In the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott writes that the Jays have eyes for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, having sent both assistant GM Andrew Tinnish, and pro scout Dan Evans, formerly the GM of the Dodgers (though Elliott says the White Sox), to Japan to see Tanaka in person about a month ago. I don’t know if we need to get too lathered up about it, though. Alex Anthopoulos himself went twice to see Yu Darvish two years ago, and that would seem to be a clearer indicator of a firm interest.

Another reason to be skeptical about the Jays’ potential interest comes from a statement in Keith Law’s chat at ESPN.com last week, where a reader asked for KLaw’s thoughts on Tanaka, noting that most information seems to have him pegged as possibly a number two, and not terribly far behind Darvish. “I have not seen him myself. What I have heard from scouts is that he’s less than that,” Law replied.

Brendan Kennedy fleshes out some of the details regarding Melky Cabrera’s spinal tumour in an excellent piece for the Toronto Star“If he had told us that his back was bothering him earlier, maybe we would have found it earlier,” Anthopoulos admitted. “. . . I wonder how much it really bothered him when he was playing and he wasn’t saying anything.” Later he adds that “Anthopoulos referred to a ‘culture’ in baseball in which players are often reluctant to disclose injuries.” It’s tough– Brandon Morrow was getting shit on this year for supposedly being soft, yet Melky is going to get shit too for trying too hard to be what, in other circumstances, some people would call a “gamer.”

Elsewhere in the Star, Richard Griffin’s latest Bullpen post tells us that the Jays mishandled Ricky Romero, which… yeah, they could have not called him up to replace Josh Johnson, or not tried to spare the armchair psychology by insisting his issues were mechanical, or… I don’t know. They could have done a bunch of things differently. Does anyone think it might have changed the outcome? I don’t.

Elsewhere still in the Star, Kennedy looks at the success that Sergio Santos has finally been having, now that his health issues are, hopefully, behind him.

Another on from Kennedy at the Star tells us about Jose Bautista visiting with the parents of 9-year-old Derek Lendosky, who was such a big fan of the Jays’ slugger that he was buried in a Bautista jersey after he died in an ATV accident last month.

In a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm looks at the accomplishment that was Kyle Drabek’s reappearance on a big league mound– even if the results weren’t what anybody had hoped for. He also adds notes on Jose Reyes putting his ankle injury behind him, and Edwin Encarnacion’s sore wrist.

At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner plays some arbitrary endpoint bingo and notes, fairly enough, that Adam Lind is hot again, hitting at a .333/.394/.617 clip since August 15th, following a dismal two months of 193/.265/.357. The overall line is obviously closer to the reality of what Lind is, I think, streaks and all. This year he’s hit .280/.350/.480, which is still, despite the mid-summer swoon, better than a lot of people probably want to admit.

Another Wilner post starts to make the argument that it might not totally be the worst if the Jays have to go into 2014 with Ryan Goins as their starting second baseman. It’s certainly not ideal, but you could carry Goins’ bat if he’s going to be your worst offensive player, I think. If someone like J.P. Arencibia is still around, though, it becomes tough. But Goins has certainly showed just how badly the Jays could use a strong defender at second, and it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find someone with enough defence and offence to be a huge upgrade on what the Jays have got this season. I still want to believe that the Angels would move Howie Kendrick for any two of Romero, Happ, Stroman, Nolin, Drabek or Hutchison, but that can’t possibly really be a real possibility, right?

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at John Gibbons’ statements regarding Ricky Romero, who still may be called upon to start a game before the season closes, and Dustin McGowan, whose insistence on being a starter next year Gibbons is a little reluctant to endorse. “We’re looking at it. We’re not sure how the rotation will stack up next year,” Gibbons said. But Ben adds that “Gibbons noted that McGowan has sustained injuries as a starter in previous years and explained that the Blue Jays like what he has done out of the bullpen in 2013.”

Jays Journal makes the correct point that Brandon Morrow isn’t nearly as injury prone as people want to believe (where have I heard that before?), though it gets maybe a little rose-coloured when they argue that Morrow has been unable to stay healthy at any point in his career, “Except for, you know, basically every season of his career entering 2013 save for a two month stretch in 2012.” That’s a pretty broad “basically.”

Lastly, Bluebird Banter‘s Monday Morning Media Mashup notes that the Jays have now been mathematically eliminated from the AL East race– the earliest that’s happened since 2004– and also tell us about some upcoming schedule changes (Saturday’s game against Baltimore is moved to 4:07 PM ET, and the Jays are making up a rain-out in Chicago a week from today), while also linking us to– among others– pieces from Amy Moritz at the Buffalo News, who recaps the Bisons season, and from the Vancouver Canadians, who won last night to force a winner-take-all Northwest League championship tonight against Boise from Nat Bailey Stadium. You can listen to the game online, apparently, at CanadiansBaseball.com– it begins at 10:05 PM ET.

Comments (73)

  1. yeah, i think we are best served not to get too horny over Tanaka at this point….

  2. Just a note: the Blue Jays have been eliminated from the *division* not the playoffs (they can still get one of the wild cards!!!)

  3. “Its early , allow the team to get comfortable with one another, you know ‘gel’ together”

    • Are they not looking better despite missing half the position players?

      Buehrle and Dickey DID take a while to settle in. If Morrow/Johnson/Happ had similarly settled in we would be looking great. Remember we were like 2 games out of the WC at the break.

      Instead Morrow and Johnson are toast for the season and Happ is barely back from nearly getting killed.

  4. I’d be fine with one of Goins or Arencibia in the lineup next year. I think upgrading pitching plus BOTH of 2B and C will be a tall order.

    • So basically we should start Goins at 2nd.

      • “So basically we should start Goins at 2nd.”

        No – basically he might qualify as being a solid backup in the event of an injury. Which is great to have. Because Kelly Johnson could get hurt for a few weeks.

        • I’d take Goins over Johnson. If you’re looking to upgrade the free agent route, the only option is Infante. But the Tigers will probably make a qualifying offer and he’s not worth giving up a pick for. IMO. Also, do you want to gamble on a repeat of this season, not only this year but also the additional 3 or 4 years on the contract length Infante will demand?

          Goins will be a far superior defender to Johnson and may get a similar number of hits. They obviously won’t go as far. He’ll walk less but he’ll also k less.

          Kendrick for Happ and Romero FTW.

          • Kelly Johnson getting a qualifying offer? I doubt it. Definitely not from the Tigers– he plays for the Rays.

            • Did I say Johnson getting a qualifying offer? I’m pretty sure I said Infante would get a QO, making him a definite non-target for the Jays, but then went on to say I don’t personally prefer Johnson (who is gettable) to Goins. Or, I guess I should say, what I hope Goins will be.

    • That might be true if improvement didn’t just mean someone who isn’t a giant gaping black hole at those positions. I don’t think it should be terribly difficult.

    • Yeah it should be pretty easy to improve those positions. Considering that the bar for improvement is set at shitty (from the current state of really really shitty).

      Now improving C/2B/SP to a divisional contender level… that might be a tall order.

    • Realistically I think there are very few avenue’s for the team to get meaningful improvement.

      Free agency is going to be really lackluster and AA already traded away most of the prospect chips he had so even trading is going to be difficult. I think the jays are basically stuck with having to find improvements either internally or via Cuba/Japan.

  5. I think Espinosa’s probably a more realistic possibility. Great defence and terrible offence, but he seems like a high error bar guy – it’s always possible that he has a great offensive season.

  6. The only positions that we need to improve on for next year are the following:

    # 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 pitchers in the rotation

  7. The Jays mishandling Romero?
    Maybe at the beginning,some could argue, but really?
    He’s spent most of the year in the minors with little sustained success. He’s been DFA’d and none of the other 29 teams grabbed him.The Jays have him as a Sept. callup as a courtesy.
    Maybe Ricky should look in the mirror and at the stats, before pointing fingers.
    It’s business not personal.

    • mishandling a player = paying him 7 million per year with absolutely no expectations to do anything at the MLB level..haha

  8. Keep Goins at second. Upgrade at C. Somehow (miraculously) acquire an ace. Add one more starter. Do all that and I’ll be fucking satisfied.

    • Fuck, I’ll be happy to see Arencibia bundled out of town, even if they do nothing else. I’ll still be happy even if that one off season upgrade doesn’t result in better than a .500 record.

    • Ugh. Pass.

    • amen brother. catcher and a top rotation starter should be the first things taken care of. Goins and Kawasaki can handle 2nd.

      • Defensively they can handle 2B but if you’re going to run two guys out I’d think you’d want one of them to bat from each side (Both Goins and Kawasaki are LHB).

  9. Maybe we can get Evan Gettis from Atlanta .

  10. The flip side about Brandon Morrow. Whether due to Seattle’s handling of him or his own “injury-proneness”, it is a fact that Morrow is a 29 year old pitcher who has never pitched 200 innings a season. Not assigning blame for this, just saying this fact makes projecting 200 IP an optimistic outlook.

  11. The Star paywall – WTF!

  12. I don’t know much about either Ricky Romero or JPA but they sure as seem not to be able to take criticism even though they’ve been absolutely fucking awful this season. I want to cheer for Ricky but the fact he takes all this shit personally is getting to me. If he though he earned the right to shit the bed every 5 days in the major leagues he is fucking delusional. JPA needs to go. Anything would be better than that guy.

  13. If we can get Kendrick for Romero and Happ, I will eat my hat.

    • I meant to reply to that as well from Stoet’s deuce. Who are the best 2 in the best – Stroman and Hutchison? Would you do Stroman and Hutchison for Kendrick? Would the Angles?

      Agree Kendrick for Romero and Happ is an idea from a TSN comment board or something.

  14. The Bautista story is a nice read (despite it surrounding such a sad event).

    Everything I’ve seen or heard of Bautista off the field tells me he is a classy guy.

  15. Griffin is such a fart in the wind.

    Honestly Romero is so amazingly shitty that if Alex showed up at his games and pelted him with rotten eggs while he was pitching, it would probably qualify as a reasonable attempt to straighten Romero out.

    The ONLY things the Jays could have done to be assigned fault over Romero are: (1) fuck him up physically (mishandle him medically), (2) not let him pitch anywhere at all in the system.

    • While I don’t entirely buy the “Jays fucked up Romero” narrative, they did attempt to change his mechanics, albeit after he sucked for an extended period of time. Plus, I think it’s fair to say Ricky has an attitude that is almost as delusional as JPA. So could they have treated him differently because of his fragile psyche? I don’t know, but Romero’s days in a Jays jersey are likely over. Perhaps him, JPA, and a minor league arm can get a serviceable mid-rotation starter or second baseman.

      • Yeah – read the article though. Half of Griffin’s ‘reasons’ the Jays messed up Romero are related to roster moves. Such bullshit. The Jays (and AA especially) have had a season from hell. Is AA supposed to worry that Romero might be butthurt about going off the 40-man? What the fuck does that matter?

    • where did 2011 Romero go? He must be hanging with 2009 Lind and 2012 Dickey somewhere..

      Id rather have Todd Van Poppel in the rotation rather than Butt Hurt Ricky.

  16. As okey as Adam Lind has been this year let’s not forget how terrible he’s been previously. Adam Lind cannot hit lefties, he’s a part-time DH/1B and I think I’d almost prefer to let him go so that the team can make more use of the DH spot to give guys like Melky and Bautista more days off from fielding.

    • I like how you think. DHs that require a platoon partner piss me off. Lind does mash RHP, but then problems can easily crop up from the 6th inning onward. You leave him in against a LH reliever so he has another chance in the 9th but he Ks. You bring in De Rosa/Davis and then you’re fucked in the 9th. It’d be one thing if he could be trusted to make contact against a tough LH reliever, but he really can’t, and you can say the same thing about his potential platoon partners vs RHP.

    • this. so much this.
      EE and Bautista are clearly needing a few more off days each next season.

  17. I’m going to use fWAR, because its easier, and will give a fairly decent degree of accuracy. The goal for Goins feasability at 2B is being a ~1.5-2 WAR player.

    I will start off by saying that I only hope to see Goins starting at 2B next year if the Jays upgrade at C, and SP. But let’s see what the numbers have to say.

    I’m going to project 600 PA’s, to make everything simple. I’ll start with the constants: he should receive approximately 17 runs due to replacement, and 2 runs for the positional adjustment of playing 2B. His Base-running is tough to project, and I’m going to say that it ends up being between -3 and 3 runs, and I am going to disregard it, as he hasn’t shown anything one way or another that indicates it will drastically affect his value (cop-out, I know).

    Next is his fielding. I think based on his reputation, the run contributions of current elite defensive 2B, and his small sample, that he will put up between 10-15 runs over 600 PA’s.

    So far, Goins is approximately a ~2.9-3.4 WAR player, without considering batting, which is tricky. If we’re still considering the goal of a ~1.5-2 WAR player, than Goins needs to be (conservatively) -14 runs on batting to be a 1.5 WAR player, and -9 runs to be a 2 WAR player.

    As a comparison, Jose Altuve is an excellent comparison, as he has -14 batting runs in essentially a neutral hitting park. Altuve on the season has a .277/.310/.352 line, and a 80 wRC+. Goins has a career minor league walk rate of about 7%, and an ISO of 0.90. Assuming a similar .310 OBP needed to put up similar production, Goins would need a batting average of .258, and that would produce a SLG% of .348.

    In summary, if Goins is given 600 PA’s, played elite defense at 2B, and had a slash line of .258/.310/.348, he would be a 1.5 WAR player at 2B.

    ERRORS: There is probably an error% to my calculations, and required some not-so-objective grasping at numbers here. As well, Goins has put up +5.5 runs in 52 PA or 15 games so far this year in fielding, which projects to be much greater than my fielding estimate for him in 600 PA’s.

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