shark

As I wrote on Saturday, the Jays have been linked to Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, and most of the chatter about that has continued to centre around Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. A quick search of Twitter for their names finds– in addition to a bunch of delusional Jays fans, delusional Cubs fans, Jays fans ready to commit hara-kiri, and self-styled prospect gurus cluelessly offering their opinions on players they clearly know nothing about– respected baseball guys like Jason Collette and Ben Badler making the obvious connection that so many of us are loath to think about.

Badler singles out guys like D.J. Davis, Mitch Nay, Dawel Lugo, Alberto Tirado, Richar Urena, and later adds possible Rule 5 candidate Tyler Ybarra, as prospects who have some appeal, though they are very clearly delineated as secondary pieces.

Unfortunately, he’s probably right. I mean, I remember having the conversation last year, when rumblings about R.A. Dickey talks were being heard everywhere, about just how much we could stand to give up for the Cy Young-winning knuckleballer, and coming up astronomically short of what Alex Anthopoulos eventually caved to. Twelve big league seasons of d’Arnaud and Syndergaard seemed– before we all got caught up, quite rightly, in the notion of flags, and their ability to fly forever– a pretty fucking unfathomable price for one season of Dickey and the right to sign him to a below-market extension, but it was a price that Anthopoulos– under far less pressure than he is now, having already pulled off his Marlins coup– felt needed to be paid in order to get the win-now player.

Naturally, then, speculation is all over the map.

For example, Callum Hughson of Mop Up Duty scoffs at the idea of including either Sanchez or Stroman for Samardzija, but does so while calling him “below-average,” pointing to his ERA+, and noting the fact that he’s coming from the National League.

The latter point– while excruciatingly frustrating to hear trotted out over and over again by local media, to the point of making people think it’s some kind of a fucking disease, or that we can’t use our brains and account for the differences in leauge– actually isn’t unfair. We can look at Samardzija’s splits against pitchers and non-pitchers to see that, naturally, he gets a bit of a boost. His OPS against in 2013 jumps from .736 to .762 when pitchers are removed from the equation, and his K/BB dips slightly, from 2.74 to 2.58, when removing the 23 Ks and four walks he racked up in 65 plate appearances for opposing hurlers.

And yes, FIP was certainly kinder to Samardzija in both 2012 and 2013 than ERA or RA9, which is why his fWAR numbers are so much better for those seasons. By that metric he ranked in the top 75 of big league starters this season, and in 2012 was among the top 35.

Those are the kinds of numbers that, along with his power arm and stunningly clean injury history, lead to the other side of the coin– like Cubs blogger, Chicago Tribune “employee” (according to her Twitter bio), WGN contributor, and owner of Aerys Sports, Julie DiCaro, guessing “both plus” when asked if Sanchez and Stroman would be the price.

I’d rule such talk out as insanity– and probably point to her citing a source that said no offer was on the table, several hours after Alex Anthopoulos told Jim Bowden as much– but who the hell knows? The Dickey trade, and the subsequent hype that followed Noah Syndergaard around this season, was truly a game changer– just maybe not in the way that Anthopoulos had hoped. At least, not yet.

Now I think I could believe just about anything here, which is probably good, because there sure as fuck are all kinds of whispers out there to believe.

DiCaro, in a subsequent tweet, says she hears that the chances of the Jays putting together a package that could entice the Cubs is “pretty remote”– which, to me, in my most hopeful, suggests that the Jays probably made the two crown jewels of their farm system off limits.

Meanwhile, though, Tom Loxas– a blogger at the Tribune-owned Chicago Now– was saying yesterday that he was hearing a deal “may be close.” He also lays this on us:

The Jays know any package has to include top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez. They also desperately want to go the trade route. Toronto doesn’t want to lose any draft picks to acquire the pitching they seek, and they do not want to dip into the pricey free agent market.

I’m also hearing the aforementioned Garza would likely be the Jays Plan B if they lose out on Samardzija.

This, to me, is just mind-bending. Garza would be the plan-B??? Why would they be more willing to get rid of prospects if splashing cash on a guy like Garza is a possibility??? Maybe if they’re hoping to trade for someone and make a signing, I guess?

As for the stuff about losing the draft picks… while I don’t doubt that could be an issue, the fact that we’re talking about a second rounder should at least mitigate it a little, and even beyond that, why does this organization continually seem to value the unknown and far away of the draft so much more than the known and close that’s in their farm system??? It’s a shitty pretext for being cheap, frankly.

Of course, none of this likely means anything, if we even believe it in the first place (dubious at best), since it’s highly unlikely– though not because of the silly myth of AA’s stealth that we all can stop quoting now, thanks– that a deal will actually come to fruition here. Obviously.

One reason? Loxas tweets that there are other teams still involved, apparently, though the Jays are the “leader,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Elsewhere, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, who originally got this whole rumour started, tweets that the Cubs– at least in their talks with Arizona– are said to be looking at three to four “top youngsters” in return for Samardzija

Another Chicago Now writer, John Arguello of Cubs Den, has this:

Samardzija would likely be worth a top 25 prospect so we could be looking at a package headed by Aaron Sanchez.  Marcus Stroman is an intriguing piece as well but probably not as a headliner. The Cubs have also shown interest in Kyle Drabek in the past.  Drabek has a world of talent but injuries and inconsistencies with command have held him back.

Certainly opinions are split on Stroman– some still believe, despite the great reports we’ve heard on him this fall, that his future is ultimately going to be in relief– but that’s… I mean… jeez, not even Stroman as a headliner? Like… you can make the case that Samardzija is a very, very good pitcher, but that good? Two years of him? Six years of these prospects?

If the Cubs see Samardzija’s value the way their fans do, then, I don’t see how this is going to work out.

And shit, maybe they’re right to value him that highly, given what they got for a two-month rental of Matt Garza– who wasn’t nearly the pitcher Samardzija was during their two years together at Wrigley. Garza netted Mike Olt, who was having a down year but began 2013 as a consensus top 100 guy (back in February, Baseball America had him at number 22 in all of baseball, ahead of d’Arnaud, Syndergaard, Sanchez, and many others), plus C.J. Edwards, who Baseball America just ranked as the third best prospect in a very strong Cubs system, and a starter, Justin Grimm, on top of that!

So yeah, the cost is going to be stupidly high. Too high for me to understand why the Jays would do it outside of the win-now, #flagsflyforever mentality that so richly coloured last winter, and which… certainly still has merit. It’s just a whole lot easier to get behind that merit when you’re not thinking about the club clearing the cupboard entirely bare, or being a little too cavalier about a mess down the road that we’ll all be forced to endure, but somebody else will inevitably be cleaning up. I don’t know if AA’s job is in quite as much peril as I sometimes have the tendency to make it out to be, but whether he’s willing to go in so deeply on a trade like this will be telling, I think.

Or… I don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe he’s got an eye towards recouping some of the lost prospect value in a mid-summer fire sale if things once again fall apart on the field for this club. I mean, it’s not like Samardzija isn’t also an asset himself, it’s just… try getting the same kind of value that you gave up back on R.A. Dickey now, right?

So… yeah. I couldn’t do it. Not when there is damn money that by all rights should be available to be spent instead. All that stuff about prospects being capital, and lottery tickets, and too easily dreamed on, and there not being room enough for them all to be here anyway? It’s not wrong, it’s just… some balance would be nice. We know too well that the Jays aren’t the kind of big-money, desirable location kind of club that can just go bossing around future free agent markets (which, by the way, are only bound to see prices go up as the level of available talent goes down), filling in gaps that could have been earmarked for prospects long since traded away. They can’t afford to only look shortsightedly at their “window.”

And maybe they’re not! Maybe it’s all bullshit. But if it isn’t, I can’t say it’s not disheartening– even though I know full well that the 2014 version of the club would be helped tremendously if minor leaguers are turned into quality roster pieces. Do I have a good reason for why, beyond wanting badly to stomp my feet and insist the club spend money that ownership won’t let it? Not even really. A great run in 2014 would be great, and would make it easy to forgive a whole lot. It’s just, another year with the same game plan as last winter will just take us that much farther away from the sort of Tampa-Bay-with-money ideal that we were once sold on as the only way to make it work in this division. And I think what makes these rumours resonate so much with so many people is the fear that we may already be too far gone to turn back.

Comments (117)

  1. Yep, i would definitely prefer them just signing garza. The only way i would consider trading sanchez or stroman was if the cubs three in another piece like a starlin castro to fill the 2b void. But otherwise, shark is good but not THAT good esp when you have the option of signing garza who is almost as good in my opinion if not equal.

    • castro has 6 years left on his contract which probably makes it a non starter for beeston… and he was pretty terrible last year.

  2. Quick correction, to mean CJ Edwards, not CJ Wilson being in the Garza trade.

  3. I really don’t get this team…..I really don’t

    • They haven’t actually done anything, yet, so no reason to jump off the deep end.

      Until they do, let’s relax.

      Plus, Samardzija gave 200+ innings of above average work this year. At reasonable salary for 2 years, doesn’t that make him ridiculously valuable?

    • To make that statement rationally you’d have to actually believe everything we’re hearing is true, though, right? So… why do that?

      • Everyone was right when the Dickey negotiations were going on and it quickly became fact that D’Arnaud and Syndegaard was the price. Why not here?

        • Some people were right, some were wrong, just like every time this happens. That’s why not.

        • Comparing a CY Young Winner to a # 3 Pitcher in SP. So you give up your # 1 and 4 for a CY Young with a number of huge solid years behind him, and now you are talking giving up either your #1 or #2 prospect.

          Are you having private meetings with Mayor Ford and sharing.

          Because North America will be laughing a second time for a person or team from Toronto.

          Bitch slap Epstein and tell him to give his head a shake.

  4. I’d much rather give up a pick & cash for Garza if the price is Sanchez+, or Stroman++. Completely unknown, far away prospects that are currently only represented by a 2nd round pick and additional cash in the draft pool do nothing for me compared to guys in AA or AAA that will almost certainly be above big league average players in some capacity.

    • Garza doesn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him, so that’s not the concern.

      He simply hasn’t been *great* or healthy for the couple years in Chicago.

      • Well shit. Even better then. I hope AA isn’t under pressure to make it 2014 or bust. Because selling out the farm for a single shot this year would suck at this point.

  5. don’t really understand the rationale behind someone thinking the jays would be ok to give up their top prospect rather than giving up a draft pick…. aren’t you just sort of hoping for a draft pick to become a top prospect?

    • +1

      just wrote a similar thing down below before seeing this. It’s like they have this all backwards. I have a bad feeling…

    • Jays do not have a great track record signing 1st rounders in the past 5 yrs, which could sway AA to deal a prospect in the farm, provided they know the projectable ceiling of said prospect. For example, let’s say Stroman is being hyped now (rightly so from AFL work), but Jays project him as long-relief only – to turn him into #3 SP now, when Dickey and Buerhle have limited time, is prob a good deal provided the other pieces to make it possible are equally expendable (i.e. Gose or Drabek).

    • I hate this kind of thinking. Its not “either give up a prospect or give money” to get the same quality pitcher here.
      Shark is considerably better based on results than Garza AND has upside, which Garza does not. Samardzija is a durable power pitcher with excellent groundball and strikeout rates and a nasty breaking ball; he’s a very, very good pitcher and would have every chance of being the best on this staff the moment he touched the mound, especially if he got a little luck and came in closer to his xFIP numbers (3.45 in 2013)

      This is not apples to apples when talking about Garza vs Shark and furthermore, despite all the potential in the world Aaron Sanchez has pitched four professional seasons without seeing AA. His impressive AFL comes wrapped in red flags with a .204 BABIP and 83% strand rate. Projecting him for 6 years of useful production being more valuable than what Shark could provide in 2014, 2015 and a possible extension to ‘stay with a winner’ in the best case is wishcasting; you just can’t know with anything resembling certainty that Sanchez will provide anything like the probable 4-6 WAR one could reasonably project Shark for over 2 seasons.

      It’s not so cut and dry and if we could get Shark for Sanchez + Gose/Drabek/any middle talent, we would be crazy prospect porners to decline.

      • These are all fine points on the other end of the extremes.

        • I didn’t mean to come off so dismissive of the other argument, I would be pretty dismayed if we dealt Sanchez as I believe in his future here. Just meant that you can’t look at it just as ‘i’d rather pay garza’s price’ because the reason it’s lower is that you’re getting less.

      • I’m with Beepy

      • Well said. It’s an excellent point as you note that Shark would be the most sought after SP of this class, and probably by a wide margin. If guy like Vargas can land a 4/32, you have to think an arm as young and with upside like Shark could easily be looking at something in the 7/100 range if he hit the market right now. And you have that for 2 years at below market rates with no long term commitment.

        • While I understand the rationale behind these points, I don’t agree. The problem is not all WAR are created equal – 5 2 win players are not worth the same as Mike Trout and 4 replacement guys, simply because of scarcity. So while I accept Sanchez has not pitched in AA yet, he is a genuine potential ace. Stroman has a 50% (totally made up odds alert) shot at being a no 3 starter in my view – in other words, of being as good as the guy we are talking about getting. In a straight swap you would obviously go with Shark, but given 6 years of team control vs 2 and given where the Jays are I would stick – its not like one 2 win pitcher transforms the team

  6. Part of me would be a lot higher on him if he hadn’t fallen off in the second half last year the way he did. Maybe he got tired, maybe he’s injured and hiding it, but you have to wonder. I know people like Drew love to talk about how teams know their own players best (rightly so) and if you combine that with his results from the 2nd half last year, you start to wonder why the Cubs would be anxious to trade him now considering that they’re probably only a year away from spending big themselves to finish off their rebuild.

    • I don’t think they’re that close, and I think the issue is that he seems determined to go to free agency in two years. Or at least that they’re far apart on an extension.

      • Could be true. I remember hearing a few rumblings about contract issues last year as well.

      • Seems advantageous for AA to explore the Cubs SP deal when it’s known the Cubs will have a difficult time resigning an extension – it depresses asking price.

      • Or that it’s the cubs and who really wants to play for the cubs right now? :S

    • From the Cubs perspective, they’re still working out a deal. It’s complicated because right he’s 29. Most of the core of good players won’t be in the majors for us until 2015-2016. We have an owner who agreed to a debt ridden takeover of the organization. In other words, he was saddled with this debt when he bought the Cubs and is using it against the MLB payoll, which makes Jeff unaffordable. In addition, the only way to get out from underneath is get to additional revenues through advertising. One problem. Wrigley Field is in a residential area and the residents are blocking the signage every chance they can get. It’s a MESS. Cubs are basically a small market team now operating in a big city until debt is paid off after 2016 season. That’s why Jeff S is being shopped.

      As for trade, I’d welcome Stroman, Drabek, and Norris for Jeff S and reliever James Russell. Not sure the Cubs would though.

  7. Ah, whatever. If they stink it up they can blow up the team and flip everyone for prospects mid-summer or next off season and the cupboard will no longer be bare. *sigh*

  8. So…they’re not willing to lose draft picks, but they’re willing so trade top prospects…prospects that you hope the draft picks would turn into anyway, if you’re lucky.

    Gotta say I’m not on board.

  9. If the Jays don’t contend in 2014, it wont be the Marlins deal that seals AA’s fate, but will be the Dickey deal. I remember thinking Wow! D’Arnaud in the deal, not sure about that. Then when it was D’Arnaud AND Syndergaard, I had to brainwash myself into thinking we needed an ‘Ace’, and Dickey was just that, in light of being the reigning Cy Young award winner, and comparatively cheap, which was important because there were still ‘payroll parameters’ to work within. Fast forward past the disaster of 2013…How great would it still be to have TDA and NS in the fold, going out and looking to trade for a starter. Intra-Divisional trade aside, how great would a package of TDA/NS/and one of Sanchez and Stro look to the Rays for Price? Maybe as pieces in a 3 way trade for Scherzer? Instead AA blew his load on RA fucking Dickey. If he doesn’t have, or is unwilling to trade, the pieces necessary to again upgrade the rotation, it will be the Dickey trade that cost him the opportunity, and most likely, ultimately his job.

    • If it makes you feel any better Wuilmer Beccerra, the third prospect the jays sent for Dickey had a slugging % under .300 last year…

      • he wasn’t considered a ‘prospect’ in reality though, more of a throw-in flier type of inclusion in the deal.

    • Every analyst out there thought it was a good deal. The exact kind of deal to get the proposed talent going both ways. It may not have worked out for the Jays, so far, but that doesn’t mean that any other GM out there wouldn’t have made the same deal.

  10. There must be another player involved if they’re talking BOTH Sanchez and Stroman. AA isn’t a moron.

    • Reminder: the price he paid for Dickey…

      • Dickey was worth 4.5WAR according to fangraphs throwing 233 innings and winning the Cy Young. He was a top 15 pitcher in all of baseball.

        The Shark is a great catch (did you see what I did thernevermind..) but he was worth 2.8 WAR last season. That puts him at the league’s 50th most valuable starter – tied with Felix Dubront. I hardly think we’re dealing with an apples and apples situation.

        • That Doubront comp is nasty for the shark…

          • … nonetheless, 3 seasons of 4+ WAR from Dickey (which is not what the Jays are getting) is worth some 25% less than the typical performance of 2 Top 25 ranked prospects over 6 seasons… (http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects). Based on recent history, TdA and NoseSyn will each be worth ~1.25WAR per year…

            So it’s a window thing… 2014 really needs to be good.

            • I think you’re misinterpreting the facts.

              Averaging 1.5 WAR isn’t really that much of an incentive to keep the players, really. That’s filling two positions with below average players as opposed to filling 1 position with a an all-star (4 WAR) isn’t a good thing even if it saves you a bit on $/WAR over the life of the contracts.

              Remember that 70% of players ranked 21-30 end up being ‘busts’ (i.e. <1.5 WAR/year).

              • You are assuming that the WAR is always delivered over a full season playing time… but that is rarely the case. If you put up 1.5 WAR and miss the half season, you are an above-average player… but you are still worth 1.5 WAR.

        • It’s really, really, difficult to compare WAR for Dickey and Samardzija.

          Dickey, being a knuckleballer, way outperformed his FIP. Samardzija, on the other hand, way underperforms his FIP. fWAR will make the two of them look a lot closer than rWAR will.
          With a large enough sample size, rWAR – I believe – becomes the better predictor of future performance.

            • I don’t really think that’s the argument being made. I like the conclusion here:
              “Single-season WAR should not be used to predict win totals or even WAR in a subsequent season. Single-season WAR also is not supposed to reflect the true talent level of a player, which I think is far and away the largest flaw in the way people interpret the statistic. If WAR did reflect true talent, every player would have the same WAR that perfectly encompassed how much value his talent should bring to his team every single year.”

              My assertion is completely indipendent of that. I suggest that, since we have multiple years of data, ERA may be a better predictor than FIP. I don’t have the links on me so I could be wrong but I seem to remember reading that it was.

    • Judging by last year, he is.

      • “Judging by last year, he is.”

        You mean when he made off-season moves that turned the Jays into a Vegas World Series favourite? When 90% of us were sure we would win the division and sure the Red Sox would finish last?

        AA did his job.

        And for all the hate of the Dickey trade, I think Dickey will have an awesome year next year. And while those pieces we gave up still look nice, I bet you at least one of them runs into some speed bumps.

        • Dickey often said that if not for the WBC, he’d have been in different shape. We’ll see if what he believes turns out to be true! Hope so.

  11. If the front office is actually short-sighted enough to trade Sanchez AND Stroman for a 2 year rental, just add some more and make it David fucking Price. Don’t pay an ace price in terms of trade value, and then an ace price in terms of possible contract extension, if you’re not getting a proven god damn ace in return. Shear stupidity.

    • agree philosophically, but wouldn’t a deal for price have to not only include S&S, but also either more high-end-ish prospects & or a legit ML guy?

    • Agreed, but that is a pitcher who you sign. Doc we received a some quality, Shark is no Doc

  12. Yup, last paragraph pretty much hits the nail on the head.

    The fans were sold on the freight-train post Doc Deal… that AA was going to build the farm to constantly churn out talent that (unlike Tampa) we could enhance, retain, and suppliment with the money that the Jays can theorhetically have. We were sold on the notion that the Jays were trying to build a periennial contender not that they were going to build a team with a three year (now two year after the clusterfuck that was last season) competative window after which the jays would be left with a strip-mined farm system and depreciating big league assets.

    I find the prospect of having to start essentually from scratch in 2016 really depressing. After last season I’d much rather the team hedge it’s bets and get back to the original plan then trying to double down. Keep the premium guys and look for answers elsewhere.

    • I think what you’re saying is right on but I think you might need to be prepared for the summer of 2014 for the refresh/retool. If the Jays aren’t in it by mid to late July, it makes way more sense to blow it up now and reap the harvest that is the contracts of Jose Bautista and EE.

      We could literally move almost everyone on the roster and gain massive returns. With the exception of Buerhle’s contract, I’d say everyone else, including Reyes has a team friendly contract.

    • I don’t think AA’s strategy to build a perennial contender has changed all that much. The top end of the farm system is pretty empty, yes. But the lower levels (guys 2+ years from knocking on the big league door) are still pretty well stocked, with two more first rounders being added this summer.

      In theory, you should begin seeing prospects contributing at the major league level as the window for the current roster starts to close.

      • Not if we’re trading them for Samardzja and the like. That’s what I mean when I say not to double down. we went from a top five farm system down to a 15-20ish farm system… now it’s entirely possible that in a couple of years it can be back up to it’s former lofty heights by the time the window closes but not if it’s continually trimmed off the top.

    • i thought AA was pretty clear about his intentions in building the farm though, wasn’t he? that yes, if prospects pan out and can contribute at the ML level for the jays, then obviously, that’s a big bonus, but i’m pretty sure he was building the farm so he’d have assets to use to acquire talent. which he did.

      • Sure… but all the prospect trading he’s done hasn’t produced a “freight-train”… it’s produced a limited window of contention. What he’s done with it hardly looks like the periennial contending “Tampa with money” we were led to believe was the game plan for the team.

  13. I have many thoughts about this whole Samardzija thing, but I do think it should be clear – Jeff Samardzija is a very good pitcher and would be a very good upgrade for this team. Obviously, that still doesn’t mean they should go crazy for him, but it isn’t hard to make the argument that he’s a better bet than Garza, or Santana, or Ubaldo, or Nolasco, or pretty much any free agent the Jays would have a shot at.

    I’m all for Samardzija, I just don’t want to give up great prospects like Sanchez or Stroman to get a good-but-not-great pitcher.

    One thought I have reading this is something I took away from Lott/Davidi’s book – that to make his big trades last year, Anthopoulos didn’t do a good job of gaining leverage. It was a small thing in the Marlins trade – they held the deal up over friggin’ Jeff Mathis until he relented – but in the Mets deal, it’s said that Anthopoulos was initially shocked at the asking price for Dickey and stepped away, only to come back to the table and give in.

    I’m sure there’s something to all of these reports. I’m sure Anthopoulos has floated some names of prospects he’d be willing to deal for Samardzija, even if it wasn’t a ‘formal offer’, and I’d expect that the Cubs have said they need Sanchez.

    But even though things have picked up over the last five days, it’s not even December yet. If the price to land Samardzija really is Sanchez +, there’s just no need to make that deal today. See if the free agent prices normalize. See if other pitchers become available. See if another team loses leverage and has to make a less favourable deal that sends the Jays a starting pitcher.

    If none of that happens, I’m sure they can get a good starting pitcher by dealing Sanchez later in the offseason.

    • I think any GM in the Jays position is going to go into these types of negotiations without a lot of leverage. He’s not in the same boat as the Yanks, Dodgers or Sox where he can turn around and drop $18 million a year on a starter without a second thought if he can’t get a player for the price he wants. Unfortunately, there’s not a big supply of R A Dickey type players that become available every winter so it’s always going to be a seller’s market to some extent.

      • If that remains true, the Jays will have to be like the Rays. Because it is a fact of life that with the new TV money, $18m for multiple years is the basic market price for a likely-to-be-average-or-better starter below 35. I really doubt that Rogers has the stomach to be a contending spender in this environment.

        It sucks to support a corporate team. I love Joey Saputo.

    • I’m not sure I’d worry about the Jays giving us Cubs fans your prospects. I think that Nats will do that for you. As for a FA, Toronto would be crazy not to put a bid on Tanaka. Garza, believe is not worth the contract. As a Cubs fan of 30 years, the trade for him to come to the Cubs was much debated. While he put up solid numbers in 2011, injuries regressed him in 2012 and 2013. He can stay healthy. What worse though is that he’s become much more of a flyball SP from his solid 2011 season. His slider was working better than year to produce more groundballs. It’s not been nearly as effective as that year. I wouldn’t sign him if I was Toronto. Plus, he’ll prob ask for contract of 5-6 yrs.

  14. Trade Sanchez et al. but get back more than just Samardzija. Try and get either Castro or Castilo and I’d be fine with it. Hypothetically, this could turn out similar to the Marlins deal… Cubs want Sanchez, so the deal gets expanded to include more players. I don’t fucking know.

  15. It’s been said by many before, but I really hope A.A and Rogers (new CEO and all) nut up and try to use free agency here. He said in the past that free agency was for when you were putting the finishing touches on your team. I believe we’re there. Please don’t trade stroman and Sanchez, even if they don’t turn into anything it would be nice to have the opportunity to see it for ourselves!

  16. I don’t understand why its not ok to say a pitcher might have slight inflation while talking in terms of NL vs AL. I’m on the side of advanced statistics but I’ve never seen any significant data to say that there is no bump. I don’t believe that the same bump for everyone should apply but even in this article his numbers do bump up if you remove the pitcher at about a 5% rate.

    I would say a pitcher is in the range of half a hitter or less so why can’t we bump a guys theoretical numbers by 1/18th (.5/9) when moving over to the AL. Clearly with elite guys like a Greinke or a Cliff Lee the metrics might not move much but for guys that lie in that meaty part of the curve, I think the adjustment is valid.

    I could do a bunch of stuff with numbers and say how his stats would change but theres not point if you understand the concept. If you can point me to an article that says there’s no change so I can enlighten myself I’d be happy to read it but for now I think there is merit to sighting a slight regression in a pitchers stats if they move AL to NL.

  17. Every team has homegrown talent, I’d like our team to finally have some, especially if it came cheap.

    I’m already not happy with the Dickey trade since he underperformed and syndergaard is destroying the minor leagues. Let’s not repeat the inevitable heartache that will happen when sanchez or stroman destroys the minor leagues and earns a september call up and pulls a wacha.

  18. Obviously the future is considered pretty bright for Sanchez and Stroman, but one of the things I dislike about trading them is that they provide some of the higher-end pitching depth the team needs right now. From what we’ve heard this offseason, Stroman could fill a rotation spot right now and both could be legitimate midseason call-ups.

    This isn’t depth in the way Redmond and Rogers were depth pieces… these are guys who could step in midseason and provide some value instead of just eating innings. Maybe I’m overvaluing their current ability to perform in the MLB (Sanchez hasn’t even pitched in AA yet, so maybe he’s not really all that close at all) but I like the idea of having a young guy who could help out and be more than just AAA filler.

    I would be happy if a deal could get done with some of the high-end lower level guys, but I don’t think I would give up either Sanchez or Stroman for Samardzija.

    • the drop-off from sharkey to sanchez or stroman likely WON’T be that great, eventually (and obviously, if they aren’t dealt, then you’d hope they’d pan out better), but it’s a matter of when either of them are ready to contribute on the same (or better) level. if the jays feel they have a finite window to compete with the current core, then it makes sense for AA to continue to try to move prospects for proven vets, because you can rarely gauge when prospects will be ready.

  19. why worry about draft picks that aren’t going to get signed anyway?

  20. if one year of Dickey equals Stroman and Sanchez; half a year from Garza equals Olt, Edwards and pieces; Sanchez is untouchable; and the Cubs are seeking young pitching; the Blue Jays would likely have to give up something like Stroman, Hutchison, Nolin plus pieces for two years of Samardzija.

    that to me, is too steep a price.

    id rather take my chances with a rotation of Dickey, Buerhle, Morrow, Redmond and Happ/Stroman/Nolin/Drabek/Hutchison.

    try and sign Ubaldo Jimenez, if you can’t, don’t mortgage the future.

    just go for Infante and Navarro or Pierzynski. with the bats on the Blue Jays, the rotation can be mediocre (as long as it has depth) and the offense can pick up the slack (and the wins). do what the Orioles have done recently.

  21. I think the team we ought to be emulating more than Tampa is St.Louis. Not only do they have a great farm and player development system worked out (like Tampa does), but they are more active in free agency than the Rays when they need to be. Rather than trade any number of their great young pieces for a shortstop like Profar or Castro, they just buy someone like Peralta on the market with actual money. The pros/cons of Peralta aside, they upgraded both SS and CF with Bourjos in a matter of days without touching any of their very valuable and numerous young guys.

    The Dickey deal has made fans who are invested in the long term of this club rightfully gun-shy when it comes to our top prospects. And for a guy like Samardzija I feel Sanchez + Stroman + is a lot. And I don’t see Price as realistic. But what if Sale was the guy coming back? I start to feel a bit better about paying the price…

  22. Cahill and Shark, your choice who would you choose, are they close. Looks that way but Trevor Cahill cost more but with options out to 2017

    Cahill + Skaggs= Sanchez+Goes+Jansen what do you think

    • Cahill walks 4/9 and strikes out less than 7/9. SO/BB under 2. We could probably do just as well with what we have.

  23. one thing you missed in your analysis of the jays valuing the magical draft pick over the known commodity is maybe, perhaps, they have had a chance to, I don’t know, evaluate the bird in hand against the likely crop coming up? That maybe they tout their prospects as much as they can but also have a secret file on their weaknesses that maybe they think will be exploited at the next level. It can’t all be about ‘cheapness’ – AA has to evaluate the potential of Smardizja against Garza with the salary and the prospects — rather real and in hand or imaginary

  24. “The Jays know any package has to include top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez. They also desperately want to go the trade route. Toronto doesn’t want to lose any draft picks to acquire the pitching they seek, and they do not want to dip into the pricey free agent market.”

    The Jays are going to trade Sanchez instead of giving up a second round pick that could be as young as 18 or spending money? How does that make sense unless you’re trying to justify your own Cubs-focused viewpoint on a potential trade? I call major BS. The Jays went bonkers trading prospects last year acquiring Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, RA Dickey etc and did NOT include Sanchez in the mix. Why would they now – with Sanchez being talked about being a potential or a spot in the rotation in 2015 (if not September 2014)?

    I mean the prospect guys are talking about Stroman as being ready for a spot in the rotation in 2014. If the idea is that you trade prospects for the sure thing – why are we talking about a guy who profiles as at best a mid-rotation guy at age 29? Not to downplay the Shark – he’s fine. According to Fangraphs he was the 50th best qualified starter last season. That’s what the Jays will give up their 2 best pitching prospects (+) for?

  25. It does seem ridiculous that AA would worry about giving up a draft pick. They should be at the point where you sign free agents, give up draft picks, trade lower level guys, but hoard all your top level talent.

  26. “Toronto doesn’t want to lose any draft picks to acquire the pitching they seek”

    So to avoid losing draft picks, we’ll give away guys who we drafted and who have since developed for a couple years satisfactorily?

    Fuck. Either we’re in or we aren’t. If we’re in, we may not want to deal away prospects that are very close to helping us. But at least let’s forget about worrying over draft picks and how much draft money we have to spend.

  27. fuck the prospects. trade them all.

  28. Stoets,

    I agree with almost all of what you are saying …. the club’s performance has seemingly pinned them against a wall for 2014. They massively underperformed for a million reasons and now because of that AA may or may not be fighting to save his job. I guess the moves will give us better visibility to this reality.

    I always believed that you ship off prospects for SURE things, but this has to have an end. If Sanchez and Stroman are legitimate top 1/2 of the rotation pieces, it isn’t unheard of that you hold very tight to these guys and make them apart of the team asap (without killing development). Hutchinson was pitching well before he blew his arm out, and if the Jays can muster to sign 1 good FA, they are potentially in great shape rotations wise.

    Open your wallets and get one of Garza, Ubaldo, even Kazmir (min yr deal) if you need .. someone .. I am not so sure Samardzja is the player they have to have at such a high cost when they have the $ and pitching depth (we think) + hopeful 2014 good luck to be back in the thick of the race next year!

  29. Read something about AA putting an offer in on Nolasco. A quick gander at his numbers shows an inning eating 2-3 starter. Would that be preferable to the Shark? Does he require a draft pick compensation?

    I’m entirely hesitant at the idea of losing either of Sanchez or Stroman unless the Jays know something we don’t and Usana/Drabek/Hutch are way more precious than we know.

    Anyways, this is certainly making for an interesting off season.

  30. If you’re going to trade for the Shark you’re going to need to pay him in 2 years anyway – or else you’re trading your top prospects for 2 years of mid-rotation pitching.

    To me it would be infinitely more valuable to hold onto potential top-rotation youngsters and sign an equally valuable FA. Jiminez, Santana, Nolasco all put up more WAR than the Shark. And how much will they need to spend in 3 years to replace the guys that they could have had leading their rotation when they keep trading away all of their high end pitching prospects? Doesn’t make sense.

    • I agree, and I sincerly hope Gose is the centrepiece. If you play him full time, he should be worth close to 2 War on his defense alone, surely that is a worthy centerpiece to replace Samardizja’s value.

  31. “why does this organization continually seem to value the unknown and far away of the draft so much more than the known and close that’s in their farm system??? It’s a shitty pretext for being cheap, frankly.”

    I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong or misguided about the concept of an organization putting more value on a certain draft pick in a certain year over any particular prospect that is currently in their farm system.

    That a club sees more long term value in the unknown draftee than it does in an existing prospect isn’t without reason or justification. Clubs routinely do this in many ways, including: (1) by not signing certain draft picks and recouping a similar pick in the following year (Beede/Bickford, for example); (2) by trading more polished prospects for those who are less developed (the Gose for Wallace swap).

    In my view, the more discouraging aspect of an organization that regularly employs this approach, and maybe the Jays fall into that category, is that it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the club’s ability to develop and manage minor league talent. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the always the wrong approach.

  32. The way i interpreted AA’s discussion on MLB radio last week was that he has the payroll to sign one top free agent pitcher AND wants to trade for another one. That is certainly one way to get some fans back on board, by brining in two new “reliable” pitchers onto of what they have now. That would also give them lots of pitching flexibility in the future, hopefully like the Cards have now. Presumably that they don’t trade out Drabek, Hutchison, etc.. in their exchange to get the second starter.

    On a side note, i’m betting Rasmus is out the door in a big trade if the Jays are out of it before the trade deadline.

  33. samardzija is not a guy i’d push all my chips into the middle of the table for… but I just wanted to make a couple points.

    people are horny for sanchez and stroman but lets remember these guys have warts. they are not sure things… either of them. just because syndergaard took it up a few notches after being traded doesn’t mean that these two are going to make AA look foolish if he trades them.

    secondly you have to consider that even if samardzija doesn’t improve they are either going to extend him, trade him and recoup some value or get a compensation pick for him. so you have to consider that added value over and above “two years of samardzija”.

    • “even if samardzija doesn’t improve they are either going to extend him, trade him and recoup some value or get a compensation pick for him.”

      I would have said the same thing about Josh Johnson.

  34. If the Jays trade Aaron Sanchez for Jeff Samardzija I will have both feet firmly off the AA bandwagon.

  35. I wonder if they could grab Castillo while they’re at it?

  36. IS IT FUCKING APRIL YET???

  37. I don’t see why they won’t sign free agents with draft pick compensation yet are willing to trade multiple prospects (previous high draft picks) for one player with only two years left. Why not keep the prospects and lose the draft pick? The 2014 draft pick is going to be several years away from the bigs if he ever makes it. Stroman and Sanchez could both be in TO at some point next year.

    • Stroman and Sanchez could both be in TO at some point next year.

      Shouldn’t Aaron Sanchez pitch ABOVE A-BALL first? He ain’t Jose Fernandez, no matter how badly you want him to be.

  38. From Jason Parks’ chat at Baseball Prospectus today:

    —————————————

    TulaneCubs (Chicago): How many industrial sized bottles of lotion will you need when you do the Cubs’ system rankings if they trade Samardzija for a package of, say, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and DJ Davis? Would a deal like that move their system ahead of the Twins? What do you think about Sanchez and Stroman?

    Jason Parks: That’s not a realistic package for David Price, much less for Shark.

  39. Caveat emptor!!! Look at his career numbers vs AL. If AA sends anything but lower level prospects for this guy (or hopefully Arencibia), I’ll hold the door to keep it from hitting him on the a$$.

  40. I’m not sure how I feel about all of this, so I guess the best thing to do is to just sit back and relax.

  41. I was just thinking about the whole Josh Johnson thing…and I just don’t understand why he wasn’t dealt for something if AA had no intentions of even qualifying him. It’s nice to see that money open up on the books, but doesn’t that just make him a complete loss as far as that Marlins trade went?

    • Couldn’t get the same value in return as that was given up to get him in T.O. .he didn’t pitch so good last year and was hurt. Worthless piece of bad luck.
      Yes he was a complete loss.

  42. Considering this Mobius strip of arguments, is it fair to conclude that the best possible thing the Blue Jays can do concerning pitching is… nothing at all? And maybe that’s ok?

  43. I truly believe that all of the disdain to trading Sanchez and/or Stroman is because we want to start believing in the Jays’ player development pipeline. That we too can create a Halladay again, or a Trout, a Wacha or a Pujols by drafting, developing and turning him into a star. It is absolutely magical and mythical in baseball lore. Yes trading for guys like Bautista and Encarnacion was great, but unless they create moments like Joe Carter or Robbie Alomar, they will never be loved like Halladay was….

    So Sanchez appears to be “so close” (1-2 years out?) from being that guy to suspend our disbelief….we just don’t want to be robbed of an opportunity to find out…

    • Would it be so hard to believe that all the prospects that A.A has brought in over the last few years, were brought in for this reason. All the money put into scouting was to produce prospects with some upside that we can flip for proven talent. I believe if A.A had a can’t miss prospect like a Profar he would never think about moving him. But these guys we are talking about aren’t that quality. They may be good pitchers someday (Sanchez, Stroman, Drabek etc but if they can be flipped for 200 innings and a decent contract, by all means. It makes this club better now. That’s what we want isn’t it? This team isn’t that far away once the holes are plugged.

      • Especially since he’s exactly said as much, no it wouldn’t be so hard to believe.

      • Yes, it’s true there really aren’t that many “can’t miss” prospects in the minors that can project to be top 50 players in all of MLB year over year. Those ones usually do get to the majors pretty quick.

    • A Wacha? Seriously?

      • Hi Andrew, yes agreed Wacha is not on the same plane of existence as the other guys. For him I was more referring to the magical lore he created for STL in the playoffs (up until the WS at least). At least I didn’t say Dwight Gooden (childhood hero) lol

    • And it’s not like A.A can’t restock the farm. That’s why he isn’t signing free agents. . so he doesn’t a lose a draft pick..
      Our system in the last few years has brought in some big names, it would never have happened if the system sucked.

  44. maybe I am naive but if all they do is the shark I would rather they signed harren at 12 mill and then sign arroyo for 2 for 26 or 27 giving you 4 inning eaters and morrow. but I understand the love for hard tossers but go me smart pitching is more versatile. otherwise the flip side is josh fucking Johnson.

    • To me that with keeping prospects who could be up if someone goes down is the better play.

      Otherwise from marketing perspective I don’t see the shark as the sexy sell to casual fan Johnny.

      • Casual Johnny likes strikeouts and long hair. Jeff Samardzija is a number three starter on this team. Well, him and Morrow can battle it out but that’s about how good he is.

    • He’s better than haran.
      Arrojo is good, and will get over paid. would rather see Colon.

      • traderumors projected 2/24 for age that’s why I said go 27.and harren signed 1 yr 10 with dogers yesterday which is why I said try 1/12. not saying its awesome but I would rather keep Marcus and Sanchez and DJ Davis (my bet on 3 guys ) to keep.

  45. [...] also links to several different sources at DJF about the Toronto Blue Jays rumoured interest in Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff [...]

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