djflongreads

If you’re a regular reader, you’re probably well aware that the term “long read” is sort of a misnomer here on DJF mountain, but I suspect that you know what I mean when I use it. Occasionally we dive just a little bit deeper into a topic than usual, and sometimes, frankly, it seems as though our efforts disappear a little too quickly into the ether.

I get that. It’s a product of the medium we work in, which otherwise has many, many advantages and great aspects– one of which is the fact that I can do things like collecting up all of the most interesting, re-readable pieces we’ve written over the course of a year (or, at least, the ones that either best stoked my narcissism or impressed me from my colleagues), and re-post them after an appropriate time has passed. Say a year, or maybe a year and almost-two-and-a-half-weeks or something. *COUGH*

And, lo and behold, here are a bunch of them for the year that just passed (um, almost-two-and-a-half-weeks back). The year in DJF Longreads for 2012…

Romero’s Late Mechanical Change Signals Concern – 3/20
By the third week of March, the Jays seemed finally to acknowledge what fans had noticed all spring: something still wasn’t right with Ricky Romero. And I… uh… noticed them noticing.

I’m not saying I’d prefer the club to be deceptive– “it’s not a lie if we know the truth” and all that old noise– but if the only good that will come from making it known that these changes are taking place is that it will make it easier to excuse another poor performance, what does it say about the organization’s belief that Romero is going to pitch well? And what does it say about their continued insistence that he’s going north with this club, come hell or high water?

 

Season Opening Prediction Conniptions – 4/1
Probably the post I quoted from more often than any other in 2013… because, in my defence of certain prognostications that insufficiently trumpeted the Jays’ chances, I actually acknowledged that Boston might not suck.

Even the Red Sox– who will hit, especially in their ballpark, with Pedroia, Napoli, Gomes against lefties, and full health from Ellsbury and (eventually) Ortiz– need only for Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz to regain their form of two years ago in order to be a club capable of winning the division themselves, really. It’s a tall order, but I suppose the point I’m trying to make is, so is having Dickey pick up where he left off in 2012, keeping Johnson on the path to regaining his dominance, getting a healthy season from Brandon Morrow, and keeping the regression demons at bay when it comes to Mark Buehrle.

 

Dear John… – 4/5
An open letter to John Farrell on the occasion of his return to Toronto.

When the shit really started hitting the fan you could have pointed to the Jays’ openly stated reluctance to talk about a contract extension with you. You could have mentioned Boston’s setting up of your son’s radiation treatment while you were in the Jays’ employ. You could have pointed out that the club had the power to keep you if they really wanted to– as they did the year before. They didn’t want you, either, John. Maybe not as much as you didn’t want them, but enough to have used it to paint yourself in a better light. And you sure as fuck could have not said “dream job,” or “If you recall, I was traded,” John. That kind of delusional, arrogant attempt to brush aside legitimate questions about what appears to have been a duplicitous, long-considered, orchestrated exit just makes you kinda look like a fuckface.

 

Anatomy Of A JaysTalk: Deep Dickeying – 4/8
Barely a week into April and things were already spiraling out of control, with numerous fires needing to be put out– and not just from straw men, but from the mouths of actual fans. Seriously: April 8th.

Ken is aghast that the Jays had 42,000 people out, and couldn’t even get a run! They showed no emotion! Dickey should have been taken out in the second inning! He was giving up a run every inning! There wasn’t anybody even standing up in the bullpen! He doesn’t want to shit on Gibbons, but– this team isn’t hitting! You’re not going to win this thing with just home runs, it’s about averages! Encarnacion isn’t hitting .100! THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE TEAM! YOU CAN SEE IT! Gibbons didn’t make some changes to spark the offence in the fifth inning! Hands down Rasmus should have been in there! Do SOMETHING!

 

Another Loss – 4/23
One of many talkings down from off the ledge that were published here in the early going.

A baseball schedule is grand, like an opera, or a naive first foray into psychotropic drugs. Not everything will reveal itself in the first forty minutes, and for best enjoyment you need to be equipped with the knowledge that things are going to happen that you simply do not understand.

Bringing it back– before I get too far up my own asshole here– to baseball and this year’s version of the Jays, already the insufferably negative line on this club has run through several permutations that speak to the meandering nature of the schedule and events in the game itself. After Monday’s loss in Baltimore it had become something along the lines of, “Good teams don’t lose games like that”– which, of course, they totally do.

 

Of “Precedents” And “Excuses” – 4/29
Piss and moan all you want about how you didn’t want to hear it, it was still early.

Nobody is going to tell you that the Jays are playing well, or that the mounting losses of a poor April aren’t troubling, or that they haven’t made an already-difficult task all the more difficult. A dispiriting sweep at the hands of the Yankees, coming off a series in Baltimore in which they avoided a sweep by the skin of their teeth is not good. The club, I’d argue, started playing better against the Yankees this weekend, and still it wasn’t good enough to beat the Overbay- and Wells-powered juggernauts– indicative of just how poor their play had been for the bulk of the month– and pointing out that it’s still early, even though it undeniably is, has begun to ring hollow in the minds of fans keen enough to have conceded that point weeks ago, when .500 wasn’t quite so far off in the distance.

Concern is very legitimate– not concern that this team might be awful, mind you, or shit-dumb insane concern that they may have hired a manager who simply doesn’t know how to sufficiently inspire, but concern that the Jays are in the process of digging themselves a hole that may wind up too deep to climb out of; that in mid-September we’ll be wishing they could have a few of these insufferably pissed-away games back.

 

A Timid Defense Of J.P. Arencibia’s Defense – 5/7 – by Drew Fairservice
Drew tries to find the positive in Aaron Cibia’s defence (since, thanks to an early-season power surge, it was still too soon to start harping on his garbage hitting).

Somewhere north of unpleasant was J.P. Arencibia striking the big blow in last night’s epic comeback against the Rays, smacking the go-ahead home run in the ninth off Fernando Rodney. That was nice and not the first big hit by Aaron Cibia this season. After his heroics in the 9th, it is easy to forget that J.P. Arencibia didn’t start last night’s game, he was on the bench in favor of backup Henry Blanco.

Manager John Gibbons said the move was made in an attempt to “get (Mark) Buehrle going” which is a totally loaded statement for somebody with an agenda (such as myself). It isn’t fair to infer that Gibby believes Blanco is the superior defensive catcher to Arencibia. It is also not crazy and possibly not wrong.

 

Never Has There Been A Tale Of More Woe/Than That Of The Pitcher Ricky Romero – 5/9 – by Parkes
Parkes offers some perspective on the mess that’s become of Ricky Romero.

Romero was simply unable to throw strikes. I’m not sure what type of coaching program is going to change this, but again, I think it’s naive to believe such a problem is dependent on taking more time at the Minor League level. I despise the idea of relying on an appeal to authority for an argument, but when the alternative viewpoint is held by a fan who wrote the team off two weeks into the season and believed Munenori Kawasaki to be a diamond in the rough that the rest of baseball was foolish to look past, I’ll trust the perspective of a front office who chose to bring up Romero and is committed to paying the pitcher a minimum of $23 million over the next three years.

Will Romero ever recover the ability that he exhibited before his untimely talent collapse? I don’t know, but I am aware that the answer isn’t as easy as a mere Minor League assignment. This isn’t a video game, where suddenly a pitcher goes from unprepared to ready. It’s a bit more nuanced than that.

 

Defending Arencibia Just Won’t Fly – 6/12
Before the subject became a broken horse of a dead record, I decided it was high time to push back to some of the defending of J.P. Arencibia I’d been hearing– and not Drew’s timid one, but Mike Wilner’s characterization of his play as just a “big, big, big, big slump, and guys go in big, big, big, big slumps.”

Arencibia, in my mind– and many others, for damn good reason– hardly qualifies anymore as someone capable of doing damage. The successes are just too few and too far between. He needs to hit for more power than just about every catcher in the history of the game in order to stay on the right side of barely-passable, and when he doesn’t– like he is now, with nine extra base hits over 38 games, and a .183/.209/.303 line since April fucking twenty-fifth– little things like the fact that he’s posted an on-base above .301 in just threeof the 16 calendar months he’s appeared in as a big leaguer, start to become a little more glaring. Meaning: holy shit, it’s so fucked that this is even a conversation.

 

Jose vs. The Umps – 6/24 – by Jon Hale
Jon Hale joins us in the midst of yet another fan freakout over Jose Bautista’s attitude, asking the question on everybody’s mind, namely:

Jose Bautista: whiner or victim? Obviously it looks bad when he’s constantly complaining, especially when he gets one wrong and melts down on national TV. But he’s got a pretty good eye and doesn’t seem like a delusional egomaniac, so in the long run is he right more often than not, or has his rise to stardom blinded him to the fact that he gets good and bad calls just like everyone else?

 

Brett Lawrie Is Better Than Many Remember – 6/25
For some– i.e. those unwilling to see the obvious reasons– it seemed Brett Lawrie’s star had faded considerably by mid-2013.

It’s not that they’re wrong to have noticed that Brett Lawrie has been rather putrid at the plate for quite some time now. It’s just… a funny thing happened on the way to their believing Lawrie has suddenly turned to dog shit. … Well, two funny things, actually. The first one is that somehow the “keep a really good player off this team” brigade forgot how much better Lawrie is defensively than Maicer Izturis, Mark DeRosa, Edwin Encarnacion, or whatever combination of third basemen the team might send out there in his stead. … The second thing is how injuries have coincided with his struggles at the plate.

 

How Much Is Colby Rasmus Worth? – 7/10
Colby’s gonna get paid.

Alex Anthopoulos has become fond of saying that the Jays are less worried than they used to be about locking up players to long-term deals early in the process, because they insist they’ll have the resources to keep the players they need to, but– especially with Gose perhaps faltering– Rasmus may be about to put that theory to the test in a very serious way. The next three months for him, and for his place on the club, look to me like they’ll be pretty fucking crucial.

 

The Best Place To Watch A Jays Game: Safeco Field – 8/5 – by Dave Burrows
Vancouverite Dave Burrows makes the case for watching the Jays in Seattle– and it’s a damn good one.

To my East Coast homies, here’s what I want you to take away from this: if you’re from the GTA and you take a vacation to go see the Jays play, it should be to Seattle. If you’re outside of Ontario (what up, Nova Scotia!) and you save your pennies to come to Toronto once a year to  watch a Jays game, save up a little more and come to Seattle. This is the mecca for hardcore Blue Jays fans. Avoid the frat boys who come to the games just to get drunk before they go out. Avoid the carpet. Avoid the Go Leafs Go chants. Come enjoy real grass, craft beer, delicious food and your fellow kindred spirits who use their hard-earned vacation time to go watch the Blue Jays.

 

Reality Check – 8/12
With six weeks still to go in the season, it was already time to take stock of an unmitigated disaster.

All teams enter every season with red flags and question marks, and whether or not those are answered in the affirmative is not necessarily a reflection of a club’s fortitude, a manager’s acumen, or an executive’s plan. If we’re going to have a serious conversation about where the Toronto Blue Jays need to go following a thoroughly disappointing season, the bare minimum should be to understand that truth– to not just rage at results and supposed failures of evaluation, absent any contemplation of not just the Jays’ own process, and not only also the process that teams like the Red Sox have followed, but the necessary imperfections in every roster, given the limitations of the pool of available talent.

 

Prospect Round-Up With Doug Davis, Minor League Field Coordinator – 8/19 – by Jonah Birenbaum
Doug Davis talks to Jonah Birenbaum about a number of Jays prospects, and is notably high on Marcus Stroman.

I think he’s a strong kid. I think as long as he maintains strength in his lower half, I think a lot of that has to do with durability factor and being able to pitch a lot of innings. I don’t want to point to his height as a restraint. I don’t think that’s fair. Again, I think until we give him the opportunity to build himself up to that 180-200 innings plateau and see what happens, I don’t think we’ll ever know. But I think he’s headed in the right direction — again, this year’s been a great year for him — and I’m still on board.  You’re right, you don’t see a ton of small starting pitchers and if you do they’re usually left-handed and they don’t throw very hard, but Marcus isn’t that way, and again, I think it’s a good, young, fresh arm and I still hold out high hopes for him.

 

Let’s Talk About Player Development – 8/23
In the wake of critical comments from John Farrell, we explored what we really know about the Jays’ and their supposed disinterest in player development.

Which isn’t to say that the Jays shouldn’t have a focus on playing good fundamental baseball as their young players work their way through the system, or that we shouldn’t be wary of a vision in which the club advances and covets guys with monstrous tools with little thought to anything else, but… uh… is that really what’s happening? They’re just letting guys like Anthony Gose or Dan Norris float along on their tools with no guidance in their development? They don’t have roving instructors like Sal Fasano or Tim Raines to precisely guide prospects in fundamentals? They’re not advancing Kevin Pillar– not a big tools prospect at all– just the same as anybody else, on merit?

 

Should He Stay Or Should He Go? – 8/26
The vultures circle looking to feast on the carcass of John Gibbons, so naturally I call them morons.

The Rays didn’t make the playoffs in 2012 or in 2009: did Joe Maddon suddenly get dumb or lose his magic, or is the world infinitely more fucking complex than this “the manager creates a winning culture and then the players go win” bullshit? Look at the last two NL Managers Of The Year– Davey Johnson and Kirk Gibson– who each watched their teams go tits up in the year following their award wins. How could that be??? How could Jimy Williams have been a manager of the year? How were Joe Torre and Terry Francona bad enough to be fired from their first gigs? How can Ron Gardenhire and Mike Scioscia win Manager Of The Year and in short time watch their teams fall apart? Or Bud Black, or Jim Tracy?

 

The Blue Jays Injury Troubles Appear Systemic – 8/27 – by Blake Murphy
A look from Blake Murphy at the troubling pattern of injuries suffered by the Jays in the Anthopoulos era.

The Jays have had a major spike in the number of players used while the league average has held steady, and it’s something new since 2011. It’s worth repeating that this might not entirely be due to injuries. A team could conceivably go through a large number of players if its crop of “replacement players” were either very poor or very interchangeable. However, the Jays were sixth in total disabled list days in 2012, and sixth in average days lost from 2010 to 2012. While the data is incomplete for 2013, your memory should serve as a fine ledger for this year’s DL situation. The bulk of this heavy player usage appears to come from injuries.

 

A Poor FJM-ing Of An Even Poorer Gibbons Column – 8/27
I pluck some low-hanging fruit and smash apart a Damien Cox column. Because it was there.

Crystal clear. You want to fire a manager based on reasoning you admit is impossibly nebulous, just because of some superstition that has to do with the Red Sox playing better with one manager– and a better, healthier roster– than they did under some other guy. Sounds dumb as fuck to me, but please do go on.

 

Five Reasons To Keep Watching – 9/20 – by Archi Zuber
The Zubes finds some silver linings for the final weeks of a season long declared hopeless.

The average human life is about 657,000 hours. The average baseball game is somewhere around three hours. The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are offering you the opportunity to take another 30 hours of your time on this planet out from doing things like thinking, acting, or doing. You likely already waste around eight hours of your day not working very hard at a job you probably don’t really like for a boss you probably can’t stand, and when you get home you’re expected to continue pretending to enjoy the company of people you love a little bit less every day? Don’t worry, Buck and Tabby are here to lead you down a well where you’ll wake up at 9:45pm wondering where your night went. Sweet retirement will be here before you know it.

 

Payroll Parameters: Rogers (Still) Needs To Step Up – 10/17
As close to a forensic look at the Jays’ accounting as we can do around here, and one that came to the conclusion that Rogers still ought to do more for the Jays.

Even with what we saw from ownership last winter, we can only wait and see whether the corporation truly believes that sustained winning genuinely drives revenues, or if owning the club is just a means to procuring cheap content– content that’s got a strong core of consumers and can be kept profitable enough with false hope and infusions of cash every five or six years, while we all watch whoever is the current GM continue down the well worn path of his predecessors, being similarly undone by failing to produce miracles from just enough money to appear adequately lavish. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

 

Cano What I’m Thinking? – 10/23
Pipe dreaming on Robinson Cano, or some kind of major free agent splash that won’t further disrupt the Jays’ prospect pipeline.

In a warped way, as fans of the club who are in it for the long haul, that may even be ideal– the Jays give it another try with a similar roster, do as little damage to the prospect pipeline as possible, then start looking to 2016 and ’17 if things don’t work out. But it’s not very sellable, and it’s in that way that our interests and the interests of Anthopoulos and Beeston– who can’t let things get to that point if they want to keep their jobs– might be starting to diverge, and why we hear rumblings of desperate nonsense like trading Jose Bautista.

 

Rogers, Hockey, Money, Rumours, Guy Laurence, And The Jays – 11/26
Tackling the fears of Jays fans in the wake of Rogers’ new NHL TV rights deal, and their incoming CEO.

I mean, how likely do we really think it is that a company investing so heavily in sports media is going to hire a new CEO that not only doesn’t share that vision, but is going to swiftly dismantle key pillars of what has already been built? How much investment in the club, the stadium, and other sports properties– including this week’s rumblings of NFL interest that has MLSE fingerprints all over it– does Rogers have to make before we stop getting terrified at every turn that the Jays’ budget is about to disappear? Sure, they’ve probably earned our distrust through years of small market thinking, but regardless of who is in charge, this is very, very clearly a new era.

 

The Business Of Avoiding Robinson Cano – 12/06
Uh… so much for that pipe dream, eh?

There are huge incentives in ensuring the club maintains a strong brand with strong interest in it, which makes it all the more valuable as cheap content. Part of doing that is by investing in the club, and not to defend them too much, but that commitment can be seen in the jump from a $70-million payroll in 2011 to $150-million in 2015. Even factoring in the extra $26-million each team gets with MLB’s new national TV deals, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Apparently, though, the sorts of mega-deals we’re talking about with Cano just don’t fare well in the cost-benefit analysis. It’s a shitty way to have to look at it when you know that the money just sitting there, and that the deal is not even necessarily terrible, that flags fly forever, and that ownership has just been spending lavishly on hockey, but it’s not like the recent $5.2-billion NHL rights deal, or last summer’s MLSE acquisition, weren’t subject to the exact same kind of considerations.

 

Elliott: AA Now Referring To A “Five-Year Window,” And More Nonsense On “The Policy” – 12/11
A bit of a jumbled post, but damn if I’m not going to take another chance to point out how ridiculous it is that people actually think the Jays’ phony policy regarding contract length is stopping them from signing any player.

Think about it: if being offered the exact same amount of money, but being given the choice of reaching free agency again in five years or in seven years, or ten years, what player in his right mind isn’t going to take the five and give himself the best chance possible to re-enter the market before his skills erode so he can cash in once again? It makes no sense whatsoever that the Jays would be losing out on these kinds of deals because of term. If they’re losing out, it’s because they’re not willing to offer as much total money. Period.

 

Post Winter Meetings Angst – 12/16
Pretty much exactly what the title says…

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, 

 

The Jays Are Probably Better Off Than You Think – 12/25
A look at projections that hardly portend the kind of doom for the 2014 Blue Jays that’s expected by the fan base, given how their roster currently stands.

Maybe I’m being too hopeful and too quick to construct a narrative that conflicts with some of the things Alex Anthopoulos has openly said this winter– and, as with his stated preference for the trade market, that he has demonstrated time and again in the past that he truly thinks– but I tend to believe that he is actually intentionally holding all of his bullets. He’s holding money to make sure he has room in his budget to fit the free agent he’s aiming to go after, and he’s holding prospects (which could be used to make upgrades elsewhere– most glaringly at second base) to make sure he doesn’t deal away anything that could be used to net a top arm on the trade market, just in case he misses out. The concept works in one sense because it insulates him better against missing on the kind of difference-making pitcher he so badly needs. It works in another, though, because as desperately as it seems like he needs to make an addition, Anthopoulos can take the posture that he can stand pat a lot more confidently than I suspect a lot of fans realize. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he really did believe he could get away with doing nothing.

 

Image ripped off from Longreads.com. Posts written by yours truly unless otherwise noted, which you’ve surely figured out by now.

Comments (63)

  1. Best reason ever to keep watching a putrid Jays season?

    1. Each game brings you closer to the sweet release of death.

    Probably the funniest thing I read on DJF this year.

  2. 2013 you guys! I’m sounding like a Leafs fan – but next year will be better right?

  3. Damien Cox makes me sick. Might be a writer but is the worst broadcaster since Marconi came up with the idea.

    Can’t believe someone told him he was amusing once and he believed them.

    No point. I just had to get that off my chest.

    Andrew, happy new year. All the best.

    • Cox = Smarmy

    • He really does know jack shit about baseball.It’s embarrassing.
      i hadn’t noticed but somebody mentioned how he realtes everything back to hockey.Then I was listening,sure enough,Talk about the NFL and he brings up a similiar situation with the Ottawa Senators. Talk about boxing, reminds him of Edmonton Oilers and so on.It really is amazing.

    • Damien Cox Sucker.

    • Mark, every time you wished that the earth would open up and swolalw someone, all I thought of was this chapter. No one deserves that. Holy shit. Just like we wished Cato dead and thought about how sexy Finnick was, Collins makes us wish we’d never thought these things. Brilliant.

  4. Some excellent reads Stoeten.
    I think you’re starting to get the handle on this writing thing.

  5. Happy New Year Stoeten and all the DJF commenters!

    Thanks for the amazing blog this year, Stoeten. Next year will be really something to blog about. Now back to New Years pre-drinking…

  6. When 2013 rolls over can we begin the unbridled optimism for 2014 already?

    • Yes,
      someone freaked out at me when I said it last week but this is almost the exact same squad everyone was so pumped about last year… and we may still add to it.

  7. Couple thoughts on the player development thing

    Farrell and Sox had nothing to gain by making these comments. I believe them to be sincere and consider Farrell a subject matter expert. Weren’t necessarily critical but expressing a difference in philosophy and opinion which I am sure Farrell bumped heads internally about with Jays.

    Much more to it than lack of fundamentals learned by players like hitting cut off man although that is the easiest thing to point at and is obvious when a guy like Sierra comes up so raw knowing less about running bases than I did when I was 10 – and is a problem with an impact, an impact that may be minimal as Andrew said. The coaching aspect on fundamental mechanics like hitting and pitching is likely more of an impact than running bases, bunting, hitting cutoff man and is a lot harder to measure or observe

    For the draft tools centric scouting means they are just looking at the best physical tools and not necessarily evaluating the mental and personal aspects that can make a player successful. Ala Billy Bean with all the tools losing his shit and not being able to be successful vs Lenny Dykstra the gamer with less tools being an all star. Can you deal with adversity? I think Bautista had to learn this composure over many years before he broke out. This is huge to playing ball more than any other sport as anyone who has played any level of competitive ball knows and has experienced unless you are a rare breed like Dykstra. This is why there are such prolonged slumps at the plate It is huge. Is this aspect being developed in the guys in the minors?

    Are these guys being life coached and is the organization helping them become the best people they can be and happy and their families happy and they are comfortable and not distracted? This was a huge aspect to the Jays early in franchise history and into the early 90s with the Labatts owners involved at this personal level and why you see guys like Dwayne Ward and Tabler and Martinez involved with the team to this day.

    I don’t think you can blame Gibbons for the any lack of fundamentals. He is the manager of the big league team. There are coaches that are responsible for that on big league team and minor league teams. Sure OK he can direct them to practise these things more and get on guys who don’t do them which maybe he should be more. Gibbons shouldn’t be fired because a guy doesn’t hit a cutoff man or cant bunt. . He is a players manager and his job is to set the lineup and make the players feel comfortable and confident – the other coaches should be harping on the fundamentals.

    • E5 was great example of the composure and confidence aspect. I am guessing you could have had him throw 100 balls from 3rd to 1st in practice when he was younger and he would be accurate most times. With the Jays he was playing on edge without confidence. The classic kid in the outfield praying the ball doesn’t get hit to him. He was throwing wild all the time and it carried over to the plate – his confidence wasn’t there he was distracted, frustrated – his head wasn’t in the right place. Was maybe thinking too much at plate. Move him to 1st and DH where he is comfortable and he starts to rake.

      Only a fraction of guys can think and perform at the same time while some just need to have a clear head and unconsciously swing at good pitches, let muscle memory of mechanics take over rather than sit on pitches and try to out think the pitcher or there is some fine line between the two they are dealing with on ongoing basis and it is a slippery slope – think too much and you cant hit the ball – ie. Lind. Some guys are able to think and do the physical action at the same time – ie. Barry Bonds

      This confidence / composure aspect is the thing I think the old guard baseball guys think the new age guys that didn’t play the game don’t get and why they discredit some analysis based on hard evidence, stats, tools etc and is what Farrell was mainly driving at. He didnt come out and say AA didnt play the game and doesnt get it but I wouldnt be surprised if he feels that way.

      Pedroia is classic example of a guy with his head in the right place and a guy like Reed Johnson without great tools making it to MLB is another. This is why guys who played the game make the best coaches.

      • Ok so whats your point. EE wouldnt have re-found his stroke if someone didnt put him at 1B or DH. We did that, and not the reds, who seemed like a team who can do player development considering their wealth of home grown players.

        And farrells assessment is kinda dumb, he joined the organization in for grand whopping total of 2 years. He joined when AA was rebuidling a terrible, TERRIBLE farm system, so obviously there would be barely any players that exhibit proper “player development” and it seem to be a lot more focused on scouting more players to replenish the farm.

        • The jays did the right thing with EE moving him to first and it worked out great. Just meant as an example of how player development is not just about fundamentals and mechanics meant to help explain what I feel Farrell was talking about with player development rather than guys being able to bunt or run bases or even teaching proper hitting/pitching mechanics.

          IMHO Your characterization of Farrell’s accessment being dumb after spending 2 years in the organization given his incredibly strong credentials is entirely about you having a lack of respect for him since he spurned the jays.

      • You seem to be pretty confident that EE and Bautista broke out because of things that may or may not be going on inside their heads.

        Any baseball fan with a computer can go look at footage and clearly see that each of them made mechanical adjustments, whether it be timing or their stance and where they hold their hands.

        While I agree that being in a good mental state can only help a professional athlete, or anyone for that matter, but you seem to be connecting dots that you seem to want to believe are there, but you can not quantify.

        • I can only speculate about ee and Bautista or any other particular example.

          What I am confident in is that the mental aspect is a huge factor in the development of most baseball players and even their ability to be a good player once they meet competition up to their caliber. More so than any other sport by a large margin. This is based on personal experience playing, observing and coaching others. I think this along with dedication and work ethic etc is one of the dimensions Farrell was talking about along with fundamentals (mechanics and baseball like baserunning) and physical ability or tools. He is saying the jays focus primarily on the physical tools and scouting and developing them while the sox focus on all three dimensions in draft and development of the players. That is what he means a player development mindset rather than scouting and tools.

          My long winded post was meant to say that his message wasn’t fully appreciated. It wasn’t luck or a crapshoot that the guys the sox picks developed into solid players. Their focus on all these demensions from drafting through development has led to success. They foster that mental development along with the other two throughout development of the players. Aa talks about makrup etc when drafting players too, of course they dont draft all head cases and consider these things but seems like farrel is saying not as much as he thinks thry should and these skills arent fostered as much as thry should be through Development. Base running hitting cutoff man etc is a relatively small part of it

          Gose is a good example. He fell flat at aaa last year. Has great tools. Things he was saying in interviews seemed to make it clear he had lost confidence and was frustrated and that compounded his struggles. Can he regain his confidence and can the jays help him and teach him how to overcome adversity? Or will he be another billy bean type guy who flames out? Hitting is the thing where the confidence and mental aspect has the biggest impact and that is where gose is struggling

          • I took it as an insult because Farrell said it. The guy was mentally AWOL in his second year (probably dreaming about the Red Sox) and had the temerity to comment on the Jays system. Having said all that, I agree with the SOB’s point and I hope that AA fixes it.

  8. For the injury concerns yes evidence points to some systematic problem but is so wishy washy and hard to pinpoint analytically to be a cause of poor training staff vs dumbshit bad luck. Looking at individual cases can maybe be more telling.

    How was Cabrera’s benign tumour in spine not diagnosed? These ongoing issues he was having throughout the year on his lower body entirely point to some sort of back problem that most experienced athletic therapists would diagnose as likely cause after a one hour consultation. Do the Jays not have the best athletic therapists and trainers around? Unless they knew what the issue was but just wanted him to play through it this is not acceptable to not diagnose this. Ridiculous really. How do you have a player not telling you about his symptoms? Should this not be hammered into the players that the training staff needs to know everything going on? Cabrera wasn’t even in a contract year so get the issue figured out and return at full strength is a no brainer for both sides. And doesn’t do him any good to put up shit numbers anyway. JPA was hurt too and likely contributed to his disastrous season too albeit I don’t think he was very good anyway and there was nobody of quality backing him up. The whole situation is simply mind boggling.

    • Dude you’re grasping at straws, they said Melky never reported having back pains along with his knee issues. It wasnt till Melky said he had back pains did they realize the two might be linked.

      • Lower body problems down the sciatic nerve in hip, hamstring, knee, calf and foot are entirely common symptoms of back issues. This is a fairly common injuiry with common symptoms – not grasping at straws at all.

        I had the same symptoms – first a sore hamstring then moved elsewhere and was diagnosed correctly by a random chiropractor, arcupuncturist, massage therapist, doctor and athletic therapist nearly immediately. Every one said they see it all the time people complaining about lower body problems that are caused by back issues. One physiotherpaist straight out of school thought I had a hamstring problem.

      • “It wasnt till Melky said he had back pains did they realize the two might be linked.”

        That is exactly my point. It started with hamstring problems then knee. From my personal experience as well as talking to many others with same issues your average medical practitioner would immediately suspect back issues from these symptoms and investigate that as a potential cause. And they would diagnose that cause after 15 minutes which many did for me and the others I talked to when I complained about hamstring issue that didnt go away while I had no back pain or tightness at all.

    • Man, do you really think that athletes tell trainers and coaches everything? Naive.

      Every team has injuries.

      • No I don’t think that at all. The example with Cabrera is an extreme one where the guy was hobbling around all year with common symptoms of a fairly common general issue and from what we can tell somehow the jays couldn’t diagnose it until after the season. Trainers should hammer to players to report symptoms but doesn’t mean they will. JPA seemed to be a case where he was hurt somehow and they decided to let him play and he wanted to. With Cabrera that doesn’t seem to be the case from what we have heard it was incompetence to diagnose problem

        Ok getting my drink on now happy New Years and here’s to a great 2014 for us Jay’s fans

        • Melky’s problem aside, it doesnt take a genius to figure out that the Jays’ injuries were more numerous than the league average and that teams like the White Sox and Rays have consistantly better numbers.
          The fact that Hutch*, Drabek and Perez all went down with UCL tears (needing TJ surgery) inside the span of 1 month is a very bad sign, but the fact that the Rays have only had 3 TJ surgeries in the last 10 years should tell anyone all they need to know: the Jays are doing something wrong.

          • *Hutch actually waited to have his surgery til August of 2012

          • how do the Jays injuries compare to the rest of the league? I think that might be a better indicator than an outlier.

            Not sayinig that something can’t be learned from what the rays do vs what Toronto doesn’t do or Toronto’s #s aren’t exceptional, but without knowing the #s from the rest of the league as it relates to TJ surgeries over the same period its hard to say that Toronto’s are way out of whack.

  9. Jesse Crain signs with the Astros. Was hoping the Jays would pick him up and use a reliever as trade bait for a package for a starter. Plus he’s from Toronto, if anyone even cares about that stuff.

  10. Stephen Drew looks like he’s getting Lohsed. No one wants to give up a pick for him.

    I’m sticking with my 2 FA pickup prediction for the Jays.

    Like the Cleveland’s last year, Jays pick up 2 lower level FAs whose markets drop because of draft picks. Jays give up 2nd and 3rd rounders to sign them.

    Jays are still set to compete now despite a terrible 2013. With 2 protected first rounders and a bunch of stud low minors prospects they don’t need 2 more picks to restock their farm. All they need to do is wait.

    FAs turning down QOs is the new market inefficiency.

    • Add Jiminez and Drew to the Jays 25 man roster and we’re suddenly looking a lot better.

      • Drew is over rated. He struck out 124 times in 501 at bats, has spent significant amount of time on the D.L. two of the last three years, and has played every game of his career at SS. Even if you could talk him into playing second, what is he going to sign for, after turning down the 14 million Q.O? IMO, the price would be to high, and the player he was at 25 doesn’t seem to resemble the player he is now.

        On the other hand, I’m all for the Jays signing Jimenez.

        • “what is he going to sign for, after turning down the 14 million Q.O?”

          I suppose that depends what else is out there. The OP used Lohse as an example…he signed for, what, $11M per year after turning down $13M?

  11. Happy new year all y’all dirty bitches

  12. Happy 2014 everyone! 6 weeks until spring training. Stay on the boat, it’s worth the ride.

  13. I agree I think 14 is going to be a helluva ride!

    Happy New Years DJF. Now I’m heading across the party across the street to mingle and talk trash to the Tiger fans that are going to be there. I live on a border town so the city is 50-50 Jays and Tigers.

    Anybody that’s not a Jays fan pisses me off so should be fum.

  14. Damn after reading that post I better slow down on the booze.

  15. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20131231/free-agents-reiter-50-andrew-bailey-john-buck-grady-sizemore/?eref=sihp

    Never came to mind, but Jeff Baker rakes lefty pitching, plays multiply positions, including second base. He would be an excellent platoon partner for Goins, if that is the road we’re going to take, and even Lind. He would also give us some roster flexibility with being able to play all over the field. Could be a valuable addition to the club.

  16. Happy New Year fellow DJF posters & Stoeten !

  17. Happy New Year, and a better 2014 for all of us! Go Jays!

  18. I’ll join the conga line.
    Happy New Years.
    All the best to all commenters and contributors.

  19. Happy New Year ya bunch of hapless, new wave-Cubs-fans North of the border fuckers.

    Sincerely and affectionately Yours,

    KGBS

    • I read about Jennifer Lawrence soon after reading that there was going to be a Percy Jackson sueqel. I cringed equally about the two; I’m afraid the Hunger Games is going to be one of those crappy adaptations. Harry Potter and Twilight though it kills me to compare the two were incredibly successful and they stayed pretty true to the source material (meaning one was good and the other was awful) and didn’t alienate their fans. I hope The Hunger Games goes the Harry Potter route and not the Percy Jackson. It’s nothing against Lawrence’s acting skills I think she could do a great job but it would mean a lot of changes that could piss off fans. It could also mean targeting an adult audience and scraping the ceiling of PG-13. I just wish they’d release the damned cast already!

  20. I’m drunk and I’m a Jays fan so I might as well share this with everyone here.

    My top 10 things I will do differently in 2014 as requested by Mrs. Tom W:

    1. Tell her I love her more than Colby Rasmus.

    2. Find a way to not use the phrase ” Cletus Nailed Another” every time the above mentioned nails another.

    3. Stop screaming out “That dog don’t hunt” when Jose receives a called 3rd strike.

    4. Refrain from calling my kids Farrell Face when I catch them in a lie.

    5. No longer refer to the ‘Baseball Gods’ during family functions.

    6. Quit trying to explain why ball games start at fucked up times like 1:07.

    7. Take the pictures of Dave Stieb out of the family album.

    8. To no longer use the name of her saviour Jesus Christ and Canadian Jesus, Brett Lawrie in the same sentence.

    9. Quit using the years 1992 and 1993 as the only reference point when talking about anything.

    10. Give her my cell phone number for communication purposes between April and October.

  21. Fun comparison I just read:

    Is Mark Buehrle’s career better than Jack Morris’ career?

    (Up to age 34, obviously; or projecting Buehrle to age 39, if you’d rather.)

  22. The Jays Journal guys have picked up on a comment from Griffin about how other GMs perceive AA. Apparently his penchant for having long apparently trade-focused conversations that were more about information gathering than about real trades have not endeared him to the other GMs who now may prefer to talk to people they might actually have an opportunity to trade with. Hence, very possibly, AA being blindsided by the Fister trade. If this is the case it’s gonna be a bit of a problem for a little while until AA re-establishes his bona fides as a serious trade partner.

    • It’s absolute garbage.

      He builds it up like it’s some important thing, then it turns out it’s just his completely baseless speculation, which he won’t even commit to: “Would he have been given the opportunity two years ago? Perhaps.” Yeah, because he was the only GM who would have given more for Fister and didn’t get the chance. Such garbage.

      And as for the other part of this scare job, here’s what it really says:

      “One executive at the recent winter meetings indicated that other GMs now realize that when they are talking to Anthopoulos about a potential trade, it may just be information gathering. Some have become more careful in their conversations. Maybe it’s time to adjust.”

      This is just one executive’s opinion, and even if it was prevailing, does it say anything about this having any kind of impact on what Alex does or is able to do? No.

      • I’m not arguing one way or the other. I’ve gone back and checked the original piece, and you’re right, Griffin hedges his bets something fierce.

        However the Fister thing stays with me because a call to AA would be such a no-brainer if only to create more competition and jack up the price among other clubs. The Jays need for a front-line pitcher is no secret. So why did AA not get that call?

  23. Over-due diligence?

  24. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2013-disabled-list-team-data/

    These are the standings for 2013. The Jays went from 6th highest days on the DL to 4th highest. Interesting point there, their pitchers had the highest of all teams pitchers days. Also, the White Sox slipped to 7th from the bottom and the Rays pitchers spent the least amount of days on DL in MLB.

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