Oh. Now look who’s bossy with counting.

“All those losses are totally on the players. All that heat that’s on Alex and Gibby – they don’t deserve it. We should be getting a lot more heat as players, and that’s why the focus should be on each individual showing up ready to go and playing better than they did last year,” says Jose Bautista in an interesting piece from Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. “What I think is that at times everybody – not only on our team and in our city – tries to look for the one person to carry the team and be the leader and be the one appointed person that’s responsible for everything. When you’re talking about a team sport, that’s pretty unfair assessment to make. I embrace the role of being a leader, I embrace the fact that people look up at me to that way, that I could be that person for the team, but at the same time it’s within each individual player to do whatever it takes and what’s best for themselves as individuals to be the best players they can be, which in turn will make a better team as a whole. Those are just my thoughts.

“He was a truly great manager. How he handled his players to how he handles the game itself,” says Cody Decker, who played most of 2012 under John Gibbons with the San Antonio Missions, speaking to Blue Jays Plus. “He trusts his players to do their job. He was practically an artist when it came to keeping the clubhouse loose. He made the game easier.” Interesting stuff.

“The Jays cannot afford to take a step back in attendance,” writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star in an interesting piece explaining what he thinks the Jays need to do. “That means, simply, that another losing season is unacceptable. It suggests the GM can’t wait until the holiday season, or later, to make another impact. Jays fans are not in a forgiving mood. Attendance is the key. Thus the GM’s job hangs in the balance.” Honestly? I can’t say I agree. Not about whether the GM’s job is in peril– clearly it is– but about how important it is to do something splashy and quickly, and how vital it is to see zero drop in overall attendance. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think if the crowds are slow to return at first, but build over the course of the summer because the team is playing well, that’s going to be more than fine. Build a winner on the field first, Alex.

There are always nuggets to be found in Gregor Chisholm’s Inbox posts at BlueJays.com, and his most recent is no exception. For example, he talks about the club rethinking some aspects of their player development strategy, and the fact that Josh Johnson’s agent doesn’t appear to have had any dialogue with the Jays, as he continues to explore the free agent market (as I wrote about last night).

Another from BlueJays.com has Gregor taking a look at how the Jays can get creative about payroll, listing some of the guys that the club could move in order to save some dollars– which is something that I did about a week ago, because obviously this is one of the key questions this offseason. $150-million only gets you so far these days, apparently.

Benny Fresh (i.e. Ben Nicholson-Smith) does some non-Sportsnet work, forecasting the free agent market– which now appears to be in full swing– for USA Today. Nifty!

Still with Benny Fresh, but back at Sportsnet, as we’re told that Robinson Cano is still asking for $310-million– and according to Ken Davidoff and Dan Martin of the New York Post, he’s apparently held a secret meeting with the Mets. I still don’t think for a second that the Jays will make a play, but the pipe dream can continue for at least a little longer, I guess.

Another one from Sportsnet, from late last week, as Ben Nicholson-Smith also tells us that former Jays pitcher Ted Lilly is going to see action in the Venezuelan Winter League, as he tries to show he can still pitch effectively after needing the nerve endings in the right side of his neck cauterized [note: yikes!] to alleviate the neck pain that derailed his Dodgers career.

One more: Last week was a bit of a whirlwind, what with the GM Meetings and all, and I don’t remember if I linked this: according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet quotes Paul Beeston as saying that he’d love to see Major League Baseball back in Montreal, and that 32 teams would be ideal for the game. I don’t actually believe for a second that the Jays are really that keen on giving up a big chunk of their national market, but it’s nice enough that he said it, I guess. And getting rid of everyday interleague play by having 16 teams in each league would be nice, too. Bud Selig had some encouragement for the notion as well– though he made clear that he has no plans for relocation or expansion.

Jack Moore continues his outstanding Primary Sources series at Getting Blanked. Read it.

Elsewhere at Getting Blanked, Jack asks whether Hot Stove season has become a thing of the past.

In other laments, Bluebird Banter bids adieu to the most well-travelled Jay in recent memory, Mike McCoy.

The Tao Of Stieb gives us his thoughts on John Lott and Shi Davidi’s new book on the 2013 disaster, Great Expectations.

Late last week, the Jays inked former big leaguer, and excellent Triple-A hitter, Dan Johnson, to a minor league deal. Enjoy him, Buffalo. Nothing to see here, Jays fans. MLBTR has the details.

Great stuff from Robert Steele of Jays Journal, who looks at the guys in the Jays organization who may be at risk of being selected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

Elsewhere at Jays Journal, it is that the club should be cautious about trading their relievers, though with the surplus, and the number of ones who are out of options, I’m not sure they should be that cautious… or cautious at all, really. Relievers, man.

It’s mostly paywall’d, but Russell Carleton of Baseball Prospectus looks at why teams “overpay” for free agents this time of year– a topic well worth exploring.

For the Canadian Baseball Network, Bob Elliott says farewell to Gaku Tashiro, who he calls Japan’s Peter Gammons, as he returns to Tokyo after thirteen years covering the big leagues.

The Canberra Times tells us that Jays farmhand Jack Murphy powered his Canberra Cavalry into the Asia Series final. “The Cavalry have rewritten the record books since arriving in Taiwan last week, becoming the first ABL team to win an Asian Series game, the first to make the play-offs, the first to make the grand final and the first non-Japanese, Korean or Taiwanese team to win a game,” writes David Polkinghorne.

Alex Remington of FanGraphs looks back on the career of Mark DeRosa on the occasion of his retirement. Meanwhile, his colleague, Jeff Sullivan, writes about the most startling trend in the game: the huge influx of hard throwers in recent years.

Lastly, in case you missed it last week, we returned with a new DJF Podcast! And also, we’re now on Soundcloud– which is something many of you looking for an iTunes alternative have asked for in the past. Of course, you can always still find us on iTunes, as well. As for more podcastery coming your way? Drew is on vacation this week, so you’ll have to wait at least one more for another, but as soon as something actually happens, we’ll be there to talk about it.

Comments (94)

  1. I don’t for a second think that Cano will come to Toronto, but man is it ever fun to dream about.

  2. Stoets,

    If somehow Cano came here, you would go crazy – happy crazy that is ,, we all would .. they aren’t your books they are rogers ..

    • Who cares, it’s only Rogers’ money, I know, right?!?

      Because that misses the point entirely.

      The budget is finite. Ergo, I want my favorite team to utilize these finite resources judiciously to maximize results. Even Yankees fans would like to see Arod’s salary off the books so they could get more bang for the $27.5 mil.

      So, no, it’s not just Rogers’ money.

      • Does it miss the point entirely?

        if they decide to invest in Cano or some other monster contract you don’t think they realize how this impacts the present and future spending? to me it would signify a major investment in the team, knowing that you can’t just make a solitary move ..

        are they Tigers any different? they have 3 guys with astonishing contracts and others soon to follow – Scherzer for one .. you wouldn’t like Rogers to spend on 3 guys with contracts like Miggy, Prince and Verlander? of course you would .. there is no reason the Jays don’t have the means to spend like the Tigers, Phils, Rangers? Rogers in a multi billion/trillion $ operation .. there is no one richer .. so ya .. it’s their money and not ours and who cares ..

        • So you haven’t noticed EXACTLY what’s going on with their payroll limits this off-season then?


          • I think the real point is that those limits are entirely self-imposed, and do nothing but marginally increase/decrease their already massive profits. So none of us fans should really care or condone them for that.

      • ergo? who are you..the architect?

    • Zero chance Cano is a Jay. Drop it already

    • Thanks for telling me how I’d think, but next time maybe have the common courtesy to not be fucking wrong.

      The issue isn’t who pays him, it’s how much of the club’s payroll his deal would take up. There isn’t an infinite amount that the team can spend, and you don’t want them to do something that’s going to have too much of an impact on what they’re going to be able to do down the line. Cano coming here would be thrilling if it came with assurances that payroll isn’t going to be an issue going forward. Otherwise, it would be great in the near term, and probably scary as fuck in the long term.

      • Well articulated Stoeten.

      • scenario: Jays sign massive Free Agent ..


        1. Go crazy and be pumped – raise the roof for Rogers
        2. Get angry that they committed to long term, big $ deal
        3. Berate Rogers for screwing payroll 4 years from now ..

        this is lunacy .. I don’t care about year 5-8 on a long term deal – everyone is trade-able – Wells, ARod, Rudy Gay :)

        Canos a Hall of Fame hitter and an athletic player – he could age well a la Molitor, Jeter (pre 39 year old Jeter) or other MI types that have stayed reasonably valuable late into career

        If the end result is increased spending, playoffs and World Series appearances/championships then WHO CARES ..

        Don’t be a downer/realist – if Cano or the like ever come to Toronto then celebrate it .. we don’t need to boo hoo hypothetical when in truth it would be a monumental signing and inject further huge life into the team ..

        • Dude, the payroll for this year is already at 140 including arbitration estimates. Add in cano’s potential contract and you are looking at perhaps 170 million, that’s dodgers territory which would be fantastic, but we aint close at all the dodger’s rotation. If the payroll limit is around 150 million, then realistically cano would be your only free agent aquisition, AA would be forced into trades to fill the other holes and I hell don’t want to give up any of our top prospects. Would much rather use that money to fill other holes.

          • how many “ON DEMAND movies, roaming charges or data Overages” is the difference between 150 and 170 mill?

            I would trade 1 World Series for any possible scenario ..

            • Just because you want to ignore a little thing like reality doesn’t mean that you can rub your heels together and make it go away.

              Enough of this, please.

          • Uhh… the Dodgers were at $216M last year.

            Also: payroll is closer to $130 than $140M including arbitration stuff.

        • Sorry, but just because you choose to ignore a massively significant part of a deal like that doesn’t make it lunacy for someone to be realistic about it.

          • Did I ignore something .. “the Jays can’t spend X because only the Yanks and LAD’s spend that amount of $” is ignoring?

            You, yourself pointed out ways for the jays to shed $ to provide avenues to acquire more salary without massively hurting current roster .. there are numerous owners in numerous sports who spend “everything and anything” to try and win .. the Jays have the MEANS to do so ..

            this is a silly argument as my point was only who cares what they spend .. if they decide they have the means to acquire a massive contract I can only assume that they have the means to play around that too … and thus we should cheer loudly not say “ya but in 5 years this contract might be poor” .. who knows how the landscape will change – we can only assume that it will only continue to be flush with cash

            The yankees looking to SHED $ is a byproduct to being above CAP and not willing to pay LUXURY tax on a team not good enough to compete for World Series .. the Jays are millions from such a scenario

            • Feel free to start making sense at any point.

              For one, how does my pointing out the ways that the club can scrape together some payroll savings have anything to do with what you said next?

              For two, you say “my point was only who cares what they spend,” and my point was that this attitude ignores the reality that we have to. You’re still not getting this.

              • The reality is we don’t know how much the Jays are willing or able to spend.

              • obviously only YOU make sense ..

                I don’t get why we have to .. “ignores the reality that we have to” as you said ..

                my point being .. AREN’T we just fans??? why doe we HAVE to care about 5 years down the road salary?

                last year we all would have scoffed at the idea of the Jays taking on as much Salary as they did .. so maybe its not far fetched to believe they could spend into top 5 clubs instead of just top 10 ..

                we have no idea what the parameters are for the Jays .. so to say we do or to say we can’t ignore possible parameters is a waste of time .. lets not poo poo they amazingness of the Jays signing someone huge and then believe that if this ever did happen that they have the wherewithal to continue put players in place around them

                • You can not care about the salary all you want, but you can’t bring that attitude into even a half-serious conversation about the team or you’re going to have this sort of nonsense shut down. We care about salary down the road because it impacts the team down the road, just as we should have cared about all the salary they took on last year, because it’s obviously impacting them right now. You can’t just assume that some fairy tale is going to come true. Of course there are many possibilities, but that doesn’t mean long-term salary implications aren’t extremely relevant.

                  • uggghh .. please remind me how it is OBVIOUSLY hurting them right now?

                    because we are in day 14 of Free Agency and they haven’t signed anyone yet? (noone has really been signed)

                    because they haven’t put in a bid for Tanaka yet (posting system not rectified)

                    because they haven’t made a huge deal yet? (tick tock ..)

                    you lost me ..

                    • You know why you’re lost? Because you’re refusing to acknowledge reality.

      • “Thanks for telling me how I’d think, but next time maybe have the common courtesy to not be fucking wrong.”

        Awesome quote! it’s exactly what I think every time you share your opinion. Thanks for the links though.

  3. So to recap Richard Griffin, a Ryan Hanigan type behind the plate, trade Lind, add Trey Hilliman to the coaching staff, go wtih Goins at 2B, sign a Bronson Arroyo type, sign a Barry Zito type, and listen on trade offers for Bautista?

    Holy shit!

  4. I did find it interesting that Griffin mentioned Miguel Montero as a trade candidate.

    He’s a bounceback candidate, and probably offers the most upside of anyone we’ve discussed – non-McCann edition – though he’s pretty pricey and has a bad platoon split, so pairing him and Thole would make the catching position essentially useless against left handed pitching.

    The D’Backs have apparently been looking for right handed power, and also have some pitching they’d reportedly consider moving. And hey, don’t they have some depth in the middle infield, and a guy who used to do pretty well defensively on the turf playing at second base…? Ah, spitballing!

    • You know who’s not completely useless (although he’s close) against left handed pitching?…. JP.

      Although I think Stoeten was right last week when he said that keeping JPA around as the backup catcher would be “untenable”

      • You also need someone to catch Dickey. We know JP can’t do it, I have no clue if Montero could.

      • JPA was actually terrible against LHP last year. Had a reverse split for most of the year, though I think it ended up evening out.

        • His career numbers vs LHP are better than RHP. This year was just a shit show across the board…. But yeah. He sucks at pretty much everything.

          Which part was nonsense btw? The part about someone being taught to catch the KB?

          • yes, that part.

            • Why? even Thole had to learn to do it and he learned just fine. I would expect that a professional baseball player (catcher) could, through practice, learn to catch a KB passably well, and even if it’s only passable, how much do you really lose by having a couple of extra passed balls over the course of a season if that same player is giving you significantly more upside elsewhere.

              Note: I am NOT referring to JPA here. I’m speaking generally.

              • WHat I’m getting at is “experience in catching the knuckleball” is way, way WAY down on my list of priorities.

  5. Thing about JPA is that most fans have had enough of him, see him as a lightning rod for the problems of the team and want him out the door. So do I. But I am uncomfortably aware that I felt exactly the same way about EE back when he was E5. I don’t think JPA has the same upside as the front office clearly saw–and were right about–in EE and that may be why they’ll send him on his way. But if someone could teach the kid to harness all that power and take an appropriate 2-strike approach he could be a pretty good dh. If he was teachable. Which likely he is not…

    • I agree but maybe he needs a few months at Pilot Field to realize the importance of that approach to success at the major league level.

    • He will never hit well enough to DH.

      • I agree. Because he doesn’t seem to be familiar with the concept of improving his game. If he had a personality transplant and turned into someone who would listen and learn he could be a very good DH. He’s got all the power and none of the smarts. Unfortunately.

        • It’s not about learning. He doesn’t have the talent.

          • maybe someone can learn him some talent?

            • When the kid hits the ball right it goes out of the park. That’s all the talent he needs. Except not because he’s not able to learn when to put the ol’ home run swing on the ball and when not to. He doesn’t have the talent but he has the raw ability. Unfortunately that ability is wasted on him.

              • Just acres of wrong.

                • I dunno Andrew. He can hit home runs in the RC pretty good. That’s the only thing he can do and he doesn’t do it often enough and I want him gone. But you can’t teach power and he has power. Everything else that you can teach he can’t get because he’s unteachable. It’s a shame. But he needs to leave the team yesterday. I think there may be a market for him in the NL because he does have the power. I hope there is. It would be nice to convert him into a half-decent prospect.

                  • Being able to swing at or lay off certain pitches is not just a matter of willingness to learn you understand.

                    • “Being able to swing at or lay off certain pitches is not just a matter of willingness to learn you understand”

                      I agree, to an extent. However, there are some choice quotes from Mottola and JPA himself in interviews that indicates JPA disregards this in favour of a quick fix. Obviously none of us know what’s going on behind the scenes or in JPA’s head, but as many signs point to JPA being unwilling to focus on plate discipline versus purely being unable to

                    • says the guy who has never swung a bat.

                    • I’m crying in my lonely beer TyB. Hahaha.

                • man reading this discussion is fucking painful. Andrew blow it out your ass. youre such a pretentious douche. about BASEBALL of all things! holy fuck. this may be djf but your 1 guy id never have a beer with.

          • Speaking of teaching JPA some talent, on a surface level one could look at Jose Bautista and claim they were the same thing–a kid with loads of power who couldn’t harness it.

            But looking more carefully, one discovers that while Bautista wasn’t that good before coming to Toronto, he always had plate discipline–posting OBPs in the low .300s in each of the three seasons before coming to Toronto. Arencibia just doesn’t have that same plate discipline.

            And sure you can argue that JPA is displaying more power than Bautista did in Pittsburgh; but JPA plays in one of the most homer-friendly parks in the league, while PNC Park is one of the least homer-friendly parks, which negates that to some extent.

  6. I am a bit scared of the Jays doing anything too splashy, since that would surely mean an overpay of prospects in trade that would decimate the farm. One of the priorities AA spoke about when taking the helm was the need to have ‘wave after wave’ of prospects ready to step in, and I do fear another big trade would involve Sanchez, Stroman or both plus more and would crush that plan. If I had my way, I’d look at signing Ubaldo (flashy offseason move), Mark Ellis (not flashy but solid), and trade one of Happ/Rogers/Drabek/Hutch + bullpen piece for a B to C tier catcher and trade/DFA JPA. I think I’d be content with that and it seems doable within their budget.

    • I entirely agree, and I suspect the Jays do too.

    • Take the money you had earmarked for Josh Johnson and go 4/60 for Ubaldo. There, that’s the splashy move.

      Dickey, Ubaldo, Morrow, Buehrle, Hutchison – that’s your starting five. At AAA you’ve got Stroman, Drabek, Romero etc.

      Move a guy like Nolin and a bullpen piece for a catcher or sign a guy like Dioner Navarro. Move Happ and spare parts for a middle infielder.

  7. Well AA has been put on notice by the Star regarding his job, big surprise there….

    I agree they need to do something to drive marketing, but I find his total focus only on attendance a little strange.

    I mean this isn’t the 80′s Expos with games only on CBC TV Wednesday and Saturday. I think Sportsnet broadcast numbers are probably just as important as putting actual butts into the RC.

  8. Would Cano be that bad at 8 years times 30M?

    He has been worth 5 WAR a year on average, for his whole career. And 7.5 WAR a year average over the last 4 years. And he has been quite healthy his whole career. And he is the one that trained with Edwin last year and we saw what that did. And it would sure make the Jays the talk of the sporting world for 15 minutes.

    Sign Cano. Give away Romero for whatever salary relief you can get. Trade JP straight up for someone else’s mediocre catcher. Trade Delabar, Happ and a prospect for a #3 starter. … Golf until spring training.

    • Like most mega contracts it would be super awesome for the first half and an absolute disaster for the second half of the deal.

      As everyone above said, it all depends on what it allows/prevents you from doing in the future… Cano’s no use to the team if they can surround him with good players in the future.

      • “Like most mega contracts it would be super awesome for the first half and an absolute disaster for the second half of the deal.”

        At 35, 36 years old you think he is a disaster? Maybe not as great. But even Arod (with all his injuries) was worth 5 WAR over his age 35 and 36 years. Frank Thomas was still worth a fer WAR a year all the way to age 39. Cano is in the same conversation as those guys. Not to mention Bonds but I admit that sample is skewed by too many factors.

    • Keep dreaming.

    • Personally where the Jays are now, I wouldn’t want any part of a 30 million per contract due to the financial restrictions it would place on them in the future. But thats me. Besides that, I doubt your trade suggestions fly though. I doubt any team is gonna give you much of any salary relief for Romero, you’d probably wind up paying almost all of his contract before a team would pick him up. And I doubt many teams would trade straight up a better catcher for JPA, what would be their motivation for doing this? Nor would I suspect that Happ, Delabar and a lesser prospect nets you a #3 starter – at least I’d be shocked if it did!

      • Trading a collection of lesser pitching for one better pitching piece aint gonna happen. What I can see is trading Happ + relievers for a decent position player.

      • In my defense I said trade JPA for another MEDIOCRE catcher. Like a Hill for Johnson scenario. Not for a better catcher.

        And some NL team might eat a whole 2M a year of Romero’s contract.

        And if Happ is a #5 on a fair deal, we can’t add Delabar and a prospect to get a #3 that maybe costs a little more? They almost replace the guy with Happ and get Delabar and a prospect and some salary relief. Seems fair.

  9. The Griffin thing is pretty horseshit. When a GM makes a move to appease the fans, it almost always ends up backfiring. I’m pretty sure that’s the exact opposite of how AA operates as well.

    I wonder what the season ticket and flex pack numbers are like?

    • Personally I was extorted into buying an extra seat (there was an empty spot next to mine, though it was sold 70% of the time last year) to keep my season ticket location or they were forcing me to move 3 aisles over. Not sure if that shows they are selling well, but they are being aggressive about it, even at the expense of folks who were buying season tickets when they were drawing 1.5 million.

  10. The dynamic of the offseason has changed.The lack of activity by AA is likely not a result of not trying but of all other GM’s gauging the marketplace and establishing values.It seems that even the FA’s are waiting for somebody to set the market.
    With the extra TV money and salaries rising to infinity and beyond,caution is the new mantra.
    Adding to that, is the additional scrutiny by overly analytical fanbases who have access to mountains of statistical information,it’s not hard to understand why GM’s are tenative.

    • It’s so early i don’t even think we can say there has been a “lack of activity”. Seems to me we rarely seem many big headline grabbing moves/signings this early in the offseason.

      • It’s not common,but think last year’s Marlins trade,signing of Iztruris and Melky,Dickey trade,Farrell trade.
        The fanbase can get restless and impatient.

    • I don’t think the fan base stuff has anything to do with it, but I agree with the other parts.

      • IMHO
        The fanbases have access to more information than ever before.
        While it won’t influence a GM from making the final decision,it wouldn’t surprise me that they would consider fanbase reaction.
        Player stats analysis is a big part of many fans enjoyment.
        Every trade is critiqued to the nth degree based solely on stats.

        • True, except for the part where the GMs care.

          • You’re probably right. My point is that they would take a bit more time analytically before they pulled the trigger. Not that it would stop them, nor should it.But optics may count.

  11. It’s eerily quiet out there… I wonder what AA is working on ….

  12. I’d be happy with a much quieter off-season. I don’t want to hear that the Jays won the off-season. I want them to win the on-season. I’m of the opinion that the collective dumpster-dive the players took last year is somewhat unlikely to happen again. So let’s keep it focussed and quiet please. I don’t want any fan-pandering mistakes this time around. AA’s job won’t disappear because he didn’t overpay for some clapped-out hero or a position-player superstar whose contract will fast turn into albatross guano.

  13. I think they should only spend money/trade assets on a starter if it’s a top of the rotation type. They have more than enough guys that can fill in the #3-5 spots already. They need a #1 (unlikey) or #2 (challenging, but possible) type. If one isn’t available, don’t go out and overpay for yet another mediocre starter. Better to spend that money on the team’s other urgent needs, those being catcher and second base.

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