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.