Because nothing in this pitching market could ever be simple, apparently, in his latest for ESPN.com (Insider Olney), Buster Olney says that it’s not Tanaka, and it’s not Santana that the Jays may be looking the hardest at. “In at least one corner of the organization, there is a lot of interest in Jimenez because of his power stuff,” he says. Sure, that works too. He suggests that the Jays are “in an excellent position to take a shot at” either Ubaldo or Ervin.

If you’re still dreaming big– or at least hoping that Alex Anthopoulos is– on Masahiro Tanaka, Ben Badler has an interesting free piece up at Baseball America today, comparing Tanaka to Yu Darvish. He says, as most do, that the latter is the better pitcher, but, one) that’s hardly a knock, and two) yes, just “most.” To wit: “Tanaka should be one of the best pitchers in the major leagues this season, and there are some scouts who do prefer Tanaka to Darvish,” he says. Yowza.

Outstanding, fascinating stuff from Maury Brown at Forbes on the economy of baseball, and specifically free agency, player salaries, and why deals being made aren’t nearly as crazy as they seem– including the fact that player salaries are just 47% the size of the revenue generated by the league.

Interesting stuff from Eno Sarris at FanGraphs, as he tries to understand Bronson Arroyo, a free agent as yet without a home, who has managed to rather consistently outperform his peripherals. It’s especially relevant for us today, as the same is true of Ervin Santana, who I profiled earlier. Over the last three seasons, only four qualified starters have outperformed their FIP by a higher degree.

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan looks at the worst position on a (loosely defined) contending team. Naturally, one of the three spots he cites is the looming disaster the Jays have staring at them from second base. “He did play good defense, and he’s always been considered a good defender, but he’s presumably not an all-world defender, making his offensive limitations difficult to tolerate,” Sullivan says of Ryan Goins, underlining a key point in the case against him. I’ve noted this before, but it bears repeating: extrapolated over 150 games (by UZR, which, yes, is hardly perfect), what Goins did in 2013 would have made him the best defender at any position in baseball. It would have made him the best second baseman by more than twenty runs over Darwin Barney, and more than three times the runs of the next best. Nobody should actually expect that he’s actually so valuable. No, he didn’t fluke into the plays he made this year, but opportunities to accumulate all that value aren’t distributed evenly, either. In fact, ideally we’d be looking at a three year sample of data before trying to get a real read on him by way of UZR, and the small sample size blip that makes 2013 look so good would surely be long smoothed out– extrapolating from it simply doesn’t work. So… while I’m not saying anyone should expect him to be bad, his defence wouldn’t really be as valuable in 2014 as this year’s numbers made it potentially look. He passed the eye test, sure, but lots of guys can do that while not being terrible at the plate. Sullivan hits the nail on the head: “Goins is the kind of guy you use to challenge another guy in spring training. He’s not the kind of guy who’s supposed to be the favorite, not at this point, and one has to figure Alex Anthopoulos knows that.”

Two more from FanGraphs: Sullivan also looks at the market for Stephen Drew, and thinks — or maybe just hopes — that the Jays might be a wild card. Meanwhile, Dave Cameron takes a look into the Orioles’ “stars and scrubs” problem.

Great minds, eh? Around the same time I was publishing my post earlier in the day, both Nick Ashbourne of Bluebird Banter and Isaac Boloten of Blue Jays Plus waded into the debate on whether Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez is the best possible target for the Jays.

Ditto for this Bluebird Banter piece from Tom Dakers, who covers some similar territory as the giant paragraph above, hoping that Alex Anthopoulos gets his act together and finds a second baseman.

At BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm tackles the burning questions of this point in the off-season in his weekly Inbox feature.

Drew is watching the few remaining ticks of the Hall of Fame outrage clock over at Getting Blanked– and while I’ve tried my best to abstain from that noise this year, I can tell you that for the moment I’m scheduled to join him on the Getting Blanked Podcast tomorrow following the announcement. Drew’s also got an outstanding collection of links — as always — in today’s URL Weaver, including a great one to an old Buster Olney piece in the New York Times, where he comes clean about media culpability in the steroid era, and takes all the other actors to task– not just the dirty cheating players, but importantly, the enablers as well.

At ESPN.com (Insider only), Jim Bowden makes predictions for the remainder of the off-season, and like everyone else, he thinks the Jays will land a free agent pitcher eventually– though not Tanaka, who he has winding up in New York.

Some real interesting stuff in this week’s version of the Quazcast with Jeff Pearlman, as Jeff talks to Giants scout– and former Bonds teammate– Brian Johnson, who is no shrinking violet when it comes to the P.E.D. issue.

Not at all baseball-related, but worth a read if only for the reminder that players are actual human beings, is this piece from Drew Magary at Deadspin on how “distractions” are bullshit. You read that right: it’s not because we think athletes are unfeeling robots that the notion is garbage, it’s because they’re human, and familiar with life.

Lastly, Bluebird Banter passes along word that on Saturday afternoon, at Tallboys, at Bloor and Shaw here in Toronto, they’re having a Roy Halladay appreciation day, drinking some beers and watching some classic Roy.

Comments (63)

  1. so Goins is a lesser johnny mac, at a less important defensive position?

  2. Run out of Frisky Dingo quotes?

    There is a world of Sealab 2021 for you to explore. I believe that “Bored! Bored! Bored! Bored! Bored! Bored! Bored! Bored!” would be appropriate at this time of year.

  3. Stoets, I relented, accepted your point in the previous post, but I think you’re too hyperbolic. Even Sullivan says Goins will be roughly replacement level. Disaster is what we saw last year at 2b and C. Compared to that 0.5 WAR is a dream.

    • But 0.5WAR is a projection and hasn’t happened yet.

      What was the projection for the Izturis / Bonifacio combination last year? 2 guys with a track record there so figure the projection is less volatile than Goins’ even with him seeming to be a good bet to be better than average defensively. His floor has to be really low offensively.

  4. By the way, great work today, both the posts and comments.

  5. I’ve been sort of wondering about Drew for a while. AA mentioned before wanting a SS-calibre defender at second, and as the article mentioned there’s no one else who’s a real fit. I’d be super stoked if he waited out the market and got Drew and one of the pitchers on relatively cheap deals. Maybe not cheap so much as deals that aren’t terribly long.

    • Drew has to agree to change positions though, which he may not decide to do.
      Or Reyes does….

    • Don’t see it unless there is more room in payroll than expected or he strikes out on SP.

      The SS caliber D at 2B was maybe preparing for backlash of Goins playing 2B?

    • Drew is not really that good of a defender at SS, so I am not sure whether that really helps him here.

      • The numbers seem to say he’s at least average. Outside of an injury plagued 2012 he has a positive UZR/150 since 2009. DRS doesn’t like him as much, but again, other than 2012 he’s been ok by that metric.

  6. The thing with Goins is he is not just a bad hitter, but he is slow and doesn’t walk all that much. So he’s kind of a bad hitter AND a bad batter (if “batting” includes taking a walk, speed, etc).

    And that lack of speed probably has to mean that his range isn’t as great as we think.

    Honestly I’d rather even just get Maicer in now for some pre-spring training practice and throw him back out there. He’s a weak MAJOR league hitter. Goins is a weak MINOR league hitter.

    And… nothing personal Ryan. Love to be wrong here.

    • I am not sure you can make that connection with range. Range likely is more about the quickness of the first couple of steps, which is not the same as speed. Yunel was not fast, but he sure could cover ground up the middle.

      • Exactly, and I’m not sure Goins is a bad runner – he just maybe shouldn’t be stealing bases. Plus as you say, speed doesn’t directly translate into range, especially in the infield.

      • Bravo! This is so great that you allowed yuolserf to be vulnerable and share your biggest fear! In doing so, you open the doors for each of us to share our biggest fears, too, and know that it’s completely okay. I could really relate to many of your examples. I, too, went through college and took classes based on whether I would have to give a speech at the end. And reading out loud or going up to the board in school would send me into a full-blown anxiety attack (all hidden on the inside). I get it, and it’s only in the past year that I’ve been pushing through these fears. So what’s my biggest fear? Not being good enough. That’s definitely what it all comes down to for me. But I’ve found that each time I say yes to life, I’m fully supported. And each time my fear gets a little smaller.

    • You are! By the way, you sound like a guy talking himself into suicide.

  7. Greg Maddux won’t be a unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame.

    Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, says the only player he voted for was pitcher Jack Morris. Morris is on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the 15th and final time after falling 42 votes shy last year.

    [+] EnlargeGreg Maddux
    USA TODAY Sports
    Greg Maddux, who won 355 games and four Cy Young Awards in a 23-year career, was left off one voter’s ballot because he played in the steroid era.
    Gurnick said Tuesday that he excluded “everybody from the steroid era.”

    “I just don’t know who did and who didn’t,” Gurnick said, adding: “Some people quibble over when the era starts, but the bulk of [Morris'] career was in my opinion well before all of the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.”

    • dumbest.

      • you have to think that someone could only be this dumb in order to be a troll.

      • Wow…. that’s so dumb.. I uh.. well…. nope. No way to respond to that level of dumb.

        • When I first saw that, my original worry was that it was a kind of “I won’t vote fer nobody til my man Morris gets in!” protest. As it stands, it is still dumb in my opinion, but is at least marginally defensible. It’s like the other side of the coin to the idea that you can defend Barry Bond because you suspect the pitchers could have been doping too.

  8. At least Blue Bird Banter knows how to shake it up with the boys over some beers.

    • Been there, done that, not interested.

      Coors Light wanted to do several meet-ups last year, but when the team shit the bed out of the gate it took the wind out of everybody’s sails. Maybe someone will come around with that kind of idea this year, but I’m not organizing shit, myself.

      • If ya need a hand helping out. I’m sure a few of us would volunteer.
        The last one was fun.Somebody actually bought you ,Parkes and Drew a beer.Never thought you’d turn down an opportunity for free beer.
        First off.
        You’ll need a bigger venue than last time, You’re a popular guy.A rockstar in the world of Blue Jays bloggers.
        I got connections.I can get the gym at the high school down the road.Pretty sure we can scare up some folding tables and chairs.
        Some ladies I know, make some awesome canapes.
        If someone can whip by Costco and pick up some chips,we’re half way there.
        You get the idea.
        If you’re worried about the clean up,I’ll help you do the dishes.You wash,I’ll dry.
        There should be enough empties left over to get a couple of cases after.
        How can you turn down free beer?

  9. A hilarious comment from another piece:

    If you had $2 billion dollars and wanted to help out the Blue Jays, rather than purchase the team from Rogers, you would actually do more for the Jays by purchasing the Red Sox and running them into the ground.

  10. Our outfield is (projected to be) better than Mike Trout!


  11. Surely some contending team has a worse projected 5th started than any of the guys listed?

  12. I don’t know if it was just that extreme shit show we seen at 2nd last year that made Goins look like a rock star or is his D really that good. I’m leaning towards great range, arm and coordination from the amount of the tough plays he made on the turf.
    Granted his bat is his Achilles heel but I just don’t see this giant glaring hole at 2nd with the kind of defensive ability I’ve witnessed and come to expect from him. Now you guys have me doubting myself. Is it the short time he was up that’s making people nervous. What the hell am I missing here.
    I still remember Manny Lee and we survived him.

    • someone who makes sense. Stoeten has everyone aboard the Goins hate train..him and Izturis will be fine IMO. But if they can upgrade im all in.

      • There’s no Goins hate train. More of a someone who can hit above his weight love train

      • No, he doesn’t make sense.

        “I just don’t see this giant glaring hole at 2nd with the kind of defensive ability I’ve witnessed and come to expect from him.”

        The expectation is warped. So is the understanding of just how bad the bat will be.

        Lok at the projections. The most optimistic on his FanGraphs page (Steamer) has him providing the same amount of value as Emilio Bonifacio did last year (0.6 WAR), and less value than 17 of the 21 second basemen who managed 450 plate appearances or more. The less optimistic one (Oliver) would rank him behind 20 of them.

        Looking at this year’s projections on their own, by WAR Steamer spits out 57 more valuable 2Bs, Oliver projects 65.

        In terms of defensive value provided, though, Steamer projects just six more valuable 2Bs (all of whom they have accumulating 100-200 more PAs), while Oliver projects zero more valuable defensive second basemen. And still it has him as the 65th most valuable overall.

        Projections aren’t the be-all end-all, obviously, and yes, the defence was refreshing as hell last year, but again, in the tiny sample we saw he provided elite-elite, best-in-baseball kind of defence– the eye test and the numbers both say that. But what reason is there to think that’s close to sustainable?

        I’ll tell you: there isn’t any. His defence has always been lauded, but tonnes of people have seen him over the years, and nobody has been saying, “holy shit, you’ve got one of the best defenders in baseball on your hands.” He could be improving as he moves up– wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened– and nobody’s saying it’s not good defence, but the farther away his true talent is from elite, the more his bat needs to compensate. So really, that’s what you’re banking on– the bat. Yikes.

        I mean, fine, you believe in the defence, but you can’t just ignore the bat and figure that a bad hitter is a bad hitter and that’s OK. He projects to be SO bad at the plate that it undoes just about whatever value he provides with the glove– and given how valuable that glove projects to be, that’s disgustingly bad. Especially if you figure he’s getting too much credit on defence because of a tiny sample in which he had more opportunity to bump up his value than it can be expected he’ll get over the course of a full season– in other words, it’s not that he wouldn’t still make the outstanding plays that he’s shown himself capable of, he just won’t likely make as many in every 200-odd inning segment of the season, simply because opportunity isn’t distributed evenly.

        He could be better than all that, sure. I’m not saying that it can’t possibly work or that he can’t outhit the expectations — shit, I’d love it to work, the defence is really important — but to be banking on it and talking ourselves into it at this point is somewhat insane.

        Maybe we don’t think WAR has it weighted right, and that the value of defence far outstrips the mitigating properties of a horrible bat– or, as some would suggest, maybe the idea should be more fluid, and the context of the rest of the lineup needs to be accounted for, rather than simoply looking at an individual’s value as absolute regardless of what’s around him. I could agree that’s probably a bit too narrow, sure, and that given the context — the vast defensive gulf between Goins and the current other options on the club and the fact that the lineup is otherwise decent enough to sustain a virtually-automatic out every nine trips to the plate — he genuinely does look a little more palatable than in a straight-up isolated-for-individual-value sense. But it’s still an uphill battle to get to the point where you can be convincing that he’s a great choice, especially since it’s still so possible to rather easily find someone who can provide more overall value, and still especially fucking scary to think of what happens when injury hits and you’re looking at adding a Kevin Pillar, an Anthony Gose, a Maicer Izturis, a Brent Morel to a lineup that already has a bat like Goins’s entrenched in it.

        And, again: the more optimistic projection has him as being as valuable as Emilio Bonifacio was in 2013. I know Emilio turned it around in Kansas City, but seriously, think about that.

    • They could survive Goins for sure – the same way one player never really sinks a team. The Cards gave 500 AB’s to the very Goins-like Pete Kozma for example. The Red Sox gave nearly 400 abysmal AB’s to Will Middlebrooks. The Rays gave 300 AB’s to Jose Molina. The A’s gave nearly 400 AB’s to Chris Young. The Tigers gave nearly 250 AB’s apiece to Bryan Pena, Don Kelly and Ramon Santiago. The Braves gave 450 AB’s to BJ Upton. The Pirates gave 300+ AB’s to Clint Barmes.

      The Jays could survive Goins for sure, but it would certainly narrow their margin for error, and I’m sure you’d agree: they don’t have a huge margin for error, even if they add a solid SP. Personally I’ve been praying for Stephen Drew for weeks.

  13. Offensively Goins is NOT their problem. They have more Off talent than most of 2013 playoff teams. The problem on Off was the lack of a professional approach to offense by anyone not named EE or Reyes. They squandered so many game winning runners on 2b and 3b for the lack of a single, a sac fly or a grounder to the right side. No we can live with Goins, if the rest of them wake up. JPA was the worst, but not the only culprit.

    • Bautista, with his 14+% walk rate over the last 4 years, doesn’t have a professional approach? Ditto Lind and Rasmus who walk at or above the league average rate? You crazy my friend?

      All this bullshit about not hitting with guys on is purely a product of a disappointing season. The mind remembers what it wants to remember to fit the picture of how it thinks the season went down. The Jays were shit last year so of course all anyone remembers is when they didn’t cash the guy at 3B with less than 2 outs, but I guarantee you if you do some research you’ll find that they probably are no worse than the next team in so called clutch situations.

      The Jays were shit last year because a combination of injuries and freakish underperformance conspired to produce one of the worst starting rotations in the game, and a similar confluence of events caused 4 of the Jays’ 9 everyday positions (C, 2B, 3B and LF) to be complete black holes, ultimately producing a team with below average defence and middling offence.

    • Wow. This is hilarious.

  14. What’s hilarious is how stoeten cherry picks when he wants to use WAR. When he hates a player he completely ignores it. Goins had a 1.4 WAR in only 100 ab’s. That is insane.

    Let him hit .200 and turn dp’s like a mf.

    • Moron, that WAR is inflated by the crazy and unsustainable defensive number. I would use it if it was meaningful– it’s not.

      Oh, hey, and I see you’ve recently switched from trying to be a negative troll to being this kind of troll. What happened, not getting the attention you so desperately wanted with the other pathetic cry for help? Well, here you go, then…

  15. I would love to know how stoeten knows that goins can’t hit. How is a .220 avg not unreasonable? Stoeten keeps calling him an automatic out. Despite a hot start he still hit .265 the last 2 weeks, had a 9 game hit streak despite playing boston, nyy, tampa, baltimore, you know the toughest teams?

    He had .342 OBP in AA, .311 in AAA. Not great but not horrible either. He doesn’t walk much but showed an eye at the plate.

    And why is defense not sustainable? You mean suddenly he won’t be able to field? He turned a shit tonne of dp’s because he gets to the back quick, has a quick release and a strong arm. Those things just don’t disappear.

    • Moron, you’re allowed to read what I wrote before saying dumb things. “No, he didn’t fluke into the plays he made this year, but opportunities to accumulate all that value aren’t distributed evenly, either.” That’s why it’s unsustainable.

      Also, a .220 average– if we want to pretend it’s 1988 and we still talk about batting average– is completely unreasonable with zero power and poor on-base skills.

  16. nobody has been saying, “holy shit, you’ve got one of the best defenders in baseball on your hands.

    And how many people said that about mike trout before he was drafted?

    Just because others don’t recognize your talent doesn’t mean the talent is not there. There is no consensus in baseball. Just look at edwin. Nobody wanted him a few years ago.

    • Moron, Trout improved when he turned pro, and still, after 175 games in the minors he was the top prospect in the game, and people like Keith Law were saying “Trout’s performance reflects his outstanding tools. He’s an 80 runner, not just fast underway but explosively quick out of the box. That speed, combined with good instincts, gives him good range in centerfield.” That was following the two-thousand-TEN sesason.

      Hey, but go ahead and pretend teams “sleeping” on Trout enough to have him fall to the bottom of the first (of FORTY!) rounds, or the fact that Edwin getting released (before he made the mechanical changes that made him the player that he is now), as some kind of reason why nobody in Buffalo, New Hampshire, or anywhere else over the years has said they ever thought that Goins was going to be anything close to the best defender in baseball.

      A good defender? Yes. Better than that even. But don’t be a moron, moron. He didn’t suddenly become Andrelton Simmons on August 22nd.

  17. Oh christ. How many times can I remember in the past players like Goins coming up, and having a good September and people tripping over each other to annoint them a starter for the next season.

    For fucks sakes these are the same people who would be torching the Rogers Centre the first time he strikes out with runners on, which is what Ryan Goins will do a lot fucking of if he’s given the lions share of the work at 2B.

    Nothing against Goins, he seems like an easy guy to cheer for and has obviously worked hard to get where he is, but he’s just not very fucking good people!

  18. Put it this way, I’d feel a lot more comfortable just throwing Macier back out there and hoping last year was a fucking anomaly. He’ll never be Roberto Alomar, but he aint the black hole he was last year. Plus, you’ve already got fucking Kawasaki to back up 2nd.

  19. It would be interesting to know what Goins’ offseason approach is. In the past I remember hearing reports on what certain players were doing (strength programs, etc.) Goins must know about his spring training opportunities and his glaring weakness with the bat, so how is he trying to improve?

    • Was there not talk of him working with Seitzer? (I legitimately can’t remember.)

    • Goins has been working hard to learn how to hit and improve for his whole career and that is why he ever made it to MLB to begin with. Its not like oh now is my opportunity so I am going to train and improve to make the most of my chances and he is suddenly going to take a big step forward. Maybe now with a higher profile he will get some better support and be able to train with the MLB hitting coach in off season for instance and that may help accelerate things but not reasonable to expect him to take a big step forward over the off season.

  20. Not to worry, second base will be provided by Seattle this year. Either Franklin or Ackley will be a Jay before the regular season. Too much common sense for a Toronto/Seattle trade, even for Jack Z to ignore.

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