happ-clearwater

An actual spring training game on TV in the age of umpteen dedicated sports-only channels owned by the parent company of the Toronto Blue Jays? What a novel fucking idea. And it’s actually going to be an interesting one to see, as J.A. Happ takes the hill, hoping to shake off the back troubles — or is it “back troubles” — that have set him back so far in camp. Uh… or have made him look exactly like most people figure he ought to look, at least when on the hill.

Despite some less-than-kind words about him over the last little while, I’m not even entirely down on the idea of J.A. Happ. He could… he could maybe be alright. Couldn’t he? Maybe?

I don’t know, but at least his turn on the mound is a real story and doesn’t require the hyping up of something that was never there in the first place. Plus, we get to see what’s probably going to be the Jays’ Opening Day lineup in action, taking on Roberto “don’t call me Fausto” Hernandez and a collection of Phillies oldtim– holy shit, that’s their real team!!!

Scuttlebutt

Gregor Chisholm was the first in my timeline to tweet the official word that Marcus Stroman and Ricky Romero had been sent down to minor league camp, following yesterday’s double debacle in Lakeland against Detroit. Makes sense.

“Gibbons suggested that he and senior management held different views of Romero’s chances,” writes John Lott in his piece on the demotions for the National Post. The manager tells him that he was always thinking Romero should start in triple-A, despite the fact that Lott tells us that “for a few days, management types seemed to suggest that based on his previous spring outings, Romero might wedge himself into the rotation competition.” So basically these management types may be idiots or they may be just full of shit. Not sure which is better, but either way, it wasn’t terribly difficult to have recognized that the Romero thing had no business being made into a story. (Lott, quite rightly, refers to management’s view as an “implausible scenario.”)

Brendan Kennedy tweeted yesterday that Gibbons suggested that Adam Lind — who has a fucking wRC+ of 37 against left-handers since 2010 — won’t necessarily be used in a strict platoon. Dumb as fuck, if true, but maybe just his way to lay the excuse for Lind actually playing on Opening Day against the Rays and lefty David Price. However, you’d like to think the club learned their lesson with the Arencibia-Dickey thing last year and will actually just play it like a damn regular game and let the boys suck it the fuck up if it doesn’t happen to be their turn. And if it’s a thought about Lind facing more left-handers than just that, either it’s a fireable offence, or a delightful “fuck you” to management for not getting a proper platoon partner for Lind this winter. In both cases: ugh.

Scott MacArthur tweets that, though he remains in big league camp, John Gibbons says Aaron Sanchez has no chance of making the Jays’ Opening Day roster. So, sorry to Buck Martinez and the tin foil hat brigade on that one.

Jonah Keri tweets that he’s having the Toronto launch party for his Expos book tonight at Opera Bob’s!

TV: Sportsnet One, MLB.tv

And now… the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Philadelphia Phillies

CF Ben Revere (L)
SS Jimmy Rollins (S)
2B Chase Utley (L)
RF Marlon Byrd (R)
1B Ryan Howard (L)
C Carlos Ruiz (R)
DH Bobby Abreu (L)
LF John Mayberry (R)
3B Cody Asche (L)

RHP Roberto Hernandez

Comments (263)

  1. That… That’s a really nice batting lineup (I can’t read lists longer than 7 long so I’ll just assume the last 2 batters are just as strong)

  2. “tin foil hat brigade” LOL. Could you image Buck as a manager? Oh, wait.

  3. i’d be puking on myelf if I was a Phillies fan … Ruiz, Asche, Abreu, Howard, Mayberry, Byrd and whatever is left of Jimmy Rollins .. true yuck ..

    of course I would deal our staff for Hamels, Lee and AJ Burnett in a milisecond

    • Yes. I understand that pitching is somewhat important in baseball. Fuck it – let’s just start outhitting everybody!

  4. Wow. This looks like our actual starting lineup. As for yesterday’s wak-a-mole event in Lakeland, RR is no surprise but Stroman is a great disappointment. That line of his is hard to forget. Guesss he’s not quite ready – or even close – right now.

    • He’s a smart kid with all kinds of talent. I’m betting he’ll learn a lot from that mess and come back twice as strong.

    • or maybe small sample size in spring training….

    • Stroman is a disappointment? Because of one spring training game? For fuck sakes.

      • No, he’s not disappointing. What happened yesterday is a disappointment. I had high hopes. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I was only looking for something to get excited about.

        • Well, don’t count on Stroman to be somethign to get excited about. Man is too short.

          That said, Marcus Walden may a sleeper.

    • Stroman is talented yes. But what impresses industry observers is his makeup. The kid has a boatload of want.

      The outing from yesterday looks like an awful shitstorm. In truth, Stroman got lit up like a penny slot machine on a Saturday night. But he will use that awful pitching line to motivate himself as he begins his foray in AAA.

      Romero, on the other hand? Hard to find a silver lining.

      I am still betting that Happ is gonna get held back in spring training on the DL on some semi-bogus rehab assignment and that Redmond will start game 4 in Tampa.

      Morrow is being held back to start game 5 of the season, due to his need to catch up with his rotation mates. I can’t see how the brass can throw 2 guys back to back who are a little shy in their pitch counts. Never mind an 8 man bullpen. The Jays might need. 9 or 10 guys.

  5. “it wasn’t terribly difficult to have recognized that the Romero thing had no business being made into a story”

    exactly.

    and if my memory is correct, this whole Romero has a shot at the rotation thing essentially came out the day AA was getting flack when Santana signed with the Braves…

    nonetheless, imo, for a guy in RR’s situation, AA should have set the bar extremely low (or no expectations at all) & if at some point during the season in the minors, he pitched well over a length of time, call him up if necessary but again, without any expectations.

    • Well yeah. That’s why we were hearing all about RR last week. Couldn’t have come at a better time thinks AA, gives me something to talk about that isn’t why I haven’t signed Santana. I’ve lost patience with this front office. Not that I cared about Santana. But they’ve just made avoidable mistake after avoidable mistake. Even though our pitching needed major help, AA didn’t have to bop out at the beginning of the off-season and prattle about signing a couple of new starters. Or at least, if that was his intention he should have made damn’ sure he signed Santana. I think he tried to be cute as all hell and wait the market out and get the guy for a bargain deal. But he didn’t take into account the shifting state of other teams’ rotations. He ended up shooting himself so badly in the foot that the wound probably reaches past his groin.

      • Lol, not going to ask about the groin reference but here’s something I can’t figure out.
        To what do we attribute the huge faceplant by AA?
        Did he get too cute? Surely someone with what I always thought was a pretty high IQ would’ve allowed for market shifts. He already had a huge advantage in the draft pick attachment.
        Did ownership decide that they overpaid last season and cut AA off just after he made the “1 maybe 2 SPs” pronouncement?
        I also suspect that -despite all the denials- that there is something to the timing of certain news items being released; ala the item that said that Jays almost had Kinsler in a trade released just at the time of the “State of the Franchise”. These things divert attention and tend to confuse the issue and I resent it.

        • That’s precisely what I am starting to loathe about this crew. They put out Happy News or disinformation and they think we’re dumb enough to fall for it. They have learned nothing from the Darvish Debacle.

          I was an AA supporter for a very long time. I’m not that much of a fan of his any more. I sincerely doubt the bean-counters would cut him off at the knees that hard after last off-season. It wouldn’t make good business sense and these guys are business-people. I have an uneasy feeling that AA believes his ‘Ninja’ nickname. And if he had brought in Santana on the original deal that apparently was agreed-upon, we would have been praising him to the skies. But he got just that little bit too cute and everything fell apart. As has been said on multiple occasions, if he wanted Santana enough to make a reasonable offer to him, and if all of a sudden, Santana’s agent is not returning his calls, then up the ante, give him an extra mill and bring him in. I don’t like Santana much, but even I can see the value of not coming in second yet again. Because that ‘coming in second’ shit is hurting the brand, and ours is a shaky brand at the best of times.

          And this isn’t the best of times.

          • I don’t think they think we’re dumb enough to fall for it, necessarily. It changes the conversation, whether anybody falls for it or not.

            • The it’s our job to change it back :) Which you are doing a very good job of!
              I didn’t necessarily agree with your rant about Santana last week. However now I do.

              • Another point might be that the campaign isn’t aimed at us at all but at the “casual” Jays fans, who are distracted and do buy it.

            • perhaps a distinction – more often than not, majority fall for it, others like some on this board don’t…general statement but when a GM is on the outs is very likely when the majority no longer fall for it any longer…shout out to Mike Gillis in Vancouver for sticking around as long as he has…

              we had CNN, I mean the reporters covering the team, basically confirming there was a deal, Santana backed out, nothing AA could do, oh RR’s got a shot…

      • “But they’ve just made avoidable mistake after avoidable mistake”

        winning/being competitive can mask this for a while but losing brings it all into the open…but objectively speaking, win or lose, a few tactical/strategic decisions by AA – moreso how he’s handled certain issues, impact my assessment of his judgment…fixable, perhaps will improve, learn from the mistakes…with that said, this team still has to win/compete & that will be the foundation of my assessment…

  6. J.A. Happ walks Bobby Abreu. It didn’t take Nostradamus to see that one coming.

    • Out of the north there comes an army.
      With many armorers but lack of arms.
      They throw their hardest but they never strike.
      Their targets laugh at them. They do not fear.

      In the sixth month of the fourteenth year
      The army shall revolt against their leaders.
      The king and his ministers shall be killed.
      A new king shall lead the soldiers.

      In the eighth month of the fifteenth year
      Fire shall engulf the enemy.
      Their laughter shall turn into tears
      Their leader shall be executed.

      • So to paraphrase: after crummy pitching for 3 months this season, the Jays will fire AA and Gibbons and hire Don Cherry and Cito Gaston. Then next August they will burn down Boston. Have I got that right?

        • Honestly, another season and another BlueJays lefty is about to bite the dust. 2011 Brett Cecil. 2012 Ricky Romero. 2013 would have seen Happy bite it, were it not for his time on the DL. Granted, Happ was not nearly as promising as RR and Brett Cecil. Still sad, so sad!

  7. I’m not seeing any difference in Happs arm slot. Is it supposed to be higher or lower?

  8. This rotation is so disappointing. I really did think they would strengthen it with some frontline guy.

  9. This could be desperation talking, but why bother with Happ in the rotation? What’s the potential upside? I’d rather have Stroman up, and perhaps being inconsistent, than trot Happ out every fifth day.
    Sure, Stroman could take a kicking, but if he can’t handle that, we might as well find out now. I think he’s got the swagger to do it though.

    Not that this will happen.

  10. I always forget that JA Happ isn’t really JA Happster.

  11. Lind’s facial hair is absolutely absurd

    • Hipster Dufus

      • doesn’t jive imo with his, you know, always smiling & nice guy I’ll give you the shirt on my back, personality.

    • yes if it gets much longer if the catchers tries to throw to second well ends up to bat will that be beard interference and the guy will get second base and land I’ll be out?

  12. It would have been nice to add some pieces but fuck it… Im just excited baseball is back :)

  13. I really miss Butter.

  14. By far the most annoying part about last season for me was all of our was pitchers walking the entire world making all difficult situations worse. Even though its spring – its so frustrating to revisit that feeling.

    Happ has a guy down 0-2 with 2 out and he somehow turns that into a another long inning compounded by walks.

    • It’s concerning that they are leading all teams in Spring Training with Walks.

      • It’s not.

        It’s concerning that the guys they expect to be in the Majors are walking guys, but the leaderboard is full of noise. Not a concern.

        • How is leading everyone in walks not a concern? ST or not, it’s the same sample size for everyone and we suck the most. When are we allowed to be concerned about our starters?

          • Well if Romero and others that won’t even make the team are part of the total, then who cares?

          • “it’s the same sample size for everyone and we suck the most”

            That’s really not how statistics work.

            • 30 people are given a task to complete in a day and one of them statistically makes the most mistakes. Who sucks the most at that task?

          • Agreed. When are we allowed to recognize that this team is thread bare ? Questionable rotation ? Shit bench ?

            • Because it’s a fucking spring training stat, meaning that you’ve got walks counted among it from fodder with no hope of making this team, and it’s the same story for every other team. Hence the “noise” I was talking about.

              The command issues for people that matter matter. The stat being referred to here specifically is garbage. Ten of those Jays walks, for example, are from Ricky Romero. Eight are from Jeremy Jeffress. Know what that tells us about the state of the team coming north in a couple weeks? Dick all.

          • Relax. It’s early!

    • And the guy he loses is Marlon Fucking Byrd…Christ…he of the great eye and noted mastery of the strike zone…

      I agree that walks given out by your team are just about the most frustrating thing to watch in baseball…

  15. Let McGowan start until he explodes. Improves after that.
    That’s my current position anyway.

  16. You can tell a lot of this is mental…ive never seen a team do less with more than the Jays.

    • And then, in the blink of an eye, …

    • You absolutely cannot.

      You’re talking about Happ?? He had a 5.35 ERA with the Astros a couple of years ago, and his peripherals have never been great. Looked like he was maybe turning a corner when they got him, but now he’s had a couple setbacks that make you wonder if he’s ever really going to make that turn. Where is the mental trouble, exactly? What’s it holding him back from being?

      • I think david was referencing the offence.
        The comment came just before the Jays erupted.

      • He’s upset because he’s never been any good.

        • Actually let me take that back. In 2009 he pitched 166 innings with the Phils and had a 2.93 ERA a 1.23 WHIP and a 4.0 WAR.
          It seems when he got traded he went downhill.

      • He was pretty good in March/April and September last year. Take out the line drive to the head and he might have put up 2+ WAR.

        So now he’s struggling with command in all of 3 innings of spring training. I’d give him one more year before throwing in the towel completely.

        • Me too– way more than that, actually, if you’re talking about big picture career stuff and not just in terms of the Jays.

          I’m just saying it’s not mental.

  17. They should just cut Happ or else they are going to have to use him at some point. Remove that option.

    • And bump the Tomo Ohkas of the world up a peg? Come on with this nonsense.

      • Not the Ohka’s but give me Sean Nolin or Chad Jenkins before Happ.

        • chad jenkins please.

        • You guys are insane.

        • Has Ohka done anything notable at minor league camp? I assume not, but you know…anything at this point. I’ve been trying to keep a cool head about the rotation but things are getting downright ugly.

          And I don’t really mind Sierra as Lind’s uglier half-sister. But they really ought to carry a fourth bench guy if they’re going to do that, ideally that elusive backup CF.

  18. I agree about Mcgowan. Hes got next…

  19. dear god, and I thought the Jays ad campaign couldn’t get any worse…

  20. SSS and all, but holy shit Melky is hitting everything in sight.

  21. GOINS GOT A HIT! GOINS GOT A HIT!

  22. It seems there hasn’t been a conversation about team chemistry around here in awhile.

    I submit a recent piece from Baseball Prospectus:

    “In his talk about team chemistry on Friday, SABR President Vince Gennaro made the case that chemistry is more important in baseball because of the length of the season and the grind of 162 games…”

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/a/23064

    • “Clubhouses are a lot larger than they once were (outside of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, anyway), players take plane trips instead of train trips and have their own hotel rooms, etc. All of that translates to less time spent in confined spaces, and perhaps less importance placed on the ability to get along.”

      but: “Gennaro argued, though, good chemistry can create highly motivated players who work longer hours and prepare more thoroughly for their opponents.”

      “players who internalize an obligation to their organization and their teammates can get more out of their natural talent than was possible for players of earlier eras.”

      All in all it’s still very speculative. It MIGHT impact players in this certain way. But it also might not. And it probably varies from player to players. Pretty sure Roy Halladay didn’t need to like his teammates in order to be motivated to succeed.

      • Agreed about Roy, though a pitcher is more of an enigma because they aren’t an everyday player.

        “The players Vince interviewed told him that they see their teammates more than they see their families,so it makes sense that they’d benefit from a tighter-knit traveling support system.”

        Though it’s speculative, I’d say it’s not so much about poor chemistry making a team worse as it is strong chemistry making them better.*

        *Unless they are named JPA, as I don’t think anything will help him.

      • the argument as president is kind of silly.

        so having good chemistry will provide an incentive players to work ‘harder’. 2 major holes in that argument, firstly that working harder to prepare will lead to better performance, and secondly that they have the ability to work harder then they already are.

        • as presented*

          • It’s so often about confirmation bias too. I cannot remember ever really seeing a story that ran “this first-place team is amazing…but what’s crazy is that they all hate each other and have terrible chemistry.” Nor can I remember one that read “this last-place team should be better because they have such great chemistry.”

            Actually, I would suggest that in the latter situation you would read a story saying, “these bums are in last place…why are they always smiling and laughing? Clearly they aren’t trying hard enough and have no respect for the game.” With this much (repeated season-by-season) confirmation bias, it’s really hard to separate the signal from the noise.

            • “this first-place team is amazing…but what’s crazy is that they all hate each other and have terrible chemistry.”

              Watch Ken Burns baseball, the bit about the Black Sox.

            • The mid-70′s Oakland A’s say hello.

    • Ahhhhhh. The ol’ “clubhouse chemistry” gambit.
      Perfect Stoeten baiting.

  23. Aaaah. I feel so much better now. Melky, Joey, and Reyes. Lovely.

  24. So we can all agree Happ shouldn’t be in the rotation right? Who’s next in line?

    • At this point…? What are you up to every fifth day?

    • Not just the rotation, but the team. His floor is so low right now and his ceiling isn’t that high to begin with and if he can’t throw strikes whats the point of having him.

    • One vote for giving McGowan a shot.

      Happ doesn’t seem to have value anywhere. He shouldn’t be in the rotation, probably waste people’s time in Buffalo and is not trade currency. Guessing he ends up on the DL to start the season due to the pain he’s experiencing from the monkey on his back, while the FO tries to figure it out.

    • I hear anthony gose can throw real hard…

    • I give him another start with a chance to make it, but I think he’s behind the others now.

      McGowan pitches three innings tomorrow. First time he’s thrown more than two this spring. Could get in two more outings before the season starts. Could work, I suppose. Not very built up, though.

      • they could treat it like they did with Charlie V,
        and be like ok go give us four good innings,
        alright next time lets go for five,
        then let it loose

        • difference is charlie V wasn’t a type 1 diabetic who has had 4 major surgeries since last having a healthy season.

          I’m not sure why exactly the jays have sunk this much money and time in to Mcgowan only to do something irresponsible like give him (or attempt to give him) 180+ innings.

          He did just fine in the bullpen last year and his arm simply has a better chance of health throwing 60 innings as opposed to triple that. Reality is, the inability to add a much needed starter has made this option a possibility, if you sign Santana or bring in whoever else, Dustin’s going back to the bullpen, no questions asked.

      • Could go with Dusty and save Redmond as a long guy behind him since it seems they bent on a eight man pen. I agree Happ gets another shot. Not much choice at this point.

  25. The longer this goes on the more sense it makes to consider a 4 man starting rotation and perhaps a 9 man bullpen. Goodness… isn’t it a huge relief when Happ is replaced by Santos? Why trot out a starting pitcher to put us 3 or 4 runs down in the first few innings when we could go straight to the bullpen at the start of the game? Not entirely serious about this of course but… then again… that is essentially what you end up with when the starters can’t get out of the third inning on a regular basis.

  26. I think a rotation of Dickey-Buehrle-Morrow-Hutchison-McGowan could go places.

  27. WTF? Goins 2 for 2?

  28. Am I dreaming, or did Goins just hit in two straight PAs?

  29. Morrow as the number 5? Lind facing lefthanded pitching? no deal for a new starter or second baseman and all the bullshit around it? Ricky Romero and – Ricky Romero? seriously? what happened to this management?

    • the pitcher’s “number” means nothing. the rest of the stuff, good points.

      • first of all, great name. in some sense, the number means nothing. the fact that they are indicating the number is a demotion – and in the absence of an explanation, that’s what they mean to indicate – says they’re valuing him less than . . . Drew Hutchison? JA Happ? it’s screwed up. and while there may be arguments for it – like wanting a back to back of Morrow-Dickey (which could of course be vice-versa) – the fact that they’re offering no arguments is . . . are they playing the Phillies or have they become the Phillies?

        • No, it’s meaningless. They’re giving him more time to get ready (he can squeeze in extra spring innings by not pitching until April 4th) and allowing a veteran to start the home opener.

          • Stoeten – were you not just a few days venting spleen that they should treat the home opener as not a real game? also, if they need to give him extra time, what are we talking about – one bullpen session? it just reeks of duct tape solutions to problems which could, in some way or another (a shortage of arms) be foreseen. Rogers. using duct tape. i’m heading down a spiral; i’m out of control; i want to get out.

            • I agree they shouldn’t treat the home opener any differently, but they don’t. Just giving you the explanation.

              We’re talking about squeezing in a whole extra start. Morrow will start in Montreal, almost certainly. Considering he’s behind and needs as much time as he can to get his feel for the fastball and his velocity where it needs to be, this is better than having him pitching when it counts with less build-up on April 1.

              It doesn’t reek of anything. There is plenty to be upset about with what’s happened this offseason with this team, no need to invent things. This is nothing.

        • I see what you’re getting at. I suppose an explanation (even if just a moderately believable bullshit one) would be reasonable. Morrow’s probably smart enough to know it doesn’t mean anything actually, but if he thinks that they think it means something… Okay. Maybe I’m going too far.

  30. If you aren’t going to get excited about 7 good innings from Romero (you shouldn’t)

    you certainly shouldn’t get down on stroman after 1 bad inning.

    • yeah – it isn’t the end of the world… those who don’t love him (like me) will point to the propensity to give up the gopherball and he didn’t do anything to alleviate those concerns this spring.

  31. Grifin says aa overplayed his hand on the market…and now the options are limited.

  32. So Happ can’t go to minor leagues without his permission but based on his starts how can they break camp with him in the rotation? Think he says no when he’s asked?

    • I’m not totally sure about the contract rules, but if he declines the assignment, he becomes a free agent. What I’m unclear in is whether or not the Jays then owe him his salary.

      • Not sure of that either, he could also go the pen I suppose but all this is rather uninspiring.

        • If Happ refused assignment he would void his current contract and become a free agent. The Jays would owe him nothing.

          • I was confused about that class of players who can refuse an assignment but defer free agency and get paid out. That’s more likely a Super-Two class or something like that because it’s for players with three years’ service but not five (unless I misread the contract language…which I totally possibly did…)

          • I believe this is right.

  33. I personally think AA made the right moves this off-season, his options were essentially:

    1. Pay stupid money to sign a mediocre SP

    2. Trade both Stroman and Sanchez for an okay SP with upside.

    3. Stand pat and wait for a better option to come along.

    Yes there is always the possibitlity that he could have pulled a rabbit out of the hat and found another option, but you really can’t expect that to happen.

    • But it wasnt atupid money at all….and as youve seen….getting mediocre starting pitching isawfully difficult to actually find.

    • I wasn’t big on any of the available options other than Burnett (which everyone knew wasn’t happening) but I don’t think it’s fair to say that about the contracts Jimenez and Santana ended up signing for. I don’t love the length of Jimenez’s deal, but I wouldn’t be disappointed by plugging either of those two into the rotation at those costs.

      • The thing is, none of it is really stupid money, relative to what teams can afford to pay. It’s just stupid money relative to what the rest of the market looks like.

        • Well… regardless of how much money a team makes, market value has to come into play at some point, right? That’s not to say I agree with the valuation AA put on those guys, but they’re not just going to say “Well, we make enough money, let’s pay him the $20 million he’s asking for.”

          If nothing else, it sets a horrible precedent. It’s the same reason I was OK with them not trading Oliver at the end of the season; he had essentially zero value to a non-contender, but they weren’t willing to trade him for next-to-nothing because of how it could affect future trade negotiations.

          • But that’s not what they ended up getting paid. They got paid as if they were roughly 2-3 WAR pitchers. That doesn’t seem like an overpayment, particularly for Jimenez.

    • Stupid money? Oh you mean what mediocre SP costs these days.

      • the world changes doesn’t it? :)

        also, it’s vastly less stupid imo when it’s only a 1 yr commitment

    • Another option was to get veteran end of rotation guys. Chirs Capuano and Paul Maholm were two guys to pick up on the cheap that are pretty good bets to be servicable 4/5 starters. More reliable than any Jays option outside the top 3 and signed deals for like 2M plus 2-3M incentives this offseason.

      Yeah yeah but we already have the depth. The in house depth is looking sketchy and the season hasn’t started. I persoanlly didnt think an upgrade at SP was as needed as bench, 2B and better catcher but seem to be wrong already about that!

  34. Nice DP

  35. JBau is beasting

  36. A LOT of JA Happ hate on here.

    Have the commenters forgotten it is Spring Training and these results dont matter?

    • it matters when you can’t hit the fucking strikezone

    • Saying that wins and losses don’t matter (because they don’t) is not the same as saying ST doesn’t matter. If you expect a person to take the mound every fifth day and he is demonstrating that he can’t throw strikes consistently, you have a lot of cause for concern.

      Maybe it all clicks for Happ when the team breaks north, but it’s not looking all that swell at the moment.

      • Throw in the fact he has not been spectacular any time in the recent past and it’s absolutely a concern.

  37. When a pitcher has to be taken out of not one but two games where he was helpless to get an out does not portend good things.

  38. It makes no sense to have a bum starter pitch 2 innings every 5th day and get yanked with the team down 3 or 4 runs right off the bat. That seemed to be a regular occurence last year, and doing it over and over agian makes it tough on the lineup to ever get going against the opposing pitcher, who basically gets the night off as a result.

    Seeing as our bullpen is pretty strong, I’m open to the idea of having a few long guys pitch a couple of innings each on that 5th day for a while, for the first few weeks, especially if we carry an extra reliever. At least it giuves us a chance to compete.

    Do this until we can build McGowan back up to be our starter. We have enough long relief options, his ceiling is still higher and more valuable as a starter.

    Hell, even Esmil Rogers is a better option than Happ/Drabek/Stroman/Romero/insertwhoeverthefuckotherstarterwehavethatiscompletelyuselesshere,

    • Stroman is useless now?

      Also: People, it’s a few innings of spring training, with all kinds of individual factors impacting results. It’s not as bad as it’s looked. They’re going to go with what they think is the best option until he proves that he isn’t, then they’ll go with the next best option. Why the consternation?

      • I do have faith in Stroman … once he’s actually ready. I like the kid’s makeup.

        I’m speaking strictly with regards to a team that is supposedly trying to contend this year (or 3 of the next 5 years) or however the mission statement was put forth from our enlightened braintrust after the big additions made prior to last season.

        They need to put their best 5 feet forward right from the get go … at least until May once we realize the season is over.

        • It should be pointed out that none of Happ, Johnson or Morrow pitched over 100 innings last year. So it wasn’t a bum starter every 5th day…it was more like every 3rd 4th and 5th day.

  39. another hit for Goins!?

  40. wow. Goins triple. save some for the season son!

    • How did the hit look? Did he sneak it over the bag down the line? Or did he actually smack it?

      • Fairly hard hit ball in the gap, rolled to the wall. He just made a sweet defensive play at short. He’s having a good game.

        • I don’t know how good the Phillies pitchers are, but Goins has to get credit at least for doing everything right. He looked pretty good today and made some nice defensive plays too.

      • Two solidly hit balls that went in for hits. A bunt that was okay. Machado or Longoria would probably have gotten him out. Really nice looking D.

        • Maybe…the thing had hang time and hit in the perfect spot. I wouldn’t call Goins slow either. Not fast, but not slow either.

      • The outfielders were playing in, like they should with goins, and he rolled one to the wall. It was well hit but a single or close double with a “normal” outfield placement.

  41. griffin apparently just found out his mailbag is being poached. ..lol

  42. I like Dan Johnson. Good depth piece addition in a year without many other additions. I won’t mind seeing him come up to fill in for a few games if injuries hit.

  43. Roster doctor:

    4 starters, 6 relievers, 2 swingmen, 4-man bench. That means Rogers (or someone else) gets a bullpen game on Apr 3, then either comes back a week later or Buehrle goes on short rest.

    SP: the obvious 4
    RP: CJ, SS, SD, BC, AL, McGowan,
    Swing: Rogers, Redmond
    Lineup: Today’s lineup
    Bench: Sierra, Izturis, Kratz, ?Gose?

    If Happ breaks camp healthy, he takes Redmond’s spot.

  44. Would they ever consider stretching out Brett Cecil back into a starters role?…..I know he has found a measure of success as a 1 inning lefty, but my thinking is that he would still be a significant upgrade over Happ, at this stage…..Just wondering aloud

    • After throwing 80 innings 2 years ago and 60 innings last year, its probably not realistic to even consider building him back up to being a starter, with out seriously jeopardizing his arm.

      he was a closer in college, and didn’t particularly excel as a starting pitcher, some guys are just meant for 1 inning and its best to leave it at that.

  45. 11 days to real baseball!

  46. OK, being a little selfish here, after being totally wrong about them being sure to shore up the SP and 2b based on year end comments, I still can’t believe the total lack of movement on anything! Oh yeah, I forgot, they did trade Brad, Hot Rod Lincoln.
    I have a 45$ futureon the Jays to win the WS at 45-1 ( and $5 on the pennant at 20-1) . It now looks , quite frankly , like a stupid bet. Anyone know what the Hill line or any other line is out of Vegas, now?
    I’m with a lot of Isabellas sentiments here, I must admit in that I have become rather zen on this year too. I mean , pumped last year with some reservations and got smoked. Two years ago , yeah injuries but No depth , 3 years ago barely .500 at 81-81. SO, where are these fuckers under this FO going? do they really know what they are doing after such an auspicious debut?
    I am willing to give, reluctantly AA amulligan for this year and hope he is right on the “Do nothing and pray” strategy. If it fails, and sorry, folks, I think it will, then I think he takes the fall at year end for whoever put this do nothing notion in play, whether it was him or not.
    I still believe that someone in the bean counting area put the kybosh on things as far as FAs go based on the plumetting dollar. I first mentioned this at .9488, again at .9288, folloewed by .90 and now , today, .8888. The currency is fucked my friends. We won’t get into sandlots hedging etc which only works for awhile. I’ve sat in on meetings in finance with very high people and in doing SWOT analysis, one of the things looked at is often currency rates. Looking out 2years+ the jays owe Buerhle19m and Reyes god sums. Right now, it is 13% MORE per year than when the deals were made for a cumulative total on these guys forn FX alone of roughly 15m, or the price of pitcher! If they feel the $ is headed to .80, look-out for players to be moved, and then the CDN hockey teams will be fucked again too. Sorry to be a piss ass, but these things have to at least be considered when talking about a soul-less, mindnumbing bottom line only focussed bunch of cunts like Rogers Comm.
    I will be cheering madly come Mar 31 and I hope I am wrong about what I’ll be cheering for on 9/1 ( for the last 20 years it has been the start of the NFL season)

    • I got 33 to1 about a week ago (put down $37.50).

      Yesterday it was 25 to1.

      Never a bad bet putting a whatever you afford to lose on the home team. It’s good juju!

      This team is on track to have a great offence, great bullpen, very good defence. If they can get league average numbers out of the starters as a group, they’ll be right in the mix.

      There’s two wild cards these days. So long as the $45 put down is something you can afford, I say have fun, enjoy the year, and good luck!

      • Thanks, can’t believe the odds are so low-maybe they know s’thing. I know last yr after the trades the odds were only 8-1 which to me was absurd so I did not take the future bet last year-thank goodness.
        Your right of course. It’s basically a throw away bet . If they do win the pennant I make 50$ net-if they win the WS imake about 2k-time to watch and hope. Cheerio

  47. This should be a serious discussion: If the Jays stay relatively healthy in 2014, are they a contending team? I can’t envision them winning the division, but I’m starting to wonder if this is an 85-win team as a minimum if they have solid health. They definitely need a starting pitcher, but maybe they hold off until the trade-deadline if they can remain competitive until then.

    It’s just hard to hope they’re healthy when it seems every year one or two players goes on the DL for at least 2-months.

    • I think they’ll mash the baseball, play good defence and lean on a deep bullpen if the SP sputters.

      I confident of there being meaningful games in September this year., and hopefully October.

    • For what it’s worth, they’re projected to be around 83 wins and a 31% probability of making the playoffs. People talk about this huge gulf between the Jays and other teams in the division / AL — I just don’t see it. Almost every team bar the Red Sox, Rays and Tigers have serious warts of their own.

      Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong for them in 2013, that it’s actually surprising they didn’t lose a hundred games. If they can stay healthy and avoid huge underperformance from key players, I don’t see they can’t be competitive for the wild card places. Of course, that’s a big “if”.

      • Every team in baseball is riddled with “if’s”.

        Let’s play ball and find out.

      • “For what it’s worth, they’re projected to be around 83 wins and a 31% probability of making the playoffs.”

        …..By Fangraphs. BJ’s fans seem adamant in ignoring all other projection systems. Most aren’t so kind.

        • PECOTA was off by 11 games in the Jays win total last year.

          if their off by 11 games in the other direction in 2014 the Jays are a 90 plus win team.

          Projections are interesting, and fun, but who the fuck knows.

  48. More important roster decision……..

    Evanka Osmak or Kate Bierness?

    I think I’d pick fornaKate.

    • Kate, Osmak isn’t as good looking as she appears at first glance. Gal has a Toucan Sam nose on her. Though Ken Reid, Tim/Sid tend to make fun of her for being from a well off family so she’s got that going for her?

      • I read she runs marathons for fun. So I guess she’ll keep those legs in business for the long haul. And she comes from $ you say?

        hmmmm, I may have to reevaluate which lucky lady earns my affection.

    • I can’t get over her man voice. Definitely Evanka…

      …or Hedger if you’re a TSN fan.

      • if u like hedger i hope youve seen teh episode of ‘lofters’ where she talks about her silver didldo!!! great episode

      • But she can dunk, haven’t you seen those adds with Cabby?

        Hedger is pretty funny, I did see that lofters clip on youtube.

    • Caroline Cameron

      • Miss Cameron looks promising. I think Kate’s man voice is just her “broadcasting” voice. Lots of folk in the TV/Radio biz, especially one as “formal” as TSN likes to present itself, put on their broadcast voices. Prime Hedger was my preference though.

        Oh, and that chick on SNET with the yams. I forget her name, but she’s a dark haired gal with a fine pair.

    • Kate Bierness obv. She got that look in her eye that really speaks to me.

  49. One name missing from this conversation is Drew Hutchinson.

    Without throwing a pitch in a meaningful game, he’s gone
    from a question mark and a hopefully a useful piece
    to an assumed cornerstone of the rotation.

    This is a guy who has appeared in a total of 14 MLB games,
    with a career total of 68.1 IP. Plus, he’s off TJS.

    He’s looked very good this spring. But it is the spring.
    It is far from a guarantee that he is what he appears to be.

    • Please, no more deductive logic. There’s enough despair around here already.

      Let’s keep it light.

      Bierness, Osmak, who ya got?

      • Goin’ off the board here.
        I got Jenny Dell and Heidi Watney.

        • Watney is a rocket.
          But doesn’t she report for the Sox?

          Love/Hate angle. Interesting.

          • Watney used to be with NESN.
            Think she is with MLB Network now.

            Dell was with NESN the past few years.
            They let her go when she and Middlebrooks
            went public with the fact that Middlbrooks
            was now her DP. (Designated Poker.)

      • Osmak. I liked Beirness but then found out she’s only like 5 feet tall, which is fine, but I’ve always been partial to footers.

    • He’s certainly no guarantee, but you just don’t get the feeling of an imminent trainwreck when he takes the mound (unlike certain others). He just gets up there and fires strikes, no fucking around. His stuff is also probably the most impressive among the gang of 4th/5th starter candidates.

      He had some excellent starts against very good teams among those 68 innings, in his rookie season. I just have a really good feeling about him.

    • Hutchison was formerly a ranking prospect. Not Sanchez-high, but high enough to have been notable. In 2012 Baseball America had him #9 in the Jays system (back when the system was stacked), while Sickels had him at #7, above Gose and a young Sanchez.

      That kind of pedigree is enough to believe that Hutchison probably won’t suck. Admittedly he was also one slot below McGuire, but point being, Hutchison didn’t come out of nowhere, and it’s easy to forget that he was a prospect after the year and a half of Tommy John rehab.

  50. I’m hoping this is a bizarro season based on the fact I’m so uninterested in the team this year.

  51. with all the hate being directed Ruben Tejada’s way in New York, does anyone think he would be a nifty little pickup for 2B?

    Nice defensive player, RH bat with a career .296/.367/.368 line against left-handed pitching. Seems like you could form a nice little elite defensive platoon with Tejada and Goins – and with two youngish players under team control for an extended period, you double your chances of maybe getting a decent regular out of one of them. Plus they’d be great gloves off the bench over Izturis.

    The Mets outfield is very unsettled in the long term and perhaps given Tejada’s out-of-favour status, he could be had for say Gose/Pillar/Wilson/Sierra as similar players who are young, have plenty of control, but have had mixed results at the MLB level.

    • Sure, why not? The Mets might even believe they owe the Jays something after dickeying them around.

    • I wouldn’t offer any of the OF guys for Tejada. He’s just not that good of a player.

      • but neither are any of those OFs right?

        Gose looks like Rajai Davis going forward – with more defense and less bat (at least Davis could hit lefties). You can probably put Pillar and Wilson in that category too. Sierra totally lacks defensive and baserunning acumen, and may or may not hit.

        Is that worth a controllable young player at a position of great need who fits Goins perfectly as a platoon partner and also offers much needed defensive ability? Hell yes.

    • I’d be down for that. Didn’t realize he had been that good against lefties.

  52. I know this is a noob question to ask, but I was wondering before I drop the cash on mlbtv (no tv subscription) and I want high quality bandwith connection if anyone can confirm good experiences with unblock-us or vpn’s like hide my ass, Cactus VPN.I was wondering if there are any other loopholes to get around the region setting with mlb sign up.

    • didn’t need it any of those last year. they weren’t blacked out for me in canada. i believe it’s the supposed to be the same this year too..

  53. McGowan should start the season as long relief and then slide into the rotation by May 1st whenever someone gets hurt/implodes.

    We drafted him 14 years ago!! Throw him into the fire and if his arm falls off then that will be how his career ended. Shit or get off the pot with this guy!!

  54. How did I just notice the Opera Bob’s bit now?!?!? Goddammit!

  55. Looks (and sounds like) an Anthopoulos quote:

    Anthopoulos echoes that sentiment, reiterating that the lack of activity during the off-season was borne more out of what was available on the free agent and trade markets, rather than a lack of resources to get deals done.

    “Our payroll is up, our payroll is higher than it’s ever been,” he says. “We could have taken a number of free agents and outbid the other team and had them, we just didn’t agree with those deals from our perspective. We’re not being critical of those deals…Those didn’t make sense for us.

    “If we don’t agree with the dollars and years, then we’re probably not going to get a deal done. That’s what it comes down to for us.”

    • spin spin spin, puke puke puke.

      get ahold of yourself Anthopoulos. This shit is embarrassing.

    • Basically – anyone who was a QUALITY pitcher chose to sign elsewhere, and the leftovers were more or less crap….crap they didn’t want to pay 14M a year for the next 3 or 4 years.
      But if that’s the going price for crap these days….whaddayagonnado?
      I’d have settled for ONE piece of crap – because after the last few seasons, I still get nervous about our 4 and 5 guys.

      • AA has been pretty constant so far about aquiring pitching (starters specifically).

        A) Trade for higher upside guys who are available at a fair trade price (Morrow, Happ), and extend them at a good price while buying out a few FA years in the process.

        B) Same as A, but with internal guys (Romero, perhaps Hutchison and Sanchez down the road).

        C) Trade for veteran established SP’s who due to unique circumstances are both available and discounted either in years, price, or acquisition cost (Dickey, Buehrle).

        D) Constantly comb through the waiver wire and minor league FA’s for looking for depth (Redmond)

        E) Like D, but by trade (Rogers)

        In the long run this will benefit the team way more than if they depended on the FA market. Not to mention that so many great pitchers are now not making it to free agency with having sold out a few years first.

        I look at it like this, Alex is the guy when doing his weekly groceries reads the flyers, only buys things on sale, buys club packs and bulk purchases, freezes the extra cut of meats and puts them in storage. It may take a awhile, but he’ll have a decent freezer and pantry full of good stuff while a GM who less patient may get exactly what they want, but at a higher cost, with less quantity, at a cost to the rest of the household budget.

        • Problem is things go on sale for a reason. There’s too much supply and little demand. Starting pitching is always in high demand and little supply.

          Extreme couponing is no way to run a sports franchise.

          • Extreme couponing and value shopping on the most expensive and delicate aspect of the game or two different things.

            • Value shopping means you’ll pay market value for items, not dredging flea markets and Goodwill in hope of finding a hidden gem.

      • I get nervous about all of them. I understand Morrow is a bit of a wildcard but the rest need to be bumped backwards. We have the same issues at the top of the rotation as we do at the bottom.

  56. I’m down with the McGowan kool aid. He did pitch really well out of the pen, and I understand the desire not to fuck with “success.” But even if we lose him to injury, what have we lost? A guy that pitched 25 innings last year. Replacing a middle reliever is not the end of the world. I’d start stretching him out, pitch Redmond/Rogers or Happ a few starts if need be and hand Dustin the ball by May 1. It’s not a High Risk/High Reward scenario. It’s a Low Risk/High Reward scenario. I mean, it’d be high risk to McGowan who could flame out to one last injury. But he’s saying he wants to try starting, so obviously he’s cool with it. From the team’s perspective it’s not really that risky. And the pay off could be significant. The organization has stuck with the guy all this time and invested money — some would say too much money — so it begs the question, if not now, when. No one else is claiming the friggin’ job, that’s for sure!

  57. Fangraphs projects us to be dead LAST in second base. Urgh. Literally projects 2nd base to be replacement level.

    • replacement level may actually be an optimistic projection.

    • Not sure how Fld is calculated but it either has to be cumulative or quite imperfect.

      I know UZR recommends 3 years of data, but our eyes sincerly confirmed what Goins can do.

      His UZR/150 was off the hook for good reason.

    • There’s one paragraph in there that pretty much sums up the whole situation:

      “At the keystone position, there’s a clear top three, a bunch of teams in the same general range, and then there’s the Blue Jays. Make a trade, Blue Jays.”

  58. Bozo the blogger thinks that if Masterson is offering a home town discount to Cleveland that this is his asking price with Toronto. Yeah, right.

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