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There is zero excuse for the Blue Jays to not sign a free agent pitcher this winter. None. Not when their position is so advantageous when it comes to the guys with draft pick compensation. Not when cheap jack Baltimore feels a contract is worth giving up the 17th overall pick — and associated pool money — for, but the Jays won’t give up pick 49.

None.

I don’t even necessarily love the contract the Orioles will give to Ubaldo Jimenez — assuming he passes his physical — or the idea of locking him up for four years. I also don’t think it’s nearly as far fetched as many fans do that Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Todd Redmond, Kyle Drabek, and whoever else may end up filling out the rotation can be very good for this club. There is a tendency to forget just how very pedestrian relied-upon AL East pitchers like Felix Doubront, Ryan Dempster, Jason Hammel, Scott Feldman, Phil Hughes, David Phelps, Jeremy Hellickson, and Roberto Hernandez have been while in the rotations of very successful teams. All of them — save Feldman (15), Norris (9), and Phelps (12) — made at least 23 AL starts last year. And all of them failed to generate one full -win of value, according to Baseball Reference.

But we all understand that a club has a better chance to make it through the grind of a season with more, better options in the rotation. We all know how vital it is for a team to accumulate quality assets, even in areas of depth, and the possibilities that opens up.

The Jays could still “line up on value” — as Alex Anthopoulos is fond of saying — with Ervin Santana, but he is now their final hope to turn the 49th pick in next year’s draft into a tremendous win-now market advantage, and teams like the Mariners are reportedly lurking. To piss the opportunity away and expect us to open wide and swallow shovel-fulls of P.R. tripe is an affront to a fan base so beaten down by years of mediocrity that the only bar they ask their club to hurdle is that they at least just fucking try.

It would be premature, and I’d be too taken by inchoate rage right now if I wagged my finger about the club coming to regret yet another hammer blow to consumer confidence, or tried to conjure a grim financial future for the club coming out of this possibility. The fans aren’t going to disappear, the TV numbers will be strong until the club fades, and if they manage to be competitive, all will be forgotten. Not much will change for the failure to land one of these truly unsexy pitching names, but that almost would make it worse. I mean, isn’t it preferable to be lovable losers who at least try than to be losers who can just kind of go fuck themselves? Soulless, corporatist, bottom-line worshipping scum of the earth, searching with no dignity for value in the narrowest possible terms?

The world is full of that kind of stuff at every turn, of course, and to keep our sanity we all try our best to work out livable compromises with the behemoth, but when it repeatedly punches our guts in one of the few places we fans turn to for escape, it’s hard not to get awfully bitter about the experience. You’re playing in the fourth largest city in North America, in an un-capped league, in a sport where TV rights deals are worth many multiple billions, and this is really all you can give us? Indifference to your product or any connection with our psyches beyond piddly, bush league marketing and game ops, and the patronizing admonishment that we should be happy you at least tried last year?

That’s a lot to put on the failure to sign one of two pitchers who each could quite reasonably be fairly crappy, but to me that’s what it would signal, and some days I have less confidence than others in any of the inept, manipulative handlers of this organization to identify, let alone care enough to reverse the rot.

Granted, for all our eye rolling about value for value’s sake, the Anthopouloses of the world are right that it’s dangerous to let such big picture considerations matter so much when it comes to roster construction, but they do matter.

Again, though, it’s too soon to say any of this. The signing of Ervin Santana could still come along and erase this potential narrative. There’s no reason to think it couldn’t — worries about payroll parameters or the Canadian dollar remain reasonable yet entirely unfounded at this stage — but if it doesn’t, I can’t help but think that the club will again show to have been blind to its own failures of messaging. Whatever downsides would come with blaming stingy ownership or a sinking dollar seem trivial, to me, compared to the disgust, disappointment, and, worse, the apathy that will come from the insistence that they needn’t do anything, and that they trust their young arms so much more than Baltimore does their own, much better prospect, Kevin Gausman.

That sort of moment, should we run headlong into it in the next week, will fade into memory like they all do, I know. Surely the club will weather it like they always do. But for fuck sakes, here we are again, like November 2012 never happened. And how many of these moments — even just these potential moments — must we endure? It’s not a whole lot of fun leaving so much emotional investment to the mercy and whims of humourless corporate shitheels, even when there’s still a chance they might do right by it. Anthopoulos, for all his good intentions, sometimes seems as powerless as we are, and with payroll supposedly so inextricably linked with the revenue the club can generate, I fear that maybe this time the diminishing returns on selling false hope will genuinely start to be felt if this is the path they choose to take.

I mean… who needs this?

Comments (523)

  1. FIP/xFIP Jiminez vs. Johnson

    Jiminez

    08 3.83/4.16
    09 3.36/3.59
    10 3.10/3.60
    11 2.67/3.71
    12 5.06/4.98
    12 3.45/3.62

    Johnson

    08 3.37/3.51
    09 3.06/3.36
    10 2.30/2.41
    11 1.64/2.64
    12 3.81/3.40
    13 6.20/4.62

    I see little reason to get pissed about 4/40 for Ubaldo Jiminez when we let a better pitcher walk for 1/14.

    • Well in retrospect we shouldn’t have let Johnson walk. (Assuming his medicals were okay, though it’s very possible they weren’t.)

      • San Diego doesn’t give a shit about medicals? I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be frustrated, but I’m thinking you really have to back up to Johnson before all this indignation is well placed. Why expect the team to sign a lesser pitcher with more risk for more money if they weren’t willing to run a lesser risk for less money? The road from Johnson to the pile of shit left on the market wasn’t littered with missed opportunities.

        • I’m not really commenting on his medicals. All I said was that in, keyword ‘retrospect’, re-signing Johnson for 1-year and $14M would have been a much better way to go than not doing anything.

        • San Diego is in a better position to take on that kind of risk since they suck and have their eye on dealing him for prospects if he pitches well. If he pitches poorly, it probably doesn’t matter much in their post-season hopes and it’s only a 1 year deal. The Jays don’t have the luxury of plugging that kind of risk into their rotation.

          • Oh, I see. Santana and Jiminez at 4/40 represent the kind of risk we should be taking. Much better than signing a better pitcher for 1/14.

  2. I’m glad, in a way, that Jiminez signed for four years. I mean, as absurd as the 5-year limit stuff is, if Jiminez had signed for what he wanted to when the offseason began the Jays could have pointed to the absurdity of the FA market as a reason for staying out, but watching the spin of staying away from a team-friendly contract (at least in the context of FA) is going to be interesting. Hopefully they get called out on it from lots of corners.

    • Good post.. I agree. Any way you slice it this is a money move.

      Like there’s no possible way you can tell me that Alex alluded to wanting to add starters over the summer but Garza and Ubaldo weren’t in the frame. I’m aware that he preferred to go the trade route, but Jesus H… It’s not just about getting Ubaldo, but taking those couple wins/yr away from the O’s would’ve been nice too. 50/4 with minimal draft pick loss TO ME seems like better than market rate. Maybe not that slam-dunk bargain where you bite the agent’s hand off but come on..

      There’s that unique leverage out the window. Now the question is whether Santana at multiple years would be better than giving Johnson another kick at the can for 1? I’d hold my nose and go with Johnson to be honest.

      It’s not my money, but there’s basically no chance of me attending unless the Jays get off to a strong start. Call me a shitty fan, but if you’re going to count your nickles, why shouldn’t I?

  3. Guys just a wild shot in dark here but MAYBE the Jays feel Stroman is ready and are not pumping his tires to reduce pressure on him. Just maybe AA and the people in the know feel Stroman can give more than Santana or Jimenez. Anyone here anything about Ricky Romero this offseason ?? Maybe he figured some things back out. Ricky Romero before shitting bed was better than what Jimenez or Santana offer us. The point is we don’t know.

    • The year he was dafted there was talk that he was the one pitcher among all their picks that could play right then (probably exagerrated) and definitely that September. I think they think he’s ready.

      • The Blue Jays site was talking about Romero but as far as i can remember there was nothing to talk about. If i were Ricky i think I would’ve been perfecting a new Ephus pitch or something.

    • Even if he is ready I wouldn’t bet on the Jays being fine with making him super-two eligible.

    • Thing is, even if they think he’s ready, it still makes sense to have him as your 6th (or 7th) man. First, keeping him down for 2 months basically gives the Jays an extra year of him. Second- depth! How often does the average roster make it into May or June with the starting five it pencilled in in February still all uninjured? Pretty rare, I’d say. Hell, by June 1 last year, the Jays had already started 8 or 9 different guys!

  4. 1. Years and dollars don’t match up with FA.
    2. Losing the 2nd round pick and the slot money. This yr is supposedly a deep draft.
    3. Internal starting candidates (Hutchinson vs Stroman); need the MLB innings to find out more about them. Maybe even build their trade value down the road.
    4. Maybe AA is currently working on a much bigger trade with another team.

  5. O’s still in on Morales and Cruz per MLBTR…5th place here we come!

    I have season’s tickets on sale at a 50% discount. Any takers?

  6. Over 300 comments in 4 hours.
    You sure an opinionated bunch.
    Love the passion.

    • LOL that is pretty nuts, but it’s also amazing!

    • I like it too…

      GET MAD you sons of bitches!!!

      I mean god bless the guy happily clapping along to Miley Cyrus when we’re down by 7 after the second inning in his well worn Troy Glaus jersey T but MAN this offseason stings.. I like Hutch and trust me, I want success with the roster as constructed, but please hedge a little with real MLB talent.. The needs are glaring and a couple of signings could’ve helped a lot…

  7. Jays are going to be building this year from within. I think Stroman makes the club, but doesn’t do well and is sent to Buffalo; Morrow will look good early, but get hurt and be out by May; Drabek and Rogers will be in and out of rotation all year; Redmond and Cecil will be moved in June for SP to stop the bleeding, but it will be too late; Buehrle will be traded at deadline for less than adequate haul, and; Gibbons and AA will be fired at season’s end.

  8. Not that it will make us feel any better, but maybe Jiminez just didn’t want to sign with Toronto?

  9. Morrow is stellar until hurt again.
    Dickey will be better than last year but not Cy Young numbers. Syndergaard and D’Arnaud both have breakout seasons.
    Buehrle will give us his adequate but uninspiring numbers.
    The 4th and 5th starters will have gone through at least 9 different guys by seasons end.
    The bullpen will not be anywhere near as effective this season as it was last.
    Melky and Rasmus will not be Jays by seasons end.
    Bautista will miss his usual 40 games.
    Encarnacion will have a sub .250 batting average this season with no protection.
    Reyes will have a great season nearing 20 homers and 50 steals.
    But my boldest prediction: Jays will have abandoned the win now philosophy and go back to rebuilding. Right when they were so close to having it all in Syndergaard, D’Arnaud, Nicolino, Marisnick and company.

  10. The thing I most don’t get about not getting Jimenez …

    in the Marlins deal, the Jays picked up two contracts way worse than Jimenez’s: Buehrle (45 for 3 years) and Reyes (4 for 86). So the Jays don’t have a problem picking up bad contracts right now – they just seem to have a problem doing that with free agents. They’ll give up prospects to take on contracts … prospects much more valuable than a 2nd round pick.

    The team that picked up those contracts last year should have been willing to grab Jimenez this year. It’s fine if conditions have changed since then, but at the same time, then the Jays should have been looking to get rid of Reyes and Buehrle’s contract.

    • What’s different is the contracts they’d added from the Marlins deal. How do you know that they haven’t been trying to move those contracts?

      • Sorry … rather than “looking” I should have said moved.

        I don’t care if the Jays have been trying – they should have dumped the contracts.

        A aging 74 win team or an aging 80 win team, take your pick on whatever you think the Jays are … that team should either be adding or selling. It shouldn’t be waiting and seeing what it has.

        • We’re a projected 82 win team in the AL east, prettmuch rght in the thick of it, kind of stupid to try and scrap it all cause there so much competition and we’re right in the thick of it.

          • 82 wins is the most optimistic projection that I’ve seen. PECOTA has them at 80 wins and much further behind the leaders. Vegas has their odds a lot longer as well. If you’re trying to combine all projection systems, it seems pretty clear that the Jays are about 9th in the AL and a low 80s team. And one thing that’s consistent is that the Jays are one of the oldest teams in the majors. The type of team that should be hoping for unexpected increases in their win total should be a young team, hoping to capitalize on unexpected seasons.

            Going in to 2014 the Jays are an aging, mediocre team and this offseason did nothing to address that.

            • Fangraphs has us for 82 wins, and pretty much tied for Second in the AL east with the yankees and Rays, and very much in the conversation for a wildcard. And this is without us having significant additions besides navarro and freakin kratz.

              Its a pretty decent team. The frustrating thing is by adding jiminez, a decent secnd baseman, and having a lefty masher would propel us to an easy second place in the Al east, but again, we don;t know that AA is trying to do that right now through trade.

              I don’t expect us to win the division, but I don’t expect us to repeat the disaster of 2013 either. And just cause we’re aging, doesnt mean we still don’t have a pretty decent roster, the rays and Yankees have an old roster as well

              • Like I said, Fangraphs is the most optimistic projection for the Jays and it still has them at .500 and behind many teams in the AL.

                If you want to pick the Rays and Yankees … they’re each projected better by both Fangraphs and PECOTA than the Jays. Average wins from both systems for the AL East
                Boston – 87.5
                Tampa – 86.0
                Yankees – 82.5
                Jays – 81
                Orioles – 78 (adding in a 2 win bump for Jimenez since he wasn’t around when either projection was made)

                Again … that to me doesn’t scream like this is a team in a good place for the playoffs. Adding Drew and Jimenez as well as outfield and infield depth and yes, I’d agree. But this is a mediocre team.

                Personally, I think the Yankees have been dumb this offseason too and they’re in a similarly poor position as the Jays. They were way worse and should have used this as an offseason to rebuild rather than trying desperately to be a .500 team. But, at the same time, they probably want Jeter’s last season to not be completely terrible.

              • I presume you’re going by these Fangraphs projections?
                http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Standings

                Note 1) that those projections have the entire American League finishing
                a total of 15 games below .500

                Note 2) that the Astros are projected for 73 wins, a mere 23 win improvement
                over their finish a year ago. Whoda thunk that Scott Feldman and Dexter Fowler
                could make that kind of impact!

                Pardon me if I take these projections with a small grain of salt.

            • If only they were the favourites going into the season, that’d be something alright…

              • You’re right … on average, teams projected to finish 9th in the league tend to do a lot better than teams projected to win.

                By the way, it’s a fallacy to imply the Jays were consistent favorites last year – PECOTA had them at 83 wins before the season started.

            • Aged + average performance = fire sale

        • They should have dumped the contracts to whom? Whoever would take them would require the Jays to spend enough money to make keeping the player worth the risk. For 2014 and 2015, you might as well maximise your chances at a lucky season, then rebuild starting 2016.

          • If I had a full-time job dedicated to baseball, I’d give you an answer.

            But everything that I read from Anthopoulos was that he was looking to add this offseason, so I can assume that he wasn’t even trying to move those guys.

            • Since you don’t have a full-time job in baseball….

              And exactly, why move them? For what you can get for them, you might as well keep them, unless you intend to dismantle the team. Worst case: dismantle the team in 2016, but not now. There are enough pieces to win.

              • I don’t think there are enough pieces to win as is. Were I in charge, I would have dismantled the team rather than this offseason.

                My preference for offseason activity would have been:
                Option 1 – Build the team. In order, add a 2+ WAR 2B, a 2+ WAR catcher, a 2.5+ WAR pitcher, a 4th OF, and a back-up IF.

                Option 2, if #1 or reasonable facsimile not possible – Dismantle the team. Trade Jannssen, Dickey, Buehrle, Rasmus, Bautista, Encarnacion, and Reyes, or however many you can. Focus on cost controlled players. Similar to how the Jays said they were going to build their team about 2 years ago. Also very similar to how the Rays have built their organization.

                Option 3 – don’t replace lost parts. This is the avenue the Jays went down. They lost Davis, De Rosa, Johnson, and Arencibia and only replaced Arencibia.

                I only think a tear down makes sense as an alternative to doing nothing. Actually building the team was preferable, but the Jays didn’t do that.

                • On a related note … the trade value for Rasmus plummets the second the season starts. That’s when the first rounder attached to a qualifying offer goes away if he is traded.

  11. Trade Sanchez and Stroman (more if needed) for David Price. We are really missing that #1 like others have said. Go for it now while you have these aging studs. Playoffs come along, you are going to want someone to throw up against the Kershaw’s, hmmm Tanaka’s even that are out there.

    • does david price alone make this team go from 4/5 to 1/2?

      • Price would make a big difference. Probably talking 10 more wins over whoever the heck we have at 5th spot. I do think we have a good team right now, a stud pitcher would make me think we would have a chance.

        • I don’t know about 10 Wins, even when talking about going from happ to price.

          I think it would probably be 3-4. Now if you’re an 88 win team 3-4 win improvement is huge.

          if you’re an 81 win team, 3-4 extra wins is pointless

          • Happ is 4th, puke…………. I can live with him at 5th. Price can easily win 5 more games than Happ, probably while blindfolded.

    • What we’re missing isnt a clear number 1, what we’re missing is upper pitching depth and a second baseman. A right handed bat that mashed lefties would be nice too. AA has done nothing so far to address those concerns, but he certainly has tried through trade earlier in the offseason.

      It’s time for him to deliver. There is still time over spring training.

    • If Sanchez and Strolman are the price for the Shark, you sure as hell know that both of them won’t be enough for Price. Let’s not be the typical Leaf commentators here. (Leafs should trade Ranger for Crosby)

  12. I look forward to reading much complaining now, followed by much happiness around May/June, followed by some brief complaining around the All-Star Break, followed at last by more happiness and relief in September, because inconsistency.

    • I look forward to many people at the trade deadline saying, “Wow, who knew the team would be so bad?”

      • I look forward to you shutting up by the trade deadline. It’ll be a win win for us.

      • This team has very high volatility. That part’s obvious.

        • Is it?

          Why do you say that?

          They’re an old team with injury prone players. Guess what happens when you build a team like that? You get a lot of injuries and more players underperform expectations than overachieve.

          • I suppose the players coming back from injuries was my first clue. As for “old”, I wouldn’t consider an average age of right around 30 “old”; that seems average to me. Their average age is the exact median in the AL East, anyway. I don’t have the energy to check the other 25 teams.

            • If you’re talking about volatility, you should be comparing the Jays performance to prior history for them. So, if you’re going to talk about all the guys coming back from injury, would you mind telling me who was injured in 2013 who didn’t also have a serious injury in either 2011 or 2012?

              Reyes? Missed serious time in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
              Lawrie? 2012 injury.
              Rasmus? 2011 wrist injury
              Bautista? 50 games missed in 2012
              Happ? Foot fracture in 2012
              Johnson? (since left) Missed most of 2011
              McGown? Missed most of the past 6 years
              Santos? Missed essentially all of 2012
              Cabrera? No injury, but missed 50 games due to a suspension.

              Soooo … injuries and time missed for the Blue Jays roster – that’s something that’s surprising and volatile? Looks pretty predictable to me.

              And if the team doesn’t appear old to you, then you need to revisit your sources.

              http://www.statista.com/statistics/236223/major-league-baseball-clubs-by-average-age-of-players/

              2nd oldest team in 2013 to the Yankees.

              • Burhele, Dicky and Oliver would all up that number but are all pitchers that buck the trend of when players fall of a cliff.

                • Buehrle by 5 year goupings:
                  - 2001-2005 – 3.9-6.0 fWAR: average: 4.6 fWAR
                  - 2006-2010 – 1.8-4.3 fWAR: average: 3.3 fWAR
                  - 2011-2013 – 1.9-3.4 fWAR: average: 2.6 fWAR

                  Doesn’t look to be bucking the aging trend.

                  Oliver was a starter until he was 34 and then moved to the pen. Pretty representative of typical aging. He may have been effective in the pen, but that’s different than being a starter.

                  Dickey is a knuckleballer … and he’s definitely aging differently than typical, but not atypical for a knuckleballer.

                  • That’s exactly what bucking the aging trend looks like. He would be much worse if following a more typical age curve. Both pitchers’ value comes from skills that don’t deteriorate as quickly as others like speed, or velocity. Not to mention both of their ability to outperform their FIP.

                  • Water is a liquid at room temperature. Since you did not type it, it must be false. Debate please.

              • One thing I notice about that age graph is that most of the teams near the top are very fucking good.

                When’s the last time you saw a bunch of first year players make the playoffs?

  13. If you want to get on the front office, it’s easy. Have a go at Beeston and AA for keeping JPA (even though his stats were complete shit) and letting go every goddamn’ credible alternative. At one point I thought AA and JPA had to have a little something going on for AA to protect him like he did. But spending money on a starter with a bunch of ??????? makes little sense to me. Addition by subtraction, guys. Let’s see how much better the current rotation is without Chuckles the Clown behind the plate and calling the games.

  14. Great write up. Totally true. You and many of us have been really fucking patient, but zero free agents of consequence would be unacceptable. We are now in a position where we have to sign Santana, and we may not be able to. Really a bad scenario for AA, the team, and the fans.
    But seriously, just fucking get it done. If we don’t sign him (not saying if we do, we can walk to contention), there is nothing else to say other than we are punting the year. Team management cannot say with a straight face they expect to contend with the same shit staff that was second worst in the league last year. It’s just not possible.
    To not double down on last year’s free agent spree is just short-sighted and begs the question, “what was our fucking plan if we didn’t win in year 1? Nothing?”

  15. I’m surprised there are so few stories / quotes from Anthopoulos today. Would have thought the media would be reaching out to him.

    • Maybe he’s getting something done

      • Spends all offseason doing nothing and waits for an Orioles signing in spring training to jump.

        Sorry … don’t believe it.

        I can be proven wrong, but Occam’s Razor seems to be pretty applicable here. The Jays haven’t done anything this offseason because they never had any intention of doing anything.

        There are too many reasonable contracts signed or players traded at low rates at areas of need for this to just be a whole bunch of coincidences: Infante, Ellis, Colon, Kazmir, Jimenez, Burnett, Fister, Garza off the top of my head, probably more.

        Yeah, you can make an excuse about one may not have liked Canada, how AA may not have known the price of someone else, etc. But eventually, the GM’s job is to acquire talent and when 8+ players who could help you get moved at reasonable / discount rates and you come up 0 for 8 … the explanation is probably that the Jays didn’t really want to do anything.

    • in fact, we have a choice of two santanas.

      • Actually, the Jays have 3 choices … 2 santanas or nothing. Guess which one they’re going to go with?

      • I am fearful you are correct, but I have to think AA would have done even more to damping expectations if he didn’t believe they were going to make some moves.

        • AA has done everything possible to dampen expectations. At the start of last offseason, he said they’d add, but since then all he’s said is they could add if they wanted to, but the prices aren’t right. He’s repeatedly said they’ll only do something if the value is there.

          • At this point when AA says “value” I’m just going to assume that he means really really really cheap.

  16. Throw in as many AAA farm-arms into the starting rotation and fill up the infield and outfield gaps with AAA guys that are not named Bonifacio. Trial by fire for our farm system begins this season. Ride blind faith into the season with the young pitchers and mark this as Anthopolous’ final season as GM if he cannot get 15 games over 0.500

  17. wow this is just beyond stupid. spend money or sell the team…

  18. I just got it. Sorry. This is some really advanced satire. Twain-level stuff. Congratulations.

  19. seems like pittsburgh is just pining for a left-handed hitting first baseman coming off a productive season. hmm. am still hoping that toronto can maybe play a little late offseason musical chairs at first base and somehow end up sitting in the billy butler chair. kc can have morales. gibbons and seitzer would be pleased.

  20. “Dustin McGowan was seen taking grounders at second base yesterday”
    http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2014/2/18/5422762/r-a-dickey-tapped-as-blue-jays-opening-day-starter-and-other-notes

    lol lol lol

  21. 3 things to keep in mind:

    1) In the AL East, it’s entirely possible that both Ubaldo & Santana end up with a WAR <1 in 2014, or even end up as BELOW replacement level – especially if they pitched half their games at the SkyDome.

    2) There's a decent chance that Happ, Drabek & Hutchison all manage to outperform both Ubaldo & Santana.

    3) Neither Ubaldo or Santana are guys you want to sign for four years. If Ubaldo or Santana signed a 3yr-plus-option deals, then there might be reason to complain, but neither guy is worth having on the books in 2017 just to have them be mediocre (or worse) in 2014.

    I honestly can't fault AA for sitting this one out – it's not worth making a move just to make a move.

    • I think this passage from Matt Snyder at CBS Sports sums it up:

      “Even in that magical 2010 season — in which he [Jiminez] started the All-Star Game and finished third in Cy Young voting — Jimenez wasn’t great for the entire season. In his last 19 starts — more than half a season! — Jimenez was 6-7 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He followed that up by going 19-30 with a 5.03 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 2011 and 2012 combined, making him one of the worst regular starters in all of baseball during those two seasons.

      And then last year, prior to his hot finish, Jimenez was 7-5 with a 4.49 ERA and 1.50 WHIP through 20 starts.

      So, essentially, what we’re looking at with Jimenez is a pitcher who was lights out for 14 starts in 2010 and great for 12 starts to finish the 2013 season. Put those together and it’s not even one full season. And otherwise, in the past four years, Jimenez has been anywhere from relatively average to downright dreadful.”

      • ERA, WHIP, and record.

        Here are Jimenez’ FIP and xFIP by month in 2010:

        Apr: 2.50 / 3.46
        May: 2.64 / 3.29
        Jun: 4.09 / 3.84
        Jul: 4.21 / 4.37
        Aug: 2.54 / 3.42
        Sep: 3.06 / 3.51

        That looks pretty steady throughout the year to me.

        He has definitely changed as a pitcher – you can just look at fastball speeds and how frequently he uses his slider and change-up to see that – but the argument that his ERA, WHIP, and win totals reveal anything is just ridiculous.

      • Pitcher wins? Really?

        fWAR since 2008: 3.9, 5.6, 6.5, 3.3, 0.1, 3.2

    • If each of Happ, Drabek, and Hutchison produce more fWAR than each of Jimenez and Santana, I’ll donate $500 to the charity of your choice.

      Conversely, if the above does not happen, will you donate $250 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation?

      I’m giving your charity good odds and it’s the claim that you made … you’ll get a tax deduction if you lose, so it should be pretty amenable.

      Agree?

      • ^
        |
        |
        Genius!

      • If not for post-TJ innings limits for Drabek & Hutch, I’d consider that bet – over a full season, I think all three (including Happ) have 2-3 fWAR upsides, while Ubaldo & Santana both look to have their best days behind them. Even 2:1 odds hurts me on the fWAR bet, but a straight-FIP wager might make sense, depending on where Santana signs.

        Truth is, I know far too much about math to bet on sports, but my point that the Jays existing options might well outweigh their FA options still has validity.

        • Argh, should have read “Even 2:1 odds doesn’t offset the fact that fWAR’s cumulative nature hurts me on that bet”. Stoeten, we need an edit button!

        • I think Happ is really underrated around these parts, and Hutch will probably be solid… Drabek, not so sure.

    • Call me maybe?

  22. Here is a thought: We know the pirates wanted Lind…and are still looking. What if part of the valuation AA is doing is what pitcher can they get from pirates coupled with signing Morales? Seems like all these markets are slow for various scenarios like these (by the jays and others) playing out behind the scenes. You make it sound like they have sat back and haven’t even tried to improve the team.

    • the article says things like “Again, though, it’s too soon to say any of this”

    • Not sure you get that much for Lind, besides maybe a lottery ticket prospect. Wont get a piece that will improve this team now.

      But I like the idea, if you can get Morales for an equal salary. I like it because Morales doesn’t need a caddy, and wont need a platoon partner. So it opens up another bench spot, as you wont have who ever it is who simply plays DH when a lefty starts, on the roster. Gives more flexibility.

  23. Anthopoulos is kind of starting to piss me off. This bird is so frustrated that I may just smack my head off the keyboahjfkdfjkdsjfhvsduhviobufeei

  24. Something about this organization is not adding up. I don’t think we will know the details of what is happening now, but something or someone is not making Toronto a good place to play. The Jays can’t even sign their own first round draft picks let alone at best a third starter in a rotation. I think as fans we just have to except this team as it is and hope for the best. If they prove us wrong this year and win, that will be great for the city. If they play like they did last year, people need to be fired period.

  25. i’d rather see mcgowan start as 5 starter with hutch/drabek/stroman/cecil ready to go if morrow and mcgowan get hurt. world series are won with a combo of steady vets dickie/buehrle/bautista/encarnacion a couple of mid range over-achievers looking for a contract rasmus/lind/happ and a couple of young studs stepping up hutch/stroman/goins.

    I LIKE THIS TEAM!

    • The deal with McGowan is he’ll either start or get DFA’d cuz he’s out of options. Mind you, because of his salary he could just slip through waivers and go to AAA. On the other hand, he could just be a serviceable # 5 starter.

    • pretty sure Lawrie should fit into that mix somehow…. prob a youngster looking to break out…. If he hits .285 with 15 jacks and solid D…. we could have a shot

  26. you’d think last year would have taught everyone to stop giving a fuck about projections, they’re just pretend.

  27. It’s still early.

  28. Anyway there is more to life than baseball, like Kate Upton in zero gravity………..

    http://bcove.me/kooxn80z

  29. Double A.

    Time to quite being a titt fucker and finish the job.

  30. Tweets from Joel Sherman:

    “#Bluejays never made offer for Ubaldo, unwilling to go to 4-$50M range for Santana. So wonder where Santana lands because after (cont)

    Garza/Ubaldo both got 4-$50M, lots of pressure on Santana’s agts to at least match that. #Bluejays”

    According to him the Jays aren’t willing to go 4/50 on Santana.

    If they go into 2013 with a rotation of Dickey, Buerhle, Morrow, Happ, Player X … then what the fuck was the point of last offseason? Could that end up panning out? Sure. But you can’t say you feel optimistic looking at that rotation on paper. Santana would at least give you some breathing room in there.

    • Santana just ain’t that good. He doesn’t have anywhere near Ubaldo’s upside. 4/50, hell no.

      Check out his numbers against the AL East. Dreadful.

    • being older and generally viewed as slightly inferior to the other two, Santana may not get the 4th guaranteed year.

      3/$39 with a club option for a fourth year at $14 mill, $3mill buyout. I think that would catch the Jays attention. They love their club options and the buyout is probably hefty enough to interest Santana. That’s a guaranteed $42mill.

  31. The only people who would love Santana this year would be the fans in the outfield upper decks catching home run balls

  32. What a sad, sad time this is to be a Jay’s fan…I really don’t know if I should be happy or mad that we haven’t signed either guy.
    Maybe these 2014 Blue Jays will grow magical beards and cork their bats with unicorn horn dust & we’ll be cheering in October.
    Or not.

    For me, no flex pack was purchased this year – this year, you gotta show me first.

    • I’m with ya bro.. show me something and I’ll buy a flex pack. Otherwise I’m taping tall boys to my cock and smuggling in beer and getting loaded in the cheapest seats available.

  33. Put Stroman in at the # 5 position, the big question how many injuries do we suffer with and can Hutchison/Rogers/Redmond step up to the plate.

  34. I don’t see what the big deal is.

    If this team is good enough to contend a middling free agent pitcher won’t be the make or break point.

    Everyone loves free agents during the offseason but by May often the tune has changed…….then you realize that you’re stuck with them through their decline.

    The Jays need a 2b and probably some depth on the bench but I’m fine going into this season with the current rotation and pitching staff.

    If AA can swing a deal and bring in a guy who in entering his prime or in it that would be fine. As for the free agents, I would rather not go after them.

    • I’m not sure I follow – that seems to be a pretty pessimistic view of the Jays. Of all the teams with losing records last year, Verducci figures the Jays have the 7th best chance of making the playoffs.

      • I figured you’d be the one.
        Your glass is still half empty.

        • The Jays are amongst a group of shitty teams that could surprise.. Well someone that just looked at all of those teams records and hasn’t watched a ball game in his life could have made that prognostication.

        • How did I inaccurately interpret the article?

          Please tell me how that is supposed to be optimistic at all.

          • It had something to do with having the 4th most games lost to the DL. Assuming it can’t get worse, it can only get better.

            What can I say? I’m the eternal optimist.

          • I’ll humour you.
            Verducci points out that almost every year,there are teams, that had a losing record the previous year,make the playoffs.In fact it averages 3 surprise teams per year over the last three years.
            Last year he picked 9 teams and expected one or two to make it. He was wrong. 3 made it.
            This year he picks a possible 9 again and with the expanded playoff formatt he wouldn’t be surprised that 2 or 3 make it from his list.
            While most people here try to forecast utilizing past performance as an indicator,they rarely look at the conditions in which those records were set.
            People also look at the last 20 years that the Jays haven’t made the playoffs as a barometer of the franchise’s ineptness,again without actually looking at what was happening during each era within those 20 years.
            While you can certainly make the argument that the Jays are doomed,I can make a stronger argument that they will be fighting for a playoff spot in September.
            Nobody knows which way it’ll turn out.
            Is the glass half empty or is it half full?

      • Only 2 out of 9 of those listed teams are in the AL.

        So no, not exactly 7th.

  35. This whole situation is pretty easy to grasp, if you want to put any stock in the earlier report that the Jays nickel and dimed offering 27 over 3 years then it all comes down to dollars. Rogers wouldn’t give it to AA.

    Jimenez is surely worth a gamble for a middling team at 12.5 for 4 years. Take into account the shitty pitching the last 2 years, how could he be worse than that? Or even that bad?

    This is a minor clusterfuck, wait till Santana slips through their fingers.

    • starting to look like they might. I guess AA really likes to upgrade his roster through trade, regardless of cost in prospects lol

    • I have even given up on my dream of Drew. Knowing AA he probably promised all the the guys that he signed for 2nd base depth a legitimate shot at being horrible at the major league level this year.

      I know there is still a slim possibility they sign someone but the more i think of it the team did a fantastic job of stringing along the fans and media with the language they used whenever they talked about signing a player.

      • A fantastic job of stringing along fans with ambiguous language is about the furthest thing from a fantastic job from a PR perspective, unfathomable debacle really. AA at seasons end and during the off season just say we like our team but will explore options to improve. Nothing else. If he had said that from the beginning of this offseason likely more tickets would be sold now and less people hating on ownership and the front office. Not to mention (although presumably it doesnt matter much) confidence would have been shown in the current roster from the beginning.

        • It was fantastic from a corporate perspective the way they managed what was sure to be negative blowback for so long. They got all they to spring training without a lot of negativity. It’s horrible from a fans perspective.

          If they had come out in November and said short of an exceptional deal, no additional payroll would be taken on, then the reaction would have been a lot worse coming on the heels of a disastrous season. They would have been skewered in the media even if there is some merit in counting on a big bounce back.

          • Saying they would only take an a fa for exceptional value would be an equally terrible pr debacle. Just say we like the team as is now and will look at options to improve. Thats it. Dont talk of policy or payroll parameters dont ttry to justify action orinactionjust do what you want to do and dont give media and fans anything to get worked up about. Dont say we need to add sp then dont do it and also do say we are only going to add on the cheap either. For a front toffice known to not want anything leaking to the media they sure say the wrongthings directly to the media themselves

          • So true. Very good point.

        • This is exactly what I was saying and got trashed mercilessly. AA, Beeston need to better control their message(s) to the media and thus to fans. They come off sounding like a couple of asshole lawyers.

  36. It will be interesting to see fans reactions come October if the Jays dont make a move this winter and end up winning 84-86 games.

    For me it will be even worse if they win that number of games and make costly trades at the end of July in an effort to correct things.

    • I feel your pain Sandlot.
      But were you adding UJ to a truly crappy team or a good team who had injury problems?
      And which Ubaldo were you sold on?
      The half season one from last year or the one who stunk for two years before that?
      Would you be happy that he’d pitch good for half a season and then took up a roster spot for the next 3 1/2 years?
      If the team is that close in July,AA will get the players,
      He has in the past.

      • Imo this team is probably 8-10 wins better than last year’s record if everyone is healthy. I truly believe the offense will be a force in the AL this coming year. For me, a Drew and Jimenez signing would have pushed them over the hump in 2014. Jimenez would have allowed Hutch and Stroman to start the year in the minors and in both their cases, delaying more of their major league time could potentially save the team a lot of money in 2 or 3 years in lower arbitration costs making up for some of Jimenez and Drews salary on the back of their contracts.

        Drew also would have given the team that much more middle infield depth, which imo is where the team is weakest for the next couple of years. Having a ready made solution at the major league level if Reyes went down again would be a huge benefit. Imo the Jays bench has been a weakness for a number of years.

        Losing the 49th and 80 something pick would have been a small price to pay that could have been made up in the International Draft in July by going over the cap this one time. The money that would have spent in the Amateur Draft could have been transfered to the International Draft at no additional cost to the team.

        I do expect Dickey and Morrow to bounce back but i also see continued regression from Buehrle.

        If i truly thought they were a 74 win team then i would not have endorsed any of those moves.

        • Well thought out rebuttal.
          If everyone is healthy,IMO,your 8-10 wins may be conservative.
          Not so sure UJ would be the upgrade needed or that he wouldn’t become a boat anchor for the Jays after the 2014 season.
          Drew is an interesting case I admit.

  37. Ubaldo goes to Baltimore sounds like a childrens book title.

  38. Yep… A guy with a sky high home run rate is exactly what the Jays need at the Ted-Dome. Let’s spend 40M to look like we’re trying and then watch him flame out.

    Personnaly more interested in Redmond/Stroman/Hutch/Drabek/McGowan/Nolin/Rogers battle for #5.

    You can always add mid-season. Bullpen assets are plentiful. You have to stock the young arms somewhere if they don’t earn the #5 job.

    • LOL ..REDMOND!!! First you talk about home run rates…then you bring up Redmond.

      • When I started reading your list, I thought you were listing the rotation that you wanted to see. Lol.
        Redmond as our ace anyone? Sounds like a recipe for a thirty win season lol
        I do agree that I’m hopeful that one of your list explodes in spring training, separates themself from the others, and wins a starting job. I have faith that happ can be serviceable. Unfortunately, I’m not certain serviceable gets it done in the al east.

        • Forget about the internal battle for the 5th spot. The point is the team finished last for a reason. Way too many holes in this team and no depth. How many times during the off season did AA state shit like we’re talking to several agents be patient. In the end he does nothing and tells the fans that he’s excited to see Goins play 2b. If they miss the playoffs again AA has to go. Jays need a GM with experience.

  39. I honestly don’t get the love for Stephen Drew, I feel like fans are grasping at the leftover crumbs in hopes that salvation is still possible. I know this guy had a 3.1 WAR last season, however he also had a -0.4 WAR the year before. He’s in the decline years of his career and I know it is a small sample size but the guy looked awful in the playoffs last year. I don’t think this guy is as good as many think he is.

  40. Over the last four seasons, Santana has been better than Buehrle in every way (i.e. IP, ERA, WHIP, opponents SLG and OPS) yet everyone who has a problem with him seems to be fine with Buehrle.

    • Buehrle has put up almost twice the WAR of Santana over the past 4 years: 11.5 to 6.5 by fWAR, 13.4 to 7.4 by bWAR.

      He has at least the same ceiling as Santana (probably higher), with a MUCH higher floor. Santana has 3 seasons with an ERA above 5; Buehrle has NONE.

      All in all, Buehrle is as much of a sure bet as anyone in baseball, while Santana is one year removed from a -1.0 WAR season. How is this even debatable?

  41. A “must read” on player development:
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10470778/los-angeles-angels-try-anything-fix-worst-franchise-mlb-espn-magazine

    Having young pre-arb players contributing to the major league club at a high level is a way to make a $140m budget enough to put you in contention for a championship. Its an area in which the Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers, Rays and a few others excel and an area in which the Blue Jays kinda suck.

    • One word, ricciardi.

      • Umm second word is Anthopoulos …. See Drabek, Arencebia, Alvarez, Luis Perez, Joel Carreno, Lawrie, Hutchinson all brought up before they were close to their maximum value. Also Cecil although that started with JP. Not to mention the countless guys brought up for cameos every year completely burning options unneccesarily such that they are out of options way too early if not putting them on 40 man roster way before needed – Hecavaria (playing at a position he had never played!!), Gose, Sierra. Im sure there are many others. Loup is basically the only young guy brought up that has contributed close to max value in pre arb years and he came out of nowhere.

        • Dude, AA has been GM for 4 years, the real value of his draft classes would start to be showing now. Like for example stroman, Sanchez is almost out of there. Not to mention a couple other he drafted are in the top 100 prospect list like Noah S, Nicolino.

          I do agree he burns options way too quickly, but in terms of results from his drafting, seems like it’ll be quite good in a couple of years.

          • Dude, half of the point of the post (beyond drafting and developing good players to begin with) is to get great value out of young player’s in their pre arbiration years. AA has a 4 year track record of bringing guys up before they are ready and therefore not doing this. That has nothing to do with JP drafting record – the MLB players coming through the Jays system during AAs watch have been brought up too early and not produced close to their maximum value as noted above – this is wasting the minimum salary years – just sign some scrub off the scrap hea instead of having Sierra, Gose and Pillar bat 200 in MLB before they are ready or Drabek have the most walks in the league or HEcavaria playing 3B which he has never played before or Lawrie learning on the job and not being anything special and the list goes on. Other teams like St Louis, Rays etc when they bring guys up they are major contributors. You just seem to have blind faith in AA.

    • The Rays profile positions rather than focus on specific players to acquire. This gives them the flexibility to exchange assets. If a target becomes unavailable they have a backup plan. They also move quickly, assembling their team independent of other teams and the greater market.
      The Jays seem to lack either a organizational plan or the ability to properly execute it. AA was once a GM that knew other team’s assets as much as his own, but is either no longer true or other GMs don’t want to deal with AA – both are highly problematic.
      The Win Now moves last year didn’t make sense to me having just built up the farm and not really knowing what kind of MLB quality the Jays had in the minors. It makes less sense to keep the train rolling on this path, and this is probably AA’s way of telling everyone he’s reloading; waiting for Stroman/Hutchison/Sanchez/AJ Jimenez/Nolin to graduate to The Bigs before deciding their ultimate fate.

  42. I find the expectations of Jays fans to be out of whack with what ownership’s expectations are. The Jays had 74 wins last season. If you were the CEO of Rogers, who is a new guy by the way, would it make sense to make a committment to Ubaldo, or Santana, or even both for that matter. These are things a CEO can justify when its an 88 win team, not a 74 win team, behind four other strong teams in its division. When you’re an 88 win team, those 3 or 4 extra wins matter. they don’t matter for a 74 win team. If the Jays signed Ubaldo, any reasonable person would understand that they would still need 10 other things to break in their favour to come close to contending. Without Ubaldo, you need 11, its not that big of a difference. Same goes for Santana, even Tanaka. Regardless of the arguments AA makes to the new CEO that we have to increase the payroll, there is little to no chance he agrees with him.

    The CEO’s position will be very simple. Show me the team can contend, the stadium is full, ratings are up and than we can go out and trade for someone. There is no chance he would agree to spend heavy on free agents for a last place team. This isn’t the Yankees, or Red Sox, where individuals own the team. This is a corporation, and it has to be run like one. The CEO is not going to care that we have to give up prospects mid season, all he will care about is that the all of Rogers is run in a prudent fashion. Keep in mind, Nadir was moved out for a reason, obviously the people in charge were not happy. The new CEO isn’t being brought in to spend like a drunken sailor. He’s being brought in to turn a bigger profit and correct whatever missteps they believed Nadir had allowed to occur.

    AA and Beeston are just putting up a front, even Gibby for that matter. Blaming them is pointless. It was obvious the Jays were not going to sign anyone of note due to their record the previous season. The new CEO is looking at a top 10 payroll with a bottom 10 result. Does everyone honestly think that he will agree to dump more money into their hands? That’s not a really logical position. How will he look to the Board, or to the other departments when he asks for them to make cuts or changes?

    • I think you just sketched out Alex’s presentation.

    • I enjoyed reading this but there’s no way a CEO should be that deep into the player signings of a team, that’s what the president and GM are there for. The buck stops with the CEO, plain and simple.

      This isn’t a case where AA went to the CEO and said “hey we can get Jimenez for 50 million over 4 years” and the CEO says no Jimenez stinks we’re not doing that.

      Rogers won’t give the Jays an extra 12.5 million in payroll this season.

    • “Keep in mind, Nadir was moved out for a reason, obviously the people in charge were not happy.”

      Nadir retired.

    • I agree that’s likely. That’s why the total flop that they executed last year was so damaging. Even if they hadn’t made the playoffs but won like 87-90 games, then ratings and attendance would’ve remained strong(er) to the end, and Rogers could be persuaded to spend more to go for the playoffs again. It’s obviously a lot harder to justify spending more for a 74 win team.

      AA’s in a hard spot here.

    • I do agree with your logic that it is not a wise business decision to invest into a 74 win team. Then why would I suggest that the Jays should spend on a quality pitcher then? Firstly, I believe it’s not about wins, but more about revenue. The Blue Jays built a lot of goodwill with the fan base these past few years. AA has done a tremendous job building the farm system and making baseball interesting in to watch again Toronto. The fans want a winner, or at the very least management intention to create a winning team.

      Contrary to what many Blue Jays believe, we are a BIG market team. Toronto is the 3rd largest city in the MLB (only New York and Los Angeles are larger) and the Jays have the audience of the rest of Canada as well. Make no mistake, we are one of the big guys (not only because Rogers Communications owns them but because of the size of the market). When Rogers first purchased the Jays (I remember well because I was working at a Rogers Video store at the time) and we could not give away the tickets for free (turning down 100 level seats!). It’s very difficult to create goodwill with your fans, and it is also very easy to lose customer loyalty. I think the Blue Jays management feel that because the Jays are the only team in Canada, that they are somehow invincible. If there is anyone in the Blue Jays office that has worked there for over 10 years, they know better.

      I feel If they do not obtain Santana (and for the record it’s not about Santana, it’s about the Blue Jays management willingness to improve the team), and there is no significant improvement this season from last, they will lose a lot of their fan base. Which means their billion dollar brand could potentially go back to where it was 10 years ago. In this sense, trying to find “value” or a “bargain deal” is a silly reason not to obtain Santana or any other free agent that has been slipped through Toronto’s fingers. In other words, if you are a big market team sometimes it is okay to overpay – because it won’t hurt as much as if you were a small market.

      The last message is for the fans. If there is a glaring need on our roster and a superstar is available through free agency, Toronto fans should not say, “Oh he’s a big free agent and therefore he should go to the Yankees or Dodgers, but definitely not Toronto.” And start saying, “ we want to win, we are one of the big guys and we need to sign the best in order to be the best, even if we have to overpay.” I may be heckled for saying this but imagine if we had Robinson Cano in the line up instead of Goins, because the Jays have only have the salary cap as a ceiling and the glaring need to upgrade the 2nd base position. The caliber of player he is does not come around very often. :(

  43. To all of us that thought the off-season was a total waste of time…finally some good news!

    http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=4741326

    Well, that’s a giant relief!

  44. There is still one week (okay, 7 weeks) to prove that this team will pay to fill the missing gaps (like the R.A. Dickey trade). All it takes to upgrade second base and one pitcher is money, and $12 million per season is not unreasonable if wins cost $6 million per.

    I’m not burned about Ubaldo Jimenez, but Ervin Santana was 2.9 WAR (not sure which calculation; Baseball Reference only part loaded) 3 out of 4 season. Stephen Drew was great last year in Boston, had a replacement level 2012, and a great 4-year stretch before that. These players should provide “value” on field. And the prices are down right now, even if it takes an extra million to cover the EI payouts or whatever. AND we have two protected first round picks.

    The waiting is the hardest part. I think our hand has to have been forced by the Jimenez signing. Go time, Alex.

    • (And damn, how mediocre was the draft record of the J.P. Ricciardi era, eh?)

      • It was a terrible record. Drafting was not his strong suit in the least.

        I’m pretty sure AA will upgrade 2nd base through trade, just cause there are alot more options there as opposed to just Drew who isnt even a second baseman.

        As for pitching, man I dunno. I have a feeling AA is holding firm at 3 years for Santana and I don’t blame him, these aren’t the ptchers you want to go more than 3 years for.

  45. I wonder if Kyle Lohse was on the market this offseason with Ubaldo and Ervin, if he still would have gotten 3 years, $33 million. It still amazes given their need they werem’t willing to go out and get Ubaldo for 4 years, $52 million.All it costs is money.

  46. [...] of options. After the top two names, it’s a whole lot of question marks, leaving the excellent Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans to throw his hands up at the entire [...]

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