griffbag

There may have been one or two editions of the ol’ Griff Bag to have been released already this spring, and I might even take a look at those this week, but on Friday over at the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin offered us a new batch of dispatches from the lunatic fringe, and I’m thinking it’s best we just dive back in with a caustic little hijacking of his latest. Shall we???

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

Huge fan of the column.

I’m down here in Dunedin, and in certain quarters around the stadium today you really could hear the negativity. I know Toronto sports fans are primed to go that way, but as disappointing as this off-season has seen there are always those other narratives in baseball. The thing that comes absolutely out of nowhere. And because it’s either search for some optimism or just go crazy now, my question is this: Are there any Jays that you think have the possibility of turning in a Hail Mary this season? If so, who, why, and what should we be looking for?

Denis McGrath, Toronto

You’re not wrong, Denis. The off-season has been an absolute gut-punch exactly because the Jays are so close and so talented as it is, and because we only allowed ourselves to give this organization so much goodwill and so much excitement a year ago on the condition that they wouldn’t do precisely what they’ve now done. All the prospect talent dealt away was accepted by the fans because we were told it was being done in what was to be a good faith effort to contend for multiple years, which they’ve now slithered away from, leaving nothing behind but shed skins that once spoke about “relentlessly pursuing improving the team in the off-season,” needing to address the rotation, and “If we don’t win this year, we win next year, and if we don’t win next year, we win the year after.”

It leaves a bitter, bitter taste in the mouth of anyone who ever actually — almost assuredly dumbly — believed anything these people said, or defended the trades of last winter on the grounds that they signaled things would actually get better, commitments would actually be honoured, and purse strings wouldn’t be suddenly tightened as they were back at the end of J.P. Ricciardi’s tenure. But yes, there will still be a lot that’s great to watch in 2014, and there are a number of players who could surprise and push this team to higher heights than many of us gutted by the winter may be ready to believe just yet. The offence is already going to be a blast, and I especially think that Melky Cabrera, if healthy, will be a whole lot closer to the guy Jays fans first dreamed on than the one that they actually saw in 2013. I also think Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman have the ability to be extremely good young pitchers for this club, provided expectations haven’t already been twisted out of proportion by the hype from a desperate front office. There was even talk on Monday —  from Buck Martinez on Prime Time Sports, apparently — that Aaron Sanchez could genuinely be a strong, contributing part of this team. I think that’s a little insanely presumptuous — Jose Fernandez he is not — but a legitimate, sustained step forward in terms of command could definitely put him on the map, especially if the front office gets frantic to save their own skins, or if there is a massive offloading of expensive big league talent come July.

Hey, and that wretched business should at least be interesting to watch, too, should it come to all that! Ugh.

 

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Q. Lately the MLB return to Montreal topic has been gaining momentum. With the Jays set to play two games at the Big Owe in Montreal to finish off spring training, Jon Morosi suggested that both of these games may have a higher attendance than the home opener in Tampa Bay. Do you see any realistic possibly of Montreal getting a franchise anytime soon?

Uh… pretty sure Morosi can only suggest that because capacity after renovations to Tropicana Field has come down now to just 31,042, while the Stade Olympique holds 44,000 for baseball. Still, though, yes, Tampa is a problem market for MLB, and perhaps when Herr Selig retires at the end of the calendar year some right thinking individual will come along and be more interested in finding a solution that includes Montreal. But it’s going to be very, very tough. The commitment to secure a team and build a stadium will be massive — beyond a billion dollars, for sure — and who’s going to pay it? Bell, maybe? I don’t know, but the list is small and the chance of finding a franchise actually willing to move is remote. Plus, as much as I think baseball could and would work in that city, it’s not like a couple of novelty exhibition games will allay residual fears, rightly or wrongly, about a market that has already lost a team once. I mean, there are going to be a shit-tonne of Blue Jays fans from Ontario taking it as an excuse to go for a party in Montreal — I know that’s why I’m going. So… what does that tell anybody about the appetite for baseball there, really?

 

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Q. Question about 2B spot. With his clutch hitting, energy and average defence, what do you think the odds are of Mune Kawasaki making the club out of camp? Or do you think AA will promote/acquire someone else?

Mike B

His what????

Don’t get me wrong, Kawasaki is fun, but that doesn’t mean we can just invent things about him, or try to shoehorn others into some bizarre winning equation where games get decided on “energy.” He’s a nice little piece of depth who did his job last season about as well as anyone could have ever asked. Shit, he might even be the Jays’ best option at second base, if only because all of the options are so abysmal. Yet it looks like they’re going to start out hoping Ryan Goins’ defence is close enough to elite to make his bat worth carrying, which… at least he’s got one skill that might genuinely prove to really be something close to elite, so… I don’t know… maybe hoping like fuck that the bat will play and he’ll suddenly, at age 26, learn to take a walk, is appropriate enough in this wing-and-a-prayer of a season. Then again, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Kawasaki take another run at the job at some point early on, either. Such a shame that someone like Stephen Drew isn’t just fucking sitting there, willing to play second, having put up 8.1 WAR as a shortstop over his last two full, healthy seasons.

 

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Q. Hello Richard Stoeten:

I was just wondering if you still believe A.A. has a plan? This boy just might be the worst GM in the history of Major League Baseball. To his credit, he just might be the best conman, in the history of Major League Baseball.
One more thing, Just where in the hell does Paul Beeston figure in this scam ?

Joe Badali, Aurora

Yeah… this is the kind of reductive-as-fuck horseshit that makes me hesitate so much to get negative about this team. Life is complicated. Let’s maybe acknowledge those complexities before we go posturing like we have a clue.

 

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

Loved the chat and am a baseball fan as well as a supporter of the Jays. My beef is the way the organization uses the retractable roof down there. The place, as you know, is one of the worst parks in MLB, but at least it is tolerable when the roof is open. Not that anyone cares but I refuse to attend if I know the lid will be shut (don’t like watching an outdoor game in a mausoleum). Why can’t the Jays’ organization set a rule that if the temperature is at or above a certain number (say 14C) and it is not raining that the roof will be open and people should dress accordingly? If it starts to rain, close it. How do Minnesotans cope with their weather in early spring, or Detroit fans?

Thanks,
Rob C.

I’m with you on this one, Rob. I mean, I’d rather have the roof than not, but the building is obviously much, much better when it’s open (unless R.A. Dickey is pitching). Problem is, the ones who are against you are a bunch of season ticket holders who will complain at the slightest hint of cold, as well as the players themselves, who’d rather not be shivering in sub-15 temperatures… which, ridiculous as its sounds, I think is really what they think. With the Jays team built as hitting-heavy as it is, maybe they’d even be better off with a few more games in the mildly home run-suppressing cold air. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for any changes. It is what it is.

 

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Q. Hello Richard Stoeten,

The cupboard was bare a long time ago, not to say Ervin Santana could have helped much but the powers that be at Rogers really did not give it a good try to get a couple of much needed starting pitchers — now they have only two starters and will use three from the minors, I guess. This year will be even worse than last year and if the players start getting sick, then it is curtains for another futile year. I have great admiration for the fans not only in Toronto but country-wide who have faithfully stuck by the Leafs who have not won the coveted Stanley cup for a very long time and the Jays are following suite. What a shame.

Take care and have a good day.

Tony D’Souza, Toronto

The cupboard isn’t fucking bare, Tony, but suite hissy fit there when you went off regurgitating a bunch of negative horseshit. That kind of garbage suites you real well, and it must have felt really suite.

 

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Q. Why don’t they just give Dustin McGowan a shot at the starting rotation? Sure, he’s had a ton of injuries, but the team is overloaded with long relief pitchers and if he can’t do it, then what’s lost?

He has health issues, but when he didn’t, he had the stuff of a staff ace. Give him a shot! If his arm blows out, so be it. It’s not as if they need more long relief pitchers. More likely, the team will release McGowan, he’ll be picked up by someone else and do a Chris Carpenter on the team.

There is virtually no downside to making McGowan a starting pitcher. The bullpen is ok without him and if he suffers another injury, it would be unfortunate, but the Blue Jays would not be losing someone they are counting on. The upside is another Chris Carpenter situation, but in Toronto rather than St. Louis.

Marshall

The Chris Carpenter stuff is amazingly insane, but you know what? Fuck it, why the hell not? McGowan had the flu early in camp and is behind everybody else, so it doesn’t look like he’s going to break with the club in the rotation — he hasn’t pitched more than two innings in one outing yet — but apparently they’re going to keep building him, and… shit, at this point I’d throw him in there come mid-April and see what happens. I know he’s a valuable relief piece and the club doesn’t want to see him get hurt, but it’s his career, and at least he has the stuff to do it if his arm holds up and it all clicks.

You could do worse, I guess, is what I’m saying. And yeah, when you can take a flyer here and know that you’re not really relying on him in the truest sense, but just giving it a crack, … fuck. Sure.

 

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Q-AA’s ego is the problem. He doesn’t set values the market does. Over pay if that’s what you need to do.
Time for a change

Shahzad Goraya

If Anthopoulos had the resources to make moves and simply didn’t because he held onto his valuations absurdly rigidly, then I agree with you. I don’t think ego would necessarily be the reason if that were the case, but whatever it is, it wouldn’t be good.

However, we have no fucking idea what went on here and why he didn’t sign anybody despite the glaring, painfully obvious needs that this club has. His little story about sticking to valuations made sense when he was mid-negotiation and didn’t want to lead on that he had more available resources than was telling agents, and now that things have ultimately gone awry it makes for great cover for an ownership group that may have dumbly cut their own product off at the knees. But as to what really happened, we simply don’t know. We know that it’s claimed that the Jays offered money to A.J. Burnett. We know that they certainly acted like at least some amount of money was there for Ervin Santana to take. But we absolutely do not know the background enough to throw Anthopoulos under the bus for the reasons you’re saying.

Can we argue that he’s proven himself unfit for the job by either sticking to his valuations too rigidly or for failing to sufficiently insulate himself against having the rug pulled out from under him by a company he should have known was capable of such slimeball horseshit? Maybe. But it’s hard to say whether some other complicated factors may have been at play here too — and it’s certainly too hard to simply sneer that it must have been his ego.

 

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Q. Hey Richard Stoeten,

What are your thoughts on the Sugar Land Skeeters of the ALPB inviting Tracy McGrady to try out as a pitcher? Is this just a publicity stunt to attract attention and fill seats or is there really a chance he could be successful? Despite being ‘coached’ by Roger Clemens, the reality is that he is 34 and has never previously pitched. Pitchers take years to develop — in fact I’ve often heard they require at least 500 innings to properly hone their craft. Why bother?

Kyle Verrips

Purple monkey dishwasher.

 

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

The Blue Jays have double the off days this April compared to last April. After the first week of the season, the Jays will have four consecutive Mondays off.

So my question is: Do you think that Gibbons (and AA) are just going to roll with the usual five-man starting rotation for all of April, or is it possible that they might drop some of the fifth starter’s starts when it would keep the top four starters on four days rest? (The Jays only have one off day in May, and so clearly the five-man rotation will have to be in full swing then.)

Cheers,
Stephen, Toronto

If the fifth starter is Brandon Morrow, which it sounds like it might be, I’d think they’d be planning for him to make all of his starts. If it’s someone shittier, maybe? I don’t know, man!

 

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

With the recent news of Ricky Romero stepping up again — it’s hard not to feel optimistic. If you get the chance can you wish him all the best, and let him know that regardless of whether he pitches again in the MLB or not, we’re all proud of him and the obstacles he’s overcome.

Thanks
Faiz

Jesus, he didn’t drag himself out of the jungle with a bag full of the cure for syphilis, he pitched in Buffalo while collecting $7.5-million.

 

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Q-Hi Mr. Griffin Stoeten:

Some time ago the Star was telling us that Roy Halladay would be helping out the Jays. In the Tampa Times they are reporting that Halladay is now in the Phillies camp and he says “I love being here, I definitely want to keep doing it.” So will Halladay still be coming to the Jays camp?

Art Wilkins,
Port Richey, Fl

I could not possibly care less. Well… unless this question somehow also involves the Sugar Land Skeeters.

Comments (132)

  1. A post just before 6 am?!?! What’s happening here?!

  2. Stoeten, I salute you for your ‘bag full of the cure for syphilis’.

  3. Suite. Totally suite post.

  4. Gotta be a timed post

  5. I’d say at least some sort of weak argument could be made for Kawasaki’s clutch hitting.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=3&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=14&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=11,d

    Not saying it’s something to bank on.

  6. RE: McGowan I completely agree, what is the harm, if his arm explodes again, oh well. It seems like it is what he wants, and he has a higher upside than anyone of the other pieces realistically being considered to break in the rotation. Though the argument here is that with the time he missed already he will not be stretched out in time. However, if we are annoyingly going to carry an 8 man bullpen, why not a piggy back for McGowan, ie. Happ. Let McGowan start and go 3-4 innings his first couple of times out, and then send out Happ for another 3-4 innings or until he starts getting hit. This would allow McGowan to slowly work up to pitching late into games, and it may even benefit Happ as it would mess with any potential lefty/righty matchups in the lineup geared toward a RH starter, and it would mess with timing having a relative soft tosser in Happ come in after the lineup has faced a harder throwing McGowan 1 or 2 times..

    • Or just have McGowan start on the DL… Build up his innings.

      And to say, at this point, that he has more upside than Stroman, Sanchez, Hutch… Might be a little optimistic.

      • Don’t think you can do this just to build innings. I think the Players Union and the rest of the league might have something to say about it if he is not legitimately hurt!

      • I also wasn’t trying to say he had more upside than Stroman or Sanchez, rather I was saying I don’t think either should be in the rotation come opening day, Stroman, and especially Sanchez need more time! Though I think he is on par with Hutch, I’d say optimistically both could be solid #3s, and he probably has a higher potential of being that early in the year than Hutch.

    • I’m not opposed to the piggybacking idea. Clearly Happ has trouble keeping his pitch count down, and they ARE carrying an 8-man bullpen, so… why the fuck not?

  7. I hope to fuck the Jays come out and play well right out of the gate. I feel like writing down the names of all the negative suck holes so I can see what they’re saying when the team’s in first in June.
    Sure, you can be critical of the offseason. Annoyed at the lack of activity. But to spout all this “worst GM in the history of baseball” bullshit makes you a fucking moron.

    • Keep in mind that somewhere, on some platform, this comment has been made for 20 years.

      Hope you beat the odds, but…

  8. I don’t think anybody asked it, so…

    If Morrow is the 5th starter, who the hell is the 4th starter?

  9. GIVE RICKY ROMERO A HUGE HUG FROM THE ENTIRE CITY OF TORONTO AND MAYBE SEE IF YOU CAN RUB HIS JUNK A LITTLE TOO
    THANKS!!!
    <3

    wtf is wrong with people

    • Don’t you see? His struggles are emblematic of the Jays’ fans turmoil over the last twenty years. Every time we have something nice and then it breaks, taking our chances for the season with it, we get all Canadian about it and start hoping for the best and pitying the guy that fans in NY or LA would rather place on a pike outside the stadium to ward off future busts.

    • That was pretty dumb. At least McGowan was a borderline elite pitcher derailed by injuries — Romero was derailed by his own shittacularness, nothing else.

    • Dont you remember, his success was directly related to the fact that he was getting it on the regular from Miss America.

      Find Ricky some sexy Canadian girl and he’ll be mowing down batters again in no time

  10. Next year RR will get 7 million hugs from the fans of the Jays. I think 6 million this year. That’s a lot of huggin and nut rubbin.

  11. The McGowan thing intrigues me too, if for no other reason than Scott Fucking Kazmir has managed to rebuild his career as a major league starter. If there’s a chance McGowan can do something close to the same, I’d be happy to see him do it with the Jays instead of latching on with someone else.

  12. I agree as to McGowan. The last thing we need is another fungible reliever. Let him start, if he breaks, throw him to the curb. If he fails, throw him to the curb. If he succeeded, then we get a cheap league-avg. or better starter. Nothing to lose.

  13. Maybe I’ll try out for the Skeeters next.

  14. As a guy hung over from St Pat’s who’s desperately pretending he’s being productive at work I’d like to thank you for this mailbag.

  15. The more I think about it, the more willing I am to consider a teardown if we’re not competitive by late June. A lot of our players are very valuable individually to a team that thinks they just need one guy to get over the hump. So long as we don’t do anything with Encarnacion. Fuck that noise.

    • If we do a tear down, Encarnacion is probably one of the first guys out the door. Really attractive trade chip.

    • It would suck, but you could do a hell of a lot with a firesale of this roster. Keep Hutchison, Sanchez, Stroman, and Lawrie and start over again, focusing on acquiring talent close to the major leagues. Maybe extend Colby given the scarcity of CF talent. Combined with the draft, you could theoretically be ready to contend again in 2-3 years.

  16. Related to the first question, not sure if anyone saw this on MLBTR… Jays’ free agent spending compared to the rest of the league. 2nd least:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/03/2013-14-free-agent-spending-by-team-to-date.html

  17. “Herr Selig” lmao

  18. McGowan is an interesting idea. But I was thinking, why have a 5th starter at all? The Jays have pretty much made it clear they’re starting the seasons with an 8-man bullpen, which is stupid despite their efforts to hold on to the army of guys who aren’t good enough to be more than league average starters. Why not have some combination of McGowan, Jeffress and maybe (but probably not) Rogers throw 2-4 innings a piece? Why not utilize the guys with the best stuff, who haven’t been stretched out enough to throw 6-7 innings on their own? McGowan’s shoulder probably wouldn’t fall off throwing a couple of innings every fifth day, which is realistically what he’s going to be doing anyways. You also make having 8 guys in your bullpen (9 if you’re including the fifth starter in the pen) relevant. I don’t know maybe this is ridiculous, but if we’re talking about taking the best rotation possible, why not combine the two guys with the best stuff to get you through 6 or 7 innings? It sure as shit beats throwing Happ or Rogers out there to pitch 4-5 mediocre to awful innings every fifth day.

  19. I have a very serious question: what would have been so wrong about giving Santana 4/48?

    I have this feeling 2 years from now he is just as average/good and that pitching is even slightly more expensive.

  20. Yeah we were going for “an all-star at every position” and Drew sits there unsigned in favour of Goins. I mean that tells you something has changed big time at Rogers.

    • Milk them Jays… FUCK!

      Only rich individuals with a personal will to win make proper owners.

  21. Can McGowan still be a starter? He never threw his curveball last year and his fastball, out of the pen, was as fast as it used to be, as a starter. In the pen, he’s still quite fast as a 94-95 thrower, but a 3-pitch starter with a 92 MPH fastball may not be that overpowering.

    I haven’t read any reports about his fastball or secondary pitches during the spring – be curious to see if he’s throwing the curveball and where he’s sitting at for speed.

  22. I don’t mean to take the dump on optimism, but everywhere I look I see “the offense will be fun to watch.” Or my favourite…”The Blue Jays 1-7 is one of the best in baseball”.
    Well, the Blue Jays 1-7 includes
    Melky Cabrera: A roider who was useless last year.
    Adam Lind: A platoon DH who had his first tolerable year last year since 2009.
    Brett Lawrie: An underproducing prospect who Keith Law has already said has major problems.

    So with those question marks out of the way, we look at the remaining four.
    Edwin: Stud
    Reyes: Declining and injury prone, but still pretty good.
    Jose: Also declining and injury prone, but still pretty good
    Rasmus: Was garbage until what…June of last year? There’s a good chance he’ll have a decent year, but will anybody be shocked if he doesn’t?

    We have two and a half starting pitchers, and then a whole lot of Triple A depth. Our bullpen will be comprised not of the best we have, but of the ones who are out of options. I’m hearing that Aaron Loup may very well begin the season in the minors, along with Neil Wagner.
    Honestly, I think this team could lose 90 games.

    • Melky had a fuckin tumour on his spine and could barely make it to first on a walk. Lind had a 151 wRC+ against RHP last year — you could do worse with a platoon DH. And forgive me if I don’t throw in the towel on a supremely talented, defensively elite 3B with two full seasons under his belt and put up 2.4 WAR in FORTY-THREE games in his rookie season.

      Rasmus’s wRC+ by month: 101, 117, 111, 117, 76, 297. So yeah, you’re full of shit.

      • Typo: should be 177 instead of 117 in July there. Monster month.

        If he could mainain even league-average offense to go along with his elite defense, he’s still going to be a damn sight better than Gose or Pillar out there in CF.

      • You’re ignoring my point. People are saying the Jays’ 1-7 in the batting order is elite. I came up with four MAJOR question marks in that 1-7. You’re surely not gonna sit there and claim that ALL of Melky, Lawrie, Lind and Rasmus are going to have excellent years? If we’re going based on odds, I’d say one of Melky/Lawrie/Rasmus has a great year, one has an ok year, and Lind will continue to suck (and probably be benched) against LHP in favour of inferior hitters like Moises Sierra. Is that honestly not the most LIKELY scenario?

        And would anybody be utterly shocked if Melky/Lawrie/Lind all put up subpar seasons? I’d say they’re more likely to all suck than all be great. If they’re all great, then it’ll probably be not too bad a year.

        • And you’re missing MY point, which is that not only the worst-case scenario has a chance of happening. Maybe ALL those guys suck at the same time for the entire year. But most likely not.

          Name me 5 better lineups in the AL.

          • I can name you four better lineups in the AL EAST. The Jays essentially have one stud, two very good injury risks, two holes and four question marks. On top of shit pitching.

          • The Jays were 10th in the AL in WRC+ last year. I don’t think the burden of proof should be on those who claim the Jays are a below average offense. The task should be for other people to prove the Jays will be great.

            I agree when healthy, Edwin, Reyes, Bautista, and Rasmus can make for a great top 4. But across those 4 guys, over the last 3 years, you’re looking at 120+ games of injuries per season. The Jays bench is simply not good enough to make up for that as it puts either Lind in against LHers (if Sierra already in for Bautista / Edwin), Gose in full-time (if Rasmus goes down), or Kawasaki in full-time (Reyes).

            The line-up already has to carry Goins on a full-time basis and Kratz for about 200+ plate appearances. Putting in one of those three above and 1/3 of the line-up isn’t just below average, it’s terrible.

            • “The Jays were 10th in the AL in WRC+ last year.” – Game, set, match.

            • ^This

              • Did you see some of the lineups they had near the end of the year. DeRosa as the clean up hitter Kawasaki as the DH etc. I would tune in for some of the games as a simple David vs. Goliath as motivation. I believe at some point there were two or three regulars in the lineup which unfortunately included JPA. All the stats from those games certainty drag down where they finish in WRC+ last year. If we experience the same amount of injuries we will finish there again but so will any other team for the most part.

                • “Did you see some of the lineups they had near the end of the year. DeRosa as the clean up hitter Kawasaki as the DH etc. I would tune in for some of the games as a simple David vs. Goliath as motivation. ”

                  This team is injury prone.

                  Make the Jays line-up this year for the inevitable period when 3 of Bautista, Reyes, Rasumus, and Lawrie are injured. Tell me who your top 4 in the batting order are against lefties.

                  • Try harder, Mike.

                  • I’m sorry, but I’m not cherry picking on Reyes. I’m telling you that’s what an elite offense is in the AL.

                    The top teams, over the course of the year, have the same average production from their at bats as Reyes. That’s not cherry picking. That’s fact.

                    Yes, Bautista and a few other players on the Jays are more productive than Reyes. But please, prove to me that Reyes is not an above average player on the Jays. I’m quite curious to see that evidence.

                    You use names as if I care. I’m only interested in what the data say. Your insults and name-calling do nothing for your argument. Show me evidence that the Jays have an above average offense and I’d be interested. Unwillingness to show data as if you’ve got some secret sauce … not really too impressive on the data front.

                    • The Jays project to have the fifth-best offence in the AL based on the playing-time-adjusted projections on FanGraphs’ depth charts, to give but one example.

            • Nonsense. Try harder, Mike.

              • Try harder at what?

                What’s nonsense? The fact the Jays were 10th in WRC+ last year?

                The fact that Reyes, Bautista, and Rasmus are injury prone? Add in Lawrie too if you want, but I’m focusing on guys good with the stick.

                The fact that the Jays bench that will cover said injured players is filled with guys who will have sub-80 WRC+?

                All that aside … I’m not sure you comprehend what an elite offense actually is in the AL. Here’s a tip. It’s like last year’s Jose Reyes batting 1 through 9 and on the bench as well.

                The Red Sox and Tigers were the class of the AL last year. Simplified, their team was roughly like having Jose Reyes bat 1 through 9.
                2013 Red Sox: 115 WRC+.
                2013 Reyes: 114 WRC+.
                2013 Tigers: 113 WRC+.

                Lest you think last year was a fluke down year for Reyes. 2012 Reyes was 109 WRC+. That fits right in with the 2013 A’s (108), Angels (108), Rays (108), and Indians (107).

                What’s the nonsense in stating that the Jays have a below average offense when one of their top offensive players is the overall average (not just starter) of the top AL teams.

                • Try harder, Mike.

                  • Identify the flaw.

                    • “This team is injury prone.”

                    • Or how about cherry picking Reyes as one of their top offensive players when using wRC+, and overlooking what they got last year from Rasmus (130), Lind (132), Bautista (134), and Encarnacion (145).

                      You’re a troll, Mike, and a shitty one at that.

                    • You don’t seem to understand what the word “prone” means in this context. Or, actually, you’re just willfully ignoring it to be a troll. Dumb.

                    • Funny thing is, if you look at the hitter portion of the 2013 data you’re showing, it actually shows that their hitters didn’t lose nearly as many days as a lot of teams (they lost far more on the pitching side), which would help your original point if you hadn’t dumbly taken the trollbait about their being injury prone.

                    • Really? Tell me how you rank the Jays in the AL by DL stints and days lost by hitters after looking at that data.

                      Just because the Jays pitchers spend more time on the DL than their hitters does not mean their hitters don’t spend a lot of time on the DL.

                    • Prone … something that happens with regularity … you know, like how the Jays are averaging the 3rd most days lost to the DL over the last 4 years. Like it’s showing in that data.

                      Sorry – this is the only league-wide comparison that I’ve found … what it seems to show is:
                      1 – Over the last 4 years, the Jays consistently have more days on the DL than other teams.
                      2 – Over last year, the Jays had more DL stints and days lost than other teams – for both pitchers and hitters, your ignorant comment not being reflective of the data
                      3 – When digging in on a case by case basis for players who were injured for the Jays … (i.e. Lawrie, Bautista, Reyes) … it’s not a one-time thing, but something that’s happened to them before.

                      You tell me your case for the Jays not being injury prone. I’m very interested.

                    • Are you colour blind? Look at the graph of days lost to the DL and then look at the portion that covers the Jays’ hitters relative to the rest of the league in 2013. Yes, when you combine pitchers and hitters they are among the league leaders, but that’s not what you’re talking about, and you’re using the combined data to falsely make a point. Also dumbly, because if you hadn’t gone down this trollbait hole about their being injury prone, you could have argued that they were a bad offence and didn’t even lose as many days to the DL as several other AL clubs.

                      As for whether the issues we’re talking about with specific players are one time things, you obviously didn’t do the digging that you’re claiming.

                    • Just for clarity – that’s 3rd most in the AL.

                      But the topic was the Jays line-up, which can really only be compared to the AL, due to the pitcher presence in the NL, so the proper reference for health of the Jays line-up should be the AL.

                • And the original topic is that the Jays don’t have an elite offense … the fact that elite AL offenses average Reyes production doesn’t change based on the Jays health. You’re focusing on the least relevant point of evidence in an attempt to make your claim.

                  Even if the Jays were not injury prone, that still doesn’t mean they have a good offense.

                  • “Even if the Jays were not injury prone, that still doesn’t mean they have a good offense.”

                    Your whole argument was about the bench covering for injury prone guys, you clown. Goodbye.

                  • The Jays about 11 or 12 DL stints for hitters.

                    In the AL, that’s more than:
                    - Red Sox
                    - Rangers
                    - Angels
                    - Indians
                    - Twins
                    - Orioles
                    - Athletics
                    - White Sox
                    - Tigers
                    - Rays
                    - Royals
                    - Mariners

                    What color were you looking at?

                    • The one I exactly said I was.

                      “Look at the graph of days lost to the DL”

                      There is more than one graph in that post.

  23. I’m saving all my best bitchin’ until the first month is over.

    Or, I might be raving with happiness……..

    But if it looks bad, look-the-fuck-out Rogers/Beast/Greek Geek…..

    Disclaimer : LET THIS BE A WARNING THAT MEDIOCRITY WILL NOT BE FUCKIN TOLERATED.

    • Get ready to hear “it’s still early” til August and “no one could have seen this coming” ’til next offseason with a nice little Marcus Stroman cameo somewhere in between. Buck and Tabby are gonna have a field day talking about this guy.

      • I hate to beat this dead horse, but the Jays started the season 10-21, and on June 23 they were 38-36. So yes, it WAS still early.

        • If they had started the season 15-16 instead of 10-21, then on June 23rd, they would have been 43-31 instead of 38-36. If they had started the season 21-10 instead of 10-21, then on June 23rd they would have been 48-26 instead of 38-36.

          It’s never “early” when you’re eleven games under .500.

          • That people so consistently pretend that they fail to comprehend what “it’s early” actually means just because it’s not what they want to hear and gets in the way of their pants-shitting is astonishing to me. Maybe it shouldn’t be.

            • If they don’t start the season 11 games under .500, they finish above .500 on the year.
              What people like YOU always claim (and what you actually said to me last year – I’d pull it up if I had time to wade through) is that these games don’t matter. They’re irrelevant.
              What people like ME think is that if you’re eleven games under .500 at ANY POINT IN THE YEAR (and you’re not in rebuilding mode), you *probably* have a major problem with your team, and you should *probably* fix it.

              • What people like ME think is that if you’re eleven games under .500 at ANY POINT IN THE YEAR…”
                People like you are misinformed because of your obsession with the “games below 500″ metric. It is a simple fact that it is not the same to be “11 games below 500″ when you’ve played 150 games than when you have played 50 (it it not nearly as bad) and yet it is also a simple fact that being “11-games under 500″ (please just use winning%) after 50 games is less predictive (i.e. less representative of true talent and, thus, future performance) than after 150. It is too bad if those two things seem confusing to you when placed alongside one another.

                • I’m not talking about “predictive” I’m talking about results. And the fact is, if you want to make the playoffs you have to be *approximately* 18 games above .500. If you start the season 11 games BELOW .500, then there are two realities.
                  1) You probably don’t have a great team (there are exceptions, but there ain’t many)
                  2) You now have to be 28 games above .500 in a much shorter time frame.

                  Or sure, if your winning percentage is under .333 for the first fifth of the season, you then have to be above .610 for the remaining four fifths of the season. Pick your statistic, if you lose way more than you win for awhile, it’s much harder to win more than you lose overall.

              • If you thought I said to you that certain games don’t matter, then again you were just hearing what you wanted to hear. Of course they all matter. I’d have to see the conversation, but I certainly I was saying that something else doesn’t matter, not the games themselves. Hey, but glad you’ve found a way to twist yourself into justifying your pants-shitting.

                • Gah I’m a dork, so I actually tried finding it in the archives. I couldn’t.

                  But suffice it to say that the ONLY thing I’m arguing here is that if you start the year 10-21, then you’ve got a major problem, and it MATTERS.

                  • Nobody would ever argue that. You might get an argument about not acting like the season is over at that point, but of course that puts a team in a very difficult place — albeit one that isn’t impossible to overcome, either. But that isn’t to say at all that it doesn’t matter, nor is “it’s early” a ways to say that.

            • Just joshin’ really. A hot start would reel me right back in, but they’re in ‘show me’ territory. I’m not hoping for a shit sandwich of a season at all. I want them to retain talent and keep going for it, but I don’t see the horses there personally. It’s been a long, frustrating and bizarre off-season and I would like them to be rightly pilloried for the rotation letting them down if it comes to that.

              It won’t really matter because if they’re trash I won’t be listening to post-game shows, watching puff piece interviews or reading Sportsnet editorials on whatever the fuck. I’ll tune out. Already rolling zero tickets deep for the first time in years. I’m still a fan.

          • The point was that the Jays were well in playoff contention even before the all-star break. At that point they were, amazingly, above the Rays in the standings (who were playing like shit at the time).

  24. Really like your answer to Shahzad Goraya.

    At this point, we have no real way of knowing
    the reasons for the Blue Jays moves or lack thereof
    this off season and spring.

    What has (not) happened is surely disappointing.
    Fans have a right to feel betrayed and/or angry.

    Part of the frustration is that there is really
    no way to know where to direct any anger.
    At this point, calling for AA’s head is unwarranted.

    Maybe good health and good fortune
    will smile on the Blue Jays in 2014.
    Looks like they are going to need both.

    • You are certainly correct. But the problem is that we will never know such things… so management is on a permanent honeymoon when we use that burden of proof. Not productive… but I don’t really know what is better.

      • Whatever way you look at it, the fact is that Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston have proven themselves incapable of building a winning team under their given circumstances.

  25. Meh, I still think Kawasaki ought to be the one to go north with the club. He can take a walk, runs pretty well, and elevates the oppo pitch count so he can at least do something positive offensivesly (none of which I’m positive Ryan Goins can do). Sure Goins D is good but I’m not at all convinced that it’s good enough over the alternative to make up for essentually having a dead spot in the batting order.

    • Really the best possible thing Seitzer (Alka?) could have taught him on the weekend sleepover would have been how to foul off pitches.

  26. Jay’s audio sounds horrible. May have to listen to Tigers’ feed.

  27. Sorry I haven’t been up on who’s picked up what. But just watching the Yanks right now. Have you seen some of the guys they picked up!

    Kelly Johnson and Ryan Roberts at 2B

    McCann behind the dish

    Carlos Beltran – Ichiro-Gardiner-Soriano-and Ellsbury in the Outfield.

    Jesus…. If they stay healthy

  28. Why don’t we know why nothing was done in the off-season? It’s not like the folks on the radio don’t know where Rogers’ Media stands? They’re the same damned ownership and can figure it out for themselves. They can walk over to Pelley’s office and ask!

    My theory is that Rogers opened the purse for AA’s gamble last year and it didn’t pay off where it counted: TV revenue (more people did come to games, a lot more). With Media getting the NHL deal, the Jays were demoted in importance. AA was told to do what he could with the payroll he had.

    That’s why we don’t have a worthy rotation. Other teams were able to outbid AA because their owners (mostly) are baseball people who understand how the market works especially with all of the new TV money, while Rogers is a telecom where Media and the Jays represent about 2% of their revenue.

    In the meantime, the only improvement on the field is behind the plate. That leaves us crossing our fingers that Moises, Melky, Lawrie, Bautista, Reyes, and Lind can stay healthy for the year — history has shown us that they won’t — why would this year be different?

    The difference this year is that we’re hoping just for a .500 season, whereas last year we were expecting the moon?

    How are ticket sales going?

  29. Just curious… Not to disagree with the questions of Romero’s command and control issues, but wasn’t he tough on catchers during his strong seasons with pitches in the dirt? Or, as Andrew pointed out, now that the league has caught on to his approach and pitches, maybe hitters are just being told to be more patient and bite less.

    Also, isn’t making Morrow the 5th starter purely for home-opener reasons. Since they don’t even know who the 4th pitcher is at this point and Morrow isn’t going to pitch the season-opener, then he is the next best choice to handle that game. I’m sure the Jays wish he was pitching the lights out to this point and was going to start game 2, but clearly that hasn’t been the case. Lots of pressure on that game and hard to imagine throwing Happ or Redmond or Hutchison out there in that kind of situation. Stating that as the reason would be insulting to the other options as well, so easier for the Jays to spin it this way (although this plan isn’t just all roses either, eh?!).

    Yes, I realize I am one post late on these topics, but more interested in this than some of the suite yappings in the mailbag.

    • Rotation order isn’t always a hierarchy. Home opener like you say plus having him go before Dickey seems an advantage for Dickey.

  30. I know the “Joe” comment on AA and his plans was dumbass….but I do wonder what AA’s plan is.

    Is there an issue with ownership? It doesn’t seem like 2014 money is the issue considering AJ and Santana stuff, but is anything long-term being held up? If so, what plan could he have?

    Is he flying by the seat of his pants now? If he were it says more about ownership than him but is it make a trade or bust?

    • I can’t remember hearing it anywhere else but apparently Blair said that they offered AJ 16 MM so they should have easily been able to afford the 15 MM it would have taken to get Santana. I think they just didnt think he was worth more than 14MM…OR… Santana screwed them over when they thought they had a deal.
      But
      There’s no way a team in their position should have let it get that far.

  31. It drives me crazy reading about how shit AA is as a GM and he doesn’t know what is going on. Who the hell knows what he has been told by Rogers. What is he supposed to do, through his employer under the bus and say his budget was cut?

    Over the free agent season Rogers has spent:
    $5.2 billion on the NHL
    $2,98 billion on the spectrum auction
    $250 billion on BMO field and Toronto FC
    while the Canadian $ is off $0.10

    That is a lot of coin. We don’t know what happened but would it be a real surprise if Rogers cut AA’s budget? It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    So if this team doesn’t do well does AA deserve to be fired for being a good Rogers soldier. I think he is a solid GM who has improved the organization with the hand he was dealt. However, you don’t go from saying that you need to overpay to attract free agents here and we need 2 starters, to doing nothing and saying you are comfortable with your internal options. Like most people, I am sure he doesn’t believe it either. Something happened and I bet it is Rogers spending elsewhere.

    • I have the feeling they’re saying you got the $135 million so live with it.

      But he should be fired for not pulling a Cy Young candidate out of his ass. Anybody could do that!

    • Dude… that should $250m on BMO and the Reds… not >25% of Canada’s fucking GDP.

    • He’s in his fifth year now, and we’re well beyond him having “a hand he was dealt”. He’s built this team, this team is terrible (in spite of the fact that they have increased their payroll by around $60 million under his tenure), and the farm system is ranked in the bottom half of the league. They have not developed a successful major leaguer under AA (indeed most of our top prospects have flopped under him).

      So explain to me your basis for saying “he’s a solid GM who has improved the organization”

    • They made a 14M offer to Santana and reportedly an offer to Burnett too. This mean that the rug was not pulled out from under them and money was there for acquisitions.

      It may be AA is worried about more than strict “valuations” … he may rightfully be concerned that if he were to sign a big name / colleciton of role players and the team tanked again / maybe lost money that would be bad for his job security. Seems likely he and Beeston have the leeway to increase payroll given a good business case (which they have in spades) but are gun shy to do and commit further to this team of veterans that has been put together.

      I just hope if they are borderline making the playoffs come JUly they dont suddenly switch gears and trade the form for marginal improvements. If they think the team is good enough now they should have made the acquisitions in hte offseason for a playoff push

      • Nick, we have no idea if those were real offers or not. It’s awful convenient that they always seem to have money that the didn’t spend, isn’t it?

        • Yes that is the other thing, maybe the reports about the offers were bs. Seems like it would be quite the bold faced lie in the Santana case though when Gibbons and AA both basically said he chose to play for Atlanta for the same amount of money

          • I also wonder if has the leeway to do a one year deal but not a long-term deal because Rogers is scared of long-term issues. But what the fuck do I know?

            Honestly, wouldn’t Drew have the most impact? More than a starter like Ubaldo or Santana? Is it just the Boras thing?

            I also wonder if the Skydome is just scarring people off. I know the park adjustments, but it’s the reputation that’s the issue. Even if AA was willing to give Ubaldo the same deal, would he have wanted ot pitch in the Rogers Centre? Santana certainly didn’t.

            This makes me wonder if free agency is fucked for the Jays.

  32. Sincere question, if the Jays are out of this by the end of July is it time to blow it up and go back to acquiring assets?

    • Maybe not in July, other than maybe a Colby trade :(, but realistically if the jays are out again in July, there probably will be a fire sale in october

      • Some teams are more desperate at trade deadline time. If the Jays are out of it, they could make gains in a few areas. I dont know whether they’d go the full fire sale route though.

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