izturisthrows

Here’s an idea I’m instantly regretting: instead of empty open thread posts for playoff games, as we’ve done around here in years past, each day I’m going to attempt to have a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and whatever else stands out on a Jays player’s 2013 season, because… what the hell else is there to do for the next month? Or the next week. Or just today– or however long I actually continue to follow through on this exercise.

Today:
5:30 PM ET – Oakland (2) vs. Detroit (1)– Dan Straily (1.2 rWAR) vs. Doug Fister (4.1 rWAR)
8:00 PM ET – Boston (2) vs. Tampa Bay (1) – Jake Peavy (1.5 rWAR) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (-0.8 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

When the Jays signed Maicer Izturis eleven months ago nobody jumped for joy, except maybe for his agent, who’d somehow managed to land him a contract three years. Yes, the term was a little longer than you’d like to see on a utility player who had posted an on-base over .334 just once in five seasons, while what little power he’d exhibited faded to almost nothing. But he had positional versatility, had for years been generally well-liked by both DRS and UZR at second- and third-base, wasn’t budget-busting, was about league-average in terms of his walk rate, struck out less than average (something the Jays felt their OBP-averse lineup needed), was an actual damn switch hitter(!), and seemed a reasonable enough upgrade over Omar Vizquel as an infield backup.

In other words, it wasn’t crazy.

I mean… shit, in our post when the signing was made official, I passed along a comment from a reader– *COUGH* Brad Fullmer Fan *COUGH*– that compared his career numbers favourably, or at least evenly, to those of Marco Scutaro.

And when it was first being reported that the two sides were close to a deal, I also opined, somewhat tepidly, that “he’s not nothing. And while in an ideal world he’d be a versatile guy to have on the bench, it’s not even such a horrible thought to consider a guy like that as a fall-back regular for second base– someone you could plant there to give Hechavarria more time in Buffalo, but who can still be pushed aside if Adeiny absolutely forces your hand, or if Izturis fails to maintain his average-ish bat against right-handers or doesn’t return to his career norms against lefties.”

Yes, tough as it is to remember sometimes, Izturis was brought in to play alongside a guy like Hechavarria. Funny enough, they did end up next to each other… at the bottom of FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard for position players! HEYO! By that metric, Hechavarria’s -1.9 wins just edged out Maicer’s -2.1.

That it was a disaster of a first season in Toronto for Izturis, then, is beyond obvious. His defence, by both advanced metrics and the eye test, was below sub-par, and the hope for a rebound at the plate was unfounded, as his wOBA slumped to .269, eighteen points down from 2012, and forty-nine points below his 2011.

There’s not much sense in dissecting the particulars. Izturis, at least through our TV screens and from the stands, appeared professional and affable enough, despite the disaster that continued unfolding around him until an ankle injury ended his season in late August, but that’s a pretty sad positive to be taking from a season put in by a player still owed a bunch of money over two years. He was bad enough that it’s probably worth paying him the $6-million just to free up the roster space.

In that sense, he may end up something of a canary in the mine shaft that is the Jays’ budget– if they keep trying to hump the dream of getting value out of that contract, it might not portend well for the club’s payroll flexibility over the rest of the winter.

But what I think is possibly the most troubling thing about the Izturis deal isn’t that, nor is it the huge whiff on the deal in the overall. It’s the fact that signing Izturis was the first example– or perhaps second, or maybe even the third, or… well, an early example– of a series of notable, visible instances in which the Jays seemed maybe a little too far removed from operating under any semblance of a damn plan.

Now, obviously the Jays aren’t, top to bottom, as an organization, just making it all up as they go along, and obviously it’s unreasonable to expect that the club can meticulously plan out when opportunities are going to come their way or how they’re going to use the assets they’ve acquired, but consider all this strangeness from the last year or so:

  • In an obviously futile attempt to add a win-now starter at the trade deadline of a lost season, they deal several prospects (albeit tarnished ones) to Houston for J.A. Happ.
  • For no particular reason whatsoever, the club signs Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract extension.
  • After preventing John Farrell from taking a job with the Boston Red Sox after 2011– and demonstrating in the process that they didn’t need to let an under-contract manager leave unless they didn’t actually want him there– the Jays decide that they’ll negotiate a deal to allow their manager to move to a division rival.
  • The club reportedly gets money approved to make a move for Jake Peavy, only to have it fall apart– granted, perhaps because of the player himself.
  • Having recently reportedly haggled for a number of days over the price for John Farrell, they flip recently-acquired Mike Aviles and blocked C/1B/3B prospect Yan Gomes for failed starter Esmil Rogers, who has just finished his first and only half-season of success in the big leagues, pitching out of Cleveland’s bullpen.
  • They sign Izturis to be their utility infielder, then a week later pull off a blockbuster trade, reportedly incorporating the money that had been approved for the Peavy deal, bringing in the very similar Emilio Bonifacio, plus Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck, and dealing away the just-signed Mathis.
  • Alex Anthopoulos flies in John Gibbons, possibly to offer him a bench coach job, then suddenly makes him his manager.
  • Using two of their top three prospects they acquire R.A. Dickey, in the process ending up with catcher Josh Thole and non-prospect Mike Nickeas (then eventually Henry Blanco), having at mid-season been able to boast Mathis, Gomes, Carlos Perez, and Travis d’Arnaud behind J.P. Arencibia– a poor defensive catcher who, they fail to identify, is about to have one of the worst offensive seasons in the history of the sport.
  • Arencibia goes to the World Baseball Classic, ostensibly to catch Dickey, because, y’know, he’s going to catch him a bunch during the season, because they’re not really into making Thole his personal catcher.
  • Adam Lind, we’re told, is going to get an opportunities to hit against left-handers, despite the fact that lefty killer Rajai Davis is on the roster, and that Lind has been hopelessly unsuccessful against them.
  • Emilio Bonifacio is going to be the second baseman, despite having started just 65 career big league games at the position.
  • Happ is slated for Buffalo, and Ricky Romero will be the club’s fifth starter. Oh, except Romero stinks up the spring and gets demoted to A-ball for the full Mel Queen treatment. And Happ, little removed from nearly beginning the season in Buffalo, is given a contract extension.
  • Arencibia struggles mightily to catch Dickey on Opening Day and won’t do so again for the rest of the season.
  • Bonifacio, it turns out, is nobody’s second baseman, but having pried him away from the Marlins, and having Izturis and Mark DeRosa already on the roster as well, the club hasn’t actually managed to get anyone… y’know… good, especially defensively, and is stuck.
  • Desperate for starting pitching after a rash of injuries, the club fast-tracks Romero to the big leagues, then loses all faith in him after one shaky start and an absolute disaster.
  • They similarly throw Sean Nolin to the wolves later in the month.
  • Brett Lawrie, the club decides, is going to be the solution to their second baseman problem. That is, until they decide he’s not.
  • Somehow, we’re told, the team didn’t quite take their worsening turf, which was already quite fast, or the fact that they had several catchers not named J.P. Arencibia pass through their ranks, into consideration enough with respect to defence when constructing their roster over the previous year.

Now, a lot of that stuff is perfectly defensible, even in the big picture– I should know, I defended much of it at the time. And let’s not pretend that there isn’t tremendous value in flexibility, which Alex Anthopoulos has seemingly tried to make a pillar of his front office, or that anyone should expect the club to be overly rigid about things. But some of it has nothing to do with that at all– some the items on the above list are just forced reactions to mini-crises that were created internally or inadequately planned for, while others simply demonstrate a strange flippancy. And while part of what’s happened is due to a lack of resources, viewed in totality, those sure do look like a healthy number of decisions that don’t appear to have a lot in the way of common thread, or any sort of unified endgame.

I’m sure you could find numerous examples like these within the processes of every organization, but that doesn’t make seeing it all laid out in this way any less frightening. And it certainly makes you wonder if such examples of poor decision-making– which we may have seen another of last night, if the club actually tries to laughably sell the letting go of Chad Mottola as some kind of pound of flesh offered up in response to poor bunting or situational hitting this season, after several weeks of management harping on run prevention– are exactly what John Farrell was talking about in mid-August, when he tried to articulate the differences between his old organization and his new one.

From our post at the time:

“We can have a seminar on this question — not just because it’s Toronto and Boston,” Farrell said. “There are very distinct differences and it starts, I think it starts, at the top. And the reason I say that: I found Toronto to be a scouting-based organization, which to me is on one plane, one-dimensional. You’re looking at tools. Here, it’s a player-development based system. It’s the paths of the individuals that are running the organization. And that’s not to be critical.

“We all know that there’s three different veins in this game that people advance (through): baseball operations, scouting, player development. Well, in the player-development vein, you’re going to look at things in three dimensions: mentally, physically, fundamentally to address and develop people, or develop an organization. I think as a scouting base, you go out and you evaluate the physical tools. And that’s kind of where it ends, or that’s the look at that time. That was my experience, that was my opinion.”

It’s Farrellspeak, of course, so not immediately apparent, but I’d see what they were saying, I think, if someone suggested that what that list above illuminates is the Jays’ lack of commitment, when you get right down to it, to defined development paths. Their willingness to say “Brett Lawrie’s got the tools to play second, let’s do that,” or “Ricky Romero’s close enough and we need him so let’s try it,” or “Adam Lind’s had a nice run against left-handers, let’s throw away the plan,” or to not bother to see how valuable a guy like Yan Gomes could have been to them; those things do not look quite so bold, or their negatives not so inconsequential, when cast in this sort of light.

Of course, as regular readers will understand from how they were digested at the time, that’s hardly the only light those moves can be cast in. There are clear reasons why most of those decisions were made, and they’re rarely that dubious, if at all– the worst ones seem to have been made when the club felt that they had little other choice– so this isn’t to empower the negative suckholes who’ve already decided that everything is fucked, and are desperate to grab a point from which to work backwards and validate their crumby feelings about the club’s inability to deliver on the instant gratification they pathetically think they’re owed, but after the disastrous season we’ve just slogged through, I don’t think the front office has earned the right to let all those actions stand alone in their little vacuums, the way it’s easy to do when you encounter each move days, and weeks, and months apart.

I don’t know if I think anything is as bad as this negative-focussed post might make it seem, but seeing Farrell’s comments, and seeing the reversed decisions, and seeing the gameplans not always add up– not to mention the admissions of as much when it comes to defence and the turf– it really says to me that it’s not unfair to sort of wonder, do these guys actually know what the hell they’re doing?

Certainly the answer isn’t an obvious “no,” but with the negatives having been so magnified by the expectations and the failures of this season, right now it’s not an obvious “yes,” either.

Comments (109)

  1. they should just pay him to go away

  2. he can’t be any worse than he was this year, right?
    -can also be applied to nearly every jay this year

  3. Go Rays – what a fuckin game last night.

  4. My concern is that the more we get to know AA, the more I think he’s really learning on the go – not that everyone doesn’t learn as they go, but rudimentary stuff. Maybe he’s not a genius. Or to paraphrase Joe Theisman, there are no geniuses in baseball. A genius is someone like Norman Einstein.

  5. The Mathis/Happ/McGowan extensions, seriously, what the fuck were those?

  6. Sort of goes with what was written here with the lack of plan and doing things one way then doing them another way while still doing them the original way etc.

    Part of me is afraid with all the bad defense we saw a lot of last season and AA publicly saying he’s looking at defense more the ever before that all the positional players brought in here in the offseason are going to be defense first. So we are going to see a catcher who can’t hit but can catch, a second basemen who cant hit but can field and all the utility and fourth outfielders might be the same way so if major injuries next season occur to say Edwin, the Jose’s and Rasmus or Lawrie their replacements wouldn’t be able to hit shit. I understand that last season 2B and C couldn’t hit or field so any improvement there is nice but thats something to be wary of.

    Also defense first guys are bound to be cheaper so that might increase this likelihood.

    • You’re probably going to see defense first guys who can’t hit brought in because that’s what’s available. What catcher or second baseman are available via trade or free agency who can actually hit (that aren’t pipe dreams named Robinson Cano or Brian McCann).

  7. Although at the same time, if Morrow and Johnson had stayed healthy/not shitty, and Bautista/Lawrie/Colby/EE stay healthy, we’re probably talking about a team that wins at least 82+ games. Then what’s mentioned above doesn’t seem so bad.

  8. Stoeten’s summed up beautifully what’s been bothering a whole bunch of Jays fans for a long time. I’ve always been willing to give AA the benefit of the doubt. But recently I have started to worry that at least some of the decisions he has made–and I assume were also made by Beeston–were made for the wrong reasons and out of a sense of panic that the team was declining and declining.

    I also think that the Farrell event, and the way it played out in the media, may sent shock-waves through the front office. If Farrell had just said ‘thank you’ and left that would have been one thing. But the look of joyous relief on his face. The way he talked about being back in a baseball town. The disparaging way he dissed Toronto on the way out: ‘by the way thanks, guys for giving me an internship to prepare me for managing in the real major leagues!’. That had to have had an effect. And maybe that’s why the big trade and the rest of it. I think it’s human to want to rub Farrell’s nose in it. Hell, at the time I was absolutely thrilled about the whole thing. But we look back and I’m wondering if the moves made after Farrell were made for the wrong reasons. And that’s had a snowball effect on the team.

    • @Isabella

      +1

      I do think AA was shell shocked by Farrell wanting to leave after year 1. He supposedly did tons of research on each available managerial candidate , yet somehow couldn’t figure out that Farrell always wanted to go back to Boston.

      It was a major embarrassment for the Jays despite the fact that he wasn’t that great an in game manager.

      Gibby is a loyal guy & wouldn’t backstab AA like Farrell did.

      I was very happy when the rays won yesterday. Hopefully, they can do it tonight as well.

      Stoeten’s summary of concerns about the Jays was excellent. However, it’s not like AA knew the Marlins players were available last October

    • Bringing in a guy from a divisional rival, a place where the man owns a home, and who only left because he was blocked was dumb. That they didn’t take advantage of the situation and dump Farrell for someone like Terry Francona was dumber.

      • What’s dumb is making hindsight predictions that fail to account for reality. Last I checked Francona was still with the Red Sox when Farrell was hired and there are less than a handful of managers out there who have spent their career behind one bench.

  9. Also, and I am too lazy to look this up, AA’s bullpen management has seemed completely nuts at times (though not as much as late, what with the success they have had). Call people up, they get shelled in one game, then released. Cann guy up, great reputation, hit hard for a game or two, never heard from again. Other variations on the same thing…
    I think I read somewhere that the Jays had set some kind of record for player movement in a year (based likely on RPs primarily). Anyone remember this? Details?
    Seriously looks very plan-less at times to me.

    • This year it was done so much because the starters kept getting shelled and taken out early. As a result they needed to bring up some shitbags (if even just for one game) to eat the innings because the BP guys who were actually good weren’t available.

      • That certainly has merit. But it has been going on a couple of years, and it’s not like they couldn’t bring the same guys up (I know about the 10 day waiting lsit). Like last year, do you even remember Bobby Korecky, Evan Crawford, Chad Beck, Igarashi, Drew Carpenter, David Carpenter, Sam Dyson, Scott Richmond, Robert Coello, David Pauley, etc.? Doesn’t this seem like a large number of players to be never heard from again, one year later? Even for a bullpen?

        • david carpenter gave up the home run to uribe last night.

          • Really? What fun!
            Didn’t Coello develop a new pitch and become crazy dominant as well?

            • i see you want AA gone because everything has failed

              • Eh? No, not at all. But just going along with the theme about wondering about the plan. Bullpen hadn’t been mentioned.
                And I am quite curious about this supposed record of call-ups that I have a vague recollection about. Thought someone here might remember.
                I quite like AA in fact.

                • ah, ok
                  If he fails next year he might be gone

                  • @jaysfan I suppose that could be true. Maybe they could bring back Gord Ash. I like that time he dressed as Dr. Evil with his infant son as Mini-Me.
                    @RDA Hmm, I don’t think it was that. But come to think of it, it may have been one of those “to this point in the season”-type records that didn’t hold up to the end. Sorry.

                • Are you thinking of waiver claims? AA tried claiming (what seemed like) everyone off waivers this year. He would then try to put them on waivers again in an effort to sneak them into the minors and stash depth.

    • @Spiders

      +1. That was rough & chaotic with the bullpen guys getting released after 1 bad game.

      I am upset about buying a Dyson Jersey after Farrell & AA said Sam Dyson was the best prospect in the Jays organization.

      I only wear the Jersey when I vacuum the carpet now with my Dyson

  10. This thread could get ugly……. so I’ll post this.

    Did Pete Walker really do a poor job this year? I’m beginning to think that what was within his control actually went reasonably well.

    Hear me out on this….

    1. RA Dickey – There isn’t much Walker could have done to help this guy. Between the neck/back strain and the fact that that Dickey lives on planet knuckleball where can Walker really help or get blame? -PASS

    2. Mark Buehrle – He had a tough start to the year. Another year older, return to AL and in the East division full time. Sounds like reasonable conditions for a bad start, but then guess what happened, Buehrle got really good for three months.

    I don’t have a fancy press pass to confirm this, but I’m guessing that Walker helped the savvy veteran find his way after letting Buehrle do his things his way while they worked on a solution.

    Isn’t that the very point of being a coach? Walker helped a veteran adjust and get better -GOOD JOB!

    3. and 4. Morrow and JJ – Both these guys were hurt. How is this Walkers fault? -PASS

    5. Ramon Ortiz – Smoke and mirrors shit baller who found a way to being the staff ace for a few weeks. Walker had to have a hand in this -GOOD JOB!

    6. Esmil Rogers – Considering his starting point and that he doubled his MLB innings this was a pretty decent year. Walker has to get credit for this. -GOOD JOB!

    7. Todd Redmond – Career minor leaguer comes up to the big club for 14 starts and does a solid job. This has pitching coach adjustments written all over it. -GOOD JOB!

    8. JA Happ – The guy was going pretty good until, y’know, the incident. Walker did his job for Happs’s first month of the year, the rest was out of his hands. -GOOD JOB!/PASS

    9. Bullpen- These guys went from the “weak link” to an army of awesome. I know Hentgan is getting credit for this, but the bullpen coach has to work with the pitching coach does he not?

    Just because you don’t start games doesn’t mean the pitching coach ignores you. Walker had to have a hand in this success. -GOOD JOB!

    10.-Remember when Zaun said that it was Arnsberg that made Gibby so good with his bullpen use? Well, Walkers whispering in his ear now, then pen was great, at the very least Walker and Gibby work well together. GOOD JOB!/PASS (depending on how you think it works).

    I am more than fine with Pete Walker as pitching coach in 2014.

    • @Famous

      +1.

      You brought up some good points

      • Agree Oakville and Famous….It’s too easy to get going on all this…Just going to say here that Esmil went way over his career max IPs (83, and he pitched 137 this year) and to expect him to be productive is unrealistic. Next year though, here’s hoping.
        Redmond is another unspectacular innings eater. If he can do the same next year he could be a great swing man or 5th starter.

        • In fairness Esmil was pitching in the minors too in the past, so his total innings isn’t unreasonable.

          However, 137 overall decent MLB innings is certainly something to build on for a guy who may have been DFA’d at the start of the year.

    • Wow. Thanks. Go Pete

  11. It’s a legitimate question to pose after not just this disastrous season but the past two. It’s been two abysmal years.

  12. Great article with some really interesting insights. I’m not sure what to make of all this. On the one hand, it could be indicative of some lack of direction. On the other hand, this could be a collection of decisions that could’ve gone either way, but all went the wrong way. True, it is difficult to imagine such bad luck, but this is the 2013 Jays, right?
    I also feel like some of the smaller decisions are — like many other issues this year — magnified by the huge suckage of some big ticket items — injuries, RA having a rough year, etc. I mean, if RA was as good as we had hoped he would be, JJ hadn’t been hurt, Lawrie had been solid all year, etc, would things like whether or not they signed Happ enter the conversation? Probably not. But after a season like this everything is under the microscope.
    Or I could be completely wrong, and these small, wrong decisions add up to the cause of our failure, not the effect.

    As a side bar on the whole Farrell thing, I love my Jays, but name a manager who would have the chance to manage in Boston instead of here, regardless of where they were born, who wouldn’t arrive at Fenway and feel like they were in a much more serious baseball environment? To me that is an obvious truth, not a reason to get upset.

    • Rehashing old Farrel shit here but that would be fine if that was the whole story. Instead we find out he wanted out after the first season and then continues to manage against the team he’d rather be leading and then says all the stuff about learning important things here ha can now use there etc etc.

    • Honestly I don’t want to get into the whys and wherefores of the Farrell thing again. It was a year ago and I like to think I’ve moved on…

      But I do think the event created a lot of off-season ripples that, when I look back, may not have been as benign as I thought at the time. And when the Big Trade Acquisitions didn’t pan out I believe the front office just grabbed the panic button and didn’t let go. Look at Romero. OK, he had a lousy start. But at the point where he pitched we were nowhere near contention, so I think he should have been left in to pitch every 5 days. We might have lost every game he started, but so what? The team wasn’t going anywhere anyway. But they hustled him out of the way pronto. Way to build up his confidence, that! If there is a 3-year window–which is now a 2-year window–I’d like to think there is a 2-year plan. Or at least part of one!

      • I really disagree about Romero. I actually think the opposite was what he needed. He needed to work out his shit in the minors with nobody watching. Until he was mowing people down in the minors, he shouldn’t have even been part of the conversation. Again — I think they made a big mistake brining him back up at the end of this season.
        Not to sound like a broken record, but if they sent him down at the beginning of the year and our season went as planned, nobody would have spoken about him for the year and maybe he would’ve been able to fly under the radar and try to get his stuff back. But we crashed, and then everybody said “where’s Ricky?”.
        There was more to lose than one of every five games in letting him get shelled every start. You just can’t do that to a pitcher that clearly isn’t up to the game.

  13. Look at every organization that’s doing well in the playoffs and they all have some homegrown stud pitchers.

    Toronto isn’t going to compete trying to buy a 5 man roation. You have to develop guys

    • the dodgers say ‘sup

    • You realize that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build this way though, right? Like are you saying people should just pretend the Jays are doomed until then? Kinda silly, especially because of how service time works and how pitching is valued– there isn’t a big sample of rotations built on guys drafted elsewhere to come close to saying whether that works or doesn’t.

      • the athletics are the closest?

      • No, the Jays aren’t doomed and you can have a perfectly good rotation without homegrown talent.

        But that’s over a short period of time.

        I don’t think you can continue to go out year after year and replace guys with older expensive Free Agents.

        If you want to be good over a long period (Oakland A’s), you have to be delevoping starting pitching in house. They have 6 division wins this century. How many do we have?

        • The AA’s don’t develop many of their starters, despite what you might think.

          Most of these guys are acquired via trades when they are nearly MLB ready and can contribute on the cheap for a few years.

          Then Beane trades them for another 2-3 top prospects to call up the next year and the cycle continues.

          I don’t have a link right now, too lazy to find one. But I read an article lately showing how few of their starters were actually drafted…

      • It may not be the only way to build a starting staff, but if Ricky was dominating things would be a lot easier go forward.

  14. Well last winter I felt AA could do know wrong, every move he made it seemed like he was looking at my Xmas wish list for the Jays. The Dickey trade was the only one that I was sitting on the fence about but hey your going to pay for a quality starter coming off a Cy Young year.
    I don’t see how the extensions we signed Happ and McGowan hurt the Jays as I don’t believe it would be difficult to move either one of them if they were that way inclined.
    Izturis was signed before the Marlins deal so if they had been in on Peavy at that time and not a lot of good second base free agents available ir really limits their options.
    I do agree lately they seem to be flying by the seat of their pants, soon someone is going to be held accountable and it won’t be the poor batting coach.

  15. I know even reading regurgitated shit out of square jaws mouth makes me want to puke.

  16. Great post.

    I feel like that AA lost his way – so to speak – some time mid way through last year, and I wonder why that is? Was it promises made to players (Bautista, for example) about competing during his tenure and those injuries throwing a big monkey wrench into those plans? Was it pressure from somewhere else?

    AA used to talk not about a ‘window’, but rather a conveyor belt, which would deliver continuous. Success….now we’re talking about windowsof 2-3 years to Compete.

    • Oh yeah. I forgot about that conveyor belt. Shit, I am depressed now. I remember how much I liked that idea.

      • But his conveyor belt is still in the minors. It realistically shouldn’t even start til guys like Sanchez Syndergaard and Nicolino get to the show. Drabek Gose et al should be full time next season (chronologically speaking), but they weren’t AA draftees.

        • Well, I am happy to hear that there is still hope. I am a little concerned that there has been talk (from the front office?) of a window. Do they still believe in the belt, that is the question. Anyone heard anything of late?

        • Well, they weren’t AA draftees, but they were certainly AA acquisions.

          My point was the shift in focus from the idea of the conveyor belt to talk of a window. Whihc. Leads me to this follow up: did AA ‘go for it’ too soon? Was the development cycle not far enough along to start dealing away draft picks? I understand that part of the plan was to always use some of those players as trade pieces… But did he misjudge the timing?

  17. Still love the dodgers boston trade for LA, Carl Crawford going to win them the world series.

    • He’s earning 20 million dollars to produce 1.7 War, that is really crappy value.

      • I have irrationally hated Carl Crawford for a long time, simpy because I have always felt he is overrated. I mean, for a lead-off guy, he has ony once put up an OBP above .360, though he was close another 2 times, and his career OBP is a rather pedestrian .332. I guess his defence is fantastic, though at a “non-premium” position. Hmm, further examination shows him to be quite good. Am I still allowed to call him overrated and hate him?

  18. I think you can definitely look at those moves in a way that they all make sense, too… it’s much easier to look at it in hindsight, once so much of it has good wrong, but I think for the most part the process has been solid. As a couple examples:

    If it had happened after the Dickey/Marlins trades, I think we would have looked at it the Happ deal as a great move to improve the back-end of a solid rotation. Because it happened when it did, it seemed odd… but couldn’t it have been part of a bigger plan of putting together a team that can contend in the near future?

    With the Farrell trade, I think it all makes sense: acquire a utility player for a manager who’s already forcing his way out anyway, flip a couple utility players for a bullpen/rotation depth piece, then sign a new utility player for nothing but money. It would be hard to argue that it’s not poor player evaluation, but I think it’s great asset management.

  19. Tied to the Lawrie-at-2B thing, there was also the five minutes when Bautista was going to play third for the rest of the year.

  20. Going back to Farrel’s comments about player development, and through the looking glass of the decisions you have brought up, it seems to me to support the Anthopolous as a Scouting first GM. Yes he looked like a genius his first couple of years because he was in his element focusing on building the farm system, but now that we are into making the right moves to build a cohesive and competitive team he is having to learn from his mistakes. The thing about building a prospect pool is that you are largely judged by their potential when you acquire them, rather than the immediate on field results as is the case with building a contending MLB roster in the short term.

    • Excellent article Stoets.

      I agree with this comment. Farrell’s comments seem to make sense based on AA’s background. I fear this organization doesn’t know how to develop players like some other successful franchises have (As, Red Sox, Rays for pitchers, maybe the Twins in the recent past).

    • I’m so sick and tired of people putting any credence square jaw had to say on the way out. First of all, he’s gone and all lot of people spewed venom at him (rightly so) so naturally he’s not going talk pleasantly of the Jays organization. Secondly, his point of scouting being tools based and this is what gets me, is dead on because that is what scouting is supposed to be based on. The minor league system is supposed to turn these athletes into ball players. So where exactly is his damn point? What are the Jays doing that is so radically different than the Red Sox or any other team for that matter. The GM’s job is to manage all these balls in the air and put together the team. The manager’s job is to manage the team in terms of the on field assignments and strategy and continue to develop the talent. Now we can get into an argument about how much value a manager has but even on the eyeball test, Farrell did a piss poor job here. So goodbye. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out and certainly don’t listen to what he says about the Jays as being gospel.

  21. Anthopolous seems like he will be an excellent GM one day. Maybe not now for these reasons mentioned, and maybe he gets fired. But as a GM, he has ability, and he’s a young guy running the team for the first time.

    I think in time, he’ll learn from his mistakes, and adapt. Whether he has that time in Toronto is a different issue.

    • You know, the way you articulated this point made me ask myself how often GMs get new gigs. I mean, managers get rehired and refired all the time, but how many GMs in the league are on their second or third teams? I don’t really know the answer, but it *seems* like GMs don’t get as many second chances. (I’m restricting this observation to the last couple of decades…not to Branch Rickey…)

      • I mean, I know there are examples of people who’ve GMed different teams, but in the ALE, for example, only one of the five GMs has been a GM of another team. In the ALW, none of the five GMs was a GM elsewhere (except for Dipoto’s two-month interim gig in Arizona, which I don’t think really counts for this discussion).

  22. I totally forgot about Lawrie playing second… Must have subconsciously attempted to forget that moment of trauma…

  23. Great post. All the examples are facts and it’s a scary list full of basic mistakes and assumptions that missed by a mile. If you believe there’s an art to building a championship contending team then you have good reason to be worried.

  24. You can maybe see where AA/Gibby’s thoughts could come from though, think about how sweet that infield would be/ could be (on paper).

    Edwin 1b
    Lawrie 2B
    Reyes SS
    Bautista 3B
    Saltalamachia C (or any other plausible option)

    Those boys would rake, and it’s much easier to find a 1-2 WAR OF to plug into the outfield then find a good 2b or 3b. Plus, I still hold out great hopes for Melky. Hitting .280 with a benign grapefruit on his spine should carry some weight. Like, that would be fucking hard to do for Superman or Thor.

  25. Escobar gets a leadoff double that almost went over the fence in a scoreless game.

    Go Rays!!!!

  26. Cmon TB….get the fuck back in this series, kick these Red Sock fucks right in the dick.

  27. This Post Mortem turned into being about management more than Izturis.

    I don’t think AA had a good year in-season. The one offs – they did it with a prospect, an MLB star, and waiver wire garbage – were ridiculous.

    I wish I had the motivation and time to study how often the 8th man was needed. I know he wasn’t used very often; the next question is whether someone else could have pitched on the occasions he was used.

  28. Can I still say “suck it” Farrell?

    • And Fuck Farrell.

      • The A’s/tigers/cards/pirates/dodgers will beat them

        • Things are setting up for the Red Sox to win the AL. Their rotation is set for next series and Detroit/As have to play a game 5 and use their best SP. Hopefully the Dodgers beat them in the WS….maybe Gonzalez can hit a walkoff game 6 and Crawford can hit a walkoff game 7. How sweet would that be?

          • How about the dodgers just sweep the Sox

            • No, let the Sox go up 3-0 in the Series. Let them taste victory. Let them swim in it. Let them be printing up their We Own MLB t-shirts.

              And then let the Dodgers win 4 in a row capped, as mentioned above, by a Carl Crawford walk-off home run in the 7th game.

              • And then let the stench of humiliating defeat settle into those disgusting beards of theirs and remind them all winter.

              • yes, this would be so very sweet. this would be the most horrible of defeats, enduring what they did to the Yankees to knock them out several years ago.

          • There’s a solid argument that can be made that every one of Detroit’s top four starters is better than Boston’s best starter.

  29. One positive from last night:

    At least we didn’t have to see Papelbon close it out for the Sox.

    2nd positive from last night:

    At least we don’t have to see Papelbon in the ALCS

  30. Blue Jays Journal has a list of available pitchers in free trade and doesn’t think much of it. Here’s the link:

    http://jaysjournal.com/2013/10/09/blue-jays-morning-brew-trades-catching/

    I’m number-challenged and can never understand stats, but looking at this bunch, how many of them have worse stats than JPA? Because it’s my perception that a high proportion of these guys, as uninspiring as they are, could do a better job than Mr Useless.

  31. Verducci on the Sox turnaround.

    seek out extroverted baseball rats who would watch the game from the top step of the dugout and not behind a bucket of fried chicken in the clubhouse; and pack the lineup again with hitters who grind out at-bats. That last cornerstone turned out to be the most important reason why the Red Sox dispatched the Tampa Bay

    Is Verducci a hockey fan?

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20131009/boston-red-sox-alcs-alds/?sct=hp_wr_a2&eref=sihp

  32. the thing is taking a lot of pitchers does wear out SPs and gets you to the pen quicker.

  33. Maybe that’s an issue that AA felt Mottola didn’t handle. That having been said, our guys historically have been free-swingers with the emphasis on the long-ball. I’d like them to take a few pitches and be more selective. But I’ve read many times that the first pitch tends to be the most hittable…

  34. [...] start off today’s morning brew I want to point you all in the direction of an excellent story over at DJF. What begins as a post about Maicer Izturis becomes a much more in depth look at how the front [...]

  35. Izturis, Bonafacio, Romero et Al just mean s there are no Grade A replacements in the Jay’s system. AA made a bunch of trades that were ill-timed since there was no core of home-grown stars – it’s a player development issue, mostly, but also timing & scouting – did they know what they getting? Keep D’Arnaud, keep the young pitchers, trade now, just what you really need, and forego the quick fix….do what St. Louis, Boston, etc. do.

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