izturisthrows

Holy shit, people.

Holy. Shit.

Alex Anthopoulos is slow-playing the off-season and apparently it’s breaking brains.

Of course, not helping the increasingly poisonous situation out here among the unwashed masses is the fact that he appears to believe exactly what a whole lot of right-thinking people were saying at the end of the season: that the collection of talent he’s assembled is better than it played in 2013, and could be significantly better by simply upgrading certain positions from total dogshit to at least passable.

Better enough? I’m not sure. And obviously that’s not a sexy approach for “a 74 win team,” as you’ll not-infrequently hear bellowed at the club’s defenders from the gaping maws of negative suckholes. The number, of course, is technically correct, but that’s a pretty jaundiced slant to put on things, given that the assumption therein is that the results of 2013 weren’t thoroughly warped by injury and under-performance. Plus, while I get that nobody wants sunshine blown up their ass after watching the Red Sox win the World Series and the Yankees unload hundreds of millions of dollars on free agents, it’s not like those teams don’t have flaws of their own– the Yankees’ entire infield and back of the rotation are both pretty spotty, while Boston, as it currently stands, are relying on a trio of very-good-to-excellent prospects (Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Will Middlebrooks) to hit the ground running, which they didn’t exactly do in the big leagues in 2013 (the Sox may, however, re-sign Stephen Drew, which would mitigate their risk in that regard substantially).

Pointing out those flaws is not to suggest that Jays fans should be doing cartwheels here, but a little perspective goes a long way to keeping the nonsense in check. I tried to do that back in late August, reminding us, as it was being announced that Brandon Morrow and Melky Cabrera were getting shut down for the season, that “Morrow, Johnson, Dickey, Cabrera, Reyes, Lawrie and Izturis– seven players who accumulated 21 wins above replacement in 2012, per Baseball Reference, … this year have been worth -1.6 combined.”

It looks like I might have had a math error in there, actually, because if you remove the departed Josh Johnson from the equation  it turns out that per Baseball Reference the remaining six players accumulated 21.7 WAR in 2012. The year before that the group was worth 19.9 wins.

In 2013? Just 6.4.

Sure, some could get hurt again, some may never again hit the peaks they reached in the previous two years, and obviously the team could suffer from a drop in value elsewhere– will Rasmus, Encarnacion, Buehrle and Bautista all repeat their excellent seasons?– but the point is, realistically the Jays are starting from a better spot than the “74 win team” stuff suggests. And with that sort of thing in mind, so much of the current angst– and there is a shit-tonne of it– seems maybe a little over the fucking top. And is maybe getting a little bit too insufferable.

After a certain point, at least.

Does it kinda suck to see Alex Anthopoulos have to keep holding his bullets for a pitcher while a like Omar Infante gets signed? Or a perfectly reasonable second base upgrade like Mark Ellis? Sure, it sucks a little. I mean, yeah, you’d think that hearing payroll was moving upwards and knowing that $14-million that had to at one point be earmarked for Josh Johnson is now free would maybe mean the club could do more than resting their entire off-season on the risky proposition of tamping down expectations while secretly trying desperately to get a deal done with Ubaldo, Garza, Santana, or (once he’s available) Tanaka– as it seems like they may be doing (though I still think it’s too early to say that for sure, and the fact that Alex already had a trade in place that moved out Sergio Santos to bring back a starter strongly suggests otherwise).

But the thing about how missing on Ellis and Infante maybe sucks it’s… it’s Mark Ellis and Omar Infante.

Yes, they’re both upgrades, but so is pretty much anybody, at this point. And while I’m not going to sit here and suggest that I don’t have my own angst about things like how Ben Nicholson-Smith, in his look at remaining second base options at Sportsnet, wrote today that “the Blue Jays don’t appear to be bluffing when it comes to Goins’ chances of becoming an everyday player”– because that just about ruined me– I’m not sure it needs to be as thick as it sometimes comes off.

In his morning piece at Getting Blanked today, Drew wrote that Ellis going to the Cardinals is “a clear example of success inertia. The Cardinals winning environment allows a player like Ellis to turn down the possibility of more playing time or even more money for a chance to chase a ring with a top-notch organization.” It’s a similar reason– though pitching environment is a big factor too, I’m sure– to why Gavin Floyd chose to sign with the Braves in another move that caused some angst among Jays fans, despite the fact that, y’know, it’s Gavin fucking Floyd.

Ellis I do like, but I’ll totally buy that he wasn’t coming here, except maybe for a crazy overpay. As for Infante, is the angst even justified? Consider this:

Those players are, of course, Maicer Izturis and Infante. And by the defensive metrics, before Izturis crouched down and laid a giant, steamy C.H.U.D. on the fugly Rogers Centre carpet this season, they were fairly close too– more than close enough to make you think twice about the difference between them, given the two contracts.

We can’t just pretend last year didn’t happen, of course, but it’s pretty remarkable: this time a year ago, over the previous three seasons the two were nearly identical by wRC+ (96 to 94 for Infante), and by UZR/150 at second base (6.1 to 5.3 for Infante). Looking at just WAR, Infante had been nearly twice as valuable… in nearly twice the amount of playing time. Extend the sample by two years and Izturis is actually pretty clearly the more valuable of the two.

That shouldn’t make it any less frightening that the Jays might actually go into the season hoping on a rebound, or– as Drew said on Friday’s podcast– that this off-season, of all the off-seasons in his life, is the one where Ryan Goins is going to learn to hit. But could it maybe take the edge off a bit?

Could we maybe avoid the unoriginal eye-rolling garbage when the Jays make a triple-A depth signing– as they did today, according to a tweet from Jon Morosi, picking up 28-year-old quad-A third baseman Jared Goedert (who hit better than Ryan Goins last year– and Anthony Gose for that matter)– and acting like it’s the club’s big winter splash and not exactly the same kind of move every team makes all the time?

Can we not insufferably link the club’s decision to take their Winter Tour to vital southern Ontario markets this year– as they will do, according to a press release (and this piece from Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com), hitting Oshawa, Kingston, Peterborough, London, St. Catharines, Mississauga, and Toronto– to travel budget parameters, hockey deals stealing money, and abandoning of the rest of the country?

Can we– some of us, at least (myself included when it comes to Ryan Goins, I think)– just stop being crybabies so damn much? Or pretending that the off-season ends tomorrow and Alex has already been left holding the bag? Or that it’s somehow a terrible thing that the people who see the club’s pitching prospects up close and know them best are reluctant to give them away just for the sake of making something happen?

Heaven for-fucking-bid they actually like their back-end options enough to not block them with shitty fodder from the free agent scrap heap!

I mean, there are potential outcomes still in play that are very easy not to like, for sure, but do we seriously have to act like they’ve happened already? There will be plenty of time to lose our shit if the club really does end up doing something stupid this winter.

It’s easy to get worked up, I know. Especially when certain media type pour gasoline on the moron fire, with their rushing to paint every acquisition by another team as some kind of major piece that the Jays have let slip away, or their discussions– like the one on Friday on the Fan 590′s Prime Time Sports– that zoom past the legitimate, obvious (read: boring) issues that sunk the 2013 Jays into bullshit about Jose Bautista’s clubhouse attitude– newsflash: highly competitive athlete less fun to be around when losing– and empower the kind of absurd, lazy notions of “analysis” that, when the layers are peeled back, essentially suggest the club is wanting for extra gooey clubhouse magic, and not, y’know, pitching and defence.

But how about– I don’t know– we try to remember how excited we were last year for essentially the same team, and think a little more about how obvious it is that the 74 wins isn’t necessarily reflective of what it’s capable of, and how much can still be done, and in small ways already has been done– both behind the plate and at second base (where, like it or not– and I do not– their current options should at least be better than the league-worst -2.1 WAR and the league worst -13.8 by the defensive component of WAR, if not the league-worst -39.6 mark on the offensive side, that Jays second basemen put up in an absolutely putrid 2013).

It’s hardly a perfect roster, and it’s not wrong to be pining for more, but it’s probably better than you think, and believe it or not, the chances are still excellent that more will be added before the off-season is said and done. So… uh… maybe relax a bit?

Comments (347)

  1. well put stoeten

  2. Baseball seems to be the one sport where even the best fans convince themselves their team really really really needs this one piece, because they heard it somewhere, and this remarkably average player is whats really going to put them over the top. I really doubt if the jays are on the outside looking in at the playoffs next year, we’ll all be sitting here saying I fucking knew Mark Ellis was what we needed… if only we had mark ellis everything would have been different.

  3. I know I’m going to get flak here. The jays last year were brutally injured. Josh Johnson and Morrow were banged up. It happens as an athlete. The jays should have given Johnson the money for one more year – replaced aerencebia and rolled.the dice again. I think that they would have done a lot better.

    • Not from me. JJ should have gotten the QO, IMO. Its only money, why not? Couldn’t be any worse, could he?

      • I don’t know about a QO, seeing as he signed for a lot less. I just think that if AA had offered 10 MM in light of JJ having had surgery , he probably wouldn’t have to worry about replacing him. But I can’t see getting upset at AA. That wasn’t an easy call.

        • It wasn’t an easy call. But I would have liked to see JJ back. It’s not like there are tons of great pitchers available. So unless he is going gangbusters after Tanaka I am kind of puzzled as to why AA didn’t keep him on the same premise that Stoeten outlined above. I don’t think he could have been worse than he was in 2013 and he may have been much better.

          Of course it’s possible the medical staff picked up a nasty recurring problem and if that was the case, bye-bye JJ.

          • I think you have to assume that the team doctors didn’t like something about JJ at season’s end, because I think they could have had JJ for a relatively low amount of money for 1 year. Johnson didn’t forget how to pitch last year; he was bad because he was injured and tried to work through that injury. I would have liked to have seen him back, definitely.

            In another vein, I agree with Stoeten, but I think people can be forgiven for having some degree of frustration with the slowness of their moves because it’s not like AA HAS to shop the bargain bin given the largess of the ownership group behind him, coupled with their obvious willingness to pony up the dough if presented with a sound business case from AA and Beeston for signing a certain player or trading for a certain player (interest in Peavy, Miami trade, Dickey). I dunno… I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the Blue Jays offices to know the rationale behind AA not going hard, RIGHT NOW, after pitches like Garza, Jimenez or Santana (or maybe he is, or maybe he truly believes that Tanaka is the guy, or maybe he’d rather pry Hamels/Lee away from Philly; who knows, right?) because the reality is that he could improve his rotation today by giving a top FA pitcher a lot of money.

            Ah well… this is why he’s the GM and we’re not. We also don’t know everything happening behind closed doors, so you can’t assume anything. It’s just tough, as a Jays fan, to see what we need sitting right there for the taking but AA isn’t “taking” them.

      • then you fuckin flip the bill, hero!

    • Good stuff. The excitement of last offseason seems so far away! The pieces are still there for the most part. Plus they should be motivated to prove themselves. A full Spring Training and an underdog tag will do wonders for them…..as would Tanaka :)

  4. Inertia: nobody gets it’s meaning right. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inertia

    • “its”

    • Um, nope, that is the appropriate use of the word inertia, sorry. From the site you posted: “the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.”

      In other words, things that are in motion remain in motion, and things that aren’t in motion don’t begin moving, unless acted on by an outside force. I think that was how some apple-eating physicist put it.

      In this case, the metaphorical use of the word was to suggest that the Cardinals, being perennial winners, will continue to win by virtue of their ability to lure in talented players and sign them. The Florida Marlins and Houston Astros, meanwhile, are not likely candidates for talented players who have a choice in the matter. WInning teams continue to win, losing teams continue to lose.

  5. Well put.

    However, I wouldn’t call Bautista’s season excellent

  6. its true its not like the season starts tomorrow. but come on i really dont think the jays can try the “our team is better than they played” approach. the jays were horrible last year. i mean embarrassingly fucking terrible. what is going to change if things arent changed? stating that that group of people were awesome in 2012 is very misleading. dickey is a 3rd starter at best now, he’s not going to regain his cy young form. thats why the mets didnt want to resign him. melky is off roids and that has clearly brought him back down to where he was when he was on the yankees. Izturis is a steam pile of useless now. morrow is injured yearly. lawire is clearly not as great as we thought he was when he first came up. reyes is awesome but injured yearly as well. and like you said add in regression from other players and its not looking good.

    • You are exactly the kind of person I was trying to speak to. Thanks for proving you exist, and I’m sorry that I’ve failed in convincing you that what you believe is kinda total horseshit.

    • Back under the bridge with you

    • Wow.

    • Yes, all our players will regress. Lawrie showed no development in the latter parts of last season, when he was spraying the ball all over the place. Having a number of our best players on the D.L. for extended stints didn’t effect our overall record, and clearly the whole roster will be on the D.L. at some point this season. So why bother signing anyone, their just going to regress and get injured walking off the podium after their introductory press conference.

  7. This is all true but I’m still hoping for Ubaldo (at a reasonableish rate and reasonableish length) and Ackley

  8. I think (hope) everyone is kind of undervaluing Stroman’s potential presence in this rotation. If he’s as ready as some say he is, then that in itself makes the club better than last year.

    • if hes that good , just imagine how great itll be when hes the first man up, because he wasn’t good enough to crack our top 5…. I hope hes great, but I also hope that the competition is too tough for him to make this team in april

  9. I don’t get all the hate for our options at second base. Izturis was horrible last year but perfectly mediocre in prior years. I don’t see a problem at all expecting a combination of a bit of a bounce back from him and stellar D by Goins to equate to an acceptable second baseman. Reyes – Lawrie – Encarnacion – Bautista – Lind – Rasmus – Melky – Navarro – Izturis/Goins (in whatever order they all actually hit in) seems like a fine lineup to me.

    Find out if Melky can play LF, if not, find someone who can. If he’s good to go, that’s a nice one to have off the list.

    Other than that, I only see two items of need:

    - Have enough depth on the bench to ensure the lineup doesn’t instantly turn to shit when 1 or 2 guys get hurt. Easier said than done I’d say.
    - Find one more starter that is guaranteed to make your starting 5. They’ve got lots of depth at the bottom and that may end up being enough anyway, but having 1 more sure thing in the rotation would be nice.

    So there might not be a lot of movement because AA doesn’t feel like there’s much left to do. I don’t think he’s wrong about that.

    • totally agree re. 2B. everyone is overreacting. with JPA gone, we can carry the weak bat at 2nd. just need solid defending.

      If the Jays can replace Johnson with a proven arm im happy. It would be nice to see Morrow pitch an entire season aswell.

      If they can stay in the hunt until the All Star break, maybe bring in what is required to give them an extra push..

  10. There certainly is a lot of scolding going on at this forum…

    I remember last spring / early summer any signs of frustration were met with a slap on the hand and a berating of “it’s early”.

    And now apparent frustrations at watching upgrades (at a position where we are very thin) sign with other teams are being met with a similar response.

    We all want the Jays to win.

    None of us have a hand in the decision making process so what’s the harm in a little venting? Who cares is someone here wants to trade Rasmus or sign A-Rod. Last time I checked none of us were actually authorized to make trades.

    So yea – maybe the guy stressing for us to relax should take his own advice.

    • Just because it didn’t work out didn’t mean that last year it wasn’t monumentally dumb to ignore the fact that it was way early when people started losing their shit about the team. Sorry.

      Not a forum, either.

      • I remember those comments and most people were upset by how poorly the team was playing. Somehow this was perceived as jumping ship.

        I was at the game in April where Dickey gave up a bunch of runs before getting an out. It happens – but every time it does it sucks!

  11. The difference from last year is that we thought we had a (please don’t ban me for using this stat) 15+ game winner in Johnson. And then we thought Happ would at best be competing for a spot against Romero who surely would be an asset again.

    Now we have no Johnson (no puns please) and Romero is (sorry to be so blunt) useless. And Happ is a good signing but not going to make a huge difference.

    I think it is safe to say we need a top of the rotation starter to be logically where we were last year.

    You would really think that the money is there for that. And if not, then give someone Romero and Cecil and a minor league prospect for $0.

    I’m still pretty sure AA plans to get a good starter though. So I’m not despairing yet.

    • Hutchison ought to be clearly ahead of Happ. Stroman probably too. Options in Rogers, Redmond, Nolin, Jenkins as well. Back end of the rotation is fine. Not great as is– definitely could use one more big arm– but *could* work without it. We’d all like to upgrade that could to *should*, I understand. But it’s just not that easy to do so in a way that makes sense. I think they will, but if they don’t it’s not going to be THAT difficult to understand. I do think the money is there for a starter though. How can it not be?

      And… wait… what are we doing with Romero and Cecil?

      • On payroll, I’m just saying if money is tight we should basically sell Cecil and a prospect for whatever Romero is still owed.

        As finished as Romero looks, the old change of scenery, plus an easier division/ballpark and he might regain some worth as an MLB pitcher. It’s possible. But I see much less chance of it working out here with us in our park and our division. He should be worth a little something to someone.

        I do understand that having the money to spend and finding the right guy to spend it on are quite separate.

      • I’m with sons onthis one Andrew. Your repeated assertions about Hutchison being better than Happ are entirely baseless. For God’s sake are you not the one who harps on objective analysis? Take your own advice and look at the numbers, they don’t support your position, and that was BEFORE TJ surgery.

        • Thanks Mark, though I really don’t know who is better and am more just on about the fact that we lost a potential ace (in Johnson) vs last year at this time.

          I remain hopeful that we fill that. Hutch, Happ, Drabek, Stroman, Sanchez, etc may all have worth – and I think even if they are all fighting for the #5 spot, somehow they’ll still all get their chances.

        • Umm, Happ is a below average pitcher and has kinda proved he aint gonna get any better. At least Hutchison has upside.

          • Happ: 682 IP, 4.38 FIP, 4.48 xFIP, 90 mph fastball, 84 mph changeup, 83 mph slider, 76 mph curve.

            Hutchinson: <350 professional IP, 4.4 FIP, 4.03 xFIP in the majors, 91 mph fastball (before TJ), 84 mph changeup, 84 mph slider, 86 mph curve

            Upside? For all we know, Hutch's upside IS J.A. Happ.

          • He has the same upside Drabek had when the Jays got him. Remind me how that went again?

            • It’s still in process. Drabek if his arm holds up seems like the highest upside option we have out of the fringe guys who could make the rotation. Filthy stuff that is developed needs command

  12. …But Masahiro Tanaka, though…

  13. Amen to all of the above Stoeten, very well put.

  14. Good stuff; also appreciate the reflection about your, um, struggles vis-a-vis Ryan Goins. I don’t think it’s as bleak as you do–I’ve been wrong plenty of times before, though–but I can handle one black hole in the line up. JPA’s departure means that there’ll be one less… Goins may provide one thing that JPA didn’t, too: defense.

  15. Hardball Times is reporting that Tanaka will be posted.
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/12/16/rakuten-golden-eagles-will-allow-masahiro-tanaka-to-be-posted-after-all/

    I guess each team that posts the $20m gets to make its pitch to the guy.
    Last I heard, no one knew in which order that would occur.

    Does anyone know whether a team makes a “one and done” offer and that’s it
    or whether a team can make an offer and then subsequently go back
    and raise the offer?

  16. Izturis is a bench player and going with goins as the starting 2b is completely fucking inexcusable for a team with contending aspirations. If were the astros, why the fuck not? If your contending in the AL East, you cant have an offensive liability like that in the lineup. WE just went through that with JPA. So when fans are hearing things like the team is comfortable with goins as the starter, they have every right to be and should be pissed off.

    • WAHHHHHHHHH.

      And were you upset they didn’t sign Infante even though they already have the same player– who you call a bench player? And did you miss the part where the off-season isn’t over? Did you miss the part where even shitty-hitting Goins isn’t close to Arencibia because he actually does well on one side of the ball and still offers a big upgrade over the garbage they got last year from that position?

      Oh, right, no, you didn’t because you were too busy getting all worked up to burst out crying.

      • Even if he is great at d doesnt take away the fact he is a blackhole in the lineup just like jpa was. Also, of course they still have time to upgrade but depends on whether or not you believe them when they say theyre fine with goins. Personally, im starting to get a bit concerned.

        • take a look at the Jays hitting minus JPA. They can carry a soft bat at 2b and contend.
          Jayson Nix is playing 2b in NY.

    • Newsflash: baseball people tell lies.

      It doesn’t exactly help the cause for AA/Gibby to come out and say “Izturis and Goins are dogshit, we desperately need a 2B NOW!!!”

    • Not a huge fan of Goins by any means, but contending teams have defense first, low hitting players all the time at key defense positions. This lineup can handle a Goins at 2B and still score runs, as long as he is preventing them with his glove. The ’92 Jays had Manny Lee as starting SS. Hardly an all-star, but the rest of the offence took care of the heavy lifting. I’d love to see an upgrade, but if there isn’t one, I’m willing to see what happens.

  17. Hutchison? Exactly how many innings does one think he’ll get after coming back from Tommy John?

    • AA has said there are no restrictions. Add 20-25% over his previous high in a season and you’re in the 180-190 ballpark.

      • Perfect. So if all goes well, we’ll be shutting him down right before the playoffs. That’s the best case scenario.

        • Right around the time the Jays go to a 3 man rotation…sounds reasonable to me…

          • So your plan is to go with a 3 man rotation of Dickey, Buerhle, and Morrow (who has never pitched 200 innings) in the playoffs? Good luck with that.

        • Dumb fuck. If you really think he’s going to go 30 starts at 6IP per you move him back and forth from the bullpen down the stretch to limit the innings. Best case scenario, Jesus Christ.

          • And who will be starting instead while you move him in and out of the line up? Oh yeah…right… And won’t you need those wins down the stretch to make the playoffs? Yeah, you’re right, I’m the dumb fuck here.

            This team needs at least one more durable, front end starter.

  18. OK…I’d like to hear some big signing news, too – preferably news that ends with “signs with Jays”.
    But Stoets has it pretty much nailed in his assessment that the 2013 team is WAY better than their record last season. A full, healthy season from Lawrie, Reyes, Melky, Bautista, Morrow and whoever else spent most of their year on the DL – and a reasonable upgrade to the catcher and 2nd base positions….and, fellow readers, I would reasonably bet any one of your mortgages on the Jays having an 85-plus win season.
    Given those parameters, there should be no way that the 2014 team is WORSE that the previous one.

  19. It could be argued that not posting the $20 million to be allowed to talk to Tanaka is inexcusable, but is Tanaka about to become the most overpaid free agent this winter? He’s got all these teams begging to throw their money at him, and for what? Someone who wasn’t as good as Darvish? And is probably going to get paid more than Darvish?

    • Darvish is now very much underpaid (if you’re just talking about his salary and not the posting fee) and the market has moved since then. I doubt that Tanaka will be treated like every other free agent simply because he hasn’t thrown a big league pitch yet, but if you believe he’s legit, there’s absolutely room to make a good deal there, even if it’s an expensive one.

    • You realize that “not as good as Darvish” is, like, the feeblest insult imaginable, right? He’s awesome.

    • I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept of AA refusing to overpay for some questionable free-agent talent out there – yet going balls-to-the-wall, break the bank on an unproven Tanaka.

      • “Proven” doesn’t really count for anything. It’s all about what they’re going to be able to do while taking your money.

        And this is why they have the scouting department. Silly to overlook what most people say is the best pitcher in the class because he’s not “proven.”

        • Granted.
          Where is Tanaka on the scale – 0 being me and 10 being Darvish, for example? That was my “proven” qualification? We don’t know what he’d be like…and if AA wouldn’t cough up 20 M for Player X with a track record in MLB, why would he for Tanaka?
          I’m not arguing…just trying to match apples to apples.

          • Because player X doesn’t have the durability Tanaka has shown, the command, or the out pitch splitter, most likely.

        • and the Jays scouts liked Josh Johnson to have a good year last year.. so there’s that..

      • If the scouts like him, then sure, do it. I just don’t think Tanaka is that (goes over to baseball reference to double check his stats) holy crap never mind throw lots and lots of money at him.

        • Mmmm. 53-9 with a 1.44 ERA and 0.94 WHIP the past three seasons (ages 22 to 24), including the 24-0, 1.27 season he just had. Nice numbers. Though, I’d be interested in seeing if the mild upswing in BB/9 and drop in K/9 this past season is a harbinger of anything in particular, especially after the way he was used toward the end of the season.

  20. I think what pisses me off is that a lot of what the Jays are doing this off-season amounts to throwing a bunch of shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. I mean, yeah, Maicer could rebound and Goins could figure it out how to hit enough to become a valuable player because of his defense, but we’ll be pretty lucky if either of those things happen. Signing Dioner Navarro is also just a move that plugs a hole and doesn’t offer much upside for the team. The Yankees and Red Sox are going after elite talent everywhere, and while we don’t have THEIR money, we do have enough money to stay close with them, provided we acquire enough talent. We really aren’t trying to do that this off-season.

    • Those teams are not doing that.

      Look at the Yankees’ back of the rotation, their infield (KJ/ARod, old Jeter, Nunez (for now), and Teixeira), and the Red Sox’ rookies, as noted above. Everybody, to an extent, throws shit at the wall and sees what sticks. Red Sox did it last year in a big way.

      • Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran don’t count as “elite talent”?

        • Of course they do. Three positions doesn’t count as “everywhere” when they still have a lot of holes.

          • The Yankees are stuck with certain guys because they make so much money and they’re still productive when healthy, and they had every intention of bringing Cano back.

        • Why the fuck would they even consider spunking payroll on Ellsbury and Beltran?

          McCann would’ve been nice, but 5/85MM? Dream on.

          • The McCann deal is completely reasonable.

            • Easily the best one they signed.

              Still, though, they’re not throwing money indiscriminately at every problem area on their roster.

              • I’m not arguing for that at all. We should’ve been in on McCann and a bunch of other catchers and were nowhere to be found. I don’t think there was much indiscriminate spending going on there.

                • Some of us live in the real world, I guess.

                  • So you’re okay with us being out on every major free agent for no apparent reason other than Beeston’s ridiculous five year max limit?

                    • Oh dear. That has zero to do with anything.

                      They’re out on free agents because they’re not willing to spend the money. And I while I think that the payroll limits given by Rogers are dubious, and I wish and expect that they could really do better, I understand that it’s a business, it’s their prerogative, and that a $150M payroll (which was at $70M in 2011) isn’t quite as indicative of an ownership unwilling to do right by the team as a lot of people want to believe.

                      Wrote about the contract thing in the second half of this post, FYI: http://blogs.thescore.com/djf/2013/12/11/elliott-aa-now-referring-to-a-five-year-window-and-more-nonsense-on-the-policy/

                    • AA has said Rogers has never balked at any acquisition presented to them. They have made a business case to bump payroll and been approved. This is why payroll is dubious, management can dictate it if they have legitimate business case just like all corporations. Has to be strong case though. This is corporate business 101 to some degree

                      For the upcoming season you would think it is a critical time for the business. Expenses went up last year and remain up. Revenue in attendance etc went up. Team did poorly. If they do poorly again revenue will go back down and it’s blow up the team or risk taking a loss into the future. Critical to win now for business to keep revenue accelerating. Seems like there is a strong case to add payroll and a weak case not to unless you really think the team will win. It is known the revenue potential for a winner and the lack of it for a loser

                      Maybe AA doesn’t have the fortitude needed to present case to increase payroll and risk it going up and having a shit show like last year? With strong conviction by baseball operations and a seemingly strong business case payroll can’t increase? Maybe AA is a little gun shy after previous debacles (wells rios Ryan). Could cost his job or could also keep his job

                    • Where did you ever get the impression that all FAs are getting deals that are longer than 5 years?

              • @Stoten.

                If AA gave McCann 5/100 to account for taxes etc, would that be enough to make the Jays wild card favourites?

                Should AA have used his “last bullet” on catching as opposed to pitching?

                Could AA make the case that he has enough depth at pitching with the prospects etc & possible recovery of Romero , Morrow, Hutch & Drabek, ?

                • Assuming he wanted to come to Toronto..

                  Some players just want to play for the Yankees or Red Sox. Much like a Canadian hockey player would rather play in Montreal or Toronto instead of Columbus or Carolina. Especially a guy who is already a millionaire and been around in the league for years..

        • Encarnacion, Reyes and Bautista are elite talent, Rasmus is by most advanced stats, and Lawrie has shown signs of taking that step. That’s a pretty Damn good start.

    • @Matt

      +1.

      I think that we would be happy if we had McCann or Cano or traded for Fister or had Josh Johnson back.

      Unfortunately, it appears that the “payroll parameters” are back.

      AA is smart enough not to use those terms again.

      A few years ago, we would have been happy with a 130-140 million payroll. Unfortunatly, with the rise of TV money etc, it just doesn’t buy what it used to.

      I agree that a healthy Jays team can produce 80-85 wins. Is that enough for a playoff spot? No. But it’s relatively competitive baseball for the team after 2 years of less than 75 win baseball.

      AA could bring the team back to the glory days of 2010 with 85 wins.

  21. They could up the team’s odds every year in perpetuity if they’d get around to installing real grass. ffs.

    • @JM.

      I do think think that getting grass in 2017 or 2018 will help the team attract free agents & keep current players healthy.

      AA or his successor will have an easier time.

  22. I am clearly missing something in the WAR data for 2Bs given in the next to last paragraph. How does 14 runs below replacement on D and 40 runs below on offence only add up to -2.1WAR?

    • Me too. Just quoting what it says on the FG team stats page. Answer is in the formula, I guess?

      • The numbers are converted so they’re based on league average, that’s the difference…I think.

        Yikes though. On the plus side if Goins/Izturis can manage to be decent, plus the upgrade at catcher, that could be like 4 wins there.

        • Yep. Scary to think that average production from 2B and C would be worth +7WAR to the Jays next year.

          Also, Stoeten is right that the formula is the cause of the discrepancy. The issue is with the final conversion from runs to WAR, By just taking the FG runs totals for offense and defense, the adjustments for league and for replacement level assumptions are not in there yet.

  23. What’s going on with Brian Roberts this offseason? $500k with a couple million in bonuses for games played?

    • He’s the dustin McGowan of position players

      • I’d put my money on McGowan staying healthier, at this point.

        • @Stoeten.

          If he makes the starting rotation on opening day, should we be scared?

          Based on his past history,could he be trusted to start 30 games in 2014?

          • I don’t know about scared, but McGowan IS out of options so there’s nowhere to put him. With his injury history, even though he’s been throwing fairly well, he’ll be difficult to trade too.

    • I thought he retired, no?

  24. Ya this team that is a Josh Johnson removed from being the world series favourites a year ago is terrible now.
    Please trade everything to win now. It worked last year, right?
    Big question:how does tanaka ‘s gyro ball compare to dicek’ s?

    • @Dickey,

      Given that AA has not been able to secure an upgrade to the starting pitching rotation, I would have been happy with bringing back Josh Johnson.

      AA has until April 1 2014 to get an upgrade to the pitching staff

      • or else what? you’re not going to pay for tickets on april 2?
        you’re not going to pay for tickets in july if they’re still in the race without that offseason move?

        gimme a break.

  25. Well put indeed. Also, per MLBTR it seems the leagues have agreeding on a new posting system, meaning that *fingers crossed* we should hopefully know one way or another on Tanaka sooner rather than later

  26. I just hope this is the year we find out who the REAL Adam Lind is…

    I love that annual story and look forward to it greatly.

    • I’m tired of kitten face. He shows up, then goes away for two years and pokes his head out again.

      • @traveling Newf.

        Kitenface has the ability to carry the team for a few weeks at a time every year.

        Kitty is the least of our problems.

    • will the real Adam Lind please stand up! (just dont hurt your back)

  27. Good article.

    Despite the fact that it’s Dec 16th, people seem to forget that the SP market has barely developed at all (because of Tanaka, presumably). If I was AA, I would devote as much of my resources toward starting pitching as I could. So … odds are that’s probably why the Jays haven’t done anything yet other than replace JP.

    If Tanaka, Santana, Garza and Ubaldo all start going elsewhere – then I think we can get a bit angsty.

    It’s possible the 2014 Jays could win as is, but I would feel a lot better with at least one more good arm in the rotation. Any of the guys I mentioned above would be fine.

    • @JP fair points.

      Serious baseball fans would want an upgrade to the starting pitching from 2013 with a “name signing’.

      Unfortunately, we can’t forecast how Hutch,Drabek,Stroman etc will do in 2014.

      Will Morow be ready for spring?. Could Ricky Romero be able to help out?

  28. I also think that with a season together, (for the most part), this team now knows what it can expect from each other. Add to that, Gibbons has a year of experience with this team under his belt. …. With the right mental attitude, and a little more tweaking, ,,Play Ball!

  29. Could you guys all simmer the fuck down or Stoeten will turn this car around and none of us will get to piss on Goofy or eat oversized, smoked turkey legs.

    Serenity now.

  30. 1. Do we know the Jays are definitely going after Tanaka? Some posts above seem to think they are but I haven’t seen anything yet that backs this up.

    2. How badly did the World Baseball Classic hurt the 2013 Jays? There seemed to have been a bunch of pre-season injuries that started us off badly, and we had a lot of players there. Did we have more than most other teams?

    • @isabella.

      I think the Jays will pay the 20 million refundable fee to post for Tanaka.

      I doubt AA will pay top dollar for Tanaka., so the Jays PR dept will be able to repair some damage from the Darvish Fiasco by not being immediately disqualified.

      It would be out of character for AA to pay top dollar for a pitcher who has no MLB experience.

      I am not as pessimistic about the Jays because it is possible that the pitching improves from 28th place.

      • As i said yesterday it’s not just about the money. With the new rules he’s going to get to choose and as others have mentioned teams like the Yankees or Dodgers have a cache that the Jays haven’t had for 20 years.

    • @isabella.

      Yes the Jays had an above average number of players in the world baseball classic.

      Lawrie got hurt. JPA supposedly learned how to catch Dickey at the world baseball clasic

    • just Lawrie. what the hell are you talking about? did our 7th OF Sierra sprain his toe and I forget

      those two weeks of WBC were better than 162 games of Jays, at least.

  31. What would a Contract for Ubaldo or Santana look like? By the way, why does no one mention that Gibbons said he is unsure that Melky will be good to go. So we will need him to be replaced also

  32. What would the terms be for Ubaldo or Santana?

  33. I’m a bit concerned about that too. Anyone know where we can get a update?
    Is he working out at least?

  34. I don’t mind what AA says about Goins because I think he’s genuinely trying to upgrade. If, for example, the Angels/Reds are asking for Sanchez or Stroman for Kendrick/Phillips, I don’t blame him for saying he’s comfortable with Goins. Obviously an upgrade is important, but it also has to make sense.

    The Jays don’t just get to point at a player and say “We’ll take him” and then throw some minor league scrub or fringe prospect the other way.

    • @Philbert.

      I wonder if AA thought about upgrading by getting Kelly Johnson back for 2014?

      Would KJ want to come back to Toronto after the Jays dumped him?

      Would AA admit he made a mistake with signing Izturis over Johnson, and try to get Kelly back?

  35. Apologies if somebody already posted this:

    Play ball!

    • @GSMC

      +1.

      I played “Stadium Love” on my iphone while walking the dogs in the snow.

      I can’t wait to go to Florida for spring training this year.

      • I’ve got a feeling AA still has something big up his sleeve.

        • @GSMC.

          Agreed.

          Is a strong bid for Tanaka the XMAS surprise?

          Garza or Ubaldo would make nice gifts for Jays fans.

          If remember last offseason, we were all depressed after Farrell dumped the Jays, then AA did the Marlins trade.

          I hate the snow & the cold. I just want hope for 2014.

          can’t wait for opening day april 4 2014!!

          As long as Brian Tallett is not the opening day starter , we are OK

          • I feel like the team as it is can do some damage, but I would feel better with 1 solid starter. After that AA can call it a day. I can live with Goins at 2B even with his shitty bat.

            • @GSMC.
              Agreed. I could see that the Jays have more depth this year with Redmond, Esmil Rogers, drabek Hutch etc..

              But I would feel a lot better with one more qualified MLB starter.

              Izturis has to rebound & Goins was fun to watch .

              I would like to see Kawasaki back as well.

              My conspiracy theory is that Rogers told AA he has to prove that his team can compete till the all star break, then the chequebook will be open.

  36. As a Newfoundlander who has grown up loving this team and watching this team and supporting this team (many games I’ve attended and my closet is full of official merch) is it okay if I’m slightly disappointed that the tour is limited to Ontario? Especially since they actually DID send a few personnel here last year and always push the “Canada’s team” mantra. That doesn’t make me insufferable I hope? Jesus.

    • Stoeten hates everyone that doesn’t agree with him. He’s just that kinda guy.

      So yes . . . prepare to be berated.

    • I think it has more to do with baseball in Ontario. Its seen a decline over the years and they want to help grow interest. That and helping feed Bison interest.

    • I don’t know why they cut the tour short this year. Maybe lack of player availability. I’m sure they would have extended the tour if they could.

  37. Looks like sweaty whiskey face just got signed by Cleveland.
    I hope he turns it around.
    Sounds like he drinks too much but hey, so did Boomer Wells, so did The Mick, so do most of us.

  38. Interesting from a BA top prospect chat:

    Ben (Leland Grove): As far as you know, will Cherrington be a major player for Masahiro Tanaka’s services this off-season, assuming he’s posted?

    Alex Speier: Unless it’s an impressive smokescreen, I don’t believe the Sox will be in on Tanaka given their view of him (ceiling of a No. 3) and what they already have in their system.

  39. I literally can not stop giving a shit about this team.

  40. Rolls eyes.

  41. Agree with the sentiment, but it’s not correct to say it’s essentially the same team as the one that was expected last off season to do great things. A lot of that expectation was based on expecting much much more out of Johnson and more out of Bonifacio.

    • @G man.

      AA acknowldged that Bonifacio did not adjust well to the turf in Rogers Centre. He is playing much better for the Royals.

      • @oakville – the reasons aren’t the point. I’m saying they are behind where they were last off season, expectation wise and on paper.

        • @G man.

          That is true. No one thought bautista would miss a substantial number of games 2 years in a row.

          If tht happens again this year were screwed.

  42. I just love how that fat blogger Stoeten somehow thinks his opinion is more righteous than the other fans.

    News flash, you chunky hipster. You’re just another average fan and a blogger who makes $500/week. That’s it. You’re not an expert.

    FAT. FAT. FAT.

    • Clever.

      • Dear Cracker,
        I might suggest that if you got the opportunity to write about baseball as your profession, you would be as happy as a pig in shit.
        Jealous much?

    • In some spots, usually public places, they have these mimes that will give you a hug (for free!), you just need to walk right up to one.

    • The stupid fat jibes are not needed but the rest is spot on. Fuck off with the “holier than thou” bullshit. This team has been garbage for 20 years and proceeded to shit the bed in the most egregious way possible after going all-in last year. All the invective and doubt is completely justified.

      • El Guapo= El Crapo

      • Well. they certainly haven”t been garbage. Outside of a few outliers, they have been quite consistently mediocre.

        • True. Over the last 15 seasons or so the Jays have been almost exactly .500…hardly garbage, especially in this hellish division. People are often surprised when I point out this fact.

          The bed-shitting last year cannot be denied, though. It was a Hindenburg-like disaster.

      • @ Guapo. Dumb. The real story here is that Anthopoulos either has enough job security or ethics to still be worrying about 2015 and beyond. You may not like that they’re not signing all the free agents or trading all their prospects, but it’s actually a good thing

        • You are missing the third possibility that AA is doing a poor job putting the finishing touches onto a team that is considered a winner. And this possibility extends to AA not having put a winning team together in the first place considering the godawful last two years.

          I prefer to consider the first two myself

          Quoting ethics as a reason why AA may be playing for 2015 as well is not founded. I assume you are assuming an unethical GM would bankrupt the future to win now and save his job. For all we know AA is putting his job on the line by not trading future for present.

    • Find a bridge and jump off!

    • Hey Cracker……you’re a idiot. Fuck off!

    • I usually delete these, but this is pretty hilarious. Oh man, I’m totally crying, guys. This intellectual 13-year-old’s criticism is just so biting.

      • Stoaten.. or however you spell your name. You’re a sell out. Ever since you got a job with the score, you’ve been nothing but a sell out. Go back to how you used to criticize the GM when he’s doing a terrible job of making good trades. And criticize a team, not try and sell us this shit, you’ve lost credibility bro. – A long time reader but no more.

  43. In a vacuum, it might seem ridiculous to be so angry about not signing Ellis, but in reality, it’s a lot more reasonable. Look at what else is out there and the incumbent. The remaining list of free agent second basemen via MLBTR

    Alexi Casilla (29)
    Jamey Carroll (40)
    Chris Getz (30)
    Alberto Gonzalez (31)
    Paul Janish (31)
    Elliot Johnson (30)
    Brian Roberts (36)
    Ramon Santiago (34)
    Jordany Valdespin (26)

    A rousing group, to be sure. In trade? Brandon Phillips and his phat contract/NTC/desire for a phatter contract. Aaaaaaand… who else? Gordon Beckham? As for the incumbent, Stoeten specifically has shit all over the team for even saying they might go into 2014 with Goins, so I’m doubly surprised why you of all people would saying that missing on Ellis (especially when you factor in what he cost) and Infante isn’t a big deal.

    • I think you missed Tom W’s Cuban defector.

      I suspect the list of guys who may be available is much larger then your list as well.
      Aging shortstops, teams with a good prospect pushing incumbents.
      At the end of spring training there will probably be solid guys who lost their jobs who become available as well. Finding a serviceable second basemen is not that hard.
      What you should be worried about is our pitching.

    • Valdespin is an interesting player. Supposed personality issues but he’s been a phenomenal hitter in the minors.

  44. Good things come to those who wait… so we hope. But yeah Next year has to be better. Im sure all here recall june 2012 3 starters in 4 starts. Then last years shenanigans with injuries. Can shit come in 3s? We all need to pray to ye olde baseball Gods seeking repentance. Whether it be for our over zealous celebration from last years trades to our over-the-top shitting on farret. This team is better than 74…

    • @ike.

      If the Jays above average injuries continued into 2014, then the Jays would have to re evaluate their training programs, staff etc.

      I recall that AAsaid last year they did look at their program.

      • Of course they would look but there is such a wide variety of injuries it really comes down to bad luck.

      • Looking is so very different from finding. Injury info makes for noisy data sets and noise means few and weak conclusions. There are just too many variables at play here for the sample sizes in question.

        • well, if you’re aa and you have another rash of injuries, you’re in a ‘nuke the whales’ situation.

      • It’s not just training. As long as the Jays play on concrete and remain one of the older teams in the league, they will always be among the league leaders in injuries.

    • http://sports.yahoo.com/news/white-sox-trainer-herm-schneider-is-team-s-secret-weapon-142008464.html

      This article on the White Sox trainer Herm Schneider suggests otherwise. Ok it screams otherwise. In addition the Rays have had somewhere around 2 or 3 TJ surgeries in the last 10 years while the Jays and other MLB teams have had 2 and 3 times that amount.
      Gregg Zaun said when he was with them each and every player in the Rays system was obligated to perform a set of injury preventing arm exercises every week.
      There are unlucky injuries like the one that Reyes suffered last season. But injuries like
      UCL tears are avoidable and the Jays would be wise to look into better trainers and injury prevention.

      • This. Times a million. I really don’t care about us getting another starter if he is just gonna join the walking wounded soon after he gets here. The Jays have said they are looking into the unusual amount of pitchers injuries and I would rather that change was made than any other. One year of starters going down is unfortunate. Two years running and there’s likely something wrong in the training and conditioning area. And it needs to be fixed.

        • @isabella

          +1.

          If the Jays can avoid injuries, the team will perform much better.

          The Jays never knew what they had last year. Lawrie & Reyes didn’t play together till late June.

          • The problem isn’t fixing them either. They’ve even got the TJ recovery down to under a year now which is unbelievable. But the problem with guys like Hutch and Drabek is that they should both be productive back-of- the-rotation guys by now and be entering their 3rd year in MLB. But they’re still only question marks that AA can’t count on going into ST. AA says that he’s going to let Hutch pitch 160 (?) innings next season but he only pitched 58 before he was hurt. It’s probable that he’ll have to limit him to less than that.

  45. When the rumour came out that the Jays showed some interest in Billy Butler, one thing came to mind for me: Unless something falls into their lap the team is highly motivated to improve defensively without making the team worse offensively, meaning replace Lind with Butler and go with Goins at 2b.

    Of course Butler was just one of many rumours but I think it illustrates a point. There are many facets to winning baseball games, and AA has himself said publicly that while his priority is to improve the rotation (which I think they will land one guy), there are ways you can improve your club in the field without having to make the moves that seem so obvious.

    If the deadline was December 15th, I imagine we would be less one or two of our best spec SP’s (Stroman and/or Sanchez). But, it’s not.

    My prediction is that the Jays make a run at Tanaka, if (or when) they fail there they will acquire a SP without having to give up Sanchez OR Stroman.

    Perhaps an improvement offensively to offset Goins rather garbage offensive production and the club will head into 2014 with an improved rotation with more depth, deep bullpen, improved defense, and status-quo offense that could EASILY be better with a healthy Bautista, Reyes, Melky, Lawrie, NO JPA, Navarro…

    This teams struggles last year were all over the place. Everything but the bullpen.

    I can easily see big improvement without having to make wholesale changes. This is a club with still a lot of great pieces. I suggest we don’t throw in the towel after one bad year…because as bad as it was it has more potential in my opinion than the 15 years before that.

  46. I don’t feel great about making Goins the starting 2B, but then I notice the MLB darling Cardinals gave nearly 500 ABs to Pete Kosma, who put up a .217/.277/.275 slash line that combined with excellent defense, amounted to a putrid 0.1 WAR. This fact does not give merit to giving a guy like Goins similar playing time (and I think Kozma type numbers are fairly realistic for Goins, although looking at their ML results I’d argue that Goins can muster at least a bit more with the bat), but clearly you can get away with giving poor players lots of playing time if the rest of your team is good enough. Whether that’s true of the Jays depends very much on how AA goes about fixing the rotation. The lineup is strong enough to accommodate Goins, but the rotation as it currently stands, is not.

    Serious question here, but would you (meaning whoever cares) feel better about Goins or Kawasaki at 2B for the Jays next year? Goins is undoubtedly better defensively, but Kawasaki doesn’t kill you in that department and can apparently hit/walk enough to give you at least a league average OBP.

    • That is nice to hear. Many people around here proclaim that the Jays need to have elite players at every position. Even WS champs don’t always have that, sometimes with even a couple of black holes.

    • Slow clap for you

  47. Tanaka is now posted

    let the bidding begin!

    how many teams go 20mil?
    10?
    15?
    20?

    Teams we know need pitching…..

    Jays
    Yanks
    Os
    Bewers
    Dbacks
    Twins
    Miami
    Houston
    Rangers?
    Reds

    who else

    Would Boston take a shot? they have what, 6 guys now…

    • Mariners

    • Royals and White Sox might jump in and I’m 0/lifetime in predicting what the A’s might do.
      Recent additions plus payroll might take Angels out of the mix, but he’d really help their chances.

    • that is not the way it works… the Japanese team sets the price (max $20M)… any team that expresses a willingness to pay the price gets to negotiate with the player. team that signs the player pays the Japanese club the agreed on price.

      teams won’t be bidding various amounts… it is either you are willing to pay the price set out by the Japanese club or you are out.

    • Cubs would be in the mix as well (hopefully, says the Cubs/Jays fan) as getting a young SP for nothing but $$$ should fit into Epstein/Hoyer’s overall re-build plan.

    • Where did you see this? I don’t see any confirmation that he has posted.

    • I imagine every team will post the 20 million… seems to be literally no risk… they get it back if they don’t come to a deal on a contract.

  48. Brian Roberts to the Yankees

    • Roberts to the Yankees leaves both Ackley and Franklin still in Seattle.
      with the O’s, Blue Jays and possibly the White Sox as the only AL teams
      still looking for a starter at second base.

      • not sold that Franklin is a big upgrade over Goins
        what would we have to give up for him?

        Someone call DeRosa, ugh.

        • What about Prado from the Dbacks?
          you would think his playing time is going to be low this year with trumbo now in LF and a healthy Hill? Could be a good platoon guy? or even a starter at 2b, goins goes back down?

          wonder what he would cost, if even an option.

      • the white sox have semien behind beckham… I think they are more likely to trade a 2b than acquire one.

        • For 2014 the White Sox would be content with either of those guys.
          But neither figure to be part of their core.
          Beckham has not done much of anything
          and Semien is a mid level prospect at best.
          Their recent moves: Garcia, Abreu, Eaton and Davidson
          suggest they’re after young, controllable position players with upside.

  49. I agree with everything you said, but it’s still taking every fibre of my being not to stomp up and down and have a temper tantrum.

  50. It’s funny, I did almost the same WAR analysis, except I looked for last full-seasons played and compared the Jays’ current roster to that of the almighty Red Sox and Orioles as they are currently constructed. And guess what, it turns out that the crazy injuries and down years last year were a factor, as the current Jays roster had more total wins above replacement than either of those juggernauts and the Rays as well.

    So, while I still won’t start buying my flex packs until I see the Jays do something to upgrade the rotation, and while I’d still like to see an upgrade at 2B, I do think that the current team is more of an 87-90 win team, and the stats certainly bear that out. In fact, they suggest the Jays should be more like a 92-94 win team as long as Bautista, Reyes and Buehrle don’t go into serious decline.

  51. I’m fine with Goins at 2nd. If we get a real upgrade then good. But there doesn’t seem to be anything out there that’s available and effective. The right side of the infield has been a ground-ball-hitter’s paradise for far too long. When you add that to pitching to a catcher that had as many holes as a sieve you get pitchers pitching to strike-out. Which may have been the reason the pitchers all shat the bed so bad in the first half of the season. Things did settle down in the back half but even so, that infield cost us a lot.

    • Dickey and Buehrle both had higher BABIPs in the 2nd half. They were better largely because they struck out more and walked less.

      Don’t get me wrong, the defense was dogshit for large parts of the season, but you’re making it sound like they were literal pylons out there.

    • The infield cost far less than the increase in HR/9 rate for three of Jays starters last year. Each starter for the Jays had a HR/9 over their career mark and all but one well over the mark the year before.

      In 2012 Dickey went from a 0.92 HR/9 to 1.40 HR/9. Morrow went from a 0.87 to 1.99. Johnson went from a 0.66 to 1.66. Rogers 0.87 to 1.37. And Redmond had a 1.52 HR/9 rate which is high but since he didn’t really pitching in the Majors prior to 2013 there’s nothing to really compare it to.

      Buehrle was the only one that dropped slightly from 1.16 HR/9 to a 1.06 but that’s also over his career mark of 1.01.

      I don’t know if the air currents in the dome were drastically altered from the removal of the windows or if the Jays pitchers were just collectively bad in 2013. Other than Buehrle whose rate was identical at home and on the road, Redmond was the only one with a worse Road HR/9 rate. The others had large disparities between their Home/Road rates some as bad as 2 to 1.

      Among the relievers it was a little more interesting. Collectively they were so much better in 2013 compared to 2012 with regards to their HR/9 rates but again all were worse at home, some by a large margin like Loup who allowed HR’s at home nearly 4 times as much than on the road.

      • If the Windows had that big of an effect you would have seen EE and Jose with 40 plus each. Colby prob would have had 35 with they way he hits, and JPA would have been the HR king with 50, the pop up machine

        • That’s a good point with regards to the cause as a lot of the Jays power hitters actually hit better on the road or had at least neutral stats. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the infield wasn’t the main culprit in the Jays pitching woes.

        • I would disagree with Coach, Sandlot makes a great point. The majority of the Jays power comes from right handed bats pulling the ball. The windows would not affect that. Colby would be the exception, and he did in fact hit more homers than usual. Colby and JPA both hit some very long homers to CF (among the longest in the league) that I think were obviously assisted by the stadium.

      • Please don’t be actually seriously talking about removing Windows and air currents and home runs. Please.

        • I have no proof and no data to support it obviously, I was just throwing out a question and the Jays hitters numbers seem to show there is nothing there. I should have just left it at the Jays pitchers having problems with the long ball vs infield defense.

  52. bored….
    Line up as it is right now vs RHP

    Reyes
    Colby
    Jose
    EE
    Lind
    Bret
    Melky
    Navaro
    Goins

    VS LHP

    Reyes
    Melky
    Jose
    EE
    Bret
    Sierra
    Colby
    Navaro
    Izturis

    we suck vs the LHP, but with only Colby hitting L vs LHP, could put pressure on them….so really, its better then half the line ups in the bigs right now.

  53. the one thing we cannot overlook is milky. By all accounts his struggles last year can be attributed to the spinal tumor. We just do not know the full extent of the two more thus we cannot accurately say recovery time. By all accounts it is possible to see him at full strength come spring training. And the type of competitor he is I’m sure we can all imagine him coming out with a bang provided he be healthy.

    • Melky showed what he can do carting around a tumour for 3/4s of a season. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination and his lack of power in light of the tumour was understandable. I’m a bit concerned by what Gibby let on last week that he may not be recovering as well as expected. Hopefully it has to do with routine medical procedures with surgery of this type. But any news would be appreciated.

      • His lack of power could be due to the fact that he has never had much power, outside of a PED year or two (even then, he did not have much power).

        • Agreed. But if you don’t count his 1st year (19 AB) only 2 of his other eight years had lower slugging percentages than last year.

      • That has me puzzled ‘gibby comments’ but i don’t know somehow I feel that he is taking the safe route in his comments. He doesn’t usually speak on something unless he knows as in he is not a Dr. or that he has not actually seen him go yet? (I could also be talking myself into delusional thoughts of a perfect world) Problem is we were not told of the specifics in the tumor. It is plausible to see recovery in a few months or upwards of a year depending on circumstances. That being said when the news of this broke it seemed the team was not only elated to determine the cause but seemed to elude that he would be back to start 2014. Having Sierra or Gose break season as LF to start is not the worst thing imo. But yeah it would be nice to hear something more specific.

    • Which accounts are these? Most everything I have read insinuates that it could be because of the tumor, or they hope it is because of the tumor.

      • By the accounts of the medical world. The Jays as I’m sure we can agree explored all avenues they possibly could to try and determine what was going on with Melky’s legs via MRI’s whatnot. By all means spend a couple of hours researching spinal tumors (not just wikipedia) and it is very plausible that this is/was the route of the issues. That being said I only know what was released via Team and I do not recall hearing any specifics of the tumor. For them to be confident that was the issue satisfies me as I am somewhat familiar with spinal tumors.

  54. I was kinda hoping the Jays would take a flier on Brian Roberts, I understand he’s old and injured, but if healthy he could’ve been a big upgrade with the bat at not that much of a cost.

    • Seriously?

      • Is this the part when you tell me that he’s good enough for the Yankees but not good enough for the Jays?

      • Wouldn’t it be kinda the same thing as Derosa last year? that worked out pretty well. Not as an everyday guy, but at least as an option.

        • yeah but Mark derosa provided 0.1 War alst year as our 25th man. I think the point is, who cares.

          • in 300 AB’s Roberts provided 0.7 WAR last year, so that and they slight chance he could turn back the clock to 2009-2010 I figured would be worth a couple mil. But i’m usually wrong about these type of things.

            • It’s an ok signing, it’s not going to set the world on fire so you shouldnt be bothered we didnt do it ourselves.

  55. What the Bluejays should do is to sign Michael Young to act as a utility infielder Lawrie, Goins and Lind. He would play his 120 to 140 games as a platoon with Lind and a back up to the other two. Additionally, it would give the Jays a veteran on the team to school the two kids and I feel he would serve them in the same capacity as Molitor in the early 90′s……… At a reasonable cost with performance bonuses for two years let’s put some more class/ professionalism into this organization.

    • He can’t play defence, though.

    • I think it would be best for the Jays roster flexibility if they just get an everyday 2nd baseman. Leave Izturis as your utility infielder and carry 5 outfielders. The extra 2 being Sierra (LF, RF, DH, 1B) and Gose. Gose can be your late inning defense replacement and can also fill the role that Davis did so well in last year as your primary pinch runner.

      Of course that would mean the Jays can’t use 8 guys in the pen this year. That said, even if comes to that, they can send Gose up and down as needed.

  56. Any truth to the rumor that Jays met with Santana? and both sides had interest?

    • Why wouldn’t there be?

      • only saw the one tweet, cant find anything else on it

        • Wait, which Santana?

          • Erwin

            • Ervin

              when are we getting an edit option?

              • NEVAR

                Seriously though I imagine AA would be meeting up with all free agent pitchers at some point. Though I wouldnt want Santana

                • he is better then Happ….which makes him an upgrade.

                  then maybe you can flip Happ and someone for an upgrade at 2b?

                  • Of course he’s better then Happ, but at what cost? He’s trying to command a ridiculous price tag and he’s not even that good.

                    Kinda high HR/9 rates do not help his case at all, especially since he pitched at Kauffman.

                  • coach, I think that if they could flip happ for an upgrade at 2nd they would have done that already… I don’t believe they would need to sign Santana in order to make that a reality.

                    • dont think that move happens until the lock up another top end pitcher

                      dont want to kill depth and then strick out on SP

                    • I still dont want to pay that much money for him, his history of inconsistency scares me, and I honestly believe he will get shelled in the AL east because we have all hitters parks minus tropicana.

                    • 16 a year for him
                      22 a year for Mark
                      ill take it

                      do i truly believe thats all it will take to land him, now, but i can dream

                    • I would much rather have Ubaldo, lower HR/9 and much more consistent over the past 5 years. Plus he has the upside santana has. Would probably cost less too.

                    • or more…..

                    • It’ll probably be less, the general consensus is that Santana will get the highest payday followed closely by Garza because of the lack of draft pick compensation. Jimenez has almost always been rated third.

                    • Santana also has the draft pick attached…….

                      if Ubalbo is better as you say, he will cost more, no?

                    • Santana GB% – 46.4
                      Ubalbo GB % – 43.9

                    • Ubalbo also walks guys at twice the rate Ervin does

                      i would also argue that Ervin has been getting better, while Ubalbo had a come back type year.

                    • In my opinion he’s better lol, at least better suited for the Jays.

                      Santana has a lower whip and ERA and more wins so in the traditional sense he’s better then Jimenez.

                      Jimenez also had a terrible first half so that’s fresh in people’s minds. He was light’s out in the second half which is why he’s line for a high payday.

                    • He strikes out more people, if you strike out more people, walks don’t matter as much, plus he doesnt give up the home run ball nearly as high as Santana, so walks dont hurt as much.

    • If the Jays are going to acquire a decent SP this winter, I’m sure they are going to have to overpay either with money or prospects. I’d rather overpay with money. Go ahead and sign Santana to some dumb deal as far as I’m concerned. Doesn’t seem like any contract is unmovable these days.

      • Romero anyone?I guess he could technically be mored if you absorbed all of his salary but who would do that.

        The point is just because contracts can be moved, shouldnt give you license to do really stupid moves.

        • I dont think anyone is saying to do something stupid.

          but you will have to overpay, that’s a guarantee.

          you have two choices, either overpay in prospects, or overpay in dollars/years.

          If we are going to overpay in prospects, you assume AA is going to ensure that the player coming back is good value, like when Dickey signed for his extension

          • Why this phrase “overpay” all the time. Market value is not what a players projects to have in terms of WAR then what is considered market value for WAR with concessions for term and on and on.

            The correct term is simply pay since the cost of the acquisition is the market value.

            Either the jays are willing to pay what the actual market value is to acquire players or they are not. Simple as that.

            • no.

              You pay someone when you extend them, because there’s risk on both sides typically.

              where as top tiered free agents don’t absorb risk, they get overpaid .

              • Now you are talking about a different market with extensions since as you say there is risk on both sides. Trade market is also a different market as is draft and international signings. In all cases whatever contract is signed is signed at market value and is not an overpay

    • isn’t he a fly ball pitcher who is prone to hr’s?

  57. So the Jays signed another minor league infielder, Steve Tolleson, with an invite to spring training. Looks like they are going to go the same route at 2nd base as they did with their 5th starter spot a couple of years ago – invite every journeyman available to spring training and see which one sticks.

    • More like someone to replace Goins in AAA, amirite?

      Let’s hope AA somehow steals Ackley away from the Mariners. Maybe a 3 way deal involving Happ?

      • You could be right and he could be his replacement at AAA. As Goins is certainly no lock to make the MLB roster, I would assume that the invite to spring training portion of the deal could indicate some internal competition. Couldn’t find much on him but he’s played 2nd/SS/3rd and OF. His very limited major league defensive numbers seem average so there’s not a lot to go on there. He did have an .807 OPS in AAA in the International League in 2013 so he’s got some life to his bat.

        • Goins had below a 700 OPS in AAA last year. Are this guy and Goerts our infield depth this year? Both seem to be better hitters than Goins but mediocre fielders.

          Ideally we get a starting 2B and if not then another veteran infielder to backup / platoon with Goins and go with a 7 man pen.

          Our position player depth could actually look pretty decent

          Kratz, Izturis and Sierra on bench

          Thole, Jiminez, Goins, Tolleson, Goedert, Gose, Pillar, Wilson in AAA

          I like Kratz after reading about him, looks like a pretty solid backup catcher. Thole better bring his A game if he wants to beat out Kratz for the MLB job.

          Add a starting caliber 2B and mid to front of rotation starter and this team looks solid all around with decent if not spectacular depth – something we did not have last year.

          • I am all for getting a regular second basemen and I would happily move one of the guys like Happ, Nolin, Norris or guys further down the minors to get one. Again, I think it’s all going to come down to which direction AA has to go to fix the starting pitching. If it’s a free agent then he has the prospects to make a deal for an infielder. If he has to spend a chunk to get a premium stater then it’s probably going to be someone we’ve got which is what it potentially looks like now.

            Of course it wouldn’t exactly kill the team if the Jays have to start the season with someone like Goins on the roster and then pick someone up mid season. At that point there’s sure to be a lot more options.

            • Agreed. Is good to see that at least we are getting some journeymen depth guys that aren’t likely to be completely out of place if called upon, These are not major acquisitions by any stretch but do bring value and some amount of stability. I wouldn’t mind Goins so much if the bench and minors aren’t bare and we can get another SP to add with our top 3 while leaving the 5th up for grabs and SP depth in the minors.

  58. I renewed my season tickets 2 weeks ago, was 50/50 on it but thought what the hell. I’d like AA to make some kind of a splash so I can move the 60 games I don’t use on craigslist.

    I can’t get too worked up about Goins / Izturis, I’m sure AA will cook something up to upgrade there (wouldn’t take much). Whoever they put there ain’t going to help me sell tickets on craigslist, unless Robby Alomar is coming back.

  59. If AA doesn’t not fix the pitching rotation we are going to finish last………

    • You don’t not don’t make sense

    • Rotation isn’t broken – at least not unless there is a shitshow injury storm like years past. Could use another mid to front of rotation guy for sure which would really solidify the rotation though which seems to be what AA is trying to do.

  60. .Funny how all the stat geeks keep saying gm’s don’t look at hr’s and rbi’s.

    Well JPA got 1.8 mil for nothing but hr’s and morse gets 5mil for a .270 obp.

  61. Apparently those lunatics with the Cubs were asking the Braves for one of Heyward or Justin Upton for the Shark:

    http://atmlb.com/1gEC4MO

    • Its a smart move, they dont need to be rushed to move him. Put a huge price on him and hope eventually someone gets desperate and bites. Wasnt it the same story when they traded Garza?

      • Yep you said it. With pitching at a premium it’s definitely a seller’s market. It’s going to be interesting to see which route AA ends up taking to getting one. IMO it’s all the more reason you hang on to guys like Stroman and Sanchez because guys with their ceilings are so potentially valuable. For once I would love for the Jays to use their deep pockets and save their prospects. Even if a guy like Ubaldo doesn’t turn out to be worth the entirety of his contract, saving guys that could potentially produce so much for so little is just going to make the organization stronger in the very near future.

      • There’s maximizing return and then there’s taking advantage of desperation. It’s a big gamble. By waiting it out and maybe starting the season with Samardjia, his arm could blow up, or he could struggle and lose his value.

        Right now Hoyer is being ridiculous, I hope it blows up in his face.

        • Injuries are always a danger but from his perspective the Cubs are probably 2 years away from having a lot of their high ceiling prospects helping out. If they can get a king’s ransom great, if not they have more time to sign him long-term. The one thing the Cubs don’t have a lot of is good pitching prospects, so if they’ve got a good young starter in hand already why not hold onto him. The Cubs aren’t the Rays or A’s where they constantly need to churn good players into more prospects. They could easily match the Red Sox or Angels in payroll and not blink an eye. Even if they finally decide to move him at the All-Star break the price is going to be high.

          • Or he could continue to regress and the Cubs get much less.
            Or his elbow could explode and they get nothing.

  62. Jason Knapp making a comeback attempt. At just 23, he should be an intriguing arm to watch.

  63. santana has no upside, and significant downside…. i’d rather roll the dice with hutchison, nolin, drabek, stroman, mcgowan, romero…you have to think one of them will shake out better than santana. johannnnn on the other hand…

  64. Gotta love this site…..311 comments on not-a-goddamned-thing happening.

  65. Well, the O’s just signed Balfour to close. Say what you will about the jays activity or lack thereof, their opponents are getting better.

    • They signed Balfour because they needed to improve the bullpen after trading Johnson for Jemile Weeks. Balfour for Johnson is a wash, so if you consider adding a backup second baseman “getting better” then yeah, the Orioles are getting better.

      • You could say that about the Yanks and Sox too, at least so far.

        Sure McCann is an upgrade but Ellsbury and Beltran are pretty much a wash for Granderson and Cano. Also they lost Rivera.

        For the Sox they lost Ellsbury and resigned Napoli.

      • Balfour is a significant improvement over johnson.

        • I’d be interested to see what you’re basing that on. Their stats are almost identical the last four years, and Johnson is SIX years younger. Balfour strikes out more batters, but he also walks a lot more and is an extreme fly ball pitcher who’s perfectly suited to parks like those in Tampa Bay and Oakland. It should be interesting to see how that works out in Camden Yards.

          • Johnson is far better suited to pitch in the al east and Camden specifically than Balfour.

            Balfour k’s more… but walks more and is more prone to the gopher ball.

            • It amazing how similar they are in terms of most stats, they even have the same FIP. The main difference is the age. Given the disparity of price between Balfour and johnson, I am not surprised they ditched Johnson for the fairly cheaper option in balfour given the Orioles are tight on their payroll.

  66. Andrew Stoeten your one hell of an Anthopolous ass kisser.

    • @wipe out.

      Those are fighting words!

      It’s unclear what payroll parameters if any have been imposed on the greek ninja.

      Is he saving his money for Tanaka,Garza, Ubaldo etc?

      Has Rogers told him to make do with his current budget?

      Is he saving money for the Coby Rasmus extension.?

      A Rasmus extension would be just as important as a pitcher at this point.

      I remember a few years ago, the Batista extension was done in january or early February.

    • *you’re

  67. Interesting way a team could circumvent the posting cap.
    And if you had to take a second player then maybe they’d have a serviceable second basemen.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/how-rakuten-can-get-around-the-20-million-posting-cap-for-masahiro-tanaka/

    Well I can dream…. good read though.

  68. Had a thought

    dont shoot me here, but…..

    how about Jayson Nix back? as a platoon guy for Goins? hmmmmm

    VS LHP
    2011 273 .407 .591 – 22 AB
    2012 255 .318 .408 – 98 ABs
    2013 266 .357 .330 -96 ABs

    The OBP here vs LHP could make him a very good #9 hitter when facing LHP for Goins.

    that would make the bench…

    Nix
    Izzy
    Sierra
    Thole

    No real power hiting the bunch, unless Sierra clicks

    Just a thought for a cheap option, so we can spend on SP

    • Blergh, I guess there could be worse options. Carroll is another interesting low end option to bring in vs lefties. He is one year removed from a 135 WRC+ vs lefties so i dunno.

      • Carroll is on the wrong side of 40…..

        he had a hugh drop in productivity last year, so i would take Nix over him

        • Yeah, it’s an option not saying i would do it.

          I would prefer not to take either as nix is barely league average against lefties.

          God i hope we somehow fleece ackley from the mariners.

  69. What a slow offseason.

  70. Now that the Mariners have re-signed Gutierrez, they have something of a logjam both at second base and in the outfield. There’s no way they can get much playing time for Ackley or Franklin, let alone both.

  71. These points are all well taken if your goal is to say “this team is probably not as bad as last year would indicate.” But no one really cares if this team is better than 74 wins. Who cares if we bounce back to 85 wins? Fans are discouraged because, although it’s entirely reasonable to hope we’ll be materially better than last year, there’s not much reason to think we’re going to contend for a playoff spot with this roster, which — to state the obvious — is discouraging when we gave up so much young talent to contend now, and so much of our current talent is aging fast.

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