goins

The off-season keeps on chooglin’, and while there is still time for the Jays to do something about their situation at second base — the position that Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs cites as one of the three worst among all potentially contending teams in the Majors (while giving Alex Anthopoulos credit enough to know that Ryan Goins is “not the kind of guy who’s supposed to be the favorite, not at this point”) — there genuinely remains the potential that they’re more comfortable with the status quo than any reasonable person ought to be able to believe.

We know for certain, at least, that the club is determined to act like they’re OK with going into the season with Goins — and his disgusting .214/.243/.310 line against mostly minor league left-handed pitching in 2013 — at the helm, and an example of the supposed confidence came up during Mike Wilner’s chat with the club’s new hitting coach, Kevin Seitzer, this week.

Some of the chat can be heard on the Fan 590′s On Demand Audio page, and it’s an interesting one. When he really gets going, Seitzer sounds as much like a sports psychologist as he does a hitting coach– though maybe that’s an accurate representation of half of his job description anyway — not to mention sincere as hell.

“I don’t care where the ball goes, I want production,” he says, with the intonation of a preacher reaching a quiet ebb.

But while all the stuff about Alex Gordon and Billy Butler is nice — coloured as it is by the language of batting average and RBIs (which is somewhat disheartening, though hopefully more an outdated necessity within clubhouse culture more than it is a reflection of the organization’s failure to recognize progress) — what really piqued my interest was a tweet from Wilner about comment that isn’t in the audio clip you’ll hear via the above link.

“Seitzer compared [Goins] to Alcides Escobar,” he wrote. “They thought he wouldn’t hit, Seitzer disagreed. He hit .293 in ’12.”

Seitzer would know. As John Lott explains in the National Post, he hosted Goins at his house in Kansas City last weekend, getting some pre-season work in.

“I felt like he needed to kind of simplify some things with his stance and his setup, keeping his legs underneath him a little bit more and letting his hands work in a little better position, staying inside the ball,” Seitzer said. “He had a little tendency to get out and around on pitches that were in. We just did some drill work and I showed him a couple little techniques that he could do with his hands that got him pretty excited.”

“It’s just a little technique move that you can do in order to give yourself a chance,” he addds. “And what it does is allow you to foul pitches off in tough counts instead of being out, and that’s usually with two strikes.”

The object, we’re told, is to have hitters think middle-first — though he says he’s not interested in messing with anybody who has success, and figures he’ll be working with younger hitters more than older ones — and for them to hunt for pitches best suited to hit.

Anecdotally, there might even be signs that it’s not just fanciful horseshit from a glorified cheerleader.

Alarm bells certainly go off when you see crowing about Escobar’s 2012 season, given that it’s a screaming BABIP outlier. His four full big league seasons by BABIP have gone .264, .285, .344, and .264, and after an impressive-for-a-defensive-wizard wRC+ of 98 in 2012, Escobar slumped back to 49 last year. Alex Gordon, another of Seitzer’s important protégés, saw huge upticks in BABIP in 2011 and 2012 as well. That dipped, along with Gordon’s numbers on the whole, in 2013, further cementing Seitzer’s myth in some eyes.

But all of that may not be down to pure luck. Escobar’s line drive rate went up in 2012, as did Gordon’s, both of their fly ball rates were well down that season as well — with Gordon also hitting more ground balls, though Escobar’s rate remained steady — and they both were noticeably less inclined to walk in 2013 than the two years previous. Could that, and the increased BABIP, be indicative of them being more selective, finding pitches to make better contact with, and putting balls in play that are more likely to fall for hits?

There’s some divergence in the plate discipline numbers that makes carving out this sort of a narrative using that stuff a little bit messy, but… I don’t know. At least it’s all positive. Even Tony Rasmus is on board, responding to Lott’s piece on Twitter with positive words about Seitzer (since deleted, for some reason), after some trepidation earlier in the week, as he explained that, when you start trying to implement these sorts of changes, “you have to be ready for the player to get worse before he gets better.”

When it comes to Goins, of course, that’s a scary thought, even if there is progress to be expected at the end.

I continue to go back and forth on just how unpalatable the notion of going into the season with Goins as more than the guy who is really just there to push a more established incumbent. The Jays do like him, of course. In fact, at the time of last year’s trade with the Marlins, Andrew Pentis of MiLB Prospective suggested that he was part of the reason that the front office thought Adeiny Hechavarria was expendable, and in a piece from MiLB.com he quoted Sal Fasano, following the 2012 season, as saying that “he didn’t get a lot of notoriety — Ryan Goins might not be as big a name as the Manny Machados — but he was as good as anybody at shortstop.” And sometimes even I see it, too.

Writing back in October, in my Playoff Post (Mortem) on him, I got downright close to endorsing him.

He’s shown in the minors that he can take a walk better than the 1.7% rate he did so in his call-up, so the current on-base is low, but still, I don’t think that line is necessarily so far off what you could expect out of his bat based on how the year in Buffalo went,. And for a fan base that has, rightly, very nearly completed griping J.P. Arencibia out of town, to be pining for a player like that– or even willing accept him as a fall-back– just seems kind of beyond ridiculous to me.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. At the very least, defence isn’t prone to slumps the way bats are, so– especially given the turf and the disasters we witnessed this year at second base– I can understand the impulse to want to go defence first here.

And his numbers in 2012 in New Hampshire maybe offer a glimmer of hope. Playing at age 24, which was average for the Eastern League, he put up an above-league-average slash line, ending up at .289/.342/.403. If he could do that in the big leagues, giddy up! And while New Hampshire is known to have a favourable home park for left-handed hitters, Goins actually fared better on the road in 2012 than at home, and had a more even platoon split than this year as well. While he was even better against right-handed pitching in 2012, against lefties his line was a passable .265/.326/.381, but in Buffalo this year he was a puke-tacular .214/.243/.310 in the split.

Did he just need more time to adjust to the shitballers of the International League? That would be easier to buy if his numbers didn’t go down as the year progressed. But I could buy it… if he could get back to those New Hampshire levels during another stint in Buffalo.

Throwing him into the big leagues, though, at a key position in a season where the club has to do well? You’d sure need a whole lot more belief in him than I have to do such a thing. Yet… with the way offence is going, league wide, it’s maybe not even be that completely fucking crazy! People like myself have noted Kelly Johnson’s name on the list of potential free agents available this winter, but when you look at it, Johnson’s floor, offensively, is what we saw him do in 2012 with the Jays– the .299 wOBA he posted was the lowest of his career. Goins bested that in Buffalo (.311), and he crushed it as a not-too-old prospect at New Hampshire (.336), and would add a whole hell of a lot more value on defence. Obviously those aren’t the Majors, but it’s not inconceivable that he could be good enough.

But he could also be a second baseman who hits like career-bench-player Johnny Mac, getting regular at-bats on a team that has designs on actually winning. Not good.

It’s worth noting that the man Seitzer compared Goins to, Alcides Escobar, managed to be worth 1.1 WAR this season (by FanGraphs — at 0.3 WAR, Baseball Reference wasn’t so kind), despite the abysmal season at the plate. That’s while playing shortstop, though.

And in a recent comment on Goins, I wasn’t particularly kind either…

Look 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 super-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, as though all bad hitters are created equal. 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 pretty 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 simply 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 as a regular 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.

Seitzer saying the right things is nice and all, and reminding myself of his success in New Hampshire does help make it all feel not quite so ridiculous… but not by much. Replacement level is replacement level. I don’t care much for how you get there, I just know that if that’s where you’re at, there simply must be a better option.

Comments (204)

  1. I’m more worried about Melky Cabrera than I am about Goins. At worst, Goins will provide decent defense at a key position and no bat at all. A team can hold one of those guys, even though it would suck.

    Melky could just be completely unplayable in the field or at the plate (as he was this year). If that’s the case, you’re looking at one of Gose, Sierra or Pillar ACTUALLY PLAYING! And playing a position (LF) where you’re supposed to actually be able to hit.

    If they’re not very very sure about Melky coming into the season the team owes it to themselves to find a guy who can at least be average at the plate to play LF. A good 2B hitting .200 isn’t the end of the world. A slow as fuck LF hitting .200 is probably going to sink the lineup pretty effectively.

    • Let’s wait and see how he is without a tumour on his spine.

      • So what we’re hoping is Melky – steroids – tumour = non-lazy shit of a LF’er.

        Hope you’re right.

        • Who thought he was lazy?

          • Melky’s had that knock on him since his days with the Yankees. There were a couple videos this past season that i’m too lazy myself to look up of him doddling to retrieve the ball or make a catch that wound up dropping when it shouldn’t have (you could chalk that up to his health, but I only buy that theory so much…).

        • Two things about Melky.
          He kept going out there,even when he was in obvious pain.Christ,I coulda out run him before he was finally shut down.It would have been easy for him to say “Fuck It”.Let me heal and come back later. The season was already over and he kept climbing out of the dugout.
          He’s on the last year of his contract. He needs to prove to everybody that he can play or he might not get any offers for next year.

        • I never understand how you can “see” laziness through a tv somehow.

        • I’m not sure lazy is fair at all. Dude had two messed up legs and a spinal tumour, let’s see what he looks like healthy before we decide he looks lazy in the field.

          • Him and Bonifacio both showed up visibly out of shape to camp, something that was commented on back in March and roundly ridiculed. Surprise, they both looked sluggish out there.

            I’m perfectly happy to give Melky a pass due to injury; in fact, even an out of shape Melky could be a very strong asset. My point is only that the worse case scenario for Melky is far more damaging for the Jays chances than the worst case scenario for Goins.

        • He hit 280 with a tumor on his back. Lower back. He basically was hitting with just his upperbody, which explains the lack of pop. I hope he’s healthy, he could be huge this year. And he is a free agent after the season, which sometimes brings out a career year for players

        • I think most of the people following baseball are too young to realize what back pain which extends into your legs means. Melky’s offseason workout partner has been Jose Bautista. He has been anything but lazy and a healthy Melky could be a difference maker.

      • I agree. What are we gonna get here ? It also begs the question what we’ll see outta several other players…..re: production, attitude, health etc… Melky, Bautista, Lind, Cletus, Lawrie, etc….

    • Sierra isn’t the worst option and is likely better than Goins. Seems like his weaker things have massive room for improvement because he has good tools (baserunning and defence) and he must project to hit a lot better than Goins

      • Isn’t Sierra out of options? Will be out of the org if he doesn’t make the team.

        Kind of curious what happens to all these guys because there is quite a group there.

  2. and here we were thinking a few quotes from kevin seizer were going to change your mind!

  3. It’s not like he’s gonna come out and flatout say Goins isnt any good.

    • Sure – but it’s also not like he just said “he’s good” or “he has potential”.

      He’s actually met with him and started working with him. That is intrinsically positive. Even if it scares me that he really is the starter.

      Guess we really are getting Tanaka and Garza (pretty please…).

      • All I’m saying hes not going to take a dump on the guy to hurt any confidence he might have. It doesnt take away from the fact his tools reflect the fact he’s a bench player at best.

  4. The Alcides Esocbar comparison from Seitzer is kind of ridiculous – Escobar was a legit prospect. I did a quick Google and found him at #45 on Keith Law’s 2009 prospect list. About his bat, he wrote: “He has excellent bat speed … He makes solid contact, especially on fastballs, and showed a little more power this year, although he’s not likely to ever be more than fringe-average in that department.”

    He was #19 that year by Baseball America.

  5. manny lee was the starting ss all year for the jays when they won the ws, brandon crawford played every day for the giants for whatever reason(s) …i don’t think it’s a huge problem having a kawasaki or goins at the bottom of the order. all i expect from the 9 hole is that play good defense, anything they can contribute with the stick is gravy.

  6. 2B rates on the Jays’ list of problems about where rabies lists on a list of diseases Canadians are most concerned about. If things get that bad, and the Jays are somewhat successful come June/July, how hard would it be to find an upgrade at second compared to getting quality starting pitching or a quality LF to take over for Melky’s sorry ass?

    • You’re being hypocritical. 2B doesn’t matter but LF does?

      And Melky is a potential all-star if his health is good.

      No one ever said that about Goins.

      • Cabrera is a potential all-star by what metric, exactly? The man has one all-star appearance in 8+ seasons, in a year in which he was suspended for PED use.

        • Cabrera’s down years would be great years for Goins

        • “Cabrera is a potential all-star by what metric, exactly? The man has one all-star appearance”

          You answered your own question, moron. How many major leaguers can say that they’ve ever been an all-star ever?

  7. I know it won’t happen. But if we move Reyes to 2b wouldn’t he be considered above average defender? Then going at shortstop isn’t THAT bad

  8. If the jays get starting pitching, it won’t matter who their second baseman is

    If the jays don’t get starting pitching, it won’t matter who their second baseman is.

  9. Sometimes ya gotta choke it down. Its possible he will in fact be the man. Like I said in the previous post, its disheartening to spend 135 mill and still have sizeable holes in the roster.

  10. The Goins/Seitzer thing does give reason to pause and wonder if there’s any possibilty of a positive outcome,rather than writing Goins off.
    Wish I’d thought about it before.
    Still a big question mark with the bat, at least he seems capable with the glove.
    Only time will tell.

  11. He watched movies with him guys. He fed him. He just knows in his heart he can hit.

    #yagottahavefaith

    • What I wanna know is – is he in the best shape of his life?

    • Or
      Seitzer says he put the offer out to all the players when he contacted them.
      Goins was the first to respond. That’s a good thing.Goins knows he need to improve,wants to improve and is willing to take the steps to try to improve.
      Seitzer is providing that opportunity,in the offseason,to see Goins in the batting cage and to see if he has the mental makeup to attack the challenge.
      Trivalize it all you want.
      I see it as a positive.

      • Agreed. The first step to getting better is admitting you need some help and being willing to put in the time. Kudos to Goins for that. He could be like JPA and insist that everyone else has the problem and defend his limited skill set till he’s blue in the mouth.

      • No doubt Goins is a gamer and seems to have great work ethic etc. That is what most likely got him to where he is to begin with.

    • As opposed to what? Fellating him?

      Such a cynical world. The guy is “coming to work” early. Considering all the moaning about not being fully prepared last season, this is a positive.

  12. If they could land a starter, whether it’s someone like Tanaka or Jimenez, I would love for them to use their pitching depth to get a second baseman. Goins just like Gose, seems like a depth/bench piece more than anything.

    Ultimately, I would love for the Jays to be bold and offer a guy like Drew a decent enough contract to get him to play 2nd for a couple of years. The added benefit of having him is that if something happened to Reyes again you’d have an excellent in-house replacement not to mention more time to develop an adequate replacement.

  13. Why has everyone here consigned themselves to a Goins-fate? I don’t think it would sink the season, but please, please, can we get something better. There is no reason to just decide that replacement level is good enough. Goins is a fine middle-infield depth piece to have at AAA.

  14. I wouldn’t believe that AA saying the Jays are willing to go with Goins actually means that they will in fact do that. For one thing, Maicer’s career norms (i.e. not what he did last year) would suggest that overall, he should be better than Goins, and if he is, then Gibbons would obviously end up playing his best option.

    Recognizing that there aren’t many options for 2B out there and that the rotation is AA’s top priority, I’d say that AA is simply managing expectations while working down his list of priority items he needed to get done to keep his job. Evidence of that would be that while SP was the most important, C was the area that an opportunity came in, so that’s why we have Navarro at C instead of, say Kelly Johnson at 2B.

    There’s still time, but AA’s going to get an F on this offseason from me if he doesn’t cross off at least 2 of his 3 glaring offseason needs.

  15. If I had to choose between SP and 2B, I’d take one of the top free agent pitchers over a new second baseman.

  16. Wouldn’t it be better to have Goins work on his swing changes in the minors instead of against the best pitchers in the world?

  17. we’ve had a slick fielding middle infielder for 5 years and now someone is spending extra time to correct his swing.

  18. As much argument and debate as there has been, I think we can all agree that we’re going to find out what he’ll do come April. He’s going to start at second, barring a miracle.

    Lets just hope Seitzer’s bullshit isn’t complete and utter?

  19. I know Dustin Ackley hasn’t lived up to expectations but he’s still young and does have a 3 WAR season under his belt (in a bit more than half a season)

    I’d much rather the jays put a guy in there that has the potential to be good, as opposed to goins who’s potential is to be average.

    • Ackley can play shortstop, Franklin cannot so they’re gonna trade Franklin

    • seattle would want something of legitimate value for ackley who is not far-removed from being a high-end middle infield prospect. they’re not dealing him for a team’s surplus relief pitchers.

      • This is the team that traded morrow a top 5 pick for brandon leauge and some other bum so you never know

    • … but does he have the potential to be good because he sure hasn’t been accept for one good 1/2 season? Does Travis Snider still have the potential to be good or has the ship sailed on these guys. Being a TOP PROSPECT doesn’t mean anything after you stink it up for a few years.

      • he hasn’t stunk, he just hasn’t lived up to expectations, there’s a difference.

        besides not every player is Mike Trout, most players come up and have to struggle in order to let go of their pride and make adjustments.

        the fact that I mentioned his prospect status and good rookie season is because it atleast shows the potential is there, unlike with goins who didn’t even dominate in the minors

  20. I agree with the piece here, but I always wonder why we’re so quick to accept that players can go from all-star to shit (see: Vernon Wells DFA’d by Yankees, still set to make $21M; also, Ricky Romer-woe), but we always question if a player can improve above some predetermined ceiling that scouts establish in their early 20s (and yes, I know, a few years of experience in the minors in this case).

    I think Seitzer’s comments add credence to the thought that the Jays might see something here and are willing to take a chance. We aren’t looking for Goins to go Robbie Alomar on us, we just need a serviceable 2B that won’t be a rally killer.

    I mean, didn’t EE and Josie-Bau come from relative obscurity to all-star status? Lind has been made serviceable as well in the right circumstances. Not saying Goins will do the same thing, but I am saying that expecting some slight improvement to acceptable levels from his bat is not a far-fetched concept.

    Players can get better; players can get worse. It happens. And I know Stoeten did say this in the article, but I just wanted to reiterate that we shouldn’t take a player’s ceiling or basement as absolute, and should leave room for the possibility that changes in swing / mentality / experience can help players improve. And it seems like AA and the coaching staff believe that Goins can be one of these guys that can marginally improve to round out his stellar defence.

    #Goins2014…unless something better comes up on the cheap…

    • Hmmm, can VW play second?

    • No, simple as that. Let the yankees pay 2.3 million to play in the minors.

      We already have a 7 million hole in Romero, we don’t need to make it 10 million.

    • Comparison to EE, Bautista and Lind are not good ones. These guys didnt come from relative obscurity they were thought to have big upside, were top prospects / had results in the minors. EE was one of the top in baseball wasnt he? Bautista and Lind raked throughout minor league careers. Anybody can tank and not be good but only some are seen to have potential to be good/great – Goins is not one his ceiling is a Reed Johnson type that may be able to start if he reaches his potential. Can’t think of anyone of this mould that turned into above average player at all.

      • the argument is that people can improve with the right coaching / circumstances, which all three of those players did. Adam was a bit of a yo-yo, but Bautista and EE were almost like light switches once they found their groove.

        I’m just saying that if the coaching staff, who see this guy day in and day out and know everything about his ability, work ethic, and mental state, are willing to test the waters with him and see what their hitting coach can do, instead of spending money or trading assets for a slight upgrade, then I say precedent says we should believe them.

      • EE was released and no team in baseball wanted him.
        Lind was the same.In fact, he was in danger of not having his 2014 option picked up.
        Bautista was considered a utility player.When Cito made him the RF/3rd, the outrage by the fan base was loud and strong.
        Things can change.

        • Right they were down but doesnt mean that they weren’t always viewed as having a high potential upside. All kinds of guys with that projection fail and get removed from 40 man rosters and waived etc. Very few if any guys not able to hit well in the minors and never projeted to hit well end up being good hitters is the point so you cant say well some coaches turned Bautista EE and Lind into great hitters so why not Goins? If that were the case sign me up for spring training

          • you’re an idiot.

          • This is the correct statement. Coaching can only do so much. The fact of the matter is that Goins does not have a high ceiling and is starting at a pretty low floor. Everything considered he will, at best, be serviceable and with ebbs and flows in the season he will be below that line more than he is above it. True that it might not make an impact if he is cool while others, or the team, are hot and defence doesn’t slump, but there are better, safer alternatives.

  21. just get some real pitching. thats what wins championships. if goins can play solid defense and stay above the mendoza line, that will work.

  22. Goins still seems tp profile as a depth piece who you bring up from the minors if needed. Maybe he can fix his swing but shouldn’t he have to prove it before being relied upon as he starter?

  23. Mr Stoeten – love your writing you do great work but;

    while giving Alex Anthopoulos credit enough to know that Ryan Goins is “not the kind of guy who’s supposed to be the favorite, not at this point”

    That isn’t giving credit it is saying AA is doing poorly. Giving credit to AA for realizing Goins isn’t a very good option as a starter!! You must be dizzy – is it from spinning or drinking kool aid with alcohol in it?

    “Alarm bells certainly go off when you see crowing about Escobar’s 2012 season, given that it’s a screaming BABIP outlier.”

    You did hedge on this viewpoint later. The most obvious and legitimate analysis is that in 2012 for whatever reason Escobar hit the ball better and harder and got more hits on balls in play. A full season of at bats is not a small sample to write off as an outlier and this “outlier” is much much much more indicative of some sort of positive change resulting in improved outcomes than luck.

    ..

    Alex Gordon, another of Seitzer’s important protégés, saw huge upticks in BABIP in 2011 and 2012 as well. That dipped, along with Gordon’s numbers on the whole, in 2013, further cementing Seitzer’s myth in some eyes

    Seitzer’s myth? This further cements Seitzer’s reality. He can’t be judged on results when he was there and when he wasn’t there?

  24. If the Jays sign a free agent starter, there is probably enough bullpen and low end starters to trade for an upgrade at second. Since the market for pitchers hasn’t been set yet there is still time to fix both the starting pitching and second base.

  25. Stoets,

    I think the key point you make is that when there is an injury that having to promote one of Gose, Pillar, Izturis, into more regular at bats + Goins in line-up is a risk that they can afford. Wearing rose coloured glasses, this line-up can look dynamic but rationally there are many question marks; Melky, Lawrie (to a point), Dioneer, Goins, Thole, etc.

    Perhaps AA is waiting for a team to make an early, desperate move in Spring/early in the season and that employing Goins early on will (a) perhaps allow them to catch lightning in a bottle / see if changes and tweaks actually have benefit or (b) will have trade options before the Goins affect costs them too badly

    Either way and no matter how much soul searching and examining you do it is almost impossible to see Goins being good enough for a team with designs on a pennant. It doesn’t take Bill James wit to figure this out.

    • … I mean “CAN’T AFFORD” :)

    • Seriously, even a second baseman with a 1 WAR projection would increase our playoff chances by that much. upgrading at 2nd base would be the easiest way to get wins.

      • Yup

      • Pray for Stephen Drew my friends. 3/$30mill probably gets it done if he’s willing to play 2B.

        • Move Reyes if they / do can sign Drew. Drew doesnt sign to play 2B because it would devalue his market for next contract. Drew is a better fielder than Reyes and Reyes is already on the team and doesnt have a choice in the matter. You think Reyes is going to boycott playing or be seriously disgruntlde if playing 2B? I don’t.

    • I don’t think Lawrie and Melky will be question marks, really?

  26. ““I don’t care where the ball goes, I want production,” he says, with the intonation of a preacher reaching a quiet ebb”

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is effective and entertaining writing.

  27. If i remember correctly, There was quite a bit of shock in the KC fanbase when Seitzer was let go.
    I’m willing to wait and see if it produces results.

  28. Goins isn’t the part of the 2B solution I have a problem with, it’s Izturis. He’s going to bounce back some next year, but counting on that guy for even semi-regular playing time scares the shit out of me. If you weren’t already taking a gamble with Goins, I’d have less of a problem with him still being the UTIL, but 2B could easily end up being vortex of suck again if you’re hoping on both of them.

  29. Fuck my life. Ya. Barf.

  30. Re: Goins — “and his disgusting .214/.243/.310″

    Adam Lind vs. LHP

    2013 – 208/.240/.333

    2012- .202/.250/.303

    Are you sure you are banging on the right worthless against lefties drum here?

    Goins cost no money.

    Goins is going to help out a pitching staff that is more ground ball prone than many would think.

    Goins will play on a surface that is only going to play faster every time they roll it up for a football game.

    • Lind has a platoon partner (currently Sierra) and Gibbons uses platoons unlike Gaston / Farrell used to when he hit Lind in clean up against lefties. Izturis would be Goins’ platoon partner against lefties one would assume.

      • Problem solved.

        • No because Goins current platoon partner is Izturis, who we all do not ahve confidence in. So problem NOT solved.

          • I have confidence that he’ll be better than last year.

            His tack record is decent, and at least had good month before he got hurt.

            Considering the circumstance and demand on resources as we know it, it’s not as bad as you think.

      • Izturis is a switch hitter so he might get to bat to more than just lefties. If he is the player next year that they thought they signed he would get more at bats than Goins. In the field last year every ball hit to him had me worried which has to be hell to a big league pitcher especially if he starts to change his game plan because of it.

        I guess what I am trying to say is if Izturis feilds like last year go with Goins.

      • Lind was awesome before injuries forced gibbons to throw him out there against lefties

  31. Thing is, you can’t always get what you want. If it was simple to get a 2nd baseman, we would likely have one by now. If there’s a choice I’d rather have a starting pitcher. As people upthread have said, we can get a 2nd baseman in-season.

    • Jemile Weeks was traded to the Orioles for Jim Jonhson. Johnson makes 6.5M. Jansenn makes 3.9M. Both are closers of similar pedigree. So Jays likely could have got a 2B for Jansenn. Rickey Weeks is likely available as well. Howie Kendrick was rumoured to be before Angels traded Trumbo for marginal SP which Jays have excess of. And there were FA 2B Infante and Ellis besides Cano. Dodgers didnt pick up a option for Ellis for 4M allowing him to be FA – could have traded for him and picked up option,

      Niether of the Weeks’ project to be great players by any stretch. Both have been regarded as having high upside unlike Goins. Jemile was not in the article Goins was although curiously he didnt get any better of a projection than Goins at fan graphs

      • At this point Jemile Weeks is no different than Goins, and Ricky may not be any better on top of being expensive. Kendrick would have been nice, but the Angels have no reason to deal him for Jays spare rotation parts when they seem likely to sign Garza.

  32. VW it D’dFA today. He can be had as a 4th outfielder for $500K. Do you do it?

  33. Funny. I have a couple techniques I do with my hands that get me pretty excited too!
    HEYO

    I’ll show myself out….

  34. So it seems like Holland is the pitcher the jays could have traded for, but did not pass the physical.

    • Holland was injured earlier this week, not a month and a half ago when the supposed deal was nixed.

  35. Same thing happened last year when Murphy spent some time with Colby in Alabama before ST. Interesting thing about that is, I forget where, but I just read something from Seitzer to the effect that using some of his techniques, a batter could possibly get worse before he got better. That’s kinda what happened with Colby last year. Only it was Murphy instructing, not Seitzer.
    At any rate, even if it’s only a weekend that Seitzer spent with Goins, he got some help and really, if there’s any way a defensive talent like that can improve his bat it’s huge. Seitzer seemed to be saying that if Goins can foul off tough inside pitches while he’s waiting for his pitch, it’s progress. Which I agree with. The Jays DO NOT foul off enough pitches, which, at the very least makes the opposing starter work harder but hopefully can lead to a walk or a hit.
    But while I’ve been reading all this, it occurred to me that, given all of Goins faults, could this be a play to make some other GM think that AA doesnt want to pay the high price he was asking (possibly Sanchez or Stroman for a proven 2B)? So AA decided to go with plan B, which is fixing Goins bat and using him at 2B in order to bring the price down.

  36. Even though I am not a baseball writer or blogger (there is a difference) I have talked to my first unnamed source ever. I will give you a hint….he is a roving instructor (scout) and fucking works with all levels of the org. Met him in Vancouver and asked straight out ” are the Jays pulling out the big bucks for Tank?” Answer:” From what I’ve heard kind of all in”

    Conclusion: Don’t have a clue

    • Don’t do this.

        • I only say this because my fragile, blue jays stricken heart cannot take another Japanese starter emotional roller coster. I’ve already convinced myself that the Jays are getting Jimenez or Santana. Don’t get my hopes up for some 25 year old stud!

          • For a second I was thinking, “fuck it, let’s do that” until the response actually reminded me of the last round of heightened expectations for Japanese pitching and how that ended. I was so tucking pissed at the Darvish thing I stopped reading about baseball for 3 months, cold turkey. Fuck that writer from New Hampshire. Darvish being as good as he’s been has only been salt in the wounds

    • Does he have a cool moustache?

      Awesome if true.

    • Thanks for the info! That’s cool!

      I mean, it would make sense for the Jays to make a big play here. It wouldn’t make sense for the Jays to do nothing a year after going all in like they did. You don’t do that last year and then pull back a year later. They must have had a multi year plan money wise.

      Plus Rogers knows the fans here totally fucking ate up the whole ‘going for it’ thing. I think signing Tanaka could create a nice stir in the city again.

      Obviously it’s probably a lot more likely the Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners or Cubs outbid the Jays … but who the hell knows?

    • “kind of” of all in?

  37. Tom W. That’s the shit I like to hear. Better than anything really for me.

    Real stories from real life interactions.

    Keep that suit coming people.

  38. Jeesuz I said nothing but fuck !

  39. Two weeks till the market starts

  40. You guys see this yet on MLBTR?

    Alex Rodriguez Suspension Now 162 Games

    ARod says he’ll be appealing in a lawsuit in federal court.
    I had the Yankees payroll somewhere around 165 MM before the arbitration so they could probably handle Tanaka now (depending on who bids what).

    • Plus…This was Horowitz’s (the arbitrator) decision, not an agreement between the 2 parties (like they were talking about last night).

    • Well that’s too bad A-Rod got so many games because it lets them go full out on Tanaka and still stay under the salary cap. Then again it’s no surprise by the way the Yanks were acting earlier in the off-season. I think they knew ahead of time what was going to happen. Jays opponents seem to have all the luck lol.

      Tanaka you were a nice dream. I would have happily been your pet monkey.

      • Something I didnt know (among the billions of other things I dont know); MLB has the ability to fire any arbitrator. Which they did in the Braun case and a few others.

        In addition, ” Rodriguez and his legal team are prepared to appeal an unfavorable decision in federal court and to request an injunction that would allow Rodriguez to continue to play during the course of that appeal. “The papers are all ready,” said one of the News‘ anonymous sources.”

        It may take some doing and a lot of $$ but ARod could quite possibly win on appeal to federal court. I’m thinking that an injunction would be a minor victory in itself.

          • Yeah, I hope he fights it all the way and they are forced to carry his salary.
            Even better, I hope they are forced to play him.

            • Just read that he plans to go to ST. Apparently his legal team thinks the Yankees can’t stop him from attending. Should be a lot of fun.

              • They musta had some good stuff on ARod.
                He got it reduced to 162 not to 50.
                I’m going to assume that means the evidence was overwhelming AND it musta showed he tried to interfere with the investigation.
                All this without a positive test. Just the documents saying he took the stuff and he tried to fuck up the investigation.

                • I don’t doubt the evidence just the length of the suspension compared to the others, most notably Ryan Braun. IMO he was just as bad as A-Rod especially after smearing the test collector so thoroughly like Armstrong did with his accusers. Anyway as I was saying earlier, I hope karma is really a thing and someone other than the Yankees signs Tanaka, I am pretty sure it won’t be the Jays even though I would love for it to be so. If those smarmy assholes were to sign him after all of this, then there’s just no justice in this world lol.

                • I’m more interested in his appealing the decision in federal court. I get that both the MLBPA and MLB have agreed to this process, but I just read that the arbitrator in a few other cases (Braun, and Messersmith and McNally) has been fired by MLB right after rendering his decision. I suspect that means that his decision stands , but he may no longer rule in any more MLB arbitrations. But my question is (and I suppose ARod’s too): Does that fact (that MLB can fire him) inherently affect an arbitrators’s decision in favour of MLB? It looks like a pretty good basis for a federal court case.

  41. Yeah but what is AA’s Plan B? The move he makes IMMEDIATELY after he gets the call saying he doesn’t get Tanaka?*. He’ll have to be real fast because there are a bunch of teams needing pitching and the dominos will fall at very high speed. Whose agent does he have a contingency agreement with? Because in these circs he’s not only gonna have to be fast, he will also have to overpay to take the starter off the market immediately.

    *I’m not saying he won’t get Tanaka but he has to be prepared for what happens next if he doesn’t.

    • I’m just assuming a guy like AA knows all this stuff in advance and has gone over all the contingencies. After all It’s his job. I read somewhere along the line that he has requests in with the players/agents (he’s interested in) to call him before they sign somewhere else. And yes, I agree, he’ll have to act quickly.

    • I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume a few things…
      Let’s assume the Jays want to go “all in” for Tanaka, and offer him a shitpile of money. Let’s also assume that Tanaka says (I will translate from the Japanese) “Fuck no, pasty Canadian donut-eaters – I’ll take less money to be a Yankee/Dodger/whatever.”
      I will, at that point, HOPE that the Jays will take a significant portion of the shitpot of money that they were hoping to lure Tanaka here with, and put it in front of Jimenez or whoever and say “First one who signs, gets this shitpile of money”.
      I’m mean – if they willing to bust the vault open for Tanaka…then they shouldn’t really balk at what those guys will be asking for, dollar-wise. They won’t maybe go 6-120M on those guys…but they CAN afford them.

      • Tanaka is 25 years old. The other pitchers waiting on him to sign are older than that, some significantly in the case of Arroyo. You do not back up the dump truck with cash in front of these guys. They are all hit-and-miss pitchers, there is no Kershaw among them. These are the guys who will be trying to use your desperation against you…you don’t just fold to their demands just because. Besides, with them committed to Tanaka, you wait for Kershaw to hit the market in one or two years and then you back the Brinks vault up for him.

  42. well then, if you’re a Jays Fan, and a Tanaka hopeful, you hope A-ROID has his day in court and carries the day. Perhaps a little uncertainty might be enough to make the Yankees think twice about spending another 120 million

  43. So Tanaka has already returned to Japan, anyone read anything regarding if the Jays got a face to face?

    https://twitter.com/newsdaymarcus/status/422025065132089346

    • Havent seen a thing but knowing AA, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    • If it hasn’t happened, its probably not going to happen.
      Can’t imagine him making the long trek back
      until its time to sign a contract and have an introductory press conference.
      From here, its up to the agent to get what he thinks is the best deal
      and present it (and maybe an alternative or two) to Tanaka.

      My guess is that they have met because if it comes out that the Jays
      did not even schedule a meeting, it will be a public relations disaster.
      Hard to believe they’d let that happen.

  44. I guessing this is one piece of the Marlins trade we won’t miss. I won’t mention the Mets deal.

    http://mlb.si.com/2014/01/10/winter-report-card-miami-marlins-2/

    Hechavarria is supposed to be a defensive whiz, but even Andrelton Simmons would be unplayable with Hechavarria’s bat, and Hechavarria can’t match his Braves counterpart in the field. Both Ultimate Zone Rating and Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Above Average rated him as below average defensively in 2013. In fact, no player was more harmful to the Marlins’ cause last season than Hechavarria. He was dead last not only on the team in Baseball-Reference.com’s Wins Above Replacement — falling 2.1 wins below replacement — but in the majors among non-pitchers. Despite all of that, Miami plans to move Furcal out of position to second base to allow Hechavarria to continue to start.

  45. [...] Andrew Stoeten at DJF follows up Seitzer’s interview and says he’s still struggling with the idea of Ryan Goins as the Blue Jays starting second baseman in 2014. Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs recently identified Toronto’s second base spot as the worst position on a competing team in MLB. Not exactly high praise but a serviceable upgrade will be hard to find and the Jays might just have to hope Goins can make up for his deficiencies at the plate his plus-plus defense in the field. [...]

  46. Just wondering about one Brent Morel here…

    Brent was the opening day third baseman for the White Sox two years ago. His career numbers aren’t great but he definitely has pop and he can take a walk. If he’s league average or better defensively why shouldn’t he get a chance at third with Brett Lawrie moving to second?

    It get’s Izturis back on the bench and puts Goins in AAA and, let’s be honest here, that’s where they’re both best suited.

    • If you could get a truly good third baseman in there…with a good glove and a power bat – I’d think about it. Lawrie’s still young enough to make the move.
      But to merely swap him back and forth for someone merely adequate – I think that messes with his mind even more.
      And watching Lawrie’s mind at work on occasion out there….that’s not something you want to overly mess with.

    • You’re talking here about a guy who was behind Jeff Keppinger, Conner Gillaspie
      and Marcus Semien on a team that lost 99 games last year.
      Even the ultra patient Robin Ventura eventually gave up on him.
      Brent Morel might be able to fill in for a 15 day DL stint.
      Beyond that, he’s not going to help at all.

  47. ARod’s suspension upheld. I think that sound was the Yankees opening up the chequebook.

  48. I think this is probably a pretty good idea…

    https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/422110579508011009

  49. They will need Jeffress in the pen since relievers will be in a trade for a 2B. Umm hmm.

  50. I just bought a 1973 Plymouth and all I could think of was Stoeten rocking it out…point being god help me do to Stoeten..

  51. just read that Tanaka’s wife is “something of a celebrity” and that she plans to pursue acting and/or television opportunities when they move to North America. That doesn’t sound to me like it would be in Toronto.

    • let the dollar sink! Hollywood North baby

    • Oh shit. If that’s really the case about his wife we won’t get him. And LA probably will. It’s not like the Dodgers won’t pony up the cash. And his wife won’t be bitching and moaning because she’s stuck in her idea of Nowheresville.

      Also, there’s one other (serious) reason he might prefer not to come here. It’s a notorious hitter’s ballpark. He might hesitate to commence his MLB career in a stadium that is capable of making any pitcher look real bad. He could look at Dickey’s first half and think ‘that isn’t gonna be me’.

  52. Just spitballin a bit here, but LAD may get him, partly for the reason they may fear NOT being able to extend Kershaw. From what I have read ( again , no one knows absolutely), Kershaw and his wife are from Texas and apparently religious in a bible belt kind of way, and not completely enamored with some of the lifestyles that exist in the LA basin,not to mention the crowds and so on. Is all of this enough to seek refuge in Texas or someplace like that?
    I have a hard time believing he would leave LA, especially since the LAD could give him 30m/7years, BUT, he hasn’t extended yet, and free agency is now only 10 months away, so I give some credence to Tanaka as a fallback plan. We’ll see.

    • Dodgers will get both of them.
      Don’t mean to sound pessimistic but there’s no way they let Kershaw walk.
      And they’ve not let anyone outbid them on anyone they’ve publicly stated they’re after.
      Too much money there. Blew up the Puig market. Crushed the international market. Took on a few trillion dollars from Boston. Crazy Greinke contract. They’ve said they’re extending HanRam. Dodgers are the new Yankees.

      I hold out a glimmer of hope for Tanaka in Toronto but it’s blind, fanboy hope.

      • Not saying one way or the other cuz I’m the George Costanza of prediction. (ie whatever I predict will happen means the exact opposite will take place).

        But, without signing Kershaw or Tanaka, the Dodgers are somewhere around
        $196 MM. If you believe that Kershaw won’t take any less than Greinke ($24MM) then he’ll get 24 (or 25 MM?)*. Most people think that Tanaka won’t settle for any less than $20MM. Combined that’s $45MM and brings their total payroll to $241MM or $52MM over the cap. Seeing as they were over the cap last year, they’ll be paying a penalty of 30% this year, or another $22 MM. Should be interesting.

        • Forgot my asterix *

          The other option for Kershaw and the Dodgers is just a 1 year contract of a minimum of $11 MM (no way he’d sign that) or arbitration. But if arbitration happens, he’d be gone the next year.

          • By opening day I’d be surprised if they still had all of Kemp, Crawford, Ethier, Puig and Joc Pedersen. Pedersen is their top prospect and they want him playing so one of the other 4 has got to go.

            They also have Haren, Billingsley, Greinke, Ryu, Kershaw, and Beckett as starters.
            If they sign Tanaka at least one of those guys become available. Probably Beckett and his 17 million as he’s a FA next year.

            I imagine they will try to trade Crawford and Beckett. Even if they can’t I could see them going over the Luxury cap. With their TV deal $, and win at all costs attitude, I could see them doing it.

        • Math is off there 30% of 52 is $15.6 MM.

          • Magic Johnson lights his cigars with lit million dollar bills.
            I don’t think 15 million is the deterant to the Dodgers that it would be to other clubs.

  53. I believe that everybody is entitled to their opinion.The internet allows for information to become available that nobody knew before.There are many BBWAA writers who truly put a lot of thought into their votes.
    And then there’s this guy.

    http://www.hallofverygood.com/2014-articles/january/bbwaa-voter-refuses-to-vote-for-cheater-biggio.html

  54. Here’s what I think the plan is at 2nd base: the Blue Jays go into spring training with Goins as the projected starter, knowing he will likely struggle, and as soon as he does, what they then do is promote the idea of having Kawasaki play second, which was of course their idea the entire time, but is a move which creates the illusion of their looking for that piece, doing all this work, when all they’re doing is giving the guy they planned to give the job to an added introduction, further adding to his ridiculous mythology as club house super-glue; they then demote Goins to AAA, promote Kawasaki, the fan base goes nuts, as his return signals a return of the good times, and it makes AA look good by his positive tinkering, and we all think what a good job he’s doing when Kawasaki shores up the middle infield at minimal cost to the club.

    • Yeah that’s exactly it. AA is going with Goins knowing/hoping he’ll struggle so that he can bring up Kawasaki because that will for some reason make him look good to the fans. Even though there is zero indication that that scenario would make him look good at all.

      Give me a break.

      AA will look good if the team wins. He’ll look shitty if they don’t. Not more complicated than that.

  55. I remember being pissed when the Cubs got this guy off of waivers in October.
    Thought he’d be great to stow in AAA and be a possible 1b/dh if needed.
    I just noticed the Cubs lost him to free agency in Decmber. (was looking at him as a deep sleeper in my NL only keeper league. I’m a fantasy nerd)

    Destroyed in the minors, highly touted Lefty hitting prospect who had two very unfortunate, long term injuries when he finally got opportunities in the bigs. But the guy can flat out hit.

    Could be a good gamble.

    • Career triple slash .304/.376/.498.

      Thats fuckin gaudy.

      • And in the Majors it’s .229/.305/.367. When guys are stuck at AAA at age 28, having last played a full AA season in 2008, there’s always a reason. PCL numbers there, too, albeit at Nashville, but still. Stat lines don’t always tell us everything.

        • His MLB stats look weak but that line is in a paltry 240 career at bats.
          Not even half a season.
          He lost 2 years to torn MCL’s so I’d argue that it may be a little early to write him off as one of those AAAA guys. He simply hasn’t had much of an opportunity.
          His last contract was for half a million, seems like a worthwhile gamble. Maybe?

  56. Yankees signing Scott Sizemore to a minor league deal.

    I can understand the lack of activity so far on star pitchers, but I don’t get why the team has been so quiet on positional depth like this. Interesting guys for 2B, 4th OFs and even Lind platoons have moved, and oddly the Jays have stayed out.

  57. Good old Bob Elliott doesn’t think the Jays will offer up the 7 years it will probably take to sign Tanaka. AA said they would go six for the right player, and Tanaka must be the type of player he’d have in mind. Really, how much of a stretch is it from six to seven given the rarity of the commodity we’re talking about? But I guess if you go off of track record, the Jays don’t have much of a track record of going above their own valuations of players.

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