The regular season has ended, and yet Yan Gomes is still playing. The Clevelands are fighting for their playoff lives, hoping for a chance to take a crack at the Red Sox in the ALDS, awaiting the winner of tonight’s Tampa-Texas tiebreaker, and the addition of Gomes– worth 3.7 wins per FanGraphs (2.7 per Baseball Reference) in just 88 games– has been a huge part of that.

So, it should be noted, have the additions of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Danny Salazar, Scott Kazmir, and a re-born Ubaldo Jimenez– meaning, the Francona-is-magic brigade can kindly take a seat, thanks.

Regardless, given the atrocity that Jays fans have endured behind the plate this season, which Alex Anthopoulos still won’t commit to replacing– though given that means submarining what little is left of his theoretical value, I suppose it’s understandable– there has been a lot of post-facto hand-wringing around here among those who’ve taken notice of the season Gomes has had.

That’s not remotely close to unfair. Esmil Rogers has had a very good season himself, but you simply cannot give up MLB-quality everyday catchers for a middle reliever, no matter how good or versatile he may be. Especially when you’re committing to J.P. Arencibia.

Frankly, the Jays are lucky that Rogers had as good a year as he did– thanks in no small part to bullpen coach Pat Hentgen and the introduction of a power sinker to his repertoire. Otherwise dealing away Gomes would look even more like an unmitigated disaster.

Even without the Rogers component, however, there are reasons to not fly too deeply off the handle about it– even if they may illuminate something not too pretty about how the club operates.

Fans sometimes tend to lump all of last winter’s moves into a single solid mass, when the reality is that they happened in a particular sequence. This is important to keep in mind in the case of Gomes, as he was dealt on dealt on November 3rd. At that moment, before Miami and Dickey deals, the Jays had Arencibia and Jeff Mathis on the big league roster, Bobby Wilson on the 40-man, Travis d’Arnaud slated for everyday at-bats in Buffalo, and A.J. Jimenez recovering from Tommy John and set to return to New Hampshire.

It’s easy to kill them for it now, but that situation didn’t present a lot of opportunity for Gomes to get the reps behind the plate that he needed. That’s part of the reason he played more often last year at first base (with a healthy dose of games at third, DH and in the outfield mixed in), and why, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes, he was headed for Triple-A Columbus when the season began.

That, however, is not close to the most important part of the article. For me, here’s the money quote:

Those in the organization who know Gomes best – notably, bullpen coach Kevin Cash – figured the ability was there, it was just a matter of when.

Or maybe it’s this:

“When Yan’s name came up in trade talks, the question was: ‘Could he catch every day in the major leagues?’’’ Cash said. “I said that, based on what I’d seen, it definitely appeared that way.’ He had everything you wanted in a catcher.’’

Kevin Cash, you may recall, spent last year as a Jays advance scout.

Nobody in their right mind would have believed that Gomes would be able to produce the kind of wholly unsustainable rate stats we’ve seen from him so far– a .293/.346/.483 line driven by a probably-high BABIP (though, it should be noted, he fairly consistently produced high BABIPs in the minors) from a guy who walks less than Melky Cabrera– but Cash’s comments make clear that it’s not like nobody in the organization though that he could be an everyday catcher.

It’s just– and this is where my mind often starts wandering, especially in the wake of the since-recanted rumour of a turf war among guys in the front office who actually have the GM’s ear, and the loss of a number of scouts– who is the GM listening to? And, more to the point, are there maybe so many competing voices that the GM can reasonably justify pretty much anything?

Though we’re told that Tony LaCava and Dana Brown are “two of the few the GM listens to” in the since-excised quote from the Toronto Sun, the list of scouts in the Jays’ front office directory runs 70 names deep. Many of those are amateur scouts or guys with regional specialties, but among them are guys like pro scouting director Perry Minasian, longtime scout Sal Butera, and former full-fledged GMs Jim Beattie, Chuck Lamar, and Dan Evans– voices that you’d at least guess must carry some weight.

And, of course, there is also their analytics guys, like Jay Sartori (who, interestingly, just left the club for Apple, and was profiled in the Toronto Star prior to the 2011 season), and Joe Sheehan.

No, not that Joe Sheehan– the one you’re thinking of went to USC, while the Jays’ guy’s Linkedin profile shows he went to Oberlin, and from 2008 to 2010 worked for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That means, interestingly, that he worked in the analytics department run by Dan Fox, who was fascinatingly profiled by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last week, where we were told that “his influence as an analyst has reached a peak this season.”

I’m not sure that’s the case with the Jays’ analytics guys– AA’s frequent quoting of the very rudimentary OPS in interviews (which I keep telling myself is maybe just his way of appearing to have his foot in both the old and new schools), and the club’s move away from defensive shifts this year suggests as much– but that would such a ridiculous shame that I kind of don’t even really want to think about it.

I mean, Fox, according to the piece, now has five people working under him, and was consulted on nearly every player acquisition decision the Pirates made, conducted “research on the draft and preventative health practices for pitchers,” and most crucially, supplied the data behind the Pirates’ shifts– which the Tribune-Review also reminds us have been a key part of their success this season. According to that piece, Pittsburgh has been the fifth-most shifting team in the Majors this year, having done it on 414 balls in play as of September 14, while the Jays, according to a September 2nd piece in the Toronto Star, were in the middle of the pack, having done it just 203 times by then, down from 436 in 2012.

Part of that has to do with the loss of Brian Butterfield, but whatever the case, for me it does not bode well. Which isn’t to say, to get back to the original point of this post, that there must have been something deep in the data that should have shown the Jays that Gomes was going to end up having the kind of year that he did– or that Arencibia was. I think that given the status of J.P., d’Arnaud, and Jimenez at the time– all of whom, again, like Gomes, needed everyday work behind the plate– it was not at all unreasonable for the Jays to have done what they did. But that there were people in the organization who saw the potential– even though we have to take Cash’s comments with a grain of salt, given the hindsight and the team now signing his paycheques– and they weren’t listened to, or weren’t listened to enough, coupled with what may be signs of a less-than-enthusiastic application of work that could so easily come from the analytics department, makes you a little bit concerned about just who the hell is being listened to.

I don’t know what to make of it all. What goes on in the front office is much too shadowy to actually pretend we understand what’s going on enough to say that it seems positive or negative. But there are signs of things to maybe be concerned about, and after a season like the one the Jays have just concluded, you really can’t blame anyone for starting to think that way.

Comments (123)

  1. interestingly Jay Santori just left the Jays’ analytic position for a job with Apple.


  2. It’s just very frustrating that they so obviously need a catcher yet have traded away how fucking many useful ones in the past few years going back to Napoli.

    I realize that this didn’t happen in a vacuum and that they series of events leading to going with JP were fairly logical and understandable at the time but yeah. It’s frustrating none the less.

    Ever hopeful AA can resolve the issue.

    • JP has to go or else AA is a joke of a gm for not recognizing a weakness and improving it

      • Keep in mind that almost all catchers kinda suck.

        • Suck in what way? Catching is one of the hardest positions in the game and they are usually the generals during the game. Some of the best managers were former catchers.

          • “Suck” as in the standard for catching is very low compared to other positions. It’s really rare to find a good, offensive catcher because most of them really can’t hit.

            • And those that CAN hit end up being converted to different positions because the grind on a catcher’s body is such that they don’t want to cut the careers of these guys short.

        • That is the most stupid comment ever. It ranks with the post where you said Gomes was a below replacement player. Idiiot!

    • Well, Napoli didn’t play an inning at catcher this year. Jeff Mathis and John Buck ain’t much better than Arencibia, if at all. It sucks, but it’s maybe not quite as bad as it looks.

      • How bout that d’Arnaud guy

      • No one would have thought JPA would regress this much in one season based on his numbers from the past 2 seasons.

        Yan Gomes has only played 88 games. Give him time, he will likely get figured out and regress to a player that produced like JPA did in his first 2 seasons.

        Travis D’Arnaud so far has been shit for the Mets over 100 ABs. Just because he hit in AAA doesn’t mean he will hit in the bigs. That’s the value of trading prospects, you don’t know if they will pan out. AA payed the price you have to get RA Dickey.

    • Mike Napoli hasn’t been a catcher since he left LA and even when there, he split time with Jeff Mathis. This year, he didn’t catch a single game for the Sox, playing 131 games at 1B and 8 at DH.

      By all means, feel free to gripe about not having him as an everyday DH/1B for the Jays. But the guy hasn’t been capable of catching for years now, so it’s not worth being upset about having JP catching instead of him.

    • @Gord


      I don’t understand why AA never gave JPA a proper backup who could compete for the starting job.

      I wonder if AA has a soft spot for JPA after treating him poorly in 2010.

      Buck was the starting catcher who was going to be a free agent in 2011.

      JPA deserved extra playing time in 2010 but Cito Gaston said that John Buck needed better stats because he was a free agent in the offseason.

      Cito gave an interview where he felt sorry for John Buck not being able to feed his family, so he kept him playing until he hit 20 HR’s.

      After Cito was gone, it turns out that AA hand a handshake deal with Buck to play him as much as possible .

      That must have hurt JPA who needed extra reps in 2010 to get ready for full time duties in 2011.

      Just a theory, but surely someone in the Jays must have seen that Napoli could help the Jays in 2011, or Buck in 2013 or Mathis or TDA.

      Why did they let Jose Molino go.?

      • @ oakville

        Draft picks answers all your questions.

        • @Radar.

          Right, I forgot that the Jays were obsessed with draft picks when AA took over.

          I do think the Jays can do better in 2014 with the new payroll numbers being mentioned

      • Except that Arencibia actually had the best of his three unimpressive seasons in 2011. He was a little worse in 2012, and considerably worse this year. I just don’t think Arencibia getting 30 fewer at bats in September 2010 was that big a deal, although people aure talked about it like it was The End of the Fucking World.

  3. word is Gomes worked with Sandy Alomar Jr on his catching game

    • doesn’t explain his amazing offensive breakout though. another way to interpret Gomes’s success would be to call it a success of the Blue Jays player development – something that, according to Greg Zaun, they can’t do. It sucks that Gomes had to find success with another team and the Jays missed out and are stuck with Arencibia but maybe a lesson to takeaway is to have faith in Kevin Pillar, Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra, and Ryan Goins that their time in the Jays’ system will pay major league dividends for the Jays with at least one of them.

      • I haven’t watched Blue Jays games on cable since early this year, and have been streaming the Jays games on various websites.

        Being 100% Greg Zaun and Jamie Campbell free is a great thing. Baseball is much more enjoyable without listening to these two.

        Because I never have to listen to them, I am going to pretend that you did not just say that Greg Zaun made some claims that the Blue Jays have no player development successes and that Yan Gomes is not an example of the fruits of the player development labour.

        Being 100% Greg Zaun free in my life makes these comments similar to a tree falling in a forest – its sound is brought into question, did it ever actually make one?

    • I wonder if there was a team with a catcher last winter who could’ve benefitted from a guy like Sandy Alomar Jr. as manager…

      • See the point (marginally) of going with JPA but the issue of not giving him the faintest of competition for the job is kinda disheartening.
        Still can’t shake the memory of game 1 when he caught dickey…lol

      • If you are referring to Boson and Salty I am pretty sure they traded for Farrell.

  4. And Henderson Alvarez with the no-no.

    • He had a lower ERA this season on the worst team in the NL than he did with the Jays last year (although he only made half the starts).

    • This is the most WTF username i have yet seen on DJF in all my years here….. haven’t lolled at an sn in quit some time….

  5. I was listening to Blue Jays roundtable discussion on the Blair show this morning and Wilner reminded me that last year, before everybody got hurt, this team led the league in runs scored. So, I think it’s as simple as the front office viewing JPA’s 2012 as a baseline for offensive production and with his (supposedly) improving defence, they probably felt comfortable with a low on-base guy at the position given the strength in the rest of the lineup. What’s more disconcerting to me is Gibbons spinning some nonsense about JPA being a “gamer” and playing hurt and so on. When you’re putting up historically bad numbers, perhaps a bit more rest or a stint on the DL would be the best for all concerned.

    • it seems that every blue jays employee will go to great lengths to protect JPA’s feelings… it all makes me a little uneasy… I understand that he is still an asset of the organization but at some point don’t they realize the results of all the coddling and excuses (both on and off the field)? maybe a new approach is in order.

      • A new approach is definitely in order. And it can be simple as..gee, I don’t know…taking a walk once in a while. A three true outcome guy with league average defence as your #1 catcher? Sold. Since we’re talking about catchers, wtf was Henry Blanco experiment about anyway? Another curious personnel decision when it comes to the catching position.

        • Henry Blanco catches Dickey

          Its amazing how much some will run their mouths while also showing their ignorance in the same breath

          • I assume catching Dickey is why the Blue Jays wanted Thole as part of the trade with the Mets. You know, the dude who caught Dickey during his Cy Young award winning season. The same dude who showed he could hit a little before his concussion.

            • @ RobT

              When Dickie was asked “who was the best at catching your knuckleball?”The answer was Blanco. Even though Blanco had caught less than 10 games with Dickey and Thole had caught his Cy season.And Thole had options left.

      • Memo:

        Last week Gibbons and AA came out and publicly said they will be addressing the production at catcher as best as possible this off-season.

    • I listyened to it too. Hearing that he had the 2nd most plate appearances on the team made me shake my head and laugh.

  6. What worries me more than just about anything that has been said or come out after the season is AA’s admission that the front office didn’t take the turf into consideration while evaluating players. Too me, that is an incredible and damaging admission. It’s not like the turf is a secret. Every commentator/colour guy over many years have talked about how fast it plays and how there’s a learning curve to playing defence on it. Apparently some teams hold back their better players to avoid getting hurt on it. The turf is an inescapable fact of the Rogers Centre where the Jays play half their games. And they didn’t think about that? It annoys the crap outta me.

    Also, when they do sign new guys, is there anything to stop them bringing the team together in the off-season to play simulated games with the dome closed and do defensive drills and stuff before Spring Training starts? I know it’s not usually done and it’s a lot to ask. But these guys are getting well-paid and they would be a whole lot better-off physically and much better-prepared if they knew the surface well before they started playing it..

    • Tl:dr
      It’s accounted

      • Not to mention, they have a variety of surfaces the get to practice on during spring training, if they really need to take grounders off a hard surface they can roll over to the training centre and do just that..

        Basically, it is accounted for……

    • I know he said it, but is it really possible to account for so wing like that when bringing in new players? I mean, there’s only two parks in the league with artificial turf, so there probably isn’t a lot of data available when it comes to turf specific fielding abilities. And it’s not like the Jays can exclusively trade for guys who play on turf most of the time (i.e. the Rays and nobody else).

      I think they acquired guys that they believed could adjust to the turf and field well, it just didn’t work out. I just don’t see how there is a way to avoid this problem without replacing the turf constantly.

      • i agree. Name 3 former Jays, excluding this year’s crop, that looked like they had problems adjusting to the turf? Edwin at 3rd maybe, but that might be Edwin at any 3rd. It clearly was an issue this year but I can’t remember it being one in years before.

    • The rumblings I’ve heard is that the turf has been worse and faster this year than ever, so it’s not necessarily as bad a fuckup on the part of the front office as it seems. They’ve certainly gotten away with plenty of guys who aren’t elite infield defenders in the past.

      • You’re right, they have. But on my tv the turf has looked brutal this season almost from the beginning. And AA brought over NL guys who may only have played on turf once or twice in inter-league. It’s only the Rays and us who have it.

  7. This went from an analysis of Gomes’ season to an analysis of the Jays’ employee list very quickly.

  8. “But that there were people in the organization who saw the potential”
    ” and they weren’t listened to, or weren’t listened to enough, coupled with what may be signs of a less-than-enthusiastic application of work that could so easily come from the analytics department, makes you a little bit concerned about just who the hell is being listened to.”

    That’s a hell of a lot of speculation and assumptions.
    It was noted last year that the Jays had a shit load of catching prospects TDA,Jerrolman,Jimenez,plus good reviews of other players farther down the chain and the fact that it wasn’t a stretch to think that JPA was going to be blocking them at the MLB level.
    Gomes was going to be blocked for a while.
    To think that certain scouts were being ignored, because others may have had a differing opinion,or that perhaps some roster management was going on,is just baseless speculation.
    It doesn’t make sense.The move was right for the Jays , AT THAT TIME.

    • It was trading a position player for a reliever, of course it was the right move at the time; it was All the moves at the time.

    • Jeroloman was never a prospect, and Perez was gone. The only legitimate catchers ready for AA or above were the ones mentioned in the post, and two of them were coming off quite considerable injuries.

      We have a guy from the organization saying he thought Gomes could be an everyday catcher, and we have the Jays doing their best to play him elsewhere. Yes, there are reasons the move was made that may have made the point moot, but that doesn’t mean the speculation is baseless– it’s very clearly based on something.

      Thanks for the feeble attempt at nitpicking though.

  9. I don’t see why it’s a problem that AA looks at OPS. Despite the fact that it is a blunt instrument, if AA uses it as a small part of a larger decision process it could easily avoid errors that could be caused by more specific stats, especially given flaws in park adjustment methodologies.

    I don’t deny that some ballparks (Safeco) play weaker than others (Fenway), but the fact that we adjust park factors on an annual basis is preposterous. The number of ballparks that actually change their physical characteristics from year to year is infinitesimal (SAFECO is the only non-new park I can think of). This means that actually adjusting someone’s statistics based on annual park factors actually reintroduces issues of SSS and selection bias (e.g. can be impacted by a few big scoring games or by which inter league teams are played at home and on road).

    The dismissal of a statistic like OPS assumes that statistics should be taken as an absolute quantitative measure of a player’s value. A statistic such as OPS gives us a general estimate of a players overall performance to be balanced by other factors (relative weight of OBP, defensive & baserunning value, overall value of different skills in the team context) which might allow a GM more leeway in making decisions which may require assigning different values to different skills than those assigned to a very distilled statistic such as WAR.

    • It is only a problem if you make it a problem.

      In an interview with Peter Mansbridge on the CBC AA specifically said that in a vacuum the most important and telling of features of batter of hitter stat set are their K and BB rates.

      Thus, what can we take from this? AA, like a person who does their job effectively, uses as many stats and indicators as possible to best do his job.

      OPS is blunt, yes, but a useful starting point. All stats can be blunt, but useful starting points.

    • That there are other, clearer numbers that could easily be substituted is the problem, as is the fact OPS gives too much weight to SLG. Even just a basic triple slash line gives you way more information, for example.

      You could make the same argument you’re making for RBIs, but would you? ‘Twould be folly.

  10. Yan Gomes did have his chance last year to play in the bigs with jays (some games catching), he didn’t really blow anyone away during his time.

    At the time of the trade, a part of me was sad to hear that he was part of the deal but didn’t think we would regret the day. I dont think anyone was jumping up and down about it..

    so its all in hindsight…

    Thou i’m not paid to make the tough decisions for the Jays and I do hope that those who are knows more than i do… =P

  11. Does every player who sucked when they were with Toronto, excel when they are traded?

    • No. For example, Vernon Wells was historically bad his first season after the Jays, and has upgraded to pretty damn bad since then. Alexis Rios was at first just awful, then has been quite mediocre, with bursts to okay.

    • No, this is what fans in every city think.

  12. Arencibia is way handsomer than that guy. The Jays made the right choice.

  13. So…the bloom is officially off AA’s rose, eh, Stoeten?

  14. So who to pull for in the postseason? The only thing I have left to watch in the world of sports is the failure of the Red Sox. Whomever bumps them off will officially be my new #2 team.

    As far as teams I am pulling for:


    May Boston and Cleveland burn in a shitty fire for all time. (not literally, you sensitive fucking morons that are gonna ‘you support the boston bombing?’ shit)

    • +1.

      I will root against the red sox. Pro anyone else.

      I like tampa bay & the pirates

      • Anyone but Boston works for me. And anyone who didn’t benefit from the atrocious unbalanced schedule.

  15. Remember all those comments last year about moving JPA to 1st to make room for TDA? (In hindsight, can you actually imagine?). It was a terrible idea then….I wish the posters advocating that move would let themselves be known when posting now.

    I thought the Gomes trade was a logical and fair trade of a utility player. I don’t think anyone was surprised when it happened and certainly no one was upset. I’m not so disappointed about management not seeing the value in Gomes as I am about their having so much faith JPA. I guess they were expecting him to improve over 2012, myself included. To watch a player fall of a cliff like that is unimaginable. I hope he does well next year…with another team.

    • If he magically does well next season with another team, then, my god, this poor poor poor baseball club and it’s fanbase – the baseball gods must truly revel in our misery.

  16. Good on that bruh.

  17. Here’s my post season bandwagon list:

    Go Pirates in the NY! Billy and the Boys in the AL!

    • Pirates in the NL!

      • @Kelly.

        I hope Travis snider hits a walk off pinch hit Home Run to silence the haters.

        It will be fun to see the ex jays in the playoffs. Burnett,Snider , Escobar

        • Yeah, be good to see Trav knock the shit out of the park.

          I saw the Bucs in Spring Training, among a few other teams, and they were special. Loose, cracking jokes and confident. I said hi to Nick Leyva, and told him that he is forever enshrined in my man cave high diving Joltin Joe at third base with he was touching em all.

          I hope they take it to the WS.

          • @kelly


            I plan to be in Florida during spring training 2014, so I hope to met some of the Jays etc.

  18. Selig introduced the 2nd WC spot to make the playoff races more interesting. It would be funny if the Racists lose the one game coin flip game against Tampa/Texas thus denying mlb/Selig/fans what we all want to see – Tito vs BoSox in the ALDS. Because the Racists winning 10 in a row clinching the WC down the stretch to send Tito back to Fenway wasn’t interesting enough, right Bud?

    • Please stop. The AL race this year was terrific. The Indians win streak kept the three team race extremely tight. If they’d lost the last game we would have had a three way play-in for the two spots. What more do you want?

      And quit with the whole Racists thing, it’s a baseball forum. Not to mention, if you do a little research, you might see that the jury is pretty much out regarding the insensitivity of the term (Chief Wahoo, not so much). After all, calling someone a Yankee can be deemed derogatory by some.

      • It’s a baseball blog, for one, for two, we haven’t used the term for years around here. The “stick to sports” attitude can kinda go fuck itself– sorry if real world issues sometimes bleed into it, but there are plenty of places you can go where your horseshit argument about Yankees and the jury being out will be taken seriously. Not here.

        • Th Yankee example was not the best, I agree, and my apologies for calling it a baseball forum. However, there really is a bit of debate over the name. I’m not trying to defend it, simply offering the alternate view.

          The last time the US government asked the opinion of the First Nations (and I’ll admit it was about 15 years ago) the term American Indian was actually deemed the most favourable, at 49%, followed by Native American, in the mid 30%.

          Again, I wasn’t trying to spew. Paragraph 9 if you feel like taking a look.


    • @Egg.

      I love the second wild card. I would also love a more balanced schedule.

      It’s not fair that Cleveland gets to play Houston, Minnesota & Chicago 19 times a year

      • @Egg, I meant Texas gets to play Houston 19 times a year.

        I would prefer 1 AL division with a balanced schedule & top 4 teams in each league get in the playoffs

  19. I think you raise a really important point here. We have been quick to defend our boy genius GM. But Gomes combined with the emergence this year of Syndergard ( even Law admitted that his breaking ball took a step forward) and most egregiously the assessment that JPA could be a starting catcher vs a bench guy/ back up makes me wonder about the assessment of our players.

    Yes I get you have to give up something to get something. So I can almost live with D’Arnaud and Syndergard. But how do we assess that JPA is a starting catcher after the poor year in 2012 and putrid year in 2013?
    Add in the lack of shifting, defensive lapses. And it makes me wonder how big the gaps in our player assessment processes truly are.

    • @Keith

      +1. I think AA has acknowledged he didn’t think about defense with Boni & Izturis & the turf.

    • I’m sorry, what did Noah Syndergaard emerge from this year?

      Single A?

      This guy has another 1-2 years in the minors before he will be given a shot in the lofty NL East, and as it stands right now his breaking pitches still remain a huge question mark despite what Keith Law might have you believe.

      As per projecting the success of JPA vs Gomes, I don’t think anyone projects either as starting catchers? It was the Jays hope that JPA might be able to perform in the role, but no one ever said either were god’s gifts to baseball catchers.

      2013 was JPA’s chance to run with the show, and he failed in that endeavour. Gomes has still not been given that chance and given the catching situation in Cleveland, he will likely not get that chance there either.

      I’d still take the pitcher that tosses an effortless 95 MPH (with his slider being his best pitch) over the platoon/part time position player every day of the week. I don’t care if Gomes spllits against both pitching hands have been comparable, he will not sustain this sucess VS RHP.

      • Law has been consistently lower on Syndergaard than just about anyone, but thanks for trying to be all assholish about it all the same.

        Syndergaard pitched most of the year in Double-A, too. He’s closer than you think.

        Also: Gomes is very likely Cleveland’s starting catcher next year. He won’t hit as well, obviously, but just about everything you see written about him says that he looks like he can handle it. So… 0 for 3. Impressive.

        • 0-3 add in 2Ks and you have a typical JPA offensive night.

          If 2013 was JPAs chance what was 2012?
          He’s had plenty of time for most evaluators to determine he is a back up Markham. Good luck if you think he’s more.

          Lastly I’d rather have a kid who is mowing down hitters in AA WHILE still learning to throw his off speed pitches vs Todd Redmond/ Happ/ Rogers insert your #5 crap starter here.

  20. When you guys say things like, oh man you’ve got to learn to walk more, you sound really stupid. Do you think he’s purposely swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone, knowing they’re not strikes? That is almost the same as saying, hey Melky should hit more doubles.
    Having an eye at the plate and knowing what pitches won’t be hittable out of a persons hand isn’t something you just decide to do one day.

    • I think he goes up there with the mentality of trying to hit a 900-foot, 27-run homer every time and therefore really doesn’t give a shit about laying off bad pitches. He’s said a number of times that he’s a “run producer” and doesn’t get paid to walk, so he swings at what he’s given. And at this point he’s given shit because frankly who the hell would ever bother throwing him a strike?

      For most hitters, no it’s not as easy as “learn to lay off balls and swing at strikes” because they are trying to do the right thing, usually, but just don’t have either the skills or the experience to read pitchers, pick up the rotation of the ball, and so on. JPA is just deliberately dense. For him, it’s a matter of him 1) getting his head out of his ass about what creates value for the team and what his role should be and 2) starting to spend some time and focus on developing plate discipline, which can be taught and learned. The second part is complex but the first should be dead simple.

      • He was obviously the most selfish fuck at the plate this season.

        He didn’t adjust.

        He was a sick and deranged pull happy asshole, who by watching his approach every at bat, warranted the latter comment.

        He thought, I just have to lead the league in homers at my position , and I’m a commodity. Which of course he didn’t lead the league. And he really hurt the team. His two strike approach was, jack one. And he didn’t seem bothered by his embarrassing On base percentage. Was it barely above his Mendoza line?

        • Gruber, this sort of nonsense assumes he has it in him to be a whole lot better and he purposely isn’t. You really believe that?

          • Stoeten thats basically my point, it’s like people are assuming he has this extra gear he’s not using because he wants to hit jacks…. you know who else is really pull happy and wants to hit bombs? jose bautista. Based on watching him everyday, i dont think he has the ability to recognize pitches as early and correctly as some of his peers, but he sure can turn on an inside fastball down. When he thinks he sees something he can turn on, he tries, which is why he gets sat down on pitches outside the zone so often.

            • It’s called being multi faceted as a hitting.

              Ball inside: Pull it.

              Ball down the middle: Go up the middle.

              Ball outside half: take it the other way.

              Two strikes against you ; cut down on swing and make contact.

          • I do.

            Hitting the ball the other way can be learned.

            By hitting the ball the other way, you have to watch it deeper into the zone, thus allowing you a longer look at the ball.

            The longer you look at the ball, the better chance you have to lay off shit in the dirt and shit off the dish.

            Thus he increases batting average and walk percentage, but gives up some extra base power.

            This doesn’t mean he has to become Otis Nixon, but when his pitch is in the inner half, he can still train his eye to jerk it for power.

            Yes, he has it in him to do this. Remember his first game as a Blue Jay. THAT was hitting.

  21. I’m not sure what the comments regarding Kevin Cash have to do with anything.

    Kevin Cash, as you noted, was the Jays advanced scout last year. He is currently the Cleveland bullpen coach.

    Meaning that last year he watched the Major League teams the Jays were going to play in 1-3 season series, took notes, and emailed them to the team, and this year he helps pitchers out.

    I’m not so sure this makes him an authority on Minor League prospect projections.

    No more than say, a guy like Mark Hulet of fangraphs, who reads a few stat lines and watched 20-30 Minor League games last year.

    What I really want to say is Kevin Cash can keep his attribution fingers out of this pie and we should make no effort to support his likes if he wishes to take any credit.

    This scouting turf war thing has little to no credibility, if any.

  22. As a devout Indians hater, who has to listen to most of their games while I’m working, I can tell you the Indians success wasn’t for any one reason. Yeah, Gomes had a great year, but I’m not going to jump to conclusions. Can he duplicate it? That remains to be seen. The Indians also got an over-his-head year from Ryan Raburn. Raburn averaged 8 home runs, 31 rbi’s and hit .258 in 7 years in Detroit. This year in Cleveland he hit 19 home runs, knocked in 55 and hit .272. A pretty radical difference. The Indians rewarded Raburn with a 2 year extension, but he’ll be 33 next year and I really don’t think he can do it twice.

    Mike Aviles was another factor. Aviles hit .252 with 9 home runs and 46 rbi’s in a utility role for the Indians this past year. That compares favorably with BrettLlawries’s 11 home runs, 46 rbi’s and .254 average. I know Lawrie was hurt, but Aviles played sparingly and posted those numbers. Hell our trinity of Kawasaki, Bonifacio and Izturis hit 9 home runs and drove in 76 between them. I’d rather have had Aviles. He’d have been a better option with DeRosa than the trinity, both offensively and defensively.

    Finally, the Indians took care of business against bad teams. The Tribe’s combined record against the White Sox, Twins and Astros was 36-9. They won their last 26 in a row against those clubs, they were 56-61 against everyone else, including a combined record of 8-34 against the Braves, Rays, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers. It’s interesting to note, that at the same time the Jays were going 6-1 against the Rangers, the Indians were playing them at the same time and went 5-1. Yeah, yeah, 50 people will get on here and tell me what a dumbass I am. Fine. I don’t care. I just think the Indians success has more to do with winning 40% of their games against 3 bad teams, than it does any actual improvement. I doubt any of the players I mentioned will duplicate this year’s success. Between them, Jason Giambi and Yan Gomes hit 5 walk off home runs. That can’t possibly happen twice.

    • Agreed Jim. Thanks for the details. What would the Jays record be with a balanced schedule or if they played in the Central? My guess is better at least and way better in the Central. Looking at your numbers, I don’t like Chief Wahoo’s chances in the post-season.

      • I was right with you until you started comparing Mike Aviles to Brett Lawrie.

        The two players are so fundamentally different at baseball I don’t know where to begin.

        But I’ll start with this: the 2013 version of Brett Lawrie in which he was injured for a couple months and missed spring training is as good as Mike Aviles ever has or ever will be.

        Most have noted Lawrie’s slow start to the batting season, yet even at Lawrie’s worst he is as good as Aviles’ best.

        When comparing the batting stats of Aviles and Lawrie, why did you fail to mention Aviles .368 SLG to Lawrie’s .398 SLG? Or Aviles 0.3 WAR to Lawrie’s 1.3 WAR?

        These are pretty fundamental differences, aside from their positional abilities.

        • *

          Also keep in mind that Aviles is 33 while Lawrie is 23…..

        • I figured this would happen. I’m not comparing Lawrie and Aviles. They don’y even reside in the same solar system from a talent standpoint. What I’m telling you is they had the same season this year. We didn’t get anything near what we should have gotten from Lawrie, Aviles overachieved. I’d rather have had Aviles playing the infield when Lawrie was hurt instead of Izturis or Bonifacio. That would have been an upgrade right there. Hell, Bonifacio and Izturis had more errors (17) than they did stolen bases (13). They were horrible.

        • That’s not what he was saying at all. Goodbye.

    • Jim in Ohio: Nice analysis, enjoyed it.

  23. It is my statistically valid analysis that I was disappointed Gomes left. Thought there was something there, and I was right. It happens occasionally, what can I say?

    • If there ever was a time to award a Nobel Prize in baseball, I think we just found that moment.

      Ground breaking work here, folks.

  24. On the point of sequencing, I think it’s interesting to note that the Jays made the Gomes-Rodgers trade on November 3rd, and on November 8th they gave 10 million to the one, the only Maicer Izturis. Taken straight up as Gomes for Rodgers, you’d have to say the Jays got the short stick in this deal, but when you remember that the deal was Gomes AND Mike Aviles, it really starts to stink. While Aviles isn’t much (0.6 WAR), if keeping him means they don’t sign Izturis (-1.0 WAR) five days later, well that’s another victory right there. A small victory I’ll grant you, but still, as you and Drew keep pointing out, at some point it’s just about replacing the shit bags with non-negatives. And even if Aviles isn’t really a piece, he’s better than two more years of Izturis.

    • @JsnBishop.

      +1. Why did AA get rid of Aviles? I seem to recall that AA didn’t get to pick the player he wanted from Boston in exchange for Farrell. It was done at ownership level between beeston & John Henry.

      Maybe , AA was worried that every time Aviles made mistakes, people would say this is what we got for Farrell.

    • Yeah, the Jays still need the pitching depth more than they need the crappy hitters depth.

      Hopefully Maicer doesn’t repeat his god-awful season such that his numbers are comparable to Aviles yet again….

      • @Markham.

        +1. Good point about the Jays always needing pitching.

        AA said they will be more cautious about getting pitchers with bad injury histories in future.

        This is welcome news.

  25. Griffin launched a few jabs at AA calling his potential twin girls Polly & Anna, meaning AA is far too optimistic of the current starters performance in 2014.


  26. Y’know if there ever was a year to spend in free agency, this is it.

    Between putting the current investment over the top, the protected 1st pick, and rolled over $ and position from last years pick, AA has no reason for his value conscious to take over.

    Take a run at McCann and Tim Lincecum.

    The shortage of talent at catcher is well documented, so paying big for McCann is worth it in the current market.

    Also, we need a horse behind the plate. Having a personal catcher for a knuckleballer means the number one guy has to be the man.

    As for The Freak, he’s been up and down, but 14 of his 30 plus starts this year he’s allowed 2 runs or less. Hentgan can take him to his cottage and they can smoke some mad herb and discuss pitching on a metta level and hopefully he can reagin his form.

    Offer him a rebound one year deal at great money if he’s interested, or who knows, maybe he can be had for somewhat reasonable money and years considering all the headwinds against him.

    • The Freak will immediately become the most whistled at player on the team by drunk fans thinking he’s a hot ball girl. Or a sultry looking tranny.

    • I don’t think a team that required a highly improbable 11-game win streak even to reach the lofty heights of 74-88 is one or even two FAs away from contention. The Jays should be sellers, not buyers, in the offseason.

      • Ok then

      • I can live with that, if they go big……. that means trade Bautista, Dickey, Reyes, EE, Colby, Jannsen, Lind,get what you can for Melky, eat money and get something for Buehrle.

        Y’know, the haul for all those players would be pretty good, and as you mentioned, would the young players received in return along Lawrie, the pre arb arms and the cast of Bisons really do much worse than this years record?

        Edwin and Reyes alone could bring in a haul that could build a team.

        • Yup, that’s exactly what they need to do. I would start by cleaning house in the FO and coaching staff though — everyone from Beeston on down has to go.

          With guys like JB and EE who finished up the season injured, you might want to wait until early next year and hope they have a hot start, to show that they’re healthy and producing. With Colby, I would still try to sign him to a cheap extension with some options and then move him early next season.

          This would also allow the new GM and coaching staff a few months to get a handle on the state of the org and decide on the plan and who they wanted to hang onto (if anyone) before starting to make deals.

          A further benefit, and this is the only one Rogers will care about, is that you probably do a bit better in season ticket and flex pack sales if you wait to fold your hand until the offseason is over. It screws the fans, but seriously, if you buy a package after this year’s shit show you deserve whatever misery you get.

          If they’re serious about being able to spend $140 million someday, then trade everyone, spend $30 million next year and the year after, and bank the rest for when you genuinely are competitive. Which, if they got half a dozen or more top prospects in exchange for all the folks you mention, could easily happen within 3-4 years.

      • Hey, way to look at zero actual context before lobbing your dumb opinion onto the internet!

  27. I remember feeling like the Jays gave up too much to get Roger’s, Aviles was fine, but Gomes was a lil’ much. I never thought he would have this much impact with any MLB team, thou, and neither did most. After the year before, I understand AA was trying to acquire as many plus arms as possible. Although Rogers showed promise, this trade probably hurt more than some when it came to organizational depth this year, being our catchers this year hit below the Mendoza line as a whole. Ouch. What really hurts is the years of control we would have had with a guy like Gomes.

  28. I think they need to move some big names in the name of pitching. Solidified, dependable pitching.

  29. “Esmil Rogers has had a very good season himself,”

    Compared to who? Chien-Ming Wang? As a starter, Rogers was 4-7, 4.89. That’s Below-Average, not Very Good. As a reliever, Rogers had a 4.35 ERA in 20 appearances. That’s not Very Good. It’s Lousy. Exactly how low are we setting the bar for this guy?

  30. Griffin has even more suggestions for the Jays.


    I wonder if Stoeten agrees ?. The transcript of the interview is hilarious. Was AA was refusing to allow Drabek or Hutch to pitch until he got 74 wins to beat Farrell’s mark last year? That’s stirring the pot.

    Will Romero demand a trade? Griff makes it sound that AA kicked a puppy.

  31. [...] Andrew Stoeten at DJF tells us what we should make of Yan Gomes and his 3.7 fWAR (2.7 rWAR) season for the Cleveland Indians. Gomes was traded along with Mike Alives for Esmil Rogers last winter. Rogers was good but it’s a tough pill to swallow after watching J.P. Arencibia catch 138 games for the Blue Jays this year. Stoeten also makes a connection between the handling of Gomes and “may illuminate something not too pretty about how the club operates.” Nothing like some front-office gossip! [...]

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