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Even those of us who have been softest on Alex Anthopoulos and the Jays through this disastrous season– guilty as charged!– understand that changes need to be made to the Blue Jays. As we take a frustratingly long look ahead to April of 2014, coming to the realization that the possibility of a splashy winter on par with last year’s is pretty remote, it means convincing fans that things are still on the right track is almost certainly going to be a tough sell for Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston.

It’s not as though they’re unfamiliar with the task– they’ve been faced with that possibility ahead of every other off-season since J.P. Ricciardi made his exit. But this time it’s different. This time there’s got to be significant pressure from Rogers to keep momentum going after a strong year at the gate, and a lot of money spent and committed to the next two seasons.

It will be interesting to see, then, how the Jays go about trying to sell a fan base sick of unfulfilled optimism on the hope of 2014, and who should and shouldn’t remain from the current setup that failed so badly this season.

Today we got a little taste of how that might work, as Alex Anthopoulos held a scrum with reporters in which he gave as frank an admission of where his head is at as we’ve heard lately, acknowledging once and for all that, here on August 27th, the focus is on next spring.

Much of what he told reporters has already surfaced on Twitter, so… uh… here it is:

So… to reiterate: Alex Anthopoulos is completely sensible. A fact we should have understood all along, given that he re-hired Gibbons even after the now-beleaguered manager had presided over unsuccessful teams in his first tenure. After all, how do you bring back a guy with Gibbons’ track record one year and the next suddenly decide surface results are the only thing that matter? It would be like arguing that Anthopoulos has made a horrible mistake by tying himself to this manager who was unable to magically coax results out of an under-performing roster that had such high expectations because there’s a possibility Mike “same exact fucking story” Scioscia might become available, and that would just be stupid.

Anthopoulos also, presumably, understands that each manager he goes through brings him closer to the hot seat himself, and that whichever manager he hires after Gibbons would probably be his last. What sense is there in making things even more difficult on himself in the event of another disaster next year, right? Or maybe it’s just the kiss of death– who knows?

Regardless, this would all seem to be indicative of the entirely expected sell job the Jays are going to try to pull, timed nicely to help defuse the hopelessly lazy criticism that’s exploded in the direction of John Gibbons this week.

The media and the fans who think similarly, Alex is essentially saying, are picking the easiest scapegoat possible, despite the fact that the things that the GM actually– reasonably– expects of his manager have been perfectly fine. It’ll be a tough sell, given the results of the polling we saw at the Toronto Star this week, which were over 80% in favour of Gibbons being fired, but it perfectly sets up the other fire-extinguishing he needs to do: namely, arguing that the vision he set forth last winter is still essentially right, it just needs a little tweaking. He may not even believe that– he may be orchestrating some kind of massive, franchise re-shaping trade as we speak– but if it falls apart and things in April resemble this year’s status quo, at least he’ll sound consistent enough to seem sincere. And hey, if something comes along to make the team better, he just had to take it, right?

 

Fans despise hearing “excuses” and “truths” or “facts” that don’t line up with their fervent belief that everything that happens in the world can be traced back to one single butterfly flapping its wings, which can then be blamed or praised depending on whether the thing that happened was positive or not. Part B of the sell job, then, is to convince folks that R.A. Dickey might be figuring out better how he can pitch in his home park, that Mark Buehrle has certainly come a long way from his early season struggles, and that Brandon Morrow isn’t Dustin McGowan, no matter how badly fans– and some media types– insufferably want to make him out to be.

Keith Law tweets that it’s plausible that the cutter was an issue for Morrow– though he concedes he’d have to look at it through slow-mo before he could say anything else. Morrow certainly didn’t throw the cutter much before this year– according to the adjusted data from Baseball Info Solutions provided on his FanGraphs page, he threw it just 0.5% of the time in 2012, and not at all before that, while the raw data says just 0.6% of his career pitches have been cutters. So… plausible seems about right. And if so, you’d think that a way to avoid a recurrence of the problem that sunk his 2013 would be to take it easy on the cutter– though, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here, or too simplistic in our armchair diagnoses.

What we can say, though, is that the club having an understanding the root of the issue would seem to be a good thing. It’s at least not a bad thing. It won’t make counting on Morrow to be his old self any less a dicey proposition next year than it already was, but it might make it a somewhat easier sell.

It would make it easier still, though, I think, if maybe a certain general manager went out of his way to dispel some of the fragility stuff.

I mean, since 2010, Brandon Morrow has made 87 starts. He’s missed time with shoulder soreness, forearm inflammation, an oblique strain, and this year’s radial nerve entrapment. His career ERA is 4.22, with a FIP of 3.94. 

Since 2010, Clay Buchholz has made 83 starts. He’s missed time with a hamstring strain, a stress fracture in his back, esophagitis, and this year with shoulder inflammation. His career ERA is 3.66, with a FIP of 4.07.

Do you expect to get 200 innings out of guys like that? No. But do you pretend a guy who has averaged over 20 starts per season over four years (one of which he was shut down prematurely in, otherwise he’d have piled up even more), with those kinds of numbers, is some kind of unreliable nothing who should be cast away back to the bullpen where he can hopefully protect his glass bones? It’s asinine.

And shit, it’s not like everybody’s injury prone-ness necessarily lasts forever, either. Starting with his last season here, the once “fragile” A.J. Burnett has made 34, 33, 33, 32, 31 and so-far 24 starts in consecutive seasons.

Hey, it could happen.

 

It is easy. Really, really easy. Hilariously simpleton-easy.

And yet people eat that shit up when reporters write it and commentators talk about it.

 

I suppose this statement is somewhat comforting, but not terribly so. The Jays’ payroll for 2013 is, according to Cot’s, $119-million. They already have $110-million committed for 2014, and that’s before– at the very least– picking up Casey Janssen’s option and giving an arbitration raise to Colby Rasmus. It doesn’t include a bunch of league minimum guys or options that may be picked up on Adam Lind or Mark DeRosa.

Without any kind of creative accounting or jettisoning of heavy contracts, those commitments alone would push next year’s payroll above where it is this season, which… kinda makes the notion that it’s not going backwards rather meaningless. Still, though, I’m still holding out hope that the $14-million earmarked for Josh Johnson’s possible qualifying offer won’t quietly disappear if the club doesn’t end up making him one– as now seems likely.

Alex leaves the door open for even more expenditures, too, without promising anything. And… well… let’s fucking hope so. As I said somewhat emphatically on this week’s podcast, they’ve come this far, there’s no sense in half assing it now, as far as money is concerned. Rogers has got a taste of where things can truly go if the team plays up to the fans’ expectations– and if they’re reading the tea leaves the same way as Maury Brown of the Biz Of Baseball, who was tweeting about it last night, they’re looking at a likely attendance drop next year that will undo most, if not all, of this year’s gains.

In that sense, maybe it’s not the fans who matter at all, really. Maybe it’s the higher ups at Rogers that Anthopoulos and Beeston will have to make their finest sales pitch of the winter to.

Déjà vu all over again, eh?

Comments (168)

  1. Nice to read something sensible about Morrow for a change.

    • +1. I hope Morrow doesn’t need surgery in the offseason.

      If he can make 20 starts in 2014 that would be great.

      • If he can make 20 starts with an ERA less than 4.00 it will be great. If his ERA is 4.39 or higher, which its been every year of his career in which he’s been used as a starter except one, it will not be great.

    • Those who believe the manager isn’t capable of turning a bunch of under-performing misfits into the best team in the league have obviously not seen The Mighty Ducks. It seems pretty obvious to be that Anthopoulos needs to coax Coach Bombay out of retirement and get him in that dugout for the 2014 season.

  2. I think Anthopoulos owes this motherfucker money. Hires him when he was on NO ONE’S fucking radar and now won’t fire him after watching him recline his hillbilly ass in the dugout and allowing the Blow Jays to play patty cakes after each good thing they did while getting the fuck kicked out of them by the Houston Fucking Assholes…er, um, Astros.

    • I couldn’t agree more! Gibby should have got up off his ass, grabbed his glove, and pitched game #2 instead of Wang! After all, it’s impossible to manage your players when sitting inside your teams dugout, amiright?

      • Way to miss the point, you dumb fuck. The inmates were running the asylum. If he were a good manager, he’d be managing the in-game bullshit Lawrie and Bautista were “leading”. 10-0, Bautista hits a homerun and goes back to the dugout for the elaborate handshake. Round the bases and sit the fuck down…you’re still getting your ass plowed. Gibbons should have stood up and told them as much. Instead? Nothing. Then again, I don’t need to tell you that, you watch the games too, right. Fuck’s sakes…

        • Nothing builds good morale heading into next year like berating one of your best players after hitting a homerun. You are too stupid for words. Stop trolling these boards Damien Cox.

        • That is so dumb, what is the point of acting subdued after a player hits a homerun or makes a good play just because a team is losing? To add even more negative energy in the ball club? I’m sure that would be very beneficial to the situation.

        • You’re right, I did miss your point, I must be a dumb fuck. So just to be clear, your point is that the manager should be pissed off at the players when they do things right, and show some emotion indicating that they might actually care about scoring runs? Makes sense.

          When’s the next MENSA meeting?

          • I can’t help but feel the truth is somewhere in the middle. It is idiotic to be overly celebratory about a solo shot that brings you within 9. It was idiotic for Bautista to be mad about his single initially being ruled an error. But what the fuck does it have to do with Gibbons? Did you want him to bench his superstar? Do you think if he’d imposed a blanket no celebrating club house rule that their W/L record would be inverted??

        • He got the point just fine. The point was, your comment was ridiculous.

        • TC Calvin:

          Too Crusty Calvin
          The Crustiest Calvin
          Truncate Conviviality Calvin
          Total Cunt Calvin
          Terminate Cheerfulness Calvin

          • I’m pretty sure it is Total Cunt Calvin but, if I may go off the board, it could also be Totally Clueless Calvin.

  3. Morrow, great potential, but so did I once. Too injury prone, you’re correct, you don’t throw him in the pen, he’d break something else ;-), you put him there and protect his arm, and everything else. As you point out, he might be on the verge of putting together a massive franchise changing trade post the WS to address pitching, catching and second base. I think he will make a couple of significant trades and people may be surprised who goes the other way. Also, payroll will be as high as 135 million IF it fixes this team. Nobody can predict that but hedge one’s bet is still possible if say a guy, and I’m not saying it, but say a guy like Cano could be signed this offseason…Rogers wouldn’t even blink at that…remember, this is the FIRST year the Jays have actually tried to win anything for 20 years, minus 2008…AA has a heck of long rope at Rogers and so does Beeston.

    • Exactly

    • Even more than 2008, the Jays went for it in 2006. Ricciardi traded for a Big Scary Bat (Troy Glaus) and a fine complementary bat (Lyle Overbay) – both of whom had excellent years for Toronto in 2006. He spent all the FA money he could find to get a starting pitcher (A.J. Burnett) and a kickass closer (B.J. Ryan). The team went from 83 wins to 87.

      So I would say 2006, 2008, and 2013 are the only times in the current millennium that the Jays have made a serious attempt to contend for anything.

      • Kit: It’s true, in 2006 they tried to win something. But, in 2006, they did not, using a band anology, have the side guys to it. They had a great lead singer and lead guitar player, but lacked a lot of the rest. They lacked significant depth at that time to really be contenders. They thought they had more this year but they really didn’t and the A guys didn’t come close to delivering as promised, with the exception of MB and later on, RA to a degree, especially on the road. I predict that RA might be traded this offseason. Rogers Centre in hindsight is a graveyard for Dickey. He has a reasonable contract to trade and many national league teams, with pitcher friendly ballparks, would love to have the 2012 Cy Young Award winner on their staff. I think AA explores all avenues. The other thing that I keep reading that makes me cringe is AA’s loyalty to Joey Bats. AA has treated Joey Bats well and involved him in player contract negotiations such as with YE and EE but JB can be traded too. If AA can get a stud pitcher and solid bat ++ in return, don’t be surprised if he pulls that trigger. JB status as a star was unexpected and his stats are decreasing. He’s getting older but it’s his attitude that has really slipped. I’m certain he’s still a leader on the team but is it positive leadership anymore? I don’t know but the thing is the “three year window” is not necessarily contingent on having JB as your #3 or #4 hitter and right fielder. Pitching and defense win championships. AA could get a lot for JB…a stud pitcher and a solid, middle of the line up bat for sure plus others. Dickey could get them a nice package of players too. Point is, look at Boston’s remake in one offseason. They never got Trout et al…they got guys like Shane V who are solid players…offensively and defensively. They don’t beat themselves by giving away at bats and making errors. I think AA makes changes along those lines if he’s smart.

        • In what world do teams give up a stud pitcher and a solid middle of the lineup bat for a solid middle of the lineup bat???

          • Why, in the baseball world Stoeten. JB is a star. As an example, Shane V in Boston is not a star but he’s a good hitter and can play defense. Is he a #3, as in JB? No, but we’re talking examples and specifically, of the solid players, not star, variety. And the stud pitcher is about timing. For example, Arizona has some great pitchers, so do other teams and some of those pitchers are being blocked by stocked staffs and/or are at the lower end of the pecking order on those staffs. JB is attractive to other teams was my point. Being attractive can get a fella married but my point was also that JB plays for the Jays, he didn’t marry them. And even if he did, 50% of marriages end in divorce. That can happen to really good guys if they drink and blog too much :-).

        • Offense wins just as many championships as pitching and defense.

          • Yep. See Yankees, 2009.

          • Yes, offense can win a championship. The 2009 Yankees are a great example. But, normally, pitching and defense win more often. Man, that Yankee’s line up was a killer. When the Jays won in ’92, they could hit but the pitching and defense was out of this world.

  4. AA just had a interview with wilner
    It’s worth checking out

  5. Cano, Garza, McCann…sign everybody. Sign them all. Sign every player everywhere. Dig up the dead ones and sign them with some voodoo magic.

  6. +1 to stoeten. Another great post

    I am impressed that AA stood up to the media & defended Gibby today.

    He isn’t letting Gibby twist in the wind for the next 30 days.

    I am hopeful that AA can get some better players for 2014.

    I have booked my tickets to Florida for spring training 2014.

  7. I guess the season won’t be a complete failure if the Jays’ shittiness leads to a potential attendance drop that allows the Fan/Ballpark Pass to live to see another year.

  8. Do they really understand what the problem is though? The rotation sucks we can all agree on that and its a problem. However, does AA realize they need a catcher, second baseman, left fielder and dh as well? Cause i got to say looking at this lineup waaaayyyy too many fucking outs are made from those spots. Not sure all those holes can be filled in one offseason. Not to mention, the whole team needs a kick in the ass to change them from this free swinging approach theyve had and put together more solid ABs.

    • The issues are at SP, 2B and C. They are big enough problems, you don’t need to pile on DH and LF. They’ll make sure they have a good read on Melky’s legs and make sure he’s properly conditioned, and then decide whether he’ll play outfield or be the DH. If he DH’s, they’ll rely on their internal options – which is perfectly fine IMO, even if no one lights the league on fire.

      • Yah, just like we made sure the roid kid had good legs for this year? And you are ok with him at DH? Oof!

        • Melky isn’t going anywhere before 2014. They’ll have a better handle on him now than they did before signing him.

    • Sure, the jays are weak at those positions but I still hope pitching is the number one priority. Even good teams have some holes in their lineups so I think the team can survive even with an Arencibia somewhere near the bottom. The offence was still good despite izturiz, bono and JP this year (but yes it could be better even with just small upgrades).

      • I agree, starting pitching is the priority.

        However, I just don’t think you can be a very good team with negative WAR players – guys who hurt the team on both sides of the ball.

    • What the fuck possibly leads you to believe that he doesn’t see these holes in the lineup?

  9. Stoeten, great post. One of your best ever!

    Jays “fans” (sports fans?) are so incredibly fickle. I can’t believe how much people have turned on Anthopoulos. I find when he speaks, he’s a breath of fresh air. Straight spoken, analytical, introspective…

    However, I am anxious about what the future holds for the Jays. 2B has been a big issue since Hill’s concussion, and it is as bad as ever. All the assets were spent basically on SP, and the two key acquisitions have been busts. I like your comments about Morrow, but I don’t think anyone figures you can count on him to be the ace. But whatever; you have 3 good pitchers in Dickey, Buehrle and Morrow. I don’t know where they’ll get that one great pitcher, which both of their attempts to land one this year failed.

    • He could speak like Sir Laurence Olivier for all I care. So far, Anthopoulos’ only winning team and manager were the ones he inherited. If he can’t change that, and soon, no one will give a fuck how he speaks.

      • Run for Prime Minister

      • Fair enough. It goes without saying that the Jays need to win for Anthopoulos to keep his job. The team is better positioned now than it was when he took over, but it’s also true that, in my opinion anyway, the evaluation Izturis was bad and that they had enough info to know what they had in Arencibia but still chose not to upgrade. I don’t know how to look at the right data to know if they misevaluated Dickey.

        But as far as his statements about the problems with this team and Gibbons’ status, what he said is categorically honest, fair and correct.

    • The JOB of the GM is to win. That’s it. So ya, in his 4th year of being a loser, people are getting hard on him.

  10. So the team sucks and its not Gibby’s fault, he makes great game management decisions. Cito comes in and they overperform for a while, but its not because of Cito he got lucky.

    All Gibby’s ever done is coach teams that underperform … eventually either that’s his fault or we shouldn’t bother having a manager at all. Just hire some guy off the street, I’m available, and spend the extra $3 mil on a free agent.

    • Get in line. Rabbi Zev gets first crack.

    • Pretty much. What do you expect aa to say right now…really? He can’t fire gibby now even if he wanted to bc who would fill in smoothly? Also, to do so will pretty much admit a mistake and I have yet to ever hear of one from him or stoets here. He’ll at least back him until some mid-offseason “change of direction” comes about IF they find a new option or the pressure gets too high. Didn’t like the Melky and Gibby moves, both and more I did like fell on their face. I say stick with the pitchers bc what choice do we have outside of jj? Yet new blood is needed on the bench.

    • Yeah, no middle ground at all between all his fault and managers mean nothing. None.

      • I didn’t say all his fault but some of the blame needs to fall to him. The team has consistently under performed with him as manager. They do fail at the things good teams do: runners in scoring position, late game situations, fielding and throwing.

        All his fault, no, but some blame falls on him and for the second time it’s time for him to go.

        • Those things you cite have nothing to do with the manager.

          • Well coached teams execute the fundamentals. There is more to being a manager than filling out a line up card and deciding when to pitch hit or hit and run.

  11. I didn’t see the Brown tweets, but I’m willing to wager real money that they won’t see an attendance drop that gives back this year’s gains. That would mean falling below last year. There’s no way that’s happening.

    Also, the media’s piling on now, but come March they’ll be selling optimism, and that’ll make sense because this roster is pretty good, presuming Anthopoulos can somehow add a stud SP and 2B and C are addressed.

    • The links are right there, you can look at the tweets.

      As he says– and he’s right– attendance is built on the momentum coming out of the previous season and in the off-season. It’s going to drop, for sure, without something very drastic happening. Maybe they won’t give back all the gains, but it will drop. Just look at the TV ratings stuff– they were down 9% from 2012 around the All-Star Break, according to the Canadian Press.

      • Yeah, I can see it’ll probably drop, but I can’t see it falling below 2012. That’d have to be the floor, no?

        Then the drop off from this year will be mitigated by winning. If they’re in the mix this time next year, the crowds will swell to 40k+ and they could wind up on par with this year if not better.

        Of course, the other factor is what they do in the offseason. I don’t think we’re expecting a splash, but if they do surprise with a superstar signing, that could help the offseason sales and keep it above the 2012 floor.

        I’ll go read the tweets, thanks.

        • The 15-20% is a bit confusing. Attendance is up 18% over 2012. But if it goes down 18% off this year’s numbers, it would drop below 2012.

          I guess what we could debate is whether 2012 is a floor or not.

          • I think 2012 seems a reasonable floor. I don’t know what there is to debate about.

            • Well I’m not clear if Brown is intentionally citing a figure that would result in a drop off below 2012 numbers. If he isn’t, it would have been clearer to just say they’d lose the attendance gains of this year.

              But I see I also misread your sentence. For some reason I read “giving back most or all of this year’s gains” as meaning attendance could drop below 2012 when it obviously doesn’t.

  12. Another question for you, what is enough for a manger to take blame for losing? Seems this guy is getting a pass not for what he has done in the face of all this shit, but bc it’s “not his fault” the starting pitching isn’t good. Yet i see terrible fielding, a terrible catcher behind the plate and at it swinging for the fences with 2 strikes all day, no adjustment even in those three spots at all, besides aa trading boni and izturis going on thr dl. Gibby, nada.

    • That wasn’t English, but it seems like you’re saying ‘this team is terrible, lacks talent, and is losing – why aren’t we blaming the manager for this’. Well, how about because this team is pretty terrible and lacks talent? Did John Gibbons teach JP Arencibia to catch? Did he trade away the prospect catcher waiting in the wings? Did he teach Bonifacio to bunt? Did Maicer Izturis make it to the big leagues and then have a career as an infielder WITHOUT learning to field grounders? Do we expect Gibbons to teach Izturis how to play the infield, as though this guy never learned? Or even worse, that somehow a manager can teach players to play the infield where they previously had no talent?

      What it takes for the manager to lose his job is for upper management to put the blame for team underperformance on him. Plain and simple. If the GM has failed to provide the coach with talent, he can blame the manager and fire him. If the GM feels that he has provided talent to the manager, who then mismanaged it, he’s fired. But, if the GM feels that he assembled a talented team, but that those players, for a number of reasons (one of which is the manager), fail to play to their talent level, the GM may not wish to fire the manager because he simply doesn’t feel like it’s his fault.

      • Yes, one of the reasons is Gibby and he should be shown the door. And it is clear, Gibbons indeed does not teach much to anyone bc it doesn’t stop once at the mlb level…it is constant. Sorry, your snarky bullshit retort was nothing short of just that, bullshit and an excuse.

      • Also, saying this team lacks talent is comical even with said pitching issues. In reality it lacks leadership and direction with a whole lot of new and moving parts. So I wonder, who can Toronto replace to show some form of accountability, add leadership and perhaps direction and better fit for this team? Sure we need the same at the top of the rotation, but that’s different.

      • Amen Winfield

    • I see terrible grammar, bad English …..

      • oh hold on…here’s where I give a fuck typing on a small phone keyboard while on the subway

        oh shit it’s a fucking blog and it doesn’t mean shit

        this may be your stupid thesis in life, but over here, it’s a diversion

        you know bc (soak in it)

  13. I’m not sure how exactly they’ll go about fixing the rotation, but I think a cheaper version of what Boston did could offer some big upgrades in the lineup.

    1. Sign Carlos Ruiz
    2. Sign David Murphy and have him job share LF with Pillar.
    3. Trade Gose, JPA etc for Dustin Ackley.
    4. Trade/buyout Lind and move Melky to DH

    Personally, I see that as a group that has a chance to hit better at LF, 2B & C than what they Jays have received in 2013.

    But more importantly, those are big defensive upgrades.

    The cost in terms of money/young players wouldn’t be too substantial I don’t think.

    And getting 2 wins a piece from those players as opposed to the 2013 sinkholes would go a long way to fixing this.

    • I’d also do all those things

    • With Zunino at C, Mariners have no need of JPA.
      Gose? Maybe, but I doubt it. They’re better off with
      Saunders, Guittierez and Ackley.

      Mariners covet a big bat.
      Last off season they agreed to terms with the D-Backs for Justin Upton.
      Upton used his no trade clause to block it.

      We don’t know for sure, but the rumored return for Upton was to be
      Nick Fraklin plus one of Walker, Hultzen or Paxton plus Furbush and Pryor.

      If any team is willing to part with a big bat,
      they can get a heck of a return from Seattle.

      I do like the idea of signing Ruiz and acquiring Ackley.

  14. I keep going back to the fangraphs article about Mike Scoscia (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/so-why-do-the-angels-suck/). While I haven’t been a fan of Scoscia since he missed Mr. Burns’ softball game, I can’t see firing him now for any reason other than to send a message that ‘someone’ is accountable when things don’t work out, fair or unfair.

    There has been so much written and said about firing Gibbons, but no one has actually considered the possibility that Gibbons may actually be doing a good job; that the team could actually be WORSE than this if they had a lesser manager pulling the strings.

    It’s easy to dismiss this notion, of course, but the fact remains: it’s as easy to prove that Gibbons has cost this team wins as it is to prove that he has added wins. And by that I mean that it’s very, very hard to prove.

    If Gibbons is shown the door next season it will be for the same reason that Scoscia will be: to make it clear that somebody’s gonna pay when the season doesn’t turn out as hoped. It more than likely won’t be because he did or didn’t do something demonstrable to deserve it.

    • Bang on.

      • @ Winfield

        Yup.Gotta agree.
        I have no idea what happens in the clubhouse but I do wonder,depending on which players stay and which ones go,whether Gibby change’s his MO next year.I got a sense it will.
        Just Idle speculation on my part.

  15. Regardless, he has to say this now. But I still think if some playoff experience good manager becomes available this winter, he may think about changing his mind.

  16. wow thanking rogers for not cutting payroll is like thanking a rapist for using a condom.

  17. Fire them both.

  18. “I would say 2006, 2008, and 2013 are the only times in the current millennium that the Jays have made a serious attempt to contend for anything.”

    And I just noticed what all three of those seasons have in common! Besides being massive fucking disappointments.

    No, not the manager. (But him too, if you like.) It’s Dustin McGowan. Clearly, the black cloud that hovers over him at all times is somehow contagious.

  19. Has anyone figured out why Maicer Izturis was so bad this year? His BABIP looks like it’s 50 points below career norms, but his batted ball mix looks happier this year and everything else is basically the same. (And he hasn’t *looked* like a -2 win player at the dish. At least not to me.)

    • I don’t have the stats to back this up, it is simply from watching him over the years.
      Izturis has always seemed best suited to a backup role.
      He can do a credible job of filling in at multiple positions.

      If the Jays made a mistake; it was not in signing him.
      It was in thinking he could be more than that.

      He’s fine over 2-3 days or even 2-3 weeks.
      Ask him to play every day for 3 months and he wears down
      and loses his effectiveness.

      We’ve seen similar before with smallish type players like
      Ramon Santiago in Detroit or Robert Andino when he was
      in Baltimore.

      • Interesting theory, not really supported by the numbers. I think it is quite possible that AA did not expect to be “going for it” when he signed Maicer. Numbers from BBRef (hope they format OK!):

        Year Age Tm G PA WAR oWAR dWAR BAbip
        2004 23 MON 32 121 -0.5 -0.2 -0.2 0.244
        2005 24 LAA 77 210 0.3 0.4 0.2 0.271
        2006 25 LAA 104 399 1.8 2.2 -0.2 0.313
        2007 26 LAA 102 374 1.6 1.5 0.3 0.308
        2008 27 LAA 79 321 1.7 1.1 0.9 0.286
        2009 28 LAA 114 437 3.7 3.1 0.9 0.313
        2010 29 LAA 61 238 1.3 0.8 0.7 0.272
        2011 30 LAA 122 494 1.6 2 -0.1 0.311
        2012 31 LAA 100 319 0.3 1.2 -0.6 0.289
        2013 32 TOR 107 399 -0.8 -0.1 -0.2 0.249

        Pretty weak correlation of WAR to PAs (.53 if I did it right), Look at the drop-off in BABIP though! Just luck or problems with warning track power + turf? dWAR doesn’t like him much lately either.

        Do we like small-sample size Goins better in 2014 full-time with “veteran” backup? Makes a cheap alternative, saving bullets for C & SP upgrades. Note Gibby’s “look’s like he belongs up here” comments…

        • Earlier on, Jays 2010 suggested trading with the Mariners to acquire Ackley.
          Ackley as the starter with Maicer as the backup and Goins in Buffalo would be ideal.

          If there is trouble in the OF, Ackley can move out there and they can bring up Goins.

          Or, if Goins just rakes in AAA and forces his way into the lineup, they can find a spot
          for Ackley. He can play 1B, 2B, DH or play any of the three outfield positions.

          Having both of those guys in the system would give them quite a bit of roster flexibility.

          • Just sign Kelly Johnson and give up nothing. Much better.

            • yes, i don’t understand why they let Kelly Johnson walk. I was quite disappointed at the time. He had a bad year but he was an everyday starting 2B and he takes a lot of walks.

            • Goins is looking good. I’d rather him or a parked car at second base next season over bringing Kelly Johnson back. Wow, that’s just not going to happen and until you stop preaching that bit of genius, you might want to back off the debates with some of your loyal posters when they come up with like minded gems. Man, that’s just real bad Stoeten. It’s right up there with Tabby and his fascination with strong hands. I understand the numbers behind your affection for KJ given the mess this year at second base but you must realize this is not going to happen from a Blue Jay perspective and the player’s perspective too.

              • agree with stoets, “bang on”

                disagree and a good healthy debate ensues…ehhh, RIDICULOUS and fuck yourself!

        • Exactly what I was looking at. You’d think such a huge drop in BABIP would be accompanied by a fall in LD% and a rise in IFFB%, but it’s not. Those numbers all stayed the same.

      • Shit. Sorry for the table. Lesson: Multiple tabs get eaten…

        • Thanks, this is interesting. Does anyone know why he saw reduced playing time the year after his 3.7 WAR year in 2009?

          I don’t see how the table disproves the theory. I just see a career part-timer. The theory that he’s more valuable in limited action and gets exposed the more you rely on him could be true.

    • If my memory is correct, there was a lot of discussion around these parts about Maicer being awfully unlucky for the first couple months of the season. It seemed as though he was mixing really poor at bats with really unlucky ones for a while (hard line outs, etc.). I have nothing to back it up now, but I think that played a role in his super low BABIP.

  20. Then maybe AA needs to be fired too. This season was a complete disaster, so trying to sell this was a fluke isn’t going to fly with me. I was worried about this season the minute AA hired Gibby. A laid back manager isn’t what this team needs!

    • Agree. This is AA’s team. Spreading the blame around when these are failures he recruited, had a say in playing and who he now blames has a particularly unpleasant smell about it. It’s everybody’s fault is a way of saying it’s not my fault. Man up.

    • Idiots with their knee jerk reactions… You probably also think the world is going to end now that Affleck is Batman. Geez. I’ve had this argument with a friend of mine. It was a good 30 minute argument that she just couldn’t grasp. Three year window! AA and the core of this team has a three year window to do something. So one year is done. Two more to go. Yes this year sucked. Yes shit needs to be addressed. And yes AA better address the deficiencies of this club during this off season because if year two sucks balls like this season then AA and the core of this team has a very short leash for year three.

    • What is the obsession with assigning blame to a random outcome sport?

      It’s such a false dichotomy. There are 30 teams and only 1 will win it all. All but maybe 5 or 6 hoped to make the playoffs.

      It’s a fucking game. If it was controllable to the degree people are claiming, NO ONE WOULD WATCH.

      • ^^^ THIS ^^^

        If the negative nattering nellies want someone to blame, blame themselves for sucking the energy out of the fanbase. If they believe that attitude and chemistry mean something, then the million like-minded to themselves MUST be responsible and should be fired.

        • Yup I agree. The media and the whiny fans are a total drag at this point. If you hate everything about Gibby and AA and Lawrie and Bautista then quit watching. Fuck.

          I did notice the crowd being especially supportive at that last Dickey game. Still lots of fans that simply go and hope to see the team win.

  21. Yes, the season has been a huge disappointment.

    But I’ll buy about the same number of tickets for next season
    as I have for the last while (18-25 games depending on what else is going on)

    Why?
    1) A day at the ballpark is never a bad day regardless of how the home side does.
    2) If the home side does well, BONUS.
    3) The visiting teams have players well worth the price of admission
    4) And even in a season as crappy as this one, so too does the home side.

    • I completely agree with this notion.

      But it doesn’t mean that fans can’t voice their opinion on the direction of the team. I will watch regardless as I have since the mid 80s.

  22. “In that sense, maybe it’s not the fans who matter at all, really. Maybe it’s the higher ups at Rogers that Anthopoulos and Beeston will have to make their finest sales pitch of the winter to.”

    It seems incredibly obvious to me that pitching to Rogers is linked to pitching to the fans. Rogers wants to make money and avoid any potential losses that might result from the inevitable loss of momentum going into 2014. This team is nowhere near competing in 2014 and anybody who think otherwise is the equivalent of Leafs fans who think that team will compete for Stanley cup every year. This being said, Rogers will force AA to make a splash, cut loser players (half the team), spend money, fire coaches etc. all to somewhat be able to better market this team for 2014 and better sell tickets, advertising and TV ratings.

    • Rogers’ history is that they stay out of the day to day operations of their enterprises.
      They will not tell AA or Beeston what to do.

      AA and Beeston will have to present their vision and their budget.
      Rogers will say either “Carry On” or “Goodbye” or “We’ll authorize $x instead of $y)
      Past that, Rogers will stay out of it and what AA does within his budget is up to him.

      This is not Richard Peddie, Larry the Christmas Tree and the Maple Leafs.

      • “Rogers’ history is that they stay out of the day to day operations of their enterprises.

        What kind of respectable, publicly traded corporation stays out of the day to day operations of its enterprises???? that makes no sense. They won’t tell AA which players to sign but they will tell him to do something, whether agressive roster overhall or fire certain coaching aspects to be better suited to market the team for 2014. Why would they do otherwise and go into 2014 with drastically lower attendance, advertising revenue and TV ratings???

        • Sounds like you’d make a great micro manager.
          Fortunately, Rogers is not one of those.

          • Agreed. Rogers will give Beeston & AA at least one more season to make it work. They were sold on a multi-year (3+) vision last year. They will allow at least one mulligan. Beeston still has a good news story re attendance while downplaying 2013 record. Lower 2014 attendance becomes a “risk” to be managed – and they will be watching that.

            • Beeston has a lifetime pass with the Blue Jays. He may be “retired,” but never fired.

              Don’t think they have to win the Division next year for AA to keep on truckin’

              But at this time next year, if they are not in some sort of contention,
              like at least where the Orioles are this year,
              (6.5 off the Division lead, 3.5 out of the wild card with 2 teams to dislodge)
              then heads will roll.

  23. [...] The Blue Jays are going to have to do some serious salesmanship this offseason to get back in the fans good graces. [DJF] [...]

  24. I am divided over Gibbons, I have to admit. Media really can’t find anything wrong with him. And I know very little as does all of us to what really goes on inside a clubhouse. Athletes have massive egos. Each can make massive improvements or go in the shitcan with seemingly minor adjustments and nagging injuries.

    We haven’t seen massive improvement from anyone this year, save Brett Lawrie’s recent push and the bullpen, which media is crediting the weighted ball program overall.

    What we have seen instead is a pile of injuries which apparently can be caused by turf. if the injuries are systemic in nature and can be attributed to turf, then put in some frickin’ grass, Rogers and give the Argos an offer they can’t refuse to go play at BMO or Varsity. At the same time, you don’t see the same injuries at Tampa (though the team is much younger).

    On the pitching side, Happ’s injury was unavoidable and Johnson / Morrow, while slightly predictable, was just awful to happen at the same time. And Dickey and Buehrle didn’t have great starts either but seem to gotten much better as the season moved on.

    Was the team ready to go in April? It didn’t look like it – they were rusty out of the gate, and maybe it was the World Baseball Classic screwing with spring training. Can you blame management for a lack of team preparedness? Sure. Can you prove that they didn’t do anything any different than any other team? No.

    How is the day-to-day lineup management? You could analyze it and say it was piss-poor, but hindsight is 20-20, ain’t it. You can look at a line up card and say, WTF is Goins doing batting 2nd, only to find him hitting .400 for a while, and then it looks frickin’ brilliant. But there have been some glaring mistakes — batting Arencibia in the 5 hole long after he showed his propensity to whiff alot — putting Lind and Rasmus next to each other in the lineup who are normally weak against LHP, batting Izturis 2nd when it might have been better to return joey Bats / Edwin to 2/3.

    How is the defense? Can you blame management for not having IF practice? Buck and Tabler raved about how Boni, Kawasaki and Izturis had a clinic with Alomar on turning DPs but I haven’t heard the Jays commentators about having infield practices. Is it because the turf is too hard to practice on? Last year, media raved about the workouts they did with Rajai and Colby to work on their throws home which paid off, but there’s been no word on that this year and most of their throws home are off-line. So, yeah, when you see the same mistakes being made by the same players on the field, you think “practice makes perfect” and you can pin the tail on management for not fixing these mistakes.

    Fans hate to see the same mistakes over and over. Fans love Kawasaki because of his self-motivated work effort. Fans hate Arencibia because of his regression as a catcher (throwing from his knees, passed balls, blocking). Fans are in love again with Brett Lawrie because he seems to be much calmer and has made massive improvements that come with time, hard work, and management. This responsibility for making players better is a shared responsibility between players and management, and I think management failed here based on the on-field results.

    Then there’s pre-game management and the Jays’ (as a whole) seem to be unable to hit mediocre rookie pitching. Is this a function of not reviewing tape, a function of the hitting coaches not being able to translate the tape to the hitters to tell them what to look for, or is it just on the players?

    So yeah, those are my reasons that management sucks. I give Gibby an A on in-game management (including the pen), Hentgen an A overall, but I give an F to game preparedness, D to lineup preparation, D to defense, and a C to offense.

    Or maybe I don’t know WTF I’m talking about and you can blame the players 100%.

  25. Those who believe the manager isn’t capable of turning a bunch of under-performing misfits into the best team in the league have obviously not seen The Mighty Ducks. It seems pretty obvious to be that Anthopoulos needs to coax Coach Bombay out of retirement and get him in that dugout for the 2014 season.

  26. Good read, thanks.

    Keep in mind that by sticking up for Gibby, AA in a way is taking the blame himself. And really if you are the type that needs to assign “blame” to a random outcome sport, then AA should take the blame. Dickey and Johnson were crappy right from the start; not Gibby’s fault.

    But then how much can you blame AA when his moves made the team a favourite to win the World Series?

    I’m hoping they’ll take on 20-30M above keeping current players. Either it comes together and the money is made back easily. Or we still underperform and sell off everything at the end of next year. It’s pretty obvious that no contract is really unmovable.

    • I blame AA or ownership for missing Darvish and, to a lesser extent perhaps, Chapman. I blame AA for not addressing 2B during the offseason and C during the offseason or in season. But I think Johnson’s season is a legit shocker. 2nd full season back after TJ, contract year; all signs pointed to monster season. I don’t blame AA at all on that one. They might have whiffed on Dickey – not whiffed, but overpaid – but I don’t know how to get the data on the batted balls against him in 2012.

      • Nice as those ideas are… AA did take on something like 200M worth of contracts last offseason. I mean it was (at the time) seen as one of the greatest offseasons for any team ever.

        And Bonifacio probably is a lot better than we saw. And JPA is still young enough that you could have hoped for some upside. Even a slight improvement instead of regressing.

        There’s a point where you’re just asking for Rogers to hire the best player in baseball for each position.

        • I’m prejudiced against Arencibia. I just hate guys who don’t know where the strike zone is.

          You would figure Bonifacio is better than what we saw. But for them to cut bait on him like they did suggests to me Gibbons just wanted him gone.

          This offseason will be really interesting. Gibbons will have some input on what they do with incumbents.

          • If jpa is back next year that should be a mark on AA and his process as not upgrading from the worst catcher in baseball

  27. Cano plus one healthy SP.

    Aren’t Cano and EE friends? And Cano and Reyes probably know each other from playing in the same city. And the Yanks have luxury tax issues and maybe Cano is sick of the Arod circus.

    I also have some theories about why Natalie Portman will soon see reason and date me.

    • Both EE and Bautista understand the business side.
      Cano will go for max dollars and term.the Yanks can’t afford not to re-sign him.
      The Jays are unlikely to sign for as long a term as other teams.

    • If Cano values his health he’ll join JA Happ’s Blue Jays. He got off light compared to Granderson in ST and would be wise not to risk facing Happ again in the future.

  28. “Both EE and Bautista understand the business side.
    Cano will go for max dollars and term.the Yanks can’t afford not to re-sign him.
    The Jays are unlikely to sign for as long a term as other teams.”

    I’m not following your logic all the way here. If EE and Bautista understood the business side why would they have signed below market contracts with Toronto? The Yankees will certainly make a push with Cano no doubt, but they are boxed in to a degree by the luxury tax and the desire of Steinbrenner’s progeny not to spend beyond their means. As far as long term contracts, why would a large market revenue team like Toronto be adverse to long term contracts ( see Jose Reyes as example A).

    • Baseball is fickle.
      Bautista was a backup and was signed after one good year. itwas a risk on both sides. in fact Parkes, thought the contract was a mistake.
      EE was DFA’d a year earlier and jumped at the contract the jays offered.
      Both worked out fo rthe jays and the players.
      AA and Beeston have stated several times that contracts will be limited to 5 years.
      The Yanks see Cano as a key player going forward. ( from everything I’ve read)

  29. I was just about to post a comment lamenting how fucking dumb and attributive the commenters here have become and complain that when the Jays hit the tank we kept all the bandwagon fucknuts and lost the folks who would come here and post idiotic comments that were actually about baseball.

    Then I remembered that at this time last year this blog spent a whole fucking week (two?) exhaustively covering and debating what was written on Yunel Escobar’s eye black. No discussion here will ever be as boring as that one, so carry on questioning Jose’s ‘leadership’ qualities you likely racist fucks. So long as no one launches a long winded debate about the relative merit of words in a language they’ve never spoken, we’ll be okay.

  30. Fair enough Radar. There is a Dominican connection between Cano and many of the Jays that can’t be totally discounted. If negotiations between Jay Z and the Yankee’s become acrimonious I suppose you never know…..

  31. Stoeten, don’t know if you read Hayhurt’s article this morning, but he seems to putting the word out for the Jays to go after Morneau (again). Now the question is, with the squad they’ve assembled, do you pursue him now and drop Lind?

    Both you and Hayhurst have pointed that he’s good against RHP but bad against LHP (although not quite Lind bad), and that his pop would carry over well to Rogers Centre allowing for more potential dingers. But I read a comment that someone wrote on the article saying that if we have Morneau, then DH duties are split be Morneau, EE, and Melky (if legs aren’t well), so it evidently becomes a problem on who to fill in at the DH spot.

    • Morneau is such a completely ridiculous idea.

      • Reason for input?

        • He’s no better than Adam Lind.

          • His stats say otherwise.

            • No, they don’t.

              Lind: 124 wRC+, Morneau: 101 wRC+.
              Lind vs. RHP: 144 wRC+, Morneau: 122 wRC+.

              Over two years they’re identical vs. RHP (132 and 131 wRC+ respectively). Over three years it’s 124 and 121.

              Morneau is no better than Lind, sorry.

              • I meant career wise. And over the past 3 years Morneau has played fewer games, so by your standard, his numbers should be lower.

                • No, that’s wRC+ isn’t a counting stat, so it’s measuring how good they were when they were both on the field.

                  Yes, Morneau has better career numbers, but they’re completely meaningless to the evaluation of 2014 Justin Morneau. He is not the player who won those MVP awards anymore, sorry.

      • Hayhurst is just completely ridiculous

      • If Morneau would take 2 million less than Lind is paid it would be a good idea. He probably won’t, so it would be a stupid idea. But I don’t see how it’s ridiculous given that we’re not trading pieces to pay him 13 million dollars.

        • It’s completely ridiculous. You have the same player already under contract and would be paying him $2-million to go away, plus whatever it takes to get Morneau.

      • I agree Stoeten, Moreau is not a good idea. But, so is bringing Kelly Johnson back.

    • He said the same thing on baseball central, although he emphasized the PR side of it (giving the illusion that the team is making big moves even though he admitted that this was a very tiny improvement, if at all). I don’t personally like the idea of wasting money on a minimal improvement just for the sake of keeping fans happy.

      And yes, if Moreau comes then I guess we would be stuck with milky in left. Not the worse depending on his knees, but still…

  32. Damien Cox has doubled down on his position that Gibby should be fired. Now AA will be fired if Gibby goes. I expect a rebuttal from Stoeten. If Gibby is fired in 2014, does AA get a 3rd manager? I think so.

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/2013/08/27/alex_anthopoulos_puts_his_future_in_john_gibbons_hands_cox.html

  33. Is anyone up for keeping goins at 2nd next year and improving LF and SP?

    • Well, he’s certainly not embarrassed himself with the glove, and gets the odd sneaky hit in there as well.
      (here we go with the “ifs”) – but if Lawrie continues to show improvement with his bat, and the other guys all revert to having average years offensively – I could live with a number 9 hitter in the lineup that’s just learning his chops. Pillar still take some mad hacks up there, and I”m not sure if Sierra is an everyday kind of player.
      But if they could AT LEAST get another SP who doesn’t blow up in the 2nd or third inning every start…and maybe an upgrade at catcher…I could live with Goins at second, maybe even platooning with Kawasaki.

  34. I cannot fathom a world in which the New York Yankees do not give all of the money to Robbie Cano somehow.

    • Arod somehow wins his appeal

      • Sure. I still think that given how many expiring contracts that team has next year they could still find a way to sign a bunch of cheap guys for one season to get under the lux tax threshold and then load up again in 2015. With guys like Wells and Jeter off of the books.

  35. Just a note: AJ jiminez, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stronan and Sean Nolin are some of the names that are on the jays AFL roster. They can still be called up regardless, right (excluding Sanchez of course)?

  36. For God’s sake the blame for this season is everywhere. AA got a bunch of all-star pitchers who collectively couldn’t beat the Tiny Tim T-Ball Team of the North York Kindergarten League. His infield acquisitions turned out horrible as well. Except for Reyes who got hurt. Like a whole bunch of other players, so step forward training and conditioning coaches! Gibbons failed to rally the troops and the fundamentals of the game seemed to have fallen by the wayside. The defence has been shaky all season. The batters have failed to hit and the left-on-base percentage must be stratospheric.

    Everyone has shit all over them. Including us for the hubris we displayed n the off-season. I don’t know what will happen behind closed doors at the end of this season but a lot of changes in roster, in coaches and in attitude are due. For myself I promise to leave Farrell alone, and be a little more measured in my enthusiasm next time a knuckle-baller comes into discussion for the rotation.

    • AA’s moves were lauded by all of MLB and their analysts. Vegas put the Jays as favorites to win the World Series. The team was supposed to improve. It didn’t: shoddy defense (due to Lawrie’s parting at 3B, Bonifacio’s crud, Jose Reyes being hurt, JPA’s regression), untimely hitting (Cabrera’s bum legs, Bonifacio’s crud, JPA’s propensity to K), and very poor starting pitching due to Morrow and Johnson never being at 100% and Dickey learning to pitch in a batting friendly park led to this team’s demise.

      While these things were pointed out as risks, no one imagined that all of these things would coalesce together to create the shittiness that is the Toronto Blule Jays this year.

      We can point the finger and blame in hindsight, but NO ONE saw this coming, including those who are closest to the game (baseball analysts and professionals). So how can we possibly say that AA should have known better when no one else did?

  37. I’m not saying that AA is to blame for all of this. I agree, no one could have seen this coming.

    What I am saying is that a stinking season like this sheds crud all over everyone and he’s not immune to it. Neither is Gibbons. It’s almost all on the players but there is plenty of shit to go around and he has to accept some of it as do we fans for being all ‘Look At Us’ back then when really all we knew was that a bunch of players we had all heard of had been acquired.

  38. A lot of people seem to be focusing on Morrow as the only missing piece – the Jays need much more in their pitching staff than just 1 more starter. The entire pitching staff needs to be overhauled.

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