be fired, chastised or humiliated in order to make immature, bloodthirsty, people incapable of critical thinking slightly satisfied?

  5. Here’s how you fix the Jays. 1) Trade for Joe Maur. 2) Sign Robinson Cano to an absolutely ridiculous contract. 3) Make Lind a bench bat. 4) Make Melky the DH 5) Move Colby to left 6) Make Gose your CF 7) Watch Lawrie blossom next year into our best or second best player 8) Remember that Reyes is a superstar at a position were mostly players can’t hit and that he gives you a massive edge, when healthy 9) Trade Casey Janson immediately. 10) Qualify Josh Johsnon, he’ll be fine. 11)Remember that Dickey, Morrow, Johnson still makes up a way above average rotation. 12) Remember that you have some solid rotation depth when everyone is healthy. 13) SF won 2 WS and now seems to suck. Set up a blockbuster trade – even if you have to give them 11 prospects – to get Posey and Bumgarner. If that isnt realistic, then stick with JP, he aint that bad and is young, but get Tyson B as your ace.

    Hey youre welcome. It IS that easy. Right?

    • Sorry i forgot I covered catcher twice. I guess you don’t need Posey AND Maur. But hey, if all else fails, just fire gibbons and rehire Cito.

    • You forgot trade for Stanton, Votto and Strausburg.

    • It’s spelt *your* welcome.

      • Actually… it’s not

      • I can’t tell if this is an asshole picking on someone’s spelling (besides writing “first” easily the most annoying thing a person can do online) or if its a hilarious joke based on the fact that your screen name is brett lawrie and you are mocking his border-line handicapped I.Q.

        Either way, You’re is a contraction of the phrase “You Are.”
        My pedantry is meant to be ironic by the way. I don’t really care but it is funny when someone incorrectly corrects you. Yeah I forget the apostrophe, I know, no need to drop a tweet about it.

        • I wouldn’t expect the OP with such an asinine idea of how to reasonably ‘fix’ the Jays to understand a word a large as contraction. You should try dumbing it down a bit for him.

          • You’re on crack dude. You come back and make another stab at somebodies intelligence, despite the terrible faux pas you committed? The guy is obviously joking about how to fix the jays.

    • All that and you still missed the PTBNL-for-Trout trade.

  6. i think only in hindsight did the Jays make a misstep last off season

    • They didnt mistep at all. NO one wants to admit how much luck factors into all this anyways. Just like no one wants to admit that besdies the people being paid to care the rest of us are just being distracted from real issues and politics.

      • Ok

        • total comment hijack! all i was saying is that Stoeten said the offseason was a misstep, and I’m suggesting that only in hindsight could any of those deals be classified as missteps.

          The tongue in cheek joke that Reyes is worth every prospect we gave up, combined with the contract that Dickey is under (3rd -4th starters money?) – this horse ain’t dead yet

  7. Stoeten, your response to the first question should be required reading.

    I’m surprised from time to time when DJF is mentioned in MSM. I still think of DJF as the little blog where people go to shoot the shit.
    I guess you’re getting famous.Congrats.

    And you’re wrong about the managers role but I’ll never convince you otherwise.

    • im curious about how this year’s disappointment will hinder their ability to attract free agents in ’14. It will be hard for them to go the trade route again…

    • Stoeten has a very firm handle on baseball. The Aussie guy got an excellent response, better than 99% of baseball commentators could give to be honest. But yeah Radar, Stoeten is wrong on the manager role…it’s true they’re not magic but some can get the most out a player. And, I think the Jays will go hard for Cano, they don’t need to in order to turn things around, just a great defensive two bagger and invest in the rotation as they’ll do but something tells me Cano to the Jays happens…Rogers opens the vault.

      • Cano isn’t signing up here that’s ridiculous. If he did they would probably have to give him like a 300MM 10 yr deal to drag his ass up here to play in front of blue seats and on price reduced carpet.

        • by blue seats do you mean empty seats? attendance has been great this year

          • I meant it more as a funny way of saying Toronto

          • The spike in attendance is an anomaly. Everyone got giddy during the best off-season ever and gobbled up a bunch of season tickets.
            Unless they manage to turn things around, you’ll see a lot of blue seats next year.

      • @ dave

        Cano is nice thought but I don’t see it. Yanks will have he inside track and the length of the contract will be a deterent.
        But we can always dream.

  8. What do the people that think Gibby should be fired think he should have done differently? You can make some arguments about lineup construction I suppose and some random in game manager decisions but you can make the same arguments for every other manager in baseball too, even the first place ones. I really have no idea what he’d done wrong, besides having so much shitty baseball played in front of him.

    I’m thinking its just the hockey mentality because that’s how they do it in the NHL, team under performs so you fire the coach.

    • Its not that managers mean nothing. If I was the manager the team would have a worse record. But when considering only those who would realistically be interviewed for a MLB job, then their is no difference between who you pick. The only time managers really suck are when a) they are crazy or abrasive and wear out their welcome or 2) when a manager tries a new idea and it blows up in his face, like having your starters only pitch four innings in Colorodo. The thing about baseball is its so luck dependant, maybe more than most sports, which is saying a lot.

  9. I’m on board with Cano…

    Realistically though, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Kelly Johnson. If he wants to come back, I’d bring him back, definitely. As far as Izturis/Derosa, good off the bench sure. But, if you’re going to have a light-hitting second-baseman on the team no matter what (for example, if Kelly doesn’t want to come back), wouldn’t you rather have Kawasaki be that guy? My brain doesn’t love Muni as much as my heart does, but shit, if my 2B is going to hit .220 with 3 homeruns regardless of whose name is on the back of the jersey, you at least get a show with Kawasaki.

    Anyway: C, 2B, LF and another bonafide starter (a 2 or 3) and we’re set for next year.

  10. The reality is that AA offered Izturis 3 years because the options for 2B in the off season were terrible. They still are and people are lining up to dump him for the next trash heap salvage in hopes that he’ll be different. Do I love the idea of going into next year with Izturis as the every day 2B? No. But the guys who are available next year will cost just as much and suck just as bad if not more. (Other than Cano and MAYBE Johnson).

  11. I’d love to see the Jays get Masahiro Tanaka or Kenta Maeda

    • Tanaka would be nice… don’t know about the other guy.

      • Maeda’s 25, plays for the Hiroshima Carp.

        Sports a 2.14ERA, 8.3K/9 and only 2.0BB/9 in 130.2IP.

        • Oh, I know who he is I just don’t know if I want the jays to pick him up. I mean those are nice numbers but from what I read he’s 6’0, 155-160ibs with a 90mph-ish FB.

          Not sure I’d want the jays to legitimately venture into the posting system for a guy with that profile.

          .

    • I would like to see Hitomi tanaka at Jays games as well, those are some powerful guns.

  12. Fred’s joke isn’t even new. Heard it first 20 years ago, but applied to a policeman in Glasgow dragging a drunk guy from Sauchiehall Street to Hope Street.

    So, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  13. It’s an interesting notion regarding the defense question.

    How much better would this team be if they had adequate defense at C, 2B, and had grass? You’d figure Cabrera’s hammy’s would be better (which might have hurt his hitting also), Jose Reyes’ ankle might be less wonky after the fluke injury, and who knows if it contributed to Bautista’s and Rasmus’ recent injuries.

    Put real grass down and help keep your best players on the field for fuck sake. Fuck the Argos.

    • Varsity stadium

    • I agree real grass would be nice, but much like the stadium’s effect on Knuckleballs, the actual difference between the two is massively overblown.

    • I don’t understand why we can’t have an dirt infield while we wait for real grass. Is the “world’s fastest grounds crew” union really that powerful?

      • Beeston covered it at some point earlier, to put in a dirt infield would mean removing a lot of concrete from the floor of the dome, you need to create a pit to hold a decent thickness of dirt you can’t just lay it on the concrete like the astroturf.

        While I would like them to spend the money to do it this off season, it also needs to be considered against it would only be used for 2(?) years before the Argos are gone and the turf can be removed permanently.

  14. Watching the game last night I had this daydream of the Jays giving Cano a ridiculous contract and signing him for next year. I know, this wont happen, I know hes not leaving New York. but still ..

    Could you imagine?

    Reyes and Cano up the middle infield, Lawrie at third and EE at first would be a ridiculous infield.

    I will keep dreaming. How much is Rogers going to allow the payroll to go up next year … lol

    • Front load cano contract and don’t do more than five years

      • And Cano takes 5 years because…?

        • I think he’s saying because it would be the same amount of money as the Yanks offered for 10.

          • Haha, great idea.
            Let’s assume a conservative $180/10. His proposal is to pay Cano 36M over the next 5 years?
            Don’t flatter the kid by toying with the idea. It’s stupid.

            • Do you want the decline years of his contract a pujols deal? If you can sign him to josh hamilton’s contract then go right ahead.

  15. A cow that is alive is stubborn enough. A dead cow would be quite difficult to move. Unless of course it’s on a conveyor belt heading into the grinder.

  16. As a lefty who bats right I considered a human rights complaint against MLB the show due to inability to create a left handed shortstop.

  17. You missed Henderson Alvarez, who would have been in the Jays rotation this year had he not been sent to the Marlins.

  18. Biggest problem with the Dickey trade even without the benefit of hindsight is that we gave up an ASSTON of prospects for him. Compare the Mets’ haul to what we got from the Phils just in terms of the team’s top prospects. The Mets got our #1 & 3 from a top 3 farm system. We got, what, the #1,5 & 7 from a top 10 system? And I think everyone would agree that Halladay was more valuable than Dickey at the time.

    It just struck me as weird seeing as the Mets had no negotiating leverage with Dickey. At the time I ignored it because we’d been hearing about prospects being undervalued and Flags Fly Forever. But now… kindof pisses me off that we had to give up D’Arnaud AND another top five org guy.

    O well. 2014, you guys!

    • If we gave one of the two prospects I’m fine with the deal. D’arnaud if healthy would’ve been the catcher this year by July due to jpas suckage

  19. I have rarely seen worse writing than what stoeten puts on display in the fourth paragraph in response to the first question. Run on sentences for days

  20. Good posr

  21. wasnt mcgriff a yankee draftee

    • Just off top of my head:

      McGriff Yankees
      Whitt Red Sox
      Bell Phillies

      So the guy had it all wrong in pretty much every way possible.

      • technically bell was signed by the philies and the jays rule 5 drafted him.

        • True but the guys own rules were: “members of this team must be drafted and/or developed by the franchise since Day 1″. So he’s still wrong.

  22. Not super important, but Jimmy Rollins got Josh Thole with the hidden ball trick when he was on the Mets last year. You know what that means? The Jays must need Charlie Manuel.

  23. Surprised nobody’s made a ‘You actually play baseball?’ comment to Stoeten yet. lol

  24. I’m not sure if this possible change to the posting system would help or hinder the Jays chances at signing a guy like Tanaka.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/as-teams-scout-masahiro-tanaka-posting-system-changes-could-be-coming/

    On one side, if there’s a posting cap, several teams can win the post by bidding the max and would have to out negotiate each other. So it could create more competition. But on the other side of the coin, since more money will be going to the player, more will count against the luxury tax and make it harder for teams like NY, Boston and LA to sign these guys as they are all close to or at the cap.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  25. Also from BA on Norris:

    • Daniel Norris, lhp, Blue Jays. When Norris ran up an 8.44 ERA over 43 innings during his pro debut last year, the various outcomes failed to match the teen southpaw’s attributes. Signed for $2 million out of the second round of the 2011 draft, Norris throws with easy plus velocity and keeps hitters guessing with the ability to generate major league life on his breaking ball and changeup, even if he can’t always put them where he wants.

    After more poor results in the first half of this season at low Class A Lansing, the 20-year-old Norris has pitched effectively for five straight starts, culminating in the most effective start of his career yesterday. He held Lake County scoreless over six innings, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out four. Blue Jays fans: If you’re looking for a silver lining—and don’t mind a small sample—then Norris in his past five starts has logged a 1.50 ERA and 31-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 24 innings while allowing 17 hits.

    Stay tuned for a forthcoming feature in which J.J. Cooper details Norris’ development this season.

  26. There’s at least two of Stoeten who throw left and hit right. Oddly, my brother and dad both throw right, bat left.
    I was devastated when I came across the first coach who refused to play me at shortstop. I was twice as good as any right handed middle infielder on the team but that was the god damned rule.
    Now I’d probably get scared playing the position. So much more time in the outfield.

  27. Lefty-throwing righty batters active right now include Cody Ross, Ryan Ludwick and Collin Cowgill.

    • kind of weird but I saw Iwakuma (who throws right handed) signing autographs with his left hand before one of his starts. It just seems backwards.

      • That is odd! I’m never too surprised to see a lefty hurler signing righty a la Sabathia, but the other way around seems strange as you’ve noted.

  28. “For one reason, they probably understand that managers aren’t magic.”

    This is my old argument. There’s no reason to think that baseball players aren’t affected by their bosses the way the rest of the world is.

    I think we’ve all acknowledged the fact that last year’s Red Sox disaster had a lot to do with a bad manager. I don’t understand why you think it’s such a farfetched idea that Gibbons might be a big part of this year’s disaster.

    There’s no actual evidence for either side, but somehow common sense tells me that managers, hitting coaches, pitching coaches, bullpen coaches, etc have the ability to do a lot of damage. The same way any boss would for any job.

    I cite as evidence John Olerud and Travis Snider off the top of my head.

  29. That first query to Griff was pretty damn strange. First, the guy includes players like McGriff and Guzman, whom the Jays traded for – and McGriff, hot young Yankee prospect, was the whole point of the Collins-Murray trade from Toronto’s standpoint. He also includes Rule 5 guys Gruber and Bell – and Bell was a tremendous prospect the Phillies were trying to hide (luckily, it didn’t work.) Meanwhile, he forgets all kinds of guys Toronto really did find and develop. Olerud, Stottlemyre, Gonzalez, Escobar spring quickly to mind.

  30. [...] Stoeten takes another crack at a Griff bag, and as per usual there are some doozies. I feel as if Griff’s henchman at The Star are getting in on the joke and finding questions just to get Stoeten going. [DJF] [...]

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