petty

I really don’t think I have to explain that it’s been a frustrating few months for Jays fans, or how antsy everybody is getting about just what the hell is happening with the remaining pitchers on the free agent market. It’s a fact of life at this point, even if it’s one that’s maybe making us not quite as panicky as we were a few weeks ago.

The plan, it seems, is working. Buster Olney tweeted yesterday that Ervin Santana may settle for a three-year deal, and Tony Lastoria of Fox Sports Ohio wrote that Ubaldo Jimenez is now looking at three years as well. It also feels like the number of teams involved in the pitching market is no longer near as robust as it was back when Masahiro Tanaka was all that anybody could talk about.

Teams like the Dodgers, and Diamondbacks, and Orioles still seem to be in on the Bronson Arroyos of the world, but when it comes to Ervin and Ubaldo — the guys with the draft picks attached — few teams other than the Jays are being linked, and Alex Anthopoulos is said to hold a “commanding position.”

So, before that’s no longer the case, why don’t they just sign one of them??!?!!?

It’s a question many, many have been asking. One such instance came yesterday in Richard Griffin’s chat with readers at the Toronto Star — reader “Tim” wrote, “Hi Richard, is AA tempting fate by continuing to wait out the Jimenez & Santana? Granted their prices appear to have dropped significantly since the start of free agency but isn’t there a point where their price becomes too appealing for other teams to pass up? Seems to me AA is playing a dangerous game” — and Griff not only indulged the question, but said, “I agree. Do it now if you can.”

This would make sense to me if free agents were analogous to an Xbox One on Black Friday, but that’s hardly the case. Santana and Jimenez are auctioning off their services, and most plausibly, it seems like the Jays waiting for one of their preferred player’s agents to come to them and say, “OK, we’ve decided we’re going to move forward with an offer of X-dollars from team-X, will you beat it?”

If the Jays are willing to pay the most, they’ll get the player, and that won’t change whether it happens now, a week from now, or if it had taken place earlier in the off-season — the final price, though, may change, and most likely in their favour.

That’s not to say that there is no aspect of timing involved in free agent negotiations, but if a team is going to come out of the woodwork willing to pay far more for either of these free agents than they had shown all winter, that too will happen regardless of whether the process moves forward now, or a week from now.

Granted, waiting this long means there will be fewer remaining pitcher left to turn to if the Jays don’t land the arm they want, but they seem content with an Ubaldo/Ervin Or Bust strategy, and I think that makes total sense, though I suppose I understand how it might be making fans twitchy.

Thing is, the way it looks right now, once the agents say they have an offer they’re willing to take unless anyone can beat it, a few teams may bid the price up, but the expectation is that the Jays will be comfortable going higher, largely because of their protected draft picks.

We’ve been through this all before. What we maybe haven’t been through before, though, is just why the draft pick advantage is so compelling.

There are, of course, the basic facts: the Jays have two protected first round picks, and would then have to give up only a second-rounder if they were to sign one of these guys, whereas two thirds of the league will need to give up a first-round pick — assuming they haven’t already done so.

To really grasp the degree of the difference, though, I think we need to think about more than just a single pick. Let’s think about the first three picks for each team potentially involved.

The precise order for certain teams in the 2014 draft isn’t quite set yet, thanks to the free agents still out there with picks attatched to them, so some of the later round numbers may change slightly (the draft order page at MLB.com explains), but based on how it currently sits, if the Jays sign one of the free agents we’ve all been talking about, their first three picks in next year’s draft will be selections nine, eleven, and eighty-three.

The Angels and Diamondbacks are two teams who’ve been rumoured to be on the lookout for pitching, but neither club has a protected pick. The Angels have verbally committed to keeping their first-rounder, so let’s consider the Diamondbacks. If they go for either Santana or Jimenez, their first three picks in the draft become numbers 54, 70, and 71 (the latter two are competitive balance picks — one their own, one obtained from San Diego).

Of course, there are other teams with protected first-rounders, and some of them have been sniffing around pitching too. The Mariners are one, and though they’ve already given up a pick for Robinson Cano, it’s really just going to cancel out the one they will receive, assuming that Kendrys Morales signs elsewhere. Their first three picks, should they sign Santana or Jimenez, would then be six, 75 (a competitive balance pick), and 81. For the Phillies it would be seven, 82, and 113.

Granted, because of the two protected picks the top end of the Jays’ draft is going to look better than most regardless, but having those locked in means that losing a second-rounder does a much lower percent of damage to the total total value the Jays can “expect” to get out of the draft, and that’s perhaps why the Jays can feel better than others might about doing so.

Yes, yes, the draft is a crapshoot and all that, but… actually not really, as the chart below, which comes via Camden Depot, pretty clearly illustrates.

wardraftchart

In fact, in 2005, Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus tried to put a monetary number on the value of draft picks by looking at the average WARP produced by players picked in certain “tiers” over their first six years of Major League service, then subtracting the average signing bonus for those picks and the “marginal cost” of the players (i.e. what they would be expected to earn based on the typical percentage of market value players are paid during those years of service). Andrew Ball updated his work in 2013 at Beyond the Box Score, though he used a what looks to be the wrong calculation for marginal cost.*

I’ll use Ball’s numbers anyway, just because they’re current, and because precision isn’t really a requirement for what I’m driving at here anyway — it’s more about the relationship between the numbers at each tier — but keep in mind that the figures might be a little high.

In his piece he determines that the net value of players picked eight through fifteen is about $15.2-million. For the rest of the first round, the average net value is about $7.2-million, and for picks 31 through 60 it’s $3.6-million — and by then you’re already getting deep into diminishing returns, as he calculates the average net value of picks 61 to 100 as $2.58-million.

Sure, those are big, fuzzy groupings, and pick 16 is going to be worth more than pick 30, but it still gives you a better idea of just what teams are going to have to give up when they forfeit a draft pick to sign one of these guys. The Angels, were they to forfeit pick 15, would be losing an asset that, on average, would provide them with… I dunno… $11-million in net value. For Jays, Mariners, and Phillies, all of whom would give up picks in the late 40s, it’s closer to $3-million. And those are just the averages. Anaheim has a much better shot at hitting a home run with their pick.

That potential value loss has to be taken into consideration when trying to make a deal with Santana or Jimenez, and while it’s not so big that it can’t be offset, the asking price on the free agent arms has to come down quite a bit more to do so for the Angels than it does for the three teams with protected picks. Obviously. They may want to add one of these arms badly enough not to care, but you don’t get the sense that either of these guys is particularly wanted.

As for how the Jays may hold an advantage over those other teams who would be giving up a late-40s pick, we’ll again look at multiple picks and add up the expected net value.

If the Jays sign one of the gruesome twosome the expected net value out of their first three draft picks is still about $34-million, and the pick 49 they forfeited will only be worth about 10% of that total. For Seattle and Philadelphia it’s about $19-million in “expected” value, with the each team’s forfeited pick representing about 20% of their total.

OK, so maybe that’s a bit convoluted, and maybe it takes a bit of a leap to say that the Jays may be any much more comfortable divesting themselves of a second round pick than those Philadelphia or Seattle — or any of the other teams with protected ones – but there are other factors to help us feel comfortable here, too:

The Mets (10) don’t appear to have the money to be interested in adding these guys, and seem set in their rotation with Colon, Niese, Gee, Wheeler, Mejia, and some kid in double-A knocking on the door.

The Rockies (8) aren’t a team any pitcher is going to choose to sign with, all things being equal.

The Phillies (7) aren’t necessarily desperate for starters, with the former Fausto Carmona (Roberto Hernandez) and Cuban wild card Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez newly added behind Lee, Hamels, and Kendrick. If they are interested, and have the money to do something about it, it seems like A.J. Burnett — who won’t cost them a pick — is the one they’re most linked to.

The Mariners (6) seem somewhat set on the mound with Felix, Iwakuma, Scott Baker, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, and while there was talk of them trying to trade for David Price this winter, it’s not like they would have been able to keep both of those two youngsters if they managed to get a deal done, meaning they’re not necessarily looking to add. But they reportedly still have cash to play with, and while they might prefer to use it on a bat, they’re a potential suitor.

Minnesota (5) has already made its rotation additions, and the Cubs (4) are reportedly not interested in giving up any compensation for either of the two.

The White Sox (3) made an offer on Masahiro Tanaka. GM Rick Hahn has said that was more of a special case, but they could certainly still use rotation help, with Felipe Paulino currently looking like their number five. They could give the Jays a run for their money, if they were willing to give up the 43 pick in next year’s draft.

Miami (2) and Houston (1) don’t seem like viable free agent destinations at this point, unless you’re Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Beyond that, the Yankees have thrown caution to the wind and have David Phelps as their five, but perhaps a returning Michael Pineda, too, so I’m not sure they’re a fit. The Orioles are in the same boat as the Angels and Diamondbacks, and not particularly likely to give up a pick, while Cleveland and Kansas City could still be in play, though it would mean giving up picks in the low 30s for both.

In other words, there isn’t much in the way of competition for signatures here. The Jays, the White Sox, the Phillies, the Mariners, and maybe Cleveland and Kansas City. Maybe the Yankees. I’m sure it will be pointed out that I’m missing somebody, but really, that’s about it — for two guys. And with the Jays having available payroll (at least according to the team itself, and to any number of media reports from earlier this winter), a stated willingness to give up a pick to get a deal done, and the ability to feel better than all of those other clubs about what such a signing will do to their draft — save, I guess, for the Yankees, who’ve already blown theirs — you can see why the whole “commanding position” label really does work. Sort of.

Even if it doesn’t, like I say, as long as they’re willing to pay more than anybody else, they’ll get the player they want. No need to rush like the sale is going to end, or like someone ahead of you in the aisle is going to scoop him up. They’re in a good place sitting and waiting right where they are. No, really.

 

* Based on the study of arbitration year salaries by John D. Burger and Stephen J.K. Walters of Loyola College in Maryland, Silver used 500K and 750K as the standard earnings for first- and second-year players, while calculating the average earnings of players in years three through six as 31%, 44%, 61%, and 64% of their market value. Ball, on the other hand, simply calculated the marginal cost as 31% of the total market value produced over six years of service time.

Image via SalesLoft.com.

Comments (343)

  1. Even beyond the value of the picks is the slot money attached to them. If a team gives up a 1st rounder that’s over $1M in bonus money, making it harder to make up for the lost pick by overpaying later in the draft for someone who falls due to money concerns.

    • Even more, actually. Just looked at last year and the 16th pick had a slot value of just under $2.3M. That’s a LOT of flexibility that goes out the window (of course, that also disappears if you fail to sign your pick. I wonder what team has had that issue recently…)

      • The slot money vs pick maybe overblown? The only way the 1st round slot money frees up money to sign a guy over slot later on is if they sign a guy for under slot in the 1st round. Presumably this would be getting less potential with the 1st round pick while trading off for more potential with the later pick.

        They need to just make static bonuses for picks and get rid of this over and under slot signing bonus nonsense not to mention players entering draft then going to college – that has to impact competitive “fairness” since some teams avoid “signability concern” draft picks or else just dont have success signing them while other teams (presumably bigger market) the draftees want to play for and will sign.

        • I disagree with this. The slot totals are WAY too high relative to traditional bonus payouts once you get past the first few picks. 16th overall talents don’t usually get more than $2M

  2. Thanks, now I have Tom Petty stuck in my head

    • Song always makes me think of the Simpsons episode when homer wants a gun but has to sit through the then new waiting period. “Ahhhhh, but I’m angry now!”

  3. Being able to sign Ubaldo AND Burnett would be a hell of an offseason based on their projected terms. Throw them in with Dickey/Morrow/Buehrle and i’d be more than happy with that starting 5.
    I know this is highly unlikely but a gal can dream.

  4. “…but if a team is going to come out of the woodwork willing to pay far more for either of these free agents than they had shown all winter, that too will happen regardless of the process moves forward now, or a week from now.”

    I get what you’re saying, but the risk is somewhat greater than that now that some pitchers are starting to report to spring training. It is possible that pitchers may start to get injured, and that a team who currently thinks that their rotation is set may be forced to re-enter the free agent market should one of their current pitchers get injured. The longer that the Jays wait into spring training to sign their preferred choice, the more likely something like that might happen.

    • Agree. The longer the wait the more the risk goes up. Once spring starts the market could and most likely will change relatively quickly.

    • It’s not like these guys are wrapped in bubble wrap in the off-season. It could have happened at any point that another team needed to enter the fray. Derek Holland hurt himself, for example, but the Rangers seem like they’re likely set.

      • True they could get injured anytime – chances sky rocket once they start pitching in camp. Also guys show up at spring training and are not as good as expected for whatever reason. I expect to see these guys signed before camp starts.

    • The only issue with that is that by the time spring rolls around all teams payrolls are set and most teams don’t have the kind of 12-16 million in wiggle room it would still take to add one or more of these guys.

  5. Money photo, money argument.

    Waiting doesn’t hurt the Jays. Waiting is what has facilitated this scenario. Waiting even longer will ensure the maximum value for the Jays. Its a gamble in that until you have a player signed they could sign somewhere else, but how many people throw down an offer on a house that is 100K over asking when there are no other bidders? It makes sense to play this slow – and AA has set himself up nicely. Talkk at the start of the off season was that Ubaldo and Santana were going to get 5 years minimum and be up with elite contracts. Now we’re talking 3 years in the mid rage for salary. Fuck if things keep going like they have Alex could pick them both up for the price he was going to have to pay for 1.

    • Not only will it increase the maximum value for the Jays, but waiting also increases the odds that the Jays will sign one or more of them. As the price goes down, the Jays’ willingness and ability to beat a competing offer increases. Or am I missing something here?

    • Dangerous game. I bet these free agents feel they are being jerked around with the Jays, and as the price comes down, other bidders will enter into the bidding. I’m with Griff on this one. Unless there are “payroll parameters” blocking a deal (and if that’s the case I hope they will explore a trade for J.A. Happ to free up money), just get it done already.

      • Uh… again, it doesn’t matter if other bidders enter the bidding as the price goes lower, because the presumption is that they won’t be interested above that price (otherwise they would have been prior to their “entering” the bidding). So as long as you’re really just driving the price down, and conceivably comfortable paying more if you absolutely have to — which I think we all think is what’s happening here — you’re going to get the player.

        • Well I think what we’ve learned as jays fans is that Toronto isn’t seen as a hot spot for free agents for a plethora of reasons. If other teams get involved in the bidding I don’t think you can guarantee the Jays will end up landing the player if the difference is only a couple million dollars, especially is the player feels that the jays have dicked them around this off season trying to get a complete bargain basement price.

  6. Well worked through. 15 is higher than the Angels selected Mike Trout…

  7. Everything you say about the financial implications about the timing of a signing rings true. But there is another aspect to it as well. Blue Jays pitchers and catchers report in 10 days. If they don’t have a guy signed by then, he’s going to be late getting to camp.

    Depending on the guy. it might not be a big deal. But it might.
    I don’t think any of us want to hear, “We got our guy, but he was late to sign and late to camp. He’s behind the other guys…. we’re hoping he’ll be ready to make his first start..
    .yada, yada, yada cue the excuses.
    If they’re going to sign a guy, its time. Just do it.

    • Jiminez and his wonky mechanics maybe you would want the coaches to start working with him ASAP.

      • But Cleveland had all pre-season with him last year and it took half a year to figure his shit out.. so why do we think a few weeks in the spring will be critical this year?

        • Because we’ve been encouraged to believe nonsense about last year’s Spring Training being a key reason the Jays were so bad?

          • msm ways of thinking

          • It is only going to help for the coaches to get a handle as early as possible on his mechanics given they don’t seem very orthodox and spring is the perfect time for that.

            Maybe nonsense to believe that it was the key reason Jays didn’t do well but not nonsense to believe it was a factor.

            • Nah, it kind of is.

              • Well by that reasoning there is not much point in even having spring training

                • Don’t get me wrong, I do think that getting a look at a new guy with repeatability troubles is an important thing, but still not sure how spring was supposed to be such a factor last year. It’s an easy narrative, but it was hardly different, in terms of game action, than the year before. The pitchers pitched more innings, and guys got plenty of at-bats — regular season strugglers Bonifacio (71 AB), Cabrera (66), and Izturis (61) in particular. In 2012 the top two in terms of AB were Thames (64) and EE (62), with no one else above 60.

                  Granted, it was a longer spring in 2013, and this says little about what they were doing outside of games, but I don’t know why we’ve been so quick to believe the unprepared thing, except that John Gibbons embraced the excuse that they weren’t as rigid during the spring. However, I tend to believe that was more that he was content to not argue about it.

  8. Aside from the question of when to pounce, I still wonder who the Jays value most between these pitchers. I had been very pro Ubaldo over the others, but was surprised when Morosi, McCown, and Wilner all personally preferred Santana and felt that the Jays would too. Are the Jays waiting things out for the particular target they want or would AA just sign any of these guys if the terms were right (3/33? 3/36? 3/39?)…

    • Whispers I’ve heard are that they prefer Ubaldo, but there have reports to the contrary this winter, too. You’d think they have a preference, but maybe they just prefer one guy at one point, one guy at another. They could be keeping it murky to play one against the other, even — “Hey, we can agree to do a deal with the other guy right now at this term, but if you’re willing to do it at this term we’ll take you. Otherwise, you’re about to lose a suitor.”

      Just speculating entirely, of course.

      • You’d think that would work really well. As the Jays are the main suitor for either of these guys, the one that doesn’t get signed by the Jays could really get into a kyle Lohse stage. I would expect one of them would just sign with the Jays so as not to get caught with no team.

        • I think the risk with Ubaldo may be mechanical/medical. His deliver is quite unique and the head jerk + arm extension just looks painful from a fan’s perspective. The concern with Santana is his HR numbers but if his sinker is being developed, hopefully this number comes down. I personally prefer Santana as the more risk-averse signing but Ubaldo could pay huge dividends especially if he stays healthy + builds on second half of last season.

          • Ubaldo’s delivery sure is wonky, but he’s been really, really durable with it. I can believe he’s not much of a medical risk, but there’s definitely huge risk with his ability to repeat those mechanics.

    • When McCown said he heard the asking price was 3 years/$50 million, Morosi agreed.

  9. Are there scenarios where a team willing to give up a draft pick, but with a set rotation, moves someone similar in a trade and signs the free agent, building in the loss of draft pick into the trade? It seems like those types of deals (if possible) could come Out of left field and be a risk with waiting.

  10. I agree on it being somewhat important they sign before camp. Also just a theory but wouldn’t it possibly be cheaper to sign one of the two first. With only one left perhaps teams may feel the pressure and do a bit more bidding on the second guy. Just a thought, who knows.

  11. Ubaldo seems like one of those guys AA has had his sights on for a while. It’s true, waiting is the hardest part, so here’s a dumb prediction – Ubaldo’s a Jay by Sunday night.

    • Not dumb. Very possible.

      Teams with holes and unsigned players will start getting very antsy soon.
      I expect to see a lot of movement in the next 10 days

      • And these things always come down to the wire. That’s negotiations.

        Ubaldo all the way. The guy put up a 7.2 bWAR season in Colorado! He has put together a lot more WAR than Garza or Santana.

        Don’t all these guys seem to have the same floor? If that’s the case, shouldn’t they take the guy with the higher ceiling?

        • I would tend to agree with you on that… but I would suggest that Santana’s floor is lower, too.

          bWAR since they each broke out in 2008:
          Santana: 5.0, -0.2, 3.0, 3.0, -1.3, 2.9
          Jimenez: 3.8, 5.6, 7.5, 0.7, -0.6, 2.7

          Santana’s lows are lower, and they appear more often. Santan’s homerun issues scare me, too.

          I would still take Burnett on a one-year deal over either.

  12. Andrew – what would you think is most likely (or, given your druthers, what would you rather see?)

    - either one of Santana or Ubaldo
    - Burnett
    - a quality second baseman
    - a bopper off the bench.

    • In order of likeliness, I’d guess Ubaldo/Santana, a RHB for the bench, 2B, Burnett.
      Preference: Burnett, UJ/ES, 2B, bench.

  13. One week til pitchers report… Anyone from The Score heading down to Florida for Spring Training? Oh, and I got this is my Promotions Gmail folder today, cool to see a Drunk Jay Fan in the Man Cave this year:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/fancave/application2014

  14. Ok, here’s my position against waiting under the assumption that we can just beat any offer from another team.

    In my opinion, that is far too risky. I get it, it all makes perfect logical sense that as soon as the price comes low enough that ANOTHER team makes an offer, we just beat it by a million or two and everyone lives happily ever after. But that’s leaving out the critical human factor. Humans are NOT always logical and rational. Not even GM’s are immune from getting caught up in the emotion of a bidding war.

    The issue to me is this. Nobody else is “in” on these guys right now. Once they become “in” they will obviously have given serious thought to having one of these guys on their team. And once they get a little bit invested in the idea of one of these guys, they may all of a sudden be willing to pay a lot more then they thought they would, especially if the players agent is effective at playing teams off against each other.

    I just think that once another team gets involved, its a crap shoot, and there’s a chance we don’t end up with either.

    • While that seems reasonable, here’s my issue with it (and most of the complaints we’re hearing from fans): we just don’t know what the circumstances are. We hear little tidbits once in a while, but we really don’t know what’s going on.

      What if, for example, there’s mutual interest between Jimenez and the Jays, and the Jays have a 3 year/$39 million offer on the table, and Jimenez has told the Jays that he just wants to see if he can get a better offer? Are the Jays just supposed to say “Ok, ok, will you sign right now if we offer $45 million instead?” That doesn’t seem like a great way to do business.

      What if the Jays are concerned about Santana’s health records, so he’s the backup plan, and Jimenez doesn’t really want to sign in Toronto, so he’s looking for better offers and they’re trying to convince him to sign and that’s why they haven’t signed Santana yet?

      I know these are pretty random circumstances, but there are just so, so many potential reasons that things are at a standstill right now, and I don’t think it’s a wise business practice to just say “Well give him more money!” or “Just sign the guy you have concerns about if the other guy won’t sign!”

    • Similarly if a new team gets interested the player may want to play for that other team and take less money to do so.

    • I’m with you Rob. Even when its an ugly chick hitting on you at the bar, it still gives you more confidence than when you were standing there alone. Get these guys while they are standing there feeling unwanted.

      I admit though, for all we know many teams are actively negotiating with them already anyway.

  15. Stoeten. I’m glad you’re not indulging that nauseating bullshit about the “premium” the Blue Jays supposedly have to pay in order to bribe a free agent to deal with the horrible reality of playing in Toronto.

    • Contracts are in US dollars after all…

    • It’s all relative. You’re trying to suggest that’s not a thing, though?

      • I am.more just trying to say it’s about $$$$ and not the so called Canadian Premium. For players, the exchange rate doesn’t change their pay cheque…it’s the Jays that get hosed.

        And the dollar does affect what the Jays can offer, but it’s more about being more than another team, and in US dollars.

        • Oh I was talking to the other guy. Yeah, that’s a factor, taxes are a factor (not more than many other markets — more than Texas or Florida, though), the division they play in is a factor, the historic unwillingness to spend enough to compete is a factor, the turf is a factor for some, the run environment is a factor for others. I agree that the “it’s Toronto, pay me more to play in Canada” thing isn’t quite true, but I don’t think think we should pretend that there aren’t issues getting people to play here, all else being equal.

          • UJ & ES are both Dominican. Who do we know who can talk to them about playing in Toronto? We must know someone…

          • In an open market auction all things are never equal. The fact that you can always offer more than the other guy and the player almost always takes the highest deal ensures that.

            That’s why it’s a fallacy. You’re right about the tax issue, but that’s still a matter of offering the most money.

            When all things actually are equal I completely agree with you that the Jays are at a disadvantage. Players like Beltran who don’t care about money so much at this stage in their careers or players who are under contract with a no trade clause tend to shun Toronto. But none of that applies in the Free Agent Market.

  16. Lets say that jays are able to sign both Ubaldo and Santana to 30/3 each…

    Do they do it under the premise they can trade either one? Would those contracts be tradeable for something worth taking on the risk?

    I mean I guess one simple way for the jays to look at it, is to call up Milwaukee and ask what they would want for Kyle Loshe?

    I like the idea of walking into camp with a spot for guys to compete for, but perhaps a value whore like AA can’t say no to both after a certain point…

    • I thought Lohse might be a trade match for the Jays earlier in the offseason but with the Garza signing it changes the Brewers plan in the next 3-4 years. it looks like they’re going to let Gallardo walk next offseason and hang on to Lohse and obviously Garza.

      the problem with their strategy is their farm system is terrible so they don’t have many reinforcements coming so 2014 might be their “compete” year and they aren’t nearly deep enough to compete with the Cards.

      so it’s possible they could be selling at the trade deadline.

      i dont think it’s likely the Jays sign both Santana and Jimenez. you only need one. and you still need to have a better plan for 2B.

  17. Stoeten, can we at least look forward to you ripping management/ownership a new asshole if they don’t end up signing one of the available starters? The thought of them not signing one of the big three, or wasting more prospect capital to trade for a starter and save a few bucks is too much to bear if we don’t get some righteous e-fury out of the bargain.

    • There will, and should be, a huge WTF if they don’t sign either. I’m holding hope they sign both. Morrow almost assuredly won’t start more than 20-25 games so the window really is now; let’s compete with TB and Boston’s rotations and go all in. We all know rogers has the money. The fans will come out in droves as we saw last year.

      • agreed. load up on the pitching and carry the weak bat (and good D) at 2B.

      • It is hardly a assured that Morrow will start so few games.

        Yes, it will get angry in here if they fail to sign someone.

  18. What concerns me about the waiting strategy is actually something AA has said a few times – that when he talks to agents or GMs, he tries to make sure they don’t shop his offer, and that he’ll ask for a “window” or something along those lines to get a deal done.

    I can’t find any exact quotes about this, I’m pretty sure I’m not dreaming it up. A good example is in Davidi and Lott’s book when they talk about Anthopoulos trying to court Anibal Sanchez. Anthopoulos mentioned vague parameters of a deal he was open too, and then tried to get Anibal and his agent to agree to a window to hammer out the details. (He obviously was not prepared to do so.)

    I’m sure every negotiation is handled a bit differently, but you can imagine the scenario: knowing the free agents are in a bit of a rough spot, if a GM comes along and says “I’m willing to give you four years (or $15M+ annually) if we can get a deal done quickly”, I’m not so sure the agent takes a chance at shopping that.

    • But does he have no time to even make a phone call or a text?

      • I don’t know if it’s about the time… but it might be a relationship thing. I have no clue how much or how little these agents stick their word, but it’s something to think about.

        • It is. But AA is said to have a good relationship with these guys — agents he’s worked with before on big stuff. They have relationships to maintain, too.

          It’s a pretty outlandish concern, I think.

  19. Very good post. In addition to what you mentioned you also have to factor in the slot money that is lost with the pick and the flexibility that goes with it. Since one of the Jays first rounders has to be signed this year, they are going to have be careful with that pick or risk losing it completely. The roughly $1.2 million is a decent chunk that could potentially be used on their first two picks. Unfortunately, if the Jays really do value their picks as highly as some say, then Drew in addition to a FA SP is likely a very nice pipe dream. Personally I think that he’d be worth a 3rd rounder considering what’s in the system and what another 2nd baseman would cost in a trade but that’s just me.

    As for how teams value their picks, I imagine payroll flexibility and where the team is in terms of progression will play a huge part in just how valuable those picks are to them. I can see Boston, where payroll isn’t usually a problem and who have a deep system already, not giving it as much of a thought as say the Angels who seem to be close to being maxed out with their payroll and in possession of one of the worst farm systems.

    • All true; and if the Jays really are in a “commanding position” then roll the dice and sign one or both. We saw what happens when we compete with the big boys with Tanaka; “the cop out policy” rears it’s ugly head and we don’t get the prize.

      Bottom line: it’s all about the rotation and without at least one of them it will take a lot of career years.

  20. I see the remaining free agent situation as similar to an auction sale. The auctioneer (player’s agent) will set a starting point, when no one makes at bid at that price (/years) then he continues to lower until someone makes a bid. Being that person to jump and make the bid gives you no (or very little) advantage over everyone else bidding. Like Stoeten said, as long as the jays are willing to spend more than everyone else they should be able to acquire their target.

  21. Did I miss something, why would Cleveland have to surrender a pick if they signed Jimenez? Similarly, why would KC have to surrender one for Santana? Isn’t the cost for them to sign those guys lower than it is for any other team because they don’t have to surrender a pick?

    Each of those teams extended a QO to their pitchers, so they figured that they were worth, at least 14MM for one year. If I’m Cleveland, and I can get Ubaldo for a little more than 42MM/3 yrs, I might just do that.

    • They don’t lose their pick, but if they sign their own guy they don’t receive a comp. pick they would if he were to sign elsewhere.

  22. I don’t think anyone should be overconfident about landing either one, let alone both. Just because AA’s ‘strategy has worked thus far does not mean that Santana or Jimenez will be a Blue Jay by spring training.

    This piece is contradictory. It starts out by saying that the pitchers will go to the fattest contract, then Stoeten dismisses the other teams with protected picks for non-monetary reasons

    • I think the conclusion is the fattest K amongst those limited teams seriously in the hunt

    • He’s not saying the players won’t be willing to sign there. He’s saying the teams have no money/less incentive to spend it on pitchers like the guys remaining. It makes sense.

  23. I think you only sign two pitchers if you then trade Buerhle (for Brandon Phillips?). Otherwise I don’t think you need two new pitchers – a better use of funds would be to use the money on Drew.

    • No way you trade a 200 inning pitcher with a roughly 4.00 ERA in the AL East for Phillips. Even if he does throw 80 mph

      • Well whomever, point is, signing two pitchers gives them a surplus of highly paid pitchers, so I think the point is that you only do it if you trade Buerhle (or Dickey or Morrow I guess).

        • A surplus of pitchers? If they were to sign both of them, wouldn’t they have Dickey, Morrow, Buerhle, Santana, Jimenez (in whatever order)? Who are you calling surplus to this list? Happ? Stroman? Hutchison?

          Come on.

          Plus, what exactly is a surplus of pitching. Are you seriously trying to say that there’s such a thing as having too many starting pitchers? Because history says that on this team, that ain’t possible.

      • Not saying it would have to be Philips, but signing both, then trading Buehrle for a 2nd baseman has all kinds of upside. I’ve been advocating that all winter. Santana and Jimenez will probably cost $5-6 million less a year, are younger, and have more upside than Buehrle going forward.

        • why would you trade the only consistent pitcher you have? that makes no sense.

          • Exactly

          • he’s making 37 million over the next 2 years, so it can make sense.

            in a pipe dream if you could land ubaldo for 3/40 and Burnette for 1/15, move Buerhle to the Mariners for Ackley, then you probably do that.

            obviously thats not overly likely to happen, but moving Buerhle could make sense giving the right moves beforehand

            • lets not forget that Morrow hasnt proven he can be reliable for an entire system. Id add 2 pitchers if possible, and keep Buerhle. He had an excellent 2nd half last season, and if he can carry that through this year hes worth the money.

            • Ackley’s not nearly enough of an upgrade at 2B to justify moving their most reliable, durable innings-eating machine after last year’s disasterfuck of injuries and underperformance. If Ubaldo or AJ (or both) turns out to be JJ 2.0 then they’re pretty much fucked.

          • Like DC said it’s the cost first of all, 2nd, his age, he’s likely to get worse from here on out. Sure he looked decent in the 2nd half but was horrible in the first half. $37 million for two years of Buehrle or 3 years at roughly $39 million for Santana and or Jimenez? Also trading Buehrle can possibly bring you back a 2nd basemen. People need to get over the 200 ip thing, it’s not a sure thing at his age and the quality isnt a lock but the $37 million sure is.

            • you can never be sure, but Buehrle is about as much of a lock for 200 IP as anyone in the entire MLB. Keep him. Found his groove with Toronto after the break, and there is no reason to move him at all.

      • Don’t understand the hate on Phillips the guy has been a top 2B his whole career who struggled a bit last year after hurting his wrist while being on fire before that. You don’t make the all star team three of four years for no reason.

        Phillips is a way better option than Auckley. He has had an average OPS+ over 100 over the past 7 seasons being under 100 3 times and not below 92 and is a gold glover. Auckley in his two full seasons has had an OPS of 77 and 90 and is not a gold glover. There is no comparison. Getting him would be a huge win to upgrade the team likely more than any other realistic option assuming a major current piece wouldn’t be shipped out to land him.

        • @Nick I like him but he’s regressing and he’s not cheap. He’s one of those guys that the non-sabre guys love. Maybe he outperforms his numbers and he’s hard to quantify. Then again maybe he could go all Scutaro in Toronto and bounce back some.

          • This whole string of comments is nutty.

            You’re not getting anything for Buehrle without eating a tonne of money, and if you’re eating money you’re not squeezing in two free agents. (You’re not doing that regardless, FYI).

            Pointless.

            • given the current price of free agent starters, and performance. why would you need to add any money in exactly?

              You broke it down yourself in an earlier post. If Buerhle was an FA this year what would he be worth? Factor in giving up a draft pick, and chances are you don’t have to eat any of his salary.

              pointless convo though, they aren’t going to trade him. was just responding to the commenter who said it doesn’t make sense to do it.

  24. I could see San Diego becoming a late player for one of these guys now that Leubke tore his UCL. Poor kid.

    They’d have to surrender a first rounder but with some analysts calling them a possible wildcard team I could see them making a play.

    • Don’t think a rebuilding team is going to surrender a first rounder for these guys

      • Don’t think I’d call them a rebuilding team. Maybe not an “all-in” team, but they definitely made moves to improve this year.

      • They have .500 PECOTA projection – higher than the Jays – so aren’t exactly the prototypical rebuilding team. Their payroll is currently 80M. They could be a real sleeper that could make a splash and land several of the remaining guys putting them into contention. They are weak in pitching by projections.

    • Luebke wasn’t going to start the season in the rotation anyway from what I hear, but you never know. He was going to be one of my late round fantasy picks this year :o(

  25. Why choose? Sign both Ubaldo and Ervin. Give up your 2nd and 3rd round picks for the upcoming draft. Have a rotation of Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Ubaldo, Ervin for 2014 then offload one of their contracts next year for some non-elite prospects to make up for your lost picks. Sanchez/Stroman will have another full-ish year in the minors to develop and be ready to jump into the rotation for 2015. Sure, it’ll be expensive and there is some risk no one will jump on an Ervin or Ubaldo contract if they have a down 2014. Who knows how the pitching market will play out next year though with Scherzer (my guess is he gets extended) and Shields headlining. A Ubaldo or Ervin contract at 2 years might be palatable to a lot of teams by that point.

    • My ideal scenario:

      - sign Burnett – no lost draft pick
      - sign Ubaldo – lose 2nd rounder
      - sign Morales – lose 3rd rounder
      - trade Happ and Lind – save $12M which covers the Morales salary

      A short term deal for Burnett allows time for Hutch / Stroman / Sanchez to develop and one or two of them join the rotation in 2015

      • Where is morales going to play??? You then need to trade Lind

      • … and Buerhle plays where in this scenario?

        • Don’t think ther is a problem fitting Buerhle into this scenario… In my scenario the rotation for 2014 is Dickey, Buerhle, Morrow, Burnett and Jimenez (in no particular order). Hutch, Stroman etc stay in AAA and maybe Rogers or Redmond is the long man / spot starter. Hutch / Stroman can be called up in injury situations (nice depth to have).

          For 2015, you have alot of flexibility to slide Hutch and /or Stroman and/or Sanchez into the rotation – especially if Burnett is a one year deal. Jays also have a team option on Morrow for that year and if he doesn’t perform they can let him go or re-negotiate etc. Perhaps maybe even Buerhle can be traded to free up salary?

        • Dodgers or pirates would be the best fits

    • Exactly again. It’s a buyers market where we are apparently not bidding against the yanks, resux, etc. take advantage and let’s rock 2014 with a solid 1-5 rotation. That’s what it takes to win this division.

    • I think if you signed both the obvious move would be moving Buerhle back to the NL for position player help and salary relief. But I can’t say that I’d support moving the most predictable guy in the rotation for such inconsistent players.

    • Because it’s not happening and it’s best to get over this silliness now than getting all upset when it doesn’t materialize?

  26. FUCK IS IT APRIL YET??

    AMIRITE?!?!

  27. sign em both to similar 3 year deals with player friendly options for 4th and maybe a 5th year. having one or both for the entire spring training is also very key IMO.

  28. Brett Wallace aka 1B of the future, designated for reassignment.

  29. Keith Law had some interesting things to say about the Jays organization in his chat today. One about their acumen in drafting and player development and the other about the tax rates for Toronto players. Worth the read.

  30. Any chance the only offers Jimenez and/or Santana have received are from the Jays, and now we are waiting because they are trying to get another team to beat that offer? I think that’s more likely than the other way around.

    • bingo.

      the Jays are the only known team talking with both, they are being used as leverage, per usual. However, good chance nobody bites due to draft pick compensation and as Stoeten stated in this article, the value behind them.

      • It’s important to not get to excited. The jays have some leverage but as ther prices drop it might lead to other teams jumping back in.

      • This doesn’t make sense. If the Jays are being used as leverage, then why do Ubaldo and Santana seems to be lowering their asking price (as is being reported anyway)?

        I think its actually the other way around. I don’t believe that the Jays have even made a formal offer to either yet.

        • umm because both players would rather play for someone other than the blue jays and are willing to take a bit less to do so. wouldnt be the first time.

          • Given the limited number of teams in the market for these guys (especially when you factor in the huge cost of draft pick compensation) and the recent entry of Burnett (with no draft pick comp attached), I would say that its far more likely that the Jays are actually playing Ubaldo and Santana off each other. There are too few bidders for these pitchers to be using any team as leverage. This is a perfect scenario for the Jays.

        • We probably wouldn’t know if the Jays made an formal or informal offer for that matter.

          Also, Jiminez and Santana can still lower their demands and use the Jays as leverage if the amount they are lowering their demands to is still above what the Jays are offering.

  31. Stoets, why did you put quotes around marginal cost and expected value? Them’s real words.

    • Because the figures I was referring to were just averages ballparked and not calculated properly.

  32. Don’t know if it’s old news but the M’s signed Fernando Rodney. Being a BC boy they’re my other favourite team but I can’t stand that guy.

  33. Not sure if this has been brought up, but what happens if Max Scherzer trips over his dog and tears his UCL? Injuries create spontaneous (and eager) suitors, a la Fielder.

  34. Who wins in a fight between Tommy Lasorda and Don Zimmer?

  35. Signing 2 pitchers is unlikely in my view, but if waiting out the market allows for reasonable prices, it’d be great. It would allow for back end pitchers like Happ to be traded to fill the remaining voids.

    However, I would prefer to sign Burnett for 1 year, which wouldn’t be reasonably priced, because next year there will be a larger market of front line SP’s available. On the other hand, maybe they are avoiding free agency for elite players, cause it’s just too crazy. If it comes down to Ubaldo, I’m hoping for a 2 year deal, because his mechanics are scary.

  36. How likely is it that Jimenez/Santana is plan B and the Jays still have their sights on something higher in trade? To me, J/S are arms to round out a good rotation, not to anchor it. I can see them being wary of being saddled with too many years and dollars for these guys if they think it gets in the way of making better deals next year.

  37. I’m learning to be patient so I’ll give AA some slack on not signing anyfuckingbody yet… but this is a new boot up the asshole.. Rogers is now non-committal about grass in the dome for 2018. Like what the fuck is wrong with this mother fucking bastard company? Are they that out of touch with their customers to be pulling this bullshit?

    I swear to god it’s like this company is run by politicians.

  38. BAAAAHHH!
    All drunk and grumpy and sick of refreshing DJF every half hour.
    Just do something Mr.AA….

    • my preferred option is that they somehow find a way to deal a package of prospects and players for samardjiza without giving up stroman or sanchez.

  39. based on everything your saying im psyched. Is there any chance we could get 2 of them?? If Burnett’s name could be in the mix for the “2 of them” and he wouldn’t cost us a pick. Move Happ to the pen or to another team, and we got a log jam at the bullpen, we need to make a move for a 2nd baseman still!!

  40. AA will not get more of his precious value than right now. Theoretically he can sign one or two pitchers that he needs for below market value because of the picks and lose less value in the lost picks given two protected first rounders. It is the perfect storm of value in the twisted world of MLB.

    I would not be surprised to see one or two of these guys take a one year with a promise of no arb being offered at the end of the year. That would open the market for them somewhat in my opinion.

  41. A lot of good writing but the bottom line is still a last place team having done zip while their direct competitors have spent millions upgrading to the best of their ability. Hoping for good health is a strategy. Just not a proactive one. The Bosox were last and they gutted their team in the hopes of a turnaround. Not many worst to firsts without any major changes. Can’t name one team in any sport that did it with the same players who were last the yr before.

    • The BoSox gutted their team?

    • Really? Who’s really upgraded their team in the AL East? You can argue that the Yankees improved to an extent but they also lost by far their best player in Cano. Rivera is gone and they also lost Granderson. Boston has lost Elsbury and Drew and not added much. Rays and O’s haven’t really done much at all.

    • And the main reason the last place Boston team improved over 2012 was because their starting pitching got healthy and generally rebounded from a terrible 2012.

      Jays had a very talented team in 2012 that underacheived, largely due to injury. No need to gut them as you say. They were a much better team than their record just like the 2012 Sox.

    • The Sox “gutted their team”? What on earth are you talking about?

      • He’s talking about the Redsox trading away Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

        • Well, if that fits his definition of “gutting” a team, then fine. (The Jays got rid of Johnson, Bonifacio, Arencibia and Davis, I might add.) Regardless, I’d say the main reason for Boston’s success was huge improvement from the rotation that collectively pitched like Ricky Romero in 2012.

      • The Sox signed a lot of guys last year, Victorino, Napoli, Drew, Carp some bullpen guys. Wasnt just the SP rebound that helped them they had a very blaanced team and they had young guys up from minors in Middlebrooks and Nava and good AAA depth with Inglasius and Boegaerts.

        The Yanks have upgraded this year, Tanaka, Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran, Kelly Johnson — that is much more talent than Cano, Granderson and Rivera.

        If the Jays sign a SP, Drew and a couple good bench guys they still dont upgrade as much as Boston did last year and Yanks have this year. But as posts have said they can still win if SP rebounds with current roster.

  42. The thing I wonder about is that the agents have to know that Toronto is in the best position, as would the front office of the Jays. So assuming that AA prefers one of Santana or Jimenez to the other (and he has prefer one of them right?) then wouldn’t Alex have made a reasonable offer to the one he actually wants? And assuming the agent for that player is somewhat smart, they should really be accepting that offer soon unless said player has some aversion to playing in Toronto. The only reason I could see AA slow playing it this much is if he really has no preference between the 2. Because if the one you want gets scooped up that would suck pretty bad, no?

    • I doubt Jimenez is even in play.

    • I’m sure if all things are the same they would prefer one over the other, they aren’t identical pitchers.

      you obviously want to improve your team, but based on how the offseason has played out, AA feels confident enough to make moves only on his terms.

      Ubaldo or Santana both aren’t going to be relied upon as front of the rotation starters, you’re looking at 3/4 with Buerhle. If that’s the case, he may have just said to the agents, okay we have paper with 3/39 on it, whichever one of your clients sign it first gets the contract. Maybe he doesn’t care which one gets the ball the 4th game of the year, aslong as they agree to his terms.

  43. on MLBTR apparently Boras wants an out clause after a year for Drew.

    if that’s the case its not shocking that Drew hasn’t signed yet, if you are going to give up a pick, even if its a late 2nd rounder, its not going to be for a 1 year contract.

    If the whole point of compensation is to create balance from smaller market teams losing expensive players, they should just make the drafts picks come from no where, not the signing team. Teams could still offer the 14 million to ufa’s and get a pick if they sign elsewhere, but the pick gets added to a made up middle round, at least that way they don’t get punished for it. Signing teams wouldn’t have to worry about giving up a pick, so FA’s can actually get signed.

    • Yeah in general opt outs suck from the team’s perspective: all risk-no reward. Even worse for a non-elite guy like Drew with a shaky injury history. Its obvious why Boras would ask for it – basically its the upside of a pillow contract with the security of a multi-year deal – but I can’t see how he’d have the leverage to actually get it.

      • I can’t see him getting it either. The only way it remotely makes sense is if the first year is at a significant discount. If he signs for 2/$20 million, but it’s structured so that he gets $6 million the first year and $14 million the second year, then if he does end up opting out at least the team got good value the first year of the deal, and it means it would only be worthwhile for him to opt out if he’s really good in that one year.

      • Opt-outs allow the signing team to get out from the diminished returns of a backloaded contract, so there’s a pretty decent reward.

        • Not when it’s a player opt out. That’s what Drew is asking for.

          And besides, you’d basically never get a player to sign a contract that was backloaded but had a team opt out. That’s insane.

          • I said nothing of a team opt out. But the result is the same – some other team will now be on the hook for (yet more) overpriced decline years. That’s a positive for the former team.

            • So you’re expecting a player to opt out of a contract that’s backloaded when he’s in his decline? Good luck.

  44. Between Santana and Ubaldo, I wonder how the value of the 2nd pitcher to sign will be affected once the 1st one does.

    Say the Jays sign Sanatana that’s one more team out of the market for Ubaldo (I don’t see the Jays signing both). Giving the circumstances you stated in your piece about teams being hesitant to give up the 1st compensation pick. I could almost imagine the Ubaldo’s value dropping a bit more (unless he goes back to Cleveland).

    I could be completly off on this but i’m curious how the 2 pitchers value will be affected once 1 does sign.

    • Interesting point.Time will tell.

    • Meh, maybe. But maybe not.

      Because it’s generally accepted that there are three decent SP FAs available.

      One more off the board also means that there’s one less available. For instance, if Team X signed Ubaldo tonight, you’d probably see the Jays act a bit quicker to get Santana. Right now there’s a back-up plan if you don’t get the SP you desire. Pretty soon there won’t be.

  45. I know this probably hasn’t crossed the mind of all the “value” conscious people on here but isn’t there something to be said for signing a player for below market value, strong arming him, like AA is doing in a sense and then said player decides he really doesn’t want to give 100% because he got fucked over on his contract?

    • No, there is nothing to be said for that.

    • It’s way too easy to invent scenarios like that. Observe:

      Isn’t there something to be said for the Jays giving him the best offer, and him being pissed at all the other teams who weren’t willing to match it or offer more, so he goes out and gives it 100% every night to prove to everyone else that they made a mistake?

      • Maybe I’m reaching, but it was just a thought.

        The stars do seem aligned for the Jays to land one of these guys, if it doesn’t happen that speaks volumes about AA.

    • Absolutely ridiculous.

  46. Olney on Twitter:

    “Mets like Drew, but aren’t going to bend over backwards to make a deal. Same with BOS/Drew, and TOR and Ubaldo/Santana.”

    Also, BAL is said to be a top contender for Burnett…..but why hasn´t he signed anywhere yet ? Is it possible that all of this is being held up by Toronto ?

    • I’m wondering what Burnett’s intentions are. He’s won 2 championships and threw a no-hitter. The guy doesn’t have a lot to “prove” in that regard. Also, he’s made a ton of money. If he just wants to pitch for the fun of it, he’ll go wherever gives him the funnest opportunity, I would think.

      If he wants to go to the playoffs, you’d think that would take Philadelphia out of the equation, and leave Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Toronto. He also won’t pitch for cheap, especially since he’d be looking at a 1 year deal, so that would probably mean Baltimore or Toronto, I’d think.

      Meh, who knows. Dude’s a wild card. But, he’d be pretty damn welcome here.

      • he’s been quite clear that he wants to pitch to as close to home as possible.

        I’m sure dollar signs could change that but, I doubt anyone blows him out of the water.

  47. “It’s not my money, and I benefit personally from AA making a rash decision, which I can heavily criticise for years on those days I’m too lazy to write a real story, so he should really just throw money out the window as soon as humanly possible.”

  48. Just a couple of things:
    1/ I havent seen any comparisons (for that matter does anyone know where to find it) of Ervin and Ubaldo (or AJ ) vs AL East teams.
    That last point is fairly moot if in fact MLB is moving toward fully balancing the schedule, which I read somewhere in the last year.
    2/ Baltimore is looking for SP but not at any cost so it makes a difference to them if they can sign AJ who doesn’t have a draft pick attached.

    • Ubaldo Career:

      vs. NYY: 6.45 ERA
      vs. BOS: 11.72 ERA
      vs. TB: 2.73 ERA
      vs. BAL: 1.59 ERA

      Santana Career:

      vs. NYY: 6.34
      vs. BOS: 4.50
      vs. TB: 4.98
      vs. BAL: 4.98

      Neither are terribly inspiring, but I’d take my chances with Ubaldo and his far smaller sample size…

      • Excellent PL…Thanks! Where did you find these?

        Is is just a coincidence that Santana has exactly the same career ERA vs both Bal and TB?
        Also how big is the sample size for Ubaldo that his career ERA vs Bos is 11.72?

        • goto baseball reference, type in ubaldo or santana, on the top select ‘splits’

          scroll down towards the bottom and they’ll have each pitchers stats vs specific teams or in certain parks.

          to answer your question Jimenez started 4 games vs the Red Sox, 17.2 Innings pitched, 23 earned runs.

        • It has to be really small. Remember Ubaldo’s only been pitching in the Al for like 2 and half years.

          • Yup dc’s right, if you go to the splits pages on baseball reference, you’ll be amazed how detailed they are.

            Santana’s sitting around 100 IP vs. each of those teams. Ubaldo’s around 20 IP per team.

            • Thanks for the help guys…for some reason my machine has a “script” problem at Baseball Reference and as a result I’ve been going to fangraphs ESPN and the Jays stats page.

      • Baseball Reference is my bible!

  49. Shuffle gods gave me a perfect soundtrack while reading this: Skydiggers “I Will Not Give You A Penny More Than You Deserve”.
    Higher, higher, take me where I want to go.

  50. MLBTR now saying the Phils and O’s are out on AJ. Speculating he may go to an NL club….maybe the Nats or Pirates.
    Also O’s are being touted as one of 3 finalists for Arroyo.

    • I think they said he “prefers” the NL….fucking coward. I say that with humour intended as AJ probably gives a fuck about any future value at this point in his career, but I wonder how many pitchers (and their agents) try to avoid the AL East for fear they could get rocked and be devalued going forward or if that is even a thing?

      • I’m also getting a picture of the O’s as being a little cheap. Granted they have to figure out how to keep guys like Davis Machado etc, but Arroyo’s contract should tell us a lot when he signs….wherever it is.

    • Hmm

  51. I’ve seen the comparisons between Jiminez and Santana and how they basically add up to a crap shoot, but I can’t recall a comparison that factors in Samardzija. Has he been left out of the equation because we’re talking free agent arms, or because he’s the lesser of the three pitchers? Where would he rank on the list of still available arms? Above Arroyo but below everyone else? Or again, pointless, since they really don’t match up that easy? Waiting for Jays news + Friday afternoon clock watching. Ugh.

    • Do you really think Samardzija (copied and pasted, thanks) is the lesser regarding talent and upside? Or just because he is the one costing prospects? So many questions, take your time.

      • He has good upside, but the fact that he hasnt figured it out yet, coupled with the fact the speculated price in prosepcts for him is quite stupid, makes him a very unatttractive option.

      • I have no opinion of where the dude ranks, really. I simply guessed 3rd based on the volume of the chatter out there. The guy throws smoke and would be my pick over Jiminez and Santana based on his Kentucky waterfall alone.

      • Let me help you with that; the Shark

    • Samardzija is a year younger than Ubaldo and two years younger than Santana, and while those two have been pitching close to 200 innings a year for 6-7 years, Samardzija has only two full years as a starter and prior to that was averaging just over 100 for the previous four years. I haven’t read any studies on the effect of workload, but I would be more confident on Samardzija’s arm holding up based on that.

      His numbers last year match up pretty well to the other two, and he was very good in 2012 as well, while the other two stunk. I still think the Cubs’ asking price will be too high, but as a pitcher, he would probably be my favourite option.

      • He would have to be one HUGE improvement over the other guys seeing as that the other guys will just cost money and a second round pick.

      • OK so here is my big question which sounds fucked up but hear me out.

        Could the Jays sign one of the free agent SPs and with SPs permission (as part of the initial agreement) turn around and trade said starting pitcher and (enter prospect here) for Samardzija? Does that work with the CBA? I think AA should call me but anyways those of you with better knowledge about this shit, show yourselves.

        • It doesnt, even if they get permission, the CBA says they can’t trade a signed pitcher until June 15th.

          It’s also kind of dumb of the Cubs to accept. Why would they give up a cheaper picher for more expensive years of a similar pitcher ?

          • Got Ya! Just trying to help out Jays management because they are obviously to busy with lawyers and accountants at the moment. Thanks!

          • So @ Revolu you seem to be up on the CBA more than most. If you don’t mind, enlighten me to whether agreements are allowed that involve signing a FA with a clause that they will indeed be used as trade bait, so to speak.

            • I am not well versed with the CBA unfortunately, but I remember from last year concerning the Lohse situation that the CBA effectively doesnt allow sign and trades period, by limiting the signed pitcher to be forbidden to be moved before June 15th. This was to stop any circumvension of the Draft Pick Compensation. This would obviously apply to trade clauses within a contract as a pitcher would be forbidden to move period.

              Nothing’s stopping the Jays from trading the pitchers after June, but I really doubt the Jay’s would do that. Like I said, there isnt much advantage unless the Cubs REALLY wanted the pitcher we signed. And that definitely doesnt seem to be the case. And they would also just sign him if they wanted to.

    • I heard the Cubs wanted Sanchez and Stroman.

      End of conversation. The kids stay.

      • I know it’s unrealistic, but I don’t think I would give up either of the two for Samardzija, let alone both. I don’t see him as enough of an upgrade, especially considering the FA options available who can fill the same “win now” role while the prospects work their way up the ranks.

        I know projections are just projections and all that, but I thought the Steamer projections were interesting:

        Samardzija – 3.1 fWAR in 30 starts
        Stroman – 1.2 fWAR in 13 starts

        I don’t buy that Stroman is currently as good a pitcher as Samardzija, but those numbers are nearly identical.

        • It’s incredibly unrealistic, and don’t forget if Samadizja figures it out this year, his WAR total will be even higher, whereas Stroman hasnt even tasted the big leagues yet.

          And stroman won’t hit the 200 innings this season anyways, we would leave him back till june for super two and have an innings cutoff for his first year in the bigs.

          But I still wouldnt trade him for Shark. If we had more younger higher upside arms sure, but we really don’t ahve that many ready to contribute.

          • Well the WAR totals are based on the pitcher’s actual accomplishments so far, so “If he figures it out…” can be applied to Stroman just as easily as to Samardzija.

            And I don’t think we’re disagreeing here at all. What I meant was “unrealistic” was the idea of getting Samardzija without giving up either of Sanchez or Stroman. I wouldn’t trade either of them, but I would still want to get Samardzija.

            Bottom line: if I were the Jays’ GM, I would not be getting Samardzija.

        • I don’t think you can even use those comparisons at all. I get what you are trying to say but damn, I think the odds are in favour of Stroman failing at the big league level and even more than most who would have the same type of ranking.

      • I dont think the Shark is all that great but trading one of Stroman and Sanchez could be reasonable. These guys are no guarantee of success in MLB. They are not as highly touted as Drabek was for instance although the book is still out on him and if he will have good value in MLB.

  52. The hardest part is waiting for the next post Mr. Stoeten. There has to be something out there and if not, make something up please.

  53. I’ve checked this website and MLB Trade Rumors 17,000 times this off-season. Maybe more.

    DJF should do a post-game graph thing sometime charting page views and what was going on at the time.

  54. So, as you can see by my posts I am trying to beat Smasher for the record but…….next question.

    Trade Lind for whatever, sign 2 FA SPs, EE is at 1st, build the bench a touch with Linds money, DH is whoever on the day and come June load up or rebuild for the new 3 year window?

  55. Although I kept myself well fortified with Cuban Rum to fight off heat stroke, I failed miserably in finding us a 2nd baseman. I blew all the signing pesos as well but I had a helluva good time.

    • Son of A Bitch. I was counting on you. Take a day off and I will see if there is any value in sending you again. I will talk to Paul and Paul will talk to his people but at least we have done do diligence. Coming back with nothing is better than coming back with fuck all….right?

  56. This morning I saw a headline containing “Jay” and “sign”. My heart skipped a beat. Then I realized it was about Jay Leno signing off the air.

    Sigh.

  57. Arroyo goes 2/24 basically. I would guess this means the minimum price on Jimenez/Santana is 3/39 then (but what do I know…).

  58. Welp, do you remember when Stoeten bailed on game threads………fuck yes you do.

    *************** New Fucking Rumours *****************

    The Latest*********

    Sochi is a drink not a Thing!

    Having a Jays Garden is legal

    My Wife loves you all

    Fucking hockey guys always say 110 percent

    Spuds is probably the smartest guy who has ever been on this sight

    • As a fan who has gone to game day and radio only coverage at home I really enjoy the game threads.

      Is it just me or does anyone else hate how Sportsnet does not show pitch count most us broadcasts due but not rogers? I enjoy knowing that the pitcher has thrown 85 pitches when they should have thrown 60

  59. I was listening to Bob McCown on the drive home and he was talking about how ARod would never play again because no team would take him.

    This is a complete hypothetical:

    ARod comes back, the Yanks don’t want him, but will eat his salary. Do you take a flier and put him at first?

    • Would take it in a heartbeat. Put him on second or witch. The goal is to win a championship fuck them all!

      • Seconded. Totally take ARod if the Yanks were footin the bill.

        • Fuck A-Roid. You think after years of cheating, being close to 40 and two hip surgeries later. Fucking pass on that loser. And hey, even if he did miraclously got his to the post season, he historically sucks ass in pressure situations. And for those of you who think that locker room dynamics play in the success of a team, even if the guy who takes on the union after admitting to cheating, and then hiring goons to hide that he was cheating, can keep his ego in check, is he really going to be accepted by the players. I would rather eat my own puke then watch this douche play one fucking game with the Jays.

          • I’d love to see the facts behind your idea of ‘pressure situations’, maybe you should take your opinions back to the TSN boards

            • I’ve never posted on the TSN boards, for you information. Last 64 post season abats, 9 hits, 0 home runs and 5 rbi’s to go with 22 strike outs. That’s so fucking money, right there. He’ll probably be better now that he’s not on performance inhancing drugs. Go and sign the biggest fucking eye sore in major league baseball history, because the T.O. fans just love this asshole. I hope he never plays a fucking game again, which if you think about, isn’t that far fetch as your little brain thinks it is. Barry Bonds had an on base percentage of .480 in his last season, and wanted to continue playing…. Yet not one fucking team offered him shit. A-Roid hasn’t been healthy enough to even put up remotely the numbers Bonds did at his age, but because of what he did when he was younger and on performance enhancing drugs, you think he’s going to be an attractive addition to a ball club after players in the game think he’s an iggnor-anus. If he plays again, it would be for the likes of the Astros or the Marlins. Personally, I hope I’ve seen him on the field for the last time, because that is the kind of karma this douche bag deserves.

              • Lol I was so drunk when I wrote that comment, I actually don’t want arod either, but I don’t think he’s bad at all in high pressure situations

                • I was drunk too(hence the great grammar). The lack of clutchness in the post season has been well documented in New York media, minus his 2009 post season. He is(was) a great regular season player, but minus his Sealtle years, and his numbers in the post season are not very good. He was fortunate to play on a couple of stacked teams, but only has one ring. He was more about breaking the home run record(personal accolades) then winning a bunch of championships(team accomplishments). He was more interested in saving his legacy, and having the biggest contract in the history of the game than being a team player. That right there, is the reason I would love to see him finish his career, playing baseball for the Giants…. the Yumiuri Giants in the Nippon leagues.

              • Wonder if he’ll retire? Even if the Yankees try to offer him a package to go away it can’t possibly be anywhere near the $61 MM they’ll owe him when his suspension is up. I read somewhere they may apply to MLB to get off the hook.

                • Isnt that what they just did to get him susprnded lol. This whole suspensionis a sham the guy never had a positive test and they suspend him longer than anyone else

                  • If you’ve been following the story from day one, there was an assistant of Bosch’s that was harassed because of his knowledge and certain evidence he lifted from his office because of back pay he was owed. Everyone involved in the bio-geneis scandal has cooperated, except A-roid. I don’t agree with MLB’s method, but it was obvious the focus of their investigation was in the manner that A-roid tried to interfere with this information being leaked. He may of never tested positive, but you don’t go to great lengths to hide shit if you don’t have anything to hide. Bosch may not have any degrees, but it was interesting to hear doctors comment on just how elaborate of a doping regiment and schedule that he had in place to try to keep him from testing positive.

                  • @ Nick
                    Sham?? You don’t really think ARod is innocent of wrongdoing here do you?

                  • Ah Nick, Is admitting you cheated and used PED’s but promised he never used it again during a period where it was illegal and you could get suspended for it similar to a failed drug test? Cause A-rod did that. Just never had a failed drug test. Then evidence was found he did it again. kinda makes MLB want to suspend that player some more.

  60. 266 comments on this board in response to……..nothing.
    God, I love these fans.

  61. Those fucking Phils. I was hoping we’d get this guy for the booth.

    http://zozone.mlblogs.com/2014/02/05/moyer-and-stairs-to-the-broadcast-booth/

  62. That BJ+ article on Drabek’s mechanics is fuckin tight.

    • Awesome stuff.

      • That’s the 2nd Sherwin article I’ve waded through and I’m still a bit leery but the fact is that his mechanics have changed and that could be good. The guy was a walk machine before he left. IIRC he had the highest walk total in MLB at the time he was injured.

        The Jays staff worked on Rogers last year and got him to come to the plate more and keep his eye on the target before, after, and during his delivery. I see the same things with Drabek.

        The thing that keeps occuring in my mind though is that he has the athletic ability, there is just no one to bring it out and hone it. These mechanical changes should have happened at single A level. If he had been in the Rays organization, he might not have had 2 TJ surgeries by now and would be getting ready for a stellar year in AAA.

  63. O´s blogger and fans are pissed they didn´t land Arroyo. They´re now saying they want Santana or Jiminez, even if they have to forfeit draft pick. Come hell or high water. Blogger says Arroyo is another pitcher who doesn´t want to go near AL East.

    http://www.masnsports.com/school_of_roch/2014/02/taking-the-rotation-for-another-spin.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    • Im also pissed they didnt get Arroyo. He would be good for about 3 HR per 9 IP in the dome.

  64. And people wonder why I’m a grumpy fucking asshole.

    I get to read analysis like this.

    “In 2013, Drew had a 3.1 WAR and Tejada had a -0.9 WAR, suggesting Drew would be worth four more wins than Tejada.”
    “more than one or two extra wins, at least as calculated by WAR?”

    http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/412184-the-clause-boras-wants-for-drew?eref=sihp

    Umm, that’s not the way WAR works.

    • correct, but steamer projects 2 war for drew in 2014, 1.8 by oliver and 3.0 by fan. for tejada they project 1.7, 0.4, and 1.8. for 2014 if tejada costs 1.1 million is drew worth an extra 10 million for .5-2 war?

      • Probably not.
        My main point was that the author seems to be translating WAR into actual wins for the team.Frustrating.

        • Nope people think you take their WAR or WAR prediction, tally them up, add it to the number a replacement team gives you and thats your season win total, even though the people on Fangraphs and other advance stat users tell you that’s not how it works. WAR isnt even predictive, its suppose to be used to measure what someone did and be able to compare in retrospect, but people will still tell ya that if we have an 86 win team and we can add 4 WAR with pitching and a 2nd baseman well hit 90 wins for sure.

    • Radar. We all love you. But please stay away from WAR. It’s cool that you are delving into the sabremetics and all that. But your wealth of knowledge is better suited towards the old school stuff

      • Us old guys judge a player by the softness of his hands, and if he plays the game the right way….even if he’s not afraid to get his uniform dirty on occasion.
        (the first time I saw that last bit, I totally missed the part about his uniform…and I was all WTF?)

      • I’m starting to understand sabermetrics.
        rWAR+bWAR+fWAR= rbfWAR
        When you add in Park Factors By Handedness and o-swing percentages to get a truer picture,you can then multiply this to get your basic Pythag Wins ( commonly called Pretend Wins) for each and every team.Then you know how many Pretend Wins each team will have this year so they don’t really need to play the games.Unless of course .it’s an outlier or they play in Baltimore.
        Because we know in advance who wins,you can drink more beer,get drunk and fall down then argue why Rogers are such cheap bastards.
        Sign somebody already.

  65. Pitchers and catchers report in:

    8 days!!! (Feb 16)

  66. so diamondbacks look done, as do the dodgers now. still orioles and Seattle though.

  67. Guys I feel your pain. But it’s possible AA hasn’t signed anyone because he has serious reservations about all the pitchers who are out there and signable. This isn’t a stellar bunch of free agents.

    • you know whats even worse than waiting ????…….its the possibility that you might be waiting for nothing.

  68. Officially. The. Longest. Winter. On. Record.

  69. I thought that, if Tanaka fell through, AA would have someone’s agent on speed-dial ready to go. He didn’t. And that suggests to me he’s underwhelmed with his choices.

    • I would be too. Part of him must be cursing that he´s in a position to spend, but has nothing worthy to spend it on !! However, I´m heartened by discussion (Olney, for one) of prices coming down and years being lowered. That said, he has to bag SOMETHING.

    • Yeah, Isabella.Stoeten did an excellent job of identifing how limited the market was.AA no doubt has done the same and other GM’s don’t seem to be anxious signing the current FA’s.Us fans are the impatient ones.

  70. AA is playing it right, why should he just fold and overpay. There is still 3 starters out there. We will just have see who blinks first. I’m betting it’s not going to be AA who caves in first.

  71. first report of the Jays being interested in Suk-Min Yoon from Cafardo today.

    • he said that toronto has actually made a bid, along with boston and baltimore.

      • true, i guess mlbtr understated things a bit. basic info:

        - 27 years old
        - right-handed
        - pretty good K:BB ratios in the Korean league
        - experience starting and relieving
        - highest innings total 171 1/3
        - various reports on velocity have him 91-93mph with his fastball (his agent scott boras said 91-92 and profiled him similar to Kyle Lohse, saying he was more of a command guy)

        surprising that boras didnt profile him as greg maddux, but i’d still be inclined to take his reports with a grain of salt. i’m thinking he’s probably more like 90mph with his fastball, and a poor man’s kyle lohse. maybe league average or slightly better, with good innings totals.

  72. What makes this so painful is we are basing our off season on reporter speculation and a few political speak answers from AA. Of course it makes perfect sense to get one of the last three standing but does AA even have the money. Its like my kid asking me for twenty bucks, if I don’t give it to her she is not buying what she wants to as simple as that.

    I know it would be stupid of Rogers to pull the purse strings at this point, put if they decide to it is what it is.

    • Certainly they’re adjusting all the time. But AA has said all along he’s looking for at least 1 and maybe 2 SPs. And one would have to assume their budget for JJ’s salary should still be there.

      • I think the questions we don’t know the answer to is “What are the FAs asking for and does it fit with AA’s valuation of them?” The amounts that Garza and Arroyo signed for should give us an idea. And the fact that Santana has apparently dropped his minimum term to 3 years may be a sign that his AAV has dropped too.

  73. God damn it I’ve refreshed this page so many times hoping to find….something…

    I think I’m over Drew. Seems to high a price for a guy on the decline playing away from his natural position, I’d rather spend the money on pitching (sign em all!) and deal from an area of surplus (bullpen, depth starters ala Happ) to grab someone before mid-season or maybe even training camp (Espinosa, Ackley, Franklin, etc..)

    Suk-Min Yoo any good? Is he an upgrade over status-quo?

  74. Thing is, this isn’t like the situation with JPA where just about everything with a pulse was an upgrade. I know last season was a swamp, but Dickey and Buehrle turned themselves around and Happ wasn’t bad until he got injured. Some of the replacements were occasionally not bad also. So I have to wonder if we are doing ourselves any real favours spending money on any of these three.

    • I still maintain that JPA was a detriment to the entire rotation.

      • Yeah that’s what I always thought. Another reason to maybe stand pat right now. Those starters may be better then we think.

      • I was always under the impression that good to excellent pitchers took suggestions from a catcher but the game was really their call.

        • Yes except these pitchers hadn’t spent much if any time in the RC. I think they would probably rely more on their catcher in that circumstance than they usually would.

          • Point being, good pitchers rely on their head as well as their stuff. No catcher has ever made a pitcher….if I am wrong I apologize.

            • Apparently Buehrle never shakes off the catcher, so I guess that’s sort of an example

              • Hardly any of them do. It’s maybe a couple times a game you see a pitcher shake off a catcher. They play a huge roll in what the oppositions offense does.

                Pitchers and catchers go over a game plan prior to the game. Look at data, video, come up with a plan but it’s largely the catchers ideas in game. If you get an idiot behind the dish the entire staff suffers.

                The pregame plan can be completely changed or discarded as well based on what a pitcher has working. If a guy can’t get the bender over you need to adjust…..etc

  75. I would like to see AJ back in a Jays uniform.. Realize that’s just wishful thinking but a long suffering fan can dream.
    I just think that there might be a few really good arms next year and would love to have room for one.

    • Burnett was only good for the Jays and got on a bit of a win streak at the end of ’08 that he parlayed into a big payday from NY. Everyone on this blog thought he was a D bag when he left. I still remember his goofy-looking face in a Jays uni as he struck out 10 but got roughed up with some regularity. . . .But whatever I’d welcome him back at this point.

  76. One Gold, 2 Silver and a Bronze……Go Canada!!!

  77. am pretty sure that I heard jim bowden say that toronto is willing to go $36 million/3 yrs for one of ubaldo or santana and are just waiting for the price to come down. then, jim duquette said that his cousin was still in on these pitchers as well.

  78. MLBTR is saying Rosenthal is saying that someone’s about to land Santana. Also O’s will probabky get the one who’s left over.

    • FWIW, Wilner says he’s got a source that says it’s not the Blue Jays progressing towards a deal w/ Santana.

      • That’s interesting. So, Ubaldo or the Korean guy….or no one?

      • I know a lot of people will lose their shit if one pitcher signs with someone other than the Jays before the Jays make a move, but I would be very happy with Santana signing somewhere else. I know they all have their warts, but he makes me the most nervous by far.

        • I know zero about the Korean but I’m interested in how – if in fact all this is factual – that will affest Jimenez’ signing. does his price go up ot down?

          Also, now that I think of it the Yankees could be lurking in the weeds. They’re not so sure how Pineda is going to work out apparently.

          • Getting the feeling that they will not sign anyone now. Stoeten had an interesting tweet a couple of days ago quoting Davidi saying that some in front office dont think there is enough difference between the value of their young pitchers and guys like Jimenez or Santana will provide.

            On the other hand i dont get their willingness to trade major league ready guys for starters like Anderson if they believe that. A 2nd round pick would do well to turn out to be someone like Santos and you dont have to wait 2 or 3 years for a chance to see if he makes it.

            So who knows at this point, i want to believe they will but everything else i’ve heard over the course of the winter -as tenuous as it is – leads me to believe it is just not going to happen.

            • Yep I think you’re right. Apart from anything else, the ‘Jays are desperate for starters’ mantra–or ‘narrative’ as it is known around here–may well have led to unrealistic demands from the reps of this very underwhelming free-agent crop. I doubt that AA and Beeston are interested in a dance unless they are calling the tune. We’ve already got what might be decent starting pitching. If they can get Burnett or Jiminez for an appropriate amount of money then fine. If not there will be trades available in-season or even in Spring Training.

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