griffbag

It’s baaaaaaack!

Richard Griffin has brought the ol’ Griff Bag out of hiatus, posting a new one back on Friday at the Toronto Star, and so my caustic hijacking of it returns as well!

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

Are we finally seeing the Jays team we should have had last year?

It’s pretty much the same group of players, but now we have production from behind the plate and 2B, and call-ups from triple-A like Francisco are useful. All the team needs is the bullpen to return to its normal self and Lawrie to piece it together and a play-off spot could be there for the taking.

If the team is still in contention next month, what about adding Stephen Drew when he loses his draft-pick compensation status, and trading for another starter, like David Cone in 92?

Cheers,

Paul (from the UK)

Holy shit, actual optimism in a Griff Bag question? Is that even allowed?

And while I wouldn’t hold my breath on the Stephen Drew thing — with their first two picks protected, and the 50th pick (and the attached pool money) all they’d have to surrender, it’s far more likely that contract demands, not the pick, is the issue — the other stuff sounds pretty reasonable. A whole lot still has to go right, but the division is there for the taking. We can see that the lineup can hit. We can see that defence isn’t nearly the issue it appeared to be at times last year. We can see how the bullpen is better than it has performed so far, and especially could take off with Casey Janssen back. We can see how the rotation might stabilize, especially once Marcus Stroman supplants J.A. Happ — and how eventually bringing in a starter and moving either Stroman or McGowan to the bullpen would help.

Don’t go scrapping your October vacation plans just yet, but they’re hanging in there, and there is more than enough talent on this club — and there have been more than enough issues with their division rivals — to think that they really can make a good run.

Would it have been better that they separated themselves from the pack while the other teams were spinning their wheels? Sure. But there is lots of reason to think that we haven’t seen the best of this club yet.

 

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten -

Was reading your article on Brandon Morrow’s possibly coming to the end of the line. Can you highlight the difference between Morrow’s situation and Dustin McGowan, where the Jays have had huge amounts of tolerance?

Thanks,

Mike

In a word: money. In four words: money and service time.

McGowan was hurt through the majority of his arbitration years, and made the league minimum, or thereabouts. Even in the final arbitration year that the Jays bought out when they signed him to an extension just ahead of the 2012 season he made a mere $600K, and in each of this year and last he made just $1.5-million. In the baseball economy, it’s a pittance.

Morrow, on the other hand, has a $10-million club option for next year (with a $1-million buyout). If the cost of keeping him around was the same as what it has cost to keep McGowan around for all these years, nobody would think he may have thrown his last pitch in a Jays uniform. The fact that it will cost $10-million, and that even then he’ll likely only have a tenuous grasp on a rotation spot behind Dickey, Buehrle, Hutchison, and Stroman, is where such talk is coming from.

 

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

How do you explain the current bullpen woes? We are finally getting some mediocre+ starting pitching to be continuously squandered, what has changed so dramatically from last year?

In a recent piece or in noon chat it was suggested that Buehrle be traded at the deadline. Why wait? His stock must be up right now with the great month he’s had. any chance we can get 1 young arm that can last 7+ innings and prospect? Or am kidding myself in terms of his true value? Even if you get a sold 2B for Buehrle, with or without a pitching prospect, isn’t it time to give Stroman, Sanchez, and Nolin quality big league practice as it is our BP and SP are not doing the job, Morrow is out my guess for good, the future is now, why continue to put out pitching that is at best mediocre (save Buehrle) when it doesn’t seem that the prospects can’t do that much worse…McGowan should be in the pen the feel good story is over seems the Jays need to go “all in” not only in terms of batting lineup but pitching just the same…from what I’ve see it seems the problem is less about Gibbons ability and more so about the quality of the players (particularly pitching and bench) he has to juggle.

To sum it up in one word…frustrating….I think if we had solid pitching we could be on the brink of a surprising season.

Thank you for listening.

The big O

Ahhh, now this is the kind of ass-brained question I’ve come to know and love from Griff readers.

I explain the bullpen woes by saying “that’s baseball,” and reminding that reliever performance can be volatile, and that there’s more than enough talent there to think they’ll be fine.

Why wait on trading Buehrle? Apart from the fact that trading him before the club is out of the race is as fucking dumb as believing they’re out of the race at this stage, look around and tell me how many trades get made this time of year. It just doesn’t happen. And can you get a fantastic young arm ready to step into a rotation and go deep consistently, plus a prospect, for less than two years of Buehrle and the nearly $35-million still owed him at this point? No. No you cannot. Unless by “prospect” you mean “warm body in the minor leagues.” But even so, why would a team that has a piece like that want to trade it for Buehrle? The Jays, if they get to the point of wanting to trade him, will certainly be able to get something beyond sweet delicious salary relief for him — especially if they have multiple suitors, which they won’t if they’re trying to force a trade now just for the sake of it — but let’s not go nuts.

The other stuff you wrote is, somehow, even more insane. No, the future is not now. No, Aaron Sanchez isn’t close to ready. No, Sean Nolin doesn’t need “big league practice”. No, McGowan shouldn’t be in the ‘pen.

Just… no.

 

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

What’s with the Bull Pen’s recent performance? The games that they have lost specially the last 3 has taken them from what would have been first place in the American League East to last place. How can so many of them suddenly lose control and command of their pitches almost at the same time? Is it the weather? if so, how are the pitchers and specially the bull pen ones of other teams managing?

Sergio Santos who sat out for his first full year with the Jays or almost all of that year of the trade with Chicago and who has great stuff and is an experienced pitcher – how on earth can he blow two games. The game where Loup and Redmond gave up a total of 6 runs to lose that game also contributed to the down-ward spiral. It is early days but they cannot afford to lose so many games in a short period of time. Injuries don’t help like in the case of Morrow and Janssen. This team has so much potential, if only the powers that be brought in a couple of good starters prior of the start of the season when there were many available, this team would have had the ability to go head to head with the best of teams.

Tony in Toronto.

They can afford to lose more games, obviously, but you’re right that the bullpen blowups of the early going have not been good. You’re also right that finding a way to add even just one starter in the off-season would have been a very, very good thing for the club (and not that you brought it up, but no, trying for months to grind Ervin Santana to dust and then whining when at the last minute he backed out on a handshake agreement doesn’t fly with me — live ruthlessly, die ruthlessly). But you’re asking questions you surely must know there aren’t good answers to. Baseball is hard. Those ones were tough to watch, but if there were easy explanations the problems would never occur, or never be allowed to spiral. The fact is, there are a lot of talented arms in the bullpen, and much more often than not they’re going to be an asset for the club. That’s about as much as we can ask.

 

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

I feel the need to ask a whole bunch of questions, but the way this season is progressing has numbed my mind and I am clouded with visions of Joey McLaughlin and Roy Lee Jackson running in from the bullpen. Now, I’ve been a fan since 1977 so I’d like to think I’m not a complete baseball idiot and while options still confuse me, I can’t help wondering things like:

1. Why didn’t we really try and keep Rajai Davis when he seems good enough to be an almost full timer for the Tigers?

2. Why do we always seem to lose a lot with Jose Reyes in the lineup? And who would you rather have right now…Reyes or Hechavarria?

3. Are we the only team that runs a yo-yo service with call ups? I understand there have been injuries…but it just seems ridiculous. Who makes these decisions anyway, Gibbons, AA, both?

4. How can our bench be so awful? How did it come to this?

5. Why don’t we just give Stroman/Nolin/Sanchez some significant experience this year and see how they go. What can it really hurt? JA Happ’s feelings? It seems we excessively babysit our top young players. I remember Travis d’Arnaud was on the verge of getting called up, but we waited so long, he got hurt. How different things might have been.

6. Do the Jays have a plan? Does anyone really know what’s going on anymore or are they making it up as they go along now?

Sorry, my faith this year has taken a beating. We just can’t catch a break, but maybe it’s because the system is broke. Any thoughts appreciated.

Thanks,

Rob Brander

Sydney, Australia

1. Money and the fact that he wanted a bigger role than they were willing to offer.

2. They seem to lose a lot with Reyes in the lineup? Utter insanity. Reyes over Hechavarria and it’s laughable how close it is not.

3 and 4. The Jays lead the league in transactions this year, but also: no. Minor injuries to starters have forced the club to change the composition to the bench somewhat frequently, because carrying eight relievers means they aren’t playing with a full complement of reserves — and they’re carrying so many relievers to preserve the kind of rotation depth that they desperately needed, eventually, in the last two seasons. Anthopoulos has the ultimate say on these decisions, but surely Gibbons gets a lot of input. And… um… it’s a bench. Look around at some benches: they’re not full of budding all-stars. Relax.

5. Because that would be dumb? Sure, Stroman is ready — command is there, stuff is there, opportunity is almost there. But Nolin doesn’t deserve a rotation spot over anybody already here, as he profiles as more of a back-end guy anyway, and while the numbers in Buffalo are pretty enough, consider the quality of competition. And Sanchez is walking more than 5 hitters per nine innings in New Hampshire, striking out fewer than 7.5 per nine, so this idea that he’s ready to pitch in the majors is, at this point, total fantasy.

6. I get that there have been moments of frustration so far, but come on. You seem to be pretty thoughtful. No need to regurgitate the laziest of lazy writer red herrings.

 

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Q-Richard Stoeten,

Can you tell me who calls the pitches for the Jays? Is it the bench or the catcher? Santos throwing only sliders with runners on base in Minnesota and following queue with 3 (I think) run scoring wild pitches.

Thanks.

Dana

It’s the catcher.

 

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Q-A curious question Richard Stoeten.

Big fuss about Pineda trying to get an edge after a long bout with injuries. Stupid none the less. Last year Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris both noted that Clay Buckholz’s forearm looked a little greasy. Which it and he obviously did, you could not help see him whipping his hair and forearm constantly and the incredible break on his stuff. I think he went 5/0 to start the season. Not only was there no recrimination for the allegations, even though there was some video evidence in support, it was firmly denied in Boston. End of story. Is it possible to tie neither Hayhurst nor Morris returning to work for Rogers this year as backlash for their comments?

Dave V, Thomasburg

No, it is not possible.

 

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

Do you have any explanation for the poor base running skills we’re seeing this year? Gose’s flubs last night I can somewhat let slide (first game jitters and all), but what about Bautista? The guy is supposedly a leader on this team, but he keeps handing the opposition free outs with his inattention to detail on the paths.

Evan M., Toronto

Yes, Bautista sometimes isn’t the most heads-up base runner. And that, of course, has absolutely fuck all to do with leadership.

 

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Q-Just read the recap of the bullpen. In fairness to McGowan, he was NOT the problem last night. I still think if he were to falter, then move him back to long relief, but the reality is that he’s had 2 good games and 3 lousy ones. Give him a few more starts. The right move, if this team is as bad as I fear, is to trade Buerhle while he’s got maximum value. Sadly, another year of meaningless September baseball awaits the Toronto knights of the keyboard, to invoke the great Ted Williams.

Always enjoy your work and very sorry about your father’s recent passing, although it sounds as if he went a full 9 innings in the metaphoric sense.

Kind regards,

Marshall Auerback

What team have you possibly been watching? Or… oh, let me guess: you wrote this after a loss, and you’re one of those fans who is wholly incapable of comprehending just how many times even good teams lose in a season, right? And you haven’t bothered to pay attention to what’s going on in Tampa, or New York, or Boston, or Baltimore, yes?

It could go badly off the rails yet, but I just don’t understand what universe people are coming from when they look at the first 40 games this team has played (or however many were played when this was written) — with the bullpen blow-ups, the shaky first few weeks from three fifths of the rotation, the DL stints for Janssen, Reyes, and Lind, and the implosions of Izturis, Goins and Sierra — and assume that it has to go as badly or worse over the next 122. It might, but it absolutely doesn’t have to. At all.

Shit, I wrote the other week that “from the point of being 13-24 onward last year the Jays went 61-64, and that was while variously missing a month or more from: three fifths of their rotation, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, plus at least two weeks of Brett Lawrie, Brett Cecil, and Edwin Encarnacion, not to mention the fact that it was then still six weeks before Jose Reyes returned.” It’s a pretty good team, the division is wide open, and as I said in response to an earlier question, there are all kinds of reasons to think that we haven’t seen close to the best of them yet.

In fact, with the way they can hit, just a few solid turns of the rotation could accumulate a bunch of wins pretty quickly, could it not? Do we really not think that Dickey, Buehrle, Hutchison, McGowan, and Stroman (once he takes over) can give the club that? Because I’m pretty sure we should.

No, really.

 

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Comments (138)

  1. That last one is a good reminder for me to stay positive. Not that I need it. Life sucks and baseball is respite from all the bs. But it’s good to remember just how great this team (or its players, at least) has proven to be.

  2. People’s negativity at a team that’s hanging around, playing much better than they did last year and has one of the best hitters in baseball amazes me.

    • It’s a sin not to include both Bautista AND Encarnacion in the conversation about the best hitters in baseball. Bautista’s .410 wOBA since 2010 is the third highest in the MLB, and EE’s .386 wOBA since 2012 is the eighth highest. They’re both amazing.

  3. Speaking of Bautista, that walk-out-of-the-box during called third strike yesterday in protest of the umpire WAS UTTER, HOT DRIPPING CRAP! THAT FUCKERS NEEDS TO WAKE UP AMC REALIZE THIS TEAM IN ALL ABOUT HIM! HOLY FUCK! SHITTY CALLS COME ON GO, BUT COME ON!

    • Yeah, Bautista’s terrible.

    • YEAH LET’S TRADE HIS ASS WE NEED TEAM PLAYERS NOT MVP CALIBER PLAYERS RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE

    • I’m pretty sure he was pissed that Axford quick-pitched him. He knew he wouldn’t be able to do his normal timing high leg kick and just walked out of the box in semi-protest of what he perceived to be a bush-league move.

      I’ve never played competitive baseball so I have no idea if that is generally considered bush-league or not but Jose looked pretty ridiculous. Whatever. If we’ve learned anything about Jose, it’s that a pissed off Jose crushes balls.

    • Seriously disappointing to see. I expect these type of ridiculous comments from the new young call up commenters but you are a veteran leader of this blog and we need you to set a good example by not saying idiotic things about the best hitter in the league. And don’t be arguing with stoeten either otherwise he will hold a grudge and take it out on the rest of us.

    • lol what a joke of a comment.

      toronto, where players like kawasaki are celebrated, but superstars are critiziced.

      bautista is the best player the jays have had since Delgado, yet every time he looks at an umpire the wrong way everyone jumps on him.

      stupid, just plain stupid

      • Seriously. Some people are afraid of the elite.

        • A bit off topic but I find that people, in general, relish in the failure of others. Like JPA. I get that fans were frustrated with him, but so many people here are just so fucking happy that he is struggling in Texas. Maybe it makes their own mediocre lives more tolerable. Or maybe they just have a hate-on for the high-school jock that they weren’t.

          • re: following up a post about “elite” with JPA. My point was, guys like to see jock-types fail. Except for less jock-types like johnny mac.

            • Karen, I think part of the ambivalence about JPA is that when it came to his mediocre play, he was a dick. He refuted criticisms about his play, even going so far as to complain to ownership about the Jays broadcast team. He believed he wasn’t playing poorly, and essentially refused to get better and work on the things that were lacking about his game.

              It’s a shame, because of the field he was amazing – did lots of charitable work in the community, especially with sick kids, and could very well have been a Vernon Wells-type of ambassador for Toronto. I’d like to see him do well, but his attacks against the fans and media were a bit over the top. Now, the fans could have eased up in terms of addressing him on Twitter – I mean, anyone who gets insulted by someone on Twitter should block them – but it seemed like he spent more time worrying about his public status and reputation than about his play. Correcting one would have corrected the other, and he didn’t seem to get that.

    • Most people would say step off the ledge but in your case, please jump. Nobody will miss you.

    • Why aren’t we allowed to criticize Bautista’s constantly showing up the umps? Because he’s a great player one isn’t permitted to say anything negative?

      • Because out of approximately 600 at-bats during the season, he might snarl at the umpires a half-dozen times. That’s 1 percent….maybe.
        So quit getting your panties in a twist because of something that happens maybe less than one percent of the time.
        I’ll take my superstar – who’s his 30+ dingers a year for the past 5 years with over 100 rbi, and a cannon for an arm in the outfield – and tolerate his occasional grumpiness.

      • maybe the guy who consistently leads the world in walks knows a bit more about the strike zone than the average fan,.

        maybe

      • Because who fucking cares if the umps feelings get hurt?

      • “constantly”??

        Fuck off.

        Plus the guy is walking at a Bonds-like rate. He has one of the best eyes for balls and strikes in all of baseball.

        • You can all take a long hard suck on my balloon knot and I’ll tell you why:

          Players come and go some average and some great like Bautista. Just because he is good doesn’t mean he gives up on an at bat and let’s his team down on that crud.

          Carlos Delgado someone mentioned? Delgado never acte like a cunt..

          That shit sends a fucked up message to his teammates, and I don’t like it. No matter how good you are.

          Now if a cat let’s it fly and is pissed and has a point, have at her.

  4. I think the comments on the roster yo-yo have some validity. You’re right that most benches are terrible, but this team could have a 7 man bullpen, and a bench with:
    Back up middle inf (diaz/goins/kawasawki)
    Back up C (Thole)
    Back up 3b/pinch hitter/righty masher (Francisco)
    Back up CF who hats RH to spell Lind/Francisco/Rasmus (Pillar or Gose).

    I feel like that, and then finding two solid RPs with options (say Jenkins and Wagner) would allow you to call up a reliever when needed, and to give some normalcy/consistency to the team. (Although whether or not that matters I don’t know).

    • This team needs to run with a 8 man pen. It is unlikely McGowan and Hutchison are going to be able to pitch 200 innings. By keeping their outings shorter it helps extend their seasons. The Morrow injury hurts as well. By not signing another starter the team will need to run with a shorter bench to save the starters. Not ideal but the lesser of two evils.

      • The biggest problem with the 8-men pen right now is that there’s inevitably some super-low-leverage scrub who only pitches every couple weeks or so.

        e.g. Chad Jenkins has pitched 3 innings this year. THREE.

  5. BLOW IT UP, BLOW IT UP, BLOW IT UP! IT’S OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CABBAGE!

  6. “Don’t go scrapping your October vacation plans just yet, but they’re hanging in there, and there is more than enough talent on this club — and there have been more than enough issues with their division rivals — to think that they really can make a good run.”

    This is it right here.

    • Far cry from pre-season outlook…

      • Not terribly.

        • I like the site but I am getting sick of how you lie in the weeds observing the comments just waiting to pounce on things. Lately you have been more of a prick than usual. What gives ?

          • The fuck are you talking about? Get sick all you want, I guess.

          • Gee Dan I think he’s been in kind of a good mood lately.

            Also you deserve it. He said all off-season that the holes we haven’t filled are problems but that we’re still a team that could easily make the playoffs with good health.

          • too much baseball, not enough girls..

        • I was going to say – I think that is very MUCH like what the pre-season predictions were about. The Jays will be in the fight and will need their divisional rivals to slip as well to be in the hunt.

    • it also helps that other teams in the division are showing serious holes.

      no team is in the top 15 in the league in team ERA. if the jays can have a lights out bullpen again and get even average starting pitching, their offense could carry them. Maybe not to the playoffs but alteast to a point where games in August and September matter.

  7. Regarding Bautista’s baserunning, I don’t feel like his mistakes are because he’s not paying attention but rather because he’s just so damn aggressive. It’s frustrating when he gets thrown out on some questionable decisions but according to Fangraphs UBR stat (Ultimate Base Running), he’s leading the team in baserunning so he must be doing something right out there.

    • I think a lot of the problem with Bautista’s baserunning is that people only remember the mistakes. It’s human nature. :)

    • Bautista is aggressive – I agree. He’s also not as fast as he maybe thinks. I think a guy who can really run might make the same decision but be able to get himself out of it where as Bautista may get caught every once in a while.

      He more than makes up for it in other areas so its questionable as to why this dumb dumb brought it up.

    • You know, I think I’ll take the occasional base running gaffe if it includes the MVP calibre mashing bat.

    • From the eye test Bautista seems like an intelligent baserunner, for the most part.

      As mentioned above, people only remember the gaffes.

      • I agree with that. If the eye test suggests he’s a decent baserunner, it’s backed up by the numbers. FanGraphs has him at 1.1 baserunning runs this year, which is firmly above average and the best on the team. He’s also been above average every year he’s been with the Jays.

        It’s easy to overlook the times he goes first-to-third on a single or takes an extra base by getting a good read on the ball, and it’s easy to remember a handful of dumb baserunning mistakes,

    • In fairness, UBR does not adjust for opportunities, so a player with a higher OBP is more likely to have a high UBR than a player with a low OBP will. Leading the team in OBP makes a player be more likely to have a high UBR.

      • Fair enough. Most of the point still stands though: he’s been in the positives for six straight years now. He’s never had great numbers, but they’ve been good since he came to Toronto.

    • Thing is he has made absolutely terrible baserunning decisions. Being aggresive is one thing. Getting thrown out easily trying to steal third down by several runs in the 8th inning is another. And it does reflect poorly on leadership ability doing something bone headed like that. Still he is clearly a great player

      • As a couple people have noted above, Bautista’s been a solid baserunner this year and his numbers bear that out.

        If Bautista’s baserunning reflects poorly on his leadership, what does it say about the Boston Red Sox that they’ve been hands down the worst baserunning team in the league this year, led by Ortiz and Napoli. Leadership!

    • He’s aggressive on the bases, and with that you have to accept that every once in a while he’s gonna look like an ass. But how many times does that aggressiveness let him go 1st to 3rd on a single or score from 2nd. With baserunning no one remembers the good plays.

    • Sometimes it’s not even a mistake – it’s a calculated ploy.
      Bautista knows what’s going on…and he’ll trade his out on the basepaths, if it means that the runner ahead of him will score. He’ll make that big turn around second base, and tempt the infielder to cut off the ball and make a play on him. Meanwhile Reyes or Melky is scampering home without a throw. Guaranteed run, period.
      If there’s a play at home..who knows what happens. A perfect throw nails Melky, or you might get a bad call by the ump. Hell, even a slide these days can turn an ankle.
      Bautista might look like he’s having a brain fart – but I think that baserunning gaffe is by design on occasion.

  8. I MISS RAJAI TOO. Could Gose fill his role?

    BAUTISTA IS A GREAT HEADS-UP BASERUNNER, most of the time.

    SELL HIGH ON BUEHRLE? Ya, that’s not the worst idea ever, actually. 35M is a lot of cake.

    BULLPEN: it will get better, Janssen seems to have stabilized it already. Santos is a disappointment, tho.

    LETS GO JAYS SWEEP THOSE INDIANS!

  9. Funny Joey McLaughlin story: I recall reading an interview during the tail end of his stint in Toronto. Things weren’t going well and he mentioned that the worst of it was he was driving in Toronto with his wife and maybe his kid(s). He was at a stoplight and the guy in the car next to him gave him the finger.

    Not that this makes his record in Toronto any better or makes me more sympathetic about his tenure with the Jays but stuff like that would take a lot of stoicism to ignore.

    • A guy driving in Toronto gave me the finger. That’s his story? So he experienced something every other driver experiences sometimes multiple times a day? What a clown.

  10. Why are there so many fans, in any sport, who see a guy having success and their first reaction is “We need to sell high on this guy and get prospects”. In some situations I get that, in rebuilding years and all that crap. But thats not always the case.

    On Bheurle:
    His stock must be up right now with the great month he’s had. any chance we can get 1 young arm that can last 7+ innings and prospect?

    Save for a prospect, but is not Bheurle a guy who goes 7+ innings? I get he’s expensive, but shit its not our money!

    Is this a thing for all teams, or am I stuck in the bubble of fans of Toronto sports?

    • I think its just a fanbase who is so used to losing that they dont value wins on the major league roster as high as prospect asset management.
      you think yankee fans spent the last 15 years bitching about the rating of their top guys on some former scouts list of 100?

  11. re: Buehrle trade talks. Stoeten sort of addressed this, but what kind of MLB-ready talent would they actually be able to get for Buehrle even at peak value? Any team trading for Buehrle is going to be in win-now mode, just like the Jays. They might get a decent haul of prospects but the division is there for the taking NOW.

    Who exactly is gonna replace those 200+ quality innings in the rotation? It just makes no sense right now.

    • Let’s revisit the scenario in August.
      The Jays (god forbid) might be totally out of the race, and another team might just need a guy like Buehrle for a stretch run.
      Granted, the Jays might have to eat a chunk of salary – but if there’s another guy or two coming back, who knows?
      But it’s way too early to start speculating like that.

  12. Per ESPN standings, Blue Jays still only team with postivie run differential, and they have the highest percentage to make the playoffs in the AL East. Not sure how last one is calculated, but if it’s on the internet then it must be true, right?!

    • ESPN weighs run differential quite heavily I think.

    • everything on the net is true – tv told me so

      • I heard it’s only true if you print it out.

        Seriously though, it’s hard not to play the “what if” game right now with at least half of those bullpen blowups. With three of those as wins, I think the world is looking at this team a little differently right now.

        I have a friend (a fan of a team none of us like) who has a running joke with me. Every year I ask him how many games he thinks the Jays will win and he says, “no matter how many times you ask me, my answer will always be 81″.

        • lol me and my bud have a joke like that too!

          “Hey..how the Jays doing this year?”
          “.500″
          /chuckles

  13. Jose doesn’t have to be a good baserunner when he’s just doing the victory trot all the time.

    Holy fuck he’s been good this year.

  14. The one frustration that i identify with from above is the fact that they failed to acquire even one decent to good starting pitcher this off-season. If I remember correctly, AA identified SP as a position of need, and stated that the club would try to get two to bolster the rotation.

    There was an abundance of quality SP available in free agency, and perhaps (but probably not) in the trade market. While you can excuse the club for not taking the risk of going after Tanaka at $25-$30 million a year (if he would even sign with the Jays) , every other quality SP who signed deals in the $10-$15 million/year. The market rate seemed to stabilize pretty quickly, so the team most likely knew the cost of SP.

    Now whether uncle Ted said there was no more money to be spent on the team or AA decided that the contract demands did not fit with his idea of the proper valuation is unknown, but in the end of consequence. The Blue Jays decided that it was not worth bringing in any FA SP.

    And what are we left with? A lineup that looks really competitive, especially in the surprisingly mediocre AL East. Buerle looking like a rotation anchor and better than even the fans hoped, Dickey is mostly solid, Hutchinson is as good as anyone could have reasonably hoped, and …. two more spots in the rotation.

    Really things have broke mostly well for the team so far other than Morrow’s injury/ ineffectiveness and Happ’s I don’t know what (Injury?). The team was not counting on anything from Izturis so the fact he gave them a couple effective weeks is probably as much as anyone could have expected.

    I guess that is why I am pissed at this team, all off-season the fans were clamoring for SPs and a 2nd baseman. It turns out that the lineup may be strong enough to withstand no production from 2nd base and looking forward the fans are left to pray that the top three SP stay healthy and Stroman or someone else is able to stabilize the 4th spot. Not to mention the continued health of the 1-6 hitters in the lineup.

    Everybody saw the issues and the baseball club owned by Rogers decided that it didn’t need to do anything that costs money besides upgrade at C (which also has worked out as well as could be expected). It is like there was a decision one year after ‘going for it’ to cheap out on the last piece or two, because things broke bad last year.

    I guess the decision must have been that an upside of competitiveness would be good enough for people to tune in and everyone in a while go to the Skydome. It is just frustrating to see this as another possible lost season, where so far health has been pretty good, for completely foreseeable reasons. There are still opportunities to trade for a SP, but it seems that nobody wants to trade SPs unless they are going get back a boatload of talent or they are in a walk year.

    • Can we stop lamenting the offseason already? It’s over.

      Sucks that they missed on Santana, but they clearly wanted to bring him in and ran into some financial constraints.

      • You’re right that it is over. But financial constraints????? C’mon. Markets size (which is the whole country) + Owner’s wealth (the wealthiest in MLB I believe) doesn’t equal financial constraints. It leads to the conclusion that the team decided not to spend the money on a free agent SP.

        If they identified Santana as the only SP they wanted then they didn’t offer him anywhere near enough years and/or $ to come pitch in a place that will negatively affect his surface stats.

        He wasn’t the only quality SP available.

        Tim Hudson, Bartolo Colon, Arroyo and Scott Kazmir both signed 2 year deals in the $20M range.

        AJ Burnett, Gavin Floyd and Dan Haren both signed 1 year deals, but it is questionable if either would have signed them in Toronto.

        Scott Feldman signed for 3/$30M.

        Garza, Ricky Nilasco and Ubaldo Jimenez signed the 4/$50M deals that were probably rightly deemed to expensive by AA.

        And then there was Tanaka…

        But in there you can see plenty of quality SP that would make the Jays rotation look respectable or even a little intimidating. Combining that with the lineup and sudden health , well I guess it is just a missed opportunity.

        And I feel like Rogers is just saying ‘well they will watch anyway so why spend the money as long as we are not the Astros’

        • They had to pass around a fucking hat to raise money for Santana. That’s financial constraints.

          For whatever reason Rogers decided to tighten the pursestrings. If the money’s not there, it’s not there.

    • There’s ownership, and then there’s the team (the FO/players/org), is how I look at it. They don’t have the same goals, but one of them has the same goals as fans, and surely have the same gripes about the other group as fans do. So, I certainly can cut them a little slack when it comes to not being able to accomplish some of the things they said they wanted to. Doesn’t make it less frustrating, but just a little clearer on where to direct the frustration — however, as I was saying at the time all this was going down, it doesn’t excuse the front office from not understanding how Rogers works and not being able to better deal with their financial whims.

    • Shit i had forgotten all about Izturis. Those were good days.

  15. Fuck salary relief! Given that Rogers asked their own players to divy up for Santana’s contract it’s clear they want to spend as little as possible.
    Aka if we aren’t paying Beurhle, don’t pretend that Rogers is automatically going to use his salary to pay for another free agent.
    Corporate bullshit is what it is. We NEED this team to do well this year in order to induce Rogers to keep spending (don’t feel bad for them, they have enough money).
    If we trade away Beurhle > team is worse > fans get disinterested > less $$ for Rogers > Rogers spends less $$ on the team > five+ more years of watching mediocrity from the Jays.

    It’s frustrating when the owners of your favorite team are also the enemy, but that’s how capitalist corporatism works.

    • Thank you.

    • As an aside, I acknowledge that last year the ownership took a huge risk and it didn’t pay off.
      Furthermore, there was a very interesting article (in FanGraphs I believe) which explained how even a great player might only add ~3 WAR and put into perspective that one player (eg Stephen Drew, or Ubaldo Jimenez) doesn’t make or break a team.
      As a Jay fan I am content with the solid core this team is built around, now let’s win some games and make a run !

    • Rogers didn’t ask. If anyone did, the front office did because they didn’t have the budget — but even that we don’t know for sure.

      The assumption is that the freed up money in the budget would be repurposed elsewhere, yes. If not, then totally don’t do it (they can QO at the end of next year and get a pick or keep him at that, slightly more reasonable rate), or they take money back in order to get a better package — should they choose to trade him.

  16. It is laughable to think that the Jays are already out of it when they are only 1.5 games behind Baltimore and tied with the Yankees and Red Sox (although the Jays have played 2 more games than both of them). Primarily on the runs for/ runs against ratio, the Jays currently have the highest playoff percentage of any team in the AL East according to ESPN and if it wasn’t for a few of those horrific bullpen collapses, could be right up there with Baltimore.

    • Yup with the al east being a five team race the jays probably have their best shot to make October since 1998

    • How about the fact that even last year – the year of piss and shit – we got back to over .500 near the AS break and right back in it until injuries overwhelmed us again. .

  17. Anyone hear the guy call in to Jays Talk last night and suggest the team owes it to Kawasaki to trade him to a club that has a major league spot for him? LOL! Only in Canada.

  18. I really hope the Jays hit 200 home runs and win the fucking division just to shut up all the idiots out there.

    • Commenter CG: I don’t know what the fuck I talk about

    • The idiots would say the home runs didn’t go far enough.

      Followed up by: “and besides winning games with stolen bases and squeeze bunts is more exciting. Home runs just get boring after awhile”.

      • No, no, it’s because they didn’t “manufacture” them properly.

      • Plus we should have traded our best pitcher so we have prospects.

      • The Jays could go base hit, bunt single, double steal, twelve pitch walk to load the bases, and when they hit a grand slam, some people around here would complain that they don’t have a very good offense because they can only score by hitting homeruns.

    • “Winning the division was a fluke and only happened because the Yankees and Sox get injured. Let’s see the Jays try to win the division in a real year with real competition.”

      • I’m really enjoying this thread.

        I feel as though there is a better name than “idiot” for this bunch we speak of.

  19. “Are certain player-types more prone to streakiness than others… Maybe high-K–high-HR hitters?

    Dave Cameron: Depends on how you define streakiness. High K/HR guys will have most of their value tied up in fewer events, so their value will be more variable simply due to the distribution of when they create their runs. Is that streakiness, or just an artifact of how they add value?”

    Perspective for those who like to invoke the S-word.

  20. Shitbirds vs Tigers already underway, awww yusss

  21. The has been a nice enough season so far. Lineup looks killer. Al East suddenly weak.

    What bothers me though is that there is clearly a good nucleus of a team here, that *really* looks like it’s a solid #2 type starter away from really looking like a real playoff threat.

    Just continues to piss me off that Rogers tightened its budget and didn’t add someone. If Santana (or even Jiminez) was in this rotation with Happ out, I’d be feeling pretty confident about being relevant in September.

    Fucking idiot Rogers.

  22. “…no, trying for months to grind Ervin Santana to dust and then whining when at the last minute he backed out on a handshake agreement doesn’t fly with me — live ruthlessly, die ruthlessly”

    THANK YOU!!! Every time I hear the Jays’ brass or friggin Bob McCown spin-doctor the Santana story I want to throat punch someone. “Look, he wanted to pitch in the National League. There was nothing we could do…” Eat shit and die. AA came close to playing that market perfectly. And I understand why he did. But in the end he struck out. And by doing so he ended up failing at his offseason’s most essential task, landing a SP.

    On a somewhat related topic, am I the only one who thinks that Stroman is not looking ready for prime time? All the talk of his inevitable move to the rotation seems a tad premature, IMO

    • I think he’s looked fine, and given that we have a grand total of five mediocre major league innings to base it on after he mowed through pretty much everyone he faced during his brief stint at AAA and most people thought he was major league-ready when he was drafted two years ago, I would say any talk of his move to the rotation being premature is… uh… premature.

    • I thought he looked pretty good before that last outing. That Angels offense can make any pitcher look bad, let alone a rookie with only a handful of major-league innings under his belt.

  23. sss for sure but dan norris is outpitching anything sanchez has done since lansing. i’d be all over sanchez++ for the shark. the division is up for the taking. time to act.

    • I guess the reason I’m opposed to that is that I don’t think Samardzija is a good pitcher.

      I get that he puts up good numbers, even if his HR/FB% this season is unsustainable, but I just don’t think he would pitch well coming from the NL Central to the AL East.

      • He would pitch exactly the same as he pitches there, only he’d be facing a bit tougher lineups.

      • So Samjdiazi will turn to shit by moving from one major league division to another, but our prospects (like Sanchez) will magically get better by not only moving up to the big leagues but into this scawwwy AL East?

      • and hes top 5 in velocity in the MLB..so theres that.

        i would trade Nolin and Sanchez for him.

    • They should be promoting him to AA soon. If he continues to dominate I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in 2015.

    • I haven’t been following Sanchez that closely, but man do his peripherals look bad. Night-and-day from the sparkling numbers Stroman put up all through the minors. Can we really be sure about him contributing at all in 2015?

      What will it take for his “#1 prospect” shine to wear off? His command issues are very real and aren’t going away in a hurry.

  24. The AL East is shaky right now, but you just fucking now some team is gonna go 40-15 over the next couple months and just blow this division right the fuck up. I think the Jays can be one of 3 teams in the division.

    Listen fellas, we are all Jays fans here, but this back and forth win 5, lose 3, .500 season makes us so fucking jumpy: one week it’s all sunshine and high fives and dugout celebrations, the next week it’s all doom and gloom and Tanaka/Santana what might have been talk….

    Let’s face it, the 2013-14 Toronto Blue Jays are like that crazy bitch you dated first year of university. One week you wanted to marry her, the next you thought you should get a restraining order against her…. Such a cruel mistress!

  25. Keppinger DFA’d…

  26. Wagner up, Jenkins down, Navarro to bereavement leave, Kratz up.

    • Advantages of AAA team in Buffalo and not Vegas.Round and round.

    • Wagner for Jenkins is a substantial plus, and they can do the matchup thing with Thole and Kratz, so losing Navarro shouldn’t really be a huge loss – especially since Kratz is far superior behind the plate.

  27. yay let’s go blue jays #LOVthISTEam!!

  28. So another HR + a hit + a BB!!! for Fat Juan last night.

    Also of note, a nice string of RH starters lined up to face the Jays over the next several games.

    Not trying to get too high, or too low on the guy, but fuck man, talk about found money.

  29. Wagner over Jenkins make sense, but poor Chad.
    He must be wondering, “What…I got sent down
    because of poor posture in the bullpen??” WTF.

  30. FYI Anthony Desclafani (from the Marlins trade) makes his MLB debut tonight.

  31. 5th “quality start” in a row for Dickey last night……

    Buehrle has been Buehrl’n, but Dickey has been Dick’n too!

  32. I know this is the equivalent of complaining about Nolan Ryan’s pick off move, but Bautista is a terrible base runner.

    Love the guy though and he’s a hell of a player. Hope he keeps up this pace and brings home that MVP he earned a few years ago.

  33. seriously. can people just fucking stop with the trade Buehrle ideas? its fucking moronic.

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