baker

In yesterday’s Brent Morel post (or was it yesterday’s Brett Morel post?) I wrote a little bit about Jeff Baker, the free agent lefty-masher with positional versatility who seemed like such an obvious fit for the Jays — at least until this afternoon, when Jon Heyman tweeted that he’d agreed to a two-year deal with the Marlins, while Joel Sherman added that it’s for $3.7-million. Mostly I was trying to dream up ways that the club could conceivably justify passing on him, given the paucity of platoon options for Adam Lind currently available in-house, and the fact that last year he saw time at first, second, third, in left field, right field, and at DH.

All we’ve really ever heard about why the Jays weren’t being linked more strongly to Baker, as far as I’ve come across, is what Mike Wilner had to say about him on last week’s edition of The Blue Jays This Week on the Fan 590.

“Jeff Baker would be perfect,” he explained. “He’s a free agent out there, and late of the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. And he can play six positions poorly, and he can wail on lefties. But I’ve talked to a number of people out in the baseball world about him, and the consensus is that this is a really, really bad dude, who you don’t want anywhere near your clubhouse. Which is why the Blue Jays haven’t moved on him.”

That was certainly a new one to me, but it’s not like I’m doing a lot of talking to the sorts of people who would know enough about Baker to make such claims. I was, however, able to put the suggestion out there on Twitter to see if anyone might be able to confirm that which, as far as I have been able to ascertain, only Wilner has said. Lo and behold, Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio, and Baseball Prospectus’s outstanding Fringe Average podcast took up the mantle.

Ferrin added that he hadn’t heard any of this on Baker himself, but cautioned that none of this means what Wilner is hearing isn’t true.

What struck me more, though — and what caused me to raise the issue again on Twitter, which prompted the above exchange — was a tweet from Jon Morosi, who yesterday said that he had spoken to Scott Boras, and that the über-agent told him he was very close to deals on his clients Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Suk-Yin Moon, and… Jeff Baker.

Aha!

I must admit, I hadn’t realized Baker was a Boras client, which adds another potential layer to what may be going on here, because when it comes to him and the Jays there’s a history there.

There are no players currently with the Jays who are represented by Boras Corp., at least according to MLBTR’s agency database, and back at the end of the Ricciardi era, in mid-2009, Will Hill of TSN.ca – and former front office man at 1 Blue Jays Way — claimed that “at no time during Ricciardi’s tenure have the Jays ever traded for or signed a Boras client,” though at least two relatively minor exceptions were made in the Ricciardi/Godfrey era, in the form of Scott Schoeneweis and Brad Wilkerson.

Still, though, just last week, in the Globe and Mail, Jeff Blair noted that “Paul Beeston used to swear he wouldn’t sign a free agent represented by agent Scott Boras,” though he noted that this policy may be shifting, as he reported that the club had spoken to the agent about another client, Stephen Drew.

The wounds, though, are deep. Back in 2009, Tim Dierkes of MLBTR looked back at Boras’s first foray into representation, in 1985, when he got a five-year, $7-million deal out of the Blue Jays for his former minor league teammate, Bill Caudill.

Maybe the relationship between team and agent would have been better if Caudill hadn’t flamed out in year two of the contract, but that’s what happened, as the Jays released him before year three and ate the money owed to him for years three through five — but not before Boras hired an airplane to fly over Exhibition Stadium in 1986, with a message for the club’s new manager, whose usage of his client was evidently not sufficient by his standards. It read: “JIMY — GIVE CAUDILL THE BALL.” 

Many years later there was also the whole James Paxton mess. In 2009, with Beeston back as the club’s president, the Jays failed to sign the Boras-advised Canadian pitcher out of the University of Kentucky, a supplemental-round pick who went 37th overall.

Or… did I say Boras “advised” him? Because that’s not what Beeston — who, it should be noted, is not a dumb man — told Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail that summer:

Beeston personally handled the negotiations with Paxton, the top Canadian selected in the draft and his agent is Scott Boras.

When Boras is involved, Beeston said, you can only talk with Boras.

“Because it was Scott, the way that you deal you deal through him,” Beeston said. “You don’t deal through the family. Now I would prefer to deal with the family and I wonder whether I could have done a better job on it. I kind of criticize myself.

“But I don’t think it would have changed things because you’re dealing with one of the shrewdest and best prepared negotiators in sports. I have no regrets.”

Paxton, you’ll recall, lost his NCAA eligibility over the statement — a decision that the pitcher fought, unsuccessfully, in court. A follow-up piece in the Globe a year later, by Matthew Sekeres, quoted the pitcher as saying he had no regrets about how things turned out, and his father as saying that the family wasn’t bitter about Beeston’s comments, but that they had been “surprised and confused” by them.

If I really wanted to I could put the most negative spin possible on all of this, but… well… let’s just say I’m glad for the existence of Blair’s piece saying that Beeston’s refusal to deal with Boras may be softening, otherwise one might be tempted to wonder about the strange rumblings Wilner has heard on Baker, where they’re coming from, and whether they could be framed as just the latest salvo in a monumentally stupid, decades-long grudge.

Even without indulging notions of such an insidious angle, you wonder how much Boras could actually have to do with this, and whether the line about Baker being some kind of clubhouse poison isn’t meant to submarine him so much as it is, like the talk of five-year limits on player contracts, a means to avoid answering tough questions about why the club chooses to hurt itself by standing firm on a policy that can only be described as petty and dumb.

But that’s all probably just a bit too conspiratorial, eh?

Especially since, to believe it, you’d have to believe that the Jays needed to get all their ducks in a rather serious row, given that Wilner says he has spoken to multiple sources — and not necessarily just Jays people, of course — about Baker’s alleged clubhouse problems. Pressed by co-host Ben Ennis on why he was so cavalier about what seems like some awfully spurious reasoning to avoid a player who is damn near a perfect fit, Wilner explained, “I agree with you, but I’ve heard from enough people about this guy that I’m convinced. Fine with me not to sign him.”

I’m willing enough to buy that that’s really what’s going on, despite what I’ve found (in my completely unscientific survey) to be a lack of similar chatter elsewhere. However, neither it, nor the possibility that the Jays are being held back by an unwillingness to deal with a player’s representative, is an acceptable excuse to pass up the chance to make this club better.

Shit, even if I believed that clubhouse nonsense has remotely close to the type of impact we’re supposed to swallow here, do the Jays really think they have the luxury of passing on Baker’s ability against left-handers??? Does a dirt cheap second year really seem so scary to a club that jumped last year to sign Maicer Izturis for three?

Maybe they’ll find an acceptable alternative from elsewhere, maybe he didn’t want such a limited role, though that’s not what we were hearing. Whatever the case, something just doesn’t smell right about the apparent failure to pursue this avenue by the club that — for example — just a little over a year ago guaranteed $16-million to suspended drug cheat, website forger, and shunned member of the Giants, Melky Cabrera. Doesn’t it?

Comments (177)

  1. Perhaps they are closer than we realize to a trade for 2B.

  2. True story: I used to know whether it was Brent or Brett Morel. After the last two days of reading articles here, I was no longer certain which one was correct…

  3. Pretty sure Scott Schoeneweis was a BOras client.

  4. A complete cynic would say this is reminiscent of ‘the policy’, another excuse to avoid spending the big bucks as so many Boras clients make big money. But I’m not that cynical….

  5. Conspiracy theory or not, this is damn good detective work. Hard not to think something more is there because Baker would have been a perfect fit to, at least, platoon with Lind

  6. i wouldn’t be surprised if it was the other way around… boras advises clients to exercise caution in dealing with toronto after beeston unceremoniously ended james paxton’s college career.

  7. I was reading that article yesterday while playing the show and Brent Morel broke up my no hitter

    • Clearly by “bad dude,” Wilner meant, “not compatible in the clubhouse with a certain pitcher whose name rhymes with Justin.”

  8. We don’t sign pitchers to the market amount of years
    We don’t sign free agents who want market value
    We don’t sign guys who were rumored to have someone who didn’t like them
    We don’t allow certain dogs to Toronto so keep it to cat owners

    But – every other free agent is knocking down the door to – - –
    #1 – Face the toughest competition in MLB which knocks down your stats
    #2 – Go to a team that gets zero media respect and is only covered when NY or Boston play them

    I’m shocked there isn’t a line of free agents waiting to come play in Toronto

  9. I wouldnt be surprised if the jays dont do anything else of note until they sign a pitcher first. You mentioned ducks in a row, for me i would think everything would flow down from there until the point comes (if it does) that is not an option any more. If the budget is limited and the team is only willing to burn one draft pick you would think they would go all out for the pitching first. Obviously I would still love for them to get Jimenez and Drew. Burnett and Drew would even be better but we dont usually get good things like that lol

    • Good line of reasoning but don’t think Baker or any potential bench player fits into that. Need to pounce on these guys before they are gone and with their relatively small salaries shouldn’t need to wait for the main higher impact signing to happen first.

  10. Checking out that MLBTR database, the Jays are literally the only team in baseball without at least a couple of Boras clients on the roster. Say what you will about Boras, but refusing to deal with one of the top agents in the sport (who represents dozens of players, many of them good ones) is a really stupid way to run a team. Why further handicap yourself like this?

  11. But, but, but…. Wilner aint no corporate shill. Yeah, right.

  12. Do you think AA is still trying to figure out the Brett/Brent thing, and that’s the reason he hasn’t yet signed a SP?

  13. sure seemed like a great fit with the lefty mashing and the ability to play around the diamond (particularly 2B). ehh… i’ll give wilner the benefit of the doubt on this one. the fact he went to a bottom feeding team might indicate there are some issues there – after all the jays arent the only (alleged) competitive team with need for a guy like him.

    maybe they’re happy to pay sierra the minimum to cover for lind and save their bullets for SP’s, Drew, etc. i can’t really disagree with that logic if they really think sierra will hit.

  14. A much more simple explanation is that Wilner was wrong. His sources were wrong or had no idea what they were talking about. Wilner is not a reporter, he’s an analyst. Stuff like this happens all the time with analysts who think they’re in the know but don’t do the checking and re-checking that guys like Rosenthal and Morosi do.

    • Nonsense.

      • Stoeten if you’re unable to concede that Wilner could be wrong and that he’s not a reporter then you’ve really lost the plot.

        • Not sure if you noticed, but I was conceding ways for him to have potentially been wrong in the piece. The issue isn’t conceding that he’s wrong, it’s that your reasons were nonsense, particularly the one about him not being a reporter. Not sure you quite know what that means.

          • ha. yeah i dont know what a reporter is because i dont consider Toronto’s Mike fucking Francesca a reporter.

            to be completely honest, im not sure you know what nonsense is. nonsense is recycling third-hand innuendo that attacks someone’s character and then trying to rationalize it to yourself, after the fact.

            • Sorry sk, but you honestly have no idea what you’re talking about with this stuff. Do you not ever see Wilner in scrums with all the other reporters? He’s not just a reporter, he has other duties, but certainly there are elements of that to his job, and to insist otherwise is absurd– nonsense, if you will.

              And again you fail to understand how this works if you think I’m “recycling” an attack. I am printing it for the purposes of commenting on it, since that’s the kind of thing I do. Not having to justify anything after the fact — if somebody said it publicly on the radio, it’s fair game for me to comment on.

              Do I really need to hand-hold you through this?

  15. Man, things really have not gone our way this offseason. Luckily we still have a talented group – just doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough without a last minute hail mary.

    • Disagree. AA hasn’t really tried to do anything yet. the Kinsler rumors were completely overblown. and he’s the one that backed off Brett Anderson.

      he signed Navarro pretty quickly and pulled the trigger on the very shrew Lincoln for Kratz/Rasmussen deal.

      i really think that he’s had his eye on Jimenez or Santana the whole time and modeled his approach on what the Brewers did with Lohse. it’s risky but like last year’s moves showed, he’s not afraid to take tremendous risk if he thinks it will pay dividends.

      • Good analysis. I loved that Kratz-for-Lincoln trade.

        As far as the pitchers go, yes AA is gambling, but it still looks like he may come away with one piece out of that pitcher-pie. AA may have a hell of a poker-face, but for them to sign a FA pitcher, they have to believe:

        1) Morrow can give them 200 innings and will be healthy (as in, the health problems that plagued him last year have been fixed)
        2) They can get 350 innings out of a combination of Stroman, Drabek, Hutchison, Rogers if necessary.

        Of course, they might actually believe those things in private, but in public, why make agents and other teams believe you’re desperate? No need.

        • you mean for them NOT to sign an FA pitcher right? lol

          Then i would agree with you wholeheartedly.

          Btw, does kratz have minor league options remaining?

          • yeah they need to upgrade the rotation via trade or FA. unless they find a way to upgrade 2B in a way that is a 5 WAR swing in one fell swoop.

            and yeah Kratz has an option remaining (per reports of the trade after it happened)

        • i think the depth is good. even with injuries I think you can safely count on Drabek and Hutch to put up 100 IP combined. Rogers and Redmond, i believe, have fairly good injury histories, so you could also count on a combined 100 starter innings from them. so you can count on those guys, even if one implodes (like so often happened last year) there’s another in AAA or the bullpen to step up if Morrow or Happ goes down.

          then Stroman performing well becomes a nice surprise. same with McGowan and Romero.

          and you count on Jimenez or Santana to give you 3 WAR or something while finding a way to upgrade 2B (even through a platoon).

          with the options AA can still find a way before the ST to fairly cheaply and dramatically improve the team 5 wins or so.

  16. Beeston would have preferred to deal with the family? I’ll bet he would. That’s why the kid has an agent. Sorry, PB. Boras is doing his job. Which is to get the best possible deal for his client.

  17. So Wilner says he spoke to a number of people and Mike Ferrin spoke to somebody.Sorry,Wilner maybe a lot of things but the guy isn’t a person to throw shit against the wall to see if it sticks.Ferrin spoke to who?A gm?a player?A custodian?One person.
    And only one person responded to a tweet about Baker?Either a lot of people don’t have an opinion or they don’t want to say anything negative about the guy over the twittersphere.Surprised at the lack of response ,one way or the other?If I knew, I wouldn’t respond over that form of communication either.
    Baker plays 6 postions and is a “lefty masher” and he signs for 3.7/2 years. Sounds like he may not have been regarded as highly as a few people around here think.
    For somebody who would’ve been a perfect fit on paper,there seems to be some unseen warts that we don’t know about

    • Garbage.

      • You already used that one.

      • Always an open mind,as usual Stoeten.
        A different slant on what you presented,but it’s still garbage?
        Keep your head in the sand,that way you don’t need to see other options..

        • It kills you that I call you on being close-minded about clubhouse magic theory so much that you have to bring it up here? Hilarious.

          My mind is plenty open to comments that aren’t obvious garbage, Radar. You have zero concept of what people thought Baker was worth — I was mildly surprised he got a two-year deal, he’s a platoon RHB, for fuck sakes — and your skepticism of Ferrin and knee-jerk defense of Wilner, as though the validity of what either is saying is in any way different, is simply absurd. Of course, you wouldn’t want anything looking like dirt getting too close to sacred cow Beeston, right?

          • Jesus,you can be one stubborn,stunned fuck sometimes.
            It kills me that you call me on being closed minded?
            Dream on ,McDuff. I respect that you have a point of view but you ain’t got that power over my opinions.Do you think I sit around worrying about what you say about me?Your ego is cashing cheques ,your brain can’t deal with.
            Sorry if you believe the only way to get to the truth of the matter is google and an all points bulletin on twitter.Get fucking real.
            For a number of people to admit to Wilner that Baker is a really,really bad dude,says a lot.For him to report it,says more.
            But you go ahead and ignore all that because the internet can’t confirm it for you.
            Keep attacking windmills.

    • I thought Wilner was revisiting his essay on http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/6216/cole-hamels

  18. Okay, I want to put this out there. Not sure how it’ll be received, but let me spitball for a moment.

    Many times over the last few years, since Paul Beeston came back as President, it seems that anytime there was some controversy with certain players, policies, etc, Paul Beeston’s name was more at the forefront than that of Alex Anthopolous. I understand that the job of the President is to set targets and goals and to liaise between the baseball people and the ownership, but it seems like Beeston’s mitts are all over the negative situations that surround the team (Escobar eye-black aside). I’ll give Beeston credit; he’s backed up AA on some big moves, and taken them to ownership. However, I often get the sense that it isn’t AA’s idea not to deal with Boras, not to do longer than 5-year deals, not to spend X amount of dollars on free agents when only Y amount will do.

    I’d really be curious to see the front office culture without Beeston in the mix. I know he presided over the World Series years, but that was 20 years ago. So far, he hasn’t had a great run as President this time around, and I find other promises of his empty – improving the fan experience ($11 beer? come on), or getting grass in (last year he was talking 2015 or 2016, wasn’t he? Now we’re up to 2018). I can’t help but think that these weirdo policies come from him, and not from AA.

    Again, just spitballin’, but I’d be curious to see how AA can work without Beeston hovering over him.

    • I’d think you take the good with the bad, because he has clout and a name in this city that ownership isn’t going to disrespect, and a lot of deep ties throughout the league. But it’s an interesting point, just be careful saying too much negative about the sacred cows.

    • If anything i would say AA’s value mantra has more to do with not having Boras clients than any Beeston animosity towards him. As Boras seems to be the anti-value christ in situations like these, it would be far more logical to assume that they just don’t match up. Also to be fair to AA, outside of last season the Jays weren’t really ready to be active in the FA market. So that basically leaves you one full off season of results to look at to try and draw conclusions. If you want to go back further to the JPR years, outside of that one year where they spent, there was never the ownership backing to spend.

      • Does AA really have that much of a value mantra, though?

        • I am going by his numerous comments about value every time he’s asked about adding players through free agency. Transactions like Chapman, and draft signings seem to reinforce that further. He’ll go to his price and that’s it even if they lose the player. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing all the time, it’s just that when it comes to someone like Boras who seems remarkably adept at squeezing extra from teams, they just dont seem like a good fit. I think Boras’ ability to go around GM’s and speak directly with ownership like in the case of the Angels or Tigers is something that he can’t do with the Jays.

          • I don’t think you should take these guys’ public proclamations that seriously. Sometimes he’s held firm on value, especially when he was in a phase of lower payrolls and asset acquisition. R.A. Dickey wasn’t a value trade, and you could probably argue J.A. Happ wasn’t either. It’s really more circumstantial than a mantra, I’d say. Same kind of stuff came up before he made the Marlins trade, where people thought he was just a prospect lover and would never trade them.

            • It seems he’s held firm on the whole value thing when it comes to spending the cash as opposed to transactions involving prospects. Maybe that speaks more to general payroll guidelines than anything else.

              I will agree with you that the Happ trade was definitely one of necessity, or at least one that he thought he had to make considering the circumstances. To me it always seemed that it was a desperation move.

              As for the Dickey trade, you are right on that one. It’s the one transaction that will have the chance to be a big overpay even if Dickey did have a great year. That said, maybe the club always figured it was going to have to overpay in some manner to get their “ace” and AA really didn’t have a choice in the matter. I know I was all for it before it happened, and even after the shock of the price was announced, I figured it would be worth it in light of what had taken place earlier with the Miami trade.

      • Boras is just an agent – the only agents that don’t play hardball for their clients are agents that quickly have no clients.

        • Not all agents go about business in the same manner though and that’s going to have different effects on negotiations.

    • To be fair Beeston has never committed to a particular year with the grass installation, but specualtion it might be when the last argoes lease expired which obviously didnt hapen.

    • I doubt Beeston is a big hindrance.
      The one thing that he has made mandatory that I’d like to see go are the early Saturday morning home games. By the time I drag my sorry, hung-over ass out of bed to the tv on Saturday mornings the games are almost over.

      • Holy hell, yes. I’d love to see later starts to the Saturday games. I enjoy going to those games, because I don’t live in Toronto and getting home at midnight during a weekday sucks for the next work day, but for that to happen, you have to grab the GO train early and usually fight your way into a packed place to eat something unless you want to spend your next mortgage payment on lunch and a beer at the stadium. A 3:30 or 4:30 start would be much more civilized.

    • Everybody whining about the five year policy that Beeston has on top of questioning if it is even real and not a front. Why is it so negative not to hamstring the team into the future and why should we think the policy is fake? How often do these long term deals work out? Romero is the only long term deal (maybe Bautista and EE qualify) since Beeston has been back (other than Reyes) and AA had to convince Beeston on that deal and it was under market value on the extension. How did that work out? How did the Wells and Ryan deals work out that were signed before they brought Beeston back? Sure some of these deals work out in the long run but it is a substantial risk. Myself I am not slamming Beeston for having a responsible fiscally conservative philosophy on running the team and as the team President it is his responsibility to set that directive for the front office. The directive is to have a sustainable winner and the policy fits with that directive. Nearly all these deals are signed by the biggest market teams that can absorb the risk. People slamming the policy then calling the other teams stupid for signing the long term deals.

      • We should think the policy is fake because the policy is fake and they have admitted as much by saying that it’s more of a guideline, saying that they’ve gone to six years, not closing the door on seven, etc. etc. It’s a policy for as long as it’s convenient to say there’s a policy. That ain’t a real policy.

        • If not the word “policy” then use another word whether guidline or philosophy or whatever for the organization direction they have. Whatever is is called it is very real and has very defensible merits.

    • From Rogers’ perspective, the club has done quite well since Beeston’s return. Attendance and revenues are much higher than in any of the years since Beeston’s last stint.

      From a fan’s perspective, of course we’d love to see improvements in the win column, but no matter how much I want that, I have to concede that they are definitely trying (exhibit A: the club’s payroll is the highest it’s been since 1993), and the overall stadium experience is waaaay better than in the Interbrew years.

  19. While he was not definitive about it, a while back on a PTS interview, AA suggested
    that unless an injury took care of the situation, they might well head north with
    eight relievers. This would be to avoid losing an out-of-options guy in a DFA scenario.

    A catcher and Izturis would would take two spots on a three man bench.
    In that scenario, they would not have room for both Sierra and Baker.
    I hate the three man bench strategy;
    but I reluctantly understand why they might do it.

    I agree that Baker would have been a prefect fit for the Jays.
    I also think they need a big bat, HR type of threat off the bench,
    and they may need that more than they need an extra reliever.
    Putting this in the “opportunity lost” column.

    • It’s a pretty horrible strategy, if that’s the case.

      • It isnt a bad strategy if there is the personnel to pull it off which the Jays have in the pen but not in position players. Many American league teams hardly ever play the bench guys. Ideally have all 3 guys on the bench that are solid platoons to three lefty starters with one or two having speed to pinch run. There is no point piling up a bunch of garbage on the bench that isn’t better than the starters and will only play in case of injury – that just wastes a roster spot. The Jays don’t have that, Izturis is simply a back up at this point and wasting a spot on the bench that would be better served with someone who would start against lefties. If that starter against lefties can’t cover all the positions then when someone gets hurt call up a replacement from the minors who ideally would be as good as Izturis.

        • Have you ever actually looked at how much bench players get used, or could get used, and how little reliever number eight gets used? It’s not a good strategy, sorry. Nor is avoiding usable talent so you can keep a reliever in Triple-A, which is more what I was on about.

          • I have noticed the use of the bench and no it isn’t a good strategy for the Jays given their current roster especially not to avoid adding talent for a fourth bench player when the first three are mediocre just to save a no options pitcher – the bench is weak and needs improvement. If they had 3 good bench guys they could get quality ABs all the time and wouldn’t need a fourth. They have 8 quality options for the pen and could go with 3-4 lefties to help with high leverage situations not to mention not trotting Buehrle and Dickey out for the 7th and 8th innings and the 4th time through the order. Just because they didnt use the eight guy a lot in the past doesn’t mean they couldn’t and it wouldn’t have value – more value than a fourth bench guy who covers for injuries. How much sense does it make to trot all the SP out there for as many innings as possible trying for 200+ each while having long men in pen that hardly get in games – especially with a deep pen when those long men can pitch quality innings – something the Jays could have this year.

    • That is also a good point, until he can possibly swing a trade involving his pen surplus i imagine he might try and hold onto it for as long as he can rather than jettison one of them for no return. He probably thinks he can add an additional bench piece from the group of players who usually get DFA’d right before the season starts.

      • Or trade some surplus pitching to a team that has a pitching shortage after spring training to shore up the position player depth? Maybe hoping the Jays surplus pitching shines in camp while a pitching light team loses some guys to injury etc and he can trade some pitching for a 2B right before the season? Howie Kendrick? Angels have a good team but really light in SP even after trading Trumbo for 2 of them.

  20. I get that Wilner has worked in the industry a long time, and I don’t think he just made bad clubhouse guy up out of thin air. but at the same type, he’s not an industry insider, he isn’t fed rumours on a daily basis. So coming from him the rumour has to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

    Besides that.. when has being a bad clubhouse guy ever stopped AA from making a move.
    Rasmus and Escobar both had poor reputations of the field when they were acquired.

    • And you know all this how?

      • thats not how this works, its not for me to prove that rumour is wrong, its up to Wilner to prove that the rumour is true.

        Based on his credentials, why would anyone listen to such a definitive statement? he could have said he heard issues about him off the field, he didn’t, he comes out swinging saying that this is a guy you don’t want anywhere near your clubhouse, like he’s manny or something.

        • Actually he said “the consensus is that this is a really, really bad dude, who you don’t want anywhere near your clubhouse.”

          He was relaying information.

          • unless you can cite a source, whats the point of that comment.

            Its the same thing as when someone stands up and says Jose Bautista is using steroids, you’re attacking someone’s character with no proof. By simply saying I heard this, I heard that, or the consensus is, doesn’t make it okay.

            I don’t know why our broadcasters feel that its okay for them to speak negatively about players on other teams, or free agents.

            • Anonymous sources are a commonly used and reasonably well understood part of the business. I can’t remember who said it (Rosenthal maybe) but essentially the comment was “if I wasn’t able to use anonymous sources we’d wouldn’t be able to get 1/2 the material that we actually get”.

              Now you don’t just go out and hear something once and say “that’s the way it is” but if multiple sources are saying the same thing you can fairly report that “the consensus is…”

              … and no, it’s not like steroid accusations.

        • agree with you dc. and poisioning someone’s character using unattributed sources is an especially odious way to operate. Wilner is fine as the call in show guy and occasional play-by-play guy. but he should leave the reporting to John Lott and Shi Davidi.

          • Of course you agree with the guy who’s hopelessly wrong, SK. Of course you do.

            • Stoeten, you have some bizarre + fucked up ethics if you attack people who politely question Wilner’s reporting bonafides on this but have no problems recycling attacks on Jeff Baker’s character.

              • The “polite” attacks are entirely baseless, this stuff now about anonymous sources is beyond stupid, the comments he made about Baker are relevant, and I’m not recycling them, I’m commenting on them. You’re out of your element.

                • to be fair, I didn’t open the can of worms on anonymous sources, i realize they are a part of reporting, and are okay in certain aspects.

                  I’m not sure why you are so hell bent on disagreeing with me on this, especially since you took to twitter to ask for other people to chime in on the rumour, so clearly you didn’t take it to be truth either.

                  The reality is that Wilner doesn’t often report any ‘news’ especially on players outside of the organization. So when all off a sudden he’s relaying ‘inside information’ why would anyone take it seriously? Since when does he gain inside information outside of the organization? he’s never reported on it before, why all off a sudden does he have knowledge on the texas rangers clubhouse and matt garza’s medical information.

  21. Just how bad are we talking? Bad as in bad, or bad as in Fonzie bad? Sit on it, clubhouse chemistry myth.

  22. I for one will be thrilled once austin powers rides off into the sunset

  23. Speaking of garbage, this article has more errors in it then edwin playing a game at third base. Bush league stote, bush league.

  24. Who is the Beeston analogue on in other organizations? Who is it on the yankees? They have GM Cashman and then there are the owners.

    • Cubs have Epstein. Yanks don’t have a President I don’t think – the owners are pretty involved there. Think most teams have a President of Operations while the roles and responsibilities or GMs and Presidents vary from organization to organization. Some GMs in sports demand full control in their contracts while others have a chain of command that may or may not involve the owners.

  25. Great site and great comments. The MLB.com Blue Jays site could use a Sheriff like you Mr. Stoeten.
    I think Franklin could be had for Gose and a bullpen arm(Cecil).
    Thoughts…

    • Yeah pass

    • I don’t think it’s that bad, gose only has a year of options left with cecil having none. Cecil is a good reliever, and we don’t know how much value gose has left. If might be an ok trade.

    • I think I’d want Ackley instead of Franklin for Gose, because if Rasmus leaves next year, Ackley at least is a big league ready guy with experience in CF. And yes, I’d do it– though not with a reliever, or at least not quite that uneven a proposal.

    • Is Franklin really very good? I know he is young and hyped but he hasn’t set the world on fire and isn’t highly regarded defensively. Maybe Gose for Franklin straight up is more realistic? Franklin is no guaranteed savior for second base and maybe just has the someone different appeal for Jays fans. Auckley hasn’t set the world on fire either.

      • He’s better than what we’re planning to run out there, which is a great glove and a pile of dogshit at the plate.

        • Yes that is very true, not saying he isn’t a better option than we have but trading all star and similar potential young player for him is a tough pill to swallow.

          • Huh, who are we trading that is an all star? oh Cecil, he’s a freakin reliever lol

            Franklin or Ackley has a lot more upside at second base then any pltoon we can muster at second base, blus he’ll be basically free.

        • disagree. Izturis/Goins/Kawasaki is a better option.
          Franklin meh.

  26. Oh well. We need solid starter and d 2b with some bat not some power vs lefties who has poor d.

  27. Reporter 1: “Alex, how close were you on Tanaka?”

    AA: “We had a valuation we were comfortable with and when it got away from that valuation, we chose to explore other options available to us.”

    R2: “Alex you came away from the starting pitching market empty handed. What happened?”

    AA: “We did our due diligence on each player and placed what we thought was an appropriate value on each. Once negotiations got past the point where we felt comfortable with the figure, we sought value elsewhere. We feel like Spring Training will be a time where the trade market comes alive a little bit”

    R3: “Jeff Baker seemed like a good fit..”

    AA: “Sometimes with a certain player… uh…”

    R3: “It’s not like he signed for a whole lot or very long..”

    AA: “It’s not always about… Certain fits… * uncomfortable pause*… We had conversations internally…. Uh…”

    R3: “With his splits and his versa…”

    AA: “I KNOW THE FUCKING SPLITS! I KNOW THEM!!! WE DON’T HAVE ANY GODDAMN MONEY!!! HAPPY NOW??? THERE IT IS YOU BLOODSUCKING CHICKEN FUCKERS!!! FIGURE IT THE FUCK IT OUT AND TAKE IT UP WITH THE CABLE GUYS. JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST!!!”

  28. Meh, my guess is that they like Sierra, and that they don’t want to spend the money on Baker AND lose Sierra because, if I remember correctly, he is out of options.

    • I love sierra, some douche ripped me for it a few months ago,
      but he’s got huge pop, he’s surprisingly fast, and has a bullet arm.
      he definitely needs some work, but for a guy who is almost playing for free, i don’t know what more you could hope for.

    • they could keep both.

    • Wouldnt surprise me as his situation is similar to a bunch of guys in the pen. Also the Jays arent exactly deep in the OF.

    • I don’t think they like Sierra. In a radio hit a few weeks back Anthopoulos said he was basically off the radar until he played well in September, he noted that his splits aren’t what you look for in a platoon guy — he hits both sides evenly, not a lefty masher — and he might have also noted that his walk rate at the big league level in September was a massive outlier from everything he’s ever done. (If he didn’t bring that up, he should have).

      So… not buying that that’s it.

      • They haven’t added any other OF so they must not be hating on Sierra too much. Could have tried to keep Davis for the role for relatively cheap but passed? Gose isnt ready and is left handed. Pillar isnt ready and may never be – he hit 580OPS in 115 ABs after playing over his projections in the minors. AA said Sierra will compete for the role, there isn’t much competition and don’t see them signing Cruz so hopefully they like him since the alternative at this point seems to be we are going with a player we don’t like and maybe we find someone off the scrap heap we like more.

        • Davis got like $10-million for two years from the Tigers, so he really wasn’t in play. I’d bet on the scrap heap.

      • Plus don’t they still need a 4th outfielder or is Anthony Gose a bench man this year?

  29. “…but not before Boras hired an airplane to fly over Exhibition Stadium in 1986, with a message for the club’s new manager.”

    That’s full-on crazy. If I saw this in a Scott Boras biopic, I would have thought it was an unbelievable embellishment by the screenwriter.

  30. Sierra being out of options and AA being an options whore, he makes the team as the lefty DH, 3rd sting 1B and 4th or 5th outfielder.

  31. So if this boycott of each other has some merit then are we save to assume Drew and Santana are not coming here unless they override Boras. We are approaching the eleventh hour here folks.

    • He’s not Santana’s agent.

      • Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

      • My bad. Must have been the insane demands at the beginning of the off season I guess.

        I like Drew but I think we are overvaluing him because off the shit at second; much like Dioner Navarro over JPA. I understand the upgrade of just being league average at these positions compared to last year but I would want Drew to be under 20mil for two years to be considered, if Boras and Beeston can that is.

  32. Scott Boras hired an airplane with a message to fly over Exhibition Stadium in 1986?? The hell?

  33. Wow can’t believe how much intrigue this post generated! Over a platoon bat. We must be starved for news here.

    I’ll throw my 2 cents in and say that while AA’s big moves have often been fantastic and amazing and made me a big AA fan, some of his smaller moves (both signings and trades) sure seem funny at times. Like Maicer. Or the Yan Gomes trade. Or the JA Happ trade.

  34. Maybe this says more about how the jays perceive Moises Sierra, as they would probably lose him, than it does about Baker or Boras. 2 Boras clients in 20 years seems awfully low though

    • Who’s their 4th outfielder?

      • I’d assume it would be gose, he’s good defensively and can be a pinch runner in late innings.

        You lose something with the bat from Rajai, but you gain on defense.. base running will hopefully be a wash once Gose learns to get better jumps

        • Gose has an option and Sierra doesn’t.
          they really have nothing to lose by letting sierra break camp with the jays,
          they’d likely lose him if they don’t, and if they dont like him, cut him then.

          • Need somebody who can play center. My guess is they break with gose, Sierra, izturis and probably kratz. Gose in when rasmus needs a day off and they can shift goins or muni or whoever the fuck over to short when Reyes needs a day off. It’d be nice to just cut izturis but I don’t see that happening

      • Sierra is the 4th OF and platoon bat for Lind currently (only other option would be Navarro DH with backup C starting C). Izturis is 4th INF and platoon for Goins. A fourth bench guy could relegate one of them to the bench or be a platoon for Rasmus.

        Gose would not be able to hit for Lind and would basically be a pinch runner with Lind starting against lefties – keep him in the minors to try to develop hitting rather than sit on the bench all year.

    • I think he is really our only depth if Bautista gets injured (which he has for significant periods over the past two season). With Rajai gone, and Melky looking like a poor left fielder at best, we really don’t have an option to spell Bautista if he goes down OR for “maintenance” days where he plays DH. I head earlier they were playing with the idea of Sierra playing 1B also. I like the kid, he is 23, has a plus arm and if he can improve his slugging from .458 last season, I like him to make the team.

  35. As much as I agree with you, I’ve seen very little evidence that they feel Lind needs a caddy (which he does). They seemed to be ready to do so last year (even thought they didn’t really get anyone to cover it, and just sort of fell into DeRossa excellent year against LHP) but after Lind’s big year, I’d be shocked if they put any resources into it at all. I think we can bank on Sierra or someone else that AA picks up off the scrap heap

    • Gibbons gave him the starting job against lefties last year – he faedil then they started Derosa in a platoon – can’t see him giving him the same leash again

  36. Let’s just start the season already – we have the guys we need to win 90. Make a little tradey-poo at the deadline and we’re in the playoffs. Whatevs.

    • I wish that were true, a second baseman would be really nice.

    • Why upgrade the team for the last two months instead of the whole year?

      • You need more time to see what you got.. too many things went wrong last year to get an accurate picture of what this team’s potential is. Izturis Boni and DeRo in the infield was ridics. PH Adam Lind was ridics. Gibby’s figured that all out.

        Now we’s all good going in with Goins at 2B and your 5 SPs Dickey Buehrle Morrow Happ and Hutch. Add Lawrie and Reyes staying healthy, no JP, and get Sierra’s bat in there, that’s 90 wins. Then if the playoffs are in reach you can figure out what you you need to put you over the top if you’re going to buy high at the deadline. No need to buy high now when you have no idea what the team needs.

        • It’s not 90 wins, we project to get around 87 with the current roster. Another pitcher to help with upside depth and second baseman will give us immediate wins. cause right now 2b projects us to give us 0.4 WAR, If you round it down, that’s Zero WAR. A second baseman would really help.

          • Yes exactly its not 90 wins – its only 90 wins if everything breaks right. Add the pieces now and then it is much more likely a 90 win team. Its not like they roster are young guys that should be expected to improve and they should simply wait it out until the year everything breaks well then add at the deadline. Plus even teams projected to win 90 add pieces at the deadline that they didnt need when the season starts but do during hte season due to injury or poor performance.

  37. the policy grows . . .

  38. I think Wilner is a really good source, to be honest. Don’t know why everyone is ripping on him. He clearly will have inside information that others will not.

  39. I can FIX US!

    Sign Ubaldo. (we all know this is just a formality)

    Let Encarnacion play 1B. Looked better there then Lind anyway.

    Melky is our DH,

    Gose/Sierra platoon left. Gose would be great in the late innings regardless.

    Trade Lind and a bullpen arm for a 2b, maybe to Shittsburgh who still need help at 1B.
    (someone takes that deal)

    Sign Kendrys Morales to DH and occasionally spell EE at first.

    Then we ruin shit in the A_L_EAST

    • You just said Melky was our DH and now you want Morales to DH too?

      The efficient thing to do would be sign Ubaldo, sign Drew and trade some of lesser pitching depth for a platoon bat. If they are worried that much about the 2nd and 3rd round picks then they can compensate by going large in the international draft. Not worried about Melky’s D in left if he is healthy again.

      Personally, I think Morales would be a great addition but he’s easily 3rd or 4th on the needs list behind 1 or 2 starters and a 2nd baseman.

    • I’m good with signing Ubaldo and Morales and trading Lind. However I don’t want Melky to be the DH and a Gose/Sierra combo in the OF.

      • Cafardo has rumbled that “a one-year deal somewhere is still not out of the question” for Nelson Cruz.

    • Yeah, I messed up. I’m home sick with the flu. Hence the number of posts.
      Thanks for keeping me entertained the last few days Stotes.

      Melky would play Left, Gose late innings guy and Sierra a bat off the bench.

      I think it would look pretty good. But what the fuck do I know, I have a fever and haven’t went through this muck Kleenex since they leaked the Scarlett Johanson sexting pics.

  40. .314/.407/.667 career against LHP. (123 PAs). – Baker

    .259/.287/.319 career against LHP. (123 PAs) – Izturis

    *Coincidence they have the EXACT amount of PAs vs. LHP

  41. You know, I may be wrong but I feel like you never hear Wilner talk shit about players club house persona. When someone calls in suggesting it on Jays Talk or what have you, he always puts it down as meaningless and non-consequential.

    So if hes taking it seriously enough to say it on the radio, he must trust his source enough to know it must have some merit to it.

  42. Side topic: PECOTA was released today and is not kind to the Jays. Not sure what I should post since it’s behind a pay wall or if stoeten will do a post. Only 3 hitters above 2 WAR (Bautista, Lawrie and Reyes) combining for 11 WAR. Dickey, Buerhle and morrow combine for less than 5 WAR. Ubaldo is projected for 2.2 WAR, Ervin and AJ for 1 a piece.

    Ugh

    • I don’t quite get the ugh, to be honest.

      • Lol sorry the Ugh is to getting less than 5 WAR from our top 3 starters and not much improvement available in the FA starters.

        Not that PECOTA is anything close to be all end all though

        • Doesn’t PECOTA use VORP? If so it’s not going to be on the same scale as WAR. There’s enough of a difference between BR and FanGraphs as it is, so you’re going to have to put their projections into some kind of context. Also look at how many innings they are projecting. A lot of these projection systems are very conservative on playing time. For instance, Steamer, Oliver had Morrow set for only 23 and 21 starts respectively. Not saying that can’t happen, but as WAR is a cumulative stat a lower number can look worse than it is.

    • I saw a piece on FanGraphs where all the different systems were ranked in terms of accuracy to their projections. Let’s be kind and just say that they aren’t usually all that accurate. Even Dan Szymborski who does the ZIPS projections posted an article he did a couple of years back saying just how hard it is to be accurate.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/community/evaluating-2013-projections/

      There’s the link to the article I mentioned. To be fair, PECOTA is not ranked for some reason.

  43. Can the Jays just sign a starter at least? im tired of talking about platoons and 4 outfielders.

  44. None of us are ‘in the know’ and therefore this back and forth is a bit of a waste of time and finger muscles. Can we all just agree that if we don’t sign Ubaldo or Ervin, it will take various minor rotation miracles (eg. morrow winning 18 games) to compete? Yes we know both have warts but what are out options? Rogers, Redmond, happ, Hutchinson, etc.?

    The window is now, and call me crazy but Rogers plz divert my $250/month bill and sign both ubaldo and Ervin, go all in, assume the risk and let’s rock 2014.

  45. Blair was saying today on the radio that he spoke to someone with the Jays that said they don’t care about upside (with respect to prospective pitchers) this year that they’re just looking for 200 innings. Somewhere Drew is smiling.

  46. I think AA has gauged the market reasonably well for these starters, and I don’t get the panic in these comments. Every week that goes by, their contract demands decrease. Its not like the agents for Santana or Jimenez won’t call AA to see if they’ll match or beat a contract offer. I applaude him for not panicking in November/December and waiting for prices to come down.

  47. Boras, Beeston, Baker, Bears,
    Beets.

  48. But I’ve talked to a number of people out in the baseball world about him, and the consensus is that this is a really, really bad dude, who you don’t want anywhere near your clubhouse. Which is why the Blue Jays haven’t moved on him.”

    I talked to a number of people out in the world of baseball fans and the consensus is that nobody cares what a self important, specious gasbag like Wilmer thinks or says period.

  49. [...] as it their wont, couldn’t sign the right-hander. A few weeks later, CEO Paul Beeston made some off-hand comment in the press about Scott Boras’ involvement in the negotiations between Toronto and Paxton. [...]

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